April 22 2017

“The New York Yankees Fans’ Bucket List” with Mark Feinsand

buck•et list - noun informal - a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime


All New York Yankees fans have a bucket list of activities to take part in at some point in their lives.  But even the most die-hard fans haven't done everything there is to experience.


Sportswriter Mark Feinsand led us through ideas, recommendations, and insider tips for must-see places and can't-miss activities.  And not every experience requires a trip to the Bronx.


Feinsand has covered the Yankees for 16 years for the "New York Daily News" and MLB.com.  He appears regularly on multiple television and radio outlets, including MLB Network, YES Network, and WFAN.


On a Thursday in April, Mark Feinsand led our wide-ranging Clubhouse conversation.  A fascinating evening.  Listen in and enjoy...



April 15 2017

“One Nation Under Baseball” with John Florio & Ouisie Shapiro


"The '60s were a time of conflict, progress, tragedy, triumph, and unforgettable events in the nation and its pastime.  One Nation Under Baseball connects the two in revealing and insightful fashion."  -Bob Costas

One Nation Under Baseball highlights the intersection between American society and America's pastime during the 1960s, when the hallmarks of the sport -- fairness, competition, and mythology -- came under scrutiny.  John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro examine the events of the era that reshaped the game: the Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale million-dollar holdout, the encroachment of television on newspaper coverage, the changing perception of ballplayers from mythic figures to overgrown boys, the arrival of the everyman Mets and their free-spirited fans, and the lawsuit brought against team owners by Curt Flood.

Florio and Shapiro bring to life the seminal figures of the era -- including Bob Gibson, Marvin Miller, Tom Seaver, and Dick Young -- richly portraying their roles during a decade of flux and uncertainty.

John Florio is a freelance writer and novelist.  He is the author of Sugar Pop Moon and Blind Moon Alley.  Ouisie Shapiro is an Emmy-winning writer and producer of sport documentaries.  Her writing credits include HBO's Nine Innings from Ground Zero and ESPN's Playing for the Mob.  Florio and Shapiro are the authors of One Punch from the Promised Land: Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, and the Myth of the Heavyweight Title.  They are also contributors to the Atlantic and the New Yorker.

On an April evening in 2017, John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro took us back to the 1960s in a fascinating Clubhouse conversation.  Listen in...



April 7 2017

“42 Faith” with Ed Henry


"Quit praying for me alone, Ma, and pray for the whole team."  -Jackie Robinson's letter to his mother in 1947, his rookie season


Journalist and baseball lover Ed Henry reveals for the first time the backstory of faith that guided Jackie Robinson into not only the baseball record books but the annals of civil rights advancement as well.  Through recently discovered sermons, interviews with Robinson's family and friends, and even an unpublished book by the player himself, Henry details a side of Jackie's humanity that few have seen.


42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story also digs into why Jackie was the man he was and what both drove him and challenged him after his retirement.  From his early years before baseball, to his time with Branch Rickey and the Brooklyn Dodgers, to his failing health in his final years, we see a man of faith.


Ed Henry serves as Fox News Channel's Chief National Correspondent.  He joined the network in 2011.  Henry has won numerous journalism honors, including the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress and the White House Correspondents Association's Merriman Smith Award for excellence in presidential coverage under deadline pressure.  He also served in the prestigious post of president of the White House Correspondents' Association from 2012-2013.  Prior to joining Fox News Channel, Henry was at CNN from 2004-2011.  He began his career working for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jack Anderson.


On the first Thursday of April, Ed Henry led our intimate Clubhouse conversation for over an hour.  Listen in and enjoy...




December 19 2016

“Frick: Baseball’s Third Commissioner” with John Carvalho


"Keep your temper.  A decision made in anger is never sound."


Ford Frick is best known as the baseball commissioner who put the "asterisk" next to Roger Maris's record.


But his tenure as commissioner carried the game through pivotal changes -- television, continued integration, West Coast expansion and labor unrest.  During those 14 years, and 17 more as National League president, he witnessed baseball history from the perspective of a man who began as a sportswriter.


Auburn University professor John Carvalho led our final intimate Clubhouse conversation of 2016.  Listen in...




December 5 2016

“Will Big League Baseball Survive” with Lincoln Mitchell


In his shrewd analysis -- Will Big League Baseball Survive? -- Lincoln Mitchell asks whether the sport will continue in its current form as a huge, lucrative global business that offers a monopoly in North America and whether those structures are sustainable.


