The Question

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

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Q: Worse retread for the Braves — Frenchy or Melky?

This was just one of a half dozen questions asking me — or rather, baiting me — into speculating about whether that mystery right-handed bat the Braves are reportedly close to acquiring is Jeff Francoeur, and exactly how I’d feel about that.  Well, here’s how I’d feel about that.

Q: So, forget “pistols at dawn”… Hamilton vs Burr, steel cage match… Who wins this time?

Burr again. Because when Hamilton is about to win via his feared “Hamiltonian Hammer” submission move, Burr receives illicit outside assistance from Harmon Blennerhassett, tipping the match in his favor.  Pfun Pfact: the junior high school I went to was named after that guy. Seriously, a guy who bankrolled a plot to commit treason against the United States government, assisted by the guy who shot and killed a Founding Father, is the namesake of a junior high school!  I played football. We were called the Bobcats. We should have been the Traitors.

Q: Is ketchup an acceptable condiment for scrambled eggs?

Lots of people do it. Of course, lots of people used to treat illness by putting leeches on their body, but that didn’t mean it was the right thing to do.

Q: What is the most boring robot in the history of film and television?

Did something happen in robot news last night? Because this was one of two TV-robot questions I was asked, the other being whether I preferred Robby the Robot or the robot from “Lost in Space.”  Whatever the case, I think the most boring robot ever was Twiki from the “Buck Rogers” show. Any time not devoted to Erin Gray or Markie Post on that show was wasted time.

Q: What do you think of the inverted scrolling in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion?

I’m led to believe by Mac disciples that this is something I should care about.  Then again, I long stopped keeping track of things Mac disciples cared a lot about.  Apple makes some cool products, but collectively, Mac fanboys are the boys who cried “awesome!”

Q: Is Vance Worley the best pitcher ever? Or just the best pitcher right now?

I never cease to be amazed — and pleasantly amused — at how excited Phillies fans can get over Phillies players.  Worley may not be the best example of this — he has a lot of promise — but last year they all fell in love with Mike Sweeney because he smiled kind of nice once.  If they called up a prospect and he managed to get off the jetway at the airport without tripping and falling, they’d crow about him as the greatest thing since sliced bread.  It’s sweet, actually.

Q: What player should the Pirates focus most on acquiring?

Ralph Kiner.

Q: What are your thoughts on Norway?

A scourge which must be eradicated if free men ever wish to flourish.

Q: When will the Tigers ever be truly good?

When they eliminate the second half of the baseball seasons.

Q: Can the Twins win a game against the Yankees in the postseason? Also, why did I go to law school?

No, and because your law school basically lied to you when it told you about the number of its graduates who were employed within six months of graduation, masking the fact that in this day and age young J.D.s are accepting temp jobs and working at restaurants and stuff because the legal profession is finally starting to realize that it’s not the army and that it can’t and shouldn’t accept thousands of new recruits every year as if the industry were in some perpetual expansion.  But the law schools can’t tell you that because then they wouldn’t be able to extract $100,000 or more from you.  Enjoy the bar exam next week, however!

Q: How deep were you in the early’90s David Justice hype?

Not too deep. I appreciated his talents but didn’t think he was some sort of inner-circle great or anything.  I looked around and saw guys like Bonds playing and knew that there was a whole other level which Justice was not likely to ever achieve.

Q: Where would Ryan Dempster pitch in the 2003 Cubs rotation?

Well, Shawn Estes got 28 starts on that team while sporting a 5.73 ERA, so I suppose Dempster could slide in nicely at the five-spot.

Q: Jim Caple is rating every stadium in his column. What are your favorite stadiums in baseball?

AT&T Park is my favorite. Convenient since San Francisco is my favorite U.S. city.  I also loved Dodger Stadium when I went there. Progressive Field is fantastic, as is Camden Yards.

Q: Why does Angelina Jolie feed crickets to her children

Because beautiful women can get away with absolutely anything they want. They’re probably a lot better for her kids than chicken nuggets, though, so let’s not hate.

Q: “Storage Wars” or “Storage Hunters?”

See, this is why I don’t watch TV anymore.

Q: What is the worst TV show you love to watch? 

Like I said, I really don’t watch much TV. I watch ballgames and I watch entire series of decent things on Netflix Instant while I workout, but apart from “Breaking Bad” I don’t watch any currently-produced shows. This is not a snobby, anti-TV point I’m making here, mind you. I used to veg out all the time and probably still would if the deluge of reality TV and other garbage hadn’t turned me off TV and onto other things to do with my evenings a few years ago.  I realize now that there are some good shows being made, but I just don’t have it in me to get in the habit.

I will tell you my all-time guiltiest pleasure, though: in the summer of 1994 there was some short-lived nighttime soap called “Hotel Malibu.” It maybe had 6 episodes or so on ABC.  I watched all six and got mad when it wasn’t picked up. I realized at the time it was awful, but I didn’t care. Probably helped that I had just broken my collar bone when I discovered it and couldn’t do much except for stare at the TV all day. And that was when I lived in a campus apartment and didn’t have cable, so there were only four channels.

Q:  If the Reds trade for Shields, do they trade Yonder Alonso to get him?

The Rays certainly ask for him, right?

