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 analyze the ALCS ... if given the chance. In other words, What Would Zimmer Do?

"Everyone asks me what I would do to wake up the Red Sox' bats and get them going. The first thing I would do is give them all haircuts, and probably showers, especially Johnny Damon.

"Whenever I look at these Red Sox, I can't help but think of my days playing with the House of David team before I signed with the Dodgers. I was bald as a cue ball even then so I had to wear a fake beard like those idiot fans of Johnny Damon do and let me tell you, it itched like hell. The worst part was when my teammates put Krazy Glue in the beard and I had to shave it off. Gave me a rash so bad I looked like I had been bobbing for French fries.

"Anyway, I also would try shaking up things up by having my wife, Soot, pick out the lineup. That's what I did during the Boston Massacre. Just gave her the lineup card while she was clipping coupons and said, 'Fill it out.' Nah, it didn't work, but you never know. Then I would have that little guy Pedro brings into the clubhouse and make him the batboy for luck, maybe have everyone rub his head or something, too. And if that doesn't work, I'd bring in a witch doctor, Manny probably knows one, and have him burn the bats and maybe sacrifice a rooster or stick a pin in the back of a Kevin Brown voodoo doll. Don't laugh. We used to do that when I was playing winter ball in Cuba before the revolution and it always worked. But then Castro took over and we couldn't do it anymore because he kicked all the Americans out of the country and put the witch doctors in charge of the economy.

"But really, I think the Sox bats are going to bust loose now that they're back home in Boston. I think the Red Sox will win one, maybe two games but no way they win the series. I just don't know if their pitching is good enough. I mean, look at that Bronson Arroyo guy they're starting tonight. How can you feel good about a starting pitcher with his hair in those corncob things?

"You know, I'll always cherish my years sitting in the Yankee Stadium dugout with Joe, but I loved managing the Red Sox. Well, not when the fans dumped sewage on my lawn and threw bricks through my windows and slashed the tires on my car and made my wife Soot cry because of all those phone calls at 4 a.m. But it was always great there up until June.

"And I met some great people, too. I'll never forget listening to Glen Campbell music with Carlton Fisk and smoking cigars with Luis Tiant. Only I think they might have been those 'funny' cigars, if you know what I mean, because sometimes I would get these crazy thoughts that made perfect sense at the time but didn't seem so good afterward, like pitching Mike Torrez on three days' rest or starting Bobby Sprowl against the Yankees.

"I also liked meeting up with this one goofy comedy writer in a bar by the public garden after games. We'd sit together and drink until closing time and he would try out his jokes on me and I would laugh just to be polite but really, he wasn't nearly as funny as Joey Bishop. Then one day after the Red Sox canned me he called up and said he had just sold a new TV show to NBC about an ex-Red Sox pitcher running a bar in Boston, the sort of place where everyone knows your name, and he wanted to know whether I wanted to play an old coach who worked there as a bartender. I needed a job and I would have done it if I thought it would be a hit like 'The Golden Girls' but I never though this goofy writer guy was that funny in the first place so I turned him down and took a job as a coach with the Cubs.

"It was the right thing to do because I wound up managing the Cubs and coaching with Joe in New York and I've been in baseball 56 years now and I've enjoyed every minute. Besides, I don't think that show of his ever caught on anyhow."

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com




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WHAT WOULD ZIM DO?