The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

  • by Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller
  • Narrated by Kirby Heyborne, John Pruden
  • 13 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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?

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What the Critics Say

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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- Anon

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.


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- Kevin Marcotte

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-17-2016
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio