It’s been several months since the last Insider Inbox segment, but I wanted to dust it off and maybe turn it into a semi-regular piece here. Rather than stick strictly to Cubs topics, however, I wanted to invite some pop culture questions as well.
@DEvanAltman How do you expect the Bryant situation to affect the new CBA?
— Alex Smolokoff (@ASmolokoff) December 18, 2015
Kris Bryant’s service-time grievance is really interesting case for a few different reasons, not the least of which is the application of the principles of labor law to the situation. The confluence of Bryant’s success, the Cubs’ return to relevance, and the upcoming renegotiation of the CBA make this situation pretty notable. Had Bryant come up and really struggled, we’re probably not talking much about this. But the fact that he had one of the best rookie seasons of all time kind of takes the starch of the idea that he needed a few extra days of seasoning.
When it’s all said and done, I don’t think much comes of this grievance in terms of Bryant himself, and that includes any kind of reprimand for the Cubs. However, I do believe it’ll provide both fodder and leverage to the players union when it comes time to set standards for service time, and the manipulation thereof, in the new CBA. I don’t know what that means in the end, as it’s difficult to legislate and judge intent, but perhaps lowering the number of days that constitute a year of service or placing a moratorium on rookie call-ups for those players not on the opening-day roster would be solutions.
I know that last sentence was a bit over-stuffed, but I unpacked those thoughts a bit more in the first of the three links above.
@DEvanAltman best/worst course in Mario Kart 64
— Alex Kolodziej (@AlexK_47) December 18, 2015
Hmmm, this is a pretty difficult one for me, as I both like and dislike several courses in MK64. But since I’ve been tasked with levying a decision here, I’m going with Kalimari Desert as the best and Sherbet Land as the worst. I really love hosing opponents by just beating the train as it’s crossing the course in the Desert and I also enjoy the long straightaways. Toad’s Turnpike is a pretty fun course too, but the general ease of Kalimari earns it the nod. As for Sherbet Land, I always hated the penguins and sliding off into the frigid arctic waters bordering the course.
Why Brendan Ryan? Can’t hit. Negative defender last year. Is 33. Why was he part of Castro trade? Just ????????????
— Michael J. McElwee (@MJMcElwee) December 18, 2015
My thoughts on this aren’t unique, but I always assumed he was sort of a safety net in case the Cubs were blown away by a monster offer for Javier Baez. Others have theorized that he could fill the utility role if the team decides to send Javy back to AAA to further hone his approach. Either way, I don’t see him as anything more than a temporary role player if he’s even around beyond Spring Training. I don’t see a big need for a glove-only guy, particularly when Baez is a plus defender at multiple positions and has the potential to provide a big impact with the bat too.
So if Baez stays, I think Ryan ends up being DFA’ed. If Baez is sent traded or sent back down, Ryan can be a band-aid of sorts. Even then, he’s not one of those really nice fabric bandages that flexes and stays put and doesn’t really feel like it’s there. I’d liken him to the generic kind that falls off at the first hint of moisture and reminds you all the time that you’ve got a band-aid on.
@DEvanAltman how much do bloggers really make, you know, after capital gains tax and what not?
— Ryan Davis (@RyanDavisMLB) December 18, 2015
Let’s just say that between ad revenue and the appearance fees I charge for radio interviews and children’s birthday parties, I would lose truckloads by moving out to California. I don’t want to make myself an even bigger target by divulging exactly how much I pull in, but let’s just say it’s in the high dozens of dollars.
@DEvanAltman Preferred sport to watch that is not baseball and why?
— Matthias (@Wecknerd) December 18, 2015
I actually love both NFL and college football and can generally watch either regardless of the teams playing. Fantasy football plays a big role in that, at least in terms of the former; I have something like six fantasy teams and two pick ’em leagues, a few of which are for money. I love college basketball too, particularly March Madness. That opening weekend of the NCAA tournament is my favorite time of the year from a sports perspective.
@DEvanAltman order the Cubs players by 2016 homeruns:
— Dan Welter (@Dan_Welter) December 18, 2015
Bryant (38), War Bear (36), Rizzo (35), Soler (24), Heyward (22), Baez (17), Russell (15), Zobrist (12), Montero (11), Coghlan (11), Lester (2).
@DEvanAltman do you consider cappadonna part of the Wu-Tang Clan?
— s0mdork (@s0mdork) December 18, 2015
This may rankle some other Wu aficionados, particularly those with great devotion to Enter the Wu-Tang (which should be all of them), but I do consider Donna part of the group. In fact, you may have noticed in my bio that one of my crowning achievements in life is the ability to name all 10 members of the WTC in under 3.5 seconds. You don’t have that many without Cappachino, so yes, he’s one of them.
I know what you’re thinking: But, Evan, how can you consider this guy a full-fledged member when we didn’t even know about him until he dropped a few bars on Triumph¹ and earned a “Featuring” credit on Wu-Tang Forever? Well, what if I told you that Cap was actually a part of the earliest iterations of the group but was replaced by Method Man after catching a case and being locked up for a while? As a result of his charisma and wordplay, The Ticallion Stallion went on to become the group’s most publicly recognized member, while Cappadonna is seen as little more than an interloper.
For what it’s worth, I really liked Cappadonna’s first solo album, The Pillage, and still have four of its tracks on my iTunes list.
@DEvanAltman it’s probably a non-issue but one wonders where Manny Ramirez is right now
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) December 18, 2015
¹I may have written about this before, but Inspectah Deck’s opening verse on Triumph is perhaps my favorite off all time. Not in terms of either Rebel INS himself or Wu-Tang as a group, but in all hip-hop. I love it. I actually just paused for a moment to stare off into the distance and run through the lyrics in my head.