Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Mighty Wombats
As I was watching pitchers hose down baseball's "best" hitters last night during the MLB All-Star Game, I couldn't help but wonder: Are the other six people watching this game right now as bored as I am? I tried to think of the last time I really enjoyed a baseball game, but I couldn't quite put a finger on it. And then it came to me.
It was a classic playoff showdown at Steele Stadium between the Mighty Wombats and the Humungous Melonheads. With the score tied in the bottom of the sixth, Amir Khan rung the roof of the barn in straightaway center to give my Wombats the victory. This Backyard Baseball thriller, and hundreds if not thousands of others, were a staple of so many childhoods. So today, we pay tribute to perhaps the greatest sports game ever created with The Backyard Baseball All-Star Lineup. Because "Ages 5 to 10" is just a recommendation.
There is, of course, no bench, so the lineup consists of 9 kids. Players are selected based on skill, versatility, and of course my own personal preferences.
Pitcher - Angela "Sugar Pop" Delvecchio
Angela's got the best fastball you can find, and her off-speed stuff is equally impressive. She can even help herself out from the plate with her very powerful bat. You'd better hope she puts it out of the park, thought, because Angela was not blessed with any speed.
Catcher - Mikey "Nugget" Thomas
Mikey is often underestimated as a player, but the kid sure can hit. He's as slow as molasses, though, so it's a good thing he can put a charge into the ball. Few people know about his impressive arm. He makes a great catcher because he's got an absolute hose. Put him behind the plate, and he'll gun down would-be base stealers all day long.
1st Base - Achmed "Axeman" Khan
Every team needs a clutch hitter, and Achmed Khan is one of the game's best. With a tremendous amount of timely power, Achmed reminds me of a David Ortiz (during the steroid era, of course). Achmed's not the best fielder, but hey, he's good enough to play first.
2nd Base - Luanne "Lulu" Lui
Luanne is the classic 2nd baseman - undersized, but very quick. She plays very well in the field and is an excellent number nine hitter. She has perfected the "swinging bunt" and is a base-stealing aficionado. She's also an outstanding pitcher and serves as the #2 in my 2-man Backyard Baseball pitching rotation.
3rd Base - Stephanie "Bubbles" Morgan
Stephanie rides her fielding ability into this lineup. Always ready for anything, she's a natural in the hot corner. Stephanie can also serve as a useful middle reliever to chew up innings if Angela is out of juice. Not known for her power at the plate, she can still make solid contact with pitches and is a consistent singles hitter.
Shortstop - Pablo "Secret Weapon" Sanchez
Hands down the best player in the game, Pablo can do it all. He bats in the .700 - .800 range every season while still hitting for power. He can come up big in the field too, and can even be called upon in the late innings to take the mound and close out a game.
Left Field - Kiesha "Flash" Phillips
Kiesha is a solid all-around player. She gets job done at the plate, covers lots of ground on the field, and runs with surprising speed on the base-path. She doesn't quite have the power to be the marquis bat in a lineup, but she's always a threat for extra bases. And every now and then, she puts one out over the wall.
Center Field - Pete "Wheelie" Wheeler
Known almost exclusively for his speed, Pete is undoubtably the fastest player in the game. Anytime you need a hit, he can drop down a bunt and beat the throw to first. He makes a great center fielder because he can track down everything. (Whether he catches it or not is another matter entirely, however.) Don't expect Pete to play with solid fundamentals - he certainly isn't the sharpest crayon in the box. Just expect him to run, Forest, run.
Right Field - Amir "Sticks" Khan
Amir is a key player and an "unsung hero" type. He goes deep almost as often as his brother, Achmed, and plays very well in the field. A 3 for 5 day is the norm for this kid, and don't be surprised if he hits for the cycle every now and then. His pitching is often underrated, as he is a more than capable reliever, and a southpaw too.
Pete Wheeler, CF
Amir Khan, RF
Pablo Sanchez, SS
Achmed Khan, 1B
Kiesha Phillips, LF
Mikey Thomas, C
Angela Delvecchio, P
Stephanie Morgan, 3B
Luanne Lui, 2B
Most Valuable Hitting Power Up: Aluminum Power. Duh.
Most Valuable Pitching Power Up: Elevator. How the hell are you supposed to hit it?? It's a bit of an upset over Big Freeze and Fireball, but I've been taken deep on a Big Freeze before and the Fireball is too quick to be satisfying.
Snubs: Jocinda "MVP" Smith, Kenny "K-Man" Kawaguchi, Tony "Vec" Delvecchio
If you want to be shocked and depressed, you can go here to check out what the players now look like (they even have incredibly complicated backstories, seriously WTF). You can also head here for a complete list of players, including the ones they discontinued (!!!) in 2009.