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You asked me questions on Twitter, so I shall answer them

May 26, 2011, 11:02 AM EDT

The Question

Some of your questions will show up on HBT Daily later today. Here are the rejects. But don’t take that personally. I actually like the rejects better.

Q: Who was better- Mantle, Mays or Snider?

You know, just because that guy wrote that terrible song linking all three of them 30 years ago doesn’t mean we have to include merely great players with the immortals. So, sorry Duke.

As for the other two: I think one of the great what-ifs in all of baseball history is what would have happened if Mantle hadn’t sustained injuries early in his career and repeated bouts of the brown bottle flu later in his career.  Because at his peak he was in the conversation as the best ever. He had speed, power, and all manner of mad skill.

But if ifs and butts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a happy Christmas, and Mantle didn’t stay healthy or take care of himself. Willie Mays did, however, and as a result I think he only has Babe Ruth as a comparison as the greatest baseball player of all time. The complete package. No weaknesses. If God Himself were to come down to Earth right now and create the perfect baseball player, that player would most closely resemble Willie Mays.

Q:  Every morning, I eat an apple on my drive to work and I feel guilty for tossing the core out my window. Should I feel bad?

Only if it’s one of them new-fangled apples with a non-biodegradable core. Or if you hit someone.

Q: Would you rather watch a pitching meltdown of bloop hits or a pitcher’s duel where both pitchers throw 89 MPH fastballs?

I saw Jamie Moyer square off against Tom Glavine enough times over the years to where that’s not a hypothetical question. Give me the pitcher’s duel every time.

Q: Of the Mets Wilpon called out, which would you want to build a team around, assuming you’d want to do such a thing?

Well, I wouldn’t want to, but of the three, Jose Reyes probably has the most gas in the tank of any of them.

Q: If you could pick one guy to see play, who would it be?

Ruth. We have something like an hour of total footage of the guy and half of that is him horsing around.  I’d like to see him over the course of a three game series. See what pitches get him out (because he did get out sometimes). See what he feasted on.  I’d even like to see his defense.

Q: If we dump Derek Jeter into the Sarlacc’s mouth, do you think it has to digest his intangibles before or after his corpse?

He would never be consumed. He would escape, not unlike Boba Fett escaped: by virtue of his iron will and his Mandalorian armor. And the assistance of fellow bounty hunter Dengar.

Q: Who is January Jones’ baby daddy?

I don’t know, but I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t Kevin Bacon.  Man, I love Kevin Bacon.

Q: What team had the best names? My take: ’71 A’s. Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, Mudcat Grant, Rollie Fingers, Blue Moon Odom.

I don’t think I can argue with that. Anyone?

Q: In honor of Memorial Day, favorite war movie?

Either “Dr. Strangelove,” “Duck Soup” or “Apocalypse Now.”  You’ll not be surprised that I tend to favor anti-war films.

Q: Does it ever cross your mind, when a player is doing super well that he may be injecting something?

Only when I’m suffering from spells in which I am under the delusion that I am working for the New York Daily News.

Q: If Mariano Rivera tried to strike out Curtis Granderson, would the world implode before a resolution was found?

Look, Granderson is having a nice year and all, but Mariano Rivera picks bits of guys like Granderson out of his stool.

Q: Red pill or blue pill?

Do I get to get with late 90s-era Carrie-Anne Moss?  This is critical in my assessment.

Q: Why does AJ Burnett look like a serial killer right before he pies walkoff Yankees?

I don’t know, but the fact that he has never been able to explain all of the evidence linking him to the Zodiac Murders is unsettling at best.

Q: How many ballplayers agree with Kant’s categorical imperative?

The existence of The Unwritten Rules negates Kant’s categorical imperative by their very definition in that they foreclose the notion of one ultimate commandment of reason.

Q: So they’re more so into consequentialism?

No, not quite, for the Unwritten Rules don’t conform to the tenets of consequentialism. Take the “don’t steal a base when leading big” rule. Consequences: minimal. Moral transgression: considered huge. It’s quite the conundrum.

Q: True. What would then be the best fit for baseball’s ethical system?

My best guess is Rawls’ original position. Ballplayers can’t know what the future holds for them: will they be lucky enough to play for a winner or resigned to the second division? Will they be the best player on their team or will they be stuck in a platoon role?  Given these unknowns — this veil of ignorance if you will — they have no choice but to, as the saying goes, play the game the right way and ask that others do the same, hoping that the results of such a distributive justice scheme creates fairness and equality.

That said: I am mindful of Robert Nozick’s critique of all of this as being maximally risk-averse and therefore problematic given the underlying anarchy inherent in humanity.

Thanks for the questions, all!  And the ability to let me use my undergraduate studies!  Yes, I did major in “Star Wars!”

Let’s do it again next week.

