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Podcasts

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 147 The 600 Women

June 3rd, 2020

Writer/artist Anika Orrock discusses The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, plus tales of a catcher who would not ask forgiveness and an interaction between a policeman and four African American soldiers in New York in the interregnum between Jackie Robinson’s signing and his debut.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
John Roseboro’s Pledge*Between Jackie Robinson and the Deep Blue Sea: Freeport, New York, 1946*Anika Orrock: In the Pandemic Book Club*A Book that Operates on Two Levels: Approaching the Art*When the Words Come Through to You*Some of the Best Cartoons in History*Illustration vs. Photographs*The Simplistic Complexity of Peanuts*The AAGPBL and Baseball vs. Softball*WAVES, WACS, and WASPS (plus the WNBA)*Women’s Sports Can Be Its Own Thing*The “Paranoia of Masculinity” in WWII*The Joy of the AAGPBL, and the Loss of It*“A League of Their Own”*“No Pants-Wearing Softballers”/“A Secret Love” documentary*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 146: My Travels with Coffee

May 27th, 2020

Brad Balukjian, author of The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife discusses his cross-country journey to find players, great and obscure, of the 1980s and find out how they’re doing. Also bugs. Plus: Tales of ballplayers breaking curfew and a player really harmed by a Branch Rickey brainstorm.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Shufflin’ Phil and the Inevitability of the Broken Curfew*The Don Padgett Story*Brad Balukjian: Mutant insects and ballplayers*Lamarck is Vindicated? (Epigenetics)*The Now-Impossible Road Trip*The Cards You Didn’t Pull*“Life-WAR”*Even the Best Athletes Get Nervous*Ballplayers Have Damaged Families Too*The Personal vs. Heroic Approach*The Brad “Character”*Baseball, OCD, and the Instinctive Buddhism of the Old Timers*“Coffee Was My Companion”*A Visit with Don Carman*Clearing Up the Garry Templeton Incident*Dating an Entomologist*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 145: Procrustes Mustardo and Wander Manchego for the Win

May 19th, 2020

David Roth returns for a very “There is No Sports, Rudolph” special episode, discussing KBO baseball, the non-sale of the New York Mets, bad Mariners draft picks, old “chase” baseball cards, and dissects the current political scene. Plus tales of a pitcher who correctly counted his number of groins and a deadly panic at Yankee Stadium.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Pitcher Who Only Had One*Death at the Stadium*David Roth: Quarantine Beards and Keith Hernandez Ads*Remembering Some Guys in a Pandemic*Selling the Mets/Keeping SNY*“Joe Biden Made Me Sign Eduardo Nunez”/Tanking*A Manny Ramirez Digression*Short-Printing Topps and Greg Swindell Collectibles*KBO as an MLB-Substitute*Extreme There-Is-No-Baseball-Chat (Late-Night WPIX in New York in the 1980s and Goodfellas )*Back to the Mets: All the Apes Are Interns*Are the Mets a Small-Market Team?*A Moment With the Mariners*The Political World: The Emperor’s New Clothes was Wrong*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 144 Pitching to Contact in a Pandemic

May 8th, 2020

Cliff Corcoran returns and makes a game attempt to stick to sports and hates on The Sandlot, plus tales of ballpark fighting words of 1910 and bigotry and bacteria in early baseball.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ballpark Fighting Words 1910-Style With the Giants*Blue Stockings, Bigotry, and Bacteria*Cliff Corcoran: The Puppy is Not Ill*I Want a Pony/A Toddler with Sharp Teeth*Are Cats In It For Themselves?*Pandemics Above Replacement Level*Sticking to Sports: The Best Major League Player Performances of 2020: Trout vs. Scherzer*Didi Gregorius Heckler at the Crowd-Mic*Baseball Fans Failing at Averages/Getting the Game Back*Baseball at the Movies: Is Any Baseball Film as Good as the Best Films in General?*The first Rocky Movie*The Joe E. Brown Baseball Trilogy and Other Cliché Baseball Films (Cliff Hates The Sandlot)*Imagining a Robert Altman Baseball Film*The Disappointment of 42*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 143: The Baseballness of Everything

