To rip-off the disclaimer for Bill Simmons' BS Report, Tag Team is a free flowing discussion between two adults that sometimes touches on mature subjects. This is the sequel to an earlier Tag Team I did with Bob, which is still the most-read blog post I've done on here.
Want to do your own Tag Team with me? Send me an e-mail or leave a comment.
Steve said on July 9:
Heyyyyy Bob Hanson! If I am a cheap clone of Bill Simmons, then you are my Jack-O, minus the Yankees devotion. He is a successful banker kind of guy, and you do have a better career than I do, so it seems a somewhat appropriate comparison.
Anyway, let's talk about your wedding, which I am invited to. Now, I'm not going to ask you annoying questions about whether you're ready to give up your freedom completely and stop doing drugs and having sex with strippers, because all of these would be low-blows and inappropriate when you've so graciously extended me an invitation.
Instead, let's focus on a practical matter: Will I be having sex with one of your female friends? I saw this small independent art film once – I think it was called Wedding Crashers – that implied that every single person who ever attends a wedding gets sexed up. Since this is the first not-related-family wedding I'll be attending, I wasn't sure if this will happen or not. What would you put the odds at?
Second, do I know anyone attending? I imagine Pat Aguiar and Mike James will be there, but I didn't know if any Cigar people besides me were invited. What the heck are Pat and Mike up to anyway? They were like two sides of a comedic coin to me. Pat always had this weird, esoteric humor that really came across well in his writing, whereas Mike's voice and mannerisms were incredible. "Ohhh, Steve, how nice to see you!"
[Editor's note: I saw Pat a couple weeks after I wrote this. He was doing well and in a band.]
And third, for all the drama you apparently had picking fish and salsas, the wedding invitation and card I got sent in the mail is quite splendid. I feel like I need to make a scrapbook specifically for pasting the invitation into. You know, something nicer than just ramming it under my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2009, which is where it was for the past two weeks.
What say ye, good sir?
Bob said on July 14:
Hey Steve, I'll have something back to you soon, sorry about the slow response.
Bob said on July 26:
Sorry, I suck. Hopefully I won't keep you waiting nearly as long next time. I will be back in RI next week.
Also, unlike Jack-O, I am not a Republican. This is an important distinction. Fortunately, Bill Simmons and Jack-O have managed to keep political discussions largely outside of their enjoyable discussions about sports and pop culture. WEEI could learn from this. I can't stand listening to WEEI in the morning because a quarter of the time they are talking about some idiotic political controversy. I don't visit WEEI for its political discussions, just like I don't visit NPR for its sports discussions.
On the topic of female friends at my wedding, you may be disappointed on two fronts. First, all of the weddings (all three of them) I have attended in my adult life have been fairly tame in terms of hook ups. There are two reasons for this. First, most of the weddings I have attended have had a great deal of family and not so much in the way of friends. Thus, hook up opportunities are often a) one's family or b) the family of the groom or bride of your family. Both of these are quite creepy. For good hook up opportunities, one needs to have invited a great deal of non-family friends, which only happens if hundreds of people are invited.
Which brings me to my second point. Kristin and I are not having a big wedding (we will have 90ish, which is similar in size to the other weddings I have attended). Although we did manage to invite a good number of people our age (which is good, there is nothing more creepy than being stared at by a whole bunch of aunts and uncles who don't know you), not too many of the women are single. Off the top of my head, I an think of only three or four unattached women attending the wedding who are not family. For a successful hook up, you would need to be able to pick them out (easy to do, since most significant others are invited) and separate them from their friends (not so easy, since most people invited know a few people at the wedding). That being said, if you do manage to hook up with somebody at my wedding, I expect a thank you note.
You are in a select company of people who were invited from the Cigar. That is to say, you were the only one. You will know Mike (Pat will be invited if we can track him down; he's fallen off the face of the Earth) and the Yearbook girls. Also, I think you have met my friend Nora and my best man Mat. We have friends coming from high school, URI and DC, but most of the people attending are family and family friends.
Thanks for complementing the invitations. We (by which I mean Kristin) did them our(her)selves! We picked up a pack of blank invitations, which we designed and printed them ourselves, all for a fraction of what it would cost to have them printed up. I was surprised by how nice they turned out. And I'm honored to hear that it was put in your copy of Baseball Prospectus, I know there are few places closer to your heart.
[Left] Soleil Moon Frye, a.k.a. Punky Brewster, is one of the few with a wacky name to do okay for herself despite a flaky name. And good lord, has she done well... Where am I...?
