Stick to baseball, 4/8/17.

I had one Insider post this week, on the most prospect-packed minor league rosters to open the season. I have already filed a draft blog post on last night’s outing by Hunter Greene, with additional notes on a half-dozen other draft prospects, including Brendan McKay and Austin Beck. (EDIT: It’s up now.) I held my regular Klawchat on Thursday.

I resumed boardgame reviews for Paste this week with a look at the reissue of Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, specifically the Jack the Ripper & West End Cases set, but found it more like a solitaire puzzle than a cooperative game.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon, or from other sites via the Harper-Collins page for the book. The book now has two positive reviews out, one from Kirkus Reviews and one from Publishers Weekly.

Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

And now, the links…


  1. From the article on the Kansas high school students:

    “They were at a loss that something that was so easy for them to see was waiting to be noticed by adults,” Smith said.

    That’s a life lesson in one sentence.

  2. Keith – finally preordered your book and can’t wait to read it!!!

  3. This was written before Trump’s strike on Syria, but it looks like Steve Bannon is losing his power in the WH and the alt-right isn’t pleased by it. I don’t know how much it hurts the movement. Bannon’s time may be gone and it will be interesting to see if he turns on Trump after he leaves. The article also discusses how much influence the Heritage Foundation has in the Trump WH, so he might be turning slowly into a neoconservative.

  4. Is being ignorant still considered “cool” and smart kids bullied as “nerds” in American schools these days? I’m too old now to know. I just think it’s amazing how such a phenomena started. Such a stark contrast to schools in other parts of the world like S.Korea or Japan etc. Here in S. Korea where I’m stationed, it’s almost cruelly real world like in how getting good grades is a cut throat competition and low grade students get ridiculed.

    • A Salty Scientist

      I’m sure that “nerds” are still bullied, same as it ever was. Part of our Puritan baggage, I’m afraid. Eastern cultures do not have that particular baggage, though I would argue that the pressure in the other direction is not healthy either.

    • I think it is highly dependent on where you live (i.e. looking down on smart people is learned behavior). I live in a blue state where education is highly valued (as demonstrated by our obscene property taxes) and “nerds” are not bullied for being nerds nor were they when I was in high school 20 years ago.

    • Hm, wonder what state that might be.

      We can eliminate the red states, and presumably the purple ones (i.e. North Carolina, Virginia).

      We can eliminate California, since it has low property taxes (thanks Prop 13!). In fact, I think we can eliminate all the states that have big cities, since I assume there’s at least SOME bullying in Chicago, NYC, Philly, etc.

      We can eliminate any other blue states with low property taxes (Hawaii, Delaware, Colorado, etc.).

      I’m going to eliminate New Jersey on general principle. I cannot believe that a state crawling with mafia has no bullying.

      I do believe that leaves us with Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. All four states are blue, none have major urban areas, all have high property taxes. and three of the four are home to Ivies. Dark horse: Washington, which DOES have Seattle, but I think the granola-eating, Prius-driving hippies there wouldn’t bully nerds.

      I think I’ll go with Connecticut as my guess, just because it has the highest population of the four likely candidates, and also because it has Yale.

    • I think part of it depends on where you grew up in a state more than anything else. Intelligence might be bullied at some schools, but it might be another group of kids bullied at another school (minorities, different social class, etc). At my high school, also 20+ years ago, it was based on social class. And no one was poor either, just upper middle class and upper class. It was the constant “keeping up with the Joneses”. If your parents only bought you the 3-series BMW, and not the 5, you just weren’t cool. I drove my sister’s mid 80’s Pontiac. A friend had a Ford Pinto (and yes, we tried to re-create the scene from Top Secret). Even with this, I don’t remember the bullying being that bad in high school, at least when compared to what is depicted in tv and movies. Middle school and junior high were a lot worse.

      Connecticut was my first guess, though doesn’t Westchester County in NY have the highest property tax rates in the country?

    • I would suggest subbing in Massachusetts for New Hampshire (which leans blue, but I see it more as a purple state), but the property taxes here are actually quite reasonable. I never realized how high Vermont property taxes were… ouch!

  5. I have to say that I disagree with your take on the trademark disputes involving Dogfish Head. In as tightly packed and competitive a world as the craft beer market, name/brand recognition is probably the biggest advantage you can have. Failing to protect that, especially with a national brand that is still growing, leaves Dogfish vulnerable to losing some of its tiny market share. Yes, it sucks for the small breweries/meaderies/etc that have to change things, but when starting a business, you need to be careful about potential patent/trademark infringement, and they should have done better in their preparation. Additionally, Dogfish seems to have approached this issue in as polite a manner as possible, giving these smaller companies an opportunity to change (within a reasonable period of time) without incurring enormous legal fees.

