Good morning! And welcome to Free Thursday!
Today we have all the recaps, as usual. We also have my extended take on the new rules which will be tested out in the Atlantic League: moving the mound back a foot and some convoluted bullcrap with the DH. See if you can guess which of those I think might be a good idea and which one I don’t. There’s also some COVID stuff, some Pete Rose rebop, a potentially delicious conundrum for MLB down in Georgia, and we bid farewell to the man who had more impact on the New York Mets in the past decade than just about anyone.
In Other Stuff I talk about automats, empty words from corporations, and I reluctantly vow to take a Hollywood death trip with James Ellroy, but I fear it may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
You heard it here first, people. Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush . . .
And That Happened
Here are the scores, here are the highlights:
White Sox 8, Cleveland 0: No-hitter for Carlos Rodón! It was almost a perfect game, but with one out in the ninth, Rodón hit Roberto Pérez in the foot. Then he bore down, got Yu Chang looking for strike three and got Jordan Luplow on a ground out to third base to end it. He needed 114 pitches to get through it, striking out seven in all. What an accomplishment for a guy who, despite being the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, has experienced a series of disappoints in his career, primarily due to injuries. He was even non-tendered by the Sox last fall, signing back with them on a $3 million deal. On top of it all, this was a Dante game. He was supposed to start on Monday, but was scratched because of a stomach bug. He wasn’t even supposed to be here today.
Nationals 6, Cardinals 0: The only highlight for St. Louis in this game came when Yadier Molina caught the first pitch and became the only player in MLB history to catch 2,000 games exclusively with one team. Heck, he’s only the sixth guy to catch 2,000 games total. Molina caught his first game June 3, 2004. I was 30. My daughter — who just took the SAT on Tuesday — was not yet six months old. My 6’0” 200 pound son was not yet born. Beyond that it was all Washington with Joe Ross tossing six shutout innings, four relievers no-hitting the Cards for the final three frames, and Ryan Zimmerman hitting a two-run homer.
Blue Jays 5, Yankees 4: An Aaron Judge homer and a Gio Urshela two-run single gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead in the fourth, but Jonathan Loáisiga uncorked a wild pitch which allowed the tying run to score in sixth and then Bo Bichette, who had homered earlier in the game to give the Jays a 3-1 lead, smacked a walkoff homer off of Chad Green to end the proceedings. Bichette had three hits in all and stole a base. He has an 11-game hitting streak going on the 12-game season.
Brewers 7, Cubs 0: Corbin Burnes struck out 10 in six shutout innings and [all together now] helped his own cause with a two-run single. Those two runs he knocked in are one more than he’s allowed as a pitcher across two starts this season. Shelby Miller came on in relief for the Cubs in the sixth and walked a guy to load the bases and then immediately walked in not one but two dudes. Not a red-letter day for Shelby. Travis Shaw homered in drove in two, so his day was a bit more red-lettered. Now that I think about it, I have no real idea what “red letter day” actually means, even if I know how to use the phrase. Let’s look!
Man, what did we do before Wikipedia?
Red Sox 3, Twins 2; Red Sox 7, Twins 1: The Red Sox extended their winning streak to eight games in the first end of the twinbill and nine games in the second. Simultaneously, the Twins extended their losing streak to four games and five games, respectively. Nate Eovaldi was solid and Christian Arroyo, Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts each had two hits for Boston in the opener, while the Twins defense, in contrast, was porous, causing a couple of unearned runs to cross in a game that was decided by just one. In the nightcap a Bosox six-spot in the fifth was the alpha and omega of it, really, with Eduardo Rodríguez allowing one over five and Alex Vedugo singling in two and adding a homer.
Royals 6, Angels 1: Salvador Pérez homered and doubled and drove in two. Had a hell of a series, actually, going 8-for-12 with four driven in and that walkoff pickoff on Tuesday night. Carlos Santana homered too and the Royals took two of three from the Angels. They’re 6-4. Not too shabby.
