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You asked me questions on Twitter. So I shall answer them.

Sep 22, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT

The Question

I’d say there were approximately 50 questions on the theme of “why do the Braves suck?”  Please forgive me for not answering them all.

Q: Why do the Braves suck?

Because we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.

Q: If the Braves do indeed kill you, what song do you want to get played at your funeral?

Like there can be any debate about that (link goes to video).

Q: “Moneyball” is getting 92% on RottenTomatoes. How excited are you that this is actually going to be a good movie??

I’m rather surprised. Based on some stuff I heard a while back I had totally expected this to receive a general “meh” from the critics, who would recommend it only for the baseball obsessives. I just worry that it will make a ton of money and get Oscar nominations now. Because if it does, you know someone will want to try to go to that well again, and the most obvious target is Jonah Keri’s “The Extra 2%” book about the Rays. I’m fairly certain Jonah would become insufferable if that happened.

Q: Which fan base is more troublesome? (read: worse) Phillies fans or OSU Buckeyes fans?

I can’t be objective here because I’m an OSU alum and fan, but I’m told — and secretly suspect — that we’re like Yankees fans. Nothing short of the best is good enough and even the best is achieved, we bitch and complain. I don’t think there’s a Phillies-fan angle here. There is a profound lack of insecurity on the part of most Buckeyes fans. It’s actually highly annoying.  We’re pretty good at bad behavior, though.

Q:  wut is your faverite slidshow and why?

That was from someone making fun of Bleacher Report. Look, I have my issues with Bleacher Report, but they’re at least trying to get better, so I’ll give them that.  And really, there is so much we wouldn’t know about the hot wives and girlfriends of sports figures and “underboob” if it weren’t for the God’s work they’ve been doing there for so many years.

Q: A world without DHs, a better world?

I’m pretty sure that there would be no crime, poverty or human suffering if the DH were abolished. I can’t be sure, though, so perhaps we should test it.

Q: Question 1: WHY GOD WHY?

Maybe it’s just society?

Q: Follow-up Question: *choke* *sob* *sniff*

I know. I know. Let it all out … just let it all out …

Q: 1991 World Series who do you hate more? Kent Hrbek or Lonnie Smith?

I can’t hate Lonnie Smith. He was a man who was being true to himself. Lonnie Smith always was a flaky screwup. He gave Braves fans hope — or at least something fun to watch — in those dark, dark years in the late 80s. I wanted him not to screw up as much as anyone and I actually felt bad for him when it happened, even though it did enrage me. Hrbek can go jump in a friggin’ lake.

Q: What are your feelings on carpaccio?

I can’t talk about it now. The feelings are … too raw.

Q:  Kershaw, Halladay, or Lee?

I hope this isn’t one of those FMK questions. Assuming it’s about the Cy Young, I dunno, Kershaw?  There is no way to argue that a vote for any of them is wrong in any serious way.

Q: Do you think of 2Pac whenever someone says “Hit ‘em up” like what just happened to me reading your tweet?

Of course I do, because I’m a white dude in his late 30s, and thus my hip hop frame of reference is necessarily 15-20 years out of date. That’s just how we do.

Q: American Idol or X-Factor?

What are those, brands of athletic shoes? Gatorade flavors? I’m afraid you’ve lost me.

Q:  I have a perfect baseball/Galactica combined question but I dont know how far into the show you are.

I just got to the episode where they captured Baltar and gave him the drugs/tortured him for interrogation purposes.

Q:  Ah, ok. I’ll have to hold off on this one. Hows this: On a scale of 1-10, how badass was jumping Galactica onto New Cap?

That was pretty damn amazing. I give it an 11. One thing I have to say about the special effects on Galactica: they manage to give weight, for lack of a better term, to the ships and the battles that stuff on Star Trek or Star Wars never really had. When one of the battlestars opens up with its big guns, it feels like there is some serious firepower coming to bear, not unlike on a real navy ship.  When Galactica jumped into the atmosphere on New Caprica, it felt like, damn, the whole thing might come apart, making the attack/rescue plan all the more dramatic. Maybe the physics are just as bad on that show as they are in most other sci-fi shows, but it’s just way, way more satisfying than the stuff you usually see.

