Stick to baseball, 11/11/17.

I have a new boardgame review at Paste, covering the card-drafting game Skyward. I also had two Insider posts go up earlier this week, one previewing some potential offseason trade targets, the other ranking the top 50 free agents this winter. And I held a Klawchat on Thursday.

Feel free to sign up for my free email newsletter, which I send out … I guess whenever I feel like it. I aim for once a week, although I’ve gone as long as two weeks between issues when I haven’t had much to say. You can see past issues at that link.

Also, don’t forget to buy copies of Smart Baseball for everyone on your Christmas list! Except for infants. They might eat the pages. Get them the audiobook instead.

And now, the links…

The 13th Element + the return of KlawChat.

Phosphorus is highly toxic and flammable, forms compounds that explode on contact with oxygen, is the key ingredient in detergents and nerve gases, and is absolutely essential to life. It’s good fodder for what amounts to a biography of a chemical element, and John Emsley’s The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus is an excellent read.

Emsley focuses on four areas of phosphorus’ story: Its early history and manufacture, its valuable commercial uses, its less benevolent uses in explosives and chemical weapons, and its environmental reputation (not entirely deserved). The narrative is a bit clunky, and Emsley tends to veer off into list mode, rattling off a number of famous murder/poisoning cases involving phosphorus in one of the book’s later chapters, and one chapter seldom connects to the next. But most of the book is highly readable, with some of the more technical content siphoned off into sidebars, and it was news to me that phosphorus’s rap for causing eutrophication wasn’t entirely fair, and the history of phosphorus’ use in chemical weapons, including nerve gas, is sadly relevant today.

I’ve got a 1 pm chat today on, and you can also hear a few minutes with me on today’s Baseball Today podcast.