The Question

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

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It’s Thursday, so it’s Twitter mailbag day. These are the ones that did not make the cut for today’s edition of HBT Daily (stay tuned for those) The reason a lot of them didn’t make that cut: they were way, way, way too geeky for Tiffany to get through without incredible amounts of self-loathing, because she did got get into this business to talk about Star Trek and stuff with a bald guy in his basement. Anyway:

Q: What is this “NHL” and why is my twitter feed full of it?

Good question. I’ve been trying to figure that out for a few weeks now.

Q: Why does Boston have to win? AGAIN?

Because there is no God.

Q: How old do you think Livan Hernandez actually is?

He’s supposedly 36. Maybe he’s 36 in Euros, but in good old American years, no way.

Q: At this rate, does Edwin Rodriguez make it through the season?

The idea that the Marlins will continue to lose at this rate is shocking, but no, I would not be at all surprised to see him gone before the season is out. I think Loria wants a clean slate heading into the new ballpark.

Q: Will I be able to watch the Moneyball movie without rolling my eyes the whole time?

I can’t say I was enthralled by the trailer. My guess: people who are total baseball freaks like us will feel like our intelligence is being insulted, people who are not won’t find the kind of personal story that they made out of “The Blind Side,” which was the last Michael Lewis sports book adaptation.

Q: Should slump-busters be considered “performance enhancers”?

Note: that question came courtesy of the inimitable Old Hoss Radbourn. Well, I suppose that, since it is an account pretending to be Old Hoss Radbourn that the real deal is totally imitable. But the fake one is inimitable, that I can tell you.

As for the question: First, I’d like to see the testing regimen if they are.  More broadly, as was the case with steroids, I think the real injustice in this sort of performance enhancer is when those who would not otherwise partake feel forced to. So, if there are poor, poor players hooking up with slump busters against their will, then yes, it is a scourge upon the game.

Q: If Hegel’s dialectic holds true, what will result from Mauer (thesis) joining the Twins (antithesis) this weekend?

I object to the premise of the question, because most of the time the antithesis in any dialectic is selected to suit the user’s subjective purpose. Plus, I faked my way through Hegel back in college because he was the absolute worst writer of all of the major philosophers. At least if you’re the sort of person who does not enjoy 18-part sentences with 22 dependent clauses in each. I read just enough so I could understand Marx, who is way more fun. At least now that the “killing and enslaving millions while falsely invoking his theories” part of history is almost over.

Q:  Is addition through subtraction a part of sabremetrics?

I would have said no, but ever since I heard about “OPSBI’s” this morning my brain has been melting and I don’t know what to think.

Q:  If the Braves grounds crew were screwing with players hurting them should they go after Jose Reyes or Dan Uggla?

The fact that they didn’t stake a hungry tiger next to where Uggla sets up on defense is proof positive that their primary motive was not to give the Braves a competitive advantage.

Q: When the Astros move to the AL, 1 or 2 yrs before Berkman is their DH?

I don’t think there is anything more inevitable in the entire galaxy than this happening.

And speaking of the galaxy, let’s do some sci-fi, OK?

Q: Compare major league managers to Star Trek characters. 

I’ll let someone else make a list because that’s what comments sections are made for, but I know for certain that Tony La Russa is Captain Edward Jellico, who briefly took over the Enterprise when Picard was on a secret mission on Cardassia. Stern, difficult, and insists on his unorthodox manner to such a degree that he alienates even the most useful members of his crew (Riker, who is roughly equivalent to Scott Rolen for these purposes). But in the end? Effective, and we just have to reconcile that.

Q: Well, how many lights are there?

There are … four … lights [stalks off naked, eschewing assistance from the guards]

Q: Why did [character redacted] have to die?

That question was about the movie “Serenity,” and I redacted the character in the interest of not spoiling anything. But for those who know who I’m talking about: no, I can’t think of any dramatic reason for that character’s death and it was one of my problems with the movie.

Q: What’s a more devestating loss: Anderson to the A’s or Spock to Kirk?

If only Anderson could be recovered as easily as Spock was after his death.

Q: Did you cry at the end of “The Inner Light?”

No. [maybe].

Q:  Most accurate film involving law/lawyers? Most inaccurate? 

There aren’t many accurate ones, which is why watching legal movies when you’re a lawyer is difficult (and why baseball geeks watching Moneyball will be difficult). But I ain’t lying when I say that “My Cousin Vinnie” gets more right than the vast majority of courtroom movies.  The most inaccurate: there are a ton of possibilities, but “Primal Fear” was godawful from a legal perspective.

Q:  If bourbon was never invented would you choose suicide or euthanasia?

My darling, don’t be silly. I’d choose scotch.

