Luke Leia

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


The more basebally ones will be saved for tomorrow’s HBT Daily. Here are the ones that don’t lend themselves as well to video:

Q: Better BlueJays manager? John Gibbons #1 or John Gibbons #2?

Which one was played by Dick York? I liked that one better.

Q: Why do you hate kittens?

This is inspired by the fact that I got my new cat declawed earlier this week. Yes, I know people have very strong feelings about this. One person on Twitter the other day basically said that I can’t judge people who get DUIs because I got my cat declawed. I guess it makes sense to him, but if that’s the moral equivalence at play here you can have it.  Anyway: I’ve had cats my entire life, often multiple cats at once. All rescued from shelters and things. And the fact is that I would not be willing to rescue cats like I have if every time I did so it meant half my stuff got destroyed. My vet did not have reservations about this. My cat, three days later, is her usual rambunctious self, exhibiting no ill effects. She doesn’t go outside so defense is not an issue. If this makes me a monster, well, rowr.

Q: Thoughts on “Death of a Family.”

Because a high percentage of my Twitter questions are about Batman, I presume this means the Batman-Joker comic series from last year, “Death of the Family.” Answer: I haven’t read it. I mean to. I love Batman, but like most things in life, technology and comics, I tend to be a late-adopter. I’ll be one of those old jerks who find the handsome bound edition later and then talk about it like it’s brand new.

Q: How much longer can the Braves stick with Uggla. Do we have no choice based on his contract?

It’s not like they have alternatives. At this point you just gotta hope he has his occasional hot streaks at times when the team needs them the most. He isn’t going anywhere.

Q: Game show you’d most like to be on, game show you’d be best at?

I’d most like to be on “Match Game” back in the Richard Dawson/Charles Nelson Reilly era, because everyone on there was loaded and looked like they were having the time of their freaking lives. Or possibly paired up with Markie Post on “Pyramid” because she was a stone-cold assassin on that show and, well, I was in love with her for most of the 1980s. And 90s. And some days still today. I’d probably be best at “Jeopardy,” however.

Q: If you could create a baseball player using body parts of different active players, who do you choose? Can’t go all-Trout.

Arm of Rick Ankiel, legs of Billy Hamilton, eye of Joey Votto, upper body strength of Giancarlo Stanton, swag of Harper and at some point Andrelton Simmons has to enter the equation.

Q: Who finishes with the worst record: Marlins, Astros, or Aquaman?

Marlins: 56-106, Astros: 60-102, Aquaman: 0-162, because he has zero useful on-land skills.

Q: Why won’t you come clean about Benghazi?

Because I’m busy trying to mount multiple false-flag operations, as one does.

Q: Did Stevie nicks die?

Q: And what’s with the Stevie Nicks nonsense?

Last year there was a headline about “The Cocaine Queen” dying. My kneejerk joke on Twitter was “RIP Stevie Nicks.” Which I thought was kinda clever in an “I’m old and I remember the 70s” kind of way. Apparently there are a lot of young women — painfully young — who are a bit more into Stevie Nicks than anyone should be into another person, and none of them have a sense of humor. A few thought I was breaking news and when they figured it out, these would-be witchy women decided that I was the worst person in the world. Please don’t tell any of them about my cat. I may get death threats.

Q: Ever get into cricket? It’s like baseball’s weird older cousin.

So cricket has to register with the sheriff’s department wherever it lives too? Or … did I just reveal too much?

Q: “Gattitude” is some top notch trolling of Nats fans. What’s the greatest troll in baseball history?

Basically every player quoted after a victory over a crappy team who talks about how “you gotta be careful with these guys, they have a lot of players who can hurt you, so no lead ever feels safe.” Either that or the entire existence of the Chicago Cubs.

Q: Should teams with aging, overweight veterans revive pullover jerseys/beltless pants to look more softball league?

Only if they can rock at sexy as The Bull did.

Q: In his podcast last month, Joe Sheehan compared recent Bill James to recent Gary Busey. Fair or foul, or just funny?

I didn’t hear it, but I’m gonna assume that it was in the “someone who was taken seriously once back when they were at the top of their game and now is, well, a bit on the eccentric side.” Can’t say that I read enough modern Bill James to say. But I think it’s also fair to say that anyone who ever does anything at the highest level has an inevitable fallow/unfortunate period. Lou Reed and Metallica: two of the best ever. Lou Reed + Metallica: maybe the worst thing ever recorded. But they got nothin’ to prove to anyone, so haters can hate all they want.

Q: Who wins in a snarkoff: you or Keith Law?

Law. One of the best pure snarkers in the game. I’m more of a utility snarker.

