Playing Favorites, NL

Here we go with the overly long follow up to Sunday’s AL-edition of this meme.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Who. Mike Fetters
Why: A few Twins fans might remember him, and everyone else just sort knows him as a journeyman reliever.  However, he was a beloved pitcher among the members of my uber-competitive Summer/Fall 2002 Wiffle Ball League.  Why?  Because Fetters took the mound standing upright, facing third, and then would sharply snap his head toward home to take the sign.  There was something comical about this, and by the end of the year, every wiffle pitcher dabbled in Mike Fetters impressions.
Wear the Jersey? Despite the semi-hideous nature of the 2002 D-back uniforms, I probably would.

COLORADO ROCKIES

Who. Bret Saberhagen.
Why: I don’t feel good about this.  There are plenty of guys on and off this list for whom I have more affection than Saberhagen.  But, truly, I can’t think of a single damn Rockie for whom I have any positive feelings at all.  Maybe one of the big cats.  But probably not.
Wear the Jersey? No.  Definitely not, for every possible reason.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Who. Andy Ashby.
Why: Doesn’t everyone like Andy Ashby?
Wear the Jersey? Nah.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Who. Orel Herschiser.
Why: Nerdy pitcher, and holder of one of the more impressive records in baseball: 59 scoreless innings.
Wear the Jersey? Eh, probably not.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Who. Juan Marichal.
Why: There are just too many things to love about the Dominican Dandy.  The high leg kick, the blazing fastball, the clubbing of Johnny Roseboro, the general insanity.
Wear the Jersey? With pride.

CHICAGO CUBS

Who. Andre Dawson.
Why: As a child, it would’ve been Ryne Sandberg, who played second well and could hit a bit.  But the older I’ve gotten, the more unbearable (to me, at least) Sandberg has become.  So, with all that in mind, I choose Andre Dawson, who, of course, is at the tops of the list of players who were more exciting than good.
Wear the Jersey? No.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Who. Rob Deer.
Why: Like there’s any other choice.  I’m a longstanding member in the Rob Deer Fan Club.
Wear the Jersey? 8 days a week.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Who. Bobby Bonilla.
Why: In my mind, as a child, he was Barry Bonds, but bigger, stronger, and, therefore, “better”.
Wear the Jersey? Almost certainly not.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Who. Roy Oswalt.
Why: I like that Drayton McLane gave him a tractor after winning a playoff game.  I once read a story about Oswalt that mentioned that he intended to retire after his 10th year in the majors so he could go back home and farm.  I loved that story.  Of course, that story changed a bit when the Astros decided to give him $73 million, but, maybe, just maybe, he’ll walk away from it all after the 2010 season, anyway.  It’s not that I really want him to retire.  I just like the mythology of it.
Wear the Jersey? Maybe.  I’d probably wear that red alternate jersey.

ST LOUIS CARDINALS

Who. Ray Lankford.
Why:  Excellent player, though overlooked while discussing the better players of the 1990s.  Looking around at Cardinals outfielders, they’ve really had an impressive string of players manning CF.  Stretching back to the late 1970s, they’ve had George Hendrick, then Willie McGee, then Ray Lankford, then Jim Edmonds, and now Rick Ankiel.  There was also a year of the young JD Drew in there.  None of these guys are Hall of Famers, but, really, the Cardinals have hardly had a complaint about CF in 30 years.
Wear the Jersey? Probably not.  Something about the team just rubs me the wrong way.

CINCINNATI REDS

Who: Joe Morgan.
Why: The Reds, honestly, have an extraordinary number of people to choose from.  Adam Dunn!, screams the RDFC member inside me.  Pete Rose is about as much fun to watch (ya know, as a player) as anyone I can think of.  Johnny Bench is, justifiably, a legendary player, and the absolute pinnacle of his position.  But Joe Morgan, despite the frequent crotchety insanity of his broadcasting, was, I think, an even better second baseman than many people realize.  This is a Hall of Famer, with a couple of MVP awards, and a place of honor on one of history’s great teams, and I’m saying he might be a touch underrated.  Joe recently remarked that Utley might be one of the better second basemen in baseball history.  I’m not even sure if Joe’s considerable ego realizes how much better Utley has to get to justify the comparison.  And Utley is, like, really, really good.
Wear the Jersey? Almost certainly.

NEW YORK METS

Who. Tom Glavine, but only if I can get some kind of mention of his final start as a Met.  Otherwise, Turk Wendell.
Why: Glavine’s lousy performance gave the division to the Phils on the final day of the season, before the Phils even started playing a must-win game.  Turk Wendell just batshit crazy.
Wear the Jersey? Glavine, almost certainly not.  I don’t actually like him, I just like what he ended up doing for my favorite team.  Wendell, maybe.  Definitely while drunk.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Who. Greg Maddux.
Why: There are so many reasons to love Maddux.  The speed at which the games he pitches move along (quickly), the absolute dominance of his career, the longevity, the stories of him peeing on rookies in the shower.  Really, he’s the whole package.
Wear the Jersey? Really, my anti-Wahoo sentiments (perhaps best expressed by the second song here), extend to Braves and the Redskins and the rest of the clubs that use Native American stereotypes.  It’s silly, and dumb.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS

Who. Walter Johnson
Why: I have no interest in considering the Nationals to be the same thing as the Montreal Expos, and though I’m too young to remember the old Washington Senators, the Nats are too young to have earned my affection.  Incidentally, are there any pictures of Johnson pitching?  Or was his pitching motion just that relaxed?  All the Google images are like the one I’ve got, or pics of him looking like he’s just lobbing a ball, as if to a small child.
Wear the Jersey? Depending on which one.  I’ve got mixed feelings about that collar.

MONTREAL EXPOS

Who. Vlad Guerrero.
Why: Vlad is everything Andre Dawson fans wish Dawson was.  Or, at least, as an Expo, he was.  Absolutely incredible arm and bat, and, once, an excellent fielder.  Absolutely unique style of play (as shown by the fact that no scout will ever write the words “looks like a young Vlad Guerrero” about a prospect).  Somehow, despite swinging at everything, he’s walked more than he’s struck out 4 times in his career.  Arguably, the most exciting player of my lifetime, thus far.
Wear the Jersey? I’d even dance with Youppi while wearing it.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Who. Michael Jack Schmidt.
Why: I love Chase Utley.  I love Jimmy Rollin’s charisma.  I love everything about Pat Burrell.  I love the nostalgia of Richie Ashburn, and I miss having him in the booth.  I love Steve Carlton’s slider, and that he was a pioneer in the field of “personal catchers”.  I loved both Curt Schilling’s mouth and his fastball, and how he signed autographs when the grocery store near my parents’ house opened up.  I’ve had bizarre adorations of Mickey Morandini, who could field and hit triples, and David Bell, who could field.  I loved Dykstra.  I love, love, love, Tug McGraw (“Tug, do you prefer grass or astroturf?”  “I don’t know.  I never smoked no astroturf.”).  I loved John Kruk, as a player.  I even loved Geoff Geary’s shortlived, up-and-down, middle relief career as a Phillie.  I loved the disaster that was Turk Wendell.  I rooted so hard I’m sure I’ve ground my teeth down to flat stones while watching Joe Table collapse time and time again.  I can name hundreds of Phillies players, many of whom played before I was born.

But there is only one God, and his name is Mike Schmidt.

Wear the Jersey?  You bet your ass.

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