Let’s do away with extra innings

Following a 19-inning, six hour nightmare of a game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, sports talk radio and the general vicinities of office water coolers in those two great cities were both filled with discussion about Major League Baseball’s method for breaking tie games. Some people think extra innings should stick around because baseball is baseball and you don’t change it without sacrificing eight virgins to Cy Young and praying to Abner Doubleday until he responds via message scrawled in the infield dirt. Others think there’s no fucking reason for a game to go that fucking long in fucking April because they’ve actually got lives.

After a couple weeks of deep introspection, I find myself in the anti-extras camp, but for a different reason: pitcher health. Those extra innings put a ton of strain not just on the back end of the bullpen that immediately absorbs them but also on the other starters and relievers expected to make up for their overworked teammates in future games. We’re at the point where Tommy John surgery isn’t an emergency procedure so much as it’s a rite of passage for young hurlers. Why not try to protect them a little bit better? Forget oil, trees, or sprightly young pop stars: quality arms are our nation’s most important natural resource and should be treated as such.

I’m fine with extra innings in the playoffs. Hell, I’d even be ok with settling important games that way in September. But early in the season? Nah, bro. Let’s get these games over with. I’ve got a few ideas as to how, listed in descending order of reality and ascending order of HOLY SHIT LET’S FUCKING DO THAT.

1. Remove a player from each lineup in the tenth. The NHL opens up room on the ice to encourage scoring by removing a player from the ice in overtime. MLB should borrow that idea and require each team to drop a fielder. Just think of the tactical decisions and the hilarity sure to ensue when some of the league’s…ah…slower managers are thrust into situations where they have to choose between having three outfielders and four infielders. Think of the exotic shifts, the wild plays, and the thoroughly confused color commentators. Sign me up.

2. Home run derby. Let’s borrow another idea from the NHL: the shootout. Each team picks one slugger. Each slugger gets ten pitches from a coach or teammate. Most dingers wins. A tie goes to the team with the most fans in attendance. Sorry, Tampa.

3. Mound sumo. Each team sends its tubbiest bastard out to the center of the diamond for a winner-take-all rumble. If the thought of a titanic clash between the Panda and Bartolo Colon doesn’t get you super excited for what would otherwise be a kind of dull mid-August series then you, sir, have no business reading this blog and should probably have a doctor make sure you still know how to have fun. Can anyone out-sumo CC Sabathia or will he just swallow his opponents whole? If your designated fat guy is out due to injury, do you dial up the next biggest dude or do you get creative and send a scrappy utility infielder like Brock Holt and hope he can win with grit and moxie? Will Dmitri Young will come out of retirement to serve as the Astros’ enforcer? Let’s make this one happen!

The worst thing I’ve EVER seen in the gym

I’ve seen a lot of absurd crap in the gym over the last month or so. The post New Year’s rush combined with a new low price to open the gates of hell and unleash an unholy army of weirdos, dopes, and rubes inside my local BSC. I’ve seen tooth brushing at the bicep curl machine, backpack sniffing, locker room acrobatics, nudists who sing while they shave, awkward dates, weight racks where not a single dumbbell was put back in the right spot, and enough shitty squat form to send my quads to psychotherapy. It’s ugly in there, people.

But today I saw something that trumps it all. Something so unbelievably stupid it defies all explanation. Something so rude and ill-mannered that anyone who saw it couldn’t possibly not be offended. Something so out of touch with reality it should have its own show on Fox News every Wednesday at 11 am.

What did I see in the gym that perturbed me so? A dude in a Boston 2024 t-shirt.

I KNOW! I can’t believe someone would wear that in public either. It defies all logic.

Listen up, Boston 2024 t-shirt bro. That sort of shit might be A-OK in the Planet Fitness in the strip mall by your house, but in BSC that crap just doesn’t fly. In a real gym, backing Boston’s craptastic Olympic bid is a worse offense than dropping a spot, cutting the bubbler line, or even putting your stuff in a locker and not locking it. That sort of behavior is completely uncalled for. Does your mother know you’re wearing that? And I’m sure you weren’t trying to be ironic; you’re obviously a crotchety old Republican, and science has proven irony isn’t in the genes of such people.

