Recently I fell into a fun rabbit hole thinking of versatile players – people who can competently play multiple positions. In a way, I always think these are the players who are the most fun and I will never stop wishing Ben Zobrist was a Red.
As I clicked around and looked at different players, I found that the Cincinnati Reds have two guys right now who are incredibly versatile. I had to remember exactly how versatile they were. Alex Blandino – he from the famous knuckle ball – has played every position in the majors except catcher and midfield. Kyle Farmer – aka the Emergency Catcher – has played everywhere except midfield and rightfield.
Now, for four years, I’ve been the press at Bats games here in Louisville and I’ve seen a lot of cool things. But the absolutely coolest thing I saw was when Hernan Iribarren played all nine positions (he had already played everywhere but catcher) in one game at the end of the season. I’ve been to more exciting games. I’ve been to games with a bigger impact on the playoffs. But I don’t know if I’ve ever participated in a game that was more fun. It was a different spot every inning, except that he only pounced on one batsman and moved from third to third and then back to third before giving a standing ovation in the ninth.
And here the Reds are with two people who could make it possible. TWO! And look there at the end of the season: it’s a series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Obviously, the Reds have comfortably won the National League Central, and the Pirates have already lost 103 games. Sonny Gray will be making his final start, so he will be resting regularly to start the second game in the playoffs. A completely meaningless last game of the season, right?
So what are the Reds supposed to do but have fun with it? My God, we have seven-innings and runner-up runners in extras and all sorts of other stupid things. Why not do something that is certainly a little silly, but also celebrates versatile gamers and – undeniably – is a tremendous amount of fun?
Without further ado, I present my plan to have Farmer and Blandino in every position in the course of a single game.
A couple of notes:
You will find that I rely heavily on the built-in flexibility of the roster. There are a lot of people on this team who have a lot of time in multiple positions.
The first six innings are pretty easy. Everyone gets an inning in one place and then they swap the next inning and so on. It’s the 7-8-9 innings that get complicated. I have Farmer throwing to Blandino on the 7th because it’s not like he’s going to fire it there. I then send a helper up the hill to throw him to Farmer, who is actually a catcher. And we close with Blandino, who accuses Stephenson. And when things get out of hand, you can of course always quickly shove Farmer behind the plate and bring in a real helper on the 7th before Blandino’s turn on the 9th. As you can see, I’ve thought about it a lot.
Should the reds do that? Absolutely. I would argue that they are required to do this because it’s fun. And they owe us some fun. So do it guys. This game is supposed to be fun, okay?