Monday, March 30, 2015

How Do We Imagine a Modern-day Copacabana Incident?

In a post a couple years ago, I wondered, "How Would 2013 View the Copacabana Incident?" For those who don't know, here's how I described the Copacabana Incident in that post:

"The Copacabana was a happening nightclub in Manhattan that consistently booked high-profile performers like Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Frank Sinatra. You might know the Copa, as it was called, from the famous scene in Goodfellas.

On May 16, 1957 -- the night I'd time-travel to the Copa -- Yankee teammates Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer, Johnny Kucks, and Whitey Ford showed up to watch Sammy Davis, Jr. A group of bowlers showed up and began making racial slurs at Davis, who was black.

What happened next is sometimes disputed, but we do know that the Yankees whooped some ass. Several of the players stood up for their buddy Davis, and they beat up the bowlers just as you would expect pro athletes to beat up bowlers. (Here's a link to a video of Mantle talking about the incident.) Several of the players were fined, and the incident caused the Yankees to trade Billy Martin. One of the bowlers ended up with a concussion and broken jaw, so he sued Hank Bauer. The case was eventually thrown out. Yogi Berra later insisted, "Nobody did nothin' to nobody."


It's now 2015, but the premise of that post still holds. Can you imagine the reaction on Twitter, SportsCenter, and everywhere else if a similar episode took place today? With that in mind, I was wondering which sets of teammates would be most likely to reenact a situation similar to the Copacabana Incident. We're probably looking for a group of players that's young, likes to indulge in adult substances, and wouldn't be afraid to engage in fisticuffs. To be clear, I don't think any of these trios of teammates is likely to find themselves in a Copacabana-esque situation. We can dream, though. Here are a few groups of teammates who could pull it off:

Yankees -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Brian McCann
I say this only because Ellsbury, Drew, and McCann play the same respective positions as Mantle, Martin, and Berra. Even though the recent Sandlot video shows that these Yankees are capable of having PG fun, I don't think they'd be capable of turning it up at a New York nightclub. (Former Yankee Boomer Wells could show those boys a thing or two, though.) 

Mariners -- Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Fernando Rodney
Juan "OG" Perez, Geno Smith, Jay-Z, Victor Cruz, and Cano at the 40/40 Club. (Via nydailynews.com)
When Cano was with the Yankees, he was known to partake in the New York nightlife. Now that he's a bit older and plays in Seattle, his odds of getting caught up in wee-hour antics are much slimmer. If he were to reenact the Copacabana Incident, though, I'd bet his accomplices would be Cruz, who's not afraid to ingest potentially dangerous substances, and Fernando Rodney, who's not afraid to ruffle people's feathers and doesn't back down from a good altercation.

White Sox -- Melky Cabrera, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Sale
Cabrera -- Cano's former running mate in Manhattan nightclubs -- also doesn't have many qualms about ingesting foreign substances. Besides, a place with a name like "Copacabana" sounds like Melky's type of joint. It wouldn't hurt for Melky to have former football standout Samardzija on his side. Sale makes the cut because the lefty puts up stats similar to Whitey Ford's; I have no idea if Sale likes to party. If the White Sox were to become involved in a bar brawl, though, it would probably be better if their manager stayed out of it:

Ventura gets rocked by Ryan. (Via tumblr.com)
Tigers -- Miguel Cabrera, Joba Chamberlain, Yoenis Cespedes 
Even Billy Martin would be impressed with the .26 BAC Cabrera sported in a 2009 incident. Chamberlain wouldn't quite have given Cabrera a run for his money, as Joba once blew a .134. The Greek god-like Cespedes would be most useful as the muscle in this crew. Unfortunately for those of us who want to see another Copacabana Incident, the crazier days appear to be behind this trio.

Red Sox -- David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli
The Red Sox are poised to break an ignominious streak of four consecutive Spring Trainings with a player getting a DUI. However, they still have a group of potential bar-fighters. If these three Sox encountered a Copacabana scenario at The Greatest Bar, Pedroia could play the Martin role as the scrapper. Napoli, meanwhile, just looks like a party animal. And Ortiz would be the player most likely to produce a Yogi-esque denial along the lines of "Nobody did nothin' to nobody."

Giants -- Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence, Matt Duffy
Lincecum might be a bit, um, mellow to end up in a Copacabana-type tussle, but he definitely wouldn't be opposed to spending a late night out with teammates. And as my father always warned me, nothing good happens after midnight. In this scenario, the wrestling-loving Pence would be the ringleader, and I selected Duffy because he sounds like he's an Irishman.

Nationals -- Bryce Harper, Jason Werth, Matt Williams
Harper doesn't even like being asked about drinking, and he definitely doesn't back down from conflict. Werth's drinking habits, on the other hand, have garnered negative headlines on several occasions. Besides, he would be a beast in a bar fight. Williams, the Nats manager, has also shown a recent willingness to scrap. Despite his possible rift with Harper, Williams is the type of old-school guy who might welcome a Copacabana-like fight.



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