Mitchell places baseball in the context of the larger, evolving American and global entertainment sector.  He examines how both changes directly related to baseball -- including youth sports and the increased globalization of the game -- and broader societal trends, such as developments in media consumption and celebrity culture, will impact big league baseball over the next few decades.


On the first evening of December, Lincoln Mitchell led our intimate Clubhouse conversation.  Listen in...





November 12 2016

“Baseball’s Most Baffling MVP Ballots” with Jeremy Lehrman


"I just won the Nobel Prize of baseball."  -Elston Howard, American League MVP, 1963

 Snubs.  Grudges.  Conspiracies.  Incompetence.

 All in a day's work for some of those who vote on Baseball's Most Valuable Player Award.

 From its colorful and scandalous beginnings more than a century ago, the MVP has evolved into the most prestigious -- and contentious -- individual honor in the sport.  No award means more to the players, the media, or the fans -- and no other award can claim a voting history so rich in controversy.

 "Baseball's Most Baffling MVP Ballots" looks at the past, present and future of the MVP Award through the most controversial ballots of all time.  Which of the so-called "worst MVPs" can hold up to contemporary statistical analysis?  Who cast the single worst vote in MVP history?  Does racial bias influence the MVP vote?  Who really deserved the award in a given year?

 On a November evening, we attempted to answer these questions, right some wrongs, unravel some threads, and looked at some very familiar faces in unfamiliar ways.  A fascinating Clubhouse conversation with Jeremy Lehrman.  Listen in...





November 5 2016

“The Eighth Wonder of the World” with Robert Trumpbour and Kenneth Womack

“This is a tough park for a hitter when the air conditioning is blowing in.”
  -Bob Boone

When it opened in 1965, the Houston Astrodome -- nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World -- captured the attention of a nation, bringing pride to the city and enhancing its reputation across the country.

It was a Texas-sized vision of the future, an unthinkable feat of engineering with premium luxury suites, theater-style seating, and the first animated scoreboard.  Yet there were memorable problems such as outfielders’ inability to see fly balls and failed attempts to grow natural grass -- which ultimately led to the development of Astroturf.  The Astrodome nonetheless changed the way people viewed sports, putting casual fans at the forefront of a user-experience approach that soon became the standard in all American sports.

On the day after the completion of this year's wonderful World Series, authors Robert Trumpbour and Kenneth Womack tore back the Astrodome's facade while discussing the building’s pivotal fifty years in existence and the ongoing debate about its preservation.  Listen in to our intimate Clubhouse conversation...


October 1 2016

“The Last Innocents” with Michael Leahy

White, black, Jewish, Christian, wealthy, working class, conservative, liberal -- the Los Angeles Dodgers of the 1960s embodied the disparate cultural forces at play in an America riven by race and war.

In “The Last Innocents,” award-winning writer Michael Leahy tells the story of this mesmerizing time and extraordinary team through seven players -- Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Wes Parker, Jeff Torborg, Tommy Davis, Dick Tracewski, and Lou Johnson.

It is a story about what it was like to be a major leaguer when the country was turned upside down by the tumult of the civil rights movement, a series of wrenching political assassinations, and the shock waves of the Vietnam War.  Outside the public eye, these seven Dodgers -- friends, mentors, and confidants -- struggled to understand their place in society and in a sport controlled by owners whose wishes were fiat.  Even as they starred in games watched by millions, they coped with anxieties and indignities their fans knew nothing about -- some of their wounds deeply personal, others more common to the times.  In their dissatisfaction, they helped plant the seeds of a rebellion that would change their sport.

Michael Leahy is the author of “Hard Lessons” and “When Nothing Else Matters: Michael Jordan’s Last Comeback.”  His award-winning career has included thirteen years as a writer for the “Washington Post” and the “Washington Post Magazine.”  Leahy’s 2005 “Washington Post Magazine” story about a California sperm donor won the Society of Professional Journalists Award for best magazine story of the year.  His stories have been selected four times for the annual Best American Sports Writing anthologies.

On the final Thursday of the regular season, Michael Leahy led an enthralling Clubhouse conversation about his great -- yes, great -- book.  One hour, three minutes, fourteen seconds.  Listen in...


