Ian Miller is equally at home with questions about baseball and playing bass. Ask him some of each in his inaugural chat at Baseball Prospectus.
Ian Miller: Hey, it's a chat. LET'S CHAT!
Brian_K (Missouri): Do you still know how to play the bass line to "Fakin' Jamaican?"
Ian Miller: I thought I did, but it turns out what I thought was "FJ" was actually the bassline to "I Missed the Bus." So I went ahead and relearned it just for you. You'll have to take my word for it though, I guess.
Jason W. (Calif.): why
Ian Miller: Man, I have no idea. Because we like you? Maybe?
Lemme get back to you on that. That shit is deep.
Mike (Miami): If Billy Hamilton was a sludge or drone metal album, which one would he be?
Ian Miller: Fantastic question. Since Billy is the fastest man alive and sludge is usually really slow, it follows that he'd be the very slowest doom album ever, right? So I'll say Dømkirke by Sunn O))).
agentandya (pennsyltucky): is there a vegan substitute for WEIRD MEAT?
Ian Miller: Still working on that one. #WEIRDSOY just doesn't have the same ring to it, y'know?
#WEIRDQUINOA? I'm totally open to suggestions here.
llb4fit (Orator): Dunn over 45 dingers? Castro over 10 walks, POS?
Ian Miller: No on Dunn. I think he's only hit 45 once, right? Don't see him getting there this year.
Castro is already on pace to walk a whopping 15 times or so, so I'm confident he gets there.
moehk21 (New York): Do people often make jokes about you having the same name as the main male character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding? If the answer is no, why not?
Ian Miller: I wouldn't say "often," but it happens. I mostly just look at them, confused, because I've never seen the movie. That's the guy from Sex and the City, right?
DSchmitz3 (wi): top 5 punk albums of all time?
Ian Miller: Man, tough question. Really depends on how strictly we're defining "punk" here. "London Calling" or the eponymous Clash debut (or both) are clearly on there. "Inflammable Material" by Stiff Little Fingers. "Pink Flag" by Wire. Those 3 for sure. If we can expand the definition to include hardcore punk, then Minor Threat's "Out of Step" and Bad Brains "Rock for Light" round out the top 5.
agentandya (pennsyltucky): is frizzle fry the best primus album?
Ian Miller: Definitely. It's probably the only one I could listen to today (and I haven't listened to any of those records in almost 20 years, probably).
agentandya (pennsyltucky): fretless? 6 string? fretless 6 string?
Ian Miller: No, no, and HELL NO. Actually, fretless has its applications. But basses should have 4 strings and say Fender on the headstock.
Vicmill1 (Kalifornia): Your three top picks please and reasons: 1) Best non-fiction book on baseball ever written; 2) Best baseball novel, 3) Best movie where baseball is the central theme. Thanks and what special magic does Barry Zito have to make me crazy?
Ian Miller: Excellent question (and hello). 1. Going with the homer pick and saying BP's "Between the Numbers." Totally changed the way I thought about the game. 2. If I can pink DeLillo's "Underworld," which is not strictly a baseball novel, I'll pick that. Top 5 book of all time, in any genre. 3. Eight Men Out.
Watching Barry Zito is an opportunity for all of us to look at how attachment prevents us from reaching enlightenment.
Peter (Santa Ana, CA): Three words or so on some Giants prospects? Susak, Panik, Joseph, Hembree.
Ian Miller: Susac: Great receiver, everything else questionable.
Panik: Glad to see him hitting again, not a SS
Joseph: Still exceeding my expectations, could be a nice insurance policy or even a trade chip
Hembree: Closer of the future
Bryan (Salt Lake City): How about #WEIRDSEITAN?
Ian Miller: DONE.
Traylude (Nebraska): After seeing Arizona roll through Omaha, doesn't it make you want to see first hand the magic that is the CWS??!!
