The Question

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


If it’s Thursday, it’s Twitter question day. Here are the ones that didn’t make the video, which will be posted in a few minutes:

Q: Was Billy Beane smart enough to put in some kind of escape clause with Bob Geren?

Yep. Geren turns 50 this September. Few people know this, but his contract requires that he be taken from the great domed city and killed on that date. Unless, of course, he can be reborn in the fiery ritual of carrousel.  If you look closely, his LifeLock is blinking red right now, and will soon be black.

Q: When you become commissioner of MLB this month, can you please put Adam Dunn in the HR Derby even though he’s sucking?

Yes. But only if I have time after I take over the Dodgers, institute instant replay, and abolish the blackout rules.

Q: Which has a larger negative influence on MLB: bad Fox broadcasters or crazy blackout rules?

See the response to the previous question.

Q: Do you have any lefthanded friends who would like to be a member of the Yankees bullpen?

My friend Jonny. Jonny Venters. You can have him for Robinson Cano, but you have to take Uggla and his entire contract in the deal as well.

Q:  Why did you return for the last few episodes of Smallville after disappearing for several seasons?

I always wanted to be back earlier, but I was busy working on my plan to send nukes into the San Andreas Fault. The idea, see, is that the explosion and subsequent earthquakes would sink California and leave all of that barren desert land I bought as the new West Coast of the United States, greatly increasing its value. Its capital would be Otisville.

Q: Bryce Harper blah blah blah Big Papi blah blah blah double standard blah blah blah … nobody cares if Harper sucks, right?

Probably not, actually. Buster Posey and Bryce Harper taught us these past few weeks that there are different rules for superstars.

Q:  Can we talk about how you can possibly not love tennis?

This is in response to my ignoring/mocking a bunch of tweets about the French Open last weekend.  And it’s not that I don’t like tennis. Indeed, there was a time in my life when I loved it. Really, for several years in the late 80s and early 90s the race for my second favorite sport was fairly close between tennis and the NBA. I can’t really explain it. I just loved it. But like so many things, I let them drop when I got into my 20s.  And it will always be that way, I suspect. Really, I have no idea how people find the time to obsess on more than one sport after the age of 22 or so.

Q: Any reason for Washington to not start Ogando in the All-Star Game?

Not too many good ones. It’s amazing how low he has flown under the radar screen this season. 7-0, 2.10 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 60 K and 18 BB in 81 innings. Just as good if not better than anyone in the AL at the moment.

Q: If a tree falls in the forest and no one sees it, will Joe West still pick a fight with it?

Yes. After which the tree will be suspended for three games and nothin’ happens to Joe West.

Q: Oh and can we talk about what kind of moron goes thru such public humiliation without even meeting anyone???

I’m going to guess that that’s about Anthony Weiner. Which is a controversy I don’t really have a personal stake in so I’ll tread lightly. But I will say this: no woman I have ever met in my life would actually find a emailed crotch shot to be an essential brushstroke in the fine art of seduction, and I’m not sure I want to meet the woman who would.

Q: What’s more frightening in MLB: going to see Dr. Andrews or being drafted by the Royals?

As time goes on and their respective systems become more and more refined, each is less scary than it used to be.

Q: Pick one: Bud, Roger, Stern, Gary B for the value they have added to your fandom experience?

Since I’m not a fan of football, basketball or hockey, I should say Bud.  But let’s think about this: both the NFL and NHL help keep NBC Sports in business. Because NBC Sports is in business, they can afford to pay me. Because I have a job that requires me to watch baseball all the time, my baseball fan experience is way better. So, indirectly, Roger and Gary B. have done way more to enhance my baseball fandom than Bud Selig has.

Q: Does One Night in Bangkok make a hard man humble?

Get tied, you’re talkin’ to a tourist whose every move’s among the purist. I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine.

Q: What’s the one question you wish reporters would ask more often at post-game press conferences that they currently don’t?

What did Rawls mean in Political Liberalism when he used the phrase “a fully adequate scheme of equal basic liberties”? Was he suggesting a rationing of liberty? Should truly free moral agents be satisfied with mere “adequacy?”  Personally, I’d like to hear A.J. Burnett answer that one.

Q: If Jessica Alba married Joe Torre, would she be Jessica Torrealba?

No. She would be JoBa.  Which probably kills your mental image of Jessica Alba way more than the Torrealba thing did.

Q: When is it acceptable to start drinking before noon?

Opening Day, the first day of March Madness, Labor Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day if you had a bad New Year’s Eve and need some hair of the dog, most Fridays, other days as needed and/or which end in the letter “y.”

Q: The New York Daily News is still calling for Yankees revenge vs.the Red Sox. Can we put their writers in front of a batting machine throwing 95 instead?

Let us not doubt the opinions of those who write for the Daily News. They gained great experience and insight into what is and is not proper on a baseball field during their studies of the subject baseball ethics in journalism school and during their own playing days. Each of which totally happened, I’m sure.

Q: Am I insane for thinking “Where Are You Tonight” is one of Dylan’s better songs and Street Legal is a damn fine album?

I don’t think I’d say “better songs.” It’s good. It’s overlooked, certainly. I would say more or less the same about Street Legal. Not my favorite, but a “meh” Bob Dylan album is better than listening to Foghat or something.

Q: How exactly is it you make a living blogging? Also, are you the perv that designed the glass staircase in that courthouse?

First question: Jedi mind trick. Second question: no, but that’s the courthouse in my home county and in which I would be practicing law today were I not making a living blogging. As for that staircase: bad move, I suppose, but given that the courthouse that it’s replacing was filled with asbestos, drinking fountains that spewed rusty, stinky water and round — yes round — courtrooms with no windows and bad lighting, I think I’d prefer people peeping under my kilt as I alight the staircase to anything I had to endure in that old wretched building.

Thanks all! Let’s do it again next week!

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.