There are a few baseball-related purchases that have become annual “must haves” for me. Sabr.org membership renewal, MLB.TV subscription, new Strat cards for the previous season, and a subscription to Joe Sheehan’s newsletter.
You might think that one of these things is not like the others, but there is no baseball writer today as prolific and who consistently turns out engaging, smart and unique day-to-day analysis as Joe Sheehan. If you’re addicted to baseball the way I am, finding that Sheehan newsletter in your email inbox (nearly) every day will be as gratifying as your first cup of coffee each morning.
In his newsletter on Friday, Joe Sheehan wrote: “[Kenley] Jansen’s cutter is, for my money, the best single pitch in the game. If I had to retire one batter for my life right now, I’d probably pick Jansen to do so.”
Which led me, of course, to try to think of who I’d pick in that situation. So here’s the scenario*:
Your life is on the line. The batter gets out, you live. He gets on base, you die. You have no idea who the batter is going to be. Maybe Mike Trout, maybe Bryce Harper, maybe Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, maybe Omar Infante or Mario Mendoza; the point is, you don’t know. Your defense is league average at every position. Your stadium is symmetrical and plays exactly league average in terms of all offense factors.
*This scenario differs from Sheehan’s in that his assumes you’re here right now, with 2015 pitchers facing 2015 batters. Since I don’t have cards for 2015 yet, I thought I’d go with an all-time greats scenario.
Which pitcher would you trust with your life?
I thought about this a lot before making my decision. Obviously, you want someone who is as close to unhittable as can be. Someone with overpowering stuff and nerves of steel.