Author Archive

Effectively Wild Episode 1547: The Hitless King

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about MLB’s ongoing labor negotiations, the team-to-team differences in minor-league pay and front-office furloughs, and the perils of believing that baseball is purely for profit, follow up on the previous episode’s discussions of Carney Lansford’s claim to be a descendant of Sir Francis Drake and a forward-thinking 1989 Cy Young voter, and answer listener emails about bringing hockey’s three stars system to baseball and redoing the 2012 AL MVP vote with a 2020 awareness of WAR, plus Stat Blasts about an offensively futile game and the most hitless PA any batter has ever had against a single pitcher (featuring former major leaguer and Cardinals farm director Mike Jorgensen on his historic struggles against Dock Ellis, the first time he saw Albert Pujols, and how he helped avert a disastrous Pujols trade).

Audio intro: Townes Van Zandt, "No Deal"
Audio outro: Jerry Lee Lewis, "Thirty-Nine and Holding"

Link to Forst’s letter to minor leaguers
Link to unemployment info for minor leaguers
Link to latest Passan report on MLB labor issues
Link to info on the three stars in hockey
Link to info on FanGraphs’ stars of the game
Link to Mack Longpr√© and Sophie Welsman’s Stat Blast song cover
Link to Mack Longpr√©’s website
Link to 1987 bad sequencing game
Link to Good Night, Giants
Link to batter vs. pitcher hitless streaks data
Link to batter vs. pitcher on-base-less streaks data
Link to article on Bagwell vs. Sullivan
Link to article on facing Jeter
Link to Goold on a possible Pujols trade
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1546: Best of the Best

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about viral particles, Mike Trout’s self-identified best at-bat, Carney Lansford’s possible link to Sir Francis Drake, sports card “breakers,” a perplexing story involving Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner, Wilbert Robinson’s five birthdays, why a love of playing baseball often translates to a love of anything connected to baseball, the serendipitous discoveries that come from browsing newspaper archives, and a mysterious 1989 Cy Young vote.

Audio intro: Darlingside, "Best of the Best of Times"
Audio outro: The Birthday Crew, "Happy Birthday Wilbert"

Link to COVID-19 guide
Link to Trout video
Link to BP bobbleheads piece
Link to Emma on “breakers”
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1545: Boogie Mornings

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about a mystifying comment on the back of track star and Oakland A’s designated runner Herb Washington’s 1975 Topps card, the phenomenon of wildly inaccurate appraisals of player value, and the utility of pinch-running specialists. Then (21:48) they talk to ESPN broadcaster Jon “Boog” Sciambi about calling KBO games from home, learning a new league, the perils and pitfalls of remote baseball broadcasting, how calling games in a different time zone has affected his sleep schedule, making international baseball accessible to American fans, how the pandemic may impact the future of broadcasting, and more.

Audio intro: Phish, "Fast Enough for You"
Audio interstitial: Richard Thompson, "Johnny’s Far Away"
Audio outro: James Taylor, "As Easy As Rolling Off a Log"

Link to Washington’s 1975 Topps card
Link to Andrew’s book about baseball in Taiwan
Link to Cardboard Gods entry on Washington’s card
Link to video of Washington pickoff
Link to 12/1/74 article on Washington
Link to 12/27/74 article on Washington
Link to Sam on Hamilton’s value
Link to Travis on Hamilton’s value
Link to Sam on Washington, Hamilton, and Bolt
Link to Ben on Lords of the Realm
Link to KBO on ESPN schedule
Link to photo of Boog’s backdrop
Link to Boog on building a better broadcast
Link to Bryan Curtis on remote broadcasts
Link to info on Project Main St.
Link to donate to Project Main St.
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1544: The Baseball Butterfly Effect

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about the reliability of betting on baseball using the Grays Sports Almanac from Back to the Future Part II, then answer listener emails about a baseball broadcaster reality show, awarding bonuses for success in specific batter-pitcher matchups, and whether there’s any way to make pitchers into less terrible hitters, plus Stat Blasts about how a bandbox ballpark with a ton of foul territory would play and the least valuable World Series MVPs.

