Clubhouse Confidential, weeknights at5:30 pm on the MLB network, accomplishes something I thought was as unlikely to happen on a baseball show as another player hitting .400 is on the baseball field. It provides insightful, easily understandable analysis and all the while remains entertaining without lowering itself to pitting two polarizing figures arguing a’ la everything on ESPN.
Brian Kenny compliments the show’s SABR slant because he is not some baseball outsider trying to be Billy Beane’s character in the Moneyball movie. The show is for “the thinking fan” he says every episode, but the statistical analysis is explained in a way that those who are less than well-versed in stats like WAR and BABIP can understand what Kenny is explaining. This is a show looking to grow with its fan-base, as they become better informed.
The show features guests daily, and these guests are people every baseball fan would love to sit by a hot stove with and talk the ins and outs of the game with: famed sportswriters like Peter Gammons and former baseball executives like John Hart. On the show Gammons delves into the games history and explains things like Albert Pujols place amongst the greatest first-basemen of all time. Hart has the unique knowledge of a man who constructed a team (the Cleveland Indians in the 90′s), and explains things like why teams are buying out more players arbitration years in order to keep payroll down. This is a show where you actually learn.
The show’s biggest problem is that is seems to have been put together with the enthusiasm of a child who believes he can fit too much into one afternoon. The segments can sometimes come across as underdone. A personal favorite is a segment called “the Shredder,” where a player’s future statistics are predicted using advanced metrics. In this segment Kenny explains the numbers behind the numbers and why they can help predict future success better than conventional stats.
Clubhouse Confidential isn’t only a show for the thinking fan; it is a show for every baseball fan. Maybe this is the year someone hits .400 after all. Well, probably not, but if it is, Clubhouse Confidential will be giving you the best coverage of the chase.