San Francisco Year Zero: Political Upheaval, Punk Rock, and a Third-Place Baseball Team with Lincoln Mitchell

Special Roundtable Guests: Jennifer Blowdryer and Kenneth Sherrill

A wide-ranging conversation touching on San Francisco in the 1970s, George Moscone, Harvey Milk, Dan White, urban America, political campaigns, city government, the San Francisco Giants leaving the city, segregation, diversity, bubbles, Dianne Feinstein, Jello Biafra, the Dead Kennedys, the punk rock scene, Joe Dirt, East Bay Ray, David Peel, the 1978 Giants, being a gay elected official in the 1970s, and Reggie Jackson’s role in reforming the judiciary.


Lincoln Mitchell is an adjunct associate professor of Political Science at Columbia University, where he also serves as an associate scholar in the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies.  He has authored many books on the former Soviet states, democracy, and baseball, including Baseball Goes West: How the Giants and Dodgers Shaped the Major Leagues and Will Big League Baseball Survive.  He has also written extensively about San Francisco’s history in Instant City, Roads and Kingdoms, Parts Unknown and the New York Observer.

Jennifer Blowdryer got her name from singing in The Blowdryer in 1978.  They played in San Francisco at the Mabuhay Gardens and The Deaf Club.  She published her first book, Modern English, a photo-illustrated trendy slang dictionary with Last Gasp in 1984, and moved to New York City the same year on a fellowship to the Columbia Writing Division.  She just finished a new album called She’s Got The Weirdness, and her next book is slated for Spring 2020, with Pedestrian Press, working title of The 86ed Project.

Kenneth Sherrill is Professor Emeritus at Hunter College and the City University of New York graduate school.  In 1977, he became the first openly gay elected official in New York.  He is the author of Power, Policy and Participation, as well as Gays and the Military.  His current book in progress, Identity and Consciousness in LGBT Political Behavior, is expected to be completed next year.  Ken is also the author of articles, papers and reviews in various scholarly journals.


Thanks to our delectable sponsors: Sauce Pizzeria and St. Marks Wine & Liquor


San Francisco Year Zero.  Listen in...


War in the Ring with John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro -- and special Roundtable Guest: Mitch Nathanson.

A wide-ranging conversation touching on a behind-the-scenes look at the writing process and the challenges of a Young Adult book, Joe Louis and the IRS, Max Schmeling’s actions during the Nazi regime, Jim Bouton, Dick Allen, Willie Horton and the Detroit riots, the “First Game” project and memory, Janis Ian, Mudcat Grant and JFK, boxing in the 20th century, Major League Baseball in 1938 and its state in 2019.

John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro are the authors of One Nation Under Baseball and One Punch from the Promised Land.  Together, they’ve written about sports for the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, VICE Sports, and Sports Illustrated.  Ouisie is a six-time Emmy award-winning writer/producer of sports documentaries.  John is the author of historical crime novels.  They are married and live in the beautiful borough of Brooklyn.

Mitch Nathanson is a Professor of Law at Villanova University and the author of numerous books and articles on baseball, including God Almighty Hisself.  Mitch is a two-time winner of the McFarland-SABR Award.  In the spring of 2020, his next book, Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original, will be released.

Thanks to our delectable sponsors: Sauce Pizzeria and St. Marks Wine & Liquor

War in the Ring.  Listen in...


Doc, Donnie, The Kid, and Billy Brawl with author Chris Donnelly and special Roundtable Guest: Tony Denera.

We discussed Major League baseball in 1980s New York, Gary Carter, Don Baylor, Nelson Doubleday, George Steinbrenner, Frank Cashen, Seinfeld, Bat Day, Billy Martin, Ed Whitson, the National and American Leagues, the All-Star Game, Duane Reade and ticket scalping, and Sinatra the French Bulldog.

Chris Donnelly is the author of How the Yankees Explain New York and Baseball’s Greatest Series: Yankees, Mariners, and the 1995 Matchup That Changed History.

Tony Denera was born Anthony D’Ambrosio on Easter Sunday in 1962.  After reading Joining Arnold: Rise of the Girlie Man, you will understand why he changed his name to spare his family further embarrassment.

