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Chat: Ben Lindbergh

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday July 06, 2010 2:00 PM ET chat session with Ben Lindbergh.

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Fireworks and dogs on the barbie were just a prelude to your shot at asking the Colonel your questions, as Ben Lindbergh steps in for his first-ever chat.

Ben Lindbergh: Hi, folks, Ben Lindbergh here to take you through the remaining boring work hours leading up to your afternoon drive, for which I’ll pass the baton to your local talk radio host, DJ, or iPod-plugged-into-the-car-stereo. I’m new here (though I wrote ’round these parts for a spell early last year), so I’ll let your questions be my guide. Is this where I’m supposed to tell you what music I’m listening to? Nothing in particular at the moment, but the last song that shuffled its way through my speakers was Sinatra’s interpretation of Ed Wade’s ode to Brandon Lyon, “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good.” Before that, my computer chose to play “We Are Underused,” Pavement’s ballad about closers in tie games on the road, and “A Long Way from Home,” the Kinks’ paean to starting NL All-Star Yadier Molina, who’s scored 16 times this season. Save for the absence of any Beatles presence, that’s not a bad encapsulation of my musical tastes. It’s 101 here in Manhattan, but I’m keeping cool in my mother’s basement, so in Ol’ Blue Eyes’ honor, let’s get this swingin’ affair started without further ado.

caseyj15 (MEDFORD,OREGON): ADRIAN LOOKS VERY COMFORTABLE AT THE PLATE? DO YOU THINK HIS NEWFOUND BATTING STROKE IS SUSTAINABLE?

Ben Lindbergh: I can't speak to Beltre's comfort level, but is his batting stroke new, or is it simply the old one, transplanted to a more favorable park with a sprinkle of good fortune added in? 2004 showed us what Beltre is (or was) capable of, but I don't think this performance is sustainable. That said, he's a lot better with the stick than he appeared to be in Safeco, which went unacknowledged in most of the pre-season diatribes about Boston's alleged lack of offense.

Casey was kind enough to send me this question multiple times before the chat even began, but I’m going to answer is once, and hope that suffices. A good chatter knows how to leave them wanting more.

Not a boy named Sue (Seattle): Hi Ben, welcome to Chattin'-berg in Mid-July. Why does everybody seem to think the Indians should trade Fausto Carmona? That's a pretty reasonable contract for a respectable starting pitcher.

Ben Lindbergh: It's not an unreasonable contract, but sometimes the reasonable contracts are the ones it makes the most sense to trade. It's hard to unload an albatross without paying a good chunk of change yourself, or accepting a middling return. If the Indians don't think Carmona will be around for their next playoff-contending team, which is unlikely to appear in 2011, they might be better off dealing him to a team that's willing to pay for the privilege of leveraging him now. Couple that with the fact that Fausto is wreathed in an All-Star aura, and probably pitching a bit over his head, and he seems like someone who could be expendable if the right offer comes calling.

BR (NYC): And welcome!

Ben Lindbergh: Thanks! Happy to be here. Don't know if anyone else is, but I'm having fun so far.

GBSimons (Boise, ID): NL All-Stars: Omar Infante vs. Joey Votto - discuss.

Ben Lindbergh: The internet has already expressed its displeasure at the pick, so I don't have much to add. However, if we're going to blame someone, we should blame Bud Selig instead of Charlie Manuel, since MLB apparently decreed that a utility player must be present for each side.

Chinese food is here--I'll tip well. It's hot out there.

Sheriff Bart (Rock Ridge): The key to good chatting -- always keep the audience riveted.

Ben Lindbergh: I'll keep it in mind, Sheriff, though that's easier said than done. Hey, why are you wasting your time on a baseball chat? Aren't you needed wherever outlaws rule the West, wherever innocent women and children are afraid to walk the streets, wherever a man cannot live in simple dignity, and wherever a people cry out for justice?

SaberTJ (Cleveland, Oh): What did you do for the fourth?

Ben Lindbergh: I was at work for a large chunk of it, sadly enough. I think I may have heard the odd firework, but the shades in the office go down automatically, and once they're down, there's no raising them up again.

Robert (Long Island, NY): How do you feel about Fennec Foxes?

Ben Lindbergh: Rabid supporter (not literally, I've had all my shots). I'm going to make a nice Fennec Fox very happy someday.

BR (NYC): I'm in NYC, and our a/c in the office konked out this morning. Lights are all turned off and it's 87 degrees in the office anyway.

