On both the blog and on Twitter (@craigcalcaterra if you’re into that sort of thing), I’ve made a zillion professional wrestling references this week. I don’t know why. Something in the air I guess. The fact is that I was huge wrestling fan from, oh, age 9 to age 15, so mid-80s wrestling is just burned into my head like the iron claw of Kerry Von Erich.
My recent obsession — especially this morning’s reference to Nyjer Morgan’s “heel turn” — inspired some readers as well. Notably reader Wings, who tried to cast modern baseball players in either face or heel roles a la pro wrestling. It’s long so I won’t use annoying block quote fontage, but all that follows until the mention of Ozzie Guillen’s name is Wings talking:
As one of the few “legitimate” sports fans willing to admit that I also enjoy the illegitimate spectacle that is pro wrestling, I have often found many heel (bad guy) and face (good guy) qualities among my favorite baseballers. I submit to you this line-up of possible MLB heels/faces:
3B-Pablo Sandoval (Maybe a stretch, but with a nickname like his, how could he not be a George “the Animal” Steele type kid-friendly fan favorite?)
OF- Josh Hamilton/Torii Hunter/Ichiro
OF-Nyjer Morgan/Manny Ramirez/Milton Bradley
DH-Hideki Matsui (another nickname-stretch thing)
Not a bad list. I’ll take issue with Cox as the face manager. I mean, he did hit his wife once. I think Jeter is way more likely to be a Ric Flair kind of a guy who goes back and forth from popularity to villainy, and is often popular because he’s a villain.* Torii Hunter has to be a heel in the Roddy Piper mode, no? I mean he’s a lot of fun, I realize, but he says some pretty outrageous stuff (but nothing as outrageous as “just when they think they have all the answers, I CHANGE THE QUESTIONS!!” Piper was the best, man).
The heels list is better, though I think Matsui would be a face jobber in the S.D. Jones/Sam Houston mode. Likable. Enough moves to make people think he has some chops, but really there to get beat up by a bad guy. Ozzie Guillen as Jimmy Hart is pretty damn perfect.
Um, OK, this post is getting a little out of control now. I had better get back to baseball.
*I am forced to admit that I once subscribed to “Pro Wrestling Illustrated.” In the back were wrestler rankings, including “Most Popular” and “Most Hated.” I recall one month — in the mid 80s, when Hulkamania was still running wild — that Ric Flair simultaneously topped both lists. Woo!