The Question

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

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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.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.