Ben Lindbergh: I sympathize. Sounds like the setup for a workers' rebellion.

Crowd of townspeople (Rock Ridge): Bullshit!

Ben Lindbergh: All right, you caught me.

BR (NYC): Who has the better second half: Beckett, Shields, Nolasco.

Ben Lindbergh: In a park-neutral, league-neutral setting (because that's how they play the games, right?), I think I'd go with "Big Game James," even though I'm not a huge fan of his nickname. Could come down to the wire, though, and you couldn't go wrong with any one of the trio.

Jen W (NYC): I know defensive stats are all the rage right now, but when are people going to realize that scouting is still very important too?

Ben Lindbergh: I think only the most close-minded of spreadsheet jockeys would deny that scouting should play any role in defensive player evaluation. Because the best defensive stats we have take some time to stabilize (and because the best defensive stats we have for non-MLB players simply aren't all that good), scouting information remains extremely important. Even as our defensive metrics improve, that should continue to be true. Of course, it would be nice to know how much faith to place in any given scout, which is why it makes sense to hold scouts accountable for their reports.

GBSimon (Boise, ID): You started on time, Ben. That's a big plus to many chatters.

Ben Lindbergh: Finally, my empty social schedule turns out to be good for something.

Jen W (NYC): So let's get down to what we really want to know...where is LeBron going to end up?

Ben Lindbergh: He plays basketball, right? What are there, 30 NBA teams? I can narrow his destination down to, um, 30. Kevin Pelton I'm not.

caseyj15 (Medford, Oregon): Adrian Beltre

Ben Lindbergh: We already covered that one, Casey.

AKR (NYC): Are you actually called "The Colonel" or is this another of your pointless pop culture references?

Ben Lindbergh: My pointless references actually tend to skew towards unpopular culture, but I had nothing to do with this one. I was christened “Colonel” by Steven Goldman a couple years back, and the nickname stuck (at least, it stuck in the sense that Steven Goldman is still calling me that; it hasn’t really caught on with anyone else). After racking my brains for something similarly creative to call him, I finally came up with “Steve,” which seems to have become quite popular.

Scott Smalls (Los Angeles): How can I have some more if I haven't had any yet?

Ben Lindbergh: How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?

BR (NYC): Did you see JC Bradbury's piece in the NYTimes regarding high pitch counts and their effect on performance in the following game?

Ben Lindbergh: I saw his post at Sabernomics, but haven't seen yet seen the Times piece, so I'll reserve judgment. Effect on performance in the following game is interesting, but what we'd really like to know is effect on health (and performance) down the road. Of course, that's a more difficult question to answer.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): This spring you wrote about the life of Joel Zumaya. Any coda to add in light of the latest breakdown?

Ben Lindbergh: That was last spring, actually, and a lot has happened since then. I guess the blog post I wrote on chronically injured players last week could serve as a coda, for now.

GBSimons (Boise, ID): Will Votto continue to out-perform Pujols all season long? Same question RE: Reds and Cardinals. As a Redbird fan, I sure hope both answers are "Nope, not gonna happen."

Ben Lindbergh: I'll give you both of the answers you were hoping for, but neither Votto nor the Reds is going away.

Will (Mactaquac): The Jays feel like the worst team, like ever to have 3 all-stars, no? I know they are competing well and would actually look superb in the NL Central and all, but wow, what a boring, boring lineup.

Ben Lindbergh: You don't find solo homers exciting?

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Tell us a little about what you did/do before you joined BP. I'd like to know your specialties so I can ask more appropriate baseball questions.

Ben Lindbergh: It would be pretty to think that I have specialties, but I can't really call myself the "_______ guy." You know, as in the "prospect guy," "injury guy," "history guy," or "contracts guy," all of whom have found gainful employment at BP. But they must be paying me for something, right?

As far as baseball-related jobs go, I did a stretch at Elias, spent some time in intern-ment with a couple of MLB teams (one of which interrupted my last, brief stint with BP), and currently work as a "Baseball Analyst" at Bloomberg Sports (which might sound more impressive at cocktail parties if I shortened it to "Analyst at Bloomberg").

In addition to long walks on the mean streets of Manhattan, I like old movies, video games (though I’m no Marc Normandin in that respect), reading fiction (even the "science" variety), subscribing to site feeds, and collecting external hard drives. And baseball, I suppose, though no more than Adam Dunn does.

Sam (Chicago): Does BP have a lunch room?

Ben Lindbergh: BP doesn't even have a laundry room. Fortunately, the writer's lifestyle lends itself to limited wardrobes.

Jen W (NYC): Congrats on the first chat, Ben! What is your take on teams that don't pay over slot during the draft? Strategic spenders or just plain cheap?

Ben Lindbergh: A mixture of both. There's a game theory aspect involved, in that teams may be unwilling to spend big because to do so would encourage their competitors to follow suit, leading to further expenditure in the future. Of course, there are owners out there who are perfectly content to follow MLB's slot recommendations if it means a chance to save some cash.

Jquinton82 (NY): How much of a concern should i have over the innings limits of Latos and Strasburgh this year?

Ben Lindbergh: Depends on your relationship to Latos and Strasburg (not to be confused with Strasburgh, the future name of Strasburg's birthplace, San Diego). If you're their fantasy owner or on-call surgeon, plenty. Otherwise, don't stress too much.

Fruitbat (NYC ): What's the longest you've gone in the same set of clothing?

Ben Lindbergh: I can think of one recent four-day stretch, but there were extenuating circumstances.

GBSimons (Boise, ID): So it seems asking *different* questions each time is more likely to get a response than asking the same one over and over. Take note, caseyj15, AND AVOID ALL CAPS!!

Ben Lindbergh: I hope I haven't inadvertently overfed the trolls.

dianagramr (NYC): Ben ... you worked at Elias? I interned there way back in 1985. Seymour Siwoff was a bit long in the tooth back then, but all three Hirdt brothers kept things humming.

Ben Lindbergh: Imagine how much longer his teeth were when I worked there. Quite a character.

GBSimons (Boise, ID): So, Steven is the "prospect guy" and Kevin is the "history guy," right???

Ben Lindbergh: That's my understanding.

Tim (Stamford): I am a huge Pirates fan. If you take off your analyst pants and put on your therapist stocking over your head, what can you say to make me feel better?

Ben Lindbergh: With a stocking over my head? Nothing intelligible. In the future, you should probably check with the other chatters before you ask me to take off my analyst pants.

Paul (Boston): What are the similarities between Bloomberg Sports and Bloomberg? I use Bloomberg in my job -- can I plausibly say that I'm doing training if I'm fooling around on Bloomberg Sports?

Ben Lindbergh: Depends on the type of training you're claiming to be doing, as well as how good a liar you are.

GBSimons (Boise, ID): Last question, I promise: Linking Fruitbat's question about clothing and Tim's about taking off your pants, what's the longest you've ever gone without wearing pants?

Ben Lindbergh: Before I give you a final answer, let's see how long this chat runs.

Bobby (The Zoo): Career All-Star Appearances for Cameron Maybin, 0.5, Over or Under?

Ben Lindbergh: I'll take the over. If you'd said .7, I might have answered differently. I like his chances of making a fractional All-Star appearance, but only if the fraction is relatively low.

Jasper (Irvine): Obviously you are not an Arrested Development fan if you didn't get Tim's comments.

Ben Lindbergh: Nonsense. I was just trying to change the subject, since the pants part of the question came dangerously close to exposing my never-nude problem.

Dave (560 Washington Street): Hey Ben thanks for chatting! Why should I, the consumer, shell out for the Bloomberg sports product?

Ben Lindbergh: Hey, I don't do product endorsements during BP chats! Email me later.

Bobby (The Zoo): Combined career all-star appearances for Strasburg and Harper, 10.5, Over or Under?

Ben Lindbergh: Under. Of course, this might make me look stupid at some point in the 2020s, if not sooner.

Holly (Rio De Janeiro): What is the worst pitch to throw a slap hitter?

Ben Lindbergh: A curveball, obviously. Bust him inside with the heater, you pansy!

In all seriousness, it depends on the pitcher, the slap hitter, the count, the score, the preceding pitches, and a host of other factors. But a true baseball man would say "Here it is, hit it."

GBSimons (Boise, ID): So, Colonel, what are the 11 herbs and spices in your original recipe chicken?

Ben Lindbergh: I don't think I'm that kind of Colonel.

ORANJE (Netherlands): WHY AREN'T YOU PEOPLE WATCHING THE WORLD CUP?

Ben Lindbergh: Who says they aren't? We baseball types are excellent multi-taskers.

Fruitbat (NYC ): Where do you fall along the Great Snuggie Divide?

Ben Lindbergh: On the Posnanski side, for sure.

TWSS (NYC ): "Here it is, hit it " ..That's.. what.. she said?

