CINCINNATI, OH – I’ve drawn the All-Star Monday slot again, so that means two things: Time to make up new Home Run Derby Rules, and playing the All-Star Name Game!
What’s that you say? The Home Run Derby already has new rules this year? Well, just who do you think you are anyway, my hypothetical foil? How many question marks have I used already???? Anyway, it’s true, there are new rules. And since I’m willing to bet most of you (my hypothetical foil be damned!) had no idea the system was being rejiggered this time around, or that there still was a Home Run Derby at all, it’s clear that something had to be done.
The Home Run Derby hasn’t been any good since Mickey Mantle beat Jackie Jenson in the all alliterative name finale of the original TV show in 1960. That show had some good things going for it: The winning slugger pocketed a whopping two grand (plus some bonuses for streaks of three or more), or in Mantle’s case, a weekend’s worth of beer. There were no steroids back then, making it a purer test of amphetamine power. It was over in half an hour and, most importantly, there was no Chris Berman. The modern version is like a twitter war between moronic body builders (do yourself a favor and click that)…it’s amusing at first, then it quickly becomes tediously boring, then you want to stuff a dirty sock down Chris Berman’s throat.
This year, however, they’re adding a shot-clock, head-to-head brackets, and some convoluted rules about pausing said clock for extra long bombs. Will they work better than my suggestions for a “money ball” that explodes ink all over the hitter? What if we added some sex appeal and made it strip-Home Run Derby, with an item of clothing removed for every out? I still like the idea of a big glass window set up in center field, and if a ball breaks it an angry old man emerges shaking his fist and yelling, at which point all the players and their families must scatter as quickly as they can before the cops show up.
Now onto one of my favorite things, finding amusement in people’s names. This is a pretty awesome year for it too. So, without further ado, my All-Name All-Stars:
Catcher: Yasmani Grandal: Here’s a fun game, read Beowulf and replace Grendel with Yasmani Grandal! “Till the monster stirred, that demon, that fiend/Yasmani Grandal who haunted the moors, the wild/Marshes, and made his home in a hell./Not hell but hell on earth.” Is he talking about Los Angeles? OK, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word.
First Base: As in real life, this position is stacked with talent. Pujols will always have an honorary spot. There’s always the great Carlos Santana for you rockers, and one can only wonder if anybody adds “Mary” to Washington’s Tyler Moore. I, however, pick Toronto’s Chris Colabello because it makes me smile to think of SCTV’s owner, Guy Caballero.
Second Base: Hopefully a mainstay on this list for years to come, Rougned Odor.
Third Base: Young Phillie phenom, Maikle Franco. They don’t Maikle names like this any more. Or, I guess maybe they do.
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, I love everything about your name, but I’m afraid even you can’t beat Marcus Siemen.
Outfield: Yesterday’s hero for the Mets: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, because his name sounds like a cheap American beer trying to pass itself off as German. The Pirates have a third stringer named Gorkys Hernandez, if he ever makes it will they start calling PNC Field Gorky’s Park? And finally, Delino Deshields makes it on the list, because my friend Tom used to call his father DePanty Deshields and it still makes me laugh.
I’ll let you fans “write in” your suggestions for the pitching staff below.