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.

Billy Butler on altercation with Danny Valencia: “We had equal faults in this.”

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 24: Billy Butler #16 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning to regain the lead against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on July 24, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images)
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On Friday, Athletics teammates Billy Butler and Danny Valencia were involved in a clubhouse altercation that started when Butler told an equipment representative that Valencia was wearing off-brand spikes during games. Valencia didn’t like Butler’s interference, potentially costing him an endorsement deal, so he punched Butler in the temple, causing a concussion.

Neither player had said much to the media about the incident, but Butler finally addressed the issue on Wednesday. MLB.com’s Mark Chiarelli reported Butler’s comments:

“This was something that could’ve been prevented on both sides,” Butler said. “We had equal faults in this. I definitely said some things that you shouldn’t have. I definitely stepped in an area where it wasn’t my business.”

[…]

“By no means do I think his intentions were to give me a concussion,” Butler said. “This is me addressing my faults and what I took away from the team.”

[…]

“To say that we’re enemies is not right,” Butler said. “To blame this all on one side is not right either.”

Butler also apologized to his teammates. “I would like to apologize for putting [my teammates] through this because they didn’t deserve this. This was an issue between me and Danny. To be fair for them, they didn’t deserve this. The coaching staff didn’t deserve this. The organization didn’t deserve this,” he said.

Butler is making progress in his recovery from his concussion. He’ll travel with the team to St. Louis to open up a three-game series against the Cardinals starting on Friday. If he passes his concussion protocol test, the Athletics will put him back on the active roster from the seven-day concussion disabled list.

Report: Pablo Sandoval has lost 22 pounds during his rehab

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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WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval has lost 22 pounds during his rehabilitation after undergoing shoulder surgery in early May. Weight has been the top subject of conversation regarding Sandoval ever since he showed up to spring training and an unflattering photograph was published by the Boston Globe.

Sandoval had a miserable spring training, batting .204 in 49 at-bats and lost out on the starting third base job to Travis Shaw. He went hitless in seven regular season plate appearances before landing on the disabled list with a sprained left shoulder, which ultimately required reconstructive surgery.

Sandoval is still under contract through at least 2019, earning $17 million next season, and $18 million in ’18 and ’19. His controlling club has a $17 million option with a $5 million buyout for 2020 as well. It’s hard to see Sandoval fitting into his current club’s future plans, but it will be tough for the Red Sox to get rid of him without eating a significant portion of his remaining contract.