Thursday, August 20, 2009

All Rooting Interest Team

In an effort to do something softer I have decided to make a team of players that I root for regardless of ability. A common criticism of sabermetricians is that they too often favor numbers over the human element of the game and I think that at times the criticism can be valid, although it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy both.

What follows are my positional picks for players that I support regardless of how good they are. I will include reasoning for why I root for these players. Some of these reasons will be petty or silly but that is part of being a fan. I avoided naming people who play for the Brewers simply because they play for my team and I did not name any players who I root for simply because they are good. Sometimes hoping for someone to do well is as much fun as watching someone do well.

I would encourage my colleagues here to do something similar.

SP - C.C. Sabathia
Reasoning: in a sport so plagued with steroid controversies it is kind of wonderful to watch a 250 lb man; it's nice knowing that there are professional athletes that I can easily outrun; he hit homeruns in each league last year becoming only the third pitcher in history to homer in both leagues in one season, one of those insane, nitpicky records that makes baseball wonderful, his big grin.

RP - David Aardsma
Reasoning: read this if you haven't yet; he is the first player alphabetically in major league history, replacing Hank Aaron and this is funny to me for some reason; his sister is an actress who appeared on CSI. Her character's name? Sexy Mistress.

C - Mike Napoli
Reasoning: was best friends with the man playing in front of him and by all accounts has been really supportive; his entrance song is "I'm On a Boat".

1b - Kevin Youkilis
Reasoning: on his wikipedia page the following phrases are found: "roly-poly", "pudgy", "fat kid"; Terry Francona's response when asked about his nickname (The Greek God of Walks) was "I've seen him in the shower, he isn't Greek God of anything."; holds the major league record for consecutive errorless games at first base, which is the most arbitrary record possible.

2B - Ian Kinsler
Reasoning: he is a small Jewish kid with asthma playing a professional sport; active in community charity work.

3B - Gordon Beckham
Reasoning: Josie's on a vacation far away come around and talk it over so many things I wanna say you know I like my girls a little bit older I just wanna use your love tonight I don't wanna lose your love tonight I ain't got many friends left to talk to nowhere to run when I'm in trouble you know I'd do anything for you stay the night but keep it undercover.

SS - Marco Scutaro
Reasoning: not necessarily stat-based but is supposedly a strong believer in sabermetrics as memorialized here; the entire trivia section of his wikipedia page is awesome but this in particular is incredible: On June 18, 2009, after being issued a walk by Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton, Scutaro immediately took off for second base and slid in safely.

LF - Juan Pierre
Reasoning: as much as he is crapped on my sabermetricians stories of him showing up early to ballparks and throwing balls against the wall to figure out how to play balls are endearing; is named after Juan Marichal; received the Cool Papa Bell award from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Cool Papa Bell is tremendous; robbed Barry Bonds of what would have been career home run number 714 on May 9, 2006.

CF - Curtis Granderson
Reasoning: fellow UIC alumnus; charity work; appeared on TNA Wrestling's Slammiversary PPV but I am deciding not to hold that against him.

RF - Ichiro Suzuki
Reasoning: his swing is awesome and I love imitating it during softball; I wish I was left handed so I could actually use his swing; his arm is astounding; he is probably the best current baseball player named Ichiro; his success makes teams continue signing Japanese players for ungodly sums of money in case they found the next Ichiro; they have not.

DH - Jim Thome
Reasoning: second place finisher in 2007 SI poll asking major league players to name the nicest player in baseball (behind Sean Casey who had 46%!!); put all 10 of his nieces and nephews through college;


  1. My team will look rather similar, though not always for the same reasons as Caleb's choices (and I will purposely avoid naming Cubs players):

    SP: Roy Halladay
    Carried my fantasy pitching staff in 2003 (when I snagged him ungodly late in the draft); I've watched him closely ever since, and seen him turn in year after dominant year to little fanfare; pitches complete game losses in an era when few pitchers even finish WINNING games.

    Also: C.C. Sabathia, Dontrelle Willis

    RP: David Aardsma
    My Cubs-fan-in-exile fan friend from days of yore (see: third grade); still looks like the sandy haired nine-year-old I met in '89, except now he's like 6'27", weighs over 200 pounds, and throws a fastball that eats dreams; found himself closing (finally!) in the big leagues this year, and has been money in the bank for a Mariners team that, after several years of brutal mismanagement, now looks poised to return to contention soon.

    Also: R.J. Swindle, Mariano Rivera, Nick Swisher

    C: Mike Napoli
    FINALLY getting more playing time than best friend Mathis, and (surprise, surprise) he's raking; also, as Caleb mentioned, he is on a boat--don't you ever forget.

    Also: Joe Mauer

    1B: Albert Pujols
    Yeah, he plays for the Cardinals, but every time I watch Pujols play, I get the feeling that I'm watching THE guy I'll spend the rest of my life telling the youngins about.

    Also: Prince Fielder, Kevin Youkilis, Nick Swisher

    2B: Mark DeRosa
    Excellent ballplayer who didn't seem to get the respect he deserved from Cubs management while he patrolled Wrigley; supersub who, unlike most supersubs, could actually hit a pitched baseball; played his heart out despite being at the forefront of every Brian Roberts trade ever.

    Also: Chase Utley

    3B: Gordon Beckham
    Josie's on a vacation far away come around and talk it over so many things I wanna say you know I like my girls a little bit older I just wanna use your love tonight I don't wanna lose your love tonight I ain't got many friends left to talk to nowhere to run when I'm in trouble you know I'd do anything for you stay the night but keep it undercover.

    Also: Pablo Sandoval, David Wright, Eric Chavez

    SS: Nomar Garciaparra
    Watching Nomar's seemingly-HoF career finally derailed with Chicago was heart- (and groin-)wrenching; his batter's box routine is actually crazier than the OCD routine I used to run through as a high jumper; saved two women who'd fallen into Boston Harbor back in 2005; this:

    Also: Jack Wilson, Hanley Ramirez, Marco Scutaro

    LF: Juan Pierre
    I have actually typed "Juan Pierreborg" into thanks to Pierre's 50 game "Juan-being-Manny" fest this year; he's basically what I expect I would be were I a major leaguer: no-patience, high-contact, fast as hell, a thrower of two hoppers from deep in the outfield, and African American.

    Also: Adam Dunn, Ryan Braun, Jason Bay

    CF: Scott Podsednik
    See most of my Juan Pierre entry.

    Also: Curtis Granderson, Carlos Beltran, Grady Sizemore

    RF: Ichiro Suzuki
    I've never been more impressed by a player's WARM UP than the one time I got to see Ichiro stretch out and play long toss; nothing about his batting stance should work; everything about his batting stance works; I can't wait to see him become the first player ever to be a Hall of Famer in America and Japan.

    Also: Ken Griffey, Vladimir Guerrero, Shin-Soo Choo

    DH: Rocco Baldelli
    Looked like he was on the road to stardom back in '03 until he started falling apart due to a form of channelopathy that renders him exhausted and injury prone after even light exertion; every time he plays, his body is telling him not to; he plays anyway, and he's still damned good (albeit a shadow of what he could have been).

    Also: Jim Thome, Frank Thomas

  2. Add Kerry Wood to the RP honorable mention list.

    Note: Derrek Lee would win at 1B if I allowed myself to vote for Cubbies. Fontenot, Theriot, and Johnson would be also-rans at 2B, SS, and CF, respectively.

  3. Add Wakefield to the SP honorable mentions.


    C: A.J. Pierzynski

  5. I love this idea. Have I made that obvious enough yet?

  6. Very cool. I am actually considering an all schadenfreude team for a follow-up.

    I forgot about Swindle. He's definitely up there.

    I didn't pick Pujols because the reality is that I root for him because he is great so it didn't really fit. It's not that I don't root for him just that my reasons for doing so are purely based on his ability whereas Youk has all this other stuff going on.

  7. ...aaaannnndddd Nick Swisher.....