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15 Most Recent Questions

How about a 'bowl' of serial killers?
Asked by: Gfletch

Answered: 12/3/2016
 A glart.    That's it.   Sounds disgusting; word isn't already taken.   A glart.  


What do you call a group of serial killers? Isn't it a box?  As in a box of ser..  
never mind. Sorry. I hope that doesn't get me banned form the site.
Asked by: lidsky

Answered: 12/3/2016
 It should be something disgusting or at least unattractive, like a pimple or a fart.   A wart.  An infection.   


All this "majority of serial killers" makes me wonder what the collective noun would be for that group?  Crows already claimed "a murder of."
Asked by: marbus1

Answered: 12/3/2016
 A "block"?  


As for who most improved his HOF odds last year, I'd say Verlander, because it was starting to look like he might never get back to the very top level, which might have left him short of the HOF. (Hard to be sure, with starting pitcher career shapes changing as they seem to have lately.) This year, notoriously, he was one of the best three pitchers in the AL -- clearly back at the top. I think Beltre was already in. And I think Longoria needs a bit more ... though you could argue he was in the same boat Verlander was.  
Earl Averill Award ... that's pretty cool.  
Asked by: hortonwho

Answered: 12/3/2016


Not a question but a comment apropos of crime. Years ago there was a spate of "Secrets of Magic" television shows, and someone asked the magician Penn Jillette what he thought of them. He said the problem with these shows is they required tricks with a "beautiful" solution, whereas most of the techniques of magic are depressingly mundane. I think something similar goes on in the great unsolved historical crimes, such as the identity of Jack the Ripper. People dearly wish a beautiful solution, and thus you have the theories that he was a member of the British royal family, or other celebrity.
Asked by: bobfiore

Answered: 12/3/2016
 Interesting.   Thanks.  


Hey Bill, my choice for the Earl Award might be Jon Lester. He went 19-5, 2.44 during the regular season, finishing second in the Cy Young award voting, and he went 3-1, 2.02 in the postseason. He is now sitting at 146-84, with a relative era in the same range as the best of his peers. He has a 2.63 era in 133 career postseason innings, and a 1.77 era in 35.2 World Series innings.  
He was part of the Sox championship run, and now he’s part of the Cubbies’ resurgence. I might have laughed at his Hall of Fame chances last year – or at least been skeptical – but now I see him as more likely than not to become a serious candidate.  
Asked by: ventboys

Answered: 12/3/2016
 You are correct.   He's a better candidate than my guy was.    I remember having that thought about him before, but I missed him when the question was posed.   


Could be that he's disqualified already, because his odds for his age are already so high, but I think Trout is the guy who did the most this year in terms of getting into the Hall of Fame. Second MVP converts him from the category of "probably not" to "probably yes." (I'm not saying that he was ever unlikely to get in, I'm saying if he retires with one MVP award, then it's a different conversation.)
Asked by: wovenstrap

Answered: 12/3/2016
 Henry Aaron won one MVP Award.   If you win one MVP Award in a highly distinguished career, I wouldn't agree that's a negative.  


re: decline in serial killers since 1980.  hey, we aint gettin no younger.    
the only ones who can keep going after 70 or even 60 would be poisoners.
Asked by: shthar

Answered: 12/3/2016
When you say "we", who exactly did you mean by that?    You're not a. . . .?


When I see something like misuse of the word "majority," I immediately lose interest in reading further, because I lose any confidence in the writer's level of knowledge and/or discernment. Do you not?
Asked by: MarisFan61

Answered: 12/3/2016
 Nah.   We all make silly mistakes like that.   I'm sure I do those things pretty regularly.  


I'm here to verify that Bill's quote about "the majority of serial killers simply kill for enjoyment" is a correct quote: his quotation is not only exactly what the article says, but the statement in the article is the very last bit of text right above the bar chart that Bill mentions, the one that shows the 31.9% figure. I don't see how anyone could miss that.
Asked by: pgaskill

Answered: 12/3/2016


Hey an added note re: athletes turned politicos, Red Kelly was also a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Toronto-area riding of York West from 1962 to 1965, WHILE PLAYING for the Toronto Maple Leafs !
Asked by: clambeau

Answered: 12/3/2016
 That's nothing; Nero competed in the Olympic Games while serving as Emperor.    Just like playing golf with the boss, only the boss was crazy and could kill you with impunity.  


Over on Reader Posts, we are discussing a fake award you accidentally invented back in your Baseball Book days for the player who most improved his Hall of Fame chances during the previous season.  
Two questions: (1) if such an award existed, what should it be called? and (2) who would you pick for 2016?
Asked by: ventboys

Answered: 12/3/2016
Let's see. . .we could call it the Earl Averill Award.   Earl Averill had a fantastic season in 1936, when he was 34 years old.   Without that season, he probably pulls up a mile short of the Hall of Fame; he's just another Babe Herman/Riggs Stephenson/Wally Berger/Don Hurst type.   
This season. . .let's see.   It would probably have to be somebody who was in the top 10 in the MVP voting, so I've got Max Scherzer, Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman, Adrian Beltre.   I'd say maybe Adrian Beltre?    Could be Longoria or Verlander.  


The serial killer article  doesn't state that the majority of killers do so for enjoyment.  It does say that the majority of  killers kill for enjoyment or financial  gain.  About 30% for each group
Asked by: Allen Schade

Answered: 12/3/2016
 I quoted it directly, and it does in fact say that the majority of serial killers do so simply for enjoyment.   Direct Quote. . . "What they found is that the majority of serial killers simply kill for enjoyment."  


It's funny you mentioned that thing about recidivism rates as it relates to murder. Just yesterday I was reading the Lew Archer novel A Zebra-Striped Hearse, in which a character says that exact thing and Archer makes light of the concept.
Asked by: wovenstrap

Answered: 12/3/2016
 Good for him.   Thanks. 


Hey Bill,  
There was some discussion on the Robinson-Pappas deal in reader posts recently. Included in the trade was outfielder Dick Simpson to the Reds. He's a forgotten part of this deal, but when I looked at his 1965 minor league stats they seemed kind of Bobby-Bonds-like to me: .301 / .380 / .523, with 22 doubles, 12 triples, 24 homers, 61 walks and 148 strikeouts for Seattle in AAA. He rode the bench for the Reds in '66 and never developed. What might be a reasonable projection for him to do as a regular in '66?
Asked by: chuck

Answered: 12/2/2016
 Well, I didn't realize that he struck out that much, but that's a red flag (Reds flag?) if he did.    That would be like a top 5% strikeout rate in 1965, I would think.    When a player moves from the majors to the minors his strikeout rate increases, although his productivity when he puts the ball in play does not generally decrease and in fact often increases.    But that many strikeouts. . .that would be a red flag for me.   


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