Q: Better miracle worker: Dave Duncan or Geordi LaForge?

Duncan, because he doesn’t have Data bailing his butt out all the time. LaForge: biggest glory hound in history. Yeah, I said it.

Q: Matt Smith, David Tennant or Christopher Ecclesto?

I’ll admit it: I’ve never ever watched Dr. Who in any of its incarnations. Just never came up. I’m a geek, but more of a narrow one than a renaissance geek.

Q: Are Fox Mulder and Dana Scully perfect together or completely wrong for each other?

Completely wrong. Or, at least that’s what I thought the last time I considered the matter, which happened to be, oh, 1996 or so, when I was under the strong conviction that Dana Scully should have married me.

Q:  Who’d be the best MLB’er? Data, Worf or Geordi?

Data, but all the MSM writers would disparage him because of his analytic approach to the game. They’d love Worf because of his passion.

Q: Which is worse: Fox cancels Firefly after 14 episodes or has Joe Buck and Tim McCarver doing the World Series?

See above answer about there being no God.

Thanks for the questions, folks. There were a ton more of the sci-fi ones I didn’t get to, but at some point I have to stop or I’m not going to be able to be productive for the rest of the day. Which, ain’t a bad thing, but you know how it is.

Reds sign Ryan Raburn to minor league deal

DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 10:  Ryan Raburn #6 of the Colorado Rockies rounds the bases on his solo home run off of James Shields #33 of the San Diego Padres to take a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning on April 10, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Padres 6-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Veteran infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn has a minor league contract with the Reds, the club announced on Sunday. The deal was reported last week, but had been pending a physical. It includes an invitation to spring training, where Raburn is expected to compete against Desmond Jennings for a major league utility role. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans, there’s a $900,000 base salary waiting for him if he makes the big league roster by Opening Day.

Raburn, 35, is coming off of a down year with the Rockies in 2016. He slashed .220/.309/.404 for the team last season, clubbing nine home runs as he struggled to stay above the Mendoza line. Raburn was stationed in left field for much of the season, but also saw some time at DH, first base and right field toward the end of the year. Assuming he can turn out a production rate that skews closer to the .301 average and .936 OPS he put up with the Indians in 2015, however, the Reds should have little trouble finding a place for him off the bench or as a platoon option with Scott Schebler in right field.

Dexter Fowler unhappy with President Trump’s attempts to institute a travel ban

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs looks on during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Mark Saxon reports that new Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler isn’t a fan of President Trump’s ongoing effort to institute a travel ban. Trump signed Executive Order 13769 on January 27, 2017, which limited incoming travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. However, a temporary restraining order was placed by Judge James L. Robart following Washington v. Trump.

Fowler’s wife was born in Iran. Fowler said that her sister delayed her return from a business trip to Qatar to avoid potentially being detained. Fowler and his wife have also delayed traveling to visit her relatives in Iran.

Fowler said, “It’s huge. Especially any time you’re not able to see family, it’s unfortunate.”

The response by Cardinals fans was predictably terrible. Via the BestFansStLouis Twitter account:

One of the commenters wrote, “He signed a contract with the Cardinals so that makes him property of stl cardinals and mlb so he needs to keep his mouth shut. His personal opinions, problems, beliefs and political views should be kept to himself as long as he’s under a mlb contract…” He continued, “It’s not our fault he married someone from another country.”

Fowler caught wind of this and other responses to his statement, so he tweeted:

Fowler, of course, is one thousand percent correct.

These same “stick to sports,” “keep your politics out of my sports” people either said nothing or cheered when athletes and coaches espoused political views from the other side of the spectrum. Like when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hung a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker. Or when reliever Jonathan Papelbon played a pro-Trump song in the clubhouse. Or when former NFL head coach and ESPN commentator Mike Ditka said last year, “Obama’s the worst president we’ve ever had.”

Even Saxon and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have received myriad “stick to sports” comments simply for acknowledging that Fowler made a comment on the matter.

As we’ve pointed out here countless times, it is impossible to separate sports from politics. It is irresponsible to pretend like it’s even possible. Sports and politics intersect in so many ways, including race, religion, gender, sexuality, and class. This particular situation with Trump’s executive order impacts baseball quite a bit as Fowler’s individual situation shows. He’s certainly not the only player to have a loved one who came from one of the seven aforementioned countries. Non-white players are also much more likely to have a bad experience at the airport — consider how often players are at the airport during the season — and their family and friends may be subject to one of the many ugly ICE raids that have taken place over the last three weeks.

Kudos to Fowler for speaking up and kudos for Saxon and others for reporting on it. This is certainly not a time during which we should pretend we can keep sports and politics separate.