Baseball Economics, 50 Years From Now, Zzzzzzzip!

Today is a 12:30 central time first pitch here in Clinton, and it’s a school day. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of school children will file into Ashford University Field for this afternoon’s game. Some of them are peering into my booth as I write this. Good morning, children.

Fort Wayne lost yesterday 5-3 in game two of this three-game series. Both games the TinCaps have played here in Clinton have taken the same path. They’ve jumped out to a 3-0 lead, only to see it evaporate over the course of the evening. Yesterday, it was a 3-2 lead heading into the eighth inning, but Colin Rea surrendered a solo home run and a two-run home run in the inning, and the LumberKings picked up the win. Now the TinCaps will look to salvage the set before returning home for six games.

Of note in yesterday’s game was pitcher Joe Ross’ performance. He walked the first two batters of the game, but went on to strike out seven, a new career-high, and didn’t allow an earned run.

In today’s TinCaps report podcast, I chat with catcher Matt Colantonio. Not only has he filled in superbly for Austin Hedges, but he’s also got not one, but two degrees from an Ivy League institution. He’ll tell us about how he got Joe Ross to pitch “backwards” to success in last night’s game, and why he’s more of an analytical guy than a theoretical one:


I remember asking my eighth grade history teacher, Mr. Trataros, “How long will it take for today’s current events to make it into textbooks?” The answer was something along the lines of “I don’t know, but it will take a long time for people to be able to analyze how things are going.” Certainly, time must elapse for things to be viewed a full and fair scope. Well, The New Yorker published a piece right up that same avenue:

“So it seems time to pronounce a rule about American popular culture: the Golden Forty-Year Rule. The prime site of nostalgia is always whatever happened, or is thought to have happened, in the decade between forty and fifty years past. (And the particular force of nostalgia, one should bear in mind, is not simply that it is a good setting for a story but that it is a good setting for you.)”

Here’s a flashback that both parents and their children will connect with:

The seventies’ affection for the thirties—“The Sting,” “Paper Moon,” and so on—was one of the tonic notes of the decade, while the eighties somehow managed to give the Second World War a golden glow (“Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Empire of the Sun,” “Hope and Glory,” “Biloxi Blues”), helped along by women working on the assembly line (“Swing Shift”). In the nineties, nostalgia for the fifties took a distinctly sumptuary turn: think of the revivalist fad for Hush Puppies and Converse All Stars, or the umpteen variations that the Gap rang on its “Kerouac Wore Khakis” campaign. In “Men in Black,” a perfect piece of nineties entertainment, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith showed how skinny ties could help defeat even the fiercest extraterrestrials.

So for the flavored-coffee, iPad using, smart-car-driving generation, our history will be reflected and reminisced about in a 30-minute sitcom somewhere in the 2050’s.

But will we be able to watch the show on demand?


 Gideon Sundbäck, the inventor of the zipper, is today’s hero.

"I only created the zipper so they'd make a Google Doodle about it one day."

Google’s homepage today features a clickable zipper that reveals a search for his name. Thank you, sir. Without you, we’d all be stuck with button flies.


In place of coffee this morning, I call upon Calvin Harris to wake me up:

Don’t forget today’s game is a 12:30 central/1:30 eastern start. You can listen online at

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

1 Comment

How long are you in Iowa for?

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