What is “metafandom?”


A long time ago I made up a word: “metafan.”  I only had a vague idea of what it meant, but I liked the sound of it.  Recently I’ve come to think that the word was too good to just sit by itself, undefined, so I decided to build a concept around it. That concept is laid out in a guest column I wrote for Baseball Prospectus.  Unlike the bulk of BP’s content it’s free for all to read with or without a subscription.

Roughly speaking, the word “metafan” refers to a person who gets into the superfluous stuff surrounding baseball to the extent that, at some point, it starts to crowd out the consumption of actual baseball games.  I’m talking about playing fantasy baseball, collecting memorabilia, writing about it, doing sabermetric analysis, going nuts on hot stove league things, whatever.  I’m a metafan. Many of you are. Most people who truly go nuts about baseball are, I believe anyway, metafans. And that’s not bad.  It just … is.

At any rate, I don’t do longish form columny things very often, so writing this was kind of fun. Let me know what you think of it. I’m actually not sure that it’s good — I really did think up the word first and built a concept around it afterwards, so it may be total bunk — but you can be the judge of that.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

Getty Images

Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.