The Question

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


Q: Not a question, I just wanted to thank you for running the best Phillies blog on the web. Kudos!

Not sure if that’s a compliment or not. But I get it.

Q: A Wonder Woman movie seems inevitable. I would bet they would pick Angelina Jolie. Your preference?

No way it’s Jolie. Hollywood is all about creating multi-film franchises right now and that means a commitment of years. Jolie is (a) too big a star to commit to that; and (b) is, by Hollywood’s farkakte standards anyway, too old to be the lead in that kind of franchise for the next six or seven years.  If it’s me I go with Allison Brie. And I’m not just saying that because I’m madly in love with her.  OK, maybe I am.

Q: Would Adam Dunn strike out in tee ball?

No tee ball coach worth a damn would give him a chance to try at the moment.

Q: What would you do if you were the catcher and Aquaman clapped after homering?

I’d check my SCUBA gear to make sure I still had enough oxygen to get through the rest of the game. I mean, this game is happening on the ocean floor, right? The only place where Aquaman is worth a tinker’s damn?

Q:  For one day: Oscar Gamble’s hair (w/ required comically small looking ball cap) or a sleeveless uniform with Big Klu’s guns?  Or other?

For me?  I’d go with Gamble’s hair.  There are all kinds of big-armed dudes in baseball nowadays. If you bring the natural like Gamble did, people would take notice. Just ask Coco Crisp. He did it for, like, two days earlier this year and everyone went crazy.

Q: If you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, do they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does?

I’m sick of these conventional marriages. One woman and one man was good enough for your grandmother, but who wants to marry your grandmother? Nobody, not even your grandfather.

Q: If you were in the Evil League of Evil, what would you call yourself? What would your catch phrase be?

Dr. something or other. Not quite sure. But I’d definitely be a doctor. My catchphrase would be the “Oww!” from the beginning of Cameo’s “Word Up!”

Q: What would you do to drive traffic if you couldn’t rely on Phillies fans’ defensive nerdrage?

“Your mom” jokes? Although Phillies fans would probably take less offense at me insulting their moms than Ryan Howard. They have a very, very special relationship with Ryan Howard.

Q: Give RA Dickey a quality nickname.

Think I have to defer to Mets fans here. I’m stuck on “RaRichie” or something like it, and that’s just horrible. Any ideas?

Q: Who’s your favorite Kardashian?

Does that family have a Fredo?  If so, I’m goin’ with Fredo Kardashian.

Q: I know you’re more of a bourbon whisky man, but haven’t you considered coconut rum?

I have given it consideration. It’s in the conversation.

Q:  I know you are a scotch man but what is the best beer you have ever had?

Two demerits for calling me a scotch man when I am a bourbon man, but I do love scotch too, so I’ll let it slide.  Beers are situational for me. Perhaps the most heavenly beer I buy on more than the rare, one-off occasion is Chimay, a trappist ale. But I’d never drink it after mowing the lawn, when a simple lager like a Yuengling is a-OK. Likewise, I have a hard time with really hoppy IPAs when it’s hot out, but adore them in the fall and winter.  My best beer experiences have come drinking Guinness, but it had little to do with the beer itself, though I like it.  I’m kind of all over the map with this, so I guess I don’t really have an answer for it. I’m just not a tremendous beer snob. Give me anything besides a giant mass market American MegaBrau and I’ll be happy. And if that’s all you have available, I’ll man up, drink it and won’t complain because nothing gets older quicker than hearing someone complain about their beer.

Q: Do you think Philly fans know that over the last 100 games the Brewers have a better record than the Phillies?

So many haters out there. You. Me. The results of the last 100 games. Everyone hates the Phillies. This is why their fans are so understandably outraged all the time.

Q: Are you ignoring us? Why don’t you return our calls? Was it something we said?

You know what you did.

Q: Real simple. @JohnCena or @CMPunk?

If the question is “which of these two guys aren’t fit to hold Ric Flair’s curiously-worn-below-the-knees-kneepads, the answer is “both.”

Q: Craig, what’s it like to kiss a girl? Seems gross. –Aaron

That was just cold, man.

Q: Coke or Pepsi?

Coke, but I really need to get off soda.

Q: Who is the best bad guy: Klingons, Cylons or Cigarette-Smoking Man?

The guy who asked me that has a Kingon Twitter avatar, so I get the sense this is a trap.  Klingons are out, though.  I just don’t buy them as a species. No one who has the sort of anger/honor code that they do could successfully apply the scientific method required in order to develop Warp Drive and cloaking technology. The first time someone’s calculations were questioned there would be some fight to the death and no one would get anywhere.

The Cylons are intriguing, but I have to withhold ultimate judgment until I’m done with the whole BSG series. I’m, like, 32 episodes in. They’re great so far, but I worry.  For example: am I crazy, or does it seem like it’s way too easy to sneak around the Cylons? Like when they’re on Caprica or someplace, people hide in pretty close proximity, escape at the last minute, etc. without being detected.  These are the most sophisticated machines ever invented and they don’t have better-than-human hearing or sensors of any kind? Please.

CSM in his prime — before he became a halfway sympathetic character in later seasons — was pretty tight. Just menacing. I liked him best in episodes when he didn’t do anything other than stand in the shadows and smoke.  Also: pair him up with Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” from the X-Files album that came out circa 1996 and we’re in seriously awesome land.

Q: Doobie Brothers before, during or after Michael McDonald?

Ehhh. Look, Michael McDonald’s cool quasi-soul/boat rock is much of what was wrong with music in the late 70s, so I can’t endorse it. But at the same time, pre-McDonald Doobies was pretty weak sauce compared to other southern-tinged boogie rock of the early part of the decade. I guess I’ll put it this way: McDonald-Doobies were more successful at accomplishing the artistic vision they desired (such as it was) than the pre-McDonald Doobies were at doing what they set out to do. Does that make sense? Is it just what a fool believes?

Q: If one had to be ruled unconstitutional, should it be guacamole or salsa con queso?

Salsa con queso. I could live without it.  If guacamole were outlawed, part of me would die a little bit.

Q: Any chance the National Baseball Hall of Fame extends its voting base beyond the BBWAA in this century?

Barring a giant scandal, no way. Maybe we can cook up a scandal, though. Baseball writers are mostly poor and bribeable.

Q: Aquaman should be mentioned among the most useless comic book heroes.

He’s being considered. He’s in the conversation.

Q: Playoff predictions?

Why not? NL: Phillies over the Dbacks, Braves over the Brewers, Phillies over the Braves. AL: Tigers over the Red Sox (MONSTER UPSET!), Yankees over the Rangers, Yankees over the Tigers. Word Series: Phillies over the Yankees. And then my winter is completely ruined by gloating Phillies fans making fun of me, all while they conveniently forget that I picked them to win it all back in March.

Q: Your thoughts on the Premiership transfer window closing and the corresponding moves?

This is the second question asking me about that stuff. The first person asked me specifically about Arsenal’s moves. Answer: No idea because the only time I watch any soccer is if it’s on in a bar I’m at or if it’s being played by first graders and involves my son. But maybe I’ll do the fashionable thing for national Internet sports writers and pretend to get really interested in EPL for a while. I’ll pick a team and everything and act like I care and stuff before giving it up after a few weeks. Sound good?

Q: Since everyone and their grandma has weighed in on this: Is Ndamukong Suh a dirty player?

What’s a “Ndamukong Suh?”

Q: Man, Phillies fans are jerks. Your thoughts on the matter?

Wait, I’m being baited about my baiting habits. I must bow to you, for you are better than I am at this!  You, truly, are a Master Baiter!

Q: How good is Alex Avila really? Is this year for real?

Man, I have no idea. All I know is that I feel really, really dumb for having said that he’d be a defense-only option for Detroit this year and that he represented one of the holes in the lineup that Leyland had to figure out how to account for. I figured that 2010 — when he had more playing time — would be far more predictive of what he’d do as opposed to his smaller sample size from 2009, but lo and behold, he’s got a .910 OPS. Just a fantastic season for the guy.

Q: Is it socially acceptable to a) trim one’s nails or b) floss one’s teeth in an office (cubicle) environment?

It is closer to being socially acceptable to have such a person torn apart by wild dogs than it is to allow that person to continue to do those things at their desk.

