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Hooks & Runs
Eric & Craig's podcast about baseball, music and culture
This is a podcast about baseball, music and culture. We release new episodes every Tuesday morning.
5 days ago
Ep. 38 - Just Go Bat One Eighty, Dude, and Make Your Money
This episode begins with a look at recent Houston Astro roster moves as the Rule 5 draft approaches. Houston added five top prospects to the team's 40-man roster -- Eric and Craig critique those players to see if any might help the club in 2021. Following that, what do Johann Santana, Marwin Gonzalez and Shane Victorino have in common? All were Rule 5 draft selections - Eric and Craig look at their careers and lament what might have been if only the Astros had protected Santana all those years ago. Next, Robinson Cano has failed another MLB drug test - this one brings a 162-game suspension, a $24 million loss in guaranteed money plus possibly Hall of Fame induction. Wow! This chapter wraps with Eric and Craig asking whether Brian Bolsinger can prove damages at all? Two weeks ago, Eric mentioned in our "Dances With Wolves" segment that he had never seen "The Outlaw Josey Wales." Well, we cured that recently and in Chapter 2, Eric tells us what he thinks about it. In Chapter 3, the college sports scene is a train wreck with games cancelled left and right in football and basketball. Getting two teams in one place to play sometimes looks more like a game of Whack-A-Mole than anything else -- there's a game, not it's not. You get the picture.
Nov 16, 2020
Ep. 37 - We Are All Hoosier Fans Now
This week Eric & Craig field ten questions related to current events in the sports world. From qualifying offers accepted and declined to the newly released Baseball Hall of Fame ballot to a possible major rebuild for the Houston Rockets to the amazing Indiana Hoosier football team and more, we survey the landscape and give you our opinions. In Chapter Two, Eric & Craig preview the 2020 NBA draft held November 18th with particular attention on the likely top three picks LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman.
Nov 9, 2020
Ep. 36 - 11,341 Miles, 123 Cups of Coffee and the Wax Pack w/ Brad Balukjian
In this episode we welcome our guest Brad Balukjian, scientist, journalist, champion of the underdog and author of the 2020 best seller "The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife." In 2015, Balukjian started with a single pack of baseball cards and criss-crossed the country in a quest to find the players in the pack. Balulkjian turned the road trip into an L.A. Times best selling book earlier this year and he joins us this week to talk about the experience and the book. Also, the Jeff Luhnow lawsuit filed against the Houston Astros for breach of contract brings the scandal to a new level and opens the potential to finally learn the truth about what looks from afar like a poorly conceived and executed cover-up. Also, Eric and Craig reconsider Kevin Costner's Academy Award winning masterpiece "Dance With Wolves" 30 years after its release earlier this week. For more information on Brad Balukjian and his book, visit bradbalukjian.com, waxpackbook.com and on Twitter, @waxpackbook.
Nov 2, 2020
Ep. 35 - Qualifying Offer Riddles: Baseball's Wildest Off-Season Begins
Chapter 1 - 73 Pitches. Eric and Craig kick off this episode reviewing the Dodger win over Tampa Bay in the World Series and Rays manager Kevin Cash's controversial decision to pull Blake Snell 73 pitches into his brilliant Game 6 pitching performance. Chapter 2 - And So It Begins. The Cleveland Indians not only decline ace closer Brad Hand's $10 million option but waive him to avoid paying the buyout -- and not a single team claims him! Only six potential free agents received qualifying offers -- these six face the decision of a lifetime as the pandemic continues apace and there are no guarantees baseball will begin on time in 2021. Chapter 3 - Jerry Jeff & Billy Joe. Texas country music lost two giants in recent days - Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver. Eric and Craig look back on their remarkable lives and careers in music and beyond.
Oct 26, 2020
Ep. 34 - If You Take Batting Practice There You're Gonna Have to Fight Rattlesnakes w/ Bill Rogan
Eric and Craig interview Bill Rogan, author of *"*Life Ain't The Same In The Pecos League: A Rookie Manager Navigates Baseball's Most Notorious Independent League." Rogan, an author, broadcaster, journalist and life-long baseball fanatic, managed the Tucson Saguaros in the Pecos League in 2019 and wrote this book about the experience. Bill has a million stories from that experience -- we appreciate him sharing a few with us. In Chapter 2, we examine new reporting on the MLB sign stealing episode following former Astro GM Jeff Luhnow's interview with a local television station and speculate how MLB's failures in the matter might lead to problems for the game in 2021.
Oct 19, 2020
Ep. 33 - How Much Television Can One Person Really Watch?
