By Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur
MLB.com |@JPosnanski |
We are down to the FFinal FFour in our Funnest Baseball Player Tournament (FBPT) and it should be said, right up front, that we are spelling FFinal FFour with two Fs because we totally cannot afford to pay the NCAA the rights to use the single-F version. We have consulted no lawyers, but we are pretty sure that the double-F spelling puts us in the clear.
We are Michael Schur and Joe Posnanski, just a couple of executives hanging out. Michael is executive producer of "The Good Place," which begins season two on NBC with a one-hour special at 10 p.m. ET. Joe is executive columnist for MLB.com. We host the PosCast, where we talk about baseball and nonsense, often at the same time.
The Round of Eight was surprising. The top seed in each was upset, turning the whole thing upside down.
Here are the results and your FFinal FFour matchups:
Recap: This looked for a few hours like it would be a very close race … and then the Lindor people poured in. Lesson: It doesn't hurt to have your team win 22 in a row while the Funnest Player voting is going on. Lindor is quickly, and rightfully, becoming one of the big stars in baseball. His smile, his incredible defense, his stunning power carried the day, even though Stanton has hit 55 home runs, each of them a miniature Michael Bay production.
Recap: This was a good tournament for Trout, who beat heavily favored Aaron Judge in the first round. Trout has long been acknowledged as the best player in the game, and he is fun -- home runs are fun, great catches are fun, stolen bases are fun -- but perhaps because he is a humble guy who never sparks controversy and just plays hard every day, "fun" isn't the word that comes to mind. In any case, Trout stood no chance against Beltre, who is the very essence of fun as the countless Beltre GIFs and memes will tell you. This now looks to be Beltre's tournament to lose.
FFinal FFour Matchup: Beltre vs. Lindor
It's the FFinal FFour in the Funnest Baseball Player Tournament. First semifinal, Adrian Beltre vs. Francisco Lindor #FunnestPlayer
This totally made-up day in Funnest Player In Baseball Tournament history:
On this day in 1976, Mark "The Bird" Fidrych upset Mickey Rivers to make it into the 1976 Funnest Player Final. Fidrych's habit of talking to baseballs, his grooming the pitcher's mound with his hand and his resemblance to Sesame Street's Big Bird proved the difference. Unfortunately, the Tigers' decision to have him throw 10,000 innings that year did not serve him well. Mick the Quick was an all-time fun player as well because of his blazing speed, his marvelous slips ("My goals are to hit .300, score 100 runs and stay injury prone") and the glorious way he responded when told that Reggie Jackson claimed a 160 IQ. "Out of what?" he asked. "A thousand?"
Recap: We're not going to lie, this was a bummer. Yes, Colon is fun. He's a roly-poly 44-year-old pitcher on his 10th team -- of course he's fun. He's fun in the way that eating pizza and playing video games all night is fun. But Altuve is pure fun, the most delightful player imaginable. We think this is a bit like picking a novelty act over joy itself, like choosing Norwegian duo Ylvis over the Beatles. That said, the people have spoken, and Colon moves on, slowly but steadily.
Recap: This was the marquee matchup of the quarterfinals, two 24-year-old stars who will shape the wonder and delight of the game for the next decade. Yes, by the way, Harper is still 24 years old, which is strange because he has been in the Major Leagues since the 1970s. In any case, Harper held an early lead. But alarmed and motivated Cubs fans came out in force to support Baez, the maestro of the tag. Baez is so much fun, and he comes into his matchup with Colon as a slight favorite. But you never tell Bartolo the odds.
FFinal FFour Matchup: Baez vs. Colon
And the second FFinal FFour matchup, Javier Baez vs. Bartolo Colon. #FunnestPlayer
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.