Let's imagine some MLB managers as your favorite 'Game of Thrones' characters
After eight seasons, 73 episodes and enough takes to power a trip to Mars, "Game of Thrones" will finally wrap on Sunday night.
A lot of earth-shattering decisions have been made as the show comes to an end. Many of those decisions have made a lot of people mad, as you may or may not have heard. As a baseball fan, all that Monday morning quarterbacking and yelling about defensive positioning seemed oddly familiar. So I started wondering: Which managers are most like GoT's major characters?
I've made my choices below -- if you disagree, by all means, let us know @Cut4. But this show would never lead to something like that, would it?
Jon Snow: Alex Cora
Winning 108 games and waltzing to a World Series in your first year as a Major League manager is more or less the baseball equivalent of waging several successful military campaigns and saving mankind from extinction at the hands of a zombie army, right?
Much like Jon, Cora is unflappable beyond his years -- charismatic and a true leader of men, whose every move seems to succeed brilliantly no matter the odds. (As a Yankees fan I’m obligated to mention that the two also have a lucky streak in common: Jon got bailed out by Sansa and the Vale, Cora got bailed out by Brock Holt.)
Daenerys Targaryen: Dave Roberts
To clarify: No, I don’t think Dave Roberts would incinerate an entire city with a dragon.
But you have to admit, rushed plot points aside, the similarities are pretty striking. A few years ago, Roberts was a rising star -- he moved so seamlessly from playing to coaching that, at age 43, L.A. tapped him to finally end its decades-long title drought. (Not that the Targaryens would know anything about trying to reclaim past glory.)
Everything seemed to be going great: The Dodgers won 104 games in his second season, capturing the NL pennant for the first time since 1988. But that was followed by a heartbreaking loss in the World Series, then another heartbreaking loss in the World Series, and now, well -- all that pressure is enough to drive you mad.
Sansa Stark: Kevin Cash
No one thought much of Cash as a player: Over eight Major League seasons, he hit .183. But, like Sansa, he bided his time, learning at the feet of the best (Terry Francona, not Littlefinger). Now it’s their time to shine, and early returns are very promising.
Arya Stark: Gabe Kapler
This might seem aggressive, but bear with me: a maniacal obsession with fitness and discipline? Check. Helping to lead a group that’s finally nearing the end of a long and winding return to prominence? Check. Generally very capable but occasionally does something that makes you step back and say “uh … OK?” Check. Staunch refusal to bend to the sartorial conventions of their peers? Double check.
Plus, you know as well as I do that 2019 Arya Stark would be super into writing about trees on her lifestyle blog.
Tyrion Lannister: Joe Maddon
Though he shares Cersei’s love of a nice red, “began as a plucky underdog, only to work his way to the height of his profession through cunning wit, a quick turn of phrase and a willingness to always think outside of the box” reminds us of a different Lannister. “Now finds himself perched precariously among rising rivals” does, too.
Tormund Giantsbane: Clint Hurdle
Big, burly, brimming with confidence and always up to throw down: I’m not saying that Hurdle was raised on giant’s milk, but I am saying that he’s responsible for quite possibly the most metal moment on a baseball field in recent memory.
Brienne of Tarth: Craig Counsell
Sure, in terms of physical appearance, Brienne’s a lot more imposing than Counsell, who hit exactly 42 homers over 16 years in the Majors.
But that also means that Counsell knows what it is to be underestimated: This stringbean? With that batting stance? What’s the worst he could do? Of course, while you’re busy cracking wise, he’s busy ruthlessly running circles around your baseball team. For every swaggering guy who scoffed at a woman in armor right before getting thoroughly humiliated, there’s Clayton Kershaw giving up a home run to a pinch-hitting pitcher.
Cersei Lannister: Aaron Boone
As Cersei ascended to the Iron Throne in the blink of an eye, so too did Boone surprise everybody by going straight from the broadcast booth to the Yankees dugout. Now, he finds himself at the helm of a (literally) wounded empire, abandoned by the gargantuan men he thought would protect him. Still, you never really felt comfortable counting them out -- after all, they’ve rallied before.
“OK, but things didn’t really work out for Cersei,” you say? Sorry, I can’t hear you, all I know is the Yankees are just a half-game out of first.
Bran Stark: Bob Melvin
Just last year, Melvin peered into the future of baseball and came back declaring that his team no longer needed that whole “starting pitching” thing. Of course, the flipside of powerful foresight and tactical ingenuity is that people might get frustrated with you when things don’t go according to plan -- whether that’s “sit uselessly in your wheelchair as everyone dies around you” or “start Liam Hendricks in a do-or-die postseason game."
Ser Davos Seaworth: Bruce Bochy
Two grizzled old vets whose success you can’t really wrap your mind around but whom you wouldn’t bet against in a zillion years. Plus, tell me you wouldn’t watch Liam Cunningham play the lead role in a Bochy biopic. I mean:
Jaime Lannister: Terry Francona
Who else could be the Kingslayer but the man who stunned the Yankees and broke the Curse of the Bambino? The similarities don’t end there, either: Like Jaime, Tito and his rakish grin went from legend to lost, only to storm back for a second act that you couldn’t help but root for -- even if it fell short in the end.
The Night King: A.J. Hinch
Hinch doesn’t show a whole lot of emotion, but maybe that’s because he doesn’t have to -- he’s too busy sending waves of seemingly unstoppable All-Stars at you. You might neutralize Jose Altuve, but oh, hey, Alex Bregman just rose from the dead behind him. Here’s hoping that Houston’s season goes a bit better than that other initially promising, hyper-focused-bordering-on-monomaniacal pursuit of a championship.