I had a dream earlier this week in which I was a retired baseball player working in sports media. In this dream, I was hanging out with a bunch of baseball bloggers when we were rounded up by some Gestapo-like force and taken to an internment camp that resembled a minigolf course near my house. There we sat and exchanged cutting banter with the guards while, one by one, we were taken into another room and tortured. By the end of that dream, I had escaped from my captors, who wanted God only knows what, and was reunited with my old manager, Mike Scioscia. At some point I was shown my Baseball Reference page, and it showed I came up with the Angels in the early 1990s and played in the outfield corners in the majors for at least a decade. Which means that my unconscious mind thinks I’m a POW and either Tim Salmon or Garret Anderson.
I bring this up because if someone (either a psychiatrist or a witch doctor) knows what it means when Mike Scioscia shows up in your prison dream, I’d very much like to know precisely what it means.
To your questions:
@_Scuba_: “Who would win in a prison fight, Lenny Dykstra or Ugueth Urbina?”
Urbina. We haven’t seen Urbina since the curious incident of the ranch hands in the night time, but I’d bet a million dollars that Urbina would take Dykstra to the cleaners in Former Phillies Prison Bloodsport. I believe this for three reasons. First: Urbina is a decade younger than Dykstra. Second, ten years away from the game have not been good to Dykstra. Urbina, who has spent the past five years in a Venezuelan prison that probably resembles nothing so much as the Turkish prison hell in Midnight Express, is probably a hardened ball of hate and muscle. Finally, consider the crimes of which both men were accused. Dykstra had the worst series of business ideas ever conceived of by man, then tried to bilk his friends and business partners out of absurd amounts of money.
Urbina attempted to kill several men with machetes and set them on fire. This is not a peaceful or kind person we’re dealing with here. This is the kind of person who does live-action recreations of grindhouse films on his farm. Not only would Urbina beat Dykstra within an inch of his life, I don’t think Nails gets a decent shot in.
@mscratcher: “Has any actress in history aged worse than Kelly McGillis?”
Apparently Kelly McGillis lives in the area, because she came into my friend’s place of business and he made a similar comment to the one @mscratcher made. And boy, you don’t know the half of it.
Now, I think she’s had the deck stacked against her for several reasons. First, the last time anyone saw her, in Top Gun, not only was it 25 years ago, but Tom Cruise was throwing himself at her, which means that we’ve got nothing to do but compare her aging patterns to Cruise. First of all, that’s so unfair, because no one aged better than Tom Cruise. Plus she’s five years older than Cruise anyway, and we’ve seen him morph from cute kid to handsome naval officer to striking fortysomething man. We went to sleep one night and Kelly McGillis was hot enough to inspire the adoration of Tom Cruise in a movie where Anthony Edwards won the hand of the young Meg Ryan for God’s sake. And when we woke up–surprise!–she looked like our parents. So I can understand the shock.
But if you want to consider someone falling more quickly from a higher height, you might want to turn your attention to a younger actress. Time has definitely not been kind to Lindsay Lohan, for instance. But Kelly McGillis might be a good place to start.
@4Who4What: “how comewhen they play holosuite baseball in DS9, its always old timey, early 20th century baseball? are we to assume that baseball never has another reniassance between the 20th and 24th century?”
Well, there are a couple possible explanations. First, it’s easier to teach an actor to slap a single than to crank one over the fence. Second, baseball is at its most entertaining with fewer walks and strikeouts and more aggressive baserunning. Maybe in the 24th Century, in a society that’s evolved to the point where it’s eliminated money and racism would move to the point where winning is less important than putting on a good show.
And besides, we’re already nostalgic about old timey early 20th Century baseball. There are groups of men who dress up in period costume and play by ancient rules today. I have seen such men playing baseball in Cooperstown, and leagues exist across North America, harkening back to a time where men were men, and you had to dig your toilet in the backyard.
Anyway, it stands to reason that Commander Sisko, who is the only remaining baseball fan in the universe at the time he takes over the station, would feel similarly nostalgic about the early days of the organized game.
@LonettoMB: “What Is Best In Life?”
To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
At least, that’s the case if your tastes align with those of a warrior in a loin cloth played by an Austrian bodybuilder. For me, what is Best in Life? I might go with Frank’s Red Hot sauce. I put that on just about everything.
@DashTreyhorn: “You ever see that movie with the guy from ‘Speed?’ “
Do you mean Jeff Daniels, Dennis Hopper, or Keanu Reeves?
“No, the other guy”
Oh, you must mean Alan Ruck. You know, I thought he was just unbelievably fantastic as Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and I always wondered why he never got more work. But, yeah, I saw that movie. I also saw that movie with the other guy from Speed, Joe Morton, who plays the police captain who stands on the flatbed truck and yells at Keanu across the highway. If you want to talk about outstanding performances, let’s start with Joe Morton as Dr. Miles Dyson in Terminator 2. I know it’s not particularly difficult to blow the other actors in a film out of the water when your co-stars are Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong (when he was in his Jake Lloyd-as-Anakin Skywaler phase), but Morton played Dyson with severity and nuance, and I don’t think he ever got the praise he deserved for that role.
@JakePavorsky: “Ruben Amaro Jr. gives you $150 million, and you can’t spend it on Cole Hamels. How do you use it?”
Okay, so I’ve got $150 million, and I can’t spend it on Cole Hamels. Well, the first thing I’m going to do is buy a penthouse in Nashville, fill it with high-end electronics and liquor, and drive down there in my new Aston Martin. Then I’ll take a couple million and open up a magazine like The Blizzard or Play, you know, a thinking man’s sports magazine that gets top-notch writers to write interesting and in-depth long-form features that don’t dumb the game, and sports journalism, down to a level YouTube commenters can understand.
I’d probably give some of it away, because it’s kind of uncouth to have nine figures’ worth of cash and not spread it around. I’d probably donate some of it to inner-city charter schools, maybe endow a chair at a university. But we can get to that later.
The point is, if Ruben Amaro Jr. just up and gave me $150 million, the last thing I’d spend it on is the Phillies. They’ve proven to be bad stewards of their financial gifts. If I passed up the opportunity to live a life of opulence and vulgar luxury to they could sign David Wright, I’d be the dumbest person alive.
@Estebomb: “Is retired John Smoltz a better bullpen option than Chad Qualls?”
Probably not. In all seriousness, Qualls wasn’t particularly awful this season–he just had a few really high-profile meltdowns, which eventually got him run out of town on a rail. He had a HR/FB rate that was about twice his career average. Though the more I look at the numbers, the closer I think it is. In Smoltz’s last season, 2009, he went 3-8 with a .635 ERA for the Red Sox and Cardinals, but his K/BB ratio was 4.08 and his FIP was 3.87. Not bad, if you ask me. And that was as a starter. If you had him go back to the bullpen full-time and let him crank the dials up, it’s not inconceivable that Smoltz could come back and pitch better than Qualls.
But if my life were on the line, I’d take the guy who’s pitched in the major leagues in the past three years.
@_Scuba_: “If the 2012 Phillies were an original Power Ranger, which one would they be?”
We’re getting a little greedy here, I see, asking multiple questions. But unfortunately, I can’t answer that one, having never seen an episode of the Power Rangers in my life. Luckily, I know a man who can. Allow me to introduce Ryan Petzar of Philly.com, 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, and special guest panelist on the forthcoming episode of the Crashburn Alley Podcast. Take it away, Ryan:
It’d be Billy, the Blue Ranger, and it’s not even close. Why? Because Billy sucks. I mean, look at this guy:
Yeah. Look him. Take a good look. That guy is the human embodiment of “trying to decide between using Mike Fontenot, Michael Martinez, or Juan Pierre as a pinch hitter with the winning run on second”.
