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

Sep 6, 2012, 10:03 AM EDT

The Question

I haven’t done one of these in forever. Mostly because they were getting a little tired. Batman. Aquaman. Bourbon. Sure, those are things I love, hate and love, respectively, but a sameness crept in.  Hopefully now that some time has passed, this exercise will seem fresh again.

Have at you!

Q: I’ve always wondered how you guys work the blog together. Are there beats? Do you take shifts? Take us behind the scenes.

There are shifts, sorta. And beats, sorta. Basically, I do the morning recap post and the first few things before 10AM. It started out that way back in the 2009 Circling the Bases days, before I was doing this full time. I’m just a morning person and it works that way. Gleeman comes on around 10AM or so (it’s 9AM for him in the Central time zone) and he and I steer the ship, usually trading posts until around 6PM eastern. Matthew comes on around then takes us through a couple of hours in the evening, at which point either Drew or D.J. — depending on the night — join him and the two take us through the night.  On weekends, some combination of D.J. Drew and Matthew are around.

As for beats: not really. I tend to take legal stuff, but not always. Each of us tend to cover the teams we root for the best, but that’s certainly not exclusive. Mostly it’s whoever calls what first. We talk via G-chat all day and say things like “I’ll get the Boston-L.A. trade” or “I’ll get the Ozzie Guillen Twitter meltdown.”  And, of course, we all are assigned 24/7 to the Bobby Valentine beat these days.  I’m not gonna lie, though: a great deal of Aaron and my G-chat conversations involve Cohen Brothers movies and snippy little complaints about people on Twitter that we’d never dare say to their faces.

Q: Better band: Nirvana or Foo Fighters?

I’m not one of those people who talk about bands and artists as if there is a right answer and a wrong answer. Yes, I will go to my grave thinking that Rush kinda sucks and the Pixies are amazing, but everyone has some fans and adherents out there and there’s always someone who hates what you hate. So when I say someone is better, I mean it only for me.  And as for me, it’s Nirvana, in large part because of the when and where of how I first heard and came to love them (I was 18 in 1991).  For me, Foo Fighters will always be a playlist of their best songs on my iPod. Nirvana will be a band where I keep four full-length albums in pretty frequent rotation and even still, occasionally, throw in “From the Muddy Banks of the Wishka” when I feel like listening to noisy dissonance.

Q: Do you ever stop to think how Batman is part of the bloodsucking 1%? Isn’t Spider-Man a better hero of the people?

I try to not let politics and Batman mix, though I realize that’s difficult. When I can’t ignore it, yes, I do acknowledge that in many ways Batman is a conservative fantasy: a rich man stepping in to save society when a feckless and corrupt government cannot. That said, he has had his “Occupy” moments, like when he crashed that fancy dinner party in “Year One.”

Q: Do you now take Twitter blocks as badge of honor? Try to provoke people into blocking you?

This was inspired by the fact that Curt Schilling blocked me on Twitter yesterday because I had the gall to suggest that he is not one to call Bobby Valentine or anyone else a disgrace given the past couple of years he’s had. But no, I don’t take it as a badge of honor and don’t try to provoke people. I really don’t care. The only two blocks I’m aware of are Schilling and Heyman. If anyone else has blocked me I haven’t noticed, which says way more about the quality and necessity of their Twitter content than anything else.

Q: Fill in the blank: Mila Kunis : Aaron Gleeman :: ___ : Craig Calcaterra.

This references Aaron’s just-this-side-of-creepy fixation on Kunis. For my part, I don’t have a single celebrity obsession like that. I’ve gone through a number of lower level obsessions, however. Carla Gugino and I go way, way back. I had a thing for mid-90s Gillian Anderson, as most geeks did. But I don’t go full-bore into celebrity crushes. Often it’s more characters and roles. Time and place. I’m more of a substantive relationship guy than anything else. My feelings about fleeting attraction to random women I do not know can pretty much be summed up by Bernstein’s speech about the woman on the Jersey ferry in “Citizen Kane.” Maybe that makes a creeper. I dunno.

Q: Has @AaronGleeman kissed a girl yet?

Does your mom count? Aaron may come off as inexperienced, but he’s a stone-cold lady killer. Don’t think for a minute he isn’t.

Q: Does Clint Dempsey start in Kingston?

What’s a Clint Dempsey?