Steve said on August 1:
I also can't stand listening to WEEI in the mornings because of Dennis and Callahan. It would also be one thing if WEEI curried political commentators. Like, if they had James Carvel on the show some day, then you could (feasibly) have a sort of debate, even if it was the idiotic type of Crossfire shit that Jon Stewart eviscerated a couple years ago. Having just one wacky right-wing guy on the show isn't so great.
I have been to a couple family weddings too, and I also don't think that's an appropriate venue for hook-ups. Most of the people there are either related to you, or going to be related to you in some way, so it is quite the risk to take. I am somewhat disappointed that I shant have a Wedding Crashers experience, but then again, I don't really have the “random hook up” tool in my bag. That being said, if you are doing table seatings, try to slyly put me with the foxiest one. As the adage goes, just because I'm not playing the field doesn't mean I can't watch the game. Hi-oh! (I have a feeling this exchange will get me into a lot of trouble at some point...)
Anyway, yeah, I know Mike James, and I vaguely remember Mat. I'm sure if they're friends of Bob Hanson, I can manage to be friends with them as well. Should I talk to them about Star Trek? Or more about how much more awesome Star Wars (the original trilogy, of course) is?
Tell Kristin that she is welcome to design the invitations for my future wedding as well, except that whoever my future wife is would probably be against this completely. Women are insane about weddings, hence why she did all of the work on those invitations for you. For us, it doesn't hold nearly as much meaning. The same applies for baby names, except that the guy does hold some veto power, at least in my mind. Like, I'm not allowing my child to be named something wacky like Moonshine Deliverance, but I'll sign off on names that straddle the puss line like Aiden and Skyler if my wife is into them enough.
In an attempt to inject some sports talk into the blog – What do you think of Boston's chances this year? I actually like the team more than others, since I think this is just a temporary dip lately. Drew and Bay have always been kind of streaky, so they'll get out of their funks any day now, and the pitching rotation is formidable. Beckett and Lester is a great one-two punch, and the rest of the gang – Wakefield, Penny, Smoltz, Buchholz, Bowden – can scratch together enough quality starts to at least earn a wild card bid. And once you're in the playoffs, pretty much everyone has a 1/8 chance of winning the World Series; just ask those poorly-constructed Cardinals and White Sox teams.
p.s. I originally wrote this before I learned about the trade for Victor Martinez. While I actually would have preferred giving up Buccholz over Masterson - I think Clay will flame out, whereas Masterson is the next Derek Lowe to me - I do like the aggressive move by Theo. I think you can plug Martinez in at catcher two to four times a week, giving the excess time to a washed-up Jason Varitek, while you (hopefully) bring in a really good A or AA catching prospect, or draft one, in the meantime. I haven’t read any analysis on LaRoche for Kotchman yet; it seems like a wash to me.
[Editing note: Smoltz is now gone from the team, and who knows about Wakefield? He apparently is in worse shape than realized health-wise, although he is now making some rehab starts for Pawtucket.]
[Left] The first Google Image result for Corey Hanson.
Bob says on August 5:
Although I agree that the political debate on WEEI would be better if they actually had a "debate," instead of one crazy guy ranting, I still would prefer that they just abstain from the debate in the first place. As a matter of fact, I can't think of a forum that is less appropriate for a political debate than EEI. Not only are the hosts poorly informed about politics, but the callers are poorly informed about EVERYTHING.
I remember that half the yo-yos who called into the station in 2006 after the trade deadline were complaining about how the Sox didn't pick up Bobby Abreu, instead letting him go to the Yankees. The eventual result: the Sox didn't go over the luxury tax, had the money to pick up J.D. Drew and Daisuke Matsuzaka in the offseason, and won the 2007 World Series. Abreu was marginally effective for the Yanks, but declined rapidly with age.
Do the people calling into WEEI learn from their mistakes? No. The same people are calling in and yelling about how the Sox, who have a very good rotation, should have broken the bank to pick up a 32-year-old Roy Halladay. It's like callers into WEEI have a Pavlovian response to oppose whatever move Theo makes, even though he's won two World Series for them.
Ugh. In general I can't listen to call-in radio. This is probably just the elitist inside me, but every time I imagine one of the callers who is yelling on the radio (about politics or sports), I imagine the crazy Southern people who are in every horror movie, ever. You know, like the people in Deliverance. Only instead of yelling "squeal like a pig," they're yelling, "Why won't Obama show us his birth certificate?" or, "Francona should bench Jason Bay!" It sends chills down my spine.
