OK, I’ll let you get your “nice” comments out of the way.
Now, let’s move on. For a bit of a change, I went and solicited questions on Twitter for a mailbag post. These are your questions and these are my answers. You can make your own determination how good the latter are.
Daniel, I’m wondering how you would feel about a truncated ‘20 season in which one or two key #Cardinals players elected not to play for personal reasons. Or, if the team was intact and won, but several NL superstars elected not to play, would it take the luster away for you?
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) May 19, 2020
This is a real interesting question. I’ve talked around the idea a little bit on the podcasts but I don’t think I’ve ever come at it directly. First off, I’m pretty sure no matter what happens in 2020, it’s always going to have a “yeah, but” with it. Say the Cardinals win the Series this year in a shortened season with all the various differences. So if you start saying, “St. Louis has 12 championships” to anyone that’s not a Cardinal fan (and even some that are), the automatic rejoinder is “Yeah, but one of those was 2020, so it really doesn’t count.” Same with any league leaders, MVPs, etc. 2020 is going to always be the black sheep of the MLB family.
I think that it would be very disappointing (though completely understandable) if some Cardinals didn’t play because of health reasons. Players like Jordan Hicks especially have a lot of risk involved with the whole thing and baseball, while important, has to take a back seat. I don’t think those players not playing would necessarily tarnish the season, though. We’ve seen players lost for a season due to injury and while that’s a bit different, the loss is still there. I personally wish Adam Wainwright would have been able to contribute to the 2011 team, but obviously that season is pretty awesome anyway. (If Wainwright could have been Wainwright that year, perhaps 2011 is less special as all the dramatics aren’t needed.) It’d still be Cardinal baseball. I think the shortened season would be more of a tarnish than the lack of Hicks or even someone like Kolten Wong or Paul Goldschmidt.
As for the second half of your question, it might feel a little less like a worthy title if the Cards had Goldschmidt and Wong and Jack Flaherty while the Cubs didn’t have Anthony Rizzo, for example. However, I immediately thought back to the 1944 World Series title. There were enough players off at war that the Browns, of all teams, could make the Series. The Cardinals were blessed to have Stan Musial, Marty Marion, and the Cooper brothers. While those titles in the ’40s aren’t necessarily ones we immediately cherish, since they were before we were born, I’ve never heard anyone really disown them or think that ’42 doesn’t stand with the other 11 titles.
Which, to circle back around, might be how people see 2020 in 40-50 years, honestly. I don’t think those that live through it will count it as equal, but generations that only read about them may note the “quirks” but figure it counts as legit.
How do you feel about not having a Star Wars night( 🙏🏼) in 2020?
— Jack of Cards (@JackOfCards22) May 19, 2020
Here is where I point out two very common misconceptions that come up in my feed. One, Star Wars Day is different than the theme night at the ballpark. So when I see, “Man, hope nobody gets hurt tonight” on May 4, it physically pains me. The Cards have never had their theme night on the galactic holiday. Second is, of course, that people get hurt every Star Wars Night and so it is cursed. While there were some injuries the first couple of games (though Shelby Miller, the first casualty, didn’t miss any time after leaving in the first inning in that game), by now we have had as many Star Wars Nights without injury as we have had with. So stop blaming Star Wars Night!
That out of the way, I will say I got to attend on Star Wars Night (the, uh, one where Matt Holliday got reinjured, but still….) and it was a blast. I loved seeing everyone in costumes and the team did a good job with it, though I could definitely help them up their Star Wars pun game for the players (or just help pick our connections, as we know). I will miss seeing that in 2020, though it’s not the first thing I think of when I think of what baseball will lose this season.
If there was baseball in the Star Wars saga, which characters would be playing and what position would they be playing?
— Diane Schultz (@Diane1611) May 19, 2020
I did a little something like this before, but if you were going to apply baseball to a galaxy far, far away, you’d have to figure the Jedi and Sith would be the superstars. Whether it was to nudge a fly ball a few extra feet over the fence or to make sure a pitch darted at the last minute, their mastery of the Force would give them an edge. However, if you want to look at just the characters, stripped of those abilities, you might see a lineup like this:
Luke Skywalker, RF–Ability to put the ball where he wants it, even if that spots only two meters’ wide, means a high OBP. Plus he’s always looking, so he’d probably draw a number of walks.
Leia Organa, SS–The shortstop’s your leadership position and that’s definitely Leia. Plus she’ll do what needs to be done and not worry about her ego, whether it’s hitting behind the runner or taking a pitch so someone can try to steal.
Rey Skywalker, CF–One of the criticisms of the new trilogy is Rey can do everything and effortlessly. Sounds like a three-hole hitter to me.
Chewbacca, 1B–Plenty of pop, not much range.
