Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about Willians Astudillo’s award-winning heroics in the Venezuelan Winter League, then discuss the Phillies re-signing J.T. Realmuto, the Blue Jays signing Marcus Semien, the Nationals signing Brad Hand, the Padres signing Jurickson Profar, the Yankees trading for Jameson Taillon and assembling a skilled but injury-prone rotation, the Red Sox acquiring Adam Ottavino, Enrique Hernández, and Garrett Richards, the promising pennant races in the NL West and AL East, the latest labor battle and threat of a postponed start to the season (and a season without an NL DH), the news that no players were elected to the Hall of Fame, and the future of Hall of Fame voting and discourse. Lastly (1:03:53), they talk to Bradford William Davis of the New York Daily News about how Hank Aaron was eulogized, why Aaron’s historical significance went well beyond his stats, and how he should be remembered.
Audio intro: TUNS, "My Memories"
Audio interstitial: Sloan, "Suppose They Close the Door"
Audio outro: Waylon Jennings, "Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way"
Link to Young’s ABL pitching appearance
Link to Rob Arthur on less active free agency
Link to Dan Szymborski on the Realmuto signing
Link to Craig Edwards on Semien as a bargain
Link to Edwards on the Hand signing
Link to Ben Clemens on the Profar signing
Link to Dan on the Taillon trade
Link to Dan on the Ottavino trade
Link to Tony Wolfe on the Hernández signing
Link to Ken Rosenthal on league/union negotiations
Link to Alex Coffey on the Cactus League letter
Link to Jay Jaffe’s crowdsourced ballot
Link to Jay on the Hall of Fame voting results
Link to New York Times story on HoF voting
Link to Wall Street Journal story on HoF voting
Link to Andy McCullough’s HoF survey
Link to Marc Carig on HoF voting neuroscience
Link to Verducci voting video
Link to Bradford on Aaron
Link to Howard Bryant on Aaron
Link to Claire Smith on Aaron
Link to Lex Pryor on Aaron
Link to Stephanie Apstein on Aaron
Link to Demetrius Bell on Aaron
Link to 1994 interview with Aaron
Link to another 1994 interview with Aaron
Link to the AJC on Aaron’s activism
Link to Henry Grabar on Aaron’s secretary
Link to Aaron’s memoir
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Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley reflect on the on-field feats, statistical records, and larger legacy of baseball icon Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron, who died on Friday at age 86. Then (25:47) they talk to Joe Lowry of Prospects Live about the ongoing boom in baseball cards, touching on why 2020 fueled a surge in sports-card collecting, how baseball cards have changed since the ’80s and ’90s, the finer points of breaking, box wars, and prospect cards, the demographics of current card collectors, digital cards, how to get back into baseball cards after a hiatus from the hobby, and more.
Audio intro: The Baseball Project, "They Don’t Know Henry"
Audio interstitial: Chuck D, "It’s So Hard to See My Baseball Cards Move On"
Audio outro: Gene Clark, "Home Run King"
Link to New York Times Aaron obit
Link to Washington Post Aaron obit
Link to Howard Bryant’s Aaron obit
Link to Claire Smith on Aaron
Link to Joe Posnanski on Aaron
Link to Michael Baumann on Aaron
Link to Zach Kram on Aaron’s stats
Link to Neil Paine on Aaron’s stats
Link to Posnanski’s Baseball 100 entry on Aaron
Link to Dayn Perry on Aaron
Link to Matt Trueblood on Aaron’s mid-career shift
Link to Jay Jaffe on Aaron’s home-run rate
Link to Aaron’s neutralized stats
Link to story about Aaron’s philanthropy
Link to Craig Wright on Aaron as a second baseman
Link to Wright on the last Negro Leaguer to make MLB
Link to story on record Mantle card sale
Link to Emma Baccellieri on the baseball-card boom
Link to Andy McCullough on Phil Hughes
Link to Joe on card collecting in 2020
Link to Joe on prospect cards
Link to Joe on Jasson Dominguez
Link to Joe on card breaking
Link to Joe on box wars
Link to Slate on digital baseball cards
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about Alex Rodriguez’s ubiquity on non-baseball broadcasts and then discuss George Springer signing a franchise-record contract with the Blue Jays, Michael Brantley re-signing with the Astros, and José Quintana signing with the Angels, touching on how the Jays compare to their AL East rivals and what the team may do next, Springer’s track record and how he’ll age, Toronto’s run at Brantley, why Springer has escaped some of his former team’s sign-stealing stigma, how the Astros stack up post-Springer, the Cubs’ soft-tossing, poorly projected rotation, the NL Central’s inactivity, and when it’s appropriate for fans to take breaks from or forsake their teams. Then they answer a listener email about working in baseball and reevaluating a dream job and conclude with a Stat Blast about the longest time elapsed between the same player’s World Series hits.
