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Back to the Future

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Slide on into the Delorean next to me (um, ignore that suspicious parcel in the trunk) and get ready for a short trip back in time, McFly.

We're going to perform a little experiment. It's a cliched little number called "Player A vs Player B," where I provide the blinded trendlines, and you try to identify the players and note (or dispute) the similarities.

I'll make this one easy on you, McFly. I'll give you the first similarity: Players A and B both suffer/suffered from chronic back problems. OK, another one: both are/were regarded as among the better-fielding players at their positions.

Here goes. Strapped in? Helmet strap tightened? Flux capacitor ready? 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

< temp card on screen: SFX TO COME >

<industry leader>

Whew, yeah, those unfinished special effects can be really taxing on the ol' taxonomy, eh, McFly. Well, here we are in some unspecified ancient time. Now, I brought along a box full of statistics from our own time, so we can compare 'em against whatever we're looking for here.

Ah! There he is! Player B! Ugh! Look at those disgusting sideburns, and that declasse mullet. What a disgrace to his owner. Sorry, mixing fictional voices there. Happens sometimes when we pass through certain zones of temporal disruption.

OK, McFly, pull out that box. Let's see what we have from Player A from our own time.

Player A

Age OPS OPS+
21 .798 94
22 .760 118
23 .850 131
24 .878 122
25 .861 132
26 .864 132
27 .898 106
28 .795 106
29 .786 103

Alright, McFly, now pull that big, cartoonish, men-in-white-jackets-from-the-institution-style butterfly net out of the Delorean. Now, you go snag Player B. Because I'm running this experiment, that's why! Good lad. E-e-e-e-excellent. Whoa! Bbpbpbpbpbpbpphhhhh! Sorry, temporal-fictional cross-flux again. OK, now extract the statistics from Player B. No, it won't hurt him. He'll just wake up in the morning thinking that he's been probed by aliens. Ah! Yes. Very nice. Here we are:

Player B

Age OPS OPS+
21 .321 -11
22 .742 107
23 .918 156
24 .938 156
25 .967 161
26 .937 146
27 .815 128
28 .828 133
29 .643 81
30 .733 103
31 .743 108
32 .809 118
33 .808 113
34 .754 97

Of course, yes, McFly, you're right -- our Player A never hit the heights that Player B did. Yes, sometimes the history books are true -- not every single element of society steps forward in even, measured increments. The ancients had their secrets, too.

But McFly, you're not seeing the forest for the trees! Don't look at the specific highs and lows, but the trendlines, m'boy -- the trendlines! Especially that OPS+ -- look at that drastic drop in production in the Age 27 year, and the apparent inability to recover. Oh, sure, a small Renaissance there near the end, but too little, too late.

What's that, McFly? What does the future -- our future, that is -- I mean, the future we -- I mean, you -- have yet to see -- what does the future, that future hold for Player A? Ahhhhh, McFly, m'boy, there are some things you have to wait to see for yourself.