Ben Lindbergh: One thing I've learned from interning in baseball: advance scouting reports boast the highest rate of "That's What She Said" opportunities per word of any form of prose.

Steve (Clearwater): # of chats you'll do for BP: 8.5 over or under? Also, are you afraid of getting too famous with the last name Lindbergh? Charles had it all going for a while, but then his son was kidnapped and killed and he turned out to be a Nazi sympathizer, and Pelle died in a fiery car crash. Get too well known and it just can't end well, I'm afraid.

Ben Lindbergh: I don't know, how am I doing so far? And you're right, I'm trying to keep a low profile.

Phil (NY): So, how did Barry Bonds get into Brennan Boesch's body, a la Man in Black / Locke.

Ben Lindbergh: Has anyone actually seen Bonds' body lately? Possibly the same way that the Man in Black got into Locke's. Regardless, I see things ending roughly the same way.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Kevin is prospects, Steven is history. A good way to remember that is GOLDman reminds you of prospecting for gold, while Gold Man is some who prospected for gold a century ago.

Ben Lindbergh: An even better way: reading their articles, which I highly recommend. I was just playing along with the BP chat tradition of confusing the two.

Jeselle (Trinidad and Tobago): Is Nate Silver ever coming back?

Ben Lindbergh: At first light on the fifth day, look to the East.

Mike (Not Mikey) (Chicago): As I am voting for Joey Votto in true chicago fashion, I find it odd to call a grown man Joey. am I the only one?

Ben Lindbergh: I'm with you there. Pal Joey, maybe.

Hooligan Pt 2 (Pub ): OLLLLEEEEEE OLE OLE OLE ... OLE OLE! WHY DO YOU TALK ABOUT BASKETBALL BUT NOT FUTBOL DURING THE WORLD CUP? HAS SOMEONE NOT MADE YOU WATCH ALL OF THE GAMES? GO ORANJE!!!

Ben Lindbergh: I realize that I'm probably having a serious impact on World Cup ratings by holding this chat during a semifinal match, so taking this question is my nod to the beautiful game for today.

caseyj15 (MEDFORD,OREGON): PEDRO FELIZ LOOKS VERY UNCOMFORTABLE AT THE PLATE? DO YOU THINK HIS NEWFOUND BATTING STROKE IS SUSTAINABLE?

Ben Lindbergh: Well played, Casey. And no, I think Feliz will be just slightly less miserable from here on out, assuming he gets the chance.

Kevin (Philly): If you were Ben the baseball owner instead of Ben the BP writer, who would you want running your team?

Ben Lindbergh: I hear Josh Byrnes is available.

Gilbert (Flin Flon): Most disappointing team so far? Is Cincinnati a lock for best surprise?

Ben Lindbergh: Mariners? Phillies? I think the Padres would have something to say about handing the "best surprise" award to Cincy.

Kevin (Philly): And who would be your stat guy?

Ben Lindbergh: Depends on whether I could convince Colin Wyers to relocate.

Futbol (World Cup ): GOOOAAALLLLLLLLLLL URUGUAY

Ben Lindbergh: BZzzzZzzzZzz.

mikefast (Austin, TX): Hi, Ben! I'm just chiming in to say that I've enjoyed your articles recently, from the article on the shift, to pitcher batting differential, to the Wakefield piece. Keep up the good work and interesting writing!

Ben Lindbergh: Thanks, Mike. The feeling is mutual.

Note: calling my work good and my writing interesting doesn't guarantee that I'll take your, um, question, but it helps.

Jen W (NYC): I'm a little insulted that I am not being considered for a position in your fictional front office.

Ben Lindbergh: I've only filled two positions so far! There are plenty of cushy FO jobs to go around.

BZzzzzzz (South Africa ): GOOOAAALLLLLL ORANJE! 2-1 !

Ben Lindbergh: Keep the updates coming. This is almost as exciting as actually watching the games!

I kid. Soccer is my third-favorite sport.

Karen (Iraq): Can you give me one good reason why MLB doesn't allow MLB videos on youtube?

Ben Lindbergh: No. Read what Shawn Hoffman's written about this issue, if you haven't already. Of course, one can understand MLB's desire not to give away content for free, but Shawn makes a convincing case that they'd be better-served by doing just that. From the fan's perspective, it sure would be nice not to have to dig through MLB.com archives to relive some favorite moments.

Wayne (Miami): Are you close with any of the other BP writers?

