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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 175: The Silent John Titus Comedy Hour

February 22nd, 2021

Solo-mini-diet episode in which there are stories of people getting hit, both in the sort of fun baseball way and also the sad other kind. Also, a look at San Diego Padres scolds.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Art Fletcher, Oil-Man (Not that Kind)*The Price of Ice in Pittsburgh*Odubel Herrera/Joe Giradi/Sherry Magee*Let Fernando Tatis, Jr Play (For What He’s Worth)!*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 174: The Cronin Principal

February 14th, 2021

Mark Armour (Joe Cronin: A Life in Baseball, and Paths to Glory: How Great Teams Got That Way, SABR Board President) talks about the Hall of Fame shortstop, MLB’s retroactive changes to the Negro League’s standing, and great baseball history books. Plus tales of Lou Gehrig, Eleanor Gehrig, and milkfat.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Eleanor’s Bracelet and Ival’s Two Pounds of Butter*Eleanor Gehrig Alone*Mark Armour: The SABR Bio Project*The Missing Biographies*Why Joe Cronin?*A Portly Shortstop on His Knees*Segregation Apologist*Cronin Was in the Mainstream*The Revised Status of the Negro Leagues*What’s It Like Being on the SABR Board?*The Greying of SABR*The Greatest Baseball History Books/Bill James’ Strengths*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 173: Be Mad at Me If You Want

February 7th, 2021

Kevin Goldstein returns! Plus, tales of a pitcher who shouldn’t and Lou Gehrig: Great American.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Day in the Life of the Zion Hill… Billies*Lou Gehrig Knew*Kevin Goldstein: The best restaurants in San Pedro de Macoris*The Moment You Found Out*Carlos Correa Claps Back*The Email*The Best Way to Understand What the Rockies Are Doing*Billion-Dollar Franchises*Racism in the Dominican Republic*Evaluating Teenage Players in the Dominican*“These Kids Are My Heroes”*Make-Up Digs*Evil Platoon Left Fielder*Tools Players and Short Guys*Personal Cheeseballs*Goodbyes.

WARNING: There are a few cusswords in this episode. Shelter your parrot lest he be corrupted.

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 172: Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Pomposity

January 30th, 2021

Will Leitch returns to deflate the hero narrative in sports. Plus tales: Phil Niekro is prematurely dismissed and Home Run Baker runs all the way home.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Phil Niekro and Positive Uncertainty*Home Run Baker Goes Home (Then Goes Home Again)*Will Leitch: Family Man*Not Judging the Pandemic Risk-Takers*History Has Its Eyes on Tom Verducci*Clemens and Bonds Retconned*Henry Aaron “Ignored” Racism/The Sanctification of Aaron*A Convention in Cleveland/Escapism*The Wrong “Grierson & Leitch” Episode*“The Great Waltz”*How Lucky*Gilkey, Lankford, and Brian Jordan*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 171: The Good Balboni and the Angry Dad

January 23rd, 2021

David Roth returns to talk about the Lindor trade, wet presidents, Bip Roberts, and the odor of old cigarettes. Plus Don Sutton doesn’t quite get caught, the Cardinals make a really bad hire, 1970s version, and reflections on Henry Aaron.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Doug Harvey Makes a Bad Call on Don Sutton But Derives the Right Lesson*Henry Aaron, Briefly*The Rapp Experiment in St. Louis*David Roth: Cigarettes Covered in Butter*Jim Leyland in the Dugout/Smokers at the Diner/Masks at Walmart*A Bip Roberts Mention?/Angry Before Breakfast*Bip Roberts : Joe Biden*Millard Fillmore’s Last Words*Living in Orson Welles’ New Jersey*Friends Don’t Tell Friends About the 1982 Mets*Bruce Bochy/Bruce Bochte Confusion*The Mets Do the Right Thing (and the Astros Did Not)*Wet Ex-President/Wet Ex-Astros*Sociopathy Cannot Be a Universal Value*Starving the Minor Leagues, Starving the People*The Downside of Competitive Imbalance*Forgot Joey Lucchesi and Other Mets Pitchers*“Mortgaging the Future”*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 170: Little Angry Men

January 16th, 2021

Cliff Corcoran returns to remember Phil Niekro and Tommy Lasorda, discuss disappointing offseason moves in Cleveland and Chicago, and debate the best way to paint old ballplayers. Plus tales of a president on horseback and a first baseman blocked by Pete Rose.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
How’s the Mule?*Don’t Inhale in the Clubhouse*Cliff Corcoran: Negro Leagues Baseball Cards*Strata of Players*Against Photo-Realistic Painting?*Gustave Courbet’s Female Genitalia and Norman Rockwell’s Nixon*Realism in Walter Johnson Undergarments*A Newsletter is Born*Cleveland By Any Other Name (Spiders Memories)*Cy Young’s Waistline*Reviling the Francisco Lindor Trade*The Outfielder-less Cleveland Club*Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Cleveland*Premature Pennant Peak/Do the Cubs Have an Excuse?*On Phil Niekro*Polka Party!*On Tommy Lasorda*Little Angry Men*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 169: Day of the Locust

