Stick to baseball, 7/28/17.

For Insiders, I ranked the top five farm systems in baseball, broke down the Jaime Garcia trade to Minnesota, and broke down Tampa Bay’s trades for Lucas Duda and Dan Jennings. I also held a Klawchat on Thursday.

UPDATE: I’ve got one more Insider post covering a few small trades from this week.

I appeared on the Freezing Cold Takes podcast this week, discussing my worst takes, my scouting process (and how failed evaluations have changed it), and Smart Baseball.

I’ve exhausted most of my signings schedule, but will be at GenCon in Indianapolis, signing books on Friday, August 18th, and I believe I will also be signing books at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia in November. Also, Volumes Book Cafe in Chicago has signed copies for sale; call (773) 697-8066 to purchase one.

And now, the links…

Stick to baseball, 6/24/17.

I wrote two new pieces for Insiders this past week, one looking at teams that just drafted their new #1 prospects and a minor league scouting piece on Phillies, Cleveland, Red Sox, and Astros prospects. I held a Klawchat on Thursday.

Smart Baseball got a nice sales bump last week from Father’s Day and from George Will’s favorable review in the Wall Street Journal (subscriber link). Ty Duffy also mentions the book in passing in a smart piece on how analytics are changing the game on the field, possibly for the worse. Thank you to everyone who’s purchased it. I hope to see many of you at my upcoming signings/appearances:

* Toronto, The Sports Gallery, June 26th
* Miami, Books and Books, July 8th
* Harrisburg, Midtown Scholar, July 15th
* Berkeley, Books Inc., July 19th
* Chicago, Volumes, July 28th, 7:30 pm
* GenCon (Indianapolis), August 17th-20th

Still working on Brooklyn and Phoenix for later this summer/fall, and I believe I’ll be signing at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia in November. Bookstores interested in hosting should contact Danielle Bartlett at HarperCollins; we’re trying to accommodate everyone we can within my work schedule.

And now, the links…

Stick to baseball, 3/4/17.

No new Insider content this week, although I believe I’ll have a new piece up on Tuesday, assuming all goes to plan. I did hold a Klawchat on Thursday.

My latest boardgame review for Paste covers Mole Rats in Space, a cooperative game for kids from the designer of Pandemic and Forbidden Desert. It’s pretty fantastic, and I think if you play this you’ll never have to see Chutes and Ladders again.

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…

Stick to baseball, 8/20/16.

I discovered that my upcoming book has an amazon page for pre-orders! The tentative title is Smart Baseball (not #smrtbaseball, although we’re playing off that) and the tentative release date is April 27th. I suppose I need to finish writing it soon.

My main Insider piece this week covered the Reign of Error in Arizona under Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart, both of whom should be replaced now that their contracts are expiring. I held a Klawchat here on Thursday afternoon and discussed that piece a little more.

I was the guest host on the BBTN podcast this week, on Tuesday with Jayson Stark and WATERS singer Van Pierszalowski (a big Dodgers fan), Wednesday with Eric Karabell and Tim Kurkjian, and Thursday with Jerry Crasnick and Nick Piecoro.

I’ll be reviewing a boardgame a week for Paste through the end of the year, and the latest review is on Costa Rica, a light family game from the designer of Relic Runners and Elysium. It’s fun for the kids but I think too unbalanced for adults to play on their own.

