Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Seems that our old pseudo-nemesis, Gary Huckabay (my once-upon-a-time pal Tom Austin had a better nom de plume for him: Barry Chickadee, but--alas--no titles on Amazon, or elsewhere by that author...) had a thing for twins. We dimly recall a few girlie magazines that trafficked in such fantasies, but it seems axiomatic that a threesome is better when it's not really a twosome (unless you're a suppressive personality, of course).

Makes us think that ol' Gar must've been a Gemini. (If not, he should have been.)

And so--here we are, in the seventh sign of the most deranged idea since the doozy of a down-the-rabbit's hole of one's own making since Jim Grayam's swan dive into the booby hatch in Brainstorm (1965), the film noir that threw away the mold even as it was breaking it. Grayam, played by the ill-fated Jeffrey Hunter, was clearly too brilliant for his own good--a prophetic character trait that's now part of an accelerated American need/desire to build up and tear down, often in the same news cycle.

OK, two digressions for the price of one (actually, none, but who's counting?) Apparently we are also somewhere in the sixties, though in this case it has to do with the number of beers left on the wall, and the danger point where there are more beers off the wall than on...best not to have a mirror image of oneself when coming into range of a point of disequilibrium.

Did we say two digressions? This could go on all night if we're not careful.

So--twins. Gemini. The Zodiac League. You can see the position players already, we put the chart up already--we fret over page design when we're not busy fashioning all these digressions. As you'll see, the Gemini "A" team is pretty good, some great players, with a few more holes than usual. They will have to play a few people in odd positions, however.

And they have an absolute s-load of catchers--far more than any of the other astral measurement units we've covered previously. Do catchers "burn more brightly"? Do they exhibit elevated tendencies toward bi-polar behavior? Are they two-faced? Identical cousins? People who rally around the catchphrase "Do as I say, not do as I do?"

Maybe. But, really, now, who the heck woulda thought that Manny Ramirez was a Gemini, for Crissakes? Taurus, yes. Scorpio--completely. But, then again, there is a large dollop of the "evil twin" in ol' Manny.

The scary thing is that we're gonna have to play Manny in right field to make the "A" team come together offensively. And they will be offensive:

1. Wade Boggs, 3b; 2. Ben Zobrist, 2b; 3. Manny Ramirez, rf; 4. Lou Gehrig, 1b; 5. Al Simmons, cf; 6. Billy Williams, lf; 7. Miguel Tejada, ss; 8. Bill Dickey, c

And the starting rotation has some fun folk, even if the Hall of Fame pedigree is a bit on the "lite beer" side of things:

Amos Rusie, Jack Chesbro, Tommy John, Andy Pettitte, Deacon Phillippe, Don Newcombe.

The relievers will be swift and (occasionally) terrible, but never dull:

Tippy Martinez (lone lefty), Craig Kimbrel, Jonathan Broxton, Kerry Wood, Heathcliffe Slocumb.

As the pitchers' chart shows, however, the Gemini squad is really short of Hall of Fame pitchers. There are a lot of careers here that seem like they should have been more somehow--but injuries, or personalities, or some combination of both, got in the way.

That comes through rather strongly in the "B" team principals:

1. Roger Bresnahan, c; 2. Ken Singleton, rf; 3. Pete Browning, cf; 4. Frank Thomas, 1b; 5. Darrel Evans, 3b; 6. Zack Wheat, lf; 7. Ed McKean, ss; 8. Bill Doran, 2b

Starting pitchers:

Eddie Cicotte, Charlie Buffinton, Bartolo Colon, Eddie Lopat, Carlos Zambrano, Jack Pfiester.


Mel Parnell (only lefty), Junichi Tazawa, Jose Mesa, Derek Lowe, Mark Clear.

There are just a lot of players in the Gemini cupboard with that "aimed intensely for the brass ring, but just missed" quality: Gary Nolan, Dean Chance, Jim Maloney, maybe Tim Lincecum among the pitchers; Todd Hundley, Travis Hafner, Wally Joyner, Todd Walker, Jose Reyes, Don Money, Irish Meusel, Del Ennis, Eric Davis, Bill Lange, Mike Donlin, Kirk Gibson, Merv Rettenmund, Darin Erstad among the hitters.

It's like they all had an evil twin, just like Olivia de Havilland in The Dark Mirror (1946).

All digressions and mental searches for the perfect form of derangement aside, it's a fascinating group. They're not going to win anything, of course--but they will never, ever, be dull.