StewPod #17: Andrew McCutchen on the Pirates’ World Series aspirations

September 16, 2015
It's not just about making the playoffs anymore in Pittsburgh. Those Pirates, the underdogs, they're gone. These 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates are a force and everybody knows it.

They're 85-57, the second-best record in baseball, yet because the St. Louis Cardinals are also so good, the Pirates could be looking at a do-or-die Wild Card game once the season is over. Make no mistake, though, these Pirates have World Series aspirations.

On this week's podcast, we're joined by their superstar, Andrew McCutchen, who talks about his thirst for a World Series ring, having to battle the Cardinals in the stacked NL Central and what it's like having seen the Pirates transform from one of baseball's worst teams to one of its best. We also had some fun talking about his hidden talents, music and Batman.

Here's a rundown of the show: 
• Intro
• Andrew McCutchen joins the show 
• Does he wish the Pirates were in a different division? 
• Should MLB change the playoff-seeding system like the NBA did? 
• How good are the pitchers in the NL Central?
• It's not just about making the playoffs. What are the goals now?
• How has the city embraced the Pirates now that they're winners?
• Fun questions: Is the coolest guy in baseball? What other hidden talents does he have? What music is he listening to? Etc.
• Bad News Ramen joins the show for his new Three Strikes segment on the Giants, Jon Lester and the new MLB awards.
• Mike and Chris discuss new World Series favorites, how the Rangers got so good, if Bryce Harper should still be MVP and what the A's should do with Barry Zito.
• Important questions about NFL players playing baseball and fantasy baseball.

[Music: Richie Cunning - "Leave It Alone"]

StewPod #16: Jose Altuve takes us inside the Astros’ surprising season

September 10, 2015

Jose Altuve is the spark plug that makes the Houston Astros go. Even though he won a batting title last year and is a three-time All-Star, he's still not fully appreciated for what he does on the baseball field day in and day out.

You looking for reasons the Astros are one of the best teams in the American League? Altuve is right there among them. He leads the AL in hits and stolen bases. His .311 batting average is sixth in the AL and his 11 homers are a career high.

So we're pleased to have Altuve join us on this week's StewPod to talk about the surprising Astros, what it's like to play meaningful baseball in September (finally), the successes of teammates such as Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, plus lots more. We're also hitting many of the major MLB topics of the week.

Here's the full rundown of this week's podcast:

• Intro 
• Chris loves Twitter too much 
• Jose Altuve joins us to talk about the Astros, Altuves (the unit of measurement) and triples. 
• Bad News Ramen weighs in on the Matt Harvey controversy 
• How does Harvey win in this? 
• "The Washington Nationals are the biggest disappointment since __________" 
• Grading the Ruben Amaro Jr. era in Philly 
• Who wins the AL West? 
• We make our Super Bowl picks 
• The best Chicago rappers

[Music"Reinventing the Wheel" by Typical Cats]


StewPod#15: We’ve got your September MLB predictions right here

September 2, 2015

Baseball's getting fun. The games matter more. The tacticians are under more scrutiny. We're watching the standings closer. The dog days are done and we're getting down to the good stuff. Ah yes, September.

So on this week's StewPod, we're talking about the major September storylines in MLB and making predictions about what's going to happen. Will Matt Williams survive with his job? Will the San Francisco Giants make the postseason? Will the Los Angeles Dodgers put it all together finally? Will the Texas Rangers actually make the playoffs? We hit on all that and much more in this week's podcast.

We've got two guests joining us to talk September — The Stew's Israel Fehr, who is making his StewPod debut, and our old pal Bad News Ramen, who has no problem dishing out hard truths.

Here's a full rundown of the show:
• Intro 
• Mike and Chris, reunited 
• September predictions roundtable 
• What TV shows we're into right now. 
• Ranking Disney/Pixar movies

[MusicEric B & Rakim - "Juice (Know the Ledge)"]


StewPod #14: Who is the real American League MVP?

August 27, 2015

With about a month left to go in the season, the American League MVP race is heating up. The advanced metrics say it's a virtual tie between Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson at this point. Craig Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus joins the podcast to tell us who he would vote for right now, and what metrics he's using to settle the debate. 

We also talk about whether the New York Yankees should panic, and if the Rangers actually have a legitimate chance at a wild card spot.

