Ben and Sam answer listener emails about baseball with clockwise bases, whether in-game managerial moves help or hurt, who pays players who get released, and more.

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So in Clockwise Baseball:

How many lefty infielders could you find? I would imagine most lefthanders with strong arms would become pitchers (and how many are there anyway? The pool is already watered down by 90%). Would some teams have to live with righty third basemen? Or would third basemen and shortstops just be worse at fielding?
You would want a righty 3b for the same reason you want a lefty 1b: to stretch your glove hand into the field.

"Wow, this is extreme"
Did you say you got a question today from Eric Cartman?
Eric Hartman. Friend of the show!
Ballplayers played baseball on ice skates from the 1860s into the 1880s. It generally consisted of the same rules as regular baseball and was popular. Maybe it is time to resurrect this sport?

I cannot fathom how this wouldn't end in horrifying leg+wrist+skull injuries for everyone involved.
When talking about sports played on different surfaces, I can't believe you missed a chance to include a reference to cricket!
What varieties do cricket pitches come in?
The state of the pitch will either favour the batsmen or the bowlers, and in Test matches (which last up to five days), the pitch can go from one extreme to the other during the course of the same match.

If a pitch is hard and even(no cracks, no rough areas) it will be better for the batters, because the bounce will be consistent and the ball will be less likely to move off the pitch. That said, there are a few examples where the pitch is so hard and fast that tall, fast bowlers can cause batsmen a lot of problems, mainly by bowling short (that is, landing the ball further from the batsmen) so that it reaches the batsman around the chest/neck area. Perth in Australia is probably the best example.

As a Test match wears on, the pitch is likely to deteriorate. Cracks might start to emerge; if a ball lands on one of these it's likely to behave unpredictably, either by turning sharply, keeping low or unexpectedly high. Moreover, fast bowlers take long run ups when they bowl, and so once they've released the ball, their momentum causes them to follow through onto the pitch, where their spikes (cleats) cause the pitch to rough up in certain areas. If a spin bowler (who will bowl around 55-60 mph and who relies on the ability to cause the ball to bounce and move laterally, rather than sheer pace) can land the ball in these areas, he will likely have a lot of success.

Different countries have different types of pitches, typically. England's are softer and more grass-covered at the start of the summer, getting better as the season wears on; the same is true in New Zealand. Pitches in Australia and the West Indies tend to be harder. Those in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka tend to be drier and dustier. And then different pitches within each country can behave differently too!

A Test match has only once been abandoned because the pitch was actually dangerous - West Indies v England in 1997. See here:

P.S. The weather can also affect things. Essentially, the hotter and sunnier it is, the easier it tends to be to bat. If it's muggy and overcast, fast bowlers are more likely to be able to move the ball in the air.
Interesting, thanks. We touched on the degradation in the pitch within a match on a listener email episode, when someone asked us what baseball would be like if one team did all its batting before the other team came to the plate. But I wasn't aware that the conditions varied so widely from match to match.