The Question

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


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!

Cardinals take 1-0 NLDS lead over the Cubs behind John Lackey’s brilliant outing

John Lackey
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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John Lackey flirted with a no-hitter but settled for 7 1/3 terrific, shutout innings to beat the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday. The right-hander held the opposition to two hits and a walk while striking out five. Lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist struck out two to finish the eighth without issue. Closer Trevor Rosenthal worked around a one-out walk and a two-out single in the ninth to seal the 4-0 win, recording all three outs on called strike threes.

Lackey brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but lost it quickly when Addison Russell hit a ground ball single up the middle to lead off the frame. Russell would steal second base but was stranded.

Opposing starter Jon Lester wasn’t too shabby himself, relenting three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings. The first run came around in the first inning on Matt Holliday‘s RBI single, which followed a one-out double by Stephen Piscotty. Tommy Pham pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot in the eighth inning and launched a solo home run off of Lester to double the Cardinals’ lead. Lester walked Matt Carpenter before exiting. Pedro Strop came in and promptly served up a two-run home run to Stephen Piscotty.

The closest the Cubs came to scoring was when Dexter Fowler sent a deep fly ball to right field with a man on base and two outs in the sixth inning, but Randal Grichuk caught it with a foot or two to spare in front of the fence on the warning track.

The two clubs will play Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday at 5:30 PM EDT. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and oppose Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia.

Astros err in letting Scott Kazmir start sixth

Scott Kazmir
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Scott Kazmir went winless with a 6.52 ERA in six September starts. He allowed 41 hits, eight of them homers, in 29 innings, posting an 18/11 K/BB ratio. When the Astros got five innings of two-run ball from him Friday against the Royals, they should have thanked their good fortune and moved right along to the pen.

And they knew this. They must have. Josh Fields got up in the pen after Kazmir issued a one-out walk in the fifth. The left-hander got out of the frame, making himself eligible for the victory in what was then a 4-2 game, but it was still very surprising to see him come back out for the sixth, particularly with the switch-hitting Ben Zobrist (.926 OPS against lefties) and right-handed Lorenzo Cain due up.

Kazmir retired Zobrist, but he gave up a double to Cain. He was then pulled, even with the left-handed Eric Hosmer coming up. Manager A.J. Hinch had committed my biggest baseball pet peeve: he sent his starter back to the mound with the idea of pulling him after his first mistake.

It worked out terribly. Oliver Perez gave up a pair of soft hits to Hosmer and Kendrys Morales before walking Mike Moustakas. Fields then entered and walked the unwalkable Salvador Perez to tie the game at 4. The Astros gave up another run in the seventh and lost the game 5-4.

Maybe that’s the way it would have worked out anyway. Kazmir did give up just the one baserunner. It might not have even harmed the Astros if Perez had better luck.

Still, the thinking that went into the decision was disturbing. It’s always better to bring that reliever in with no one on base when you can. That’s especially the case with this Astros pen, which lacks a double-play specialist, much less a Wade Davis. But anyone in that pen would have been a better choice than sending Kazmir out to face Zobrist and Cain for a third time. Hinch needs to be more aggressive going forward.

Cardinals’ giveaway incorrectly claims ownership of 2001 division title

cardinals logo

The Cardinals have won so many division titles, it’s tough to keep track of them all. At least, it would be tough if it weren’t for Baseball Reference.

40,000 rally towels were given away to fans at Busch Stadium ahead of Friday’s NLDS Game 1 against the Cubs. The towel listed all of the years the Cardinals won the NL Central… and 2001. That year, they tied with the Astros for the best record in the National League at 93-69. However, because the Astros won the season series 9-7, they were awarded first place and the Cardinals took the Wild Card.