Rounding the Internet Bases (November 17, 2020)

Here are some of the things I liked on the internet today:


Theo Epstein, the baseball leader who constructed the Chicago Cubs’ 2016 World Series Champion, is leaving the club.
In two minutes, Mehdi Hasan sums up everything Donald Trump has done to incite violence since he began running for president in 2015.
Sam Seder and Emma Vigeland review some of the big stories of the week and are then joined in the fun half by Nomiki Konst.


Ed Yong writes in The Atlantic about how health care workers are strained not just by the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic but by a society that seems to be trying to ignore the reality of what is happening.

Craig Calcaterra makes the essential case against Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy in his Cup of Coffee substack. (I’m a subscriber.)

Masha Gessen writes in the New Yorker that the abortion protests in Poland may be the beginning of a revolution against the right-wing Law and Justice Party.


The Offside Rule WSL Edition reviews a great weekend of English Women’s Super League action, including a great comeback by Manchester United. Yeah, they discuss the other fixtures as well.

This Day in Esoteric Political History looks back at the 2003 California Recall Election won by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Hell and High Water with John Heilemann features a conversation with Laurie Garrett about the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Past Present discusses the announcements about potential COVID-19 vaccines and compares what we are facing today to previous pandemics.

PIVOT’s Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway discuss Disney’s earnings, TikTok, and has a conversation with Maggie Haberman about Donald Trump and the transition.


Thank You, Theo Epstein

This isn’t a surprise, given developments since the end of the season, his contract status, and his oft-stated belief that 10 years is enough in one place.

But, still. Here we are.

I will always be thankful for all Theo did to bring a World Series Championship to my favorite team. I wasn’t sure I would ever experience those feelings.

Thank you, Theo. I’ll never forget how that felt. That was such a great party in Chicago.

Rounding the Internet Bases (November 16, 2020)

Here are some of the things I liked on the internet today:


The Majority Report today includes an interview with Daniel Nichanian to discuss how Democrats faired in down ballot races across the country.


Federico Finchelstein writes in the Washington Post about what the history of coups can tell us about Trump’s refusal to concede. As he writes, “Trump’s refusal to concede is an attack on the state and democratic government.”


The Press Box discusses the trend of journalists moving to Substack and discuss Reeves Wiedeman to discuss the fall of WeWork.

The Guardian’s Day in Focus asks a question: What will it take for Donald Trump to concede? Lawrence Douglas doesn’t think he will, but he may submit to the result. (I think that makes sense.) Regardless, it is always bracing to hear how other countries are viewing what’s happening here.

Planetary Society Radio invites its experts to outline what they think the election results mean for NASA.


Rounding the Internet Bases (November 15, 2020)

Here are some of the things I found on the internet today:


David Wallace-Wells asks a New York Intelligencer article whether the third wave of the pandemic may do enough harm that we finally un-normalize our response to it.

The AthleticUK’s Daniel Taylor profiles Dave Fevre, a longtime English Premiere League physiotherapist who helped Manchester United win the FA Cup, League, and Champions League treble in 1999.

This is from 2017, but Elizabeth Kolbert’s New Yorker article explaining the evolutionary reasons Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds is one I come back to a bunch.


The On The Media team takes a deep dive into the conservative media ecosystem thatt has created an alternate reality thant help explain why so many believe the lie that the election was stolen from Trump.

Why It Matters discusses why we should focus on the disparities and public health problems created when fifty-five percent of the global population lacks access to safe sanitation.

In this episode of The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday interviews author Amy Shearn about how she has embraced and wrestled with the philosophy while writing a feature story about Ryan’s work.


Old Ross Radbourn Gets His 60th Win Back

I was scanning the baseball content on Twitter today when I came across an unexpected announcement about a change in one of Major League Baseball’s most unbreakable records: Old Ross Radbourn is getting back a victory that had been taken away from him years ago.

Well, that caught my eye. They were giving Radbourn back his 60th pitching win for the 1884 Providence Greys? Giving him back his original record, a record that won’t be broken since the most starts any pitcher had last year was 35?

