WFNY is proud of our assortment of writers and are especially grateful to be blessed with its daily readership. As part of our year-end festivities, WFNY has put together an Author Spotlight series to allow the readers to get to know the writers a bit better by pulling back the curtain on their thoughts and pulling in some of their favorite pieces from the year.
Here’s a quick look back at Jacob’s 2015 year and maybe find something you like that you missed the first time around. We hope you had a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, will have a Happy New Year, and we hope you continue blessing us by reading the site. Thank you.
Jacob is just a kid from Akron who has been writing at WFNY since he was 18 years old. Way back in early 2009, the site’s founders invited Jacob — along with Denny Mayo and Brendan Porath — to be a part of the original weekend crew. Back then, Jacob would take weekends of his college days at the University of Dayton and man the ship for all WFNY content. The old weekend model eventually dissolved, but Jacob used to rotate weekends with the likes of Kirk Lammers, Ben Cox, Brendan Bowers, Ryan Jones, et al.
After nearly seven years at WFNY and several back-and-forth hiatuses, Jacob enjoys his old-timey status as a contributor who occasionally just pops in and writes whenever about whatever. Currently, he’s in his second year as a sports business MBA student at the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. He graduates in June and will be looking for a job with a pro sports team in business or sponsorship analytics. At the moment, he’s a card-carrying member of WFNY’s West Coast contingent, along with Corey Barnes (Olympia, Wash.) and Kyle Welch (San Diego).
Jacob also wrote throughout 2015 at Nylon Calculus, Hardwood Paroxysm, Sports Analytics Blog (RIP), the Warsaw Center SportsBlog, the Oregon MBA blog, and his Tumblr page. Just as he loves randomly showing up on the WFNY website and in the Slack channels, he also enjoys returning home to Northeast Ohio and organizing blogger get-togethers. Jacob is a sports analytics enthusiast who is adamantly proud of his Akron roots, addicted to his iPhone, and feels constantly conflicted about his love of traveling and hatred of packing.
Stats & Info: LeBron James assist infographics — When LeBron James passed Scottie Pippen for the most all-time assists by a frontcourt player, I experimented with Tableau data visualization software for the first time on Feb. 25. I did a ton of WFNY Stats & Info headlines on J.R. Smith three-pointers throughout the year, but this was my most fun for sure.
The below image shows the 10 individuals who have received 150-plus assists from James. Pacing the group, by quite a distance, is retired Cavalier center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Miami’s Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are next, followed by Drew Gooden and Anderson Varejao. The remainder of the top 10 are assorted shooters that James has played with throughout his career.
Akron: A history lesson— God, I loved writing this piece so much. I was so fired about about all of the Akron talk on TV during the NBA Finals that I felt there had to be an Akron explainer out there on the Interwebs. So I wrote it on June 3.
So amid all of this back-and-forth and he-said-she-said, I wanted to share a perspective on what Akron is really like, besides just the hospitals. Because, you know, Akron is a real city, and real cities do indeed have multiple hospitals. They also have all sorts of other things going on.
Indians: Sluggers, arbitrary milestones, and Carlos Santana — I’ve written a ton of offseason headlines on potential Cleveland Indians acquisitions. But I think my favorite Tribe article of the year was my passionate defense of Carlos Santana back on July 21. He gets unfairly criticized far too often.
In 2009, he broke the Akron Aeros franchise record with 90 walks. He walked 82 more times in only 103 combined games in 2010 because of his knee injury. He drew 97 free passes in 2011, 91 in 2012, 93 in 2013 and a non-Jim Thome franchise-record 113 in 2014. Among the 1,858 players with 3,000 career MLB plate appearances, his 15.7 percent walk rate is 30th-best all time. It’s an incredibly elite skill.
NBA Salary Cap: Cavaliers spending ways aren’t over yet — One of my favorite topics of 2015 was the Cavs salary cap situation. Back on Oct. 23, I wrote about the post-Tristan Thompson free agency landscape and how the team isn’t quite done just yet in breaking NBA records for roster expenditures. It could get messy next offseason again.
Yet, decisions still do loom for the team’s long-term future, even after this busy offseason for owner Dan Gilbert, general manager David Griffin, and company. In fact, based on some preliminary calculations based on future salary cap projections, the Cavs actually are likely to have a larger total salary and tax bill next year than this season. That’s somewhat counter-intuitive, as many expected it to peak this year with the highest tax bill before the upcoming salary cap hikes.
Fandom: A note from Dave Roberts’ biggest fan — Finally, on Nov. 24, I wrote this about Dave Roberts, the new Los Angeles Dodgers. Dave was my favorite athlete in the world when I was growing up. My family and I traveled throughout the minors to see him. I collected tons of signed memorabilia over the years. And the concept of fandom remains really important to me as I look to a career in sports business.
The ball read: “To Jacob, good luck at Oregon!!” Stehlik’s accompanying note read: “Jacob — Thought you might need something to look at when you need a little motivation. Don’t ever silence the voice of your inner fan. Best of luck!” It was a sweet, sweet gesture. Roberts’ cooperation in the surprise was so typical of all of the nice things everyone has ever said about him.
I’m often the analytical guy here at WFNY. But I hope some of the above posts showed that I don’t just write about the pure numbers and statistics. I try to show some of the business sense of things, some of the fun narrative components of the statistics, and occasionally, about my own perspective of the sports fandom life.
I’ll share more about this soon. But for me, 2015 was a huge adventure. It was my full 12-month year as an MBA student. I studied in Eugene, interned in Charlotte, and came back home to Akron. I traveled to Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Lake Tahoe, New Orleans, China/Singapore, Denver, and Costa Rica. I started the MBA in September 2014. I’ll graduate in June 2016. So next year will be the re-adjustment to adulthood and getting that first real job post-MBA.
And all along the way, I’m thankful for my family here at WFNY and the readers over the many years. I’ve written well over 1,300 posts here at this site. I hope they’ve provided some fun and entertainment for you all. And I’m looking forward to continuing it into the future even as things change a bunch for more sometime soon.