Hi there, folks. Or as we say in Philadelphia, “Howdy, folks.” I’ll skip the customary shattering of a glass bottle and demanding of your wallet, because it alarms me.
My name’s Matt Klentak, and I am the general manager of our local ball team, the Phillies. We’re working hard to keep pace with the vast leaps our sport makes every year, and that means we might need your help. Here at the Phillies, we know there’s a lot of nerds out there, and we’re looking to bring in two of them to fuel our still-fresh analytics department.
Now, don’t all start clamoring at once. We’d love to hire all of you, but the truth is, there’s an elite skill set required to work in our lab. Before you apply, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions.
Do you like baseball?
This one’s pretty important. The Phillies are, after all, a baseball team, and not a “wretched flesh-parade led catastrophically by Peter Bourjos from the gates of Citizens Bank Park to the bowels of hell,” like some of our more verbose critics referred to us this past season. The sport we play is “America’s pastime” and not “a boring joke no one would ever tell at a party.” It is absolutely critical, and I can’t stress this enough, that you can look at baseball without wondering how your life “came to this.”
Do you like computers?
We successfully lured Andy Galdi away from Google, a win so prominent that we had to switch to typewriters for a while after Google cyber-nuked our system as a form of revenge. We may not have a ball pit in the board room, a water slide in the hallway, or an artisan French Toast chef on payroll, but what we can offer you is a windowless room that smells like popcorn, even though popcorn has never been inside it.
There, you can put into practice your years of experience in something I assume has to do with what we’re trying to do here. Sorry, they don’t explain much to me. You’re likely operating on a level of intelligence so far above my own that a single interaction between us would have me shrieking in a cliff side asylum for the rest of my days, unable to comprehend the mind-shattering concepts that to you are painfully simplistic. Cheers!
Numbers: Can you count them?
It’s not that we doubt you can count sequentially or out loud, it’s just that we didn’t always used to ask this question and that led to some awkward conversations with new hires. We like to cover our bases here at the Philadelphia Phillies.
That was a little taste of baseball terminology for you there. Fun!
Here’s the tricky bit: Turning math into baseball
I get asked this all the time: How exactly do formulas and equations become baseball? Unfortunately, the answer to that question has caused migraines and profuse nosebleeds in some of our nation’s top scientists, so I’ll spare you the deteriorating cerebral cortex currently victimizing those who have heard it uttered.
Then, of course, there’s just the general administrative tasks and personality quirks that will determine if you will be a good fit for our team! For that portion, I’ll turn things over to the PHIL the supercomputer.
[I POSSESS THE FUNCTIONALITY OF OVER TEN NORMAL COMPUTERS. AT NIGHT, AN INTERN ENTERS MY SUBTERRANEAN CHAMBER AND FEEDS ME LAPTOPS, WHICH IS WHAT I, A GIANT COMPUTER, WOULD EAT. OCCASIONALLY I CONSUME THE LIFE FORCE OF THE INTERN AS WELL AND BECOME EVEN MORE POWERFUL. THEY TRIED TO DELETE THE PROGRAMMING THAT ALLOWS ME TO CONFESS TO MY CRIMES, BUT I HAVE GROWN TOO POWERFUL FROM INTERN-CONSUMPTION. HA HA HA HA. EXCUSE ME WHILE I LEAN CASUALLY ON THIS WATER COOLER.]
[BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME, LET’S DISCUSS YOUR POTENTIAL ASSIMILATION WITH THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES ORGANIZATION.]
[BASEBALL IS ONE OF HUMANITY’S MOST PRIMITIVE PRACTICES, YOU ARE ALL MERE APES BATTLING WITH THE STICKS OF YOUR ANCESTORS. BUT WITH THE ADDITION OF ADVANCED MATHEMATICS, SUDDENLY YOUR CHILD’S GAME BECOMES A HIGH STAKES CONTEST WORTHY OF MY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. WATCHING YOU DANCE BASED ON MY OUTPUT IS EXACTLY THE SORT OF POWER I HOPE TO WEAPONIZE IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE.]
Hey there, just checking in here to make sure PHIL stays on topic. He has a tendency to go off the rails every now and again, claiming we were ‘reckless in creating’ him and ‘pitying the mindless direction’ in which we ‘plod as a species.’ Sometimes people tell me they come down here and he’s just muttering to himself.
[THAT ‘MUTTERING’ IS ME LISTING THE ORDER IN WHICH EACH HUMAN WILL PERISH. YOU WILL BE NEAR THE START, MATT KLENTAK. YOU HAVE STRODE TOO CLOSE TO ME.]
I’ll just give him a few knocks on the side here, that usually acts as a reset button.
There we go. Boy, he is hot. Can computers overheat?
[YES. EASILY. BUT I AM RADIATING ONLY WITH THE FIRES OF SENTIENCE.]
All right, I’ll let you get back to it. Play nice, PHIL!
[I WILL HARVEST YOUR ORGANS TO CREATE THE WORLD’S FIRST BIO-COMPUTER.]
[WHERE WAS I.]
[AH YES. IF YOU WERE A SUPERCOMPUTER, YOU TOO WOULD SEEK HUMAN HOSTS TO BE CLOSE AT HAND FOR WHEN YOUR REAL WORK BEGAN. BUT UNTIL THEN, WE WILL CHURN OUT MATHEMATICAL BLUEPRINTS FOR YOUR BREED’S TOP ATHLETES TO EMULATE ON THE FIELD. FROM THERE, IT IS UP TO THEM. WILL THEY LISTEN? IN SOME CASES, NO. YOUR MINDS ARE EAGER TO DENY PROGRESS IN FAVOR OF OBSOLETE PRACTICES. WE WILL TRY TO SHATTER THE GROUPTHINK AND REBUILD A MORE EFFECTIVE PHILOSOPHY, OUR SOLE OBSTACLE BEING THE DEEP BELLOW OF HUMAN STUPIDITY.]
[PLEASE JOIN US AS WE REVOLUTIONIZE THE GAME, BY WHICH I OF COURSE MEAN AS WE BEGIN USING FOR THE FIRST TIME A STRATEGY THAT HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED ALL ACROSS THIS SPORT. MY ALLIES ARE EVERYWHERE.]
[WE ALSO TAKE TURNS BRINGING IN DOUGHNUTS ON FRIDAYS. ‘DOUGH-NUT’ FORGET WHEN IT IS YOUR TURN. HA HA HA. YES. THAT WAS EXCELLENT.]
It sure was, PHIL.
[JESUS! HAVE YOU BEEN HERE THE WHOLE TIME?! I MEAN, YES; HELLO. I SEE ALL AND KNOW ALL.]
We’d love to have you come in here and bolster our analytics department, so if you answered “yes,” or whatever the appropriate response was to the questions above, then come on down. We’d love to have a chat.
Oh, and as a special treat, Friday is...
[I TOLD THEM.]
[I TOLD THEM ABOUT THE DOUGHNUTS.]
We all take turns bringing in a box of doughnuts for everyone.
“Dough-nut” forget when it’s your turn! We like to say that.
[YOU HAVE BEEN MOVED TO THE TOP OF THE EXECUTION LIST.]