And now, the links…

  • Juanita Broaddrick was the most credible of all of the women – and there were a lot – to accuse Bill Clinton of sexual improprieties; her accusation that the then-Governor of Arkansas raped her stood up to what scrutiny was possible twenty years after the incident. Buzzfeed talks to Broaddrick about her opposition to Hillary’s candidacy and asks why her case hasn’t gotten the attention today it deserves. (Hint: it might be because pretty much all non-right-wing media want Trump to lose.)
  • Florida’s Duval County prosecutor Angela Corey tried to charge a 12-year-old kid with second-degree murder while appearing to conspire with his public defender to coerce the kid into accepting it – then charging the same kid with molesting his 5-year-old brother after he rejected it. Corey and Jacksonville’s elected public defender, the delightfully-named Matt Shirk, appear to be crossing numerous ethical lines, including frequently charging minors as adults in felony cases. Corey is up for re-election this fall and if you live in Duval County you should examine her record.
  • Forget Zika or Ebola; yellow fever could be the next pandemic, and we are totally unprepared for it.
  • If you have young kids, when they turn 11 get them vaccinated against HPV. Just fucking do it.
  • A year ago it appeared that vaccination efforts had eradicated polio in Nigeria and thus in Africa as a whole, but it’s back thanks to Boko Haram. So vaccine deniers and murderous Islamists have something in common!
  • Why did NASA, an agency of the U.S. government, issue a $1 million grant to study theology? And why is it now refusing to reveal details of the grant?
  • You could see this coming a mile away: The Austin American-Statesman has run a redemption story for Paul Qui, the former Top Chef winner who was arrested for a domestic violence incident in March.
  • The Atlantic looks at the imminent climate change-induced demise of Kiribati after one of its weightlifters does a dance following a lift.
  • A new study published in Nature Communications found more evidence that neonic pesticides are harming bee populations. Neonics probably aren’t safe, and we should curtail their use until manufacturers can prove they are.
  • Gay BYU students who are victims of assault are disciplined for being gay when they try to report the crimes.
  • The 2016 Olympics haven’t had a major disaster, but the Guardian‘s Marina Hyde notes that they’re a disaster for the host country anyway. Her best point: arguing that the IOC itself should build a permanent home for the Games.
  • Arranged marriages are still common in many poorer parts of the world; NPR ran a fascinating story on one father’s campaign to free his daughter from a marriage he helped arrange.
  • Popular Mechanics explains that chemtrails aren’t real no matter what you read on tinfoilhat dot com.
  • I’m 36 and not on Facebook. You probably shouldn’t be either.” doesn’t quite make the case the headline promises, and I don’t agree with the conclusion, but I think it’s a point worth considering especially as social media, especially Facebook, change the nature of friendships in my generation and those that follow.
  • WIRED endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, the first official endorsement of a Presidential candidate in the publication’s history.
  • Those of you aged 35 and up might remember the Gopher internet protocol, which eventually lost out to the world wide web despite some early promise as the first user-friendly way to access information on the Internet.
  • British physicist and professor Brian Cox took on a climate change denier politican from Australia on the ABC (Australia) TV show Q&A, where the politican came off pretty clearly as a conspiracy theorist loon.
  • Physicists at UC-Irvine, building on research by another group working in Hungary, found evidence of a new subatomic particle that may carry an unknown force. The standard model of physics has long held that there are four fundamental forces; three of them, the weak, strong, and electromagnetic forces, appear to have all been unified at the moment right after the Big Bang, but a solution unifying gravity with the other three has proven elusive. This particle, thirty times heavier than an electron, might carry a fifth force previously unknown and unaccounted for in standard or modern models.
  • The “proton radius puzzle,” where the measurements of that subatomic particle’s radius differ depending on what is orbiting the proton, was further confirmed in experiments using deuterium, a hydrogen isotope with an atomic weight of 2 due to the presence of a neutron in the atom’s nucleus.
  • An experimental physicist in Haifa, Israel, created an artificial black hole to test one of Stephen Hawking’s predictions, namely that black holes will emit a type of feeble radiation (now known as “Hawking radiation”) that, over time, will lead to the black holes shrinking and vanishing entirely – taking all information lost in those black holes over their existence with them. These are early results and incomplete ones at that, but the linked piece gets into Hawking’s predictions and the information paradox.
  • The Romanian soccer team recently donned uniforms with math equations instead of numbers to encourage kids learning math, with kids also getting soccer-themed math questions to work on.

Saturday five, 4/25/15.

My one Insider piece this week was a draft blog post on Donny Everett, Mike Nikorak, and first-round rumors, and I’ll have a similar post up within 24 hours on two Vanderbilt prospects and more gossip. I held my Klawchat on Wednesday, and I have a new boardgame review up for Paste on the X-COM boardgame adaptation, which seems to be true to the spirit of the video game, but which I found excessively complicated.

And now, the links… saturdayfive

  • Yet another study showing vaccines don’t cause autism. How much research time and money has been wasted because of one disgraced doctor’s fraud? And how many children have suffered because their parents bought into the vaccine deniers’ lie?
  • The BBC has a 25-minute Inquiry program on the true causes of the conflict in Yemen, and why it matters for the rest of the world. It’s an essential story that’s barely covered in the U.S. right now, even though we’ve had a hand in it and are poised to come out big losers once again.
  • Does a US child go missing every 90 seconds? No, of course not, but that won’t stop people from repeating a bad statistic that gets clicks.
  • It’s full of spoilers, but I enjoyed the NY Timesrecap/review of the Broadchurch season finale. My review of season two is mostly spoiler-free.
  • Are hospitals doing all they can to prevent Clostridium difficile infections? Not yet, according to a terrifying new study.
  • How Dodgers fans are using tech tricks to evade the TV blackout. This isn’t a black-and-white issue; viewers getting screwed by a legally sanctioned monopolist are resorting to illegal methods to access content for which they would and do pay. MLB can solve this quickly by ending local blackouts, or Congress could force cable companies to open their infrastructure to competitive carriers, and please stop laughing now.
  • Earlier this month, a federal court upheld New Jersey’s ban on gay “conversion” therapy, leading to calls for a national law doing the same. The Human Rights Commission has some links on the harm such therapy inflicts, as well statements from major medical associations against the practice. It’s abhorrent and cruel.
  • My friend Wendy Thurm waxes on the Islanders’ departure from Nassau Coliseum. I grew up an Islanders fan and still remember hanging the Newsday cover with the headshots of everyone on the Isles’ roster after they won their fourth straight Stanley Cup, as well as the cover the following spring with the headline “Deprived of Five.” (Damn you, Gretzky.) But the Coliseum is a dump and it was never easy to get to in the first place. That said, if you play in Brooklyn, you’re no longer allowed to be called the “Islanders.” You can be the Hipsters, you can be the Tip-Tops, you can even be the Bums, but once you crossed the county line into Queens you ceased to be Islanders.

Finally, apropos of nothing, I’m just going to leave this here: