You know your luck is none to good when you get run over by an ambulance, followed by getting laid off from your job. And if that wasn’t bad enough, all this takes place when your family is on the other side of the continent.
All this happened two years ago to Joe Peta, a forty-some, expert stock trader on Wall Street. Wrenching pain, surgeries, nightmares, and what sounds like depression followed. Needing to know there was a light at the end of his long, dark tunnel, he turned to baseball. Combing his knowledge of trading and sabermetrics with his life long passion for the game, Peta set out to beat the odds makers in Las Vegas.
His book, “Trading Bases, A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball, (not necessarily in that order),” details his journey to recovery and a return to that need-it-everyday love of baseball he first felt as a child growing up following the Phillies.
"Trading Bases" weaves in and out between the author's analysis and betting during the 2011 season, and stories and reflections from his life. Although it may not be anything new to all of them, quantitative analysis fans will read with interest how he used sabermetrics and his own insights to gain an edge. They may even learn a thing or two about “cluster luck,” and sequential hitting. Non-sabermetric fans might appreciate what amounts to a primer on how Bill James revolutionized the game (In the mid 80's, James coined the term sabermetrics).
Although it is not a fair comparison, for me, Sam Walker’s “FantasyLand” still stands as the best "single season" book in this arena. But Peta can tell a story too. Phillies fans will enjoy the fact they are the author’s hometown and original team. Giants fans will enjoy the chapter where he talks about returning home to his family in San Francisco in May 2011. In the Epilogue, where he writes:
As the baseball playoffs (2012) started, I was surprised and thrilled to find out my oldest daughter, age 8, was interested in the post-season fate of the San Francisco Giants.
Nationals fans will like the fact Peta lived in Washington, D.C. as a young professional, and will hopefully appreciate his “It’s-Not-Love-Until-It-Hurts” philosophy, as experienced in the 2012 NLDS.
Orioles fans will love his sharp memories of going to Opening Day at Camden Yards in 1992, and will hopefully chuckle at a joke his Dad made when confronted with an Orioles fan drunk with too much team pride.
Manhattanites will nod at the author’s gushing over Pete’s Tavern and some Wall Street traders might wish they listened to his trading philosophies.
All in all, “Trading Bases” is a stand up triple, followed by a two-out single. If that tugs on your heart and stimulates your brain, you just made Joe’s team. Report on March 7, when his book hits the shelves.
Full disclosure, I received a complimentary copy of this book.