I love the work the Society for American Baseball Research members conduct on the history of the game. This revision is yet another example of how SABR members give back to the game through their passion for its history.

The change comes from the fact that Major League Baseball did not have a standard rule for awarding pitching wins until 1950. It was only then did a starting pitcher have to pitch at least five innings in order to become eligible for earn a victory. Prior to that, official scorers had more latitude. And now we are going back to the how the rules were written at the time, as Sports Reference’s Alex Bonilla explains:

Miller was indeed the correct winner if you applied the 1950 rule, since he pitched 5 innings and left with a lead. However, Radbourn pitched 4 shutout innings and was more effective. Practice in the 1880s allowed for the more effective pitcher to be deemed the winning pitcher, per Pete Palmer. While Williams originally concluded that Miller was the correct winner of this game (giving him 59 wins on the season), he has recently concluded that using practices of the time Radbourn is the correct winner, and therefore has 60 wins in 1884.

It’s an important change, and not only because of how one of Twitter’s great parody accounts reacted:

But seriously, I believe there is great value in knowing the often indirect path institutions take to make their determinations. The why behind a rule or decision is often lost to history, even though I feel it’s often at least as important as the result.

Knowing that history tells us a great deal about what was valued at the time the rules were made. We also can learn about how institutions change, and it is often valuable to re-examine the evidence and not just rely upon assumptions that we can bake into our thinking as time passes.

So here’s to Old Ross Radbourn getting back a victory. It took decades for him to get that 60th win back.

A Glacier Dies

I had not considered the concept of a glacier dying until I listened to today’s episode of KQED’s The Bay podcast. (And here’s a link so you can listen too.)

The episode’s description says it all:

As a geologist, Greg Stock never imagined he’d witness the death of a glacier. The Lyell Glacier is Yosemite National Park’s largest ice mass, and Stock has been researching it for more than a decade. The famed California scientist John Muir first studied the Lyell in the 1870s. But the glacier has slowly shrunk. Soon it will completely disappear. What do you call a glacier that no longer moves?

What do we call a glacier that no longer moves? Humanity is an accessory to this glacier’s death. The emotion comes through clearly in the interview. We are about to lose something magnificent. There’s no stopping it now. Soon we will only have pictures and memories.

It’s too late for the Lyell Glacier, the real question is whether we are going to address the systems that led to this glacier dying.

My 2019 Major League Baseball Predictions

2019 Major League Baseball Predictions

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day (in the United States) has almost arrived. The long wait for a new beginning is nearly over.

Thank goodness.

I miss this sport so much when it is gone. And I count on it, as former Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti explained in his classic essay, The Green Fields of the Mind.

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.

I miss the ritual of the game when it’s gone. My Spring Training weekend in Mesa, Arizona, the first weekend of this month gave me a taste. It’s fun to watch the workouts in the morning and then go to some games to see our favorite players and then, in the later innings, the younger talent have their shot.

But starting Thursday, every day’s pitches, at bats, and games will count. So this seems like the best time for me to go on the record with predictions for how the season will go. Spoiler alert: I like the Chicago Cubs’ chances.

National League:
East Champion: Washington Nationals
Central Champion: Chicago Cubs
West Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers
Wild Cards: Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals

American League:
East Champion: New York Yankees
Central Champion: Cleveland Indians
West Champion: Houston Astros
Wild Cards: Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels

World Series: Chicago Cubs defeat the New York Yankees in six games. (If not the Cubs, I suspect the Washington Nationals will make it happen in the National League.)

Player Award Predictions:
NL MVP: Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs)
AL MVP: Aaron Judge (New York Yankees)
NL Cy Young: Noah Syndergaard (New York Mets)
AL Cy Young: Trevor Bauer (Cleveland Indians)
NL Rookie of the Year: Victor Robles (Washington Nationals)
AL Rookie of the Year: Eloy Jimenez (Chicago White Sox)

Welcome back, baseball. It’s great to have you back and have a daily reason to return to, as Giamatti wrote, “a green field, in the sun.”