t1


2:01
Meg Rowley: Hi everyone – we’ll get started shortly.
2:01
Meg Rowley: A couple of things to highlight from today.
2:02
Meg Rowley: Thank you so much to everyone who has become a member, gifted a membership to another reader, bought a t-shirt, or read the site!
2:03
Meg Rowley: We remain very grateful for this community.
2:03
Meg Rowley: the 2001 Series is what inspired him to write these, so definitely give it a read.
2:04
Meg Rowley: Next week, we’ll have projections for the 2020 season.
2:06
Meg Rowley: The KBO is really wonderful, and something to enjoy on its own terms. We hope this piece helps give readers a sense of the run-scoring and stat environment.
2:07
Nick: What’s your take on sbnation’s history of the Mariner’s? Is there anything you wish they would’ve added to the narrative they’ve presented so far?
2:08
Meg Rowley: I’ll admit I haven’t had time to sit down and watch more than the first episode, but that was very, very well done.
2:08
Meg Rowley: Look forward to catching up on the rest for sure
2:09
Jeff: What does it say that we demand blood for dumb stuff like stealing signs in baseball or a comedian telling off color jokes, but could not possibly care less that just between the NFL and MLB alone tens of billions of taxdollars have gone into building private stadiums?
2:10
Meg Rowley: I think you’re underestimating the degree to which people are often publicly critical of private funding of stadiums? There’s significant academic and journalistic discourse to that end.
2:10
Meg Rowley: Plus we’re very capable of being critical of multiple things at once.
2:10
Meg Rowley: Oh boy aren’t we.
2:10
Leone for Third: How do you think a truncated season will effect a team like the Mariners?  Does it push their window back a year as key prospects aren’t getting the reps they normally would?
2:12
Meg Rowley: Not having a minor league season (which seems likely at this point) isn’t great for teams depending on deep farm systems to contend, though I imagine that expanded rosters (which also seem a given at this point) will mean that prospects in the high minors might see time this year against big leaguers.
2:13
Meg Rowley: Teams will likely have some of their dudes play at the complex level to try to mitigate the time off, but deeper systems could still struggle to get guys enough reps.
2:14
Meg Rowley: So I guess, TBD. It’s not good, but how not good is going to depend on how much complex level play they can get it and how many dudes can be on the big league roster.
2:14
Chuck: Maybe, I don’t really want to know how your garden grows, cuz I just want to fly.
2:14
Meg Rowley: Now I want to try to answer every chat question using Oasis lyrics, though I worry readers might look back in anger on the transcript.
2:15
TarzanStretch: Too much time on my hands question: It’s taken as a given that modern training makes today’s athletes superior to those in the past. But doesn’t that same training potentially increase injury risk or possibly cause injuries directly? At the very least you’re adding risk factors to an already complex dynamic system. Is there any evidence that the increased risk is worth it over the course of a player’s career? For football it seems like no. Maybe the jury is still out on baseball
2:16
Meg Rowley: There is certainly increased risk of injury with more training, but I think it is largely offset by being both more intelligently directed and decreasing the risk of injury over the course of a long season because more athletic bodies are theoretically better positioned to deal with the wear and tear of 162 games.
2:18
Meg Rowley: I think with football, the calculus is more complex than you’re accounting for. Bigger, stronger bodies can do more damage certainly, but that’s also interacting with football being an impact sport, what the presence of helmets might mean for players perception of risk, etc.
2:18
Yoervis: What would be the most on-brand Mariners moment of a shortened season?
2:18
Meg Rowley: Being close to a playoff spot, trading an important prospect, missing by one game.
2:19
Meg Rowley: I should say, I think Seattle is very clear about where they are in their window, and have ownership buy-in on that plan. I don’t think they’ll actually do what I just said. But that would be the most on-brand.
2:19
BK: Have you been watching any Taiwan baseball lately? It’s actually been pretty great to watch. Early start times, but it’s been refreshing to watch some baseball
2:20
Meg Rowley: I’ve been catching up on highlights, but the start time is pretty rough for someone in the pacific time zone, and while I watched the entire Mariners/A’s Japan series, given all the other stuff going on right now, I’ve been reluctant to steer my sleep schedule into that particular skid.
2:20
Tom: What’s on the UFO video?
