The Question

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

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I spent a lot of yesterday on Twitter talking about gay marriage. Short version: I’m pro-gay marriage. Exceedingly so, as I believe it a basic civil right to which I have yet to see any legitimate argument in opposition that comports with the civic culture and history of the United States. I got grouchy at Obama for being late to the party, but basically, I set off a whole big Twitter conversation in which I made clear my support of gay marriage.

So, obviously, when I asked for Twitter questions I got a million of them about gay marriage. And because the usual call for Twitter questions brings about two dozen Batman-related questions — and because I obsessed so much on Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper this week — I got a nice mashup of those.  Here’s but a sampling:

  • When will marriage equality come to Gotham?
  • If Batman got gay married, who would it be with? You can’t say Robin.
  • Does Batman getting gay married undermine the sanctity of Hamels throwing at Harper to uphold the rules of the game?
  • If Batman was gay could he hit four home runs in one game?
  • If Jeter and Arod got married, who would be Batman, relegating the other to the sidecar?

There were many, many more.  To save time, I will note that Batman is probably straight — too much Catwoman and Poison Ivy interaction there — but (a) he was interested in Katie Holmes in “Batman Begins,” and being associated with her romantically is somewhat complicated in that department; and (b) his relationship with the Joker long is long past the “Jeez, will you two make out already for crying out loud?” territory.  Seriously, you can cut the tension with a knife there.

Either way, Batman would likely support gay marriage because he is, above all else, a reasonable person, at least if you ignore the fact that he’s sort of psychotic. As for who he’d marry if he weren’t straight?  Northstar, obviously.  Anyway:

Q: Bigger threat to the institution of marriage: gay marriage or pitchers hitting?

Basically, everything in the world is a bigger threat to marriage than gay marriage. Think about it: is there any other pursuit or institution on the planet that is actually threatened by people eagerly wanting to be a part of it?  Interest and new adherents usually strengthens an institution, it doesn’t weaken it. The only exception I can think of are pathetic hipster hangounts, and who the hell wants to be like that?

Q: Any way Harper gets sent back down? What about before the Werth injury?

Never. He’s here to stay. Even before the Werth injury I would say so.  He may slump, but I suspect the Nats have decided that his character is such that he’ll learn better from the challenge of the bigs than being bored in the bushes. And, yeah, he’ll be a gate draw, I imagine.

Q: Seriously, How good are the Rangers?

Pretty fantastic. They have a +65 run differential right now, which trails only the Cardinals. Texas has been so good for the past couple of years that people are almost overlooking them.

Q: What’s the most classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act you’ve seen in your years in baseball?

In my baseball-watching lifetime: the owners illegally colluding against the players in free agency in the 1980s. They cost players millions and playing time and, for reasons that are still a mystery to me, no one holds that against them as far as legacy goes.  The poor character that led Bud Selig to help orchestrate that is way more than the poor character that is cited in keeping PED-associated players out of the Hall of Fame, yet Selig will get a standing ovation when he is one day inducted.

Q: Which underwhelming star has a better shot at 30 HR: Pujols or Adrian Gonzalez?

Well, considering that even in a really good season for him last year Gonzalez didn’t hit 30, I’ll say Pujols. When AG heats up expect more doubles off the wall. I think Pujols has a better shot to smack 30.

Q: Now that Brandon Inge has hit a walk-off grand slam for his new team how do you think he’ll do against his former teammates?

Not sure, but for chaos purposes I’m hoping he hits for the cycle in each game of the series. It would drive Tigers fans absolutely bonkers. Really, I can’t recall a fan base being so torn up and schizophrenic over a player than Tigers fans over Inge.

Q: What occurs first: active MLB player out of the closet or Chief Wahoo logo dropped by Cleveland management?

Hmm. Depends what “dropped” means. I doubt Cleveland will ever officially announce or eradicate Wahoo from their iconography.  I think we’re in a slow process of seeing his presence minimized, however. I predict we’ll have an out-of-the-closet major leaguer within, oh, 15 years or so.  As some commenters noted the last time this topic came up, it won’t be some surprise announcement. It will be a high school phenom with a can’t-miss baseball pedigree who is openly gay at age 17 or something because high school kids these days have way fewer hangups about this stuff than people may age do.  It’ll be a story around draft time and then, every year when he reaches the next level someone will write a rehash column about him. By the time he makes the bigs it will be old news.

Q: There is much talk of late about “small sample sizes”. How many ABs constitute a reasonable sample size, in your view?

Depends how badly I really want to make some point. If it’s REALLY badly, a reasonable sample size is exactly how many at bats the player has had the day I write the post about it.  Likewise, if a player’s performance does not fit in with my thinking, the reasonable number of at bats is exactly the number he gets when the performance finally conforms with my opinions.  They taught me that at baseball writer school, by the way.

Q: Andrew McCutchen scored from second on a groundball to short. Could Batman do that?

Yes. Routinely. Because even if the catcher has the ball 30 steps before Batman reaches home plate, you know there is no chance the catcher survives the collision without multiple fractures and the ball coming loose.

Q: How often do you thumbs up/down comments on HBT?

