MLB All-Star Game: TV vs. Film Characters
Sports fans, what a day we have upon us...
I'm proud and excited to welcome you to the new "Midseason Classic."
The sun shines down and there isn't a cloud in the perfectly blue sky. Anticipation grows high as peanut shells sprinkle the ground and the smell of hot dogs fill the air as the crowd begins to rumble with a shared excitement.
This year, for the first time ever, before Josh Hamilton, Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez take the field in July to thousands of adoring fans, we introduce a brand new All-Star Game for your entertainment.
One team, a talented gathering of television's who's-who, moving off the small screen and onto the freshly cut green grass. The characters who we let into our homes on a weekly basis group up for a few short hours to take on America's past-time.
The other team, a classic cinematic convergence of stars from the most heralded baseball films of our time. The films that make tough men misty-eyed, the ones shared by father and son for generations, all together at last, in one dugout.
The wait ends here, baseball fans; here are your starting lineups for the most anticipated showdown of the year.
Now before we say "Play ball!", here to introduce our starting players, a very special guest...
Your Announcer, Mr. Harry Doyle
"Good afternoon! It's a beautiful day and we're ready to play ball! Ladies and gentlemen, here is your 2012 Television All-Stars Starting Lineup..."
1. Tony Micelli, 2B
Show: Who's the Boss?
"Tony, Tony, Tony"...
If the first thing that springs to mind is the early 90's rap group, think again—it's Tony Danza's incredibly varied character resume. Make no mistake, baseball fans, there's no question who the boss is when Tony Micelli is at the plate.
Housekeeper and loving father by day, incredibly "80's" infielder by dusk, Micelli, a former second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, won't let nagging injuries keep him from the game he loves so.
Watch the mullet fly as imprints of Pony sneakers pepper the basepath when he turns your first inning into an early nightmare.
2. Larry David, SS
Show: Curb Your Enthusiasm
" Pretty, pretty, pretty...pretty good!"
More neurotic than a thousand Woody Allens and more quirky than a Zooey Deschanel marathon. Mr. Larry David isn't just looking for trouble in his everyday life, he invites it on the diamond.
"Athleticism" isn't the first adjective when looking at the seemingly gawky David, but a first glance doesn't do a piranha justice either.
Nimble like a cat with the speed of a swift gazelle, all while pulling off Jeter-esque plays at short. Larry David's glove isn't gold; it's platinum.
He may not enjoy whitefish or ice cream sample abusing, but the only thing he hates more is to lose.
3. George Costanza, C
A former assistant to the traveling secretary of the New York Yankees, George Costanza is the heart of this boob-tube crew.
What Costanza lacks in speed and agility, he more than makes up for with tenacity and a "never-say-die" spirit.
A smack-talker, a competitor and a one-man wrecking ball, back up, because Georgie Boy is coming for you. Just ask Bette Midler, who landed in the hospital following a collision with Costanza at the plate.
4. Doug Heffernen, 3B
Show: King of Queens
Third base? Mets jersey? Portly build? This can't be "Wright."
The pride of Queens, New York, typical everyguy Doug Heffernen has an impassioned love of the game and isn't afraid to get dirty if it means adding a run to his team's tally.
Don't underestimate Doug's size either; a parcel delivery job keeps him on his feet all day, and surprisingly mobile to boot.
Big in size, big in heart and always encouraged by a post-game pizza celebration, this power hitter doesn't just clean up the plates...he licks them clean.
5. Kevin Arnold, 1B
Show: The Wonder Years
You thought Bryce Harper was young...
Wet-behind-the-ears high schooler Kevin Arnold is center of the lineup, and the team's heart. Capturing a child-like wonder of the game, he more than compensates for youthful mistakes with raw talent.
Plus, he's always going to look better when standing next to nerdy walking disaster Paul Pfeiffer.
6. Conan O' Brien, CF
Show: Late Night With Conan O' Brien
Giant, gingered and dressed right out of the 1800's, outfielder Conan O' Brien is looking to make sure his team's time on top lasts longer than his Tonight Show stint.
Adding a flair for the slapstick with his finely-tuned skills, perhaps he could add some punch to a decimated Boston Red Sox outfield this season. After all, it's just "Conan being Conan".
Get him on the phone, Ben Cherington.
7. Fred Flintstone, DH
Show: The Flintstones
Get out of the way, Todd Helton; this guy has been a "rockie" even longer than you have.
