The Question

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


Time for the weekly Twitterbag. Which, when I put out the call for questions last night, I did so thusly:

Twitter questions for HBT. This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it. Go!

So, predictably, among my first few “questions” were “One tweet only, Vasily,” and “You might wanna think about cutting the kid some slack.”  God, I love my readers.  Anyway:

Q: Favorite Alec Baldwin role? Fred Thompson role? Sam Neil role?

Baldwin: I have to cop to never watching “30 Rock.” I gather everyone loves that role he plays on that show, but sorry, I’ve missed out. But I don’t think anyone will fault me for going with Blake, the guy who gave the “steak knives” speech in “Glengarry Glen Ross.” What’s my name? F*** YOU, that’s my name!

Fred Thompson: He basically plays the same gruff, no-nonsense authority figure with a heart of gold in everything, right? So you have to go with Admiral Painter from Red October. Although he certainly played an interesting role as minority counsel during the Watergate hearings. His least convincing role was as as presidential candidate.

Sam Neil: Anyone ever see “Until the End of the World?”  Not sure that that’s my favorite Neil role — his part itself isn’t central or that interesting and the movie itself is uneven and flawed — but there’s something dreamy and ethereal about both the movie and Neil’s narration that has turned that flick into one of my weird favorites of all time. Oh, and for very personal reasons, the soundtrack may be one of the most important albums I own.


One thing I love/hate about the Yankees is how one random thing that happens in one random game can take on such significance. So much that 24 hours after it occurred — and after another game has interceded — people are still animated about it. I love it because it shows the passion. I hate it because, to me, one of the best things about baseball is that whole “there’s another game tomorrow so nothing that happens today should matter after we turn the TV off” vibe. Oh well. New York.

Q: Wont you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?

Asks a guy who just took the bar exam and is about ready to embark on a legal career. Hey, why don’t you buy me a Mercedez-Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.

Q: Can lawyers be happy?

Sure. If they have the disposition that makes that kind of work fulfilling for them. Of course it also makes them sociopaths, so there are tradeoffs. And no, not all happy lawyers are sociopaths. Many of them drink and have extramarital affairs to dull the pain of their daily existence, each of which do bring fleeting happiness of a sad sort. A very small percentage of lawyers are both happy and well-adjusted. And they are hated and ridiculed by society — and are criminally underpaid — because they do things like defend people’s constitutional rights, help the poor and try to make the world a better place.

Q: If the HBT cast were a pro-wrestling stable, what would your name be?

West Texas Rednecks. Yeah, I know that none of us are from Texas, but if the real West Texas Rednecks could pass off the Minnesota-born Curt Hennig as a Texan, we can do the same for Gleeman.

Q: Who wins in a fight; Martha Quinn or Tabitha Soren?

We all win. At least if that fight is videotaped.

Q: Will anyone ever understand the waivers process OUTSIDE of Twitter?

It is rather vexing and confounding, isn’t it?  And really, the details are not that important. Just try to remember that a player being placed on waivers is unimportant, a player being claimed on waivers is slightly more important and that, really, nothing matters unless or until a trade or a failure to revoke waivers happens.  Everything before that is an exercise in us vamping while we wait for something more interesting to happen in a season where there are no good playoff races.

Q: Can Justin Verlanders tears cure cancer? What are your thoughts on rugby?

(1) possibly; and (2) I’m surprised more people who play rugby don’t lose an ear or something.

Q: Hurricane or Earthquake?

If you’re asking what I fear more, it’s an earthquake. You can see hurricanes-a-comin’ and do your best to evacuate or prepare. Thankfully I live in a hurricane and earthquake free zone. We get tornadoes here in the glorious Midwest, and I know they terrify some people and for good reason, but I’m pretty cool with them because I’ve dealt with ’em all my life. I suppose people who live in hurricane and earthquake zones could say much the same thing.

Q: How much beer would Adam Dunn have to drink to get his blood alcohol content higher than his batting average?

