Will BryantComment

America's Pastime

Will BryantComment
America's Pastime

It’s here. The Fourth of July. Independence Day.

I don’t know about y’all, but I associate it with hotdogs, fireworks, and baseball.

To quote Terence Mann from the iconic movie Field of Dreams, “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.”

So here is the setup: an all-time, all-Hollywood, baseball fantasy team.

From baseball films, we’ll pick:

Three starting pitchers, three bullpen arms, and five bench bats.

A starting lineup, including a designated hitter.  Twenty total players. Let’s debate.

So I’ll start with my lineup.

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So let’s start from the top, shall we? Center fielder Willie Mays Hayes. No movie lineup would be complete without Hayes. He got on base at a decent clip, and stole a base anytime he wanted. Remember how many gloves he had hanging in his room for his steals? He’s gotta be a top-five pick for his game-changing speed.

In the two-hole, we have Benny the Jet. He showed elite talent in the movie, and the guts to lay it all on the line for his team. His biggest asset though, may be his ability to play multiple positions. He’s a safe, reliable option anywhere on the diamond, but he fits perfectly in at short for this team.

I know I’ll catch some heat for my three-hole, but come on. Have you ever seen anyone as hot as Crash was in the summer of 1988. To quote Annie Savoy, “Crash, who kept hitting dingers, was approaching the minor league record... though I told nobody.” He’s my secret weapon, folks, and the team captain. But you have to pitch to him because of cleanup hitter Roy Hobbs.

Hobbs may have been shot, but come on, he’s the natural. This guy has it all.  He’s my first lefty in the lineup, and a needed stick in the heart of the order to get Crash some pitches to hit in the three spot.

Following him is Dottie. For all intents and purposes she may be the best player on this team. Defensive wizard, quality game calling behind the plate, and an elite bat. She’s likely the MVP of this team, and I have no doubts she will be brilliant splitting games behind the dish with Crash.

Sixth is Pedro Cerrano. Here’s the deal. He has MAJOR pop. I don’t care about the strikeouts, man is going to bash. I’ve attached my projected statistics below, and I really like what he gave me. Cerrano has some mental issues and baggage, but with him, you’re always in good hands…

Seven is Stan Ross. He’s my attitude, and grit. This man was a legend in his career, and danced around the 3000 hit mark. He’s going to be a fire on the team, and I really like what he can offer both verbally, and emotionally in addition to his performance.

The eight-nine hitters were hard for me. I wanted some spunk, and some fight in the bottom of the lineup. I figured I could afford to play for a complete unit here and toss aside some performance factors in exchange for grit and toughness. So Doris Murphy at third and Tanner Boyle round us out. These two loud mouths can help energize the team while also keep the intensity high. No one will be able to get away with putting their head down with these two sparks on the squad.

Starting on the mound is Kenny DuNunez. He’s an ace in the pickup game versus the greaser kids in The Sandlot. He’s got a lot of spunk on the mound, daring Ham to hit his heater in the movie. He’s got a windup that hides the ball, and I’m trusting him to go deep in games and take some of the pressure off of Nuke and Henry on the back end of the rotation.

As for depth, I’ll be the first to tell you, Pennebaker and Mordabito could easily play their way into a spot. With Mordabito’s Aaron Rowand type attitude and speed, she will be a valuable asset. And Pennebaker has the potential to put up MVP type numbers. However, his ego did not fit in my starting nine, but I will use his potent bat off the bench. His numbers could easily inflate should he take Cerrano’s spot, or if he can learn to play second base.

For pitching depth, Nuke will be the flamethrower, as long as he can keep his head on straight. Throwing it at the bull may be an issue at times, but with Crash as his personal catcher, he’ll be just fine.

Henry will start a fair a fair amount of games, as will Kit. The duo will compete for the third spot in the rotation, and as a result post similar — but not gaudy — numbers. I love the flame throwing ability of Henry to play off the junk ball, movement approach of Kit.

The second — and likely most important — member of the bullpen is Ricky Vaughn. “Wild Thing,” will anchor the bullpen, serving as the primary closer. His knack for the big strikeout will make it a bit easier to finish close games.

Steve Nebraska’s role is the fireman. He is our guy we turn to for outs in big spots. I love his “challenge anyone” mentality and his fastball is next level. He rounds out a fantastic bullpen.

Matthews will start the season on the bench, but would end up taking Tanner’s spot by mid-May. He just needs to figure out his spot on the team, and keep a good attitude on the diamond. I’m excited for the potential of the unit if Matthews can find his footing.

Collins has upside as well, but I love the tenacity, and real swagger of Ross at first. These two are both left handed so I can’t run a platoon, so whoever hits well at the time will be in. A true “what have you done for me lately” situation.

And in conclusion, Dugan is the only manager for this hard-nosed team. There is no crying in baseball, folks.

@Willdbryant