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January 17, 2024 55 mins

The Book of Joe Podcast with hosts Tom Verducci and Joe Maddon begins with football taking center stage in the sports world.  Watching football is very popular, but Tom talks about the intimate connection that fans have with baseball and its players.  We explore why teams could be losing the home field advantage in baseball. Joe reveals how and why teams had small adjustments to their field to personalize it for their players.  Back to football, who are the teams that Tom thinks have the best chance of a championship?  

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
The Book of Joe podcast is a production of iHeartRadio,
Hey Baron Welcome Back. It's the latest episode of the
Book of Joe with me, Tom Barducci and former Lafayette
quarterback Joe Madden. Joe, I bring that up because we're

going to do a football edition of the Book of Joe,
well at least as it relates to baseball. And I
know you, former quarterback at Lafayette, will enjoy this.

Speaker 2 (00:38):
I would, I will, I would. You know.

Speaker 3 (00:40):
I started out actually in midget football when I was ten,
playing quarterback. It's incredible and crazy how that just carries
over into the rest of everything that you do calling
audibles when you're ten. It was kind of I can't
say it was my first love, but it was the
sport that I probably played better. I just was called
to the greener pastors of a baseball field. I loved

everything about it. Football hurt more than baseball did, kind of,
so there's part of those things that I do still
love about football.

Speaker 2 (01:11):
Watched the games this past weekend.

Speaker 3 (01:12):
I was so disappointed and the way the Eagles went
about their business, and I'm not even an Eagles fan,
it was just wow, how did that happen?

Speaker 2 (01:19):
So yes, very cool. I'm into it.

Speaker 1 (01:21):
Well, I'm glad you brought that up, watching the games
on television, because Americans love to do just that. Joe,
here's a question for you. Of the top one hundred
rated television shows in the year twenty twenty three, how
many of those do you think were NFL games?

Speaker 2 (01:40):
Out of a top ten many.

Speaker 1 (01:42):
Top one hundred weighted television shows.

Speaker 2 (01:45):
Football games. Gosh, a lot.

Speaker 1 (01:48):
Actually, you gotta be a little bit more specific than
a lot.

Speaker 3 (01:51):
I'm just saying we don't really watch TV that much anymore,
and you know, baseball games, I'll say I'll say fifty.

Speaker 1 (01:57):
Correct answer is ninety three.

Speaker 2 (02:00):
There you go.

Speaker 1 (02:01):
Ninety three of the top one hundred hundred programs on
television last year were NFL games, and by the way,
another three of them were college football games. Now, if
you went back just two years ago, it was seventy
five at the top one hundred last year, well, two
years ago now twenty twenty two, it was eighty two.
Ninety three of the top one hundred programs were NFL games. Now, listen, Joe,

we love baseball, There's no question about it, and there
is some connection to baseball that I think emotionally no
other sport can offer. And I think that's true. And
the volume of games and how much time we devote
to it over the course of seven months is just incredible.
But you know, baseball was known as the national pastime.

But now I think that football in a very different way,
is not just something that we love to watch. It's
become a cultural force. It's what binds people. It's what
people talk about at the office, you know, around the
water cooler on Monday mornings, if water coolers still exists.
You know, even if you're not a die hard football fan,

you're engaged in the fabric of conversation, then hey, you
see the game or what's the local team doing. And
especially now that betting is something that is not taboo,
but let's face it encouraged everywhere we turned with advertising
that has helped the popularity of the NFL and football
in general, so that the poll of football now is

what baseball used to be as far as a cultural force.
But again, I don't think the emotional connection is quite
the same as it still is with baseball.

Speaker 3 (03:38):
Yeah, the ubiquitous nature of baseball though too, right, the
fact that you could watch so many games during the
course of an entire year versus once every weekend, whether
it's a college high school game on a Friday normally,
the college on Saturday, and then the NFL on Sunday.
The fact that it's a once a week kind of
an event permits people, I think, to be more readily

wanting to drive a longer distance comfortably as a baseball game,
even like here I'm in Tampa right now, to go
across the Howard Franklin Bridge to get down to Saint
Petersburg is such a big deal and it's pretty much
only I don't know, twenty some miles maybe, but nobody
wants to do that if you want to, if you
want to buy a season ticket to go every night.

I'm just making the case that I think that once
a week kind of a gig absolutely helps the allure,
the attractiveness, the fact that you could watch every baseball
game as a package your team, other teams that I follow,
different teams this past year.

Speaker 2 (04:36):
It's so easy to do. And on a nightly basis.

Speaker 3 (04:38):
I mean, how about the accumulative numbers of games watched
during the course of a year, and how what does
that add up to as opposed to that one big
hit on a Sunday afternoon, or a big playoff game
or a Super Bowl. So I think there's there's I
get it regarding the attraction, the allure, the fact that
it's in the top one hundred so many times. But

baseball collectively, as a group, I think is watched probably
has to be watched more than football is. If you
just take every night, whether it's the Yankees and Dodgers whomever,
the really big draws. If you combine that, it's got
to be pretty staggering also. But I'm not disagreeing with you,
and I'm really disappointing to me that we're not spoken
about as a national past time anymore. We've talked about this,

you and I have, and it's something that I used
to try to do in my press conferences with the
Cubs especially, always reference the baseball as the national pastime,
to really just try to promote that thought and see
if people could start repeating it more often, because it
does bother me that we've slipped so far when it
comes to that phrase and how people view our game

versus the game of football. So yeah, I can keep
going on and on, but I think there's reasons football
is popular and interesting.

Speaker 2 (05:51):
But I'm here to tell.

Speaker 3 (05:52):
You, man, it's easy for me to sit down and
watch a full baseball game and it is to watch
a full football game.

Speaker 1 (05:58):
Yeah, I'm with you on that. And you know, there's
nothing wrong with being the national pastime, because I think
the NFL you touched on this, Joe, is more of
a spectacle. We are awed by it, the fact that
it comes so rarely, generally once a week for your
favorite team. The players on the field, they're just spectacular
and what they can do at their size and their speed,
where baseball to me, is so much more approachable and relatable,

and there's a comfort to the fact that there are
two four hundred and thirty games in a major league season,
that it's always there for you, and you know, growing
up it's in the entry level sport for a lot
of folks. I don't think people look at the NFL
as something that's relatable. I think it's something that they're
owed by. So it's our national spectacle. But there's nothing
wrong with being a pastime. Pastime is something that you'd

just love to spend time with and it's very comfortable
and yes, it's exciting as well. Don't get me wrong.
It's not like having a hammock in your backyard. Well
I guess sometimes it is, but the fact that it's
there for you throughout the summer, especially outdoors. And let's
face it, most people consume the NFL by never being
in a ballparker stadium as they call them in their lives.

