What is “metafandom?”

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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.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.