The Question

People asked me questions on Twitter, so I shall answer them

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Oh, and you’ll really want to watch me do the questions on HBT Daily today because I make an extended “Watchmen” analogy that totally loses Tiffany. But for now, the rejects. No, not you, just the questions I didn’t use:

Q: Why do the Yankees refuse to score runs?

It’s a test of Joe Girardi’s aptitude. If they scored ten runs last night, he never would have been faced with that Colon/Rivera decision and we’d have no way of knowing how he handles such tough spots.  I think the whole thing was set up by Hank Steinbrenner. He got a grant for the study and everything.

Q: What was your favorite class in law school?

Snarky answer: Tax law, because I used to stay up late in law school and I could always catch up on my Zs in tax.

Less snarky answer: Law and Accounting. Really: there was a visiting professor at GW that year — who now seems to be permanent — named Lawrence Cunningham, who actually made what could have been a boring topic — the legal aspects of corporate accounting — really interesting and fun.  While it could have easily been a rote crash course on LIFO and FIFO accounting for laywers, he focused on the little sneaky accounting tricks that business tries to use in order to portray liabilities as assets and other such devious things.  While we’re well aware of all of that in this post-Enron, post-AIG world, this was 1997, and no one was talking about this in polite circles.  Let’s just say that his class, more than any other class I took, has stuck with me these past 14 years, enabling me to understand the nature of big business and, because of that, to be skeptical when anyone proposes “fixing” schools, governments or baseball teams by using good old entrepreneurial know-how.

Q: Wanna get a beer?

You buyin’?

Q: What gives you the right?

It’s my blog, dude.

Q: Red Sox had a walkoff win on Monday after trailing the entire game till the last at-bat. Should that have a special name?

I think you intended to send that to Bill Simmons, who likely has a 26-part “levels of walkoff wins” column in the chamber, ready to fire if he ever wants for content.

Q: We know New York and Boston plyers are overrated and guys from small markets and west coast teams are underrated. What team’s players are rated exactly right?

As we all know, this is a function of the dreaded east coast bias. The answer, then: players who play for any team located 2.7 miles northeast of Plato, Missouri are rated exactly correctly, because that location is the precise geographic center of the U.S. population as of the 2010 census.

Q: Serious question: Do you think fantasy average draft positions will be used for HoF consideration? Insight to fans’ view.

Never. It’s a worst-of-both-worlds kind of thing.  The more traditional voters would dismiss it out of hand because it’s rather nuts on the surface. The more progressive, stats-oriented voters would likewise dismiss it because most fantasy leagues focus on counting stats like steals, wins and saves and thus where someone is taken in a fantasy draft is misleading with respect to their actual value as players. So, points for creativity, but nah.

Q: I’m managing my co-ed softball team this summer. Because I’m in Atlanta, how often am I required by Fredi Law to bunt?

Ah, Fredi Law. That new area of scholarly inquiry that tries to explain the inexplicable moves of new Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez.  Because of my Braves fandom and legal background I was recently asked by West Publishing to write a treatise on it, but I declined due to the toll it would have on my mental health. And it’s only May.

As for the bunts: it’s not really a quota. It’s more about making sure you do it at exactly the wrong time and/or burn a perfectly good bench player for the express purpose of bunting when you could have used a pitcher to do it.  Oh, and you get bonus points for doing this, which is a rare instance when Charles Shultz used his well-known but seldom-discussed powers of foretelling the future of Braves’ managers’ decisions.

Q: What is the biggest home run hit in the history of each franchise?

Great question!  It’s one I’m going to turn into a post later today!

Thanks all. I love doing this. Follow me on Twitter and be on the lookout for the next time I go jonesin’ for your questions. Usually Wednesday evenings.

Tim Lincecum to hold long-awaited showcase on Friday

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 16:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the game at AT&T Park on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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At long last, the Tim Lincecum showcase has an official date: this Friday, May 6 in Scottsdale, according to CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic (citing a report from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman). Lincecum, still a free agent, has been allowed to throw at the Giants’ facility in Arizona.

Lincecum, 31, has reportedly still drawn the interest in at least half the league. San Francisco remains Lincecum’s preferred landing spot, however, per Pavlovic.

The right-hander showed better results in 15 starts last season after three consecutive tough campaigns. He finished the 2015 season with a 4.13 ERA and a 60/38 K/BB ratio in 76 1/3 innings. Given how starting pitching is always in demand, Lincecum should walk away with a handful of offers.

Video: J.J. Hardy collects carom off Manny Machado’s glove, converts the out

A ball hit by Chicago White Sox' Todd Frazier gets by Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Baltimore. Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, not seen, was able to get the ball and throw it to first to get out Frazier on the play. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Some great defensive plays leave you saying, “Wow!” This one will leave you saying that, and, “How the heck did that happen?”