September 24 2016

“The Baseball Whisperer” with Michael Tackett

“For all who care about baseball, character, and leadership, Michael Tackett has brought us the inspiring and unforgettable story of a phenomenal coach and his legacy.”  -Michael Beschloss, historian and political commentator

Clarinda, Iowa, population 5,000, sits two hours from anything.  There, between the corn fields and hog yards, is a ball field with a bronze bust of a man named Merl Eberly, a baseball whisperer who specialized in second chances and lost causes.  The statue was a gift from one of Merl’s original long-shot projects, a skinny kid from the ghetto in Los Angeles: Ozzie Smith.

The Baseball Whisperer” traces the remarkable story of Merl Eberly and his Clarinda A’s baseball team, which he tended over the course of five decades, transforming it from a town team to a collegiate summer league powerhouse.  Along with Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, future manager Bud Black, and star player Von Hayes, Merl developed scores of major leaguers -- six of which are currently playing.

More than a book about ballplayers who landed in the nation’s agricultural heartland, “The Baseball Whisperer” is the story of a coach who put character and dedication first, and reminds us of the best, purest form of baseball excellence.

Michael Tackett is an editor in the Washington bureau of “The New York Times.”  Previously, he was a managing editor for “Bloomberg,” the Washington bureau chief of the “Chicago Tribune,” and a national editor at “U.S. News & World Report.” 

On an autumn evening, Michael Tackett led our Clubhouse conversation about a small-town coach who shaped big league dreams.  Listen in...


July 18 2016

“Down On The Korner” with Mark Rosenman

“Ralph Kiner was a jewel.  He loved the game of baseball.  He loved to talk baseball.”  -Tom Seaver

One of the staples of the long and storied history of baseball on television is the postgame show, and none was more beloved than “Kiner’s Korner.”  From the early 1960s into the 1990s, Hall of Famer and iconic broadcaster Ralph Kiner hosted the show that brought players into the homes of fans across the nation.

Down on the Korner -- from the host, to the set, to the guests, to the stories amassed over more than thirty-two years on the air. 

On a July evening in the Clubhouse, author Mark Rosenman took us behind the scenes.  Listen in...


June 17 2016

“Terror in the City of Champions” with Tom Stanton

“The Freedom of Information Act is a critical and sometimes underappreciated tool that allows all of us access to the records of our government.  It was through the act that I obtained copies of more than nine hundred pages of FBI documents related to the Black Legion.  These proved vital.”  -Tom Stanton

In the mid-1930s, Detroit reigned as the City of Champions.  Within a six-month span, the Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings won a World Series, NFL title, and Stanley Cup -- a major-sports trifecta achieved by no other American city before or since -- and it happened as undefeated local boxer Joe Louis was becoming a national sensation.  As the successes mounted, the national media made heroes of the city’s sports stars, and Detroit grew almost delirious, the string of victories providing a sweet diversion from the Great Depression.

But beneath the jubilance, a nefarious plague was spreading unchecked.  A wave of mysterious crimes had police baffled: bodies dumped along roadsides, suspicious suicides, bombings of homes and halls, flogging victims who refused to speak, assassination plots.  All were the work of the Black Legion, a secret terrorist organization that flourished in Detroit until the summer of 1936.

On a summer's evening in 2016 New York, award-winning author Tom Stanton took a teeming Clubhouse through a stunning tale of history, crime, and baseball in 1930s America.  Listen in...


June 13 2016

“Jackie Robinson In Quotes” with Danny Peary

“When he was eight, Dad got into a name-calling fight with the little white girl who lived across the street.  The children’s verbal battle was interrupted when the girl’s father came outside and started throwing rocks at my father.”  -Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter

"Jackie Robinson In Quotes: The Remarkable Life of Baseball's Most Significant Player"

Danny Peary has skillfully curated the best quotes to shed new light on the man behind number 42.  Featured are quotes by Jackie Robinson, his widow Rachel, other family members, friends, teammates, coaches, members of the media, and many more.

A behind-the-headlines narrative about the making and life of a hero.  A first-hand account of Jackie Robinson’s baseball stardom, his friendships and rivalries, the people he loved and who loved him, the issues that troubled him, and how he took on all challenges to change the face of America’s favorite pastime, the country itself, and, thus, history forever.

Danny Peary is an acclaimed baseball historian.  He is the author/editor of “Baseball Immortal Derek Jeter: A Career in Quotes.”  Peary collaborated on the biographies “Roger Maris” and “Gil Hodges,” Ralph Kiner’s autobiography “Baseball Forever,” and Tim McCarver’s “Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans.”

