Archive for Effectively Wild

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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Effectively Wild Episode 1537: Our Hall of Fame Fives


Effectively Wild Episode 1536: Three Days at the Ballpark

EWFI
Facing the prospect of a season without fans in the stands, Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley console themselves and fight baseball withdrawal by revisiting classic accounts of going to games. The authors of three revered books based on single games—Arnold Hano, the author of A Day in the Bleachers (1955), Dan Okrent, the author of Nine Innings (1985), and Rob Neyer, the author of Power Ball (2018)—join the show for a conversation about the enduring appeal of the genre their books belong to, the challenge of writing a book that describes a single game, the different approaches they took, the evolution of baseball’s spectator experience, Arnold’s memories of going to games in the 1920s and 1930s and seeing legends like Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, and Carl Hubbell, baseball’s capacity to offer comfort, and more.

Audio intro: Dan Bern, "A Day at the Ballgame"
Audio outro: Dan Bern, "Love, War and a Baseball Game"

Link to A Day in the Bleachers
Link to Nine Innings
Link to Power Ball
Link to 1954 World Series Game 1 box score
Link to June 10, 1982 Brewers-Orioles box score
Link to September 8, 2017 A’s-Astros box score
Link to previous interview with Rob about Power Ball
Link to video of Mays catch
Link to speech about Arnold at his Shrine of the Eternals induction
Link to info on documentary about Arnold
Link to Hano! A Century in the Bleachers
Link to A Secret Love
Link to Ben and Travis Q&A
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1535: Leave Me Out, Coach

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller, and senior writer for The Athletic Andy McCullough banter about the people they would be (or have been) most nervous about interviewing and two new noteworthy articles, then discuss Andy’s and Rustin Dodd’s highly controversial ranking of the 30 greatest baseball songs of all time, the dispute about John Fogerty’s “Centerfield,” the best and worst baseball songs, what qualifies a song as a baseball song, why baseball music isn’t better, and more.

Audio intro: The Magnolia Electric Co., "31 Seasons in the Minor Leagues"
Audio outro: Matt the Electrician, "Baseball Song"

Link to Sam’s Mattingly article
Link to Pedro’s rooster reveal
Link to Andy’s and Rustin’s ranking
Link to Ben on baseball sheet music
Link to Sam on baseball rap
Link to Sam on baseball rap again
Link to EW music folder
Link to Ben and Travis Q&A
Link to order The MVP Machine

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Effectively Wild Episode 1534: The Stay-at-Home Run Derby

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about Johnny Vander Meer’s ear boils and the surprisingly ancient origins of the phrase, “A walk is as good as a hit,” then answer listener emails about why some players prove to be flashes in the pan, whether a home run derby would work under current conditions, whether the pandemic makes MLB expansion more or less likely, what one would learn from watching every game from an MLB season (and how one would do it), why some prospects skip Triple-A, and why we don’t talk more about the brief baseball career of Chris Saenz, plus a Stat Blast about the highest Championship Leverage Index.

Audio intro: Paul McCartney, "Boil Crisis"
Audio outro: Paul McCartney, "Boil Crisis"

Link to free Baseball Digest archive
Link to history of “A walk is as good as a hit”
Link to study on OBP vs. batting average
Link to Sam on the home run derby
Link to Joel Sherman on the Home Run Derby
Link to first episode of 1960 home run derby
Link to Stat Blast song covers thread
Link to Theodor Bierhoff’s Stat Blast song cover
Link to list of highest-CLI plays
Link to video of highest-CLI play
Link to article on Willie McCovey and Peanuts
Link to Peanuts strips on Willie McCovey
Link to Maury Brown on expansion
Link to Ben on minor league difficulty
Link to 2013 article on skipping Triple-A
Link to 2015 article on skipping Triple-A
Link to 2016 article on skipping Triple-A
Link to order The MVP Machine

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