The Question

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

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Q: Craig, what’s your favorite baseball site to read?

Until Manny Ramirez launches his own blog, that would be HardballTalk. Non biased answer: Baseball-Reference.com, though that’s less “read” than used. But I get more enjoyment using it than I get out of reading almost anything else.

Q: Does anyone in the AL West have a legitimate shot at winning the division besides the Rangers?

No. But if you can persuade me otherwise my ears and mind are open.

Q: More awkward: Ortiz playing first base, Randy Johnson batting, or seeing Picard in his sequin pajamas?

Johnson batting, by a long shot. Ortiz has some vestigial first base skills. Picard looks good in anything.

Q: Bigger letdown: Fukudome in Chi, Dice-K in Bos, or Borg plans for world domination?

The Borg. They can annihilate all of Starfleet, but “putting them to sleep” defeats them? This is the biggest design flaw since those engineers put fighter ship-sized trenches leading to the main reactor on the Death Star.

Q: Cliff Lee is to baseball what Rick Flair is to professional wrestling. Discuss. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

This is so false I can’t even begin to explain it. So I’ll let this man do it:

Tell Cliff Lee to call us back when he has 600 suits, a Cadillac, a Rolls-Royce and the biggest house on the big side of town, Jack! Wooo!

Q: Where did all the cowboys go?

Right here, buckaroo.

Q: Have you ever tried to name months after players? I’ve been calling this month “Swisher Sweet Month of June.”

It all breaks down in Rocktober, doesn’t it?

Q: Heavier first baseman: Ortiz, Cecil Fielder, Prince Fielder, or Richie Sexson?

Boog Powell

Q: Best song about lawyers: Lawyers, Guns and Money or Lawyers in Love?

Warren Zevon > Jackson Browne, 100% of the time.

Q: Very curious…what are your top 3 (relatively serious) reasons baseball beats football?

Obviously most of this is just personal taste, but the basis for my tastes have more to do with tone and mood than anything else.  My current job notwithstanding, I consider sports to be a pastime and a leisure activity, not some Deadly Serious Pursuit. Football basically requires that people ramp-up from their normal routine. To get psyched. To place importance on this one game — because there are so few — and to cast it all in stark and desperate terms. Baseball is the opposite. No one game really matters. It’s a comedown thing at the end of the day as opposed to that ramp-up. You can have a casual conversation while watching the game, sip a beer and unwind. It’s all about temperament.

Q: Greater threat to sabermetrics: Grantland or our schools’ inability to teach math anymore?

Actually, the answer is Jose Reyes.

Q: Strangest movie: “Blue Velvet,” “Nashville,” “Fight Club” or “To Live and Die in LA”?

I’m sorry, the answer is “Freaks.”

Q: Do we belong to the light? The thunder? The sound of the words we’ve both fallen under? 

This is what happens when, while asking for Twitter questions, you say “hit me with your best shot.”  But I’ll admit it: if I ever hear the song “We Belong” on the radio, I listen to it until the end. I’m not made of stone, here.

Q: You have 99 problems, but a ________ aint one.

Morning commute.

Q: What happened when you fought the law?

I won.

Q:  If you could have dinner with four famous people, but then four of you would have to eat the fifth for dessert, who would you choose?

I’m going to assume we can go with people living or dead, so: Socrates, Kurt Vonnegut, Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker. We probably eat Socrates at the end. I get the sense he’d be fine with that.

Q: If you had a rap career, what would your rap name be? What if you were a country singer? A stripper?

2Bald, Buck Abilene and Chester Drawers.

Q: How could Captain Malcolm Reynolds perform as a baseball manager?

He’d be like Billy Martin. He’d get results, but he’d breed so much dissension in the meantime that he would always wear out his welcome quickly.

Q: If you could give some law students studying for the bar one bit of awesome, life-changing advice, what would it be?

Don’t be evil. Really. You think it will be easy to keep your moral gravity in place — and you’ll believe that by adhering to legal ethics and following the orders of clients and superiors that you’re doing so — but those are very different things. Do a self-assessment once a year to make sure that you haven’t become something you despise.

Q: Did you read all of the Harry Potter books? See all the movies? Dress up as Hermione when no one is around?

I have read none of the Harry Potter books and I have seen none of the movies. As for that last question, I don’t have to answer that and you can’t make me.

Q: Next time you do a Dodgers chapter 11 roundup, can you explain why it’s in Delaware rather than California?

I’ll do it here. The reason is that it’s in Delaware is because the Los Angeles Dodgers are registered as a corporation in the State of Delaware (all U.S. corporations register in a specific state).  The reason for Delaware: it’s a well-known corporate haven. Over 50% of U.S. publicly-traded corporations and 60% of the Fortune 500 companies are incorporated there. Why? Lots of reasons. Initially because they adopted a bunch of corporate-friendly laws in the late 19th century with the sole intent of drawing business away from places like New York and Philadelphia. Since then it’s been a matter of inertia: with so many corporations there, the corporate law has developed to a far more sophisticated degree in Delaware than anywhere else, with a separate court charged with handling corporate disputes and far more certainty with respect to outcomes for corporations than they would face in other states.

Q: Match the manager with a drink: Makers Mark, Macallan, Captain Morgan, Jack Daniels:  Jim Leyland, Art Howe, Ned Yost, Davey Johnson.

I got the impression that both Yost and Howe drank milk or — when they were feeling sinister — root beer.  I’d say that Leyland is Jack Daniels guy. Davey goes for the scotch.

Q: Is Morrisey better solo or with The Smiths? 

If you’re talking about musical quality: The Smiths. If you’re talking about as a persona who is absolutely ridiculous and therefore great fun to mock even if we still admire on some level, it’s solo Morrisey.

Q: General bat and ball question: Which is more impressive, Nolan Ryan’s 5714 Ks or Muralitharan’s 600 career test wickets?

I was gonna leave this one for the video, but I didn’t have the heart to make Tiffany try to pronounce “Muralitharan.”  I’m going to go with the test wickets record, however, because it’s much harder to do something impressive while playing a ridiculous sport like cricket than a thing of fundamental beauty and truth like baseball.

Q: What do you think of Grantland so far.

Hit and miss. For all of the hype — and Bill Simmons has a way of attracting hype, be it intentionally or through no fault of his own — it’s a magazine. And like every magazine, there are good articles and bad ones. There are good editorial decisions and bad ones.  And of course, like every magazine in the history of magazines, it will take time for it to hit its stride.  I find most of the early general criticism to be imbued with no small amount of Bill Simmons bashing. Which, while great fun and often warranted, says more about the critic than it does about Grantland as a product.

That’s all I got, kiddos. Watch for HBT Daily later, where I actually answer some baseball questions. And let’s do it again next week.

Julio Urias is on his way back to the majors

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 27:  Julio Urias #78 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the New York Mets during their game at Citi Field on May 27, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
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Dodgers 19-year-old rookie Julio Urias is coming back to the majors and Alex Wood is headed to the 15-day disabled list with left elbow soreness, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. Urias will likely start Saturday against the Braves, which will mark his debut in front of the home crowd.

Urias made his major league debut on Friday against the Mets at Citi Field, but lasted only 2 2/3 innings. He yielded three runs on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts.

Urias came into the season rated as the Dodgers’ #1 prospect and the #2 overall prospect in baseball. Prior to his promotion, he had compiled a 1.10 ERA with 44 strikeouts and eight walks over 41 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Mookie Betts enjoys a three-homer game against the Orioles

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 31: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox follows his three run homer against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 31, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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The Red Sox seem to have hit the jackpot on all of their young players so far this year. Jackie Bradley, Jr. just had a 29-game hitting streak snapped. Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 24 games on Tuesday night. And Mookie Betts has been quite productive batting leadoff for the Red Sox this year, entering Tuesday with an even .800 OPS.

Betts, 23, hit 18 home runs in his first full season last year. With a three-homer night against the Orioles on Tuesday, he’s already up to 12 in 2016 with four months of season left. The first was of the solo variety, a line drive to center field off of Kevin Gausman in the first inning. Betts followed up in the third with a liner to left field for a three-run dinger off of Gausman. He made it three in the seventh, drilling a Dylan Bundy offering to right field.

Here’s video of homer number two:

Betts finished 3-for-5 as the Red Sox won 6-2 at Camden Yards.

The stats show the Pirates as an outlier in throwing “headhunter” pitches

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 5: Reliever Arquimedes Caminero #37 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 5, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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Last week at ESPN Sweetspot’s Inside the Zona, Ryan Morrison looked into the data and found that the Pirates stand out among the rest when it comes to throwing “headhunter” pitches. Those are defined as fastballs 3.2 feet or higher and 1.2 feet towards the batter from the center of the plate.

The research was prompted because Diamondbacks second baseman Jean Segura was hit in the helmet by Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero last Tuesday in the seventh inning. The next inning, Caminero hit shortstop Nick Ahmed in the jaw with a pitch and was instantly ejected.

Morrison illustrated the data in a nice chart, which you should check out. The Pirates have thrown 93 of those pitches, which is way more than any other team. The next closest team is the Reds at 68 pitches. The major league average is approximately 48 pitches.

The Pirates have had an organizational philosophy of pitching inside since at least 2013, as MLB.com’s Tom Singer quoted manager Clint Hurdle as saying, “We’re not trying to hurt people, just staying in with conviction.”

Morrison goes on to suggest that the Diamondbacks should have forfeited last Wednesday and Thursday’s games against the Pirates in protest, out of concern for their players’ safety. As it happened, the D-Backs lost both games anyway, suffering a series sweep. The two clubs don’t meet again this season.

D-Backs manager Chip Hale said after last Tuesday’s game that Caminero “shouldn’t be at this level”. Caminero responded to those comments today, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. “I’m actually glad you asked me about that,” Caminero said. “The only thing I’ve got to say about (Hale) is that he is a perfect manager. And he was a perfect player, too. That’s it. I know what I did wasn’t good, but it happens in baseball. I wasn’t trying to hit anyone.”

I realize I’m late on pointing out Morrison’s terrific article and the whole debacle between the two teams, but I felt it was worth highlighting.

Jose Bautista: “I’d be stupid to leave” Toronto

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jayshits a two-run home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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Also included in a recent report on Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated — along with his belief that Rougned Odor was the only bad guy in the May 15 debacle — was the slugger’s desire to remain a Blue Jay. Per Verducci, Bautista said, “I love the city. I’d be stupid to leave” Toronto.

Bautista, 35, is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million extension signed in February 2011. Back in November, the Jays exercised their 2016 club option for $14 million. Bautista isn’t willing to discuss contract details during the season, so the two sides will have to wait until at least October to come to an agreement.

Entering Tuesday’s game against the Yankees, Bautista is hitting .237/.371/.489 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI, and 40 walks, the latter of which leads the American League.