Baseball is something that the tactile nature of it, of
being out there and seeing and feeling that the energy
in the ballpark is something a lot of people can
relate to. There's more opportunities to do that. So that's
why I say, I think the emotional connection in terms
of how you feel about the sport, how you relate
to the sport and its players, to me, it's a
little stronger. And I'm saying that completely recognizing obviously football

is much more popular it is.

Speaker 3 (07:33):
I'm just as you're making all those points, I'm just
thinking about me as a kid, and I know that's
not we're not talking nineteen sixties and seventies, but my
god and you were probably the same way. First thing
in the morning, when you wake up in the summertime,
especially because we're a kid from cold weather Man, you
want to get outside and play baseball, never got tired
of it, whether it was Little league, teiners ball eventually

Babe Ruth ball, just summer ball in general.

Speaker 2 (07:57):
And you're playing for.

Speaker 3 (07:58):
Your city normally you're vying to make an all star team.

Speaker 2 (08:02):
At that point, there was no such thing as a travel.

Speaker 3 (08:05):
Team, of course not my father never could have afforded
a travel team, nor did he have the time to
drive me around like it's like it happens today. I
just I just amazed by all that. I guess what
I'm just trying to say. There was a time when
it was more of the fabric. I mean, the kids, parents,
father's kids and moms. We would be we would just
be so engrossed with the summer, the game, the flow

of the game, wanting to play the game. Our heroes
were baseball players. Football players wear helmets, you couldn't see
their faces. Baseball players are just out there with a
cap on and you could see them so easily.

Speaker 2 (08:38):

Speaker 3 (08:38):
Of course, again, television wise, we saw them once a week.
Maybe that was part of the allure. Also, we didn't
see them as often, and if you ever got to
a ballpark, they truly and for those that remember that,
they were larger than life.

Speaker 2 (08:51):
These dudes they were. I mean to stand outside.

Speaker 3 (08:53):
Of Connie Mac Stadium and have let's say, Julian Javier
walk by me, or Kurt Flood or Lou Brock, Carl Warwick,
all these dudes. Back in the day, I would just
stand on I me absolutely in all of these people.
I don't know that we have that kids have that
same kind of awestruck component about the game that we

grew up with. That really was a big part of
why I wanted to be a baseball player. I wanted
to be a professional baseball player. I like football, but
I didn't want to be a football guy. So I
don't know if just in fact, the way this has
evolved to the point where the kids just don't readily
just play the game on their own. Everything's so organized,
so structured, the idea that the way youth baseball is

structured now, it's all about becoming best in show. It's
not about playing for Hazelton versus West Hazleton and beating
them because you just want to beat them because they're
from the other city. And your group of dudes are
a group of guys that you grew up with. You
band together and you want to play and win. I
don't know that that's that is as prominent as it
had been, and I don't know to what extent that's

part of why the game isn't as popular. Those a
lot of tie ins to that man that I really
thought brought me along and made all of that very
interesting to me, and still is. I have a grandson
that's playing a lot of baseball now at in Arizona,
and it's not about winning for the school or the

team as much as it is just trying to get
out there and play and hopefully becoming the best player
on the field. And that's where the disconnect lies with me.

Speaker 1 (10:29):
Yeah, and that's just the way the world is. And
I agree with you. There's something special about playing for
your hometown team with the buddies in your same grade,
and you feel a special bond and it is about
the team more than about you. But our society now
is so much more about look at me, you know,
individuals being the best version of you, and less about team.
I don't think baseball is alone in that regard. I mean,

we have kids now really good baseball players don't play
for their high school teams because they think the competition
is better at playing travel ball during the high school
baseball season. The idea to me that you're going to
high school and not playing for your high school varsity
team is just I can't relate to it. But that's
the way the world is these days. I get it.
So I think that's what's made coaching and managing more difficult,

because people are raised more of an individual environment than
a team environment, including in team sports. That being said, Joe,
you mentioned you watched the Bucks, you watched the Eagles.
Something stuck out at me in the first round of
the wildcard of the NFL playoffs last week, and that
is the home teams went five to one, and I
started thinking, what's happening to home field advantage in both

baseball and football now? In the NFL since the twelve
team format in the playoffs back in nineteen ninety, the
home team wins about sixty seven percent of the time,
and that's pretty much where the number is in the NFL.
It even go back to the nineteen forties. Overall about it,
almost two thirds of the time the home team is

going to win. Baseball doesn't have that kind of home
field advantage, And what's interesting to me Joe, is you
look at the postseason last year in Major League Baseball?
Check this out. Home teams in the postseason last year
in baseball were fifteen and twenty six. Fifteen and twenty six.
That's a three sixty six winning percentage, which is the

lowest in any postseason since nineteen seventy, when there were
only eleven postseason games, by the way, for seven records,
so that's not even comparable. Postseason winning percentage for home
teams has now gone down for three straight years. Joe,
what is going on with the home field advantage?

Speaker 3 (12:43):
Well, I mean, having done it recently, I could tell you,
like when it guessed the playoffs, the field it could
be loud, but for whatever reason, baseball people, baseball players
are able to block that out. It's just I don't
know that the game is as emotional, maybe.

Speaker 2 (13:01):
As a football game would be. I'm just thinking serendipitously.

Speaker 3 (13:06):
I mean the fact that there's so many signals calls
that have to be made in a football game, where
in baseball that's not the case. Baseball it's more internal.
You're just trying to breathe and get your focus and
slow things down. I don't know that that's as prevalent
in the game of football as much, where the crowd
noise and just the fact that you're getting hit all
the time really plays a lot of emotion component of

the game of football, physically well as mentally. That I
don't think you feel in baseball. I know you don't
feel in baseball. I'm not playing the game, but I'm
standing there in a dugout in a let's just stay
in a playoff game in the old Kingdom another kingdom.
Excuse me, the Metrodome in Minnesota. You can't get any
louder than that. Cannot But the worst part was just
trying again communication, talking to the guy next to me

if I had to, But the fact that it was loud,
and it was inside and your way.