I’m writing a letter to BSC. This douche rocket went waaaay too far. How are we supposed to work out with this sort of chicanery walking around? It’s impossible. It’s un-American. And it’s got to go.

Let me tell ya ’bout my trip to Stage

I got pleasantly drunk during my fantasy baseball auction on Saturday afternoon. Nothing goes better with spending pretend money on major leaguers than spending real money on quality Belgians. What? No! Beers, not actual Belgians! Gosh, what kind of a monster do you think I am? I only traffic in Swedes.

So anyway, here’s me with almost four hours of quality booze time under my belt, and here it is still light out. And the Liquor, which has taken up residence in a tiny corner of my brain like some sub-Saharan parasite bent on driving its new host to an area at the proper temperature and humidity to birth its young, whispers in my ear: “It’s still early. You should go do something interesting. And have another drink.”

And I says back to the Liquor: “Good idea! I know! I’ll go to that new Vaudeville club, Stage!”

I’d seen the place on Boston’s finest source for hard-hitting local journalism, Dirty Water TV, a few months ago. It’s billed as a swanky 1920s-esque speakeasy full of expert mixologists and old time-y performers: dancers, magicians, acrobats, the works. It’s the sort of ambitious concept that could either turn out really, really cool or just be sort of silly and awkward if it isn’t executed well. I would’ve been ok with either because that’s just the way my sense of humor – which probably should be on a heavy ritalin prescription – sees the world. I was skeptical about Stage’s ability to deliver; every time I’ve been to an area bar with some sort of hook above and beyond “bar” or “we have bowling,” said hook is usually tiny and shoved into a corner where it won’t interfere with the hordes of Boston dude bros pounding Bud Lights or Camberville yuppie-wannabe-hipsters daintily sipping Pretty Thingses. The Liquor had high hopes for the place, but I was prepared to end the evening ironically amused and slightly disappointed.

After a quick dinner, the Liquor helped me pick out a nice shirt and my least crappy pair of black jeans and we got on the T. Stage is in the Alley, that bastion of learning and culture in downtown Boston. The front room was neat but disappointing because I’m a big dummy and I initially thought that was the entire place. A long bar ran the length of the room. A small stage in the front corner was occupied by a woman in makeup and a corset doing magic tricks.

I decided to test the bartender by ordering a Bulleit rye Manhattan, up with a twist. When I placed my order, his face lit up like it was Christmas morning. Dude was obviously tired of pouring Stellas. It showed in his work, too: he spun the shakers around and tapped the low ceiling with the bottom of the bottle as he poured. The results were perfect – and surprisingly large. On my side of the river, there’s been a definite trend toward tiny cocktails you can fit in a Dixie cup that still cost an arm and a leg. It felt like pouring the thing out of the shaker and into the glass took about three days – which is not a knock at all on the bartender, just a comment on the serious size of the drink. For real, I was briefly intimidated. This Manhattan wasn’t cheap, but hot damn was it worth every penny. And old fashioned I ordered later was just as delicious.

I was there for maybe fifteen minutes when the crowd around me began a mass migration toward the back of the room. A secret door in the rear bookshelf had been opened to admit us into the rest of the club. I followed the herd.

Holy crap. That back room is huge. It’s gorgeous. It’s so spotless you could do body shots off the glittering wood floor. I counted three giant bars. A series of booths near the main stage looked like a great place to hangout with a group of friends. I didn’t know where to look; there were performers dancing, balancing on things, swinging things, and doing tricks in every direction. The light show and sound system were top notch. I couldn’t help feeling like I’d walked into an old-timey circus montage. It was really fucking cool.

I didn’t stay as long as I would’ve liked. I’d been drinking all day and the Liquor was beginning to gain too much influence. It would’ve talked me into doing something dumb, like trying to talk to the brunette down the end of the bar who wouldn’t stop staring at me. The Liquor thought she was undressing me with her eyes, but I was pretty sure she was just trying to determine if she’d seen me on the wall of fame at her local post office. I got out of there before the Liquor could convince me otherwise.

But I can’t wait to go back with a fresh liver. Stage is legit. It’s nice to see a new bar hit Boston that’s actually different from the usual vanilla scene. It’s the sort of idea that should be happening in Somerville, maybe in a particular former diner car – you know, if Somerville actually gave a crap about being different and wasn’t just resting on its reputation. The Liquor agrees on all counts. Check Stage out.

2015 National League West Predictions – and More!

Blah blah Remy and Orsillo can’t spell home run blah blah but this division is kind of fun.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers – Former Rays GM Andrew Friedman + Magic Johnson’s money + this roster = ohhhhh man. The Dodgers certainly have their share of bad contracts, but they have more than enough cash and enough talent to make it all work.
Booze Equivalent – An $18 Manhattan. Far too expensive, but whatever.

2. San Diego Padres – A steady stream of ballsy trades have the Friars looking downright feisty. Matt Kemp and Wil Myers lend some serious thump to a lineup that previously resembled a tee ball team. James Shields gives them a legit ace. Despite those improvements…well, you’ve heard me harping about depth before, so I’m going to do that again here. They’ll just miss out on the wild card.
Booze Equivalent – Half a Dogfish Head 30 minute. Delicious, but obviously incomplete.

3. San Francisco Giants – It’s an odd-numbered year. They’re only good in even-numbered years. Moving on.
Booze Equivalent – A frosty Narragansett. Tasty, but you know exactly what you’re going to get.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks – What a weird team. Paul Goldschmidt’s a stud. Mark Trumbo could be a useful slugger but should probably be DHing somewhere. Yasmany Tomas divides scouts like whoa. The pitching? Whatever. They’re lucky they’ve got the Rockies to beat up on.
Booze Equivalent – A pretzel roll. You’re right; that makes no sense. And that’s the point.

5. Colorado Rockies – Their super nice hats – and Troy Tulowitzki – deserve so much better.
Booze Equivalent – Frat house cooler swill.

Other Predictions

AL Champions: Cleveland Indians
NL Champions: Washington Nationals
World Series Champions: Washington Nationals

AL Rookie of the Year: Steven Sousa, Tampa Bay
NL Rookie of the Year: Joc Pederson, Los Angeles

AL MVP: Josh Donaldson, Toronto
NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale, Chicago
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles

First manager fired: Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee
Best player traded long before the deadline: Jonathan Papelbon
Best player traded at the deadline: Evan Longoria
First closer to lose his job: Luke Gregerson, Houston
Shifts that confuse Jerry Remy: 73
Number of times I’ll yell at Remy as if he can hear me through the TV: 98
Number of times he’ll shiver because he thought he heard something: 3
Pensive Joseph Abboud close-ups: 62
Most All-Star selections: Washington
Obligatory relief pitcher all-star: Pick a Diamondback
Most days lost to injury: New York Yankees
Most likely to sneak into the playoffs and piss me off: Baltimore

Hey BSC: We’re Fighting

I know it doesn’t look like it, but I’ve been a member of Boston Sports Clubs for a long time now – seven, maybe eight years. Last week, BSC introduced a new membership pricing structure. For the low, low price of $19.95 a month, members can get access to the main gym floor, maybe get into classes when members on more expensive plans haven’t taken all the spots, and don’t get towels. Existing members, such as yours truly, were upgraded to a more expensive Passport level plan that grants access to all the BSC gyms that don’t have anything fun like pools or squash courts.

It took me about two and a half visits to become downright bigoted toward people who don’t have towels.

Although the post New Year’s resolution rush should be dying out, my local BSC is packed full of riffraff with no means of wiping away their vile sweat. It’s busy. It smells like I imagine the woman from Dance Moms must smell. I’ve abandoned several workouts early because my inability to get to what I needed left me muttering under my breath like a drunk on the bus. I’ve seen people half-assing workouts in jeans, Dockers, and Uggz. I’ve dealt with jackasses who think it’s ok to grab four different pairs of weights and toss them around a single bench like a toddler might drop a pile of unwanted toys around the couch. I caught someone brushing his fucking teeth at the bicep curl machine. A few days later I saw the same sketchy bastard sitting at the same machine, sniffing his backpack like he’d dropped a deuce in it and wanted to make sure the other people on the bus wouldn’t be able to smell it. There are assholes on dates who gum up the floor because they might spontaneously combust if they drift more than four feet away from each other. Some brain surgeon almost knocked me on my face today while I bent down to lift up a barbell because out of the sixteen different routes that would’ve taken him to his destination the one that sent him awkwardly careening into my ass was obviously the best. Have I made comparisons to the bus yet? Because really, it’s like the bus if it had bubblers and the driver occasionally asked me for a spot.

It’s miserable. Guess how many towels the people in the paragraph above had? Here’s a hint: the answer is the only whole number equal to the amount of rich bikini models interested in playing Xbox with yours truly. I clutch my towel close like it’s a badge of honor, like it establishes my position among the BSC cognoscenti, like I’m the god damn 1% and anyone without a towel can go eat cake with the rest of the bourgeoisie.

Here’s the thing: I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to get out and exercise and I don’t expect the gym to be empty. Get to it, ya jerks. My problem is in the difference between the value I’m receiving now compared to the value I got in the past and the value I assumed I’d continue to see. If I’d wanted to belong to a dirty, smelly, busy gym full of weirdos and inconsiderate people who don’t know how to function in polite society, I would’ve switched to Planet Fitness for significantly less money a long time ago. I didn’t. I preferred the relative quiet, cleanliness, and sanity of BSC. It was worth it to me to pay more. Now that value’s gone.

And that Passport membership with which they’re trying to mollify the veterans? It’s useless. I live five minutes away from the Davis Square BSC. Why the hell would I ever go anywhere else, especially when I know all of their clubs are going to be just as miserable as the one closest to me? So what if I can visit eight different landfills whenever I want? I’m still just going to the dump. The put-and-take isn’t going to be that different.

When the change hit, I stopped to mention to the guy at the front desk that I was concerned about how busy the gym was about to become. He didn’t disagree with me; he said the phone had been ringing off the hook because people thought $19.95 a month for BSC was a bargain. And it would be, if you were actually getting a real BSC for that price. When you cram it full of people who would otherwise be at Planet Fitness, well…what do you get? A Planet Fitness that couldn’t afford to remove its old BSC branding or order pizza.

If I can find a viable alternative, I’m out. It’s not worth the price anymore, even if I downgraded to a $19.95 membership.

2015 National League Central Predictions

The NL Central is probably the most interesting division in the entire game. Every team has at least one legit superstar and a few promising kids worth tuning in for. Every team looks like it could conceivably make the playoffs sometime in the next three or four years if things break just right. Every team has a nice hat.

You wouldn’t know any of that if you get all your baseball coverage from NESN. But hey, at least they’ve got helpful graphics to tell us what Ryan Hannigan’s favorite restaurant is. And we get a few shots of Joseph Abboud during every home game. I guess that’s something.

1. St. Louis Cardinals – Who else? This team’s a machine. There’s potential for a slight decline on both sides of the ball – Holliday, Molina, and Wainwright just got their AARP cards and the Cards are a little low on big time hitting prospects right now – but I still can’t see any of the other teams in the division catching the Redbirds.
Booze Equivalent – That rotating Pretty Things tap in your local craft beer hall. Always a good decision.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates (wild card) – Andrew McCutchen + solid regulars + a decent rotation = just good enough.
Booze Equivalent – Jack and Coke. That’ll work.

3. Chicago Cubs – I’m not as high on the Cubs as most baseball pundits. This team is relying on far too many unproven kids at this point. They’re one more year of development and a couple more shrewd veteran additions away.
Booze Equivalent – Drinking pumpkin beer in early August.

4. Milwaukee Brewers – There is nothing even remotely interesting to say about these guys. Sure, Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez are good and Bernie Brewer still slides down into a bucket of beer after the home team hits a dinger, but man…this might be the most nondescript team in the entire game right now.
Booze Equivalent – Miller Lite. Apropos.

5. Cincinnati Reds –It wasn’t long ago that the Reds looked like they’d be challenging for the division crown for the foreseeable future. Injuries, age, and a few questionable decisions with the rotation knocked them right off that pedestal. But hey, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are still worth watching.
Booze Equivalent – A Justin Timberlake signature margarita from Chili’s. Seemed like a good idea.

How good was WrestleMania 31?

Oh man. Last night’s WrestleMania was better than a pile of Deli-icious panninis served with a bathtub of High Life. It was better than a Friday night on the Gronkowski party bus. It was better than an office copier that never, ever jams and gives you free jelly beans with every print out. It was, in short, the best thing I’ve seen in a long time.

Highlights included:

  • A god damn hot seven-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship.
  • Probably the best god damn RKO ever.
  • Rusev on a god damn tank.
  • Triple H dressed as the god damn Terminator.
  • D-Generation X rushing the ring to back up Triple H, only to draw out the god damn New World Order to back up Sting (which really only makes sense if the nWo is confused and thinks real Sting is fake nWo Sting, but whatever).
  • A sneaky good Divas tag match that suggests WWE finally understands just how god damn awesome women’s wrestling could be if they cut the crap.
  • Ronda god damn Rousey throwing Triple H over her shoulder like it wasn’t no thing.
  • Brock Lesnar beating the god damn snot out of Roman Reigns for a good fifteen minutes.
  • Seth god damn Rollins cashing in his title shot contract at just the right moment and walking out with the big belt.
  • Homemade god damn pretzels and chicken parm pizza with god damn jalapenos. Yes, that only happened in my living room. It still counts.

I mean…god damn, right? Next time someone politely asks me “Why do you like that stuff?” while side-eying me like I’m some sort of illiterate troglodyte, this is the show I’ll be thinking about while I ramble out an awkward, incoherent answer. Maybe from now on I’ll just say “WrestleMania 31″ and drop the pretend mic while my imaginary music hits.

Part of my love for last night’s show is how unexpectedly excellent it was. WrestleMania’s always kind of fun, but it’s rarely any good. Combine that less-than-stellar track record with how shitty the writing’s been lately and I was fully prepared to be asking how to get a few of those four hours of my life back this morning. They kept it simple. They kept it moving. The big spots and huge moments were actually big spots and huge moments and not just obnoxious announcer hyperbole. They set up the next round of stories without compromising the firm conclusions of the plots they brought to an end. The jalapenos went really fucking well with that crispy chicken.

More of this, please. WWE proved they’ve still got it last night. I’m not convinced they can stay out of their own way long enough to build off that momentum…but I also expected WrestleMania to kind of suck. Here’s hoping they prove me god damn wrong again.

2015 National League East Predictions

One legit stud. Two pretentious challengers to the throne. Two flaming terds. No, that’s not the premise of Don Orsillo’s shitty debut foray into the erotic fiction market – that’s the National League East! Originally I wrote that joke using Jerry Remy instead, but I switched it because we all know that dude can’t read and write.

1. Washington Nationals – Everything you’d ever want in a professional baseball team: top of the line starting pitching, a deep lineup, a solid mix of youth and veteran savvy, a great ballpark, and nice hats. Just thinking about the Nats makes me swoon. I’m breathing repeatedly into a brown paper bag right now.
Booze Equivalent: A top-shelf martini made by an expert bartender.

2. Miami Marlins (wildcard) – Get past the scumbag owner, the shitty uniforms, and the tacky stadium that fleeced area taxpayers and there’s a lot to love here. The outfield is stacked, the rotation is solid, and the holes in the infield have mostly been patched. The Fish are looking feisty.
Booze Equivalent: A pitcher of delicious margaritas served in an old toilet bowl.

3. New York Mets – Michael Cuddyer is a perfectly fine major league ballplayer. When you sign Michael Cuddyer and he immediately becomes your second best hitter, however, you are fucked regardless of how good your rotation probably is.
Booze Equivalent: Harpoon Winter Warmer. Fun for a little while.

4. Atlanta Braves – Well. This is weird. The last time the Braves were this crappy, I was probably writing something childish and immature. That’s not at all like my life now. Ah, how the times do change!
Booze Equivalent: Jagermeister. What the fuck?

5. Philadelphia Phillies – Years of trying to force the championship window to stay open by shoving whatever crap they could find on the floor into the frame have left the Phillies a barren shell of their former selves. Jimmy Rollins is finally gone. Chase Utley’s probably next. Ryan Howard? That dude and his terrible contract will be here forever and it will be hilarious.
Booze Equivalent: Goldschlager. You know, the only thing worse than Jagermeister.

2015 American League West Predictions

The AL West is the NESN of Major League divisions. Don’t make me watch it drunk unless you’re ready to deal with some really stupid bitching on Facebook. There is, however, one team in this mess I am super excited to watch. In that regard, I guess the AL West is more appropriately described as Jenny Dell-era NESN. Sorry, Gary Streieiwieisisike.

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Somebody’s got to win this tire fire. The of Anaheims are rapidly descending into Yankee-level payroll WTFness, but I think they’ve got just enough depth to stave that dystopian future off for another season.
Booze Equivalent: Josh Hamilton. What? Too soon? Fine.

2. Seattle Mariners – Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager and King Felix and…uh…Dustin Ackley, I guess? Oh, hey, Logan Morrison’s here too! Uh. Yeah.
Booze Equivalent: A mai tai made with too much skanky rum. Pretty good at the top, but when you get to the bottom…woof.

3. Oakland Athletics – Billy Beane’s gonna Billy Beane. It’s no surprise that Jon Lester and Jeff Samarzija are off to teams with more flattering hat designs, but the trade of Josh Donaldson to Toronto for Brett Lawrie and a few bags of balls is enough to make even the staunchest A’s supporter question the Gospel of Billy. Lawrie’s an under the radar sleeper and “Country Breakfast” Billy Butler gives them a much-needed DH with a fun nickname, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough pop here to back their young, deep pitching staff.
Booze Equivalent: Tonic water with lime. Turns out your roommate took the gin to a party and didn’t replace it.

4. Houston Astros – Ladies and gentlemen, the Jenny Dell of my AL West NESN analogy! Bet you didn’t see that coming. These scrubs are going to be a ton of fun. All they’re going to do is strikeout, blast dingers, and play Manny-level defense across wide swathes of the field. Sign me up and buy me one of those classy hats they wear.
Booze Equivalent: Fireball. Oh man, something ridiculous is about to happen and it is going to be glorious.

5. Texas Rangers – I just realized I have three Rangers in my fantasy team’s starting lineup. I’m boned.
Booze Equivalent: Bud Light. Punchless.

2015 American League Central Predictions

I don’t have an intro for the Central. I wrote you a song instead:

Jingle bells
NESN smells
Remy laid an egg
(Chorus: His restaurant near Fenway!)
Orsillo’s dumb, Lyons is a bum
And Jenny Dell got away!

1. Cleveland Indians – I’m a believer in the Stupid Name Axiom when it comes to baseball prospects. It’s a simple theory stating that if you’ve got a dumb name, you ain’t gonna make it. I never would’ve thought a dude named Corey Kluber would win the Cy Young. I mean, just look at that name. It belongs on some toolsy prospect that flames out after three successively worse years in Double A and tries to reinvent himself by learning a knuckleball, not one of the top starting pitchers in the league. But Corey Kluber’s good. The rest of his teammates and his manager are pretty solid, too.
Booze Equivalent – Insert your favorite high quality craft brew with a silly label here.

2. Detroit Tigers (wild card) – They’re old, their closer position’s got some sort of ERA busting STD, and they lost more good starting pitchers in the last six months than the Rockies have rostered in the last six years. Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Drew Smyly are out. David Price gives them an ace to replace whatever’s left of Justin Verlander. Yoenis Cespedes lengthens the lineup after Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez. There just isn’t a ton of depth here, which means everything has to go right. It’ll go just right enough for an epic wildcard flameout.
Booze Equivalent – A Manhattan made with well liquor. Probably still good.

3. Kansas City Royals – Ugh, the Royals. Whatever.
Booze Equivalent – Sam Adams Cold Snap. Ok.

4. Chicago White Sox – These guys are getting interesting. Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija, and Jose Quintana are a solid top of the rotation. Jose Abreu’s got some help in Melky Cabrera and Adam Laroche. But there’s no depth, the defense is a little suspect, and the division’s tight. Next year.
Booze Equivalent – Sam Lite. Not bad every now and then.

5. Minnesota Twins – Maybe they’ll call up super prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano this year. That won’t get the Twins anywhere, but at least those two would be fun to watch.
Booze Equivalent – Home brew that’s almost ready. It would be interesting to sample as is, but just don’t.