The Question

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


Another round of Twitter questions, some of which I held back for the next edition of HBT Extra. These, however, did not make the video cut. Which is cool, because as we all know, the non-video ones are usually more fun. Anyway:

Q: So…what would you say, ya do here?

Well look, I already told you! I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don’t have to! I have people skills!

Q: Who’s your favorite?

I assume this was a question about The Women of “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,” so I’ll go with the Baroness because, wowza. I liked her way more than Scarlet or Lady Jaye. In other news, according to G.I. Joe canon, Lady Jaye is a Bryn Mawr graduate who did graduate work in Trinity College in Dublin, before going on to intelligence school. Yet she’s only a staff sergeant. Scarlett, meanwhile, graduated college summa cum laude and went to law school and she’s only a master sergeant. What’s up with that? Women can’t be officers in G.I. Joe? What a crock.

Q: Why is there no love for Batgirl? Who wouldn’t want a hot chick that could bar brawl with you?

Ask me after I answer this next question …

Q: Tigers and Braves in playoffs, not playing each other, but at the same time. Do you give up the good TV to me? Think about it.

That question came from my girlfriend, who is a Tigers blogger. When she finds out that I’d make her watch Detroit up in the back room on the old TV that’s hooked up to the kids’ Wii, I may very well find out what it’s like to have a hot chick bar brawling with me. Been nice knowin’ you guys.

Q: Commissioner of the day: you are allowed to pardon one for entry to HoF, Shoeless Joe Jackson or Pete Rose? And why.

Jackson. Because even if they dug up his dry, dead bones, propped them up on stage and had famous ventriloquist Jeff Dunham shove his hand up his backside and speak for him, his induction speech would be more dignified than Rose’s.

Q: When will the Chicago Cubs win the World Series?

2018. Prove me wrong.

Q: How do you really feel about football bloggers writing about baseball? It was tough to tell from your post today.

In case you missed it. But I found something even better than football writers taking on baseball. Football fans coming into baseball blog threads and accusing people who like baseball of being “butthurt,” which is a word that they apparently hand out like free candy at football fan school. What we’re supposed to be “butthurt” over I’m not sure, though based on context I assume it’s baseball’s relative unpopularity compared to football. Which is an interesting insight given that these comments always come in response to arguments that football’s greater popularity is actually a drawback rather than a benefit or is, at the very least, irrelevant. But maybe I’m wrong to think that’s interesting. Perhaps my butthurtedness is just blinding me.

Q: What question would you most like asked?

Something that would give me an excuse to troll Phillies fans, preferably about Ryan Howard.

Q: Ryan Howard hasn’t struck out once this season, or made a single error at 1B. Still think his $125M extension was a mistake?

Wow, someone did the trolling for me in the question! You guys are awesome!

Q: What troubled MLB franchise would Dennis Rodman save?

The New York Yankees. They’ve been around forever. They haven’t really changed. They have no excitement about them at all. This, I’m told by football partisans, is a horrible thing, so clearly they need Rodman to drag them into the late 20th century.

Q: Why do Baby Boomers hate me and my fellow millenials?

That’s totally unfair. We Gen-Xers hate you and your fellow millenials too. It’s a jealousy thing, though. You guys text way faster than we can.

Q: Do you like candy?

It’s dandy, but …

Q: Do you have to work at being a D-bag, or does it come natural?

Come now, if I was really a D-bag I’d note that your use of the word “natural” is improper and that you should have gone with an adverb there. But I won’t do that, because I’m not a D-bag.

Q: Why does Dusty Baker hate me? And Aroldis Chapman? And Devin Mesoraco? And Chris Heisey?

You know what you did.

Q: Should Dusty Baker Insert himself in the cleanup spot in the Reds batting order?

Only if he can’t find Kal Daniels’ number.

Q: Should Cadet Kirk really have been awarded a commendation for original thinking?

Referring to this, of course. And you’re right, maybe he should have been punished for cheating. But given that he slept his way through an entire female cadet class and was never disciplined for harassment or moral turpitude, we all know that they were never gonna do anything to him. If he had killed another cadet while trying to execute a Kolvoord Starburst like Wesley Crusher did, Kirk probably would have gotten a commendation too.

Q: Best pizza in Columbus?

Pizza in Columbus is pretty dire. There is a local type of pizza — not good enough to make it a neat regional thing, but prevalent enough to squeeze out actually good pizza — that I’ll call “Columbus Style Pizza” as a shorthand. Columbus Style Pizza is a thin crust thing, pushed mostly by local chain Donato’s. It’s always cut in little squares, not proper slices. It can be done well by some local places (think crispier crust) but it’s often found on soft stale cracker crust and doesn’t hold up to anything approaching a decent topping load.

Worst of all, it doesn’t scratch the itch for good, triangle-cut pie. I mean, I realize this is Columbus and we’re not going to get New York quality here, but it’s almost impossible to find decent, traditional pizza that doesn’t come from a chain. Even Sbarro’s is an improvement compared to what we normally get.