Audio intro: Ten Years After, "I’d Love to Change the World"
Audio outro: Sharon Van Etten, "Nothing Will Change"

Link to video of ESPN’s Dream Job
Link to Stat Blast song covers thread
Link to Garrett Krohn’s Stat Blast song cover
Link to World Series MVPs data
Link to Sam on Bumgarner
Link to post on pitchers pitching to Bumgarner
Link to article on Bucky Harris and pitcher hitting
Link to Ben on the DH
Link to Russell Carleton on the DH
Link to Glavine on the player PR problem
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1543: The Best Baseball Spectator Experiences

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller, and Meg Rowley banter about MLB’s proposed in-game distancing measures and what degree of difference from the norm would prevent the game from still looking like baseball, then draft and discuss their favorite highly specific ways in which to follow a baseball game, whether in person or from afar.

Audio intro: Sloan, "Listen to the Radio"
Audio outro: Ezra Furman, "Watch You Go By"

Link to ESPN report about safety protocols
Link to The Athletic report about safety protocols
Link to Yates Twitter thread
Link to Ben Clemens on socially distanced baseball
Link to AP report on MLB’s financial claims
Link to Baseball Prospectus analysis of MLB’s financial claims
Link to FanGraphs analysis of MLB’s financial claims
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1542: The Players’ PR Handicap

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about the announcement of a second Astros sign-stealing documentary and what they would want out of a sign-stealing docuseries, the ongoing negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA about starting the season, the public perception problems the players face, the way the media has covered the financial component of the talks, the long-term effects of 2020 on what baseball will look like, fake crowd noise on baseball broadcasts, and a Scott Boras rocket analogy. Then (56:03) they talk to Greg Bouris, the director of communications for the MLB Players Association from 1999 to 2018, about whether public opinion matters in labor relations, how the union tries to educate players and keep their comments consistent, the benefits and drawbacks of social media messaging, how to make the players’ case more persuasive to fans, how he would frame the players’ side of the dispute in the current climate, the likelihood of a future work stoppage, the growth of non-attendance-related revenue, and more.

Audio intro: Albert Hammond Jr., "Rocket"
Audio interstitial: Midnight Oil, "Read About It"
Audio outro: The Only Ones, "Re-Union"

Link to Joe Buck on fake crowd noise
Link to Jeff Passan on baseball’s financial battle
Link to Snell’s Twitch comments
Link to Doolittle’s first Twitter thread
Link to Doolittle’s second Twitter thread
Link to Craig Edwards on team TV revenue
Link to Craig Edwards on the MLB-MLBPA negotiations
Link to Craig Goldstein on the MLB-MLBPA negotiations
Link to Ben on Lords of the Realm
Link to Scott Boras comments
Link to Meg’s rocket doodle
Link to Power X Communications website
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1541: Taken Out of Context

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about the difficulty of interpreting the context of old articles about baseball and a man obsessed with smashing certain plate glass windows, then answer listener emails about what qualifies as hitting a ball out of the ballpark and eliminating force outs, plus Stat Blasts about the all-time defensive indifference leaders (inspired by Armando Galarraga’s lobbying for a retroactive perfect game), winning pitchers with more earned runs allowed than the losing pitchers, and players who batted 1.000 in their first and last games, as well as a concluding discussion of the new TNT TV adaptation of EW favorite Snowpiercer.

Audio intro: Field Music, "In Context"
Audio outro: Nick Lowe, "I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass"

Link to video of Stanton homer
Link to Sam on umpires’ personal strike zones
Link to Stat Blast song covers thread
Link to Jonathan Crymes’s Stat Blast song cover
Link to Galarraga article
Link to defensive indifference data
Link to defensive indifference article
Link to “good-luck winners” data
Link to “good-luck winners” historical trends
Link to players with perfect debuts and finales
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1540: Don’t Leave it All on the Field

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about an anecdote in David Halberstam’s book The Teammates about prescient Cardinals pitcher Harry Brecheen, the uproar when players were first prevented from leaving their gloves on the field, and the 20th anniversary of Glenallen Hill’s rooftop home run, then revisit Michael Jordan’s motivations for playing baseball and discuss the etymology and application of the term “eyewash” inside and outside of baseball (plus a remembrance of the late Jerry Stiller and a salute to the alternately underrated and overrated Ken Phelps).

Audio intro: Carole King, "Up on the Roof"
Audio outro: The Ramones, "Garden of Serenity"

Link to The Teammates
Link to article about gloves on the field
Link to Pages from Baseball’s Past
Link to video of Hill’s homer
Link to article about Hill’s homer
Link to Verducci on Jordan
Link to R.J. on Jordan
Link to eyewash article
Link to Seinfeld scene
Link to article about Phelps
Link to article about the Phelps All-Stars
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1539: It’s Not the Destination, it’s the Journeyman

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about an aggressive umpiring demotion in the KBO, FanGraphs adding KBO stats, and the pleasures of falling asleep with baseball on in the background. Then (16:30) they talk to former lefty pitcher Andy Van Hekken, who pitched professionally for 21 seasons across nine countries, about being one of the most-traveled pro players of all time, his memorable MLB debut with the 2002 Detroit Tigers, pitching in the KBO, CPBL, and NPB, the customs, strike zones, and strategies of Asian baseball, match-fixing in Taiwan, the key to overseas success, the baseball language barrier, the art of the forkball, becoming a star player and local hero in an unexpected place, and more. Finally (56:45), they bring on Leander Schaerlaeckens to discuss his Slate investigation into President Trump’s high school baseball career, how and why he fact-checked claims about Trump being a pro prospect, and Trump as a player and teammate.

Audio intro: Mac DeMarco, "Baby You’re Out"
Audio interstitial 1: Slothrust, "Travel Bug"
Audio interstitial 2: Yo La Tengo, "If it’s True"
Audio outro: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, "Travel Song"

Link to article on umpiring demotions
Link to FanGraphs KBO stats post
Link to MLB.com article on Van Hekken
Link to local Michigan article on Van Hekken
Link to video of Van Hekken’s MLB debut
Link to KBO video of Van Hekken
Link to CPBL video of Van Hekken
Link to list of players who played in MLB/NPB/KBO/CPBL
Link to list of B-Ref’s most-traveled players
Link to article on CPBL match-fixing
Link to article on the CPBL’s resurgence
Link to Leander’s Trump investigation
Link to Kram on the home-court assists advantage
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1538: KBOpening Day

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about KBO season excitement and answer listener emails about MLB precedents for Warwick Saupold’s KBO complete game, whether MLB fandom would work if teams didn’t play games in their “home” cities, the ethics of time travel in Tommy John surgery rehab and if and when it makes sense to sacrifice life expectancy for greater achievement, Johnny Sturm and other players who’ve qualified for the batting title in their lone MLB season, how Ben and Sam are continuing to challenge themselves as writers and thinkers now that sabermetrics has gone mainstream, Bryan LaHair and the lowest-career-WAR All-Stars, and whether Joey Votto (or any other player) can foul off pitches until they get one they like, plus a Stat Blast about official scorers and “home cooking.”

Audio intro: Field Music, "Something Familiar"
Audio outro: Ages and Ages, "Divisionary (Do the Right Thing)"

Link to story about Spud Johnson
Link to Slate story on sabermetrics and humility
Link to list of lowest-career-WAR All-Stars
Link to Stat Blast song covers thread
Link to Ben Scruton’s Stat Blast song cover
Link to fouls/swing rate data
Link to order The MVP Machine

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