Baseball fans love the winding down of March Madness for it signals something entirely different: that first pitch of early April. But before opening day (April 2!), what’s a self-respecting baseball lover to do? Run out and scan the newsstands for annual season previews that are sprouting like a field of crocuses.
We took a look at two of the best — Lindy’s and The Sporting News. While both do a good enough job, die-hard baseball fans would be better served reaching for The Sporting News.
TSN Editor Scott Smith squeezes more into 196 pages than we thought possible. Of course it contains more stats than the Census Bureau, breaking down 2016 every which way — but the issue also does it better than everyone else.
Right up front it shows where active players stand in all-time career stats. Its graphics are better than those presented by Lindy’s — like its five-year win trend.
Plus, TSN offers up a clear pick for which team will win it all — the Cubs!, again. One gripe: If you’re going to run lineups on images of a team’s home field, why not use the real field? This isn’t football or hockey. Fenway Park’s field isn’t the same as Yankee Stadium’s field — so why are your diagrams the same?
TSN also delivers with a new stat it claims is a better indicator of talent: BPO, or bases per out. The statistic is derived from taking the total number of bases a batter reaches divided by the number of outs he makes.
Lindy’s comes up a bit short in a few categories. For starters, senior editor Shane O’Neill decided to lead off his 200-page issue with a boring story on MLB’s collective bargaining agreement. Then he tells us Mike Trout is unlikely to be traded (as if!) and then reports on the game’s most overpaid players — and at least three aren’t even on 2017 rosters.
The issue also doesn’t have guts. It predicts league champions but doesn’t come out and shout who it thinks will win the World Series.
We know it…