The Coronavirus pandemic is sweeping across the world and has gotten us thinking about which Yankees we would and wouldn’t want to be quarantined with.
When a news story is big enough that it can cause all professional and collegiate sports to come to a prolonged halt and have fans (for the most part) be totally understanding of the reasoning behind it, you know the story must be truly historic. That’s exactly what we are living through right now, as COVID-19 has shaken the earth to its core, with sports cancellations being the least of our worries at the moment. While the situation is undeniably serious and scary, sports are what people around the globe often turn to in order to get us through times of crisis. Especially in New York, the Yankees fill that void.
While Yankees fans will have to wait a few additional weeks to see their favorite players return to the field, we can still have some fun with using memories and knowledge of our beloved team to bring some light to such a grave situation. With that spirit in mind, and in the wake of people worldwide being placed in quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19, here’s a look at which Yankees players would be best (and worst) to be quarantined with.
Simply put, the guy can do everything, even when he doesn’t have the most to work with. LeMahieu isn’t one of the strongest or biggest guys on a team that includes monsters like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, but the amount of things he can do well is remarkable. Yankees fans embraced “The Machine” in 2019 as he turned into a cornerstone of the team, providing a reliable bat capable of hitting both for contact and for power, as well as consistently playing phenomenal defense at first base, second base and third base.
Furthermore, he managed to remain healthy and stay in the lineup every day, which was especially impressive given the ridiculous number of players who went down with injuries for the Bombers last year. Being placed in quarantine often leaves people with limited resources, so being able to use what you have and make the most of it is key. It’s hard to think of someone who is more all-around talented, reliable and capable of making the most of what they have than DJ LeMahieu, which makes him ideal to make your time in quarantine as smooth as can be.
Another key trait that people would certainly want in someone they have to be quarantined with is intelligence. Among the current Yankees players, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who has more book smarts than Mike Ford. His alma mater is the prestigious Princeton University, widely considered one of the top universities in the world. Be it the math in determining how to ration out food or reading up on updates on the crisis keeping you in quarantine, Ford has you covered. It also definitely helps that he comes from a medical background, as Ford is the son of two doctors. He has an instant connect for immediate answers in the event of a health scare. Lastly, being the first player in Ivy League history to be named both the Pitcher of the Year and the Hitter of the Year and even making a pitching appearance for the Yankees in a blowout in 2019, Ford is as versatile is they come, more than willing to adapt given any difficult circumstances. His intelligence and versatility certainly make him a good person to have on your side in the event of having to be quarantined.
While the importance of intelligence and versatility can’t be understated in the case of being placed in quarantine due to a crisis, being stuck with a boring, unentertaining person would not be an enjoyable way to deal with an already dull situation. Having an enthusiastic, fun “roommate” would certainly help the time go by quicker, and that’s exactly what Tanaka brings to the table. His fun-loving nature is apparent in commercials, interviews and shots of him clowning around in the dugout or bullpen, especially with his best friend on the team: Luis Severino. Need some further evidence of that? Check out these gifs of the two of them over the years, courtesy of Jomboy.
Sevy hogging all the Tanaka high fives pic.twitter.com/yNUDnjNuhF
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) April 18, 2019
Tanaka giddy about sneaking an ass pat on Sevy pic.twitter.com/nuSn3GkPkF
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) October 8, 2019
Missed this last night. Nice to see Tanaka trying to pick Sevy up/make him laugh/relax once the game was won. pic.twitter.com/uT33jFF14z
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) October 4, 2017
Tanaka seems to be a genuinely fun person to spend time with, who doesn’t take himself too seriously and is always there for a friend. He would be able to keep morale high and make the time you spend together enjoyable, at least to the extent that it can be.
Fun is great to a certain extent, but the last person you want to be in quarantine with is a hyper, way too energetic goof who doesn’t know the definition of chill. That seems to be exactly what Tommy Kahnle is. Calling Kahnle a loudmouth would be an understatement- Mike Tauchman said on CC Sabathia and Ryan Ruocco’s R2C2 podcast last year that during a game in Baltimore, he could literally hear Kahnle screaming “SOCKMAN!!!!” in the Yankees’ bullpen 400 feet away during one of his at-bats. The Yankees put out a fun video a number of weeks back in which Kahnle was mic’d up for a full day, and even that four minute video gave a glimpse into how persistently loud and outgoing Kahnle is.
While some fun is always good, thus why Tanaka would be such a great candidate to be quarantined with, someone with an unlimited supply of energy would make it difficult to get work done, and especially to sleep. It’s funny to see in videos and read about, but actually having to deal with Kahnle’s personality in a contained area 24/7 probably wouldn’t make for the best experience.
While Luke Voit seems like a perfectly nice human being who I’d have no quips about spending a day with, when it comes to being resourceful with food, being in quarantine with Voit could very well put one in a position where the limited food available is being consumed before they have a chance to get to it. Simply put, Voit is a gym rat; a freakishly large and athletic human being. Constantly in the gym, he’s risen to fame among Yankees fans not just for his feats on the field but also for his insane workout videos, such as this one:
We shouldn't be surprised by Luke Voit hitting 2 dingers in a game.
Homeboy bench-presses 135 lbs. With ONE arm. https://t.co/CcnacoTT9F pic.twitter.com/Q1RVrwv7L8
— Cut4 (@Cut4) September 20, 2018
With a workout regimen like that and a 6’3″, 225 pound muscular frame, meal time with Voit is probably an experience unlike any other. With the amount of calories that he has to consume in order to maintain his build, the already limited amount of food in the quarantined area isn’t gonna be sitting there for too long. So if you’re planning on having enough food to last yourself some time, you’re better off going with someone else to be quarantined with.
A sense of security and calmness is important in order to maintain mental sanity at a time when so much is uncertain, and especially in the case of being quarantined. It’s not a time for messing around or pranking- it’s key to stay serious and surround yourself with people who aren’t pulling tricks behind your back. Beyond just being a veteran leader of the team, Brett Gardner’s legacy in pinstripes, at least among his teammates, is largely centered around his perception as the team prankster. In an interview with Jared Carrabis and Dallas Braden on their Starting 9 podcast last year, Voit immediately mentioned Gardner when asked who the biggest joker in the clubhouse is. When Gardner appeared on R2C2 in 2018, Sabathia asked him what he thought his all-time greatest prank was. Gardner told the story of the time when he took the battery out of the team’s old video coordinator Anthony Flynn’s car key. He then printed out a coin-sized photo of teammate Phil Hughes’ face and put it in the key in place of the battery. Gardner assumed Flynn would just open the key and find the photo of Hughes himself, but Flynn instead took the car to the dealership. When the worker at the car dealership pried open the key, there was Hughes’ face sitting in place of the battery. Flynn instantly knew who was up to the shenanigans.
While harmless pranks like these are often all fun and games, you don’t want to have to keep your head on a swivel when in quarantine to see if someone is pulling any pranks during an already uncertain time. Having Gardner around would add some unnecessary anxiety to an already stressful situation, making him an unideal person to be stuck in quarantine with.