Q: Hurricane Irene flooded the most powerful city in the world. Is this a temporary game-changer for Aquaman?

I guess if there were evil people or some sort of sea monsters in the flood zone, sure. But to be honest, I’d rather go with the National Guard and first responders here.  While we’re on the subject, though, did you know that Aquaman wasn’t even the most useful water-borne Super Friend?  There was an episode — and I’m not making this up — where something called “The Water Monster” attacked. Do you know who stopped him? The Wonder Twins. Zan — who had the ability to turn himself into any kind of water thing — turned into a duplicate copy of the Water Monster and kicked its ass.  Where was Aquaman? Nowhere, that’s where.  True story.

Q: Who would you rather listen to for the rest of your life. Elvis Costello or Elvis Presley? Dead Kennedys or Dead Milkmen?

Costello and Milkmen. Not because they’re better in any absolute sense — indeed, they may be inferior in both cases from a pure quality perspective — but because they’re more varied in style from album to album and thus would be more bearable over time.  There’s only so much “Burnin’ Love” and “California Uber Alles” a man can stand.

Q: Ok, why in hell do Red Sox and Yankee games take so freakin’ long anyway?

Conspiracy between ESPN and the people who run the advertising boards behind home plate. You can look it up.

Q: What’s your ideal alignment strategy if you have to put 15 teams in both the AL and NL?

I’d probably move Arizona to the AL West and put the Astros in the NL West. Although I guess that would mean that all Texas baseball fans — not just Rangers fans — would be inconvenienced by an inordinate number of out-of-time zone games over the course of the season. But given that annoying Texans is not something that would keep me awake at night, I’d get over it.

Q: If MLB decided that a Yankees-Red Sox game would be decided by a single at bat, would it still take six hours?

Nonsense. Unless of course it involved a Yankee player hitting a home run, after which someone on the Red Sox would probably get mad causing an extended argument.

Q: Was it Fredi Gonzalez’s idea to make the additions to the upcoming Star Wars Blu-Ray release?

I’m just hearing about these now. I know they’re changing stuff in the prequels, but those suck and no one cares.  The fact that they’re messing — again — with the original trilogy is just the latest desecration, but I suppose we have no choice but to deal with it. No, I’m not buying the Blu-Ray release because screw George Lucas, but someone who does please tell me if he makes Lando bunt at some point. Then we’ll know that Fredi was involved.

Q: How do you measure the value of Chipper Jones’ “I know I’m better than you, and I’m friggin’ 40” smirk?

I can’t get any measuring tools close enough to him due to the aura of awesomeness that surrounds him.

Q: I still can’t get over the fact that Sparky Anderson was just 41 years old in 1975. Your thoughts on Sparky and aging?

I have his 1970 baseball card in which he’s younger than I am now. Still looks older. Being bald often makes people overestimate my age, but bald has nothing on a premature gray guy. I thought Sparky was 70 when the Tigers hired him.

Q: Ryan Howard struck out twice tonight. Are you surprised that one of them was not in his AB against Aroldis Chapman?

No. Because Ryan Howard is the best hitter in all of baseball and if you suggest otherwise I shall drown you out with my rage.  As for those other two strikeouts: they didn’t happen. The box score is just a jealous hater.

Q: Should I tell my boss to shove it like I want? Or is that not the sort of question you’ll answer?

Depends. Is this D.J. Short or Drew Silva asking?  If so, I might have to give different advice. If not: go Johnny Paycheck on his butt.

Q: Slower to the plate: Josh Beckett, or Bartolo Colon going for salad?

I like it when someone slams both a Yankees and a Red Sox player in the same question.

Q: If you were trapped inside a dive bar, would you play Golden Tee or Big Buck Hunter?

Really? Son, I’d drink beer and talk up the ladies. Unless they had that old game “Gyruss,” of which I was THE FREAKIN’ MASTER back in the mid-80s. I think they were only distributed in roller rinks and bowling alleys, though, so it may be hard to find in a dive bar.

Q: Have you considered banning Phillies Chat in one post per day?

What, and screw up the business model? I actually have an experiment I’m going to run. One day I’m going to put up a straight-up post about a horrible natural disaster in which many people perish. And then I’m going to count how many comments it takes for the thread to be hijacked into a Phillies discussion.

