The dilemma faced by the Red Sox in trying to make room for all of their bats in the NL ballpark is hardly unique. Most years, the AL champ is forced to sit someone they'd rather not for at least a game or two. But the Gordian knot that Tito Francona had to solve this year was particularly complex. (Baseball Prospectus reports that he'll ultimately sit Youkilis in favour of Papi in the field.)
Which brings us back to the Jays. (Remember way back when this was still a Jays blog?)
Back in 1993, Cito Gaston was faced with the same sort of decision when he had to choose between Paul Molitor and AL Batting Champ John Olerud for Game 3 of the Series in the Vet. Cito ultimately settled on Molitor, who rewarded his decision by going 3 for 4 with a homer and three RsBI.
Cito's plan before that game (as noted to the New York Times' Murray Chass) was to sit the eventual World Series MVP in Games 4 and 5. But Molitor's performance forced his hand into moving him to third for those games, a position he hadn't patrolled on a regular basis in four years. Then again, Cito's choice was either taking a chance with Molly, or sitting him and playing Ed Babb-Sprague. In retrospect, the decision seems so clear.
In looking back at the 1993 Series, we're impressed with how aggressive a manager Cito was. There is this erroneous notion that is floated out there that he merely filled in a lineup card full of all-stars, and let them have at it.
Armchair Managing the Sox: If we were Tito, we would have moved Youk to second, Pedroia to short, and played Papi at first. Sure, three-quarters of your infield would have been out of their regular positions, but what's it gonna matter if you're up ten runs?
(Then again maybe we've played too much MLB 2K6 lately...where we play Travis Hafner in right field and let Ryan Howard catch.)