It’s the type of thing that could make a manager wake up in a cold sweat.
While some people have nightmares about being chased by a shadowy figure, or missing a big test, managers worry about the very thing that happened to Mickey Callaway in the waking world Wednesday: Submitting the wrong lineup card and batting out of order.
“I have nightmares about it,” Alex Cora said before the Red Sox were set to take on the Yankees at the stadium. “Honestly, I learned a lot last year as a bench coach. You have to make sure it’s the right one. If there’s a mistype, or even the positions — and the positions don’t matter, just the DH, that’s the one that matters — I check the lineup three or four times (before) even seeing the umpire. I know it’s simple, it sounds simple, but there’s a lot of work as far as that. You have to make sure you have it right.”
And though it may not be as traumatizing as showing up to class in your birthday suit, Callaway’s nightmare mistake might’ve hurt the Mets plenty. It cost them a runner in scoring position in a game where they lost 2-1.
“It’s one of the things I’m paranoid about every single day,” Aaron Boone said. “We have about eight layers that we go through to make sure that something like that hopefully doesn’t happen to us but I certainly understand that it could.”
A transcription error, an old lineup card, or even a miscommunication could potentially lead to the mistake. And though every manner of coach could handle a lineup — managers, after all, aren’t always the ones to hand it off to the umpire at the start of the game — the buck ultimately stops with the skipper. And for first-year managers — especially one like Callaway, who’d previously served as a pitching coach — the mistake is easy to comprehend.
And that’s why Cora has his personal safety net in place.
“It goes, Billy [Broadbent, video coordinator] types the lineup, Ron [Roenicke, bench coach] checks it out first, he compares it, and then we go and we check it out with our lineup in the dugout. There’s a lot of checking, a lot of checking . . . Hopefully it doesn’t happen.”