This blog is written by contributor Pat Lay.
Baseball. Is. Back. But let’s not forget that its more casual cousin is back in action as well. That's right, beer league softball, baby! I've played on some truly horrible teams over the years, where crushing tall boys in absurd jerseys takes precedence over winning percentage, and I’m totally happy with that. So, in celebration, let’s draft our dream rec softball team from a pool of eligible former Mets. Because what else do they have going on, right?
To make this even more entertaining, these legends will be drafted at their current ages and abilities. And let’s not forget about the all-important nicknames on the jerseys. I’ve scoured Wikipedia, the Mets subreddit, and even came up with a few of my own. Let’s go!
1B - Mo Vaughn (aka The Hit Dog)
For those unfamiliar with this beautiful pastime, slow-pitch softball is a wildly offense-centric sport. Pitchers moonlight as cornholers while Jimmy from the Honda dealership relives his high school days where he won state! It’s essentially designed for Mo Vaughn. The Hit Dog doesn’t need to worry about covering first for pickoff attempts because there’s no stealing. At 53 years young, Mo is just entering his prime softball years. And rest assured, those mammoth homers are here to stay. Rake, big fella. Rake.
MO VAUGHN TRYNA KNOCK DOWN THE DAMN SCOREBOARD pic.twitter.com/1hHyQHAiQV— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) March 19, 2020
2B - Edgardo Alfonzo (aka Fonzie)
As beloved as Edgardo Alfonzo was during his time with the Mets, my absolute favorite memories of him were with the Long Island Ducks. Sure, Fonzie was far past his prime, but he still managed to hit .289 with 83 RBIs as a Duck. I still have a game program with him and Quakerjack on the front. What a time to be alive.
SS - Rey Ordóñez (aka Designated Fielder)
Are you seeing a trend here? Is there some favoritism directed towards the late 90s/early aughts Amazins? Admittedly, yes. While Rey won’t help much at the plate, his defensive prowess will definitely help you forget about the seven errors that a sauced Randy accrued in left-center. Get it together, Randy.
25 years ago today, I took my oldest nephew, 11 at the time, to his first Mets opening day. What a game we saw. Down 6-0, the Mets came back to win 7-6. Gilkey & Hundley homered & this brilliant Rey Ordonez play was the highlight of the day. #MetsTwitterpic.twitter.com/kFurVrQS2J— Manny S. (@MMS0272) April 1, 2021
3B - Howard Johnson (aka Motel 6)
How Howard Johnson managed to juggle an MLB career and a hotel empire simultaneously is beyond me. I can’t even rub my stomach and tap my head at the same time, but that’s a me problem. Kudos to you, HoJo. That discipline will come in handy, especially when sloppy Joe wants to take a stab at playing third.
Catcher - Mike Piazza (aka The Pizza Man)
Glove from middle school? Check. Enough beer to sedate a rhino? Affirmative. A positive attitude? Obviously. But I somehow always forget to bring food to the game. Every team needs that one dependable constant. And that’s where Mike Piazza comes in. I’ve heard he played catcher or something, but the guy definitely brings ‘za to the ballfield. How else would he have gotten that nickname?
In case you missed it, Mike was on OABT recently talking about...pizza, I’d assume? Check it out here!
Starting Pitcher - Bartolo Colón (aka Big Sexy/Party Barty)
The living embodiment of slow-pitch softball, Party Barty definitely doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s proved that freak athletes can enjoy life and still dominate at the highest level. I mean, what else is there to say? The man would run the league. Sure, he may need a nap halfway through, but that’s why most of us play doubleheaders. The break is already built-in.
LF - Benny Agbayani (aka Hawaiian Punch)
If Benny had a favorite pair of pants, they’d be clutch jeans. He was hands down, my favorite player of the 2000 season. You guys may remember him driving in the winning run of the Mets lone win of the World Series against They Who Shall Not Be Named. Benny’s only flaw is that he’s too nice of a dude. This weakness was exposed on April 12th, 2000 when he accidentally gave a live ball to a fan, resulting in two runs scored. Fortunately, no one gives a shit about beer league softball except for those playing. No fans, no problem. Benny’s your guy!
LC - Butch Huskey (aka Butch Huskey)
Butch Huskey is the coolest name of all time. That should be enough to convince you to let him join your crappy softball team.
RC - Rick Ankiel (aka ‘Ammerin’ Ank)
All jokes aside, depth is pretty important in softball. What if your neighbor, Ron, pulls a hammy trying to beat out a dribbler to first? You need teammates who can play more than one position at the drop of a Coors Light. Rick Ankiel gives you that versatility. It’s hard enough to reach the majors once in a lifetime. Being able to adapt and rejuvenate your career as an everyday outfielder is just unheard of. Just pray he doesn’t catch a case of the yips.
RF - Darryl Strawberry (aka Straw)
Darryl Strawberry is better at sports than you are. All of the sports.
The dugout is where games are won or lost. The benchwarmers are the unsung heroes of the beer league. They are the keepers of the cooler, eager to quench the thirst of their comrades. Here are those heroes:
Player/Manager - Bobby Valentine (aka Coach)
Utility - Julio Franco (aka Rook)
Relief Pitcher - Turk Wendell (aka Steven)