Giants 3, Reds 0: Johnny Cueto was cruising against his former team, tossing efficient shutout ball into the sixth until some lat tightness forced him out. Mauricio Dubon singled in a run. Austin Slater doubled one in. Another run came via a Curt Casali fielder’s choice. Expect more details about Cueto’s lat tomorrow. And, really, I need to stop calling the Reds his former team, because when I think about the Reds that Cueto came up with, I think of Adam Dunn, who was still just 28 in Cueto’s rookie year, as if that was ever possible given that the man was born at, basically, 49 years-old. Hell, David Ross, a guy nicknamed “grandpa Rossy” was on that team with Cueto and he still had like eight seasons left in the tank at that point.
Pirates 5, Padres 1: A first inning single from Bryan Reynolds ended Joe Musgrove’s shot a a Johnny Vander Meer and a second inning homer from Gregory Polanco ended his 32-inning scoreless streak. That was the only run Musgrove allowed but he only went four frames due to a pitch count put on him following the no-no. His counterpart Tyler Anderson gave up one run in five and a third, with a Tommy Pham RBI single being the only damage the San Diego bats could inflict.
Tigers 6, Astros 4: A skeleton crew lineup from Houston due to a COVID outbreak — see below in the Daily Briefing — wasn’t up to snuff, although it was Lance McCullers getting rocked for six runs in three and two-thirds which was the real culprit here. Jeimer Candelario had three hits and two RBI. Michael Fulmer allowed two runs on three hits over five innings to get his first win since 2018. Detroit has won three in a row, Houston has lost five straight.
Mets 5, Phillies 1: Three straight wins for the Mets and three straight losses for the Phillies thanks to another strong outing from Mets starting pitchers. David Peterson was the strong man here, striking out ten in six innings with a Jean Segura homer the only blemish. James McCann had three hits and provided two runs of offense via a dinger of his own. Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith each knocked in a run.
Rangers 5, Rays 1: Rookie Kohei Arihara pitched shutout ball into the sixth to pick up his first win in the United States. He got a homer from former Ray Nate Lowe, a two-run double from David Dahl and a two-run triple from Adolis García, who tried to make it an inside-the-parker but got nailed at home, in support. Lowe’s homer came off Rays starter Josh Fleming. He said after the game that he may have benefitted here because he faced Fleming a zillion times last year when they were both at the Rays’ alternate training site. I guess that’s one consequence of that whole arrangement.
Marlins 6, Atlanta 5: The Marlins had and squandered a 5-0 lead and gave up two homers to Ronald Acuña Jr., but they prevailed in the 10th thanks to a double from Jesús Aguilar which knocked in the automatic runner. That’s three in a row for the Fish over Atlanta, who knocked Miami out of the postseason last year. Atlanta has lost four in a row overall and, at the moment, the Ronald Acuña Show is the only reason to watch ‘em. He’s 14-for-24 with four homers and eight RBI over his last six games. Atlanta has lost four of those six.
Dodgers 4, Rockies 2: Six Dodgers pitchers combined to scatter nine hits but allowed only two runs for the win. Justin Turner singled in a run in the first and homered in the third — the homer destroyed some dude’s nachos too; welcome back fans! — to give L.A. a 3-0 lead. A Zach McKinstry homer in the eighth gave them some breathing room. It was L.A.’s fifth straight win. Rockies manager Bud Black was ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes. With the way the Rockies are going right now if I was him I’d rather be back in the clubhouse cracking coldies than watching them too. Hell, I wouldn't trade places with Bud Black right now for all the whiskey in Ireland.
Mariners vs. Orioles — POSTPONED: This one is now a doubleheader starting at 12:30 today. Although, since doubleheaders now consist of only seven innings in each game, it’s not truly double, is it? It’s more like a 1.555555 header, yes?
🎶I've got two tickets to paradise
Won't you pack your bags, we'll leave tonight
I've got two tickets to paradise
I've got two tickets to paradise🎶
Hope you didn’t pay full price for both of those tickets, Eddie, you got ripped off here.
The Daily Briefing
Today in COVID cases
How it started . . .
And how it’s going:
What are the odds?
Meanwhile in Houston, the Astros announced that they placed Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuvé, Martin Maldonado and Robel García on the injured list for unspecified reasons. Which means COVID. Worth noting that according to the Associated Press, the Astros are not yet up to 85% vaccinated yet. Houston had lost four in a row leading up to that announcement and then got beat by the Tigers last night, so things aren’t exactly goin’ good and skippy for ‘em, eh?
MLB to test moving the mound back in the Atlantic League
Major League Baseball announced yesterday that it is going to us the independent Atlantic League to test a pushed-back pitcher’s mound. Specifically, the pitching rubber will be moved back 1 foot, to 61 feet, 6 inches. According to the release, the hope is that this “will provide batters with more time to react to pitches. The expectation is that more reaction time will help batters make contact more frequently, putting more balls into play, and creating more action in the game.”
The other rule change to be tested in the Atlantic League: the so-called “Double-Hook” rule, in which, once a team’s starting pitcher is replaced, the team will lose the DH for the remainder of the game. That rule aims to “incentivize teams to leave their starting pitchers in longer, increase the value of starters who can work deeper into games and increase the strategic element in the late innings of a game.”
Let’s talk about this stuff.
The 61’6” mound
You may be surprised, based on my recent ranting about the automatic runner on second rule, to hear that I’m in favor of testing a moved-back pitcher’s mound. But I don’t hate all change and new rules, see, I just have a philosophy.
With any rule change, ask (1) “is this being done in response to a legitimate concern?”; and (2) “will this effectively address the concern?” I can construct an argument that gets you to “yes” with moving the mound back way before I can on automatic runners on second, which strikes me as a solution in search of a problem.
A central problem — arguably THE central problem — of today's game is extreme pitcher velocity. A relatively short time ago a super hard thrower was someone who could hit the mid-90s with some regularity and those sorts of pitchers were fairly rare. In 2019 —the last full, un-pandemic’d season — there were 104 pitchers who threw at least 500 pitches in the season who averaged 95 m.p.h. or more on their four seam fastballs. There were 264 pitchers who threw that many pitches who averaged 93 or above. I realize I’m an old man and everything, but as recently as the mid-to-late 1990s, if a guy could hit 95 once or twice a game while giving it everything he had, and who could average 93, he was talked about as if he had impressive velocity.
The fact that literally hundreds of pitchers are now at that level or higher, and no small number of them are considerably higher, throwing high-90s heat on the regular, impacts virtually everything we talk about as a problem in the game. The increased strikeouts, which are obvious. But also the increased walks, because if you’re not pitching to contact, you’re more likely to miss the zone. Pace of play is negatively impacted because part of the reason these guys throw so hard is that they give max effort on every pitch, leading to increased rest times between pitches as they gear-up. The home run explosion is likewise a function of increased velocity, because if you don’t think you’re going to make a ton of contact, you’re sure as hell going to try to make that contact count with violent, uppercut swings aimed at elevating that heat. Base stealing is down because it’s harder to run on high heat and because the emphasis on homers makes stealing a base an unreasonable risk.
You can't make a pitcher throw softer, even if you ask nicely, so the only way to deal with increased actual velocity is to reduce effective velocity by giving the ball more space and time in which to slow down. This is what moving the mound back is aimed at doing, obviously.
There are two additional questions to ask at this juncture: (1) is the new rule the best way to address the problem mentioned above?; and (2) can we at least begin to appreciate the unintended consequences that the new rule may occasion? I don’t know the answer to either of those here, but I can at least begin to guess.
Another way to reign-in the velocity problem besides moving the mound is to limit pitching changes and/or the number of relievers available in a game, which might encourage pitchers to pace themselves more and not throw at max effort. That could be a more inexact fix than the mound move, though, as you don't know if pitchers actually will pace themselves. Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine a pitcher just continuing to max out because that’s all he’s ever known and, with no bullpen to save him, he may simply pitch tired later in games, which could be a really bad thing as that could lead to an increased injury risk.
Another thing one could mess with it reducing the size of the strike zone top-to-bottom and expanding it inside-outside, giving nibblers and soft tossers a better chance, like they used to have in the pre-QuesTec age, which as I’ve written before, has caused the zone to go lower and get narrower. Put differently, velocity has been GREATLY advantaged by low/high strikes in the post-QuesTec age while working the corners and pitching to weak, non-barrel contact has been discouraged.
A final idea, which may as well be fantasy given how obsessed today’s MLB owners are with keeping every possible nickel they can keep, is expansion. Expansion — for which we are well overdue — has always diluted pitching and could do so again. But again, I’m more likely to turn this newsletter into nothing but gambling touts than the current class of MLB poobahs are to split their loot up by 32 or 34 instead of 30.
