Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

Poll: Americans hate the DH, like bat flips and think Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame


Public Policy Polling — which normally handles political stuff — does an annual sports poll too. There’s a lot of baseball in it and that makes it relevant to our interests.

All of the results, with respect to all sports, can be found here. Some of the highlights:

  • 68% of sports fans consider domestic violence to be a more serious offense than taking PEDs and that domestic violence should lead to more serious discipline to only 21% who think using PEDs is worse. I presume all 21% of those who think PEDs are worse are Hall of Fame voters;
  • On a similar note, 51% of MLB fans think Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should be let in the Hall of Fame, 34% kept out;
  • In sports labor conflicts, 43% of Americans says they generally side with the players compared to just 20% who say they generally side with the owners. Which I have a hard time believing. Maybe fans don’t think they’re siding with owners, but they certainly agree with the same positions regarding labor and salaries and stuff that owners do;
  • 56% of fans approve of doing the wave at sporting events to 18% who disapprove. I used to be totally anti-wave, but I’ve changed my mind on that to mere indifference. It’s part of my whole “don’t hate what other people like just because other people like it” kick. I won’t likely do the wave because, eh, why, but if you want to do the wave, enjoy yourself;
  • MLB fans prefer pitchers batting over the DH 65/25. It was 55/33 last year. I can only presume that this year’s polling was done while Bartolo Colon was literally rounding the bases during his homer on Saturday;
  • MLB fans approve of bat flips, 48/31. Generational divide- Millennials support them 79/9, seniors are against 23/43.

Now is a good time for me to remind you that democracy is the best thing there is, except in instances where the majority disagrees with me. Then it is the worst thing. I presume you feel the same way. If so, it’s the only thing I agree with you on.

Should the Baseball Hall of Fame move to New York City?


Friend of HBT Nathaniel Rakich writes about the Hall of Fame at The Hardball Times today. But not about its inductees. He writes about its location: Cooperstown, New York. The small village a good four hours away from major population centers. Rakich proposes changing that by moving it to The Big Apple:

I picture a gleaming, modern museum ready to tell baseball’s story. It could be adjacent to the site of Ebbets Field or on the grounds of the old Yankee Stadium. It could sit on the Chelsea waterfront, with a spectacular view of baseball’s true birthplace, Elysian Fields. It could be anywhere with a New York City address and a nearby subway stop. But it can’t be in Cooperstown much longer.

I’ve toyed with this notion from time to time and, at various times, thought it might be a good idea. It’d probably be better for the Hall’s bottom line. More people would go there, I reckon. If you’re thinking about it in utilitarian terms, it’s hard to argue against such an idea, actually. But ultimately I couldn’t support it, mostly because thinking in utilitarian terms is kind of a drag and when you think about “the greatest good for the greatest number” you necessarily have to contend with what happens to the lesser number.

The village of Cooperstown is, in a lot of ways, built around the Hall of Fame. There’s more going on there, of course — some great beer for one thing, small businesses and other charms of small town life — but it’s a key part of the village’s identity and economic prosperity. Would it be better for the Hall to be in New York? Quite possibly. But we’ve seen enough migration of business from small towns to large cities in the several decades. It’d be nice to stop that at some point, somewhere.

More broadly, I think there’s something to be said for taking a literal journey once in a while, and leaving the cities most of us call home to visit small towns nestled in the countryside in order to experience the pastoral joys of baseball history is one of those instances. Or pastoral-ish. I realize baseball largely grew up in New York and that Cooperstown’s connection to baseball history is based on a myth, but it’s a myth surrounded by a lot of peaceful and pretty things. There’s something to be said for that too.

Ultimately this is all just talk. The Hall of Fame is steadfast in its support of Cooperstown and always has been. There’s nothing to suggest it’d consider a move. If it ever did, though, I’d be against it. A nice drive is good for the soul.

A couple of TV Production company names have baseball connections


I’ve been fascinated with TV production company names and logos for a long time. I don’t mean big companies like NBC or Castle Rock Entertainment or whatever. I mean the little personal companies of the creative side of a TV production that air at the end of shows. The first ones I remember were “Sit Ubu, sit. Good Dog” and the Stephen J. Cannell thing where he rips the page out of the typewriter. There are a million of those. You know what I’m talking about.

Over at The Hollywood Reporter, Lesley Goldberg writes about the backstories for over 40 of these little production company names and, not surprisingly, almost all of them are based on personal anecdotes, personal inspirations and inside jokes of the creative folks. A couple of them even have to do with baseball.

Brian Cranston of “Breaking Bad” fame has a company called “Moonshot Productions.” It’s not based on the Apollo program. Rather, it’s based on a somewhat forgotten Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder:

“Before Dodger Stadium, the team played at the Memorial Coliseum. The left field fence was only 220 feet from home plate. So a 42-foot-tall fence was erected. Outfielder Wally Moon discovered that if he uppercut the ball he could “chip” it over for a home run. The feat became known as a moonshot. To me it represents overcoming obstacles. Moonshot Entertainment was born.”

And then there’s Michael Schur of “Parks and Recreation” and “Brooklyn 99.” His company is “Fremulon” (with its name voiced in the post-credits clip by Nick Offerman). Many of you will remember, however, that as Schur was building up his TV empire, he was also snarkily blogging about baseball:

Fremulon was the fake name for the fake insurance company that my fake blogger, Ken Tremendous, worked at when I was writing the blog Fire Joe Morgan. My current backstory is that it’s a very shady company that’s mixed up in a lot of financial shenanigans — and possibly international weapons deals — and is using its entertainment wing as a tax shelter.”

At the risk of embarrassing myself and showing how long I’ve had delusions of grandeur, I’ll reveal what my personal production company was/will be one day. When I was a teenager in West Virginia, my brother and I used to go to the drug store and get sheets of those “Mr. Yuk” stickers. Remember those?


As you can see, the ones in West Virginia used to say “West Virginia Poison Center” on the top. We’d take a black Sharpie marker and mark out letters and the phone number so it said “Virgin Son.” It was perfect. Perfect spacing, perfect image, perfect encapsulation of my social life, sadly. Anyway, we’d put the stickers on everything. Notebooks, skateboards, you name it. If I ever have a reason to have a production company or personal branding of any kind, I’m definitely using “Virgin Son” productions with some version of the Yuk face.

That is, if I don’t get sued by Richard Branson and the people who own the trademark to the Yuk face. But that’s what lawyers are for. I’ll be too busy creating.