Q: There’s a new video game called Injustice with DC heroes. In it, Aquaman is considered the best character. Thoughts?

Is the object of the game to have all of the innocent citizens killed by super villains? If so, I could see why Aquaman would be the best character. Otherwise I’m confused.

Q: Favorite c-list actor? I have to go with Clint Howard who obviously only gets work on his brothers films.

I think we all have to admit that Nicolas Cage is now a C-list actor at best. But I have an irrational love for Nicholas Cage. Yes I know he has made scores of nearly-unwatchable movies, but I don’t care. He’s usually interesting. Not good, mind you, but interesting. One of the things I’m most looking forward to this summer is seeing if he gets a flashback or, better yet, voice-from-beyond-the-grave cameo in “Kick-Ass 2.” It’s not listed on his IMDb page, but I’m still holding out hope.

Q: You’re a Braves fan, right? Can you take Jeff Francoeur back now, please?

Sorry. We said “no backsies” when he left town. I figure the likelihood of him ending his career in Atlanta is dangerously high, however.

Q: What’s the standard of proof in replay review?

I would like it to be “arbitrary and capricious,” mostly so I could hear Jerry Remy say “arbitrary and capricious.”

Q: Geddy Lee and his baseball fandom?

Good for him! Whenever I slag on Rush, people remind me that Lee is a huge baseball fan who follows the Jays closely and donated a lot of memorabilia to the Negro Leagues Museum and all of that. And that’s wonderful But it doesn’t change the fact that he sang this once:

I lie awake, staring out at the bleakness of Megadon. City and sky become one, merging
Into a single plane, a vast sea of unbroken grey. The Twin Moons, just two pale orbs as
They trace their way across the steely sky. I used to think I had a pretty good life here,
Just plugging into my machine for the day, then watching Templevision or reading a Temple
Paper in the evening.

Rock and roll is about getting girls and having fun and stuff, first and foremost. You can obviously stray pretty far from that if you want, or else I wouldn’t have a love for guys like Dylan and Neil Young. But even guys like that know that you gotta get back to basics often in order to not lose your way.  I feel like once you’ve strayed to Megadon, you’ve strayed too far.

Q: As a fellow central Ohioan I’d love your take on the urban legend about Fred Ricart and his wife’s curling iron.

I choose to believe it in its entirety, even if Snopes said it’s an old, made up tale.

Q: How’s the diet going? Saw the grilled zucchini, that’s a good place to be.

For those unaware, back in February I went on a pretty restricted low/no-carb diet after getting a cholesterol count that could only be described as “assy.” It was kind of hard at first as lower serotonin levels brought on by less sugar/carbs can lead to temporary depression, but that seems to be under control. I’ve mostly gotten past cravings and will power issues and now veggies, fruits, lean meats and as few carbohydrates as possible are just part of the routine. I’ve lost 18 pounds with zero exercise since mid-February and weigh less than I did in high school, so that’s something. I should probably get back on the treadmill, though, as I’m way behind on TV watching.

Q: Have you ever replaced your regular coffee with Folgers crystals?

No, because I’m not clinically insane. My mother tried to give me Folgers crystals once. Once.

Q: Jarvis or Alfred?

Everyone knows who Alfred is. His “Iron Man” counterpart is Jarvis (replaced in the movies with J.A.R.V.I.S.). Lot of discussion the past two days on whether Batman or Iron Man is better. You know where my sympathies lie. And really, there would be no contest if the two of them had to fight. All of Iron Man’s power comes from a single little machine in his chest that, oh, by the way, is also keeping him from DYING. I’m guessing Batman has created and used so many EMP devices in his life that he’s lost count. One pulse from one of those + a couple minutes to chuckle + a few kicks to head and Iron Man is as dead as vaudeville. Except Bats is too cool to let him die, so he’d have Alfred improvise some quickie battlefield medical fix to keep that shrapnel from entering Tony Stark’s heart in such a way that his Iron Man suit couldn’t simultaneously be re-powered.  Which probably means Alfred is better, naturally.

Q: Is Ricketts “threat” that the Cubs may leave Wrigley the most empty threat ever?

Nah. That would be Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Darth Vader that if he was struck down he’d become more powerful than Vader could ever imagine. Sure, he went all immortal on him, but what did he really do? He told Luke to run, which Luke probably would have anyway. He told him to turn off his targeting computer which, sure, worked out fine, but was highly irresponsible. Told him to go to Dagobah, yes, I’ll grant that was a big one and Luke wouldn’t have otherwise. But Luke did all the hard work. And let’s be honest: Luke could have died on Hoth and it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference. He helped no one in “Empire” and actually put people at risk.

