SABR's Baseball and the Media Committee welcomes you to The Baseball Buffet, our monthly roundtable podcast focusing on recent baseball events, the media’s coverage of the national pastime, and more.
We will work our conversation in and around the luncheon buffet at Tiffin The Indian Kitchen on Devon Avenue in Chicago. Our buffet of baseball commentators-slash-diners includes: Andie Giafaglione, award-winning baseball photographer and former depth-of-fielder for the Chicago Cubs; Thom Henninger, Editor at Baseball Digest and author of Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend; Chuck Hildebrandt, two-time Doug Pappas Award winner and chair of SABR's Baseball and the Media Research Committee; Stuart Shea, author of Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines and Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present. Your host is Jim Walker, author of Crack of the Bat: A History of Baseball on the Radio.
You can now listen to Baseball Buffet on your favorite podcast apps! Have every episode delivered each month fresh, hot and spicy, just the way you like it, on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and TuneIn. Just open your favorite podcast app, search for “Baseball Buffet” and subscribe today! Of course, you can always enjoy the show on your computer by visiting SoundCloud.com and searching for Baseball Buffet.
Each podcast runs about 20-25 minutes, a length which fits quite nicely as a quick listen into your own lunch schedule.
Catch up on recent episodes:
- Buffet #28 (June 2019): This month, our intrepid fork-wielders and time travelers share the baseball reading that hooked them on the game as children. They move on to look at the strange land of MLB free agent compensation and how it might be tweaked, while sharing how one youngster beat the MLB draft machine. They then imagine players moving back and forth between the 1930s and today to review just how dramatically the game has changed. We conclude, as always, with our tasty last bites. (25:33)
- Buffet #27 (May 2019): This time around, our buffet of baseball commentators and healthy appetite-havers share our favorite baseball nicknames; contemplate the vanishing stolen base in major league baseball; and speculate on whether pitchers and batters are becoming one and the same. We conclude, as always, with our tasty last bites. (25:24)
- Buffet #26 (April 2019): This time around, we look the impact of player extension mania on Major League baseball, examine just how poorly umpires call balls and strikes, and recall some of the daffier ballpark promotions. We finish as always with some tasty last bites. (25:48)
- Buffet #25 (March 2019): This month, the podcast is taking a road trip to Cuba—or, more exactly, to the 90 Miles Cuban Cafe near Chicago. The buffet of baseball commentators and Cuban sandwich fixers make our absolutely certain team predictions for the 2019 season; reflect on our favorite players age 20 and under; and offer up our take on additional rule changes MLB is serving up for 2019 and beyond. We finish, as always, with some tasty last bites. (29:19)
- Buffet #24 (February 2019): Our buffet of baseball commentators share some Spring Training reflections; look at possible changes to the national pastime to help it pass the time more quickly; and conclude, as always, with our last bites. (25:07)
- Buffet #23 (January 2019): Today our baseball buffet commentators-slash-diners ask why it’s taking forever for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to sign a contract; look at the new and not so new radio and TV directions of Chicago Cubs; and reflect on the occasion of our second anniversary. (24:42)
- Buffet #22 (December 2018): Today we look at the controversy surrounding Harold Baines selection for the Hall of Fame; MLB’s new deal with the devil, the gambl … uh, er, the “gaming” industry; and, just in time for the holidays, our favorite baseball related toys. Guest commentator: Gary Gillette, baseball historian and editor, and president of the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium. (24:40)
- Buffet #21 (November 2018): Today our baseball commentators/diners look at where the free agent giants might land; whether Joe Madden is really on the hot seat; and what the 2019 season might bring. We will also premiere a new segment called "One Last Bite," offering a final comment from each of our experts. (22:06)
- Buffet #20 (September 2018): Today our baseball buffet commentators/diners contemplate the impact of the sabermetric revolution on major league baseball—has it helped or hurt the game?—and then share our varying levels of passion for baseball music. Just how does John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” rate? (24:42)
- Buffet #19 (July 2018): Today our baseball commentators/diners offer our suggestions for getting more balls in play; evaluate the recent trade deadline deals; and decipher what it means when a player is labeled “soft”. (24:40)
- Buffet #18 (June 2018): Today our baseball commentators/diners ask why teams keep shooting stuff at their fans; offer our predictions for second half surprise;, and debate baseball’s most cynical potential player move. (22:06)
