Later on this afternoon, after I finish writing this post and maybe going for a walk by the lake on a beautiful winter vacation day, I will be renewing my membership to the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) for the second year in a row. If you're already a member and have not yet renewed your membership, you should take the time to do so now. And if you are not a member, you should seriously think about joining.
I'm guessing that most people that read this blog on a regular basis already have a pretty good idea of what SABR is and what it's about (I talk enough about it, anyway), but if you don't - or if you're wondering why you should join - please read further.
SABR is *the* national organization for people who love baseball, whether it be the sport, the history, the stats, or anything else. SABR members are a group of people who care so much about baseball that they want to celebrate it whenever possible; they want to get together with random people and get into heated discussions about the 1957 Braves' place in history or how the shrinking of foul territory has effected the game or what would have happened if 27-year-old Satchel Paige got to face a 27-year-old Babe Ruth; they want to encourage young fans to devote themselves to the greatest sport on the planet; they want to preserve long-forgotten history and easily-overlooked details.
SABR offers plenty to its members in the way of research tools and data - access to the complete Sporting News archives, a library of original articles and research in The Baseball Research Journal, The National Pastime, and SABR Bulletin, a membership directory, a decades-old mailing list that connects you to smart, dedicated people around the world, a detailed baseball encylcopedia, a lending library, regional chapters around the world and much more - but it's more than just research tools. SABR also promotes original research through grants, prestigious awards, and publication in high-quality journals.
Most importantly, SABR is a community of people who love baseball - love talking about baseball, love studying baseball, love arguing baseball, and more. We all know how valuable that kind of community is. Chances are, if you're reading this blog post, you probably already consider yourself a part of the community. Online conversations on blogs and message boards and Twitter and everywhere else all help to grow and foster the baseball community as a whole. Joining SABR takes you one step farther, though. It shows your commitment to preserving and growing the community for decades to come by providing for a physical, tangible repository and by actively enabling community outreach, original research, and public events and conventions that help get people excited about the game.
If you're at all interested in growing the baseball community and helping true baseball fans discover new and exciting things about the game, or if you would like to see more events that connect the public to the likes of Hank Aaron or Frank Howard or Bobby Cox, then please consider joining SABR. It's a terrific organization and, even if you never use any of the many research tools available, you'll get a lot out of it. I hope to see everyone at future SABR meetings and conventions! (And, hey, if you're under 30 years old, you get a discount!)