Dunn is listed — generously I think, but let’s let him have it — at 285. His batting average as of this morning was .167.  According to this calculator, in order to get his BAC to .167, he’d have to drink fourteen beers — and maybe a sip or two of a fifteenth — in the space of two hours in order to get his BAC that high.  Which seems like an awful lot, actually. Who programmed that calculator? Zelda Fitzgerald?

Q: What is the true identity of the mysterious “Fat Boy” that Ric Flair was always taunting?

For those unaware, “and that goes for you too, Fat Boy” was a common aside used by The Nature Boy during interviews. In a lot of the ways it was a place holder just like “woo!”  When he’d do it, he’d look off to the side and point at someone, presumably some anonymous fan he was mocking in the crowd. You can see examples of it in this video compilation. Although the best part of that video is how, near the beginning, he threatens Ted Turner that he was gonna nail Jane Fonda and there isn’t a hell of a lot Turner can do about it.  Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about why I love Ric Flair.

Q: Where do YOU think C.J. Wilson and Prince Fielder end up next year?

Wilson goes to the Yankees, where I just have a feeling he’ll flop, even if he doesn’t turn into A.J. Part Deux. I think Fielder goes to the Cubs. But then again I thought the Cubs would win the Central, so what in the hell do I know?

Q: Does HBT still work after the Steve Jobs resignation?

Dude, I write this blog on my Commodore 64. In between posts I’m playing “Summer Games” by the Epyx corporation. No man can beat me at Platform Diving. Who in the heck is Steve Jobs?

Q: Does Terrance Mann die at any point during Field of Dreams?

Totally. When he enters the cornfield he is quickly and efficiently butchered by the satanic cult that has set up the whole “if you build it he will come” fraud. It was their design to lure people in there, covering for it with some uplifting father/son/baseball hokum. And you all fell for it. Suckers.

Q: When one gets spit out in Manhattan on a Sunday and is looking for a nice lunch one can’t get in Ohio, one goes?

I tweeted that exact question last Saturday night before I went to New York. The answer: one goes to The Grey Dog Cafe just south of Union Square and gets an awesomely big plate of eggs, sausage, potatoes, French toast and one of the better cups of coffee I’ve had in some time. Yeah, it wasn’t lunch, and yes, I’m guessing I could get or make something like that in Ohio, but on that particular morning in New York, it was bliss.

Q: I’m a Phillies fan I loved the 76ers season more than the Phils season so far due to expectations. Should I give up baseball?

No, but you had better give up hanging around other Phillies fans. Based on the comments in yesterday’s thread, the idea that your fandom can change with your expectations of your team is basically heresy to them.  In other news, when Philly starts losing one day, I can’t wait for these people to continue to obsess over every detail and take every loss as hard as they do now. Because that’s totally sustainable.

Q:  Tony Gwynn missed one All-Star game from 1984-99 (’88). Strawberry, Coleman, Dawson, McGee, Palmeiro, Van Slyke made it. WTF?

Well, he was hitting .246 as late as July 1st, so it wasn’t as though 1988 was a banner Tony Gwynn year.  He managed to turn it around — he went on a tear starting July 2nd and had his average over .300 by July 20th — and ended up leading the league in hitting again, though with a modest-for-him .313 average. By thew way, people forget that beginning in 1988 Gwynn had a stretch in which he hit under .320 in four of five years. In 1993 he shot up above .350 again and continued to hit like a freakin’ machine for the rest of his career. Lost in all of the homer talk is how Gwynn’s numbers spiked just as the steroid guys’ numbers did. Yet people blow off the idea that the ball could have been changed around 1993 or 94 and that it may have had a more dramatic impact than anyone acknowledges. Nope, it’s all juice, juice, juice.

Q: Despite saying he didn’t love the Virgin Mary, why would Private Joker sing Happy Birthday to Jesus later on?

I don’t love the Virgin Mary either, but if Sgt. Hartman was in my face about it for several weeks I’d probably be speaking Latin and leading Mass before too long.