Thanks to our delectable sponsors: Sauce Pizzeria and St. Marks Wine & Liquor

Doc, Donnie, The Kid, and Billy Brawl. Listen in…


Inside the tailgating, ticket-scalping, mascot-racing, dubiously funded, and possibly haunted monuments of American sport

"For one year, I traveled the United States visiting sports stadiums -- all manner of arenas, domes, ballparks -- for the purpose of writing a book.  The idea was to go beyond the ball games and architectural blueprints to explore the inner workings of these steel and concrete structures that hover over our towns, imposing their will on landscapes and skylines, to better understand our relationship to them -- psychologically, economically, politically, culturally, historically -- as individuals, as cities, and as a society."  -Rafi Kohan

Rafi Kohan is a freelance writer and editor.  Formerly, he served as deputy editor at the "New York Observer" and has written for "GQ," "Men's Journal," "Wall Street Journal," "Town & Country,", and more.  He lives in New York City and deeply misses the old Yankee Stadium.

On a November evening in the Clubhouse, Rafi Kohan took us into The Arena.  Have a seat and listen in...


The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, tucked away in upstate New York in a small town called Cooperstown, is far from any major media market or big league stadium.  Yet no sports hall of fame's membership is so hallowed, nor its qualifications so debated, nor its voting process so dissected.

Since its founding in 1936, the Hall of Fame's standards for election have been nebulous, and its selection processes arcane, resulting in confusion among voters, not to mention mistakes in who has been recognized and who has been bypassed.  Numerous so-called "greats" have been inducted despite having not been so great, while popular but controversial players such as all-time home run leader Barry Bonds and all-time hits leader Pete Rose are on the outside looking in.

Now, in The Cooperstown Casebook, Jay Jaffe takes us through his revolutionary ranking system.  The foundation of Jaffe's approach is JAWS, an acronym for the Jaffe WAR Score, which he developed over a decade ago.  Through JAWS, each candidate can be objectively compared on the basis of career and peak value to the players at his position who are already in the Hall of Fame.  Because of its utility, JAWS has gained an increasing amount of exposure in recent years.  Through his analysis, Jaffe shows why the Hall of Fame still matters and how it can remain relevant in the 21st century.

Jay Jaffe is a contributing baseball writer for  He is the founder of the Futility Infielder website, one of the oldest baseball blogs, and from 2005 - 2012 was a columnist for "Baseball Prospectus."  He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network's "MLB Now" and "Clubhouse Confidential" shows and a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America since 2011.

On a Wednesday evening in July, Jay Jaffe led our final author event of the summer.  Listen in to our intimate and lively Clubhouse conversation...



The untold story behind the first great sports film... The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a Classic


On July 4, 1939, baseball great Lou Gehrig stood in Yankee Stadium and gave a speech that contained the phrase that would become legendary: "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

He died two years later and his fiery widow, Eleanor, wanted nothing more than to keep his memory alive.  With her forceful will, she and the irascible producer Samuel Goldwyn quickly agreed to make a film based on Gehrig's life, "The Pride of the Yankees."  Goldwyn didn't understand -- or care about -- baseball.  For him this film was the emotional story of a quiet, modest hero who married a spirited woman who was the love of his life, and, after a storied career, gave a short speech that transformed his legacy.  With the world at war and soldiers dying on foreign soil, it was the kind of movie America needed.

Using original scripts, letters, memos, and other rare documents, Richard Sandomir tells the behind-the-scenes story of how a classic was born.  The search to find the actor to play Gehrig; the stunning revelations Eleanor made to the scriptwriter Paul Gallico about her life with Lou; the intensive training Gary Cooper underwent to learn how to catch, throw, and hit a baseball for the first time.

On a warm summer evening, Richard Sandomir led our intimate Clubhouse conversation and brought "The Pride of the Yankees" to life.  Listen in...


A franchise and fan base in perpetual search of validation finally had its ticket punched as 2016 dawned.  Mike Piazza, who held records in one hand and a city's rapt attention in the other, gained election to the Hall of Fame.  Within weeks of this long-awaited announcement, the ballclub with whom he chose to cast his eternal lot, the New York Mets, made a date to retire his number.

In Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star, Greg Prince explores the parallel paths Piazza and the Mets set out on in the early 1990s and how their individual journeys merged into a mutual quest for transcendence.  From marriage of convenience to lifetime bond to a state of baseball grace reached only once before in team history, "Piazza" examines how the stranger from Los Angeles became New York's favorite son and why the Mets fans continued to rally to Piazza's cause years after he took his final swing for them.

Greg Prince is co-creator of the blog Faith and Fear in Flushing, the daily destination for "Mets fans who like to read."  His memoir of the same name was published in 2009 and was followed in 2016 by "Amazin' Again."  He has written about baseball for the "New York Times," "Huffington Post," and; served as a consultant to the film "The Last Play at Shea;" and helped organize the New York Mets Fiftieth Anniversary Conference at Hofstra.