Molly Knight, author of "The Best Team Money Can Buy," then joins the podcast to talk about her book. Want to know more about Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke? This is the interview for you. Molly also discusses whether the Dodgers have what it takes to make a postseason run.

Here's the full rundown of this week's show:

• Intro
• Mike Trout of Josh Donaldson?
• Can the Yankees hold off Toronto? Are the Rangers for real?
• Let's talk about prospects.
• Molly Knight discusses "The Best Team Money Can Buy."
• Let's hear some stories about Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke.
• What were some of the challenges writing the book?
• Are the Dodgers going to survive the last month of the season?
• Craig gets asked the most important question yet.

[Music: The Smiths - "Panic," Spoon - "Rent I Pay," Vampire Weekend - "Don't Lie," Wilco - "Heavy Metal Drummer" ] 


StewPod #13: Hector Santiago, the man who signs the most autographs in MLB

August 19, 2015

Hector Santiago thinks he signs more autographs than any player in Major League Baseball. He might also ask for more. So, game recognize game?

Santiago has an immense autograph collection that he's gathered throughout his time in pro baseball — from Pete Rose all the way to the guy who sits a few to his side in the Los Angeles Angels clubhouse, Albert Pujols. Because of that, Santiago says he's always willing to sign autographs for fans, especially kids.

That's one thing that makes him a good ambassador for the game. His 2.86 ERA in 23 starts this year is another. Santiago has linked up with MLB's Play Ball program and its Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, the latter of which Santiago participated in as a kid. Through those two, he's made efforts to get more kids in engaged in baseball. Telling autograph stories probably helps. 

Santiago also joined The StewPod this week to share those stories, talk about his interest in the game as a kid, his screwball and lots more. Here's a full rundown of this week's show:

• Intro
• Hector Santiago joins the show
• Why it's important to get kids interested in the game
• How he got interested in baseball
• His autograph collection
• The first autograph Hector got and the toughest person to ask
• His screwball
• What adjustments he made to step his game up in 2015
• Our buddy Bad News Ramen joins us to talk about the Little League Softball scandal and coaching kids
• Mike and Chris discuss the Red Sox hiring Dave Dombrowski 
• Is MLB doing enough to prevent pitchers from getting hit by comebackers?
• Important questions

[Music: Vince Staples - "C.N.B."]


StewPod #12: Should adults bring gloves to baseball games?

August 13, 2015

This is The StewPod, our weekly baseball podcast with a dash of pop culture. If you dig us, please subscribe on iTunes.

We always like a good baseball debate and this week's StewPod, we have a fun one. It's not as serious as whether Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame or as timeless as whether there should be a designated hitter, but it's one people usually feel strongly about one way or another.

Should adults bring gloves to baseball games?

To some people, it is an absolute no-no. Grown folks, particularly grown men, should not bring gloves to a game. That is strictly kids territory. Other fans are far more open to this idea, thinking it's part of the baseball culture. We're settling this in proper fashion on this week's podcast, with our boy Bad News Ramen jumping in the debate.

Here's the full rundown of this week's show:

• Intro
• Debate: Should adults bring gloves to baseball games?
• Should everyone be fearing the Blue Jays?
• Where do the Cubs fit in the NL posteason picture?
• How many baseball fans REALLY know about WAR?
• Which 80s pro wrestler wanted to beat up Mike Oz last week.
• What superhero powers would be illegal in baseball?
• What's Chris' favorite Migos song?

[Music: "Meth vs. Chef" by Method Man ft. Raekwon]


StewPod #11: Sizing up the run to the MLB postseason with Tim Brown

August 5, 2015

The MLB trade-deadline has passed now. Contenders have made their moves. We're watching the wild-card standings now. Everybody is jockeying for position. Everything just feels a bit more real.

Here to help us sort it all on this week's installment of The StewPod is Yahoo Sports MLB columnist Tim Brown. On the show, we talk about the hot teams of the moment — the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets — the best trade-deadline moves, which non-playoff teams could make a run and lots more. 