I suppose Han doesn’t get freed from Jaba without Luke and the second Death Star doesn’t get destroyed without Han on the ground on Endor, but that just leads to another problem: why all the cloak and dagger crap to free Han from Jabba? I know it’s a scrappy band of Rebels and all, but they have an army and a fleet and crap. Why could they not have just dispatched a platoon of soldiers to Jabba’s palace, marched right in and taken Han by force? Those pig guards wouldn’t last ten seconds.  That always bugged me.

Not as much as the fact that he never told Luke to, you know, not make out with HIS OWN SISTER. That woulda been kinda helpful, all-powerful Obi-Wan. Sheesh.

Anyway. That’s all I got this week.

Trevor Bauer says his finger will be OK for the World Series

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 17:  Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians walks back to the dugout after being relieved due to his cut pinky finger in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during game three of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 17, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians starter Trevor Bauer said he expects his sliced right pinkie to heal in time for the World Series.

Bauer, of course, is a drone hobbyist and hurt his finger while fixing a drone. By the time he’ll have to pitch again he will have had nine days since his last, bloody start in ALCS Game 3. Yesterday he said “I’ll be ready to pitch in the World Series whenever they need me. I’m doing everything I can and I’ll be back out there for sure.”

Bauer reportedly suggested that Indians trainers cauterize his finger on Monday. They declined. Which is something Bauer should probably thank them for.

It’s time for Major League Baseball to take a stand on Chief Wahoo

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 06:  A fan holds a sign during game one of the American League Divison Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Indians are in the World Series. Come Tuesday they will be on baseball’s biggest stage — an international stage — for the first time in 19 years. In honor of this occasion, I’d like to know a couple of things:

  • Does Major League Baseball believe that Chief Wahoo is a racist caricature?
  • If not, why not?
  • If so, does Major League Baseball think it appropriate for a club to have a racist caricature as its logo?
  • If Wahoo is a racist caricature and if it’s inappropriate for a club to have a racist caricature as a logo what, if anything, does MLB plan to do about Chief Wahoo?

At the outset, I’ll say what should not come as a surprise to any of you: I believe that Chief Wahoo is a racist caricature. I’ve argued it ad nauseum over the years and really don’t wish to mount that argument once again. Mostly because I think the notion that Chief Wahoo is racist is indisputable. Also, because those who do not wish to see the Indians abandon that logo never actually argue that it isn’t racist. Indeed, I’ve not seen a single convincing argument in favor of Wahoo not being racist on his own merits. Oh sure, there are lots of deflections (A logo isn’t important! Tradition is tradition!; It’s just sports!; What about that other racist logo?! My quarter-Cherokee grandma says she’s fine with it!) but no one has once made even half a case that that red-faced, big-toothed, hook-nosed, feather-wearing abomination is not, in fact, a racially insensitive caricature. I don’t think such an argument could be made, actually.

So that’s not what I’m on about here. Rather, I’m interested in how this racist caricature can be eliminated from the sport I love and what has prevented it from happening to date. That’s a very different question, and it’s one that has little if anything to do with accusations of racism or good guys and bad guys. It has everything to do with institutions and inertia. And I think it’s time to drill down into that some.

Let us stipulate that the Cleveland Indians, as an organization, are not a bunch of racists. I don’t believe that for a second. They, like every other sports team, have a history and, for lots of reasons, the Indians history comes with Chief Wahoo packed in the baggage. While the Indians have made efforts over the years to diminish Wahoo, those efforts have not taken. The most likely reason for that is fear of fan backlash. Fans who, even if they themselves are not racists either, do what all sports fans do and root from a primarily emotional place, where real-world questions like “is what I’m wearing racially offensive?” are not permitted to intrude. It’s not just writers they want to stick to sports. They stick to sports themselves and, with a strong assist from cognitive dissonance, their conception of sports involves a Chief Wahoo cap and arm patch.

So, you’re running the Indians. Even when you win your division you don’t draw well, and thus the LAST thing you want to do is anger or alienate your most passionate fans. Of course you don’t get rid of that logo. Doing so would take some pretty considerable moral and ethical courage. Or, at the very least, moral and ethical courage in quantities that outweigh the short term P.R. and financial motives of a for-profit business, and that’s quite a bit. So let us stipulate two things, actually: (1) The Indians are not a bunch of racists; and (2) Even if they’re not, they’re not, on their own, going to get rid of Chief Wahoo. If they were going to, they would’ve done it by now.

Which is why I turn to Major League Baseball. If the Indians themselves are not going to do the right thing and eliminate Chief Wahoo, Major League Baseball should.

