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The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild…

The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind… (2016)

by Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller

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7315164,469 (3.89)6



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I hate to admit that I mostly do not remember "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis - except that it had something to do with statistics, and although I have some level of interest in statistics, including those presented in Lewis's book, I sometimes find it all hard to follow. But in "The only rule ..." the authors have made the logic of their experiment somehow more accessible. It is fascinating to watch the hows and whys of putting together a minor league baseball team through the eyes of two guys who really have no idea what they are doing. You will watch shifts in Major League Baseball in a new light. I did find it hard to differentiate between the voices of each author - it might as well have been written by one person, but it was overall an interesting inside look into the making of a baseball team. ( )
  GReader28 | Nov 7, 2016 |
For millions of people, fantasy baseball gives fans the opportunity to imagine themselves as the GM of a professional ballclub, assembling their roster, crafting a starting lineup, working the waiver wire, and negotiating trades. The authors of this very entertaining book were given the opportunity to do that exact thing, except with a real-life professional team, the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific League. The authors are two baseball writers who are steeped in sabermetric thought (sabermetrics is the use of data to create objective knowledge of baseball) and they are given (almost!) free-reign to test out whatever theories or strategies they think will work. What results is a really engaging book, not because it is a particularly groundbreaking thesis is baseball strategy (it is not!).

Instead, this book is a window into a world I dreamed about as a kid and never knew much about as an adult: what is life like as a professional baseball player? Notice how I am not saying "major league baseball player." The Sonoma Stompers are professional (players are paid about $500 a month...), but they are not affiliated with an MLB team. This is not he "big leagues," or even the "medium leagues." This is bare-bones baseball, which is something even huge sports fans like myself really don't have much experience with, in many case. I loved learning about this and it made me want to start hanging around more minor league stadiums! ( )
  ArtVanDelay1774 | Jul 23, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Think Moneyball for the minor leagues. The really, really low level minor leagues. The Sonoma Stompers to be exact.

Think the ultimate fantasy league where a pair of sabermetrics geeks get to test out their ideas on a real live baseball team one summer. Of course, they encounter managers and others who are less than willing to go along with the program. Their ideas and how they worked out, not to mention how they got the team to go along with those ideas, were the best parts of the book.

Overall, a book that any baseball fan could love. ( )
  lindapanzo | Jun 24, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Entertaining and insightful. A slightly better subtitle might be "Our Attempt to Build ...", as much of the authors' book is about the various hurdles that get in the way of their quest. To their credit, Lindbergh and Miller are funny and candid about their own failings and don't just complain about how their new-school sabermetrics were stymied by hidebound managers. It was also eye-opening to read their descriptions of the independent league they were working in; affiliated minor ball is far away from the majors (think of Crash Davis's speech in "Bull Durham"), but indie ball has far less money, far less support and far fewer chances of making it to even Single A, let alone the Show. Too bad the book only covers one season; I would've liked to see the authors have more of a chance to try out their strategies and to see if they actually added up to more wins and better players. ( )
  bostonian71 | Jun 21, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In this book, a couple of baseball podcasters with just a little management experience between them get the opportunity to manage a baseball team by the numbers. They offer to manage the team using statistics, similar to those used in the major leagues. The get the opportunity in a very minor league in Sanoma, California, the Sanoma Stompers.

In the course of their adventures, they learn that statistics aren't everything. They get resistance from players and other managers who don't want rules from outsiders. They learn about the politics of baseball, and that some things are more important than the statistics.

At times the books is outright funny, it is insightful, and you can learn a lot about the inside activities of baseball. It is an enjoyable read for anyone interested in the sport. ( )
  Nodosaurus | Jun 4, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ben Lindberghprimary authorall editionscalculated
Miller, Sammain authorall editionsconfirmed
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