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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 249: The Great Shortstops of Europe

February 2nd, 2023

An episode about having generosity for broken infielders, both the capable and relatively incapable, the healthy but unproductive and the productive but slain by inanimate objects.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Meet Linus*Meet Linus’s Watercooler*A Listener Makes a Complaint*Frameworks and Platforms*The Great Nations of Europe*George Stovey’s 1.13-ERA Season*What is This Show About, and Who Gets to Decide?*The Greatest Shortstop in Browns History*The Anti-Greatest Shortstop in Anyone’s History*Undersized in the 20th Century*McGraw Thwarted, Bresnahan Cursed*Cleveland Regrets*The Switch-Hitter Gambit*Inky Strange and Other Prospects*Enter the Steelers and Other Saving Throws*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 248 The Infinite Honey-Boy

January 16th, 2023

In which the player called “Honey-Boy” is traded by the Cubs to great derision and a rebuild movement is compared to the art of long-term self-deception.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
All the Lies That Are My Life: A Story by Harlan Ellison and/or Self-Deception by a Dead-End Manager*You Don’t Belong Here*The Challenge-Trade*An Odd Swap of Catchers*My Outfield for Your Outfield*All the Lies That Are Your Rebuild*A’s Center Fielders in 2022*Esteury vs. Estuary*Zen and the Art of Dode, or Vice-Versa*The Etymology of Dode*Honey-Boy*Burning Ballparks and Fatal Catches*Live Ashes*Haunted Hospital Beds*Cleveland Fire Rescue!*Cy versus Dode*Cubs in Center*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 247: The Shinners Factor

January 1st, 2023

A tale for New Year’s Eve: A Giants prospect wins a job but fails to cope with harsh fate. Plus the usual asides and digressions, including Satchel Paige’s Six Rules for Staying Young, with commentary.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Satchel Paige’s Six Rules for Staying Young, with Commentary*The Shinners Factor*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 246: Casey and the Lost Umpire

December 25th, 2022

A solo because-it’s-Christmas episode in which Casey Stengel stages a protest but it’s the umpire who pays the ultimate price.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Intro: A Branch Rickey Christmas*The Reserve Clause, Player Choice, Happiness, and “Richard Corey”*Is Steve Cohen a Rational Actor?*Casey Stengel sulks in Pittsburgh*The Yellow Telegram*Saranac Lake*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 245: The Day The Umpires Heard "Ahooga!"

December 18th, 2022

A solo episode dashes from umpires stranded on foggy seas to a Savage pitcher who received multiple Purple Hearts—and somehow conquered his control while doing so—and reflects on what his story warns us about our own times.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Day the Umps Heard “Ahooga!”*Burt Uniform Tops and Burnt YouTubers*Old Starting Rotations and Starting Pitcher Tandems, Starring Justin Verlander et al*Angels Priorities*The Ancient 2005 Yankees*“I’ll Bonk Alone”*Cosplaying Fascism*Bob Savage, High School Pitcher (?), Major Leaguer, War Hero*Fred McGriff Misread*The Only Two Reasons to Have an Elder Rotation*Attenuated 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 244: It Won’t Be The Turkey Who Gets You

November 24th, 2022

Cliff Corcoran returns to discuss the new Hall of Fame ballot, negative associations with certain players and even uniforms, the disparate interpretations possible when reading a key “Peanuts” strip, and more. Plus tales: A pitcher with a problem pitches a no-hitter and then things get weird—and potentially fatal.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Spirited Thanksgiving*Intergalactic Union Day*It Wasn’t the Alcohol that Killed Him*Cliff Corcoran*Hollywood Stars Hats and the Holocaust*Here’s the World War I Flying Ace*Escapism of Different Kinds*The Gertrude Question Two Ways*The New Hall of Fame Ballot*Carlos Beltran*The Triumph of WAR*The Bernie Williams Discontents*The Carole King Digression*Brian Cashman and Jacoby Ellsbury*Nick Senzel Was Not One of Them*Skipped “The Sound of Music”*“Gone with the Wind”/“The Best Years of Our Lives”*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