See, the Blue Ranger was a joke. II mean, one of this dude’s major character attributes was that he was deathly afraid of fish because, as a child, he was bitten by a fish. A fish bit him and that scared him. First, I didn’t know even could bite. Second, how much of a literal-sack-of-shit do you have to be to even be in a situation in which a fish can bite you?
Also, his dinosaur was a triceratops which is universally regarded as the dumbest of all the dinosaurs. 
So, in summation, I forgot the question I was supposed to be answering but Billy was the worst of all the Power Rangers.
@Wildvulture: “if you could reconstruct Ryan Howard, would you make him more like Cmdr Shepard from Mass Effect, or Adam from Deus Ex? would you give him mechanical upgrades like Adam, (robot bat arm?) Or keep him as he was, just healthier like Shepard?”
I’ve never played Mass Effect, and I played Deus Ex once, at a friend’s house when I was in middle school. Let’s see if Ryan’s still around…RYAN. Stop eating all my popcorn and answer the question.
This is an excellent question. And, seeing as how I haven’t played either of the newest Deux Ex or Mass Effect games, I feel that I’m in a perfect position to answer this.
Shepard is just a dude (unless you decided to make Shepard a lady which you could totally do. In fact, the game’s whole selling point was that you could make Lady-Shepard fall in love with another woman in the game and then during a cutscene they’d totally have red-hot lady-sex that you never got to actually see.) and as such doesn’t really have any real powers other than being “healthier than Ryan Howard.” We don’t even know if Shepard can hit!
Now, if it turns out that Shepard can hit, there’s no way in hell he’d be more expensive to sign than Ryan Howard, amirite?
Adam from Deus Ex, however, is a goddamned cyborg. And as a goddamned cyborg if one of his goddamned cyborg legs breaks, you can just bolt another goddamned cyborg leg on. If his OPS drops, you can just install another stick of RAM or something. I guarantee you that a goddamned cyborg would be able to poke a ball through the shift.
The only problem with this is that Ruben Amaro would take one look at Adam and immediately give him a cap-busting contract that’s waaaaaaaay over market value the absolute first nanosecond of Adam’s free agency. So the Phillies would sign Adam but then there’d be no money leftover to do anything else so we’d end up with Johnnie 5 playing third.
@makarov__: “How far back would the Phillies have to be at the deadline to be ‘sellers’? Also, how secure is RAJ’s job? Charlie’s?”
Ah, a serious baseball question. I don’t know for sure, but given that the Phillies are letting a couple American League teams kick the tires on Jim Thome, maybe not that far back at all. Going into today’s games, they’re nine games out of the division lead and 5 1/2 out of the second Wild Card. Currently, there are four teams tied for the two Wild Card spots, with three more teams between the Phillies and that four-way tie. At this point, the issue might not be making up 5 1/2 games on any one of those teams, but having to leapfrog so many other clubs to get into playoff position. I don’t think they’re out of it completely, but if they go into the break down ten in the division and, say, eight in the Wild Card, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see Shane Victorino get floated in trade rumors. But we shall see.
To answer your second question, allow me to offer, for your consideration, the federal penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. This is the highest-security prison in the United States, housing such luminaries as Zacarias Moussaoui, 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, the Unabomber, FBI mole Robert Hanssen and, for a time, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Prisoners are kept in a poured concrete cell with concrete furniture and only a four-inch-wide window to the outside. That’s the prison they put people in who either 1) have committed the most heinous crimes or 2) have a history of escaping from prison.
Amaro and Manuel’s jobs, I think, are even more secure than that.
Thanks for writing in, as always, and if you want your questions featured on a future Crash Bag, write to me either on Twitter via #crashbag or by email at email@example.com. Thanks to guest contributor Ryan Petzar (@petzrawr on Twitter), and keep your ears open for the next episode of the Crash Pod, coming out sometime this weekend.