Stick to baseball, 11/17/17.

I had one Insider column this week, on Friday, looking at a few free agents who might sort of possibly perhaps be bargains this offseason. I also held a Klawchat on Thursday; that will be the last chat until after Thanksgiving.

If you’re at PAX Unplugged in Philly this weekend and have a copy of Smart Baseball, I’ll be signing on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm.

Feel free to sign up for my free email newsletter, which I send out … I guess whenever I feel like it. I aim for once a week, although I’ve gone as long as two weeks between issues when I haven’t had much to say. You can see past issues at that link.

And now, the links…


  1. Brian In Ahwatukee

    I appreciate your consistency in blasting bad actors as being bad actors. I’m saddened that there is a desire to defend the letter behind someone’s name above simple human decency. Roy Moore is a monster and a perfect example of the hypocracy of the ultra religious. Franken, I find often funny on the senate floor, and doesn’t have the baggage of all the religion, but he’s guilty of similar acts and should step down. I think you said that it’s worth allowing someone who isn’t a cad.

    • I think that calling for Franken to step down immediately is a bit of an overreaction. To wit:

      1. His offenses and Moore’s are “similar” in the sense that punching someone and shooting them in the head are similar. An unwanted kiss/tacky photo involving someone above the age of consent are not good, but molesting a 14-year-old is far, far, far worse. Degree matters.

      2. There is at least a chance that Franken did not knowingly commit an offense. He could well have believed that the photo and the kiss were within bounds of his performance as a comedian. On the other hand, there is no ambiguity about making physical contact with someone under the age of consent. Or masturbating in front of them without permission. Intent matters.

      3. There is at least some scuttlebutt that the photo was a staged gag, and that Tweeden was not asleep and was in on the gag. I don’t believe this to be true, but given that it’s at least possible, Franken deserves to have the necessary time for that question to be resolved.

      4. Following on point #3, there are certainly some aspects of this that do not pass the smell test. I would like to know, for example, why Roger Stone was aware of the Franken news 24 hours before the public was aware. That at least *suggests* a public hatchet job, and again is a question that should be resolved before any decisions are made.

      5. Leeann Tweeden has specifically said that she does not want Franken to step down. This whole situation–Trump, Weinstein, CK, Franken, etc.–is about respecting women (and, more generally, victims). Why would that consideration only include sexual situations, but not respecting her views on what should happen?

      I don’t like to be in the position of defending someone accused of sexual assault. However, I am also concerned about overreacting in the other direction as a corrective for decades or centuries of bad behavior. It has often been said that America’s criminal justice system is willing to let four guilty people go to avoid imprisoning one innocent person. I would not favor a ratio like that here, but I also don’t want to see an Al Franken or a George Takei to be unduly or unfairly punished just because they happened to be accused at exactly the same time that vastly more reprehensible people like Moore, Weinstein, CK, Spacey, et. al. are also being justly excoriated.

    • Larry I. in L.A.

      Unfortunately, should Sen. Franken choose to tough this out, it will provide cover to Moore/Trump supporters to rationalize and excuse even worse transgressions.

    • It’s not clear to me yet that the moment demands Franken’s resignation, but I wouldn’t stand in the way if it turns out it does. Not buying the alternate version of the story, given he’s apologized for it. An announcement that he will not run for reelection (or for higher office) is probably appropriate, and could serve a political purpose — woke times demand we not be asked to vote for sexual assaulters, either now or in the future.

    • A Salty Scientist

      My hope is that the recent revelations and #MeToos lead to a zero tolerance policy for blatant sexual harassment and assault, both in our workplaces and in politics. If that means a shakeup of people I agree with in politics, like Franken, so be it.

  2. Larry I. in L.A.

    Because Minnesota’s governor would likely appoint another progressive to complete Sen. Franken’s term, I believe Franken should resign during the upcoming holiday recess. (I hate to politicize the timing even a little bit, but Congress is considering some frightening legislation, and I’m a middle-class Californian who enjoys his state tex deduction and is already facing $20+K in health insurance premiums in 2018.) If Franken pursues atonement through advocacy, benefit comedy shows, donating book profits, etc., he may be able to re-enter elective politics a few years down the road. Should that prove impossible, perhaps Franken’s downfall would at least deter future abusers and harassers.

    • Why should it matter if Franken comes from a state with a Democratic governor? Wrong is wrong. Republicans should disavow Moore in a state they would never otherwise lose.

    • Larry I. in L.A.

      You’re right, it shouldn’t matter. With Alabama’s Republican governor declaring that she is still voting for Moore, however (and I’m presuming she doesn’t actually support him, but plans on keeping the seat Republican if the Senate expels or refuses to seat Moore), that’s just the way the game is being played right now. It sucks, truly.

  3. Here’s a link to an abstract for a study that found fructan as a possible cause for self reported gluten sensitivity:

  4. Not that it matters as he’s dead, but it was a Green Beret (Army) that was killed by the Naby SEALs.