The Question

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

32 Comments

The video version is coming later — you’ll want to watch it because I drop some Mormon theology on you, brotha — but for now, here are the ones that didn’t make the video cut:

Q: Bruins or Canucks?

Charlestown Chiefs. I’m pretty big into the Federal League.

Q: On the hipster scale, how much more hip do you feel now than in your old glasses?

I could give you an actual number on that scale, but it’s an obscure number that you’ve probably never heard of.

Q: What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?

In 2001, my wife and I traveled to Italy. While there, we had the freshest pesto imaginable at a cafe in Portofino, dined in no less then three fantastic restaurants in Tuscany and ate a home cooked meal made by my wife’s sister and her husband in their little Veneto village featuring polenta that God Almighty would praise as divine. But in the immortal words of the sadly mortal Humphrey Bogart, a hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.

Q: Bigger popularity contest: “most overrated player” or “All Star Game”?

Hard to say. We’ll see which one Derek Jeter has a better showing in before we decide.

Q: Has Bobby Cox been thrown out of anywhere lately? I miss him.

I’ve heard rumors that things got rowdy at the Stone Mountain Old Country Buffet last week. Fairly even odds that Cox used the magic words on the guy restocking the hot scalloped apples.

Q: Does anyone besides MLB Network Countdown think Jack Buck’s call of Kirk Gibson’s 1988 HR was better than Vin Scully’s?

I’ve actually heard a fair amount of reasonable disagreement about this. I preferred Scully’s simply because I was watching it on TV and that’s the call I heard in real time. But in replays, Buck’s is pretty solid too.  Scully, due to the ability to be silent for a bit and let the crowd react, had more time to compose his in his mind. Buck’s was more spontaneous and captured the excitement a bit more.  I like ’em both.

Q: Al Alburquerque. Discuss.

We’ve covered this before. With that name, his future lies in either professional gambling, organized crime or unpainted furniture sales.

Q: Should reached on error count towards OBP?

No.

Q: If you were to drop wOBA or FIP in a typical post, what percentage of your readers would know what you were saying?

More than you think because the readers around here are smart. That is, if I didn’t mangle the reference to wOBA or FIP in such a way as to totally confuse everyone. I’m a fellow traveler of the statheads, but really, I’m a statistical dilettante and anything specific I say in that area should be triple checked before you rely on it and then probably best ignored.

Q: If you had to pick one of the Braves’ post-Andruw center fielders, which one would you choose?

Depends what I’m picking them for. If I need someone to draw gunfire while I escape in the other direction any of them would do and I likely wouldn’t miss them. If I needed them to play actual baseball games I’d probably take Gregor Blanco because at least he knows how to take a friggin’ walk now and again.

Q: Paper or plastic?

The former for airplanes, the latter for Ono Bands.

Q: How much are you supposed to tip the guys who walk the food to your car when you order curbside?

Um, we’re supposed to tip those guys?

Q: Do you fear the possibility of Brian Wilson’s beard becoming so dark that light cannot escape its surface?

I fear no such thing, for I am Doctor Hans Reinhardt, commander of the USS Cygnus.

Q: What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

Q: My car broke down again today. Do they have stem cell treatments like Bartolo’s for Nissans?

Yes, but there is probably some automotive reporter who doesn’t understand how such treatments work and thus casts aspersions on them.

Q: You were watching Oceans Eleven too last night, weren’t you?

No. But in December 2003 and January 2004, there was a great convergence of forces in my life: (a) a newborn daughter; and (b) a free trial of HBO. The daughter did not sleep. Ever. And in those two months HBO did not stop showing “Ocean’s Eleven,” ever. Mookie and I went on a streak of something like 15 nights when she cried, I held her and we both watched “Ocean’s Eleven” while we tried to give my wife a couple hours of sleep. Of course, sometimes I cried too, but that was either due to sleep deprivation-induced delirium or the fact that the scene where the gang all gathers and watches the Bellagio fountains is somewhat touching compared to the previous two hours of cooler-than-thou ersatz Rat Pack irony.

OK, I forgot what we were talking about.  Oh well. We’ll pick up the thread next week.  Thanks for the questions everyone.

MLB-MLBPA announce the postponement of the Puerto Rico series due to Zika concerns

Ricardo Arduengo -- Associated Press
3 Comments

This, as we have noted previously, was inevitable. But Major League Baseball and the MLBPA just issued a joint press release announcing the postponement of the late May series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Miami Marlins in Puerto Rico. The reason: fears of Zika in light of the outbreak on the island. The series has been moved to Marlins Park in Miami.

From the release:

The Players Association requested that Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. relocate the games after numerous players expressed concerns about contracting and potentially transmitting the Zika virus to their partners.  Players and staff of both Clubs received full briefings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) science staff regarding the risks associated with the Zika virus, and the recommended precautions for travelers including those with partners who are pregnant or attempting to conceive.  After discussing the issue with all involved parties, and consulting with federal and Puerto Rican government officials at the highest levels, Commissioner Manfred decided that the players who objected to the trip because of their specific family situations should not be forced to travel to Puerto Rico.  Because too many regulars on both Clubs fell into that category, Commissioner Manfred had no choice but to relocate the games.

The release goes on to say that, in lieu of the games, MLB will stage several youth baseball and community events in Puerto Rico later this month, which will be attended by Commissioner Manfred and several former MLB players. Both MLB and the Players Association also will make contributions to the CDC Foundation to assist the efforts to eradicate Zika in Puerto Rico.

Ultimately, far too many players voiced concerns about playing in Puerto Rico. Expect officials from Puerto Rico to blast the decision as hysteria and alarmism, as they did in anticipation of it in recent days. Also, expect there to be more discussion about Zika in the future, as it’s already something that is entering Florida and will likely be a bigger problem on the U.S. mainland in the future than it is now.

 

What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s Action

New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard throws during the first inning of the baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field, Sunday, May 1, 2016 in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
8 Comments

One game started already. Nats and Cubs in Chicago. As I write this, the Cubs are up 4-2 and Max Scherzer has given up three home runs. Woops.

The rest of the action is ahead of us, however, and the future holds any number of possibilities. Like a Kenta Maeda vs. Marcus Stroman matchup in Toronto. And Vince Velasquez and the Phillies trying to cool off a red hot Marlins team in Miami. Way out west in San Diego Noah Syndergaard goes against the Padres. This has been quite a year for pitchers putting up their best line of their lives against the Padres, so look for Syndergaard to strike out, like 30 Padres. Which, yes, I realize that’s impossible, but I have faith in both Thor and the Friars to do the impossible if they really put their minds to it.

Anyway, here are the games. Most of you are off work tomorrow so stay up late, have fun and watch baseball. And maybe do it even if you gotta work.

Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello) @ New York Yankees (Michael Pineda), 7:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium

Oakland Athletics (Rich Hill) @ Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez), 7:05 PM EDT, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Los Angeles Dodgers (Kenta Maeda) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman), 7:07 PM EDT, Rogers Centre

Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ Cleveland Indians (Danny Salazar), 7:10 PM EDT, Progressive Field

Milwaukee Brewers (Tyler Cravy) @ Cincinnati Reds (Tim Adleman), 7:10 PM EDT, Great American Ball Park

Philadelphia Phillies (Vince Velasquez) @ Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen), 7:10 PM EDT, Marlins Park

Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels) @ Detroit Tigers (Jordan Zimmermann), 7:10 PM EDT, Comerica Park

Arizona Diamondbacks (Zack Greinke) @ Atlanta Braves (Aaron Blair), 7:35 PM EDT , Turner Field

Minnesota Twins (Ricky Nolasco) @ Chicago White Sox (Mat Latos), 8:10 PM EDT, U.S. Cellular Field

Seattle Mariners (Taijuan Walker) @ Houston Astros (Doug Fister), 8:10 PM EDT, Minute Maid Park

Pittsburgh Pirates (Francisco Liriano) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez), 8:15 PM EDT, Busch Stadium

Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer) @ Los Angeles Angels (Cory Rasmus), 10:05 PM EDT, Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Colorado Rockies (Chad Bettis) @ San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner), 10:15 PM EDT, AT&T Park

New York Mets (Noah Syndergaard) @ San Diego Padres (Drew Pomeranz), 10:40 PM EDT , Petco Park

CC Sabathia goes on the disabled list with a strained groin

New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throws to the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
4 Comments

CC Sabathia pitched wonderfully Wednesday night, tossing seven shutout innings in what was easily his best start in ages. But since we live in a world in which we simply cannot have nice things, that sweet has to come with some sour: the Yankees just announced that they have placed Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin.

The Yankees have replaced Sabathia on the roster with their old friend Phil Coke, whose contract they just purchased from Scranton.

The Yankees have had bad luck with all of their starters not named Masahiro Tanaka so far this year. Losing one of them just as he put together his best start of the season is just a killer.

Tim Lincecum’s showcase is a lot bigger a deal than it seemed before

Tim Lincecum
6 Comments

When a pitcher doesn’t sign anywhere before or during spring training people sometimes wring their hands a bit, but it’s usually the case that they’ll be OK if they are patient. Once the season starts guys start going down with injuries left and right or show that they’re ineffective. In such cases, a free agent pitcher’s value goes way up. He’s a relatively low cost option for a team which, a month ago, seemed set but is now suddenly desperate.

Tim Lincecum may benefit from that dynamic.

As we noted earlier today, the Angels’ rotation is a hot mess now that Garrett Richards is out for the year and Andrew Heaney‘s absence may be just as extended. The back end of the Giants’ rotation is likewise a mess. Lincecum was never seriously on San Francisco’s radar this past winter, but given how Matt Cain and Jake Peavy are going, those crazy kids may get back together. The Dodgers could use a pitcher and their competition with the Giants may make this whole situation a lot more profitable for Lincecum than it might have otherwise been.

Of course, Lincecum still has to show that he can pitch and that he’s healthy. That’s why he’s having the showcase, that goes down here very shorty — 2:30 eastern time — and you can watch it streaming live at CSNBayArea.com.