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.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.