You know, maybe this thing was just meant to be two hours long, and based on the responses we've receive via email and twitter, it doesn't seem to be an issue with our wonderful listeners.  This week's episode has an international feel and contains a long and downright fascinating talk with Tom Gillespie of MLB International on the progress that has been made when it comes to growing baseball in Europe, and the equally tough challenge of scouting players over there that are still relatively new to the game.  It was as interesting to listen back to during the editing process as it was when we recorded it, and we think you will really enjoy it.  On a lighter note, we talk to Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News about Copa Mundial, our own Tommy Bennett comes in to talk about the National League East, and before the guests show up, there's a long discussion about minor leaguers with 70+ tools.  As always, we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy doing it, and thanks for listening.

Note: We do alert you to the presence of the occasional adult language. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Up And In Episode 5: "Projection and Dreaming"

Download Here (123.5 MB: 133:28)
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Skype Voicemail: kingclipon

Table Of Contents

0:00 Intro: Agenda review; Mexico's big win

3:30 Housekeeping: We love people; Jason's handsome degree

4:30 Email: A lack of evolution; Not a hipster (a Texan); John Cusack vs. Wes Anderson; Best Texas cities

14:31 Actually talking about baseball: Stephen Strasburg's second start (we learned more)

18:54 70+ Tools in the minors: Philosophical talk; different bell curves, a pro scout chimes in

29:23 Getting away from the philosophy and naming prospects with 70+ tools

35:11 Tommy Bennett: Phillies struggles; Mets resurgence; Rickey; Beards

46:40 Special Guest Tom Gillespie of MLB International joins us from Germany

  • How difficult is it to scout a 16-year-old from the Czech Repubic
  • Twins OF Max Kepler and the lack of crazy athletes playing baseball in Europe
  • The goals of MLB in Europe
  • Alex Liddi and players who just look the part
  • Things European players don't see, like 85 mph fastballs
  • The style of baseball being played in Europe (The Czechs and French play small ball)
  • How few players throw hard
  • Baseball and sociology: Is a Yao Ming situation possible?
  • Does a seven-figure player from Europe exist yet?
  • Which big league teams are most involved in Europe
  • How to get enough traction in Europe to gets kids to select baseball over soccer
  • What's next for MLB in Europe
  • He's in Germany, we have to talk World Cup

84:28 Pop Culture Moment: Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News on the World Cup and North Korean sitcoms

116:52: Wrapping up: No Not Jim, Revisiting the Big Issue by discussing Jurickson Profar

Music is Kraftwerk from the album The Mix copyright 1991 – Elektra Records.

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What I don't understand about the tools discussion is why not base your grades such that 80 means legendary, unheard-of tool regardless of which one? There's no reason to give 10-20 guys (or more) 80 "run" tools and not give anyone an 80 fielding or hit tool. What if you thought about it like this: if a tool is an 80, then it is so good that the player can get to the majors with the rest of his tools maxing out at 40. That's kind of how it is with 80 power, for example - the guy doesn't need to run, doesn't need to play an position well, and doesn't need to get that many hits. Shouldn't that apply to the run tool also? A guy so fast that he maintains a .350+ BABIP can be a natural .240 hitter with sub-.100 ISO and below average defense at, say, 2B or even a 4th OF and still be a useful guy (as long as he can take some walks). I don't know, maybe even with that as the idea there would be more guys that are just that fast because it is a bell-curve, but there's a limit to where getting even faster doesn't make you better at baseball, and you have to put 80 at that spot on the curve.
I find it to be a more interesting observation on human nature more than anything else. When we have a chart and a specific point of data we can use, there's no problem using an 80, but when it's subjective, it suddenly becomes very difficult.
Wow, thanks for the shout-out, Kevin! I told my wife about it, and she replied: "That's great! Too bad no one's listening to it." Ah, marriage. I wasn't going to continue the film conversation, but the discussion of Wes Anderson got me thinking about other director's films that set up characters or moods instead of plots, and you mentioned in passing the one that I think does it well, yet engenders more scorn than Anderson ever gets: Sofia Coppola. The distinction is that Coppola's films invite you into the inner circle of a small group's relationships, and sets the rest of the world apart, while Anderson shows us a clique that refuses to let anyone else in, including us. Re Casual US fans: I think "forced nationalism" is an incredibly inaccurate (and inappropriately negative) phrase. "Reflexive" is the adjective I'd use: You don't feel forced into rooting for your country, you do it because they're your guys, much as many sports fans reflexively root for their home city's teams. There's nothing wrong with that, especially for an international event, or do you expect people watching the Olympics to understand the nuances of water polo or half pipe snowbording, or whatever else they may watch during those two weeks? OK, that's a little unfair: The World Cup is most definitely not the same as water polo, and living a mile from Wrigley Field I can agree that ignorant fans of a sport I love can be extremely annoying. But fandom has to start somewhere, no matter where you live, and it makes sense that it starts with an affinity for the home team, and grows out from there, which I think it is in the US with respect to soccer.