Weekend Open Thread


If you’ve been reading my stuff long enough, then you might remember my Friday Randomness posts from the pre-RAB days. That was a long, long time ago. Geez. It was literally just a collection of links I had sitting around, interesting stuff I read throughout the week. Almost all of it was baseball related, but once a while some non-baseball stuff would sneak in. I’ve decided to bring that back here and this is the first entry. The nightly open thread is a pretty good spot to do that. This week’s stuff is pretty old, but that’s okay. Away we go:

  • My buddy Robert Sanchez profiled Cy Young winner Max Scherzer earlier this year for ESPN (Insider req’d). Scherzer’s brother Alex committed suicide last June and Max really opened up about their relationship and how his brother’s death affected him both on and off the field. Robert is one of the best writers I know and Scherzer is an impossibly great guy (met him at the ALCS). You can’t read the piece and not come away rooting for him.
  • Former big leaguer infielder Adrian Cardenas — who I once wrote up as a potential target for the Yankees — wrote an article in the New Yorker about why he quit baseball at age 25. He now studies creative writing and philosophy at NYU because he simply enjoys school more than baseball. Hard to believe someone can work so hard to get to the show then give it up to go back to school, but I guess the game isn’t for everyone, even if you’re good at it.
  • In another ESPN piece (Insider req’d), Sam Miller wrote about the science of team chemistry. Front offices are trying to measure and quantify “clubhouse atmosphere,” and a study by professors from Rutgers and Santa Clara University found that clubs with a lot of diversity outperform other clubs by about three wins a year. Young players hang out with other young players, Dominican players hang out with other Dominican players, star players hang out with other star players, stuff like that, so the more overlap you have between groups, the better the clubhouse chemistry. Pretty fascinating stuff.
  • Last one and this one’s kinda old: friend of RAB Jonah Keri spoke to Coco Crisp about the art of stealing bases, specifically getting jumps and reading a pitcher’s move. It’s a long but really interesting read. These small, easy to overlook “game within the game” aspects of baseball always fascinate me.

I’ll try to keep the links more current going forward, but I had some bookmarks to clean out and these were all in them. Figured I might as well post them here rather than just dump them. Hope you find one or two worthwhile.

Friday: Anyway, now that that’s all out of the way, here is open thread for the night. The Devils and Nets are both playing tonight, plus there’s college basketball on somewhere. I’m sure of it. Talk about whatever. Go nuts.

Saturday: Once again, use this as your open thread for the night. The five hockey and basketball locals are all playing, plus there’s college football and basketball on somewhere. Anything goes here. Have at it.

Sunday: Here’s the open thread for the evening. The late NFL game is the Chiefs and Broncos (that should be fun) plus the Rangers are playing as well. Talk about those games or anything else.

Categories : Links, Open Thread


  1. Havok9120 says:

    I approve wholeheartedly of this notion. This is some good stuff.

    I have to stick with your precis though. Research paper to write tonight.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      My intention is to drunkenly write cover letters for jobs I plan on applying for while I wait for my son to fall asleep and my wife gets a night out. Fun fun!

  2. Jimmy says:

    I’ve heard first hand about Scherzer being a really good guy. Glad to see him do well.

  3. ropeadope says:

    Wonderful posting format Mike, love all the links. Are you aware of the Jackie Gleason phraseology you used in the article?

  4. Jonathan says:

    Yeah, this is a really good idea. Keep em coming Mike. There is no downside to it. I’m disabled with basically unlimited down time and the offseason gets really boring without stuff to follow or that much to read on the Yankees so I love this look into other interesting baseball related things.

  5. I'm One says:

    Well, since this is an open thread, I’m going off topic.

    A local radio station was doing an auction/fundraiser for a local children’s hospital. One of the items up for auction was airfare and hotel in Times Square for 2 for 3 nights, covering New Year’s Eve. I lived in NY for over 40 years and have never been to Times Square New Year’s Eve, partially because the only way I’d deal with crowds like that unless I had a hotel room right there. Since we usually don’t do anything New Year’s Eve (and my wife hates that), this will be a great Christmas gift for her. To top it off, the winning bid for the auction was less than what 2 airline tickets would have cost. Not bad!

