Discover more from Steady Beats | Matt Tillotson
The Mix Tape, Vol. 83
Welcome to this week’s Mix
Hi, I’m Matt Tillotson and this is Vol. 83 of The Mix Tape, a newsletter where I mix sports and fitness into writing and messaging strategy. This week:
💻Man over machine
📝Active note taking unlocks writing ideas
⚾️New stadium economic messaging and other lies
🎸The Black Pumas
I obliterated sugar from my diet. You can, too.
It’s not even a humblebrag. It’s just a brag.
But only because it shows that if I (a guy who loved sugar) can make a huge change, you can, too.
Stopping jogging was the first catalyst—my sugar cravings fell off a cliff. From there it was more about smart substitutions, rather than denying myself foods.
Man over Machine
“Baseball is slow,” goes the common wisdom.
But under the game’s hood, a high-octane engine runs at red-line pace. Teams race to adjust to and attack opposition weaknesses, and to optimize players’ physical movements: swings, throws, and steps.
Technology, generating data-rich information capture, is the fuel.
All of which makes Randy Arozarena’s ten-homer tear through the playoffs last fall so refreshing:
[Arozarena] sought no information on opposing pitchers other than how hard they threw. Slugged .831 in the postseason with a record 10 home runs in 20 games.
Can he keep it up this season?
… teams game-planned to stop him in the postseason, when scouting reports become even more detailed, and they still could not do it. His postseason opponents included the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers, three of the most tech-smart teams in baseball when it comes to run prevention game-planning.
Sounds like he can.
Arozarena has tremendous bat speed and an old-school, flat-plane swing that crushes fastballs. Many players have swings with upward arcs now, because the data shows that arcs lead to more home runs. But players with arcing swings can’t get to the high fastballs Arozarana can. And he led the league in slugging percentage on 95 MPH-and-faster pitches.
It’s good to see that talent can still overpower the best laid plans of men and spreadsheets.
Man over machine.
Action-oriented note taking
Traditional notes rarely spark writing ideas or enhance memorization. Personally, I copy and paste things into files … and never see them again.
Which is why I love this discussion between David Perell and Anne-Laure le Cunff. Anne wrote 200 articles and built a 12,000-subscriber newsletter in one year.
Action-oriented note taking is a big part of her creative process.
I recommend watching the whole discussion, but in a nutshell, Anne copies-and-pastes as little as possible while taking notes.
Instead, listening to the dialogue in her head as she reads, she writes down:
Questions generated by what she reads
Unusual ideas that lurk underneath obvious statements
This switches her mindset to creativity as she consumes content: action-oriented note-taking. If she doesn’t think something will help her write an article, she doesn’t capture it.
Two-hundred articles. Twelve-thousand newsletter subs in a year. Her system works.
New stadiums: big bucks, big lies
(Oakland-Alemda Collesium, the most dank and depressing ballpark I have ever been in. It’s like a monument to Soviet-style concrete brutalism.)
I am pro-new stadium, because I like sports.
My opinion is irrational and emotionally-driven. New stadiums never deliver an economic impact that justifies the taxpayer expense:
economist J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State University recently published a paper on the economic impact of Truist Park, which opened prior to the 2017 season under its former name. Here, broadly, is where the data led him:
"The findings indicate a net increase in taxable sales in the county; however, the magnitude is small and not statistically significant. Though an influx of net new spending is evident, approximately one-third of the project's sales derive from crowding out other local economic activity. In total, added tax collections fall well short of covering the public subsidies that fund the stadium."
Truist Park—the gleaming new home of the Atlanta Braves—cost taxpayers $350 million. The Braves’ prior home was all of twenty years old.
Political and team messaging is always the same around these projects. Big promises for lots of new jobs, development, and tourism.
It’s never true.
The Black Pumas
I recently discovered The Black Pumas and I am hooked. Here is “Black Moon Rising:”
Sometimes I hear Marvin Gaye. Other times I think of the feisty, “Ball of Confusion” era Temptations. Otis Redding comes to mind, also.
In any case, it’s a sound straight out of the late 60s and early 70s and I love it.
Hello to 14 new subscribers this week!
As always, thank you for reading and sharing.
Please hit reply if you have questions, comments, or open rebuttals. (Or just want to say hi.)