Ben Lindbergh: I tend to be closer, both geographically and personally (partly as a result of the geographic proximity), to the writers in the New York area. I'd go so far as to call some of them close friends. We do meet up from time to time, though I should admit that I really only hang out with Tommy in order to get closer to his facial hair.

tommybones (brooklyn): Dare I say it? Carlos Santana is the 2nd best offensive catcher in baseball behind Mauer, RIGHT NOW.

Ben Lindbergh: You know what? You could be right, although you might hurt Brian McCann's and Geovany Soto's feelings.

Phil (NYC): How about a NY writer/reader happy hour?

Ben Lindbergh: I'm game. Been a while since the last NY-area pizza feed, hasn't it?

Bzzzzzzz (BZzzZzzzZzzz): Are you pro-vuvuzela ?

Ben Lindbergh: Everything in moderation.

Beam Me Up (Scotty): Just how much do you like Star Trek?

Ben Lindbergh: On a scale of "Turnabout Intruder" to "City on the Edge of Forever," I'd say "Balance of Terror."

JR (Mobile): Who are your future GM's in the game?

Ben Lindbergh: Will Carroll just wrote an article about this, after talking to a bunch of people who have a clearer picture of their identities than I do. So, what Will said.

Brian (SF): What do you think of the prospect Michael Main, that the Giants got in the Bengie Molina deal.

Ben Lindbergh: In BP 2010, we wrote, "One of the highest high-ceiling arms in the system, athletic righty Michael Main suffered through most of 2009 with an undiagnosed illness, but he's healthy and expected to be back to form this spring." The 90+ innings he's throw in the California League this season seem to bear out that statement, but we'll see how he survives the AA crucible.

Bzzzz (South Africa): GOOOOOAAAAAAL URUGUAY! 3-2 Netherlands still up. How do you feel about the recent 'hand of god' ?

Ben Lindbergh: I don't understand the controversy. Granted, I know nothing about soccer, but the ball was going in otherwise, right? Doesn't seem like cheating to me. Maybe it's against soccer's "unwritten rules," but winning should come first. He took his punishment, and Ghana failed to capitalize.

TheVuvuzela (bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz): ORANJE WINS!!!

Ben Lindbergh: Okay, now we'll no doubt see the post-semifinal BP chat rush.

Sal (Las Vegas): I am a journalist student in college. Do you find most baseball people easy to talk to when researching an article? There seems to be a lot of "sources" that never put a name to a quote in recent sports articles. Have you found most people willing to go on the record?

Ben Lindbergh: Honestly, I haven't tried to talk to enough sources inside baseball to say. It's hard to blame most of the unnamed front-office types for wanting to remain nameless. Actually, what puzzles me is why so many of them are willing to say anything at all.

The Beard (-> Library): Hey are you free later?

Ben Lindbergh: For you? Any time. But will Tommy be there?

dianagramr (NYC): You can shoot the breeze with either Matt Damon and his crew or Johnny Damon and his crew. Whom do you choose?

Ben Lindbergh: Matt. Johnny doesn't seem like the best conversationalist.

Raychel Coudriet (Orlando): I feel extremely violated by what you did to me!

Ben Lindbergh: Stop me if you've heard this before, but, well, "Sorry about that."

cdmyers (New York): What does an intern at a major league club do? Lots of coffee fetching Or did you find it to be a valuable learning experience? Not that those two are mutually exclusive. And I'm all generally pro-happy-hour, so count me as a vote for a NY area readers/writers happy hour.

Ben Lindbergh: I think it depends on the club, and on the people involved. And you're right, it can be both. It's the same as in any other field--an intern can be treated like a disposable source of grunt work, or a potential full-time employee with valuable ideas (albeit one who still has to handle his/her fair share of tedious tasks, which goes with the territory). For what it's worth, I don't think I've had to fetch coffee in any job I've held so far. My experienced have been positive, and I've learned a lot.

Pick One And Explain (TCM): Lee Remick in "Anatomy of a Murder", Eva Marie Saint in "North By Northwest" or Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like It Hot"?

Ben Lindbergh: EMS. Just a gut call.

Matt (Chicago): Are you put off by some of T.Colvin's peripherals( hr/fb, obp, etc)? I want to get enthused by his athleticism and power but not sure if he ever develops necessary plate discipline.

Ben Lindbergh: I think you can be enthused about some aspects of his game, while tempering your expectations about others. We've probably seen the best of what he has to offer this season, and he's unlikely ever to be much of an on-base threat. Judging by his minor-league splits, he may be getting a raw deal on the platoon label.

