Since we’re in the middle of the summer Olympics, I thought I would do an Olympic-themed baseball column.
Baseball was removed as an Olympic sport in 2008, and this travesty must be brought to a little (David) Justice. So I thought it would be a good idea to build a baseball team out of this year’s Olympians. I have my own unique criteria and explanation for why each Olympian fits on the diamond.
Let’s play ball!
I would put Harper, a superb hurdler who finished second in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, at the top of the lineup so she can use her speed to get on base and get a few steals. But instead of sliding, she will revolutionize the game by hurdling over defenders. She also has plenty of speed to have the range to cover second base.
2. Justin Gatlin - CF
Gatlin finished third in the men’s 100 meters, netting a bronze medal, and was the fastest American. You have to have a lot of speed to cover the outfield. Gatlin has it. And by batting second behond Lolo Jones, they make a great hit-and-run combination. He was once caught using performance enhancing drugs, though, which means he’d never get enough Hall of Fame votes, as Mark McGwire can attest.
3. Andy Roddick - SS
Roddick is used to covering all sorts of ground while playing tennis. I think it would suit him well to play shortstop. He would have great range and wouldn’t have to face Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic doing it. And since he is great hitting a ball with a racket, he should be good at hitting a ball with a bat.
4. Kendrick Farris - DH
Farris is the strongest American on Team USA this year, as he is the only United States weightlifter. Theoretically, he would also have the most power with a baseball bat, which makes a perfect DH.
5. Kevin Love - 1B
You typically need a nice, big target at first base to throw to. So what’s a better target than a seven-footer? Love is always complimented for having soft hands, which means he can catch. So he should have no problem picking balls at first base.
6. Phil Dalhausser - LF
Dalhausser is 6-foot-9 and reminds me a lot of Brewers outfielder Corey Hart. Hart always puts up good numbers, a career .276 hitter who averages 20-25 home runs a season. So if he’s a clone of Hart, you can expect good things. And with Dalhausser’s height (he’s good at spiking volleyballs into the ground), he should be able to rob baseballs from going over the wall.
7. Cyrus Hostetler - RF
You typically need a strong arm to play right field, and also to throw the javelin. Considering qualifying hasn’t happened yet, and there are three Americans in the field, and I’m not sure who the best javelin thrower is, I chose Cyrus, because he has the coolest name.
8. Timothy Wang - 3B
It’s called the hot corner, so you need a guy with quick reactions. And Wang, the only male Team USA table tennis representative in London, has those. Though with the way the Chinese dominated table tennis, I probably should have picked one of them. But this is an American team I’m building…
9. Hope Solo - C
As a soccer goalie, she should have no trouble playing backstop, knocking down curveballs and sliders that fall in the dirt. She would also be a good catcher because she seems to be a bit of a know-it-all, much like catchers who think they control the game because they call the pitches. (Those signs are mere suggestions.)
Ryan Hall - Starting Pitcher
A starting pitcher needs to have a lot of stamina and endurance, and who better encompasses those qualities better than a marathon runner like Ryan Hall. If he can run for 2 hours and 26.2 miles, I think he could last 7 or 8 innings.
Kobe Bryant - Closer
There’s not a more clutch player in sports than Kobe Bryant; you want the ball in his hands when the game in on the line.
Aaron May is a staff writer and videographer for Sports Spectrum. You can catch his weekly columns on college football, college basketball, and Major League Baseball, depending on the season, each week at sportsspectrum.com. Follow Aaron on Twitter-@pplcallmeblue or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.