Episode

Infinite Inning 243: World Series Oops

November 17th, 2022

A solo episode features a controversial managerial decision that might have lost the 1935 World Series for the Cubs and a look at a moment in baseball and the rest of the nation on August 14 of that year that hints at where we are now.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
A World Series Inflection Point, 1935*Best Lefties in Cubs History?*Jolly Cholly Visits a Chinese Restaurant*Mr. Rogers on the Interstate*Unresolved Traffic Bottlenecks*Woodrow Wilson at Versailles*Blue Tribe vs. Green Tribe*August 14, 1935 in Baseball* A Litany of Phelpses*Blondy Ryan vs. Michael Harris et al*Ducky Schofield ‘60*Lynching ‘35*The Social Security Act*Insecurity*Sam Leslie Leaves the Game and Possibly Everything Else*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 242: Hell-Bent to the Balls

November 1st, 2022

David Roth returns to discuss the postseason thus far, remember bad Braves teams and worse shortstops, wonder at the complacency of the AL Central, and be psychically assaulted by “Citizens for Sanity.” Plus tales: The Reds’ revival in, and the Yankees aftermath, of the 1976 World Series, and the story of Liz Funk, an outfielder who came up with the wrong team at the wrong time.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Anti-Complacency and the 1976 World Series*The Ballad of Liz Funk, Man in the Wrong Place*David Roth: Random Ron Gant Reference*Which Leads Inevitably to Alfredo Griffin*The Guardians Were Cheap*The Byron Buxton Conundrum*Every AL Central Team is Annoying In It’s Own Way*Rooting for Dusty/Joe Maddon, Numbers, and Nerds*The Wrong Pizza Hut*Once Again: George Steinbrenner’s Shrimp Scambi*Aaron Judge and Jacob deGrom’s Pizza Hut(s)*“Stop the Insanity”*Cheesy Cheddar Biscuits*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 241: Where Did All the Cool Whip Go

October 20th, 2022

Author Patrick Montgomery discusses his book, THE BASEBALL MIRACLE OF THE SPLENDID 6 AND TOWNY TOWNSEND, the story of a Virginia youth coach who produced more than his share of future major leaguers. Plus tales: The quest for the postseason “Cementhead” via Charles Schulz and one of the most impatient hitters of all time—and a dirty player to boot.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Peanuts Baseball and “Cementhead”*A “Thanks for the Memory” Digression*Thanks for the Impatience: The Whitey Alpermann Story*Patrick Montgomery: What was the “miracle” of the Splendid Six?*Don’t Call Him “Marvin”*The Career-Ending Incident*The No-Cut Policy*Amateur Baseball in the Tidewater Region*Towny: The Missing Years*How Was All This Travel-Ball Paid For?*Coaches Double-Dipping*Cuddyer, B.J. Upton, et al*Who Ate All the Cool Whip?*Towny’s Method*Tidewater*Swing and Miss With the Splendid Six*The Stubbornness of Mark Reynolds*Changing Attitudes Towards Batter Strikeouts*In the Coast Guard*The Movie!*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 240: Holiday at the Polo Grounds

October 9th, 2022

Lincoln Mitchell (San Francisco Year Zero) returns to talk the future of both San Francisco and the San Francisco Giants as well as the war against Ukraine. Plus tales: The clouded conception of a Negro Leaguer and the distorted memory of a crucial Giants-Reds game that turns out not to have been all that crucial, but is still certain to meet your expectorations.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Herb Souell’s Mom*The Day the Giants Didn’t Win the Pennant*Lincoln Mitchell: To Rent or Buy in San Francisco*How Do the Giants Rebuild?*The Potential of a Mediocre Champion*Thyroid Estrada*Regression on the Farm*“1920 and ‘22”*Putinconfusion*The Great Illusion*Aaron Judge to San Francisco?*Dodgers Gear at the Giants Game*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 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?