The Question

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

20 Comments

Q: What is the time limit for service of answer in New York if process is served by personal delivery?

Now would be a great time for me to wish everyone who is taking the bar exam next week good luck.  You’re all a bunch of suckers who will endure all manner of hell during those three days and then, for the next several decades, will marvel at just how silly it was to be stressed about the bar compared to all of the misery you’re currently enduring, but good luck anyway.

Q: Quickly find me new music to listen to. something I probably haven’t heard of. Get to work.

I can’t help you. I’m struggling myself.  Because I realized I was listening to the same old stuff all the time, I recently went and got a handful of songs that I have heard randomly and liked in the past year or two in order to inject myself with some sort of currency. I skew a bit mellow in my old age, so the songs do too.  Mumford and Sons. The National. Some selected My Morning Jacket. Decembrists. Fleet Foxes. That sort of thing. In most cases it was “that one song you heard” by that band.  Spare me your music critic stuff about needing to go deeper into the album cuts because I’m not attempting to become hip by any stretch of the imagination. And above all else, I subscribe to Neil Young’s famous words: “I’ve never seen anyone walking down the street humming an album.”

That said, you need new things from time to time. If you have any recommendations along that somewhat mellow line for specific songs I might like or that this questioner should check out, please, let us know in the comments. And remember: don’t mock me. I’m an old man.

Q: A pitcher’s Home Run Derby: can you make it happen? I know you want to see Yovani Gallardo vs. Carlos Zambrano.

I fear this question is baiting me into another DH argument. So fine: I would LOVE to see the pitcher’s Home Run Derby. Think how excited I’d be when one actually went over the fence! And the strategy!

Q: Better start to a series, Firefly or BSG?

I have to say, I was gripped by the Battlestar Galactica miniseries pretty damn hard. Firefly was great from the outset too, but that was a show that grew on me more than it actually smacked me over the head.  I could see myself getting worn out with BSG over time, though.  I’m only 7 episodes in. I can’t imagine staying in gloomyland like this for 70 more.

Q: Can the Nationals finish above .500?

Anyone can. At least until they lose their 81st game.  I wouldn’t bet on the Nationals doing it.

Q: Is wearing women’s underwear part of your turn-on?

If the woman is doing it, sure.

Q: Ever try to hunt a human?

You mean … the most dangerous game?

Q: Since the Twins/Braves rematch in the World Series is all but inevitable now, who wins with home field advantage flipped from 91?

Objection. Assumes facts about the Twins that are not in evidence (i.e. that they’re any good).  If they do make it, however, my answer hinges on whether they activate Kent Hrbek, the corpse of Kirby Puckett and the ump who called Ron Gant out at first base.

Q:  If Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet as we now know it were around for Ripken’s streak, would he have made it to 2,632?

I’d argue that it would be easier. Since most of the new outlets don’t have clubhouse access, and since there are fewer newspapers around, there are fewer reporters sticking their tape recorders in players’ faces after games.  The key would be for Cal himself to keep off the Internet. If he could: no problem. If he can’t: forget it. Because if he doesn’t start obsessing over all of us blogger boys saying stuff about him, he’ll just get caught in a Wikipedia hole or waste all of his time making Rage Comics or something like that.

Q: Coasters: must have right?

We’re not savages here, are we?  That Brazilian rosewood wasn’t cheap.

Q: Is Brian Wilson really Joaquin Phoenix?

Not unless he had a more talented pitching older brother die in front of the Viper Room 18 years ago. But seriously, yeah, I think there’s a decent amount of Wilson’s schtick that is a put-on. He’s more committed to it than Phoenix was and doesn’t seem to have some overt short term con that he’s pulling, but it takes serious work to be that “quirky” all the damn time, and I get the sense that Wilson works at it.

Q: With the NHL/NBA in lockout, will more fans come to the Best Winter Sport (also known as the NHL)?

Wait, what happened to all of those people who pretended to care about curling last year?  Was that just a goof?  Man, I hope not. Everyone seemed to care so much about that.

Q:  Does Dr James Andrews have to pay Tommy John royalties for every surgery?

No, but I wish that Tommy John would start giving cranky interviews agitating for such a thing. Probably doesn’t matter, though. It’s gonna be renamed Rich Harden or Ben Sheets surgery at some point I would assume.

Q: Who’s head would you be most likely to Photoshop onto a picture of a naked woman?

I’ll have you know that a woman who I am pretty sure works in graphic design or computers or something like that asked me this question. Do with that what you will.

Q: What famous blogger/sports writer on the internet would you most like to join you on HBT?

Murray Chass. But he’d have to admit he was a blogger before I’d start cutting him checks. And yeah, we’d tape that part.

Q: The best part of being an O’s fan is beer, right?

No. It’s the exciting Jeremy Guthrie trade speculation, now going on its second glorious year.

Q: More pasty guys in cargo shorts as a percentage of overall population: SABR convention or Comic Con?

Probably SABR. Everyone there wears cargo shorts. At Comic Con you have a non-trivial number of people dressed up like Green Lantern and stuff.

Q: Have you ever told someone you were their turbo lover?

Not in so many words. But my fantasy team is called “Love machines in harmony.”

Q: You’re doing a great job Craig. I like beer. Again you’re doing a great job. Do you think you’re doing a great job Craig?

I gotta tell ya, that Justin Timberlake thing was easily my favorite part of the All-Star Game. And Mrs. Calcaterra liked it too. I told her that Timberlake and Tim Lincecum were in the same building and that I was getting paid to watch them. She had to go take a cold shower.

Q: Gun to your head: Orioles finish with 81 wins, or Pirates win playoff series?

Sorry. I can’t concentrate with this gun to my head.

Q: In 2021 they’ll make a movie re: Ted Williams being unfrozen & leading the Cubs to their 1st title since ’08.Who plays Ted?

Hmm. That’s ten years from now. Williams was 83 when he died, so assuming unfrozen Williams would still be an apparent age-83 then, we need an actor who is now in his early 70s, so in 2021 he’ll be the right age.  I have narrowed my choices down to Jon Voight, Christopher Lloyd, Elliott Gould and Tommy Chong.

Q:  If the US decided to close up shop, where would you move? 

Everyone says Canada because they fear change, but I’ll go with Italy. I have a sister-in-law there who could help me out with stuff. I hear there is decent food there too.

Q:  Imagine you are that Websters dude or something, and they asked you to invent a word for belly-button lint. What would it be?

Uggla.

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be? If you could give your spouse one, what would it be? What about your kids?

Me: mind-control. Wife: whatever it was Mrs. Incredible had. Kids: Something sort of like Daredevil, in which a handicap — in his case loss of sight — was overcompensated for by all manner of other super abilities.  I don’t know what abilities the kids should have, but whatever they are, they should be to compensate for their inability to speak.

Q: What’s your favorite all-time SNL sketch?

Maybe it’s sacrilege to go to this era, but I loved that old synchronized swimming sketch with Martin Short. “Hey, YOU! I know you! I know you!”

Q: Do you expect the Spanish Inquisition?

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Q: Do you ‘get’ Springsteen?

This was inspired by some acrimonious Twitter exchanges among some people I know following Clarence Clemons’ death. Big outpouring of emotion by some countered by a few who, not disrespectfully in my view, just matter-of-factly, said that they didn’t “get” the whole Springsteen thing.  It was rather interesting to watch it all play out. Especially in my little Twitter circles, because there are a disproportionate number of Bruce Springsteen fans (and In-N-Out Burger fans) among baseball writers.

Anyway, my take: I enjoy almost all of Springsteen’s music and own multiple albums. But I don’t get the cult. And object to that term all you want, it is a cult in practice even if it’s a larger cult than the one that goes for “Rocky Horror Picture Show” or whatever. There is a ritual and an obsessiveness to it. Anything that inspires people to go to dozens, scores or even hundreds of the same shows and then argue that, no, there are little nuances to every one, is basically a cult.

What I don’t get: such a huge amount of Springsteen’s material is anguishing. Very difficult. About people with no hope and no escape. About life taking its toll on you no matter how far and how fast you run.  Yeah, there are moments of catharsis, but damn, The Boss makes you pay for those before you get them.

Which makes for wonderful art. And wonderful music. There’s a beauty to it all that is undeniable. But man, it’s difficult stuff, and I’m not sure how people can both take it all to heart and revel in it over and over again.

Or maybe married guys like me shouldn’t listen to “Tunnel of Love” all the time.

Let’s do it again next week.

Minor League Baseball established a political action committee to fight paying players more

DURHAM, NC - JULY 28:  The Chicago White Sox play the Most Valuable Prospects during the championship game of the 2011 Breakthrough Series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on July 28, 2011 in Durham, North Carolina.  Most Valuable Prospects won 17-2 over the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
5 Comments

Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.

You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.

The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.

So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.

Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”

Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.

Report: White Sox, Nationals making “strong progress” on a Chris Sale deal

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox deliivers the ball against the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
8 Comments

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the White Sox and Nationals are making “strong progress” on a trade involving ace Chris Sale. Most reports coming out on Monday night suggest that a deal isn’t likely to be consummated until Tuesday at the earliest.

Sale, 27, has pitched in the majors over parts of seven seasons. He owns a career 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA and a 1,244/260 K/BB ratio in 1,110 innings. The lefty will earn $12 million in 2017, then has a club option for 2018 worth $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout as well as a 2019 club option worth $13.5 million with a $1 million buyout. Relative to what he would earn if he were a free agent today, Sale’s remaining salary is a bargain.

The Nationals would likely have to part with several of their top prospects. MLB Pipeline lists pitcher Lucas Giolito, outfielder Victor Robles, and pitcher Reynoldo Lopez in the club’s top-three.

Adding Sale would arguably give the Nationals claim to the best starting rotation in baseball as he would join 2016 NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

There are other teams in the mix for Sale. The Red Sox and Astros have also talked with the White Sox about the lefty’s services.