Greetings from Australia mates!
As some of our beloved readers know, I am currently in the middle of my semester studying abroad in Wollongong, Australia. The transition to Aussie life has been quite smooth – there aren’t too many big differences between our cultures. I have submerged myself into their beach lifestyle, have gotten into some Aussie music, and have even picked up on some of their lingo.
But one aspect of Australian life I have had trouble adjusting to goes against the very core of which I stand – sports.
Although I do enjoy me some footie (rugby), I must say that I have a major distaste for cricket. Cricket may be the national sport of Australia, but I just find it to be a more illogical, boring version of baseball.
And seeing how I used to be the manager of the greatest baseball team ever assembled, I think I know a thing or two about baseball.
And with two weeks left until Opening Day for Major League Baseball, I give you the breakdown of my Backyard Baseball team’s lineup (listed in batting order).
“Wheels” is penciled in at the leadoff spot and centerfield due to his swift feet that rivals that of a cheetah. Pete is a bit clumsy and tends to space out every once in a while, but is a serviceable outfielder that also can take the mound if needed. He also packs a punch at the plate, with above-average power for a leadoff man. But his strength is his speed, and Wheeler will always be tops in the league when it comes to stolen bases. Here’s how most games start: Wheeler bunts his way to first. Two pitches later, he’ll already have stolen his way to third.
When it comes to pure speed, Lui might have a slight edge over Wheeler. Teaming with Wheeler, there is no denying they make the fastest one-two punch in (Backyard) baseball. Lui’s biggest role is that of the team player: she will often need to move Wheeler to scoring position with the power hitters on deck, and she often shifts to center field whenever Wheeler takes the mound. The youngest player in the Backyard Baseball league, Lui will always be seen playing with her cherished teddy bear in hand.
Pablo Sanchez, without a doubt, is the best player in (Backyard) baseball. You might not believe that when you first look at the chubby, short Hispanic kid, but with a versatile offensive game that is only topped by his masterful pitching, Sanchez is a must-have for any baseball team. The perfect No. 3 hitter, Sanchez consistently makes contact with a swing that could blast a 500-foot homerun at any moment. Sanchez’s pitching is unmatched. A scorching fastball, a back-breaking curveball, and a heart-stopping changeup are a few of Sanchez’s weapons, and he owns basically every single pitching record in (backyard) baseball. Sanchez’s gut protrudes out his shirt, and team management has often asked Sanchez to cut down on his nachos and burritos, but Sanchez has yet to show up to Spring Training in shape. But with the numbers that he puts up, I doubt anyone really cares.
The most powerful bat on the squad belongs to Achmed, who always leads the league in homeruns and RBI. He can struggle when trying to hit to the opposite side of the field, but give him a pitch anywhere on the inside of the plate, and you can expect him to pull it halfway to China. Khan packs a solid arm in right field, and takes over behind the plate when Kenny Kawaguchi comes in to pitch late in games.
Following Achmed is his little brother Amir. Unlike his older brother, Amir is much more of a line-drive hitter that bases his game on hitting behind the ball to the opposite side of the field. It often looks like his pants are a bit too big for him, but Amir is an underrated fielder and one of the better middle infielders in the league.
Known as the “neighborhood clown,” Phillips usually makes her opponents tremble, not laugh. An impressive physical specimen, Phillips usually isn’t too far behind Achmed in the homerun rankings. She also has great range in the field. A converted outfielder, Phillips has quick feet and often makes highlight-worthy plays along the first-base line. With her imposing physical frame, Phillips has been the subject of several steroids accusations, which Phillips has vehemently denied.
Simply put, Stephanie Morgan is a baseball player. A solid batter, a great defensive shortstop, and an all-around team player, Morgan is definitely someone you want in your clubhouse. Her game isn’t flashy – most of her hits are singles – but she still puts up above-average numbers while sporting great instincts and awareness.
Frazier is the team’s newest addition. Before Frazier took over the hot corner, the position belonged to Jocinda Smith. But after Smith’s batting numbers dropped and a few reported altercations with team management, Smith was dropped for Frazier. A solid third baseman and a doubles machine, Frazier has been a pleasant surprise at the eighth spot. Frazier often sports a shirt with a rainbow on it, and rumors have been swirling that Frazier is a flaming lesbo.
How’s this for amazing: Kawaguchi is a better baseball player with no legs than most people are with two. He is a below-average hitter, but Kawaguchi handles pitchers exceptionally well, and is the anchor of the team’s bullpen. His calm demeanor and wicked changeup has led one scout to call him “Trevor Hoffman in a wheelchair.”
Was this the greatest baseball team ever assembled? Well, seeing how I haven’t lost a game in 10 years and Pablo Sanchez throws a perfect game 50% of the time, I don’t think there is any doubt.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Play ball!