Book Review: The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

hasetowrokBaseball is a sport that you can really get into the stats of.  Typically, I don’t.  But for Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, that’s kind of their thing.  They decide to try and run a pro baseball team based on using advanced statistics – similar to how you may draft your fantasy team.  The two alternate chapters about their time drafting the team and how the team actually worked when they were put on the field.

An interesting read, even for someone who really isn’t all that fascinated with the stats of baseball, just a fan of the sport itself.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

What would happen if two statistics-minded outsiders were allowed to run a professional baseball team?

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, in a real playoff race. That’s what baseball analysts Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when an independent minor-league team in California, the Sonoma Stompers, offered them the chance to run its baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. Their story in The Only Rule is it Has to Work 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 for judging each innovation they try: it has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance.

Will their knowledge of numbers help Lindbergh and Miller bring the Stompers a championship, or will they fall on their faces? Will the team have a competitive advantage or is the sport’s folk wisdom true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts, or are they on a fast track to oblivion?

It’s a wild ride, by turns provocative and absurd, as Lindbergh and Miller tell a story that will speak to numbers geeks and traditionalists alike. And they prove that you don’t need a bat or a glove to make a genuine contribution to the game.

Category: Book Review
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