Ian Miller: You have no idea. Next year for sure. Get me some tickets!
yoshiki89 (soggy bottom): Jeff Karsten's Hindi name is Shalgah Klef Derp
Ian Miller: rofflin'
Alex (Anaheim): What's your favorite stadium at any level?
Ian Miller: I'll puss out and say AT&T. Safe choice, but I really do love it. I also love Muni http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Jose_Municipal_Stadium
It's a shithole, but an incredibly charming shithole.
ttt (Manhattan): How many bands are you in? 15-20? How do you find time?
Ian Miller: Nah, just 2 "real" bands and a coupla more very-part-time affairs. I'm playing music with dudes 2 or 3 nights a week, and it's awesome.
Aron (Toronto): How many cups of coffee to you drink in a single day?
Ian Miller: 15-20
Steve (Bayshore): Jeimer Candelario has come out swinging in short season Boise. I don't know a great deal about him and am wondering if he has the tools to become a legitimate prospect? In short, I'm hoping he's more Steve Harris than Sid Vicious.
Ian Miller: Hey, Steve! I don't know any more than you do, frankly. It's tough to draw any conclusions on 40-odd plate appearances, but it's certainly promising. A Steve Harris ceiling seems a bit ambitious though -- he might be more of a Joey Vera type.
hotstatrat (Fantasyland): Do you see Brandon Moss manning Oakland's first base post for the rest of the season?
Ian Miller: Maybe? He looked pretty awful at 1B in the Giants series. Honestly, I still want to see Chris Carter get a shot, but I'm probably the only one.
Abe Froman (Chicago): Marte up with the Pirates anytime soon?
Ian Miller: Hell if I know. As bad as Pirates OF not named "McCutchen" have been, is he really ready to contribute every day? I'm on the fence.
Hoot Sromboli (Toronto via Detroit, NJ, Conn. Mass. FL, LA, Montr): In the classical rock era, you had The Who, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Allman Brothers, and Pink Floyd reaching greatness as the Beatles took their final bows. Many groups have had great albums and songs since then, but how many bands have put together a collection of great records as those groups did? U2, perhaps. Radiohead, for sure. Coldplay was on a roll with their first three albums, but ran out of steam - not that the Allmans or Floyd did more than 3 great albums either. That's my perception, anyway. Who else? And, what do you have to say about Chris Squire?
Ian Miller: Chris Squire is a god.
The music industry isn't really about developing bands anymore, so I'm not sure we'll ever see runs like those '70s bands had. The support and the will just aren't there.
I see certain *people* having phenomenal careers now, though: look at Rick Froberg and John Reis. Together and sepearately they've been in a half dozen of the best American bands of the last 20 years. Ian Mackaye and Guy Picciotto.
I'd add the Pixies to your original list as well.
Matt (Los Angeles): What's Rymer Liriano's ceiling slash line and HR/SB? Could he be a 20/20 guy?
Ian Miller: Gotta pass on this one. Haven't seen him, don't know enough to be able to comment intelligently. I bet Goldstein or Parks could help you. Sorry!
Richis (OTTAWA!): Canada?
Ian Miller: Hell yes, eh!
Moe R. (Chicago): Biggest regret about missing Pride?
Ian Miller: I miss being around a bunch of open-minded, sex-positive freaks. Pride is a really great time, no matter what your orientation or proclivities are.
Bryan (Salt Lake City): Is Coors Field the lame early-2000's metalcore of baseball?
Ian Miller: bahahaha. I've never been, so I can't really comment, but I'm certainly on board with your premise.
Wrigley is the Who, Camden Yards is Radiohead, Coors is Killswitch Engage? Something like that?
Gomez (Narnia): What's the strangest thing you saw when you were living in New Orleans
Ian Miller: People picking Mardi Gras doubloons out of dog and horse poop. People would put the doubloons into the poop just to watch other people pick them out. And they always did. Freaked me out every time.
Trip (Hagan, Indiana): Hi. What did you think about the baseball game the other day?
Ian Miller: I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats.
Brian_K (Missouri): Best current band that doesn't receive enough attention is __________?
Ian Miller: apropos Reis/Froberg, Night Marchers and Obits.
For heavier stuff, our friends Bone Dance from Boise just recorded a new record that is going to level entire metropolitan areas.
Clevo (not Cleveland): Can you rank the Black Flag singers from best to worst, and say why?
Ian Miller: AWESOME QUESTION. Can't go into a ton of detail Keith and Chavo are probably tied for 1st in my mind. Dez is 2nd. I thought I loved Rollins at the time, and maybe he's still ok, but he can't hold a candle to those guys. And they really became a different band once Henry joined, so it's a more nuanced discussion that just "who was the best singer." Y'know?
Skippy (West Congo): When will you sell the most recent bass you purchased?
Ian Miller: Let's see: the most recent purchase was the headless aluminum neck bass. I've been playing that a lot, so I'll probably hold on to it a while -- at least for another month or 2.
ben adrian (echo park): If making a baseball team from a rock band, is the drummer always going to be the catcher?
Ian Miller: Definitely. They're bigger, tougher, and dumber than the rest of the guys, so yes.
Keith (McCovey Chronicles ): I came here for the Game of Thrones discussion.
Ian Miller: Man, I tried watching that once and my desire to see boobs was outweighed by the misogyny and the horrible dialogue. Try Lookout Landing.
yoshiki89 (Malpaso Clef): You have tickets to 3 shows, all on the same date...which do you choose? Max Webster, Klaus Nomi, or HC Andersen?
Ian Miller: Nomi in a boatrace. That guy was amazing.
Kristin (Folsom Prison (not really)): Were you disappointed in the Giants draft selections this year?
Ian Miller: Not really. The Giants org has such a great track record of developing pitching that when they select a pitcher, my response is "OK." They've earned the benefit of the doubt several times over. Also, this was a pretty weak draft all around, so I think they did well with what was available.
Bryan (slc): I get to see Bone Dance tomorrow. There's a pretty good chance that the roof at the venue is going to cave in, similar to what happened the only time I saw Floor play live.
Ian Miller: That's not a question, but my answer is still FUCK YEAH. Those guys are absolutely amazing live. Tell their bass player he's a big ugly idiot.
BIG CHUD (miracletown): What baseball team lends itself most poetically to the myth of Icarus? Prometheus? What baseball coach is the most like Willy Loman? Is baseball tragedy or comedy?
Ian Miller: The Rangers are Icarus. They've flown really close to the sun the last 2 seasons and they've gotten burned.
Curt Flood was Prometheus.
Ozzie Guillen is a loud-mouthed Willy Loman with a funny accent.
Andrew Winkel (Prague): Are you really as awesome as Kevin and Jason say you are?
Ian Miller: Absolutely not. I have no idea what those guys are talking about. In actuality I'm kind of a boring dick.
Winnie (Napa Valley): Help me out.
Doug Jones is the one who __________ while Todd Jones is the one who ____________.
Ian Miller: Doug has the mullet and Todd has the awesome horseshow 'stache. Unfortunately there's no easy mnemonic device to keep that straight. Sorry!
Julian (east bay): What's the most you'd pay for Melky on a three-year extension?
Ian Miller: At this point I'd give Melky all of the money. He's been incredible this year.
He's getting $6M this year, his age-27 season, and he's on pace to do better than 6 rWAR, so... maybe he puts together 12-15 rWAR over the next 3 years? What are teams paying for a marginal win these days? You know this stuff better than me anyway.
Mike (Miami): Which baseball player do you think is most likely to have a Duke Silver like hidden life as playing Trumpet for a Roots Reggae outfit?
My vote's Zach Cosart.
Ian Miller: Could be any of those Reds guys. I bet Mike Leake and Mat Latos go busking with Bronson Arroyo after games.
Al (England): What's the best ever walk-up music?
Ian Miller: I used to walk up to "Ignition: Remix" by R. Kelly, which has been scientifically proven to be the best walk-up music ever.
peterpuck (toronto): Is there anyone left in the minors that can help fix Toronto's pitching mess this year?