If I must get something besides my local Columbus Style (which at least my kids like), I’ll go to a place down on Ohio State’s campus called Flying Pizza, which is at least in the neighborhood of New York style pizza. Though I’m guessing New Yorkers wouldn’t have the highest opinion of it.

Q: How are you celebrating Chipper’s 40th birthday next Tuesday?

Not getting pizza, that’s for damn sure.

Q: Odds the Cardinals repeat?

Q: Why can’t baseball be more like the NFL?

I guess we’re just stuck in the past, man. We can’t get beyond our 126 square-inch prison!

Q: Tim & Eric: Great Job or Greatest Job?

Great job! (it’s an awesome show)

Q: Why was the DH created and why only AL?

Social experiment created by the auto industry to see if Americans would accept a big, bloated, slow-moving product with superficial performance advantages that, in reality, no one really needed in the first place. This led directly to the SUV explosion in the 1990s.  The NL was used as a control group.

Q: Why was Kris Medlen pitching 2 innings in a 8-2 game? Is Fredi saving Livan’s arm?

Fredi knows that none of us have a memory and that later in the season when Medlen is gassed he can say “hey, I had to use him in close games early” and no one will call him on it.

Q: What do you think is the difference between this year’s J-Hey compared to last year?

Injuries, really. I know that’s often used as an excuse, but he was hurt more than most people realized. Wrist troubles kill a guy who depends on whiplike bat speed like him.

Q: Ratio of serious questions to sarcastic?

Better this week than usual, but that’s not saying much.

Q: What would be your at bat music?

This little ditty.  I’d make Mike Hargrove look like a rank amateur.

Q: You have to demolish one of these stadiums -Fenway or Wrigley? And why?

Fenway. I like it when people say things like “that’s a wicked pissah!” They’re so cute.

Q: Henry Rollins Era, or First Four Years. Your answer to this is of the utmost importance.

I have this feeling based on the questioner and the way it was put that the correct answer should be First Four Years. But I ain’t gonna lie: I wasn’t that damn cool back in the day and I had never heard of Black Flag prior to Henry Rollins being in it. Likewise, I was never so into Black Flag that I felt it necessary to go back and find the older, pre-Hank stuff. I owned “Damaged” on cassette and loved it and I’m not gonna pretend I didn’t, even if Rollins became something of a clown later on.

Q: On a scale of 1-10 how worried are you about Tim Lincecum?


Q: Favorite Muppet?

That mad bomber guy. Mostly out of pity. Thanks to a bunch of idiot terrorists he was marginalized for years. I was really happy to see that he made it back for that new Muppet movie.

Q: Would you rather have Liberty Media spring for outfield lighting banks at Turner or on fielders that can catch popups?

The lights. Because  given how much Dan Uggla cost them already, I can’t imagine the price for a second baseman who can actually field his position. It’s likely prohibitive. And since going over budget gives Liberty Media the vapors — and since there is no room in the budget for anti-vapors medication, at least not this quarter — we simply can’t have that.

Q: Why is Fredi still manager of the Braves? 

No room in the budget for cardboard boxes designated for desk-clearing purposes. And Staples is really wanting too much for the paper on which the pink slips are printed. If there’s a sale sometime this summer, however, Fredi had best watch out.

Q: Over/under 1.5 seasons for Bobby V as Sox manager.

Under. Just a feeling.

Q: Why eat pie when ice cream exists?

Because of à la mode? Because you can either subject yourself to false choices or you must die a fiery and awful death?

Q: If you had one recurring event in your life that would activate something like the Marlins HR feature, what would it be?

When I write a tweet that is exactly 140 characters the first time I write it, with no awkward abbreviations and whatnot. That’s a solid, solid feeling in need of overly-demonstrative celebration.

Q: My brother, @TimsNeighbor , was accepted to Emory Law School today. Bourbon of choice for celebration? Can’t say Makers.

Congrats, TimsNeighbor. Who was literally a tool once upon a time and now will be a lawyer. Oh well, we can’t all progress in life. Bourbon: treat yourself to some Ranger Creek. It’s not from Kentucky, but it’s good bourbon. And very different than Makers if that’s not your thing.

Q: Is Aaron Gleeman more Aquaman or more Robin? Or am I completely off the mark?

He’s Steve Arlo to my Daryl Zero. Except I don’t do as much meth and would never have been able to call that bluff about the Corrodium 3 deduction.

Q: Who would you choose to start a game 7 of the WS that was active anytime between 1976-1982 and why?

Hmm. Tough one. Gonna go with Phil Niekro. Not because he’s necessarily the most effective. Rather, because Game 7’s make me nervous, and at least with Niekro we’d know early if the knuckleball was working. If it wasn’t I could turn off the game early and save myself the heartache.

Q: Beatles or Stones?

See the above question about false choices.  When I feel like a badass I listen to Beggar’s Banquet-Exile Stones, and there may be nothing better in the world.  When I want beauty and wonderfulness in my life I listen to any number of Beatles records.  We can all get along, people. We can all get along.

Thanks, all.  More next week.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.