We’re two weeks out from Opening Ceremonies at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Growing up in a land of always winter, these Olympics traditionally meant more to me than the summer games. Not only were the sports held where I I grew up, but they are events Canada consistently medals in, which isn’t always the case in the Summer Olympics.
This got me thinking of a world where the New York Yankees were broken up, and this collection of world-class athletes found themselves representing their home countries in the Olympiad. In what events would everyone compete?
Brett Gardner - Ice Hockey
This is a no-doubter. Gardner is fast, sneakily strong, and plays a defense-first game for which Mike Babcock would go crazy. On top of that, we’ve seen that Gardner can take a hit.
Add in the fact that he’s a bald, noncontroversial player, and he’s three-quarters of the way to Ryan Getzlaf already.
Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton - Two-Man Bobsled
Bobsledders are a unique mix. They’re among the largest athletes on an Olympic team; if you saw one in the street you’d be forgiven for assuming they were rugby or football players. At the same time, they have an uncanny level of sprint speed, necessary to get their sled moving at the start of their run.
Judge and Stanton are hulking masses of meat, with more than enough power to move the 850 pound bobsled. Just like real bobsledders though, both players are more than just raw strength.
Statcast tracked Judge at 28.5 ft/s, faster than league average, and ranks Stanton as above-average in sprint speed as well.
Masahiro Tanaka - Figure Skating
There’s a popular image of figure skating as a competition decided by the level of frill and rhinestone on a skater’s top. This couldn’t be further from the truth of figure skating, which sports an unbelievable level of grace, exactness, power and technique. So accomplished are these athletes that most skating coaches for hockey teams of all levels are former figure skaters.
Like a skater, Tanaka relies on precision and accuracy to be successful. His fastball won’t blow you away, but when his splitter and sinker are moving just right and located where he wants them, he’ll easily fool you into a dozen strikeouts.
Luis Severino - Skeleton
Severino can sometimes resemble a madman on the mound, throwing the hardest fastball among starters and pairing the heat with a knockout slider. Combine that with his violent-yet-smooth delivery, and he resembles a player most comfortable at the edge of losing control.
Enter skeleton. The most intense — some would say too intense — sport in the Winter Olympics, skeleton includes all the risks of luge, except you’re speeding down an ice track head first. For a better idea of the limits of control skeleton runners operate at, check out the medal performance from the 2010 Vancouver games:
Fortunately for Severino and Yankees fans, just about the only body part that can’t be hurt on skeleton is the arm.
Jordan Montgomery - Biathalon
If Montgomery is going to make a career out of pitching in MLB, he’ll do it with pinpoint command and control. The lack of a 97-mph fastball means that his location needs to be near-perfect in order to keep batters off-balance. He’d do well carrying those skills into the biathalon, where Nordic skiing gets you onto the podium, but shooting accuracy gets you the gold.
Chad Green and David Robertson - 15km Nordic Ski
Green and Robertson, the two shining stars of the 2017 Yankees’ bullpen, aren’t always your typical one-inning relief pitchers. On 31 occasions last season, Green retired more than three batters. Robertson accomplished that 11 times. Their tandem performance in the Yankees’ Wild Card win over the Twins was probably the biggest single factor in that victory, and this ironman quality would serve both relievers well in the marathon of the Winter Olympics, a grueling 15 km cross-country race.
Tommy Kahnle - Long Track Speed Skate
Easy one. Speed skaters all have California redwoods where their thighs and calves should be. Kahnle? See for yourself:
Austin Romine - Curling
There are probably some people out there who like curling, and I’m happy that they find joy and interest in the game. There are probably some people out there who like Romine, too.
Greg Bird - Ski Jump
Is there a better way to let a Bird spread his wings?
Please watch this video with the sound on.
Did I miss anyone? Do you have an idea of what Ronald Torreyes or Gary Sanchez would medal in if they were sent to Pyeongchang? Let us know in the comments below, and I sincerely hope you enjoy the 2018 Winter Olympics.