    • ropeadope says:

      Excuse my poor reading comprehension, but may we assume you submitted the winning bid? If so, congrats!

      • I'm One says:

        Yes, sorry for not making that clear. I did submit the winning bid. It’s not only going to a good cause, it was very reasonable for a trip to NY, with hotel, at that time of year.

        • ropeadope says:

          Wonderful deal for all parties – hope you have a great time. I’ve lived my whole life in New York and never taken in the festivities in person. I’ll look for you on TV (if I can stay awake to midnight this year).

          • I'm One says:

            Yeah, 10:00 or so is usually it for me. However, with a 2 hour time difference, midnight in NY will be like 10:00 to my body.

            On top of it all, this was kind of a “bucket list” item for my wife, so we get to knock that one off. A great Christmas gift for the 2 of us.

            • CashmanNinja says:

              Sounds like a terrific deal to me. I’ve never been, but I think it’d be nice to experience it sometime in the future. Plus I’m sure it’s a bit more special to go there if you aren’t in the tri-state area. Hotels are very expensive and air fare always sucks in general, so I’d say it’s a good deal when you factor in that the money also goes to charity.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I’ve always stayed away as well. Dealing with packing in the subway after that’s all done gives me hives.

      Good luck, though.

      • I'm One says:

        While we’re there, my wife and I should visit that Colombian place in Brooklyn you told me about a while back .

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Absolutely. Owners are good friends of mine. Would love to get together.

          Wait….you WON this already?

          • ropeadope says:

            Wait….you WON this already?

            Try to keep up RT. That was clarified long ago. If I join in on the RAB Brooklyn – Columbian gathering, can you take us to the zoo (and buy me cotton candy)?

          • I'm One says:

            Yes, we won. On our way back to NY in a bit over a month. We’ll touch base on this again as the time approaches. And I want cotton candy as well.

    • forensic says:

      I’m the same way, I would never go to NYE in NYC, even though some of my friends had gone in the past. We still won’t even bother going to NYE in LV now. Just doesn’t seem worth it to me.

  6. TWTR says:

    Great articles, Mike. Thanks.

  7. Kramerica Industries says:

    Friday Randomness YAY!

  8. Robinson Tilapia says:

    The video is beautiful. Really hits home and reminds me how fortunate I am that I never had to live through what so many from the same place my parents came from went through. I was born in the US. My parents came here as children, before it became so difficult for Cubans to come here. I am incredibly thankful. What a moment for Jose.

  9. forensic says:

    By the way, the article on team chemistry is not an Insider article (at least not anymore according to my browser). A lot of that seems somewhat far-fetched and almost like they’re adjusting the rules to fit the narrative as they go. And the Brandon McCarthy stuff just isn’t even worth discussing.

  10. nycsportzfan says:

    man, i’m bored of rumours. I’d like to see a trade go down or a couple guys sign. FA’cy has been underway for over a wk and Punto and Byrd are about the only 2players of note to sign. When will this get going?

    • forensic says:

      It’s still the middle of November. You probably still have another, at least, 2-3 weeks before anything that could be considered major will happen. Maybe even all the way till December 9th when the Winter Meetings start.

      It’s like this every offseason, it’s not like it’s a surprise.

      • nycsportzfan says:

        It might not be new to you, but i’ve been watching baseball since 1990, and its been remarkably quiet, and has been surprising.

        Last yr, the biggest trade of the offseason had all ready occured(nov 13th) between Jays and Marlins. I’m not saying a ton of guys should be signed all ready, but its alittle bit quieter then usual by this time, thats for sure. Johnny Gomes(nov22nd), Melky Cabrera(nov19th), Scott Baker(nov12th),John Broxton(nov28th), Russ Martin(nov30th), Juan Pierre(nov17th),BJ Upton(nov28th), Tori Hunter(nov16th)…etc

        I could keep going but you get the point. There is usually a bit more movement, with a big bulk coming in December, but its certainly been quieter then yrs past, and especially this yr.

