Jason Turbow Writer of The Baseball Codes and I Have a Phone Call

Two night ago I received an email from a familiar name, Jason Turbow.  Huh, is that Turnbow the closer?  No, this name is lacking the “n”.  Oh I know!  It is the writer of the new book, The Baseball Codes. So to make a long story short, we decided to talk over the phone and here is a link to his article:  The Baseball Codes.  Tell me what you think?



41 Comments on “Jason Turbow Writer of The Baseball Codes and I Have a Phone Call”

  1. Mike@AJM says:

    Bad link, Morg. No worky

  2. jiopadosf says:

    Tell me what you think?

    I think the link’s broken!

    Love your blog, by the way.

  3. Jesse R says:

    For anyone using Google Chrome, copy and paste this to read the article, otherwise it shows up as an error.


  4. Rick B says:

    You’ve got an extra http:// in your link, but that’s easy enough to get around.

    Very interesting stuff – loved the stuff about Harang’s “tell”, and its effect.

    I’m a pretty recent arrival at your blog – excellent stuff so far. Athletes with a talent for explaining how they do/did their job are few and far between – I really appreciate your insights.

  5. Jamy Ryals says:

    I’d never head of that either. Thanks for shining the light for us. Been enjoying your blog Mo.

  6. Shawn says:

    Morgan, I really enjoy your blog. You (obviously) offer a perspective on baseball very few people can say they’ve had a chance to experience. Conversely, I maintain a blog on the Major League Baseball website, about taking a game in from the stands, ballhawk style… and I’m interested in what you think! The web address is as follows: http://realtalk.mlblogs.com/

    Keep doing what you’re doing, Mr. Ensberg!


  7. sarah c says:

    Hi Morgan,

    Just wanted to start by saying that I’ve learned a lot from your blog and really like your writing. It’s too bad I waited until this year to become so passionate about baseball–it would have been nice to see you play for the Yankees 🙂

    This particular post raised the question in my mind: how do you actually identify pitches when you’re up to bat? If knowing what kind of pitch is coming makes you a bit antsy, then what does it look/feel like to you as you’re trying to figure out the type and location of the pitch?

    And…in particular, did you ever face a knuckleballer? What was that like?

  8. Michael says:

    Long story short, I once had a catcher *tell* me what pitches were coming. Didn’t matter. Whiff.

  9. Drew says:

    I had no idea you read from a pitcher’s glove. When I watch baseball with my mom she always watches the catcher’s signals and she’ll tell me “hes signaled *this* with his fingers” and I always say “well mom thats great but we dont know what *this* means since we werent in on the pitcher/catcher meeting this morning”. I never pay attention to it, when I’m at a game or watching on TV I always watch the pitcher for consistencies and inconsistencies in his delivery. I was in Kansas City with my brother one time behind home plate and we were able to call out Scott Kazmir “fastball” or “off speed” based off of how his elbow was bent. This was in the windup, we couldn’t tell with a runner on first when he threw from the stretch. He bent his elbow more to get his off speed pitches and kept his arm more straightened up on the 92+ heaters. I assume that most hitters & scouts know this already, but I felt pretty special to go “fastball” and see 93 MPH on the scoreboard.

  10. jklender says:

    How common is it for runners to read the pitcher’s glove vs. the catcher’s signals? Just curious, as obviously they go through a lot of trouble to shuffle signs and have a virtual picnic on the mound in such situations, knowing you’re up to no good.

    Also, was the pitch information something you were at times relaying to batters, or just for the purposes of trying to steal third base?

    • J I think it is too hard to figure out a catcher’s signs. That is why we concentrate so much on the pitchers glove or the catchers movements behind the plate.


      • jklender says:

        Understood… Another thing I’ve always wondered about signals, is how much do they tend to vary from team to team? Whether it’s pitching signs, bunt signs, hit and run, etc. How different was the process of relaying that information under Phil Garner compared to a mad scientist like Joe Maddon? I imagine a lot of the basics are the same (ie, there are only a few options in any situation), but the masking of the signs may be where things get tricky.

        • JK- Pitching signs are the same for the most part. They just use a different “code” so to speak. That won’t make sense to you, but it is hard to explain. As far as managers, I don’t know what any manager’s signs are to our 3rd base coach. But signs from the 3rd base coach are very easy. So much so that you can miss them because they are so easy.


  11. teamlittleguy says:

    Good stuff, Morgan! The use of an instance where you deduced an advantage in-game and still failed effectively made your point, and did so in a classy manner.

    I also liked the insight on Maddux — one of the true genius players. While everybody else seemingly was hitting the gym and trying to outmuscle the competition, he was supersizing down at the In-And-Out Burger and thinking of new ways to own batters (or get them to own themselves). 😉

    Both reminders that when it comes to pitchers and the fine art of getting outs, batters are often complicit in the crime!

    • I agree completely. Today’s pitchers could really help themselves out if someone would just explain to them that you want guys to hit the ball. It is a coaching problem.


      • jklender says:

        I think there is sometimes too much emphasis on K-rate for young pitchers, especially at lower levels where arm durability is being developed. Obviously missing bats is a crucial skill to have when needed, but why force the issue?

        • JK- I am not saying this because I am a hitter. I am saying this because I know what a team needs to do to win. K’s and ERA are over rated. It is about throwing 1st pitch strikes and getting efficiency out of a pitch count.


  12. John says:

    Hey Mo,
    You were “at second base 100,000 times” in your life? Holy smokes, your career OBP must have been AMAZING!!

  13. Couch Tater says:

    Knowing how Maddux operated, he would probably intentionally tip some of his pitches to see if you could hit them. And, of course, change the pitch of those tips later in the year when a game was on the line.

  14. Jimmy says:

    Hey Morgan,
    Great site, very informative interesting to see the “behind the scenes” of baseball. If you pick up something like signs ie: harangs glove positioning, do you go back and tell the other guys on the team, or is it something they pick up via trial and error? Also, do you give your pitchers the suggestions on how to not make the same mistakes?
    Thanks, Keep up the good work

    • Jimmy if we see something that our own pitcher is doing we tell them. By simply making a little change they will no longer be able to get picked.


  15. casey says:


    Cleanup hitter bunting in the 5th inning of 4-0 perfect game on May 9th. Unwritten rule no-no (pun intended) or “intelligent play”


  16. Ashitaka says:

    Geoff Blum said on the radio sometime before this season that he had picked up some kind of tell from Chad Qualls during his first stint with Houston, and that’s how he was able to hit that homer off of Qualls in the World Series. Did you ever hear about that?

  17. Ken says:

    Morgan, great blog you have going here – a lot of interesting discussions. If you have time, I would love to hear your thoughts on how much of an influence the assistant coaches have on teams/players at the MLB level. For obvious reasons, the media and fans focus a lot on the manager’s influence, but we don’t hear as much about the job that assistant coaches are doing (with a few exceptions).

    Looking forward to your next article. Fight On!

  18. Ben Londa says:

    Wow, just days after we had that exchange about this book – it’s fate!

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