May 1st, 2020

Scott Lemieux of Lawyers, Guns, and Money talks remote learning, finds many baseball examples to illustrate our current reality, and reminds us just how bad “neutral” umpiring used to be. Plus: Mookie Betts, true Red Sox affection, and a hypothetical trade involving an asteroid, and a Dodgers pitcher feels his oats.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Mookie Betts Trade Can Have No Winners*Johnny Allen Bravado*Scott Lemieux: How is Remote Learning Going?*Rushing the Professor*“No One Could Have Expected!*Mitch McConnell in History (and in a Fantasy League)*Steve’s “Too Mean” Story*The 1890s Orioles, PEDs, and “Civility”*Accountability Immunity*The Ideological Floor*Medicare For All and Hostage-Taking*Stats vs. Scouting in Political Science*The Fallacy of Historic Baseball Platoons/Ball-Strike Calls in the 80s and 90s*So Where Will It All End?*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 142: Field the Tough Hops

April 21st, 2020

Craig Calcaterra (Hardball Talk) returns to talk about the shape of things in baseball now, in the hypothetical future when the game returns, and in a random 1984 Rangers-Tigers game. Plus: Tales of managers killing pitchers from the 1940s, 80s, and 90s and Joe McCarthy of the Yankees promulgates a rule that has applications to the present.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
You had just ONE job (Pitcher-Killing Managers, Among Other Things)*The “Don Buddin Era” and Not Alibiing the Tough Hops*Craig Calcaterra: A Saturday Night Live thing*Larry David’s Baseball Bookshelf*Bad Baseball is Better Than No Baseball*The Collapse/Collapsing of the Minor Leagues*Does Major League Baseball Have an Obligation to Take Care of Its Indirect Workers?*What Will We Learn to Do Without?*Great Uncle Harry and the 1984 Tigers*That Ron Guidry Game*Remembering the 1984 Texas Rangers and Dave Stewart*Continuing to Obsess About Opposite-Field Hitting in 1977* “Clunky” McGillicuddy is Born*Second-Guessing the 1984 Draft*What Form Will the Season Takes, If There’s a Season?*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 141: Bris Lord Uncut and the Robot Ham

April 13th, 2020

DB Firstman discusses the secrets of their new book Hall of Name: Baseball’s Most Magnificent Monikers from The Only Nolan to Van Lingle Mungo and More, plus a look at Bobby Bonds’ strikeouts inspired by Mark Reynolds’ retirement and the nonsensical death-story of Christy Mathewson, AKA gas doesn’t give you bacteria, but bacteria might give you gas.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Bobby Bonds: Time Traveler*The Momentary Meanness of Christy Mathewson, the Myth of His Demise, and How It’s Like What Some of Us Are Doing Now*DB Firstman: Lemon Jell-O*“Gwodz” is a Bad Scrabble Draw*Saltalamacchia: Letters vs. Walks*Razor Shines and Narciso Elvira*“Boshers” vs. “BO-sheers” vs. “Batman”*Is Language Math? (And More Scrabble)*Ossee Schrecongost, Orvie Overall, and not-Cannonball Titcomb*The Only Nolan*Kee-Kee or Cuy-Cuy?*Rabbit Maranville?*Bris Lord Uncut*The Plasticity of Younger Minds*Quinton McCracken, Milton Bradley*Nap Who?*Don’t Annoy the Balfour*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

Infinte Inning 140: That’s Just What the Devil Wants

April 5th, 2020

Brendan Kuty (NJ.Com, the Star-Ledger) discusses his coronavirus-motivated drive home from spring training and tries to explain Aaron Judge’s injuries. Plus, a classic baseball story told accurately (for once) and the Giants make a narrow escape from some justifiably-enraged Phillies fans.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Classic Bird Story*The Giants Attacked in Their Barouches*Brendan Kuty: Home/Unselfish*Painting Rainbows*Pay-What-You-Can Restaurant*Coronavirus Deniers on I-95 (State of Idiots)* The Carrier From Florida in Section 49*Sensing a Story*Aaron Judge’s Diagnosis-Free Winter*The Severino Example*Bee-Gees?*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 139: Where Have You Gone, Jo Adell?