Speaker 2 (13:56):
It's weird.

Speaker 3 (13:57):
But baseball wise, it doesn't bother you as much as
a participant. I know the Phillies were We're set to
have this great home field advantage based on that ballpark,
in that fan base. What did the Diamondbacks do? They
sash right in there and get the job done. So
the noise factor in a baseball game for a baseball
player isn't as not to say, when a baseball player

is playing golf. I don't need I don't need anybody
to stop talking behind me. I don't hear them anyway,
plane flies over, who cares. I just think we're conditioned
or pattern different, and the.

Speaker 2 (14:32):
Emotion of the crowd, you don't feel it as much.

Speaker 3 (14:35):
You might for a pitcher too, Yes, to place minor rup,
but you ga able to come back. We're taught to like,
slow things down, breathe, focus on the moment, keep the
emotion out of it. These are the kind of thoughts
that we have and we try to train our guys
to have. So maybe that has something to do with it.

Speaker 1 (14:52):
Yeah, let me just clean up something I said. I said.
The postseason winning percentage at home has gone down three
straight years. That's actually the regular season, which obviously is
a much larger sample size. Regular season home field winning
percentage has gone down three straight years. This is not
just a postseason phenomenon. During the regular season, the winning

percentage was five twenty one. That's barely a flip of
the coin for home teams in the regular season in
twenty twenty three, that ties nineteen ninety nine as the
lowest in any full season since nineteen seventy one. That's
a long time where home field advantage now means less
than it ever has. We're gonna take a quick break, Joe.

When we come back, I'm gonna start to give you
my thoughts about the NFL and MLB and why home
field advantage either matters or, in baseball's case, doesn't. So, Joe,

I talked about the home field in the NFL, and
certainly in the playoffs. You see that six percent of
the time. I have a problem with the idea that
the game is too much affected by the home crowd
in the NFL. The fact that you know home teams
home crowds delight in getting the false starts when they're
so loud the quarterback can't call a play. That is

a huge advantage in the game that relies on making
adjustments at the line of scrimmage. I don't know what
can be done about it. Nothing, I'm sure, but that
strikes me. It just doesn't strike me as fair. I
don't like it. I really don't. You know, you should
be able to play your game against their game and
not have the third element decide so much of gameplay.

That's not the case in baseball. As you said, you
can we've been. I know, listen to the lot ofest
places I've ever been in was the Metrodome in nineteen
eighty seven in the World Series, and also in nineteen
ninety one, I was like going to ACDC concert for
three hours. You came out of that literally and your
ears were ringing, and of course the Twins ran the table.

Back then it was a home field advantage. You couldn't
see the ball because of the teflon roof, lots of
the funky things going on there. I get that, But
in baseball, I agree with you, Joe. I think the
home crowds and the noise they generate just simply does
not matter. And I'll actually flip it on you here, Joe.
I spent a lot of time with the Rangers last
year in the postseason, and the best thing to happen
to them was actually starting on the road. Remember, they

lost home field advantage and a buye in the first round,
and they lost one nothing on the last day of
the season to Seattle, so they had to go to Tampa,
and Tampa had the best home record in the American League.
You're going inside and there's some funkiness to that ballpark,
as you know, well Joe and they win there. They
go to Baltimore, the best team in the league, they
win there. They went eleven to zero in the postseason,
and I think the bonding experience of being on the

road together, of being a team in an underdog situation,
if you will, they turned that into a net positive
and they just literally rolled with it. They just kept
that role going throughout the postseason. So we talk a
lot about your first or second seed in the league,
and you get the advantage of the first round by

and home field advantage. We really have to start de
emphasizing home field advantage in baseball.

Speaker 2 (18:10):
Yeah, I'm with you.

Speaker 3 (18:11):
And then the thing, as we're extrapolating a bit, in baseball,
we play what eighty one games on the road every
year anyway, and you play three game sets anyway. It's
not like you just sashey in the town for one
game and leave. The NFL, they travel like the day
before a lot during the season. I think the game
that they're going to play. There's also this getting used

to the elements and what's going on where you're at.
There's all that to be considered too. But baseball, we
play all the time on the road. We play a
lot of games on the road. We're used to the travel.
We have our set routines that we do there. Also,
it's about, I guess a lot of it is about routine.
And when you establish a routine that you're comfortable with,
you could almost do it anywhere. Again, I'm speaking as

a manager right now and as a coach, because they
didn't do it as a player at the big leaes,
but they did it in the minor leagues obviously, and
you do once you've established a routine that you're comfortable
with to the ballpark, you know you can walk out
through the mounds of the same distance away tell what happens.
Sometimes hitting backdrops could be a painted a butt and
even like for instance in Oakland, the depth perception because

there's so much room behind, say the first basement on
a throw from third base, and what that looks like.
Different little quirky things like you mentioned with the with
the Troup. When I managed the Trump one of the
first things I said I wanted to do was.

Speaker 2 (19:25):
Make it the pit.

Speaker 3 (19:27):
I wanted that to become the home court advantage in
all Major League baseball, and it kind of did for
a long time, and I think it still played to
a pretty big advantage there.

Speaker 1 (19:35):
Yeah. And by the way, the lighting in that place
is terrible. It's a terrible place to hit. Yeah, And
I think the Rays kind of get used to that.
Visiting teams are always complaining about that.

Speaker 2 (19:43):
All that stuff you do.

Speaker 3 (19:45):
But that's there's a few of those, like we're saying,
a few places like that, But for overall, maybe there's
a time the Yankee Stadium could intimidate some young guys
coming in.

Speaker 2 (19:53):

Speaker 3 (19:54):
That's why I always always used to preach with the Rays.
Everybody used to say the Rays need to get out
of the Al East. I said, why, I mean, in
order to be the best, you got to beat the best.
I thought it was an advantage to us to have
to play at Yankee Stadium and Fenway so often. I
thought that was the best way to develop our young players.
That moved them along more quickly. And it did so

we could keep going around this all different ways. But
I think the fact that baseball and baseball players we
play so often away from our home spot, play so
many games that kind of becomes moot. You kind of
become numbed all that, and it's not that big.

Speaker 2 (20:31):
Of a deal.