2:21
Joe from Chicago and also Seattl: Meg! Hope y’all are doing ok in FG world. We’ve also had layoffs and across the board pay cuts and it’s just hard and I’m worried they’re gonna make me lay off the people I’m managing who I care about as human beings 🙁
2:22
Meg Rowley: Joe, I’m so sorry. It’s just a really bad, hard time, made worse by the knowledge that some of what you’re describing could be mitigated by more decisive federal action. I hope you’re able to avoid further layoffs.
2:23
Lunar verLander: Is there anything fundamentally different about the game of baseball (compared to other sports) that makes it such that several minor league teams / major league team is a necessity? Don’t get me wrong, more baseball is better, but if MLB is looking to ax MiLB teams, I would like to think that they have SOME sort of semi-logical thinking that isn’t financially motivated.
2:25
Meg Rowley: I don’t think that the distribution of teams is necessarily perfectly optimized, and I think we can say that without conceding such a drastic plan of contraction. But I also think that when very smart player dev organizations want to add affiliates, it’s pretty telling. Player dev is better than it has ever been. We know more and are able to measure more than ever before. We shouldn’t overstate how many marginal prospects can develop into big leagers, but we should probably be careful to be overly confident when we say none of them can.
2:26
Meg Rowley: There are a lot of things the minors should do: developing ball players is the first goal, the primary motivation, but giving communities access to affordable, in-person baseball can be a goal too. The current proposal doesn’t strike me as being primarily in service of either of those.
2:26
Nathan: I’ve really enjoyed watching the MLB The Show tournaments. Do you see a future where IRL baseball is replaced by eSports?
2:27
Meg Rowley: No, but I think eSports generally clearly has an audience that is ever-growing and will take up increasing space in the broadcast realm and in sports discourse.
2:27
Joe from Chicago and also Seattl: Please continue to say “banging scheme” and giggle with borderline obnoxious frequency on the pod, it makes me very happy.
2:28
TarzanStretch: On the lighter side there are crazy animals out there that have been unused by sports teams.  I’d like to see the “San Antonio Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos” .  You have a favorite?
2:28
Meg Rowley: Really feel like there ought to be more rhinos and also, graceful, leaping plains animals?
2:29
Bob: I yearn for a world where, I, a simple misclassified and now furloughed independent contractor, would receive a small amount of federal assistance so I don’t need to live in my car next month, instead of the Lakers receiving $4.6 million.
2:30
Meg Rowley: It is impossibly frustrating how little of our politics is motivated by an understanding that we ought to use government to care for one another.
2:30
Meg Rowley: I hope things improve for you soon, Bob.
2:30
Ed: So imagine that MLB agreed to use the Florida/Arizona model for 2020. SInce most of those stadiums are built for Spring Training, couldn’t teams also form an all star team with their top 30 minor leaguers and have them practice on the back fields? And then maybe play morning games against other minor league all star teams with the MLB teams playing at night? As a Mariner fan i would be just as interested if not more so in the progress of the minor league stars as I would be the real Mariners. Could we make that work?
2:32
Meg Rowley: I expect there to be backfield play at the complexes for sure – exactly how that’s configured remains unclear. I think the focus will be on broadcasting the big league games. That’s enough of a challenge.
2:32
Chris: Assuming we ‘reopen’ baseball while still observing a level of social distancing, is there any reason why the manager/coaches should be in the dugout? I imagine they will be, but how much of their roles really could be remotely performed?
2:36
Meg Rowley: I think the plan was to use the seats behind the dugout to spread everyone out. But yeah, I’d think a lot of the coaching staff could be up in the press box, and then use headsets like in football – you probably still have the manager at field level, but we could spread guys out. Not sure how enthusiastic about introducing more electronic communication to the dugout the league would be given recent shenanigans but public health is a pretty compelling reason to figure that stuff out.
2:37
TarzanStretch: Someone must be using ‘Gazelles” as a team name.  Maybe a track team?
2:37
Meg Rowley: Looks like track and also a soccer company of some sort?
2:37
Dan: What happens to MiLB players who don’t get a season? Do the best prospects flood winter ball and we have a super winter ball season later this year?
2:39
Meg Rowley: Again, I think some will end up filling out expanded rosters. Assuming there is a Fall League, maybe we see expansion there and will instructs. And then possibly for Winter Ball, though it isn’t as if there will be no COVID-19 this fall and winter.
2:39
Yoervis: How many of the questions in the pool are on the M’s?
