Errors and Fouls: Inside Baseball's Ninety-Nine Most Popular Myths

Errors and Fouls: Inside Baseball's Ninety-Nine Most Popular Myths

by Peter Handrinos


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Baseball is the most storied of American sports, but not all the stories are true. Likewise, most baseball traditions are wonderful. But not all of them. The game’s most basic elements have often been misrepresented, misunderstood, and misremembered through the years. All along, fiction has coexisted with fact, hyperbole has mixed with history, and exaggeration has been mistaken for explanation. Meanwhile, baseball’s yen for tradition has left many fans and even baseball commentators unduly attached to stale ways of thinking.
In Errors and Fouls, Peter Handrinos breaks from the past and provides an entertaining antidote to its outmoded ideas and excessive nostalgia. Handrinos examines the underlying issues that affect all fans: modern game tactics, playoff formats, and baseball economics. He supplies new ideas that counter broadcasters’ laments about how ballplayers are supposedly unprepared to bunt, why teams deserve to make the playoffs, or whether ball parks rip off taxpayers. While boldly busting myths, he tackles all major topics: fan polls to free agency, recruiting to revenue sharing, the talent pool to the ticket prices. The author’s contrarian analysis and witty writing makes Errors and Fouls essential reading for anyone wanting to know how today’s baseball world really works.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612345604
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication date: 05/01/2013
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 1,137,361
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Peter Handrinos is the author of four books, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, and a rec player in Norwalk, Connecticut. Of Peter's work, Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Wolff has said "I've never seen a young writer take on so many sports topics, or approach them with such preparation and joy."

Table of Contents

The Fans

Myth #1 "Football Is the New National Pastime" 1

Myth #2 "The Super Bowl Is Bigger than the World Series" 4

Myth #3 "The All-Star Game Ratings Are Signs of Serious Trouble" 6

Myth #4 "Once Upon a Time, Baseball Was More Popular" 8

The Youth Movement

Myth #5 "The Fans Are Too Old" 10

Myth #6 "Losing the Kids" 11

A Matter of Time

Myth #7 "The Games Arc Too Slow" 14

Myth #8 Action! 15

Myth #9 "There Are Reasonable Ways to Speed Up the Games" 16

Myth #10 "Instant Replay Gets It Right" 18

Into The Talent Pool

Myth #11 "There Are Fewer Black Players Nowadays" 21

Myth #12 "Expansion Diluted the Talent Pool" (Pt. 1) 23

Myth #13 "Expansion Diluted the Talent Pool" (Pt. 2) 24

Myth #14 "Baseball Is the Ninth-Toughest Sport" 25

State of Plat


Myth #15 "They Don't Have the Fundamentals" 28

Myth #16 "Prospects Are Rushed" 31


Myth #17 "Old-Time Pitchers Were Tougher" 34

Myth #18 "Pitch Counts Make Them Soft" 37

Myth #19 "Young Pitcher Are Babied" 40


Myth #20 "Power Hitting Devalues Stolen Bases" 42

Myth #21 "Power Hitting Devalues Bunts" 44

Myth #22 Snapshots from an Alternative Universe in which Bunts Are Important 45

Myth #23 "Home Runs Dumb Down the Game" 47

Myth #24 "Sillyball" 48

The Numbers

Myth #25 Stai(s) or Clarity 50

Myth #26 Stat(s) of Contusion 54


Myth #27 "The Little Things" 59

Myth #28 "Thinking Outside the Box" 60

Myth #29 A Leading Question, or "Presence," "Will," "Gallantry" and "Magic" 62


Myth #30 "Clutch Situations Exist" 64

Myth #31 "Clutch Players Exist" 67

Myth #32 A Tiny Problem with the Clutch 69

Myth #33 Another Tiny Problem with the Clutch 70

Myth #34 Oh Captain, My Captain! (Sigh) 70


Myth #35 "Moneyball Is about On-Base Percentage, Stolen Bases, College Pitchers, Et Cetera" 75

Myth #36 "Moneyball Is about Numbers" 77

The October Revolution

Myth #37 "The Wild Card System Diminishes the Regular Season" (Pt. 1) 80

Myth #38 "The Wild Card System Diminishes the Regular Season" (Pt. 2) 82

Myth #39 "The Wild Cards Are Mediocre" 84

Myth #40 "Wild Cards Win Because Anything Can Happen in a Short Series" 85

The Drug Problem

Bad Chemistry

Myth #41 "Steroids Make Players Better" 88

Myth #42 "Steroids Make Players Stronger" 90

Myth #43 Caminiti, Canseco, and Giambi: A Case Study, or The Not-Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 92

