Home > Uncategorized > Jeter, ARod and Pujols oh My: Or The Best of the Aughts

Jeter, ARod and Pujols oh My: Or The Best of the Aughts

Rob Neyer, who recently left the cozy, corporate confines of ESPN for the wild, wooly, world of Sports Blog Nation has begun his new writing life with a series of articles on the players he expects to dominate the next decade at each position. It is, of course, a project rife with the perils of future ridicule, but Rob has always taken the bards and slings of past stupidity with a classy indifference. Well, not quite indifference, more acceptance that if you write about sports often enough, long enough, you’re going to write something stupid. Probably many, many, many stupid things, its the problem with making predictions in a world with no statute of limitations. So, rather than be dissuaded Neyer’s charging ahead with a second go. And while his new attempt might not produce better results, it’s worth keeping track of, if for no other reason than because it’s so frivolous and Rob’s so good.

Having said all that, reading his mea culpa, got me thinking about the last decade and which players I would pick to assemble the best team. Not, as Rob did, merely the best players at each position, but the best entire team that could be assembled. You know, the if “Aliens are coming down to destroy the earth and they say that they will only spare us if we can beat them in a inter-dimensional, inter-galaxy baseball championship” scenario (girls just don’t have these kinds of thoughts do they? No wonder they’re so much more productive than we are).

So, starting today and concluding whenever the heck I get there, I will reveal my Alien protection team from the first decade of this century. For reasons which are somewhat beyond me, I’m starting the decade with 2001.

Now, some ground rules:

1) To be eligible, a player had to have played in at least a third of the decade, or roughly three and a half seasons. So, as good as Evan Longoria has been, he’s going to have to wait for the next decade.

2) I’m channeling Bill Simmons’ wine cellar concept, so once a player is eligible, I’m then picking a specific season from the decade that counts for him. Why? Well, it’s probably because my whiner background makes me particularly fond of his precept. Basically, this means that once a player is eligible I’m looking for the greatest peak season(s) not just the guy that happened to come along at the right time to have the best stats for the decade. Lets call it the Mark Grace corollary.

3) While I’m invoking the Mark Grace corollary to ensure that I get the very best season a guy had to offer, the rest of his resume still matters. Why? Well, my super team I’m assembling isn’t just playing one season. It’s an entire roster built for the long haul. If a guy is injury prone I want to know. If a guy had a couple great years and then started playing like Rosie O’Donnell, I want to know. Take Russell Martin, he looked like one of the great young catchers, a guy who might break into that upper echelon, but then he fell apart and was non-tendered by the Dodgers. I can’t take him on my team knowing I’m only going to get one good year out of him, that’d be stupid…

4) I just don’t care about who may, or may not have injected flax seed oil into their teammates butt cheek. Sorry, but I don’t.

5) The clubhouse matters. So, while I could care less that Bonds’ head was blowing up like balloons at a clown convention, I do care that he was a noted a$$hole, who had to have his own corner of the locker room, with a special lounge chair and TV. I come from the Sparky Anderson school of managers, where there definitely is a double standard for “stars” and “turds,” but most of these guys are “stars” and how they fit together is as much a part of the puzzle as how shiney they are.

6) Positions matter. Randy Johnson might have been an insane reliever, but he wasn’t, so he wont be… The outfield will have left fielders, right fielders and center fielders. The bench guys will be actual bench players (with the exception of a DH), or if not bench guys per se, then guys who weren’t stars and would be happy being a utility player spending most of his time on the pine.

7) I reserve the right to break all rules if it serves my interests. Sorry, that’s how we roll here at Sports on the Brain.

Check back soon for the real action…

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