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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wagenheim: Three major leaguers with a trait that would translate well to MMA

Yea, yea…and Pascual Pérez was a regular Pascual Pérez.

From musclebound wannabe Jose Canseco to half-a-bantamweight Eddie Gaedel, there’s never been a baseball player who could stand upright with a professional fighter for even as long as it used to take Sal Maglie to throw a knockdown pitch. Toughness disparity aside, the great majority of ballplayers simply are not on the same level, athletically, to hang with even the fighters who compete in those little local MMA shows you find in towns that have Single A baseball clubs. (You ever show up at spring training and watch the players run the outfield? It’s not exactly an NFL training camp, much less an easy day at Greg Jackson’s gym.) To make a baseball player’s bout with a UFC fighter even mildly competitive, we’d have to allow the ballplayer to bring his Louisville Slugger into the octagon with him.

But there are traits inherent to baseball players that would come in handy inside the cage. Such as:

A closer: Mariano Rivera

You can dominate the fight (or game) for eight innings (or 4½ rounds), but that’s not enough. Unless, of course, you’re content with being the 1951 Dodgers or ‘86 Red Sox. Or Chael Sonnen.

You’ve got to fight to the finish. And no one does it better—or ever has—than Mariano Rivera. The Yankees closer owns the major league records for saves (608) and games finished (892), has a career earned-run average of 2.21 (it was below 2.00 in eight of his last nine full seasons) and has been at his best when his performance counts most. He has a 0.70 playoff ERA, the best ever, and also the major league record for postseason saves, with 42. The championship rounds are all Mo. If Chael had Mariano in his bullpen, he’d be middleweight champ.

At 42, Rivera will be coming back from a knee injury next season, but that’s just one more way in which the 12-time All-Star is like seemingly half of the fighters in the UFC.

Repoz Posted: December 22, 2012 at 09:18 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4330907)
I'd like to see a Chael Sonnen / A.J. Pierzynski death match. Maybe even add Nick Diaz to the mix.

With any luck, it would end in a 3-way tie.
   2. Boxkutter Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4330929)
This might've been an interesting article if done seriously. But the three picked are Trout, Pujols, and Rivera, and glancing over the reasoning, there is no real thought or research done. Just stupid crap like the reasoning above.
   3. McCoy Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4330932)
Kyle Farnsworth, Randy Myers, and Daryl Strawberry.
   4. akrasian Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4330933)
I wonder how many MMA fighters could have a MLB career. Maybe the skill sets are just different - not to mention the sort of training that is required. Not that the premise of this article is stupid . . .
   5. depletion Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4330942)
Kind of an odd article. When I think of ballplayers that had training in a fighting skill I think of Ed Ott (college wrestling, did a number of Felix Milan once), Ray Knight (gold gloves boxing, likewise with Eric Davis), Randy Myers (one of the oriental martial arts). From the old days, I believe George Magerkurth was a boxer, as well. The relief pitcher that had a column on a couple years back (Jones?) gave a list of ballplayers you did not want to get in an altercation with: Mo Vaughn was at the top, as I recall. Darryl Strawberry had a reputation of having extremely strong arms/upper body. I don't recall him having any "fight" moments, perhaps because his reputation was a strong disincentive for others. I do recall that in a Yankees-Red Sox "brawl" he supposedly stood at the Sox dugout yelling at Clemens to come out. Clemens sat quietly, contemplating his next move.
   6. McCoy Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4330945)
Darryl Strawberry had a reputation of having extremely strong arms/upper body. I don't recall him having any "fight" moments, perhaps because his reputation was a strong disincentive for others.

Darryl Strawberry vs Armando Benitez.
   7. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4330948)
Ugueth Urbina. Or are you not allowed to use a machete in MMA?
   8. tshipman Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4330952)
I wonder how many MMA fighters could have a MLB career. Maybe the skill sets are just different - not to mention the sort of training that is required. Not that the premise of this article is stupid . . .

This is easy to answer.

Zero. Zero percent of MMA fighters could have a MLB career.
   9. JRVJ Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4330956)
8, There's a great line in Carl Sagan's Contact, where one of the characters wonders if Humanity (which is buildingn a vessel for 5 people due to aliens sending plans to Earth to build that vessel) was sending Decatlon champions when it should be sending Chess champions.

(Or something like that. It has been over 20 years since I re-read it).

   10. OCD SS Posted: December 22, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4330962)
RP Rudy Seanez used to do MMA training in the offseason.
   11. valuearbitrageur Posted: December 22, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4330965)
A key skill in MMA is combining excellent cardiovascular endurance combined with high ratio of physical strength to body weight.

One of the all-americans on my college team combined a 11 minute 2 mile time with forearms as big as my calves, and he wrestled at 149 lbs. He seemingly could do squat thrusts and pushups forever.

Baseball is like the polar opposite of MMA. While strength training is now integral to baseball training, your weight almost doesn't matter, extra body fat seemingly doesn't impede most players. And few MLB players seem to have a great wind or do much long distance training. I sometimes wondered if I was on the cross country or wrestling team, so many 5-10 milers they made us do in training.

Lastly, while long legs and arms are beneficial to strikers, shorter limbs provide better reactions and give better leverage when the fight goes to the mat, which is where MMA contests tend to be decided, so top fighters are almost always compactly built.

Size always seem to benefit baseball players, long limbs mean faster fastballs and longer home runs (if you can coordinate those limbs enough to make solid contact).

And Butt Head Astronomer sure wrote some lame sci fi.
   12. DCA Posted: December 22, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4330969)

It's been about 10 years for me, but I remembered enough to google it.

"We're picking somebody to enter the Olympics, and we don't know what the events are. I don't know why we're talking about sending scientists. Mahatma Gandhi, that's who we should send. Or, while we're at it, Jesus Christ. Don't tell me they're not available, der Heer. I know that."

"When you don't know what the events are, you send a decathlon champion."

"And then you discover the event is chess, or oratory, or sculpture, and your athlete finishes last."
   13. JRVJ Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4331000)
So Decathlon, CHECK.

Chess, CHECK.

And I think that this was spoken by Ms. Arroway, but I could be wrong.
   14. Athletic Supporter is trying to remember your name Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4331015)
It seems clear to send Nikolay Sazhin on this hypothetical vessel.
   15. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 22, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4331071)
What if we sent Carl Lewis, but it was a singing show called "Intergalactic Idol"?

What if the outside of the invitation read "To Serve Man," so we sent Roger Federer?

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