It's that special time of year once again. When ESPN and Internet sports sites and sports radio talkshows get overrun with baseball coverage. More specifically, it's when Yankee fans start complaining about their rotation, Red Sox fans start yelling (or typing in a way that looks like yelling), Mets fans begin publicly self-eviscerating and everyone else complains about how much they hate the three of them.
I don't really care all that much about baseball to be honest. I'm a Mets fan by trade and that's hard enough to do when you live on the East Coast, let alone living in Seattle. As for the Mariners? They're really cute. They try really hard and all but...come on. Though I do know that disparaging the good name of Dave Niehaus within the city limits is a crime punishable by lethal injection.
Really, as long as the Yankees don't win the World Series, I'm a happy baseball fan.
So with all that said, I started wondering about Syracuse baseball. I know, we don't have an official team (though we do have a club team). I mean we used to (and Stephen Crane wore an Orange Badge of Awesome while captaining it). But what if we started a new team? And what if that team formed right this very second. And what if we found out that because we needed to fill positions ASAP, any football, basketball or lacrosse player at SU would be allowed to play on that team?
What would that team look like? Let's find out.
Skipper - Jim Boeheim
All due respect to Doug Marrone and John Desko but Boeheim pulls rank here. He'd be great on the bench, constantly looking disgusted. He'd probably get thrown out of every game we played, so we're going to need a good bench coach.
Bench Coach - John Desko
When it comes down to it, the man knows X's and O's, he knows how to win and he's got that surly, bulldog look that any good No. 2 on a baseball team needs.
Hitting Coach - Doug Marrone
Truth be told, he'd probably be fired after a couple days for teaching the wrong kind of hitting, but, it's worth a shot. I bet the man can down a pack of sunflower seeds in under 60 seconds.
First Base - Chandler Jones
The first baseman is ideally a tall player with good flexibility and quick reflexes. Flexibility is needed because the first baseman receives throws that might not hit the mark. Being a lefty is ideal but not necessary. With all that in mind, I'm going with Chan-Chan.What he lacks in flexibility he makes up for in being a big, athletic target. We're gonna need his bat out there and he'll be the least kind of defensive liability here.
Second Base - Brandon Triche
The second baseman often possesses quick hands and feet, needs the ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and must be able to make the pivot on a double play. In addition, second basemen are usually right-handed. The only man I trust for the job is Brandon Triche. Everything about him says 2B to me. He's got all the intangibles, the speed, the quickness, the hands...and he'll keep Chan-Chan in check over there.
Shortstop -Tim Desko
Shortstop is often regarded as the most dynamic defensive position in baseball, because there are more right-handed hitters in baseball than left-handed hitters. He needs stamina, quick wits and a helluva lot of athletic ability. I gotta go with Desko here. He's made a name for himself with his acrobatic moves and the timing required to pull them off.
Third Base -Marcus Sales
The third baseman requires good reflexes in reacting to batted balls, a strong arm, good hand-eye coordination and quick reactions in order to catch hard line drives. I'm going with Marcus Sales here. I don't know anything about his arm strength so I'm taking a big risk but when it comes to reflexes, hand-eye coordination and quick reactions, he's the best we've got. At least, he was in that one game. I'm assuming he'll play every game like that one from now on...
Catcher - John Galloway
There are obvious requirements of being a good catcher. Spending long periods of time in the scoring area. Seeing many balls rocket towards your face over and over. Having the arm strength to fire a ball across the field with pinpoint accuracy. Being defensive-minded at all times. John Galloway is already doing all of things...with a giant net in a stick. It also asks that you be a leader, be able to direct your teammates and help control the tempo of the game. Again, he's already doing all these things and doing them better than almost anyone who's ever worn orange.
Center Field - Jovan Miller
The center fielder also has the greatest responsibility among the three outfielders for coordinating their play to prevent collisions when converging on a fly ball, and on plays where he does not make the catch, he must position himself behind the corner outfielder in case the ball gets past him. He is the captain of the outfield, requiring speed and range, while vision and depth perception are a coveted skill and must be considered above average. The center fielder requires a good arm and fast legs.
Pretty much sounds like Jovi to me. He might be one of the most athletic guys we have, he's already a guy who knows how to captain a team on the fly and he's got a cannon on his shoulder.
Right Field - Kris Joseph
The right fielder tends to be a stronger offensive player than defensive, as right-handed batters, which are more common than left-handed ones, tend to pull the ball to left field. As well as the requirements above, the right fielder backs up first base and second base in many scenarios.Kris is a stronger offensive player than defensive. He's fast, so he can get into a backup position quickly. He's creative and athletic, so he can get where he needs to quickly. Whatever his deficiencies and consistency issues, they can be somewhat masked out in right as well.
Left Field - C.J. Fair
The left fielder often will usually have the weakest arm but still requires good fielding and catching skills, and tends to receive more balls than the right fielder because right-handed hitters tend to pull the ball into left field. The left fielder also backs up third base on pick-off attempts from the catcher or pitcher and bunts, when possible. What Fair lacks in star-power he makes up for in sheer athleticism. He can move across the field quickly and he'll make a lot of great plays due his ability to make someone out of nothing. When we need some trickeration he can sneak in and out to pick off a runner.
Designated Hitter - Mikhail Marinovich
He's big, he's got power and he's a prime-time player. Mikhail needs some more spotlight and that's what we're going to give him. We'll give him protection through Chandler and they'll continue to be a real 1-2 punch for the Orange. Most likely player to fret all night about his intro song.
Starting Pitcher - Scoop Jardine
I'm going with Scoop as our starting-day pitcher. He's the face of the franchise. He can work a room and the media. He's got a lot of experience, knows how to be a leader on the floor and he can make big plays. And before it's time for him to melt down, we've already pulled him for another pitcher. It's too perfect.
Starting Pitcher - Ryan Nassib
Quiet, calm and efficient. While Scoop gets all the endorsements and the glory, Nassib puts in six strong innings each time, wins more than he loses and gets the job done.
Starting Pitcher - John Kinder
He's raw and untested but he's got a cannon for an arm and tons of potential. We'll work him into the rotation slowly and see how it goes. We can always send him down to AAA-Cortland if needed.
Middle Relief - Charley Loeb
We don't ask much of Charley. Just that he get us from starter to closer. Give us one or two innings a night and we'll let you spend the rest of the evening tanning and letting women brush your luscious locks.
Closer - Stephen Keogh
A closer is generally a team's best reliever and designated to pitch the last few outs of games when their team is leading by a margin of three runs or fewer. A closer's effectiveness has traditionally been measured by the save. Let's face it, no current Syracuse athlete knows how to close out a game like Stephen Keogh. Time and time again he's been there to save the day. That's not ice in his blood. That's Richard Blaise-level liquid nitrogen.
Bench - Antwon Bailey (OF), Fab Melo (1B), Alec Lemon (2B/SS), John Lade (3B), Dion Waiters (OF), Shamarko Thomas (OF), Jojo Marasco (OF).
1 - Desko, SS
2 - Sales, 3B
3 - Miller, CF
4 - Jones, 1B
5 - Marinovich, DH
6 - Joseph, RF
7 - Fair, LF
8 - Galloway, C
9 - Triche, 2B