There is a Star Wars movie coming out this week. I know, I was shocked too. There’s hardly been any talk about it.
You may have also heard that the folks who own the Star Wars franchise — an obscure, rodent-based corporation with operations in Florida and California — also happen to own ESPN. This provides an opportunity for synergy. A strange bit of synergy in which ESPN’s baseball writers were asked to put together a baseball lineup with Star Wars characters. If you scroll left and right there you see they also did football, basketball, soccer, hockey and even cricket. Disney and ESPN do NOT mess around.
My first impulse was to mock this, but then I remembered that I too work for a sports media company which has a movie studio as a corporate cousin. Universal, to be specific. I’m guessing they’d never ask me to do a baseball lineup as a tie-in for the “Minions” sequel or anything, but on the off chance they do, I don’t want to look like a hypocrite (note: all nine positions will be filled by Minions).
So let’s take this thing in the good spirit it was intended and have some fun with it, shall we? The sort of fun that all good baseball fans like to have: complaining loudly about the roster choices and team building strategy.
Here’s the lineup, written by David Schoenfield and Aimee J. Crawford (you can read their explanations for each choice here):
I respect Schoenfield and Crawford’s work, but this is a friggin’ multi-level disaster of a team. For starters:
- The manager once had the top prospect of all time under his control and TOTALLY RUINED HIM;
- The pitcher is a known gambler with very questionable loyalty.
- The catcher has no arms.
- The first baseman is actually a fantastic choice on the baseball side, but he is known to pull people’s arms out of their sockets when he loses. HEAD CASE.
- The second baseman is skilled, but he’s getting old and no position on the field ages worse than second base. He’s a Roberto Alomar on the Mets or Chase Utley on the Dodgers waiting to happen. Really, one day he may suddenly just disappear.
- The shortstop is pretty darn good, actually (ignore the detractors who say she throws like a girl). I worry about chemistry, though. She is in a relationship with the center fielder, has a VERY messed up relationship with the right fielder and once derided the third baseman as “short.”
- The third baseman is likewise talented as hell, but he is poor at taking instruction and once left camp early to go be with his friends.
- The DH is hated by literally everyone.
- A left fielder and a center fielder have to have good communication and the guys in those roles on this team are NOT on good terms.
- Center field is the best choice here. He’s prickly, but he’s a born leader. Plus he made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, which is a measure of distance, not speed, showing that he has FANTASTIC route efficiency.
- Right field could be the biggest problem on the team. He’s strong, but slow. There is evidence that his power is a function of blood doping. Worst of all, he has literally tried to kill all but one player on the team and ACTUALLY DID KILL the manager. He’s arguably worse than Barry Bonds.
Then there are a lot of other issues floating around. Putting a father and a son on the same team is a total gimmick (the 1990 Mariners went 77-85). The league’s replay official, Admiral Ackbar, is never going to give our already-challenged outfielders any benefit of the doubt on diving catches. The team’s interpreter is fluent in over six million forms of communication, but he’s also doubling as the analytics department. What’s worse, no one is listening to him, with the center fielder once even yelling at him to never tell him the odds. This is what got Jerry Dipoto fired in Anaheim.
So, really, nice try ESPN. And I hope your little movie does well, Disney. But I’ve got a bad feeling about this hot mess of a baseball team.
(with abundant apologies to David Schoenfield and Aimee J. Crawford)