Babip, Pecota, Vorp and Eckstein lay down the law
Last week's episode of the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation featured a hilarious "Easter Egg" for stat-minded baseball fans: a sign for the fictitious Pawnee, Ind., law firm of Babip, Pecota, Vorp and Eckstein. If you're scoring at home, that's two Baseball Prospectus acronyms (Value Over Replacement Player and PECOTA, the projection system BP uses), the commonly cited stat for batting average on balls in play and the scrappy, undersized embodiment of that which can't be quantified in diminutive shortstop David Eckstein, the 2006 World Series MVP.
The sign's existence no doubt owes something to the minds of executive producer Michael Schur and screenwriter Alan Yang, both of whom wrote for the hilarious Fire Joe Morgan website, which from 2005 through 2008 lampooned the worst anti-sabermetric writing and broadcasting; "Where Bad Sports Journalism Comes To Die" was their slogan. Under the nom de guerre Ken Tremendous, Schur also contributed to Deadspin as well as Sports Illustrated, and the magazine named FJM one of the decade's five most influential sports blogs in December 2009. The Classical ran an entertaining three-part oral history of FJM last December.
Just over a week after the sign aired on Parks, the MLB Fan Cave has teamed up with Eckstein himself to further the joke with a faux commercial for the firm. "Do you not understand the unwritten laws of baseball, because no one has written them down?" begins Eckstein, and . . . well, there's no need to give any of the other jokes away:
Good, gritty fun.