Q: Did you watch the old Battlestar Galactica in the 70’s? I thought John Colicos was a great Baltar. Old series was better. This is epic, no?

I vaguely remember watching it when I was a kid. Enough to where I remembered that the ships were called vipers, there were characters named Starbuck and Apollo and that the Cylons had little red lights for eyes, but I have no memory of the show as an actual dramatic thing.  When I’m done with the recent series, I may go back and watch the old one just to see what it was like.

Q: Here’s a question: how can something like Troy Davis happen in a first-world democracy in the 21st century?

I really wish I knew. I’m anti-death penalty on principle, so feel free to assign a healthy amount of bias to me on the matter, but I’m not quite sure how — even if you can’t bring yourself to question the actual conviction — the sketchy nature of the evidence against Davis doesn’t give you pause when it comes to actually executing the man. Which is, you know, irreversible.  I’m also struck by the fact that it’s often the same people who believe that the government can do nothing right when it comes to the economy, regulation, diplomacy, immigration and everything else under the sun but then believe that government is suddenly infallible when it comes to taking a person’s life.

Q: How can I make an airline connection, but my luggage can’t?

The damn FAA and all their rules, I’m sure. Stupid government shouldn’t be allowed to oversee something as important as business travel.

Q: What’s the proper reaction to my roommate when he brings home single-ply toilet paper?

Dude, look in the mirror. Don’t trust your roommate to handle stuff as critical as your toilet paper, OK? If, however, he simply ignored a direct request for 2-ply, feel free to stab him in an area that will only wound, not kill.

Q: If you had an entire day to do things with Jose Canseco, what would you do? Give us your itinerary.

7AM: Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s; 9AM: some time in the batting cage; 11AM-2PM: tanning; 2PM-5PM: Trying to cash checks on Ozzie Canseco’s account; 5PM-8PM:  writing a chapter for the next tell-all book, but this one will be 100% fabricated because, really, who’s gonna sue Jose Canseco?; 8PM-Midnight: writing tweets about how our ex-girlfriend is a horrible monster/how we can’t live without her.

Q: What should a woman baseball fan say to her boyfriend/husband who doesn’t love baseball to get him to see Moneyball?

You should break up with/divorce any man you’re devoting your life to who doesn’t love baseball. Really, just cut your losses here. As a woman who loves baseball, you are what we with the Y chromosomes call “a catch.”

Q: Was there anything you enjoyed about practicing law?

The women.  Oh, wait, that’s not true.  Actually, yes, I got a lot of satisfaction out of certain aspects of the law. I liked working on a brief, as long as it was my brief instead of some committee job. It’s a lot like blogging, actually. Come up with an argument, find some links/citations that bolster your case, try to state your position as clearly and persuasively as possible. There’s a great feeling you get when you write something like that.  I also liked the oral arguments. Kind of thrilling and scary at the same time, but in a good way. At least if my case wasn’t complete dog poop.  Thing is, however, that in the kinds of places I worked (large firms) you don’t get tons of chances to do that stuff. The money comes in from working on big complex cases where you’re engaged in discovery for months or years and where the sexy stuff is handled by gray hairs or, even if you get to do it, you’re micromanaged.  If I had to do it all over again I’d probably try to build a small practice where I could be in court all the time and have more autonomy. The money would suck, but if I learned one thing while at law firms, it’s that money doesn’t make up for day-to-day misery.

Q: Would the Phillies have won (at least) 110 games if Chase Utley were healthy all year?

Easily. And they would have won 140 if people weren’t so unfair to Ryan Howard.

Q: If the Phillies sweep their way through the entire playoffs, will you consider shutting down HBT for the off-season?

Nah, gotta keep the day job. But I may turn off the comments.

Q: You have to choose one to live and one to die: Jar-Jar Binks or Aquaman?

