Sports Analytics Blog: Interview with business of baseball writer Maury Brown

From the Sports Analytics Blog on May 20, 2013, with longtime SABR member Maury Brown:

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network.  Maury has been featured in dozens of editorials, tv shows, radio shows, and more.  A big fan of research,  Maury is a former co-chair of SABR’s Business of Baseball Committee and has contributed work to The Hardball Times and Baseball Prospectus.


You are the former co-chair of SABR’s Business of Baseball committee.  What was this like?  What would you say to non-SABR members who might be interested in joining?

It was interesting. Being in SABR at that level is like trying to be Switzerland as neutrality is of importance for the association. Taking a stand on key issues isn’t what they’re about which is ironic as baseball creates the most opinionated fans, in my opinion. Being a part of SABR is to say that you’re a serious researcher and love of all facets of the game. Most focus on analytics, but of course it’s much broader. I highly recommend it for those that want to delve as deep into the game as they can get. There’s something for everyone.

You have contributed to both The Hardball Times and Baseball Prospectus.  How did you land these opportunities?  What would you say to analytical people who want to write for prominent sites?

Well, The Hardball Times was blind luck. They approached me after seeing me write something for SABR. But, in reality the truth is I was writing often about topics few were at the time. I approached Jonah Keri about writing for BP after a NWSABR meeting in 2006, and shortly thereafter, I began publishing regularly for them.

As for any advice about those looking to break into writing—analytics or not—no matter what, those that write should write often and look to express themselves uniquely or present data that isn’t being covered by the majority. You either have a gift for words or data or both. It’s a hypercompetitive field, so being good at what you do requires honing chops. Whatever an aspiring writer of analytics does, they need to write to write and horde data to the point that Horders will want to do an episode on you. I find the best at it have stores of aggregated data that spans long periods and can present it in easily digestible forms.  Sure, there will be hardcore audiences for papers written for academics but one of the things that makes Bill James so great is that he not only presents great analytics, he’s an exceptionally gifted writer.

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Originally published: May 20, 2013. Last Updated: May 20, 2013.