Speaker 1 (20:31):
Yeah, and you also made me think of something else
when you talked about the old Yankee Stadium, and I
agree that place was just I remember Paul O'Neill saying
when he scored a run I think it was in
the two thousand and one World Series, he literally could
feel the ground shaking and the upper deck would literally
sway when that place got super loud. And I'll tell

you a quick story. When they opened the new Yankee Stadium,
they played against Cleveland. Mark de Rosa was playing for
Cleveland then, and I'll never forget talking to him after
the game, and he said, the Yankees just lost their
home field advantage. And remember we're talking about opening days,
so the new ballpark is full. I said, what are
you talking about. He said, if you were a visiting
player and the Yankee started rallying on you, you felt intimidated.

Those fans were right on top of you. And he said, now,
this is a beautiful new ballpark, but they're no longer
on top of you, and they lost the home field advantage.
And I think that's true, maybe not just of Yankee Stadium, Joe,
but some of the newer ballparks that there's so many
creature comforts that sort of the intimidation factor is not
there in some of these places, so maybe that's also
coming into play in postseason baseball.

Speaker 3 (21:38):
Well, combination of that, plus you have to have a
good team to intimidate somebody with. I know for years
it was really the when I was with the Angels
first time around, we actually had the only winning record
I think against the Yankees during that.

Speaker 1 (21:51):
You did during the Tory years, Yes.

Speaker 3 (21:54):
Right, exactly, were the only winning record. So we walked
in here, no big deal. I know, Chuckdillley loved to
pitch in that ballpark, and we never felt intimidated. We've
actually felt inspired. However, going to Fenway was different. We
played poorly that Fenway Park again for the quirkiness, and
the fans made it right on top of you. Was
just a different thing. That's part of it too, is

there's certain places you walk into you feel good, you
feel comfortable, I'm okay with this, and others that you
just don't. You would think that Rigley should have been
that for so many years with the Cubbies, because I
mean that's.

Speaker 2 (22:27):
Like a micro climate in there.

Speaker 3 (22:28):
There's so many different things that happened during the course
of the year their wind blowing in. Primarily people don't
even realize that. You see the short number of three
sixty five in the gap, But I'll tell you what,
that's the longest three sixty five you've ever seen. When
the wind's blowing in, wind blowing out, of course becomes mitigated.

Speaker 2 (22:44):
But that's that's rare.

Speaker 3 (22:47):
Actually, the wind for me blew in way more often
than it blew out, but it never really worked to
the advantage of the Cubs. The other part was the
day games. I've always when I first got there, I thought,
my god, this is we got to do.

Speaker 2 (22:58):
Something about it. And we did.

Speaker 3 (23:00):
We stopped taking a lot of pregame on before day
games order to try to bring or swing this advantage
back to us. So all these different ballparks have you
a uniqueness about them. Some are more intimidating than others.
But at the end of the day, Man, the old
Cleveland Indians, brother, that was a tough spot to win.
In the late nineties mid late nineties.

Speaker 2 (23:20):
Wow, they would come back all the time.

Speaker 3 (23:23):
They had a bunch of horses, they sold out every
night out to another one was Toronto when Caito was there,
when they won two years in a row. Yeah, that
place was sold out every night and it's as loud
as you can possibly.

Speaker 1 (23:35):
Get fifty people every night.

Speaker 3 (23:38):
So when you walk in there, you see their their
lineup was and that the other thing with their lineup
was the same every night. Sedar wrote the same nine
names in every night in the same order. That was
somewhat intimidating, especially when you came from the West Coast
back there to play one series in that ballpark. So
there's all these little nuance that, you know, it's hard

to evaluate or consider. But for me, I used to
think about these things walking in the door, and I
knew some places are going to be more difficult than others.

Speaker 1 (24:06):
Yeah, I'm not sure there's as many of those places anymore, Joe,
And I think maybe part of it is the fact
that all these ballparks now are in great condition. You
mentioned Wrigley, you know, I remember Matt Joyce telling me
when they were starting the renovation of Wrigley Field, the
Cubs had this beautiful cage area behind the dugout. There
was nothing on the visiting side, so if you were

getting ready to pinch hit late in the game, you
literally had no area to get yourself ready to hit,
and the Cubs did home field advantage the way if
you went to Tiger Stadium in the nineteen eighties and
Sparky Anderson had all those sinker balls and split pitchers
on the mound throwing ground balls. You could lose a
small child in the grass at Tiger Stadium. It was
so high it was ridiculous. The way the foul lines

were curved. If you had a team that could bunt,
you know, you made sure that you built your ballpark
the way it would accommodate your offense. Those things don't
happen anymore. It's very generic. When it comes to the
condition of the playing fields. These fields are absolutely perfect.
You went into Shay Stadium and Fenway Park, the infields
were terrible. I mean terrible. You could there were bad

hops everywhere. You can watch baseball for a month and
not see a bad hop on these fields. So there's
sort of been an homogenation of the playing fields themselves.
And I get it. The dimensions are different, but there's
such a sameness to it that I think the uniqueness
that you were talking about and some of the true
home field advantage they have been dulled over the course

of building these great ballparks and the conditions of the fields,
and just to prove that once again, I'll give you
some postseason numbers here. Because of the total wildcard era
since we've gone to these expanded playoffs, home field advantage
is about fifty four percent of the time five forty
one winning percentage since nineteen ninety five. In the postseason
in the last four seasons it's down to five to ten.

The four seasons before that it was five sixty three
five ten. I mean, that's a flip of the coin
in the postseason. So there's probably a lot of factors
going on here. You can also talk I think about
how there is less separation between the really good teams
and the good teams. I think there is a little
more parody in the game today. I think we see

that every year in the postseason. Literally anybody who gets
in can win the World Series. It's not just like
one or two teams ken as you feel in the NFL.
So I think all these things are coming into play.
But I think as we look at baseball and we
talk so much about home field advantage, Oh, you're going
to get the deciding game at home, and these this
team is tough to beat at home. Be careful with that.
It doesn't mean nearly as much as it used to.

Speaker 2 (26:39):
You take Roger Bossard with the White Sox.

Speaker 3 (26:42):
He puts piles of dirt out in the infield while
these guys are taking batting practice in infield ground balls,
and he would structure the area, stretched up their base
second whatever, according to how that infielder wanted the ground,
the turf great, a little bit more firm, a little
less firm, etcetera.

