Sometimes, I’m not sure if anything I add to a story can be funnier than the original information itself:
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 1, 2013
There’s like a 0.00001% chance that Dee Gordon, who cannot hit and has never played center field, will play center field in the playoffs, unless Yasiel Puig somehow steamrolls Skip Schumaker and they both end up in the hospital. There’s probably even less of a chance that Scott Van Slyke actually ends up out there, something akin to what happens if you divide by zero. I imagine Don Mattingly is just doing some due diligence for that complete worst-case scenario, or perhaps more likely no one wanted to stand by Puig and risk getting injured.
Still, just imagine it. Imagine Gordon in center field. Imagine Van Slyke there. In a game that not only counts, but is the culmination of months of hard work. Imagine how many things have to go wrong for that to be the situation, where two guys who A) don’t play the position and B) aren’t even certain to make the postseason roster end up playing center field. It’s glorious, or at least it would be if it weren’t so mind-numbingly terrifying.
It’s not going to happen, because it can’t, but seeing that out there at least makes me a little less likely to be hard on people who want to call up Joc Pederson for the playoffs. (Short version: even if asking a guy to make his big-league debut in the playoffs wasn’t a terrible idea, he hasn’t started a game since August 31.)
Anyway, if you’re so desperate that you’re really looking at those guys in center, even if only in an emergency situation, you put Puig out there. Simple as that. No, he’s not an ideal option, but if my choices are “Puig misses a cutoff man” or “Van Slyke turns a single into an inside-the-park homer,” it’s not all that complicated.
It’s going to be a long next 48 hours, I think. Eeesh.