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

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We did the Twitter questions thing again last night. Let’s go:

Q: How do the Braves end up as “your” team if you grew up in WV, TBS?

Yep. That and an electric attraction to Andres Thomas.

Q: Will Ryan Braun be elected to start the All-Star Game even with the PED cloud over his head?

He’s still fourth overall in the voting and is the second-leading vote-getter among National League outfielders. Milwaukee draws a lot of fans and thus votes. I think he makes it.

Q: OK… Do the Cubs have ANY chance of finishing above .500 this season?

As of this this morning they’d have to 62-44 to make it. I think the odds of that happening are somewhere close to the odds of me winning the Cy Young Award.

Q: Umpires. Are they getting worse every year or is technology advancing so much we’re noticing their gaffes more?

I don’t know that we have any real way of measuring if they’re better or worse. I’m skeptical that they’re considerably worse and suspect that a lot of it has to do with the fact that we can see every mistake in high-def and watch it replayed like crazy on the web the next day. But saying “it’s always been bad like this” doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t improve umpiring. Jay Jaffe had some suggestions on how to do that yesterday.  They’re pretty darn good.

Q:  Rockies cut Moyer, sign Francis. Upgrade?

In terms of pitching? Probably. But they have taken a serious downgrade in metrics dealing with sitting around, telling people about how meat was rationed during the war while offering the children gross hard candies.

Q: So we’re putting the giant Morrissey poster in the foyer, right?

This is what happens when your girlfriend and you talk about moving in together. In other news.

Q: Just finished season one of Battlestar Galactica. Why is Baltar tormented? Hallucinating about Number Six does not seem like too poor an existence.

Oh, just wait, his torment become nice and justified later. And now, even though I just finished watching all of BSG last fall, I want to watch them all again.

Q: When a player is fined, where does the money go? The league? The team or union? Or (hopefully) charity?

There’s a central fund shared by all the teams. In some instances they go to charities. Really, though, the fine money in baseball is chump change, so it’s not like the league is getting rich off this or that charities are getting shafted. It’s like Major League Baseball’s give-a-penny, take-a-penny dish.

Q: Do you believe it’s even possible for any baseball player to dominate every day the way Richard Dawson did in Super Match?

Richard Dawson on Match Game was like Babe Ruth in 1920 crossed with Sandy Koufax in 1966. But at the risk of being controversial, there may not have been a better game show performance than Markie Post on Pyramid. Stone cold assassin.

Q: How many Altuves is Andrelton’s andrelton?

Based on the photographic evidence, I’d say it’s around 0.13845 Altuves.

Q: How does @norunsupport feel about your fascination with Andrelton Simmons’ junk?

I don’t think it bothers her or worries her nearly as much as the fact that I have a Madonna playlist on my iPod and listen to it fairly often bothers her.

Q: When the post about Bill Maher buying a share of the Mets went up, a lot of people replied with “another reason to hate the Mets.” Why do you think people with no vested anti-Mets rooting interest hate the Mets so much? They just don’t seem with the effort to me.

I don’t think people hate the Mets nearly as much as they love hacky jokes. The Mets merely provide an efficient vehicle for hacky joke delivery.

Q: If the Mets go into a slump, everybody’s going to blame Tuesday night’s game, aren’t they?

No, they’re going to blame Bill Maher for poor leadership.

Q: Did you ever have a personal one shining moment in little league?

Not really. I played baseball from age 7 through age 15 or so, and I was always kind of crappy. I could catch a little and I wasn’t an automatic out, but I was slow and was never high up in the batting order. Offensively speaking, the only highlight that comes to mind is the time when I was playing Babe Ruth ball and we faced some stud pitcher who had an amazing curve ball for his age and everyone thought it was the best thing ever. I knew I couldn’t catch up to his fastball, so I just decided to hope he bothered to throw me “his wrinkle,” as my coach called it. He did on the second pitch and I hit a double. I don’t remember ever hitting any other doubles. I think I was stranded at second base. For the rest of the game I acted all wise in the dugout, explaining to the other kids how to recognize that curve. I was completely full of crap, of course.

Q: Would you be interested in this Batman/Aquaman slash fiction I’ve authored?