As for unintended consequences, there is always the fear of injuries. If you’re a foot farther back but can, somehow, manage to maintain the same effective velocity you had before, hell son, you have yourself an advantage! That could very well encourage over-throwing and cause injuries. There’s also no telling what it might do to breaking balls and the few breaking ball specialists in the game. Finally, the extra foot might mess up hitter timing some, negating whatever advantage the reduced effective velocities gave them.
Beyond that we’re in the land of speculation, I suppose. Which is sort of why you test this stuff out in the Atlantic League, whose players it and MLB have decided, thanks to a business arrangement, are essentially guinea pigs.
The “Double-Hook” rule
Contrary to the mound change, I don’t really see the reason for this and it skews way more gimmicky than it seems aimed at solving any problems.
As I wrote last year when the universal DH was adopted for the 2020 season, as it stands now, the DH or the lack of the DH has very little impact on managers’ decisions regarding pitching changes. Pitcher usage patterns, times through the order, and available relievers dictate that, not the chance at a tad more offense because the pitcher is not batting. As such, MLB’s statement in yesterday’s press release that the double-hook rule might encourage teams to keep starting pitchers in longer doesn’t scan for me. They’ll yank the pitcher when they would’ve anyway, go with a reliever, and pinch hit going forward. And even if they don’t have any pinch hitters left, well, who cares? The nature of the DH is very different these days than it once was. There aren’t many Edgar Martínezes or David Ortízes walking the Earth. Apart from Nelson Cruz, these guys are often pretty fungible as it is.
They are considerably better at hitting than any pitchers are, though, and what this rule will do is increase the number of pitcher at bats compared to where a simple and sensible universal DH would have it. Hell, it’d increase it from zero in American League games if it were adopted there. Which it’d basically have to be, because we are no longer in an era in which we’re going to intentionally introduce disparate rules into the game across leagues, right? Given how wretched and pointless pitchers hitting are, introducing more of it, and making a little strategic game out of it at that, is absolutely stupid.
But like I said: test it all you want. That’s what testing is for. I just have way less faith in the DH rule than the pitcher’s mound rule. And, honestly, we don’t even know how the pitcher’s mound rule is gonna go.
Grab the popcorn
The latest act in the stupid political theater that is conservative outrage at Major League Baseball moving the All-Star Game out of Georgia is potentially delicious:
Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., authored new legislation Wednesday that would make Major League Baseball (MLB) pay up for the lost revenue Georgia businesses suffered by canceling the All-Star game in Atlanta.
Carter shared his "Community Protection in Sports Act" first with Fox News and explained that the MLB should be on the hook to pay localities, vendors and businesses in the aftermath of the "purely political" decision to move the game out of Georgia because of the state's new controversial voting law.
I would actually like to see this enacted because it’d end up in litigation and in that litigation Major League Baseball would be obligated to argue that, actually, jewel events like the All-Star Game do not provide massive economic boons for the local community. Indeed, as I’ve noted many times recently, they are likely net neutral at best. The evidence — like, all the evidence from multiple studies — would actually be on MLB’s side in such a case! And it’d likely win! And all it would cost MLB is the ability to continue to lie about how big an impact All-Star Games and stadiums and things have on local economies when it suits its interest.
Pete Rose becomes an “ambassador” for a gambling company
From the ol’ press release folder:
LAS VEGAS – UpickTrade.com, the long term strategy and money management sports recommendation service, announced today that all-time great Major League Baseball legend Pete Rose will become an ambassador for the service and provide his exclusive daily baseball picks for subscribers throughout the 2021 season.
There was a time when I wanted to see Pete Rose repent and find a place in the game in his waning years, but now my I’d simply say to him “don't start trying to do the right thing, boyo. You haven't had the practice.”
The way I see it, thanks to MLB and the media’s gambling addition, every active baseball players is currently being used to draw traffic to gambling sites so why shouldn’t the O.G. baseball gambler get to wet his beak a little? I mean, sure, Rose was a notoriously crappy gambler so his tips likely aren’t worth a damn, but that doesn’t matter, because the house actually wants you to lose. Indeed, the fact that one of these sites is being so open about using a shitty gambling addict to lure people in shows just how much contempt they have for their customers.
