Friday August 8, 2003
Who Do You Want To Talk To?
A little over a week ago, I started a Discussion Question of the Week feature on this website. It is simply a feature where each Friday, I will introduce a question that I would love for the readers of this page to contribute to. Some deep question, maybe a fun question, something to create an interaction with the readers, all in the name of fun! In order for this to work, a few things need to happen. First, I need to come up with questions each week that will interest you. Second, I will need for you to e-mail me your responses to the questions. With the replies that I do get, the following Friday, I will write up a feature article regarding that question using the responses I receive. Of course, I will also throw in my two cents on the question as well!
This week’s question actually came from a loyal reader named Kirk. It is a three part question that I certainly found to be quite interesting. I was really hoping to receive some good responses to those questions. And I did! So, again, thank you to those who took the time to reply. Here we go:
The first Discussion of the Week question(s) is (are) these:
1.) If you could go back in time and spend some time talking to a deceased former big leaguer, who would you talk to, and, what would you discuss?
2.) If you could spend some time with a former big leaguer (still living), who would you talk to, and, what would you discuss?
3.) If you could spend some time with a current major leaguer, who would you want to talk to, and what would you talk about?
What I will do is take one question at a time and share with you some of the responses that I got for each question, followed by my thoughts:
Question #1 - If you could go back in time and spend some time talking to a deceased former big leaguer, who would you talk to, and, what would you discuss?
-Daryl Strawberry. No wait... Only his brain is dead... This one is too tough to call.
-Jackie Robinson? The trials and tribulations he faced entering into the majors.
It’s probably best for me not to comment on the Strawberry comment, but it is a little bit funny.
From the one who came up with the question, Kirk:
3. Ted Williams would be pretty sweet to talk to. The guy was basically John Wayne. It would be fun to hear about his baseball career, but I'd also be interested in finding out about his time as a fighter pilot.
2. Babe Ruth. Duh!
1. Mickey Mantle. Again, the off the field, behind the scenes stuff would be something I'd want to find out about.
It would also be interesting to spend a few minutes with Ty Cobb. I'd be curious to see if he's as much of a prick as people make him out to be.
From a guy we’ve heard from on this site before, Leslie:
If I got a chance to interview a deceased player, it would be Babe Ruth. My question to him: would he gloat over the success of his new team that he was traded to, the Yankees? Does he get any satisfaction in seeing his old team, the Red Sox, suffer?
Seth’s Thoughts -
· I'd ask Joe Dimaggio about Marilyn Monroe.
· I'd love to talk to Josh Gibson or Satchell Paige, or even Jackie Robinson about life in the Negro Leagues and for Paige and Robinson, their transition into the major leagues.
· Babe Ruth is probably an obvious answer.
· Shoeless Joe could be interesting to talk to, although, he was supposedly not so smart, so that would probably be frustrating. But, he could hit, and loved the game. But also, questions regarding the Black Sox scandal and the situations surrounding it.
· I'd ask Ted Williams how he got so cocky! (but is he really, totally dead?)
· My answer - If I had a way-back machine, I would go back and talk to either Cy Young or Walter Johnson. The reason: if I could watch them pitch, I may have even more respect for the numbers they put up. I just can't imagine how they pitched that many innings for that many years if they threw hard or threw any curveballs. I would just be interested in asking them their thoughts on pitching.
Question #2 - If you could spend some time with a former big leaguer (still living), who would you talk to, and, what would you discuss?
It's a tough choice between Willie Mays and Yogi Berra, but I will go with Yogi just because of what he would say and the stories he would tell.
3. Kent Hrbek. My favorite Twin. I love his attitude. He played baseball, golfed, fished, drank beer and got fat. He sported that semi-mullet for years with pride. I just love the guy. I love when they have him as the guest color guy on Twins broadcasts. He's a bit clumsy, but his stories and comments are great.
2. Bob Feller. In 6th grade, I grabbed a big coffee-table book of baseball players and checked it out. I spent the next two weeks looking through it every night, and I kept going back to one of the pictures of Feller in one of those ridiculous wind-up poses--you know the ones where he's leaned back supported on one leg so that his body is parallel with the ground? I thought it was cool and he's been one of my favorite players ever since.
1. Stan the Man. I still say he's the greatest living ballplayer right now, and might have been even when Ted Williams was alive.
Also - Willie Mays. It's like putting Babe Ruth on a list--how could you possibly leave him off?
If I got a chance to interview a living former player, it would be Hank Aaron. I would ask him about how he was able to focus with the home run record, and how he handled his popularity.
Dave Dravecky. Tragic/heroic story. Just talk to him about how life has been since. Reflect back on his career.
· Hank Aaron. All the home runs, and I’d be really interested in knowing how he focused on the baseball field with all the death threats to him and his family.
· Kirby Puckett - My favorite Twins player.
· My favorite non-Puckett player, Claudell Washington.
· Warren Spahn (I never really realized how amazing that man's career and numbers were!)
· My answer - Willie Mays is my favorite vintage player. So, I would love to spend time chatting with him, about his time playing in Minneapolis, who his heroes were growing up, the catch, and all those home runs! (check out where Hank Aaron and Willie Mays ranked on my all-time best hitters list!!!
Question #3 - If you could spend some time with a current major leaguer, who would you want to talk to, and what would you talk about?
From Tyler (who apparently should be a sports comedian!):
· Rafael Palmeiro. “Dude, the only thing that could keep you out of the Hall of Fame is those Viagra commercials.” Seriously...
· Barry Bonds. It is absolutely amazing how he has become such a complete hitter late in his career. It would be interesting to ask him similar questions earlier in his career versus now to see how he has changed both as a ballplayer and maybe as a person. (Questions asked between young and old Barry would include hitting theory, his thoughts on himself as a player, his thoughts on other players, and the changes he made to become the Hall of Famer he is today.)
If I got a chance to interview an active player, it would be Garrett Anderson. I would ask: what is his secret of conducting himself in a professional manner with success? It seems lot of athletes and people in general act like pricks when they succeed, but I like the way Garrett truly handles himself. I was so happy for him when his team, the Angels won it all. A great player and a good guy. A good role model for fans.
Hands down Alex Rodriguez. He's the best all around player in baseball and if he keeps up what he is doing could be one of the greatest all time. I've heard he is a real fan of baseball. I would want to talk to him to learn more about the game
3. Nomar Garciaparra. He just seems like a throwback player. You can imagine him playing tough baseball in any era and doing well. He's my favorite of the big three shortstops.
2. Jeff Bagwell. (Editor’s Note: No explanation necessary!)
1. Curt Schilling. While I totally think he's whining about QuesTec, I really don't think there's another player out there with his sense of history about the game and genuine concern for the fans. I know I've read at least two open letters to fans by him, and the guy really seems to be the most genuinely concerned about the state of the game as anyone playing right now. I really respect the guy a lot for that. I think it would totally rule to sit around talking to him for an afternoon.
Jason Giambi is up there too. Bonds too, even though he seems pretty much personality free.
· Alex Rodriguez. He just sounds so well spoken. He's loaded. He knows Mientkiewicz. There would just be so many questions I'd have for him.
· Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra too. All three of the shortstops are well spoken and come across as great guys. Also, I wonder if Nomar thinks his future kids will be Hall of Famers in as many sports as they want. I mean, between his genes and Mia Hamm's. Wow!
· Now, Dontrelle Willis. He’s an amazing talent, with so much energy on the mound. Yet, when he’s interviewed, he’s very cordial, well-spoken, and just truly seems to be enjoying everything!
· I have so much respect for Barry Bonds, and I'd love to chat with him, but I doubt that would ever be real likely!
· Of course, I'd be thrilled to talk to any current or former major league player.
So there you have it. The first installment of the Discussion Question of the Week! I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Be sure to participate in the next question (which you’ll find just below here). As you can see with the responses, there are no wrong answers. Everyone’s opinion can be different, and that’s fun!
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Well, we have now had our first successful Discussion of the Week question, and I received a lot of great responses from a lot of people. Maybe for our next question, I can get even more responses. That would be great!!
This week’s question has just one part. Again, here are the rules:
1.) Take a look at the below question and think about how you would answer it.
2.) Send me an e-mail letting me know how you would answer the question.
3.) Check back every day, and if you have further ideas, e-mail me again!
4.) For sure, check back on Friday and see what other responses I received.
Without further ado, this week’s Question of the Week:
If you ran a baseball team, and had all of the players ever to have played the game at your disposal (in their primes, not at the current age or living status), what lineup would you put on the field?
The credit for the question belongs to Mike. I think this is another very good question. I know that he sent me a lineup that included about 7 Outfielders, which is OK, I guess. I mean, they could lose a lot of baseball games by bad defense, but that’s his decision, as a manager!
But, if you chose to go position by position and put the best in, we should have some very interesting and diverse lineup possibilities. In Left Field, do you take Barry Bonds or Ted Williams? If you take Williams, would he hit 2nd? 3rd? 7th?
At this point, we aren’t be looking for pitchers. Maybe that is a future Question of the Week. For right now, I’m looking for your starting 9 (I hate the DH, but will allow it for this – and it doesn’t have to be Edgar Martinez or Paul Molitor, it can be anyone).
So again, let me know your thoughts. Send me an e-mail. I’m really looking forward to reading your ideas. Please let me know if it is ok for me to include your response next Friday when I discuss this question using ideas from the readers.
Everyone, have a great weekend!
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