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Ben Lindbergh and former co-host Sam Miller of ESPN discuss what (if anything) future generations will remember about the 2017 season, then answer listener emails about an Albert Pujols hypothetical, preserving and valuing front-office secrets, whether keeping Bryce Harper would be worth carrying his brother, planning the perfect baseball-fan retirement, and whether baseball fields are shaped the way they should be, plus a Stat Blast about the sequel to Robert Gsellman’s no-swing season and an ERA mystery.


  • Albert Pujols contract hypothetical
  • The value of preserving front office secrets
  • Keeping Bryce Harper by calling up his brother
  • Robert Gsellman's contact rate and patience
  • Historic ERA based on score differences
  • Selecting a city for baseball-fan retirement
  • Are baseball fields shaped optimally?


  • Sam is a guest host while Jeff is on vacation. He notes that it is one year since Episode 1001, the first without Sam.
  • Reviewing Sam's articles about defining memories from a baseball season, and what will be remembered about the 2017 season.
  • Sam wonders if MLB would ever announce if they make changes to the ball, whether or not the current changes were deliberate or not.

Email Questions[]

  • Drew: "What if the Angels could make a deal with the Devil and get Albert Pujols in his offensive prime on the condition that he plays center field in his current state?"
  • Ken: "Say the top members of a front office stumble upon the secret sauce that ensures championships year after year. Would the people with this knowledge name their price to stay? Would anyone even consider leaving knowing the magic formula becomes less valuable? What would MLB do to restore parity?"
  • Daniel: "Would it be worth it to the Nats to put his brother Bryan in the starting rotation for the entire year in order to get Harper to sign an extension?"
  • Hans from the Netherlands is planning on retiring in seven years time and wants to spend a year in a MLB city, walking or biking to all home games. Which city?
  • Ryan: "Are baseball fields the correct size and shape?" Unlike other sports, the rarest thing (a triple) is not the most valuable thing (a home run). Ryan asks if baseball would be improved by moving the fences further back to better align difficulty with value.

Stat Blast[]

  • Sam looks at Robert Gsellman's offensive performance this season after he did not swing all of the previous year due to injury. (Bunt attempts do not count as swings.)
  • Robert Gsellman has the highest contact rate (95.5%) this season, among batters who have seen at least 40 pitches.
  • Gsellman also had the lowest o-swing rate in baseball.
  • Sam discovered that ERA in blowout games and tie games is higher than in games where teams are separated by 1-4 runs. Ben understands why ERA is higher in blowouts: Teams don't use their ace reliever in blowouts. Sam's theory on tie games is simple: "Every game starts tied." The top of the order is at bat in the first inning, which is when the most runs are scored.


  • Sam gives several possibilities for why the 2017 baseball season might not be remembered. His last is "of course there's the other thing... the world ending."
  • Ben suggests Hans go to New York, but admits it would be out of Hans's budget, so he suggests San Diego or San Francisco as a warm-weather city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Sam notes that San Francisco is probably also out of Hans's budget. Sam says, "All the cities are good," with one exception he won't name. Ben asks how Hans feels about avocados. Ultimately, they ask Hans to wait six years and ask again.
  • Shortly after the 55 minute mark of the episode Ben begins to ask Ryan's question. Sam interrupts, "Oh, we're still going?"
  • Sam notes that in 1903, triples vastly outnumbered home runs, so it may have been the original intent to make rarer things more valuable. Ben suggests that if the game evolved to its current state, is that proof that what we have now is better? (On the other hand, Three True Outcomes may be a counterexample.) Sam suspects ballparks were adjusted to make the game more exciting and bring fans closer to the game. Sam adds, "Right now, I'm leaning toward 'This is the best question we've ever had.'"
  • What Sam hates is the "donut hole": A poorly-hit ball is an out, but if you hit it a little worse, you get a single. Moving the fences back would increase the size of the donut hole. Sam says his least favorite sentence in baseball is, "not hit hard enough for them to get the double play".