Audio intro: The Tragically Hip, "You’re Everywhere"
Audio outro: Lou Reed, "My Friend George"
Link to thread of A-Rod photos
Link to Dan Szymborski on the Springer signing
Link to Dan on playoff odds changes
Link to Jeff on Springer’s contact in 2017
Link to Jeff on the 2017 Astros’ new-look lineup
Link to sign-stealing data
Link to Ben on sign-stealing effectiveness
Link to Rob Arthur on sign-stealing effectiveness
Link to second BP study on sign-stealing effectiveness
Link to Bill Petti on sign-stealing effectiveness
Link to Tony Wolfe on the Quintana signing
Link to Russell Carleton on starting-pitcher handedness
Link to R.J. Anderson on MLB brain drain
Link to Ben on going from a front office to the media
Link to Adam Ott’s website
Link to Stat Blast spreadsheet
Link to Russell on postseason experience
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley discuss ESPN’s report about Mets GM Jared Porter’s harassment of a female reporter when Porter worked for the Cubs in 2016, Porter’s subsequent firing by the Mets, Mets president Sandy Alderson’s comments about Porter’s hiring, the limitations of assessing character, the obstacles media members who aren’t cis men encounter in male-dominated environments like baseball, how MLB can help prevent continued incidents such as this one, and more. Then (52:45) they banter about the Blue Jays preceding their George Springer splash by signing Tyler Chatwood and Kirby Yates, the Padres trading for Joe Musgrove, the potential for widespread six-man rotations in 2021, and the Nationals signing ex-Cubs Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber, plus a postscript about late-breaking news, including the death of Hall of Famer Don Sutton.
Audio intro: Golden Smog, "He’s a Dick"
Audio outro: Idles, "Never Fight a Man With a Perm"
Link to ESPN report about Porter
Link to Deesha Thosar on Porter
Link to Brittany Ghiroli on Porter
Link to Ken Rosenthal on Porter
Link to Ben Clemens on Musgrove
Link to Ben Clemens on six-man rotations
Link to Sportsnet on Chatwood
Link to Tony Wolfe on Chatwood
Link to Jake Mailhot on Yates
Link to Patrick Mooney on Lester
Link to largest career WAR differences
Link to 1975 article about baseball perms
Link to Jon Weisman on Sutton
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about the Blue Jays missing out on DJ LeMahieu and which remaining free agents might be bound for Toronto, follow up on their previous discussion about bagged milk and tax implications for free agency, marvel at LeMahieu’s unique invulnerability to the shift and his unlikely career trajectory, and examine his fit and future with the Yankees. Then they break down MLB’s hiring of Theo Epstein as a consultant regarding on-field matters (touching on Epstein’s potential as a savior of the sport, the obstacles he faces, what his future might hold, and more) and answer a listener email about attending games alone.
Audio intro: The Beatles, "Blue Jay Way"
Audio outro: Eliza, "Alone & Unafraid"
Link to Sportsnet on the Jays missing out again
Link to Happ on bagged milk
Link to bagged milk explainer
Link to Petriello on Lemahieu and shifts
Link to 2017 outfield shift against LeMahieu
Link to Jay Jaffe on LeMahieu re-signing
Link to Jay on LeMahieu and Yankee Stadium
Link to 2020 wOBA-xwOBA leaderboard
Link to Jeff on LeMahieu on 2018
Link to Jeff on LeMahieu and Jeter
Link to Theo Epstein press release
Link to Sahadev Sharma on Theo’s new job
Link to Joe Posnanski on Theo
Link to Theo on his hiring practices
Link to Tango on walks and the strike zone
Link to Craig Edwards on making baseball better
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about the Blue Jays missing out on several free-agent or trade targets, then answer listener emails about whether fans feel pride in their division/league, the history (and future) of fundamental changes to baseball technique, how many championships one would win if transported back to 2000 and appointed as GM of the Mariners, and how well pitchers would hit with metal bats, plus a Stat Blast about the public’s “pent-up demand” for post-pandemic baseball.
Audio intro: Roy Orbison, "Almost"
Audio outro: Gillian Welch, "Wayside/Back in Time"
Link to Blue Jays Nation on the Jays missing out
Link to Andrew Stoeten on the Jays missing out
Link to story about free agents and Toronto
Link to story about Toronto’s new turf
Link to Bobby Wallace SABR bio
Link to Jeff on the decline of the windup
Link to Jeff on good players who weren’t top prospects
Link to Jeff on stars who weren’t top prospects
Link to NPR on pent-up demand
Link to MLB attendance averages
Link to Hannah Keyser on lapsed fans
Link to longest pitcher home runs
Link to info on semantic satiation
Link to story on Miller Park Way
Link to story on milk bags
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about why the free-agent market has been both slow-moving and fairly lucrative for the players who’ve signed, the White Sox inking closer Liam Hendriks, whether the White Sox are the American League’s front runners, the latest report that the season will start on time, napping, MLB’s plans for fans in the stands, why MLB owners aren’t pursuing expansion, the league’s next broadcast contract with ESPN, a rumored extension for Fernando Tatis Jr., the legacy of the late Tommy Lasorda, and the recent direction of the podcast.