No! Never! In fact I’m so appalled by the idea that you should just throw it out! If you can’t find an appropriate place to toss it, send it to hardballtalk@gmail.com and, um, someone here will dispose of it for you.

Q: Will Karolyi put Maroney on the team even though she is really only useable for one event? Will Utley ever play this year?

I think it’s more likely that McKayla Maroney plays second base for the Phillies — or Chase Utley makes the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team — than it is for Utley to play second base for the Phillies this year.

Q: Is Angel Hernandez always this incompetent, or just tonight?

I don’t even know what he did or where he was umpiring last night, but the answer is: yes, he is always that incompetent.

Q: What’s the most crazy? Pitt in 2nd, Dodgers in first, or Boston/Philly in last?

If by “crazy” you mean “unsustainable” I’d go with the Pirates. Unless you think that A.J. Burnett is going to continue pitching like and ace and the Buccos are going to continue to win despite having only one legit offensive threat.

Q: Name some of your favorite lines/moments from “Ball Four.” Where does it rank in your pantheon of baseball books?

There are so many. The first one that comes to mind is “A young girl asked one of the guys in the bullpen if he was married.  ‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘but I’m not a fanatic about it.'”  The moments I like the most are the ones that tend to get overlooked when people talk about “Ball Four.”  Everyone mentions the stories about  Mickey Mantle and ballplayer carousing and stuff, but for me the best parts of the book are about Bouton himself, his desperation and just how aware he is that he’s close to losing his dream of being a ballplayer.  You can’t read the book without thinking of it as a man trying to come to terms with things. So much of the humor and so many of the observations can be read as Bouton in self-defense mode. It’s really affecting and the dynamic applies beyond baseball. In my case, I took a very similar stance with the law as I was leaving it, knowing I’d never be a partner in a law firm and trying my best to see it all with clear eyes.

Q: Aroldis Chapman on the mound, Batman at the plate. What’s the pitch-by-pitch breakdown?

[Pitch One]: Strike looking

[Pitch Two]: Strike looking

[Pitch Three]: Pitcher’s arm riddled with Batarangs, pelvis broke by kick to midsection, pitcher bound in rope, deposited on the steps of the Cincinnati Police Department with note pinned to him explaining how he orchestrated grand theft in Pittsburgh and facilitated a Cuban torture ring.

Q: What’s your favorite baseball memory?

Probably my first real one: watching Alan Trammell hit a home run against the California Angels in 1979. I was not yet six and it was the first game I remember attending. I thought it was the best thing that had ever happened. The Tigers (who were then my rooting interest) winning the World Series in 1984 and the Braves winning the World Series in 1995 didn’t even compare as far as what I felt and how I remember it. No lie.

Q: Old Shea or Hell?

Never went to Old Shea, so I guess I can’t say for sure. But I hear Hell is a dry heat so maybe it’s not that bad …

Q: The Twins drafted a ton of power pitchers, but their coaching staff is known for developing pitch to contact. Problem?

Nah. You can always teach a power pitcher to pitch to contact. The Twins play baseball the right way.

Q: If a tree falls in the woods, has @AaronGleeman kissed a girl?

Oh man, that’s cold.

Q: Give us a farfetched baseball prediction that could very well come true this year.

Cliff Lee goes all Private Pyle on the rest of the Phillies for not giving him any run support.

Q: Wilco, yeay or nay?

Yay, but I’m not a fanatic about it. I tend to like their older alt-countryish stuff more than the more recent things. “Being There” is my favorite. But honestly, I listen to Mermaid Avenue more than any proper Wilco stuff and “California Stars” may be my favorite song they’ve done ever.

Q: Should the Phillies be considering austerity at this point?

I think that’s out of the question. With all of the salary obligations they have right now they are To Big To Fail. I suggest a government bailout with the taxpayers picking up Ryan Howard’s deal. Oh, don’t complain Philly fans. You claim it’s not a bad deal, YOU pay it.

Q: Who would you rather have as a pinch hitter on the bench: Thor or the Hulk?

Thor. Hulk obviously has better power, but he strikes me as a three true outcomes guy. I’m guessing Thor has a way better on base percentage.