Q: This burning sensation means it’s working, right?

The more it hurts the more it works.

Q: Why didn’t anyone ever write down these Unwritten Rules?

Because this would happen.

Q: I know it’s early for this jazz but Bautista is MVP, yeah?

He is in my book. I try not to read too much into the word “valuable” as a means of making it all about what a guy does for a winning team vs. a losing team or all of that. I think of it as “the best player in the league this year.” Bautista has been the best player in the AL this year by far.

Q: Who would you select for the Braves postseason rotation?

Hudson, Jurrjens, Beachy and a healthy Tommy Hanson. But I don’t suppose I’ll get that, so I’ll have to hold my breath during the Derek Lowe starts.

Q: What are your feelings on Namor?

I am a well-known Aquaman hater. I will admit, though, that I am largely unfamiliar with Namor, the Sub-Mariner.  Someone tell me: is he just as lame as old orange tights?

Q: What is the general feel around Columbus about Ohio State this year? Is everyone ready for them to struggle?

I think so. People I talk to either want them to go 10-2 or something, showing that Luke Fickell knows what he’s doing, or else go in the tank so that the school doesn’t mess around with him for two or three years and instead goes after a top-flight coach. Because it’s Ohio State and because everyone is kind of nuts here, the absolute worst cases scenario is a 7-5 season in which they beat Michigan. It would be underachieving yet it would probably make them give Fickell a contract.

Q: Do you think the National League West is still up for grab-WHY DO YOU HATE THE PHILLIES?

And there’s a microcosm of the HBT comments these past few months. I swear I won’t root against the Phillies unless they play the Braves in the NLCS, but man, I sorta want to see what kind of chaos is unleashed if they lost to the Dbacks or someone in the first round. There’s not enough popcorn in the world to satisfy that comments thread.

Q:  If you were starting a team with one pitcher and one position player from the same team, what pair would you choose?

Tough one. Maybe Verlander and Cabrera?

Q: What was the first movie you saw that your parents didn’t want you to see?

I’m sure there were countless movies on HBO that I watched that they wouldn’t have liked, but the first time I went to the movie theater and saw something other than what I told them I was going to see was “Down and Out in Beverly Hills,” which was rated R. Funny thing was, I don’t think there was anything particular scandalous in there. The R-rating, if I recall, was likely for language. Well, there was one scene with Richard Dreyfuss gettin’ it on with his maid — and that could have scarred me for life — but that was it, really. The movie I told them I was going to see and which they approved: “Invasion USA,” which I think was some ultra-violent Chick Norris war porn thing.  Nope, no problem letting the 12-year-old see that. But can’t let them watch Nick Nolte smoke a jay and drop a couple of F-bombs. That would be SCANDALOUS.

Q: Which player in baseball would be best served by having a moth invade his ear, Matt Holliday style?

Nick Essasky, circa 1990. I always wondered what would have happened had he not gotten the old vertigo.

Q: Am I the only person in America who hates the dead-CF, over-the-P-head broadcast camera?

No, apparently a lot of people hate it because a bunch of teams have abandoned it.  I love it, personally. Wish every broadcast used it. It’s just crazy satisfying.

Q: When can we have a tag team match between you and a partner of your choice vs two Phillies fans on PPV? Who’s your partner?

The agents and lawyers are still trying to make it happen, so we’ll see. My partner is Flair, of course. And I don’t even care that he’s, like, 70, and that all of his signature moves (the chop, that weird corner flip thing, his figure four leg lock) are all quite silly and ineffective-looking even when one suspends one’s disbelief for pro wrestling purposes.  He’s got style and that’s all we really need.

Q: Thoughts on law school grads suing schools for false advertising regarding job prospects?