Q: Can you mention me in the MVP race?

Consider yourself considered. You’re in the conversation.

That’s all I got, folks. Thanks again for all of the questions. If I didn’t get to yours, well, ask better questions.

Phil Nevin: managerial candidate for the Nats, Mariners, Marlins and Padres

Phil Nevin

Phil Nevin retired following the 2006 season so he was too early to join the trend of All-Star players who, rather than simply wait around for a big league managerial job to be handed to them, actually went and managed in the bus leagues for a while.

He started in independent ball, jumped to the Tigers’ Double-A team and then Triple-A team and then, for the past two seasons, managed the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A club in Reno. In short, the man has paid his dues and has had good reviews from his players everywhere he’s been. So this is not too much of a surprise:


The Padres feel like the most natural fit given that Nevin’s best seasons came with the club and given that he makes his home just outside of San Diego. But all of those jobs are fairly desirable, either for personal reasons or because they’re fairly talented clubs who underachieved in significant fashion this year. Nowhere to go but up, right?

No hearing today: Chase Utley to be eligible once again

Chase Utley
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Chase Utley‘s suspension is quickly turning into a more theoretical than actual thing.

Following his Sunday suspension for sliding into Ruben Tejada and breaking Tejada’s leg, Utley appealed. Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement players are eligible pending appeal, and because MLB, the union and Utley’s agent could not get together for a hearing yesterday he was eligible for last night’s game. Of course he didn’t play.

Now, Tim Brown of Yahoo hears from a source that there will be no hearing today either.

This is simultaneously interesting given how much of a to-do the whole matter has become and boring given how, in reality, Utley is a pretty unimportant piece of the Dodgers roster at this point and his presence or absence will, in all likelihood, not affect any game on a level even approaching the manner in which he affected Game 2.

Clayton Kershaw on short rest: an OK idea if Mattingly has a quick hook

Don Mattingly

Last night, as Brett Anderson was being tattooed by Mets batters, I wondered when we’d see Don Mattingly amble out of the dugout to take the ball from him. Turns out he didn’t. He let Anderson finish the third inning having given up six runs and turned it over to the pen for what was essentially a mop-up job.

Maybe that was defensible. Maybe Mattingly realized that, even though the Dodgers would end up scoring more than six runs on the night, the game was already out of hand. Sort of a gut thing, maybe. Let’s not dwell too much on that except to say that Mattingly’s hook was not terribly quick given that his pitcher was having issues.

His hook had better be quicker tonight.

Clayton Kershaw is going on short rest. Historically, pitchers haven’t done too well on short rest in the playoffs. But Kershaw, who pitched on short rest in both the 2013 and 2014 NLDS, has been generally OK. He has, at the very least, given the Dodgers a chance to win.

In Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS against the Braves he allowed two runs — unearned — in six innings. He didn’t figure in the decision in that one — it was the infamous “Craig Kimbrel standing in the bullpen but not being used as the Braves’ season effectively ended in the eighth inning for some reason” game — but the Dodgers advanced to the NLCS.

Last year’s NLDS appearance against the Cards was less-than-stellar. On regular rest he was beat up badly in Game 1, allowing eight runs in six and two-thirds. Then, in Game 4, he came back on only three days’ rest. And, for a while, he pitched well, allowing zero runs through six innings on 94 pitches. Normally Kershaw can go longer than that, but on short rest? Seemed like a bad idea to send him out for the seventh. Mattingly sent him out for the seventh, however, and eight pitches and a Matt Adams home run later the Cards led 3-2 and the Dodgers’ season was over.

Don Mattingly doesn’t have a lot of options tonight and didn’t really have them even before burning Alex Wood last night. He has to use Kershaw and it’s the right decision to do so. Go with what brung ya and go with your best. But he needs to remember that his best on short rest isn’t the same as his best at other times. He should plan for, at the outside, six innings from Kershaw. Indeed, he should be ecstatic if he gets six. A reasonable plan would be for less and to have a reliever ready to go at basically any time in the game.

The Dodgers’ entire season is on the line tonight and Mattingly’s job may very well be on the line too. If he’s on his keister in the dugout watching Kershaw put two men on with nobody out in a close game, he may as well just tender his resignation right then and there.