The Question

People asked me questions on Twitter. So I shall answer them.

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And remember, these are real questions from real Twitter followers. Because really, if I was gonna make ’em up they’d probably all be about Batman or something.

Q: What kind of peanut butter do cats prefer?

Squirrel Peanut Butter. It’s hard to find and cats are really annoying like that.

Q: Where do you put the odds on Liriano having a quality start the next time out? Being remotely effective?

Really, really low. In addition to the fact that — no-hitter aside — he has looked awful this year, the fact that he had never before thrown a complete game and that he threw 123 pitches and admitted after the game that he was gassed makes me believe that, absent a skipped start, he’s gonna have nothing next time around.  Speaking of that no-hitter:

Q: Liriano’s no-no,using DIPS theory to pick it apart: good or bad? Do we lose something by not taking a no no at face value?

If you really want to analyze it, sure, you should use whatever is at your disposal to do so. But for my own purposes I’m content to simply say “nice job, man.”  He did something most guys never do. I don’t feel obligated to tear it down.  In ten years if someone brings up Liriano — or Edwin Jackson or even Jose Jimenez — I’m gonna say “dude threw a no-hitter once.”

Q: The Indians: even if they aren’t this good, is any team in that division 8 games better?

Hard to see one. If the Indians play .500 ball the rest of the way, they’re an 86-87 win team. That could easily take this division.  Not saying the Indians definitely will take it.  They could tank.  Just saying that it’s hard to feature either the Tigers, Sox or Twins putting their foot on the gas like they’d have to.

Q: Chanting U-S-A! U-S-A! in Philly after Bin Laden killed: undignified, or appropriately cathartic?

Appropriately cathartic. If it had resulted in a lot of staged stuff going forward — which it doesn’t appear to be doing — it would have been cheapened, however. See, “God Bless America” circa 2001.

Q: If baseball didn’t exist, is there another sport you’d be watching?

I still watch a lot of college football, so that would be there.  There was a time — mid-80s through the late-90s — when I watched a ton of NBA basketball.  I got away from that mostly because I couldn’t devote myself to multiple sports and family and work and everything and just lost touch.  I could see myself being into the NBA again, even with all of its flaws. I’d be a casual fan, though, not some freak like I am with baseball. I just like the game.

Q: Which franchise is more troubled financially the Mets or Dodgers?

Depends on the time frame. The Dodgers have more immediate trouble, of course, in that they can’t even make payroll and are about to be taken over.  That may prove to be a taking-the-bandage-off-quickly thing, however, because once Frank McCourt is kicked aside some L.A. billionaire is going to move in and exploit the sheer market power of the Dodgers, which they have in spades.  The problems in New York are less acute and more chronic. They aren’t in the kind of crush the Dodgers are in, but they will likely have this lawsuit hanging over their heads for a while, making life uncertain for them.

Q: Does not being able to get one in Ohio make the In-N-Out burger taste better?

I think that’s true of everything. If they opened In-N-Outs everywhere, they’d be jam-packed for a while and then — while they’d still be tasty and popular — the luster and hype that has grown around the brand would wear off.  We saw this in the 1970s back when Coors beer wasn’t available east of the Mississippi. Heck, the seeming desirability of that beer to easterners served as the McGuffin in a really popular movie. I’m not equating the taste of Double-Double Animal Style burgers to the taste of Coors, but the model would hold: once everyone could get it whenever they wanted, it would cease to be special.

Q: Who’s your favorite obscure Braves reliever from the ’90s or ’00s, and why?

A guy no one — and I mean no one — remembers pitched for the Braves: Dan Petry.  Yep, the Tigers mainstay of the 1980s pitched in relief for the Braves from late June until mid-August 1991 following a trade with Detroit. He was terrible, and after 13 more games with the Red Sox that season he retired. I loved Peaches when I was a kid in Michigan, and seeing him in a Braves uniform in their most magical season was very cool for me.

Q: What is the greatest baseball name of all time?

This didn’t make the cut for video because there was no way I could answer it without saying names that would have, at the very least, caused Tiffany to get angry with me or, at the worst, get me sued, fired or both.  If we steered away from that stuff, however, I’d say former Reds pitcher Ted Power.  It’s a very Ron Swanson “Pyramid of Greatness” kind of name.  And he had a great mustache for a while too.

Q: What is your favorite all time Steve McKenna’d moment you can share?

This refers to the Zane Lamprey show “Three Sheets” — since revived and renamed “Drinking Made Easy” — that most recently appeared on HD Net. I discovered it while I was in New York last weekend and found it fascinating that someone actually made a show out of the idea that every single college kid has ever had: a travel documentary show in which the principals basically sample beers, wines and whiskeys all over the country while being carted around in a big bus.

Steve McKenna is the host’s friend, who would show up in gags and stuff.  I assume this question refers to a funny alcohol-related story.  I’m a mature man now who imbibes responsibly, so there aren’t a ton of stories like that in my life anymore.  But I will say this much: in the fall of 1991 I got in a serious argument with a grocery store clerk that involved (a) the 2AM cutoff for beer sales in Ohio; (b) the fact that it was the night daylight savings ended and clocks were set back; and (c) semantics.  I did not win the argument. Nor should I have. And God bless the woman working the register at the Olentangy River Road Kroger that late Saturday night/early Sunday morning because she totally didn’t need to put up with my nonsense.

Q: Do you believe in Nate McLouth?

Look, anyone can just print up a center fielder. I think we should examine the issue more closely and not take the Braves’ word for it.

Q: When are you coming down to cover a Braves game?

When someone can conclusively prove the existence of Nate McLouth to me.

Q: Why is bourbon your drink of choice? 

It’s complicated. It has to do with growing older, my increased appreciation of complexity and challenges, my belief in moderation in all things and the currency exchange rate a few years ago that made scotch seem like less of a good value.

Q: Is there a height requirement for players?

Yes. All players must have height.  For more information on this matter, ask Freddie Patek.

Thanks for the questions, all.  We’ll do it again next week.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.

Video: Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran give signs from the dugout

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers stands in the dugout before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 23, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.

You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: