The Question

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

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Q: If the White Sox win the AL Central, should we appoint Ozzie Ambassador to UN?

I like your thinking, but really, I’d hate to have him take a job with less responsibility and real world impact than he has now. I think the stress brings out his essential Ozzieness.

Q:  Luke or Han? That one Twilight guy or that other Twilight guy? Rice or quinoa? Ceasar or Brutus?

In order: Han because he doesn’t whine, Eric from “True Blood” would eat both of those pretty “Twilight” boys for lunch, I actually like Orzo a lot and I’m surprised you don’t see it more and, personally, I like the Soothsayer, even though she didn’t give any spoiler alerts before saying that Ceasar was going to be killed. Damn Shakespeare.

Q: Why is there a surge in “Aramis Ramirez should be an all-star” thinking all the sudden? Do 10 good days make an All-Star?

As Gleeman noted the other day, there are All-Star cases made for just about every player who avoided major injuries and major slumps in the first half. I think it’s just irresistible for people to say and write “well, what about Player X?!”  It’s just one of the many ways in which the All-Star proceedings have become bloated and uninteresting.

Q: What is the best hot dog you have ever had?

The taste of a hot dog is 100% context-driven. I ate a hot dog or two on this night in 2006, and it was easily the best I ever had.

Q: If you had to vote for a Republican in 2012, who? Mashed potatoes: smooth or chunky? Eggs: scrambled, hard boiled, other?

I haven’t looked at them too closely, but given that this Huntsman fellow has seemed to make all of the right enemies, he likely has something to recommend him. Chunky, as long as it’s intentional. I’m kind of an egg agnostic inasmuch as I don’t really have a preferred style. Cook them well and I’ll eat ’em however.  It is hard to beat a good messy scramble-up, however, as long as you put enough good fatty crap in it.

Q: Do you think Dayton Moore is capable of signing the right free agents to compliment his minor league talent? I don’t.

Depends on what level of free agent talent we’re talking about. I’m going to shock everyone by saying this, but the little cheap parts he has added like Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera have been pretty useful in the sense that (a) they’re not blocking anyone critical; (b) they’re not expensive; and (c) they represent an upgrade over whatever he had lying around. I’d worry way more if ownership told him to take a good chunk of change and to go out and get a big veteran bat around whom the young kids could develop, because I wouldn’t put it past him to sign the 2012 or 2013 equivalent of Carlos Lee.

Q:  If you had to live in a 10×10 cell with one celebrity, who would it be? If you could punch anyone in the head, who?

The cell is an interesting question. I’m going to assume that this will be a traditional jail setting and not some sort of fantasy love nest, so I’ll avoid saying the obviously piggy male kind of thing [cough] Carla Gugino [cough].  I’ll go with one of those obnoxious street magic guys like David Blaine or Criss Angel or whoever, because they probably have sufficient skills to aid in an escape attempt.  Coincidentally, they are also the people I would most like to punch in the head, so it’s pretty darn convenient.

Q: Better performance in Princess Bride, Billy Crystal or Carol Kane?

Kane. This may not be an objective answer, however, because I’ve pretty much hated Billy Crystal in everything he’s done since “Running Scared.” He’s actually pretty good in “Princess Bride.”  Of course no one beats the guy who played Vizzini. It’s inconceivable that anyone is better than him.

Q: Would you Tippecanoe AND Tyler too, or just Tyler?

Tyler too, but I would have to be really drunk.

Q: What would the effect of a mineshaft gap be on the Dodgers ownership situation?

It would probably be worse than a Doomsday gap. Frankly, I’d be worried about the status of our precious bodily fluids.  Then again, I’m what you might call a water man, Jack – that’s what I am. And I can swear to you, my boy, swear to you, that there’s nothing wrong with my bodily fluids. Not a thing, Jackie.

Q:  I just started the lonely life of working from home… Any advice from someone else paid to sit in their pajamas?

Don’t sit in your pajamas. Indeed, after the novelty of it all wears off following the first week, be sure to treat it like a job. Have a dedicated work space. Wake up on a schedule. Take showers. Eat only at meal times. Keep the TV off unless it’s essential to your job. Make a point, at least once a day, to talk to an adult human being.  If you don’t do that stuff, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the second part of this comic will happen to you.

Q: What is the hypotenuse of a squirrel?

It’s the square root of the sum of the squares of the lengths of the chipmunk and the raccoon. Possibly the ferret. And I do hope I got that right. I haven’t taken woodland mammalian geometry for, gosh, going on 24 years now.

Q: What’s the longest you’ve gone between showers in your adult life? What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten? Done?

If you count the week after high school graduation — when I was still 17 — as my adult life, that would be it. Myrtle Beach was an ugly place in early June 1991 and I was quite ugly that week myself.  Grossest thing I’ve ever eaten: My late father in law was a big fan of random nasty bits, organ meats and the like, and he gave me tripe once. Can’t say I’m a fan. Grossest thing I’ve ever done?  Look, I open myself up to a lot of personal questions in this feature, but at some point even I gotta draw the line. I’ll say this much though: when you have two kids in the space of 19 months and wade through all of those early years of diapers and everything else, there isn’t much that really rates on the gross scale.

Q: Do you approve of @peanutfreemom ‘s tweets?

For those unfamiliar, go check out that Twitter feed. It’s easily the driest, most deft trolling Twitter account I’ve seen in a while. And that’s the key if you’re going to troll people on Twitter: the long game. A little goes a long way.

Q:  Is Joe Biden next year’s Lance Berkman?

I wouldn’t put it past Tony La Russa to put him at third base and have him put up a line of .270/.360/.490.  Stuff always seems to work out well for friggin’ La Russa.

Q: So, what’s the deal with Gleeman?

It’s a Minnesota thing. You wouldn’t understand.

Q: Really? Obama?? Come on.

What, you were willing to put Sarah Palin a heartbeat or cancer diagnosis away from The Button?  You’re braver than I thought.

Q: Did President Obama answer your question re: Jeter batting 9th?

No. Nor did he answer my question about whether, when he’s alone in the Oval Office, he looks in the mirror and says “Now KNEEL before Zod!”  My anti-Palin sentiments notwithstanding, I don’t feel like my needs are being addressed by this administration.

Q: If Q let you relive a few days of your life a la “Tapestry”, what would you change?

Let’s just say that I have come to realize that, when I was in high school, my general obliviousness about most things caused me to miss a lot of signals from various girls that, if I hadn’t missed them, would have made my high school years more interesting. But I’d still pick that fight with those Nausicaans, because getting stabbed through the heart was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Q: In a fight of a pirate versus a knight, which would win?

Depends. Jedi Knight or Round Table Knight?

Q: The Smiths or R.E.M. if you had to choose?

Oof.  Probably R.E.M. because if I was faced with a choice like that it probably means that my life has been placed into some weird kind of hell in which greater powers are toying with my very existence, and in that case, I’d really want to listen to “Automatic for the People,” which is my go-to “I need to both brood, but I also need to find some sliver of hope in all of this despair” album. But really, I would hope that I wouldn’t have to make that choice.

Q: Do you support tax incentives for distilleries to produce bourbon?

No, because I really don’t like it when government regulates the alcohol industry. I do, however, support changes to the tax code that allow me to deduct my own bourbon purchases on my taxes.  Wait: now that I think about it, I probably have a decent case that they’re a legitimate business expense for my odd line of work, so maybe I’ll just take the deduction next year anyway and see how it goes.

Q: My wife and I are expecting our 1st baby next month. What should I spend the next 4 weeks doing? All baby prep is complete.

Sleeping in, reading books uninterrupted and, if she’s up to it, going out to restaurants. Those things will be gone for, like, the next three years at least.

Q: What differentiates Knowledge from Random Knowledge.

The opportunity to apply the former in a practical way from time to time. Knowledge: how to change a tire. Random Knowledge: that, in the first season of “The Brady Bunch,” the producers made Mike Lookinland dye his hair black so he’d look more like Greg and Peter’s brother, but let it go back to its natural reddish color in later seasons.

Q: Chicken Pot Pie or Meatcake?

Don’t try to trick me into choosing cake over pie. It won’t work.

Q: After 134+ seasons, the Braves are now 6 games over .500 … does it feel good to be over the hump?

Totally. Going in, I figured we’d be better than a .500 team, and I’m glad to see that finally borne out.

Q: Which do you think makes a team a better bet to make the playoffs: a 7 game lead in May, or a 1 game lead in July?

I’m sure there’s an actual answer to this based on the historical record, but I sure as hell feel better about 7-game May leads than I do about 1-game July leads. Probably irrational.

Q: I’m getting married in 3 days… How do I get her to grill me a steak?

Do what I do: intentionally mess up basically everything you do, which will cause her to step in and say “here, let me do it …” Note: this may only work if you marry a borderline obsessive-compulsive Type-A woman like I did.

Q: Is Google+ exciting because of what it is, or because the people who ruined Twitter (& Facebook before it) arent there yet?

There’s certainly an element of that. Although I’m torn. I’m finding myself not posting anything on Google+ because, hey, a few hundred will see it on Facebook or a few thousand will see it on Twitter, while only a couple of dozen will see it on Google+.  I think this probably says more about me than it does about Google+, however. And it probably doesn’t say anything good about me. But hey, no Farmville or Mafia Wars.

Q: Isn’t it time for expansion? What cities and names of teams?

I doubt it would happen. I’d like to see Matewan, West Virginia get one, though, so I can root for my old fantasy team, The Matewan Massacre. It’s a real thing too!

Q: How would the cosmos have changed if Malcolm Reynolds was captain of the Enterprise?

Given how much diplomatic work the captain of the Enterprise has to do, and given how poorly Mal would do at those things, I presume that the Federation would have been destroyed by a unified Klingon-Romulan-Ferengi- Dominion force fairly soon after he took command.

Q: I have a deficit of bourbon & my wife says “we have plenty of good vodka.” How do I convince her to break budget?

Actually, you probably need to get a divorce at this point. I’m not sure I see any future at all with this woman. Sorry.

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

Should obstruction have been called on Ryan Webb?

Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar gestures to the dugout after hitting a triple against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 8, 2016, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Blue Jays had a comfortable 5-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays, but one never knows when a base runner might be crucial. Kevin Pillar was on first base when reliever Ryan Webb threw over to first on a pickoff attempt and got him in a rundown.

First baseman Logan Morrison chased Pillar towards second base, lobbing the ball to shortstop Brad Miller. Miller sent Pillar back to first base, throwing to Webb covering the bag. Webb chased Pillar back towards second base and threw to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Forsythe chased Pillar back again, but Webb wasn’t able to get out of Pillar’s way. Second base umpire Mark Ripperger immediately signaled “no obstruction” and Pillar was easily tagged out after he was essentially bear hugged by Webb.

Here’s the MLB.com video.

Major League Baseball defines obstruction as “the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.” Webb had already thrown the ball and Forsythe was in possession of it, so he couldn’t have been considered “in the act of fielding.”

At any rate, the Jays still won 5-1, giving them the series win over the Rays.

Reds place Raisel Iglesias on the 15-day disabled list

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias throws in the first inning of their opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo
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Reds starter Raisel Iglesias has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to an impingement in his right shoulder, the club announced on Sunday. The right-hander said he felt a “pinch” in his shoulder during a bullpen session on Friday.

The club also moved catcher Kyle Skipworth to the 60-day disabled list and recalled pitcher Tim Adleman from Triple-A Louisville.

Iglesias, 26, pitched well over his first five starts to begin the 2016 season. He compiled a 3.49 ERA with a 29/7 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings.

The Reds can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to pitcher health. Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, John Lamb, and Michael Lorenzen are already on the disabled list.

Mets win 8th straight, Conforto and Flores HR to beat Giants

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NEW YORK — Michael Conforto and the bats are booming. Jacob deGrom and the pitchers are peaking. And the defense is making the key plays.

A year after the New York Mets stamped themselves as serious contenders with a big winning streak in April, they’re rolling again.

“There’s not much that we’re not doing,” manager Terry Collins said.

Conforto and Wilmer Flores homered and the Mets won their eighth in a row, building an early lead for deGrom and holding off the San Francisco Giants 6-5 Saturday.

“It just seems relentless,” Conforto said.

At 15-7, the defending NL champions have won 11 of 12. They could be poised for an even more impressive run – next week, they play seven games against last-place Atlanta and San Diego.

The crowd of 44,466 was the largest for a regular-season game at Citi Field since the park opened in 2009, with a lot of fans attracted by the Noah Syndergaard Garden Gnome giveaway.

The Mets almost gave away the game, too.

Ahead 6-3 in the eighth inning, they walked a pair of batters and let the Giants load the bases with no outs. Hunter Pence‘s bid for a go-ahead grand slam was caught just in front of the center-field wall for a sacrifice fly.

Brandon Crawford followed with another sacrifice fly, a liner that right fielder Curtis Granderson jumped to backhand on the warning track.

“Two long popups,” Collins kidded.

Jeurys Familia took over in the ninth and closed for his eighth save in as many chances.

“That’s a tough one for the guys, because they put up quite an effort there to get back in it and try to win that ballgame,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Two balls to just miss like that, that’s a tough one for them.”

Conforto tied a Mets record by hitting a double in his sixth straight game. He also singled and drove in three runs. In his first full season, the 23-year-old outfielder who homered twice in a World Series game last October has comfortably settled into the No. 3 spot in a potent lineup and is batting .365.

“Really had no nerves about it,” he said, adding, “Getting the pitches I know I can hit and not missing them.”

Neil Walker capped a productive first month for his new team with a two-run single.

DeGrom (3-0) overcame his first four walks of the season, pitching two-hit ball for six innings and leaving with a 1.02 ERA. All three runs against him were unearned and came after a throwing error by Flores, who played third base to give David Wright a day off.

New York’s defense also helped deGrom. Pence fisted a bases-loaded, two-run single with two outs in the third, but first baseman Lucas Duda took the accurate relay from Granderson and threw out Brandon Belt trying to reach third.

After setting a club mark by scoring 12 runs in the third inning Friday night, the Mets quickly struck against Matt Cain (0-3).

Walker’s two-out single in the first made it 2-0. Conforto launched a two-run double off the top of the left-field wall in the second for a 4-0 lead.

Overall, the Mets have outscored opponents 50-21 during their winning string.

“It’s nice pitching with a lead,” deGrom said. “You can go right after guys.”

Cain has gone a career-worst 12 starts without a win, dating to his last victory July 22. Slowed by injuries and inconsistency in recent years, the three-time All-Star who once pitched a perfect game is saddled with a 7.00 ERA this season.

Conforto hit his fourth homer in the fifth. Flores connected the next inning for his first of the year. The Mets have 31 home runs in their last 14 games.

STREAKS

Conforto tied Joe Christopher’s team mark in 1964 with doubles in six straight games. Conforto has reached safely in 17 straight. … Yoenis Cespedes‘ club-record string of nine games in a row with an extra-base hit ended.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: 2B Joe Panik was out of the lineup a day after tweaking his groin.

Mets: Wright and C Kevin Plawecki got to sit for a day. C Rene Rivera, who started 87 games for the Rays last year, made his Mets debut. He was hit by a pitch in the back his first time up.

UP NEXT

A prime pitching matchup on deck – if the weather holds. Steady rain is in the forecast Sunday and well could dampen the duel between Giants ace Madison Bumgarner (2-2, 3.64 ERA) and Syndergaard (2-0, 1.69). Bumgarner has won all three of his starts at Citi Field with an 0.78 ERA. Syndergaard has struck out 38 this season, matching Pedro Martinez for the most by a Mets pitcher in the first four starts of a season.

Zimmermann goes 5-0, Upton homers as Tigers top Twins 4-1

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MINNEAPOLIS — Jordan Zimmermann hasn’t required much run support this year. Justin Upton gave him all he needed in the first inning Saturday.

Zimmermann won his fifth straight start to begin his first season with Detroit, and Upton hit a three-run homer for the Tigers in their 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

“Give him a three-run lead, we’re pretty confident he can work with that,” said Upton, whose second homer of the year reached the second deck in left-center. “If we can fight and get on the board early, and let our guys work, we’ll be all right.”

Zimmermann (5-0) gave up one run and six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over seven innings. His ERA actually rose to 0.55 as he became the first Tigers pitcher to win five games in April since Frank Tanana in 1988, according to STATS.

Upton and Zimmermann both signed as free agents with Detroit for more than $100 million this past offseason. Zimmermann knew he would be joining a team with a high-octane offense, though he hasn’t relied on the Tigers’ bats much yet.

“This is probably the best lineup I’ve ever seen,” Zimmermann said. “They’re going to score runs. It’s just a matter of when and what inning. For me, they’ve been scoring early and allowing me to settle in and just throw strikes.”

Victor Martinez doubled twice for the Tigers, who have won five of six. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth for his sixth save in seven opportunities.

Eduardo Escobar had three singles for the Twins, who lost their third straight and fell to 7-17 overall.

Tyler Duffey (0-1) gave up just one earned run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking none. But one mistake in the first marred an otherwise solid performance.

With two on and two outs, Duffey tried to get ahead in the count with a first-pitch fastball. But the pitch caught too much of the plate and Upton drove it an estimated 417 feet for his second homer with Detroit.

“It’s easy to look back and say I should have gotten out of that. I know I was more than capable of doing it,” Duffey said. “That mistake is a lot larger when you’ve got a guy like Zimmermann throwing against you.”

Zimmermann cruised through the first three innings, but Byung Ho Park homered in the fourth to break up the shutout. Park lined a 1-2 pitch into the bullpen in left-center, his team-leading sixth homer of the year.

It was the first home run allowed by Zimmermann in 29 2/3 innings this season.

After that, each time the Twins threatened, Zimmermann had an answer. John Ryan Murphy reached second on an error by right fielder J.D. Martinez with one out in the fifth before Zimmermann struck out Danny Santana and Brian Dozier to preserve the two-run cushion.

Minnesota got its leadoff man on in the seventh, but Zimmermann promptly induced a double-play grounder from Eddie Rosario.

CATCHER KNOWS BEST

Zimmermann might have kept the Twins off the board entirely if he’d just listened to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who didn’t want to throw Park the slider he hit into the bullpen.

“That was really my only mistake all game. I tried going front door with it, and obviously that wasn’t the right pitch. I’m sure Salty will say the same thing. He didn’t really want to throw it and I did, so that was my fault,” Zimmermann said. “It didn’t work out, but solo home runs aren’t going to kill you, so it’s all good.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: C James McCann (sprained ankle) caught nine innings for Triple-A Toledo on Friday, but manager Brad Ausmus said McCann will continue his rehab assignment through the weekend. McCann was expected to catch nine more innings Saturday and five innings on Sunday before rejoining the Tigers for their three-game series in Cleveland that begins Tuesday.

Twins: 3B Trevor Plouffe (strained intercostal muscle) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers on Saturday. Plouffe has been on the DL since April 19. Barring any setbacks, he is expected to join the Twins in Houston on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Tigers: RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-4, 4.64 ERA) faces his former team in Sunday’s series finale. Pelfrey spent the past three seasons in Minnesota. He pitched a season-high 6 2/3 innings in his most recent start, a 5-1 loss to the Athletics on Tuesday.

Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco (1-0, 3.25) has been the team’s most effective starter this season. He’s averaged just shy of seven innings in his four starts and is second in the AL in strikeout-to-walk ratio with 24 strikeouts against three walks.