God, and I thought “Sophie’s Choice” presented some tough questions.

Q: ‘Craig Kimbrel‘ is an anagram for ‘Karmic Rib Leg’. I feel you need to know this.

This is important. This means something.

Q: What are you thoughts on Thomas Hobbes and his contributions to contract philosophy?

Given the way people complain about how solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short life is even when it’s just a matter of the power going out for a couple of hours, no, I have no problems whatsoever going along with the idea of people wanting to leave the state of nature in exchange for a bit of governing.

Q: Do you like hockey? If not, would you pick: The Marlins (Panthers), the Yankees (Red Wings), or the Rays (Sharks)?

Interesting analogies. Other hockey fans: do those hold up?  They seem to, based on my limited knowledge of the current state of the NHL.  To answer the question: I enjoy going to a hockey game, which I do here in Columbus once or twice a year. I have just never been motivated to really get into the sport at all, though.  Which is weird because I come from a family with a lot of hockey love in it, what them all being from Michigan and half of them being Canadian. They’re all Wings fans, and my brother has kept that up.  If I were to suddenly get into hockey I’d probably just start rooting for the Blue Jackets because, hey, they’re local and it might be fun to get in on things when they suck. Which they have done for their entire decade+ of existence, but that’s neither here nor there.

Q: Thoughts on the Twilight kid wearing an “ironic” Roberto Clemente jersey in the trailer for that piece of sh** movie?

From what people tell me, he and that film crew pretty much annoyed everyone in the city of Pittsburgh while filming there last year. So I guess it’s nice that he’s holding form. And it’s a pretty major statement when your role as the handsome werewolf in those “Twilight” movies isn’t being referred to as the worst thing you’ve ever done.

Q: X-wing or tie fighter? Which one would you rather have?

X-wing. I’d like to have an astro-mech droid keep me company on those long flights.

Q: If George Lucas released an updated version of the 1975 World Series, what would he change?

There would be a herd of Banthas wandering behind Carlton Fisk as he waved that home run fair over the Green Monster. And the Green Monster would have extra tentacles and stuff.

Q: What will be the total game time of a potential Sox/Yanks ALCS?

Hahahahahah!  Like the Red Sox are gonna make it to the ALCS. You guys slay me.

Q: Why does Theo Epstein let bad things happen to good people?

Poor planning.

Q: What, besides the Cardinals having been in 1st place, can we credit to Ryan Theriot for his time as a starting SS?

Look, all I know is that when he was the starting shortstop R.E.M. was still a band, the Braves had a big lead in the wild card and a possibly innocent man in Georgia had not been put to death. It is what it is.

Q:  Feelings on R.E.M breaking up? Fellow baseballer Keith Law got snarky on them earlier today.

I think Law’s comment was about how they hadn’t been relevant for 20 years. He overstates it a bit — New Adventures in Hi-Fi was a fantastic album — but he’s not too far off.  Rock bands have a life span, and R.E.M.’s had been up for a while. That said, they were an outrageously important band to me in the 1980s. Everyone loves to listen to the silly one-hit wonders of that decade, but if you were looking for anything of real substance or importance or seriousness in that decade, it was slim pickings. The Replacements, obviously. U2 to some extent, though they were way too self-conscious and occasionally overblown to scratch that itch.  Hip hop if you knew where to look.  And, of course, the IRS-years of R.E.M.

And unlike just about every other important band ever, R.E.M. had a second act. I know there are purists who deride their Green/Out of Time/Automatic for the People/Monster years, but they’re just being jackasses. Though serving entirely different purposes than the IRS stuff, those albums were fantastic for a dozen different reasons. It’s rare that I go a week without listening to Automatic for the People. It’s beautiful and haunting and came along at a point in my life where it will always be important to me. Monster gets slammed a lot, but it’s great fun.

Things went sideways after New Adventures, and I’ll admit that I tuned out almost completely. It happens. And it’s better for a band to break up than to come some oldies jukebox, touring just for the sake of it, or some outfit that keeps going back to the same old well, over and over, hoping that it will somehow have water in it again after it has long since dried up. [cough] U2 and RHCP [cough].

Thanks for all the questions, folks. I think this is the record for “most questions I was unable to get to” for this feature. Which is kind of troubling to me because I always want to try to answer as many as I can. But it’s also pretty cool that you guys seem to have as much fun with this as I do.

Let’s meet again here next Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

  1. frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Craig – your song for the funeral is a great pick.

    McNulty’s fake wake on The Wire with that song playing is (IMO) one of the most emotional closes to a TV show in history.

  2. southofheaven81 - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    TIE fighters are basically cardboard boxes with wings, the sci-fi version of World War I propeller fighters. X-Wing all the way (if the Millennium Falcon isn’t a choice, of course).

  3. Kevin S. - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    “Hrbek can go jump in a friggin’ lake.”

    Let’s be serious, he’s far more likely to push Ron Gant in.

    • kopy - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      Hrbek does basically have his own TV show about jumping into lakes anyway: http://tinypic.com/r/2crozrr/7

  4. captainwisdom8888 - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    The phils are wayyyy too good.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Regarding your two comments on Troy Davis…I thought they should have revoked the death penalty on him and just leave him in jail for life. No reason to make a martyr out of the guy, which they essentially have done. Unfortunately, a piece of garbage like Mumia Abu-Jamal who no question about it murdered a police officer 30 years ago, continues to be a celebrity for the cause and has idiots like Ed Asner and the like in his corner when the guy was tried and convicted like 47 times. At least in the Troy Davis case, there is some doubt…Mumia should have begun rotting in hell about 10 years ago.

    I believe that anyone who murders a cop or a child should get the death penalty. Because those two crimes need the death penalty as the ultimate punishment to give people pause before they are done. Not for retribution and not eye for an eye type of stuff. For determent. The problem is that Right-wing nuts try to apply it to everything from shooting your spouse in the heat of the moment when you find him/her in bed with another man or something crazy like that. All murders should not be punishable by death…but if you kill a cop and you should not be allowed to breath the same air the rest of us do. Period. Those guys put their lives on the line every time they kiss their wives or husbands goodbye at night.

    • kopy - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      I had a thought this morning. What if the death penalty could only be enforced on those that admit guilt? It would seem to only rid society of the true crazies and un-remorseful. Simply put, if you claim you are innocent you can’t be sentenced to death. Plea bargains can be met by pleading no contest. What do you think? Too simple?

      • b7p19 - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

        Deliciously simply. I don’t like the idea of the death penalty in general, but it certainly isn’t going away. I’ll accept your idea in a vacuum.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        Who would admit guilt? Nobody ever. And the court system would be 10 times more clogged than it is now. The death penalty is only a problem when it is actually carried out. The THREAT of the death penalty does tons more for the world than carrying it out. For instance, they can bargain with a guy, tell him to plea guilty to murder in the first and a life sentence without parole…or, go to court and take the chance that he gets the death penalty. More often than not, the person will take the deal.

        Unfortunately, if they never carried the death penalty out, then the threat of it would never have any power.

      • cur68 - Sep 22, 2011 at 1:27 PM

        Plenty of people admit guilt, Chris. Some people do it because they did what they did and have reasons to own up. Still others will claim that they did something for the fame or notoriety etc. Every once in a while someone is looking for someone to kill them (the suicide by cop/state route). Its not really an answer to go on admission of guilt alone, I think.

        It’s a pretty compelling argument, though, that a state governments can’t be trusted to build a decent overpass or tender a contract in a fair manner, but they are infallible when it comes to judging guilt and bumping people off.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2011 at 1:52 PM

        cur, now they do of course, but my response was to the suggestion that “we only gave the death penalty to those who admitted guilt”. I submit to you that anyone who would admit guilt knowing they will receive the death penalty is either

        1) Insane and looking for an insane plea or

        2) Represented by a stupid and incompetent lawyer.

