Stick to baseball, 3/11/17.

I had one piece for Insiders this week, covering four players who look different in the early going this spring – Jason Heyward, Tyler Glasnow, Taijuan Walker, and Tim Anderson – although it’s not all positive news. I also held a Klawchat on Thursday.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon, or from other sites via the Harper-Collins page for the book. The book now has two positive reviews out, one from Kirkus Reviews and one from Publishers Weekly.

Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

And now, the links…


  1. Great links, as usual. Never stay in your lane and keep doing what you do. Looking forward to Opening Day and to picking up your book this spring. I assume it will be sold at Barnes & Noble?

    • Yep, should be in bookstores everywhere, including B&N. They definitely have it on their site.

  2. Keith, on plain packaging, it has certainly worked for cigarettes in Australia. Despite numerous lawsuits from the tobacco industry, including in international courts, Australia implemented a law that all cigarette brands must be sold in identical, drab olive packaging. The result has been a significant drop in smoking rates.

    • That’s amazing to me. Perhaps I think too highly of our own brains?

    • A Salty Scientist

      We of course have many different types of subconscious cognitive biases, which advertisers go to great lengths to exploit. So, while it is perhaps not surprising that “anti-advertising” would work, it is very interesting to actually have some quantitative data on the effects.

  3. The increasing footing of the anti-vaxxer movement among groups not ordinarily associated with anti-scientific political advocacy should have been a sign that some way of understanding the world, some prior common agreement, was falling away. Very little in the way of brain science study gives comfort going forward.

    • I had someone who said he was a fan of mine tell me that Jill Stein’s “pro-safe vaccine” stance wasn’t anti-vax, and then said her views were just like those of RFK Jr. and Robert Deniro, as if those two weren’t among the anti-vax movement’s most famous adherents.

  4. The election made it clear to me not to trust the brains of at least a quarter of the population.

  5. The articles you’ve posted on the science of gender identity over the last few months have been awesome. I was very surprised to see the line that half of 18-34 year-olds see gender as a spectrum. Hopefully that can work its way into the culture at large, which is still clearly segmented.

  6. Another cognitive bias advertisers exploit. Ecommerce sites that sell furniture and emphasise cost in their site ads / images have lower average sales prices than those that emphasize comfort. Read Cialdini’s Influence or Pre-suasion to learn more. He’s also done a lot of podcasts. The one with James Altucher is particularly good.

  7. Re: The future of Bitcoin and other currencies: during a visit to the ANA Money Museum in Colorado Springs several years ago, it was fascinating to observe, if commonsensical, that money throughout history has been changed out most often in times of national peril. Whether due to hyperinflation, foreign occupation, confederate rebellion, failing regimes, or the introduction of limited purpose substitutes, such as scrip issued to WWII G.I.’s, new money is about as appealing a development for most citizens as New Coke.

  8. President Obama has also called slaves “immigrants,” apparently many, many times.

    The media had a field day with Ben Carson this week–and rightfully so with his comments on the human brain. But did anyone react to Obama when he made the exact same immigrant comments? This type of double standard, whether fair or not, gives credence to the claim (in the minds of plenty of Trump and swing voters) that the media is rigged and/or biased.

    • The contexts are totally different. That’s why I don’t consider the Federalist a reliable source. They traffic in these false analogies all the time.

    • USA Today then?

      I agree that a lot of those excerpts in the Federalist article are not spot on, but one of them is.

    • I’m sorry, but words, tone, and context all matter here. Carson, for his part, said:

      “That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,’’ he said. “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”


      “It wasn’t always easy for new immigrants. Certainly it wasn’t easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily, and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves. There was discrimination and hardship and poverty. But, like you, they no doubt found inspiration in all those who had come before them. And they were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more.”

      Key differences:

      1. Obama’s speech was about many different groups of immigrants (Irish, Mexican, etc.) and if Af-Ams had gone unmentioned, it would have been a pretty glaring omission. Carson’s, not so much.

      2. Obama immediately qualifies that they were not immigrants, in the traditional sense. Carson does not.

      3. Obama says that they found inspiration in those who came before them, and perhaps eventually embraced some version of the American Dream. Carson suggests that they were trying to live out the American Dream while still on the slave ships.

    • It’s not that Carson referenced slaves as immigrants. Instead, it’s that he made it seem as though slaves came here with a dream of working hard when in actuality they were, of course, forced here.

      Obama’s quotes generally acknowledge that people whose ancestors came on a slave ship didn’t come voluntarily, and his statements are also about working together now even though we came here in a myriad of ways. Carson’s quotes don’t do this. Instead, they make it seem as though slaves came here to work hard and dream of a better life – “…other immigrants who came in the bottom of the slave ships, who worked even longer, even harder, for less, but they too had a dream.” That’s problematic since slaves’ dreams were snatched from them when they were forced into slavery. America wasn’t an opportunity for them.

  9. Michael H,

    Fallacy of the overwhelming exception.

    • Is that actually your response? (Thanks for introducing me to a fallacy I’ve never heard of though!)

      I think the Carson immigrant story is a legitimate criticism of the mainstream media. There is plenty to criticize with the Trump administration; the media should focus on the things that matter, or all they’re doing is playing into Trump’s hand.

  10. No Michael, it’s not actually my response. You’re imagining all of this. Let me see if I can help you out a bit.

    Claim X is made.
    Numerous exceptions to claim X are made.
    Therefore, claim X is true.

    But perhaps since you’re not familiar with this fallacy it simply does not exist. For whatever it’s worth, you’re trying to move the argument off somewhere else in your second paragraph. I doubt if you’re going to find many people who disagree that the media should focus on the things that matter. However, I suspect your idea of what those things are diverges significantly from mine.

