Hollywood Fantasy Baseball Team
The Team of Tinsel Town
Every summer, countless other baseball fans carefully draft their roster for what is sure to be another fantasy league in which they will finish last. But like a Cubs fan, no matter how badly they got trounced the previous season, they keep coming back for more. Fantasy baseball has always been somewhat of a crap shoot. Player seasonal performance is mercurial and should come with the same warning as mutual funds: “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” The only constant is that the bulk of the players most fans draft will have career off seasons or suffer a season-ending injury.
Preparing for fantasy draft picks is one of the pre-season activities that gets fans pumped for the impending summer of hardball. Another mood-setting ritual is to watch a gaggle of baseball movies before the season's first pitch. Regardless of whether they are in the comedy, drama or suspense category, there is something about immersing yourself in a theatrical land of make believe that makes your soul ache for the home opener.
What if fans could combine the two; both fantasy baseball and movies about the sport? Take your pick of any baseball movie characters and build a fantasy-fantasy team. Think about it; those players never get injured, and their performance is consistent every time you watch the movie. No more second guessing about how well they will perform; their numbers and ability never waver. And if they are destined to be injured, you know about it in advance. That would be a team worth watching.
If you could pick a fantasy team made up of fictional baseball players, who would be on your roster? Here is a rundown of the best draft picks at each position. There are only two restrictions: the player has to fictional (there are many baseball movies that are biographical or historic in genre), and only one pick per movie.
Crash Davis, Bull Durham (1988). Crash adds a lot behind the plate. As a aging minor league veteran, he knows pitchers, pitching and pitches. He is the guy you want mentoring your young hurlers. He is known to tip batters off if his hurler shakes off his signals, reminding budding pitchers to respect their catcher. He is no slouch in the batter's box either. He owns the record for most minor league home runs, adding power along with wisdom.
Jack Elliot, Mr Baseball (1992). Although his career is waning, Jack brings a plethora of knowledge about the game as well as playing a respectable first base. Even though he can be something of a clubhouse distraction, he has shown enough power in the past to make the lineup. His stint in the Japanese Central League gives him a leg up on opposing pitchers from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Elmer Kane, Elmer, the Great (1933). Kane is nothing short of a bloviating braggart. But he has the numbers to back it up. He hit at least 67 homers durning his first season with the Chicago Cubs. A rare, power-hitting second baseman, Elmer's prowess with the bat will inflate anyone's fantasy stats. He is a bit of a gullible rube, and prone to threats of quitting. Assigning a veteran player to help Elmer navigate the particulars of playing in the big leagues is well worth the offensive production Kane provides.
Roger Dorn, Major League (1989). Dorn, originally a third baseman, is moved to shortstop, mainly due to the dearth of primary characters that are infielders. Dorn will make the shift effortlessly as he is known for his soft hands and sure glove. A bit of a prima donna, Dorn has one thing that makes him an asset for the team: his desire to win. While winning may be for the sole purpose of him securing post-baseball endorsements, Roger gives it his all to get the big W. And as the sequel to this baseball classic proves; Dorn is willing to take one for the team.
Ed, Ed (1996). While this movie is likely the worst baseball film ever, its star player is a real swinger. Ed plays the hot corner better than Brooks Robinson and has an arm that would make Nolan Ryan jealous. He has incredible range, and best of all, he will work for bananas; mainly because Ed is a chimpanzee. While he is prone to monkeying around, this primate is all business on the diamond and a sure gold glover. His mobility makes him hard to tag out, increasing extra base hits. He is an incredible asset to any fantasy team because, face it, it's a jungle out there.
Roy Hobbs, The Natural (1984). Hobbs could have been the best to play the game. With unbelievable power he had the potential to break every record in the books. AND, he could pitch better than anyone in the league. A run-in with a psycho chick left him with a bullet in his body that ruined his pitching arm and put him out of the game for more than a decade. As an older rookie, he won't have many seasons in The Show, but his penchant for parking balls over the fence, as well as a pretty mean glove for an old timer makes him a shoe-in for right field.
