Here are two things of note from Tyler Clippard’s Sunday: He was traded to the Astros for either cash considerations or a player to be named later, and he was watching Game of Thrones when he got the call from White Sox GM Rick Hahn telling him as much. Clippard was 35 minutes into the episode, probably wondering why everyone was glowering so much, when he took the call, and he has not yet been able to watch the rest.
“Who picks up the phone right in the middle of Game of Thrones?” is, maybe, a natural question here. But it’s not a good question. Many people—most people, even—would pause something they enjoy to take a phone call if they have good reason to believe that there’s life-altering information on the other end, such as, for example, the fact that they no longer work at their current place of business and need to move to Houston immediately. You pick up the phone for that! The question of “why” is not interesting! This, then, is a better question: Did Clippard know who was calling when he picked up the phone?
A player having his general manager’s number saved in his phone doesn’t seem unusual. But it’s been scarcely three weeks since Clippard was traded to the White Sox from the Yankees. It’s very possible that he’s the sort of proactive person who will immediately save any number that he might reasonably need, sure. (Or that his agent, or someone else close to him, does this for him.) But really? Tyler Clippard was traded to the White Sox on July 19, and in the meantime, he—or someone with access to his phone—was like, “You know what’s important to do in this chaotic process of switching teams? Save Rick Hahn’s number in your phone. You’re definitely going to have so much personal communication with Rick Hahn on your cell phone”? Hmm.
There are several scenarios here. Maybe Clippard knew it was Hahn who was calling, in which case the act of picking up the phone makes perfect sense but the circumstances that led him to saving Hahn’s number are somewhat intriguing. Maybe Clippard saw a call from an unknown number and picked up anyway, in which case the act of answering in the middle of Game of Thrones feels deeply strange. And maybe Clippard saw a call from an unknown number, chose not to pick up, and then received a text reading something like, “You need to answer the phone, this is Rick Hahn.” This is what I, personally, would most like to believe.