Date Edit

May 5, 2020

Summary Edit

Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller, and Meg Rowley banter about fear of criticism, Eddie Murphy vs. Eddie Murray, and dreams, then take turns building the best imaginary Hall of Fame exhibits they can by picking five baseball items from their lifetimes for Cooperstown preservation, drafting one artifact apiece from each of five categories.

Topics Edit

  • Items to preserve in imaginary Hall of Fame exhibits
  • Impact of PITCH f/x
  • Eric Gagne vs. Barry Bonds 2004 at-bat
  • Significance of the Cubs' 2016 World Series win
  • Alex Rodriguez's contract and the era of megadeals
  • Sonia Sotomayor's impact on MLB labor relations and the 1995 season
  • Ken Griffey Jr.'s 1989 Upper Deck card and Griffey as a cultural icon
  • Baseball card boom
  • Theo Epstein's gorilla suit
  • Front Office WWE Belt
  • Astros' cheating scandal and use of trash cans
  • Hideo Nomo's 1995 season
  • Teams that passed on Mike Trout
  • Mike Trout's WAR accumulation

Intro Edit

Death Cab for Cutie, "Pictures in an Exhibition"

Outro Edit

Mavis Staples, "History, Now"

Banter Edit

  • Prompted by Meg saying (before recording started) that she had a quick comment, Sam says that after he publishes an article he is anxious for several hours afterward, and if somebody says "Hey, I want to talk to you," he's afraid that he made some career-ending blunder.
  • Meg was listening to Episode 1534 and mistakenly thought that Ben and Sam were talking about actor/comedian Eddie Murphy when they were discussing Eddie Murray. She wondered why nobody ever mentioned Eddie Murphy's MLB career.
  • Sam had an elaborate dream, and then had a second dream in which he told the story of the first dream as banter. A short discussion follows about dream episodes of television. The consensus is that they are unsatisfying.

Draft Selections Edit

"If you could preserve only five items from your lifetime in the Baseball Hall of Fame, one from each category below, what would they be?"

Equipment Paper Clothing Wild Card Mike Trout
Meg First PITCH f/x unit Alex Rodriguez's $252 million contract Ken Griffey Jr.'s hat from 1989 Upper Deck card Front Office WWE Belt Draft boards of teams that passed on Trout
Sam Ball from last out of 2016 World Series Alex Rodriguez's $252 million contract Ken Griffey Jr.'s hat from 1989 Upper Deck card Hideo Nomo's Rookie of the Year Award Trout's would-be jersey from 2020 Opening Day
Ben Barry Bonds' home run ball off Eric Gagne Sonia Sotomayor's 1995 ruling for MLBPA Theo Epstein's gorilla suit Trash can from Houston Astros' cheating scandal Video display board with Mike Trout's WAR

Also mentioned

  • Equipment: Questec camera smashed by Curt Schilling (Sam).
  • Equipment: Bat held by Barry Bonds when he was intentionally walked with the bases loaded (Ben).
  • Equipment: Vin Scully's microphone from his last broadcast (Sam), another "end of the century" marker.
  • Paper: Cal Ripken's record-breaking lineup card (Ben).
  • Clothing: Curt Schilling's bloody sock (Ben).
  • Clothing: Ichiro's batting helmet (Meg).
  • Body parts: Ichiro's arm (Ben).
  • Wildcard/Equipment: HD broadcasts (Meg).
  • Trout: Pirates reports on Mike Trout and Tony Sanchez (Meg), if the draft boards take up too much space in the museum.
  • Trout: The shirt Mike Trout wore to the draft (Ben).
  • Trout: The ball he threw from the outfield at 98.6 mph to get a runner trying to score (Ben) (link below). It demonstrates how hard Trout works to eliminate his weaknesses. It also lets Ben preserve a 2019 juiced baseball.