    • Kevin S. - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      The problem is crimes of passion don’t really involve perps considering the consequences, and pre-meditated crimes aren’t committed by people who think they’ll get caught. For the death penalty to be a deterrent, you’d have to assume that A) people who commit pre-meditated crimes don’t think they’ll get away with it, and B) if they do consider the consequences, they’d think that rotting in jail for sixty-plus years with no possibility of parole is that much worse than getting the inevitable over with sooner rather than later. I know I’d probably rather die in that situation. Does the tiny fraction of potential cop-killers who would actually be deterred outweigh the wrongfully convicted who are put to death every year?

      Also, compare the rates of capital crimes committed in death-penalty states with those in non-death penalty states and countries. They aren’t significantly lower. The death penalty as deterrence doesn’t work.

    • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      While I think you are correct in your assessment that people should be subject to a (much) higher level of punishment for killing a child or a cop, I think over time it has been proven again and again that the death penalty is not a deterrent. I don’t have an opinion on the death penalty one way or another, but I do believe that people are going to commit the crime no matter what the consequences are.

      Different things make different people tick. And different rationalizations make people choose alternate paths. You and I would never come close to committing an act like this, and not just because of the consequences – but because we are moral people.

      What I am trying to say is that in the specific examples you mention, there is no deterrent. The punishment is only going to be for retribution (I’m afraid) after the act has been committed.

      • gwolinetz - Sep 22, 2011 at 2:30 PM

        I certainly agree with Craig’s point that if there’s even a shadow of a doubt, it seems wrong to put the guy to death for a crime that he may not have committed.

        As far as the death penalty is concerned as a whole, I really struggle with it. What’s the proper punitive measure for someone that willfully and pre-meditatedly kills someone? On some level, I think it has to be the death penalty. And in the context of murder, the death penalty is as mitigatory as it is punitive. It’s giving someone what they did to someone else.

        But philosophically, it’s a harder argument for me. I tell my daughter all the time that two wrongs don’t make a right. Killing someone doesn’t negate the crime that they committed against someone else, and to that end, I have a really hard time sanctioning the death penalty.

  6. philliesblow - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Nice to see props given to the Mats. Other important 80’s bands: Hüsker Dü, The Smiths, Midnight Oil, Sonic Youth and The Cure.

    • nyetjones - Sep 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      …Talking Heads, XTC, Minutemen, Pixies, Dino Jr. …

      But yeah, Sonic Youth is right there with REM in terms of “relevance”/influence.

      Fwiw, Accelerate is solid. And it topped charts in 2008, not 20 years ago. I’m a Keith Law fan, but I thought that comment reeked of holier-than-thou hipsterism, especially considering it came from a self-proclaimed old-school hip-hop guy. Eric B. and Rakim haven’t exactly been relevant for 20 years either, homes.

  7. sdelmonte - Sep 22, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    X-Factor is a Marvel comic by Peter David, known Mets fan.

    Still not sure what American Idol is, though.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 22, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      NAILED IT!

  8. natstowngreg - Sep 22, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    Marlins (Panthers), yes, blah.

    Yankees (Red Wings), yes, wealthy, well-managed teams.

    Rays (Sharks), don’t think so. The Sharks are what the Braves were, top-notch regular season, not so much post-season. Same for the Capitals. The Rays analog may be the Blackhawks, lots of young talent but couldn’t afford to keep the team together. (It has something to do with the NHL has salary cap.)

    A couple of others:

    Cubs (Rangers), rich teams who overspent on overage talent. The Rangers are getting younger; let’s see what the Cubs do under their new GM.

    Twins (Sabres; disclaimer — Sabres fan), teams that compete without big payrolls. Though they’re going in opposite directions. The Twins are going down the tubes, while the Sabres have a new owner who’s willing to spend the money to upgrade the talent.