Still, let’s not guild the lily here, guys:
“We are thrilled to partner with Pete Rose, perhaps the greatest baseball player who ever lived, to provide our UPickTrade.com subscribers with exclusive and valuable content,” said Carlos Lazo, the CEO of UPickTrade.com and XOY Capital of Guadalajara, México.
That “perhaps” in the first sentence is doing more work than the Public Works Administration, the Works Progress Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps combined. Dude isn’t even the Greatest Living Former Cincinnati Reds Infielder at the moment. I’d list all of the living players who Pete Rose is not better than, but I only get like 4,000 words before the newsletter cuts off so I’d not get to most of ‘em.
In the end, though, the real takeaway here is the phrase is referring to Rose’s “experiences in gambling.” Gee, wonder what those were?
Red Sox’ top pitching prospect had Tommy John surgery
The Boston Red Sox’ top pitching prospect, Bryan Mata, underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.
Mata, 21, was diagnosed with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament back in early March and tried to do the rest and rehab thing for several weeks before deciding to have surgery. He'll now be sidelined until sometime in mid-2022.
Bernie Madoff: 1938-2021
The other day when I wrote about Ponzi schemers I lamented the fact that they didn’t ever seem to have an exit strategy. Welp, Bernie Madoff had one. The man who was convicted of orchestrating the biggest Ponzi scheme in American history, has died in prison of natural causes at age 82. Given that he was serving a 150-year sentence, it was gonna happen eventually, but hey, he did get out of there. He’s now on the night train to the big adios.
Madoff ripped off thousands of investors, but for our purposes his scheme was most relevant to the extent it related to former New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz, all of whom were big, early investors with Madoff. Which led to them being named defendants in a $1 billion lawsuit in which later victims attempted to claw back their earnings, such as they were, claiming that they knew, or should have known, about the fraudulent returns from Madoff's scheme. The whole affair had a profound impact on the Mets franchise, turning a team that plays in the largest market in the country into a relatively small spender and serving as a perpetual excuse for the Wilpons’ and Katz’ failure to invest in the team the way responsible owners would have.
Other sports figures taken in by Madoff included Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, former Mets infielder Tim Teufel, former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman and former New York Islanders player Bob Nystrom.
Great Moments in Empty Words
General Motors, Netflix, Starbucks, Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Berkshire Hathaway and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a statement released yesterday opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote. That’s good!
“The statement does not address specific election legislation in states, among them Texas, Arizona and Michigan . . . there was no expectation for companies to oppose individual bills . . . the statement was intended to be nonpartisan, arguing that protecting voting rights should garner support from Republicans and Democrats alike.
“These are not political issues,” he said. “These are the issues that we were taught in civics.”
Except the matter is distinctly partisan, as the discriminatory legislation in question is exclusively being offered by Republicans, who have made voter suppression the very foundation of their party’s philosophy. To call it “non-partisan” and to not commit any signatory to opposing such legislation is to utterly gut the gesture. Indeed, I suspect that these companies and their executives will continue to give great sums of money to the very politicians who are pushing voter suppression because to say they’re withholding such contributions would be partisan, right? Can’t have that!
Which leaves us with the sorts of hollow statements like the ones offered by J.P. Morgan this week: “We believe voting must be accessible and equitable” and “We believe in the critical importance of every citizen being able to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”
That’s hollow because we live in an era in which words mean nothing. In which those very people who are trying to suppress the vote claim, with a straight face, that they’re “improving” or “protecting” voting. This is an age in which legislators routinely introduce Orwellian-named bills that do the exact opposite of what is implied. In which a law that, say, mandates dropping nuclear bombs on preschools, is called the “Save Our Preschools Act” and a bill giving tax credits to corporations which dismember puppies is named the “Protecting Fido Law.” Against that backdrop, limply claiming you’re “against discrimination” in voting is utterly meaningless. For Christ’s sake, the election integrity-gutting Georgia law which kicked all of this off is literally called “The Election Integrity Act!”
Which makes all of this — and pardon my use of the phrase — empty virtue signaling. Take that list of companies who signed on the letter and note their campaign contributions over the next year and a half. I’m willing to bet that many millions of their dollars are going to go directly to the people who are actively attempting to suppress the vote. And I bet nothing of actual substance will be done by, basically, anyone outside of issuing press releases and public statements about what they stand for while they make no actual stand at all.
A Taco Bell automat? Sure. Why not?
Longtime readers know about my fascination with automats, so they tend to send me things like this story, about a Taco Bell version, soon to open in Times Square:
The new location, a sprawling flagship of the company’s boozy cantina restaurant concept, appears to be cashing in on the rise of the automat and is almost completely automated with little human interaction. Customers place their orders at a line of kiosks in the restaurant and Crunchwrap Supremes emerge in a series of locked cubbies on the opposite wall. A lone Taco Bell employee is stationed at its front counter taking orders from the restaurant’s alcohol menu, which includes beer on tap, boozy frozen drinks, and canned White Claw hard seltzers.
At this point it’s probably worth mentioning that my fascination with automats is more about liking old timey things and less about cutting labor costs and pushing White Claw, which this seems to be more directly aimed at accomplishing. All I want is to go into a space that looks like this . . .
. . . and to get a cup of black coffee from one of those giant stainless steel pots with the little tap on the bottom and maybe a cup of soup or a slice of pie and consume it while reading a newspaper with articles about, say, the abdication of Queen Wilhelmina or whether Whitaker Chambers’ claims about Alger Hiss’ involvement with the Ware Group were credible.
“Hollywood Death Trip”
Speaking of my mid-century longings, a podcast company called Audio Up has teamed up with James Ellroy — author of L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, American Tabloid and a number of others in that vein — for a podcast series about gruesome murders of mid-century Los Angeles:
In this five-part series entitled James Ellroy’s Hollywood Death Trip, the Demon Dog of American literature takes listeners on a nocturnal tour of murder and mayhem in the city of Los Angeles, based on his lauded true crime reportage. Featuring Ellroy himself as the series narrator, the stories presented here span mid-century Hollywood’s most memorable murders.
The episodes will feature period music, archival radio, and what is being described as “sweeping, cinematic sound design.” The promo material promises that “listeners will travel back to a time when tabloid radio reported the misdeeds and misadventures of the rotten and unlucky, exploring some of the darkest crimes in Los Angeles history with James Ellroy as their guide.”
So, a few things here.
There was a time in my life when I devoured everything James Ellroy wrote, including the pre-Black Dahlia stuff, many of them multiple times. I loved most of it. Some of them are still some of my favorite books.
But then I began to realize that while Ellroy may have begun writing his “bad men doing bad things” stories as a means of showing people who were nostalgic for the past how bad these men and times actually were — which is a valuable pursuit! — at some point, I’d say around the time of The Cold Six Thousand, he pivoted strongly into “I, actually, really love these bad men and I love being able to use them as a means of saying and portraying things that I wish was acceptable now but isn’t any longer.”
Really, you cannot read The Cold Six Thousand, Blood’s a Rover, or Perfidia without being mostly repulsed. At times it’s almost as if Ellroy is writing these books because he’s been banned from even the seediest Internet forums for using the n-word too freely and, dammit, he has to use the n-word somewhere. It doesn’t help that his stories have become increasingly convoluted and, frankly, boring, in the past 25 years. I’d maybe endure his ugliness if it was in service of a good story, but absent a story anyone should give a shit about, seeing this dude just be gleeful that he gets to make his murderous, racist, and misogynist characters do murderous, racist, and misogynist things ain’t all that much of a draw.
That being said . . . this podcast is definitely my jam, and I’ll probably listen to it in spite of Ellroy’s participation rather than because of it. Mostly because I have to assume that the podcast company is actually going to make him make these stories interesting as opposed to whatever the podcast equivalent is of Ellroy jerking off to hate crimes for 900 pages. I’ll know pretty early in if that’s not the case and just bail.
All of the aforementioned aside, if you are interested in mid-century crime and political intrigue, I still recommend the books Ellroy wrote between 1987 (Black Dahlia) and 1995 (American Tabloid). The two that followed after that stretch are parts two and three of a trilogy, but honestly, you don’t need them. And there’s so much good crime and mid-century Los Angeles mood out there from other sources that you don’t need James Ellroy either.
Have a great day, everyone.