- Buffet #17 (May 2018): Today our buffet-commentators-slash-diners look at MLB’s latest rumblings about expansion; the growing gap between MLB’s have and have nots; whether the Astros have a secret pitching potion; and whether baseball has a generation gap in interpreting its unwritten rules. (25:12)
- Buffet #16 (April 2018): Today our famished commentators look at the new “Phillie Phanatic”, aka manager Gabe Kapler; the implications of expanded protective netting at the ballpark; the early season weather—everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it; and the latest beast from the East: Ohtani, how we love you, how we love you. (24:21)
- Buffet #15 (March 2018): Today our hardball-obsessed lunch munchers focus on robotic umpires; the return of bullpen carts and of Ichiro; and predict their breakouts and busts in the coming season. (24:44)
- Buffet #14 (February 2018): Today our always hungry baseball commentators look at Chuck's experience at Cub's fantasy camp; the slow market for free agents; and the controversy over new rules to speed up the action in major league baseball. (28:37)
- Buffet #13 (January 2018): The buffet of baseball commentators and furious fork thrusters look at the teardown of the Miami Marlins; offer our picks from this year’s Hall of Fame Ballot; and discuss whether to put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame … or will it be Hall of Shame? (30:21)
- Buffet #12 (December 2017): The buffet of baseball commentators and hungry folks review MLB’s postseason awards, got to war on WAR (wins above replacement that is), and debate if “juicers” should get into the hall of fame. Andie Giafaglione joins our roundtable henceforth as a regular commentator. (25:09)
- Buffet #11 (November 2017): The baseball commentators and hungry folks recap the 2017 Playoffs and Astros’ historic first-ever championship; look at the recent flurry of managerial changes, expected and unexpected; and discuss radical realignment of the big leagues (“Farewell, NL?”). Special guests: Andie Giafaglione, award-winning baseball photographer and former shuttersmith for the Chicago Cubs; and James Finn Garner, published author, baseball poet and founder with Stuart of BardBall.com. (27:53)
- Buffet #10 (October 2017): The baseball commentators and hungry folks provide their playoff predictions; suffer an audit of their preseason predictions, for good or for ill; and reveal their all-time favorite baseball-themed movies and TV shows. (23:26)
- Buffet #9 (September 2017): Our buffet line crashers look at the home stretch of the 2017 season; discuss why baseball is better than football (no, DUH!); and share the baseball logos and mascots they love, and love to hate. Special guest star: Andie Giafaglione, award-winning baseball photographer and creator of Searching for the Pink Poodle, a collection of photos from 1996-1999 shot while with the Chicago Cubs. Chuck was unavailable for this episode. (23:51)
- Buffet #8 (August 2017): The buffet of baseball commentators/buffet line crashers looks at the trade deadline deals; offer their own unique versions of baseball utopia; and review the latest drug controversy roiling Major League Baseball. (28:17)
- Buffet #7 (July 2017): The buffet of baseball commentators and buffet line crashers looks at the voting for the 2017 All-Star squads; examine the differences between the two leagues; offer pointers on grabbing the best stadium experience, and serve up a few more surprises. (23:37)
- Buffet #6 (June 2017): Our buffet of baseball commentators and always hungry diners focuses on some of the surprising performances during the first third of the 2017 season; share a few of our best player memories; reveal our most valued baseball sources on the web; and a few more surprises. (24:12)
- Buffet #5 (May 2017): Our buffet of baseball commentators/diners focuses on their impressions after the opening month of the 2017 season; the new (and possibly improved) version of Wrigley Field; the role of the newspaper sports reporters in covering the national pastime; and a musical surprise. (23:02)
- Buffet #4 (April 2017): Our buffet of baseball commentators/diners focuses on their predictions for the upcoming season, and a few more surprises. (21:21)
- Buffet #3 (March 2017): Our buffet of baseball commentators/diners discusses transactions of the off-season; the dramatic rise of the home run during the 2016 season; the differences between calling a ballgame on TV versus radio; some personal spring training memories; and a few more surprises. (22:41)
- Buffet #2 (February 2017): This episode’s topics include the recent Hall of Fame voting; a review of MLB’s 2016 Awards, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement; and the art of baseball announcing. (22:41)
- Buffet #1 (January 2017): In their pilot episode, our buffet of lunch munchers reviews the 2016 season, including the best of, worst of, biggest surprises, most overlooked players and more; the media’s coverage of baseball; the ballpark experience; and our favorite baseball books. Plus, a trivia question with bonus audio answer. (22:59)