So you didn't think baseball players could dance?
Well, that's actually yet to be determined, but now that we're well into the dog days of summer, is there a better time to find out? As the pennant races heat up, let's take a moment to cool down and have some fun, removing players from the "grandest stage of them all" and placing them on a stage that will feel much more unnatural.
As hard as it is to imagine some of our favorite players all decked out and ready to dance in front of a live audience, you have to admit, it would be one heck of an entertaining night. We've seen them swing a bat, field a ball or throw a pitch, but how well can they tango, waltz or moonwalk?
Time to take away the bats and balls and bust out the imaginary dancing shoes, as we attempt to sort through the hundreds of players playing Major League Baseball, to find out who can boogie with the best of them.
Over the last decade, few guys have been more outspoken around the game than Torii Hunter. One of the game's all-time "good guys" and a great teammate, I'm sure that Hunter would have no problem absorbing everything that a professional dancer would have to offer knowledge-wise.
After having seen him roam center field for the majority of his career, making the move to a stage seems all but natural for Hunter.
It's kind of hard to picture the guy featured on the left of your screen as a viable option for Dancing with the Stars, but with the young Houston Astros going through the rebuilding process, they have few recognizable faces at all.
For that reason alone, we'll nominate Brett Myers for an appearance. During his tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies, Myers was one of the most outspoken guys on the team, even helping to orchestrate an epic prank on Kyle Kendrick, leading the Phils' pitcher to believe he'd been traded to a Japanese team.
Though he may not be in dancing shape at the moment, if anyone on this young Astros team would be willing to dance the night away, it has to be the veteran starter.
Without much competition, Coco Crisp takes home the award for this year's best afro in baseball (before it met it's tragic end), but would he be able to shave off the competition to become baseball's smoothest dancer?
Representing the Oakland A's, he'll certainly have a shot. Along with an upbeat personality that's ready to tear up the dance floor, he has some quick feet in center field and should be able to coordinate with his partner with relative ease.
He may not be the most popular name on the list, but Rajai Davis is an early underdog for this list. Currently leading the Toronto Blue Jays in stolen bases, he has the speed and quick feet to make the hard dance moves, as well as the mind-set to take home the gold.
The rest of the competition should be on alert.
Out of the cellar and into a pennant race, Michael Bourn has the tool-set to be a great dancer (I think). After spending the first half of the season at the bottom of the NL Central with the Houston Astros, just padding his career stats, Bourn was traded to the Atlanta Braves where his stolen bases and affinity for getting on base changed the complexion of the Braves' offense.
The man has arguably the quickest feet in the game, and if his defense in center field isn't proof enough, would be one of the early favorites with a bit of rhythm.
The Milwaukee Brewers have a number of candidates for this list, but is there a better option than Nyjer Morgan? Sure, his personality may be an acquired taste, but with his rambunctious spirit and quirky nature, he has the energy to win this thing.
Be it he or his crazy alter ego, Morgan has quick feet and a never say die attitude—a couple of things that professional dancers absolutely need to make it to the top. I'd be most interested in hearing some of the quotes from his dance partner.
Honorable Mentions: Ryan Braun kind of looks like a guy who can boogie, though he's made left field look like a difficult position to play from time to time, and I must admit, I'd love to see Prince Fielder on Dancing with the Stars. That would be real entertainment.
Sure, the St. Louis Cardinals have plenty of options for a spot like this, but let's be real here and give the people what they really want to see: Albert Pujols.
After crushing National League pitching for more than a decade with no end in sight, fans have been left to wonder whether or not the Cards' first baseman is a man or machine. He hits for average, power and everything in between.
I'm sure dancing would be a piece of cake for arguably the greatest player of his generation.
Tony Campana may not be the most popular name on the Chicago Cubs' roster, but as the franchise tries to turn over a new leaf, they'll throw just about anything against the wall to see if it sticks. When you talk about guys that know how to play their game the right way, Campana has to come to mind.
A slap hitter with quick feet, Campana could be an underdog in our little competition and could make some noise against the more popular names.
After his name floated unceremoniously about the trade market for much of the winter, Justin Upton decided to put those rumors to rest with hard work and dedication, leaving a sub-par 2010 season in the dust to become one of the leading MVP candidates in the National League in 2011.
Talk about a guy who can do it all: Upton can hit for power or average, run, throw and field. I'm sure that adding that sixth tool—dancing—wouldn't be much of a problem for Upton, who has shown in his young career that he has the ability to step up to the plate in big moments.
A franchise based in the Los Angeles area, you had to assume that the Los Angeles Dodgers would be well represented on this list. What better choice than Matt Kemp, who dated pop star Rihanna, to represent the Dodgers on Dancing with the Stars?
Having taken a trip around the celebrity circuit once already, Kemp also has the athleticism a good dancer requires. A five-tool player in his own right, Kemp has some of the quickest feet in the game and, should he find his beat, make for an excellent dancer.
For a team full of characters, I was actually having a bit of a problem picking a guy to represent the San Francisco Giants. In the end, I settled for a closer, choosing to go with Brian Wilson, and I don't think that anyone will be complaining—the guy is definitely entertaining.
Hey may not be the greatest of athletes on this list, seeing as though there are some greats, but his personality and desire to win could send him straight to the top.
Honorable Mention: I really wanted to put Pablo Sandoval here because I thought he'd be extremely entertaining, but all in all, I think he's better equipped for the baseball diamond than the dancing stage.
If Grady Sizemore can get healthy and stay healthy, he has all the potential in the world to be a great dancer (I think.) When he's at his best, not only is he one of the best center fielders in all of baseball, but he's one of the most entertaining players in the game. With quick feet and a good head on his shoulders, America would take a liking to Sizemore in our imaginary casting of Dancing with the Stars.
Felix Hernandez may have the swagger and Ichiro Suzuki may have the fancy footwork, but it's Franklin Gutierrez that has a perfect blend of both. Patrolling center field for the Seattle Mariners, Gutierrez kind of looks like he's dancing when he's in the outfield, playing with grace and style.
Widely regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, Gutierrez would make an easy transition to the stage should he try.
You may find his personality towards baseball rather upsetting, especially if you're Logan Morrison or Jeff Conine, but his potential dancing tools can not be denied. One of the best shortstops in baseball when he's at his best, Hanley Ramirez has quick feet and age on his side.
If he can get his head in the game and feet on the stage, he may surprise people with his success.
From the moment he was drafted by the Washington Nationals to his Major League debut, Stephen Strasburg created an anticipation that may never be replicated. When we learned that he would need Tommy John surgery, there was a tremendous letdown, and now, we'll give the people what they want: the phenom.
As he works his way back to the Major League mound, what better way to stay in shape, both physically and mentally, than trying to dispatch the competition on Dancing with the Stars?
The gem of the trade that sent former Baltimore Orioles ace Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners, Adam Jones has quickly developed into one of the league's top center fielders. A fleet-footed defender, Jones can do it all, emerging as the face of the O's.
As the franchise tries to turn things around, Jones will turn, twist and tango trying to take home the gold.
Few men in the game are more outspoken than Orlando Hudson. The San Diego Padres brought him aboard hoping that his veteran leadership and seemingly everlasting energy would spark a young team into playoff contention. But that has not been the case.
With the personality to win and the talent to boogie, Hudson emerges as an early favorite in this list of potential dancers, but he'll have to stay healthy to conquer the competition.
Already having a foot into the music industry, the Philadelphia Phillies would send Jimmy Rollins to this little Dancing with the Stars competition, hoping to give them the same edge that they have on the National League East.
Anchoring the Phils' middle infield for more than a decade, Rollins is likely headed to test the waters of free agency this winter. While a dancing championship won't hold much weight in negotiations for a new contract, it would surely go nicely with his new yoga regiment, helping to keep him healthy for the distant future.
Honorable Mention: If for some reason Rollins can't go, Shane Victorino has to be the next logical choice. With an endless amount of energy and some of the quickest feet in baseball, the Flyin' Hawaiian would be no slouch of a substitute.
After become one of baseball's top stories around the midway point of the season and ascending the standings of the NL Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates fell back into the middle of the pack in their division, leaving some to wonder what it is that this team needs to compete. Well, they need a lot of things, but among them is a leader, and Andrew McCutchen is quickly becoming that guy.