Here's a full rundown:

• Intro
• Roundtable with Tim Brown, including:
• Who made the best trade-deadline move?
• Who made a sneaky good move?
• Who are you buying more at this point: Blue Jays or Mets?
• Can the Astros really win the World Series?
• Should we be worried about the Nats?
• Which current playoff outside do you think is most likely to be in the playoffs?
• Important questions with Tim Brown
• The dream fast-food value meal
• Farewells

[Music: "Whutchu Want?" by Nine]


StewPod #10: Behind the scenes of the MLB trade deadline with a former GM

July 29, 2015

It's trade-deadline week in MLB, with rumors and news popping up at any moment. Contenders are trying to improve themselves for a playoff run and cellar-dwellers are trying to spin off spare parts to rebuild. It will be a lot of fun to watch what happens before the non-waiver trade deadline at 4 p.m. ET Friday.

On this week's StewPod, we're in full trade deadline mode and we've got an ex-MLB general manager to take us behind the scenes. Dan O'Dowd was the Colorado Rockies GM for 15 years. He's now an MLB Network analyst, so he has experiences on two sides of this wild week. O'Dowd will be part of MLB Network’s trade deadline coverage all week, including a special "MLB Tonight: Trade Deadline Edition," airing Friday at 1 p.m. ET.

You can hear him on The StewPod, as he talks takes us into an MLB front office to explain how trades are initiated, what steps come between that first idea and actually pulling the trigger, how social media and media reports impact what GMs do and much more. Because of his extensive history with the Rockies, we also had to ask him about the biggest news of the week — the Troy Tulowitzki trade to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Here's a full rundown of this week's show:
• Intro 
• Dan O'Dowd joins the show to talk about Troy Tulowitzki trade. 
• How important is payroll flexibility? 
• How wild is trade-deadline week for execs? 
• How are trade talks initiated? How do you communicate? What happens next? 
• Which board game is trading most like? 
• How has Twitter affected things? 
• What's the difference being on the media side of things?
• We talk about the Tulo deal.
• Best trade so far?
• What trade still needs to happen?
• Who may be a deadline dud?
• Important questions

[Music: "Black Jesus" by Ghostface Killah]


StewPod #9: The secrets of ‘Major League,’ our favorite baseball movie

July 16, 2015

There's been plenty of real baseball lately and plenty more in the months ahead, but we're using the dead days in the MLB All-Star break to talk a bit about fictional baseball. Specifically, our favorite baseball movie (and probably yours too) — "Major League." 

On this week's installment of The StewPod, Mike and Chris are joined by sportswriter and author Jonathan Knight, who recently released "The Making of Major League," a book detailing the backstory of how Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, Jobu, Willie Mays Hayes, Pedro Cerrano and all the rest of our favorite fictional Indians came to be.

We delve into Knight's experience writing the book, as he shares behind-the-scenes stories and secrets about the film you might not know. 

Here's the full rundown of the show:
• Intro
• Jonathan Knight interview about "The Making of Major League"
• The process of writing a book about "Major League" 
• Stories and secrets about the film
• Getting Charlie Sheen involved
* Mike and Chris talk about their second-favorite baseball movies
• What we liked and didn't like about the All-Star game
• Trade deadline matchmaker
• Important questions
• What if your wife thinks Bryce Harper is hot?
• The Franchise Four of Food

[Music: "Burn On" by Randy Newman"]


StewPod #8: Everything you need to know about the 2015 MLB All-Star game

July 10, 2015

With the 2015 MLB All-Star game just days away, The StewPod is here to tell you everything you need to know about baseball's Midsummer Classic. This year's festivities are set in Cincinnati, with the Home Run Derby on Monday and the All-Star game itself on Tuesday.

To get your prepped, the latest episode of our podcast features Cincinnati Enquirer scribe C. Trent Rosecrans giving us a view from inside the Queen City and Yahoo Sports' own Kevin Kaduk, a veteran of many All-Star games, weighing in on this year's major storylines and his past experiences at the game.

Here's a full rundown:

• Intro

• C. Trent Rosecrans on what cool things is Cincinnati is doing to prepare for the game, mustache rides, how Reds fans made Todd Frazier a starter, plus the best in Cincy's food, beer and music.

• Kevin Kaduk joins us to talk about Pete Rose, the home run derby, whether A-Rod deserved to be an All-Star and if the All-Star game should count.

• We share our All-Star game experiences.

• Important questions with Kevin Kaduk, Cincinnati edition.

[Music: Mood - "Karma" / Hi-Tek ft. Jonell - "Round and Round"]