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Major League General Managers as Die Hard Terrorists

Yes, this post is for real. You know yo me gusta el Muerto Hard. One of the reasons I love the movie so much is that it gave many of the bit villains distinct identities. You've got the impulsive guy, the tech guy, the computer guy, the fashion model, the Huey Lewis clone, the guy who everyone says looks like Genghis Khan, Vigo the Carpathian (literally), . . . what a band of bad guys! I haven't even mentioned Hans Gruber yet.

Anyway, given the way these guys are fleshed out, I propose it is possible to find good comps among the current big league general managers. Why general managers? Because Jim Bowden is a general manager, and you just know I'm going to make him a part of this post.

How will I know which GMs to pick? I can tell by their clothing and . . .

. . .

[beat]

. . . cigarettes.

Yes, you need to have seen the movie to get that reference. Speaking of which, the capsules below contain spoilers---literally so, since I'm going to tell you how most of these guys die. I'd be hesitant about providing too many spoilers, but I figure: (1) Die Hard has been out nineteen years, so you've probably seen it; (2) most of you are a) about my age and b) male, so you've probably seen it; and (3) the spoiler statute of limitations expired in like 1991 at the latest.

Ready or not, here comes the Pacific Courier van full of the ambulance full of bad guys. Although John McClane says there are twelve, there are actually thirteen, though you can't blame him for the inaccuracy. The thirteenth is some younger looking kid who spends much of the movie standing around a vault smoking cigarettes. But we'll get to him; in fact, why don't we start with him?

* * * *

ALEXANDER

Who He Was: Younger guy, brown hair, briefly seen in only a few scenes. Theo's assistant preparing the vault, it would seem, though it also doesn't seem like he did much of anything. Probably underutilized, maybe a top terrorism prospect/bonus baby. My freshman year hallmate called him "the future of West German terrorism." [NOTE: Obviously, this comment was made in what is now a quaint era of our nation's history. Please read this post in that light.] After release of Die Hard With a Vengeance, he was disappointed this guy didn't emerge as the new face, a la Caesar in the later Planet of the Apes movies.

You Might Remember Him From: Getting decked by Bruce Willis near the end of the movie. Drops a whole stack of bearer bonds, and that's the last we see of him. Probably cowered in the corner, a la the translator guy from Saving Private Ryan, as his leader succumbed to a Hollywood ending.

Notable Tendencies: Perhaps a pubescent pervert. During the "Ode to Joy" scene when the vault opens, he taps the ample bosom on a female statue and toots, "Whoo-ooh."

Best GM Comp: The new guy in Tampa, Andrew Friedman.

Why: Friedman is young, out of the limelight, and doesn't seem to do a lot. Like Alexander, you wouldn't know who he was unless someone pointed him out. The quintessential, Oh, himmmmm figure among GMs.

KRISTOFF

Who He Was: One half of the Crispy Duo (see directly below for the other one). Proficient with guided missiles, which he knows how to shoot at police RVs.

You Might Remember Him From: "Ya! I see him!" If you've seen the movie, you know him from that line.

Notable Tendencies: Standing really close to an elevator shaft when it's sort of an open secret the protagonist has your crew's plastic explosives and detonators. This seems to indicate to me that Kristoff is a bit of an unsuspecting fool.

Best GM Comp: Bill Bavasi, Mariners.

Why: Come on. "Ya! I see him!" + Incredibly Stupid Trade With Nats = Best Comp Available. Dumb German accent, dumb trade. Works for me.

JAMES

Who He Was: Ugly, grunting second member of the Crispy Duo. Waddles over to the window hauling the rocket launcher thingy, while Kristoff bolts it into the floor.

You Might Remember Him From: Dramatic pause/peer into the camera as he goes to reload after Hans commands them to "Hit it again." (Oh, and Ghostbusters II.)

Notable Tendencies: Even closer to elevator shaft when McClane goes all Geronimo, m******er with the explosives, which I interpret meaning he's even dumber than Kristoff. Also, like I said, ugly and grunts.

Best GM Comp: Mike Flanagan, Orioles.

Why: He's Peter Angelos's lackey. By virtue of agent theory, he is what Angelos is: dumb, ugly, grunts, oblivious.

FRITZ

Who He Was: Basically, Fabio.

You Might Remember Him From: Many scenes, but in all of them he's wearing designer jeans and is a spitting image of . . . well, Fabio.

Notable Tendencies: Trying to run down stairs while wearing tight designer jeans. As he's chasing after McClane during the whole rooftop/elevator shaft sequence, his race down the concrete steps seems inhibited by a lack of mobility.

Best GM Comp: Billy Beane, Athletics.

Why: The jeans. You actually think Beane was serious when he said, "We're not selling jeans here"?

THEO

Who He Was: Computer dork. Hacked into the Nakatomi computer, figured out Takagi's code, and disabled the manual locks on the vault. Courier of the bearer bonds down to the basement. Intended to be the getaway driver in the ambulance.

You Might Remember Him From: Pretty much the whole movie. Knocked out by Argyle near the end, but I betcha he drives off without being detected.

Notable Tendencies: The computer stuff. Good at predictions (wins bet with Karl over whether Takagi would volunteer the access code). Literate dialogue (e.g. 'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for the four assholes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation.). A dork. Non-violent but doesn't mind conflict (doesn't object when Karl shoots the security guard---Bam! Two points). Doesn't cower to authority. (Reminds Hans he didn't bring him along for his "charming personality"; answers "Yo" when Hans calls on the radio.)

Best GM Comp: Theo Epstein, Red Sox.

Why: He's a stat drunk computer nerd, just like Theo. The Die Hard Theo, I mean. Which reminds me, they're both named Theo. That helps. And both are snotty boy-wonders. Very good comp. (Better than Jon Daniels, even though I think Theo was also in Walker, Texas Ranger.)

EDDIE

Who He Was: Huey Lewis. The fake security guard.

You Might Remember Him From: The creepy "Evening officer, what can I do for ya?" line as he lets Al Powell into the building. Takes a bullet in the temple from McClane's concealed, holiday-taped handgun after he falls for the Everybody Laughs Hysterically Payoff.

Notable Tendencies: A fake. A charmer. A compulsive gambler. (Bets on the USC-Notre Dame game---on Christmas Eve! What was this, the Freedom Bowl?)

Best GM Comp: Ned Colletti, Dodgers.

Why: Well-liked by "tradmed" based on looks (Baseball Man, isn't Paul DePodesta), just like Eddie is well-liked because he looks like Huey Lewis. Also a compulsive trader, which is a form of gambling.

MARCO

Who He Was: Part of the Roof Crew (with Heinrich and Uli; see below) before running off to confront McClane. Shot several times, thrown out of the thirtieth floor window. Lands on Powell's car, officially drawing the police into the mess.

You Might Remember Him From: Offering unsolicited advice ("Next time you have the chance to kill someone, don't hesitate!"), which McClane takes to heart.

Notable Tendencies: Impulsive. Arrogant. A fiend for action. Scampers off like a crazy man once he gets the call to confront McClane.

Best GM Comp: Wayne Krivsky, Reds.

Why: Like Marco, Krivsky's so impulsive his actions border on comedy (all those relievers!). Arrogant, but with the Kearns/Lopez deal, made to look like a fool in the end. A noisy, whiny bitch. Right before a cut back to Powell's inspection of the lobby level, you can hear Marco yell "Don't f**k with Marco!" as he jump-flips on the serpentine board of directors table. Can't you just imagine Wayne shouting "Don't f**k with Krivsky!" during the height of MajewskiGate?

HEINRICH

Who He Was: Blonde, curly-locked head of the Roof Crew planting the explosives. Possessor of "The Bag."

You Might Remember Him From: Early on, advising Marco, "Nein," after Marco breathlessly asks, "Should we go?" when the gang finds out there's an interloper upstairs. Later on, takes some serious lead in the chest when Marco ducks out of the way. McClane advises him that smoking is very bad for him, though by then the advice is moot.

Notable Tendencies: Deliberate, dutiful. Marco's foil, babysitter, and perhaps (frustrated) mentor.

Best GM Comp: Terry Ryan, Twins.

Why: His protege, Krivsky, is an obnoxious, hyperactive dolt.

ULI

Who He Was: Asian-American dude, part of the Roof Crew (and its last surviving member). Commonly referred to as "Genghis," though I suppose that might not be politcally correct.

You Might Remember Him From: Swiping some candy from a lobby level snack counter as they waited for the police to break in. Looking shocked out of his mind as he opens the rooftop door and meets the service end of McClane's handgun.

