Sunday, March 16, 2014

Crisis Averted at Analytics Conferece

PHOENIX, Arizona, March 14 - A potential hostage situation was averted in a hotel in Phoenix as an intruder at a conference fled. There were no injuries. The suspect has not been apprehended.

The incident broke out at the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Analytics Conference at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix on North Second Street in downtown Phoenix at approximately 4:45 PM local time. It occurred during a panel discussion led by regular participants on MLB Network's "Clubhouse Confidential" program.

The highlight of Clubhouse Confidential panel was an appearance by the show's host, Brian Kenny, via video link. Kenny was leading the ritual killing of an "egregiously preposterous" win (Wade Davis, May 15, 5.1 IP, 9H, 3 BB, 2K, 4R), to the cheers of the conference attendees, who rhythmically beat their slide rules against their pocket protectors. (A Hyatt Regency employee present described it as "sort of like Lord of the Flies in reverse.") At that point, the intruder, described by some on the scene as "probably some kind of retired New York Times writer" ("Well, he was old, and he used big words") burst into the hotel's ballroom. He apparently was able to elude hotel security by flashing a Baseball Writers' Association of America card, insisting, "It doesn't matter that I retired years ago, I'm a lifetime member!"

Kenny immediately offered to spare the win in order to appease the gate-crasher. (Those on the scene speculated he had another win backstage as a fallback, Jonathon Niese, April 2, 5 IP, 5H, 4 BB, 1K, 5R.) When the intruder was unmoved, Fangraphs managing editor Dave Cameron ordered his dog, who had been on stage quietly chewing panelists' shoes, to attack, but the canine's incessant playing with its squeaky toy failed to distract the interloper. Ben Lindbergh, editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus, tried to shift attention from the panel, suggesting that the perpetrator consider baseball played on ice skates by nine-person teams that run the basepaths clockwise, to no avail.

The intruder was wearing a large "Morris '14" button, which investigators believe could indicate his support for John Morris, a candidate for Los Angeles County Assessor. He appeared to be primarily interested in panelist Rob Neyer, Senior Baseball Editor for Fox Sports. The assailant was reported to say, "You're why I have to keep voting every January" to Neyer while scanning the audience, muttering, "Where's that bald guy?" (At one point, his attention was drawn to SABR President Vince Gennaro, the fourth panelist, but he appeared to be looking for someone with glasses.) This led to speculation that Neyer's recent job switch from SB Nation to Fox Sports was an effort to elude the attacker.

The incident was defused when alert conference attendees began pelting the intruder with copies of the "SABR Defensive Index," a document that had been presented earlier in the day. The suspect fled, screaming, "Gold Glove gobbledy goop. Help!"

Investigators, suspecting the perpetrator is what police psychologists termed "a self-hating blogger," are conducting a door-to-door search of mothers' basements in the nearby area.

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