B.J. Upton has been an atrocious hitter since signing with the Braves. Last year he hit .184/.268/.289 with 151 strikeouts in 446 plate appearances. So far this season he’s hitting .205/.287/.295 with 24 strikeouts in 87 plate appearances. Today, this happened:
BJ Upton is wearing glasses today as he takes bp. Said he’s not going to answer questions about it now but clear he’s giving this a try
You’d think that, after so much suckage, someone with the Braves would have raised the issue of Upton’s eyesight with him before now. As such, I’m a tad skeptical that this is his problem. Or at least his only problem. But hey, at this point anything would be an improvement.
Q: Went to watch the M’s at Yankees stadium last night and tonight. National Anthem pre-recorded both nights, is this a thing?
I wish it were more of one. How many times can one stand some wannabe pop or country artist warbling their way through the Anthem like it’s a ballad instead of a march? Because it’s a march, dammit, and if I’m named next Commissioner, my first act will be signing an order mandating that teams only play pre-recorded versions of the anthem, preferably by a band whose conductor knows it’s a damn march. Or they can play Jose Feliciano’s version. Either way.
Q: How has your fandom changed since you became a professional blogger?
I guess it’s broadened. I still root for my Braves, but I’m way more aware of what other teams are doing now and, for professional reasons, try to watch games of other teams more often than I used to. This has allowed me to appreciate other teams too. I think it’s safe to say that there’s more promiscuity in my fandom now. While I always come home to my true love, I fan around depending on my mood and I don’t care who knows it.
Q: Did you ever root for a player because they were Italian?
Pfun Pfact: while my name is Italian, I am not. By blood I am 50% Irish, 25% English and 25% Romanian Jew. The Calcaterra name came when my grandmother remarried and the guy, Mr. Calcaterra, adopted my father. But for that I’d be Craig McIntyre. Which woulda been kinda boring.
Q: Is there any other pitching matchup you’d rather see than Verlander-Darvish, which is happening Thursday?
It’s a good one, but I would’ve liked to see some Koufax-Marichal action back in the day.
Q: What in the world do you have on Ruben Amaro that made him decide to sign Carlos Zambrano? I assume it was your suggestion.
I have secret pictures of him he doesn’t want the world to see. They depict him having a plan.
Q: Everyone on Mad Men is a complete dick, why am I still watching this show?
Not gonna argue with that. They are mostly dicks. Non-dicks are Joan, Trudy Campbell and … well, I’m sort of blanking. Bert Cooper is OK. Roger used to be a bigger dick but now he’s played so much for laughs that he’s lost that dickish mojo he used to have.
But who cares? I feel like Prestige Sunday Television of the past few years has made us expect too much of TV shows. Everything now has to be The Best Thing Ever or carry with it some Extremely Important Narrative Thrust in order for it to be worth everyone’s time. Which is a nice byproduct of so much good TV, but it’s kind of exhausting. “Mad Men” is basically a period soap opera. So is “Downton Abbey” for that matter. It’s OK if they don’t blow our minds with drama, pathos and craziness like “The Wire” or “Breaking Bad” or whatever. It’s TV. Let it be TV.
Q: If I could choose only one of a love of comic books or baseball for my sons which should I choose?
Well, I’d suggest you let them discover their own loves, but if we go with your premise, choose baseball. It’s more reliably entertaining and at least has the potential to be a social experience.
Q: How many games does a guy have to watch of his favorite team in a season to actually be a fan?
These days not as many as one used to. You can follow your team online, reading box scores and the local paper’s notes column and keep up just fine. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with missing a lot of games. Baseball teams are more than just the games. There’s a whole ecosystem about them which provides enjoyment and value.
Q: Which is less legit: calling Ortiz a PED user, or calling Aquaman a superhero?
I think more eyebrows would be raised if you went up to Aquaman and accused him of heroism.
Q: Is Manny Machado already the best 3rd basemen in baseball? Q: Manny Machado, 20 YO all star?
Lots of Manny Machado questions this week. And yes, he’s got serious game. I refuse to peg him as the best 3rd baseman in baseball though, if for no other reason than I feel like there’s going to be a movement resisting his ultimate switch to his natural shortstop and I don’t want to fuel that stupid fire at all.
Q: Any chance MLB ever fixes asinine TV blackout rules? Why can’t MLB enforce a “use or lose it” rule for local TV rights?
Because that would defeat MLB’s apparent desire to keep as many people from consuming its product as possible. But seriously: there has never been one satisfactory explanation as to why the blackout rules have to be the way they are. Because they don’t have to be that way and baseball is stupid and stubborn for not changing them.
Q: Does Jerry Dipoto survive the season?
[Looks in crystal ball] No. He is killed in a SCUBA diving accident in August. Tragic, really. He is not fired, however.
Q: Is Ironman as an outfielder cheating? Q: What position would Batman be in baseball? Q: Which superhero would be the best baseball player? Non-Super Man type. Also can we just regulate Aqua Man to the Marlins?
I get these every time I ask for questions. They have already been answered:
Q: Will you ever again wear the Tigers cap @norunsupport’s dad gave you?
If you follow me on Twitter you know that my girlfriend’s father, a tremendous Tigers fan, sent me a Tigers cap yesterday after seeing me wear Braves and Dodgers caps over the weekend while he visited, apparently thinking he’ll convert me. Joke’s on him, though: I wear caps for almost any team. At present I own Braves, Tigers, Dodgers, Giants and Indians [block C] caps. If I win the Powerball on Saturday my first purchase — and I’m not lying — will likely be an order of every New Era team cap. I’d probably wear every one except Chief Wahoo. I do the same thing with shirts too. I suppose this ties in with the promiscuity point above, but baseball is too cool to tie yourself to one team’s merch. Oh, and if you’re looking for gift ideas, I wear a size 7 3/4.
Q: Are former MLB reliever Ray King and Abdullah the Butcher the same person?
You be the judge:
No. But, like Abudllah, Ray King probably did keep a fork in his uniform pants. He just used it for its intended purpose, not to gouge his head for bloody effect.
Q: What age is ideal for reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? I’m 21 and finishing it tonight.
I’ll classify this as a Humble Brag. Or maybe it’s just a brag. As for the book, I’m a relatively well-read man pushing 40 with an English minor and I’ve never read it. Didn’t read Ulysses either. I decided at some point, probably while trying to get through some Faulkner, that I like to read for pleasure, not because I want to say I accomplished something.
Q: Did events in MN this week invalidate the sanctity of batting avg, and thus reduce Mauer’s value to the Twins?
I don’t know, but I do know this much: there are a lot of Twins fans who can now take their man-crushes on various players to a whole new level if they want to, and I’m happy for that.
Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one book what kind of bourbon would you be drinking?
The book would either be The Great Gatsby — which is pleasurable to read, even if it’s taught in school — or a Lew Archer novel and the bourbon would probably be Garrison Brothers. It may not be from Kentucky, but that stuff is ON POINT.
Q: If Clark & Lois procreate do you want an all super child? If not, what human qualities are desired?
Wait, I thought he was with Wonder Woman now? They split up? That kid would definitely be super. If he’s back with Lois I hope he has some vices and some humility for cryin’ out loud. Superman is alright, but he’s boring. And that’s the case no matter how much pathos modern writers try to give him. You’ve heard of white people problems? Superman takes that to a whole new level. “Oh, the burden of being nearly omnipotent and immortal. Woe!” Get tied, Supes.
Q: Matt Harvey: Great pitcher or greatest pitcher? Debating to reserve rooms in cooperstown in 20 years.
I love Harvey, but I do feel like we’re at the point where people need to acknowledge that he still doesn’t have the Mets track record that Jason Isringhausen had in 1995.
Q: I’m about to graduate law school. Do you feel sorry for me yet? Q: Current corporate attorney. Kill myself with a bat or a cleat?
These come in bunches too. I do feel kinda sorry for the first guy because some law school admissions person probably tricked him into thinking it was 1999 and well-paying law jobs are handed out like candy. The second guy has some sympathy because being a transactional attorney is just the worst, but dude, at least you have a job.
Q: Do we need a World Series to get blown before umps have actual accountability and or replay expanded?
No, baseball is cool with World Series being blown with bad calls. They even celebrate it with video on their website:
It could happen again and baseball wouldn’t bat an eye. They’re cute that way.
I’ve become partial to the offerings at the Machine Room Grille in Great American Ballpark. They have some kickass mac and cheese and have speciality hot dogs too. Prices are reasonable for an in-park restaurant. And it’s democratic: get there when the doors open and you can eat there. It’s not all reserved for people who have the annoying habit of planning far ahead.
Q: What are your 5 favorite albums ever? (limit one per artist).
