Top products from r/baseball

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u/barkevious2 · 30 pointsr/baseball

(1) Read, bruh. I can't vouch for it personally, but I've heard the book Watching Baseball Smarter recommended with high regard. And it's almost literally the exact thing you asked for. Here are some other good book recommendations:

  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Hard to believe that the book is sort of old hat at this point, but it still serves as a very readable introduction to advanced statistics.

  • The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James (mostly). This book is good toilet reading, if you have a massive toilet on which to perch it, and your bowel movements are glacially paced. James ranks the best players at each position, and goes on a witty, decade-by-decade jog through the history of the game.

  • The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball by Tom Tango. Are you a "math person"? Read this book, you'll like it. It's an introduction to sabermetrics that explains the important first principles of statistical analysis, builds an important statistic (wOBA) from the ground up, and then applies all of that knowledge to answer specific questions about baseball strategies and to debunk, verify, or qualify some of baseball's hoary "conventional wisdom."

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. This book is not about baseball, but it's still great and you should read it.

    (2) You'll want to start watching the game more, if you can. Find a method (like or, you know, your television) to do so. Massive exposure does help you learn, and it's a fun, if inefficient, method. Osmosis. That's just science.

    (2b) Depending on the broadcast crew, it's sometimes addition-by-subtraction to mute the television.

    (2c) If you have Premium and intend to follow your favorite team, I recommend watching the other team's broadcast. You know enough about [TEAM X] already. Learn something new about [TEAM Y], instead. Unless, of course, (2b) applies, in which case maybe your best bet is's option to overlay the radio broadcast on the TV video. Barring that, the liberal application of the DOWN VOLUME button is always an option, and then, like, listen to Chopin's Preludes. Don't be That Guy and lean too heavily on No. 15, though. There are 23 others. Expand your horizons.

    (3) When you go to games, keep score. Sure, there's a guy a few seats over in a striped button-down and pre-faded jeans (Chad or something) who will mock you mercilessly for it. Sad for you, you've lost Chad's respect. But, oh, the things you'll gain. A free souvenir. A better grasp on the flow of the game. The priceless power to answer the "what did I miss" and "what the fuck just happened" questions that litter the air at ballgames, tragically disregarded and forgotten like the syllabi from Chad's last semester at Bromaha State. You can learn how to score ballgames here. Fuck Chad.

    (3b) Go to games alone now and then. Did I mention that, in some company, it's rightly considered rude to score a ballgame like a trainspotting anorak? Not in all company, mind you. But I like going to some games alone to avoid the messy politics of divided attention altogether.

    (4) Bookmark a few websites. Quick stat references include FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference, and Brooks Baseball. Grantland, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, and the Hardball Times are all good. FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference both have subscription options that allow you to access enhanced content for a small fee, which is worth it if only to support the yeoman's work that they do compiling and sorting our beloved numbers.

    (5) German chess great Emanuel Lasker is believed (incorrectly) to have said that "if you see a good move, look for a better one." Good advice. Too much of the history of baseball analysis is the history of people getting stuck in comfortable places and refusing to interrogate their own ideas about the game. Sabermetricians have made careers out of just pointing this out, and even some of them do it from time to time. Also, on the level of pure self-interest, baseball ignorance and bad teeth have this much in common: Keeping your mouth shut hides them both. If you have a good opinion about a baseball topic, look for a better one.

    (6) Watch a some decent movies about baseball. Sugar is excellent and disturbing. Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is available on Netflix and worth watching. You drink his nostalgic Flavor-Aid at your own peril: At times, Baseball is about as edifying as having a good, 19-hour stare at a Norman Rockwell painting. It's still in a class all its own as a baseball documentary. You should also watch Ed, starring Matt LeBlanc, because it'll teach you not to take strangers on the internet seriously when they give you advice.

    (7) When you go to games, wear whatever the hell you want. This has nothing to do with understanding baseball, but it annoys me when people make a big deal out of policing the clothing that others wear to sporting events. Sitting front-row at a Yankees-Tigers game in your best Steelers jersey and a pink Houston Astros BP cap? Whatever. You be you. You be you. I once watched as a perfectly innocent college student was denied a free t-shirt from a Nats Park employee because he (the student) was wearing a Red Sox shirt with his Washington cap. That was pretty fucked.

    (8) Take the EdX Sabermetrics course. Others have recommended this, with good reason. It's a wonderful introduction to advanced analytics, and you get a taste of programming in R and MySQL as well. You don't need a CompSci background. I sure didn't.

    Hope this helped.

    Footnote: Chad-hating is actually too easy. Truth is, I've never really been mocked for scoring games. Once, I even bonded with a Chad-esque guy sitting next to me at a Braves-Nats game here in Washington. He was pretty drunk, but we talked Braves baseball while he drank and I drank and I scored the game and he drank more. He seemed utterly engaged by the scoring process in that guileless, doe-eyed way that only the drunk have mastered. That's the Chad I loved.
u/schaver · 106 pointsr/baseball

From across the pond, welcome to pretty much the best sport ever! We're glad you're here :) I'm gonna try to keep it general, cuz I think once you've got the basics down you can just watch some games and refine it from there. Also, I learned a lot of stuff about the game by playing video games like The Show, so if you can get a copy of that and wanna get more in-depth that's actually not a bad way to come at it from a different angle.

Let's start with the overall structure of the game. One of the things that's different from most sports is how many games there are in a season, and to accommodate that two teams will play several games in a row against each other. That's only really important if you don't want to look silly when talking to another baseball fan. As far as actual game structure, there are nine innings a game. Each inning has a "top" and a "bottom;" in Major League Baseball the away team gets to hit in the top of an inning and the home team defends ("fields").