        • jjyank says:

          Meh. I’m with forensic. It’s still super early. Most of those names are pretty low profile anyway, and half of them signed on a date that hasn’t happened yet either.

          Be patient.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Quit insulting him. What’s wrong with you? He’s just here to talk ball and scratch his balls.

          • nycsportzfan says:

            Ya, but they happened before the 2-3 wks from now that forensic said we have to wait before things happen. All i was saying is things were quieter then usual. And it has been. I never said all the big signings should of happened, just that its boring with all these rumours, and usually you will have at least a few signings to wet your appetite while waiting for the big deals to come.

        • forensic says:

          That Jays-Marlins trade was a rarity. Using that as a comparison is like saying July (or August waiver) deadlines are slow because there’s no massive salary dump like the Red Sox-Dodgers trade in 2012.

          As for your list of FA’s, none of them are really huge names, mostly they’re just medium names like Hunter, Upton, and Martin. And even with just them, two of the three were still nearly two weeks away from signing.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Marlon Byrd sits in a bathtub full of money and laughs at you.

  11. Farewell Mo says:

    Very interesting that Keith Law suggested in his blog yesterday that the Phillies should look into the fact that Reuben Amaro has given exorbitant and over market value contracts repeatedly to clients of his former agent, the Levinsons.

  12. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I forgot to make the two obvious jokes about the video.

    1) Marlins attendance next season increases by one!
    2) Flying in abuela = no money for players. Fire sale time.

    • Psycho Trish says:

      They’re still your favorite club though. Don’t forget that. Really wish you would waste your time all day long on a Marlins blog instead of here.

      They probably banned you or something which is actually smart. LITTE MAN!!

      • jjyank says:

        Can you two just bang and get it over with?

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          You don’t really think this is an actual female, do you?

          Things I can guarantee you:

          1) this ain’t the Trisha from LoHud
          2) there’s testicles involved here

          This is probably the same person that hounded me last season under another screen name. This is also the first, and last, time I’ll acknowledge the dumbass troll.

          And, hey, my fandom had switched to 50/50 when they came in as an expansion team, frankly, all the way to the post-2003 fire sale. I never really thought I was moving back up north and just embraced the new local team as I held on to the team I grew up. Other than 2003, it was pretty possible to root for both.

          I rooted for the Yanks in 2003, of course. Ain’t no doubt about that one.

        • SDB says:

          You don’t really think this is an actual fish, do you?

  13. SDB says:

    And that’s a nice piece on Grantland on swiping bases. Billy Hamilton may have single handedly landed one of my fantasy teams into the playoffs in the span of 2 weeks.

  14. Pat D says:

    This is quite probably the dumbest article ever. See if you can spot the reasons why.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I….just can’t.

      Why is this an issue all of a sudden? Brian Wilson? Really?!

      If it was up to me, I’d get rid of the rule, simply because I can think of a thousand things that matter more to me about a baseball player than grooming, but I could give three fucks about Brian Wilson.

      • Pat D says:

        To be fair, I saw a similar article dated February of this year saying the same thing regarding David Price.

        But this article seems to have been written more so because of the Red Sox than Brian Wilson. I mean, he used the term “glorious” to describe their beards? What kind of crack is he on?

      • RetroRob says:

        I hope the Yankees do not get rid of their facial-hair policy. If Brian Wilson wants to go elsewhere, go elsewhere.

        • I'm One says:

          I see Brian Wilson (and the 2013 Red Sox) as reasons to keep the facial hair policy, not get rid of it.

          Price on the other hand ….

    • SDB says:

      I am so proud of the facial hair rule right now, and I hope it stays. NO BRIAN WILSON, PLEASE.

      Dammit, just give D-Rob a chance to close. Stick Betances in the bullpen and see how it goes. And Cashman has in the past usually done a damn good job pulling guys off the scrap heap for the bullpen (see Eppley, Rapada, Marte for a few) – I think the bullpen is the least of our worries.

      Really, if the team doesn’t keep Cano or sign some other quality offense (McCann, etc), we won’t need a closer that often to protect a lead.

    • Get Phelps Up says:

      Watching the Red Sox all of last month really made me appreciate that policy soooo much more. I sure don’t want all the Yankees looking like they should be sleeping on a bench in Central Park.

      If the Yanks offer Wilson say $2M more than anyone else and he turns it down because he doesn’t want to shave his beard that seems like it’s much more his problem.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I thought the beard thing was silly because, at the end of the day, they represented a major northeastern metropolitan area where no one looks like a mountain man. If someone’s a good teammate, it doesn’t matter to me what they look like.

        Clearly, the rule hasn’t affected the Yankees’ ability to do business. Utilizing a player known almost exclusively for his beard as an example is silly.

        • SDB says:

          Why are we still talking about beards? Can we just agree that the Yankees could have had Wilson, but didn’t because CASHMAN FAILED?

          • Pat D says:

            I think by now that point is understood.

          • Farewell Mo says:

            Don’t you think it’s pretty fucking ridiculous that the Yankees miss out on a player who can help them because they won’t sign players with a mustache or beard?

            Their players can chew tobacco, smoke, spit all over the field, get covered by tattoos and that’s fine as long as they don’t have facial hair.

            Totally asinine.

            • forensic says:

              Well, as someone who agrees with the facial hair policy, I’ll just throw a reply out there. First, a mustache isn’t a problem as it’s only hair under the lip that is banned. But anyway:

              Spit: it’s kind of nasty but it’s also a pretty natural human process. You can’t exactly outlaw that. Maybe just ask guys not to spit on their hands in between every damn AB and then rub it all together on top of that.

              Tats: I personally don’t like them either, but at least some of them can be covered up by normal clothing (other than Mike Tyson-ish messes). Sometimes they can even have a memorial or spiritual meaning to them.

              Smoke: They can’t smoke on the field, so this isn’t really relevant to the issue.

              Chew: Absurdly nasty and I don’t know how anyone does it. At least MLB has banned cans on the field and chewing it during any interviews and things like that.

              As someone who works for an agency, that because of our constant contact with the general population and the need to look professional, who also bans facial hair (barring approval in certain units), it’s really not that difficult. We don’t ban tats, but if there are excessive tats on the arms, then they’re required to wear long sleeves to cover them. Chew is so rare that it doesn’t even need rules against it (though I’m sure it’d be blocked) and smoking is only allowed outside your vehicle when not in contact with the public.

              I don’t see what’s so crazy about some of this. Is it so damn difficult to use an electric razor for a minute a day if you need to?

              I know, I’m sure I sound like a complete loser to most of you, so go ahead, have at me now…

              • Havok9120 says:

                I agree with pretty much everything here. I don’t like having facial hair myself anymore, but even when I did it was pretty easy to apply an electric razor for a few minutes a day in order to make my employers happy.

                I like the rule and, even if I didn’t, the idea that we’ve missed out on many major cogs because of it is like insisting that the team’s arrogance in not putting names on the jersey’s has turned free agents against us.

                • forensic says:

                  Truthfully, I’ve always wanted a goatee, and think it might look good on me, but after only periodic week-long vacations where I don’t shave it gets all itchy and stuff anyway. I’m not sure if that’s even worth it.

                  • Havok9120 says:

                    My experience with trying beards and goatees led me to the conclusion that I had better things to do with my time and effort, and I’m pretty sure I look better clean shaven anyway.

                    Your mileage may vary, obviously.

                    • forensic says:

                      I’m pretty sure I look better clean shaven anyway

                      And although I’m sure there are all sorts of different groups of women around, the vast majority of the ones I’ve been around (including my wife) would like clean shaven over anything else.

                      Though, I’m kind of attached so it may be different around the Country in different areas.

                    • I'm One says:

                      I’ve had facial hair of some type since I was about 18, always neatly trimmed, none of this Wilson or Red Sox-type stuff. Shaved off my beard twice since my marriage, once when my daughter was an infant and didn’t like the feel of my beard against her face (she’d pull away from me when I held her close) and then again about 3 years ago during my time off from work between Christmas and the New Year. I was told by my family to grow it back both times. Fortunately (I guess) that only takes about a week or so for me to do. This last time, I opted for a goatee as opposed to a full beard.

