In the aftermath of the Royals winning the REAL DAMN WORLD SERIES, a friend of mine (Mr. Ryan Wiksell) posited an interesting thought experiment on FaceBook.
OK, Royals nerds.
Here's a question to chew on: Which outfit is better, the Royals offense, or the Royals defense?
This is how I would propose we find out. Play one 9-inning game, with one pitcher per inning, and free defensive substitutions and pinch-running (no pinch-hitting.) Since the average runs scored per team in Major League Baseball is 4.17, the offense wins if 5 or more runs are scored, and the defense wins if 4 or fewer runs are scored.
-Infante to sub in whenever an infielder is up to bat
-Orlando to sub in whenever an outfielder is up to bat
-Butera to sub in whenever Perez is at bat
-Dyson, Gore & Mondesi to sub in for all baserunners
Being the giant nerd that I am, I immediately began playing out the scenario in full detail in my head. Here's what I came up with.
In the first, Esky leads off and pokes a leaning single to right-center field. Zobrist works a walk on five pitches. Cain bends a single up the middle; Escobar high fives Perez as he scores, Zo to 3rd. Ventura strikes out Hosmer with a couple of dirty hooks low and inside, and finishes him with that cheek-high heat. Morales hits a sac fly to Rios, who might have been able to nail Zobrist, but he forgot how many outs there were. Moose grounds out to second.
Second: Perez grounds out to short. Cain steals a homer from Gordon in front of the party porch (but instead of catching the ball in his mitt, he snares the ball with Adam Jones' 2014 Gold Glove Award). Rios flies out to left.
Third: Escobar hits a grounder to short, but Infante boots it and then throws the ball into the stands behind third for some reason. Esky is awarded 2nd base. Zobrist hits a sharp grounder between first and second. Hosmer barely gets a glove on it, deflecting it to the outfield grass. Infante makes a sliding stop, flips to Hosmer who is still breaking for the bag. Hos slides headfirst with the ball and Zobrist steps on his glove for the out. Esky to third. Perez picks off Esky leading off third. Cain flies out to Orlando in center.
Fourth: Young strikes out the side (Hosmer, Morales, Moose) on nine pitches, all of them swinging. Everyone smiles, slightly confused.
Fifth: Perez homers into the bullpen in left on Duffy's first pitch. Butera disappears into thin air behind the plate when the ball hits the bat. Perez crosses the plate, slaps on Ghost Butera's gear and calls a perfect sequence of pitches to get Gordon swinging. Rios lines to left. Gordon makes an impossible catch, diving headlong into the wall, but he forgot to take his batting helmet off so he's fine. He flexes his triceps, sending a ripple through space-time, and the moon is pulled closer to earth, but also compressed into a smaller version of itself so no one can tell the difference. Escobar rips one right at Moustakas. Zobrist grounds up the middle. The ball hits the bag as Escobar gives chase. He leans back at full speed, grabs the ball in midair and fires to first. Hosmer does one of those really cool-looking, really stupid scoops for the third out after the throw short-hops.
Sixth: Cain grounds to third. Moose makes a diving stop and gets him. Hosmer rips one down the left field line so hard that Gordon is able to play it off the wall quickly. Hos inexplicably heads for second. Gordon nails him, of course. Morales doubles on a line to the gap in left-center. Moose bloops one over short. Gordon doesn't field the ball at all. He just stares into the infield sternly. Morales holds at third. Perez pops out to end the inning.
Seventh: Gordon hits a lead off single to right. Rios looks awkward on two bunts attempts, but one is called a ball and he gets down the sacrifice on the third try. Unfortunately for Ned, Perez pounces on it and throws Gordon out at second. Yost doubles down and has Esky bunt Rios over despite it being the second out. Zobrist delivers with a gapper to right-center, because there are two outs and the Royals always score with two outs. Yost is redeemed again somehow. Cain lines out to center.
Eighth: Hosmer leads off with a broken bat single over first. Dyson pinch runs and steals second after Herrera buries a fastball in the dirt. Morales strikes out after forcing 12 pitches. Moose bloops another ball over short, Dyson rounds third, Gordon fires a laser to the plate. Perez applies the tag in a cloud of dirt. The umpire sheepishly calls the runner safe. Yost storms out of the dugout unsure if he should challenge since he manages both teams. The replay takes 43 minutes. Dyson looks safe from one angle and out from another. Both sides agree this will count as a half-run. Perez flares one to shallow left center. Escobar makes an amazing sliding catch and fires back to first to double off Moose.
Ninth: Davis strikes out the side (and the rest of the lineup for good measure).
Nerdy enough for ya?
Ryan quickly reminded me that the league average was 4.17 runs, so my goofy-ass scenario would actually be a win for the bats, but I couldn't decide so I tried to force it into a tie.
Anyway, I thought this was a pretty cool idea, and since spring training games don't start until March, I thought maybe a game in your imagination might help to hold you over until then.
Post yours in the comments if you want. I'd like to see them.
You could take it seriously or try to come up with something stupider than mine (good luck with that).
Oh, and one more thing: THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS WON THE ACTUAL WORLD SERIES.