In his fourth Clubhouse appearance, Danny Peary led a fascinating discussion about Jackie Robinson.  Listen in...


June 6 2016

“Nine Innings To Success” with Hall of Famer Jim Palmer

In 1966, Jim Palmer was just 20 years old when he became the youngest pitcher to throw a World Series shutout, helping lead the Baltimore Orioles to their first-ever championship.  Two years later, Palmer's budding career almost ended due to arm problems.  Yet, he mounted an inspiring comeback and reached the pinnacle of his profession, becoming the winningest pitcher of the 1970s and the only hurler to win a World Series game in three different decades.

A Hall of Famer... with three World Series rings, three Cy Young Awards, six All-Star selections, an exemplary record as a model spokesperson for charities and corporations, and a long tenure as a TV baseball analyst.

Nine Innings To Success: A Hall of Famer's Approach To Achieving Excellence.  An hour discussion Jim Palmer.  A Hall of Fame evening in the Clubhouse.  Listen in and enjoy...


May 28 2016

“Cuba’s Baseball Defectors” with author Peter Bjarkman

“All things considered there are only two kinds of men in the world -- those that stay at home and those that do not.  The second are the most interesting.”  -Rudyard Kipling

The stellar play and fascinating backstories of exiled Cuban ballplayers in Major League Baseball has become one of the biggest headlines in America's national pastime.  On-field exploits by Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu, Aroldis Chapman, and a handful of others have been further enhanced by feel-good tales of desperate Cuban superstars risking their lives to escape Castro’s communist realm and chase a celebrated American Dream of financial and athletic success.  But a truly ugly underbelly to this story has also slowly emerged, one that involves human smuggling operations financed by Miami crime syndicates, operated by Mexican drug cartels, and conveniently ignored by big league ball clubs endlessly searching for fresh waves of international talent.

In Cuba’s Baseball Defectors: The Inside Story, Cuban baseball expert Peter Bjarkman reveals the truth behind the wave of Cuban big league talent coming to Major League Baseball.  Given rare access to Cuba and its ballplayers, Bjarkman has spent over twenty years traveling to all corners of the island getting to know the top Cuban stars and witnessing their baseball struggles and triumphs.  Bjarkman places recent events -- including the apparent thaw in US-Cuba relations -- in the context of Cuban baseball history and tradition before delving into the stories of the major Cuban stars who have left the island.

Peter Bjarkman is the recognized authority on Cuba’s post-1961 revolutionary-era baseball.  He has witnessed domestic-league Cuban baseball firsthand on more than fifty visits to the communist country since 1997 and has also followed the Cuban national team to international events since 1999.  Bjarkman is a regular consultant on Cuban baseball for the North American media.

On a May evening, Peter Bjarkman led a packed Clubhouse in a master's class on Cuba's Baseball Defectors.  Listen in...


May 13 2016

“The Only Rule Is It Has To Work” with Ben Lindbergh

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.

Lindbergh and Miller applied their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule for judging each innovation they tried: It Has To Work.

Ben Lindbergh is a staff writer for “FiveThirtyEight” and, with Sam Miller, the cohost of “Effectively Wild,” the daily “Baseball Prospectus” podcast. He is a former staff writer for “Grantland” and a former editor in chief of “Baseball Prospectus.”

It was standing-room-only in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse for our discussion with Ben Lindbergh and "The Only Rule Is It Has To Work."  Have a seat and listen in...


May 7 2016

“The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty” with Hal Bock

“The Cubs became a metaphor for the underdog, the loser, lovable or not, that we as a species can’t help but instinctively pull for.”  -Joe Mantegna, actor

"The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty: Before The Curse" by Hal Bock

The last time the Chicago Cubs played in the World Series, World War II had just ended.  The last time they won a World Series, World War I had not yet begun.  But from 1906 - 1910 the Cubs not only played in the World Series four of the five years, they won two World Championships, as well.  It was a time when the Cubs ruled baseball, and no one could have imagined the roller coaster adventures that were ahead for this grand old franchise.

Distinguished writer Hal Bock returned to the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse on a May evening and told the story of this legendary team, the characters who were central to its success, and the misfortunes which have plagued the team ever since.  During our Q&A, we had a wide-ranging baseball discussion.  Listen in and enjoy...

Hal Bock was a sportswriter and columnist with the Associated Press for over 40 years.  During that time he covered 30 World Series, none of them including the Cubs.


