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The Infinite Inning

The Infinite Inning is an ongoing podcast that exists at the intersection of baseball, history, politics, and culture. Steven Goldman uses stories set in the past to create analogies to today’s events, whether in sports or in our world at large. He also talks to an array of guests, among them a regular rotation of co-hosts.

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Episode

Infinite Inning 239: The Bullpen Catchers of Classic Hollywood

September 24th, 2022

Craig Calcaterra (Cup of Coffee, Everything is Broken) returns to adjudicate the AL MVP race, the pitch-clock, the value of managers, and more. Plus tales: The attitudes and abilities of Carl Hubbell and Babe Ruth compared and contrasted over a matter of road selection and how Hubbell always knew where he kept his plow.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Carl Hubbell, the Avatar of Yes, and Choosing the Best Road Home*Hubbell’s Bad Inning and a Waiting Plow*Craig Calcaterra: Second Series/Downton Abbey Spoilers?*The Bullpen Catchers of Classic Hollywood*Tournament vs. Pennant Race*Sad Trombone Champion*Postseason Previews*Pitch Clock: Mark Harris Objects*The Dead Time in ‘69*The Purist’s Version Devalued*The Pitch Clock Works*The Once and Future Ted*The Spontaneous Spectator*Judge vs. Ohtani*Because Andruw Jones Didn’t Go to Medical School*Take a Letter to Tony*Managers and Contingency*The Vibe-Setters*Goodbyes.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 238: To Deny The Umpire’s Truth is a Sin

September 12th, 2022

Rob Neyer returns to discuss his contributions to Dale Scott’s memoir THE UMPIRE IS OUT and sundry other matters. Plus tales: A reserve catcher meets a grizzly end and a ballplayer is punished for going to his family’s aid.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Short, Sad Ballad of Frank Grube*“Lifestyles”*100-Walk Trios*Rocky Gonna Fly Now (Into the Stands)*Rob Neyer: A worthy subject*Keeping the Voice*Working with Dale Scott*Jack Morris/No Scores Settled*When Umps Learned to Confer*Why Was It Done This Way?*When the Umpires Resigned*The Late Arrival of Instant Replay*The Automated Strike Zone*Closeted*Growing Up in a Homophobic Culture*An Umpire Comes Out*Progress on Tolerance and Retrograde Movement*What Does the Commissioner of the West Coast League Do?*The Yankees’ Disastrous Stretch-Run*Goodbyes.

Read BASEBALL’S BRIEF LIVES: PLAYER STORIES INSPIRED BY THE INFINITE INNING, now available from Amazon!

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 237: Lightning Bolts From Clear Blue Skies

September 4th, 2022

Eric Stephen (True Blue L.A.) returns to discuss the amazing, weird season of dominance being had by the Dodgers. Plus Tales: An outfielder stands in center field when God presses the “Smite” button and the origin of one of the more unusual player names is explained.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Trigger Warning: Beware the Teddy Bears*Lightning Bolts Out of Clear Blue Skies*Ray Caldwell, Ray Fisher, Russ Ford: Distinguishing the Scuffers*The Tragic End of Andy Strong*Approximation of an Instagram Couple on the Edge of a Volcano*Walt Bond and Danny Thompson*The Charms of Garms*The Debs of Garms*Eric Stephen: How are They Doing This? Volume*No Offdays in the Postseason*Parsing Craig Kimbrel’s Season*The Difficulty and Emotional Aspects of the Postseason*Meet the New Kenley, Same as the Old Kenley*Freddie Freeman’s Blues*Will Cody Bellinger Receive a Contract?*Joey Gallo’s Blues*Max Muncy’s Blues*Gallo vs. Outman*Pedro Guerrero Memories*Dodger Stadium Mixed-Up Confusion*Waiting for a 50-Double Dodger/The Johnny Frederick Type*Are the Dodgers Aging?*How Little We Know, Gavin Lux*Jacob deGrom: Hall of Famer?*Goodbyes.

TRIGGER WARNING: A child is in jeopardy in the first segment of this episode.

Outdoor ambience by javetakami, footsteps (stones) and boiling water by Inspector J of Freesound. Gasp and fall by SkyRaeVoicing, woman screaming by Supercolio.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 236: Sailing the Sea of Baseball’s Brief Lives

August 22nd, 2022

Cliff Corcoran takes over the interview to interrogate Steve on BASEBALL’S BRIEF LIVES: PLAYER STORIES INSPIRED BY THE INFINITE INNING. Plus tales: Teams that played .700 ball and then faltered (that is, just the 2022 Yankees) and false hope from a prospect, starring Dodgers phenom-for-a-moment Cal Abrams—a tale that twisted in the telling as questions of performance were tangled with accusations of Antisemitism.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Yankees Defenestrate*The Slow Rise and Quick Fall of Cal Abrams, Dodgers Phenom*Cliff Corcoran: Success Has Many Fathers*Dead Player Origins*In Baseball There’s a Story Everywhere You Look for It*The Rumors of Obi-Wan’s Death*The Bill James Influence*Gil McDougald and Horace Clarke*Tell McGraw—What?*Statcast and Derek Jeter’s Private Anatomy*Infallible*Empathy for Those Without Plaque*The Rick Ferrell Comment*Posthumous Recognition*Reconciling Pre-Integration Baseball*Goodbyes.

Glass breaking effect by Inspector J of Freesound.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 235 No Beatwriters in the Wedding Party

August 14th, 2022

Chris Cotillo (Mass Live) discusses the Red Sox’ incomprehensible season, the beatwriter as a young man, and how to work the pregame clubhouse. Plus Tales: Lessons from a Game-Ending Caught Stealing, Starring the Babe, and a Negro Leagues great goes to Mexico and wins a triple crown.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Masters of the Game-Ending Caught Stealing, Starring Babe Ruth and the 2022 Yankees*The Small Sample Classic, with Matt Carpenter and Wild Bill Wright*Chris Cotillo: Trade-Deadline Covid*First to Last and Last to First in Boston*Back to the Mookie Betts Trade*The Jarren Duran Blues*Where Have You Gone, J.D. Martinez?*Pitching Plans, or Lack Thereof, with Garrett Whitlock*Cotillo Origins*“You Can’t Just Be a Newbreaker”*Beyond the Endorphin Hit*Churn Burnout*Hotshot Kid at the Meetings*Checking Your Fandom*World Series Wedding*How Do You Work the Pregame Clubhouse?*Chaim Bloom and the Small-Market Approach*Goodbyes.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 234: Innovators and Hypocrites

August 7th, 2022

Mark Armour and Daniel Levitt discuss their new book INTENTIONAL BALK: BASEBALL’s LONG AND SORDID HISTORY OF INNOVATION AND CHEATING. Plus tales: The Dodgers’ Uncle Robbie is a hypocrite about weight and one of the greatest Yankees managers does the right thing after an uncharacteristic blow-up.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Uncle Robbie Fat-Shames a Pitcher and We Learn a New Vocabulary Word*The Start of Joe Page and the End of Joe McCarthy*Mark Armour and Daniel Levitt: Is Cheating a Matter of Perspective?*Who Are the Sociopaths in Your Neighborhood?*Individual Cheating vs. Conspiratorial Cheating*William Shakespeare’s Barry Bonds*Restorative versus Enhancing Drugs*Community Standards and Speeding on the Highway*Don’t Touch My Armpits/Billy Martin vs. Gaylord Perry*PEDs and Baseball Gerontology*Shohei Ohtani Jr. vs. Shohei Ohtani III*Roster Shenanigans and the Trading Deadline*The Inevitable Pine Tar Game*Why Did It Take So Long for Baseball to Ban Electric Sign-Stealing?*Book Collaboration*The Coming Shift Ban*Goodbyes.

Horse Whinny, Close, A.wav” by InspectorJ of Freesound.org.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 233 Smells Like Hot Yogurt

July 30th, 2022

Chats are back! David Roth returns to ask existential questions about Juan Soto, the billionaire class, and if the average person can develop Steve Blass’s disease. Plus tales: A reserve catcher has a fateful meeting with a man who brought dignity to a bodily function and several current players conjure a classic tale from the beginning of the 20th century due to their lack of vaccination.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Reds Catcher and a Man Named Sneeze*Cardinals with White Feathers*1902, WHIT*David Roth: A Random Invocation of William Saroyan*Steve Sax, Steve Blass, and Someone Else Named Steve*Being Normal is Hard*Gore Vidal on Em-Dashes*Category Error at Fenway Park*It’s “The Time of Your Life”*Radical Despairing Empathy*Interrogating Nick Castellanos and Kindness to Joey Gallo (and Mackey Sasser)*Dick Young and Dave Egan*Ted Williams and Spider-Man*Sympathy for Horace Clarke*Andrew McCutchen and “Furries”*The Mets on the Brink*Who Mourns for the Nationals?*Are Americas Billionaires Depressed?*Full Circle to the Red Sox/You Can’t Win a World Series as a Cynic*The Temperature on the Field (And Everywhere Else)*Goodbyes.

