The Question

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


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.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero
Leave a comment

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.

Marlins announcer Tommy Hutton was let go because he was “too negative”

marlins logo wide

We heard earlier this week that Marlins television analyst Tommy Hutton was let go after 19 seasons on the job. By all accounts, he’s well-liked and respected, so it smelled a little fishy with a team that has owner Jeffrey Loria calling the shots. Well, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was told by a source close to the Marlins that Hutton was let go because he was “too negative.”

Jackson was also able to get in touch with Hutton, who provided some details about how things went down.

“I know there were times I was negative, but I thought those times were called for,” he said. “Ninety percent of what I said was positive. I tried not to be a homer, but you could tell I wanted the Marlins to do well.”

After being told that his salary wasn’t a factor in the decision, Hutton suspected that his candid, blunt analysis might be the impetus for his ouster.

So after learning his fate on Monday, he asked that question – whether they thought he was too negative — to both a Fox producer (at a meeting at Starbucks) and the Marlins’ vice president/communications (by phone).

He said the question was met with silence by both executives.

“I couldn’t get a yes or a no,” he said.

Hutton said there were three incident in recent years where he was told the Marlins were uncomfortable with something he said. He disclosed one example where he was exasperated at the ballpark’s dimensions after former catcher John Buck flew out to the warning track for the final out of a game. He was told by a Marlins vice president after the game that Loria prefer he not talk about the ballpark’s dimensions. Of course, the team is moving in the fences this winter.

To be clear, Hutton said he was told it was a “mutual decision” between the Marlins and FOX to let him go, but Jackson’s source hears that the concern about his “negativity” came from the team.

Hey, do you know the best way to prevent “negative” talk about your team? Fielding a winning baseball team without a dysfunctional ownership and front office. Crazy idea, I know, but it could be cool?