*Chapter 1 - It Was Fun While It Lasted. *The Houston Astros rallied to a Game 7 in the ALCS after dropping the first three, but fell in that decisive game 4-2 ending their exciting playoff run. This leaves the Dodgers and Rays to square off in the 2020 World Series in Arlington. Eric and Craig analyze this match-up. *Chapter 2 - I Will Follow. *U2's remarkable debut album, "Boy" released 40 years ago on October 20th. We reconsider that album and this remarkable band and remember how they shaped our musical tastes. *Chapter 3 - Too Much Goin' On.* Television ratings are down across the board for sporting events this summer and so far in the fall. The NBA and MLB playoffs, golf's US Open, the Stanley Cup finals, the Kentucky Derby, NFL and NBA football - the list goes on. Marist Univ. has released a survey on viewing habits during this pandemic - we dive in to consider the future for sports on TV.
Oct 12, 2020
Ep. 32 - If You're Wearing a Gold Thong to Break a Slump, It'd Better Work
Eric and Craig preview the ALCS and NLCS in Chapter 1. Eric takes the Astros, Craig takes the Rays (but he's not superstitious); both like the Dodgers over the Braves. In Chapter 2, a look at baseball superstitions.
Oct 5, 2020
Ep. 31 - "I Think I Must Be Dreaming" w/ Elana James
In this episode, Eric and Craig interviewed Elana James, fiddle player and vocalist for the wonderful Austin-based hot jazz & western swing trio Hot Club of Cowtown. James shares her experiences touring minor league ballparks with Bob Dylan & Willie Nelson in 2004, then again with her own band again with Bob Dylan, plus Junior Brown and Jimmy Vaughan in 2006. She also talks about joining Dylan's band for a short time in 2005, how she developed her interest in hot jazz and western swing and Hot Club of Cowtown's most recent work, "Wild Kingdom" and "The Finest Hour." In Chapter 2, Eric and Craig discuss the Astros surprising (to us) sweep against the Twins, their Game 1 win over the A's in the ALDS. They also look back at the seven other wild card series plus the division series ahead. In Chapter 3, the co-hosts give their initial takes on Rolling Stone's new and improved 500 greatest albums of all time.
Sep 28, 2020
Ep. 30 - Regular Season Review & Eric Claims Total WAR Supremacy
The abbreviated but nonetheless wild MLB season came to a close Sunday. In this episode, Eric and Craig first handicap the eight first round playoff series. Both like the Rays and are pulling for a Rays/Padres World Series. Let's face it though -- it's 2020 and all bets are off. Meanwhile, the Twins carry a 16-game playoff losing streak into their Series with the Astros while Houston limps into the playoffs losing 16 of 24 games despite 17 of those 24 games being against teams with losing records. Must see TV, right? In Chapter 2, Eric has a great final 8 days to wrestle the Hooks & Runs WAR battle from Craig 16.5 to 16.0. A strong finish by Juan Soto plus continued excellence from Mookie Betts and Shane Bieber made the difference for Eric. The co-hosts reviewed their pre-season predictions for division titles and post-season awards plus examined the Dodgers' remarkable 2020 campaign. In Chapter 3, the return of the PAC-12, MAC and Mountain West brings all but three FBS teams into action for fall football. Notre Dame is battling a serious COVID-19 issues -- a curse for joining a conference? Texas and Texas Tech had their defenses in mid-season form among the flying tortillas in Lubbuck while Mike Leach announces himself to the SEC in grand fashion.
1 hr 2 min
Sep 22, 2020
Ep. 29 - Yes, We Have the Obligatory Ken Coomer Story
In this episode, Eric and Craig survey the crowded sports scene predicted in Episode Two - we have MLB pennant & wild card chases (plus a couple of bizarre rarities - is there any other kind?), NBA conference finals (and Rockets' coaching search), NCAA football's march to conference play (and, of course, the Big Ten's return) and the NFL season kicks off. Not to mention NASCAR, the U.S. Open (neither of which we mentioned, now that we mention it) and more. It's a fan's delight; a TV programmer's nightmare -- we can't wait to see how CBS actually handles its Masters weekend in November. In Chapter 2, a look back at Son Volt's landmark debut album "Trace," on its 25th Anniversary week and in Chapter 3, a fun little discussion that considers whether winning is an overvalued virtue in high school sports.
Sep 14, 2020
Ep. 28 - The Improbable Just Kept Happening! w/ Don Carman
*Chapter 1 -- The Don Carman Interview.* Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Don Carman joins Eric and Craig for Episode 28 to talk about baseball's greatest comeback and Carman's fascinating role in it. The game occurred on August 21, 1990 -- Carman pitched the 9th inning for his first save that season. It's a great story. We also chatted about his near perfect game in 1986, should pitchers still be hitting and growing up in a really, really small town. It's a fun interview and worth your time. *Chapter 2 -- The Crowded Fall Sports Scene.* As we first predicted in our earliest episodes, the Fall is now jam packed with sports. We have MLB pennant races, the NBA playoffs in full swing plus college and NFL football. This is not to mention the PGA's U.S. Open this weekend plus The Masters around the bend. Where do we start? This week we looked at the Houston Rockets coaching change, the never-say-die Denver Nuggets, The Sun Belt Conference's big week and the mad scramble for fill-in gam…
1 hr 4 min
Sep 7, 2020
Ep. 27 - Fifteen Yards for Illegal Use of the Lights
*Chapter 1 - Trouble out west*. Eric and Craig begin the chapter discussing a recent high school football game and the most bizarre penalty they have ever seen. From there, the co-hosts take on the Astros' difficult week, the tightening wild card races and four hour baseball games. *Chapter 2 - She had a marvelous time ruining everything*. After a brief detour into news stories about gender reveal parties starting major fires, Eric and Craig review Taylor Swift's blockbuster summer album, "Folklore." The pair also explore the differences between reinvention, rebranding and an artists' natural growth process. *Chapter 3 - The Heat is on*. Eric and Craig wrap up Episode 27 looking at the NBA playoffs and remembering college basketball coaching legend John Thompson.
Aug 31, 2020
Ep. 26 - There's A Little Bit of Groupie in All of Us
Eric and Craig kick off the episode with the MLB pennant races as they come into focus plus Monday's frantic trade deadline activity. The co-hosts also examine the impact seven double headers in September will have on the Cardinals' pitching staff and speculate on what Kyle Tucker's incredible hot streak means for the Astros. In Chapter 2, Eric and Craig review the documentary, "Creem: America's Only Rock & Roll Magazine," and wildly entertaining film about that irreverent publication and its cast of characters. Chapter 3 includes covers the college football season, which began with one Division I game this weekend and has a limited slate of games Labor Day Weekend, as well as a look at the on-going NBA playoffs as the first round grinds to its conclusion.
Aug 25, 2020
Ep. 25 - College Hoops & Polish Cuisine w/ Jhasmin Player
Eric and Craig welcome Kansas Jayhawk assistant women's basketball coach Jhasmin Player to Hooks & Runs' 25th episode. We discuss coaching during a pandemic, Kansas' outlook for 2020-21, student-athlete mid-week travel schedules, the European youth basketball scene, favorite new music, wild road trip tales and the merits of Polish cuisine. Player was a star player at Baylor University, in the WNBA and in the European professional league, where she set some incredible scoring records. This is a conversation with a rising star in the college hoops coaching ranks - you don't want to miss it. Also in Episode 25, baseball's unwritten rules, the MLB injury epidemic and comments on what was perhaps baseball's strangest game - it occurred in 1912 and it's one crazy story. Eric and Craig wrap up the episode reviewing Kathleen Edwards' incredible comeback album, "Total Freedom."
Aug 17, 2020
Ep. 24 - The One Where Eric Picks Portland Over The Lakers
Eric and Craig open Episode 24 revisiting the Karl Spooner discussion from last week, identifying their favorite "Around the Horn" contestants, wondering why WNBA players are not allowed to drive golf carts in the Bubble (and wondering also if the same applies to NBA players), speculating how injuries may impact the pennant race, revisiting Roel Ramírez 's historic MLB debut, examining why Boston and Pittsburgh are so incredibly bad, noting an anomaly about the 1959 Hitless Wonders and reporting the WAR Draft results so far (it doesn't look good for Craig). In Chapter 2, the duo offer their predictions for first round NBA playoff match-ups with Eric shocking Craig by picking the 8-seeded Trailblazers to knock off the 1-seed Lakers. The co-hosts end up agreeing on just 5 of the 8 teams that will advance to round two so there is plenty to watch for here. In Chapter 3, Eric first relates Ichabod's Tale then the two discuss Woodstock's 51st Anniversary, Damian Lillard's EP "Live from…
Aug 10, 2020
Ep. 23 - Streaking A's, Idle Redbirds
Eric and Craig begin Episode 23 with a look at the red-hot Oakland A's fresh off a weekend sweep against the division rival Houston Astros that extended their winning streak to nine games. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals (2-3) have not played a game since July 29 and are idled until at least August 12th. Along the way, Eric and Craig followed a winding road from Karl Spooner to Dave DeBusschere, Danny Ainge, Chuck Conners and finally, Ten-Cent Beer Night. In chapter two, the co-hosts compared Buffalo Springfield to the Manchester group The Stone Roses. Is the latter group Hall of Fame stock as well or does the former's baby boomer and post-Springfield accomplishment credentials carry the day? They then turn their attention to great country music one-hit wonders. Have you ever wondered why some artists strike it big only to fall hard with the follow-up releases? Eric and Craig consider some possible reasons in this segment. Agree or disagree, it sounds like another Spotify playlist…
1 hr 9 min
Aug 3, 2020
Ep. 22 - It's The Wild West Right Now
We open the episode riffing on MLB's second week with postponed games bushel and peck and a new CoVid-19 oubreak, this time in St. Louis. We also discuss Joe Kelly's Astro headhunting incident in Los Angeles and his subsequent 8-game extension, now under appeal. Having badly mishandled the MLB sign stealing episode by directing fan ire entirely on one team, Manfred has painted the league into a corner - there is no easy way out. Next, we consider cases where baseball's MVP voters got it wrong. We ask questions like, "How did Steve Garvey (4.4 WAR) win the MVP over Mike Schmidt (9.7 WAR) in 1974?" and "How good does a relief pitcher have to be to actually deserve an MVP Award?" Some of these MVP votes leave you scratching your head - anyone questioning them might begin the inquiry comparing Mickey Cochrane's 1934 season with Lou Gehrig's. We close the episode with a look at "Hamilton," which premiered on Disney+ last month. We both think this is a fascinating, entertaining fiilm --…
1 hr 20 min
Jul 28, 2020
Ep. 21 - Worst Fears Realized
The Major League Baseball season finally began this weekend after a 3-month delay. Co-hosts Eric and Craig survey the weekend's games for highlights, review the Houston Astro injury report and contemplate the immediate fallout from the CoVid-19 outbreak plaguing the Miami Marlins and postponing play Monday in Miami and Philadelphia. We next turn our attention to college football as conferences cancel or postpone their fall sports seasons leaving other programs in a mad scramble for non-conference football games. This scramble may all be for naught though as a decision from the SEC, ACC and Big-12 on their fall seasons are due in days. Eric and Craig survey the landscape, weigh the odds and await the decisions as the future of college sports hangs in the balance. Finally, Derek Jeter and Larry Walker were slated to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 26. Of course, this did not happen thanks to the pandemic - their induction is postponed to July 2021. That won't stop…
Jul 20, 2020
Ep. 20 "New York” w/ Rich O'Toole
Eric and Craig welcome Buffalo Roam recording artist Rich O’Toole to talk about his new album, “New York,” being a musical artist during a pandemic, Rich’s planned move back to Texas, the story behind the album cover and much more. Rich also joined us to reconsider AC/DC’s landmark album “Back in Black” 40 years after its 1980 release. We wrapped up the episode by concluding our 2020 WAR draft - the pitchers. Now all we need is a baseball season.
1 hr 1 min
Jul 13, 2020
Ep. 19 - The Year of The Asterisk
In this episode, Hooks & Runs co-hosts Eric and Craig conduct their 2020 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) draft, part I - the position players. Find out which players will be the best performing players in this crazy, abbreviated 2020 MLB season. Listen for Part 2, the pitchers, next week and follow on our social media to see who made the better selections. Will anyone in MLB hit .466 in 2020? Will anyone blast 37 home runs or will any team win 50 games or more? In Chapter 2, Eric and Craig look at MLB's greatest 60-day team and player performances and consider which records might fall this season. SEC athletic directors met with Commissioner Greg Sankey Monday to take college football's fate. Meanwhile, since our last episode, the Big Ten and Pac-12 cancelled non-conference games. The SEC's conclusion was wait and see, but who are they kidding? The 2020 college football season - and as a result, all college sports - are in serious jeopardy.
1 hr 2 min
Jul 7, 2020
Ep. 18 - Risk Analysis
In this episode, Eric and Craig examine fast-breaking baseball news involving players testing positive for CoVid-19 and players electing to sit out the 2020 season while MLB camps open and the league releases its abbreviated 60-game schedule. The duo also turn their attention to college sports where programs across the country are closing summer workout sessions for student-athletes as CoVid-19 infections mount and teams announce game or tournament cancellations. The episode closes with Eric and Craig reviewing their favorite summer books.
Jun 30, 2020
Ep. 17 - Tenth Inning Shenanigans
In this episode, Eric and Craig are joined by Greg Stoll to discuss strategies we might see under MLB's new extra inning rule. This modification provides that in every half-inning after the 9th, teams will begin the inning with a runner on second base. We considered this Ben Clemens article from Fangraphs plus Stoll's win expectancy finder plus some vivid imagination in our conversation. We also talk about our favorite cross-genre cover songs in Episode 17 and look back on one of our favorite bands (and probably yours too) The Foo Fighters, 25 years after their debut album hit the streets.
Jun 22, 2020
Ep. 16 - The One Where Craig Rick-Rolls Eric
Eric & Craig discuss LeBron James & Russell Westbrook's involvement in documentaries on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, they also update new developments in negotiations to start the 2020 MLB season, review Sarah Jarosz's new album, "World on the Ground" and reconsider Alanis Morisette's "Jagged Little Pill" 25 years after its release.
1 hr 2 min
Jun 16, 2020
Ep. 15 - The Letter
Eric and Craig look at the latest news in baseball's sign stealing scandal and wonder what's in that letter. Also, we review ESPN's latest 30 for 30, "Long Gone Summer" and reconsider "Jaws" 45 years after its release changed movies forever.
Jun 9, 2020
Ep. 14 - What Happened to Yesterday
This week, Eric and Craig revisit Dock Ellis's famous LSD no-hitter on its 50th Anniversary and cover loose ends from Dolly Parton to Bruce Springsteen to Thursday's John Prine All-Star tribute.
Jun 2, 2020
Ep. 13 - Armando Galarraga's Quest
In this episode, Eric and Craig revisit Armando Galarraga's perfect game that wasn't 10 years later, consider the all-time great pitchers in the lively ball era and discuss Dr. Dre's comment that social media destroyed the artist mystique.
May 26, 2020
Ep. 12 - No Static At All
In this episode, Eric and Craig identify the best players by position during the lively ball era, 1920-1959; examine the emerging trend of drive-in concerts; and review Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit's new album, "Reunions."
May 19, 2020
Ep. 11 - Pencil to Paper
Hosts Eric and Craig survey the current sports landscape and look for lessons in the Spanish Flu (and World War I) riddled 1918 college football season. Oh, they also reconsider Eminem's landmark album "The Marshall Mathers LP," which was release 20 years ago this week.
1 hr 3 min
May 12, 2020
Ep. 10 - The Tenth Episode
Hosts Eric & Craig Discuss their Top 10, All-Time worst contracts in baseball history, Songs they wish they'd written & Facts they think that people they know don't know.
May 5, 2020
Ep. 9 - Home Alone
Hosts Eric & Craig take on Gerrit Cole’s $324 million Yankee contract, the ongoing saga between Taylor Swift and her former record label and the NFL Draft, home & yacht version.
Apr 28, 2020
Ep. 8 - Dream On
Hosts Craig & Eric discuss the Rockets/Bulls rivalry of the 90's, critique MLB's sign stealing report on the Red Sox & review Pearl Jam's latest album "Gigaton"
Apr 21, 2020
Ep. 7 - It's Just That Simple
Eric and Craig continue with the All Time Greats, part 2, celebrate Rudy T's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame and reconsider Wilco at 25 years
1 hr 6 min
Apr 14, 2020
Ep. 6 - The Brian McCann Conundrum
Hosts Craig and Eric discuss The All-Time Baseball Greats Part 1, Give a Coronavirus Update & Touch On Some Musical Odds and Ends
1 hr 5 min
Apr 7, 2020
Ep. 5 - Sticky Wicket
Hooks & Runs: A podcast about baseball, music and culture Ep. 5 "Sticky Wicket" Hosts Craig and Eric discuss Finding A Home & 5 Is A Crowd
Mar 31, 2020
Ep. 4 - An Inherently Stupid Idea
Hooks & Runs: A podcast about baseball, music and culture Ep. 4 "An Inherently Stupid Idea" Hosts Craig and Eric discuss the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Houston Astros retired jerseys and The new Bob Dylan song.
1 hr 1 min
Mar 24, 2020
Ep. 3 - The Song Remains The Same
Hooks & Runs: A podcast about baseball, music and culture Ep. 3 "The Song Remains The Same" Hosts Eric and Craig discuss deep their COVID questions, TB signing with TB & why old people hate new music
Mar 22, 2020
Ep. 2 - A Crisis Like No Other
Hooks & Runs: A podcast about baseball, music and culture Ep. 2: "A Crisis Like No Other" Hosts Craig and Eric discuss the CoVid-19 Pandemic's impact on the sports and music world and it's possible longer term cultural impacts.
1 hr 1 min
Mar 15, 2020
Ep. 1 - Introducing Hooks & Runs
Hooks & Runs: A podcast about baseball, music and culture Episode 1: Introducing Hooks & Runs Hosts Craig and Eric introduce Hooks & Runs with a discussion about Major League Baseball's sign stealing scandals.