The Question

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


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.

Cardinals take 1-0 NLDS lead over the Cubs behind John Lackey’s brilliant outing

John Lackey
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
Leave a comment

John Lackey flirted with a no-hitter but settled for 7 1/3 terrific, shutout innings to beat the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday. The right-hander held the opposition to two hits and a walk while striking out five. Lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist struck out two to finish the eighth without issue. Closer Trevor Rosenthal worked around a one-out walk and a two-out single in the ninth to seal the 4-0 win, recording all three outs on called strike threes.

Lackey brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but lost it quickly when Addison Russell hit a ground ball single up the middle to lead off the frame. Russell would steal second base but was stranded.

Opposing starter Jon Lester wasn’t too shabby himself, relenting three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings. The first run came around in the first inning on Matt Holliday‘s RBI single, which followed a one-out double by Stephen Piscotty. Tommy Pham pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot in the eighth inning and launched a solo home run off of Lester to double the Cardinals’ lead. Lester walked Matt Carpenter before exiting. Pedro Strop came in and promptly served up a two-run home run to Stephen Piscotty.

The closest the Cubs came to scoring was when Dexter Fowler sent a deep fly ball to right field with a man on base and two outs in the sixth inning, but Randal Grichuk caught it with a foot or two to spare in front of the fence on the warning track.

The two clubs will play Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday at 5:30 PM EDT. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and oppose Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia.

Astros err in letting Scott Kazmir start sixth

Scott Kazmir
1 Comment

Scott Kazmir went winless with a 6.52 ERA in six September starts. He allowed 41 hits, eight of them homers, in 29 innings, posting an 18/11 K/BB ratio. When the Astros got five innings of two-run ball from him Friday against the Royals, they should have thanked their good fortune and moved right along to the pen.

And they knew this. They must have. Josh Fields got up in the pen after Kazmir issued a one-out walk in the fifth. The left-hander got out of the frame, making himself eligible for the victory in what was then a 4-2 game, but it was still very surprising to see him come back out for the sixth, particularly with the switch-hitting Ben Zobrist (.926 OPS against lefties) and right-handed Lorenzo Cain due up.

Kazmir retired Zobrist, but he gave up a double to Cain. He was then pulled, even with the left-handed Eric Hosmer coming up. Manager A.J. Hinch had committed my biggest baseball pet peeve: he sent his starter back to the mound with the idea of pulling him after his first mistake.

It worked out terribly. Oliver Perez gave up a pair of soft hits to Hosmer and Kendrys Morales before walking Mike Moustakas. Fields then entered and walked the unwalkable Salvador Perez to tie the game at 4. The Astros gave up another run in the seventh and lost the game 5-4.

Maybe that’s the way it would have worked out anyway. Kazmir did give up just the one baserunner. It might not have even harmed the Astros if Perez had better luck.

Still, the thinking that went into the decision was disturbing. It’s always better to bring that reliever in with no one on base when you can. That’s especially the case with this Astros pen, which lacks a double-play specialist, much less a Wade Davis. But anyone in that pen would have been a better choice than sending Kazmir out to face Zobrist and Cain for a third time. Hinch needs to be more aggressive going forward.

Cardinals’ giveaway incorrectly claims ownership of 2001 division title

cardinals logo

The Cardinals have won so many division titles, it’s tough to keep track of them all. At least, it would be tough if it weren’t for Baseball Reference.

40,000 rally towels were given away to fans at Busch Stadium ahead of Friday’s NLDS Game 1 against the Cubs. The towel listed all of the years the Cardinals won the NL Central… and 2001. That year, they tied with the Astros for the best record in the National League at 93-69. However, because the Astros won the season series 9-7, they were awarded first place and the Cardinals took the Wild Card.