Game of Thrones night is here, and while it’s winter in Westeros, winter is thankfully receding in Wrigleyville. (Although it will be quite a bit chillier at the ballpark tonight if you are heading to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs open a three-game set against the Dodgers.)
There isn’t exactly an iron throne in baseball, but by most accounts the NL Central is the toughest division in baseball and 2019 is set up to be an epic fight to the finish. Since the Cubs have been off since Sunday afternoon I’ve had far too much time on my hands. I’ve also been obsessed with Game of Thrones night at Wrigley since it was announced in the offseason.
I think you know where this is going - what if the NL Central was Game of Thrones? Who’s who if baseball were Westeros?
Note: I tried to avoid spoilers, but it’s the eighth season of Game of Thrones, so if you haven’t started the series at all and still plan to, proceed with caution.
My Kings in the North are obviously the Cubs. They had a brief reign of power although they’ve taken a few hits lately. But it’s impossible not to love the gritty, loyal people from the frozen lands just below the Wall. Jon Lester is the Ned Stark of this team of loyal North Siders. He’s a battle tested veteran who has fought with and against the other families in previous epic battles like the 2013 World Series that established him as dominant over the dreaded Cardinals. Admit it, you can see the resemblance:
Lester’s heir apparent as King in the North is obviously Anthony Rizzo, who is loyal, battle tested and the heart of the Cubs. Jon Snow has Valyrian Steel. Anthony Rizzo has Matt Szczur’s bat. It’s basically the same thing:
Each family also has a stealthy assassin type who is so smooth they may as well be a magician.
Here is a nine-minute video of Arya Stark doing ridiculous things that often defy the laws of physics:
Here’s a 7:30 video of Javier Báez also defying the laws of physics:
The Lannisters are crafty, power-hungry, and duplicitous. They have also been in power for far too long, and you know what they say about power and corruption. While the Cardinals try to cling to their legacy in King’s Landing a few of their more renegade members are doing good things in the rest of Westeros.
Daniel Descalso as Jaime Lannister: Once a hated member of the Lannister family, Descalso has left King’s Landing and is fighting more honorable battles. He’s most recently been spotted fighting with the Kings in the North:
Tyrion Lannister has been exiled from the family after killing his father. He found himself the hand of the Queen who is on a quest to retake the Iron Throne. He also found himself at odds with a ruthless queen who will do anything to maintain her grasp on power. Not unlike the time Sig Mejdal left the Cardinals for the Astros to build a champion in the upstart kingdom that used to be part of the NL Central before they were exiled to the American League only to find themselves the victim of Cardinals hacking.
The Tyrells are the Brewers, constantly trying to finagle ways to be on top of the league. They are beautiful, clever and have their moments, but they just can’t quite keep up with the Starks and the Lannisters. By far their most redeeming member is Bob Uecker, their iconic announcer who is simultaneously a font of wisdom and humor, basically Olenna Tyrell.
The Greyjoys are a humorless bunch who live on the desolate Iron Islands, the Pirates are a humorless bunch who play in the Iron City. The Greyjoys are brawlers led by a cantankerous patriarch in Balon Greyjoy who is still holding grudges from battles he lost decades ago. The Pirates are brawlers led by a cantankerous patriarch in Clint Hurdle who is very concerned about the game being too fun now:
The Martells are from the Southern part of Westeros and Prince Oberyn Martell is a little too much of everything. He likes to party, he likes to fight, he’s over the top. He’s also on a bit of a revenge tour because of the death of his sister. He’s nicknamed the Red Viper for his knowledge of poisons and deadly combat. I think you can see where I’m going with this, because if ever a baseball player was on a revenge tour and deserved the nickname the “Red Viper” it is clearly Yasiel Puig:
In one of the most iconic quotes from the series, Cersei Lannister (who really is so cunningly evil I couldn’t in good conscience assign a current Cardinal player to her) says: “When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” The battle for the NL Central is shaping up to be just as ruthless with all five teams within 4½ games of first place as of today. Enjoy Game of Thrones night at Wrigley Field tonight, Cubs fans, and if I missed any of your favorite characters, let me know who would play them in the comments below.