By Brad Carroll
On the second school day of the season for the New Britain Bees, where children get to hang out at the ballpark rather the classroom for an afternoon, it’s only natural to play the name game. For us baseball purist, the name game consists of looking over a team’s roster and choosing and debating the best ones on the list.
And with that in mind, there’s no better time than now to unveil our second-annual All-Name Team from the Atlantic League.
Last year we had some doozies, like Josh Outman, Dan Blewett, Beamer Weems, Michael Rockett and Jack Snodgrass, but this year’s crop of new team members (plus two returning selections) can more than hold their own when it comes to combining America’s Pastime and the names that play the game to make for interesting conversations at the stadium.
To start our All-Name Team off we need a pitching staff, and we’ve built a group to truly fear. And when it comes to fear and sport, no name is bigger now than McGregor, so we go to a distant, distant cousin (maybe?) of UFC champ Conor McGregor and call on Scott McGregor of the Somerset Patriots. If anyone can take down a hitter, it’s a McGregor.
From a power take-down, to the complete opposite, is Patriots pitcher Aaron Laffey, who will turn hitters to taffy in the batter’s box with his wide-array of pitches. Nothing looks worse than an off-balance swing, and Laffey is the guy to make a bunch of opposing hitters look silly. Our fans will certainly be laughing the whole time.
The third Patriots pitcher making our team is Duane Below, as in “look out below,” because when we need an enforcer to restore order on the mound, Below is our guy. Opposing hitters are on notice.
The first of two repeat selections is a member of the hometown New Britain Bees, as Brandon Fry joins our squad once again. It doesn’t get any better than a relief pitcher that can create sizzle on the mound, not to mention burning an opposing hitter who dares swing at his red-hot pitches.
The final member of the pitching staff is Long Island’s Keith Couch, who if Atlantic League hitters square off against him too much this season, they will find themselves at home, on the couch, and out of baseball altogether. Talk about intimidation, we have it with Couch.
Of course, we need some offense to back up our tremendously-named pitching staff, and we begin with the outfield. Revolution outfielder Jose Constanza is the perfect hitter in our lineup, as every single pitcher will be screaming “can’t stand ya” after Jose is rounding the bases after hitting the ball so far it lands in the Del Boca Vista retirement community down in Florida.
We need some defense too, so it only makes sense to have Bridgeport outfielder Daniel Fields on our All-Name Team, for obvious reasons. And when we need a clutch hit, we know we can lean on Southern Maryland’s Gary Brown, as he’s a better version of UPS, as our Brown will deliver, with the only thing damaged or lost is the ball.
When it comes to our catcher, you know he’s going to get messy, so there’s no other choice than Bridgeport’s Santiago Nessy.
Switching to the infield, we have a couple of power hitters from Lancaster to add to our lineup in Ryan Dent and Bryan Pounds. What they can do to opposing pitchers is written in stone, with Ryan putting a dent in anything he swings at, while Bryan puts a pounding on any pitcher who dares face him.
Next up in our infield is New Britain Bees’ Michael Baca, which is short for Chewbacca, and we all know the awesomeness of Chewbacca,
who will scare everyone in the opposing dugout, possibly forcing a forfeit before anyone ever takes the field.
We aren’t just putting together an overly-aggressive All-Name Team this season in the Atlantic League, however, as we have class too. That comes from another one of our infielders, Sugar Land’s Josh Prince. Having a Prince on the roster brings a certain level of respect, not to mention the first class travel and accommodations we all would be afforded while on the road or at home.
Finally, we need to bring the party to our utility spot, and nobody does that better than Southern Maryland’s Kalaika Kahoohalahala. Anyone who has a name end with “Hala Hala,” you know the party starts as soon as he enters the stadium. He’ll loosen up the entire locker room, have the fans in the stands, both home and on the road, rocking, and any play he makes in the field or at the plate will be made with as much pomp and circumstance one could handle.
So, make sure to “Hala” at our 2017 Atlantic League All-Name Team when we come to your town.