Saturday, October 18, 2014


Eleven down, one to go for the Zodiac League.

Libra is that sign that searches for "balance." But, as we'll see, the talent imbalance is likely to make things tough for the Libra "B" team. They are very likely to need a mess of help to stand alone.

But that "A" team has a real troika of hitting talent at the center of its lineup.

And they have a really fine five-man rotation (though we hamstring them a bit by forcing them to take the lesser Hall of Famer, Rube Marquard, in place of a couple of better choices for the #6 slot).

The Hall of Fame quotient is low--but as the saying goes, the meat that is on the bone is cherce...very cherce.

Without further ado, here's that A-team batting order:

Rod Carew, 2b; Mickey Mantle, cf: Jimmie Foxx, 1b; Mike Schmidt, 3b; Chuck Klein, lf; Dave Winfield, rf; Buck Ewing, c; Joe Cronin, ss

Schmidt, Klein and Winfield should have a field day driving in runs in this configuration, with the Mick likely to lead the Zodiac "A" league in runs scored.

The starting rotation will do just fine with Marquard parsed into swing-man parsimony:

Three Finger Brown, Whitey Ford, Jim Palmer, Juan Marichal, Rube Waddell, Rube Marquard

And, hell's bells, you get two Rubes for the price of one this way.

The bullpen isn't too shabby, either:

Dennis Eckersley, Trevor Hoffman, Jeff Reardon, Dick Hall, Bobby Shantz, Grant Jackson

With these guys, you will be able to play post-post-modern baseball with impunity.

Before we go to the "B" team, let's note that the Libras have some excellent players to man the "A" team bench...guys like Gene Tenace, Roy Cullenbine, Bob Bailey, Al Oliver, Jose Bautista, Brian Downing.

That's a very offensive the best sense of the term.

Now, the "B" team batting order isn't shabby (it's the pitching that will most likely prove to be the letdown). Take a look:

Joe Sewell, ss; Fred Clarke, lf; Andrew McCutchen or Wally Berger, cf; Mark McGwire, 1b; Eddie Mathews, 3b; Goose Goslin, rf; Robinson Cano, 2b; Tim McCarver (or, if you force us to play the HOFer, Rick Ferrell...) c

We lean toward McCutchen given a) his greater range of offensive value, b) his more modern mien and c) the addition of another "Mc" to the lineup (though we are not sure just how "Irish" he really is!).

And, as with the "A" team  there are still some fine hitters left to pine away for their chance: Carlos Gonzalez, Ichiro! Suzuki, Jack Fournier, Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria. The "B" team will be a bit more interchangeable with these guys coming off the bench.

But the pitching looks as though it might be a bit sub-optimal in the "B" league...

Here are the starters:

Wilbur Wood, Will White, Jered Weaver, Zack Greinke, Harry Brecheen, Nap Rucker

A lot of Hall of Very Good to be found here, while other "B" squads have a bit more going for them. However, we did make sure that the Libra "B boys" had balance in their rotation--three from the right, and three from the left.

Here's the pen:

Todd Worrell, Randy Moffitt, Craig Lefferts, Kenley Jansen, Brad Ziegler, Darren Oliver

There's no wincing to be had when mentioning these names, of course. But the best guy here is Jansen, who's a big, menacing bag of fun who sometimes goes rather spectacularly up in smoke. These guys are simply a couple of standard deviations to the right of the optimum curve when it comes to how erratic they can be...and even in the Zodiac "B" league, this will present a problem.

But, being Libras, they'll have good old All-American fun no matter what...though they will almost certainly choose to leave Sandra Bernhard at home with her candle collection.