I recently heard about a poll that indicated 80% of Americans believe there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, and 77% believe intelligent alien life has visited earth. I was not surprised by the first number, but its relationship to the second blew my mind – is the difference between the two (where I see myself) really only three percentage points? Surely there are more people than that who suspect that, in the absurd, comical numerousness of the stars in the universe, there is virtually certain to be other intelligent life – lots of it, most likely – but because of the absurd, comical vastness of the universe, it is also perfectly reasonable to assume none has ever been to earth?
The lesson for me here is less about aliens than about not assuming the things I believe are in the mainstream of thought (or, in this case, are not even close to mainstream, apparently).*
It’s a good lesson to receive every now and again, whether talking about alien intelligence or what maneuvers the Cubs should make this offseason.
- Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde has been a popular man on the managerial interview circuit, and he’s a finalist for at least one gig:
Sources: #Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde is a finalist for #MNTwins manager job along with Rocco Baldelli and Derek Shelton. David Ross never really was a factor in the search. The latest on @TheAthleticMIN.https://t.co/ooBRCJVpNr
— Dan Hayes (@DanHayesMLB) October 23, 2018
- It would certainly stink to lose Hyde given his experience, but you never want to wish for a guy *not* to get a managerial job.
- Of note in that piece, Cubs special assistant David Ross is no longer a candidate for the Twins job. He didn’t even interview, as “one source said the Twins got the impression Ross was uncertain about his future. The Twins weren’t sure Ross truly ever was interested in managing them.” What follows in the piece is the natural speculation that Ross could be a candidate to replace Joe Maddon if he is no longer the Cubs manager after 2019. “Whenever Maddon’s run ends in Chicago — the star manager has only one guaranteed season left on his contract — Ross figures to be an X-factor in the next era at Wrigley Field.” It is important to note that this is an article out of Minnesota, mostly doing some dot-connecting. Keep your head on straight.
- Could Ross, who is already part of the Cubs organization become a managerial candidate next year *IF* the Cubs move on from Joe Maddon? It would certainly follow the path of many other recent managerial hires around baseball (recently retired player, got some experience in the front office and in broadcasting, moved into managing without coaching or minor league managerial experience), but it doesn’t necessarily follow the path for this Cubs front office, which has previously hired big league coaches and/or managers with a decent bit of experience in those roles. I don’t want to get too far down this extremely speculative path, but Ross’s presence in the organization and long, long status as a “future manager” will necessarily loom until he has his “next” gig.
- (And, like we’ve said before, this is a consequence of having a lame-duck manager. This kind of dot-connecting – or the Joe Girardi rumor – will be a constant drip-drip through the offseason, and then something more akin to a steady stream during the early part of the season. I don’t like it, and I’m sure it’s galling for Maddon, who has been nothing but tremendously successful with the Cubs. Sure, at some point it will be time to move on, and I recognize the reality of his contract, but it just seems like rumors about who is going to replace Maddon in a year seem really premature.)
- This was always the scariest thing about the modern Dodgers, and, for AL teams, it’s true about the modern Red Sox, too:
The last 15 years have proven that in baseball, smart teams can beat rich teams. But what happens when the richest teams and the smartest teams become one in the same?
You get the 2018 World Series.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) October 22, 2018
- Increasingly, though, all large-market clubs have joined their smaller-market brethren in getting “smart” at the front-office level. Soon, if not already, finding those edges will be even more difficult, and may very well require more resources. One thing is certain, though: having a payroll advantage is always going to matter at the margins. The ability to make a huge mistake and not have it derail you financially is going to be an advantage that big-revenue clubs will always have over small-market clubs, until/unless there were ever a hard salary cap.
- Big leaguers vote on their favorite postseason moment, which makes for a fun trip down recent memory lane.
- Robot vacuums, regular vacuums, all kinds of Ninja products … good Deals of the Day at Amazon today.
*(Also, because I was so troubled by this, I did a little more research into the current scientific perspective on the likelihood of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and found a June 2018 paper out of Oxford that suggests better, more recent understandings of how rarely intelligent life develops – together with probability distributions for the individual inputs in the Drake equation – means our expectations for intelligent life may have been wrong for decades. Specifically – and I will not pretend that I understood all of the calculations, and I cannot vouch for the method – these authors conclude, “[W]e find a substantial probability that we are alone in our galaxy, and perhaps even in our observable universe (53%–99.6% and 39%–85% respectively).” As you can see in the ranges, there is still a great deal of uncertainty, but the possibility that there is no other intelligent life in the observable universe (let alone our own galaxy) squares a little better with the poll results I initially shared, at least for the 20% of people who believe there is no other intelligent life out there at all. For me, I think I’m still in that three percent cross-section, but I’m now a little more open to the idea that maybe intelligent life isn’t as abundant in the universe as I would have thought.)