Have you ever wondered what a group interview would be like if it were conducted by Major League Baseball general managers? Would they bring in their free agent targets, sit them down, and grill them with questions?
With many Americans out of work and looking for a job, I thought it would be fun to take a light-hearted look at a potential group interview session.
The Cubs made no secret this offseason that their goal was to improve their right field position. The list of potential candidates was impressive, and Cubs GM Jim Hendry began his search soon after the club was dropped from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Here's how the group interview session would have looked, if Hendry brought in Adam Dunn (signed with the Nationals), Raul Ibanez (Phillies), Bobby Abreu (Angels), and Milton Bradley (Cubs) for a meeting. All four talented players were available, and the Cubs were believed to favor Bradley the most.
Hendry, sitting at the head of the table, opens the floor.
"OK, guys, let's get going here. We all got places to be and people to see. Let's go around the table here and just answer these questions in a row. What three words best describe you? Let's start with you, big boy."
Adam Dunn assumes he's the "big boy" and responds, "Big. Country. Power."
"Fair enough," replies Hendry. "How about you, Raul?"
Ibanez thinks a minute before responding with "Unknown. Underrated. Undervalued."
"Thanks, Raul. How about you, Robert?"
Abreu says, "Running. Hitting. Good."
"Short and sweet, I like it," says Hendry.
Bradley is last to answer: "Crazy. Crazed. Crazyness"
Hendry is clearly taken aback by the response, but knows it is the terrible truth.
Hendry then wants to know what the players' strengths and weaknesses are. Adam Dunn is first to answer again.
"Well, Jim, I'm an on-base machine, my 40-home run power scares even myself, and I'm a lefty, which I hear you are looking for. My weakness is my ability to make contact, or lack thereof."
Hendry nods in agreement. Ibanez is next.
"Well, Jim, I've hit at least 20 home runs in each of the last four seasons. And my career batting average sits at about .288. My weakness is that none of these fools in the room know who I am, because I spent my entire career in Seattle and Kansas City."
Hendry grimaces at the horrifying experience Ibanez must have had playing in those cities, while Dunn and Abreu look at each other and ask, "Who's that dude?"
Abreu then responds, "Jim, I have power, speed, a great eye, and a good arm out there in right. In any given year, I can score 100 runs, drive in 100, walk 100 times, steal 20 bases, hit 20 home runs, and hit .300. My weakness is that I am 35 in American years, which, frankly, could be much more because I honestly lost track of my age."
Hendry acknowledges the sad realization that forged birth certificates have plagued players for years.
"Look, boss, I led the American League last year in OPS," says Bradley. "I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs though, man, that's my only weakness."
Hendry again is taken aback by the comment. Next, Hendry asks the players who their worst boss has been in their careers.
Before Hendry can finish the question, Dunn says, "Dusty Baker."
Ibanez is next, and responds, "Lou Pini...I mean, no one. I've loved them all."
"Steinbrenner for me, Jim," replies Bobby Abreu.
Bradley, losing his cool already, says to Hendry, "You are about to be if you keep asking me these stupid (expletive) questions."
Hendry sheds a tear as he can't believe the interview has soured already with Bradley.
"OK, gang, where did you work before this?" Hendry needs to do a comprehensive list of previous employers.
Dunn is first again. "Cincy for my first seven and a half, then Arizona for a few months, and I've been the model for Braun Paper Towels since my high school days."
Abreu answers with, "New York and Philly. Just call me east-coast biased, Bobby."
Bradley is blunt with his response. "Everywhere, man."
Hendry writes down a few notes before moving on to his next question. Dunn is flexing his muscles into a mirror while Ibanez and Abreu cast Bradley dirty looks.
"OK, fellas, two more. What interests you the most about our organization?"
Dunn says, "Jim, it's your home park. I rule at Wrigley sir. I have a 1.083 career OPS at your place."
Hendry checks his phone for a text from Jake Peavy, but nothing was sent.
Raul Ibanez is frank with his answer. "I love your tradition, sir. I don't know what that is coming from my previous two employers."
Hendry nods in agreement with Ibanez, then takes a sip of coffee.
Abreu is next with, "I am looking for a chance to return to the National League, sir. The pitchers over here are really, really easy to hit."
Dunn slaps Bobby a high-five and says, "You know it!"
Bradley, last again to answer because he was updating his twitter page via his BlackBerry, says, "The money you'll pay me is pretty nice."
Hendry looks about ready to wrap up the interview session.
"Last question and we're outta here. In 10 words or less, why should I hire you?"
Dunn responds, "I'll walk, I'll flex, I'll hit bombs...don't 'Roid either."
Hendry seems uninterested in Dunn despite his great interview.
Ibanez says, "I'll hit 17 bombs by the end of May...baby."
Hendry is clearly interested in Ibanez (especial for the "baby" comment) and has been for several months.
Abreu then answers, "I am a good baseball player and that is important."
Hendry does not care for the boring answer, though it is extremely true.
Bradley provides the interview's last answer:
"I'm misunderstood, man. I'm not the bad guy the media says I am. I just need a chance to prove people wrong. I am better than all these clowns, come on, Jim!"
Hendry doesn't notice that Bradley uses more than 10 words in his response because his eyes are fixed in a hypnotized, dreamy stare at Bradley. He seems to have made his pick. He will sign Bradley this offseason.
So, that's how the interview likely would have gone. For the record, I like Bradley and I am confident he will make an impact with the Cubs this year. I am frustrated, however, with his terrible start this season. What's more frustrating is to see the numbers of Dunn, Ibanez, and Abreu:
Adam Dunn: 15 HR, 40 RBI, 26 R, .284 BA, 0 SB
Raul Ibanez: 17 HR, 44 RBI, 38 R, .347 BA, 4 SB
Bobby Abreu: 1 HR, 17 RBI, 19 R, .302 BA, 15 SB
And, of course, Bradley's current line:
Milton Bradley: 5 HR, 13 RBI, 16 R, .196 BA, 0 SB
So there you have it. You sure can pick 'em, Hendry.