Audio intro: The Bangles, "Mixed Messages"
Audio outro: Dion, "(I Used to Be A) Brooklyn Dodger"
Link to Craig Edwards on the Hendriks signing
Link to report about the season starting
Link to report about health and safety standards
Link to expansion story
Link to Craig on MLB’s TV revenue
Link to Meg on Bradley
Link to Meg on Lind
Link to Outsports story on Lasorda
Link to Outsports on Lasorda and Minnie Miñoso
Link to New York Times story on Lasorda’s son
Link to Jay on Lasorda
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley break down the six-player blockbuster trade headlined by Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, touching on Cleveland’s decision to cut costs by dealing two fan favorites and the face of the franchise, how much better Lindor makes the Mets, and more, then banter about NPB ace Tomoyuki Sugano re-signing with the Yomiuri Giants and the latest revelations about the use of foreign substances by MLB pitchers, before bringing on philosophy professors (and Effectively Wild listeners) Justin Coates and Ben Lennertz (53:49) to tackle the ethics of Hall of Fame voting and examine how philosophy can guide voters, the merits of the character clause, how to handle cheaters, the problems of past precedent and differing off-field offenses, and how they would vote.
Audio intro: Margo Price, "Do Right By Me"
Audio interstitial: Paul McCartney and Wings, "Get on the Right Thing"
Audio outro: The Magnetic Fields, "’86 How I Failed Ethics"
Link to Ben on the Lindor deal
Link to Rob Mains on Lindor and Cleveland
Link to story on Steve Cohen
Link to Kyodo News story on Sugano
Link to Jim Allen on Sugano
Link to Harkins foreign substance story
Link to Ben on foreign substances
Link to EW interview about foreign substances
Link to Ken Rosenthal’s Hall of Fame ballot
Link to story about Schilling’s latest comments
Link to EW interview with Jay Jaffe
Link to Craig Calcaterra on the Hall of Fame
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about the re-naming of Miller Park and the good and bad of ballpark naming rights, the improbable beginning of Phil Niekro’s career and what it says about the downsizing of the minor leagues, an intriguing projection of the outcome of the Padres-Dodgers NL West race, Boog Sciambi calling Cubs games and the difference in affection for local and national broadcasters, whether the absence of in-game video in 2020 really hurt hitters, the extent to which the rules and rosters for the 2021 MLB season are still in flux, and a questionable baseball-related scene from the new season of the Netflix series Cobra Kai.
Audio intro: Jerry Garcia & David Grisman, "The Miller’s Will"
Audio outro: Dream Wife, "Sports!"
Link to story about American Family Field
Link to story about NHL division sponsors
Link to story about insurance company advertising
Link to Jay Jaffe on Niekro
Link to Craig Wright on Niekro’s origin story
Link to Pages from Baseball’s Past
Link to post about Niekro baseball cards
Link to Ben on the knuckleball’s future
Link to EW interview about the remaking of the minors
Link to Dan on the Padres’ projection
Link to story about Boog and the Cubs
Link to The Athletic story on in-game video
Link to Cobra Kai video
Link to Ben on the baseball scene in Elementary
Link to story about Whitecaps B-roll
Link to Anchorman 2 clip
Link to EW interview about Moneyball and Pitch
Link to EW interview about Twilight
Link to Jay on Foley’s
Link to story about Foley’s memorabilia
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about the official retirement of Phil Hughes, the joy of anticipating top prospects and watching them debut, the sobering reality of players their age starting to retire, a report that the 2021 season is likely to start on time, and a control group for their minor league free agent draft, then (31:40) talk to former Dodgers general manager Dan Evans about how he hired new Marlins GM Kim Ng when he worked for the White Sox and Dodgers, how she distinguished herself as an intern and gained greater responsibility, how to stand out in an MLB front office, why Ng had to wait so long for a GM job, how teams can diversify front offices and ensure that more minority candidates are promoted into positions of power, how the GM role has changed, and how Ng will run the Marlins.
Audio intro: The Who, "1921"
Audio interstitial: Mates of State, "A Control Group"
Audio outro: Courtney Barnett, "Kim’s Caravan"
Link to Hughes’ retirement announcement
Link to video of Hughes’ 2007 debut
Link to 2007 BP top prospect list
Link to Andy McCullough on Hughes’ second career
Link to study on top-prospect production
Link to Jon Tayler on Strasburg’s debut
Link to The Athletic report on the 2021 season
Link to minor league free agent draft results
Link to EW interview with Jen Wolf
Link to Dan’s Sports Management Worldwide page
Link to Dan on Kim Ng
Link to Lindsey Adler on Kim Ng
Link to Olivia Witherite on Kim Ng
Link to Marc Carig on Kim Ng
Link to Jen Mac Ramos on Kim Ng
Link to Jake Mailhot on Kim Ng
Link to Rachael McDaniel on Kim Ng