Arguably the main competition happening within a game is between the pitcher and the batter. Whenever a batter steps up to take his swings, that's called an at bat or AB for short. During an AB, the batter will try to swing at pitches in what's called the strike zone. The strike zone (and correct me if I'm wrong on this guys cuz it has changed some) is the width of home plate and the height is between a batter's belt and his knees. It's important to understand the strike zone because then you can understand balls and strikes. A ball is whenever a pitcher throws outside the strike zone and the batter doesn't swing at it. However, if a batter does swing and either misses the ball or fouls it off, it counts as a strike. A foul is when the batter puts the bat on the ball but it goes out of bounds. This can be into the seats, behind the batter's box, outside the foul lines (those little white lines that go straight out from home plate, cross third and first base, and extend all the way to the edge of the outfield), etc.

The total number of balls and strikes in an AB is called the count. The count's important because once a batter gets 4 balls, he takes first base on a walk, which is also called a "base on balls" in ye olde lingoe and why the stat is abbreviated BB. But if the pitcher throws him 3 strikes, he's out! That's called a strikeout. However, a foul ball never counts as a third strike, it's only a strike out if the batter doesn't make contact (either swinging and missing or not swinging at a pitch in the strike zone).

There are other ways to record an out too; strikeouts are by far the least common. First let's talk fly outs. That's when a batter gets the ball in the air but it's caught by one of the fielders. There are two "special" fly outs, one being a pop fly. That's just a fly ball that doesn't leave the infield (i.e. usually it's caught by the pitcher or a baseman rather than an outfielder). There are also foul outs. Like I said before, fouls are balls that aren't in the normal playing field. But pretty much all stadiums have what's called "foul territory," which is space between the foul lines and the seats. If a fielder catches a fly ball that stays out of the seats, that's a foul out! Second, though, there are ground outs. A ball is considered "live" as soon as it touches fair ground. All that really means is that the batter-cum-runner isn't out yet. Anyway, if the batter hits the ball on the ground, one of the fielders can pick it up and throw it to first base. If the ball gets to the base before the runner does, he's out!

Obviously if every batter got out all the time the game wouldn't really have a point, so there are also hits! There are really only four flavors of hits: Singles, doubles, triples, and home runs. As the names imply, it's just what base the runner can manage to get to safely. If there's a runner on second or third base, we say he's in scoring position, which means that any hit has a pretty good chance of getting him home. Incidentally, that's how points or runs are scored: having a runner cross home plate.

A batter is credited with a run batted in (RBI for short) when he gets a hit and a runner makes it home. There are other ways to get an RBI, too: If there's a runner in scoring position (usually third base but sometimes second if the guy is REALLY fast) and the batter hits a fly ball far enough into the outfield, the runner can still score if he tags up and runs home. Since the ball hasn't hit the ground, it's not live yet. Once it hits the fielder's glove, though, we're off to the races! The runner first has to tag the bag he's on, then when the ball comes alive he can score. If he does, then the batter is out but he still gets an RBI. However, the fielders have a chance to throw the ball home and try to tag the runner out before he touches the base.

There are other sacrifice plays besides the sac fly. Batters can also hit sacrifice ground balls, but these aren't always to score runs like the sac fly is. Explaining this part requires a lot of strategy talk so I'll steer clear of a lot of it since I'm just trying to go through the basics, but a lot of the time it's just to move a runner into scoring position.

I'll finish out by just talking about a couple of the stats you'll hear a lot about. Ima start with hitting stats! The most common one you'll hear is batting average or just "average." This stat is just what percent of the time a batter will get a hit. Also, even though a lot of these stats are shown as decimals, they're really percentages. So like if a batter has a .250 average, chances are he'll get a hit every fourth AB. If he's got a .333 average, it'll be a third of the time. So on and so forth. If a player is batting over .300 that's generally considered really good. Jose Reyes right now has a .350 average and that's the highest in all of MLB, so that's really good. As an historical note, batting .400 is kind of a mythical achievement that not too many guys have managed.

I've already explained RBIs, but just FYI that's the other big stat that most media outlets highlight as the most important one. Home runs are usually the third stat that rounds out what they show you on TV when a guy steps up to bat. It's becoming more common, though, that a player's on base percentage or OBP is displayed. That's the average number of times a guy gets on base either by hits, walks, or being hit by a pitch (if a pitcher hits a batter with the ball the batter automatically gets to take first base no matter what the count is). Some people consider OBP to be the most important stat, but that's something you can read more about if you want.

And now here are some pitching stats! Probably the two biggest stats commentators highlight are earned run average or ERA and wins. The ERA is the average number of runs that pitcher would allow in nine innings. Say, for example, his ERA is 3.00. That means, were he to throw all nine innings of a game, he'd give up 3 runs on average. Anything lower than that is usually considered pretty elite. Wins are becoming more widely regarded as kind of a meaningless stat but, nonetheless, can be a big impressive number we like to ooo and ahhh at. The stat itself is just if one pitcher gave up fewer runs than the other. That's kind of a gross oversimplification, but I'm not sure I can really articulate the nuances much better than that. The pitching equivalent of OBP is the WHIP, or walks plus hits per inning pitched. I say "equivalent" because both are stats that are really important but only just starting to be talked about during an average broadcast. WHIP is a really crucial stat because it reflects how many baserunners the pitcher allows during an inning. A WHIP of less than 1.00 is suuuuper good, but becoming more common in the post-steroid era.

And with that, I think you should more or less have the tools you need to start watching and loving baseball! Welcome again!

EDIT: Wow thank you guys so much for the great feedback!!! This is my last day at my tearing-my-hair-out internship so I'll come back and change the things I got wrong later tonight. If you know of somewhere else where people might find this helpful, feel free to repost it wherever (though I'd really appreciate it if you tack my name on it)!

u/frakking-anustart · 3 pointsr/baseball

1.)We have the History. We have 9 World Series titles, which is a lot, (3rd all time) but not to a point where we are spoiled.

2.)We are one of the two teams in the AL that hasn't changed our names.

3.)We are on the West Coast, and for 10 years had a minor league team in Vancouver

4.)We are invented, and are Moneyball


6.)We have a great young bunch of players coming up that thanks to brilliant people, will continue for years to come.