    • I’m not even sure that fallacy applies or that you gave the correct definition. What is my claim X and when did I say it was true?

  11. I am not sure if you’re being disingenuous or what, but we can go ahead and play this one out….

    Your claim was that Obama had done the same thing as Carson quite a few times
    When KLaw pointed out that context matters, you said “I agree that a lot of those excerpts in the Federalist article are not spot on, but one of them is.”

    It was implicit by this comment that you felt your argument was still somehow valid. I am not sure how to make this any clearer.

    • Uh, I said that Obama has called slaves “immigrants.” That is true. We can disagree on the context of Obama’s and Carson’s statements , but my original claim (my claim X, I guess) was true from the start. From what I saw and read, the media did not provide a nuanced analysis like CB or Fincher. They only focused on equating slaves with immigrants.

      Stil not sure I engaged in a fallacy, let alone that one.

      It’s fun to throw out fallacies, but let’s at least make sure they’re right.

    • Michael:

      You’ve now moved the goalposts, which is a nice way of saying you just lied about your claim X. You did not say “that Obama has called slaves ‘immigrants.'” You said:

      But did anyone react to Obama when he made the exact same immigrant comments? This type of double standard, whether fair or not, gives credence to the claim (in the minds of plenty of Trump and swing voters) that the media is rigged and/or biased.

      Several of us have pointed out to you that your first claim, that Obama made “the exact same immigrant comments,” is false. He did not make the “exact same” comments. He used the word “immigrants” in entirely different contexts. Then you went on to claim that this represents a media double standard, based on the arrant nonsense of your so-called claim X and nothing further. Since part one has been dispensed with, we may dispense with part two as well, with prejudice.

    • When I said “exact same,” I meant calling slaves “immigrants.” That’s what the media focused on and it’s all you said in your blurb above. There was almost no discussion of context by the mainstream media (there probably wouldn’t have been any discussion on here if I hadn’t brought it up); they only said how ridiculous it is to call slaves immigrants. When one finds out that Obama did the same thing (again, call slaves immigrants), then yeah, it does seem like there is a double standard. My claim X was always that “Both Carson and Obama called slaves ‘immigrants.'” And my question was, why did the media react differently? I appreciated the responses of CB and Fincher–I may disagree with some things–without having fallacy accusations thrown in my face.

    • When I said “exact same,” I meant calling slaves “immigrants.”

      Context matters. Their comments were not the “exact same” thing, and that is the easiest explanation for why the media didn’t react the same way to both men.

    • Trumpers are really on a roll with “words don’t mean what words mean.”

    • Almost no one discussed context. Of course it matters. But my overall point was that the media might be doing more harm than good if it has a field day with Carson, without discussing context, when one can easily see that Obama also called slaves immigrants and the media ignored it.

      Also, not a “Trumper.” (I voted for Gary Johnson and pretty much dislike both parties equally.) That sort of comment irritates me. Political opinions are not black and white (or red and blue, I guess). A person can be Republican, and criticize Republicans and applaud Democrats. And vice versa. I, for one, would like to see more of that here and in the media. It would have been refreshing for someone to say, “Obama was dumb for calling slaves immigrants, but here’s why it’s slightly different.” Or “the media should have done a better job discussing context.”

      Keith can obviously post whatever he wants. But it would be cool to have a pro-Republican or anti-Democrat link every now and then. Maybe a good example would have been Betsy DeVos, who you (rightfully, I admit) criticized, standing up to Trump over transgender rights in schools. She didn’t win out, but it proves she might not be the bought, Christian zealot she’s portrayed as.

    • I see a lot of similarities between people saying Keith doesn’t post enough pro-Republican articles and fans of teams who had poor front offices and said Keith was biased against them. There isn’t a lot of good things coming from the Republicans these days, certainly at a national level. Just like Dave Stewart didn’t make too many good trades. Pointing that out isn’t bias, it’s a reflection of reality. If the Republicans had a fiscally conservative, socially moderate platform, there would be more good links for them.

    • DeVos “stood up” to Trump on transgender rights issues right up to the point where she had to choose between taking a principled stand and keeping her job. She chose to keep her job, and capitulated to Trump’s position. Not exactly a profile in courage. I’m not sure her actions would really merit a positive post, at least not if you care about LGBTQ issues.

      I think addoeh hits pretty close to home by pointing out there isn’t a lot positive to say about GOP/conservative positions. The Democrats don’t have a monopoly on productive ideas, but they increasingly seem to be the only major party willing to operate in reality.

  12. Michael H,

    If it isn’t pretty clear to you by now, you are dealing with liberal ideologues on here. Quit wasting your time

    • Your “assessment,” or whatever it is, is both facile and incorrect. Perhaps you could engage with the arguments being made, as opposed to just resorting to labels, in tiresome fashion.

    • Josh can’t engage with the arguments being made, and his response is to discourage others from doing the same. Perhaps we could find a safe space for him?

  13. Great-grandma Ruth?

    Wilbert Robinson, the then-52-year-old manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, agreed to catch a baseball from a low-flying airplane piloted by female aviatrix Ruth Law. The Dodgers recruited Law to help execute the ball drop, but Law substituted a baseball with a grapefruit.

  14. Regarding the attorneys representing the San Antonio cops, wonder how much of their slut shaming was ignorance on their part as opposed to their strategy to give their clients best defense possible (based on other similar trials). It’s unfortunate that it’s used at all in these circumstances, but I wonder how viable of a defense it is since, unfortunately, it seems to come up often in these types of trials.