WARNING: On Roth week, we swear. Hide the sheep and console the shepherd.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 232: My Boyhood Pal Marilyn Monroe

July 21st, 2022

Infinite Inning 232: My Boyhood Pal, Marilyn Monroe
One more (really) solo episode as we gear up for the Baseball’s Brief Lives, the Infinite Inning book: The son of a Hall of Famer makes a very famous friend and gets grief for it, a great but mostly forgotten player tries to kill another future Hall of Famer with kindness, and more about Cap Anson and his underage bride.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Joe D Goes to the Movies*Joe D Gets Married, Hangs with the Boys*Joe D’s Son and New Girlfriend Bond*An Overwrought Invocation of Shakespeare*Cap Anson, the Future Virginia Anson, and Elon Musk’s Dad*All-Star Emeritus Spots*Tommy Holmes, Captive of Fate*Holmes vs. Henry Aaron*They Were Right About the Titanic*A Lopsided Trade Thwarted and a Walk-Off Homer Against Warren Spahn*Gil Hodges and the Hall of Fame*Alternative-Universe Gil Hodges and the Hall of Fame*Goodbyes.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 231: The Courtship of Adrian & Virginia

July 8th, 2022

A final solo episode before a return to guests features discussions of a manager realizing he was in over his head after just one game and a Hall of Famer meets his wife—in a way that would land him in jail today.

TRIGGER WARNING: This episode contains discussions of abortion, murder, consent, and child abuse, among other things.

THE INFINITE INNING BOOK: Baseball’s Brief Lives: Player Stories Inspired by the Infinite Inning Podcast, is coming in August!

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Overwhelmed/The Rangers’ Four Managers of 1977/Lucchesi in Pain/Stanky’s Retreat/Your Happy Place/Johnny Mize’s Coded Wheaties Ad*Cap Anson’s Courtship*The Social Purity Movement*What Anson Was and Was Not Responsible For*King Listeria IV*The Age of Consent as of the 1880s*The Works of Alice Duer Miller*The Ephemeral Nature of Values*A Marriage on Long Island*A Death in Boston*Cap Anson Rides Again*Goodbyes.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 230: The One with Lute

June 25th, 2022

One more solo episode inspired, as always, by current events in which the right player is suspended for what he didn’t do but what everyone understood he intended and a player attempts to start a fan uprising.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Brawl that No One Saw*Luke/Lute/Daniel Boone’s Strange Ejection*Goodbyes.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 229: The Benign Uncle

June 15th, 2022

Another solo episode as your host continues to recover from whatever is wrong with him THIS week! (Even his doctors mock him). This week: Tales of two catchers, one of whom was the best uncle baseball ever had, the other a longtime manager who had a moment of unusual frankness after making a trade.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Uncle Robbie Phones May Phone it In but He Knows His Meats*Steve O’Neill versus the Yankees*Umpires versus Fans*Steve O’Neill versus Uncle Robbie*Steve O’Neill versus Mad Monk Meyer*Goodbyes.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 228: A Great Boy for Baseball

June 4th, 2022

A solo episode in which sad past and sorry present collide in the spring of 1927, when even as Babe Ruth and the Yankees were setting records there was evil abroad in Michigan. Then we journey to 1947 and the moment Ben Chapman tried to derail Jackie Robinson and consider Josh Donaldson’s interaction with Tim Anderson as well.