Q: What do you think is the top-to-bottom best looking movie cast of all-time?

Great question.  Gut answer with no thinking: the Clooney version of “Ocean’s 11.”  I mean, Julia Roberts is probably the ugliest one in that bunch. And yes, I am aware Elliott Gould has a major role.

Q: Which is better at getting you emotionally involved in the characters, Star Wars, Firefly/Serenity, or (the new) Battlestar Galactica?

I’d say Firefly. Really, the only interesting character in Star Wars was Han Solo, and I’ve gotten more value in imagining what kind of adventures he could have gotten into than anything George Lucas actually did with him (credit Harrison Ford for everything Han Solo was).  Battlestar may make me care more later, but for as much as I like the show overall so far (I’m 10 episodes in), I’m having a hard time getting into any of the characters besides Gaius, and I think that his schtick is going to wear thin soon.  That leaves Firefly.  It only had a few episodes — and when you really scrutinize those episodes, you realize that they all could have come from 1960s or 1970s dramas — but I really did love the characters.

Q: Best show you saw at The 9:30 Club?

That’s the D.C. rock club I mentioned in a post the other day. My days of going there were between 1996 and 1998, so it was a while back.  I didn’t go to a ton of shows there, but I enjoyed seeing Frank Black there during his “Cult of Ray” tour.  I saw Beck there too and had a blast. Most fun I ever had at that place though was for Kula Shaker.  I would have bet you a million bucks after that show that they would have been bigger here than they ever got. Then again, I’m not exactly on the cutting edge of anything when it comes to music, now or 15 years ago. The worst act, by far, I’ve ever seen was at 9:30 also: Rasputina. Oh dear god, that was awful.

Q: Any update yet on who might be some of the player on the list of players to be named later involved in the K Rod deal?

Benjamin Franklin, Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Jackson, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

Q: Who’s hotter: Troi, Uhura, Dax, or Pedroia?

Star Trek women are never properly described as “hot,” I don’t believe. Some of them are very nice to look at, but it is pretty clear that most of their lines were written by men who didn’t understand anything about women.  Which was fine, because neither did the audience.

Q: What under the radar player that might get moved by the deadline?

Albert Pujols. Crap, really, I don’t know.  I also suspect that if I said a name it would pop up on some rumors site. Not that my word means so much, but because the threshold for what constitutes a rumor has gotten so low these days.

Q: Hideki Matsui just smacked his 500th home run. Is he the most successful Asian MLB player thus far?

Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got somethin to say, but nothin comes out when they move their lips; just a bunch of gibberish, and motherf***ers act like they forgot about Ichiro.

Q: Did Nats made a mistake firing Riggleman?

They did not fire Riggleman. He quit.

Q: How does one get so much snark in them? Genes? Experience? What’s the secret?

You grow up in a house where wisecracks are more common than hugs. Which, in my experience, was way more fun.

Q: Are the the three Hall of Fame inductees — Blyleven, Alomar, and Gillick — on the same footing? Or should we say one deserved in more than others?

Deserves got nothing to do with it. Once you’re past the voting threshold, they’re all Hall of Famers. That said, Alomar would have a way better basis for complaining if he was on the outside looking in.

Q: There was a Brad Clontz reference in HBT this week. Do you have an all-time favorite non-descript reliever?

Wait, I didn’t write the Brad Clontz thing. And frankly I’m shocked that one of the other HBT guys would reach for Clontz. Shocked in a good way. Brad friggin’ Clontz!

Q: Why in the world would the Phillies trade Dom Brown for three months of Beltran as other writers have suggested?

I can’t see why. Tells you more about the writers than it does about any potential trade.

Q: First team to get a new stadium: A’s or Dodgers?

The A’s, but I have no idea where it will be.

Q: How do you feel mortgaging your children’s future relationships for their obsession of Star Wars now?

I don’t worry about the girl. Women who like sci-fi stuff are some of the coolest women you’ll ever meet, and they tend to do pretty well socially.  I’ll admit, though, I fear for the boy’s future. I was able to keep my geekdom closeted for much of my adolescence, but I fear Carlo is going to let his nerd flag fly and will thus be living with his mother and me until he’s 40.

Q: With August and September fast approaching, how excited are you for the upcoming malty goodness of fall beers? 

It will be nice. I have a hard time drinking really malty hoppy things when it’s a million degrees out.

Q:  What fielder would you like to see make a pitching cameo in a blow out or extra innings game?

Furcal. I haven’t watched him for a while, but I assume his arm still rocks.

Q: How underrated is Futurama? What’s your favorite cartoon and charter?

I fear it’s on the “so often referred to as underrated that it’s starting to get overrated” track, though it’s not there yet.  I assume you mean animated cartoon. If not, it’s Steve Dallas from “Bloom County.”  If it’s animated, I’ll go with old school Simpsons (through 1999 or so) and Lionel Hutz.  And it’s just a coincidence that they’re both lawyers.

Q: What World Series moment best captures the feeling of your days as a lawyer?

When Clemens threw the broken bat barrel at Piazza.  I spent about 11 years with that same “what in the hell is happening?” look on my face that Piazza had at that moment.

That’s all for this week, folks. Talk to you next Wednesday night!

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: