The last time the Cubs and Pirates faced off, fireworks weren’t the only things exploding. Tired of their division rivals’ constant pitches up and in to his hitters, a livid Joe Maddon came onto the field and confronted Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.
Maddon was held back by the human roadblock that is Joe West, who got a little help from a smiling Kris Bryant, but you have to admit it’d be kind of fun to see the two skippers actually throw down. Both are on the older side and not in the kind of shape they once were, but Maddon’s impressive spin move to try and escape Cowboy Joe makes me think he would emerge as the winner.
Since the Joe Maddon spin move, the Cubs have scored 7 unanswered to lead the Pirates 11-3. pic.twitter.com/6mj5PBOTrP
— Chase Williams WPXI (@chasepwilliams) July 4, 2019
This debate inspired me to ask a bigger question: Who would win if every current major league manager squared off? I’m picturing a Royal Rumble-style battle where 30 enter and only one prevails.
First, we will eliminate the older guys and those with health issues. So Rick Renteria, Terry Francona, Bud Black, Don Mattingly, Ned Yost, Brian Snitker, Maddon, Hurdle, and Bruce Bochy are out. Ron Gardenhire, while a big dude, is probably too old as well.
Speed is an asset in baseball, but it tends to be neutralized when fighting in close quarters. So Dave Roberts and Davey Martinez are tossed out early. Same goes for complete lack of speed, so catchers Scott Servais, Bob Melvin, Kevin Cash, A.J. Hinch, and Brad Ausmus are toast too.
Despite the notion that big things can come in small packages, lack of size is going to hurt in a rumble. That means Charlie Montoyo, Craig Counsell, Alex Cora, and Andy Green aren’t tall enough to ride long. Mike Shildt just doesn’t look intimidating at all, so the Cardinals boss goes over the top rope.
That brings us down to the final eight fighters. Torey Lovullo is a sturdy-looking guy, but 53 is just a bit too old for the Arizona skipper to hack it. While Mickey Callaway can intimidate Mets beat writers, needing Jason Vargas to fight your battles is a definite red flag. Chris Woodward and David Bell are two utility infielders with similar careers, so they will take each other out.
We are left with a final four of pain: Rocco Baldelli, Brandon Hyde, Aaron Boone, and Gabe Kapler. Boone is smaller than the other three at just 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, so the Yankee will sail out of there like a Tim Wakefield knuckle ball. While the former Cubs bench coach Hyde has the size, he has the mobility of a hibernating bear and will not last.
That narrows it down to the Twins against Phillies to decide the ultimate fighting manager. The tale of the tape gives the 6-foot-4 Baldelli a reach advantage, while he’s also his opponent’s junior by six years. But Kapler has the advantage in weight at 208 pounds and is in incredible shape and even has his own lifestyle blog. The end would be swift and painful for the Woonsocket Rocket.
By our very scientific process of computer simulations and mounds of empirical data, Gabriel Stefan Kapler comes out on top as the toughest manager in baseball. Maybe a new contender will eventually arrive from Parts Unknown to challenge him, but until then, don’t mess with the Phillies dugout.