  1. Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    I would love to participate in a conversation like this, but I would never lower myself to using Twit-er. Take your 140-character limit – which I think was based on the longest string of coherent phrasing at which George W. Bush ever tested out, and that only once, at a local bar – and go wrap a coffee bean with it.

  2. cur68 - May 26, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Well if you get to use your undergraduate studies for this then I am too.

    Re. The Blue Jays; Get me a damn tourniquet! The bleeding is getting out of hand and I demand we amputate JoJo effing Reyes RIGHT NOW.

    I quote my German friend Johann; “I don’t get this f#cking Kant!” Ever heard a German say “Kant”? It is an education…

    • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      According to Hannah Arendt in The Banality of Evil, Eichmann’s prosecutor questioned him about his understanding of the Categorical Imperative. Arendt claims that Eichmann didn’t really get it. But then, Arendt had an affair with Heidegger, the official philosopher of the National Socialist Party. Who you gunna believe?

      • yankeesfanlen - May 26, 2011 at 11:31 AM

        Is the Categorical Imperative akin to the Strange Attractor? My University of Phoenix degrees didn’t prepare me for youse guys ’round here.

      • cur68 - May 26, 2011 at 11:35 AM

        Don’t ask me Len. I’m good with blood, gaping wounds, really premature infants, and sweet talking young residents. I don’t get this f#cking Kant either.

      • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 11:46 AM

        Let me grossly oversimplify: the categorical imperative asserts that a universal “right” or “good” governs all moral decisions, the most central premise of which is that others are entities whose value lies in their existence alone and not in what good can be gained from treating them in a certain way. Kant didn’t much like utilitarian or situational ethics and felt there had to be some universal ground (grundt, often referred to in undergraduate papers I graded as “grunt”) of moral belief and action.

        Phooey, say I. With a Republican congress, what’s the use of something like that anyway?

      • yankeesfanlen - May 26, 2011 at 11:50 AM

        So you think the Yankees are going to win the division too.

  3. philly56 - May 26, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Didn’t George Lucas reject the notion that Fett survived the sarlac, after saying that independent authors could make up whatever they wanted to star wars wise?  Somehow I know that.

    Wilson Valdez could survive the sarlac.

    • bjavie - May 26, 2011 at 1:19 PM

      It’s a good thing they figured out he can pitch, b/c he sure as hell “Kant” hit.

  4. Jonny 5 - May 26, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Q: Every morning, I eat an apple on my drive to work and I feel guilty for tossing the core out my window. Should I feel bad?

    Yes, never throw food out the window as animals smell this and become food themselves (road pizza) when encountering tires, undercarriages, and such trying to get to the food you tossed. You are a bad person and should be ashamed of yourself. Do you not have a trash can at work?

    • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      Road Pizza, in turn, becomes food for carrion eater – crows, buzzards, weasels. They, in turn, become maggot fodder themselves sooner or later. Never forget:

      It’s the Circle of Life
      And it moves us all
      Through despair and hope
      Through faith and love
      Till we find our place
      On the path unwinding
      In the Circle
      The Circle of Life

      • Jonny 5 - May 26, 2011 at 11:39 AM

        Gator!!!! You sound like Sarah Palin today. What in carnations happened to you man? Either this is faux Old Gator, or you stopped inhaling. Normally wouldn’t you beat this person with a stalk of bamboo or something?

      • coryeuc - May 26, 2011 at 11:51 AM

        I believe Sarah is actually a proponent of hunting raccoons/possums/squirrels from helicopters. But I could be wrong.

      • Jonny 5 - May 26, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        Well ever since fuel prices have gone up, I’m sure she’d have no problem doing it all in a Dodge Viper or something….. She’s responsible in that sense.

      • Utley's Hair - May 26, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        Weasels? What does Selig have to do with this littering on the way to work?

        And Jonny, JC Romero needs to be beaten upside the head and face with a stalk of bamboo. Just call him over and tell him not to walk—though he may not be able to do that.

      • Jonny 5 - May 26, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        That’s why the Phills only signed Romero after the deal fell through for super chunk who ended up in Baaahstan (and a bust mind you), and Romero lowered his asking price. I still like his velocity but his control is terrible. Last night he could only get change ups over the plate, which is kinda bassackwards if i say so myself.

      • Utley's Hair - May 26, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        I was listening to the gameday audio for the latter part of the game. You should have heard Franzke and LA talking about the home plate ump needing an eye wash. It was hilarious.

    • nps6724 - May 26, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      But how else will rednecks be fed?

      • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 12:18 PM

        I would love to see Sara Palin hunting wolves from a helicopter. She hits the wolf, it keels over, she lands and starts skinning it when dozens of tendrils shoot out of it, up her nose, down her throat….

  5. yankeesfanlen - May 26, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Okay, but Mantle became better quicker and was better served with Casey as manager than Mays with Durocher. Likewise, brown bottle flu was Billy Martin’s fault (notice we didn’t have another Martin for over 50 years) and it didn’t affect Whitey.
    And through the marvels of the Way-Back Machine, they both predicted Derek Jeter’s demise.