Speaker 1 (26:59):
As an example, Hey, I'm going to stop you. It
reminds me you did with that story. Go one step further.
I know a team, this is probably back in the
nineteen eighties that used two sets of baseballs, one when
they were batting and one when the other team was
batting and when the other team was bad. And guess
where those baseballs came from the refrigerator. Sure true story.

And obviously now the care and condition of the baseball
is the way that Major League Baseball supervises, basically the
chain of command of how baseballs go from the shop
to the ballpark. That also has been homogenized. It's obviously
for the better, but again change over years. All these
things add up.

Speaker 3 (27:40):
We were always concerned in the Metrodome that when they
were hitting, the air conditioning would come on. You would
see the little like those little pieces of fabric on
the vents behind home plate, like blowing out towards center field,
and then when we come up to hit, all of
a sudden, they would go limp. There was always this concern.
Teams don't fun as much obviously anymore. But you know,

one of the first things I've always done in each ballpark,
I'd get out and i would roll a ball on
the third base in the first base line to see
if the ball would come back fair. This goes back
to the minor league days. Used to go into a
corner and hits. Your fun goes in the corner to
see the caraen and rebound of the off the wall
as it wraps around the corner. You know, one of
the worst is actually Kansas City. People don't even realize

that where the ball wraps around all the little nuance
that's built in each ballpark that you have to learn
and understand. And that's that's really an interesting and a
separating part of the game for me for us, where
in football, like it's even more homogenized. I mean, that's
just it. It's what fifty two yards wide or something
like that on yards long, and it's always the same.

And there's no crowd in the fields anywhere. They're all flat,
So those fields are wonderfully the same. But baseball's all
Each ballpark had its new Once you're talking about the grass,
how about just the dirt in front of home plate,
secret ball pitcher. You see that groundskeeper out there before
the game, just soaking the crap out of the ground
right in front of home plate. So if your guys

hit a ground ball pulm, it would just die, absolutely
die before got into the high grass. So a lot
of things were controlled at that time.

Speaker 2 (29:08):
It's true.

Speaker 3 (29:09):
It's all true, and you knew it and nobody ever
complained about it because y'all had the opportunity to set
up your field the way you thought it it suited
your team. Interesting part of the game, really cool part
of the game. And again it's it's a part of
the personality and the interest that the game generated for
so many years. Things to talk about and it doesn't

really matter, and it creates the conversation. I love that stuff,
and it just doesn't hardly exist anymore because there's not.
There's no nobody tailoring fields too different attributes by players.
But watch out now, if the game continues to become
more of a speed game game in motion, Bundy comes
back a little bit, you're gonna start seeing things like

that happen again, and it would make it a little
bit more interesting.

Speaker 1 (29:55):
Here's a question for you, and put your manager's hat
on here, because I think one of the more overrated
stats that people look to is home road splits. Like
I've seen managers start a guy in a playoff game
because he had a good record at home. I don't
believe in that. If you look at playing records over
the course of the guy's careers, over time, there's not

a consistency to it. Yes, I mean, if you're Jim
Rice or Wade Boggs, you're going to put up better
numbers at Fenway Park over the course of your I
get that. I mean that's just going back to the
dimensions of the field. There's no foul territory. You know,
leftfield wall is so close. Hit a fly ball, you
get a single. I get all that. What I'm saying is,
if you've got a pitcher who's got good home numbers,
and I think you had this in sixteen with Kyle Hendricks.

You know, these things happen, you can get on a roll.
But the fact that someone is going to be a
better pitcher at home than on the road over the
course of his career, or a consistent basis or something
you can bank on. I'm not buying it, Joe, I'm
really not. I think it's entirely overrated. Is there something there, Yeah,
but I'm not banking on it.

Speaker 3 (31:00):
I think young pictures it can be something that you
have to just pay attend you to a little bit
with I remember, if I remember properly, like James Shields
when he first started out, was definitely better at the
trump than he was on the road. I think sometimes
for me, this is my opinion that backgrounds Matt. I
just talked about it with Oakland. What a pitcher sees?
What do you see? Sometimes honestly, the catcher looks like

he's right on top of you, and sometimes it looks
like he's one hundred feet away, as the post to
sixty feet six inches, So sometimes it's perception and that'll
result in trying to throw the ball harder because it
looks like he's farther away, or it could just be
nice and easy because the guy looks like he's right
in front of me. All these things I mean, and
also like in dome, sometimes when a pitcher throws a

ball well and the catcher catches it right the pop
in the mid, it's going to be very confident building,
confidence building when they hear that loud snap of the glove.
All these little things matter when you're not here in
the snap of the glove or the ball, the catcher
looks like he's farther away, then here comes more effort
that's not necessary.

Speaker 2 (32:00):
So there is that.

Speaker 3 (32:01):
My point is, then as a pitcher plays a bit,
I think that kind of goes away. So I would
always I would always. I'm aware of that a little
bit with young pitchers home and road splits.

Speaker 2 (32:12):
I just look at it.

Speaker 3 (32:13):
Not that I don't think I would change that if
somebody was building into.

Speaker 2 (32:18):
It, or if he if he's my guy, I'm not
gonna worry about it so much.

Speaker 3 (32:21):
But there's it's a youthful thing, I think more than anything,
and as you gain experience, I think all that stuff
kind of morphs together. And if there was an apparent
disadvantage early on, it goes.

Speaker 1 (32:33):
Away Well said, Hey, we're gonna take a quick break
and we're going to talk about some coaching legends that
either retired or left jobs where they have been institutions
for talking football as it relates to baseball. You are
listening to the Book of Joe podcast. Joe, I'm sure

you noticed all the changes. I mean, starting with Nick
Saban retires at Alabama seventy two years old. Bill Belichick
out with the New England Patriots seventy one years old
and he's already in the course of interviewing with other teams.
And Pete Carroll at the age of seventy two leaving
the Seattle Seahawks, the all time winning coach for the
Seattle Seahawks. And I'm not sure he left on his

completely on his own volition. It doesn't sound like he did.
You know, these things happened. We had Dusty Baker retire
after last year. I mean, what are your thoughts, Joe.
I mean, these guys are a little bit older than you,
but you followed their careers. I mean all of them
remained relatable into their seventies. I don't think that's the
reason why they're not coaching anymore the game passed them

by No, of course, not your thoughts. When you saw
some of these legends leave coaching positions in football, I.

