With no baseball, you’d think winter was simply a waste of four otherwise perfectly good months.
You could be right. But, I spent this past off-season productively – reading stuff and learning stuff.
Now, with just two weeks until Opening Day, it’s time to share some of my newfound expertise.
I’m here to answer questions with that declarative I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong decisiveness that comes when you’ve learned stuff (or think you know stuff, or can talk faster and louder than your friends at dinner).
Some of these questions came from real readers of this blog.
I made the rest up. Which is the prerogative of an expert.
Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
But, is Animal House still the greatest movie of all time? Sadly, probably not.
For years I’ve said that Animal House is the greatest movie ever made. And, I meant it. Trust me, I’ve watched it a lot.
That the San Francisco Giants remade its greatest scene in 2013 only made it greater.
(None of those Giants – not even Hunter Pence – had ever seen Animal House. Sad, really.)
I watched Animal House again last week and, in light of the horrible fraternity news that’s been spewing out lately like vomit at a college kegger, it sort of ruined it for me.
(This? Still funny.)
But, drinking too much, degrading women, sadistic hazing, racism? Not funny.
Leave it to the frats to ruin this movie for me. Losers.
When are you going to finish War & Peace?
I started Tolstoy’s War & Peace as the off-season began.
I read it because I wanted to know if it was really the greatest book ever written, as literary experts say … and if it’s so great, why haven’t any of my friends read it?
My goal? Finish the 1,200-page book by Opening Day.
I’m often a last-minute slacker … but, guess what?
I finished it last Tuesday.
The whole thing.
The booky part.
Both Epilogues. The Appendix. And, all the footnotes. Hundreds of them, from two different translations.
I don’t think I can be much done-er than that.
It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.
You should read it. Then, whenever someone asks you a tough question – about anything – you can pause thoughtfully, then say, “Well, as Tolstoy reminds us in War & Peace …” and then just answer the question however the hell you want. Who’s going to know?
Let’s try it.
Is Animal House the greatest movie of all time?
“Well, as Tolstoy says in War & Peace’s second epilogue, the present can color our view of the past. So, despite all the dreadful recent news from fraternities, it should not color Animal House’s overall cinematic greatness. After all, 1978 was a very different time.”
You can make up all the crap you want. Chances are the person you’re talking to hasn’t read War & Peace, so you’re in the clear. They’re going to think you’re really smart. (And, a little annoying. They’re probably right about that.)
(Tolstoy would agree with me about Animal House, by the way.)
Waffles or Pancakes?
Waffles. Those little squares are absolute perfection … each one waiting to be turned into a delicious little syrup pond.
Waffles perfected the one fatal pancake flaw … “syrup slide,” where your syrup slides off the pancake and onto the plate, making it useless.
When we start eating ice cream out of “pancake cones” you can argue with me.
Until then, waffles.
This next question comes from WebMD – the popular health website – which really sent me this question by email:
(See how easy this experting thing is?)
This post is just pretext to get us to ask about that tweet you sent last month, isn’t it?
I’m so glad you asked!
Here it is …
Orioles All-Star outfielder, and crossword puzzle clue, Adam Jones saw my tweet, proclaimed my puzzle “coo” (baseball, hip, twitter-speak for “cool”) and retweeted it to his 168,000 followers.
I was viral in a very small, but satisfying, way, for nearly an hour.
When not tweeting, Adam Jones plays center field for the Baltimore Orioles.
Yes, I ultimately finished the puzzle, but I needed brainiac Editor/Husband’s help to do it …
Finally, two baseball questions.
Should Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball be lifted?
Of course not.
Rules are rules.
In 1989, Pete Rose accepted a lifetime ban from baseball because of his gambling.
In 2007, he admitted publicly that he bet on the Reds “every single night” when he was manager of the team.
Here’s baseball’s Rule 21(d) that is posted prominently in every major and minor league clubhouse:
“Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”
I think we’re done here.
What will Hartford’s Minor League team be called?
Earlier this month, we got to vote on a new name for the Rockies’ AA affiliate. I came around on Yard Goats, because it refers to the little engine that shuffles cars around in a rail yard.
Just think, a steam whistle can blow for every Hartford home run!
Tolstoy coined the term “Yard Goat” in War & Peace, you know. Crazy isn’t it?
But, he did.
I mean, hey, prove me wrong.