He’s just one unsung online baseball historian.
Wikipedia’s breadth of content is almost too large to comprehend. According to the best possible source—the Wikipedia entry on Wikipedia—the online encyclopedia has over 36,000 writers, and its 21 million articles lead to a whopping 12 billion total pageviews a month.
One writer, Eric—“eposty” is his username—has a particularly thankless task.
He updates the “2012 Major League Baseball season.” Every weekday morning. Seven months a year. Every year.
“I wasn’t chosen,” said Eric, who asked his last name not be used, in an email interview with the Daily Dot. “I just did it. As a baseball fan, I like the numbers and I want the accuracy.”
It started gradually. Sometime—four or five years ago, he guesses—Eric found himself updating the page if it didn’t have the most recent game results. He found himself doing it more and more. He then created an account so he could track his moves. Eventually it became his domain.
“I have never coordinated with others,” he said. “I just make the modifications when I have something new or the data that is currently there is not up-to-date.”
In real life, Eric is a 43-year-old software engineer in northern Virginia. He grew up in West Virginia, in a small town where most kids started playing baseball at five. He’s loved the sport as long as he can remember.
As a kid, he and his brother would spend their days alternating between playing Strat-O-Matic, a card-based baseball statistics role-playing game, and actual baseball. He’d pick a team to follow for the year and keep detailed statistics and results for the entirety of its 162-game schedule. When he played in organized youth leagues, he’d follow each game he played by meticulously marking down his personal stats.
When the Atlanta-based network that would become TBS began showing Braves games in the 1980 season, Eric’s fanaticism blossomed. The network would usually replay each game immediately after it ended. Eric would stay up late, if necessary, to make sure he caught it both times.
These days Eric has a reliable routine. Every weekday morning, soon after Baseball-reference.com updates its site at 9 am, he checks that site for any new stastistical milestone.
For example, José Reyes (MIA) recorded his 100th career triple in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds on April 8. He became the 162nd player to reach this mark.
Eric keeps a separate text file on his computer so none of these catch him off guard. He then updates each team’s win-loss record, which in turn affects the teams' divisional standings. As the season wears on, he keeps an active list of current season leaders in major categories like home runs, RBIs, and strikeouts. The whole process takes about half an hour.
Though few people outside those who frequent baseball message boards are aware of Eric’s presence, his work doesn’t go entirely unacknowledged. In 2011, he became one of fewer than 500 contributors to receive Wikipedia’s “Tireless Contributor” award “for tirelessly and thanklessly updating MLB records.”
He says it’s simply an expression of his passions. “I just love numbers and baseball,” he concluded. “I put the love of both to good use as I grew up and continue on now. I figure this is my little way to help out the online community.”
Photo via Wikipedia