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By In Stuff

A little blog Q&A

Well, I kind of threw a lot into that last post about the Baseball 100 and Patreon — I see that there are some questions and thoughts. Thank you for those. A full explanation will be coming in a couple of weeks but since Brilliant Reader David posed a few direct questions, I thought I’d answer those now:

1. How frequently will we be receiving content?

The plan will be to run two Baseball 100 stories every week; I’m thinking Monday and Fridays but I’ll get the specifics nailed down later. I’m writing the essays now and have been for a little while so there should be no interruption (don’t you hate when people just STOP WRITING in the middle of a series?).

In addition to that, there will be the usual and sporadic array of bonus content, rabbit holes, Springsteen posts and I’m hoping a few other surprises. But the baseline will be those two Baseball 100 pieces each week.

And, I saw another question here about the format: The concept of the Baseball 100 will not change. That is to say, the hope here will be to write compelling and fun essays about every player in the Baseball 100. The specific player rankings themselves will not matter much to me, though I hope they spark some conversation. I think you will be surprised (and perhaps enraged) by the new ranking system.

2. Will there be one flat fee, or will there be different options? Will different pay options yield different amounts of content?

The pay details are being worked out but, yes, there will be different tiers of membership.

3. If the Poscast is going behind a paywall, will I still be able to receive episodes in my podcatching app, or will I have to listen online?

The PosCast will not go behind a paywall; it will be available on iTunes, Stitcher and your favorite podcast filling stations. The thought here is that there will be extra benefits for membership — a bonus PosCast per month, access to Q&As, a special chat room or things like that.

I didn’t mention this earlier but the plan is to have a second podcast, a pure interview podcast on people’s passions. That’s being worked out.

4. How much (if any) of your other content (MLB, The Athletic) will be behind this paywall? Will it all be unique? One thing I LOATHE about MLB.com is that you can’t search by author; if you just posted links to everything you write for them behind your paywall, that would be helpful.

None of my other stories will be behind this membership wall (The Athletic, of course, has its own subscription). Everything on the blog will be unique (probably too unique to run anywhere else). My understanding is that with Patreon, you can decide which stories go behind the wall and which ones are open to the public. I will continue to try — and I admit falling down on the job on this one — to offer public links to my stories at The Athletic and MLB.

5. Specifically regarding the Baseball 100 – are you planning on turning it into a book someday? Because, like many others have said, I’d personally love to have it that way – and would perhaps even prefer it.

You are right, I was intending at one time to turn this into a book. But for a number of reasons, I have shelved that idea. I think this is a better way to present it; one thing I would like to do at the end is put together a self-published book that can go to members, but that’s an idea for down the road.

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By In Stuff

Baseball 100 (?)

You may have noticed — probably not, but maybe — that I have taken down the old Baseball 100 page. There is a reason for this; you may find this to be good news or bad news or not news at all. But I’ve put a lot of thought into it and this is the way I want to go.

I’m starting the Baseball 100 all over.

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By In Stuff

Mickelson and Rule 1-2

 

Let’s start off by saying I really don’t CARE that Phil Mickelson chased down his golf ball as it rolled away from him and did his silly double-putt miniature golf move on it. I don’t think it was an insult to golf. I don’t think it has any bearing on his career legacy. I actually thought it was funny. I’m not some golf traditionalist so it didn’t matter to me on that level, but your mileage may vary. That’s fine too.

What fascinated me — what, brilliant readers probably know always fascinates me in such situations — is the rule. I love rules. I think about them all the time. (more…)

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By In Stuff

Poker and the Tooth Fairy

Several years ago, I had all my old blog posts backed up into some format or another. I don’t have any idea how this format works but I do know a workaround so that I can actually see those old posts. And at the same time, now many of those posts are gone from the Internet. This is no great loss for the world. But … I kind of want them up somewhere.

So I’m going to periodically begin posting some old posts and snippets of old posts, just for fun and just so they are up on the site.

This is from November 20, 2007 … when I was playing computer poker with a then six-year-old Elizabeth. Wow, I wasn’t a great parent:

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By In Stuff

Rabbit Hole: Klein, Ott and Larry Walker

Chuck Klein has one of those wonderful baseball stories that they used to make movies about, you know, back when you could make movies about people who didn’t wear capes. Klein grew up on a corn farm just outside of Indianapolis. He was a disinterested student and a good baseball player, a path which led him to a grueling job at the Chapman-Prico Steel Mill and a cherished spot on the local semi-pro baseball team.

He was playing one day when a Prohibition officer (and former truant officer) named Adolph Stahlman happened to see him play. Stahlman, best i can tell, has no history or experience as a baseball scout. But he was impressed and he good friends with the owner of the Evansville, Ind. baseball team. Stahlman passed along word, and Klein was signed making Chuck Klein the only Hall of Famer in baseball history to be scouted by a Prohibition officer.

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By In Stuff

Solo

Something strange has happened lately with us and Star Wars movies: We as a family seem to have fallen entirely out of step with the critics. This isn’t true of most movies. It isn’t true of superhero movies, for instance. The critics said we would love Wonder Woman and we loved Wonder Woman. They said we would love Black Panther and we loved Black Panther. They said we would not have any use for Batman vs. Superman, and, yep, we loathed it with every fiber of our being.

This is the general pattern in movies. We — and by “We” I’m talking about me, Margo and our daughters Elizabeth and Katie — don’t always agree with the critical consensus of movies. We like some movies more than the critics, like some less than the critics. But we are usually talking the same language.

We’re just not talking the same language when it comes to Star Wars movies.

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By In Stuff

Rabbit Hole: Centering the Pill

This is the first of posts I’m calling “The Rabbit Hole.” It’s pretty self-explanatory. When something catches my interest, I tend to go down the rabbit hole. I go way down it here as I look at the long history of debates about the liveliness of the baseball. 

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On Thursday, one of those famed Blue Ribbon Panels — this panel really was the bluest of blues, led by the most excellent professor of physics Alan Nathan — released a detailed report that analyzed just why home runs have been flying out of ballparks at increasing rates since the mid-way point of the 2015 season.

This has been a fascinating mystery. The facts of the case are fairly simple. In 2015 season — Baseball Prospectus has pinpointed July 17, 2015, the first day back after the All-Star Game, as the launch of the home run soirée — the home run revolution suddenly and irreversibly began. Thirty-three homers were hit that day, more than two per game. Thirty-three more were hit the next day. Batters kept hitting homers more or less at that pace the entire second half.

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By In Stuff

Taking Betts

Nick Cafardo had an interesting piece in the Boston Globe the other day about Mookie Betts. The theme of the story is that one of the first things that Alex Cora did after moving from coach in Houston to manager in Boston was try to make Betts more aggressive at the plate … like George Springer was last year.

To quote:

“Right after he got hired he called and he just wanted everyone to pay attention to detail,” Betts said. “He showed me the numbers and scouting reports that indicated to me that I should swing more.”

Is it that simple? Is the difference between 2017 Mookie Betts (when he hit .264/.344/.459) and Super Mookie of 2018  (leads league in runs, doubles, homers, total bases, batting average, slugging and OPS) simply a matter of him being more assertive and swinging the bat more often?

Well, sort of yes, sort of no, sort of yes but it’s a lot more complicated than that.

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By In Stuff

Modern Romonce

There’s a fundamental tension in spectator sports that goes a little something like this: The things a player or coach or team will do to win and the things that make the game fascinating and authentic and fun and are rarely the same. Much of the time they are at odds with each other.

We’ve seen this over and over and over in sports. The most obvious example of this involves performance-enhancing drugs. When players take PEDs, they obviously are not worried about their sport as a whole. They obviously don’t care how it will impact the fan experience or the sport’s integrity or any of that. Taking PEDs is a fundamentally selfish move which is, I think, the big reason why so many fans stay so angry about it.

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Adjustments and Didi

For his first 25 games of the 2018 season — a span that ended on April 27 — Didi Gregorius was hitting .368/.459/.828 and was basically making a case for immortality. My pal Brian Kenny, who had the audacity not to include Gregorius umong his Top 10 shortstops, was spending roughly 95% of his time trying to fight off a screeching mob of Twitter villagers.

It seemed a losing battle. Gregorius had come to the Yankees in 2015 as a no-hit, good-field shortstop whose sole job seemed to be to hold down the fort in the post Derek Jeter years until the Yankees could figure out who wuld really play shortstop for them. He hit a little bit better than expected, then a little bit better than that, then last year he hit .287/.318/.478 with 25 homers, which isn’t A-Rod or Jeter but is quite good.

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