36 episodes

Ballpark Digest editors discuss the news of the day and the culture and history of baseball in a variety of podcast formats, ranging from weekly Broadcaster Chats to Jesse Goldberg-Strassler's Tales from The Baseball Thesaurus.

Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chats Ballpark Digest

    • Sports
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Ballpark Digest editors discuss the news of the day and the culture and history of baseball in a variety of podcast formats, ranging from weekly Broadcaster Chats to Jesse Goldberg-Strassler's Tales from The Baseball Thesaurus.

    Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Lessons Learned So Far in 2022

    Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Lessons Learned So Far in 2022

    Mick Gillispie, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard discuss the beginning of the 2022 season and analyze trends on. and off the field in then Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat. 
    Topics discussed in this podcast:

    Topics discussed in this podcast:
    -       We begin a discussion in a totally irrelevant fashion discussing ponies as an endangered species. A pony, of course, is a seven-ounce bottle of beer; only a few breweries still produce them in Wisconsin (Miller and Rheinlander).
    -       With the end of May approaching, we’re finally in the full swing of the 2022 MiLB season. Jesse and Mick are back in rhythm on their daily broadcast schedules and adjusted totally to the six-day MiLB Tuesday-Sunday series work week.
    -       The six-day MiLB series schedule does present some challenges in terms of starting pitching: do starters go twice a series or do we see spot starters at some point? The Smokies are off to a good start, and Mick says one of the reasons is the high level of performance from the starting pitching. Those pitchers are benefiting from a good defense behind them. 
    -       Unlike others in the industry, Mick and Jesse don’t hate the pitch clock. But they agree it runs too fast: giving players a few extra seconds between pitches and plays would be a good idea, and as a broadcaster adding a few more seconds to tell stories would improve broadcasts. This leads to reminiscences of Jim Tocco, former Voice of the Montgomery Biscuits, and how he would react to the new pitch clock. This surprisingly transitions into a discussion of Moustache May in MiLB and popular games in clubhouses.
    -       Also discussed: other rule changes in the minors, including larger bases. The larger bases don’t seem to be a factor at all—after a few innings, no one notices—and overall a quicker pace of play seems to be working. Similarly, a ban on shifts doesn’t seem to be impacting play.
    -       Another change, though not a rule change: it seems like balls in the minors this year are juiced—or at least a few of the three balls used—while balls in the majors are widely assumed to be dead. On the MLB side, there’s the continuous discussion of whether juiced balls are used on national broadcasts, vs. a dead ball for “everyday” use. In the end, it could be an unintended side effect that changes in the cork and seams, along with humidor usage, is strongly impacting the game this season.
    -       The next battle: the fight for a uniform strike zone, with the feeling ABS systems and in-game challenges are inevitable. Robo-umps recently made its debut in Triple-A baseball, as testing moves up the MiLB ladder.
    -       The industry is still working its way back to normal—i.e., a 2019 level of performance—due to supply-chain issues—and facilities standards still persist as a big problem for team owners. For the Tennessee Smokies, meeting the facility standards won’t be an issue, as the team is moving to a new ballpark in 2024.
    -       Is a combined no-hitter really a no-hitter? Mick says no, even after calling a combined no-hitter.
    -       The broadcaster lingo of the week: ultimate grand slam, which wins a game when a team wins by three runs after a grand slam; and walkoff walk is shrimp. Why shrimp? On the Internet a reference to a walkoff walk would be accompanied by a meme of a shrimp walking on a treadmill. Mick’s terms: a cocktail pitch, a high 3-2 pitch, and scratch gravel, where a fielder goes as low as possible to make the catch.
    Mick Gillispie is Voice of the Tennessee Smokies and a spring-training Voice of the Chicago Cubs, wh

