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Who Would You Choose?

The Off-Season: Who Would You Choose?

By Tim Kabel

January 10, 2022

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As the lockout drags on like a Nicolas Cage movie with no end in sight and seemingly no point, life for the rest of the world goes on as well. Well, as best as it can during a pandemic. I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz; “Covid and Lockouts and Omicron, oh my.”

We baseball fans have to come up with things to think about because the hot stove is as cold as Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest. For the fans and those of us who write about baseball, we are not in a lockout. We can’t just sit around with our feet up on the ottoman, slurping coffee and munching on donuts. We need to think and talk about baseball. There are no actual moves to discuss or analyze or fight about. I could talk about Eric Chavez being poached from the Yankees’ staff by the Mets and try to turn that into some type of a kerfuffle but, I’m not that desperate. Chavez was offered a better job and he took it. I have no problem with that. Now the Yankees will find someone to be one of their assistant hitting coaches. When that happens, we can discuss it.

For today, I have something else in mind. Before I get to that, The Yankees just named Rachel Balkovec the manager of the Tampa Tarpons, making her the first woman to manage an affiliated minor-league club. When the Yankees fired their hitting coaches at the end of the 2021 season, I advocated hiring Balkovec as the hitting coach, or at least one of them. That did not happen but, she was given an even more important role in the organization, considering the value placed on player development. This is a huge step for her and the Yankees.

We are approaching the time of year when high school students will be taking their mid-term exams. In honor of that tradition, I will be giving you, the SSTN readers, an exam. I will pose a series of questions and you will be asked to answer them. These questions will not necessarily have correct responses. I will not ask you how many home runs Babe Ruth hit in his career. I will ask questions that are based on your opinions, thoughts, and experiences. It should be fun, but enough of the preamble, let’s get to it. For the purpose of this exercise, assume all the individuals mentioned are at the pinnacle of their careers.

Note – You’re going to want to grab a pencil and a piece of paper to jot down your answers before putting them in the comments.

My Mid-Term Exam:

1)The Yankees are in the World Series. It is the 7th game in the bottom of the 9th inning. They are trailing 3-2. There are two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd. Which of the following three batters would you want up at the plate: Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, or Derek Jeter?

2) The Yankees are playing in the seventh game of World Series. The game is at Yankee Stadium. Which of the following three fully rested pitchers would you want to start the game: Ron Guidry, Andy Pettitte, or Orlando Hernandez?

3) The Yankees are playing in the 7th game of the World Series. The game is at Yankee Stadium. Which of the following three men would you pick to manage the team: Stump Merrill, Aaron Boone, or Bucky Dent?

4) The Yankees are playing in the World Series against the New York Mets. The series is about to start with game one at Yankee Stadium. Which of the following three men would you pick to manage the Yankees: Billy Martin, Joe Torre, or Joe Girardi?

5) You are transported back in time. If you could watch one of the following three players in their prime, and you were guaranteed they would have a great game, which one would you want to see: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, or Mickey Mantle?

6) The Yankees are playing in the seventh game of the World Series. It is the 8th inning with two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd. The Yankees are leading 3-2. Mariano Rivera is unavailable to come in. Which of the following three relievers would you want to come in: Sparky Lyle, Dave Righetti, or Goose Gossage?

7) You are suddenly gifted with world class athletic ability. You are the best at what you do. It is the 7th game of the World Series, and you play for the Yankees. Would you rather be: the starting pitcher who goes 7 2/3 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts, the batter who hits the go-ahead home run, or the relief pitcher who comes in and notches four straight strikeouts to save the game?

8) It is the 7th game of the World Series. The game is being played at Yankee Stadium. It is the bottom of the ninth inning and the Yankees are trailing three to two. There are two outs and runners on 1st and second. Which batter would you choose to be at the plate: Paul O’Neill, Alex Rodriguez, or Dave Winfield?

9) It is opening day for the Yankees. You can have one of the following pitchers in his absolute prime for the entire season. Would you pick: Roger Clemens, CC Sabathia, or Ron Guidry?

10) It is opening day for the Yankees. You can have one of the following 3 players in their absolute prime for the whole season. Would you select: Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, or Alex Rodriguez?

11) It is the 7th game of the World Series in the bottom of the ninth inning. The game is tied 2-2. There are runners on 1st and 2nd, with no outs. The pitcher has a tendency to throw balls in the dirt. You have a choice of three batters to send up.: Alex Rodriguez, Reggie Jackson, or Phil Rizzuto.

12) It is the 7th game of the World Series. You can have one of the following three batters for the whole game, playing in his normal position. The opposing pitcher is left-handed. Would you select: Mickey Mantle, Alex Rodriguez, or Giancarlo Stanton?

13) It is the 7th game of the World Series. You can have one of the following three batters for the whole game, playing in his normal position. The opposing pitcher is right-handed. Would you select: Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, or Mickey Mantle?

I hope you enjoyed this exercise. For my next article, I will provide my answers and discuss some of the readers’ answers. It will give us something to think about it and discuss as the lockout drags on.

Covid, and Lockouts, and Omicron, oh my!

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