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.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.

Marlins announcer Tommy Hutton was let go because he was “too negative”

marlins logo wide

We heard earlier this week that Marlins television analyst Tommy Hutton was let go after 19 seasons on the job. By all accounts, he’s well-liked and respected, so it smelled a little fishy with a team that has owner Jeffrey Loria calling the shots. Well, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was told by a source close to the Marlins that Hutton was let go because he was “too negative.”

Jackson was also able to get in touch with Hutton, who provided some details about how things went down.

“I know there were times I was negative, but I thought those times were called for,” he said. “Ninety percent of what I said was positive. I tried not to be a homer, but you could tell I wanted the Marlins to do well.”

After being told that his salary wasn’t a factor in the decision, Hutton suspected that his candid, blunt analysis might be the impetus for his ouster.

So after learning his fate on Monday, he asked that question – whether they thought he was too negative — to both a Fox producer (at a meeting at Starbucks) and the Marlins’ vice president/communications (by phone).

He said the question was met with silence by both executives.

“I couldn’t get a yes or a no,” he said.

Hutton said there were three incident in recent years where he was told the Marlins were uncomfortable with something he said. He disclosed one example where he was exasperated at the ballpark’s dimensions after former catcher John Buck flew out to the warning track for the final out of a game. He was told by a Marlins vice president after the game that Loria prefer he not talk about the ballpark’s dimensions. Of course, the team is moving in the fences this winter.

To be clear, Hutton said he was told it was a “mutual decision” between the Marlins and FOX to let him go, but Jackson’s source hears that the concern about his “negativity” came from the team.

Hey, do you know the best way to prevent “negative” talk about your team? Fielding a winning baseball team without a dysfunctional ownership and front office. Crazy idea, I know, but it could be cool?

Report: Indians have been in touch with Shane Victorino

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 01:  Shane Victorino #18 of the Los Angeles Angels makes a catch for an out against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 1, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Outfield is a glaring need for the Indians, but they aren’t expected to shop for any of the big names on the free agent market. Instead, they are looking at potential bargains on short-term deals. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that Shane Victorino falls under this classification and that the veteran outfielder is among many names the Indians have contacted.

Victorino, who turns 35 on Monday, has been limited to just 101 games over the past two seasons due to injury. Coming off back surgery, he batted just .230/.308/.292 with one home run and seven RBI over 204 plate appearances this past season between the Red Sox and Angels while battling calf and hamstring injuries. It’s hard to see the upside at this point, but the Indians could promise him regular at-bats, especially with Michael Brantley likely to miss the start of the 2016 season following shoulder surgery.

The Indians have also reportedly discussed trading either Danny Salazar or Carlos Carrasco for a bat, which represents their best chance of adding a big name to their outfield this winter.

Korean slugger Byung-ho Park is reportedly traveling to Minnesota

Byung-ho Park

Could the Twins and Korean slugger Byung-ho Park be close to finalizing a contract?

According to Naver Sports (via a translated report from Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press), Park is scheduled to travel to the United States on Sunday. The 29-year-old is expected to make a quick stop in Chicago to meet with his agent, Alan Nero, before coming to Minnesota to see Twins officials and take a physical exam. If all goes well, a contract could be finalized as soon as next week.

The Twins bid $12.85 million last month to secure exclusive negotiating rights with Park. The deadline to complete a deal is December 8. If a deal is not worked out, Park would remain with the Nexen Heroes in the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) and the Twins would not have to pay the posting fee.

Right now, it’s unclear how far along the two sides are in negotiations. However, Berardino hears that a guarantee in the range of $20-30 million is reasonable to expect.

Park, a two-time MVP in the KBO, has amassed 105 home runs in 268 games over the past two seasons. It’s hard to tell how those numbers will translate, even after the success of Jung Ho Kang this season, but the Twins are hoping he can be a middle-of-the-order force.