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The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

Author: Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
ISBN: 1627795650
Pages: 304
Year: 2016-05-03
The New York Times bestseller about what would happen if two statistics-minded outsiders were allowed to run a professional baseball team It’s the ultimate in fantasy baseball: You get to pick the roster, set the lineup, and decide on strategies -- with real players, in a real ballpark, in a real playoff race. That’s what baseball analysts Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when an independent minor-league team in California, the Sonoma Stompers, offered them the chance to run its baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. Their story in The Only Rule is it Has to Work is unlike any other baseball tale you've ever read. We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule for judging each innovation they try: it has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance. Will their knowledge of numbers help Lindbergh and Miller bring the Stompers a championship, or will they fall on their faces? Will the team have a competitive advantage or is the sport’s folk wisdom true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts, or are they on a fast track to oblivion? It’s a wild ride, by turns provocative and absurd, as Lindbergh and Miller tell a story that will speak to numbers geeks and traditionalists alike. And they prove that you don’t need a bat or a glove to make a genuine contribution to the game.
The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

Author: Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1627795642
Pages: 368
Year: 2016-05-03
What would happen if two statistics-minded outsiders were allowed to run a professional baseball team? It’s the ultimate in fantasy baseball: You get to pick the roster, set the lineup, and decide on strategies -- with real players, in a real ballpark, in a real playoff race. That’s what baseball analysts Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when an independent minor-league team in California, the Sonoma Stompers, offered them the chance to run its baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. Their story in The Only Rule is it Has to Work is unlike any other baseball tale you've ever read. We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule for judging each innovation they try: it has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance. Will their knowledge of numbers help Lindbergh and Miller bring the Stompers a championship, or will they fall on their faces? Will the team have a competitive advantage or is the sport’s folk wisdom true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts, or are they on a fast track to oblivion? It’s a wild ride, by turns provocative and absurd, as Lindbergh and Miller tell a story that will speak to numbers geeks and traditionalists alike. And they prove that you don’t need a bat or a glove to make a genuine contribution to the game.
The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

Author: Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN: 1250130905
Pages: 384
Year: 2017-05-30
What would happen if two statistics-minded outsiders were allowed to run a professional baseball team? It’s the ultimate in fantasy baseball: You get to pick the roster, set the lineup, and decide on strategies -- with real players, in a real ballpark, in a real playoff race. That’s what baseball analysts Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when an independent minor-league team in California, the Sonoma Stompers, offered them the chance to run its baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. Their story in The Only Rule is it Has to Work is unlike any other baseball tale you've ever read. We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule for judging each innovation they try: it has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance. Will their knowledge of numbers help Lindbergh and Miller bring the Stompers a championship, or will they fall on their faces? Will the team have a competitive advantage or is the sport’s folk wisdom true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts, or are they on a fast track to oblivion? It’s a wild ride, by turns provocative and absurd, as Lindbergh and Miller tell a story that will speak to numbers geeks and traditionalists alike. And they prove that you don’t need a bat or a glove to make a genuine contribution to the game.
Big Data Baseball

Big Data Baseball

Author: Travis Sawchik
Publisher: Flatiron Books
ISBN: 1250063515
Pages: 256
Year: 2015-05-19
New York Times Bestseller After twenty consecutive losing seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates, team morale was low, the club's payroll ranked near the bottom of the sport, game attendance was down, and the city was becoming increasingly disenchanted with its team. Pittsburghers joked their town was the city of champions...and the Pirates. Big Data Baseball is the story of how the 2013 Pirates, mired in the longest losing streak in North American pro sports history, adopted drastic big-data strategies to end the drought, make the playoffs, and turn around the franchise's fortunes. Award-winning journalist Travis Sawchik takes you behind the scenes to expertly weave together the stories of the key figures who changed the way the small-market Pirates played the game. For manager Clint Hurdle and the front office staff to save their jobs, they could not rely on a free agent spending spree, instead they had to improve the sum of their parts and find hidden value. They had to change. From Hurdle shedding his old-school ways to work closely with Neal Huntington, the forward-thinking data-driven GM and his team of talented analysts; to pitchers like A. J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole changing what and where they threw; to Russell Martin, the undervalued catcher whose expert use of the nearly-invisible skill of pitch framing helped the team's pitchers turn more balls into strikes; to Clint Barmes, a solid shortstop and one of the early adopters of the unconventional on-field shift which forced the entire infield to realign into positions they never stood in before. Under Hurdle's leadership, a culture of collaboration and creativity flourished as he successfully blended whiz kid analysts with graybeard coaches—a kind of symbiotic teamwork which was unique to the sport. Big Data Baseball is Moneyball on steroids. It is an entertaining and enlightening underdog story that uses the 2013 Pirates season as the perfect lens to examine the sport's burgeoning big-data movement. With the help of data-tracking systems like PitchF/X and TrackMan, the Pirates collected millions of data points on every pitch and ball in play to create a tome of color-coded reports that revealed groundbreaking insights for how to win more games without spending a dime. In the process, they discovered that most batters struggled to hit two-seam fastballs, that an aggressive defensive shift on the field could turn more batted balls into outs, and that a catcher's most valuable skill was hidden. All these data points which aren't immediately visible to players and spectators, are the bit of magic that led the Pirates to spin straw in to gold, finish the 2013 season in second place, end a twenty-year losing streak.
The Extra 2%

