Billings Gazette Sports Five on Five

1. Before the playoffs began, how much did you know about Phillies manager Rob Thomson?

John Letasky: He was a former Yankees coach and bench coach and seemed to be doing a good job with New York. Hopefully he leads Philly to a title.

Jake Iverson: The guy who sang “Smooth” with Santana?

Bill Bighaus: I thought he was once a second baseman for the San Francisco Giants, but I think I’m wrong.

Briar Napier: Nothing, but the question arises… how many Canadian coaches (excluding the NHL) have won Big 5 championships? Could be historic for our friends north of the border.

Mike Scherting: I knew him. What a great job he has done. Who knows what was going on with the team under Joe Girardi before Thomson took over.

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2. How can MLB help grow the game to increase black participation in baseball?

John Letasky: It probably starts at youth level, although maybe not as much interest as in other sports.

Jake Iverson: Many. But the first step is to get baseball attractive to young people by ending blackouts and actually allowing them to watch their favorite team play on TV.

Bill Bighaus: I didn’t even realize this was an issue for MLB. Just make sure everyone has an equal chance I guess.

Briar Napier: Infrastructure is so important in building a sport. Step 1 is to eliminate the growing number of “pay-to-play” teams that essentially exclude disadvantaged children from jumping.

Mike Scherting: Creating Play Opportunities for Black Youth. It all comes down to access to equipment, fields, etc.

3. Will Tom Brady reevaluate with the Bucs on a 3-game sled this year?

John Letasky: Probably not. The competitor that is Brady is probably trying hard to find a solution.

Jake Iverson: What, you wouldn’t destroy your family to be in the worst league in league 8-9?

Bill Bighaus: Why do we always have to talk about Brady? Let’s talk about the great work Geno Smith is doing at the Seahawks.

Briar Napier: Well, you can only engage in a brutal sport on a steady diet of kale, avocados, and Advil for so long.

Mike Scherting: 8-9 Jake? Maybe you are a bit optimistic. But seriously, this situation must be troubling for your kids.

4. Where will baseball bat Aaron Judge play next season?

John Letasky: Hopefully back in New York. It’s a tough place to play, but listen to most former Yankees, and New York is the best place to play.

Jake Iverson: I would have said Yankees, but being booed at home after dragging your underperforming team into the playoffs should rightfully leave a bad taste in your mouth. He’s going home to San Francisco.

Bill Bighaus: He’s not going anywhere, and neither is Aaron Boone. It will take more than a few boos to chase them away.

Briar Napier: The Mets would be hilarious. Hellfire would rain upon his return to Yankee Stadium.

Mike Scherting: If I’m him, I’m not putting the black pinstripes back on. I understand the Bronx fans need to uphold their reputations, but booing Judge after leading this team to the playoffs was a huge mistake.

5. You have been taken back in time and you are a teenager in 1985. What would your Halloween costume be?

John Letasky: So many 1980’s personalities/characters to choose from. Hulkamania ran wild in 1985, so how about Hulk Hogan.

Jake Iverson: I think I’d still ride up Return of the Jedi, which is Luke Skywalker in the black suit with the only black glove.

Bill Bighaus: I was in my early 30’s in 1985. Let’s go back to the mid 1960’s so I can wear my Batman costume.

Briar Napier: I feel like my kid ate Arnold Schwarzenegger’s badass look in Commando, which came out in early October 1985.

Mike Scherting: Unfortunately, I wasn’t a teenager in 1985. But take me back to the year 75 and I’m Johnny Bench, holding in one hand eight of the biggest candy bars I can find.

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