January 9th, 2021

Jesse Spector returns to mourn the events of January 6 and talk a little baseball as well. Plus relevant tales: Casey Stengel starts a riot and the Francisco Lindor trade is compared to a national-scale bait and switch.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why Casey was Suspended*Day of the Locust*Jesse Spector: Just Another Day in Democracy*The Space Shuttle Disaster and Tom Green Movies as Pandemic Masks and a Gateway to QAnon*Office Hot Tub and Working From Home*Explaining Trump to Kids/Civics Class/Sore Loser at “Candyland”*Athletes of Color Note the Contradiction/The Baseballness of Everything*Rickey and Robinson*Racists in the Stands*Jesse Gets Letters*The Antifa Who Was Thursday*What is the Job of Sports Media on the Worst Day in American History?*Oblique References to a Certain Pitcher*The Cold Stove League/DH or No DH?*The Mike Easler Trade*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 168 Happy New Year and Farewell, Wee Willie Keeler

December 31st, 2020

A special New Year’s episode features tales of something gaining on an umpire during a World Series game and relates the strangely happy last moments of Wee Willie Keeler, with some stops along the way.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abner Dalrymple Remembers*A Question for the Leadership*Wee Willie Keeler Greets the New Year and Then Departs*New Year’s Wishes*Instrumental 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 167: The Last Temptation of Babe Ruth

December 22nd, 2020

A special holiday episode features a possibly-fictional tale of Babe Ruth’s moment of reckoning after the difficult, out-of-control season of 1922, plus notes on herd immunity featuring Gee Walker, Max West, and Casey Stengel.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Mississippi Field Recordings*Dr. Alexander’s Prescription*A Quick Look at Gee Walker Hurting Himself, Max West Getting Hurt, And Casey Stengel’s Prescription For Speed As Ways Of Ending The Pandemic*The Last Temptation of Babe Ruth: A Story in Three Acts*Act I*Act II*Act III*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 166: Who Comped Ted Williams?

December 11th, 2020

Dan Szymborski (FanGraphs, ZiPs) returns to talk 2021 projections, mock the Rockies, and speculate about Norwegian cheeses. Plus tales: Lefty Gove has some earned sarcasm and a second baseman named Pep strikes out (a lot).

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Lefty Grove’s Snappy Answers to Stupid Comments*A Note on the Passing Dick Allen*Personal Note: A Death in the Family/Your Rights vs. Mine*Lem-Pep and the Five Ks*Dan Szymborski: ZiPS, the Actuarial Tables, and the Old Ty Cobb Joke*The Question No One Asked Wade Boggs*Those Vexing Rockies*The Inevitable Ian Desmond First Guess (Luke Voit, Thick First Baseman)*OBP in a Hitter’s Park*The Dahl Non-Tender/If the Rockies Had Randy Arozarena*Maikel Franco’s ZiPs Comps and Other Non-Indicators of Destiny*The Archetype of the Quad-A Catcher*The Ted Williams Comp*All Great Players Are Different*Doug Newstrom? Ron Coomer?*Ronald Acuna and Jose Canseco*Editors/“Braveheart” and Unforced Errors in Historical Fiction*Too-Granular Questions About Projections*Will Smith (The Catcher) Projections and Willful Changes to Playing Style*2021 Error Bars*FanGraphs Health Check*Against Cincinnati Chili*Cheeses*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 165: Walloping He Takes (Tis Brutal)

December 1st, 2020

Mike Ferrin (MLB Network Radio, Arizona Diamondbacks, Everything is Broken podcast) returns to talk the art of broadcasting in a pandemic, plus tales of a stranger ballpark and an unusual incentive and a pitcher is tortured for mysterious reasons.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Phillies’ Barrel of Biloxi Shrimp*Bill Terry Tortures a Pitcher*Mike Ferin: Love and Guilt*Red vs. Blue and Stats vs. Scouts*Nobody Loves Bunting More Than Announcers Do*The Blake Snell Overkill*“After Year of Brewers Financial Losses”*Flashback to Spring Training*Building Trust at the Ballpark*Hypothetical Bad Burrito*Broadcasting For a Bad Team/Making it Fun*Has D’Backs Spending Matched the Market?*Beware Small Samples, Part 1,933*A Brief, Frivolous Star Wars Moment*Not Just Showing Up to Cash a Check (Dylan and Berry)*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 164: Useful vs Interesting Artificial Limbs