Never. Seriously, I don’t think I have ever used that function here. It’s a fun thing for you guys, but I ignore it.

Q: How many books have you read that substantially changed the way you live?

Hmm, probably a lot without me realizing it, but only a couple in terms of me consciously being aware of them directly affecting my thinking. One is “Mother Night” by Vonnegut, which provided me with my personal slogan:  “We are what we pretend to be so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”  I truly live by the idea that there is not a “real” you or me underneath it all. We are what we do. We are how we treat others. If you act like a jerk but believe, in your heart, you’re a good person, you’re still a jerk.

Another: “How we know what isn’t so” by Thomas Gilovich. Skepticism of received and conventional wisdom is extremely important. So much of the idiocy that goes on in our world is based on people believing things that are demonstrably false. That book covers only a limited territory — statistical and psychological experiments and the like — but the idea behind it is an extremely powerful one. Question absolutely everything. Don’t be a dick about it, but question absolutely everything.

Q: If you could write a book on any topic (excluding baseball and Mr. B-man) what do you think you’d choose?

I have about five started-but-unfinished novels. At this point I’d settle for anything with a plot I could actually resolve.  If I publish anything non-baseball-related in the near future it would probably be a memoir. Because (a) I’m really frickin’ self-centered so I can finish that; and (b) apparently anyone can get a memoir published these days no matter how boring a person they are.

Q: Will Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, and Carlos Lee be traded?

Hard to see a market for Carlos Lee given that contract and his poor production. I could see him simply being released. Not sure the Astros will want to trade Wandy, because he’s still a solid-to-excellent starter and someone has to pitch. Brett Myers is doing well in his little closer showcase and it seems someone always falls for that.

Q: Just attended a wedding in Dayton, OH. How much fun did I just have?

Depends how long ago it was. If it was during Dayton Flyers basketball season and you partied like a native in the campus neighborhood referred to as “the ghetto,” you probably had a lot of fun even if the blackouts prevent you from remembering it.  Gosh, I hope the ghetto is still the same as it was 15 years ago. It would be a shame if they cleaned it up, even if it was absolutely appalling by every reasonable measure of sanitation and humanity.

Q: FMK: Wonder Woman, Bat girl, Catwoman

I reject “FMK” questions on principle because I think the K part is misogynistic, but I would likely marry Bat Girl and spend some brief quality time with Catwoman if given the opportunity.  Julie Newmar version if you have to ask.

Q: What is the fastest land animal on earth?

Billy Hamilton.

Q: Personal question, when do you sleep? Always see your tweets at 4am.

I usually go to bed by midnight and usually wake up by 5:45 AM. At least on days I have my kids here. Non-kid mornings I usually sleep until around 6:30 or 7, depending on how insistent the cat is that I get out of bed.  If “And That Happens” appears before, say, 6AM eastern, it’s because I finished it the night before and set it to go live at a certain time.  As far as tweets go: ones that come from my personal account, as opposed to the HBT account, are always live. I don’t set those in advance. HBT Twitter tweets are a bot and they go up when posts go live.

Q: Apparently, according to @Dave_Gershman 75% GMs have anonymous Twitter accounts. What do you think are their handles?

Not sure, but I’m gonna guess that Brian Sabean is really DadBoner.

Q: What happened to Shyam Das?

He was disappeared by Ryan Braun’s lawyers in order to close the loop on things. Those guys are NOT to be messed with.

Q: Who is the next Atlanta Braves disappointment that Dayton Moore will acquire for the Royals?

Freddie Gonzalez

Q: Is Braun doing enough to sway any doubters?

People who think Ryan Braun — or any other player — is a ‘roider believe it with a religious fervor, immune to reason, facts or evidence and they always will.  He could have his bloodstream monitored for two years in real time via nanoradio technology, have it come out clean and people will still call him a cheater. That is the mentality the steroids hysteria has created.

Q: Actual thoughts on the Tigers. Your love for @norunsupport aside.

Two things: (1) @norunsupport is my girlfriend, and she is a Tigers blogger at Bless You Boys; and (2) that question did not come from her. That said: she has threatened to dump me based on my answer to the Brandon Inge answer I gave above, yet I’m still rooting for him to go crazy against the Tigers. Yes, it would suck to get dumped, but that’d be a great “why did you get dumped?” story, wouldn’t it?

Q: Personal Question: When do you bit the bullet and buy her a pretty sparkly thing?

Same person asked me that. My answer: I already bought her a pretty sparkly thing once. Jeez, I have to do it again?

Q: Personal Question: who is the better cook you or@norunsupport

Third question from the same person. Answer: Not even close. The first time I visited her she made me blondies and the first time she visited me she made me breakfast tacos. It’s easy to love someone for their beauty or their mind, but finding someone who can feed you is something special indeed.

Q: If Hamels is gonna claim he’s old school, shouldn’t he show up hung over, go on coke binges and wolf down greenies also?

Yep. And exclude minorities from the game whenever possible.

Q: Could a random collection of bums off the street outpitch the Phillies bullpen?

Hmm. I’d have to know which street. I could go either way on this.

That’s all folks. Next week: ask me about stuff other than gay marriage. I think we got that covered.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.