The Extra 2%

Author: Jonah Keri
Publisher: Espn Books
ISBN: 0345517652
Pages: 253
Year: 2011
A case study of effective business practices demonstrated by a champion sports organization traces the Tampa Bay Devil Rays takeover by two former Goldman Sachs partners and the subsequent rebranding and executive strategies that rendered the team a model franchise.
The Best Team Money Can Buy

The Best Team Money Can Buy

Author: Molly Knight
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1476776318
Pages: 336
Year: 2015-07-14
With a new Afterword covering the 2015 season. The bestselling, inside-the-clubhouse story of two tumultuous years when the Los Angeles Dodgers were re-made from top to bottom, becoming the most talked-about and most colorful team in baseball. “It’s as if Molly Knight ushers you behind the closed clubhouse doors.” (Buster Olney, ESPN) In 2012 the Los Angeles Dodgers were bought out of bankruptcy in the most expensive sale in sports history. Los Angeles icon Magic Johnson and his partners hoped to put together a team worthy of Hollywood: consistently entertaining. By most accounts they have succeeded, if not always in the way they might have imagined. In The Best Team Money Can Buy, Molly Knight tells the story of the Dodgers’ 2013 and 2014 seasons with detailed, previously unreported revelations. She shares a behind-the-scenes account of the astonishing sale of the Dodgers, as well as what the Dodgers actually knew in advance about rookie phenom and Cuban defector Yasiel Puig. We learn how close manager Don Mattingly was to losing his job during the 2013 season—and how the team turned around the season in the most remarkable fifty-game stretch of any team since World War II. Knight also provides a rare glimpse into the in-fighting and mistrust that derailed the team in 2014 and paints an intimate portrait of star pitcher Clayton Kershaw, including details about the record contract offer he turned down before accepting the richest contract any pitcher ever signed. Exciting, surprising, and filled with juicy details, “a must-read for fans of the Dodgers and all Los Angeles sports teams….Knight’s undercover work is like none other” (Library Journal). The Best Team Money Can Buy is filled with “fascinating perspectives” (Los Angeles Times) and “interesting anecdotes about some of baseball’s most compelling figures” (The Sacramento Bee).
The Arm

The Arm

Author: Jeff Passan
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 006240038X
Pages: 376
Year: 2016-04-05
Yahoo’s lead baseball columnist offers an in-depth look at the most valuable commodity in sports—the pitching arm—and how its vulnerability to injury is hurting players and the game, from Little League to the majors. Every year, Major League Baseball spends more than $1.5 billion on pitchers—five times more than the salary of every NFL quarterback combined. Pitchers are the game’s lifeblood. Their import is exceeded only by their fragility. One tiny band of tissue in the elbow, the ulnar collateral ligament, is snapping at unprecedented rates, leaving current big league players vulnerable and the coming generation of baseball-playing children dreading the three scariest words in the sport: Tommy John surgery. Jeff Passan traveled the world for three years to explore in-depth the past, present, and future of the arm, and how its evolution left baseball struggling to wrangle its Tommy John surgery epidemic. He examined what compelled the Chicago Cubs to spend $155 million on one arm. He snagged a rare interview with Sandy Koufax, whose career was cut short by injury at thirty, and visited Japan to understand how another baseball-mad country treats its prized arms. And he followed two major league pitchers, Daniel Hudson and Todd Coffey, throughout their returns from Tommy John surgery. He exposes how the baseball establishment long ignored the rise in arm injuries and reveals how misplaced incentives across the sport stifle potential changes. Injuries to the UCL start as early as Little League. Without a drastic cultural shift, baseball will continue to lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually to damaged pitchers, and another generation of children will suffer the same problems that vex current players. Informative and hard-hitting, The Arm is essential reading for everyone who loves the game, wants to keep their children healthy, or relishes a look into how a large, complex institution can fail so spectacularly.
Fantasyland

Fantasyland

Author: Sam Walker
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101190701
Pages: 368
Year: 2007-02-27
Every spring, millions of Americans prepare to take part in one of the oddest, most obsessive, and most engrossing rituals in the sports pantheon: Rotisserie baseball, a fantasy game where armchair fans match wits by building their own teams. In 2004, Sam Walker, a sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal, decided to explore this phenomenon by talking his way into Tout Wars, a league reserved for the nation’s top experts. The result is one of the most sheerly entertaining sports books in years and a matchless look into the heart and soul of our national pastime.
Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve

Author: Brian Kenny
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1501106368
Pages: 368
Year: 2016-07-05
“A delight for baseball lovers” (Kirkus Reviews) and “one of the most significant baseball books of the year” (Bob Costas) Ahead of the Curve uses stories from baseball’s present and past to examine why we sometimes choose ignorance over information, and how tradition can trump logic. Forget batting average. Kill the “Win.” Say goodbye to starting pitchers. And please, please stop bunting. MLB Network anchor and commentator Brian Kenny provides “an excellent, entertaining read for the all-around baseball fan” (Library Journal) and shows how baseball has been revolutionized—not destroyed—by analytical thinking. Most people who resist logical thought in baseball preach “tradition” and “respecting the game.” But many of baseball’s traditions go back to the nineteenth century, when the pitcher’s job was to provide the batter with a ball he could hit and fielders played without gloves. Instead of fearing change, Brian Kenny wants fans to think critically, reject outmoded groupthink, and embrace the changes that have come with the sabermetric era. In his entertaining and enlightening book, Kenny discusses why the pitching win-loss record, the Triple Crown, fielding errors, and so-called battling titles should be ignored. He also points out how fossilized sportswriters have been electing the wrong MVP’s and ignoring legitimate candidates for the Hall of Fame; why managers are hired based on their looks; and how the most important position in baseball may just be “Director of Decision Sciences.” “Prepare to have your brain and your assumptions challenged. Guided by data and a deep love of the game, Brian Kenny takes a cutting-edge look at where baseball is and where it is going” (Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated). Illustrated with unique anecdotes from those who have reshaped the game, Ahead of the Curve is “a great story about the game in the age of information and technology” (Billy Beane).
Smart Baseball

Smart Baseball

Author: Keith Law
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062490257
Pages: 304
Year: 2017-04-25
Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law’s iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport. For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players’ and teams’ potential and success. But in the past fifteen years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement—sabermetrics—has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the "old" way—a combination of outdated numbers and "gut" instinct—is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run by people, not by numbers.? In this informative and provocative book, teh renowned ESPN analyst and senior baseball writer demolishes a century’s worth of accepted wisdom, making the definitive case against the long-established view. Armed with concrete examples from different eras of baseball history, logic, a little math, and lively commentary, he shows how the allegiance to these numbers—dating back to the beginning of the professional game—is firmly rooted not in accuracy or success, but in baseball’s irrational adherence to tradition. While Law gores sacred cows, from clutch performers to RBIs to the infamous save rule, he also demystifies sabermetrics, explaining what these "new" numbers really are and why they’re vital. He also considers the game’s future, examining how teams are using Data—from PhDs to sophisticated statistical databases—to build future rosters; changes that will transform baseball and all of professional sports.
Up, Up, & Away

Up, Up, & Away

Author: Jonah Keri
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307361365
Pages: 432
Year: 2015-03-03
The definitive history of the Montreal Expos by the definitive Expos fan, the New York Times bestselling sportswriter and Grantland columnist Jonah Keri.
Moneyball (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Movie Tie-in Editions)

Moneyball (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Movie Tie-in Editions)

Author: Michael Lewis
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393338398
Pages: 317
Year: 2011-08-22
Explains how Billy Beene, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, is using a new kind of thinking to build a successful and winning baseball team without spending enormous sums of money.
Where Nobody Knows Your Name

Where Nobody Knows Your Name

Author: John Feinstein
Publisher: Anchor Books
ISBN: 0307949583
Pages: 384
Year: 2015-03-17
A New York Times best-selling sportswriter takes readers deep within the secretive inner-workings of the minor leagues through the stories of eight men who are living on the cusp of the dream—some of who have tasted major league success and some of who have toiled for long careers. 100,000 first printing.
Wild and Outside

Wild and Outside

Author: Stefan Fatsis
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 0802719511
Pages: 288
Year: 2009-05-28
At a time of despair about our national pastime, the Northern League of Professional Baseball is a beacon of hope - an independent league, unaffiliated with the majors, where the games are for the fans and not between the owners and players. In his memorable debut book, Stefan Fatsis takes you inside the Northern League, and in the process discovers how very much baseball still means to America. Commentator Peter Gammons calls the Northern League "the past and future of grassroots baseball in America." Revived in 1993 by a group of minor league executives fed up with the politics of their sport, it has restored baseball to six communities in the upper Midwest and Canada, which have embraced their teams with a fervor any major league team would envy. More than that, the league has breathed new life into a game that, at the major league level, has lost its way and abandoned its fans. The Northern League's startling success has inspired a movement that could, in time, change the face of baseball, as other independent leagues are forming rapidly in its wake. Wild and Outside tells the Northern League's story, from the events that created it through its tumultuous and triumphant second season. Fatsis writes with the authority of a trusted insider, having closely followed the league since its inception. The result is a book as rich in insights into baseball's problems as it is full of indelible portraits of the people who make the Northern League special; a book that blends the texture and history of grassroots baseball with the many dramas of the league's 1994 season.
The Mental Game of Baseball

The Mental Game of Baseball

Author: H. A. Dorfman, Karl Kuehl
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1630761834
Pages: 360
Year: 2017-03-01
In this book, authors H.A. Dorfman and Karl Kuehl present their practical and proven strategy for developing the mental skills needed to achieve peak performance at every level of the game.The theory and applications are illustrated by anecdotes and insights from major and minor league players, who at some point discovered the importance of mastering the inner game in order to play baseball as it should be played. Intended for players, managers, coaches, agents, and administrators as well as fans who want a more in-depth look at the makeup of the complete baseball player.