The Business Side of America’s Favorite Pastime

When people do things they weren’t even sure they were capable of, I think it comes back to connection. Connection with teammates. Connection with organization. Feeling like they belong in the environment. I think it’s a human need—the need to feel connected. We don’t live in isolation. Most people don’t like working in isolation—some do, but they typically don’t end up playing Major League Baseball. --Theo Epstein

When most folks think about baseball, they think about what happens on the field--a great catch, a good play, a bad call. They can plainly see the teamwork on the field between the players and the coaching staff. At a cookout or friendly gathering, a debate might arise about "management" decision making among die-hard fans. Most baseball fans know intrinsically the players, coaches, management, and support staff are part of a business.

Fans can see the financial (and athletic) ramifications of this decision making but we may overlook some factors.  An example is how an organization's culture and leadership contribute to players' and staff's performance and the fans' overall experience--for better or for worse. If you'd like to learn more leadership and management in baseball, check out these titles below:


Michael Lewis recounts how Billy Beane, the manager of Oakland Athletics, used statistical analysis to keep his team on top in the world of baseball despite their low budget. (We have the the DVD, too!)

The Cubs Way

Tom Verducci shows how Theo Epstein went beyond "Moneyball"  thinking when he joined the Cub's by using statistical analysis while rebuilding the culture and relationships in the clubhouse. 

In Pursuit of Pennants

Mark Armour examines 14 winning clubs over the past hundred-plus years, focusing on their decision making and how they assembled their championship teams.

Making It in the Minors

Arthur Solomon shares his real life experience in this how-to guide about building and managing a successful minor league baseball club.

The Extra 2%

In The Extra 2%, Jonah Keri chronicles Tampa Bay's journey from and under performing team to World Series contender under the guidance of former Goldman Sachs partners Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Silverman.

Baseball's Power Shift

Baseball’s Power Shift documents the development of the union movement in Major League Baseball and how the players courted the support the press and the public to organize. 

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In order to make good decisions you need the comprehensive data, and I don't mean On Base Percentages. How do fans watch their favorite teams? Or how often fans interact with their favorite teams through social media? You need market data too.

Luckily, we offer access to SBRNet where you can find these statics and more. SBRNet is continuously updated nationwide sports marketing analytics database that you can access onsite at the Boston Public Library.  This database includes information about a variety of fan markets and sports, including but not limited to baseball, football, college markets, NASCAR, e-sports, fantasy sports and more. 

Bonus material:  Did you know that you see the old baseball photos from the BPL’s Print collection through the Digital Commonwealth? Take a gander.