Games Project: Authors’ Guidelines
This page includes guidelines specific to the SABR Baseball Games Project. Authors, especially those new to the Games Project, should review these points closely before submitting a draft essay to make sure their draft is in compliance. To read the Games Project FAQs, click here.
- Click here to download our updated Author Guidelines — with details on how to request an assignment and submit a draft of your story (PDF)
The title/heading should include the following information, all centered and bolded and double-spaced the top:
A suggested descriptive headline as the first line. The game date, teams, scores, and site of game as the second line. The author’s name with “By” as the third line.
Spaceman brawls with Yankees’ Graig Nettles
May 20, 1976: Boston Red Sox 8, New York Yankees 2, at Yankee Stadium, New York, NY
By (author’s name)
Each game essay should be informative, accurate, and entertaining. It should be evaluative but objective. The essay should cover pertinent aspects of the game, including:
- key points within the game,
- any impact the game has on the team, season or overall history of the game (first night game, integration, scandal, record setting event, unusual occurrences, etc.),
- noteworthy games for an individual player – whatever helps give a full picture of the subject game,
- articles must avoid puffery, play-by-play accounts, and first-person perspective.
Some games are naturally going to focus more on the game action itself. Someone writing about the Red Sox-Yankees playoff game in 1978 will have to focus quite a bit on the game action, even if it isn’t a straight play-by-play account. However, a story about Disco Demolition Night should focus more on what led up to the event and some of craziness that happened before and during the game. On the other hand, a story about Roberto Clemente’s first game probably won’t focus much on the game action, except for what Clemente did, and maybe focus more about Clemente’s background, how he came to the Pirates, etc.
All authors should also include hyperlinks to the Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org box scores, where available, in their game essays. (Hint: The Baseball-Reference.com box score page can be found by going to any team’s “Schedule and Results” page — see here for an example — then clicking the “boxscore” link next to that game’s date. If you go to the Baseball-Reference box score first, the Retrosheet link can quickly be found underneath the final play at the bottom.). These hyperlinks should be placed either within the statement of Sources or immediately following Sources. See below for additional details concerning Sources.
SABR Book Projects only: The box score hyperlinks are required for essays intended for inital posting to the SABR Games website. They are not required when writing a game essay for a SABR book project.
The Main Content of a Games Project essay must be at least 1,000 words in length to allow for appropriate development of detail and context. The Main Content must not exceed 1,500 words. These word-count requirements (1,000 to 1,500 words) apply only to the Main Content and exclude the title/heading, any Author’s note, Sources, and Notes. Editorial discretion may allow in excess of 1,500 words in the Main Content in rare situations, but authors should be diligent in striving to remain within 1,500 words when presenting initial manuscripts. The “Review” tab in MS Word has a useful word-count tool to assist in monitoring these Main Content requirements.
Documentation (Sources and Notes)
Authors must document the following within the text, using the MS Word tools for endnotes (Notes). The Notes should be formatted as set forth in the Endnotes (not the Bibliography) section of Part 1of the SABR Style Guide. Authors should be careful to use the MS Word endnote tool, not the footnote tool. Authors should select the Arabic (1, 2, 3) numbering system in the endnotes tool, not the default Roman (i, ii, iii) numbering system.
- the source of every direct quote
- the source of uncommon information
- every interpretation drawn from others. The authority for the subject’s vital statistics and major-league stats is Retrosheet. If your research leads you to differ from Retrosheet, explain why in a Note. Assume that box score information as well as a player’s full statistical line is available elsewhere.
- avoid quoting team or player statistics unless interesting in some way, in which case state the significance.
- avoid plagiarism, which includes not only unattributed quotation but also extended paraphrase. (See more below on this point.)
- Follow the essay with a list of the most important Sources of information not referenced in the Notes.The list may include all books. articles, and website references used to prepare the essay. If this option is used, citations should be formatted as set forth in the Bibliography section of Part 1of the SABR Style Guide. Alternatively, a short statement of Sources is preferred to a more formal bibliographical statement of sources. (Review posted Games accounts for examples of the differences.)
Your writing should conform to standard American English diction and usage, and to Parts 1 and 2 of the SABR Style Guide.
A short narative at the end of the essay where personal comments about the game may be offered (my first game, I proposed at this game, etc.) is acceptable. If included, it should be separately designated (Author’s note) and should immediately follow the main content. It should precede Sources, which should precede Notes. Any acknowledgments the author may desire to make for assistance should be brief and if separately stated (Acknowledgments), should be placed between any Author’s note and Sources. Acknlowledgments may also be included in the Author’s note or in Sources.
For more on how to avoid plagiarism, see Fred Ivor-Campbell’s guidelines on the BioProject site.
Adding hyperlinks to SABR biographies
We ask all SABR authors to help enhance their SABR website-published Games essays and make them more interactive for current and future readers by using Microsoft Word’s hyperlink function to link to SABR biographies the first time a player’s name appears in the essay. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to do so. These links should be added whether or not the player has an existing SABR biography, since SABR assigns all players a page source, held open and blank until a biography is written and posted.
To go back to the Games Project website, click here.