Q: When is Alli going to make you cook a dessert?

That’s a friend of my girlfriend’s, noting my recent, tentative and still extremely modest foray into cooking which was inspired in no small part by Allison. No, I am not and never will be a foodie like Keith Law or someone. This is about subsistence and learning to be the best single dad I can be. As for dessert, I did make this a couple of weeks ago and they came out pretty damn good.

Q: Once I am there for good, football is banned from our respective households, right?

That was actually asked by Allison. And the answer is yes, with a few occasional exceptions for random Ohio State football games. I’m honestly and truly trying to give up college football because it’s corrupt and horrible and I don’t want to be a part of it anymore, but in some ways it’s kind of like giving up smoking. There is a certain kind of addiction at work there, and being in Columbus, Ohio is sort of like being a non-smoker in a smokey bar, always, always tempted.  But yes: I will be 100% football free one day soon.

Q: If you were king of the world, how would you fix the Cleveland Indians?

I didn’t have a good answer for this, so I tried to Google “How to fix the Cleveland …”  First two suggestions in the autocomplete line: “How to fix the Cleveleand Browns” and “How to fix the Cleveland Cavaliers.”  Man, that city is a mess, sports-wise, no?

Q: Shouldn’t Bobby V have shown some professional courtesy by not dragging Joe Maddon into his on-air meltdown?

Good point. My taking issue with Joe Maddon on this yesterday failed to acknowledge that Valentine started it.  But really, Valentine is a thrashing, wounded animal at this point and you have to cut him a lot more slack for that kind of crap. Maddon still could have avoided that whole mess if he wanted to. He just wanted to be clever.

Q: If Bobby V and Aquaman had a baby, where would the baby bat in the Red Sox lineup and could it speak to fish?

I don’t know, but we’d blog the living crap out of that around here, I can tell you that. It’s gonna be really sad when Valentine gets fired. He’s about 75% of our content these days.

Q: Is there a potential baseball situation cooler than Joe Maddon talking to Brandon McCarthy on the mound?

I love Maddon and love McCarthy — both have been great to me personally and interesting to cover professionally — but being into them because they’re smart, sabermetric-friendly, Twitter-friendly and fan friendly creates a bit of a skewed universe. Thinking that they’re the coolest thing ever is easy when, like me, you find yourself consuming most of your baseball information via the Internet. It’s like the “Snakes on a Plane” phenomenon.  Or “Firefly.” Cool? Oh yeah. But also a niche interest one can easily fool themselves into thinking is massively popular and awesome.

Q: Should MLB do more to protect pitchers from comebackers? Helmets? Something else?

Speaking of McCarthy.  Honestly, what could they possibly do?  Helmets would change a pitcher’s mechanics and would be a disaster. If you don’t believe that, do something simple and physical like, say, run up stairs two at a time. Now do it with a helmet. It’s a totally different experience.  And you can’t put L-screens or something up there because they’d be in the middle of the damn field of play.  No, even I as a bleedin’ heart liberal who is predisposed to think that every problem has some official solution has to acknowledge that there is always going to be risks out there, and comebackers to the mound are risks of the enterprise.

Q: Can you get the football tweets to stop?

We’re trying. We honestly are.

Q: Who is the funniest person you follow on Twitter?

I’m ruling out the standup comedians and comedy writers because it’s their job to be funny on Twitter and that’s kind of not fair. As for the people I follow first for baseball things, I can think of a couple good ones. One candidate is Dave Brown from Big League Stew, who I absolutely love. But then again, I have a weakness for puns and 25 year-old pop culture references, so he may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe the funniest guy both in terms of his tweets and his longer writing, is Jon Bois of SB Nation and Progressive Boink. At turns absurd and dry, but always smart. And he will judge what you ate for lunch, which is doing God’s work, really.

Q: With how much certainty do you think we can/should say that a given player is “injury-prone”?

It’s like porn. You know it when you see it. I mean, for years I wanted to say that guys like Nick Johnson just had freaky injuries. And they often do, with no injury those types suffer bearing a relation to the last one.  But we all see these dudes. There probably needs to be a Nick Johnson Index or a Jeffery Hammonds Quotient created to measure such things.


Q: Is Chris Perez trying to force his way out of Cleveland? Great closer but latest comments indicate he wants out.

