Test your baseball Jeopardy! skills

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Alex Trebek.jpgI tried out for Jeopardy! when I was in law school.  I passed the quiz
and got to play the little pretend Jeopardy! game with the real buzzers
and everything and was put in the contestant pool. Sadly — and unlike my former boss and unlike long time CTB reader Sara K — I never got the call. I suspect they found me to be too annoyingly clicky with the buzzer during the audition. The jerks.

In light of that experience, Jeopardy! has always been something of a sore spot for me. I’m a trivia fiend, and every time I set aside my grudge and watch the show I run the freakin’ board. In light of this, I was drawn to ‘Duk’s latest post over at Big League Stew, in which he searched the Jeopardy! archives for all Final Jeopardy answers that had to do with baseball. He reproduces them for us in the post, with the questions at the bottom.

While it was mostly a fun time waster, he really did it in order to figure out if his gut instinct — to bet all the money he had, regardless of the strategy involved if the category was baseball — was the correct one:

“Let’s say you’re on Jeopardy and you’re absolutely routing your two
opponents. You have $40,000 going into the final round, while one of
your opponents has, let’s say, $15,000. You’re guaranteed to move onto
the next day, but the final category comes up and it has something to
do with baseball, which is your favorite sport. How much — if anything
— do you risk?”

Despite my considerable Jeopardy-fu, I’ll admit that my answer to that question was to play it conservative. But then I read the ten answers he found and got all ten right before the thinking music in my head stopped.  Since they’re not that hard, I’d have to change my strategy and wager it all.

How about you?  And don’t cheat.  And when you’re done, follow ‘Duk’s link to all of the baseball-related Jeopardy! answers going back to 1984.  Or better yet, save them until Sunday so you’ll have something to do while the rest of this demented country watches five hours of commercials and claims that it’s the greatest sporting event in the world.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”