Trot around the bases with Larry Granillo, expert commentator on all matters NL Central, home runs, Peanuts, and John Hughes.
Larry Granillo: Hey everybody. Windows are open with the sun shining outside, baseball's on the television... What a great day to spend a vacation day chatting. Let's get started.
reznick (Illinois): For the last several weeks, the Wikipedia entry for Marlins' owner Jeffrey Loria has included the sentence:
"Loria once bit a man's finger clean off because the man pointed at him in a `wrong fashion'."
Wikipedia, of course, is never wrong. Comments?
Larry Granillo: I choose to believe it if only because it makes the man slightly more interesting. It makes me wonder why a cadre of Expos fans haven't driven down to his home to "point at him in a wrong fashion" as a whole. 40,000 fingers pointing at him in such a way would have to drive him crazy!
Dan (Ann Arbor): Even with V-Mart back, Cabrera is still getting pitched around at an almost Bonds-like rate. Is there anyone who could protect Cabrera? Or rather, is there anyone the Tigers could plausibly trade for who could protect Cabrera?
Larry Granillo: Martinez's hot bat since his return will definitely help Cabrera in the long run. Why aren't the Tigers batting him ahead of Cabrera? It seems like that would be a better solution than trying to find a willing trade partner - and it's unlikely any team would be giving up quality players this early in the season.
davidkaleida (Atlanta): How lucky do you feel that the Brewers are going to miss Charlie Morton and his #electricstuff this weekend?
Larry Granillo: #Electricstuff is always something to be happy about missing. The fact that it also means the Brewers will be facing the bottom of Pittsburgh's rotation makes it even better (though McDonald and Karstens both have better K/9 ratios that Morton).
dianagramr (NYC): Greetings Larry ....
If PEDs had existed during Charlie Brown's time, do you think he (or any of his teammates) would have partaken of them?
Larry Granillo: Hmm. Good question. My guess is no. Charlie Brown and Linus would have had some meaningful discussions about it at the wall, but they're too nice to try cheating.
Snoopy, on the other hand, may have given them a shot just because (not that he needed them!). And considering the lax authority the commissioner of the league showed in his dealing with Snoopy's gambling problem, it may have been worth trying out.
The Common Man (Parts Unknown): Which bobblehead in your extensive collection is your least favorite? Do you treat it differently than the others? Has this stunted its development? Do you feel badly about that?
Larry Granillo: Let's be clear. My bobblehead collection is merely a function of always attending Sunday afternoon games at Miller Park, when they give out the bobbles.
That said, the Chorizo bobblehead is clearly the best while the Jeff Suppan bobblehead hasn't even seen the light of day...
jhardman (Apex, NC by way of Arlington): Love your stuff, and I'm very glad you've joined BP and the chats. Are you going to feature a Tater Trot tracker during the year that will focus on pitcher taters exclusively? Also, can you use your influence to give Mitch Moreland his grand slam back from yesterday?
Larry Granillo: Thanks!
I will certainly do a pitchers-only Tater Trot Tracker at some point. I find pitcher home runs fascinating, and their trots are always so special. I also appreciate the fact that Yovani Gallardo is by far the best home run hitting pitcher currently playing (he had 4 of the 9 pitcher home runs in 2010, if I remember correctly).
The Moreland grand-slam-that-wasn't-meant-to-be is terrible. Even worse, the one highlight I've seen of it doesn't give the whole trot!
Mark Smith (Lexington, KY): Who's your favorite Peanuts character and why? Do you identify with Charlie Brown?
Larry Granillo: Favorite? I think that has to be Snoopy. He's just too great. (I'm also a bit boring, since I like Bugs Bunny and Kermit the Frog best out of their ensembles as well.)
And, sadly, I'd say yes, as a kid, I did identify with Charlie Brown (not that there's anything wrong with that!). I blame my older brothers for this.
Bill_TPA (your mom's basement): You're stranded on a desert island somehow. You can have with you one fantasy novel, two MLB mascots' costumes, and one Harvey-Kuenn-era Milwaukee Brewer. What do you bring, why, and how long before the former Brewer decides to eat you?
