Associated Press

Could an accountant play credible inning of Major League Baseball?


Last night the Chicago Blackhawks lost two goalies and were forced to press an emergency goalie they signed earlier in the day into action. That emergency goalie, Scott Foster, stopped all seven shots attempted by the opposing Winnipeg Jets.

That doesn’t seem all that odd until you realize that in the NHL emergency goalies are not like minor leaguers you call up or members of an NFL-style taxi squad. Per the weird NHL roster rules, guys who fill that role hardly ever play and don’t even dress for the game. It was rather flukey that Foster even saw action. He has a day job as an accountant, for Pete’s sake, and last played competitive hockey in the 2005-06 season at Western Michigan University. He’ll likely go back to accounting on a full time basis because he only made $500 yesterday. It’s like hiring a temp.

That’s a pretty neat story. One that made me wonder if an analogous situation could ever occur in Major League Baseball.

OK, I know it couldn’t happen, practically speaking, because teams have bench players, emergency catchers and minor league reserves on call as a matter of course. No, what I’m really wondering what would happen if a big league team could sign an accountant to a one-day contract and what would happen if that guy had to play.

My wife happens to work for a small accounting firm. It’s a good group of people. I go to their firm bowling outings and holiday parties and stuff, but I’m not sure I’ve paid close enough attention to the office’s aggregate level of athletic talent to know if anyone there could do it for sure. Here are the data points I had as of a few minutes ago:

  • We all went to a Columbus Clippers game last summer, but all that showed me was who could drink beer in the sun the best [me, natch];
  • On the wall of the office when you walk in the front door of the place there are three framed baseball jerseys with the partners’ names on the back. I’m not exactly sure why — the place has no baseball connection whatsoever and does not even field a rec league softball team — but it’s kinda cool;
  • My wife’s boss, Jim, has a bottle of Beanball Bourbon from the Cooperstown Distillery on the shelf of his office, which I think was a gift from a client. That’s likewise inconclusive as I have the same bottle and I can’t play baseball at all.

Could any of the accountants at my wife’s office fill in for the Cincinnati Reds if, say, Scooter Gennett, Jose Peraza, Eugenio Suarez and Cliff Pennington all got eaten by sharks at the Newport Aquarium three hours before game time, if I-71 between Louisville and Cincy was blocked by a landslide and if Trump ordered the FAA to ground all air traffic for the day for, I dunno, reasons? What if the Reds had NO CHOICE WHATSOEVER but to put an accountant into the game and on that same day my wife’s firm was at Great American Ballpark on a company outing? I decided to ask my wife.

Me: Could any of the accountants at your office play one inning of major league baseball in any capacity and be credible? This is actually a serious question I’m writing an article about it.

Allison: What are you even talking about?

Me: An accountant played in an NHL game last night. I want to know if one can play baseball.

Allison: Jim says no. Maybe Matt.

Me: What are Matt’s qualifications?

Allison: Matt is the least fat and most in shape.

Me: How old is Matt?

Allison: 41.

Hmm. I was getting a little worried here. As we’ve written so often recently, baseball is becoming a young man’s game. Bartolo Colon can’t make a roster anymore. Ichiro is only on a 25-man because of nostalgia. And that’s before you realize that those two guys can play baseball. Was there anyone else at the firm who could play?

Allison: Wait, Bruce says Jamie is actually the most in shape, but we’re not sure if he knows anything about baseball.

Me: What are Jamie’s qualifications?

Allison: He was all-state football in high school.

Me: That’s not bad!

Allison: He’s 45.

Crap. Alright. Sorry Matt, but Jamie may have some athletic muscle memory that has almost but not entirely disappeared. He gets the call.

I mentioned the Reds suffering an infield catastrophe earlier because, really, I don’t think anything else would remotely work. There’s just too much ground to cover in the outfield for a 40-something accountant. Pitching and catching would be downright dangerous. No civilian has the arm for third or short. Second base may be harder to field than first base, but a first baseman may be killed by a hard throw from one of the other infielders. Also: no damn accountant is moving Joey Votto off of first base anyway.

So we put Jamie at second base. He bats eighth, with the pitcher batting seventh (Billy Hamilton seems to own the ninth slot these days). Just let me enter all of these variables into the simulator, and  . . .

Ok, Jamie got no fielding chances in the first two innings and then went 0-for-1 in his only plate appearance in the bottom of the second. Specifically, he struck out on three straight batting practice fastballs from Max Scherzer of the Nationals who was NOT AT ALL pleased at having to deal with this crap.

In the top of the third Jamie was killed by Bryce Harper who was running from first base on a grounder to short as Jamie attempted to cover the bag. The game was canceled and the Reds forfeited because they could not scrape up all of his body parts from the base path. RIP Jamie.

All of which is to say: great job, Scott Foster! That had to have been much harder than it looked!


And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Angels 8, Astros 7: Charlie Morton and Shohei Ohtani have been two of the most talked about pitchers to start the season and they faced off in this one. Not too stellar a faceoff, unfortunately, as Mike Trout homered off of the first pitch Morton threw him and Andrelton Simmons followed him in the act. The Angels would score two more off of him in the third and he wouldn’t last four. Meanwhile, Ohtani gave up four runs, including a homer to Derek Fisher and would see another run for which he was responsible score on a Brian McCann go-ahead blast. His night would end having given up four runs as well. Anaheim tied it back up on an Albert Pujols single and then Simmons would hit his second homer of the night — a three-run shot — to give the Angels a lead they would not surrender. Fun fact: Mike Scioscia ran out of mound visits in this one. Unless I missed one, he was the first manager to do so in a game since the mound visit rule was established.