            • RetroRob says:

              What players have the Yankees missed out on over the decades?

            • SDB says:

              Oh, the Yankees will sign players with a mustache or beard – they just require them to shave.

              And I am fine with it, and I love it.

              When Napoli, Gomes, Buchholz or any others of the Boston roster showed up on screen this past year, it was hard to tell if they looked more like someone off America’s Most Wanted, extras on Duck Dynasty, or as if they had just been sleeping on a park bench for the last month or so.

              I’m glad the likes of Jeter, Teixeira and Cano don’t look like that.

              And if players like Johnny Damon could cut their hair when joining the roster, I don’t see why it’s such a big deal for Brian Wilson to shave.

              • forensic says:

                And if players like Johnny Damon could cut their hair when joining the roster, I don’t see why it’s such a big deal for Brian Wilson to shave.

                Because Wilson’s entire career and persona (not to mention any semblance of endorsements he’ll ever get) are all based only on the beard. He’s really only had about 3 full seasons in the Majors where he’s been good/great. Other than that, it’s partial or not so good seasons for his 8 years in the Majors.

                Damon already had a very successful career before he got to Boston and grew it as a short-term gimmick, meaning it didn’t define him.

                Really, that’s basically the same deal for Boston’s guys this past season too. They were all at least somewhat shaven at all times entering this season, then they all decided to conspire to see who could look most like the Unabomber.

                Most of them have already shaven, since it was either hated or annoying, and I guarantee all of them would shave if it was required to get a nice contract.

                • SDB says:

                  Exactly. Boo fucking hoo, Wilson. He’s a good pitcher, he’s not another coming of Clayton Kershaw or Roy Halladay or someone else whose career is defined by his pitching.

                  If a player’s good enough that their career and reputation is based on their game rather than their looks, the hair policy is not a big deal. Hence why a quality player like Damon could cut it, and an overrated thrower coming off arm surgery needs to cling to his look.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              There’s other players who’d help the Yankees other than Brian Wilson. They so weren’t exactly near a contract, with this being the only sticking point, as far as we know. This sounds more PR stuff on his part than anything else.

            • BFDeal says:

              I think it’s pretty fucking ridiculous that you consider Wilson worthy of changing the rules.

              Totally asinine.

            • Get Phelps Up says:

              I’d rather ensure that the Yankees players never look like this, even if it mens they “miss out” on some 30 year old reliever coming off TJS who’s probably going to get a multiple years contract.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Wow. That’s atrocious.

      That so much of it boils down to “like, the Yankees, man, they’re just SO LAME,” doesn’t help matters.

      When people start shouting “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSEION!!!!” at rules like this my ears start bleeding from the pressure change from the point going over their head (whooosh).

  15. forensic says:

    So, random question, anyone know the correct pronunciation for Arodys Vizcaino’s first name?

    I always say it like: a(uh) road e

    I have no idea if that’s even close to correct though, so I was curious if anyone actually knew for sure.

    • RetroRob says:

      I used to but forgot.

      I hope this question is not keeping you awake at night!

      • forensic says:

        Why do you think I’m here every night??? :-)

        Seriously though, I just encounter him periodically in MLB The Show and never know if I’m right with what I think he’d be called.

        • RetroRob says:

          I asked if it was keeping you awake since I believe you live in CA, so judging by your posted note, it was 5 am in the morning. Then again, maybe you were just waking up!

          • forensic says:

            I’m actually in Vegas. I work nights on top of being on West Coast time, so I’m always here at night rather than during the day. That was also the start of my weekend so I’m usually up even later during my weekends.

    • Pat D says:

      Unfortunately, neither BRef nor Wikipedia have the answer, so I have no clue.

      • forensic says:

        Yeah, I checked those too. BR often has those, but I guess not if he hasn’t been in the Majors long enough.

        I guess at least with the weekend long Open Threads, this will hang around so maybe someone will know on Sunday.

  16. Dan says:

    Whoa, Kim Jones is on the NFL network. Awesome.

  17. Lukaszek says:

    Robinson Tilapia if you’re reading this, you mentioned that there is a really good Colombian place in Brooklyn. Can you tell me what that place is, me and my college pals are foodies, and would love to get some great Colombian food ^_^

    I wonder if great Colombian food can dethrone lamb over rice. Lamb over rice is IMO the greatest food NYC has to offer

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Not ultra-traditional, but my friends own a very popular restaurant called Bogota Bistro in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Some very nice dishes, but also a bit more of a Pan-Latin selection. Absolutely check it out.

      • SDB says:

        Thanks for the rec, RT. Meanwhile, what are your suggestions for good Cuban in Manhattan, LIC or Brooklyn?

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I’ve rarely had Cuban good in NYC as good as what I can have crossing the Lincoln Tunnel into Union City. El Artesano. 41st and Bergenline Ave. :)

          • Pat D says:

            You mean you’ve never been to that Cuban place that was featured on Kitchen Nightmares?

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              There was a “Cuban” place down in Clinton Hill, I think, on one of those shows. Never went there.

              • Pat D says:

                A place called Mojito that is on Washington Ave in Brooklyn.

                I mean, if that’s Brooklyn, I don’t know anything about Brooklyn.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  That’s the place I was thinking about. Driven by it. Don’t think it’s there anymore. Never went there.

                  I’m very mistrusting of most “Cuban” places in NYC. There’s a mini-chain called Café Cubana in both Manhattan and Brooklyn that has absolutely nothing to do with Cuban food. French-Canadian owned. They even get the names of the dishes mixed up.

                  Actually, Cuba on Thompson St., by Washington Square Park, was pretty good as of a few years ago.

                • ropeadope says:

                  I don’t know anything about Brooklyn.

                  Did you know the Dodgers used to play there?

                  And I seem to recall Washington Ave. being between Bedford and Flatbush Avenues. Major bus transfer point at Washington Ave. & Empire Blvd.

                  • Pat D says:

                    Obviously I know that. I meant the layout/geography/culture/locations of Brooklyn.

                  • Robinson Tilapia says:

                    The place Pat is referring to is to the west, practically underneath the BQE.

                    • ropeadope says:

                      Yes, I was referencing Washington Ave. where I used to cross it. In the 60′s we’d bowl at Freddie Fitzsimmons Lanes (former Brooklyn Dodger pitcher) on Bedford & Empire. There was a Wetson’s (burger joint similar to McDonald’s) on Empire & Washington. Wetson’s had the Big W to compete with the Big Mac. If I were coming home from somewhere on a Flatbush Ave. bus, I’d have to transfer at Empire Blvd. My bus would depart right from the corner of Empire & Washington.

      • Lukaszek says:

        Thanks RT, I’ll give it a try next time we go back to NYC

    • HateMclouth (formerly I'mVernon) says:

      Shit, I haven’t had some good halal food in a loooong time. Did you know the Halal Guys are supposed to be opening up a restaurant in The Village?

      • Lukaszek says:

        99% of the time I eat halal I just go to one of the stands that are always around QCM. There was one West Indian looking guy around there who always seemed mad angry but was polite and made the best lamb over rice. Great cook he was, I wonder where he went to.

  18. Kiko Jones says:

    My worst restaurant outing ever was with some friends at Bogotá. Service and food were both deplorably lousy. This was a few years ago, maybe they’ve improved…

    Some have pointed out Cardenas was good enough to coast at the major league level but not good enough for his decision to be a revelation. It’s not like Mike Trout hung up his cleats. Hmm…

  19. Jimmy says:

    In 40+ years of watching the NFL, I’ve never seen a D-Lineman catch a pass clean in stride and take it in like JPP just did.

  20. Jimmy says:

    RT, as long as the subject’s been broached, are there any Cuban restaurants you’d recommend in the Elizabeth area? There are about a hundred in the Peterstown area and my Dad used to bring me to one in particular, but its not there any more.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I never spent a ton of time in Elizabeth. Heard there’s some great pizza there. Sorry.

      I do know there’s a place called Azucar that used to be in Edgewater, but moved to Jersey City a few years back. Never been to the Jersey City one, but I did like the Edgewater location.

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