Larry Granillo: I know it's the obvious answer, but I have to take the Game of Thrones series (if only for it's 10,000+ pages or whatever it is). For mascots: let's take the retired Crazy Crab and Twinkie the Loon. They're just too odd not to be enjoyable on a desert island. Robin Yount is the Brewer, but only because I don't want Ted Simmons or Gorman Thomas to eat me right away.
davidkaleida (Atlanta): What was wrong with Yovanni Gallardo and is it fixed after his last start?
Larry Granillo: I'm not sure anyone figured that out. He threw his breaking ball more in his last start and got it to fall in the zone. I'm not too worried, though. It's still early and he has some great stuff. He just needs to get ahead of hitters and not waste pitches. (the defense doesn't help though)
john (NY): Oh, come on. Linus' blanket is clearly performance-enhancing. Or at the very least, it's performance-enabling, right? I'd never be able to bring a friend with me to my position simply because I felt better with him there, nor would I be able to choose my uniform because I felt more secure with my underoos on the outside.
Larry Granillo: Fair. Linus used his blanket to catch uncatchable balls on multiple occasions. He didn't hide it at all, though. Does that mean the commissioner is even weaker than I thought, or were blankets allowed in that peculiar league?
Sam (OC): Do you think a truly great movie about baseball is possible? Because we sure haven't seen one yet.
Larry Granillo: I really feel like there has to be one out there. I don't know what's keeping it from being written. My guess is studios not wanting niche movies. But if that can be overcome, I have to believe it can be written. There's too much drama and poetry in a game (and among the players) - it's got to be possible.
Capt Science (Various): I guess I read the pitcher HR question differently (though I'm sure you read it correctly). Does any pitcher grate on opposing hitters enough that they slow down when rounding the bases just to show him up? Or is that level of animosity hard to sustain for a full season?
Larry Granillo: I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I did look at pitchers once to see if they had worse than average TTA's (Tater Trots Against?) and I don't recall anyone sticking out. With so many home runs in so many parks in so many situations, it's probably not enough to stick out among the thousands of home runs.
Braggers41 (Los Angeles): If you could come up with your very own mascot for any major league team, who or what might that be? (No more sausages, please.)
Larry Granillo: Tough question. It'd have to be with a team that doesn't yet have a mascot, I think, which leaves only a few teams to choose from (Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Angels - I think that's the full list).
I'd crack up if the Angels made costumed mascots out of Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, and Joseph Gorden-Levitt. They could shag flies in the outfield before every game!
Bill_TPA (your mom's basement): Is there any reasonable chance the Brewers bring Prince Fielder back? Considering what he's likely to demand, do you want them to?
Larry Granillo: I want to believe it's possible, but I don't think it really is. Plus, considering the Brewers payroll limits, it's not going to be very wise. Prince may have to wait until Pujols makes his decision, but there's going to be someone willing to pay him a healthy chunk of change (if he's smart enough to take it).
jhardman (Apex, NC): I want to combine your baseball card article (excellent) today and your Peanuts knowledge and ask you an important question: Did you ever buy $5 worth of bubble gum cards to get that special Joe Shlabotnik card only to fail and your friend Lucy buy one pack and get the card? And if so, what was on the back of that special Joe Shlabotnik card?
Larry Granillo: Ha! Not exactly.
My brothers and I did buy a lot of 1988 Donruss cards, though. I'm sure there were a number of times that they ended up getting pieces to that darn Stan Musial puzzle that I wanted, though. I was pretty proud of that Roberto Alomar rookie card, too.
WisconsinRob (Madison): How DOES Shawn Marcum work? Its bizarre that someone who doesn't break 90 on a radar gun gets those Ks. Is it sustainable?
Larry Granillo: I sure hope so. Theoretically, at least, a sub-90 mph pitcher can sustainably strike players out with smart sequencing, good pitches, and good accuracy. Trevor Hoffman, Jamie Moyer, Greg Maddux, etc... Whether Marcum continues to do that is tough to say. He's done a remarkable job of keeping it up since last year, though. I wouldn't be surprised if he continues to do so.
Silv (NY, NY): Lucy would have been PEDing from the word go. Think about how competitive she was generally! Mets fall (more) out of the running prior to the ASB - Grandal and Alonso (assuming that he can even remotely play left field) a reasonable haul from the Reds?
Larry Granillo: Fair point about Lucy. She is the world's most competitive person. Of course, in 50 years of strips, that never once bled over to the baseball diamond. She just didn't care.
A reasonable haul for who? Not that I could answer that question all that well... prospects just aren't my strong suit. Sorry!
jhardman (Apex, NC): I'm offended that Joe Shlabotnik isn't highlighted with a link to his career statistics here. :-) You should fix that. ;-)
Larry Granillo: I'll get the tech team right on it! (Don't you love that Charlie Brown is highlighted, though?)
paulbellows (Calgary): Mauer's last game at C will be in ? He will then move to ?
Larry Granillo: I want to believe that the Twins will be able to keep Mauer behind the plate for years more, but I just can't. Even I'm not that optimistic.
I guess they continue to treat him as a catcher this year, but also give him starts elsewhere. By spring training, they'll be "shifting him out from behind the plate", with the occasional start behind the dish. By the end of the year, though, he'll no longer be a catcher. 1B is taken by Morneau, so I'd guess LF or 3B, depending on his affinity for the position.
The Common Man (Getting Closer): Break down Ron Roenicke as a manager for me. Strengths, weaknesses. Do you still like him?
Larry Granillo: The Brewers have been playing way too poorly recently to give him a fair shake. He has issues with the lineup (in batting order and defensive position). For some reason, he's in love with Mark Kotsay, even going to so far as to start him in CF yesterday over Brandon Boggs. A lot of Brewers fans hate Roenicke's tendency to go for extra bases, but I'm not jumping on that yet. Doing the Tracker, I've gotten used to subconsciously timing players as they move around the field... if done right, extra bases are definitely there for the taking. Players need to be wiser about it, though.
He hasn't gotten off to a great start yet, that's for sure.
Silv (NY, NY): Whoops - Reyes what the haulee (haul-ster?).
Larry Granillo: I had a feeling. If the Mets do fall back, Reyes has to be traded. I don't know about that particular haul, but I'd be happy to be a Mets fan. With the type of player Reyes is at that position, it'll be a seller's market.
davidkaleida (Atlanta): Mauer's bat doesn't play nearly as well as at other positions though. Merely above average at third and average or worse for LF, yes?
Larry Granillo: True. But you have that problem at every position that isn't 2B or SS. You can't just squeeze him into those positions, though, so the Twins will have to take what they can. It's better to have Mauer's bat in your lineup at 3B or LF than to not have it at all.
dianagramr (NYC): Now that Kendrys Morales is out for the year (and his career is a little less sunny), do you think the Halos would/could package Trumbo and some other cost-controlled pieces to the Brewers for Fielder? Do you think the Brewers hold onto Fielder regardless of the standings for 2011?
Larry Granillo: They could, but I don't see why they would. Fielder will be testing the waters anyway, and the Angels are just as likely to sign him in the offseason coming from Milwaukee or some other team than they are if he was already in Los Angeles of Anaheim.
The Brewers will hang on to Fielder as long as they possibly can. If there's any chance at the playoffs, I can't see them trading him. Too many chips in the pot. They'll have to be really out of it (or get a fantastic offer) to put him on the block.
Mark Smith (Lexington, KY): Roenicke can't be any worse than Fredi. Biggest baseball pet peeve?
Larry Granillo: Fredi's definitely had a tough go of it in Atlanta so far...
As a fan, my biggest pet peeve are those idiot fans who get up to leave (or return to) their seats in the middle of an at-bat. I don't mind standing up to cheer, but, come on, at least wait until the pitch is over before leaving your seat.
On the field, it's harder to say. I'm not anti-bunt as a rule, but a sacrifice with a good hitter or with one out really bothers me. As do the steady stream of relievers that you see in certain games managed by certain hairspray-endorsing men...
Larry Granillo: Thanks for the all questions, everyone. Hope to be back in the chatroom soon. For now, though, it's time to call the Angels and convince them to make a Joseph Gordon-Levitt mascot.