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The Only Rule Is It Has to Work Audiobook

The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team

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Publisher's Summary

It's the ultimate in fantasy baseball: You get to pick the roster, set the lineup, and decide on strategies - with real players, in a real ballpark, in a real playoff race. That's what baseball analysts Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when an independent minor-league team in California, the Sonoma Stompers, offered them the chance to run its baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics.

We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule for judging each innovation they try: It has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance.

Will their knowledge of numbers help Lindbergh and Miller bring the Stompers a championship, or will they fall on their faces? Will the team have a competitive advantage or is the sport's folk wisdom true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts, or are they on a fast track to oblivion?

©2016 Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller (P)2016 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"[F]un, breezy, and moving read." (Jonah Keri, author of Up, Up, and Away)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (131 )
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4.6 (115 )
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4.2 (116 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Anon 06-02-16
    Anon 06-02-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrarators have never watched baseball. Ever!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a great story about two statheads running a minor league ball club. There's only one small problem.

    The two narrators and the audio engineers HAVE NEVER WATCHED A BASEBALL GAME IN THEIR LIVES.

    On one occasion, they pronounced Vin Scully as Vin SCOLLY. On another, they pronounced Whitey Herzog as WHITNEY Herzog. They're both in the Hall of Fame.It's a great book and a good performance, but the occasional pronunciation snafus take away from the experience.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Marcotte 08-01-16
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    "I love baseball, but not a fan of this story"
    What disappointed you about The Only Rule Is It Has to Work?

    Based on the introduction of the book I was really looking forward to the story. As someone who loves the game and enjoys other films and books such as Moneyball, I really found this book a let down.

    The first couple chapters really pulled me in, but I found the the majority of the book was the struggle of not being able to implement any unique or "fun" changes. I quickly became bored mid-way through the book, especially with a number of tangential chapters written to describe particular player relationships.

    For someone looking for a book on a unique way to see the game, and creatively trying to outsmart other teams in fresh ways, I wouldn't recommend spending the time to read through this one.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    j kaw 08-04-16
    j kaw 08-04-16 Member Since 2013
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    8
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    "Introspective analysis of a season"

    The authors' quest to change a team has surprising relevance to social and business matters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy 08-01-16
    Jimmy 08-01-16
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    "Great story, ruined by narration."

    Narrator A sounds like a computer, or an AI simulation of a person, or someone who learned to speak English phonetically and does not understand the meaning of the words. Narrator B is a cartoon narrator reject.

    Wonderful book; I wish I'd read it. The narration destroyed the joy inherent in this wonderful tale, detailing the fate of baseball dreams.

    In the end, I listened to the whole thing. The story is fascinating. But I really wish the authors had just read it themselves...they're daily podcasters, after all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kailey Cyrus 07-30-16 Member Since 2016
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    "What an awesome book"

    Not just for "stat years," but anyone who loves the game of Baseball, or just a compelling, well written story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Clark 07-09-16
    Joe Clark 07-09-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great listen for baseball fans and non fans alike."

    Great listen for baseball fans and non fans alike.
    Fast enjoyable listen for the summer months.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander 06-23-16
    Alexander 06-23-16 Member Since 2016
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    "average baseball book"

    a fairly decent baseball book that sometimes felt long and was unnecessarily vulgar at times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Hahn 06-20-16
    Joseph Hahn 06-20-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Not nearly as good as Moneyball"

    Started off interesting but turned into boring anecdotes. A bit self-indulgent, as well. Didn't like one of the narrators. Warning: Unlike Moneyball, you have to be familiar with baseball strategy and terminology to follow along with this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 06-03-16
    Mary 06-03-16 Member Since 2016
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    "An excellent baseball book"
    Any additional comments?

    This is "Moneyball" meets "Good Enough To Dream". The authors are two self-described "stat-heads" who, as baseball fans and commentators, believed in the sabermetric approach -- using detailed statistical analysis to question and often reject the sport's long-established wisdom. They got the chance to test their skills by spending a summer working with a minor-league team. There's plenty of sabermetric insight here, but the mix is actually more toward "Good Enough To Dream". Far from the glamor of the major leagues, we see the details of what it's like to go through a season in the minors.

    If you're a baseball fan, this is a great listen, especially if you're already familiar with "Moneyball". If you're not a fan -- well, there is human drama that will interest anyone, but the book is so baseball-oriented that you'd probably do better elsewhere, even with "Good Enough To Dream".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Mollett 05-21-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Great listen, even for non stat heads"

    The use of 2 narrators was a great choice. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but this was more a story about challenges and lessons learned than baseball statistics. I recommend this to even a casual baseball fan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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