7.)You can't beat us, everyone loves the underdog, and our uniforms are some of the best.

8.) We won 3 straight WS in the 1970's with one of the craziest teams of all time. The only other team to win 3 straight WS titles? The Yankees. Trust me, you don't want to root for the Yankees.

I hope now you have enough info to make a decision!


u/bwadams12 · 2 pointsr/baseball

How much reading do you want to do? If you want to just get caught up on every team/player for next season in a long but fun to read book format, I'd suggest putting in your order now for this years Baseball Prospectus. It's more thorough than any sane person would ever need it to be, but I can't recommend it enough if you're looking for detail. For more current news, Fangraphs and Baseball Reference are solid for stats and info, while the various SB Nation sites have more team based stuff.

If you want more history, the Ken Burns Baseball series is on Netflix, and is a ton of fun to watch. If you're more of a reader, the Bill James Historical Abstract doubles as a nice doorstop, but has a nice, fun look at the past.

Other than that, lurk around here to catch up on big news and general public opinion, and maybe try to get yourself into a fantasy league.

Edit: Almost forgot podcasts (I love podcasts, but I'm new to baseball podcasts, so grain of salt and all). Productive Out's PRODcast is pretty fun, it's two guys from Thrice and Kowloon Walled City (if you're into music at all) basically shooting the shit. Effectively Wild is more baseball-centric, but updates more frequently. I've heard mixed reviews on the Fangraphs podcast, both rave positives and really negative, but haven't given it a listen yet myself.

u/tehjarvis · 1 pointr/baseball

The first thing you should do is brush up on the rules. Baseball isn't as complicated as something like American Football, but compared to something like soccer or tennis it's pretty complex. You know those card games where you try to tell someone how it's played and they get so confused and you end up saying "Just watch us play for five minutes and you'll get it." That's about how complicated baseball is. This website looks like it's a decent introduction. Although nothing beats just sitting and watching a game.

You should absolutely subscribe to MLB.TV when the season starts. It's a bit expensive, but it's worth it. You will be able to watch every single game live, or later on if the time difference is an issue. Watch as many games as you can to figure out which team and players you like the best. And be aware that the two leagues have different rules. The National League plays pure, unadulterated baseball the way it was always intended. The American League is an abomination upon all that is holy to the game and features an old fat guy called the DH batting in lieu of the pitcher, this has tainted the game like a homeless man blasting malt-liquor fueled diarrhea on freshly fallen snow. There's a total of 2,430 games a year, so the cost is about a nickel per game...or at least that's how I justify the price to my wife every April.

For a history of the game check out the documentary series "Baseball" by Ken Burns. All of them are available on YouTube. I've seen the whole thing quite a few times, but still watch it all the way through every January or February while I'm waiting for Spring Training to start.

And if I could give one gift to every baseball fan on earth it would be the The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Think of it an a more in depth companion to Burns' documentary series. It's a MASSIVE book, but one I pick up every few months to skim through or to reference something. The first section (roughly 300 pages) covers the game, decade by decade from the 1870's through the 1990's, covering historical events, the construction and destruction of stadiums, the negro leagues, how the equipment and tactics changed etc. The second section gives bios of a ton of different players throughout history and then ranks the top 100 by position. It may not be THE book for a complete baseball novice, but its something every fan should have. It helps me get through the off season every year.

u/digiskunk · 4 pointsr/baseball

I've been reading The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter, and the opening chapter on Rube Marquard is easily one of my favorites. Such a curious character he was! His father refused to let him become a ballplayer but he became one anyway; he ran away from home to play for a major league club, and years later toward the end of his career, he finally reconnected with his father again - and his father was utmost proud of his son, despite telling him otherwise in the past. It's a beautiful section and really gives you insight into what it was like back then; not just for baseball, but society at large as well. Amazing book.

It also covers the Merkle incident several times. Poor guy. He really didn't deserve the criticism that he received - at least the extent of it..

I highly recommend this book if you're into classic baseball. It's easily one of the greatest books I've ever read. Here's a link for the uninitiated.

u/puck_puck · 10 pointsr/baseball
  • The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract This book will give you a great overview of the game from 1870 to 1999. Breaks the game down by decades and what the game was like and how it changed. Also ranks the top 100 players at each position. Really anything by James is an entertaining read, but this is the must have for baseball conversation.
  • Baseball Prospectus - Baseball Between the Numbers A good introductory course into the newer sabrmetrics. It will answer many questions in depth about what was going on as far as player evaluation in Moneyball.
  • Tom Tango - The Book Much more advanced sabrmetrics but very current and groundbreaking. The author started on the internet, and last offseason secured a job working for the Seattle Mariners.

    The next three are to give you a better view of the game from the players/owners perspective.

  • Veeck as in Wreck Bill Veeck was one hell of a guy. His father was president of the Cubs in the 30's, and Bill would go on to own his fair share of teams. Always an individual, he stood against the baseball ownership cabal on many occasions. Spent the last years of his life watching the Cubs from the center field bleachers. His autobiography is humorous and insightful. A must read for any baseball fan.
  • Buck O'Neil - I was Right on Time Called the soul of negro league baseball, Buck O'Neil recounts his playing days in the negro leagues, and covers many of the legends in a very matter of fact way.
  • Jim Bouton - Ball Four Last but not least is former Yankee star, now washed up knuckleballer Jim Bouton recalling the inaugural season of the short lived Seattle Pilots. Baseball players in all their vulgar glory. Also will teach you the fine art of "shooting beaver".
u/NotWithThatAttitude · 5 pointsr/baseball

Of those two I'd personally go with the Mets. Since you're just coming into baseball it would seem a little bandwagoner-ish to start rooting for the Yankees. No doubt the Yankees are a good team, but when a good percentage of their fans are already bandwagoners, I feel like you'd get a skewed perspective of baseball going to those games.

Also check out the Brooklyn Cyclones. They're the minor league affiliate of the Mets. The games are super cheap and the stadium is pretty nice. Start chatting up people in the seats next to you. You'll usually find someone who loves talking ball.

There's also a book called Watching Baseball Smarter. It's a good intro into the game.

u/Keith_Jackson_Fumble · 2 pointsr/baseball

Bill James is considered the grandfather of baseball analytics and just retired from his gig working for the Red Sox after 17 years. His book, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is a great starting point in your journey because it really does a nice job of melding the historical with the analytical. Certainly, his seminal work isn't as math-focused or cutting-edge as a lot of the newer stuff involving things like spin rates and launch angles. But as a resource, it lends context to the development of sabermetrics and gives insight into the thinking involved.He also produces the Bill James Handbook prior to each season. He's written a number of other great books regarding baseball, all with an analytics bent.

His writing is lively and opinionated. A few years ago he took issue with Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as the one-stop arbiter of player value. He believed that that just like his win-shares system, there is folly in believing that any stat is truly capable of painting the entire picture of a player's contribution. This elicited quite a bit of discussion among statheads, including a reasoned response from Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.

He also maintains a website with free and paid content,

u/barkevious · 2 pointsr/baseball

> What really fucks me off is the insistence on using a metric shitload of acronyms that are literally meaningless to a new spectator. It took me a fortnight to work out that K means strikeout. Why, for fuck's sake?!

It's actually because of Henry Chadwick, an Englishman who pioneered the statistical analysis of baseball. The "K" represents the last letter in "struck" (as in "struck out"). He used it because "S" was already taken up as a designation for "sacrifice" (as in "sacrifice hit"). It is still popular because baseball fans are creatures of habit, and, as others have mentioned, "K" makes it very easy when scorekeeping to differentiate between a swinging strikeout and a looking strikeout.

To address the broader issue: Baseball statistics have developed haphazardly over the last 150 years. Old statistics with old designations are layered under newer statistics with newer designations - all of them carrying little (or big) bits of information about the play on the field which, at one point or another, somebody thought it would be useful to remember - and the abbreviations and acronyms reflect the evolving requirements of newspaper layout editors, analysts, fans, and scorekeepers. There's really no easy way to learn it all, but I can assure you that just trying to do so will immeasurably increase your appreciation for the game.

I would suggest a two-pronged approach. First, take note of the statistics mentioned by broadcasters. These tend to be "caveman" stats - batting average, RBIs, ERA, pitcher wins, etc. - which are really crude measures of performance but are very popular and therefore are important to know. Second, pick up a book or two about sabermetrics - Moneyball and The Book are both good - and read a little bit about the more advanced approaches to stats and analysis that baseball watchers have taken over the past couple of decades. Also, surf Fangraphs and Baseball Reference. Soon, you'll be able to identify all the statistics that broadcasters throw around, and you'll be able to tell which of them are useful and which are useless.

u/Natsochist · 5 pointsr/baseball

That's a broad topic. Let's see:

  • Recent, still relevant baseball: The Arm by Jeff Passan. One of the best sportswriters today goes way in-depth to what's going on with pitching injuries. Fascinating read.

  • Historical / Classic Reads: Roger Kahn's The Boys of Summer, about the Brooklyn Dodgers in Jackie's day. Kahn's a wonderful storyteller.

  • Weird, but wonderful: Philip Roth's The Great American Novel, about the fictional Patriot League. One of these days, I want to run an OOTP sim of the league and see what happens. Completely out there, but I loved it.

  • Edit: Almost forgot! The Kid Who Only Hit Homers, by Matt Christopher. First baseball book I ever read.
u/kasutori_Jack · 31 pointsr/baseball

The difference is that somewhat excessive celebrations of saves have become accepted by an extent. People used to make fun of Brian Wilson's until they learned its significance.

Excessive celebrations for homers? That has not become accepted. It's still seen as showing up a pitcher by the players and teams.

This is not some "Giants-only" thing.

It's MLB.

edit: typo

Since I have a high-ish comment, I'd like to take the time to recommend this book. <-- Amazon link.

Baseball Codes, by Jason Turbow. It's a really great read full of anecdotes and player / manager quotes covering essentially every aspect of the unwritten baseball rules and the traditions that help manage the game--traditions and beliefs that fans almost never see. It's pretty enlightening, especially if you're newish to baseball, and very entertaining if you've been following the sport for decades. Very quickly into the book, one realizes the game that the media delivers is not the game that the players actually play.

u/thewarfreak · 9 pointsr/baseball

I was mostly just giving you a hard time. It's a silly article, but, yeah, Miller is super rad. Would recommend his (and former Effectively Wild co-host Ben Lindbergh's) book to anyone that likes baseball analytics and fun.

u/JJGordo · 3 pointsr/baseball

Three Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger -- A through-the-eyes-of-Tony-La-Russa recounting of a pivotal three game series between the Cardinals and Cubs in August 2003.

The Last Boy by Jane Leavy -- Not only an exceptional (!) biography of Mickey Mantle, but also a wonderful look into what life was like at the time as both a fan and as a professional baseball player. Notable stories about the Yankees and its many players of that era, Willie Mays, Duke Snyder.

The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst -- A hilariously honest and at-times brutal telling of what life is like as a minor league, "non-prospect" pitcher.

Up, Up, and Away by Jonah Keri -- Because the Expos are amazing, and I love and miss them.

u/kodabear911 · 3 pointsr/baseball

This one is way more casual than a lot of the books listed here, but The Baseball Codes is a fun, quick read full of anecdotes about breaking unspoken rules and etiquette. I read it when I was quite a bit younger so all of the stories were new to me, but I still like to read a short section here and there sometimes. Unfortunately I'm not really sure how it'd hold up if I read it for the first time now. Hopefully it's not too simple for a more experienced fan! At the very least, it's a fun coffee table book :)

u/NoBrakes58 · 1 pointr/baseball

Here's some recommended reading:

  • The Book - That's literally the name of the book. It's full of one-off chapters covering a variety of topics.
  • Baseball Between the Numbers - This one is also a bunch of one-off type stuff
  • Moneyball - Talks about how the 2002 Oakland A's capitalized on some offensive statistics that were being recorded but not heavily utilized to determine player values, and thus built a playoff team from undervalued hitters
  • Big Data Baseball - Talks about the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates and their use of big data strategies to find defensive value where other teams didn't (primarily in pitch framing, ground-ball pitching, defensive range, and shifting)

    The first two of those are heavily focused on the numbers and will probably teach you more about the whys and hows, while the second two are more about the narrative but still give you some insight into hard numbers.