Law schools do do this, of course, with the brochures saying “90% of grads have jobs within six months of graduation” or some such. They don’t mention that the jobs are delivering pizzas or making soy lattes or whatever.  Law schools have become rackets, basically, pumping thousands of grads into a workforce that has no place for them like it used to.  Still, if you’re looking at law school as some job-guarantee and aren’t looking at the by now very easy to find real numbers about how tough a go it is to become a lawyer and how bad your prospects are, it’s kind of your fault.  A good rule in life is never take the word of someone who is desperately trying to get you to give them $100,000.

On the third hand, I do like the fact that these law schools are being attacked by their own creations. There’s a “Blade Runner” element to all of this. I think of each new law grad who sues their law school as Roy Batty breaking into Tyrell’s apartment. We reap what we sow, ya know?

That’s all I got, folks. Let’s do it again next Wednesday night.

Video: Jeff Samardzija breaks a bat over his knee after striking out

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Jeff Samardzija had a great night last night. He allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and picked up the win. In the early going he’s proving wrong those who thought that the Giants overpaid for him and is providing solid performance from the third spot in the Giants rotation. It’s all good.

But good is not always good enough for a professional athlete. Especially one like Samardzija, who excelled in multiple sports and likely can count his lifetime athletic failures on one hand. No, when you’re wired like that you get upset even when you’re excellent because sometimes you want to be perfect.

For example, most pitchers don’t get too worried about striking out. They’re there to pitch, not bat. They turn on their heel and calmly walk back to the dugout. Samardzija, however, got a bit irate when he struck out. Then he did this:

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Toronto Blue Jays Justin Smoak watches the flight of the ball after hitting a two run walk off home run off Texas Rangers pitcher Phil Klein during the tenth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, May 3, 2016 in Toronto.  (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Associated Press

I woke up at 3am today. In the past when that happened I’d post And That Happened at like 4:30AM or some dumb thing. I’m just not doing that anymore. I wrote a personal blog post about it this morning explaining why. It’s mostly part of an effort to not wake up at 3am anymore. If anyone has issues with that, maybe it’ll help. Or maybe you’ll be able to tell me that I’m deluded and my little plan to not wake up at 3am is doomed. I dunno. If you care, there’s a picture of one of my cats there too. She says hello to Kevin Kiermaier.

Anyway: Here are the scores. Here are the highlights.

Blue Jays 3, Rangers 1: Holy Smoak! Justin Smoak tied the game with a homer in the bottom of the ninth and then won the game with a walkoff homer in the 10th. They were his first two homers of the season. If any nerds in their mother’s basement so obsessed with his spreadsheets that he can’t be bothered to watch a dang ballgame is devising some Home Run Leverage Index — HeRLI, we’ll call it — Smoak definitely leads the league in that category.

Royals 7, Nationals 6: Down two in the ninth and the Royals rallied, first with a two-run single from Mike Moustakas to tie it up then with a walkoff single from Lorenzo Cain. Three runs and five hits in the ninth, all off of Jonathan PapelbonChien-Ming Wang got the win after pitching a scoreless top of the ninth. That’s his first win since 2013.

Indians 7, Tigers 3: Francisco Lindor hit a three-run homer, got two other hits and played his usual stellar defense. It’s a testament to how many great young players there are in the game right now that, when people are asked to list them, he’s usually fifth, at best, when they do so. It’s also something of an insult to him.

Brewers 5, Angels 4: Two homers for Chris Carter. He hit two homers on Sunday too. Former Brewer Khris Davis hit two homers on Monday and, if I remember correctly, hit two in a game multiple times last year too. Brewers should probably just get a whole lineup of Chrises at some point and see how it works. What do they have to lose?

Orioles 4, Yankees 1: Two homers for Mark Trumbo and a solid outing for Chris Tillman. Six straight losses for the Yankees and the bats are still moribund. It’s their worst start in 25 years. Oh, and A-Rod tweaked his hamstring so he’ll probably miss some time. I’ve been impressed with how little “If The Boss was still alive . . .” rumbling, but it’s starting:

Cubs 7, Pirates 1: Jake Arrieta allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings agains the team he handcuffed the last time he faced them too, in the 2015 NL Wild Card game. Kris Bryant had a couple of hits. The Cubs have a five-game lead already, and two of the teams trailing them are, like, good.

