Off-day following an interleague sweep? What better time to distract myself from the Jays onfield struggles with my annual team of mancrushes and guilty pleasures. Take a look at last year's team to learn who lost that loving feeling, or if you'd prefer a macroscopic look at my ambiguous sexuality. I use my own arbitrary selection process when choosing the Mancrush Allstars, their ability to "move the needle" is pretty important. As always: were this team ever to take the field it would unequivocally go 162-0. 162 and OH people.
Catcher: Russell Martin. Though he's struggling this year, Russ Martin stays towards the top half of the middle of my heart. The silent, floating J is a nice if slightly bizarre tribute to his mother. Keeps it real in Montreal, regularly steals bases which--much to my delight--flies freely in the face of conventional wisdom. Bonus points for making 8 starts at third base last year.
First Base: Last year Albert Pujols took first base by default. While he's not a traditional mancrush candidate, his overwhelming brilliance destroys Lyle Overbay's vanilla persona, sadly hidden rifle arm, and recent proclivity for rockets to right center field.
Second Base: Aaron Hill. Let there be no doubt. One of only three players to appear in each and every iteration of the Mancrush Allstars, Hill's hot start might not get him on the real All Star team. Here at the Dude Ranch, we've always got love. His defense? Awesome. His line drives? Plentiful. Tater Tots? Endless. Aaron Hill will justify your love over and again.
Shortstop: Hmmm, the toughest choice on the diamond. I can't get behind Scutaro or Johnny Mac, Khalil Green is out with a frontal lobe, JJ Hardy can't hit and The Riot's a ginger. Despite my defensive leanings, I'm going to have to go with Hanley Ramirez. He's insane. Three straight seasons with wOBA's approaching .400? Shut the fuck up. I shudder to think what the Red Sox lineup would look like with him involved. He gets bonus points because of repeated "let's make Hanley a centerfielder" threats. That isn't a transition many people can make: Hanley could.
Third Base: Scott Rolen. The kids call this one a no-brainer. Go here; watch and appreciate. His barehanded grab and laserbeam to first Sunday versus the Marlins was the catalyst for my firing up the mancrush ship. P.S. Could someone tell me who leads ALL OF BASEBALL in line drive percentage? Whether or not you expect it to fall back to his career level, that's a recipe for good times.
Left Field: With Manny on the shelf with debilitating mental anguish, I'm at a loss as to who can fill the left field slot for the Mancrush Allstars. Well shit, I'll just go ahead and insert myself. Anyone to ever visit this site before knows I'm certainly my own biggest fan. And shit, I hit TWO home runs in hipster softball yesterday. TWO! Without a fence. I've got the pins to prove it!
Center Field: Rocco fucking Baldelli. There was ever a question? His comeback from The Itis is the stuff of legend. He's even starting to play well! The diving catch he made against the Yankees last week put me over the moon and Rocco in paroxysms of paralysis.
Right Field: Ichiro. Lest I be thrown off the Internet forever.
Starting Pitcher: Roy Halladay. Shocking, I know. If anything, he's actually improved over the last few years. The consummate pro, the pitcher's pitcher. The tireless philanthropist (with a small p.) The dogged workhorse. The awesomest awesomer to ever awesome. The Blue Jay (when he re-ups and retires a Canadian citizen.)
Closer: Mariano Rivera. Consider this a legacy vote. Just as Mo's worn down the umpire's resolve and ability to discern where the inside black begins and ends, Rivera's unending excellence has dissolved my ability to hate him solely because he's a Yankee. The grim, alien features. The comical association with Metallica. Congratulations Mariano, you've won me over.
Assorted Staff: The anthem will be performed once again by Zooey Deschanel while the Suicide Girls will lead us all through Ok! Blue Jays! The Hold Steady will play Take Me Out to the Ballgame and a team of snipers will scan the building in search of wave-starters. Oh, and the manager:
Heart not head.