Bobby Rayburn, The Fan (1996). Bobby can struggle at the plate, but there is nothing like the murder of teammate to heat up his bat. He can also play under pressure, as if his son's life depends on it; because it does. Anyone that can hit and focus after their child has been kidnapped deserves a spot on any fantasy roster. Plus, feeling bad that Wille Mays Hayes from Major Leaguedid not make the cut, since Wesley Snipes portrays both characters, he gets the nod.
Stan Ross, Mr 3000 (2004). Stan would have ended up on the bench, but any player capable of churning out nearly 3000 hits should get a spot. Despite being out of the game for several years, Stan's seriousness for the game will help keep teammates focused. And he still has home run power. Ross has an ego larger than some planets, but he also brings experience and superstar recognition to the club.
Starting Rotation Spot 1
Sammy Bodeen, Talent for the Game (1991). Sammy is a raw rookie, having spent no time in the minors. This young phenom has a bazooka of an arm that, while occasionally wild, leaves most batters in a stupor. Having such a strong young pitcher at the top of the rotation ensures he will be with team for the long haul. Under the tutelage of Crash Davis, he can only get better. His arm will load your stats with strikeouts.
Starting Rotation Spot 2
Henry Wiggen, Bang the Drum Slowly (1973). Wiggen anchors the rotation for the New York Mammoths, and is a sure bet to rack up a ton of innings and a minuscule earned run average. He is apt to hold out for a better contract, but has a big heart, cares for his teammates and an asset to any pitching staff. He can also sell you an insurance policy if needed.
Starting Rotation Spot 3
Billy Chapel, For the Love of the Game (1999). Any hurler that can toss a perfect game deserves a spot on the roster. While at the end of his career, Chapel proves he still has what it takes, and as a pitcher for the same team for 19 season, he possesses a rarity in baseball: loyalty. With a fastball that has lost some zip, Billy can still get the outs relying on experience and craftiness. Actor Kevin Costner is also the only actor to earn two spots on the team for his portrayal of a duo of memorable ballplayers. The only question is, since he also portrays catcher Crash Davis, will he catch for himself when he takes the mound?
Starting Rotation Spot 4
Chet Steadman, Rookie of the Year (1993). First, we should thank Hollywood for casting Gary Busey in a baseball film. Only a character portrayed by Busey guarantees an interesting clubhouse. Steadman is another aging pitcher whose better days are behind him. His nickname “Rocket” indicates he once had a blazing fastball. Now, Chet is more of a ground ball pitcher that relies on solid defense to keep his ERA down. Never underestimate the value of having someone on the mound that knows how to get batters out despite diminishing skills. No matter how the putouts are achieved, a win is a win.
Starting Rotation Spot 5
Mel Clark, Angels in the Outfield (1994). Speaking of over the hill ballplayers, Mel Clark found a permanent spot on the disabled list. That is until he gets some heavenly assistance that not only helps him regain his confidence and fastball, but boosts the latter to an unhittable velocity. He may not be a great role model for the younger fans, as Mel nearly always has a cigarette in hand, but with a heater that literally knocks catchers over, you shouldn't care if he smokes anddrinks on the field.
Steve Nebraska, The Scout(1994). The closer spot in the bullpen belongs to a pitcher who makes Gary Busey look sane. Steve Nebraska, fresh from the Mexican League, may come with a load of emotional and mental baggage, but he also comes with a 109 MPH fastball. Tossing at those speeds, it wouldn't matter if he was a serial killer. Steve earns the spot as closer due to his incredible heater and the fact that he probably wouldn't last nine innings without having a nervous breakdown. He is also a prolific home run hitter, meaning he can double as a late innings pinch hitter.
Jimmy Dugan, A League of Their Own(1992). Known for hitting nearly 500 homers during his playing days, and his large bladder, Jimmy cut his managerial teeth in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Despite his penchant for boozing it up before the game, he has an innate ability to bring out the best in a team. Dugan is also renown for coining the phrase, “there's no crying in baseball.” With an astute observation like that, who would not want Jimmy Dugan managing their team?
Ready for a Game?
An eclectic bunch to be sure, but it's the best of Tinsel Town's version of the national pastime. Great hitting, an interspecies infield, and a rotation mixed with veteran and rookie hurlers. That's a fantasy team anyone would be proud of. And the beauty is, your team never ages. It never gets worse, or better. Solid performance year after year, thanks to a little Hollywood magic. So who would be on your team?