Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
As the 10 candidates vying for the nomination for the Republican party took to the stage at Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio last night, there was one nagging thought that kept running around my head. I kept looking at the incredible number of candidates on the stage and thinking aloud, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of guys, they could field an entire baseball team if they really wanted to.’
Well, obviously that got me thinking, ‘what would an all-GOP presidential candidate baseball team look like? Who would play first? Who would pitch?’ These are the questions that keep me up at night.
So, let’s take a look at the Republican field and see where they would play in the field. Let’s decide where they would hit, and why, and let’s make these determinations as logically as possible based off of what we already know about each of these men applying for the job of commander-in-chief. We’re going to use a National League lineup here, so no designated hitter.
Without further ado, your 2015-16 GOP candidate baseball team.
Manager: Donald Trump – Who else would you trust to manage this team besides “The Donald?”
‘Listen, Rand, you absolutely stink in right field, ok? I haven’t seen anything this bad since our economy under Obama. And Rubio, you have a better chance of catching me in the polls than catching a fly ball. AKA Not. Gonna. Happen. Get on the bench. You’re fired.”
Catcher: Scott Walker – As a kid, Walker was apparently one heck of a boy scout. He rose through the ranks and made Eagle Scout, too, so this tells me two things about his potential to be the catcher for the GOP ball club. 1. He spent a lot of time in the dirt; that’s vital. 2. He knows how to make signals with his hands – both important qualities for catchers everywhere.
1st Base: Chris Christie – Governor Christie has lots of strengths. He’s strong-minded, he’s passionate and he loves his country to be sure. But one of those strengths isn’t movement, so we’ll put the N.J. governor at first base where range isn’t the most important quality.
2nd Base: Ted Cruz – Ted Cruz doesn’t look like he has an athletic bone in his body, but he’s got to go somewhere. Texas’ Senator might just be best served at second base. Not too much throwing involved, and it’s not exactly a hotbed of activity as far as the infield goes. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have to turn-two.
3rd Base: John Kasich – While Kasich’s sports pedigree seems to be lacking, the man handled hot questions like a seasoned vet for the most part at last night’s debate. I trust that he would handle himself under fire at baseball’s “hot corner” with similar results.
Shortstop: Jeb Bush – Jeb was a key cog on the University of Texas varsity tennis team in the 70s, meaning the man can run and has plenty of range when it comes to getting to tough balls. Plus, Bush stands at 6 foot 3 inches, so I like his chances of making the play at short if need be.
Left Field: Mike Huckabee – Huckabee might be getting up there in age, but the former governor of Arkansas can run. Well, apparently he has a foot injury that has curtailed his running of late, but Huckabee used to be severely overweight and lost all of his weight by running in marathons. Current polls suggest you might not trust him with the country, but I’d certainly trust him to shag some balls in left field for my team.
Center Field: Marco Rubio – According to the Washington Post, Rubio played defensive back his freshman year on scholarship at Tarkio College in Missouri. Not only does center field require immense athletic ability, but you have to know how to track a ball. Something tells me if Rubio could play defensive back, he could work the center of the outfield for the GOP squad.
Right Field: Rand Paul – Similarly to Rubio, Paul was a defensive back in high school, so that gives Rand a pretty good chance of tracking down balls hit deep to right. Paul was also a swimmer in high school and college. Not sure how that’s applicable unless he plays for the Diamondbacks and falls into the pool in the outfield, but it means he has some athleticism, right?
Pitcher: Dr. Ben Carson – You’ve got to be pretty cerebral to be able to pitch in the majors. You have to consider every pitch in your arsenal, the count, the exact situation, the hitter, ETC… I’m not saying the other GOP candidates aren’t smart guys, but if it’s Game 7 of the World Series, I’m going to put the ball in the hands of my brain surgeon without a doubt.
1st – Mike Huckabee – Simply, we need a guy who can get on base. Huckabee runs marathons, let him have at it.
2nd – Rand Paul – Paul seems like he’s in decent shape, and as a smaller guy he might have some speed at the No. 2 slot.
3rd – Jeb Bush – Bush is a big dude, and with that tennis background I’m sure if he gets a hold of one he’ll give it a pretty good ride.
4th – Chris Christie – Is there really even another option for clean up?
5th – Marco Rubio – Along with Bush, Rubio is the only guy on the team who played a sport in college. That’s good enough for fifth in my book.
6th – John Kasich – Kasich’s athletic skills are kind of unknown, so let’s throw him in the No. 6 spot and see what the kid can do.
7th – Scott Walker – With his boy scout background, maybe he can steal some pitch signals and get on base, who knows.
8th – Dr. Ben Carson – Call me crazy, but I bet Carson could pull a few walks at least with the mental edge he’d have over the pitcher.
9th – Ted Cruz – In truth, there’s no rhyme or reason to why I think Cruz couldn’t get it done at the plate or in the field. He can always move up in the lineup if he can prove his worth.
So there you have it, the GOP baseball team. Now all we need is a team name. Any suggestions? Let’s hear them.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for either of his other three teams.