Fred Flintstone may not wear shoes or pants, play with a ball that's really a stone and have a wife that freakishly is all pupils, but his tough-as-nails gusto can't be counted out when the game is on the line.
His only downfall may be a lack of energy when the game gets into its late hours. A diet of dino ribs sit in your stomach like a brick tied to a Buick tied to Rosie O' Donnell.
Plus, Flintstones Chewable Vitamins weren't available back in the stone age. The ultimate irony...
8. Big Bird, RF
Show: Sesame Street
Before there were Angry Birds, there was Big Bird.
Less awkward in the outfield than Raul Ibanez and taller than Randy Johnson, this yellow bird is off the street and onto the grass.
Despite the wings, he can't literally fly around the bases, but if you're at the receiving end of a bird slide, get out of the way.
League rules state he must wear a uniform, though, and no "tweeting" during the game.
9. Balki Bartokomous and Cousin Larry Appleton, LF
Show: Perfect Strangers
Glued at the hip, this tandem duo brings up the rear on for the TV All-Stars. When you break it down, it's hard to fault them for having to work together to accomplish the task of one "normal" player.
Balki is from the tiny nation of Mepos, which doesn't have electricity and probably has a goat for president.
Appleton is a native Chicagoan. He's never seen the Cubs win anything.
Easy out, everyone, easy out.
Stan Marsh, SP
Show: South Park
Ladies and gentlemen, now taking the mound, Stanley Marsh, from South Park, Colorado.
With a target like Eric Cartman behind the plate, no wonder Marsh is such an effective pitcher. Showcasing his tilted cap and nervous energy to finish up the game, Stan wastes no time firing soaring rockets down the strike zone, laying opposing batters to waste.
It just may take everything he's got, but luckily when the tank hits empty for Marsh, he's got a solid reliever to back him up...
Sam Malone, RP
Ladies and gentlemen, server of beer, and server of fear, Sam "Mayday" Malone.
If Mariano Rivera has "Enter Sandman," Milone has "Enter Sam-man."
When he's not shutting out the lights as a bartender at Boston's favorite watering hole, Cheers, this former Red Sox arm is shutting out the lights on opposing team's hopes.
His biggest flaw? Years of fawning over Kirstie Alley. Don't worry, Sammy. everyone gets a mulligan once in a while.
Mr. Burns, Team Manager
Show: The Simpsons
Taking the reigns of the TV All-Stars today is animated billionaire and older-than-dirt manager C. Montgomery Burns.
Former manager of the champion Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team, Burns' antiquated mannerisms, highly-outdated style of dress and bizarre teaching methods make him quite the colorful character. One that accepts nothing less than perfection from his players, though.
Back in 1994, Burns attempted to block out the sun in order to force the town to rely on his nuclear plant during all hours...he's still more liked than Ozzie Guillien.
Again, Mr. Harry Doyle...
"How do ya like that folks? Now, without further ado, here's the starting lineup for your 2012 Baseball Film All-Star Team!"
1. Willie Mays Hayes, OF/2B
Film: Major League
Looking for that perfect table setter? Look no further.
Speed is the name of his game...and his name? Willie Mays Hayes.
Typically a centerfielder, the brash and cocky Hayes will be spending some time today at second base due to a logjam in the outfield for Team Film.
He may provide more pop-ups than a sketchy website, but when he connects with the leather, watch out.
The man who one stated "The American Express Card. Don't steal home without it" will wreak havoc on the basepath.
2. Lou Collins, 1B
Film: Little Big League
There's no denying that Collins, the hard-hitting fictional first baseman for the Minnesota Twins, can knock the tar off the ball, even when being managed by a 12-year-old.
He's not as injury-prone as current Twinkies star Justin Morneau and provides a lot of pop for the bruisers that follow on this squad.
One issue though—Timothy Busfield, the actor who portrayed him, was in early 90's snoozer drama series Thirtysomething. Knowing that information, his athletic ability can justifiably be called into question.
3. Roy Hobbs, CF
Film: The Natural
Q: What time is it when Roy Hobbs gets up to bat?
A: Trick question! He shatters the scoreboard clock.
Easy to like, fan favorite Roy Hobbs, a talented middle-aged player with an unfortunate past is a major threat to send the ball into the cheap seats with a bat widdled from a tree.