One of the game's most entertaining players, McCutchen is developing into the type of player that every team would like to have. He hits, throws, runs and does everything you could ever ask for out of a Major League player. Now, the fleet-footed center fielder will represent the Buccos on this list.
Despite sitting atop the American League West standings, believe it or not, the Texas Rangers are not an ideal team for this list. Sure, they have a ton of guys that have the ability to destroy a baseball and give you a quick lead, but how many of them look like potential dancers?
Not many, is what I'm thinking you're thinking.
One guy that comes to mind is slick-fielding shortstop Elvis Andrus. Around the game, there is a belief that last year's Gold Glove Award for AL shortstop, awarded to Derek Jeter, rightfully belongs to Andrus, and his incredible defense is a result of quick feet and excellent coordination.
The Tampa Bay Rays are a young team with a lot of potential and even boast a few veterans that could probably bust a move. But if you're going to pick one guy, it's hard not to go with Evan Longoria. The face of the franchise, he's done the Hollywood scene a bit already in his young career and has all of the talent to become a successful dancer (which may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I'm sure you understand.)
With quick feet and the hands to match, a little rhythm and a professional dance partner could give "Longo" the early edge.
He may not have the star-power that some of his teammates do, but that is sure to change with continued success. After missing most of 2010 due to injury, Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the Boston Red Sox lineup for the 2011 season and has been crushing the baseball ever since.
Entering the season, Ellsbury had just 20 home runs to his name. Through 123 games in 2011, he has 22, and that's just an interesting factoid. He is one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, thanks to some quick feet and good reaction time, and should he ever wind up on Dancing with the Stars, would easily end up as a fan favorite—and a favorite to take home the gold.
Arguably the most charismatic guy in baseball, Brandon Phillips is an easy choice to represent the Cincinnati Reds. Don't let that mislead you, however: this guy has the potential to win. One of the slickest fielders in the game, he has the quick feet and intensity to dance like no other baseball player has danced before.
I went back and forth on this one, because he's certainly not built like a dancer, but the show always seems to have a surprising character, and for me, that is the kind of guy I envision Troy Tulowitzki being. Despite his size, he's very athletic, as he fields his shortstop position with ease. Proving that he's a better dancer than most of the guys on this list should give Tulowtizki the competitive edge.
Honorable Mentions: If you're looking for more quirky guys, Eric Young Jr. and Dexter Fowler come to mind.
For the Kansas City Royals, trading Zack Greinke, the face of the franchise, was a difficult thing to do. For Alcides Escobar, the transaction was equally as hard, as he had some big shoes to fill. Moving from Milwaukee to Kansas City, Escobar would have to take his slick defense and loaded offensive potential to the American League, anchoring the middle infield for the Royals.
Near the top of the team's leaders in steals, he has quick feet and age on his side. His youth and desire to win may help Kansas City's representative take home the gold.
When the Detroit Tigers plucked Austin Jackson from the New York Yankees' farm system, they had high hopes for him. After all, he was replacing an All-Star center fielder in Curtis Granderson. Always with five-tool potential, Jackson is developing into a fine center fielder for the Tigers, making one of the most memorable catches in recent memory during his attempt to save Armando Galarraga's perfect game.
Another young guy with quick feet, Jackson has more to offer to this competition than most Tigers. He may not go all the way, but he'll certainly make it interesting.
He's done the commercials. He has the hair. He's even played right field for the Minnesota Twins. If there is anything that Joe Mauer can't do, I've yet to realize what that is. He may not be the most prolific dancer of all time, but mulling over the Twins' roster, who else would you pick?
He may not be the same player he used to be, but Juan Pierre just has "future dancer" written all over him (or not). With some of the quickest feet in the game, he may no longer be a center fielder or premier lead-off hitter, but he is certainly a legitimate threat to take home Dancing with the Stars gold.
Speaking of that Curtis Granderson trade, how about the man himself?
Graderson has always been one of the game's good guys, with an outstanding personality and commitment to the community. He has also cemented himself as one of the game's best center fielders, both offensively and defensively, and has the tools to make a long run in our little competition.
Quick feet, a great personality and the New York Yankees' constant desire to win make Granderson a legitimate threat to bring back the gold.