Break-up, baseball, and JEOPARDY

Lake George

break-upHere are some Ask Roger Anything questions about break-up, baseball, and JEOPARDY. They were asked by Kelly Sedinger, the fine Buffalo-area blogger at

When the break-up finally comes, does New York form a country with, say, NJ and New England and maybe PA, MD, and DE? Or do we all just join Canada?

First, I do accept the premise of the question. Major Garrett, formerly of FOX and now CBS, wrote a book suggesting that America is close to Civil War. But I remain puzzled by the mechanism.

As someone in upstate New York, you KNOW there are pockets of conservatives in New York, such as the Southern Tier south of you, or much of the territory north of me, which are quite conservative. Conversely, there are liberal enclaves in Iowa.

The Greater Idaho movement, with much of eastern Oregon joining the spud state, will be difficult to achieve. Redistributing assets nationally would be a nightmare.

Still, rhetorically speaking, your larger model works. And the Canadians, if they are smart, will want to have nothing to do with a land annexation. They don’t want those gun-toting folks in their jurisdiction.

Here comes the Judge

Am I crazy in detecting a rather unsavory note in all the cheering of Aaron Judge this season as he chases home run records? Because it really does occasionally take on a tone of “Thank God a white guy is posing a threat to the record held by the black guy nobody likes.”

I can say that Barry Bonds was very supportive of Judge’s pursuit of the American League record of 61 (Roger Maris, 1961) and understood the stress of getting that 61st one. Days before the regular season ended, it was pretty clear that Judge wouldn’t surpass Bonds’ 73 HRs.

But I think your question hit on the real issue. Barry Bonds is just not warm and fuzzy. And people feel that he cheated with the Performance-Enhancing Drugs. So I don’t think it’s specifically racism, although I don’t listen to sports talk on radio or TV because I find much of it repetitive and banal.

Now some people didn’t want Henry Aaron to topple Babe Ruth’s career record of 714, even sending death threats. (When I saw a guy on the field running with Hammerin’ Hank, I was genuinely worried about the slugger’s safety.) But many people think Bonds’ career record of 762 is tainted and that it should belong to Aaron, with 755.

Favorite place within 50 miles of Albany?

I’m fond of Lake George, north of here. The lake itself is quite beautiful, and it has several amenities without being TOO touristy.


A change you would make to JEOPARDY!? (Resurrecting Trebek is not an option.)

Actually, my wish can never happen because it seems to be too popular with the fans. I’d prefer that they stayed with five-day champions, and then they’re gone until the annual Tournament of Champions. The interview segment is fine for someone staying for a week, but most of them start to wear on me.

I don’t want to see the same people in yet another tournament. They had that awful team event a few years ago. Besides seeing Ken and Brad yet AGAIN in competition, it took away time when we might see your average champion. They seem to be keying on the “super champions,” which just doesn’t feel right. At least Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen, as hosts of the show, can no longer compete on the show because they’ve hosted.

Oh, and I’m against giving a bonus to people who run a category. Former JEOPARDY champ Austin Rogers makes a case for it, but I remain unconvinced.

Oh, and here’s something that Trebek used to say that I never liked, and I recently heard Jennings repeat. When all three contestants missed the same question, Alex would say, “No harm, no foul.” It’s not correct. If Player A has $12,000, Player B has $6,000, and Player C has $3,000, and they all miss a $2,000 question, who is most disadvantaged? The person with the least amount of money.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

6 thoughts on “Break-up, baseball, and JEOPARDY”

  1. Judge is biracial, so I don’t think it’s racism. I think it’s more sportswriters’ embarrassment about embracing the steroids era, so they’re desperate for someone to erase it, and the inherent bias over the Yankees – of course the home run record should be held by a Yankee, not some weird left-coast player! It’s all very hilarious, because as much as I hate Bonds, he’s the champ!

  2. Someone (who I didn’t know but apparently noteworthy) said that very thing, and someone posted on Twitter that it was proof that X was an idiot. It’s a really polarizing conversation, more than I had bothered to note until recently.

  3. I’m not sure that Judge being bi-racial needs to enter into it in order for it to be at least partly about race. I wonder how strongly people would feel if Bonds had fallen short that year so the record wasn’t his but McGwire’s 70, and I also doubt Judge being bi-racial is common knowledge (whereas back then you couldn’t read ANYTHING about Barry Bonds without reading about “what a jerk that guy is”). In any event, there was a TON of PED use during that era, it wasn’t just the handful of guys who pounded tons of HRs for a few years. I head crap like “MLB should vacate their totals!” and I think, “DO you vacate those runs, then? The wins recorded in the standings because of those runs? Do you vacate entire championships?” If they’re really serious, they basically have to advocate simply removing about ten years’ worth of baseball history from the books….on an unrelated note, I’m always glad for this feature because you wait just long enough to answer my questions that I don’t quite recall what I asked!

  4. I think race is often a factor in sports. Would Bonds’ arrogance, and he was not warm and fuzzy, be perceived differently if he were white? Maybe. In any case, I’ve made the case, repeatedly, that Bonds (and Clemens) should be in the Hall Of Fame because the specific PED ban wasn’t instituted until 2004. Whereas I’m not sold on Sammy Sosa, the other guy who has hit 62 or more home runs and three times, at that. But the anger is far more aimed at Bonds than Sosa. Was it his arrogance or the fact that he would have likely been a first-round HoF pick without PED?

  5. Sosa was a smiling, happy player. He even had his own version of the High Five, and he conveyed a sense of joy during those home-run years, so I think the ire isn’t as great toward him because of another annoying vestige of racism (that Black people are to be tolerated and even honored as long as they don’t convey the least bit of unhappiness). He had over 600 career home runs, which I think should be HOF worthy, PEDs or no. It’s worth remembering that PED use was really widespread, and that PEDs mostly help with recovery from day-to-day injuries; while they do increase your strength a bit they don’t suddenly make you good at the act of hitting a baseball thrown by a major-league pitcher. I’m not a PED apologist, by any means, but I find the moral outrage (especially among HOF voters) really overblown and even disingenuous since MLB didn’t even take the issue seriously enough to have a testing policy in place at the time, despite PED use having been a major issue in sports for over a decade prior to all that HR hitting. The PED era is far from the first time MLB has run its business in such a way as to artificially influence the competitive product on the field (collusion in the 70s, raising and lowering the mound, and the decades-long collusion that kept some of the very best baseball talent relegated to under-reported Negro Leagues).

    (BTW, on the topic of guys from that general timeline who aren’t in the HOF, what’s your take on Curt Schilling? In terms of baseball accomplishments he should be there, but he’s proven himself to be at least double the heel that Bonds *ever* was–if you made a list of the biggest jerks in MLB history, Schilling might make the cut, just behind Ty Cobb–to the point that he just outright said that he didn’t want to be in the HOF at all. That guy, I struggle with. He certainly displayed the kind of sustained excellence that the HOF is partly intended to honor, but he has displayed none of the character qualities thereof.)

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