On June 15, 2017 -- the 40th Anniversary of "The Midnight Massacre" -- Greg Prince led our intimate Clubhouse conversation into a slice of Mets history, as only he can.  Piazza, Seaver, Prince.  Hall of Famers, all.  Listen in...



"Making My Pitch: A Woman's Baseball Odyssey" tells the story of Ila Jane Borders, who despite formidable obstacles became a Little League prodigy, MVP of her otherwise all-male middle school and high school teams, the first woman awarded a baseball scholarship, and the first to pitch and win a complete men's collegiate game.

After Mike Veeck signed Borders in May 1997 to pitch for his St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League, she accomplished what no woman had done since the Negro Leagues era: play men's professional baseball.  Borders played four professional seasons and in 1998 became the first woman in the modern era to win a professional ball game.

Borders had to find ways to fit in with her teammates, reassure their wives and girlfriends, work with the media, and fend off groupies.  But these weren't the toughest challenges.  She had a troubled family life, a difficult adolescence as she struggled with her sexual orientation, and an emotionally fraught college experience as a closeted gay athlete at a Christian university.

"Making My Pitch" shows what it's like to be the only woman on the team bus, in the clubhouse, and on the field.  Raw, open, and funny at times, her story encompasses the loneliness of a groundbreaking pioneer who experienced grave personal loss.  Borders ultimately relates how she achieved self-acceptance and created a life as a firefighter and paramedic and as a coach and goodwill ambassador for the game of baseball.

Jean Hastings Ardell is an Author/Editor/Speaker/Researcher/Teacher.  She is co-chair of the NINE Spring Training Conference, and author of "Breaking into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime."

On a Thursday in June, Jean Hastings Ardell led our intimate Clubhouse conversation.  A beautiful evening.  Listen in...



Baseball in the 1920's is most known for Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees, but there was another great Yankees player in that era whose compelling story remains untold.

Urban Shocker was a fiercely competitive and colorful pitcher.  With the 1927 Yankees, widely viewed to be the best team in Major League Baseball history, Shocker pitched with guts and guile, finishing with a record of 18-6 even while his fastball and physical skills were deserting him.  Hardly anyone knew that Shocker was suffering from incurable heart disease that left him able to sleep only while sitting up and which would take his life in less than a year.

Steve Steinberg is a baseball historian and coauthor with Lyle Spatz of "The Colonel and Hug: The Partnership that Transformed the New York Yankees" and "1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York."

Delving into his baseball career, his love of the game, and his battle with health issues, Steve Steinberg led our intimate Clubhouse conversation about the dominant and courageous force of "Urban Shocker: Silent Hero of Baseball's Golden Age."  Listen in...




A Pulitzer Prize-winner returns to the Clubhouse.

It Happens Every Spring: DiMaggio, Mays, the Splendid Splinter, and a Lifetime at the Ballpark -- opinions and reflections on the National Pastime from one of New York's most popular sportswriters.

As these gents would say...

"It can be stated as a law that the sportswriter whose horizons are no wider than the outfield fences is a bad sportswriter because he has no sense of proportion and no awareness of the real world around him.  Ira Berkow knows what is important about a game is not the score but the people who play it."  -Red Smith

"Ira Berkow belongs to that rare breed: a writer who specializes in sports but whose subjects represent a broad range in human aspirations and challenges."  -Gay Talese

"Ira Berkow is one of the great American writers, without limitation to the field of sports."  -Scott Turow

Ira Berkow is a former sports columnist and feature writer for "The New York Times," where he worked for more than 25 years.  He shared the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2001 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer for commentary in 1988.  He is the author of 25 books, including the bestsellers "Maxwell Street: Survival in a Bazaar" and "Red: A Biography of Red Smith."  His work has frequently been cited in the prestigious anthology series Best American Sports Writing, as well as the 1999 anthology Best American Sports Writing of the Century.

On a May evening, Ira Berkow led our intimate, indelible Clubhouse conversation.  Listen in -- and you'll agree with those gents named Smith, Talese and Turow.  Enjoy...





The real Joe DiMaggio -- remembered by the man who knew him best in the last decade of his life.  Candid and little-known stories about icons from Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and his Yankees teammates on the field to Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and other great celebrities off the field.