Q: Is the proposal for a more unbalanced schedule really a way for owners to cut overhead? Divisional foes are generally closer, right? Would those extra games represent sign. savings in travel expenses?

I don’t know that it’s travel expenses as much as it is TV revenue. When teams have to play more games on opposite coasts they have more games that start at funky hours for the home fans which likely leads to lower ratings.

Q: Any chance we can get a celebrity girls of baseball post? I like to stay informed, it’d be very boss of you.

Wait, are there any celebrity girls of baseball? And dude, if I wanted to whore for pageviews that badly I’d just do a 100-page slideshow of the worst Phillies contracts of all time. It would easily be more popular than a cheesecake thing.

Q: Who will be the better player five years from now: Trout or Harper?

Um, Harper the better hitter, Trout talked about as the more complete package and all-around player. But I think Harper will be enough of a better hitter to where this will be a Beatles-Beach Boys thing as opposed to a Beatles-Rolling Stones things.

Q: With Harper and Trout being the Batman and Superman of Rookies, does that make Matt Moore the Aquaman of the Rookies?

Look, I like the Beach Boys a lot, so that previous comp is not to take a thing away from Trout. But I wouldn’t lay Superman on him. Superman is great and all, but he’s so boring and that does not describe Trout at all.  And Moore is not Aquaman. Aquaman has repeated Double-A three years running and the club is considering converting him into a middle reliever or something.

That’s all for this week, folks. Now I’m off to watch more Markie Post videos.

Yoenis Cespedes advises younger player to hustle

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Bill wrote last night about Yasiel Puig admiring a homer and raising the ire of the New York Mets because of it. I expanded on that some in the recaps. As far as significant baseball events go, it ain’t one. It’s just a silly thing that happened in one of 15 games and is, at best a minor footnote in the Chronicle of the Unwritten Rules.

But it does deserve one more post, because I missed something from it all. This passage from the AP recap of the game:

“He disrespected us,” Flores said. “I think there’s a way to enjoy a home run. That was too much.”

Between innings, Mets veteran Jose Reyes and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, also from Cuba, spoke with Puig on the field.

“After I talked to Cespedes, he told me, `Try to run a little bit faster,’ and tried to give me some advice,” Puig said through a translator. “I don’t look at it that way, but it is what it is.”

Because, obviously, when you think about respect, professionalism, decorum and the proper way to comport oneself, you think about Jose Reyes. And when you think about hustle, you think about Yoenis Cespedes.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 8, Mets 2Yasmani Grandal hit two solo homers, but it was Yasiel Puig‘s three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth which padded the Dodgers’ lead to 5-1 and essentially ended the competitive portion of the ballgame. It started the cranky portion, however, as Puig admired the blast and took a slow trot which caused several Mets players to chirp at him. After the game Wilmer Flores said this of Puig:

“I don’t think he knows what having respect for the game is. We’re playing horrible right now, we don’t need his  sh–.”

I haven’t seem a Wilmer so testy since the last time I watched “The Maltese Falcon.” I dunno, Wilmer. Maybe play better? The Mets have dropped six of seven. The Dodgers have won six straight and 12 of 13.

Mariners 7, Tigers 5: Elsewhere in unwritten rules land, Jarrod Dyson bunted to break up Justin Verlander‘s perfect game in the sixth. Unlike the Mets, no one with the Tigers took exception with it. Probably because it sparked a three-run rally for the M’s which put them back in the ballgame. Nelson Cruz drove in two that inning with a double and three overall. Mitch Haniger homered.

Marlins 2, Nationals 1: I wrote this one up in detail here. Short version: Max Scherzer loses both the no-hitter and the game in the eighth inning. Guess it wasn’t a good day for taking no-hitters deep in the game for current and/or former members of the Tigers rotation. I know he’s on the DL now, but please, someone check on Drew Smyly.

