Stick to baseball, 8/26/17.

The big piece from me this week was about GenCon, the massive annual boardgaming convention held in Indianapolis; I went from Thursday to Sunday and my wrapup post covers every game I saw or tried, with a ranking of my top 20. I even slipped in a mention of some upcoming boardgame apps of note.

My latest piece for Insiders was a minor league scouting notebook covering prospects from Pittsburgh (Mitch Keller), Baltimore (Austin Hays), Philadelphia, and Colorado’s systems. I also did my annual rankings of the top tools in the majors: the top hit, run, and power tools, the best pitches of each type, and the
top gloves and arms for catchers, infielders, and outfielders. I don’t particularly love writing these pieces, but readers seem to enjoy them. And I held a Klawchat on Thursday.

I gave a Talk at Google last month, discussing my book Smart Baseball, which you should definitely buy if you haven’t already.

And now, the links…

Stick to baseball, 8/12/17.

I’m back from a week of vacation in Aruba, which was lovely, not least because I turned my phone off when we took off from BWI and didn’t turn it back on until we landed on US soil seven-plus days later. That means my last Insider posts were at the trade deadline, including breakdowns of the Yu Darvish trade, the Sonny Gray trade, and the Justin Wilson/Jeimer Candelario trade.

I’m back at Paste with a new boardgame review, this time of the two-player variant of Uwe Rosenberg’s massive Caverna, Caverna: Cave vs. Cave.

I appeared on the Ringer’s Achievement Oriented podcast, co-hosted by Ben Lindbergh, to discuss the current golden age of boardgames and how that might be affecting videogame funding. I also spoke with Jeff Krushell, who worked for the Blue Jays for some of the same years I did, about my book, Smart Baseball, and the role of analytics in the sport.

While I was away, the Washington Post ran a favorable review of Smart Baseball.

I’ll be at GenCon 50 in Indianapolis starting on Thursday, appearing on a few panels, signing copies of Smart Baseball on Friday at 2 pm (or if you see me walking around), and trying lots of new boardgames. I hope to see a bunch of you there.

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, 3/18/17.

Two Insider posts this week from Arizona, one on Padres and Dodgers prospects and one on Dodgers, Reds, and Rangers prospects. I’ll have one more post coming from this trip. I did not chat this week because I was out at games every day. The trip also meant I didn’t get to review a boardgame this week either.

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, 12/3/16.

I had a couple of Insider pieces this week, on the trade of Jaime Garcia to Atlanta, the Cespedes contract, the trade of Alex Jackson to Atlanta, and my proposal for an international draft (written before the CBA negotiations ended). I also held a Klawchat on Thursday.

My latest boardgame review for Paste covers Grifters, a “deckbuilder without a deck” that I thought played a little too mechanically.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

And now, the links…

Stick to baseball, 10/22/16.

My second dispatch from the AFL covers Michael Kopech, Francis Martes, Dillon Tate, and more. I also wrote a column on the Dbacks’ hire of Mike Hazen and the lack of diversity in front offices. Both pieces are for Insiders, and neither mentions Tim Tebow. I also held my regular Klawchat on Thursday.

My latest boardgame review for Paste covers the pirate-themed Islebound, a gorgeous game that plays slow and dry.

You can also preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

And now, the links…

Saturday five, 7/25/15.

I ranked the top five farm systems as of right now – well, right then, as I wrote it – for Insiders this week, and broke down the Scott Kazmir trade. I also held a Klawchat on Wednesday. I don’t plan to write up the smaller deals of the week, such as the Aramis Ramirez or Steve Cishek trades, because they’re just salary dumps without significant prospects going the other way.

I reviewed the new Splendor app for Paste this week. You can get the app for $6.99 for iOS or Android devices – and you should, as it’s a great game that’s very well done.

And now, the links…

Saturday five, 6/13/15.

For Insiders, my recaps of the drafts for all 15 NL teams and all 15 AL teams are up, as well as my round one reactions and a post-draft Klawchat.

I don’t have another place for this, but I read Michael Ruhlman’s short autobiographical Kindle Single The Main Dish ($1.99) this week, right after the draft ended, and enjoyed it tremendously. I love Ruhlman’s writing in general, but the insight into how he became a writer – he even uses “accidental” the way I often call myself an accidental sportswriter – seems like it would be very valuable for anyone considering a career in prose.

And now, this week’s links…saturdayfive

  • Bill and Melinda Gates have given away over $29 billion, and Warren Buffett is dedicating another $70 billion of his fortune to their Foundation. Buried within this piece: There hasn’t been a new case of polio in Africa in nine months, a remarkable change given the continued violence perpetrated by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. Polio is now only endemic in the undergoverned region that joins Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • The House of Representatives voted to repeal the Country of Origin Labeling Act that required packaged meat indicate where the animals came from, because it conflicts with WTO rules. I’m of two minds on this: I favor more labeling that tells consumers about what they’re buying, but I also believe in free trade and don’t like the idea of us flouting our trade agreements when we rely on them for fair access to other markets. That said, there’s nothing that says meat vendors can’t tell you where the meat is from … and if you buy local meat, you’re covered.
  • In some local schools in England, teachers are confiscating Scotch eggs from lunchboxes as well as other foods deemed unhealthful. This strikes me as an outrageous overreach, and one likely based on very bad science that holds that dietary fat is bad for us.
  • Comedy writer Ben Schwartz wrote a fantastic essay on comedy and the “PC” response, although much of what he says applies to our culture as a whole.
  • Two great examples of people being misled by statistics, both stories from NPR: One on bluefin tuna selling cheaply in San Diego, because fishermen say it’s plentiful when in reality it’s not; and a possible link between some heartburn medications and heart disease, but from a study that doesn’t explain causation while ignoring potential confounding variables.
  • OK, one more great NPR link: How fad diets are merely pseudoscience wrapped in a veneer of ancient religious memes. I love the fake fad diet piece at the end.
  • Downton Abbey is filming its final season and Maggie Smith is glad it’s coming to an end.
  • I believe I linked to the New Yorker story from last year about Kalief Browder, a man held in Rikers for three years without ever being convicted of a crime. He was eventually freed, but took his own life last week. Browder was 22 years old.
  • I don’t remember the original Chip’s Challenge game, but this story on the arduous process of getting a sequel released was still fascinating.
  • This excellent New York Times profile of Gawker and its founder Nick Denton also discusses the important First Amendment ramifications of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the company for posting a clip of him having sex with his friend’s wife.

Saturday five, 5/9/15.

My ranking of the top 100 draft prospects for 2015 is now up for Insiders, and I held a Klawchat afterwards to answer questions about it. I’ll be at UConn’s game today (Saturday) against Cincinnati to see Ian Happ before I head home for Mother’s Day.

And now, the links…