Giants 3, Reds 1: The Reds were up 1-0 in the eighth and blew it by giving up two runs. According to the good folks at the Elias Sports Bureau, the Reds pen has given up at least one run in each of the Reds’ last 21 games, which is the longest such streak in major league history. Congratulations, you guys. You did it.

Braves 3, Mets 0: The better Matt won. At least the better Matt on this day, as Wisler topped Harvey, tossing eight innings of one-hit ball. The Braves have somehow won three of five. Time to pop the champagne.

Marlins 7, Diamondbacks 4Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run pinch-hit single to put Miami ahead. The old man is still an artist with the Thompson. He’s now at 2,947 for his major league career. Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich homered.

Dodgers 10, Rays 5Trayce Thompson, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig all homered. Puig’s was an absolute moon shot. Thompson drove in four. This is the Dodgers’ first trip to Tampa Bay since 2007. A change of scenery often helps people get out of a funk and this change of scenery helped the Dodgers’ bats wake up. No one said it had to be a change to good scenery to fix a funk.

White Sox 4, Red Sox 1: Sox win!

Astros 6, Twins 4Jason Castro and George Springer each hit homers. Castro’s barely cleared the fence and had to be confirmed via replay. Springer’s hit the dang train tracks high up in the outfield seats. They both counted for the same. At least once you adjusted for the fact that Castro was on base when Springer hit his. It’s all a very complicated set of operations to do that involving some fairly esoteric math so I won’t go too deeply into it.

Phillies 1, Cardinals 0: Aaron Nola threw seven shutout innings and Ryan Howard homered against his hometown team. He has always liked hitting in St. Louis. Guy has 12 homers and 40 RBI in 36 games in Busch Stadium. Remember a few years back when Buster Olney was peddling a rumor that the Cardinals and Phillies were gonna do a Pujols-Howard swap? Yeah, it probably had its genesis in some random “Howard sure would do well here” talk that got out of hand.

Mariners 8, Athletics 2Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Leonys Martin hit home runs. Hisashi Iwakuma pitched seven innings, allowing just one run. The M’s are 15-11.

Padres 6, Rockies 3: The Rockies built an early 3-0 lead off of Andrew Cashner, and if you get to him early you can get to him big. But he settled down, Matt Kemp and Brett Wallace hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning to bring it closer and then the Padres scored three in the sixth and won going away.

Bronson Arroyo is throwing side-arm now

Washington Nationals pitcher Bronson Arroyo catches a pop fly during a drill at a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Viera, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
AP Photo/John Raoux

Nationals pitcher Bronson Arroyo has partial tears of tendons in his rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Considering he’s 39 years old, no one would fault him if he decided to call it quits. But he has one more idea, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reports: Arroyo is going to throw side-arm, or at least three-quarters.

“It hurts when he gets on top [of the baseball],” manager Dusty Baker said. He continued, “So we’re taking our time. And if not, if nothing else, he’s a good guy to have in your organization.”

Arroyo missed the latter half of the 2014 season and the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Prior to that, he was known as a workhorse, racking up at least 199 innings in each of nine seasons between 2005-13.

Robbie Erlin needs Tommy John surgery

San Diego Padres' Robbie Erlin pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tuesday, April 12, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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Padres pitcher Robbie Erlin has a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and he’ll need Tommy John surgery as a result, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Times reports. Erlin landed on the disabled list on April 21. Now he’ll miss the rest of the season and likely the beginning of the 2017 season as well.

Erlin, 25, posted a 4.02 ERA with a 13/3 K/BB ratio in 15 2/3 innings spanning two starts and one relief appearance to begin the 2016 season.

Cesar Vargas moved into the rotation in Erlin’s absence and has pitched well thus far in two starts, yielding only one earned run with a 9/6 K/BB ratio over 10 1/3 innings.