Polo Grounds

Polo Grounds

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas themed line-up

1. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - CF

Rudolph is a historically significant character because he was ostracized by his peers, treated differently because of a physical difference and not allowed to participate in the "Reindeer games". However, his natural leadership ability and blazing speed allowed him to be successful. Because of this, I liken Rudolph to another historically important person, former Negro League's centerfielder Cool Papa Bell. Rudolph will use his light to man a great centerfield and his speed to get on base, although I am not sure what he will use to swing the stick. Baseball-Reference actually likes Rudolph as a Shortstop, as seen here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/reindeer/rudolph.shtml
If he can put up the steals numbers that baseball-reference suggests he might, than we will be just fine.

2. Clarence Odbody (It's A Wonderful Life) - RF

At a still young 239 years old, Mr. Odbody finally acquired his wings through a ringing of a bell on the Bailey's family tree. This newfound flying ability should play very well in right field, where him and Rudolph should catch anything in sight. No mention of his hitting abilities were made in the film, but an Angel from heaven is probably given some strength and hand-eye coordination (one would hope). As an old, speedy right fielder with questionable hitting abilities, Clarence seems akin to a modern day Ichiro Suzuki. One can only hope that Ichiro will somehow find his wings this year and reach 3000 MLB hits.

3. Frosty the Snowman - 1B

Frosty's skills at the plate and in the field will obviously depend on keeping his hat on throughout the game, and of course the cold temperatures to prevent him from melting. His particular needs on the field are very similar to that of former Blue Jays and Mariners first baseman John Olerud. Olerud played primarily in cold temperatures, and of course was known for wearing his helmet out in the field to protect his soft cranium. Here's to hoping that Frosty can hit .363 with 107 RBI's, as Olerud did in 1993.

4. Santa Claus - DH

Santa Claus, aka Kris Kringle, aka Saint Nicholas, aka Father Christmas, will be a staple in this line-up for years to come, just as he has been a staple on Christmas day for generations. Santa's supreme upper body strength (he's been lifting a sack with millions of toys in it for years) should play well as a power hitter. There are obvious questions about his conditioning and endurance, as he is only accustomed to working one day a year. However, I believe that his raw power and leadership should help anchor this squad. I believe his potential ranges anywhere from Adam Dunn (Tim Allen in the Santa Claus status) to a Babe Ruth (Bad Santa or Futurama's robotic santa).
Santa's left-handed swing sure does look good

5. John McClane - 2B

John McClane, Bruce Willis' famed character from the epic Christmas classic Die Hard, is the kind of take no attitude character this team needs. Frosty and Clarence are great, but every team needs someone who is got some arrogance about them. John McClane's off putting personality and general aggressiveness, combined with his pure strength from NYPD police training, make him an ideal candidate to be a power hitting second baseman, similar to former Giants two bagger Jeff Kent. Kent hit 377 round trippers, most ever for a 2B, and his surly personality and general disregard for social norms mirror the character traits of John McClane. 
Yippie Ki yay

6. George Bailey - SS

It's a Wonderful life get's two representatives in our starting line-up, as Clarence Odbody would not have gotten his wings without the help of lovable George Bailey. Bailey demonstrates early in the film his amazing dancing abilities, and after watching his quick footwork I determined he would be an ideal candidate to man the six hole at shortstop. Again, it is hard to say what his bat would look like, but his footwork and steady hands should make him a defense first infielder, a la former Cardinals shortstop the Wizard of Oz, aka Ozzie Smith. Bailey's mental insecurities could hurt him a bit if he falls into a slump, but hopefully having Clarence around as a mentor will help Bailey feel as if he is a necessary and valuable part of this team. 
That screams double play ball to me.

7. The Grinch - C

Every team has a pariah, and the Christmas team would not be complete without token Christmas hater the Grinch. Although Grinchy would probably despise being a member of this squad, his resourcefulness and creativity, along with his strength and clear squatting ability (as seen below) make him an ideal candidate to catch. After all, any opposing player barreling into home would want to think twice about sliding hard into Christmases evil spirit. Grinch reminds me a lot of another catcher that is generally not well liked by his teammates, current Atlanta Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Grinch seems likely to at least draw a lot of HBP, if he proves he cannot hit (Also similar to Pierzynski).
Looks like a natural behind the dish.

8. Eddie Johnson (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) - 3B

Cousin Eddie, the outrageous relative of Clark Griswold, is a mainstay for any Christmas type list. His cooky belief system and simple ways are traits that fit in well with every baseball team. Teams need someone who at any moment could say something outrageous and quotable, and what is more memorable than quotes like "Save me the neck, Clark" or "I don't know if I should go sailing down no hill with nothing between the ground and my brains but a piece of government plastic".
Although they do not play the same position, Eddie and his antics remind me a lot of post playing Jose Canseco, a character who at any time could bust into a random, unintelligible rant (See Canseco's twitter account if you need more proof). Regardless, Eddie seems like a strong dude and his reckless attitude could provide some interesting stories, if not much on the field.
Kinda looks like Canseco too.

9. Olive the Other Reindeer - LF

Olive, the main character from Matt Groening's Christmas classic of the same name, is a determined dog who believes, due to a misinterpretation of the radio, that she is the only reindeer that can help save Christmas. Olive sets out on a journey and ends up using her pluck and charm to help save the gang and give everyone their gifts, including giving the Pope a Phillies hat (I have no idea why). I have always found that teams sometimes need a player who, even if they are not the most talented player on the team, can help motivate everyone by simply being themselves. Olive will hit last in the line-up and play LF, the easiest position on the field, but her love of Christmas and never-give-up attitude will do nothing but positive things for the team, much like former Angels middle infielder David Eckstein. Eckstein was undersized and not the most gifted, but he got the job done when it needed to be. Olive can fill a similar role for this team. 

As long as Olive doesn't bring Drew Barrymore.

Jesus Christ - SP

I feel that other teams would already have a hard time against this lineup with the monstrous strength of Santa and Frosty, and the blazing speed of Clarence and Rudolph. However, they will have an even harder time at the plate against the Prodigal son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is in his prime at age 29, and his ability to heal himself and others (and rise from the dead) seems to give him an unfair advantage, even more than the advantage steroids gave pitchers like Roger Clemens. Jesus has worked with his hands most of his life, and his general strength and killer abs seems to indicate he would have a real blazing fastball. His endless endurance means he will be able to throw very large amounts of innings, and it seems almost pointless to have a full rotation.

Scott Farkus - CP

Even with Jesus' healing abilities, it is always necessary to have relief help in case the Lord can't seem to work himself out of a jam. Relievers are often known for their very eccentric personalities, and the scariest, most intimidating guys already have an advantage without even throwing a pitch. Enter the villain from Christmases greatest film, A Christmas Story. The haunting line "He has yellow eyes, YELLOW EYES!" speak volumes about this bullies fear inducing stare. Farkus shows some upper body strength when he gets into a punching fight with his small accomplice, and that coupled with his personality scream first rate closer. However, his bark seems to be worse than his bite, as Ralphie is easily able to take him down in a fight. Because of this, I compare him closely to displaced closer Grant Balfour, a man with an intense personality who has crumbled when actually faced with some adversity. Here's to hoping our Farkus can perform at a level higher than Balfour did in 2014.

The squad is complete. I feel this teams combination of strength and speed and the Lord's ability on the mound make this a team that could win all year around. I am thinking our team logo will have to be the infamous leg lamp from A Christmas story, perhaps something like the hat below:
Merry Christmas everybody! Have a great holiday, and may all your baseball wishes come true!

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