Notable Tendencies: Knows how to find the good stuff. Must've consumed a Mars bar and two Nestle Crunches in five seconds of screen time before the SWAT team made its way over.

Best GM Comp: Larry Beinfest, Marlins.

Why: Hanley, Uggla, Anibal, Jacobs, etc. Lots of pilfered candy bars.

FRANCO

Who He Was: Looked a little like Marco. Wore a leather jacket for some of the movie. When Karl announces upon exiting the elevator that no one will kill McClane but him, Marco readies his machine gun.

Notable Tendencies: A shouter (screams at a hostage to get back from the window). A good dresser. Seems overconfident.

Best GM Comp: Jim Bowden, Nationals.

Why: Because you knew he'd be on the list, and this is our best comp. There's the leather jacket, for one; it's not exactly leather pants, but . . . close enough. Plus, Franco meets his demise when he runs toward a covered, rapid-firing McClane. He falls forward and smashes his head through a glass window. Isn't that the perfect movie death for a Bowden type?

KARL

Who He Was: Han Gruber's second in command. Demonstrable anger problem aggravated by untimely death of brother (see below). But also a cold and calculating killer, lover of the hunt, unusually persistent. (In real life, that Russian ballet guy who died a few years back. Actually, he and Vigo have both passed away.)

You Might Remember Him From: Body count. Takes out the two lobby-level security guards (one after blinding him with a cool little hockey puck looking flash-bang), joining Hans as the only two to kill in the movie. Unless you're counting John McClane, of course. Speaking of whom, Karl didn't much like him, and the feeling became mutual; McClane promised to "cook," "kill," and "eat" him, eventually hanging him from a chain just below the rooftop level.

Notable Tendencies: Proficient, professional, persistent, an eye for talent (he picks Franco and Fritz to help him hunt McClane, and they successfully box him in the elevator shaft, not that Karl is satisfied). Exceedingly tough to keep him down. McClane's hanging of him isn't sufficient, and he comes back---seemingly undead---until he's finally stopped by Powell's third silver bullet.

Best GM Comp: John Schuerholz, Braves.

Why: Schuerholz is also proficient, professional, persistent, has an eye for talent, and is hard to keep down. You don't win all thoe division titles without these qualities. Like Karl, seem rather difficult to get along with at times.

TONY

Who He Was: Kinda wonky, four-eyed brother of Karl. Assigned to confront whoever it was who triggered the fire alarm early on. Hello, John McClane!

You Might Remember Him From: Being McClane's first casualty. Gets tangled up with McClane, and they fall down a flight of stairs. Tony suffers a broken neck. McClane bums his cigarettes, but McClane is dissatisified with Tony's small feet. (McClane goes shoeless during the movie, having taken off his shoes to do a stupid relaxation exercise.) Sent back to Hans as a perverse Christmas present. "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho."

Notable Tendencies: Good with behind-the-scenes stuff like fiddling with the building's telephone wiring so no one on the outside would notice. But pretty naive about the world and probably lacking in experience. During his search for the source of the fire alarm, Tony is tricked by McClane, who draws him in the open by turning on a mechanical saw. McClane gets the drop on him, and Tony can't talk his way back into a better position.

Best GM Comp: Dayton Moore, Royals.

Why: Little brother of Schuerholz, professionally speaking. Still inexperienced and prone to walking into potentially disasterous situations unawares (e.g., Gil Meche).

HANS

Who He Was: The boss; the head villain.

You Might Remember Him From: Setting the entire plot into motion.

Notable tendencies: Supremely confident to the point of arrogance. Literate and articulate to the point of pretension. Designer suits. Magnificently groomed hair and beard. Oh, and looooooves money.

Best GM Comp: Brian Cashman, Yankees.

Why: Not necessarily because of Cashman himself (who is mostly bald and sort of a dumpy dresser), but because he represents the Yankees, who symbolize arrogance, pretension, and the love of money. Lots of people think Major League Baseball is just a Hans Gruber-esque vault plundering in which the Yankees acquire another suit from John Phillips London for the wardrobe. Whether or not that's true, I can pretty much assure you of one thing: Behind all the "radical West German Volksfrei movement" street cred, I bet Hans was just a common Yankee fan.