OK, so I have been watching a lot of this boring sport, Cricket, lately. It has been making me wonder what it would be like if we put together a team of US players to compete on the world stage. I am pretty sure that we could put together a team of has-been old baseball players and probably win the world cup, so I was thinking of who I would place on that team.
A little background on Cricket. Cricket is a game played between two teams made up of eleven players each. There is also a reserve player called a "twelfth man" who is used should a player be injured during play. The twelfth man is not allowed to bowl, bat, wicket keep or captain the team. His sole duty is to act as a substiture fielder. The original player is free to return to the game as soon as they have recovered from their injury. They are, however, allowed to have substitute runners...so if you are too injured to run after batting, someone else can be running for you, they just have to be all kitted-up like a hockey goalie, just like the batter.
In order to have a competitive side, you need about 6 bowlers, kind of like our pitchers. When they are not bowling, they need to be able to field the ball. A bowler can also only bowl one "Over" in a row, which is 6 balls, so you have to have a lot of them.
1.) Greg Maddux - Without a doubt, the greatest fielding pitcher in our era, and also a great placer of the ball. I have no doubt that we could adapt him to the one bounce throw and he would be unhittable. He would also play a mean Gully or Silly Mid-Off.
2.) Gaylord Perry - The guy practically bowled cricket while he was in the major leagues. The way these guys prepare the ball to be bowled is child's play compared to the way he used to doctor up the balls. In the field, I would put him at Square Leg or Leg Gully.
3.) Kent Tekulve - This brilliant submarine pitcher would make an excellent bowler...not sure that his delivery would be quite legal, but I am sure that they could come up with the "Tekulve Variant" or something like that. Would place him at Slips or Fly Slips.
4.) Earl Anthony - Ok, so Earl was never a baseball player. He was, in fact, a Bowler. A left handed bowler. And a spin doctor of the bowling ball at that. He would be what the Cricketers call a leg spin bowler. Not much of a run up, but the spin he could put on the ball would fool batsmen from Sri Lanka to Australia. In the field I would put him somewhere like Fine Leg, where his lack of fielding experience wouldn't get in the way much.
5.) Johnny Bench - Yes, I would put up a catcher as a bowler. Who gets to throw the ball almost as much as a pitcher? A catcher, thats right! Plus, all these bowlers need to be good hitters, too. Would put him at Cover or Mid-Off when not bowling.
6.) Carlos Zambrano - Since his MLB career is pretty much over, what would be more intimidating to a batsman as a large Venezuelan with anger management issues? For that matter, what would be more intimidating to a bowler than having a large Venezuelan with anger management issues as a switch-hitting batsman? NOTHING! Thats why it doesn't matter where you put him, these other non-athletes would just be plain scared of the guy! In the field I would put him at Silly Mid-On so he could really be in their faces!
1.) At Wicket Keeper: This is the equivalent to our catcher. I would have put Roy Campanella here. But I found out that he was cremated, which doesn't really pose much of a threat on the pitch, alive or dead. So, I would have to put Carlton Fisk here. A batsman and catcher of the finest order, he would make the rest of them look like little kids. The Wicket Keeper is a guy who wears aquaman like gloves, and has to handle foul tips all day...perfect for Fisk.
2.) At Long-Off, none other than Sammy Sosa. That is kinda like their Right Field. Just to see him knock the ball out for his first 100 would be worth the price of admission. He wouldn't even need any steroids to do it, either.
3.) At Long-On, none other than Barry Bonds. Kinda like their left field, and he would be the Yin to the Sammy Sosa Yeng of steroid users gone straight (only because they don't need that abusive power to hit sixes in Cricket).
4.) At Long Stop, I would place the frozen body of Ted Williams. Frozen, dead, or whatever, he will still be a better batsmen than 90% of the world's players. I think that he is big enough to deflect balls back into the field of play to prevent the boundaries.
5.) At Third Man I would put Mark Maguire. Mainly for his Bat skills. All we really would need are his forearms. The rest of him could stay home. Third Man pretty much just handles foul balls (although there are no foul balls in cricket). I think that Mark would be up to the task. The good thing about Cricket, is that unless a Batsmen is put out in one of several ways, he can keep going up there and hitting 4s and 6s forever. Unless you are playing limited overs cricket, that is.
6.) At substitute I would place myself, I could sit and drink and watch and hope that no one gets injured, but if they do, I can just go out there, field a few balls, and then resume sipping on my drink of choice.
I am sure that there would be a number of variations to this fine team to include some of our better players, and of course, I meant no disrespect our our honored dead...the disrespect was to the currently "Alive" Cricketers that are currently playing the game.
I must go to work now. Enjoy the laughter, I hear it is real good medicine!