2:39
Meg Rowley: Not as many as you’d think, but I’m trying to switch up who’s asking stuff – lot of the queue is from the same couple of readers.
2:40
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: How great would it be if we actually were only capable of getting angry about one thing at a time though? Without resolution on the Astros scandal, that could be the only thing we would be upset about right now!
2:40
Meg Rowley: Sadly it appears that having a society is currently dependent on the ability to be mad at a lot of things at once.
2:40
Meg Rowley: Very cool system we have here? TBD.
2:43
Don: Is there a particular prospect you’d like to see the Mariners take this year?
2:44
Meg Rowley: Not sure if this is meant as a draft question, so instead I will use it to answer a different question and say that I am particularly interested to see how M’s minor league pitchers develop, and how the org continues to refine its player dev there.
2:45
Meg Rowley: Logan Gilbert and George Kirby are the headliners, but some of the lower level dudes are interesting, too.
2:45
BASEBALL SZN: Which KBO team are you going to be an irrationally huge fan of and why?
2:47
Meg Rowley: Probably the Giants? Former FanGraphsers in the front office? Check. Middling success of late? Check. New front office emphasis on analytics? Yup.
2:47
Meg Rowley: Sounds like a Meg team
2:47
KC: As someone who regularly works from home, how do you keep yourself motivated and focused? I’m currently temporarily laid off from work and I’m trying to study for school next year and teach myself peogramming but I just can’t stay on task. Near regular anxiety doesn’t help,either.
2:49
Meg Rowley: A couple of thoughts here. First, this is not normal working from home. You didn’t get a new gig that is work from home and now you’re adjusting to that. Don’t be hard on yourself about being distracted. I am very used to working from home and work way too much, and I’m often distracted right now.
2:50
Meg Rowley: I find that when I’m stuck, doing a couple of small things that aren’t work related and aren’t time consuming can help get me back in a groove. Stymied by an edit? Wash the dishes. Take out the trash. Go for a walk.
2:51
Meg Rowley: But mostly, this isn’t normal. It’s ok for it to feel fucked. We just have to do the best we can, and grade on a rather extreme curve.
2:52
Guest: When/how did you get into analytics?
2:53
Meg Rowley: Early/mid 2000s I guess – it was a combination of wanting to better understand the sport and also wanting to engage with an aspect of it where not having played wouldn’t matter.
2:53
Guest: Someone asked Ben this yesterday, curious as to your thoughts: what 1 baseball stat is best to bridge the analytics/old-school divide?  Put another way, what 1 stat should a ballpark show in order to convey information usefully to both statheads and those who remember watching the Brooklyn Dodgers?  (Ben’s answer: OPS)
2:54
Meg Rowley: I think OPS is a great answer, even though I think you start to go wrong if you get too into the nitty gritty of what goes into slugging.
2:55
Meg Rowley: What are analytics trying to accomplish? Better understanding what is happening and who is good. OPS lets you talk about that using underlying stats people understand.
2:55
Dr. Science: Any chance we see tandem starters this year?  I would think it would be easier to find two pitcher who can get through the order twice than one who can get through three times?
2:56
Meg Rowley: Imagine it will be on the table for sure as teams think about how to protect pitchers from injury but also want to get some length out of what they have.
2:56
Felipe: Do you play Fantasy Baseball? I do and I miss it everyday.
2:57
Meg Rowley: Not anymore. I play in a sim league that is great fun even though I inherited a rebuilding team with some less than great pitching.
2:57
Bryce: Why did Noel Gallagher bury so many incredible songs as B sides? They could’ve had a third classic album in addition to Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory.
2:57
Meg Rowley: Maybe he wanted to reward effort?
2:58
TarzanStretch: There are some things it’s ok to be mad about.  Social injustice,  government fraud and waste, corporate greed,  people who drive too slow in the left lane and never get over…
2:58
Meg Rowley: The people who wait more than five seconds to turn on their turn signals when they’re making an unprotected left turn….
2:59
Meg Rowley: Ok pals, I gotta get rolling.
2:59
Meg Rowley: Thank you for the questions, and sorry for what I couldn’t get to.
3:00
Meg Rowley: Stay safe and be well. Until next week!


 

Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs, the host of FanGraphs Audio, and the co-co-host of Effectively Wild. Her work has previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.



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