    Also, I'd recommend just joining SABR. It's $60/year for most people, but if you're under 30 it drops down to $45/year. There are a lot of local chapters out there that have regular meetings. For example, the Twin Cities have the Halsey Hall chapter. There's a book club meeting on Saturday (to talk about Big Data Baseball), a hot stove breakfast in a few weeks (informal meeting to just hang out and talk baseball), a regular chapter meeting in April for people to actually present research, and the chapter occasionally has organized outings to minor league games.

    SABR also has a national conference and a specific national analytics conference, as well. Membership also includes a subscription to Baseball Research Journal, which comes out twice per year and contains a lot of really good stuff that members have been written both from a statistics and a history standpoint.
u/skagbhoy · 1 pointr/baseball

I'd suggest reading Watching baseball smarter by Zack Hample. It helped me tremendously when I first got into the game. Zack's even on here somewhere.

As for a team, I'd suggest watching a few games first. ESPN America will usually have one or two games a day, and there's the free game of the day on if you're not ready to make the commitment to (which is actually great value, by the way).

As mentioned, Ken Burns' Baseball is great, and it's shown a few times per year on PBS if you've got Sky. You should be able to find it easy enough online, however.

And if you want to chat to other fans in the UK & Ireland, head over to

u/cardith_lorda · 2 pointsr/baseball

Bottom of the 33rd was a very well written look at both the longest game in history as well as the players, ballpark staff, and fans in attendance. It puts the game in perspective.

If you're more into fiction and don't mind diving into a book written for Young Adults Summerland is a very enjoyable read. But it sounds like you would like more baseball in the book.

The Boys of Summer has a great blend of baseball and real life, talking about baseball in the 1930s and 40s and the hearts that broke when the Dodgers (and Giants) moved from New York to California.

u/Distance_Runner · 3 pointsr/baseball

I'll be going to graduate school in Statistics, so as an avid baseball fan, I'm also fascinated with Sabermetrics.

Here are some books I recommend

For a good first book, I recommend either Beyond Batting Average or Understanding Sabermetrics: An Introduction to the Science of Baseball Statistics or Baseball Between the Numbers.... All of those books provide good introductions to the subject

My favorite book would have to be, The Book: Playing Percentages in Baseball. Compared to the first three I mentioned, this book is a bit more complex, but I think it's the best because it's the most thorough.

u/Phildopip · 4 pointsr/baseball

If you're looking into the more advanced stats I'd recommend the following:

A good place to get started is the Fangraphs resource pages. Just follow the tabs below the search bar/"follow us" section of the page. For my money, Fangraphs offers the most complete and well-rounded advanced stats out there and they don't use black box proprietary stats like Baseball Prospectus.

If you want to dive in a little more deeply, "The Book" by Tom Tango lays things out really well.

"Baseball Between the Numbers" by Jonah Keri is a solid read too.

Have fun getting started!

u/thedailynathan · 4 pointsr/baseball

I've got a feeling you may already know of this, but I would highly recommend "The Book" to you, maybe check it out the from the library or something:

It's a statistical look at baseball and specifically focuses on quantifying the value of a lot of these ideas - e.g. how much benefit do you get from batting the pitcher 8th vs 9th (to give you an "extra" leadoff hitter), or something similar to your idea, a 6 or 7 man rotation where the 4th and 5th starter positions are actually a committee of relievers working ~3 inning "starts". Like you already know, it's an idea that really has legs because oftentimes non-elite starting pitchers are actually decent on their first go, but get bombed the 2nd and 3rd times through the batting order after the hitters have gotten a look or two on them.

u/billjitsu · 2 pointsr/baseball

I like your approach but "comprehensive" may be difficult. The game is old and a lot's happened. That being said, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is excellent. From there, you may want to read up on certain teams/players that you're interested in. Welcome to baseball.

u/oppositeofcatchhome · 5 pointsr/baseball

If you want to learn more about Buck, I highly recommend reading his autobiography and then following it up with Joe Posnanski's The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America. The autobiography is a quick, easy read and you'll learn Buck's story as well as the story of the Negro Leagues in general. But I recommend following it with Posnanski's book to really get to know Buck as a person. Posnanski traveled around the country with Buck for a year towards the end of Buck's life and wrote this book about the experience. While some of the stories from the autobiography are retold, Posnanski's book functions more as a portrait of the man than simply a history. I really can't say enough about this book. It will make you laugh and cry, etc., etc. Just read it. And then spend the rest of your life wishing you could have given Buck O'Neil a hug.

u/dmmdoublem · 2 pointsr/baseball

If you really enjoyed Moneyball, then The Only Rule Is It Has To Work might be up your alley. In it, two basebal writers run an independent league team, The San Rafael Pacifics, entirely on saebermetrics.

Where Nobody Knows Your Name is a great read about life in the minor leagues.

Smithsonian Baseball is another good choice.

If you don't mind books being team specific, I'd also recommend looking onto Finley Ball, Aces, Holy Toledo! and any of the Brian Murphy/Brad Mangin Giants books (incredible photography in those).

u/contextplz · 1 pointr/baseball

He catches some flak here for his ball-hawking antics, but Zack Hample's Watching Baseball Smarter is a pretty good read.

Plenty of history trivia and stories, lots of the little things that's easily consumable, maaaaaaybe for a 10 year old as well.

u/clubhouserap · 1 pointr/baseball

We're pretty excited too. We plan on reading both older and newer books, I'm sure authors will be more likely to join the cause when they're on their initial press tours. We have some ideas for coming months, but we're open to suggestions. This is the book I'm most excited about next year. It's about two writers/editors from baseball prospectus who got to be Co-GM's of an independent ball club last summer. Hopefully we can get them on the pod.

PS if you haven't already, shoot us your email so we can add you to the mailing list.

u/PandaPanther · 7 pointsr/baseball

Not necessary to watch the game but great stories from the earlier days of baseball told by the people who played those games. Guy went around the country in the 60’s interviewing guys who played int the 1910s and 20s.

u/hacks_podcast · 5 pointsr/baseball

If you're into early baseball history, I highly recommend The Glory of Their Times .


For a specific year, Fifty-Nine in '84 is really entertaining and gives you a good perspective of 1880s baseball.

u/CydoniaKnight · 2 pointsr/baseball

Search through the sub for old Book recommendations for more info.

Ones that immediately come to mind:

  • Moneyball - Technically about the 2002 Oakland Athletics but gets into more than that.
  • Best Team Money Can Buy - About the 2014~ Dodgers.
  • Tony la Russa's book
  • Lindbergh and Miller's book

    If you look through older posts there are dozens of other recs.

    Final personal one isn't about MLB, but about softball in New York. Link Here

    Old professor in college wrote it, thought it was pretty unique.
u/thecoachtaylor · 2 pointsr/baseball

The Glory of Their Times is an awesome read and super insightful on Baseball's early days.

u/jaqueass · 2 pointsr/baseball

You Gotta Have Wa

>The "wa" one must have is the group harmony that is the essence of Japanese "besoboru," or baseball. (Japanese baseball fans view individualism as the fatal flaw in the American game.) This interesting comparative study of the sport as it is played on both sides of the Pacific concentrates on the American stars who have gone to play in Japan. Whiting ( The Chrysanthemum and the Bat ) shows how Americans abroad have adapted to punishing spring training and pre-game practices throughout the season in Japan, and their adjustment to such aspects of the sport as the sacrifice bunt, the hit-and-run and the squeeze. He also chronicles American athletes' problems with tyrannical managers and coaches and umpires bent on saving face. The conclusion: American and Japanese baseball are vastly different games. Photos not seen by PW.

Covers the history of Japanese baseball (which surprisingly well pre-dates WW2) and players which cross the Pacific to play.

Notably, the current version includes updates that cover the careers of well known players like Ichiro, Darvish, etc. One of the most fascinating books I've read in years.

u/accio7 · 5 pointsr/baseball

/u/MTLNewStadium summarized it really well, but, if you are interested in learning more, Jonah Keri explained the situation in further detail in his great book.

u/Are_You_Hermano · 2 pointsr/baseball

My vote goes to [The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It] (

Fun and engaging read.

u/Justinw303 · 3 pointsr/baseball

Honestly, this has got to be my favorite, because I'm a huge stathead. Moneyball is also a good one.

u/jamesEkrueger · 1 pointr/baseball

Yep! If you do end up reading it I hope you enjoy it. It's such a fascinating work

u/aredoubles · 3 pointsr/baseball

Baseball Between the Numbers is a good book to get started with. Easy to read, starts from first principles and builds on, etc.
There are other sabermetrics books out there (The Book, etc.), but I found BBtN to be the best intro.

u/jonahkeri · 53 pointsr/baseball

Thanks so much for hosting me, Reddit! As mentioned earlier, "Up, Up, & Away" comes out today and is available at bookstores near you, online (, as an e-book (, and in various other places.

No BS, it's a superfun book, it has chunks of my soul in every page (someone suggested that makes the book a horcrux, which is pretty brilliant), and I think you'll really dig it.

If I missed your questions, hit me up on Twitter @jonahkeri. I'm usually pretty good about answering tweets, especially if you're willing to wait until after this crazy book launch week ends.

Oh and I'll be a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers on April 22, which is completely insane. Thinking about wearing a beanie propellor just to emphasize the out-of-my-league nerditry of the situation.

Thanks again! A bientot.

u/WompaStompa_ · 2 pointsr/baseball

For anyone who loves this era, I highly recommend The Summer of Beer and Whiskey. One of my all-time favorite books.

u/CanadianFalcon · 1 pointr/baseball

Moneyball is a book. This book.

Moneyball is also the theories espoused in that book. The book basically introduced the idea to the general public, that by truly understanding baseball statistics, teams could get an edge up on their competition and succeed while spending less. The book led to a statistical revolution in baseball, leading to the popularization of new statistics (like WAR, FIP) that were better predictors of future success than the old statistics (Runs, RBI) were.

u/Billy_Fish · 1 pointr/baseball

The one I recommend to everyone is The Baseball Fan's Companion, it is unfortunately out of print but easy to find used. I'd also recommend:

The Glory of their Times by Lawrence Ritter

Veeck as in Wreck by Bill Veeck

Stolen Season by David Lamb

Can't Anybody Here Play this Game by Jimmy Breslin

The Wrong Stuff and Have Glove Will Travel by Bill Lee

You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting

u/tensaibaka · 2 pointsr/baseball

Slugging It Out in Japan: An American Major Leaguer in the Tokyo Outfield

Former MLB'er Warren Cromartie wrote about his experiences playing in Japan, and there's parts of the other famous Japanese baseball book You Gotta Have Wa in there as well. It helped introduce me to Japanese baseball. Pretty good reads.

u/adamadamadam · 1 pointr/baseball

For those interested, The Book that dbeeaitch referenced is top notch. Even if you're not great at math, the authors do a pretty good job of explaining the "take-home" value of the statistics, e.g. if you've got a good OPS but tend to hit in a lot of double plays, you should bat first.

u/rbaile28 · 3 pointsr/baseball

"The Only Rule Is It Has to Work" is a pretty interesting look into the inner workings of the Independent league and a good audiobook for the car.

u/Timofeo · 1 pointr/baseball

I think any fan of baseball that has never played the game above little league level should read The Baseball Codes by Jason Turbow. It outlines pretty much every unwritten rule in the game, while providing plenty of colorful stories and examples to illustrate them.

It's well worth the $5-10 on Amazon or

u/Redspringer · 2 pointsr/baseball

Even though hector is a Yankees fan he knows what he is talking about. ;-)

It's all about pitcher vs. batter. Ask, what pitches can the pitcher throw effectively and how does this particular batter handle each one. You need to pay attention to the Pitch Count (i.e. 2 and 1) and how it pressures the both players into changing their approach.

This book is very good but can drag a bit (just like real baseball).

This is also interesting although a little wonky

u/BenStrike · 6 pointsr/baseball

If you want a really good book on this Jonah Keri's new one is great.

u/BloodyMummer · 1 pointr/baseball

I would spend a lot of time looking at K/BB rates on both pitchers and hitters. Also, keep in mind The Book says there's a 30 point platoon advantage on lefty/righty match-ups, and the amount of ABs needed to see for sure something different is closer to 1,000 than 50. There's a chance you might not want to change too much as you won't see enough ABs to see a statistical significant difference. I would recommend buying The Book to answer a lot of the questions you have.

u/_mcr · 1 pointr/baseball

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

It's a pretty great memoir of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers written by their former beat reporter.

u/SailTheWorldWithMe · 6 pointsr/baseball

Read this to see what you're in for if you think you have a chance at making the minors. Good luck!

u/berrydancer10 · 1 pointr/baseball

If you enjoy nonfiction, try the book Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball

Super eye opening on what these guys go through

u/w0nderbrad · 6 pointsr/baseball

Zack Hample's Watching Baseball Smarter. Might be a little outdated and doesn't touch on the advanced statistics because it wasn't written when that stuff was in vogue, but still very very informative.

Also, feel free to ask us any questions.

u/meep_meep_creep · 1 pointr/baseball

You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting. Great read if you're interested in Japanese baseball and how it compares to American.

u/SquirrelBoy · 2 pointsr/baseball

If you want more like this, The Physics of Baseball is a fantastic book.

u/Quesly · 14 pointsr/baseball

There is a section in the book The Only Rule is it Has to Work" that kind of speaks to the homophobia entrenched in baseball. Sean Conroy, first openly gay professional player (If you count indy ball as pro) strikes someone out and batter grumbling to himself says "I can't believe that faggot struck me out". 2nd at bat, guy Ks again doesn't say shit. The sections about Sean and his relationships with his teammates were my favorite parts of that book they kind of make it seem like there is hope for more inclusion in every part of baseball.

u/Strangeglove · 8 pointsr/baseball

I just finished reading The Boys of Summer, about the Brooklyn Dodgers. Easily one of the best baseball books ever written.

u/EnsignObvious · 2 pointsr/baseball

Seen and read. I have also read The Baseball Economist, Hot Stove Economics and Baseball Between the Numbers. If you have read them already, then bro-fist. If you have yet to read them, then you're welcome :)

u/sturg1dj · 3 pointsr/baseball

I can't find any original work, best I can do is a 15 year old article about the subject.


still an interesting read

plus this book

u/VulcansGM · 5 pointsr/baseball

"Up, Up, and Away" by Jonah Keri is a history of/love letter to the Montreal Expos.

""Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s" by Jason Turnbow covers the Charlie Finley A's.

"Big Data Baseball" by Travis Sawchik is a Moneyball-style look at the early 2010's Pirates, data analysis in baseball, and the origins of today's shifting techniques and importance of pitch framing.

u/rvncto · 2 pointsr/baseball

you gotta give the padres credit though. trying something so radical.

i mean, im probably just saying that cause im currently reading "The only rule is, it has to work"

excellent book.

u/key_lime_pie · 11 pointsr/baseball

The American Association existed almost solely to sell beer. The National League didn't allow beer sales, or play on Sundays. The AA appealed to the common man. There's a great book about it.

u/s1ax0r · 1 pointr/baseball

I always recommend starting with this book. Each chapter deals with a particular question about baseball, then applies the appropriate statistic in the analysis. It is an excellent primer and really helped get me into sabermetrics in high school.

u/SouthernDerpfornia · 4 pointsr/baseball

I prefer The Book, but it is more of an intro to advanced stats. However, it does cover things like platooning, in general which situations bunting helps/hurts, and different ways to leverage a pitching staff

u/DavidRFZ · 1 pointr/baseball

A lot of good books on this. I didn't see this one in the list of sources. Check it out if you're interested.

u/TheBiggestSloth · 2 pointsr/baseball

The Book. Great if you want to learn about sabermatrics.

u/FrenchPressMe · 19 pointsr/baseball

Not as impressive as some of the ones ive seen on this subreddit, but Im excited! Wake up everyday to change chalk records, and adjust the pennants (velcro on back)

Got the pennants from amazon (

Spray paint chalk board for the records!

u/Cabke · 6 pointsr/baseball

I said this a minute ago in another thread, but The Soul of Baseball by Joe Posnanski is fantastic. He follows Buck O'Neil (who all but created the Negro League Museum here in KC on his own) on a road trip. It gave me a whole new perspective on baseball and the Negro Leagues. Buck was known for his crazy stories, and you'll get a ton of them.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/baseball

The Bullpen Gospels (also I assume Out of My League will be good as well)

The Rotation, but you know, yeah.

u/JOEYisROCKhard · 1 pointr/baseball

Dirk Hayhurst did something similar and it turned out great.

u/Eminor3rd · 10 pointsr/baseball

This one is the best. Tango's "The Book" is probably second.

