Stick to baseball, 7/15/17.

For Insiders, I’ve got my midyear top 50 prospects update, a breakdown of the Jose Quintana trade, and a recap of Sunday’s MLB Futures Game, followed by a Klawchat Thursday afternoon where I focused on questions about the top 50.

MEL magazine’s Tim Grierson, whom you might know from his film reviews or his indispensable podcast with Will Leitch, interviewed me in a wide-ranging conversation that touched on Smart Baseball, pop culture, social media, and other non-baseball topics too.

Thanks to everyone who’s already bought Smart Baseball. I’ve got book signings coming up:

* Harrisburg, Midtown Scholar, July 15th (today!) at 3 pm
* Berkeley, Books Inc., July 19th, 7 pm
* Chicago, Standard Club, July 28th, 11:30 am – this is a ticketed luncheon event
* Chicago, Volumes, July 28th, 7:30 pm
* GenCon (Indianapolis), August 17th-20th

And now, the links…


  1. Love the AirBnB bit. That’s not a vector of culture I’d ever considered, but, looking back, it’s obvious. It reminded me of the Warren Ellis/Spider Jerusalem rant on monoculture (linked here as a video with some blue language):

  2. Damn good set of links.

  3. Ugh. More and more (and I definitely say this after reading the links re: John Bush and the Arkansas legislation) I think I may give up on whatever is left of the US and just go elsewhere.

    I hear Mars is lovely this time of year…

  4. The assault on solar is sadly unsurprising. With study after study coming out that climate change is happening faster and worse than previously thought, I fear societal collapse and extinction is nigh.

  5. In your Grierson interview, you talked about how the baseball industry, and the Winter Meetings in particular, was very different from your previous jobs because most everyone else was an ex-player and not an Ivy Leaguer. But now with a lot more people with an Ivy League-like background, is it becoming more like the jobs you worked at before the Jays?

    • I get that sense, yes. I would certainly fit in culturally more than I did 12-15 years ago. I don’t know if that’s really a good thing.

  6. It does seem that there are more and more shows that ‘Get Better after Six’, Breaking Bad and The Americans came to mind even before reading Sepinwall’s piece. The Americans in particular took awhile to get going but improved every season, IMO. It leveled off this current season but is still one of the best shows on tv.

  7. Not sure how realistic it is for most people to “know their farmer”.

    • Mike, two questions: Why? And, where do you live?

    • To an extent, that may be true, but I think most people in the US can “know their farmer” to one degree or another. Examples of this are farmer’s markets, community supported agriculture(CSA) accounts, purchasing from local businesses. I’m in Chicago, and very fortunate, as I can buy most things and “know the farmer” but even when you get to more rural areas, you can often find someone selling asparagus/berries/dairy off the side of the road.

      If you are in a food desert, then of course you can’t “know your farmer” but you can barely purchase food that isn’t processed, so that is a different story.

    • I think Mike is absolutely right. “Know[ing] your farmer” is something you can do if you live in a farming community (increasingly a rare phenomenon) or are wealthy enough to participate in a CSA. Knowing your SOURCE of food, on the other hand, is more realistic, which I suspect is why Keith included that part. Even those of us lucky enough to shop regularly at a farmer’s market, however, don’t truly know what techniques or methods the farmers are using; we have to trust what they tell us.

    • And does the farmer get a say in all this knowing?

  8. I wonder how much of the decline of people of color in front office jobs can be traced to the decline in people of color playing baseball in general, especially given that many front office people are former players.

    None of the current group of MLB superstars (Trout, Harper, Kershaw, Sale, Posey, Bryant, Seager, Correa, Judge), are people of color (unless you count Andrew McCutchen and Mookie Betts), and given the presence of year-round travel teams and specialized coaching in youth baseball, the game has become largely economically inaccessible to most people of color.

    • Um, “people of color” includes Latinos, right? So, Correa, not to mention Manny Machado, Jose Altuve, Gio Gonzalez, and Anthony Rendon, among others.

      Mind you, I think you basically have the right of it, though I think the issue with front office diversity is first that to get your foot in the door you have to be able to work for peanuts for several years, and THEN that fewer people of color are playing the game. I mean, it used to be the case that most front office types were former players, but is that really true any more? Theo Epstein, Farhan Zaidi, A. J. Preller, Andrew Friedman, etc. didn’t play, at least not at any sort of high level.

    • The statistics pointed out in the article are clear, managerial and front office positions are predominantly not former players.

  9. Hmmmm. can’t seem to post in the thread where I want.

    1. Because most people in teh US live in cities, and don’t make much money, and don’t have access to a CSA like us wealthy people do. A huge portion are working more than 1 job, or don’t have a job, or would never even think of going someplace where they would even hear of a CSA. I doubt most people in this country even know what a CSA is. Also, in most parts, you can get food for about half a year thru a CSA, what do you do the other half of the year?

    2. Oh, I have plenty of access to farm food, now that I live in Portland, OR. Heck, I did in Minneapolis too, but I hung in the crowd that found value in that, vs spending the least possible on food.

    So, economics, knowledge, desire, access, lots of reasons people won’t know their farmer.

    • I think you are taking my comment about a CSA a little to far. I cited that as an example, although I think farmer’s markets and local brands are a much better option that a CSA.

      Of course, economics will limit what a large percentage of the population can do in terms of this, but Keith specifically stated “Knowing your farmer or source is more important than just buying something labelled “organic.”” In this case, we are already referring to people who are purchasing a marked up product. I think a great example here is that instead of purchasing organic eggs from who knows who, looking for an smaller egg seller from your state. In Illinois, you can purchase Phil’s eggs for about $4 a dozen(a big mark up), but still cheaper than almost any organic option in the state.

      There will be limitations but the point is, if you are going to purchase organic, you are better off doing a little bit of research about the source instead.

  10. Anthony, good points! I was expanding the topic too broadly to “most USAians” as opposed to people that shop organic.