    • 57 min
    Ballpark Digest Podcast: Eric Shuffler, Staten Island FerryHawks

    Ballpark Digest Podcast: Eric Shuffler, Staten Island FerryHawks

    Eric Shuffler, president of the Staten Island FerryHawks (Atlantic League), joins Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard to discuss the creation of the team, the work in reviving the team's scenic waterfront ballpark and how it will offer more than just baseball as a community center.
    Topics discussed in this podcast:
    ·      Unused since the 2019 season, SIUH Community Park--the former Richmond County Bank Ballpark--required millions in renovations for use as a working facility. Maintenance had been deferred for many years, while other essential components were reaching end of life for a 20-plus-year-old facility. Upgrading HVAC systems and elevators isn't sexy, but were essential. Also essential: the installation of synthetic turf, allowing for more events like concerts, graduations and youth baseball. Concessions were updated as well; seat replacement is now set for 2023.
    ·      The FerryHawks moniker came after a very open name-the-team contest. After an open call for monikers, there were over 2,000 submissions, which was pared down first to seven and five. In the end, fans chose FerryHawks; Eric describes how that came to be.
    ·      Supply-chain issues were front and center in the team development, ranging from delays in ballpark components to issues with hats stranded on shipping containers overseas.

    Despite the issues, the team had a successful debut:

    Staten Island FerryHawks debut at renovated ballpark
    Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.

    • 32 min
    Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Season 4 Premiere with Emma Tiedemann

    Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Season 4 Premiere with Emma Tiedemann

    Emma Tiedemann, the Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs (Class AA; Eastern League), joins Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard to preview the 2022 MiLB season, discuss rule experiments and discuss Texas Leaguers and marlins.
    Today marks the beginning of the 2022 Minor League Baseball season, as the industry takes another major step toward normalcy. While there are COVID-19 protocols in place still in place throughout the industry, ballparks will be operating at full capacity. 
    Topics discussed in this podcast:
    ·      Those outside the baseball world may take for granted the working conditions in 2021, when broadcasters began the season working remotely off a video feed due to COVID-19 concerns, eventually making their way back to broadcast booths and road trips. Emma and Jesse discuss MiLB play in April, dealing with snow, nor’easters and frozen tarps.
    ·      A continuing issue in Minor League ball: rule experiments mandated by Major League Baseball. Some of the rule experiments are good (larger bases and pitch clocks), some up for debate (a ban on shifts). Jesse tells of players moving from the Single-A Cal League—where the clock was used—to the High-A Midwest League—where the clock was not mandated—and playing at the same pace, leading to quicker games. No one likes the idea of banning the infield shift, and the three agree that potentially mandating positioning for outfielders is a very bad idea.
    ·      Original league names are back, causing great rejoicing in the chat. MiLB history Is restored!
    ·      Other innovations discussed: robo-mowers, cashless ballparks, additional rule experiments at the MLB Partner Leagues, the evolution of ballpark tech (including facial recognition and videoboards everywhere), in-seat ordering for food/drink and concessions, ballpark upgrades mandated by MLB (including upgraded clubhouses and dedicated changing spaces for female coaches and umpires), better ballpark lighting (including underrated up-lighting), and wireless communications on the defensive side of the game.
    ·      Today’s baseball lingo from Emma: Texas Leaguer, a looping fly ball that lands between infielders and outfielders for a hit. That leads to a discussion of a 1959 promotional book from Phillies Blunts covering baseball terms, including variations of Texas Leaguer like seagulls (leading to Dave Winfield references), dying swans, bleeders and banjo hits.
    ·      Today’s baseball lingo by Jesse: marlin. In scouting circles, a marlin is a story told when the inevitable gabfest begins in the scouts seating at the ballpark. Emma’s marlin: When calling a game in Alaska, a moose strolled by, past the outfield fence—something you’d only see in Alaska.
    Emma Tiedemann has been a broadcaster since she was 15, launching her career as the Voice of the Mat-Su Miners in the summer-collegiate Alaska Baseball League and making stops at broadcast booths for the Medford Rogues, St. Paul Saints and Lexington Legends before debuting in 2021 with the Sea Dogs. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.

    • 29 min
    Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat, Auld Lang Syne Edition

    Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat, Auld Lang Syne Edition

    It's a festive gathering as Mick Gillispie, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard discuss what happened in 2021 and what to look forward to in 2022 in the year-end Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat. 
    The three bid farewell to 2021 in this free-ranging discussion. True, 2021 was a better year than 2020, the year of the COVID shutdown. And despite Omicron rampaging through the population at the end of the year, we are looking at a situation where 2022 should be a vast improvement over 2021, as we take further steps toward normalcy. Among the topics discussed: 
    Among the topics discussed: 
    The labor negotiations continue, with plenty of low-level talks between players and MLB in areas where there’s a level of agreement. January will be the key month in the talks, with February 1 being discussed as the idea time to come to an agreement.Mick’s strongest memory of 2021: how different the MiLB season was compared previous years, with six-game series, a shortened season, no playoffs (the plan at the beginning of the season) and struggles to house players. His 2022 wish list: improving off-field conditions for players, including higher pay.Jesse’s strongest memories of 2021: the lack of playoffs and why MiLB needs playoffs as an impetus to creating a winning atmosphere, better hotels and off-field conditions for players, and the rule changes at every level. Speaking of player conditions on the road: Mick tells a tale of bedbugs, insect repellant and Ryne Sandberg.With recent news about ballpark development in Oakland, Las Vegas, Tampa and Montreal, Jesse and Mick remember attending Orioles games in their youth at Memorial Stadium, how attending games was much more affordable, and how that affordability led to fans attending many more fans during a season. But as ballparks improved and attending game becoming more expensive, fans attended few games per year, with businesses becoming a bigger part of the mix. The Rays are approaching a Tampa/Montreal split season with a fascinating premise: folks aren’t going to attend 40 games a year anyway, so the way to drive demand for tickets is smaller ballparks.The three agree tanking sucks. Yes, there is a level of ineptitude with a losing team, but the union is right: tanking is bad and any new player agreement needs to create disincentives to tanking. This led to a discussion of why some organizations need to tank while others manage to rebuild without tanking. Yes, we’re looking at you, Rays and Braves.·Transitioning to 2022: Besides a resolution to MLB labor woes, the biggest stories of the year should be a resolution to both the Oakland and Tampa Bay ballpark challenges.There are still many things wrong with baseball, the use of two different baseball used in a season. Maliciousness or ineptitude? As it ends up, the theme of this podcast was ineptitude in the sport, so the wish for 2022 is a higher level of competency in the game: players and fans both deserve it.Mick Gillispie is Voice of the Tennessee Smokies and a spring-training Voice of the Chicago Cubs, while often appearing on Marquee Network broadcasts and podcasts throughout the season. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and the upcoming second edition of The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    University of Florida AD Scott Stricklin discusses our 2021 College Ballpark of the Year: Florida Ballpark

    University of Florida AD Scott Stricklin discusses our 2021 College Ballpark of the Year: Florida Ballpark

    University of Florida AD Scott Stricklin joins Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, publisher Kevin Reichard and Populous's Jason Michael Ford to discuss Ballpark Digest's 2021 College Ballpark of the Year: Florida Ballpark at Alfred A. McKethan Field.

    The $65-million facility, replacing Alfred A. McKethan Field on the UF campus and designed by Populous, was created to please fans with game-day amenities like plenty of shade and a 360-degree concourse, and please players with expanded workout facilities, including  a private nutrition area, video and team meeting rooms, indoor pitching and batting cages, and enhanced training and rehabilitation areas. Our Jarah Wright previewed the facility last September, and in this episode Stricklin discusses how the new ballpark was conceived, what was important in creating a top-tier college facility, and how the new ballpark fits into a competitive college-baseball landscape.

    Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and the upcoming second edition of The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.

    • 37 min
    Our winner for Logo/Branding of the Year: Burlington Sock Puppets

    Our winner for Logo/Branding of the Year: Burlington Sock Puppets

    We have a sockingly different winner for Best New Logo/Branding in the 2021 Ballpark Digest Awards: The Appalachian League’s Burlington Sock Puppets, who turned some lemons into lemonade after losing its MLB affiliation.

    Sock Puppets Owner and  President Ryan Keur and GM Anderson Rathbun sat down with Ballpark Digest's Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard to discuss the events leading up to the rebranding, the story behind the logo, and how the new logo/branding was used. Yes, outré branding has been a hallmark of minor-league baseball for many years, but the Burlington Sock Puppets ended up being something both familiar--Burlington is often hailed as a center for hosiery and textile manufacturing--and extensible as all heck, leading to the team to embrace a Sesame Street vibe. Keur and Rathbun discuss how the community embraced the branding and what plans they have for 2022 and beyond.

    Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and the upcoming second edition of The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

Euro-Danny ,

Very authentic - good conversation!

In depth, regular conversation on MilB and baseball in general, no ego-agenda here, just a good conversation! Keep em coming!

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