Yeah, him ripping the Indians owners seems like a case of suicide-by-media. He knows he’s known for saying crazy stuff, and now it sounds like he’s trying to use it to get the hell out of Cleveland.

Q: Does MLB do a comeback player of the year? Shouldn’t it be Ryan Braun? He deserves MVP, but they won’t let that happen…

It does, but I don’t see how the reigning MVP can be said to have had a “comeback” year.  His 2012 is actually better than his 2011, but the MVP is so totally out of the picture. For one thing, the Brewers aren’t good this year, and though that’s not a part of the formal criteria for voters, most care about that. For another, the second great season in a row is always given less heft than the first one in MVP balloting, because the storylines do matter to voters.  Finally, and most significantly, voters likely still want to punish Braun for the positive test fiasco last season, so even if he was single-handedly winning the division for Milwaukee, he’d get boned in the vote. Politics, man.

Q: Do any modern ballparks have urinal troughs, a la Tiger Stadium?

Sadly, no. At least none that I have seen. Wrigley may be the last one that does, actually. Maybe Fenway. Haven’t been to Fenway. Trough status, anyone?  In other news, seriously considering putting one in the house here for those times the boy and I both need to go.

Q: As a Braves fan do you see the attendance picking up at any time in the future? Nats seem to be in the same boat.

The Nats could turn DC into a baseball-crazy town if they sustain success, I think.  The Braves: nah. They’ll always have lukewarm support during the regular season. If they make a serious World Series run the place will, contrary to the popular narrative, be sold out, but it takes A LOT to get people in Atlanta excited about baseball.

Q: If the Justice League were a baseball team would Aquaman be the bat-boy?

No, I’d never trust Aquaman with something as important as that. I’d consider him for the job of clubhouse attendant. He’s be in charge of towels and jocks and stuff. He’s probably be very good at laundry.

Q: Have you tried Maker’s 46? It’s goooooood.

I have tried it and I like it a lot. Even had it at the Maker’s distillery last year. I like Maker’s, but I’m getting away from it a bit and into things with higher rye content and less wheat, which is what makes Maker’s sweeter and smoother.  I still totally recommend Maker’s to bourbon newbies, as it’s the most accessible of the higher end hooch.

Q: You seem well-reasoned in public. In what ways do you overcompensate for that in your personal life?

I’m not sure if that’s meant to be an insult or a compliment. But the answer is probably “bourbon.”

Q: Will the Boston media ever stop overreacting to every little thing?

We don’t ask the birds not to fly, do we? We don’t ask the fish not to swim.

Q: If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself?

Yes, but I’d make myself like this first.

Thanks for the questions, all.  More tomorrow on HBT Extra.

  1. The Dangerous Mabry - Sep 6, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    The craziest thing about that Maker’s Mark distillery tour is that they’re fine with you just sticking your finger into the mash and tasting it. It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing most places producing any kind of foodstuff would be ok with, and I was concerned for a minute, and then I remembered “Oh, right. Distilling will kill everything.” Still pretty crazy.

    • nolanwiffle - Sep 6, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      I had that same thought while there. I also found it amazing that while my tour group moved on, I hung back to snap a few photos with fewer tourists in frame. I totally could have pulled an Augustus Gloop and climbed in the vat like a whirlpool bath. Perhaps next time…..

    • kiwicricket - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      I have often pulled out dead animals from fermenting wine tanks. The old famous Port producers with concrete vats dug into the ground are unfortunately death pits for rodents, cats and dogs.
      Machine harvested grapes often have birds and mice in them.

      • kevinbnyc - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        In my head, I know this is OK, but it doesn’t make it less gross.

  2. joshftw - Sep 6, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    If Batman were batting for this Justice League baseball team, would he be using some sort of tricked-out gadget bat? A Bat-Bat perhaps? And would it be illegal like corking your bat?

  3. manchestermiracle - Sep 6, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Some nice insight into the mind that writes so much stuff about baseball. I can see where we differ: “Rush kinda sucks?” Is it because they’re Canadian? IMO the best three-man band ever. But then again, I’ve never listened to Nirvana or Foo Fighters. Yes, I’m older than you…..

    • nolanwiffle - Sep 6, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      Ever heard of The Jimi Hendrix Experience? Pretty talented trio.

      • harrysatchel - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        Cream wasn’t too bad either.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        I have to mention The Police, just for the hell of it.

      • nolanwiffle - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        I really wish you hadn’t.