Speaker 3 (33:57):
Was just curious to like if there was any really
specific reason, either from them or from the people that
were letting them go. And again, when you talk about
Pete and Seattle, it just appeared to be there's a
little bit of a disconnect with what was going on
above him and down to his office, and that was
relatable regarding what's happening in baseball a bit. I think
Nick Saban also related something to the effect that I

think he just didn't like the way college football, the
direction that was headed in how that was trending. I
don't know specifically what he meant by that.

Speaker 2 (34:28):

Speaker 3 (34:28):
I just think that was an eventuality that it probably
better for him and the Patriots.

Speaker 2 (34:33):
I mean, there's nothing more he could.

Speaker 3 (34:35):
Have accomplished there in New England with what he had
done there. So I think it's again, it's very similar
to what happens in our sport. I think I kind
of was again relatable for me regarding what I had
done and how long I had done it, and then
all of a sudden you have to kind of relinquish power,
for a lack of better word. I know that was

something I think I read with Pete, But I also
know that Saban running a college team, he is everything.
He is the CEO, he's the president, he's the dean,
he's everything there. So it's hard to imagine him having
that kind of a come play. But I think a
professional coach that's being let go might be running into
that because I think the trend, the idea that it's

almost like everybody believes almost anybody can do it. I
think they devalue the interaction with human beings, how this
coach relates to the players specifically, and then even right
down to his experience level, what he brings to the
table based on the years of having done this and
all the different situations he's been And I don't think
that's really considered valuable anymore. I think the fact that
the game has become so mathematical again, I think there's

a lot of folks that think almost anybody can do it.
I think it's kind of evolving to that point. So Yeah,
I've been watching it, I've been listening, and I still
want to read more. I want to hear more once
the real reasons are put out there, and you're talking
about guys like Siriani, now that is.

Speaker 2 (35:56):
On a hot seat.

Speaker 3 (35:57):
This guy just won a Super Bowl as an example,
the guy with the Chargers who was just let go
after apparently are really out standing start and now all
of a sudden, I'm reading things about lack of experience.
So it's all over the map. Man, it's all over
the map. It's curious to watch. It's infiltrating all of sports.
I think it's infiltrating all of industry where is ever

in charge really wants more power and control, and thus
if the person that they've hired to be running their
business or whatever doesn't succumb to that and permit that,
then all of a sudden, I got to get somebody
in there that's more malleable.

Speaker 2 (36:34):
And I think overall, that's what I'm saying.

Speaker 1 (36:36):
You're right, Joe, and you're right to point out that
this is not unique to baseball or even sports, as
you mentioned, even in industry where people will come in
from the let's call it the outside and gain power
and decision making properties over people who are already in
the system. And that was Pete Carroll's Beef. I'm going

to read you his explanation about why he's no longer
the coach of the Seahawks because they told him they
need to make it adjustments. So he said, what is
the essence of the adjustments that are necessary. That's where
maybe we don't see eye to eye on because I
see it one way, and i think I've got a
way to fix it, and I'm not going to kind
of halfway fix it. I'm trying to fix it so

it's perfect. It's got real, precise and specific thoughts. And
they may not see it that way. They may not
agree with it. They may not see that that's the
right answer or that's not the right answer that makes
them feel good. The difficult part is if you guys
can know, it's really hard because they're not football people,
they're not coaches, and so to get to the real

details of it is really difficult for other people. And
there you go, Joe, that's the fundamental disconnect that we're
seeing across sports. The people in power and the people
who grew up in the game and are the coaches, instructors,
whatever you want to call. The managers are looking at
it two different ways, but only one side is where
the power lies, at least the final decision.

Speaker 3 (38:02):
Right, I mean, discounts all the years that everybody has
been doing what they've been doing. And it really kind
of insulting actually when people think that almost anybody can
do this, and again when they plup somebody into the
managerial seat, somebody that's never managed on any level whatsoever,

and believe there should be successful based on I don't know, personality, trade, equality,
ability to communicate a little bit. That really it minimizes
and it's kind of insulting. Like I said, to all
the years that you've done something to yet to achieve
what to get to that point coming up as a
young coach, manager, man, there was some steps you had

to get through and you had to do it for
a while.

Speaker 2 (38:46):
You had to be successful for a while.

Speaker 3 (38:48):
Successful not in the sense in the minor leagues with
the one loss record, but successful in the sense that
you were very good at communicating organizational philosophy, that your
players got better during the course of a season, that
your communication skills were on target, that you were adaptable,
and also that you have you are creative in your
own right. All these things have to be nurtured over

a period of time. But to think that, you know,
for me, and I have thought about this a little
bit lately, the fact that when I look back out
the work, I've had a lot of stuff written down
from ninth to th early nineteen eighties to present, and
I see a lot of consistency with what I wrote
in the nineteen eighties to what I still believe in today.
That really had worked and it was culminated in twenty sixteen.

But it's amazing that that stuff doesn't really matter anymore.
And the fact that you think that just based on
I don't reading a leadership book, or just the fact
that you have a lot of money based on another
industry that you're going to walk in and be successful
doing this, it's really it's it's that's this concerning and

it's it is a cost for concern. But again, it's
not just in our game, it's in every game, it's
in every business. And with that we've again experience really
is not that important to groups a more. Wisdom is
not necessarily that important anymore. It's just the idea that
you whoever's in charge, but people report to them. You

pretty much have to concede eques and creativity and the
ability to think on your own is not really encouraged.
It's really not last when I had a big dinner
last night with a bunch of old rays here, Jim
Hickey was there, between stats. Tom Foley was sitting across
from me. We have we have in such really a
wonderful time. But the fact that this kind of this method,

this this style, it's not it's not being recruited anymore,
it's not desired anymore. This experienced person is not necessary.
And my overarching point is that who's teaching the game
to the minor leaguers and I'm talking about the minor
league coaches, who's passing the game along. Nobody's even thinking
about that. Nobody's talking about that, and I think that

is a real big mistake. The game is kind of
a little bit of a renaissance last year based on
a couple or rules changes, but it's not because the
game was being taught any better on a lower level.
So if the game wants to sustain itself and really
become this pleasing kind of a performance for the for
the fan base to really get absorbed in again, we

have to be aware of who's coaching the coaches in
the minor league, who's passing the game along. That is
such an important concept, and I don't think I've heard
it discussed one time.

