Hardball Society



ESPN Twin Cities radio host and former MLB beat writer Phil Mackey, along with pro baseball scout Justin Musil, sit down with industry insiders -- from MLB players, scouts and executives to authors and umpires -- for wide-ranging conversations and story-telling sessions.


  • Inside the mental game of baseball (ep. 9)


    This episode of Hardball Society is all about the mental side of baseball and sports. Justin Musil and Phil Mackey sit down with Justin Anderson from Premier Sports Psychology -- one of the top peak mental performance coaches in the country. Justin works with pro, college and Olympic athletes -- and other top performers -- to help them reach their peak potential, and in this episode he explains the complicated wiring inside baseball players minds. What you'll hear on this episode: - Why more and more baseball players and other athletes are turning to sports psychologists- Aside from physical skills, what are the mental qualities that separate superior athletes from guys who don't rise to the top of their capabilities? - What is the zone, and how do baseball players reach it? - To what degree is a younger players success predictable based on mental patterns? Can sports psychologists hone in on how likely a player is to fail or succeed? - What are the core characteristics players need to be the best of the best

  • Brad Ziegler on weird throwing motions, life, baseball's joys and more (ep. 8)


    In addition to being one of the best relief pitchers of the past 20 years, Brad Ziegler is also one of the most accessible, approachable players in the major leagues. The submarine baller currently with the Miami Marlins -- joins this episode of Hardball Society for an in-depth chat about life and baseball! What you'll hear on this episode: * Justin and Phil dive into a few of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement themes (Should MLB have an electronic K-zone? Are we happy the All-Star Game will no longer determine home-field advantage?).* Brad Ziegler on how and why he became a huge autograph and card collector and the most star struck he has ever been* How did Ziegler become a submarine pitcher? Who inspired him, taught him and guided him? * What was it like playing for the Oakland As during the Moneyball period? * How will MLB bullpens look in the future? * The biggest misperception fans and media have regarding the World Baseball Classic and the play that still gives Ziegler goosebumps to this day. *

  • The Art of Scouting: How Tom Brady almost played baseball (ep. 7)


    Rick Schroeder has been one of Major League Baseball's top scouts for decades and was recently honored at the Winter Meetings as baseball's West Scout of the Year. Not only does he have stories about most of the prominent players in baseball over the past 35 years, he also sat in Tom Brady's living room and told Tom's parents that their son would be foolish if he didn't choose baseball. We know how that turned out (not that Brady wouldn't have been a great baseball player). Schroeder joins the Hardball Society crew - Phil Mackey and Justin Musil - on this Art of Scouting episode. Here's what else you'll find in this episode: - What do scouts look for and how do they approach game days? - What characteristics are most important and predictive in players? - What types of interview settings and questions do good scouts get the most information and value out of? - Schroeder tells several stories about prominent players over the past four decades. - And much more!

  • Glen Perkins on why electronic K-zones are inevitable in MLB (ep. 6)


    Glen Perkins is one of the sharpest, most opinionated players in Major League Baseball. He sits down with the Hardball Society guys - Phil Mackey and Justin Musil - for a wide-ranging discussion about electronic strike zones, clubhouse leadership, hitting batters on purpose and plenty more! Prior to the chat with Perk, Justin and Phil try to predict what might be the next "Moneyball" phase in baseball. Medical? Another phase of defense? Topics covered with Glen Perkins:* When is it OK for a hitter to flip his bat? And do we need to "Make Baseball Fun Again?" * Is closing more fun or stressful? How much does it eat at you if you blow a save? * What is the next "Moneyball" in baseball, and how can teams better prevent pitcher arm injuries? * Why electronic strike zones are inevitable - and stories about the human element of various umpires around MLB (including Cowboy Joe West)* Glen tells a great Torii Hunter story detailing Hunter's unique personality. * Is it possible to quantify clubhouse leadership? Quota

  • How MLB teams, scouts and trainers view the arm injury epidemic (ep. 5)


    Arm injuries are at an all-time high in baseball, and teams are doing more work than ever to figure out why - and to figure out how to get an edge, medically, on other organizations. More than 50% of pitchers end up on the DL each year, on average for 2+ months, and 25% of MLB pitchers have undergone Tommy John surgery. On this episode of Hardball Society, Phil Mackey and Justin Musil dive into the arm injury epidemic - with help from Yahoo! MLB columnist Jeff Passan (22:00), who authored the book, "The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports," and Dan Christoffer, a former Los Angeles Dodgers organization trainer who currently works in the Mayo Clinic sports medicine department. Topics covered on this episode: - Is it possible for scouts to spot arm injuries before they actually happen? - In Jeff's time spent researching and writing this book, what made him stop and think the most?- Stories about how pitchers dealt with sore elbows before Tommy John surgery was preval

  • Willie Bloomquist on old school vs analytics, Lou Piniella, more (ep. 4)


    Willie Bloomquist comes from the school of baseball hard knocks - an old school utility player who spent 14 years in the major leagues, thanks in large part to a mastery of fundamentals, leadership and a grinder mindset, which may sound like cliches, but all are applicable to Willie. Prior to their conversation with Bloomquist, pro scout Justin Musil and 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio host Phil Mackey dive into a discussion/debate about analytics and scouting in baseball. What annoys analytics people about the scouting side, and vice versa? Then, Willie Bloomquist opens up about the following: - Political correctness in life and sports- The keys to staying in the major leagues well into your 30's- Baseball's lost arts, the value (or not) of bunting, and how he would handle roster management differently- His first (intimidating) encounter with legendary manager Lou Piniella, and how that encounter stuck with him for the rest of his career - Why baseball is evolving into a "softer" mentality - Willie's most gratif

  • Why MLB has struck gold; Plus, entertaining college coach Tracy Smith (ep. 3)


    On this episode of Hardball Society, Phil Mackey (1500 ESPN Twin Cities) and Justin Musil (pro scout, founder of Elite Sports Advising) discuss what MLB can learn from its current playoff format -- why it works, and why it could help jolt baseball. Plus, the boys visit Arizona State University for a chat with one of the most entertaining and knowledgeable baseball coaches in the country, Tracy Smith. Tracy tells a great ejection story, tells us about Kyle Schwarber, pre-MLB, the characteristics needed to be a great player, and much more!

  • Cubs' pitching guru Jim Brower dishes baseball philosophies and tells stories (ep. 2)

    14/09/2016 Duración: 55min

    On this episode of Hardball Society, Phil Mackey (1500 ESPN Twin Cities) and Justin Musil (pro scout, founder of Elite Sports Advising) sit down with Chicago Cubs organizational pitching guru Jim Brower for a wide-ranging discussion about his playing days, pitching philosophies, and some fantastic stories. Here's what you'll find in this episode: - Jim details his experience at the Little League World Series in the mid-80's - The story of when Jim led the major leagues with 89 appearances for the Giants in the early-2000's - how his arm felt, and why he finally asked for a day off at the end of September - What was it like playing in front of empty stadiums in Montreal? - Life advice to Jim from former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone - Barry Bonds stories ... Why he was one of the best and worst teammates in MLB - What do the Royals and Cubs do differently from other organizations in baseball? Why are they so successful? Jim expands on Royals GM Dayton Moore's management style, then tells a story about Th

  • Aaron Boone on his famous HR, life in the TV booth and more (ep. 1)

    14/09/2016 Duración: 43min

    On the debut episode of Hardball Society, Phil Mackey (1500 ESPN Twin Cities) and Justin Musil (pro scout and founder of Elite Sports Advising) venture to Aaron Boone's house in Arizona. The boys discuss Boone's life as an ESPN broadcaster, the story of Boone hitting one of the most famous home runs in modern baseball history, his life growing up in a multi-generation MLB family, and much more! Find more content, show notes and previous episodes on HardballSociety.com. And follow us on Twitter @HardballSociety.