Stick to baseball, 12/2/17.

My Insider post on Shohei Ohtani is finally up, with a scouting report compiled from aggregating opinions of multiple scouts who’ve seen him hit and pitch, and thoughts on what MLB’s rigging of the rules against him really signals. Between the lack of significant activity in the hot stove and the fact that I got quite sick in the middle of the week, that’s been my only baseball content since Thanksgiving. I did hold a Klawchat on Thursday.

For Paste, I reviewed the train game Whistle Stop, a mid-weight title that’s among the best new board games I’ve played this year. My ranking of the top ten games of 2017 will go up the week of December 10th. EDIT: My first piece for Ars Technica is up now – a look at a beta version of Catan VR, an upcoming digital port of the global bestseller from Asmodee Digital.

I’ve taken an unintentional hiatus from my free email newsletter, but will resume this week. The holiday, PAX Unplugged, and that virus I had have all conspired against me, I swear.

Smart Baseball is out now in hardcover, e-book, and audio formats, perfect for your holiday shopping! Buy one or forty copies, your call.

And now, the links…


  1. Isn’t there a much better argument for providing incentives for companies to relocate, or locate a massive new HQ at least, in your city/state, than to build a stadium? The former will likely bring new, better jobs, raise property values overall, and thus actually generate new taxes (albeit maybe not in the amount of the incentives themselves), while the other just shifts revenues around? I’m not necessarily supportive of these massive tax incentives that are getting thrown around for companies, but it doesn’t seem completely analogous to funding stadiums with public money. Am I looking at this wrong?

    • I think part of the problem with it is that (in Baltimore at least) there has been talk that the city/state might allow Amazon to keep the employment taxes rather than giving them to the government. The employees would be paying their taxes to a private corporation. I’m on mobile currently so i can’t find the article but I think it was in the Baltimore Sun.

    • Sure, but that doesn’t really address what I was talking about. It’s not analogous to a stadium deal, which is inherently terrible. It is possible to craft one of these incentive packages to not be terrible

    • It’s not that they are analogous, but the idea to have cities play against each other in who could outbid others in attracting a major corporation probably did start with stadiums. Amazon is only the most recent example. GE and Boeing both shopped around the country before landing on Boston and Chicago respectively for their corporate headquarters. I’m sure there are plenty of other examples. With what some cities are offering Amazon in terms of tax incentives, we could easily be at the point where the benefits don’t meet the costs .

    • addoeh, I think we’re well PAST that point with Amazon, because they’re able to pit so many cities/states against each other, in a way that few, if any, other companies have before. But Amazon is an outlier, and somewhat unlikely to be repeated anytime in the foreseeable future. There doesn’t seem to be any way that the benefits of having Amazon come in will actually outweigh the costs; cities are offering the moon, and one of the results will almost certainly be the pricing out of lower income people

    • 25 years ago, I worked for a fairly large company based in Manhattan. The lease on our midtown office was up, and management served notice that they were interested in moving to another state and laid out evaluation criteria in a similar fashion to what Amazon has done. They pitted the bids of three different locations against each other, with each state/city upping the ante to get our company to move there. And then the company culled the best stuff from all three proposals, brought them back to the city of NY, and got the new 10-year least they wanted with tons and tons of perks.

  2. I like the Muppet version, but I’m still moat partial to the Alistair Sim version from 1951. He carries it for me, and the low-tech effects are endearing, rather than distracting.

  3. “Meanwhile, FCC chairman Ajit Pai is mad that people are mean to him on social media…”

    Not defending his policies, but his kids are being harassed and signs are being put outside his house:

    • Oh that part is awful and unacceptable. But that’s not the specific part of the link that bothered me – he’s talking about Twitter and its brethren as throttlers of content because they have finally taken the meekest of steps towards kicking neo-Nazis off the platform.

  4. I may have misread it, but I think the link to the story about about women not being fit to run for office indicates that the underlying story was authored by William Einwechter. Moore contributed, if I understand correctly, other topics to the presentation. I think that one can unequivocally say that Moore supported and worked with someone who wrote that, but I think saying he authored it is a bit too much.

    Of course that would just be icing on the cake for someone who believes in imposing a religious test for public office, adjudicated based on religious beliefs, advocated that consensual sexual behavior between consenting adults should be illegal, engaged in – at best – racially charged language about Obama, and doesn’t believe that the Constitution is the highest law of the land. It is disappointing that there can be a candidate for whom credible accused of child molestation are not the most important reason not to vote for him.

    • It’s interesting that the people who shout most loudly about sharia law and how evil it is are the ones who are most interested in doing the exact same thing, Christian-style.

  5. Thanks for sparking some interesting weekend reading!
    I thought I’d try to return the favor with this interesting piece in The Atlantic. It offers an historical
    perspective of the two concepts of freedom of speech doing battle in our society today.

  6. For those that follow Keith’s recommendations, I Contain Multitudes, by Ed Yong, is currently $1.99 for Kindle on Amazon.

    I must confess I don’t understand the whole YouTube star thing either.