Baseline

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Our Baseball History
Episode 2 • Published Feb 21, 2019

Andrew and Kyle dive deep into their personal histories with baseball, baseball video games, baseball movies, and baseball on TV and radio.

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Links and Show Notes

Welcome to the first full episode of Baseline!

We know nothing about baseball. Well, actually, Kyle knows a fair bit.

We go line-by-line through Merriam-Webster. Sorry.

a game played with a bat and ball between two teams of nine players each on a large field having four bases that mark the course a runner must take to score

How come first, second, and third base are called bases, but home plate is a plate? 🤔

Kyle sums up the point of the show very succinctly.

Andrew isn’t good at sports, but he understands baseball the best. And it’s the one he finds the most engaging. It’s America’s Pastime, donchaknow. But they play it in Japan too! Kyle went to a game! He confirmed that they have the same number of bases.

Sidenote: we’d like an XFL version of baseball. Imagine it on SpikeTV.

Why does Andrew want to learn about baseball?

Baseball isn’t super fast paced. This is good for Andrew, because he finds football dizzying sometimes, because it’s hard to figure out what you’re supposed to watch. But the way baseball is televised is advantageous to learning and paying attention and staying engaged.

Anyway, we’ve avoided talking about baseball offline. So here it goes. It’s a knuckleballer. (GET IT?)

We start by reading the Wikipedia article on Baseball.

Read along with us here.

Andrew knows most of the basic rules of baseball. He’s not super informed about the personnel roles and management structure and all that. Memorizing all the names and positions on a team never seemed very interesting to him. Kyle agrees.

Kyle’s advice: just choose one team and focus on that.

Then we arrive at Strategy and Tactics, which is apparently a thing in baseball. We simplify it into offense and defense. Andrew is intrigued by the thought that there might be some grander strategy at play. Andrew is aware of the different kinds of pitches, but not why they’re all individually useful.

A thing Kyle’s still trying to get a grip on is how to figure out what kind of pitch was thrown.

Kyle asks if Andrew’s heard of a sac fly. Spoiler: he hasn’t. Turns out there’s a lot of sacrifice in baseball.

Other Unique Things About Baseball

Andrew observes that baseball doesn’t have a clock, which is uncommon in American sports.

Kyle then asks why Andrew decided he needed some kind of guide to baseball. Is it the social stigma around baseball being “boring”? Is it because he’s missing a key nugget?

Andrew says that he wanted someone to guide him because a lot of sports media are not geared towards people new to the sport. It’s all very in-depth and inaccessible. Sports media makes it seem like you’re either a super-big fan or not a fan at all. But most people lie in the middle. Andrew wants to get to the middle.

Another thing is that each team plays more than a hundred games, so it’s really not feasible to watch all of them, so you don’t need to feel as invested in each game, versus something like football.

More of Andrew’s Baseball History

Andrew played t-ball, and has played baseball games in PE class, but never in a little league team or anything about that.

Kyle played in little leagues until he was 10-ish. Kyle relates the story of how important baseball was to his father. His dad taught him to pitch left-handed. It’s the only thing Kyle does left-handed. His dad did it so that he’d make more money when he made it to the big leagues, because lefties make more.

Video Games

Andrew has played some baseball video games (Backyard Baseball) as a kid. Not any of the more recent games. Sports games are a bit difficult to get into as a novice because of how complex they’ve become.

Andrew can remember playing some of the MLB games and being dumb, like hitting the batter with a pitch, just to be a doofus.

Movies

Andrew has seen Angels in the Outfield. Is that a baseball movie? Kyle says yes. But Andrew hasn’t seen any more baseball movies, which gives Kyle an idea.

Kyle made a Letterboxd list of baseball movies.

Watching/Listening to Baseball

Andrew has seen parts of baseball games on TV, but mostly he listened to Reds games on the radio, on 700 WLW. He remembers the games being called by Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall. He ever remembers their famous quips. This delights Kyle, because he had the same experience, listening to the Giants on KNBR 680, with Jon Miller. There is a brief digression about play-by-play announcers.

Kyle had a dream of being a play-by-play announcer as a kid.

The discussion of radio broadcasts reminds Andrew that another reason he’s interested in baseball is the ingrained history and culture. The old-style jingles for things, the old ballparks, etc. Kyle argues that the history can sometimes be detrimental when people get too stuck on tradition.

The Closer

If you have ideas for things we should talk about, or things you want to know about baseball, please email us at topics@baseline.show.

We will be covering some of the jokey topics we mentioned in the trailer.

Kyle asks what Andrew’s final goal is. Andrew says his goal is to feel like he followed a season of baseball. To know how his team finished, and who ultimately won.

Kyle reminds us that spring training (which is when they do training, in the spring) begins on the 21st of February. Baseball! It’s happening.

Andrew and Kyle tease their team reveals for the next episode. (TUNE IN TO FIND OUT!)

Future topics will not just be about games and players, but about the culture around baseball as well. The whole enchilada, as it were. Kyle is excited to improve his sports outreach abilities through the podcast.

Again: you can reach us at topics@baseline.show. Also, check out the other shows at Goodstuff.fm.

Thank you for listening!