Today, you’re Jeff Samardzija, the Chicago Cubs hurler and former Notre Dame wide receiver. For you ladies, that means a host of changes and probably a better haircut.
For fellas, that means you got markedly uglier in the estimation of everyone who doesn’t live within 40 miles of Lake Michigan’s southern shoreline.
You’re now a stellar athlete who’s become a fantastic righty pitcher — striking out about 8 batters to every one walk you’ve given up over the last four months of professional baseball you’ve played.
Unfortunately, it also means you haven’t won during that time, despite managing a 1.45 ERA and, in this season alone, going 0-3 in eight starts where you’ve left a game six times with a lead, a tie, or down by a run.
You are surrounded by the Chicago Cubs’ 2014 lineup, which has mustered 15 total runs in support of your cause. That’s 1.88 runs per game heading into your Friday start against the St. Louis Cardinals—the lowest in the major leagues.
//pauses for inconsolable sobbing.
If you were on literally any other team in baseball, a big-headed Irish columnist would be leading your Cy Young campaign for you.
Unfortunately, you are Jeff Samardzija, and the 2014 Chicago Cubs suck. It’s also likely that the 2015 and 2016 Chicago Cubs will suck, because the Chicago Cubs.
So, now that we’ve established you’re stuck on a hopeless team, you’d like to demand a trade, because you have two years left on your Cubs contract and are planning to walk after it’s up.*
Who would you like to join? Let’s run down your options:
San Francisco Giants: Location, Location, Location
Pros — Who can beat the West Coast for a landing spot? The weather is always relatively perfect, you have no enemies there as Notre Dame never beat USC during your tenure at the University, and Matt Cain’s proclivity for fancy sandwich cuts has left you an open space on the Giants’ roster.
Cons — As far as we know, you’ve never left the three-county radius surrounding your hometown of Valparaiso, Indiana. Old Style is inferior in every way to 21st Amendment’s canned options — a concept you may find overwhelming. Tim Lincecum has demonstrated an ability to one-up you in hair regardless of where it’s grown.
Verdict: You’re not cool enough.
Washington Nationals: Hog the Spotlight
Pros — Staying healthy, something you know how to do, is really the key to standing out amongst the legion of overrated players performing for a soulless fanbase in D.C. Bryce Harper is really just Brady Quinn with a slightly whiter name and a relatively equal hype-to-achievement ratio. Chicagoans run the nation’s capital these days, so you’ll be in familiar company. Nobody on the current staff can touch your numbers.
Cons — Your teammates possess the constitution of your anemic video gamey cousin in the family football game. Harper regards his body as Xerxes did the first 30,000 guys he sent into Thermopylae. Denard Span receives regular playing time.
Verdict: You’re not that desperate.
Boston Red Sox: Parallel Universe
Pros — Hey, here’s a franchise with a decrepitly old stadium, in a town with a complex about New York, with a bunch of fans who also care about what you did at ND and listen to terrible in-game music. With the noted exception of winning and shittier pizza options, it’s basically another Chicago. Clay Bucholtz has gift-wrapped you his starting spot.
Cons — East Coast pizza is just godawful and getting your Malnati’s shipped will be cost-prohibitive. This is not the 2013 Red Sox—nobody besides Pedroia is hitting close to .300 and the bullpen all made the big leagues during the Clinton administration. You’ll have to put up with some slogan constructed by a helplessly feeble mind in the PR department during the playoffs.
Verdict: It’s your best option.
Whoever lands you is getting a helluva good pitcher without a helluva lot to show for his efforts. Either way, they’re doing Samardzija a favor by plucking him out of that ivy-covered burial ground that is Wrigley Field.
*It may be likely you don’t want to leave the Windy City. It’s close to home, and by choosing to play for Tyrone Willingham and extending your contract with the Cubs once, maybe winning doesn’t really factor into your decision-making process. Sweet Home, Chicago!