In the top of the fourth inning at Camden Yards, White Sox slugger Todd Frazier lined a Ubaldo Jimenez offering right at third baseman Manny Machado. The ball skipped and caromed off of Machado’s glove, creating what seemed to be an easy single for Frazier. Shortstop J.J. Hardy, however, was ranging to his right and used his cat-like reflexes to snag the redirected ball. He planted and threw a one-hopper to Chris Davis at first base to convert the out.

The replay at about 21 seconds really does the play justice. Outstanding stuff by Hardy. The Orioles, however, wound up losing 7-1 to the White Sox.

Clayton Kershaw K’s 14 in three-hit shutout, provides Dodgers’ only run

National League pitcher Clayton Kershaw, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, throws during the second inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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You could say Clayton Kershaw had a pretty good day. The Dodgers’ lefty limited the Padres to three hits over nine scoreless innings, striking out 14 while walking none. The Dodgers won 1-0, and Kershaw provided that lone run with a single up the middle in the third inning off of Drew Pomeranz.

Kershaw amassed a game score of 95 with the effort — the third game of his career with a game score of 95 or better. The others: a 97 game score against the Giants on September 29 last year, and 102 against the Rockies on June 18, 2014.

Kershaw improves to 3-1 on the year with a 1.96 ERA and a 54/3 K/BB ratio in 46 innings. He’s had double-digit strikeouts in each of his last four starts and he’s yet to go fewer than seven innings in all six starts this season.

Wanna work as a baseball broadcaster for free?

Two drake Mallard ducks fly over Lake Erie near the Cleveland shoreline, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in Cleveland. Warming temperatures have brought a variety of waterfowl to the area as they stage for the northern migration. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
AP Photo/Mark Duncan
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(Hat tip to @ItsTonyNow on Twitter for pointing this story out.)

The Madison Mallards are a collegiate summer baseball team in Wisconsin. College players join the league to have an opportunity to showcase their talents for scouts. Though they’re not exactly the New York Yankees, the Mallards do relatively well for themselves. In 2013, they had the highest average attendance among amateur teams, per The Capital Times.

That makes one of their latest job postings seem rather curious. The Mallards are looking for someone to handle both play-by-play broadcasting duties as well as media relations, as seen in this post. Only one problem: the position is unpaid. Here’s the full description (emphasis mine):

The Madison Mallards are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious individual to join the front office as the Radio Broadcaster.

This position will manage all day-to-day media relations duties and act as the traveling secretary on all road trips. This is a seasonal position, beginning in May 2016 and ending in mid-August. This position is unpaid. The candidate will serve as the full-time radio broadcaster, traveling with the team during the season.

Duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:
* Write press releases promoting team initiatives including post-game recaps for the team website.
* Coordinate all aspects of team travel including notifying restaurants, hotels, and other teams, getting team orders, room assignments, etc.
* Broadcast all 72 Northwoods League games on 1670 The Zone including pre- and post-game shows, during the regular season (and playoffs if necessary).
* Ability to work long hours, including weekends, as business indicates.
* Strong written and verbal communication skills
* Produce radio commercials for the Mallards and business partners
* Work closely with GM and Corporate Service team to include all sponsor and promotional live reads each gameUpdate the Mallards website daily
* Other duties as assigned by GM

The habit of baseball teams looking for free labor isn’t exactly new. The U.S. Department of Labor investigated the Giants and Marlins in 2013 for possible wage law violations. That included the Giants being investigated for “possible improper use of unpaid interns.” The Giants ended up paying $544,715 in back wages. In a memo that year issued by Rob Manfred, he cited the Department of Labor believing that MLB’s habit of taking advantage of unpaid interns was “endemic to our industry.”

According to U.S. law, a for-profit company can hire an unpaid intern by meeting each of six criteria, according to FindLaw:

  • The internship is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment
  • The experience is for the benefit of the intern
  • The intern does not displace regular employees but works under close supervision of existing staff
  • The employer providing the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded
  • There is no guarantee of a job at the conclusion of the internship
  • Both parties understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the internship

It would seem that the third and fourth criteria wouldn’t be met.

The Mallards are almost certainly looking for a college student — not a well-credentialed media veteran — looking to add to his or her resume. They are also very clearly looking to take advantage of that student given the plethora of job responsibilities with no pay. Current college students are part of the millennial generation which has increasingly been taken advantage of through unpaid internships. Steven Greenhouse wrote for the New York Times in 2012:

No one keeps statistics on the number of college graduates taking unpaid internships, but there is widespread agreement that the number has significantly increased, not least because the jobless rate for college graduates age 24 and under has risen to 9.4 percent, the highest level since the government began keeping records in 1985. (Employment experts estimate that undergraduates work in more than one million internships a year, with Intern Bridge, a research firm, finding almost half unpaid.)

In a capitalist society, businesses are always going to search for the cheapest source of labor. Considering how bad the economy is and has been for millennials, they’ve had a pretty good time finding it. It’s hard to fault college students jumping at the opportunity to work in an industry they like in the hopes of one day landing a dream job. But as much as those businesses might loathe admitting it, that labor is worth something whether it’s for an amateur baseball team or a major league team.