March 29th, 2020

Jeff Paternostro (Baseball Prospectus lead prospect writer) returns to look forward to the day baseball returns by looking at the best power prospects in the minors, the Orioles’ no. 1 draft pick from last June, and more. Plus, tales of serious baseball played at unserious times in 1914 and 1941, Germany Schaefer stealing first base, and the obscure record held by a forgotten third baseman.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
They Were All Just Ordinary Days in Baseball*Tony Boeckel’s Unbreakable Record*Jeff Paternostro: Reluctant Social Distancing (With Dogs) and Picky Eaters*Sleeper Prospects for 2020*Cavan Biggio: Player Out of Time*Who is the Best Power Prospect in the Game?*How Projectable Is an Already-Mature Body Anyway?*Adley Rutchsman, Matt Wieters, Robo-Umps and Bad Pitch-Framers*First-Base-to-Catcher-Conversions*A Bobby Bonilla Digression*The Minor League Shutdown*The Value on In-Person Scouting in an Age of Video*A Momentary Haruki Murakami Digression*Where to Go Once We’re Free/Heliot Ramos/Mike Yastrzemski*One Last Prospect: Dylan Carlson*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 138 Bear Down, Bear Down, Bear Down

March 20th, 2020

Emily Nemens discusses the conflicts in and the process of writing her new baseball novel, The Cactus League. Plus Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt spins a harrowing tale during a rain delay and Joe DiMaggio tries to withstand a “hot condition,” as well all sometimes must.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Surviving Waite Hoyt’s Rain Delay of the Soul*Joe DiMaggio’s Trying Year*Emily Nemens: Players in Spring Training: Dominoes Waiting to Fall*Coordinating a Fictional 40-Man Roster*Jason Goodyear vs. Derek Jeter: It’s Lonely at the Top*How Much Access to Athletes Owe the Public?*Wives and Girlfriends*The Dennis Eckersley Example*Revision!*How to Sell a Baseball Novel*That Spring Training Complete Game*Balancing a Large Cast*Can Short Stories Make a Comeback?*The Unexpected Hawthorne Plug*The Unexpected “The Americanization of Emily” Plug*The Creativity vs. Appropriation Controversy*The Los Angeles Lions, “A Team for a Team’s Sake,” and the Seattle Mariners*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 137 Cutting Off Balls (In a Nice Way)

March 14th, 2020

Mark Simon, co-author of The Fielding Bible V, discusses the latest in defensive evaluation, climbing the ladder at “Baseball Tonight,” and tries to explain Gio Urshela, Paul DeJong, and other mysteries of defense. Plus two New York teams brawl but that’s not the most dangerous thing happening, and why baseball ducked an otherwise deadly disease.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Quarantine the World Series*Why Did Baseball Escape the 1918 Influenza Pandemic?*Mark Simon: Halcyon days at “Baseball Tonight”*Life Begins with Jayson Stark*The Fielding Bible V: What’s New in Evaluating Fielders?*The Joe DiMaggio Easy-Catch Hypothetical*Andrew McCutchen and Positioning*Stats Versus the Eye Test I: Gio Urshela*Stats Versus the Eye Test II: Paul DeJong*Runs on Offense and Runs on Defense (That Matt Kemp Season)*The Schmidt-Bowa Question*A Shawon Dunston Celebration*Keith Hernandez vs. Albert Pujols*Can We Compare Defensive Players Across Time?*Cody Bellinger’s Versatility*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 136 War Criminal in the Booth

March 4th, 2020

Infinite Inning 136: War Criminal in the Booth
Cliff Corcoran returns to discuss the burning issues of the day, including the everybody-gets-a-playoff-spot trial balloon. Plus, a player asks for help after a hurricane and how the 1922 World Series relates to a non-existent musical about the Founding Fathers called “Morris!”

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tony Fernandez and the Hurricane: What’s Good, Anyway?*Bullet Joe Bush and the Immortal Part of Oneself*Cliff Corcoran: Poofy Baseball Caps of the 1890s*The Baseball Exhibit at the Nixon Library (Ted Bleeping Williams)*The Mookie Betts-Kevin Pillar Blues*Generational Talents Are Unevenly Distributed*The Revised Playoff Plan*“That September Marlins-Pirates Game”*The Three-Batter Rule Could Make Games Longer?*“The Only Balk I’ve Ever Liked”*Are the Yankees Left-Handed Enough?*Goodbyes.

WARNING: There is a shocking amount of swearing for a Cliff episode. Put earmuffs on the cat!

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 135 It’s All Duck Sauce and Suffering

February 24th, 2020

David Roth returns to talk the non-sale of the New York Mets, the irrational trade of Mookie Betts, and asks why the president has an old-time Yankees second baseman on his mind. Plus, a tender encounter with a warm Yankee Stadium security guard and why childhood inadequacy can leave one feeling like Juan Samuel.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Face Down in Joe Girardi’s Bouncy Castle*David Roth: The 1961 Yankees vs POTUS (Bobby Richardson Batting Leadoff)*Rudy Has a Ring/Mookie Betts Was Traded*Which of These Marge Schott Crimes Was Worse?*The Mets Non-Sale (Barbarians at the Citi Field Gates)*Rick Porcello: Local Guy/Missing Carlos Beltran*If the Mets Had Mickey Mantle’s Injuries to Manage*“Flexibility”*Cespedes’ Destiny*Whither Yasiel Puig?*“The Cruncher and Racism Show”*Goodbyes.

WARNING: As in all Rothian episodes, there is the occasional bit o’ cussing. Please hide impressionable gerbils.

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 134 Rent-to-Own Baseball Teams

February 9th, 2020

Jesse Spector returns for interlocking discussions of the return of Dusty Baker and revisions to the dinosaur room at the museum. Plus, tales of White Sox and Mets sales gone awry and Rickey Henderson and Mookie Betts trades compared.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Wilpons, the Comiskeys, and the Desire to Give Birth to Yourself*Rickey Henderson Gets Traded*Jesse Spector: Tacosaurus*Dusty Baker Rides Again*Billy Martin Should Not Be in the Hall of Fame*The Limits of Cheating*Garry Maddox vs. Juan Lagares*Jesse’s NIMBYs and a Personal Crisis*Youth Homes, Minor League Teams, The Offer of Hope, Exploited Dreams, Dreams No Longer Desired, Fewer Beds and Bases Available*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 133 Always the Most Reasonable Person

February 1st, 2020

Allen Barra (Mickey and Willie; The Last Coach; Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee; Inventing Wyatt Earp) discusses his friendship with MLBPA head and new Hall of Famer Marvin Miller. Plus, the consequences of immorality in baseball and a couple of highly flawed Giants relationships.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hal Chase, Roberto Clemente, and “The Good Place”*Managers Hired, Fired, and Hitting Each Other*Allen Barra: Marvin Miller’s Belated Enshrinement*What Was Marvin Miller Like?*Verbal Jujitsu*A Union Man His Whole Life*A Brief Visit to Birmingham*Marvin Miller vs. Bowie Kuhn*Czars Can’t Be Fired*Abraham Lincoln Doesn’t Enter Into It*Disenchanted/Bitter/Betrayed by Reggie*Bobby Thomson Had the Dodgers’ Signs*Ranking the Top Six Wyatt Earp Movies*Consulting for “Tombstone”*”Glory” and the Denigration of African American Soldiers*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?