Cubs 10, Indians 3🎶Kyle Schwarber came back to Ohio . . . and his city was gone . . . but the guy who wrote about it . . . was a Republican pawn . . . A, oh, way to go O-hi-o . . .🎶 Two homers for the best thing to come out of Middletown, Ohio over the past decade or so. A homer each for Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. Same result as Game 7 in 2016. Pretty much the same weather too. Unfit for man or beast or Josh Tomlin

Yankees 8, Twins 3: Gary Sanchez hit two homers and Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius each went deep as well, with Sanchez and Gregorius each driving in three. Didi has been having such a fantastic year that, eventually, I’m assuming the people who run the ads at Yankee Stadium will spell his name right:

Mets 6, Cardinals 5: Jay Bruce‘s tenth inning homer gave the Mets a lead they’d hold on to for the win. Yoenis Cespedes hit a homer earlier that I’m pretty sure killed (a) a baseball; and (b) Luke Weaver:

463 feet, my man.

In other news, Matt Harvey entered in the top of the fifth inning of this one for his first relief appearance since his demotion to the pen. It didn’t go great. He gave up a run on back-to-back two-out doubles and left after throwing 35 pitches, only 20 of which were strikes. In still other news, the Cardinals initiated a replay challenge after Bruce’s homer, claiming he missed first base. He didn’t miss first base and it wasn’t even particularly close, so I have no idea what the Cardinals were doing there. La Russa may be gone but part of his essence still lingers, I suppose.

Rockies 8, Padres 0: Eight runs in Colorado — seven of them coming in the first two innings — isn’t news, but seven shutout innings from a starting pitcher is. That’s what Kyle Freeland did for the Rockies, striking out eight and grabbing the win. Trevor Story hit a grand slam. There was a scary moment when Freeland was hit by a comebacker, but he stayed in the game. Rockies manager Bud Black said it may have helped: “It smoothed him out. He didn’t overthrow. His focus might have been more heightened, because he was in a little bit of discomfort.” Sources say that Black plans to kick Freeland square in the beans just before he takes the mound for his next start on Sunday.

Giants 4, Nationals 3: Mac Williamson hit his second big homer in as many nights and once again helped the Giants to a win, with his sixth inning solo shot putting San Francisco up for good. The Giants other three runs came via a Brandon Belt two-run homer and a first inning wild pitch from Tanner Roark. Williamson credited the adrenalin from running into a wall the previous half inning for his homer. In light of that, sources say that Bruce Bochy plans to kick Williamson square in the beans just before his first at bat in his next game this afternoon.

Mariners 1, White Sox 0: Marco Gonzales (6 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 8K) and four M’s relievers combine for a five-hit shutout and Mitch Haniger‘s RBI single in the fourth was all the scoring. Chris Volstad got the start for the White Sox. He did pretty good considering, you know, he isn’t really a starter. The White Sox are off to their worst start in 68 years. I wonder how they’d be doing if they, you know, tried.

Reds 9, Braves 7: Cincy took a 5-0 lead behind some dominant pitching from Tyler Mahle, no-hitting the Braves until the seventh inning, but the Braves finally figured him out and crushed the first couple of relievers who followed him, eventually tying things up with four runs in the ninth. Scooter Gennett put an end to Atlanta’s comeback-win delusions, however, launching a two-run walkoff homer in the 12th. That was Gennett’s second homer of the night and his third and fourth RBI. Freddie Freeman went deep twice for Atlanta, both solo shots.

Diamondbacks 8, Phillies 4: Alex Avila went deep and had three hits and Daniel Descalso and Jarrod Dyson also homered. Dbacks starter Robbie Ray struck out 11 Philly batters but couldn’t escape the fifth inning. I imagine Philly fans either didn’t care or didn’t notice since the Sixers were playing. This is a good time of year for baseball teams in hockey and basketball towns to fly under the radar for a bit.

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3: Curtis Granderson threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the top of the ninth inning and then hit a walk-off homer in the 10th — off of Craig Kimbrel no less — to give the Jays the win in the team’s first game since Monday’s deadly terrorist attack killed ten in the city. The Sox lose their third straight game and suffer their first loss to the Jays in Rogers Centre in their last eight meetups.

Athletics 3, Rangers 2: Andrew Triggs allowed only one run over six innings while scattering for hits and punching out six. Mark Canha homered and Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson each doubled in a run to help Oakland to their fourth straight win. Worse news for Texas than the loss was Adrian Beltre straining his left hamstring. No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, but it’s kind of ridiculous that, 25 games into the season, three of the club’s four Opening Day infielders are hurt and the fourth one is playing left field.

Brewers 5, Royals 2: Lorenzo Cain homered against his old team, but that was just late gravy. Earlier Travis Shaw hit a three-run shot that put the game away in the third inning. Sal Perez made his first appearance of 2018 after coming off the disabled list and hit a solo shot. Zach Davies picked up the win after allowing two over six.

Marlins 3, Dodgers 2: L.A. took a 2-1 lead into the eighth but Starlin Castro doubled in the tying run that inning and Cameron Maybin doubled in the go-ahead run in the ninth. The Fish snap their five-game losing streak.

Rays vs. Orioles; Tigers vs. Pirates — POSTPONED: The 27th and 28th rainouts of the year so far. So it seems appropriate . . .

28 days of rain
Flash floods in February
Back in our boats again
Bath water and the baby
What am I gonna do?
There’s been a lot of drinking
Looking at ghosts of you
While all the world is sinking

10.000 miles into the atmosphere
My body shakes
Is there a welcome here?

Closest thing to heaven
How do you do it?
Closest thing to heaven, heaven