SabrGreg (Westchester, NY): The New York Yankees have been having abnormal years by players, CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, Robinson Cano, Mark Texiera, A-Rod, Nick Swisher, did I miss anyone? Are these years for real or has luck played a major factor in their years?

Ben Lindbergh: Every team has its share of surprising performances, though, right? And how many of these are truly shocking over the sample size we're talking about? By the end of the season, Swisher probably won't be hitting .296, Pettitte won't have a sub-3.00 ERA, etc. If I had call one of those seasons the most "for real," I'd go with Hughes.

Andy (Chicago): Sandoval: Any hope for a solid second half?

Ben Lindbergh: Yes, absolutely. I like him as a bounce-back candidate. Maybe he should've hibernated instead of dieting over the winter? Not that the diet had much of an effect.

Gordon (South Side of Chicago): Will I ever hit again?

Ben Lindbergh: Yes, you're too good not to. Beckham has been chasing outside the zone much more often this season, but he's just 23, and has time to make the necessary adjustments. As long as he isn't scarred by the experience of struggling for an Ozzie Guillen-run club.

dianagramr (NYC): Which of these controversial figures should be in the Hall?: 1) Rose 2) Steinbrenner 3) Selig 4) Marvin Miller

Ben Lindbergh: I'm not sure you could go completely amiss with any of them. I realize that we needn't take the "Fame" in Hall of Fame literally, but I don't know if Cooperstown feels complete without these four enshrined. Even Selig. Maybe.

Jquinton82 (NY): Braden and Anderson, how much injury risk are we looking at moving forward?

Ben Lindbergh: I'm not really the one to ask, but anything elbow-related scares me. I'm hoping to write something about how worried we should be by elbow injuries soon.

BR (NYC): Essay question. Ricky Nolasco is back. Confirm or deny this statement, and support your conclusion with evidence using some of those advanced metrics we love.

Ben Lindbergh: I don't think this is the right place for an essay-length answer, but 28 strikeouts in 21 innings over his last three starts is a great sign, especially since he hasn't been walking anyone all season. If you'd like an actual essay-length response, email Eric Seidman.

Julius (The Berg): Uruguay or the Netherlands? And it's pronounced Uruguay.

Ben Lindbergh: I've visited both, and enjoyed my time in each. If you're talking about soccer, I feel comfortable picking the Netherlands at the moment.

Dennis (NYC ): Why don't you show all of the questions? Surely a seasoned community of baseball geeks can handle the odd f-bomb.

Ben Lindbergh: Profanity is the least of the problems with chat transparency.

Patrick (MPLS): So, Cleveland is going to give Carlos Santana a rest one of these days, right?

Ben Lindbergh: You'd think so. Although it's possible that it's kind of like when a pitcher is throwing a perfect game, and no one wants to go near him. If he ever cools down, someone might carefully broach the subject of taking a break.

Jen W (NYC): Ben, mullets are officially banned in Iran (http://gawker.com/5580474/mullets-are-officially-illegal-in-iran). What is your take on this?

Ben Lindbergh: Run-of-the-mill governmental oppression is one thing, but this is going too far. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the shorn locks of former wearers of outdated hairstyles.

sjstraub (nyc): Tomorrow will be my last day in NYC before I move 1,000 miles away. I noticed you're from the area and was wondering what you recommend I finish the last 8 years off with?

Ben Lindbergh: Have you seen 25th Hour? If not, watch that for pointers.

Jen W (NYC): If the mascots of all 30 teams got into a battle, who would win? For example, would a Cub beat a Brave? How would an Angel fair?

Ben Lindbergh: Billy the Marlin is my pick, if he's still around.

Tim (Tampa): I know that Joe Maddon loves his positional flexibility and has used seemingly 5,000 lineups already this year, but there's something to be said for consistency, yes? Zobrist looked good in the leadoff spot yesterday (and in CF, for that matter) and seems like the guy you want to get on base for CC and Longo.

Ben Lindbergh: I have no idea whether there's anything to be said for consistency, in and of itself. Zobrist makes a lot more sense than Bartlett, that's for sure. Especially since his Cevallos Impact Rating seems to have regressed to the mean.

Ben Lindbergh: All right, friends, it's been fun. Assuming that the powers that be haven't thought better of their decision to let me do one of these, I'll be back again before long. Until then, enjoy your summers, and remember to wear sunscreen.


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