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!

Jackie Robinson: ” I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag”

FILE - In this April 11, 1947 file photo, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers poses at Ebbets Field in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Robinson's widow said Major League Baseball has yet to fully honor her husband's legacy. "There is a lot more that needs to be done and that can be done in terms of the hiring, the promotion" of minorities in the sport, Rachel Robinson said Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 during a Q&A session with TV critics about "Jackie Robinson," a two-part PBS documentary airing in April.  (AP Photo/John Rooney, File)
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One more bit of baseball via which we may reflect on the Colin Kaepernick controversy.

In 1972 Jackie Robinson wrote his autobiography. In it he reflected on how he felt about his historical legacy as a baseball player, a businessman and as a political activist. A political activism, it should be noted, which favored both sides of the aisle at various times. He supported Nixon in 1960, supported the war in Vietnam and worked for Nelson Rockefeller. He did not support Goldwater and did support the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He supported Humphrey against Nixon in 1968. He was no blind partisan or ideologue. When you find someone like that you can usually rest assured it’s because they’re thinking hard and thinking critically in a world where things aren’t always cut-and-dried.

As such, this statement from his autobiography, describing his memory of the first game of the 1947 World Series, is worth thinking about. Because it came from someone who spent a lot of time thinking:

There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.

Colin Kaepernick is not Jackie Robinson and America in 2016 is not the same as America in 1919, 1947 or 1972. But it does not take one of Jackie Robinson’s stature or experience to see and take issue with injustice and inequality which manifestly still exists.

As I said in the earlier post, the First Amendment gives us just as much right to criticize Kaepernick as it gives him a right to protest in the manner in which he chooses. But if and when we do, we should not consider his case in a vacuum or criticize him as some singular or radical actor. Because some other people — people who have been elevated to a level which has largely immunized them from criticism — felt and feel the same way he does. It’s worth asking yourself, if you take issue, whether you take issue with the message or the messenger and why. Such inquiries might complicate one’s feelings on the matter, but they’re quite illuminative as well.

(thanks to Kokujin for the heads up)

Former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is a sports owner once again

File photo of Frank McCourt leaving Stanley Mosk Courthouse after testifying during his divorce trial in Los Angeles
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There aren’t many major league ownership reigns which ended more ignominiously than Frank McCourt’s reign as Dodgers owner. He was granted access to one of business’ most exclusive clubs — one which being a convicted criminal or even a Nazi sympathizer cannot get you kicked out of — and somehow got kicked out. The clear lesson from his saga was that saddling your team with debt, using it as your own private piggy bank and exercising bad judgment at every possible turn will not get you drummed out of baseball but, by gum, having it all go public in a divorce case sure as heck will.

McCourt landed pretty safely, though. By sheer luck, his being kicked out of ownership coincided with the vast appreciation of major league franchise values and the expiration of the Dodgers cable television deal. He may have left in disgrace, but he also left with a couple of billion dollars thanks to the genius of capitalism. At the time it was assumed he’d ride off into the sunset, continuing to make a mint off of parking at Dodgers games (he retained a big piece of that pie) and not get his hands messy with sports ownership again.

Such assumptions were inoperative:

The soccer club has suffered from poor financial decisions in recent years. So I guess it was a match made in heaven.