Derm bats 1,000 in baseball coverage

May 6, 2009

St. Charles, Ill. - Dermatologist Rany Jazayerli, M.D., says he knew he’d hit the big time when he stumbled upon his own profile on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

St. Charles, Ill.

- Dermatologist Rany Jazayerli, M.D., says he knew he’d hit the big time when he stumbled upon his own profile on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Rany Jazayerli, M.D., broadcasts his new radio show about the Kansas City Royals, “Rany on the Radio,” from his office. The show airs on Sports Radio 810 WHB, Kansas City.Photo: Rany Jazayerli, M.D.

The profile highlights his hobby: writing about baseball.

Dr. Jazayerli has carved his niche in baseball coverage, starting years ago as an unpaid contributor to an Internet bulletin board and earning his way up to being a respected author and commentator in online and print media, and, most recently, on the radio.

Though he admits to having had little success in actually playing the sport, the die-hard Kansas City Royals fan has had a love for baseball since he was a toddler.

"I was 6 years old when I made my dad buy me an edition of the Baseball Encyclopedia, which was a 2,500-page book with statistics of every player in the history of baseball, to that point. It was the kind of book that put an accountant to sleep, but it was my first prized possession," he says.

While studying for his undergraduate degree, Dr. Jazayerli says, he would spend hours each day reading and contributing to one of the early graphic-less Internet bulletin boards, called Rec.Sport.Baseball. The online community was a haven for fans who, like Dr. Jazayerli, took baseball seriously.

"Suddenly, I was plugged into what thousands of other baseball fans from all walks of life around the country were thinking. Baseball is a great sport for generating arguments, because we have so many numbers to use as weapons in a debate," he says.

Dr. Jazayerli wowed fellow baseball aficionados with his knowledge. He not only has an uncanny ability to understand baseball stats, but also he remembers players, their teams and more.

"Could I name the statistics of every player? No. But there are 30 teams in baseball, and they have 25 players on the roster at any given time.

"Out of 750 players I could probably name almost every one. … There are about 3,000 players between the majors and minors, I could probably only tell you details about, oh, 1,500 of them," Dr. Jazayerli says.

His all-time favorite player, by the way, is former Royals third baseman and Hall of Famer George Brett, the only player in history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, 600 doubles, 100 triples, and 200 stolen bases. His lifetime batting average was .305.

Dr. Jazayerli says that one of the biggest shifts in baseball thinking that has occurred during his 15 years immersed in the sport has been in the importance placed on batting averages and on-base percentages. While batting averages have been overrated, on-base percentages (specifically, the ability to walk) have been extremely underrated, he says.

"It used to be that a player with a good batting average but (who) never took a walk was considered a very good player. Nowadays, I think teams are much more inclined to prefer the player who might not have quite as high a batting average but also walks and gets on base that way," he says.

One of the people to notice Dr. Jazayerli’s baseball savvy was Gary Huckabay, who the dermatologist says was one of the most respected people on the Internet bulletin board and is a brilliant writer.

In 1995, Huckabay asked Dr. Jazayerli to join him in writing a preseason annual baseball book. The first printing of the book, titled "Baseball Prospectus," totaled about 150 copies. Today, the "Baseball Prospectus," in its 14th edition and published by the Penguin Group, is on the New York Times’ Best Sellers list.

Though he did not contribute to the last edition (but did contribute to previous editions), Dr. Jazayerli writes regularly for www.baseballprospectus.com.

His baseball coverage also garnered attention from ESPN, and he has for years written about baseball for the sports media icon.

In addition to a full-time dermatology practice, Dr. Jazayerli writes a blog at ranyontheroyals.com. Most recently, he signed a contract to host a radio show about his beloved Kansas City Royals. The weekly “Rany on the Radio” show airs on Sports Radio 810 WHB, Kansas City.

"Basically, ‘Rany on the Radio’ is an outgrowth of my own ‘Rany on the Royals’ Web site (www.ranyontheroyals.com). Each show is an hour devoted to talking about the Kansas City Royals with my co-host in the [WHB] studio.

"We plan to interview a different guest each week for part of the show, and end with a call-in segment where listeners can ask whatever questions they would like," Dr. Jazayerli says.

The dermatologist has the professional equipment necessary to broadcast the shows from his St. Charles office.

Dr. Jazayerli, who calls his baseball writing and radio hosting a hobby, says his contribution to the sport has been a labor of love and a great source of satisfaction.

"Writing is more difficult than being a dermatologist. After years and years of training in dermatology you can rely on your years of experience … and come to a conclusion fairly quickly.

"But every time you sit down to write, it is like the first time," he says. "Writing is difficult, but it is also immensely rewarding when you have done something that you are proud of." DT