Speaker 1 (41:32):
Yeah, well, I mean, listen, we talked about a little
bit last week in terms of putting together our coaching
staff and making sure you do have a blend. I
do think the game is coming back a little bit
in that regard, Joe. It takes time. It's not going
to be a you know, a flip of a switch here.
But when you look around, you know, and you use
this word all the time, a blend right and balance

is probably the word you prefer over everything. That's the
answer here, because when you look at teams that are
winning championships, it's the teams that do have that blend,
that do have the human connection. Texas is the premier
example last year, and you can pick just about any team.
But the teams that are going heavy into so called
new age and analytics and all that stuff is great,

it's awesome. They're not winning championships. They're finding, you know,
edges in terms of, you know, some things on the margins.
I get that. That's great, you're always looking for that,
But what wins championships it's a team, it's the connection,
and I think that's true in every sport. So you know, listen, hey,
we started out and this is our football edition to

the Book of Joe podcast. I'm going to bring it
back to the NFL playoffs. This weekend coming up, the
San Francisco forty nine Ers will play their thirty eighth
home game in the postseason. That will break a tie
with Pittsburgh as the most ever in the NFL and
the postseason thirty eight home playoff games the record so far,
the first thirty seven at home, twenty seven and ten.

I mean, you can't find those records at home in
Major League Baseball. I'm sorry. So you go with the chalk.
If you're a betting man, last year in the postseason,
you took the road team in baseball every single game,
you would have made a lot of money. Do the
exact opposite in the NFL.

Speaker 3 (43:14):
Yeah, Keysar Stadium did it start there? They got into
Candlestick for a while, and now they're in Santa Clara.
They're just they're just really good. I don't even know.

Speaker 2 (43:23):
To what extent being on the West coast helps them.

Speaker 3 (43:26):
You know, if an East Coast team has to fly
out there to their home field. The time zone this
and that's that's real. When you have to change time zones,
that stuff is real. But also they've had really good teams.
I know mister de Bartlope, he lives down here in Tampa.
We talked about it. I've been to some events with him.
I met some of the iconic past forty nine or players.
The point is they got good players. With all these things,

all these whether it's baseball or football, whatever, whether you're
data driven or not, it really comes out and having
good players. And they've had good players. I think that
gets overlooked sometimes everything everybody's worried about methods in a sensor,
whether you know, data versus we talked about that a
versus the heartbeat. At the end of the day, man,
it comes down to having good players. It's always about

your acquisitional abilities. So teams with better players are gonna
win most of the time, and especially in football, and
I do believe you have if you're on a like
a West Coast, you have teams traveling out here to
play you often, you're gonna have an advantage. You're definitely
gonna have an advantage. And again that even speaks to travel.
I've even talked to a couple of NFL coaches or gms.

Why what about your travel out west? How do you
do that? When do you go? What do you think
about that? And how does it relate to you winning
or losing? So I think that might be embedded in
there somehow, and that'd be hard to approve or understand.
But I think of those things and I really believe
that they are very pertinent.

Speaker 1 (44:47):
Yeah, and listen, we talked about the NFL too, with overall,
it's a sixty seven percent advantage to be at home.
And then if you're the number one seed and number
two seed, you're coming off the bye week, everybody rests up,
which really means a lot. In football, it can be
disastrous and baseball, as we've seen, to be offered too
long is a great thing in football. So I think
about the Belichick teams in New England, taking nothing away

from them, but they would waltz through their division, win
the title, get buys to the first round, get home
games in the playoffs all the time, and the weather
would be cold and West Coast teams would come in
or like Miami going to Kansas City last week. I mean,
they were not going to win that game. Come on,
So all those things matter a lot in the NFL.
And how about Patrick Mahomes, as great as he is,
he's actually playing his first road playoff game this week,

going up the Buffalo to taking on Josh Allen at
the Bills. Isn't that amazing that Pat Mahomes has not
played a road playoff game. We're not counting neutral site
super bowls. It's amazing.

Speaker 2 (45:43):
Yeah. I didn't even really.

Speaker 3 (45:44):
I didn't, of course, I didn't realize that that is
interesting and that that is It's let's see how this
this is the other plays out, now, how they react
to this. You know, Buffalo has to be a home
court advantage, but so does Kansas City have to be
a home court advantage. So let's see what it looks
like on the road. Have two great quarterbacks. And that's
another thing about the NFL. You can talk about coaches
all you want. If you don't have a quarterback, you

ain't winning.

Speaker 2 (46:05):
Thing goes.

Speaker 3 (46:07):
There's no there's no way getting around it. I mean,
you know, basketball used to be I used to think
that you have to have a center in basketball, a
legitimate the h in baseball, you have to have left
handed relievers that were functional and good. And in the
NFL you had to have a quarterback man. There was
different things that you had to have in each sport
to be successful. And and really today the one that

still stands out more than anything is if you don't
have a quarterback, brother, you're going home.

Speaker 1 (46:34):
It's so true. It's even true in college football. Football
is tough to watch if there's not good quarterback play.
It's so it pivots so much on quarterbacks. And speaking
of quarterbacks, Brock Purty his dad, of course, he played
for you in the minor leagues. He'll be at quarterback
for the forty nine ers. This Sunday, great story. I
don't know if you saw this. It was actually a

social media post. Brock. I think it was late in
the season. Played his first game close to home, played
the Arizona Cardinals, and right before the game, forty five minutes,
the team's out there going through walkthrough, stretching whatever. He
sees his family down there and they're all, it's all
a bunch wearing their forty nine ers gear. So he

comes over and he poses for a picture, puts on
this great, huge smile and it's a beautiful picture, and
as soon as the shutter snaps, he goes back in
the game mode and you did just the change in
his face from huge smile to game face was just
you gotta see if you see it on social media.
It was a great little video of rock party and

of course he goes out there. They win the game
forty five to twenty nine. He's as good as ever.
The great quote he said for me, you have to
be in the mindset of being sharp every play and
knowing what you're doing. So in that moment, yes, I
was sort of back in the football mode of I've
got to go be a surgeon. Love the way he

put that picture with family. Now it's time to go
be a surgeon.

Speaker 3 (48:05):
Maybe that's why he is as good as he is.
You know that horrible injury at the end of last season.
I watch it, you know every time I watch the
kid play.

Speaker 2 (48:14):
Oh my god.

Speaker 3 (48:14):
I mean it's like, first of all, how did he
last that long into a draft? I mean, how did
everybody miss that badly? It happens occasionally, but my god,
well agains. You could talk about Tom Brady.