    It’s not a perfect analogy, but imagine if someone started a new baseball and food website called klaw (dot) com? I’m assuming you have not trademarked your nickname (if you have, good for you; if you haven’t, you probably should), so they would be within their legal rights to do so, but wouldn’t you feel that they were taking advantage of your success to build something that has nothing to do with you? And btw, you totally should start klaw (dot) com if you ever decide ESPN isn’t being good to you. I pay some (I really don’t remember how much) amount of money to them every year pretty much so I can read your stuff and a bit of basketball news; from other peoples’ comments on your blog and chats, I’m pretty sure you’d have a successful business with a subscription based site. Just make sure you trademark it.

  6. When the organic laws were being passed in the early 2000’s, I happened to be working for Bread and Circus (the local chain that got bought up by whole foods, shortly after I started working there). We were given quite a lot of information about what was going on with those laws, and its always worth remembering when we talk about Organic, and particularly science that uses the legal definition of organic, that the laws defining what is and is not organic were negotiated between small farmers who had originally pushed the concept, retailers like whole foods that were buying from those smaller farmers who were growing in a lot of different parts of the country, and producers of conventional agriculture such as perdue, as well as companies making pesticides and fertilizers. The end result? A law that defines organic in a way that none of the people who originated the philosophy of growing organic would truly recognize.

    IThe organic philosophy has pushed a lot of innovations in farming that have produced greater yield per acre, and a few organic crops pass conventional crops in yield per acre every year. So, the idea that you aren’t being as sustainable when you buy organic is really a comparison that has to be made on an individual crop basis, and changes regularly. And stopping buying organic is very likely to slow down the rate at which we increase our yields per acre and reduce the carbon footprint of growing food.

    I don’t really care what people feed their kids, as long as their kids eat a variety of foods… but I think the push back on organic is already swining past the pendulum point where the truth resides.

    • I think the push back on organic is already swining past the pendulum point where the truth resides

      I don’t disagree with that. I think the problem is the term “organic” has been co-opted out of most of its original meaning, so that consumers think they’re getting something they’re often not.

      I do buy organic quite a bit, but if I’m actively choosing organic over conventional, it’s because I’m buying from a brand or even a farm that I know is adhering to a higher standard than the USDA regulations. And as I said in the post, reducing prophylactic use of antibiotics is such an enormous problem that that alone would justify buying organic meat and dairy in my mind.

    • A Salty Scientist

      I appreciate your perspective, Paul. My issue with organic as a movement is the conflation of issues based on sound science (overuse of antibiotics) with issues based on pseudoscience (natural is *always* better than synthetic, GMOs are inherently bad).

  7. Organic bananas and tomatoes and strawberries actually taste like the fruit, not bland cardboard… least that’s my experience.

    Keith, did I miss it, or did you say what you think McKay’s “upside” is in terms of either pitching or hitting? He reads like Mark Grace as a hitter, or a number 3/2 type starter. Is that about right?

    As a Twins’ fan (who sees none of these guys in person), knowing they’ll never compete to sign the highest upside FAs, I’m partial to Greene, but expect Buksakis (sp?) or McKay to be the pick.

  8. Ah, now I see the sentence I thought I saw…McKay as a number 3 for a decade. thanks for the coverage!

  9. I’m a fan of the fact that the woman called the guy out in the bar for taking pictures of her and her friend without their knowledge, but what charges were the police thinking that she might bring? I can’t imagine that there is actually a law on the books that would criminalize that.

  10. From the first article:
    “Even those on the left talk about how immigrants make America great. They point to photographs of happy refugees turned good citizens, listing their contributions, as if that is the price of existing in the same country, on the same earth.”

    Her piece is about how we expect a gratefulness from our immigrants and for them to make contributions to our society, yet many here also want this because it allows us to keep a feeling of superiority over them.

    The part I disagree with is her comment about the discussion of how immigrants make America great. I personally don’t care if a refugee family comes in and is a net drain on our resources. I know a lot of people like this. We in America have an abundance and we didn’t do anything to get it other than being born here, so I feel an obligation to share those resources and this country with those who weren’t as lucky as I am. I certainly don’t expect all immigrants to have great (or even small) contributions, but when I am discussing the matter with someone who is against immigration you bet I’m going to bring up their contributions to help bolster my argument and hopefully start to change their mind.