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40 in 40: Mitch Haniger

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Two contestants! So many question marks! One big board!

Tee Miller / CBS

jazzy music blasts, Steve Harvey enters, clapping

Steve Harvey: Hello hello hello everybody, welcome to Family Feud, thank you everybody for watching, we’ve got TWO writers today here, one of them is going home with some CASH. MONEY. They both know the deal. Let’s play the Feud!

jazzy music blasts again as Isabelle and John step up to the podium.

Steve: This was asked of 100 Seattle Mariners fans: Name the Mariner you felt was the best player on the 2018 team.

Isabelle smacks the buzzer with her superior reflexes: Mitch Haniger!

Steve: That is correct! Your team is up first.

John: :(

Steve: Now, in this COVID era we’re doing things a little differently here on Family Feud. Since we’re all fundamentally alone, there will be no family and there will be no teammates. Both John and Isabelle will be left on their own to struggle through these rounds. They will, however, be permitted one phone-a-friend.

Steve: Alright Isabelle, since you excel at everything, including buzzer-hitting, you’re up first. If you could buy stock in Mitch Haniger in 2021, what would the r/WallStreetBets folks say?

Isabelle: Okay, well, uh, don’t do it!

Steve: Mitch Haniger stock: Don’t do it?

Steve: Sounds right, sounds right. Hard to buy on a guy we literally haven’t seen in person in two years. Is he even real anymore? Who knows... Isabelle, your next guess?

Isabelle: Yes! Alright...hmm...Buy low, sell quick?

Steve: Tough to imagine buying any lower on ‘ol Mitch than we would right now, but okay...

Steve: I guess if you’re going to buy Mitch stock it couldn’t conceivably get any lower than a man who hasn’t traversed a baseball field longer than most toddlers have been alive

Isabelle: Oh man, okay...let me think for a minute

Steve: Time is ticking, much like it is on Mitch’s ligaments

Isabelle: Stonks?

insert board with large red X over it

Steve: Oh dear, it sounded like you sneezed there! Let’s get you a tissue and wipe off the buzzer there, but in the meantime looks like we’re going to John for the steal here. Whaddya got?

John: Silver bat, diamond hands!

Steve: Hey now! I believe Gold Gloves are preferable, but the Mariners have held onto Haniger for quite some time now, despite trade rumors after his All-Star season in 2018 and even his injury-shortened 2019 and this winter. They’re still calling him “Our Champion”, they might as well see if he can still play like it.

**Neither John nor Isabelle guess the top answer, which solely reads “who??”

Jazzy music plays out to commercial

Steve: Hey there everybody, welcome back! Alright contestants, it’s time for another face-off. It’s game 162 of the 2021 season, Mitch Haniger has somehow survived a full major league season with both testicles intact and takes the field for the Mariners in that first inning. He trots out to right field leading the team in what categories?

The question is... what are some things Mitch Haniger is likely to lead the Mariners in this year?

Isabelle: ** glares daggers at Steve ** Entropy.

John: wRC+!

Steve: Ooooohhhh let’s check the board!

Steve: That looks like a win for John! Take another swing my friend, it might be a bigger indictment of the Mariners than endorsement of Mitch, but the big three projection systems think Hanny is headed for an above-average season at the dish, even with the nearly two year layoff!

John: Ahhh yes, okay, I love this, uhhhhh walks!

Steve: Show me.... bases on balls!

Steve: There we go! The M’s sure could use Mitch back in form, they were 25th in MLB for OBP last year as a team, 28th in slugging percentage, and 23rd in wRC+ overall. The last time we saw Haniger he was in the midst of a less productive season despite a power surge, but even that version of himself would’ve been one of Seattle’s best bats and a huge upgrade from Phillip Ervin and Jose Marmolejos. What else ya got?

John: Walk off homers!?

Steve: Hoo boy, I don’t know about that, show me... walk off dingers!

Steve: Sorry kid, he might be good again, but I’m not sure you’re putting ALL of that first half of 2018 magic back in the bottle. Isabelle! Two more answers for you to steal, whatcha got?

Isabelle: Ermmm...innings played in right field?

Steve: Ooh, I’m sorry. Looks like a young whippersnapper might have his way with that fine T-Mobile grass! John, what’ve you got?

John: Wait, sorry, Steve, who is making these graphi-

Steve: Tick, tock, John

John: Phone a friend!

Steve: Alright, now just lean over and punch in the number of the friend you’d like to call.

John dials a number in an ancient rotary phone and a dial tone rings out

An extremely confused man’s voice answers: Hello?

John: Mitch! Hey! So I’m on this game show, you may have heard of it - Family Feud? It’s got Steve Harvey and this one time when I stayed home sick in the seventh grade my Mom let me watch it for 23 hours straight and I thought I could have gone on and won except -

Mitch Haniger: John Trupin? Is that you? Did you not get that letter the lawyers sent? C’mon, man. You’re more into me than Jarred is into himself.

a click and a dial tone

Steve: turns to look directly into the camera, blinks

John: Doubles!

Steve, shaking his head: Some people, man...

Steve: One option left on the board. John?

John: I...um...

giant buzzer rings out

Steve: Oh, I’m sorry. Time’s up! What’s the final thing people think Mitch will lead the team in?

Steve: Yikes. Well, no use crying over spilled Mitch - I mean, milk. Let’s move on to the final round!

John: Please do NOT spill Mitch, we can’t be too careful.

alarm bells clang, strobe lights flash, Coldplay echoes in the background

Steve: Since this is 2021 and there are no rules anymore, we’ve decided to make the final round a lightning round! The contestants get to answer rapid-fire until one of them guesses incorrectly, at which point the other contestant has one chance to guess the right answer and secure their victory. If they’re both wrong, I win, and no matter what happens YOU lose!

Isabelle squints menacingly as they face off six feet apart: Bring it on

John smiles affably and rocks back on his heels: Yay Mitch!

Steve: Alllllrighty then. Picture this: It’s Opening Day 2026. The world exploded and cyborgs are running everything, but my recent guest Rob Manfred struck up an eve-of-the-apocalypse deal and there is still baseball being played. What is Mitch Haniger doing?

Tee Miller / CBS

John: Sharing a condo, an oblique, and an outfield with Michael Conforto and Mecha-Juan Lagares in the undercity of Queens where the Mets are still holding out.

Isabelle: Painting his living room a new shade of ecru!

John: Smashing dingers and showing the way to the next generation of Mariners sluggers!

Steve rolls his eyes and mutters into his microphone: How’d we let him stuff the survey results?

Isabelle: Standing at the podium in front of 28 people in a stuffy conference room in the Holiday Inn Oahu, detailing the 23-layer pyramid to inner self-actualization

John: Playing catch with me!!

Steve, grimacing: Alright Isabelle, your shot, for all the marbles

Isabelle, exhaling slowly: Flipping around and around and around on one of the pull-up bars with his medically inserted Tungsten Carbide Obliques?

*Confetti shaped like Mitch’s head rains down over Isabelle, Steve, John and the three security guards frog-marching John off the studio stage

Steve: That’s all for tonight folks! We’ll see you next week for Family Feud: Kelenic’s Revenge!