Speaker 1 (48:24):
I guess because he didn't have a good combine you know,
his measurements and going out there and running around and
spandex went good.

Speaker 3 (48:30):
Now, well that that is again that's that would be
something more driven by dad as opposed to human eyeballs.
But yeah, the kid, he's got ice water. He makes
great decisions. He appears to be very calm.

Speaker 2 (48:44):
I love it.

Speaker 3 (48:44):
I did the fact that him and his dad are
a FRIENDO a book of Joe.

Speaker 2 (48:49):
Now, I think it's great.

Speaker 3 (48:50):
I do watch with more intensity and and of course
I'm rooting for him all the time, So bully for
him and bully for the party family.

Speaker 1 (48:57):
I mean, he was he did nothing but win in college,
played a lot in college, had a lot of reps,
did nothing. But when give me your baseball equivalent of
rock Perty, I'm thinking maybe James Shields as somebody that
you just trust that maybe when the stat cast numbers
come in, they're not blown away by you know, spin
rates and vertical breaks. But as a manager, you say,

I want this guy with the ball in his hands.

Speaker 3 (49:22):
Kyle Hendricks, you know, I mean James was like that.

Speaker 2 (49:25):
Kyle was like that.

Speaker 3 (49:26):
These guys were so darn steady, and you know, back
in the time day I Chuck Finley was kind of
like that too. I mean these are like kind of
big names, but not over the top big names. But yeah,
Kyle Hendricks, I would be watching the gun right and
here comes the first pitch eighty six. Now where does

eighty six play on a Major league ball field? And
then there's certain days I saw eighty four and I
get a little concern, But by here's the second or
third inning, if I saw eighty six eighty seven, I
knew he was gonna have a good day because of
the movement on his pitches and his ability to locate,
and just fact that he was so darn smart. So
Kyle is kind of like the Rock Purty of MLB.

Speaker 1 (50:09):
I love the comparison. This has been fun football in January. Yeah,
I'm only a month away from spring training, but it's
been fun talking with former Lafayette Leopards quarterback Joe Madden.
That being said, Joe, I probably surprised you with the
topic today. So you always have something pertinent to take
us out on. Let's see if you can come through today.

Speaker 3 (50:31):
Well, you're talking about all the coaches right and that
have been let go, and in general terms, that just
was with my boys last night. Formerly with the raise,
all the coaches and staff members. Yeah, we just brother,
you cannot laugh any harder than we laughed last We're
disturbing the entire restaurant. But it was about leadership, and
so I did. I went with leadership today, and then

it's just a fascinating topic for me because to me,
leadership used to be so easily defined and you know
what you were talking about, But now I don't even
know what's desired anymore when it comes to leadership, or
even the fact that people think it matters any more
consider it. I don't know, so I'm I wanted to

focus on that. So this came from of all people,
John Quincy Adams. If your actions inspire others to dream more,
learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.
There's nothing in there about controlling anybody. It's about the
inspiration causing somebody to dream more. But to get your
imagination in gear here learn more just you know, nobody

has to tell you to figure things out or or
what to study next. You have your own personal desire
to learn more. And then just just in general becoming more.
I mean, that's that's pretty much sums up how I
was back in the eighties moving on up to get
to the point where I did. Eventually, I had those
my coaches, my mentors, or that they're inspirational, Gene Mock

you know more, you know, Larry Himes, learn more, Bob
Clare and Marcel Latchman do more work ethic. My god,
there was so many guys with great work ethic and
become more. I wanted to become a major league manager.
So that kind of nailed it on the head for me.
So I don't know as we move this thing forward leadership,
who these new managers or coaches are going to be
and trying to find out, you know, what caused different

groups to want to hire different people and why.

Speaker 2 (52:29):
I'm just curious.

Speaker 3 (52:30):
I mean, I'm so aware of the leadership component of
all this, and I don't want to say what it's default,
because there's some great leaders out there, no question. But
last point with all of this, you talk about we're
talking about data, and we're talking about analytics whatever versus coaches.
But there's so much redundancy in this analytical world. I
don't understand why that's not located or talked about either.

When you hire these big baseball operations people with so
many analysts. Why, I mean, aren't they stepping on each
other's toes? Wouldn't I rather have a real human that
has done things before, a really good coach that could
relate to people one on one, sit down with them
bad day, talk to them, point different things out to them.
Because this other stuff is very non emotional.

Speaker 2 (53:16):
It lacks any of that.

Speaker 3 (53:18):
It's a number, right, and it's a picture, it's a video, whatever.
But a human relating experience to another human, to me,
is still the most valuable thing to do. So I'm
just curious about leadership and what we perceive to be
a good leader of these days, and what you're looking
for as you're turning your whatever you're doing over to
someone else, what are you looking for in that person?

Speaker 2 (53:38):
Are you there to empower them or to control them?

Speaker 1 (53:40):
I think it's interesting that you want back a couple
one hundred years to get JQ Adams to kind of
define JQA. And you know what that's Those are truisms
when they hold true for hundreds of years. And I
think he's was onto something there, Joe, because we hear
a lot about the phrase the players like to play
for this coach or he likes to play for this manager.

What does that mean to me? That means it's almost
like with your parents. You don't want to let them down, right,
there's something there that drives you where you don't want
to personally let someone down. And so for JQ to
nail it to me, it's almost an equivalent of leadership
equals inspiration. The ability to inspire, that's leadership.

Speaker 3 (54:26):
I agree, man, And that's my best guys. We talk
about in the Book of Joe coach Bob Root, my
Lafayete backfield coach, my quarterback coach, probably inspirationally one of
the best I've ever had. And it was all about
the fact that we would talk about things. It was
never a yelling situation, it was never calling me names.
Whatever was just about and what just happened, how can

we make this better? Or And the ultimate was when
I did something and I would go back to this
sideline and he would say I was thinking the exact
same thing, and I would oh, my god, coach, you
was thinking.

Speaker 2 (54:59):
The exact same thing. Wow, that validation was the best.

Speaker 1 (55:02):
We'll end it right there this football edition and just remember,
Joe take the home teams this weekend.

Speaker 3 (55:08):
I got it there Today, make my put my bets
down somewhere. There's got to be a bookie here in
Tampa somewhere.

Speaker 1 (55:19):
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