The Only Rule Is It Has To Work

What would happen if two statistics-minded outsiders were allowed to run a professional baseball team?

THE ONLY RULE IS IT HAS TO WORK

Our Wild Experiment Building A New Kind of Baseball Team

“Brutally honest . . . blissfully funny.” 
—Nate Silver

“A terrific read.” 
—Ken Rosenthal

The Only Rule Is It Has To Work

BUY THE BOOK

Buy The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at Amazon Buy The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at Barnes & Noble Buy The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at Indiebound Buy the ebook edition of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at the Apple iBookstore Buy the Kobo Reader edition of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

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, playing in real time. That’s what Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when the Sonoma Stompers, an independent minor-league team in California, offered them the chance to run the team’s baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. Their story is unlike any other baseball tale you’ve ever read.

We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player and the first Japanese manager in American professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance.

Will sabermetrics bring the Stompers a championship, or will they fall on their face? Will the team have a competitive advantage or is the old folk wisdom really true after all? Will the players be able to maximize their talents and attract the attention of big-league scouts, or will this be a fast track to oblivion?

It’s a wild ride, as the authors’ infectious enthusiasm and feel for the absurd make the Stompers’ story one that will speak to numbers geeks and traditionalists alike. And it proves that you don’t need a bat or a glove to make a genuine contribution to the game.

The Sonoma Stompers

About the Authors

CONTACT US

Ben Lindbergh

Ben Lindbergh

Photo credit: Fonzie Cuaycong

Ben Lindbergh is a staff writer for The Ringer and, with Sam Miller, the cohost of Effectively Wild, the Baseball Prospectus podcast. He is a former staff writer for FiveThirtyEight and Grantland and a former editor in chief of Baseball Prospectus. He lives in New York City.

Ben Lindbergh Twitter

Sam Miller

Sam Miller

Photo credit: Danielle Joy

Sam Miller is a national baseball columnist and feature writer for ESPN. He is the former editor in chief of Baseball Prospectus, and coedited three editions of Baseball Prospectus's annual guidebook. He lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter.

Sam Miller Twitter

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Buy the Book

Buy The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at Amazon  Buy The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at Barnes & Noble  Buy The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at Indiebound
Buy the EBook
Buy the Kindle edition of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at Amazon  Buy the Nook Edition of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at Barnes & Noble  Buy the ebook edition of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller at the Apple iBookstore  Buy the Kobo Reader edition of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller