As the school year winds down and the weather gets warmer, kids around the world are able to enjoy themselves by playing and watching sports. Another way to enjoy sports is by learning more about the ones we love.
That’s exactly the opportunity available in Chicago from June 24-28. That’s when the 45th Annual Society for American Baseball Research, or SABR, convention hits town. SABR has more than 6,000 members who love the game of baseball from different angles: as players, writers, historians, fans, or statisticians. SABR has 69 local chapters, but this is the biggest convention of the year, with people attending from across the US and the world.
Regular readers of SI Kids will know that we also cover another SABR event in March. So what’s the difference between that one and this one. The earlier event, called the Analytics Conference, focuses more on the statistical side of baseball. SABR 45, meanwhile, will focus more on the history of the game.
This conference is special for me because I was in the room when Chicago and a few other cities were first being tossed around as the possible site for SABR 45. Chicago won out in the end, which worked out perfectly. The Cubs shocked the baseball world this winter when they showed they wouldn't put up with their losing history any longer — they haven't won a World Series since 1908! The Cubbies went all in to sign star pitcher Jon Lester, trade for Miguel Montero, and sign Dexter Fowler, among other moves. They also have lots of exciting young talent, from Kris Bryant to Javier Baez to Addison Russell to Jorge Soler. In addition, their crosstown rivals, the White Sox, also made a splash this offseason when they signed David Robertson, Jeff Samardzija (I spelled that right!), Adam LaRoche, and Melky Cabrera. It’s a great city and a great time for a baseball convention.
One highlight of SABR 45 is sure to be a concert on Thursday night by The Baseball Project. The band was founded by members of the group R.E.M. They write songs about baseball, with one song appropriately called "Box Scores."
The conference also features Cubs and White Sox panels, presenting the likes of players such as former AL Rookie Of The Year Ron Kittle, pitcher Steve Trout, and outfielder Carlos May. There will also be a tribute to Chicago baseball legends Ernie Banks and Minnie Minoso, both of whom passed away a handful of months ago. MLB.com’s Phil Rogers will host the tribute and remind us of what Mr. Cub and the Cuban Missile meant to the baseball world.
I’ll be covering SABR 45 next week, so stay tuned to SIKids.com for my reports. But if you’re in Chicago, you might want to check it out yourself. This year, SABR is making it easy for kids and adults to attend either the whole convention or for a shorter time. You can find all the details at sabr.org/convention.
Max Mannis is a special correspondent for sikids.com and a member of SABR. Check out his contributor page to catch up with his past stories on baseball and SABR events.
Photo courtesy SABR