Tag Archives: Sonoma Stompers

Book Review: The Only Rule Is It Has To Work

Everyone thinks that they can run a baseball team better than the professionals.

Stats tell a story, but do they really tell the whole story when trying to put together a baseball team or creating a game plan against your opponents?

Two sabermetric writers were given the chance to put their thoughts and statistics to the test in a real life game of fantasy baseball thanks to the Pacific Association and the Sonoma Stompers.

the only rule

The book, The Only Rule Is It Has To Work, follows Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller as they help assemble the 2015 Sonoma Stompers while using advance sabermetrics to dicate the team’s moves all season long.

The book, told in chapters alternating between Ben and Sam’s point of views, gives you a great look into the Stompers and how statistics can both help and hurt a team. They are extremely objective when covering their summer of statistically driven, real-life fantasy baseball.

While the stats might bring in most readers, it’s also an in-depth, well-told story about a team full of characters (aren’t all baseball teams!) that come together on a roller-coaster ride through the hardships of independent baseball.

Will a team of misfits, most found using a spreadsheet, come together and succeed in the Pacific Association, or will they fall behind and finish last because baseball shouldn’t be all about numbers?

As a more personalized version of MoneyBall, this book has a little something for everyone.

For more information or to buy the book, check our the official website HERE.

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Piagno Makes History, Pacific Association Finishes First Half

Last year, Indy Ball Island reported on history being made in the Pacific Association.

The Sonoma Stompers signed two female players, Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno, last July.

The Stompers’ GM, Theo Fightmaster, assured everyone that it was not just a publicity stunt that would last a few days.

And he definitely proved that by having the women play again this year… giving them a chance to get professional experience playing against men.

That experience paid off as Stacy Piagno made history again on Saturday, July 15th, when she became only the third woman to earn a win in men’s professional baseball since the 1950’s.

stacy piagno.jpg
Stacy Piagno delivers a pitch at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field during her seven-inning, four-hit performance in the Sonoma Stompers 16-1 victory over the Pittsburg Diamonds on Saturday. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

In her third appearance and first start of the season, Piagno pitched seven strong innings allowing one earned run on four hits while recording four strikeouts. She retired her last 11 batters and 20 of 22 from the 2nd to the 7th inning.

“This was a great night for Stacy and a fantastic night for baseball,” said Stompers president and general manager Theo Fightmaster. “This was a start she’s been preparing for, and she validated the opportunity she was given. That was an incredible performance against a very tough lineup.”

The 7 IP and 4 K were both a career high for Piagno as well.

“It’s always a thought in your mind, especially in our situation coming in here as a female, can I really be successful? Can I go deep in the game? I’m not just out here for a hoax. It proves to myself that yes, all the hard work can pay off and yes, I can be successful out here,” Piagno said. 

Whitmore also started the game in left field and recorded her first hit of the 2017 season.

Their manager and teammates are proud of them as well.

“From last year, (Whitmore) was really working to get better and asking to pick everybody’s brain,” said manager Takashi Miyoshi. “She’s a great student of the game… The USA has an incredible baseball culture, but not to women in baseball yet. Like I said to the two girls, they’re going to be the icons of the game,” Miyoshi said. “Coming here, pitching against guys who were in affiliated ball, playing pro ball like three years ago, it’s not easy, trust me… I’m just really proud of her.”

The women certainly feel the love and respect as well.

“This team is my family, in and out. That’s something that I even thought of before the game. These guys are my family, they have my back,” Piagno said.

The Pacific Association wrapped up their first half of the season on Sunday.  Here are the final standings from the first half:

Sonoma Stompers 28-11
Pittsburg Diamonds 21-18
San Rafael Pacifics 17-22
Vallejo Admirals 12-27

The Stompers, who clinched last Wednesday, also set a franchise record for wins (28) in the first half.

The second half of the season begins tonight when the San Rafael Pacifics travel to take on the Sonoma Stompers and the Vallejo Admirals play host to the Pittsburg Diamonds.