By Jim Caple
Page 2

Editor's note: He managed the Red Sox and coached for the Yankees. So we take a shot at how Don Zimmer, the man who knows them both so well, would handicap the ALCS lineups ... if given the chance. In other words, What Would Zimmer Do?

"That was some game, I must say. After the Yankees jumped out to an 8-0 lead, I switched over to another channel that was showing "The Guns of Navarone." But just before the scene where Gregory Peck blows up the Nazis, I switched back to the game and it was 8-7. I couldn't believe it. What the hell happened? All I can figure is Joe must have let Willie Randolph manage a couple innings for fun.

"Anyhow, so now the Red Sox are down 1-0 and they're sending their chief punk, Pedro, out to the mound for Game 2. I hate that guy. He thinks he's a pretty tough guy, throwing pitches at batters' heads. Well, he doesn't know the first thing about tough. I'll you what tough is.

"Tough is nearly having your career wrecked by a stupid SOB pitcher who likes to throw at hitters. Tough is getting knocked unconscious by a 95-mile-hour fastball. Tough is being wheeled into the hospital for emergency brain surgery. Tough is having them insert a steel plate in your head to save your life.

Don Zimmer
"OK, I admit I have a reason to hold a grudge against that punk, Pedro."

"And what is really tough is finding out years later that while you were on the operating table, the government also secretly inserted a transmitter inside your skull. Tough is having a secret government agency beaming you with microwaves that make you drink fluoridated water, vote Democrat and burn out your pitching staff in the 1978 pennant race. Tough is dogs barking in your head and telling you to walk the bases loaded to bring Will Clark to the plate in the 1989 National League playoffs. Tough is having your memory erased so that you don't remember when the aliens probed you at the secret laboratory where President Kennedy, the real Paul McCartney and Matty Alou are stored.

"That's what tough is, Mr. Pedro Martinez with your Michael Jackson haircut. And that's something you'll never be.

"And let me tell you something else -- you've got a surprise waiting for you if you throw anything even close to resembling a beanball. You so much as make a batter flinch, Phil Rizzuto is ready to take you out. If you thought tangling with me last year was bad news, just try messing with Scooter. Sure, he may be 84 years old but he still works out five times a week, including three days of cardio-kickboxing and Tae-Bo.

"So just watch yourself. We've got our eyes on you.

"My prediction for tonight -- Yankees knock Pedro out in the fifth inning and Scooter knocks him out right after that."

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com




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WHAT WOULD ZIM DO?