The Dodgers

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The MVP Machine authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik

Ben Lindbergh
Travis Sawchik

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Photo: Basic Books

Ben Linbergh and Travis Sawchik on their new book "The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players"

It's "Baseball Week" at Bullseye and bestselling authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik have stepped up to the plate. Their new book is titled The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players. It takes a look at the tide-shift happening in the game of baseball. Even if you're not a huge fan of the game, there's a lot to take away from the lessons in the book.

Chances are you're aware of the change in baseball strategy due to a little film called Moneyball. The film, and the book before it, recounts how general managers and recruiters turned to statistical data and probability to arm their teams with the best players in the league. But with the Yankees and the Dodgers and just about every other team in the league all using the same strategy, the efficacy of this method began to wane. That's where The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players comes in.

The book gets into how a lot of conventional coaching in the big leagues is totally wrong. Throwing your fastball a lot? Wrong. Having a nice even swing? Wrong. Striking out a lot? Who cares! Furthermore, the book examines the dramatic changes happening in the league and how data technology and innovations in coaching are disrupting the front offices as well as lineups. It's a fascinating look at the history of baseball and the potential future that lies ahead.

The MVP Machine is available now.

Pop Rocket Ep. 196 Bad Times at the El Royale w/Drea Clark

Drea Clark, Margaret Wappler, Guy Branum, and Karen Tongson
Pop Rocket
Guy Branum
Karen Tongson
Margaret Wappler
Drea Clark

It’s 1969. Four guests check into the El Royale Hotel: a priest (Jeff Bridges), a vacuum salesman (Jon Hamm), a singer (Cynthia Erivo), and a hippie (Dakota Johnson). They all - save one - have something mysterious going on behind the scenes and the hotel itself is not what it appears to be. When they check in, there’s a storm a-brewin'.

Join Guy, Karen, Margaret, and producer/film festival programmer/Who Shot Ya contributor and now Pop Rocket guest Drea Clark as they pick apart Drew Goddard’s neo-noir ensemble Bad Times at The El Royale. They get into the movie's twists, turns, non-linear construction, Cynthia Erivo's breakout performance, and how it's kind of like Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, but not nearly as macho.

All Abouts

Drea is all about a long read article from The Texas Monthly called The Love Story that Upended the Texas Prison System about the alliance and romantic relationship between a lawyer and an inmate that ultimately brought attention to a nationwide scandal and disrupted the system of abuse of prisoners in Texas.

Margaret is all about the second season of the Slate podcast Slow Burn, which covers the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton.

Karen is all about The LA Dodgers pulling ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers (as of last Wednesday) in the National League Championship Series.

Guy is all about Glenn Close's performance in her new movie The Wife.

That's My Jam

Karen - Trashcan Sinatras - All Night

Margaret - Alvvays - In Undertow.

Drea - Tierra Whack - MUMBO JUMBO

With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Drea Clark, and Margaret Wappler.

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Produced by Laura Swisher for Edited by Shana Daloria.

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