HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

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

by Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
19322117,448 (3.92)16
It's the ultimate in fantasy baseball: You get to pick the roster, set the lineup, and decide on strategies--with real players, in a real ballpark, playing in real time. That's what Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when the Sonoma Stompers, an independent minor-league team in California, offered them the chance to run the team's baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. Their story is unlike any other baseball tale you've ever read. We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule: It has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in American professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance. Will their knowledge of numbers bring the Stompers a championship? Will the team have a competitive advantage, or is the old folk wisdom really true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts or will this be a fast track to oblivion? It's a wild ride, as the authors' infectious enthusiasm and feel for the absurd make the Stompers' story one that will speak to numbers geeks and traditionalists alike. And in a new afterword, Lindbergh and Miller pick up the story in a new season to show how the team and its players continue to break new ground, on and off the field.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 16 mentions

English (22)  German (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Lindbergh and Miller are two journalists who firmly believe in the utility of statistical analysis for improving and managing baseball players and teams. They get the opportunity to essentially manage an independent minor league team for a season, and this book relates what happened. Their story is engaging and hits all the baseball high points: statistics reveal talent no one else sees, clashes with traditionalists, friction and friendship among teammates, victories and defeats. I devoured this book and recommend it to any baseball fan! ( )
  nmele | Apr 10, 2021 |
Best baseball book I've read. Insights into the future of baseball, but also the all too human side as well. ( )
  mbeaty91 | Sep 9, 2020 |
In 2015, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, a pair of sportswriters, bloggers and podcast hosts got the owners of an 4-team independent baseball league* to agree to allow them to apply the relatively new ideas about baseball that are generally housed under the broad term, "sabermatrics." Sabermatrics is the philosophy/practice of developing rosters and considering in-game strategy that is based on deep dives into performance stats and probabilities rather than going by old-school, we've always done it that way attitudes.

* Independent leagues are the lowest level of professional baseball. The leagues are "independent" because they have no affiliation with major league teams.

The book is, basically, a co-memoir. The two men take turns writing chapters. Together, they describe their progress through the season with their team, the Sonoma Stompers. While they don't get to create the team's entire 22-man roster, they are able to add several players of their own choosing for which they study databases of players who had remained undrafted by major league organizations and whose stats indicate potential success based upon the "new" theories. The writers describe the coming together of the team, their struggles to gain the respect of the players and coaching staff for their roles in the team's performance, their growing understanding of the dynamics of clubhouse culture and the specific problems of players performing at such a low level of organized ball. As the season progresses, the two writers, together, weave together a very engaging story and they don't stint in self-examination, either. There's a lot of learning done.

There is also a very interesting section of the narrative about the coming out of one of their pitchers, Sean Conroy, to become the first openly gay ballplayer in American professional baseball. When Conroy starts on the mound for the team's Pride Night that June, the program for the game, signed by every team member, ends up in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The biggest part of the story, in a way, is Conroy's teammates' easy acceptance of his sexuality.

Lindbergh and Miller are both quite good writers, so the book flows very nicely and remains interesting throughout. It's a study of baseball, certainly, and as such is more or less of interest to baseball fans only. But this is also an interesting and acute study of human nature.

A personal note that the town of Sonoma is, you'll not be surprised to learn, in Sonoma County, California, just a touch south of where I live in Mendocino County. Yet I'd never even heard of the team, or the league, until I happened to notice an article online about their having fielded the first women players in organized baseball. (They did that the next year, after Miller and Lindbergh had ended their active participation in the organization.) That led me to the team's website, and to their "products" page, which features this book. I was looking forward to driving down to take in some games this summer. Oh, well.

Anyway, I highly recommend this book, though for baseball fans only. ( )
  rocketjk | Jun 9, 2020 |
I tried so hard to like this book. I know the details are important to the authors, but the minutiae got in the way of telling the story. I couldn't keep track of the players and lost interest. ( )
  meacoleman | Jun 18, 2019 |
A pair of stats geeks with a podcast are given the opportunity to run a baseball team to see if they can test the concepts of sabermetrics - the empirical analysis of baseball - in a real world setting. The team they get to try this on is the 2015 Sonoma Stompers who play in the low level independent league, the Pacific Association. They face challenges of having a manager and players go along with their unorthodox suggestions for playing baseball, as well finding talented players to sign to the team, since the Pacific Association doesn't attract the best talent. To surprise of many, the Stompers do very well, dominiating the league in the first half. The authors are honest enough to admit that it wasn't always their ideas that contributed to the overall success. But sucess has its downside as it leads to many of the Stompers' best players getting signed to contracts on teams in better leagues, leaving the Stompers weakened for the second half and postseason. Nevertheless, I did find myself drawn into their account and caring very deeply about how the Stompers would do that season. The book is an interesting case study of putting sabermetrics into action and the real life challenges it may face, as well as just being an interesting baseball story. ( )
1 vote Othemts | Jan 20, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ben Lindberghprimary authorall editionscalculated
Miller, Sammain authorall editionsconfirmed
Heyborne, KirbyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pruden, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

It's the ultimate in fantasy baseball: You get to pick the roster, set the lineup, and decide on strategies--with real players, in a real ballpark, playing in real time. That's what Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when the Sonoma Stompers, an independent minor-league team in California, offered them the chance to run the team's baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. Their story is unlike any other baseball tale you've ever read. We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule: It has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in American professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance. Will their knowledge of numbers bring the Stompers a championship? Will the team have a competitive advantage, or is the old folk wisdom really true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts or will this be a fast track to oblivion? It's a wild ride, as the authors' infectious enthusiasm and feel for the absurd make the Stompers' story one that will speak to numbers geeks and traditionalists alike. And in a new afterword, Lindbergh and Miller pick up the story in a new season to show how the team and its players continue to break new ground, on and off the field.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Ben Lindbergh's book The Only Rule Is It Has to Work was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.92)
0.5
1
1.5
2 4
2.5
3 12
3.5 5
4 28
4.5 4
5 15

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 171,705,580 books! | Top bar: Always visible