Tiffany Simons

Tiffany Simons on “Star Wars”

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As I’ve mentioned before, the best part of HBT Extra is when Tiffany Simons and I chat prior to taping. And, from time to time — and with Tiffany’s permission — I like to share some of the gems from those conversations. Today’s concerns “Star Wars.” And we got two gems, actually.

First, Tiffany recently interviewed R.A. Dickey and, later in the day, was to interview knuckleball legend Charlie Hough.  In preparation for the Hough interview, she asked Dickey to describe the nature of his relationship with Hough:

Tiffany: “He said ‘Charlie is like the Jedi to my … something.'”

Me: “Padawan?”

Tiffany: “Yes, that’s it. I have no idea what that meant.”

I don’t think this reflects poorly on Tiffany at all, by the way. Because even if you’ve seen “Star Wars,” “padawan” is a word that could elude you if you’re not obsessive about it, if for no other reason than I think it doesn’t appear until the prequels, and those stunk.

No, I’m more amazed by Dickey here.  In his recent memoir her painfully recounted the mistake he made several years ago when he had an extramarital affair.  The amazing part is that a guy who casually throws out Jedi-Padawan analogies like this was able to woo two women at various points in his life. Hope for nerds everywhere, right?

The second gem speaks more directly to Tiffany:

“My friends and I saw “Spaceballs” before we saw “Star Wars.” And we didn’t even know “Star Wars” existed when we saw “Spaceballs.”  So when we saw “Star Wars,” we were all like ‘this sucks, “Spaceballs” was way better.'”

Do with that information what you will.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.