Gosh. This is gonna be hard. This could change every time you ask me. But off the top of my head: “Blood on the Tracks” by Dylan; “Revolver” Beatles; “Doolitte” Pixies; “Exile on Main St.” Stones; and the soundtrack to the movie “Until the End of the World” for a lot of personal reasons that aren’t worth going into now. Apologies to Neil Young, Tribe Called Quest, and about a gabillion others.
Anyway, there aren’t many good divorces. Mine sucked. If you had one it sucked. Every divorce pretty much sucks. That’s true even if you’re better off for being divorced. The process is awful. And no matter what the circumstances it necessarily means the death of what was once great hope and optimism.
That said: Tiger Woods’ ex came out pretty damn good, didn’t she? I mean, the money alone was fantastic, but the best part is that she doesn’t have to be married to a sleazeoid like Tiger Woods anymore, and that’s just a total positive.
Q: You can attend any baseball game in history … which?
Probably the Sid Bream/Francisco Cabrera game in the 1992 NLCS. Watching it on TV was great, but I would have loved to go crazy wild when that happened.
Q: Was Barry Bonds blackballed by MLB?
I don’t know. All I know is that he hit .276/.480/.565 with 28 homers in 2007, offered to play for the league minimum in 2008 and had no takers. I suppose there is an explanation for that. But I know what the easiest one is.
Q: Worst MLB trade of all time?
Babe Ruth for cash? Milt Pappas for Frank Robinson? Underrated and rarely mentioned: Mark McGwire for Eric Ludwick, T.J. Mathews and Blake Stein.
Q: Which team has surprised you the most this season?
I have to say the Yankees. I know it’s weird to talk about them as underdogs or surprises, but I don’t think anyone expected them to play this well in the early going. Best case scenario was that they’d keep their heads above water until the stars came off the DL. They’ve done more than that.
Q: Would Bryce Harper’s The Wall get ANY coverage if it happened to say, Ben Revere?
Nope. Not ever. And I’m really wanting to know at what point we acknowledge that, for all the talk of Harper playing hard and with reckless disregard, that slam into the wall wouldn’t have happened if he had a better set of instincts and knew where he was on the field.
Q: Who are your World Series picks?
It’s silly to make them now. I picked Detroit and Washington at the outset of the season. No reason to come off that yet.
Q: How many nine year olds could you beat up at once. Like in a wrestling ring. 50? 100?
I have a nine year-old daughter and a son who is almost eight. Nine year olds are way tougher and bigger than you think. I can fend off my two kids fairly easily when we have to throw down, but it’d take only a couple more for them to be able to overpower me or, at the very least, tire me out until they had their chance to strike. I’m thinking 5-7 nine-years olds, if they try to work together, could easily take down a nearly 40 year-old man in my state of conditioning.
Q: Is Pat Corbin a legitimate candidate for NL Cy Young?
Eh, not really feeling it yet. Would like to see him strike out more guys. But sure, he’s been good. And every couple of years a “wins” guy beats out a guy with better peripherals. He could be that guy.
Q: Thoughts on Iron Man 3?
Haven’t seen it yet. I have a backlog at the moment. Need to see that, Gatsby (I know it will suck, cut me some slack) and Star Trek opens today. Hopefully I’ll have seen all three by this time next week.
Q: Will BJ Upton have an OPS over .700 by the end of the year?
Yes [he desperately hopes but bets no money on whatsoever]
Q: Who collides with things with more grace: Bryce Harper or George of the Jungle?
Someone with video editing skills needs to put our bro’s head on George here:
Q: Home runs kill rallies, discuss.
If I’m ever in charge of a network that does baseball games and a broadcaster says this I will fire him so fast he wouldn’t know what hit him.
Q: Favorite old school wrestling territory, please.
Georgia + Mid Atlantic as they morphed into WCW in the early-to-mid 80s is the be-all, end-all and I will accept no argument to the contrary. And it’s not just because Evan Gattis used to wrestle there:
That’s all I got, folks. I’ll answer a few more of the baseball-related questions on HBT Daily tomorrow.
Don Zimmer will spend a 65th season in baseball, as the Rays announced that the 82-year-old will continue his role as senior baseball advisor after being away from the team for a while this season due to health problems.
Next year will be his 10th season with the Rays, which matches the length of time Zimmer spent with the Yankees.
Zimmer released a statement saying that he “couldn’t be happy” and B.J. Upton, now a free agent a decade after being drafted by the Rays, is glad to see Zimmer returning to Tampa Bay even if Upton is headed elsewhere:
Happy to hear that Zim is coming back for another year. He has meant a lot to me over my career.