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Twitter Mailbag: Dumb answers to your good questions

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It was a slow news morning so I asked Twitter for some questions like I used to do all the time but can’t seem to remember to do much anymore. I think it works better as an occasional thing as opposed to a weekly thing, though. Back when I did it weekly all the questions were about Batman and bourbon. I only got one question about bourbon this time. Several about white genocide, though that was kind of my fault.

Confused? You won’t be, after this episode of “Soap!”

Q: (@laurenmichele27) Do you think the Yankees are going to sneak into the playoffs? Sanchez is on fire.

The Yankees currently stand two back of the Wild Card with two teams ahead of them. One of those teams, the Tigers, has a pretty easy schedule going forward. The Yankees have to play two series against Boston, one against Toronto and one against the Orioles. Plus they’re still depending on some young and unproven players. Not saying it’s impossible, but it’s gonna be hard. That said, I am a firm believer that the universe is in the business of giving us the crappiest possible outcomes in any given situation which all but ensures a Yankees-Cardinals World Series.

Q: (@JesusThinking) If the Cubs win this year can they avoid the “everyone hates us” that now plagues the Red Sox? If so, how?

It’s impossible. I’ve been doing this long enough to know, with a 100% certainty, that the fan base with the greatest perseuction complex at any given time will be the team that most recently won it all. Red Sox fans were the Gold Standard with this stuff. Phillies fans picked up that ball and ran with it in 2008. Royals fans have made a cottage industry of identifying haters and enemies in the media who they are convinced care enough about them to form a negative opinion about them (note: after being accused of hating them enough, however, negative opinions do, justifiably, form). Cubs fans will be the same way. They’re lovable sad sacks now but give them a World Series title and they’ll soon believe, with religious fervor, that everyone is jealous of their success and hates them so.

Q: (@Extraneous_Ed) Can the Twins get a “good” new GM, or are they destined for their 13th choice and a David Kahn-like hire?

The search for a new baseball ops honcho, whatever his title, has seemed promising thus far. Targeting Alex Anthopoulos was a great idea, even if he turned them down. They’ve also been rumored to be looking at well thought of assistants in well run organizations, and that’s usually a smart play. I’d worry if they hired a retread or a figure who was somehow closely associated with the Twins past regimes, but they don’t seem to be doing that. It’s a club that need to rip off the bandage and they seem to be wanting to do it.

Q: (@trevorhanna) Where do you stand on booing the visiting pitcher for throwing to first?

You can boo whatever you want, but that’s a pretty dumb boo, mostly because your own pitcher is gonna do the exact thing the next half inning and you won’t boo then. All fandom, on some level, is irrational tribalism, but I have more respect for fans who at least attempt to act as if what they love and hate in a game has some logical basis.

Q: (@jakelarsen) What broke Drew Smyly and how does he get fixed?

Hey, he got a win last night! OK, that aside, he’s having his worst year. I think it’s a classic case of exposure. As in, he’s been exposed to more than, like, 60 innings and is thus exposed as a not-very-good pitcher. As a rule I don’t watch a lot of Rays games, but I wonder if his shoulder is barking again or if the labrum issue he had sapped his stamina or what have you. Once he gets past pitch number 30 he turns every opposing batter into Kirby Puckett. Fixing him? I dunno, give him the winter off with some weight training and if that doesn’t work turn him into a reliever?

Q: (@dougchapinjr) Have you ever, in fact, been mistaken for Michael Stipe?

This was inspired by some tweets of mine this morning asking for Twitter’s opinion of some potential new glasses I’m considering. I, apparently, look like either Moby or Michael Stipe in them or, to some, Moby and Michael Stipe’s love child. Part of me understands that this is meant to be an insult, but as a person with some mild body/self-image issues in which I still believe I carry the 30+ extra pounds I had in the mid-2000s as a bloated, frequently over-served and perpetually stressed-out office jockey, I am somewhat flattered as well. Anyway, if you have any opinion on the glasses, I’m all ears. Odds are I just keep the old horned rims.

