Mind-bending quiz sets stage for baseball
Twenty questions to get you ready for the opening of camps
The Super Bowl is over, and now, with our collective blood guacamole levels at dangerous highs, the sporting world at large turns its attention back to baseball.Just about all of the desirable free agents have found their homes for 2012 and many a trade has been made. Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training camps in Florida and Arizona in a couple of weeks (or, in the case of the Mariners, just a few days), and all will be right again. By and large, those of you who read this space have followed every simmer and sizzle of the Hot Stove, but some have undoubtedly been distracted by the dalliances of daily life. What follows, then, is a quiz to separate the crackerjacks from the casuals -- a game of 20 questions for the baseball brain. How well have you followed along this winter? We're here to find out. 1. For $200 million, you can get ...
A. 8.3 years of Albert Pujols
B. 8.4 years of Prince Fielder
C. 7.3 years of Alex Rodriguez
D. A full century of Yuniesky Betancourt 2. The biggest perk in Pujols' contract is ...
A. A 10-year post-retirement personal services deal
B. Four season tickets to home games
C. A hotel suite on road trips
D. His own Polaroid photo with the Rally Monkey 3. With Fielder aboard, the Tigers' Team Store has been busy selling ...
A. Fielder jerseys
B. Fielder T-shirts
C. Fielder posters
D. Miguel Cabrera-model third baseman's gloves 4. The Miami Marlins have been busy this winter. Their key acquisition was ...
A. Jose Reyes
B. Heath Bell
C. Mark Buehrle
D. Backup water coolers for when Carlos Zambrano gets angry 5. The Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine because they were impressed by ...
A. His past success in a major market
B. The passion he brings to the job
C. His knowledge of the game
D. His claim that he invented the sandwich wrap 6. The White Sox have considered trading ...
A. Gavin Floyd
B. Paul Konerko
C. Matt Thornton
D. The dude who broke into Kenny Williams' townhouse 7. The biggest trade of the offseason was ...
A. Michael Pineda and Jose Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi
B. Gio Gonzalez for prospects
C. Mat Latos for Edinson Volquez and prospects
D. Fausto Carmona for Roberto Hernandez Heredia 8. By acquiring the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Pineda to pair with 6-foot-7, 290-pound CC Sabathia in the rotation, the Yankees have struck fear into the hearts of ...
A. Red Sox fans
B. Rays fans
C. AL East batters
D. The guy who has to stock the postgame spread 9. The Astros are moving to the American League in 2013 because ...
A. It will balance the leagues at 15 teams apiece.
B. It creates an in-state, intradivision rivalry with the Rangers
C. It allows MLB to create a more balanced schedule
D. They miss facing Pujols 10. The Rangers invested $111.7 million in Japanese sensation Yu Darvish because they ...
A. Envision him as their No. 1 starter
B. Believe he has better stuff than Dice-K
C. Scouted him heavily in the Japanese Pacific League
D. Wanted to ensure six years' worth of hilarious "Yu" puns in local newspaper headlines 11. Manny Ramirez says he wants to come back and be a "role model" because ...
A. He doesn't want his career to end on a sour note
B. He wants to chase 600 home runs
C. He's gotten back in baseball shape
D. His definition of "role model" is different than ours 12. Several stars announced their retirement this winter. We've officially seen the last of ...
A. Pedro Martinez
B. Jorge Posada
C. Pat Burrell
D. Jose Reyes' dreadlocks 13. The A's traded Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey because ...
A. All three players are at their peak
B. The returns were too good to pass up
C. The team is rebuilding in preparation for a move to San Jose
D. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill aren't afraid to take risks 14. Justin Verlander won both the Cy Young and MVP awards because he ...
A. Led the league in wins
B. Led the league in ERA
C. Led the league in strikeouts
D. Led the league in Taco Bell digestions 15. Barry Larkin was the only player elected by the writers to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, leading to an uproar over the continued exclusion of ...
A. Jack Morris
B. Jeff Bagwell
C. Lee Smith
D. Archi Cianfrocco 16. The biggest change in the new collective bargaining agreement is ...
A. A cap on the amount of money teams can spend on amateur talent
B. An additional Wild Card postseason spot added in each league
C. Instant replay use expanded to include fair/foul calls
D. The Rally Squirrel will be subjected to HGH testing 17. Jamie Moyer, at 49, is attempting a comeback with the Rockies because ...
A. He is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery
B. He's not afraid of pitching in Coors Field
C. He wants to become the oldest pitcher in history to win a regular-season game
D. He's confident he can still retire young punks like Chipper Jones 18. The Yankees and Red Sox didn't spend much money this offseason because ...
A. They didn't want to go too far over the luxury tax limit
B. They weren't impressed with the free-agent crop
C. They saw more opportunity in the trade market
D. They were too swept up in "Tebowmania" 19. People are lining up to bid more than a billion dollars on the Dodgers because ...
A. The team is in the nation's second-largest market
B. A new, lucrative television deal is looming
C. Dodger Stadium is one of baseball's crown jewels
D. The winning bidders can have Vin Scully record their voicemail greeting 20. The biggest question entering the 2012 season is ...
A. Can the Cardinals repeat?
B. Can the Rangers recover from Game 6?
C. Which team will surprisingly leap into contention?
D. Who will live in the MLB Fan Cave?
ANSWER KEY: No reasonable answers refused.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.