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We need to talk about Trevor Bauer’s love for “The Phantom Menace”


Trevor Bauer‘s revelation yesterday that “The Phantom Menace” is his favorite Star Wars movie caused a great disturbance on the Internet. It was as if millions of nerdy voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Maybe not all of America was shaken to its very core, but it shook those Americans who care about things like “having the correct opinions about science fiction/comic book/fantasy stuff.” Which, to be fair, is a part of America overrepresented among both writers and readers of this blog, so let’s talk about it, OK?

My first impulse upon hearing Bauer’s opinion on this was to call him a crazy person filled with a deep, dark wrongness. But then I remembered something: Bauer is 25. He was born in 1991. That means he was eight years old when “The Phantom Menace” came out. I was between the ages of 4 and 10 when the original trilogy came out. The Gen-X geeks who helped turn Star Wars into an international phenomenon were likewise overwhelmingly children during that original run too. Is it possible that we were wrong about those movies in the way we think Bauer is wrong about “The Phantom Menace?”

Hahaha, of course not. Those movies are good and “The Phantom Menace” sucked. But . . .

For as much love as adults have for the Star Wars franchise, it’s important to remember that love, in most cases developed when we were children. The prequels were deeply flawed and, in objective terms, pale compared to both the original trilogy and “The Force Awakens,” but when you’re eight years old like Bauer was, you like stuff for very different reasons than you do as an adult. My kids were around that age when they got into Star Wars stuff in a serious way. They liked the prequels, which they saw on DVD, a lot better than people my age did in 1999. Partially because they were kids. Partially because they didn’t have 16 years of pent up anticipation for something that only their younger selves could truly appreciate. The prequels sucked, but the original “Star Wars” wasn’t “Citizen Kane” either. We can admit that now, nearly 40 years later. It’s OK to admit that.

All of which is to say that I will let Bauer off the hook for this. For now. Liking “The Phantom Menace” has him on probation at most.

I won’t totally write him off unless he says “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull” was good, in which case I’ll make it my personal mission to have him banned from baseball permanently.

George Springer’s lack of hustle was costly for Houston

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George Springer hit a big home run for the Astros last night. It was his fifth straight World Series game with a homer. That’s good! But he also did something less-than-good.

In the bottom of the eighth, with the Astros down 5-3, Springer was batting with Kyle Tucker on second and one out. He sent a breaking ball from Daniel Hudson deep, deep, deep to right-center field but . . . it was not deep enough. It rattled off the wall. Springer ended up with a double.

Except, he probably has a triple if, rather than crow-hop out of the box and watch what he thought would be a home run, he had busted it out of the box. Watch:

After that José Altuve flied out. Maybe it would’ve been deep enough to score Springer form third, tying the game, maybe it wouldn’t have, but Springer being on second mooted the matter.

After the game, Springer defended himself by saying that he had to hold up because the runner on second had to hold up to make sure the ball wasn’t caught before advancing. That’s sort of laughable, though, because Springer was clearly watching what he thought was a big blast, not prudently gauging the pace of his gait so as not to pass a runner on the base paths. He, like Ronald Acuña Jr. in Game 1 of the NLDS, was admiring what he thought was a longball but wasn’t. Acuña, by the way, like Springer, also hit a big home run in his team’s losing Game 1 cause, so the situations were basically identical.

Also identical, I suspect, is that both Acuña and Springer’s admiring of their blasts was partially inspired by the notion that, in the regular season, those balls were gone and were not in October because of the very obviously different, and deader, baseball MLB has put into use. It does not defend them not running hard, but it probably explains why they thought they had homers.

Either way: a lot of the baseball world called out Acuña for his lack of hustle in that game against the Cardinals. I can’t really see how Springer shouldn’t be subjected to the same treatment here.