Moneyball is as much fiction as it is fact. It's a fun read but it really only scratches the surface.

u/Threetakes · 3 pointsr/baseball

The Physics of Baseball

If you're into science even a tiny bit, and if you're into baseball, this is an excellent book.

u/boilface · 7 pointsr/baseball

If you're familiar with math/stats, read The Book by Tom Tango. It provides excellent explanations of many statistics and shows the math behind all of the weights they use.

u/texansfan · 2 pointsr/baseball

I am winning my fantasy league this year (finished 4th, 3rd, 3rd last three years), and I'm going all in on stats to do it!

u/MrSkimMilk · 1 pointr/baseball

There are some books on getting into baseball. But, really, the best way is to just start watching games in their entirety. Don't just skip to the highlights. There's plenty of down time to look up rules and terminology online if you're feeling lost.

u/hey_ska · 1 pointr/baseball

The Baseball Codes. All about the unwritten rules of baseball. Very fun read.

u/joejance · 3 pointsr/baseball

Where Nobody Knows Your Name is very good. The author tells the stories of several minor leaguers, some of them former major leaguers with very recognizable names.

Edit: spelling, phone typing

u/Weedwums · 6 pointsr/baseball

If books don't scare you off, I recommend Watching Baseball Smarter.

u/RallyPigeon · 1 pointr/baseball

Glory of Their Times has a lot of neat old baseball stories.

u/Soxsider · 2 pointsr/baseball

I really enjoyed The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime by Michael Duca. It takes examples from across history that adds context to older rules still at play and rules that have died out. Gives the fan some idea of what is going through the player's\manager's minds as they play out a tradition or rules, customs, and superstitions the casual, to even serious, fans may not know why.

u/gbeaudette · 2 pointsr/baseball

Here's a few I found looking through my shelves:

Watching Baseball by Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy.

Watching Baseball Smarter which seems like a sequel, but is actually by a totally different guy.

Why Is the Foul Pole Fair? looks at more of the minutia of going to the ballpark than the game itself.

u/bjilly · 2 pointsr/baseball

I bought this book for my girlfriend and would recommend it to anyone wanting to understand the basics of the game.

u/leemarshallsmustache · 3 pointsr/baseball

I found that the book Watching Baseball Smarter was very helpful for me when I got back into the sport. I watched baseball a lot when I was a kid but the book helped me understand the intricacies of the game when I got back into it in my 20s.

u/ruffyen · 3 pointsr/baseball

[The Book](The Book: Playing The Percentages In Baseball opened my eyes to several baseball ideas.

One such was the idea that batting order has any significant impact on games. Basically they price how it only adds a couple runs per year... Not wins... Runs... Fascinating read at times

u/justanavrgguy · 1 pointr/baseball

I'm sure you've read "The Soul of Baseball" but if you haven't, you should.

u/bigyellowjoint · 2 pointsr/baseball

He cowrote the book "The Only Rule Is It Has to Work", which I highly, highly recommend. He and the other author got to be gm's of an indy ball team and ran it according to all the craziest sabermetric principles.

It was my vacation book last summer, and my only complaint was that I finished it so fast and the only other thing I had was an LSAT prep book.

u/bellekid · 2 pointsr/baseball

My uncle got me a Mets "Ugly Sweater" Santa cap, a Mets long sleeved tee and a Mets National League Champions 2015 hoodie.

I also got a Mets totebag from a Secret Santa I did with some folks I met on here and The Baseball Codes: The Unwritten rules of America's pastime by Jason Turbow and Michael Duca from my parents.

u/DayCMeTrollin · 6 pointsr/baseball

Read a book

Or scroll this article

The hitter/pitcher style might matter, but not individual match-ups.

u/jayzer · 2 pointsr/baseball

I haven't read it yet, but maybe read this?

edit: The author is a redditor and holds the world record for baseballs snagged at games (during batting practice and in the games).

u/bwburke94 · 0 pointsr/baseball

Probably the most famous book about baseball strategy is Moneyball, which covers the 2002 Oakland Athletics team.

u/RebelNutt18 · 1 pointr/baseball

Suggestion for one of the bi-weekly books. Baseball Between The Numbers

u/jtutty22 · 2 pointsr/baseball

I picked up the 2003 copy. This one

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

u/chuckyjc05 · 2 pointsr/baseball

Anyone that finds this stuff cool should read The Book

u/HereIsWhere · 5 pointsr/baseball

There's a whole book about this. I just saw it in a bookstore yesterday:
The Summer of Beer and Whiskey

u/mr_flibble13 · 2 pointsr/baseball

Edward Achorn. Here's a link to the book.

u/zbrady7 · 1 pointr/baseball

Almost all of it is after the turn of the century, but this can't be recommended enough -

u/njgreenwood · 2 pointsr/baseball

I cannot recommend Jonah Keri's book, Up, Up, and Away, enough. All about the history of the Expos.

u/RoyaleWithCheese88 · 1 pointr/baseball

There's a whole chapter about it in The Book.

They looked at 300 different batter/pitcher matchups and found that there was no correlation whatsoever between past and future performance. The sample size is just much too small. Here's the takeaway:

>Knowing a player will face a particular opponent, and given the choice between that player's 1,500 PA over the past three years against the rest of the league, or twenty-five PA against that particular opponent, look at the 1,500 PA.

u/funkyted · 2 pointsr/baseball

I don't usually buy new release books, but $18 seems high? Is that the case or am I just an idiot?

u/evanb_ · 2 pointsr/baseball

Your list is great, so I'm just going to tack on some suggestions to what you've already got rather than start my own.

Numbers-y, science-y books
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First by Jonah Keri

Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit by Matt McCarthy

Veeck as in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck by Bill Veeck

Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big

and Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball by Jose Canseco

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach


Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball by George F. Will

The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-Stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds

and The Good Stuff: Columns about the Magic of Sports

and The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America by Joe Posnanski

3 Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager by Buzz Bissinger

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

The Pitch That Killed: The Story of Carl Mays, Ray Chapman, and the Pennant Race of 1920 by Mike Sowell

Yes, I understand the irony of Joe Posnanski and Jose Canseco being the only author with multiple books. Just read Canseco's books. They're actually not bad.

There are more I'm forgetting. I must have read 50 books about baseball in my short life. I'll add them if I remember.