By West Coast Craig
The Middle of Your Calandar — On the east coast you’ve got a June Monsoon. Here in the west, we’ve had an unseasonable June Gloom… It’s June, and the kids have just had their last day of school. It’s June, and now already the days start to get shorter again. It’s June, and like the ladies for Frankie, the girls screaming for the Beatles at Shea Stadium, Yankee Joe in the presence of Jerry Lumpe, or the Matts when interviewing Rod Gaspar – the Yankees are going into a serious, bona fide, stand-back-give-em-some-air, Swoon. For if not for Louis Castillo’s blunder, they wouldn’t have won a series all month. Girardi isn’t sweating it – literally. Michael Kay said as much on yesterday’s broadcast, which I find a dubious claim for somebody who donned the tools of ignorance on many a muggy afternoon. But when you take the richest player in the game out for two days because of fatigue, it doesn’t look promising. Nor does it when your highest priced pitcher craps out in the second inning, leaving the game in the hands of Brett Tomko. As for A-Roderick (a little tease for later), I know he hadn’t been getting hits (0-16 before a dinky, but clean, 2-out single that plated two yesterday), but he was still hitting the ball hard once in awhile. Before the sit-down he smacked a sharp shot late in an easily winnable game, that that dude in Washington totally snatched from the sky with a sweet leaping overhand catch on a dead run. Washington, by the way, was supposed to be the breather for the Pinstripes after a grueling week of rival powers. Maybe they were spurred by all the talk of their threatening an historically bad season, or Manny Acta’s bad luck reverting to the mean – by swinging the other way for a few days and maybe staving briefly off his seemingly inevitable canning – but the Senators (Nationals doesn’t make any sense, does it? That’s the name of their league!) actually played good defense, which helped their starters avoid handing the ball to that bullpen. Those were tight, well-played games… Dropping the series to the Marlins, though? They just looked flat – as though the funk was contagious. Still, I’m an even-keel type of fan, and I’d rather be swooning in June than be like say, the Colorado Rockies; hot in June with Fire Jim Tracy web sites start up in September.
The All-Star Game still counts? I better get my votes in. Now I could pick all studs for the American League, and then pad the numbers of the dregs of the National League, so that the Yankees can have home field advantage in the World Series this year, but instead I’m going to go about it the same way I draft my kids’ T-Ball team…I just try to get all cool names. That’s why I’ve had Cosmos and Zeuses and Wallys and Milos playing for me, so I think I know what I’m doing here to ensure a winner:
Catcher: Eliezer Alfonzo, San Diego. This is a first round name, without a doubt. Listen to how it rolls off the tongueâ€¦Elllie-zier Alfonzzzzo. Namesake of Eliezer Yudkowsky, a research fellow of the Singularity Institute For Artificial Intelligence. I’m not sure what they have to do with each other.
First Base: Toss up between a couple of third stringers: Cincinattiâ€™s Jake Fox, or Baltimoreâ€™s Oscar Salazar. Jake Fox because with that name he shouldâ€™ve been an action movie character, the kind screenwriters say things like â€œscruffy, but with rugged good looks,â€ a cop partnered with a chubby nerd named Zacharia Hounds in this yearâ€™s Midnight Run, FOX AND HOUNDS. Oscar Salazar because I can see his name across the back of a metro bus with the word â€œAccidentesâ€ and a 1-800 number. This may come down to whether one of these teams is lacking representation at the end. Weâ€™ll try to stick by that rule for now.
Second Base: Iâ€™m going to go withâ€¦.Macier Izturis. I think Macier is the Spanish way to say Maceo. Groove on this while you read the rest:
Shortstop: Alfredo Amazega has an a-mÃ¤z-ing name, but heâ€™s on the DL. Alberto Gonzalez is the back-up shortstop forâ€”who else?â€”Washington. Heâ€™d be a good choice except for that scandal where he tried to replace the entire American League team with National League members. Itâ€™s just going to have to be the Texas Rangers’ slick fielding Elvis Andrus. If he likes fried peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwiches, heâ€™s a lock.
Third Base: I like the alliteration of Melvin Mora, and every team could use a Melvin; Iâ€™m sorry J-honny Perralta, nice try but thatâ€™s just silly; no, the winner is Kansas Cityâ€™s recent call-up, Tug Hulett!
Outfield: Cubs utility man and pinch hitter Micah Hoffpauir, his faintly Amish sounding name inspires confidence in his work ethic, convictions, and buggy skills. The Mets own Angel Pagan has a thrilling duality about it, like Slim Fatso, or Jesus Secular Humanist. Rounding out this stalwart trio is Seattleâ€™s Wadomir Balentin, because I like to decree â€œWelease Wadomir.â€
Pitchers: No doubt about this one, your starter, the notorious Antonio Bastardo! Put a luche libre mask on him, send him out to dinner in a nice suit, and see what happens. Following him weâ€™ll take some Randy Johnson, and Chin-Ming Wang (because my Red Sox fan John from Montana always adds â€œno offenseâ€ and damn if I don’t laugh). I might also take this Ian Snell kid, he sounds like an accountant, and if Iâ€™ve learned anything from the Bad News Bears (and I have, lots), itâ€™s that every team needs an Olgilvie. The Cubs have a guy named Jason Wadell, and heâ€™s a lefty! If heâ€™s at all related to Rube then this could be the steal of the century. Hey Cla Meredith, isnâ€™t it time you made up with the letter Y? Sorry, go sit with J-honny while we introduce our final piece: A guy with a pretty cool name, one that would undoubtedly garner you some big Scrabble points, but this pick goes even deeper…sometimes you can tell a kid has all the tools, that certain it quality, just by looking at him, without even needing to see him throw. Iâ€™m talking about, of course, Clay Zavada.
Yep, it’s a good group.