Yes folks, Jason is back, but we take it easy on him by going guest free. Nonetheless, we yammer on for nearly two hours with plenty of emails, breakdowns of the four most recent Top 11 lists, and a quick yarn about StarCraft in Korea. As always, we hope you enjoy.

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 34: "Your Refrigerator Is Not Unique"

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Table Of Contents

0:00 Intro: Jason's back

2:50 Housekeeping: Email, twitter, Facebook group, iTunes, all that jazz

4:14 Emails

  • The brutality of getting cut
  • Falling out of love with baseball
  • Explaining the hit tool
  • Defining good height and when tall is too tall
  • Watching minor league games, but not the game itself
  • Baseball scouting and it's equivalency to art criticism

45:10 Arbitration fun with Josh Hamilton

55:03 The curious case of the Rafael Soriano deal

1:01:33 Oakland Athletics Top 11 in Review

1:11:12 Detroit Tigers Top 11 in Review

1:15:21 Colorado Rockies Top 11 in Review

1:22:22 Toronto Blue Jays Top 11 in Review

1:33:11 Preview of upcoming Top 11s

1:35:55 Musical Guest: The Uncertain Sea

1:36:51 What Are You Drinking

1:41:31 Jason's brush with death

1:48:27 Researching StarCraft in Korea

Music is by The Uncertain Sea, all rights reserved.

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Hey Guys,

I know things have been getting a little slow baseball-wise, and I know how much you love cooking, so I thought I'd help out with this little bit of awesome from the Intertubes. Gentlemen, I present to you...

Rachel Ray's Late Night Bacon

After reading that recipe, I'm sure you'll have many questions: Why so complicated? What if it's morning? How do I avoid Baconzelbub? All of these questions and more have been answered by Ms. Ray's intrepid commenters, so be sure to read the comments; I promise it will be worth your while.
Listening to your exposition of the hit tool, i can't help but think that the idea was formed in a historical process, where certain biases were formed and gradually challenged, leading to the subtlety in the system that can sometime be inconsistent. For example, i would venture to guess that the idea of the pure hitting tool completely separate from power is the relic of a historical conception of hitting as hitting safely. In reality though, it seems that pure power and pure hit tool are not totally independent, because the act of hitting and hitting for power is actually one single physical swing. If a guy is altering his swing to achieve higher average at the expense of power, is he losing some power or gaining hit ability? It seems like the clear cut distinction is simply a theoretical/interpretive decision made by the analyst. Would be very interested to investigate the history of scouting and see if scouts change their system or how do they incorporate changes in the game. It's not only modern stats, but things like different offensive level eras and pitcher usage etc.

the hit tool that you describe sounds similar to "the active power of hitting the ball, productively". stuff like taking a walk involve not hitting, and that's not a very visible physical skill that scouts can assess. i do think the way plate discipline is incorporated into the scouts' view of the player is historically contingent and can be revised for the better, informed by more modern ideas of player valuation.
Re Scouting/Art Criticism: It's something I've noticed almost from the start with you guys: There's a priority placed on style, and not just with respect to baseball, which is part of what makes your podcast so wonderful, though a strict interpretation of Jason's notion that one can only be an authority on a subject if one thoroughly studies its history can lead to some strange bedfellows.

(I think that link leads to an interesting question that shouldn't be avoided: If an art historian is clearly full of shit, how do we know if we aren't historians ourselves? Is film too relatively new to require such a depth of knowledge? Does it's compression of story, even its expectation of story, lower the bar for criticism? As another aside: I think I have to agree with White's general assessment that what Ebert does can't really be considered criticism -- "appreciation" would be the kinder term than White's "shill")

Back to baseball: In the case of scouting, I agree with Kevin; put another way, it's the criticism of style that *leads* to substance. However, since it's the results at the MLB level that matter, I think there's still plenty of room for searching for "unpopular" styles that also lead to effectiveness. For example, is Dustin Pedroia's hitting approach instructive in some way that would allow scouts to pick up on a similar player the next time around?
Link incorrect. Here's the correct one: