Why Does DiMaggio’s Family Want Hannah’s DNA?

August 22, 2013

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James DiMaggio is the man who kidnapped Hannah Anderson after killing her mother and brother.  The sister of the killer is now asking the family to provide the DNA of Hannah and her brother for DNA testing.  Why?  Because they believe DiMaggio may be the biological father.  For the record, the family states that Hannah’s mother didn’t meet DiMaggio until she was six months pregnant with Hannah (which is difficult to independently verify) and that the body of Hannah’s brother Ethan was identified via a DNA match with his father (easy to independently verify with the police).

When I first read about this, my first reaction was “What the hell are they thinking?”  I don’t understand the logic of putting a grieving family through this.  You’re essentially accusing the dead woman of adultery, and to what end?  There may be more complexity to this situation than was immediately apparent, but that doesn’t mean you can just start making demands of the family.

I discussed the topic with a friend, and his response was that it had to do with family honor.  If DiMaggio was the biological father and the murders and kidnapping were the result of an argument about visitation rights, the perception might be that he’s somewhat less evil than a guy who didn’t have a “reason”.  I don’t buy this logic on a couple of levels.  First of all, regardless of the motivation, he killed two people.  I don’t see killing the mother of your child and your child as being less evil than killing a family friend and her son.  Even if this is something that would improve the public perception of DiMaggio, doesn’t it make sense to weigh the possible gain for your family against the hurt you would be causing the victims’ family?

I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t see where DiMaggio’s family has any legal basis to force DNA testing.  If DiMaggio were still alive and his status as biological father would help his case, I could see some logic that this is exculpatory evidence and might possibly be basis for a subpoena (again, I am not a lawyer).  However, since DiMaggio is dead, there won’t be a trial, so this would seem to undermine the basis for a subpoena.

The stated reason is that the family is curious about why DiMaggio left $110,000 to Hannah and Ethan’s aunt.  They find it “strange” that this was done, and are wondering if Hannah and Ethan are his biological children.  Well, there are other explanations for such a bequest, and idle curiosity isn’t a particularly good reason to be requesting a DNA test.  Curiosity be damned – it’s none of your business.

My advice to the Anderson family – tell the DiMaggio clan to go pound sand.

Dodgers Continue To Roll

August 12, 2013

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English: Vin Scully

Vin Scully – the only Dodger I don’t hate.

I hate the Dodgers (with the exception of Vin Scully) with a passion.  Early in the season, when the Dodgers were sinking in the NL West and hefting a massive payroll, I was happy to enjoy their misery.  However, since June 22, the Dodgers are an MLB-best 37-8.  That’s an incredible record, and has pushed the Dodgers to a 7.5 game lead in the NL West.  Rookie Yasiel Puig has been a big reason for the resurgence.

With about 1/4 of the season remaining, some of the races are losing suspense.  Atlanta has a massive 14.5 game lead in the NL East.  To put this in perspective, if the Nationals were to go 37-8 down the stretch (matching the Dodgers’ incredible run), they’d end up at 94-68.  The Braves would need to merely go 22-22 down the stretch to tie for the division title.  I’ll go out on a limb and hand the division title to the Braves.

Jim Leyland

Jim Leyland managed the 1992 Pirates – the last Pittsburgh team to have a winning record.

The Pirates – who have not had a winning record since 1992 – are in a fairly tight division race, with a 3 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.  They are a virtual lock to finish above .500 this year, though.  They’d need to merely go 12-33 to finish at 82-80.  A playoff spot is nearly as safe.  They have a 10.5 game lead over the odd man out in the NL Wild Card race, the Arizona Diamondbacks.  If the Pirates can keep their heads on straight and just play one game at a time, they should be in good shape.  If my Rockies can’t win the World Series this year (and this seems like a long shot), then I’ll pull for the Pirates.

The Kansas City Royals have also been playing well lately.  Although many fans criticized the Wil Myers for James Shield trade in the off-season, it’s hard to fault the performance of Shields this year.  Shields doesn’t have a lot of wins this year (his record is 7-8), but he has pitched extremely well.  As the team improves around him, Shields’ numbers should only improve.  First baseman Eric Hosmer’s power stroke has been missing, but he’s hitting .297 with a .782 OPS.  If he can regain the power, he should be an offensive force.  Third baseman Mike Moustakas is probably the key to the future.  If he figures things out, this team could go far.

Mike Trout is still great

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27)

Mike Trout

Last week, Mike Trout became the first player in MLB history homer on his 21st and 22nd birthdays.  The major leagues date back to 1876.  Of course, this is an impossible feat for half the players – the ones born during baseball’s offseason.

Cool historical footnotes aside, Trout is having another incredible year. He’s hitting .330 with 20 homers – and is leading the American League in walks, with 71.  Young hitters don’t often have the patience or command of the strike zone to lead the league in walks.  Trouts walks actually allow him to maintain a high batting average, because he’s swinging at fewer balls (this generally results in weakly hit balls).

How historically good is Trout?  A career WAR (wins above replacement) of 60 is the general guideline for a Hall of Famer.  After just 294 games in the majors, Trout is already at 18 WAR.

Bryce Harper is pretty good, too

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper

Remember when Bryce Harper was the hot prospect?  He hasn’t been keeping up the incredible pace of Trout (who just turned 22), and has also been getting overshadowed by Yasiel Puig (turns 23 in December).  Harper’s actually be doing pretty well, though.  He has 17 homers in just 331 at bats (he missed some time due to injury), and despite a somewhat pedestrian .262 batting average, Harper has a .866 OPS.  Those are good numbers regardless of age, but for a guy who doesn’t turn 21 until October, they are downright fantastic.  Trout has set expectations sky high for 20 year olds, but the reality is that the vast majority of 20 year old players are still a few years aware from the major leagues.  While it’s likely that Trout will remain the better all-around player, don’t be surprised if Harper contends for a home run title in the next few years.

How underrated is Felix Hernandez?

6-21-09 King Felix

King Felix – the consummate ace

Felix Hernandez has been around forever – but he’s just 27.  People who track velocity say that he has lost a couple MPH off his fastball.  Despit this, his strikeout rate continues to increase, and is at a career high this year – while his walk rate is at the lowest of his career.

The only thing keeping Felix from racking up multiple Cy Young awards is his team.  Over the course of his career, Hernandez is 103-25 when the Mariners score at least 2 runs for him.  His record for all games?  110-81.  In addition to the 7-56 record when the team scores zero or one runs, there are also a lot of no-decisions for Felix.  If Hernandez was on the Yankees, he might have 160 or more career wins by now.

Barring injury, Hernandez still has a really good shot at the Hall of Fame.  240-250 wins would probably be enough, and at age 27, he still has plenty of time.  However, I think a lot of people may be underestimating just how good Hernandez is.  We could be witnessing one of the all time best pitching careers and might not even realize it.

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