November 22nd, 2020

Mark Simon, co-author of the Bill James Handbook 2020 talks stats, projections, the Hall of Fame, and the new Mets ownership. Plus tales: Both the Roman Empire and the Cardinals Empire falls and Kim Ng vs. Jay Kirke.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Kim Ng, Jay Kirke: The Patriarchy Was Inhuman*Wally Berger vs. Mike Trout*The Cardinals Dynasty Falls*Mark Simon: Rookies of the Year (Luis Robert vs. Kyle Lewis)*Fielding Awards in a Small-Sample Season*Bill James’ New Batter Game Scores*No One Knows How Many Editions of the Bill James Handbook There Have Been*A Teddy Bear of a Book*Missing OPS+ and WAR vs. Win Shares*The Private Bill James*Bill and Mark on Hall of Fame Standards/Progress and a Call-Back to the Keltner Test*Jack Morris’s Strat Card*The 70s Yankees Missing from the Hall of Fame*Willie Randolph and Dale Murphy: It’s Better If You Die*2021 Projections: Randy Arozarena, Jazz Chisholm, Georgia, Pennsylvania*
Welcoming Steve Cohen*Turning Over the Front Office*A Brief Pujols Complaint*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 163: Tradwick Chomp, Apricot Ida Amin, and Other Characters

November 8th, 2020

Grant Brisbee returns to discuss Justin Turner, the championship afterglow, spoonerized baseball names, and more. Plus an election reaction, 12 quick tales of players, Saturday morning reminisces, and the happy story of a Hall of Fame manager.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Election Reaction/Twelve Sources of Baseball Distraction*Top 10 Presidential Failures*The Peace of McCarthy*Grant Brisbee: Baseball Spoonerisms*The Justin Turner Asterisk*Money and Depth*The Decline of the RSN*How Long Does the Championship High Last?*Rare Metaphor Helmet*The Giants: A Tough Year for the Gotts*Welcoming Alyssa Nakken*The Mike Yastrzemski Miracle and the Weird Giants Anti-Outfielder Machine*From SB Nation to The Athletic*Will the Giants Rebuild?*The Return of Buster Posey*Goodbyes.

WARNING: A single profanity regarding illegal/immoral acts with goats. Hide the goats.

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 162 :Whitey Ford and the Non-Delegation Doctrine

October 29th, 2020

Scott Lemieux returns to talk about the presidential election, reforming the Supreme Court, the greatness of Joe Morgan, and the controversial usage of Whitey Ford. Plus: Tales of Pittsburgh Pirates teams (and local banana factories) gone wrong.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Pittsburgh Banana Company Has a Bad Day*Babe Adams Gives His Answer*Scott Lemieux: Traditions vs. Rules*“Originalism”/“Court-Packing”*Bipartisanship is Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose*Infinite Supreme Court*Non-Delegation Doctrine*Breaking the Feedback Loop*The Marketplace of Ideas*Truth and Reconciliation*The Lost Hall of Famers of 2020 and Joe Morgan*Casey Stengel and Whitey Ford*The 1960 World Series Revisited*Time for a Backyard Bunker?*Goodbyes.

WARNING: There are one or two cusswords herein. Your dog will not be corrupted if it overhears.
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 161: The Rays vs Steely Dan

October 19th, 2020

David Roth returns to discuss the sale of the Mets, postseason aesthetics, and the launch of The Defector. Plus a Reds outfielder with way too much swing and miss in his game, Rogers Hornsby’s time versus Joe Morgan’s, and how a failed White Sox rebuild relates to both.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Rolando’s Room*Joe Morgan in His Time/Johnny Evers Loses a Job*David Roth: America’s Boyfriend Meets Bob Mould*Concertgoing*“Never Talking to You”*Live Reads*The Mets are Sold*Working for “Albert”*Going Out a “Winner”*Jacob deGrom vs. Craig Swan*Dodging the A-Rod Bullet*In the Best Interests of Baseball*Mystifying the Obvious (Election Talk)*Turning Off That Voice*Why We Needed Domestic Propaganda Posters in WWII*Laser-Focused on the Present *“But Her Emails”*Presidents on Speed*The Aesthetics of the 2020 Playoffs*Were the Yankees the Good Guys? Are the Rays Steely Dan?*Launching Defector*”The Office” Cliché*Goodbyes.

WARNING: As with most Roth episodes, there’s some extra-cussin’. Spare the children!
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?