Left of Baseball
By Left of Baseball
Baseball, politics, and history in a time of pandemic and protest with hosts Adrian Burgos Jr., Craig Calcaterra, Lincoln Mitchell, and Tova Wang || formerly known as Say It Ain't Contagious
LoB 3: History From the Batboy Up with Chesa Boudin
Chesa Boudin, District Attorney of San Francisco, joins the show. From his one game as a ponytailed Cubs batboy to MLB's uncertain response to the social movements of today, we analyze how race, class, and immigration shape MLB's power structure. Thinking through baseball, we start to see how these same dynamics connect to the problems Chesa confronts through his progressive, decarceral approach to the justice system.
October 25, 2021
LoB 2: Getting People to Buck the System with Shakeia Taylor
Baseball writer Shakeia Taylor joins the Left of Baseball crew this week to discuss her award-winning work on the history and present (and future?) of the game. She speaks on the experiences of Black women in the industry and urges us to find ways to keep the fun in the sport. We heartily agree before delving into our shared cynicism of MLB's "investment" in Black baseball. You can find Shakeia's writing in Baseball Prospectus, SBNation, The Hardball Times, FiveThirtyEight, and elsewhere.
October 18, 2021
LoB 1: Voter and Fan Identity with Dr. Melissa R. Michelson
Adrian, Craig, Lincoln, and Tova begin a new season of Left of Baseball in conversation with Dr. Melissa R. Michelson, Dean of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Political Science at Menlo College. Her work applies insights on how voters form and act on their sense of identity to pressing issues in Latinx and LGBTQ politics. We can't resist the opportunity to think about this extends to fan identities and the effects of these attachments within and beyond baseball.
October 12, 2021
SIAC 26: The Freewheelin' Greg Proops
Greg Proops joins the panel for a wide-ranging discussion that covers the Giants, the Negro Leagues, women in baseball, the lack of poetry in baseball announcing, and much more!
July 27, 2021
SIAC 25: ¡Pleibol! with Dr. Margaret Salazar-Porzio
The panel chats with Dr. Margaret Salazar-Porzio of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on the new ¡Pleibol! exhibit, a journey into the heart and history of U.S. Latino baseball.
July 20, 2021
SIAC 24 Untitled Bad Men in Baseball Episode
The panel reflects on the disappointing way the Dodgers and Major League Baseball have responded to harassment and domestic violence issues from Mickey Callaway to Trevor Bauer.
July 6, 2021
SIAC 23: Fernandomania with Dr. Jose Alamillo
Jose Alamillo (Deportes: The Making of a Sporting Mexican Diaspora) joins the panel to discuss the impact of Fernando Valenzuela when he emerged as baseball's biggest star 30 years ago.
June 22, 2021
SIAC 22: Say It Ain't Spider Tack
Baseball is gripped by grip-enhancements, or is it the other way around? The panel considers the way the lack of enforcement in the area of ball-doctoring has led baseball into some of the same blind alleys that now trap other areas of American culture and politics. Craig crashes Gaylord Perry's house, Steve goes for a Nazi analogy that may be a bit overwrought, and so much more.
June 15, 2021
SIAC 21: The One with Mae Ngai
Columbia University historian Mae Ngai joins the SIAC panel of Craig, Lincoln, Adrian, Tova, and Frank to discuss the rise of anti-Asian sentiment in the US, its long history in this country, and how it coexists with the majesty of Shohei Ohtani.
June 8, 2021
SIAC 20: Racism and Reggie Bars
The panel looks at American race relations a year after the murder of George Floyd and wonders if today Curt Schilling could accuse Adam Jones of manufacturing an incident at Fenway Park without facing a greater backlash, plus we remember Reggie! bars and Lincoln objects to Steve's choice of ending.
June 1, 2021
SIAC 19: The Unwritten Rules Are Everywhere
Tony La Russa throwing his own player under the bus for hitting a home run off of a position player during a blowout leads to a consideration of the other places unwritten rules lurk in American life.
May 25, 2021
SIAC 17: Machismo Married to Fantasy
The SIAC panel considers the threatened move of the Oakland A's and the precarious state of players' mental health in an increasingly pressured game.
May 18, 2021
SIAC 16: The Captain & Me Visit the Garment District
Dan Epstein joins the SIAC panel to talk about the book he co-authored with Ron Blomberg, THE CAPTAIN & ME: ON AND OFF THE FIELD WITH THURMAN MUNSON. Come spend an hour in the land of 1970s baseball where the suits were polyester, the dance was disco, and the Yankees had a catcher who should have been in the Hall of Fame 35 years ago already.
May 4, 2021
SIAC 15: The Billionaires Always Win Don't They
Craig, Lincoln, Tova, Adrian, and Steve look at MLB's (not "the MLB's") response to the Chauvin verdict, then examine the short-lived soccer "Super League" in the context of baseball's big- and small-market divide.
April 27, 2021
SIAC 14: Our Country Almost Made It
San Francisco civil rights legend Reverend Arnold Townsend joins Lincoln, Craig, Frank, and Steve to reminisce about being born into a segregated nation when there was still hope for equality, in part by meeting halfway--in the country of baseball. "If you can't appreciate Bob Gibson, you're not a baseball fan, you're a racist who watches baseball."
April 20, 2021
SIAC 13: Race, Class, and Gender with Howard Bryant
ESPN's Howard Bryant joins the panel to discuss MLB's relocation of the All-Star Game, baseball's future, and the great Rickey Henderson.
April 13, 2021
SIAC 12: The Season Starts But the World Goes On
Opening Day has arrived and with it the 2021 baseball season, Francisco Lindor has signed an extension, and all seems right with the world... But the George Floyd murder trial and Georgia voter suppression reminds us that it's no time to feel satisfied.
April 5, 2021
SIAC 11: Filibusters and Pace of Play
The full panel crosses the streams concerning voter suppression, the Senate filibuster, and Major League Baseball's attempt to change the pace of play and stimulate action in a conversation that ranges from Laurence Olivier to beyond-Bernie baseball fans to doctored balls.
March 29, 2021
SAIC 10: The Sports Revolution
In a not very mini mini-episode, Frank, Tova, Adrian, and Lincoln discuss Frank's new book THE SPORTS REVOLUTION: HOW TEXAS CHANGED THE CULTURE OF AMERICAN ATHLETICS. It's a wide-ranging discussion taking in everything from the demise of the Washington Senators expansion team, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, the racism of the early 1970s Houston Astros, and more.
March 22, 2021
SAIC 9: Texas Superspreader Ball (Bring Back the Troughs)
In a wide-ranging discussion Adrian, Craig, Frank, Lincoln, Tova, and Steve note the planned full-attendance Opening Day in Arlington, the hidden power of stadium naming rights, the discarded and future name of the Cleveland American League team, and remember some retrograde men's rooms at defunct ballparks around the country.
March 15, 2021
SIAC 8: The Giants and Their City and Their Crab
Lincoln Mitchell discusses his new book THE GIANTS AND THEIR CITY with Tova Wang and Frank Guridy. Featuring inaccurate directions to San Jose, I left my gestalt in San Francisco, and Giants characters galore from Bob Lurie to Bobby Murcer, Kevin Mitchell to Willie Mays, and one abomination of a crustacean.
March 8, 2021
Say It Ain't Contagious 7: Pay No Attention to the Little Man at the Rotary Club
The full panel is back, taking on the Mariners' ex-president's defenestration at the rotary club, what it means to disdain your own international players, the Fernando Tatis, Jr signing, Trevor Bauer's (ahem) sensitivity, glance at the 1970s Yankees, and mark Major League Baseball's progress in responding to domestic violence perpetrators.
March 1, 2021
SIAC 6 Mini-Episode: You've Lost That Go Sox Feeling
In our second mini-episode, Craig Calcaterra, Frank Guridy, Lincoln Mitchell, and Adrian Burgos debate what it means to be a fan. Can you be a fan without being attached to a team? Is there such a thing as toxic fandom? Does anyone like baseball on an aesthetic basis, or is it just about the winning?
February 22, 2021
SIAC 5: Let the Wrongness Wash Over You
The impeachment effort fails but there's still hope for labor progress in baseball. But why doesn't the Players Association try to counteract pro-management propaganda? Join Adrian Burgos, Craig Calcaterra, Steven Goldman, Frank Guridy, Lincoln Mitchell, and Tova Wang as they attempt to find out. 1.In Memory of Pedro Gomez.2.Spring Training is Here!3.Kim Ng Faces a Second Ceiling.4.Invasive Wearables.5.Why Doesn’t the Players Association Do PR?6.Hokey Goodbyes.
February 15, 2021
SIAC 4 Mini-Episode: Lets Remember Some Guys and Presidents
In the first mini-episode of the series, Steven Goldman and Lincoln Mitchell are joined by Defector's David Roth for a game of "Let's Remember Some Guys and Presidents."
February 8, 2021
SIAC 3: Remembering Henry Aaron
The Say It Ain't Contagious panel mourns the passing of Henry Aaron and tries to place his experience in context.1.What did Henry Aaron Mean to You?2.White Supremacist Attacks on Aaron.3.The Lost Centrality of Baseball in American Life.4.The Absence of African Americans from Today’s Game.5.Aaron and Barry Bonds.6.Aaron and Dick Allen.
February 1, 2021
Say It Ain't Contagious 2: Changes in a Major and Minor Key
The panel sees Joe Biden inaugurated and exhales, but clenches again when it comes to Major League Baseball's scouring of the minor leagues.
January 25, 2021
Say It Ain't Contagious 1: Jackie Robinson is Not Your Excuse
In the first episode of the ongoing SAIC podcast, the panel reacts to the sack of the Capitol, Major League Baseball’s “recognition” of the Negro Leagues, and finds the 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates preferable to both. TABLE OF CONTENTS1.Who are we and why are we here? 2.Coup attempt at the Capitol. On “Banana Republics” and the United States in Latin America. MLB PAC suspends donations. White Supremacy in the Republican Party. 3.MLB “Recognizes” the Negro Leagues. Self-congratulatory Jackie Robinsonism. Baseball Jim Crowism and Stats in context. The poor quality of pre-integration baseball. Better means of making amends. 4.Who gets to tell the story of Black baseball? The exploitation of Latin American prospects. In praise of the Negro Leagues Museum.5.Rennie Stennett vs. Donald Trump for the record books. Stennett consequences and Stennett regrets. The function of stats in storytelling. The egalitarian 1970s Pirates. The Giants internationalize integration. Your Masanori Murakami mention for this week. And Manny Mota too. Goodbyes. Say It Ain’t Contagious is an ongoing discussion of baseball, social justice, the politics of our country, and how they are inevitably intertwined. Six scholars, activists, and baseball pundits use the game and its history as a lens into issues of race, economics, and American culture. Featuring Adrian Burgos, Craig Calcaterra, Steven Goldman, Frank Guridy, Lincoln Mitchell, and Tova Wang.
January 15, 2021