OK, we're not going to lie -- we were a little worried there in the FFinal FFour* of our Baseball's Funnest Player Tournament. About halfway through the voting, it looked like Bartolo Colon would knock out Javier Baez and make it to the final.* Totally different from the trademarked NCAA's
OK, we're not going to lie -- we were a little worried there in the FFinal FFour* of our Baseball's Funnest Player Tournament. About halfway through the voting, it looked like Bartolo Colon would knock out Javier Baez and make it to the final.
* Totally different from the trademarked NCAA's Final Four.
Now look, we like Colon, too. We, by the way, are Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur, co-hosts of the Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, Nobel Prize, Lady Byng and Cy Young Award-winning PosCast. And of course we like Colon, because he's 44 years old, 285 pounds, he hit that home run and he gives all of us hope.
But here's the thing: It's gimmicky fun. It's quirky fun. It's fine for Colon to win in the early rounds --you know, get a Princeton-Richmond-Valparaiso thing going -- but inevitably such recklessness must end. Colon already knocked out Jose Altuve, which was kind of a travesty. Altuve is so much fun in so many ways on the baseball field -- he hits, he runs, he throws, he mashes, he's smaller than your kid brother -- that we firmly believe America would be a better place if every closet had at least one Altuve jersey.
Colon knocked him out … and let's look at this clear-eyed for a moment.
If Colon lost 50 pounds, would he be any fun?
Well, it looked like Colon was going to knock out the impossibly fun Baez, too. But the Chicago precincts reported late, and Baez ended up winning rather comfortably 60-40.
In the other semifinal, well, Cleveland has all the buzz right now. And the Tribe's wonderful shortstop Francisco Lindor rode the wave and upset the guy we thought was going to win the whole thing, Texas' Adrian Beltre. There is no doubt that Beltre was hurt because, um, he's hurt; he has not played for a little while and so people might have forgotten all this stuff.
But Lindor -- with his speed, his stunning power, his breathtaking defense and the sheer joy that he brings to every minute of every game -- is a fantastic finalist.
And now, bizarrely, Baseball's Funnest Player comes down to a couple of wonderful players who are basically the same guy. Baez and Lindor were both born in Puerto Rico, they both moved to Florida when they were young, they played against each other in high school, they shared a Thanksgiving meal at some point and they were drafted back to back in 2001, No. 8 to Cleveland and No. 9 to Chicago.
Wait, we're not done.
They're basically the same size, they're both middle infielders, they each are defensive sorcerers, they each have more power than you would expect looking at them, they were the double-play combination for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and they both do impossible things that you just never saw coming. Baez, as we have mentioned before, is the best tagger in baseball. Lindor, who went by the nickname Mr. Smile on Players Weekend, has this year smiled before, during and after a home run.
Picking between them is like picking between "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Guardians of the Galaxy II."
But that is your charge.
Javy Baez vs. Francisco Lindor.
Joe Posnanski is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, an Emmy Award-winning writer and has been awarded National Sportswriter of the Year.