Oh, and that comment about the wedding is definitely going to get you in trouble. I'm going to send a link to this blog post along with a picture of you to every girl at the wedding. I won't, actually, because I won't even need to warn girls off you if you start talking about Star Trek or Star Wars. It's funny that in one paragraph you're talking about trying to get laid (or at least stare at a nice-looking girl), and in the next you're asking me if you should talk about Star Trek or Star Wars. Why don't you just go straight to your VD or how you play World of Warcraft in your mom's basement. Unless you find a really special lady, those should all be equally effective pickup lines.
On the topic of baby names, I am almost completely deferring to Kristin, although I do plan to wield some veto authority. As a person who was almost named "Corey" until my Dad pulled a bait-and-switch on my Mom as she was drugged up in labor, I am sensitive about letting my kids have names that are too... eccentric. We all went through elementary and junior high school, we don't need to give kids an assist in making fun of our children.
I'm conflicted about the Red Sox. This should be a great, 100-win team on paper. However, they just can't string together a tough win. First of all, except for Youkilis and Pedroia, everybody has been very streaky. That could be great if they all get turned on at the right time, but terrible if they can't string together hits when it counts. The pitching staff is solid, but is definitely getting tired down the stretch. Hopefully September call-ups will help them rest their relievers and get ready for the playoffs, but I'm not sure they are yet a shoe-in for the wildcard. The Sox haven't been able to beat the Rays for whatever reason, and we aren't going undefeated against the Yanks. I don't really see another division sending a wildcard winner, but I won't rest easy until the Yanks or the Rays fall out of it.
As for some trade analysis (remember how I criticized amateur opinions earlier on? Disregard that), I like the Victor Martinez move. They needed another bat (I don't trust Drew and Lowell to stay healthy, and Lowrie and Tek aren't great at the plate) so this was the right move for them to make. I think it might even be better than Adrian Gonzalez since Martinez can take some starts away from Tek. Unfortunately, I don't think Martinez does much for them after the next year or two, so one hates to part with prospects for that. I would have also liked to have worked Buchholz into something, since I don't trust him to be consistent, but I don't think the Haladay trade would have been affordable (Bard + Buchholz + two or three other prospects as compared to Masterson and a few other lesser prospects for Martinez) and there wasn't really much else on the market. I hope Buchholz can prove us wrong and turn into a good starter like Lester, who had less than an ideal start as well (although not nearly as bad as Buchholz the last two years) and then settle down into a solid starter. I don't see championship in the Sox yet, but if they turn it on and kill August and September I would feel differently.
Steve says today, August 14:
First off, howdareyou attack my chances at your wedding. I'll have you know that many women like Star Wars and Star Trek now. In fact, Wars was a favorite of two out of the three of my last serious girlfriends, so I either have an uncanny knack for picking them, or women are simply more accepting or more interested in nerdly pursuits.
I will say that I refuse to cross a couple of lines, and one of them is World of Warcraft, and other MMORPGs like Everquest and Ultima Online, if people still actually play either. I also won't play Dungeons and Dragons, or attend a cosplay convention. I think all would represent dangerous lines to cross, like someone going from drinking and pot to all-out binges on eightballs and heroin.
I'll be linking to this post on Facebook anyway, so I suppose that could get me into trouble. My cousins, who are now like 10 and 13, added me the other day, which was weird enough. I later did an update about seeing people throwing up in the bathroom at the Andrea, and only remembered the next morning that they can see that. Oh well - They have to grow up sometime, amiright?
Finally, closing this up with some Sox talk. While I'm not quite as down on Halladay as you are, it does worry me that he is in his mid-30s with a lot of mileage on his arm. Yeah, he's great now, but once pitchers get past 32, it seems like the end can come at any point, and you can't tell when it'll happen until it happens. Considering we also would have had to give up Bard and Buchholz and Theo Epstein's first born son, then I was fine with the Sox not getting him.
I was more interested in the rumored trade for Felix Hernandez. If the Sox were ever going to duplicate the Josh Beckett trade, in which they amazingly acquired a guy already recognized as an ace who wasn't yet 30, it would have been by acquiring Hernandez. The reported asking price for him was also insane though, and I simply don't believe that they would have offered those five guys for King Felix.
Part of the Sox success has been their unwillingness to deal top, elite prospects, whether it be Lester or Pedroia or whoever. Yeah, they dealt Hanley Ramirez in the Beckett deal, but he had underperformed in the minors the previous year. Other guys they've dealt away - Cla Meredith, Craig Hansen, Murphy and Moss - are either just average or a bit below. They haven't made any Bagwell-level submissions, which I think will help them sustain their success past this year.
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