Myth #44 "The Jose Canseco Revelations" 94

Myth #45 Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and What No One Knows 96

Moral Dilemmas

Myth #46 "Steroids ∼ Evil" 97

Myth #47 "Users Are as Corrupt as the Black Sox" 100

The Bonds Issue

Myth #48 "Barry Bonds Was Too Big" 102

Myth #49 "Steroids Were a Likely Explanation for Bonds's Size" 104

Myth #50 "Bonds Improved Too Much" 106

Myth #51 "Steroids Were a Likely Explanation for Bonds's Improvement" 109

Myth #52 Barry and Hank 112

Myth #53 If You Must Make a Federal Case Out of It… (Pt. 1) 113

Myth #54 If You Must Make a Federal Case Out of It… (Pt. 2) 118

In The Markets

Myth #55 "Baseball Is a Big Business" 121

Myth #56 "Someone Can Define the Big Markets and Small Markets" 123

Take Your Tickets

Myth #57 "Wc Can Define the Average Ticket Price" 126

Myth #58 "Expensive Tickets Are Pricing Out the Fans" 127

Myth #59 "Payrolls Push Prices" 129

Minor Considerations

Myth #60 "Pampered Players" 131

Myth #61 "Obscene Salaries" 135

Major Salaries

Myth #62 "Back Then They Played Harder" 138

Myth #63 "Re: Too Many Rich Kids with No Fire" 143


Myth #64 "Free Agency Destroys Player Loyalty" 147

Myth #65 "Free Agency Erodes Team Identity" 148

Myth #66 "It* Always about the Money" 150


Myth #67 "You Get What You Pay For" (Pt. 1) 153

Myth #68 "You Get What You Pay For" (Pt. 2) 157

Myth #69 "You Get What You Pay For" (Pt. 3) 159

Money for Nothing

Revenue Sharing…

Myth #70 "… Connects to Competitive Balance" 162

Myth #71 "… Encourages Competitive Balance" 166

Myth #72 "… Levels the Playing Field" 169

Through the Parks

Myth #73 "The New Ballparks Are Expensive" 171

Myth #74 "The Owners Use Blackmail" 173

Myth #75 Ballparks & Stadiums and Apples & Oranges 175

Myth #76 "The Financing Short-Changes Spending on Schools, Roads, and Other Good Things" 177

Myth #77 The Greatest Comebacks of All Time 178

Myth #78 "Ballparks Are Economic Investments" 180

In Balance

Myth #79 "Someone Can Define Competitive Balance" 183

Myth #80 "The NFL Has Better Competitive Balance" (Pt. 1) 185

Myth #81 "The NFL Has Better Competitive Balance" (Pt. 2) 187

Playing Monopoly

Myth #82 "Major League Baseball Is a Cartel" 189

Myth #83 "The Antitrust Status Hurts the Fans" 191

The Office

Myth #84 "It's Possible for the Commissioner's Office to Be Independent" 194

Myth #85 "We Need a Fans' Commissioner" 197

Myth #86 "We Need a Visionary in the Commissioner's Office" 198


Myth #87 "The Players Union Is Radical" 204

Myth #88 The Union Label 208

Myth #89 At Peace 209

And in Conclusion

Myth #90 The Good News in the Bad News 212


Myth #91 The Urban Legend 215

Myth #92 The Silence before "the Shot Heard "Round the World" 226

Myth #93 When Brooklyn Left the Dodgers 232

Myth #94 Waiting for Pete Rose 234

Extra Extras

Myth #95 A Baseball/English Translator 240

Myth #96 "The Handsome One," "The Killer." "The Monster." and Other Beneficiaries of False Advertising 252

Myth #97 Player Rules That Aren't in the Rulcbook 257

Myth #98 Fan Rules That Aren't in Rulcbook 261

Myth #99 "What a Pity that Baseballs So Out of Touch" 265

Addenda 271

Bibliography 293

Index: What Was Where 303

Acknowledgments: To the End 313

About the Author 315

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