    • seimiya - Sep 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      I think the Rays and the Sharks might be closer as they’re almost always contenders, but they play in a tough division – and while they have a strong core, they’ve yet to win it all. I can see Rays/Blackhawks, but I think the Blackhawks are too history-steeped, no? Sharks are young, Hawks not so much. Rays/Sharks have similar ages.

    • ThatGuy - Sep 22, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      I don’t think the argument holds for Red Wings/Yankees either. The Red Wings are succesful because they are well run and well coached. In the salary cap era they don’t spend any more money than anyone else, so wealth has nothing to do with it. In fact the Red Wings aren’t even in the top half of the league in salary(falling in at 16th). Their front office is the reason for their success, while with the Yankee’s their abilitiy to outspend everyone plays a large role in their success.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 22, 2011 at 5:40 PM

      Any comparison of an MLB team to another pro team is difficult because other leagues have salary caps. Even more so for the Yankees, as the extreme example of what happens without a salary cap. I was thinking of how wisely the Yankees and Red Wings spend their money, within their leagues’ economic systems.

      That said, a salary cap does not mean that every team has the same resources to spend on talent. Take my Buffalo Sabres. They had been operating on the cheap, spending under the salary cap and skimping on player development. And, being surprisingly competitive. That is changing with new ownership; the salary cap is the same, but the team is getting more resources to spend on talent.

      As for Rays/Blackhawks, I was thinking of what happened to the Blackhawks after they won the Cup; they had to shed a lot of players to get under the cap, while protecting their cyoung core of talent. The Rays have developed a lot of young talent, but haven’t show that they can keep it.

  9. mentalotherhalf - Sep 22, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Thank you, Craig, for that perfect account of R.E.M. I run into plenty of people (read: fellow nerds) who agree on various of your individual positions–Monster being underrated; AFTP being too much of so many things to even be effectively critiqued; IRS being the old gold; the last ten years being meh–but in you I feel I now have an all-too-rare kindred spirit: agreeing with all of the above and NOT underrating New Adventures. If the release order of New Adventures and Monster had been reversed (AFTP, then NAIHF, then Monster) the world would be better in innumerable ways, and New Adventures would be seen as the perfect coda-and-then-some to AFTP that it is. Also: probably no Bill Berry aneurysm and maybe 10 years’ more relevance for the band. And, maybe, The X-Files. That’s a different rant for a different day, though, I guess.
    I digress: bravo on the NAIHF represent–especially since it came in a post in which you continued to give the Phillies their just due.

  10. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    “I’m also struck by the fact that it’s often the same people who believe that the government can do nothing right when it comes to the economy, regulation, diplomacy, immigration and everything else under the sun but then believe that government is suddenly infallible when it comes to taking a person’s life.”

    I awoke this morning pondering this very thought. Thanks for laying my mind’s eye’s thoughts out on the blog once again, Craig. It’s a lot to do with why I keep coming back. Now, if you’d just cheer up about the Braves a little and hold hope for them, we’d be on the complete same page.

  11. thehealer31 - Sep 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Totally agree regarding R.E.M.

    Automatic is a great album but my favorite is still, after all these years, Lifes Rich Pageant.

    I’ve listened to it since it was first released and the music holds up well to this day.

    I also agree with Craig’s opinion regarding Troy Davis, his execution was a monstrous injustice and the death penalty itself is a cruel and barbaric practice that does not deter crime, is applied in a racially biased manner and only serves to escalate the cycle of violence in the United States.

  12. foreverchipper10 - Sep 22, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Craig say it ain’t so. An OSU alum? As a Penn State alum this saddens me deeply.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 22, 2011 at 4:54 PM

      It’s so. Class of 1995. Whaddaya gonna do?

      • foreverchipper10 - Sep 22, 2011 at 5:50 PM

        Not hold a football grudge against you since this is a baseball blog and we are both Braves fans. Though it stings just a little.

  13. normb11 - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Thought you’d get a kick out of this CC.

    http://gizmodo.com/5843037/a-dad-photoshopped-ewoks-into-his-family-pictures-to-convince-his-kids-ewoks-were-real

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