April 23 2016

“God Almighty Hisself: The Life and Legacy of Dick Allen” with author Mitchell Nathanson

“I believe God Almighty hisself would have trouble handling Richie Allen.”  -George Myatt, Philadelphia Phillies’ interim manager, 1969

When the Philadelphia Phillies signed Dick Allen in 1960, fans of the franchise envisioned bearing witness to feats never before accomplished by a Phillies player.   A half-century later, they’re still trying to make sense of what they saw.

Carrying to the plate baseball’s heaviest and loudest bat as well as the burden of being the club’s first African American superstar, Allen found both hits and controversy with regularity as he established himself as the premier individualist in a game that prided itself on conformity.  Mitchell Nathanson unveils the strange and maddening career of a man who somehow managed to fulfill and frustrate expectations all at once.

Mitchell Nathanson is Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law.  He is author of “A People's History of Baseball” and coauthor of “Understanding Baseball: A Textbook.”

An April evening in the Clubhouse and God Almighty Hisself: The Life and Legacy of Dick Allen.  Listen in...


April 7 2016

“Kings of Queens: Life Beyond Baseball with the ‘86 Mets” with author Erik Sherman

“I’m so proud of what we accomplished in that magical 1986 season and the brotherhood that we still have for one another all these years later.  Enjoy this personal portrayal of one of baseball history’s greatest and most charismatic teams.”  -Davey Johnson

In 1986, the bad guys of baseball won the World Series.

“What if I actually went out and visited the players where they are today -- in their homes, in the dugouts they currently coach or manage in, or in the bars they might frequent?  I would interview the men who’d made up this magical team, find out what happened to them after their glory days were behind them, and explore the impact they as individuals and as a team had on the fans and the organization -- then and now.”  -Erik Sherman

During the first week of the 2016 season, Erik Sherman offered his unique perspective in a Clubhouse conversation about the "Kings of Queens: Life Beyond Baseball with the '86 Mets."  Listen in...


March 28 2016

“Greatness in the Shadows” with author Douglas Branson

“Larry Doby’s trials, and the triumphs that earned him a place in Cooperstown, are a stirring story wonderfully told by Douglas Branson.”  -George F. Will

Just eleven weeks after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, Larry Doby became the first black player to integrate the American League, signing with the Cleveland Indians in July 1947.  Doby went on to become a seven-time All-Star who led the Indians to two pennants.  In many respects, Robinson and Doby were equals in their baseball talent and experiences and had remarkably similar playing careers.

Well into the 1950s, Doby was the only African American All-Star in the American League during a period in which fifteen black players became National League All-Stars.  Why is Doby largely forgotten as a central figure in baseball’s integration?  Why has he not been accorded his rightful place in baseball history?  Greatness in the Shadows: Larry Doby and the Integration of the American League attempts to answer these questions, bringing Doby’s story to life and sharing his achievements and firsts with a new generation.

Douglas M. Branson is the W. Edward Sell Chair in Business Law at the University of Pittsburgh.  He is the author of nineteen books, including No Seat at the Table; The Last Male Bastion; and Three Tastes of Nuoc Mam.

Listen in to Douglas Branson and Greatness in the Shadows, live in the Clubhouse...


March 19 2016

“Amazin’ Again” with author Greg Prince

“The Mets are gonna be amazing.”  -Casey Stengel, circa 1975

They were coming off a seemingly endless string of losing records.  They were considered years away from legitimate contention.  They were derided and disregarded as a matter of course.  But in 2015, the New York Mets changed their course and changed their story.  The result was the best kind of amazin’.  They proceeded to capture a division title, raise a pennant, and lay claim to the heart of their city.

Author Greg Prince -- cocreator of Faith and Fear in Flushing -- traces the trajectory of this championship season and recreates the emotions of a year that culminated in the Mets making New York their kind of town once again in Amazin' Again: How the 2015 New York Mets Brought the Magic Back to Queens.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was six, during the magical summer of 1969.  He is the cocreator of the blog Faith and Fear in Flushing, the daily destination for “Mets fans who like to read.”  Prince has written about baseball for The New York Times, Huffington Post, Yahoo! Sports, and ESPN.com; served as a consultant to the film The Last Play at Shea; and helped organize the New York Mets 50th Anniversary conference at Hofstra University.

On an amazin' March evening, Greg brought the magic back to the Clubhouse.  Listen in.  Enjoy...

« Older episodes ·