Monday, March 3, 2014


We are now one-third of the way through the ectoplasmic ecliptic, and cases of eczema have spiked more spectacularly than that supernova we saw back in 1975, when we looked up from some "peeping Tom" activity with the daughter of the next-door neighbors. (Hey, she never closed her curtains!!)

I think she was a Pisces, but that may have been a rumor. Anyway, we are at present firmly fixed in that watery world, and it's time to clean up our act (yes, yes, long overdue--and you ain't the first to bring it up...) in planetary conjunction with the list of ballplayers, not Wall Street, but the conjoined series of dates that range from February 19 to March 20.

What you're going to see here is a team with bulk in Hall of Famers (17 hitters), but it's for the most part a collection of "soft" HOFers, as you'll see below. The two best players on the Pisces master roster are Honus Wagner and Mel Ott; after that, there is a semi-considerable distance to Willie Stargell, Arky Vaughan, Eddie Murray, Home Run BakerRon Santo.

The "A" team lineup is not bad, however, and the pitching--well, that is a sweet group of starting pitchers that they can bring to bear on the opposition.

No one can quibble with the Fish-boys' six-man rotation: Pete Alexander, Lefty Grove, Joe McGinnity, Kevin Brown, Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw. That's probably the best six-man ERA+ to be found on any team in the Zodiac League, and we expect that rotation to cover (unlike the babe of yore at the window...) a multitude of sins.

The "B" team has some fun names to toss onto the mound--it has two Cooper boys, Mort and Wilbur, followed by high-flying but terminally injured Johan Santana and J.R. Richard, plus two Jeffs (Tesreau and Pfeffer) to handle the swing shift. They will probably come in at about 10 games under .500 in the lower Zodiac, with the bullpen shape-shifting the squad down to about 70 wins.

We neglected to mention that our old pal Dick Allen is on the master roster. It's a toss-up as to whether he or Will Clark will be the first baseman on the "B" team. We'd love to stick Dick on the "A" team, but in a world that worships Hall of Fame longevity, we're forced to ensconce Eddie Murray in that slot. Dick would be a hell of a lot more interesting.

Here are the rosters for the "A" and "B" squads as we see them, without benefit of the binoculars that used to come in so handy back in the randy days of old:

"A squad" lineup
Puckett, cf; Baker, 3b; Wagner, ss; Ott, rf; Stargell, lf; Murray, 1b; Kent, 2b; Howard, c

"A squad" rotation
Alexander, Grove, McGinnity, Brown, Verlander, Kershaw

"A squad" bullpen
Roy Face, Tim Burke, Steve Mingori, Scott Radinsky, Wayne Granger, Bob Locker

"B squad" lineup
Ashburn, cf; Myer, 2b; Vaughan, ss; Allen or Clark, 1b; Thompson, rf; Santo, 3b; J. Rice, lf: Crandall, c

"B squad" rotation
Cooper, Cooper, Santana, Richard, Tesreau, Pfeffer

"B squad" bullpen
Reb Russell, Nixey Callahan, Clyde Shoun, Steve Howe, Steve Reed

We'd definitely re-requisition those binoculars to get a look at the Pisces A-squad's starting rotation. And they've got a passable batting order, too. They could be a sleeper team, fo' sho'. The "B" squad looks to be something of a snooze, however.

We now return control of the vertical and horizontal to you...but the binoculars cost extra.