At this point I’ll say something which will probably surprise a lot of you: I’m not crazy. I may stand up on soapboxes and rant and rave about any little thing that crosses my mind, but I am, at heart, a realist. I know how large and sophisticated organizations work and I know that Major League Baseball is a large and sophisticated organization. It cannot snap its fingers and make whatever crazy, soapbox-standing bloggers want to have happen happen, even if wanted to (note: it does not want to). There are rules and norms and politics to even the most pedestrian of issues that cross Rob Manfred’s desk, and Chief Wahoo is not a pedestrian issue. It’s a controversial one that lends itself to passion and bad press and those are the hardest things an organization like MLB has to deal with. Indeed, it would prefer not to.

Part of that complication is that this is a club matter and clubs, under Major League Baseball’s business model, are mostly their own things and they can do what they please with most things. Certainly things like club identity, logos, colors, uniforms and the like. At most MLB gives final approval on new ideas in these areas, but it does not order clubs to change fonts or logos or mascots that have been in place for decades. “Hey, Orioles? You’re now the ‘Knights’ and your colors are purple and gold. Make it so” is not a memo Rob Manfred is going to write.

There is likely not even a mechanism in place for this. League-wide matters are dealt with via MLB’s constitution, to which all clubs agree, and that usually involves league wide ownership votes. This is not one of those things, though. Thirty club owners are not going to hold a vote about what mascot the Indians can slap on their cap. Large and complex organizations do not eagerly do things for which there is not a formal mechanism to accomplish said things. So, in addition to the historical inertia and the abhorrence of controversial issues and p.r. and the like, you have systemic reasons which make it easier for MLB to not act than to act.

But that does not mean it should not act. I believe it should, and I believe that the only way Major League Baseball will not, eventually, act to abolish Chief Wahoo is if it willfully ignores those questions I posed above. If it ignores, in fact, the very words it uttered just this week when the matter of the Indians name and logo was the subject of an Ontario court hearing:

“Major League Baseball appreciates the concerns of those that find the name and logo of the Cleveland Indians to be offensive.  We would welcome a thoughtful and inclusive dialogue to address these concerns outside the context of litigation.”

To truly be a part of that dialogue, Major League Baseball itself is obligated to state its convictions on the matter. If it is having trouble finding its convictions I will, once again, offer a little guide to help them along:

    • Does Major League Baseball believe that Chief Wahoo is a racist caricature? That’s a pretty simple question. A human being as educated as Rob Manfred and as educated as the hordes of Ivy Leaguers who work for him can plainly and quickly answer if it wished to.
    • If not, why not? Like I said, if they can make a convincing argument that Wahoo isn’t racist it’ll be the first time anyone has done so, but like I also said, these guys are smart, and I bet if anyone can they can. I’ll give them a fair hearing.
    • If MLB does think Wahoo is racist, does Major League Baseball think it appropriate for a club to have a racist caricature as its logo? Based on everything I know about Major League Baseball and its commitment to diversity, inclusion and open-mindedness, it cannot answer this question in the affirmative if it believes Wahoo to be racist.
    • Finally, if Wahoo is a racist caricature and if it’s inappropriate for a club to have a racist caricature as a logo what, if anything, does MLB plan to do about Chief Wahoo?

And there we are. There’s nothing formal in place to make the Indians change, but if Rob Manfred gets to that last question, he can certainly lean on the club. He can make a public statement about it and what is right. Or, he can take a different tack and show the Indians how much merch they’d sell if they got a new logo. It doesn’t matter much. The Commissioner is not omnipotent, but in a matter of conscience that affects only one club, some meetings and phone calls and his power of persuasion could make a big difference here. All the difference, really.

But first Major League Baseball and Commissioner Manfred have to themselves be inspired to act. They have to cease dodging the matter by making reference to the controversy and the feelings it engenders and actually take a position in that controversy. The Indians have shown that they will not act unilaterally, so MLB should, at long last, weigh in itself to force their hand.

Commissioner Manfred will, no doubt, be in Cleveland for the World Series. He will, no doubt, hold a press conference or two. Given the Indians return to the international stage, the usual protests about Chief Wahoo will be louder than they typically are and Commissioner Manfred will be asked about the matter. I believe that he, on behalf of the league, should answer the questions I have posed here and that other journalists will no doubt pose to him in person.

I hope he does. I hope that, rather than once again merely acknowledging a longstanding conversation about a baseball team sporting an abjectly racist logo on its cap in the 21st century, he, on behalf of Major League Baseball, enters the conversation. I hope he does what no one else seems willing or able to do: eliminates Chief Wahoo, now and forever.

Doing so would not be the easy course. It would certainly be easier to dodge these questions than to answer them openly and honestly and to then do what one’s answers to them obligate one to do. But it would be the right thing to do. I suspect Major League Baseball already knows this.