Rays 8, Reds 3Trevor Plouffe and Taylor Featherston homered. Steven Souza and Logan Morrison each drove in two runs. A really long rundown happened too, nabbing Billy Hamilton. It took five throws and an outfielder made the putout. I can’t find a real time video of it from MLB, but this is pretty funny. The lighted dot in the top is Mallex Smith, who came a long way in from left to finally make the play:

Royals 6, Red Sox 4: Down 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, the Royals loaded the bases and Sal Perez smacked a grand slam. He used one of Miguel Cabrera‘s bats to do it too. Miggy had given the bat to Drew Butera who gave it to Perez. Thanks to the blast, the Royals moved three games ahead of Detroit for third place in the Central. Thanks, Miggy!

Cardinals 7, Phillies 6: Rather than quickly recap the details of a very ugly Phillies loss, I’m gonna just send you to Bill’s recap of this game from late last night. Bill, a Phillies fan, does not spare a detail here, even though every part of him probably wanted to forget this game even happened. It’s sort of like one of those morbidity and mortality reports they make doctors give after patients die. Sure, you’d like to put it all behind you, but there is a value in hashing out all of the horrible mistakes. Doing so makes doctors better in the long run. I’m not sure what Bill is getting out of this. Either way, his patient is dead on a slab.

Padres 3, Cubs 2Erick Aybar hit a home run to things up at two in the sixth inning and Luis Torrens walked with the bases loaded against Koji Uehara to put the Pads ahead in the eighth. Torrens wouldn’t have even been playing if it weren’t for the fact that Austin Hedges was hurt and if it wasn’t for Antony Rizzo’s bad slide the other night, Hedges wouldn’t have been hurt. Some folks might call that karma.

Indians 5, Orioles 1: Carlos Carrasco struck out 10 in six shutout innings, scattering seven hits. Francisco Lindor homered and drove in three. Cleveland has won seven of eight. Baltimore has lost 10 of 14 and have allowed at least five runs in 18 consecutive games. That’s two short of the major league record set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.

Yankees 8, Angels 4Didi Gregorius and Matt Holliday each homered as the Yankees end a seven game losing streak. Despite the win, the Yankees still got the now de rigueur terrible outing from Tyler Clippard, who came into a six-run game in the ninth inning and promptly gave up a double and a two-run homer, causing Joe Girardi to go to Aroldis Chapman despite it not being a save situation. That homer was by Martin Maldonado. He hit two in the game, in fact.

Braves 5, Giants 3Matt Kemp hit a two-run walkoff homer in the 11th inning to give the Braves the win. Matt Adams hit a two-run homer and Tyler Flowers went deep as well. It was the Braves 12th walkoff win. That leads the bigs this year.

Blue Jays 7, Rangers 5: The Jays jumped out to a 6-o lead in the first inning and built it to 7-0 after three. That’s all the scoring they’d do, but it was enough even though the Rangers made it close. Darwin Barney hit a two-run homer in that first frame. The most exciting play of the game, however, was Joey Gallo hitting an inside the park homer:

He was aided, of course, by Steven Pearce losing the ball, slamming into the wall and falling, but an inside-the-park dong is an inside-the-park dong.

Brewers 4, Pirates 3: Down 3-2 in the seventh, Domingo Santana jacked a two-run homer to give the Brewers the lead and the win. Later, Orlando Arcia made a great defensive play to end the game. It only shows up as a 6-3 putout in the box score, but it was dang spiffy:

Twins 4, White Sox 2: The young stars lead the Twins to victory: Jose Berrios allowed two runs over eight innings, striking out eight and Miguel Sano homered for the second straight night. The future looks bright for Minnesota.

Diamondbacks 16, Rockies 5: You don’t win many games when you allow ten runs in a single inning like the Rockies did here in the fourth. Brandon Drury drove in six runs without even homering. Indeed, the Rockies only gave up one homer, and it was already 12-3 when that one happened. All this on the day when the Dbacks skipped batting practice. Maybe there’s a lesson in there.

Actually, no, there’s no lesson in there. Stuff just happens. That’s basically true for most things in the universe: Stuff. Just. Happens.

 

Astros 5, Athletics 1: Houston hits a lot of homers, but here they strung together five singles in their three-run sixth inning. Carlos Correa would homer in the ninth, but the game was already over by then. Mike Fiers allowed one run over six innings for his fifth straight win.