TRIGGER WARNING: A great deal of harm comes to children in this week’s first segment, which reflects on the recent massacre of innocents in Texas as well as previous incidents of recent years.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Mass Murder in a Michigan Town*The Infinite Inning Book is Coming*A Brief Thought about Shane McClanahan*The Gene Hackman Solution*A Moment with Roger Angell (A-S-D-R-U-B-A-L)*Robinson and Chapman and Donaldson and Anderson*Goodbyes.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 227: Playing the Sorrow Corner

May 20th, 2022

Author Dan Good discusses a tragic player and Playing Through the Pain: Ken Caminiti and the Steroids Confession that Changed Baseball Forever. Plus tales: Casey Stengel wonders who you can ask for advice when trying to win a fifth pennant, a 20-game winner goes to the bullpen, and a disgruntled player’s momentary embrace of racism.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Casey Wonders Who You Can Ask for Instructions When You’re Trying to Do Something New*Billy Cox’s Momentary Embrace of Evil and Its Echoes Today*Dan Good: What We Ask of Players*Two Kinds of Addiction*Healing and Vanity*Why He Was Worse Away from the Astrodome?*Was Caminiti Tested for Drugs of Abuse?*Did Ken’s Friends Give Up on Him?*Ken and Craig Biggio*Ken and Younger Players*Ken and Tony Gwynn*Finding the Real Caminiti*Contrasting Two Interviews*The Effects of Using*How Did the Family Respond to the Book?*Did Ken Enjoy Baseball?*When Ken Returned to San Diego*Haunted by the Ghost*He Made It Look Hard*Goodbyes.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 226: Willets Point After Dark

May 14th, 2022

Jesse Spector dishes on his new book/podcast/newsletter endeavor, Willets Pen, praises Buck Showalter, and considers the ins and outs of rally sex. Plus tales: A catcher drinks, knits, and recovers while another deserts his team at the worst possible moment.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Rollie Hemsley Serves Drinks and Sandwiches*Buddy Rosar’s Police Academy Dream*Jesse Spector: On the COVID IL*What is Willets Pen?*It is Not a Newsletter, But There’s a Newsletter and an Excuse to Go Off on a Lengthy Screed About Dave Kingman*“Metsing”*Mets Bandwagon ‘86*Willets Pod*The Bit About Food Erotica*The Bit About Contrasting Mets Action with Marital Action (“Rally Sex”)*When You Pretend You are Affecting the Game (Yankees at Blue Jays, 1987)*Every Day for a Year (With Max Scherzer?)*Sex and Poor Middle Relief*The Tommy Hutton Call of Dave Winfield’s Grand Slam*The Mets Mystique*The Schmoozer Predicts*Buck Showalter Rides Again*Relitigating the 1995 ALDS*The Little Dynasty that Didn’t Happen*A Brief Word on New York Broadcasters*Goodbyes.

Warning: There is no graphic language in this episode aside from a couple of cusswords, but the subject of martial relations is briefly discussed. Hide your maiden aunt.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?

Episode

Infinite Inning 225: Real Heavy Idealism

May 6th, 2022

Cliff Corcoran returns to talk about the new dead-ball, pitchers fielding, and the arrival of Kelsie Whitmore in the Atlantic League, plus takes: An umpire provokes the women in the stands and a 25-run game goes down painlessly.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Ladies of Macon Rise Up*The PlayerStories Book is Coming*A Simple Point About a 25-Run Game*Cliff Corcoran: Lee Guetterman Memories*Pitchers Fielding*Players With Partial Tools*Buttplunger!”*Gold Glove Pitchers*Christy Mathewson Cameo/The [Redacted] Cubs Game/Ted Williams and Yogi Berra/Wade Boggs and Dave Righetti*Low Offense 2022 and Marcus Semien*What MLB Had Warned the Hitters?*Retraining Muscle-Memory*Kelsie Whitmore, Pioneer*Slow Throwin’*Seven of Eight Skills*A Sample of One is Not Enough (WMLB?)*Babe Ruth’s Warning*Kelsie and Harold*Women in Baseball and Justice Alito*Limitations on Opportunity*Goodbyes.

Windchime effect by InspectorJ, rhythm by Spartalien, crowd noises by Craig Smith.

The Infinite Inning is not only about baseball but a state of mind. Steven Goldman, rotating cohosts Jesse Spector, Cliff Corcoran, and David Roth, and occasional guests discuss the game’s present, past, and future with forays outside the foul lines to the culture at large. Expect stats, anecdotes, digressions, explorations of writing and fandom, and more Casey Stengel quotations than you thought possible. Along the way, they’ll try to solve the puzzle that is the Infinite Inning: How do you find the joy in life when you can’t get anybody out?