    • dwrek5 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      Is it just me or is there no in-between with Rush? People either think they are the best band ever or that they kinda suck.

      • umrguy42 - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        Nah, I like ’em, but I wouldn’t say they’re the best band ever.

    • kiwicricket - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      I have read some things on this site, but this tops them all. Fantastic. I disagree with every fiber of my being, but fantastic.

    • heyblueyoustink - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      Primus baby, Primus.

  4. hasbeen5 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    I for one do not lament the absence of urinal troughs. I don’t even like stand alone urinals if there isn’t a divider between them. This isn’t a homophobic issue, or an equipment envy issue. I’m just a fairly private person, and I think there are better forms of male bonding than getting your junk out and peeing communally.

    • kiwicricket - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Its all about efficiency. Turn-over rate, ease of cleaning, person:available area ratio…A good Roman style trough urinal(none of these fancy stainless steel jobs) should be appreciated for all its effectiveness and perceived weaknesses. Modern technology be damned.

    • Glenn - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      In my youth, Fenway had at least one large, circular trough. Nothing could be more terrifying to a pre-pubescent boy than to have to use one of those things

      • kiwicricket - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        Circular??! I don’t think I have ever come across one of those. I distinctly remember as a young child, getting some splash-back onto my feet from a guy next to me, at one of the old rugby grounds. Lesson learned- don’t wear jandels to trough urinals.

    • mncharm - Sep 6, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Favorite trough story — back in the late 80s, one Metrodome (famous for trough peeing) trough had a bumper sticker affixed to it: “Fire Schnelker” (former Vikes o-coordinator).

      Sorry to bring football into this. I was there for a Twins game. But I did pee on it.

  5. beefytrout - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Rush doesn’t kinda suck. They completely suck.

    • heyblueyoustink - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      You might not like them, but they don’t suck. You’re a Neil Peart 15 minute live drum solo away from understanding that.

      • beefytrout - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:11 PM

        Oh, well in that case… nope. Sticking with “completely suck.”

      • heyblueyoustink - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        You completely suck, suck boy.

      • beefytrout - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        You’re a Beefy Trout 15 minute live drum solo away from understanding that.

      • heyblueyoustink - Sep 6, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        You strike me more of a tuba player.

      • beefytrout - Sep 6, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        Too heavy. Oboe was always more my style.

      • derklempner - Sep 6, 2012 at 10:42 PM

        Honestly, instead of tuba or oboe, I was waiting for a “skin flute” comment.

    • philliesblow - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      The highest content of completely suck would be The Eagles.

      • nolanwiffle - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:50 PM

        Not a trio. Trio means three. As in: The Redskins have a trio of Lombardi trophies. Suck it Eagles fans!!

    • schlom - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      Krieger begs to differ:

  6. Francisco (FC) - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Update for you Craig: I recently saw ’10s Gillian Anderson at FanExpo and she’s still looking good. it might be worth your time to rekindle old flames…

  7. KR - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    I miss Jon Bois’s Dugouts.

    Fenway did not have troughs last time I was there, at least I didn’t see any, though I didn’t check out every bathroom. But I believe they were removed quite awhile ago.

    • ulrik3 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      I haven’t seen troughs at Fenway in years. I think they were one of the first things to go when Henry/Werner started renovating. Elitists.

      • nightman13 - Sep 6, 2012 at 5:10 PM

        I only read this comment because I was scrolling through quickly and thought I read henry Winkler. I was very disappointed, almost enough to give a thumbs down.

  8. bouwel92 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Well Craig bein I don’t use twitter I’ll ask you on here. What do my Astros need to do to be a winning ball team,well except getting major league players. Also, when do you expect our next playoff apperance to happen.

    • nightman13 - Sep 6, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      Just a miracle, wrapped in a wish delivered by an act of God.

  9. indaburg - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Don’t worry, Craig. You’re not so reasonable that you need to overcompensate out of the public eye. That’s a compliment.

  10. mncharm - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    I bet Aaron wouldn’t have misspelled “Coen Brothers.” He’s One of Us (by that I mean he’s a Minnesotan, all you non-Minnesotan suckers out there).

  11. chuchasantamaria - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Ahem, Oakland (of course) still rocks the troughs..

  12. flyingvien - Sep 6, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Troughs have ruined my adult peeing life. SCARRED AS A CHILD

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