The Ultimate Paper Champs: Your 2009 Tube Sox

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm
The Tube Sox version of "Play like a Champion Today"

The Tube Sox version of "Play like a Champion Today"

I would make a terrible Major League Baseball general manager.

This is because I would simply stack my team with all of my favorite players and the superstars I watched growing up. Unfortunately, since I’m in my mid-20’s, most of those guys are now at least 12-15 years older than I am, on the fast track to retirement and nowhere near spitting distance of their primes. But that doesn’t change – even for a second – my belief that I could forge a good season record out of a team made up completely of aging stars.

Anyway it got me thinking, so I decided to come up with one such team, constructed entirely out of today’s crop of current players. The only requirement: every guy on the team must be at least 35 years old. The older, the better.

So here it is, the lineup card for Game 6’s geriatric all-star team, the Tube Sox:

1. Mark Loretta, 2B

The Professional. It doesn’t get much better at the 2-spot than this guy. We feel that the 37-year old Loretta could contribute significantly with his baseball knowledge, experience, and his comparably young legs. And best of all, at $1.5 million, he’s affordable!

2. Omar Vizquel, SS

Who wouldn’t want an 11-time Gold Glover at short? Hell, he won 9 straight starting in 199 – ….well, it doesn’t really matter when he won them. Nine straight is nine straight. At 42, Vizquel can have a place in the Tube Sox lineup until he decides to hang ’em up and wait for the call from Cooperstown.

3.  Chipper Jones, 3B

The 37-year old Jones is still a hugely productive player, hitting .365 last year and winning his first batting title at age 36. These are the kinds of guys that will guide the Tube Sox to a World Series championship. Gritty, hard-nosed, veteran guys who slug it out on a daily basis. At $14 mil per, Chipper gives us a bit of a cap hit – but fortunately in this league there is no cap and the Tubers have an unlimited payroll. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

4. Manny Ramirez, LF

Sure, everyone else can jump off the Manny bandwagon but the Tube Sox are going down with the ship – a ship which, judging by recent performance, actually isn’t going down at all. Manny just turned 37 on May 30th yet he still played better down the home stretch last year as a Dodger than he has in years. There is no player in baseball who has been a more consistent force at the plate than Ramirez has throughout his career, and we’ll happily accept both his bat and his syringes on the Tube Sox.

5. Jim Thome, DH

Looks like someone forgot to tell Jim Thome that he was done, because the 38 year-old hit 34 homers last year and has 9 already this season. That gives him 550 for his career, good for 13th on the all-time MLB home run list. Big Jim is showing no signs of slowing down in his advanced age and we think he’d provide a distinguished veteran presence on the Tubers.

6. Ken Griffey Jr., CF

The Rookie

A younger Junior

Ah, Junior. The Kid. The Superstar. Not much more needs to be said about this guy than what I’ve already covered in earlier posts, except for this: Griffey is unquestionably the finest player of his generation. Given what we now know about the Steroid Era, it is clear as day that Junior was and is the best player we’ve seen in the last 20 years. That’s why we want to make damn sure he retires as a member of the Tube Sox. He deserves it. Griffey’s 39 and, dammit, he still has the sweetest swing in baseball.  As long as there’s a Ken Griffey Junior, there will be a spot open for him in centerfield for the Sox.

7. Bobby Abreu, RF

Bobby Abreu, never my favorite guy in the  league, but a productive aging player nonetheless. And if you’re a productive – or not productive, for that matter – aging player, you’re right in the Tube Sox wheelhouse. (Alright, we wanted Kenny Lofton but it seems he retired in 2007). So welcome aboard, Bob. Unfortunately, you’re only 35 so you’re basically the rookie on this squad. Why don’t you go ahead and grab the gear and take it out to the field. Can you do that for me?

8. Carlos Delgado, 1B

$12 mill a year might seem a little steep for old Carlos at 36, but then you remember that last year he hit 38 home runs and you realize that the Tube Sox are a team of immense, unspendable wealth. Now suddenly it looks like a great signing.

9. Ivan Rodriguez, C

Arguably the greatest defensive catcher ever (though unfortunately only the second greatest catcher ever with the nickname Pudge), the 37 year-old Rodriquez has a spot behind the Tube Sox dish for as long as he wants it. Why not sign Jason Varitek, you ask? Well, because we’re not that desperate. (Looking around nervously for flashes of lightning or vengeful female Red Sox fans).

SP: Randy Johnson

Yes, the Big Unit. Going for his 300th win in a Tube Sox uniform. It’s a special thing, it really is. We’d like nothing more than for the Unit to put together a couple good years for the Sox and then ride off into the sunset and right into Cooperstown. Plus, it’s a great marketing move. There are endless opportunities presented by a guy nicknamed the Big Unit. Bobbleheads, promotional giveaways, custom jerseys, Cinemax spin-offs. We plan to utilitze them all.

So that does it for the Tube Sox opening day lineup, but we can’t forget the bench and the rest of the starting rotation. Coming off the bench for the Tubers are Jason Giambi, 38; Mike Cameron, 36; Todd Helton, 35; Jorge Posada, 37; Melvin Mora, 36; and Jermaine Dye; 35.

As for the official starting five, here it is:

1. Randy Johnson, 45

2. John Smoltz, 42

3. Pedro Martinez, 37

4. Tom Glavine, 43 (If the Braves don’t want him, the Tubers will sure as hell take him!)

5. Andy Pettitte, 36.

In relief we feature Tim Wakefield, 42 and Jamie Moyer, 46. Trevor Hoffman, 41, is the set-up guy and sure-fire Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, 39, is our closer.

What kind of price tag does a phenomenally talented, infinitely marketable, World-Series bound team like this come with, you ask?

Well, greatness can be expensive, and the Tube Sox come at a cost of $187.2 million.

Exactly $5,150,000 less than the New York Yankees’ 2009 payroll.

Maybe I wouldn’t be such a bad GM after all…..


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