Han Solo, 3B–If anyone is sharp enough to play the hot corner, it’s Han.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, 2B–Prequel Obi-Wan definitely has the range to play up the middle and he’d lengthen the lineup, though my bet is he’d lead the league in HBP.
Finn, LF–Good supporting player, can contribute in big ways but it’s the focus of the lineup.
Qui-Gon Jinn, C–I think he’d frame pitches well because he’s calm and smooth.
Yoda, P–Judge him by his size, do you? He might work low in the zone but he’s adaptable enough to be effective. Odds are he’d be good at pitch tunneling as well.
Grand Admiral Thrawn, SS–A guy that is always one step ahead of the opposition is a guy you want leading off and running your defense.
Darth Maul, 2B–OK, I’m putting him in the second spot and at second mainly because he’s in two pieces after his first appearance, but Maul’s crafty, cunning, and likely to cause chaos at the top of the lineup.
Darth Vader, 1B–If you can get him before he goes to Mustafar, your options in the field are a little broader. However, he’s a potent force (no pun intended) to be dealt with and would anchor the heart of the order.
Emperor Palpatine, C–The strongest bat has to go fourth, plus Palps would definitely be a catcher so he can direct everything according to his plan.
Kylo Ren, LF–One of the youngest in the lineup, his athleticism would pay big dividends.
Count Dooku, CF–Graceful and elegant, Dooku also provides impressive pop for a guy his age.
Cad Bane, RF–A bounty hunter with no particular loyalty, Bane would be one of the highest paid players but always on a one-year deal. His long body would probably produce good leverage in a swing, though, and he’d always be in demand.
General Grevious, 3B–Given his metallic frame, he’d be another one that could get into a pitch, plus he’s got the reflexes and speed to skitter away, giving you another option low in the lineup.
Grand Moff Tarkin, P–Analytical, ruthless, and not afraid to take credit for good pitching even if his fielders bailed him out.
If you had no limits on your time and money during an imaginary regular baseball season in 2020 how would you plan out a ~5 city baseball trip and why?
— John Redbird (@JohnRedbird) May 19, 2020
John came along and clarified that it was a vacation to see baseball games. The unlimited funds is the big part, because I–as most of the United Cardinal Bloggers know from hearing me say it every year around Blogger Day–really don’t like to navigate big cities on my own. So I’d be hiring a driver to get me around, for sure. Without looking at how the schedule would work out, I’m definitely hitting St. Louis, because obviously, and then maybe follow them if possible. But if I had to do it more directly, instead of spending three days in each city seeing all of each series (which would be great), I’d want to hit Pittsburgh (for the beautiful stadium), Boston (for the history), Seattle (it always looks great out there), and Cincinnati (to honor my late father-in-law). Dodger Stadium would be a real interesting option as well. History or no history, though, we’re skipping Chicago.
Why aren’t we playing already?
— stlCupofJoe (@stlCupofJoe) May 20, 2020
Well, Joe, there’s this little thing called a pandemic. You, being a pharmacist, probably haven’t heard of it.
(Of course, the answer to this question in a month or so very well may be the fact that supposedly rational people couldn’t figure out how to come to some sort of financial agreement.)
What’s your stance on Jar Jar
— Chelsea Ladd (@chelseabrooke) May 20, 2020
I am not vehemently anti-Jar Jar. Is he my favorite character? No. Could Lucas have done something better with him? Probably. I really do like the Darth Jar Jar theory that has floated around. But he’s obviously supposed to be part of the humor and designed for kids, so I’m fine with it. Plus Ahmed Best has gotten WAY too much grief for his portrayal, which really was groundbreaking technically at the time.
look, i just watched all nine films of the skywalker saga. i think 1.) people are too critical of pretty much every film 2.) Darth maul not being in more truly maddening 3.) (finally a question) do you have one of these nine that you truly didn’t have a fun time watching?
— scott spiezio’s soul patch (@KeeferDeanRoach) May 20, 2020
First off, I’m always glad when someone else becomes knowledgeable about a galaxy far, far away. So I salute you in the proper Jedi manner, my friend! As for your Tweet, I’d agree with 1–there are times, especially when the first trilogy revolutionized movies, that there is the expectation that every one of them have to be high art. Two, oh, are you in for a treat in the later seasons of The Clone Wars and then into Rebels. Maul is too good of a character to be dismissed because he was cut in half.
To your actual question, I honestly don’t think I have not had fun watching any of the Star Wars movies, especially not when I first saw them in theaters. Probably the one I enjoy rewatching the least is Attack of the Clones, but even that one has a lot of fun stuff, usually when Obi-Wan is on the screen. I continue to hold if you take out the whole “romance” bit between Anakin and Padme and that movie would move up the charts quite a bit.
(With all the Star Wars questions here, it feels legitimate for me to drop a link to my Star Wars devotional page, if anyone’s interested.)
Appreciate all the responses. If this goes another 69 days, maybe we’ll do it again!