Happy Birthday to Brandon Crawford, 27. My best guess? He’s not really as good a hitter as he appeared to be last year. He spiked at age 26, and he’ll regress now. However, if instead he’s just improved with a peak year still to come, then he’s a nice player, and will have a nice career. It’s possible; I just don’t see it.

And some good stuff:

1. Nice profile of the informal importance of retiring Members of the House Tom Latham and George Miller, from Paul Kane.

2. On the same topic, Susan Glasser has a terrific interview of three retiring House Republicans. Remember, when reading something like this: what we’re interested in learning is what the politicians are thinking (or at least what they’ll say they’re thinking), which isn’t necessarily what’s actually the case. But what’s in their heads matters quite a bit.

3. “He doesn’t just carry himself with the ideological certainty of a zealot—the birthright of a Paul, it seems—but he walks with the arrogance of a smart undergraduate.” Jamelle Bouie on Rand Paul.

4. Adam Serwer has the key point on NSA reform: it’s really up to Congress much more so than it is up to the president.

5. I think Ross Douthat is naively optimistic about both the prospects of what he calls “reform conservatism” within the Republican Party and the coherence of some of that reform conservatism in the first place…but on the whole, I think that’s probably a good thing. It’s a cause that needs cheerleaders.

6. And whether or not you’ve followed the Grantland flap, please read Christina Kharl. I mean, you should always read Christina (who, I’ll note, is a baseball buddy of mine) on everything – she’s one of the very best -- but this one in particular is a must-read.