The Possible SABR Name Change

Yesterday I wrote the following as part of my coverage of this past Monday’s February SABR meeting in Houston. The entire column, “Another Dierker Tale Spins SABR”, including the essential additions shown here, is available at the following link:

Here’s a reiteration of (1) what was was published originally about the name change possibility, followed by (2) the clarifying comment from Jacob Pomrenke of SABR National, and (3) my additional comments – also retro-included in yesterday’s column content and repeated here for broadest coverage. Mr. Pomrenke makes some important clarifications to what is – and is not -under present consideration:

 (1) The original column report.

SABR/SIBR. Bob Dorrill led a brief discussion of the movement in place to change the name of SABR to one which more vividly expresses our organization’s interest in the growth of the game worldwide. Cast me among those who find themselves less than enchanted with a change to “Society for International Baseball Research” (SIBR for belibbering short). I’m strongly on the side that says leave our unchangeable identity alone. We ARE “American Baseball” – no matter where we spread to play in this world. Our original identity is immutable – even as the worldwide love for our American Game continues to grow internationally. This trans-borders migration movement does not obliterate the American roots of our game – nor should we yield to the politically correct idea that “Made in America” as a hashtag should be removed from anything American that works so well anywhere it travels – and just to do so as a matter of deferential cultural modesty.

Please. – We ARE – The Society for American Baseball Research – anywhere the game is played.

(2) Mr. Pomrenke’s E-Mail Response to me today.

Post-Publication Inclusion, 5:30 PM, CST, Wed., Feb. 21, 2018, 46 Hours Post-The Meeting Covered. >

Three hours ago, I heard from Jacob Pomrenke, SABR’s Director of Editorial Content at our national office, with a very important clarification by e-mail. It follows here verbatim:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for this fine recap and all the great photos from the Houston chapter meeting. Just wanted to clarify one quick point in your article, in case there was any confusion:

The suggested name change for the organization that the Board of Directors asked all local chapters to discuss was “Society for the Advancement of Baseball Research” — which still keeps the familiar and beloved acronym, SABR, that we’ve always used. That alternate name was originally suggested by the founders at the very first meeting of SABR back in 1971, but after considerable debate, they voted to use “Society for American Baseball Research” instead. The name change has come up again and again over the past 40+ years and with the tremendous growth in our global membership over the past decade, the Board thought it was a worthy topic to bring up for discussion now.

The phrase you used in your article, “Society for International Baseball Research” (SIBR), has never been suggested, nor is it being considered, as a possible name for our organization.



(3) My Response Today to Mr. Pomrenke.

Thanks, Jacob, for that very important clarification. The proposal either wasn’t made clear, or wasn’t heard clearly by me at the meeting, and I reacted to what I heard – with one of those possibilities suggested by someone there whom I now I cannot recall mentioning the “Society for International Baseball Research” possibility.

My apologies are offered with a combination of grief and joy. Grief shrouds the spread of wrong information; joy embraces the relief that the De-Americanization of our game’s identity is not quite as ruthless as I feared it might be.

My first blush reaction is easy to express: I still prefer the name that fully describes our game for what it is and who we are: The “Society for American Baseball Research”.

“Society for Advancement of Baseball Research” remains inoffensive to our comfortable acronym identity, but it promotes the idea that we are here as an organization to research ways to advance the game, either by territorial expansion or the pursuit of superior rule changes – like putting the game on the clock – or putting a runner on 2nd base in the tenth inning for no better reason than ending the game more quickly.

Advancement? I don’t think so. Baseball is not Star Trek – and SABR is not the Good Ship Enterprise, going places where no other game has previously ventured by interference guised as advancement.

Others may disagree, but I’ll take my SABR for what it exactly says it is now.

Thank you, anyway, Jacob for clearing up the misunderstanding.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle



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