I have a confession to make - I am a statistics junkie. Not the kind they tried to teach me my sophomore year at USF, of which I regret is the only college course I ever dropped mid-year. No, my passion is sports in general, and baseball in particular. For me, there is nothing more beautiful than a baseball box score sitting on an April 4 printed agate broadsheet.
Baseball players may crave the smell of linseed oil on a tanned leather first basemen's mitt or pine tar oozing off the handle of an ash wood bat. For us fantasy baseball league geeks, nothing could be finer than that opening day box score packed with the 8-point type statistics reflecting player batting averages, home runs, earned run averages and strikeouts.
Those of us caught in this addiction of Fantasy Baseball call it Rotisserie, nicknamed roto, which is the most common scoring system in our make-believe world of competition. There is a storied tradition in the development of fantasy baseball, which according to legend was invented 30 years ago by a sports editor from New York in Manhattan's La Rotisserie Francaise restaurant following a long night of storytelling and drinking with a group of his newspaper and magazine buddies.
This Fantasy Baseball fever spread south quickly to Atlanta, where in 1981 I joined my first league, which sprouted from a band of Atlanta Journal Constitution sportswriters at Manual's Tavern. We've been told that we were among the first two or three leagues to form in the United States - a badge of honor we still hold dear to this day.
The premise of Fantasy Baseball is pretty simple. The game's "owners" in a Rotisserie league would draft teams from the list of active Major League Baseball players and would follow their statistics "during the ongoing season" to compile their scores. In other words, rather than using statistics for seasons whose outcomes were already known, the owners would have to make similar predictions about players' playing time, health and expected performance that real baseball managers must make. And of course, there was a season's-end financial reward. We were sportswriters after all!
But there was one giant pitfall to that sheer nirvana of make-believe baseball. We, as make-believe managers, were at the mercy of the Sunday newspapers or USA Today. Heck, most of us Roto old-timers credit Rotisserie league baseball with much of the early success of USA Today, since the paper provided much more detailed box scores than most competitors and eventually even created a special publication, Baseball Weekly, that almost exclusively contained statistics and box scores.
Still, managing our organizations without the proper metrics was extremely difficult. When you only see results every 10 to 12 days, with those being more than a week old, assessing value of players and plotting a roadmap for success for the enterprise is precarious at best.
Management professionals are no different than Roto baseball managers. They are interested in maximizing return on investment and minimizing losses of assets and information. Metrics are used as an internal control mechanism to identify areas for management attention and requirements for additional resources. And if these metrics are developed and applied appropriately, they can demonstrate to their C-Level managers what their department's actual return on investment is. Proper metrics will substantially enhance the decision-making process concerning security expenditures and future technology and personnel expansion.
Using statistical metrics to ensure your organization's future is something that both security executives and Fantasy Baseball managers can relate to in a year-end box score.
If you have any questions or comments for Steve Lasky regarding this or any other security industry-related issue, please e-mail him at