Q: (@EricHartman) Has hating the wave jumped the shark?

Yeah. As I recently explained in another post, hating the wave is inspired by some somewhat admirable baseball purist impulses, but has morphed into a pretty basic exercise in hating what others like and being a killjoy. The wave doesn’t hurt anyone. You don’t have to do it. The two seconds it affects you and the area in which you sit are not ruining your game experience. And really, most of the people who complain about it are doing the complaining on Twitter while watching the games on TV.

Q: (@bobloblah1980) Given the reported 5yr 150 mil Joeybats wanted at start of year. Your opinion, how much and where this off season for him?

Jose Bautista turns 36 next month and is suffering through his worst season since emerging as a star in 2010. While still dangerous and still capable of taking a walk, any team which considers giving him anything close to five years is committing malpractice. If he has a big September and/or October I can see someone giving him three years with lots of vesting and incentivey things, but the odds of him being a centerpiece bat worth $30M are extraordinarily low.

Q: (@jamesbenedictnj) What’s worse than player interviews on radio shows?

The only thing which outstrips the ignorant stridence of most talk radio hosts is their obsequiousness when the subjects of their usual derision appear on their show. Our hero radio host drops bombs for a week, questioning players’ character and drive and all of that, and the moment an actual athlete shows up on-air, it turns into the Chris Farley show.

Q: (@rockiepie258) Manhattan or Old Fashioned?

Manhattan. A well-made Old Fashioned is good, but they’re too often too sweet when ordered out someplace and too much of a pain in the butt to make at home on the regular (though I made a tasty, gimmicky one last weekend). Manhattans are far more consistent from bartenders and pretty easy to make at home.

Q: (@Jason_Botelho) Kids and other life considerations aside, given your choice, what team would you most enjoy being an MLB beat writer for?

Padres. San Diego is my favorite city in the country so you got 81 games and an offseason home there. Plus the majority of the road trips take you to L.A., San Francisco, Denver and Phoenix, all of which are cool places for various reasons. Moreover, while I think the guys who cover the Padres are pretty darn good reporters and writers, the competition for scoops is easier in terms of number of reporters you have to scuffle with to get the story. Finally: the Padres are usually bad, and it’s way more fun to write about a bad team than a good team. At least it is for me.

Q: (@JakeElman) how much of Jessica Mendoza have you watched this year and what are your *honest* takeaways?

Not a lot. I’ve generally avoided Sunday Night Baseball this year. This has noting to do with Mendoza or Aaron Boone, however. It mostly has to do with the fact that, no matter who is in the booth, ESPN broadcasts Sunday Night Baseball in such a way that the game in front of the cameras is the least important thing going on. In some ways this is good for casual fans who may be well-served by a defacto “this week in baseball” show, but I pay a fair bit of attention to baseball as it is. I don’t really need to hear them talk about whatever the big story was on Thursday during a ballgame.

All that aside, I suspect that the emphasis of “honest” in the question as stated carries with it an assumption that the kind words I offered about Mendoza last year were somehow disingenuous and that I and others who are cool with her doing the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast are really cool with it for political reasons or because we hate Curt Schilling or something. This is nonsense, of course. I hated Schilling in the booth and I’m happy that a woman has been given a marquee platform in baseball media, but that has nothing to do with my assessment of Mendoza. While she’s not on some elite level yet, I think she’s solid and improving and a couple of times a game offers some good insight into the hitting process and the mind of a batter. This is way better than the majority of analysts. Now, if she and her colleagues can spend less time throwing it to superfluous sideline reports or doing the “so, the big story in baseball this week was . . . ” while actual action is unfolding, we’d be getting someplace.

Q: (@Thrun34) would you rather fight 10 duck sized bears or 1 bear sized duck?

I think the duck-sized bears would be better. As long as you keep kicking, you can probably avoid serious harm. A bear-sized duck would probably mess you up in a hurry.

Q: (@grahamdude) If you could pick one notable Ohio resident to start creating again: Bill Watterson, Dave Chappelle, or other?

Would you accept the Breeders? Either the “Pod” or “Last Splash” lineup, I don’t care. Preferably all sober, please.

OK: when I asked for questions, I suggested baseball questions and non-baseball questions and jokingly asked for questions about “white genocide,” as it’s a thing certain paranoid people on the Internet think liberal types like me are in favor of AND a thing that they think could actually, you know, happen. Not surprisingly, I got some questions about that:

Q: (@pfunk270) Why do you hate my team (white males)?

Any good sports fan roots for the underdog. I can’t change the fact that I am a white male, but rooting for white males is like being one of those jackwagons who claim their favorite teams are the Yankees, Cowboys, Lakers and the Duke Blue Devils. Go ahead if you want to, but (a) they don’t need your cheers; and (b) it’s a bad look.

Q: (@Lmoneyfresh) What, in your opinion, is the most appealing part of white genocide?

Well, that’s a complicated subject . . .

Q: (@VoxPVoxD) What do you think will happen to all the old navy stores once white people are wiped out?

Phew, I don’t have to answer it now.

Q: (@whatsalemke) Ultimate bandwagon gear?

Caps and shirts for whichever team won it all last year. Or, if you’re in a hipster enclave, caps and shirts for whichever team was terrible last year and/or ceased to exist at some point in the past.

Q: (@dlstaifer) As a fellow Columbus, Ohio Tigers fan will Ausmus be finally fired if they miss the playoffs?

I am frequently misidentified as a Tigers fan. It’s understandable as (a) I am wearing a Tigers cap in my Twitter avatar; and (b) I am originally from Michigan and have written about the Tigers being my team when I was in grade school. I am not really a Tigers fan, though. I own caps from a good dozen teams and have 2-3 in rotation at any given time. I watch and go to a lot of Tigers games because my fiancee is a Tigers fan and Comerica Park is a fairly easy drive for me. But I’m not a Tigers fan. Maybe situationally, but if the Tigers and the Braves faced off in the World Series I’d be rooting for the Tigers’ destruction. Probably would if the Tigers played any number of NL teams.

As for Ausmus: yeah, I think he’s canned if the Tigers fall short. I think they’ll make it in, though. They get to play the Braves three times and the Twins five more times before it’s all over.

Q: (@MaxPowerNYC) How likely is it that commish gets his way and enacts a rule limiting shifts?

Low. Mostly because I don’t think he even wants to do it. The Commissioner is a politician. One way politicians get what they want is by asking for way more than they want, thereby making what they really want seem more reasonable. Example: Manfred wants shorter, quicker games and more offense. He probably wants a pitch clock to make the quicker games happen. To get it, he’ll actually, for a moment anyway, entertain crap like seven-inning games so when he comes back to a pitch clock it seems reasonable. I suspect shifts are much the same way and that he’s actually seeking other means to increase balls in play, likely with strike zone adjustments half the league wouldn’t want.

Finally, a question and answer meant to be practical and useful:

Q: (@ubrokemyfridge) If you’re going to steal a car..why wouldn’t you just steal it from a new car lot? I’ve never understood that. Any ideas?

Absent joy ride situations, the value of a stolen car is not the car. It’s the component parts. Most proper professional criminals stealing cars are body snatchers, not joy riders. They’re immediately taking them to chop shops to be broken down and the parts sold off. Often times in the front part of the chop shop which, as it so happens, services cars which are not under warranty someplace. This is why the most frequently stolen cars tend to be the best-selling cars from about five years ago. Accords and Camrys and the like. All of this is before the fact that it’s WAY easier to boost a car from some parking garage or driveway or city street than it is from a well-lit, even at night new car lot that has security cameras and tire-destroying spikes and all of that jazz.

Now go out there and make the world a better place with all of the knowledge you have gained today.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”

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