Dramatic and poignant, Hobbs represents classic baseball at its best, and a true story of sticking to your dreams.
4. Babe Ruth, RF
Film: The Babe
Babe Ruth on one team, Bronson Pinchot on the other...sounds like a massacre, right?
Well, keep in mind, this isn't really George Herman Ruth, but the John Goodman version, which may or may not be in better shape. Scientists couldn't even begin to speculate.
Don't get too comfortable though; the man had to listen to Roseanne Barr endlessly yap for the better part of a decade. He wants to hit something, bad.
That ball is as good as gone.
5. 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson, LF
Film: Field of Dreams
"If you build it, he will come."
It's a good thing Kevin Costner listened; he only had about 30 other baseball films to make up for it had he not.
"Shoeless Joe" Jackson was banned from Major League Baseball in 1920 following the Chicago Black Sox scandal, a 1919 conspiracy to fix the World Series.
Much like Field of Dreams, Jackson returns to the field to play again, 92 years later, this time in the five hole for the Film All-Stars.
6. Benny Rodriguez, SS
Film: The Sandlot
With a name that'd make Elton John proud and a swing that'd make Mike Piazza proud, now stepping up to the plate is Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez.
Speed. Leadership. Agile enough to outrun huge dogs owned by Darth Vader. An ability to teach an Opie-ish kid how to play ball. A knack for sending the ball flying so far, it'll need postage. The ultimate five-tool player.
The Jets may have Tebow, but "The Jet" will really make you say "holy moly!"
7. Dottie Hinson, C
Film: A League of Their Own
The sole female in today's ballgame, Dottie Hinson, the whipsmart backstop of the Rockford Peaches, becomes a competitive warrior when she dons the tools of ignorance.
A farm girl by trade, this born leader commands behind the plate and at it.
Don't let the skirt or connection to Madonna trick you; here's one of the fiercest competitors taking the field today.
8. Kelly Leak, 3B/Util
Film: The Bad News Bears
No wonder Tim Lincecum's having such a lousy season... just look at him!
Cigarette smoker? Harley Davidson rider? Loan shark? All-Star?
Yes, this unsavory character is Kelly Leak. Resident bad boy and rough-around-the-edges talent for the Bears, a ragtag team of losers, malcontents and anyone else with a stamped one-way ticket to the Island of Misfit Toys.
Not much worse than the similar-sounding, Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds pitcher and user of the five-finger discount.
Leak's rap sheet aside, his natural talent and blasting bravado will add a solid punch to the bottom of this lineup.
9. 'Crash' Davis, DH
Film: Bull Durham
"Crash" Davis is a career minor-leaguer who looks an awful lot like Robin Hood. This "prince of thieves" may just steal away a victory from the TV All-Stars.
In the midst of juggling a career in its December, a heated love triangle and mentoring a hotshot up-and-coming pitcher, Davis' baseball wisdom and wherewithal will pay off dividends.
Don't count the old guy out; he's still got it...and that's no bull.
Ricky Vaughn, SP
Film: Major League
A promise to you, the reader. There will be no mention of the overused:
- "tiger's blood"
...in this slide. Well, besides those.
Don't call him "four eyes."
Notorious for his one-time erratic pitching, Indians pitcher Ricky Vaughn, appropriately named, "Wild Thing," is now a finely-tuned master of the mound.
The ultimate battle of great hitting met with great pitching.
Henry Rowengartner, RP
Film: Rookie of the Year
The beneficiary of a broken arm healed-too-tight, Rowengartner is the young phenom of the Chicago Cubs pitching system.
Technically not old enough for an unaccompanied viewing of a PG-13 movie, this 12-year-old is testing the limits of radar guns with a fastball clocked over 100 MPH. Aroldis Chapman, you have company.
When asked what it was like to play in a film portraying a whirlwind whipping wunderkind, actor Gary Busey, confused, stated, "Whhhaaaaa?"
Jimmy Dugan, Team Manager
Film: A League of Their Own
"There's no crying in baseball!"
Timeless words of wisdon from Jimmy Dugan. A former Cubs slugger who lost the end of his career to the bottle but has made a turnaround sharing his experience and knowledge as a manager of the Rockford Peaches.
A taste of fiery old-school toughness and a knack for clashing with disagreeing umpires, Dugan's gritty, headstrong approach screams out for a notch in the win column at game's end.
Q: What kind of baseball mitts does Dugan insist players use?
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