The 2020 Major League Baseball season is on indefinite hiatus because of the threat that is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Spring training was shut down in March and Opening Day has been pushed back indefinitely. When will baseball return? No one knows for sure.
Between now and Opening Day, my fellow CBS Sports MLB scribes and I will bring you a weekly roundtable breaking down, well, pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. .
Now let's get to this week's discussion, which was sparked by our recent dive into Michael Jordan's brief detour as a minor-league baseball player.
Which athlete in another sport would you most like to see try baseball?
Katherine Acquavella: I'd love it if we could see Patrick Mahomes follow in his father's footsteps and try pro baseball. We all know that his choice to drop baseball to focus on football while at Texas Tech has obviously paid off, having just led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in 50 years and picking up Super Bowl MVP in the process. Mahomes didn't spend too much time playing college ball, so we can't quite determine his full potential on the diamond. But, the potential is/was there.
As a senior in high school, Mahomes reached 94-95 mph with his fastball and threw a 16-strikeout no-hitter his senior year. He also was able to play the outfield thanks to his impressive arm strength. He was drafted in the 37th round by the Detroit Tigers in the 2014 MLB Draft, but kept his commitment to Texas Tech and didn't sign. Mahomes basically grew up in a professional baseball clubhouse as his father, Pat Mahomes, played 11 big-league seasons. The younger Mahomes is an outstanding athlete and has a Mike Trout-like build at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds. Plus, he's already perfected his bat flip:
R.J. Anderson: Usain Bolt. It's a boring, predictable selection, but I'm a sucker for designated pinch-runners. Bolt would potentially wreak havoc on the basepaths if he could learn how to read pitchers and their moves (no sure thing, mind you). At minimum, he would introduce a fun dynamic late in games that has been missing since Terrance Gore stopped being a postseason roster mainstay.
Mike Axisa: Sidney Crosby, and not only because he once slugged a home run during batting practice at PNC Park:
Crosby has a knack for batting pucks out of the air and into the net -- and he's a quick-twitch athlete. I suspect Crosby would be a high on-base hitter who sprays the ball to all fields and could put a mistake in the seats. I guess that'd make him similar to pre-breakout Christian Yelich?, and the skills that make him one of the greatest hockey players ever would seem to translate well to baseball. He has outstanding vision and hand-eye coordination --
Dayn Perry: I'm going to go with Rafael Nadal in his prime. Mostly I'm curious to how elite tennis skills would carry over as a hitter. Yes, the racquet head is much bigger than the barrel of a bat, but you're also dealing with much higher ball velocities in tennis. Nadal had a two-hand forehand for a while, and he's a natural right-hander who plays lefty. As well, he was a highly skilled youth soccer player, so he's got at least some multisport chops.
Matt Snyder: It's funny. I've spent so much time doing the opposite of this exercise. I find myself dreaming of Mike Trout in football pads. What would Yasiel Puig look like as a linebacker or running back? What about someone like Cody Bellinger on the basketball court? Stuff like that.
I'll stick with basketballers in the GOAT discussion and go with LeBron James for this exercise, though. He's such an incredible all-around athlete, and I imagine he would be a decent baseball player against much lesser competition than the MLB level. We've seen enough of him to know he'd be excellent at running down fly balls in the outfield and his hand-eye coordination is so good that surely he'd be adept with the glove. I imagine he has a great arm and he'd probably be able to handle the bat pretty well. With him being such a master of his craft, I'd bet on him becoming a good baserunner, too.