  6. sdelmonte - May 26, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    If we’re going anti-war, I will take “Paths of Glory.”

    If we are talking pro-war, “Patton.” George C. Scott’s performance is one of the best in any film. (That’s the actor, and not the ballplayer of the same name.)

    And if we are talking not really pro- or anti-, but merely a film about war, “Bridge on the River Kwai,” which is my choice for best film ever made.

    • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 4:26 PM

      I don’t want to diss Paths of Glory – I am a Kubrick worshipper from way back (except for Eyes Wide Shit) – but if you’re gonna go all the way, you need to mention Johnny got his Gun and, of course, the two most powerful Japanese films: first runner up, Shohei Imamura’s brilliant retelling of the Isuji Mabuse novel, Black Rain (not the much later and inferior Michael Douglas film) and, of course, the greatest anti-war film ever made, Inoshiro Honda’s 1954 masterpiece, Gojira.

      • yankeesfanlen - May 26, 2011 at 7:57 PM

        I happen to like Eyes Wide Shut, but then again, I didn’t think Magnolia was that bad.

  7. Matt - May 26, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Why does Mariano play with poop?

    • halladaysbicepts - May 26, 2011 at 12:07 PM

      Funniest sh*t (no pun intended) I heard all day today!

    • phukyouk - May 26, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      Cause hes Mariano-fu*king-Rivera… wait.. maybe that was jeter.. i forget now

    • Matt - May 26, 2011 at 3:16 PM

      After considerable thought on the subject I can only conclude that it must be his own twist on the Moises Alou preparation ritual and this is actually the secret behind his one pitch being good enough to get guys out when they know it’s coming.

  8. jimbo1949 - May 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    My best movie about people in war: Mr Roberts.
    Petty martinets, simple courage, unending boredom, finding humor in the human condition and the random senseless brutality of it all.
    Plus Cagney, Fonda, Lemmon and Wm Powell, directed by John Ford
    (co-starring the palm tree)

  9. Utley's Hair - May 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Hey, Craig. Johnny Got His Gun—book or movie. I think there’s a newer adaptation of the 1971 movie, too.

    • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      The Johnny Got his Gun “remake” wasn’t a “remake” of the 1971 film but a stage play based on Dalton Trumbo’s novel which was filmed as it was performed on stage. It’s pretty damned good, too; here’s a link:

      I like both versions a lot, but you get to see Donald Sutherland as Jesus in the movie, driving the Sunset Limited with its boxcars full of war dead. That alone is worth the price of the first film. And the novel is a must read, but not during any week in which you plan to do any sleeping.

      • Utley's Hair - May 26, 2011 at 6:03 PM

        “And the novel is a must read, but not during any week in which you plan to do any sleeping.”

        Which is why it’s perfect for high-school required reading—they never sleep anyway. But I loved the book.

  10. droogleeddie - May 26, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    I want to say “Full Metal Jacket” is my favorite war movie, but that might be cheating on the grounds that I think it is 2 movies played back to back.

  11. jjvedamuthu - May 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Superstars probably love Nozick.

    Utility infielders, fourth and fifth outfielders, and marginal relievers probably love Rawls.

    The problem rests in resolving the expectations of the first group to the necessity to having the second group around. That is, there aren’t enough of the first to maintain a very large league, and the statistical dominance of the first group depends on there being a population of less talented individuals playing the game to showcase the abilities and awesomeness of the first group.

    Therefore, perhaps those of us watching the “product” should ourselves adopt a utilitarian perspective. The question, then, is this: Act or Rule?

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 26, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      Well, if you’ve read your Lyons you know that it’s very likely that Rule collapses into Act with the use of sub-rules, comments and exceptions.

      • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 5:43 PM

        Craig, you’ve been AWOL from the ivory tower for some time now. No one uses “act” anymore. Here’s how we wri…heh, inscribe, it now: “It is very likely that the discourse collapses into praxis….”

  12. yankeesfanlen - May 26, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Since it’s war movie time at HBT, my favorite is “The Caine Mutiny”.Fred McMurray did a couple of real good flicks as a villian before cashing in on “Flubber” and “My Three Sons”.
    And Bogey’s “disloyal officers” and investigating the strawberries with “geometrical precision”

    • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 5:40 PM

      And the ball bearings. Dear Buddha, don’t forget the ball bearings. And the alltime great line, “If you wanna do something about it, I’ll be outside. I’m drunker than you are, so it ought to be a fair fight.”

      • yankeesfanlen - May 26, 2011 at 8:00 PM

        Yeah, Jose Ferrer and Bogey did chew up the scenery in that one.I kid you not. There’s also a good backstory about Ferrer’s injured arm, but I can’t quite bring it to mind.

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