The Question

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

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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!

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.