MLB

The Space Jam Effect: MLB Style

What would happen if the Space Jam universe took over Major League Baseball? We are glad you asked!

By: Jonathan Goad

Our current series is going to give the “Space Jam effect” to the current rosters of the four major sports; the NBA, the NFL, the MLB, and the NHL. The criteria for each will be very similar to what happens in the movie.

NHL Superstars will have their talents stolen by aliens, and a currently retired player will have to save the Looney Tunes from certain doom.

As we all know, the Looney Tunes might have lost without the help of the great Bill Murray. He provided a much-needed spark even if he doesn’t play defense. As a wild card, a celebrity will be added to the Tune Squad.

From there, I will make a prediction on how I think the game would actually go. Remember: anything is possible in Looney Tunes Land.

If you missed part one, part two, or part three go check that out before proceeding any further.

The final entry into this series will feature the best the MLB has to offer. The Monstars will steal the talents of every position, 1-9 and a closing pitcher.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise, but the Monstars will want the best power hitters in the game. As for the pitchers, they will want the most dominant and unhittable. Let’s get started.

Starting Pitcher: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

Max Scherzer is flat out filthy. His fastball reaches the upper 90s. His changeup drops entirely off the table to fool hitters, and his slider has people swinging at pitches they couldn’t reach with a ten-foot pole.

I haven’t even mentioned his cutter or curveball, both of which are well above average. Scherzer can also spot his pitches exactly where he wants them.

He is currently 17-6 with a 2.31 ERA which is 6th in the league. He leads the league in innings pitched and strikeouts with 202.2 and 271 respectively. He is second in the league in opponent’s average (.183) and WHIP (0.88).

This is all for a mediocre Washington Nationals team. Max Scherzer is one of the best pitchers in the game and may have replaced Clayton Kershaw as the best in the game. There aren’t many pitchers in the same class as Max Scherzer.

Catcher: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

This one was a tough choice. Being unbiased, I had to go with Perez. He has hit 24 home runs, which is second among catchers, and driven in 68, which is third. Where he struggles a bit is his batting average, which is at .233.

Defensively, it doesn’t get much better than Perez. He currently has a perfect fielding percentage. He’s the only everyday catcher who hasn’t made an error this season. He also throws out 50% of would-be base stealers, which is just fine for the Monstars.

First Base: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

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Matt Carpenter has had the best one of the best stretches in baseball history. In the last 3-4 months, Carpenter has completely turned his season around. In the first couple of months of the season, Carpenter was horrible. His average was around .150 and couldn’t do much offensively.

With the help of his homemade salsa, he currently leads the National League in home runs with 35. He’s 9th in RBI among first basemen in the MLB with 77. He’s also brought his average up to a respectable .271. He is tied for the lead among first basemen in slugging percentage at .558. Carpenter’s hitting ability fits very well on the Monstars.

Second Base: Javy Baez, Chicago Cubs

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Baez plays all over the diamond for the Cubs, but he’ll slot in at second for the Monstars. Among second basemen, his 30 home runs lead the league by seven in that category. He also has a nice lead in the RBI category. He’s sitting at 100 RBI.

The next second basemen has only 89. Baez has a solid average at .293, which is 6th among the position. Javy Baez is a perfect fit for this team.

Third Base: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians

Jose Ramirez is having an excellent season and might win the AL MVP. He leads third basemen in home runs with 37. He’s 2nd in RBI with 98. He’s also batting an excellent .281 and slugging .571. Ramirez has also only struck out 69 times this season. With the way baseball is now, that’s a pretty rare thing. The Monstars will love having Jose Ramirez in the middle of their lineup.

Shortstop: Manny Machado, Los Angeles Dodgers

Machado moved to his preferred position of shortstop this year. It hasn’t affected him at all offensively. His 33 home runs are second among shortstops in the league, and his 90 RBI are third.

He’s also second in average at .301 and slugging at .540. The Monstars will gladly accept Machado, who will be the most coveted player this upcoming offseason.

Left Field: J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox

J.D. Martinez is in the business of crushing baseballs and business is booming. His 40 HRs is second among MLB left fielders. His 121 RBI and .633 slugging percentage lead the entire league.

His .331 average is second in the league to only his teammate, Mookie Betts. The aforementioned Jose Ramirez is J.D. Martinez’s biggest competition for the MVP. The Monstars are just fine having them both.

Center Field: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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Mike Trout has been arguably the best player in baseball since his first full season in 2012. He leads center fielders with 33 HRs, 68 RBI, a .318 average, a .620 slugging percentage, and a .467 on-base percentage. Goodness!

He’s also an elite defender. Trout might be the first player the Monstars go after.

Right Field: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

Mookie Betts probably should be in this spot, but Bryce Harper feels like a player the Monstars would want. Harper does lead right fielders in HRs with 32 and RBI with 92, so it’s not like Harper is a bum. The most significant difference between Betts and Harper is the average. Harper’s is .249 whereas Betts is at .340. As we’ve established, the Monstars want power over average. Harper is the guy.

Closing Pitcher: Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners

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Edwin Diaz leads the league in saves with 54. The next highest pitcher has 39. His ERA is only 1.95 which is among the lowest at the closer position. He has the second most strikeouts among relievers with 119 in just 69.1 innings pitched. Diaz is about as dominant as someone can be this season. The Monstars welcome him with open arms.

Who Saves the Looney Tunes?

Derek Jeter is one of the best shortstops to play the game, ever. For his career, Jeter hit .310, with 3,465 hits, 260 HRs, and 1,311 RBI. He led the Yankees to 5 World Series Championships, won 5 Silver Sluggers, 5 Gold Gloves, and was a 14-time All-Star.

Jeter was one of the most consistent players of all time, both offensively and defensively. He would be the perfect player to rally the Tune Squad in this matchup as he served as the Yankees captain from 2003 until 2014 when he retired. There’s no doubt that Jeter could still play.

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Our Space Jam Celebrity Pick: Nelly

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Nelly would be a great late addition to the Tune Squad’s lineup. He played baseball in high school and earned the St. Louis Baseball Association MVP honors. He’s quite the athlete and has some movie experience under his belt already. Nelly played a running back in “The Longest Yard.” He could also be featured on the soundtrack, which is just a bonus.

The Game: Matchups

Monstars Tune Squad
  1. Matt Carpenter – 1B
Lola Bunny – 2B
  1. Mike Trout – CF
Daffy Duck – RF
  1. Manny Machado – SS
Derek Jeter – SS
  1. J.D. Martinez – LF
Bugs Bunny – P
  1. Jose Ramirez – 3B
Foghorn Leghorn – 1B
  1. Javy Baez – 2B
Tasmanian Devil – 3B
  1. Salvador Perez – C
Porky Pig – C
  1. Bryce Harper – RF
Sylvester – LF
  1. Max Scherzer – Starting Pitcher
Road Runner – CF
              Edwin Diaz – Closer Nelly

As with the rest of this series, this looks daunting, and of course, they dominate for the first 5 innings or so. Scherzer is carving up Looney Tunes left and right. The only one who manages to hit is Derek Jeter and a bloop-hit from Bugs Bunny. Enter Nelly.

Nelly enters the lineup replacing Road Runner whose defense is nice but is a liability with the bat.

Space Jam

Photo Credit: Pinterest

He doesn’t have any arms, so he hopes for a walk every time. That’s not productive.

Nelly would provide a spark instantly by making a diving catch to end the top of the 6th inning. In the bottom half, he would lead off with a home run to get things going for the Tune Squad. The rest of the Looney Tunes (and Derek Jeter) follow suit and start chipping away at the lead.

The bottom of the 9th inning rolls around, and the Monstars lead by one. Nelly leads off again, this time with a double off of closer Edwin Diaz. Lola sacrifice bunts him to third. Daffy tries to be the hero and walk it off with a home run but ends up popping up.

The Tune Squad is down to their final out. In steps Derek Jeter. “The Captain” crushes a walk-off home run to dead center, and the Tune Squad wins!

Next Post: Remembering September 11: Sports can help us heal

The Looney Tunes are saved once again!

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have had writing it. It’s been a lot of fun to create incredibly talented teams that end up losing to a bunch of cartoons.

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