Ian Miller: Not unless they've been hiding 3-4 big-league-ready starters somewhere in their system. Sorry.
Jim (Seattle): Next city you want to move to / next baseball related articles you want to work on / how do I get a response from Kevin Goldstein?
Ian Miller: In the US, New York or Austin.
New article drops tomorrow, and if people like it, hopefully it will become a series.
Zack (Milwaukee ): Chuck Dukowski or Kira Roessler?
Ian Miller: Chuck. Kira was fine, but I like the stuff Chuck played on better.
bfkp (ut): You posted a photo of what looked to be an awesome scorebook on twitter a while back. What was it, and where can I find it?
Ian Miller: Oh! It's the Bob Carpenter Scorebook, as recommended by Kevin Goldstein! It's awesome.
Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): Ever heard of Pedro Aznar? He's like the southamerican Jaco.
Ian Miller: Never have. I'm not big on virtuoso bassists, frankly. Give me a guy like James Jamerson over Victor Wooten any day.
Traylude (Nebraska): How about top 2 or 3 pitchers in Giants system with the best shot of cracking a starting rotation?
Ian Miller: Kyle Crick for sure. I suspect Eric Surkamp will be back at some point, although I'm not very high on him. Osich maybe? Not a lot of depth in the system at the moment.
Brian_K (Missouri): How many children are the result of Will Clark's swing?
Ian Miller: Fully 10 percent of the children born between 1986 and 2000 are a direct result of Will Clark's swing. There are reports of female Dodgers fans being impregnated simply by watching him take BP.
Alistair (Wales): Reasons behind Hembree's awful peripherals if he's the closer of the future?
Ian Miller: Still learning how to pitch. That's why he's the closer of the future rather than the present.
Chris Garosi (Maryland): Do musicians need the music industry to develop? Is the industry still a requirement to get your music out to people? I assume it's still the easiest (when willing to offer your soul as collateral), but I have to think there are other ways.
Ian Miller: There are definitely other ways, but it's tougher when you don't have a huge machine to support you. It's more difficult and it takes longer. But yes, it's ABSOLUTELY possible to do it without the industry, and it's arguably much better to do it w/o a label/record company.
rotorueter (Ohio): My dad never believed in Brandon Belt, whereas I constantly defended him. How long do I wait before I start gloating?
Ian Miller: There's no time like the present. Commence gloating this instant.
Mike (Miami ): Is there any player in baseball whose name is as fun to say as Yoenis Cespedes?
Ian Miller: Maybe Rougned Odor, but he's still a long way from the bigs.
J. Morrison (The Crystal Shit): Doors with Jim Morrison or Ian Astbury
Ian Miller: Is "neither" an acceptable answer? I hate that band.
vicmill1 (kalifornia): do you care that delPotro leads Haase 3 games to 2 in the third set at Wimbledon? Tied 2 sets each.
Ian Miller: I totally care! Thanks for the update!
bb10kbb10k (Erie, PA): Please tell me about Jer'my Hellboy Hellickson.
Ian Miller: Jeremy Robert Hellickson (born April 8, 1987) is an American professional baseball pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa and attended Hoover High School.
Is that what you were looking for?
Aron (Toronto): in your stupid opinion, what is the ugliest ballpark in the MLB and who-why?
Ian Miller: Oakland Coliseum, Rogers Centre, or that dump Tampa Bay plays in. All awful.
Bryan (Salt Lake City): Coors is a great ballpark, but it plays like a goddamned joke (as do most early-00's metalcore acts)
Ian Miller: Like I said, never been. Always looks nice on the TV, and hope to get out there eventually!
The Rev (Your House): You are an awesome son in law..Thank you for all of your baseball knowledge this past week. What don't you know? GO GIANTS!
Ian Miller: Thanks, Rev!
Ian Miller: Hey, thanks for everyone who participated! That was a blast. If I didn't get to your question, I apologize. Please feel free to hit me up on the twitter machine.