Dr. Rock Positano, an internationally renowned foot specialist in New York City, was introduced to Joe DiMaggio by Bill Gallo in 1990.  The Yankee Clipper's career-ending heel spur injury and botched surgeries brought them together.  During the time Dr. Positano successfully treated DiMaggio, a friendship slowly developed.  As Dr. Positano would learn, DiMaggio moved carefully and deliberately.

Dinner with DiMaggio follows the story of their friendship from its starstruck beginning through its highs and lows over the next decade.  Forty years younger than DiMaggio, Dr. Positano became like a surrogate son.  Positano's accounts of their times together reveal DiMaggio's many rituals and quirks.  At the pinnacle of his fame, DiMaggio had learned to be guarded and carefully managed his image and private life.  As his trust in his young friend grew, DiMaggio opened up about Marilyn, but also about his first wife, Dorothy Arnold, the mother of his son.  The Yankee Clipper knew everyone, and Positano shares never-before-told stories of famous people DiMaggio admired and those he didn't.

The stories and experiences he shared with Rock Positano comprise an intimate portrait of one of the great stars of baseball and one of the icons of the twentieth century.

Dr. Rock Positano is the Founder and Director of the Non-Surgical Foot and Ankle Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, where he has been on staff since 1991.  He graduated from Yale School of Medicine.  Positano is a clinical assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College.  He is internationally known for his non-surgical approach for the treatment of foot disorders.

On a May evening, Dr. Rock Positano and John Positano led a compelling Clubhouse conversation.  Pull up a chair at your dinner table and listen in...




Hank Greenberg was coming off a stellar season where he hit 40 home runs and had 184 RBIs.  Even with his success at the plate, neither Greenberg nor the rest of the world could have expected what was about to happen in 1938.

From his first day in the big leagues, the New York-born Greenberg had dealt with persecution for being Jewish.  From a teammate asking where his horns were to the verbal abuse from bigoted fans and the media, the 6'3" slugger always did his best to shut the noise out and concentrate on baseball.  But in 1938, that would be more difficult than he could have ever imagined.

While Greenberg was battling at the plate, his people overseas were dealing with a battle for their lives.  Adolf Hitler, who had been chancellor of Germany since 1933, had taken direct control of the country's military in February 1938.  He then began his methodic takeover of all neighboring countries, spreading Nazism and the early stages of World War II and the Holocaust.

"Hank Greenberg in 1938" chronicles the events of that year, both on the baseball diamond and the streets of Europe.  As Greenberg's bat had him on course for Babe Ruth's home run record, Hitler's "Final Solution" was beginning to take shape.  Jews across the US looked to Greenberg as a symbol of hope.  Though normally hesitant to speak about the anti-Semitism he dealt with, the slugger still knew the role he was playing, saying "I came to feel that if I, as a Jew, hit a home run, I was hitting one against Hitler."

Ron Kaplan is an award-winning journalist and blogger.  He writes about baseball literature and pop culture at "Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf," and is the author of three books including "501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die."  His work has appeared in such outlets as "Baseball America," "Irish America," and "American Book Review," among other national and international publications.

On a Wednesday evening in May 2017, Ron Kaplan took us back to 1938.  Listen in to our intimate Clubhouse conversation...



As a player, Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel's contemporaries included Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson... and he was the only person in history to wear the uniforms of all four New York teams: the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, and Mets.

For more than five glorious decades, Stengel was the undisputed, quirky, hilarious, and beloved face of baseball -- and along the way he revolutionized the role of manager while winning a spectacular ten pennants and seven World Series Championships.

But for a man who spent so much of his life in the limelight -- an astounding fifty-five years in professional baseball -- Stengel remains an enigma.  Acclaimed baseball historian and bestselling author Marty Appel digs into Casey Stengel's quirks and foibles, unearthing a tremendous trove of baseball stories, perspective, and history.  Weaving in never-before-published family documents, Appel creates an intimate portrait of a private man and Hall of Famer.

Marty Appel was the youngest public relations director in baseball history when George Steinbrenner elevated him to the New York Yankees post in 1973.  He worked for the team for ten seasons, beginning in 1968, and followed it by producing its games on WPIX television.  He is the author of twenty-three books, including the New York Times bestselling "Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain" and "Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss."

On an April evening in 2017, Marty Appel took us through the 20th century with "Casey Stengel: Baseball's Greatest Character."  A splendid, intimate Clubhouse conversation.  Pull up a chair and listen in...


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  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...



"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...



"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...




"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...




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...





"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...




“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...

- Older Posts »