Notes Edit

  • The original categories were wedding-themed ("something borrowed..."), and Sam had to fit his choices into the new categories.
  • PITCH f/x was Ben's first pick in the Episode 500 draft of things about baseball.
  • PITCH f/x was simultaneously the end of the era when fans had the same data as teams and the start of a new era of big data baseball.
  • The Bonds-Gagne match-up (linked below) epitomized the steroid era: Two superhuman players, "both juiced to the gills." One announcer said in admiration, "I'm not sure which guy is from the other planet." There's a rumor that even the radar gun was juiced. (See link below.)
  • Bonds and Gagne played together on an exhibition team in Japan, and they made an agreement that if they faced each other, Gagne would throw only fastballs except for one non-fastball.
  • Sam admires the Bonds at-bats in low-leverage situations, because those are the most pure pitcher-batter duels.
  • The final out of the 2016 World Series it marks the end of the 20th century in baseball. The Cubs finally winning the World Series was the last incomplete story line from the 1900's.
  • Alex Rodriguez's $252 million contract established the era of the megadeal. It obliterated the previous record, the $121 million contract that Mike Hampton signed just two days earlier. It led to the stratification of free agents into megadeals and what Meg calls the "dying middle class" of baseball. It is arguably Scott Boras's crowning achievement.
  • Rodriguez claimed that it was the pressure of the contract that drove him to take steroids, which ties the contract to the steroid history of baseball.
  • Forbes calculated that Alex Rodriguez's contract exceeded the value of 18 MLB franchises, 25 NBA franchises, and 27 NHL franchises.
  • In 1995, Sonia Sotomayor blocked the owners from hiring replacement players, ordering play to resume while negotiations continued. Barack Obama mentioned this case when he introduced Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
  • On the subject of government officials bringing back baseball, Sam says that he's looking forward to Dr. Anthony Fauci's memo announcing the restart of the season.
  • Before Meg announces her clothing pick, Sam says, "There's no way that we picked the same thing here." Meg begins to introduce her pick, and Sam gets nervous. She says that she is picking "the hat...", and Sam breathes a sigh of relief ("okay"). Meg continues "... that Ken Griffey, Jr....", and Sam shouts "NOOOOOO!!!"
  • Ben can't understand why Sam was relieved when Meg said "the hat." Sam explains that his pick was the Polaroid photo of Ken Griffey, so when Meg said "hat", he assumed she was picking something else, not realizing that she was picking the hat from the photo.
  • Card number one in the 1989 Upper Deck baseball card series was a photo of Griffey as a class A-Advanced player for the San Bernadino Spirit, but with the hat doctored to become a Seattle Mariners cap.
  • Tom Geideman made the bold decision to lead the deck with a minor leaguer, long before prospects became something people paid attention to. The card was an instant hit.
  • Theo Epstein resigned as Red Sox GM on Halloween over a contract dispute. To sneak past reporters, he drove out of the park in a gorilla suit.
  • Sam is in awe of the creativity of Ben's choice of Theo Epstein's gorilla suit. Ben didn't want to pick a uniform, because uniforms are relatively boring and don't tell stories.
  • MLB awarded a toy WWE championship-style belt to the team that best kept salaries low in arbitration.
  • Sam notes that baseball executives are jocks and billionaires, and the WWE-style belt is "businesspeople doing business in the manner of a jock."
  • The championship belt has been retired in shame. Sam wonders what happened to it. Meg imagines it being melted down like the Terminator.
  • Ben notes that there are rarely artifacts of sign-stealing that could go into a museum. The trash can is a wonderful exception.
  • Ben wonders if somebody might mistake it for a regular trash can. On the other hand, you could make it an interactive exhibit, where people could bang the trash can themselves.
  • Sam notes that Ben's picks have not exactly been feel-good baseball stories.
  • Hideo Nomo capped the gradual expansion of MLB from a white man's sport, to desegregation, and now being connected to leagues around the world.
  • Sam is nevertheless disappointed that MLB treats all the other leagues as a feeder system, rather than as peers. "I might prefer a system where American superstars are as likely to play in Japan or Korea as the reverse."
  • Ben wonders if we are making too much out of Trout being passed over. He was definitely going to get picked, it was just a matter of when. By comparison, Mike Piazza almost didn't get picked at all: He was the 1390th pick in the final round, chosen as a favor to a friend.
  • Meg admits that the draft angle lets her "wonder if the Mariners would have messed him up."
  • Ben is somewhat unhappy with his pick of the WAR leaderboard, since it sounds too stat-nerdy. On the other hand, Trout made us appreciate WAR, and WAR made us appreciate Trout.
  • Sam looked for a tangible object to represent how Trout failed to win the MVP in years people believe he should have won, but "they don't give you a plaque for second place."
  • Trout's 2020 jersey represents the end of the "Mike Trout is the greatest player through age X" streak. The lost games seriously damage his chances of making many career milestones, like 4000 hits or 160 career WAR. Furthermore, the possibly-lost 2020 season may have long-term effects and serve as a pivot point for the future of baseball.
  • If he could save only one year of any player, Sam picks Mike Trout's rookie year.

Links Edit

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