PRESS RELEASE – Since the release of Pokémon Go in early July, Avista Stadium has been rife with Onix in the outfield, Magnemites on the mound, Pidgeys in the press box, and Digletts under the dugout. Naturally, this got the front office of the Spokane Indians thinking about which Pokémon would make up the best baseball team and the rest, as they say, is history.
In order to keep the game as realistic as possible while using imaginary creatures from a make-believe land, we stuck to the following criteria:
A) The Pokémon must be able to survive on land – apologies to Gyrados, Seadra, and the rest of the water dwelling creatures.
B) The Pokémon needs to have arms and hands with the exception of Farfetch’d, who has a documented history in both the game and television show of holding a stick in its wings.
C) The Pokémon must potentially be able to hold a bat/throw a ball. This rules out Hitmonchan, who has arms but is wearing boxing gloves, and Haunter who has hands but can’t hold anything due to its ghostly physical properties.
D) Only Pokémon from the original 151 are eligible. We’re traditionalists that way.
So, without further ado, here is your 2016 Pokémon All-Star lineup:
General Manager – Alakazam: It pays to have brains in your front office, and arguably no Pokémon can match the mind of Alakazam. An IQ of nearly 5,000 and a perfect memory (if only all GMs could learn from their mistakes) make Alakazam the Jon Daniels of Poké-ball.
Catcher – Mr. Mime: Although conventional wisdom would suggest a big bodied Pokémon like Blastoise or Snorlax behind the dish, advances in sabermetrics (especially in regards to the value of pitch framing) give the edge to Mr. Mime. His long arms and dexterous fingers make him a master craftsman at the position – the preferred backstop for Poké-pitchers.
First Base – Machamp: Team Pokémon’s infielders will never commit another throwing error with the massive, four-armed Machamp manning first base. No stranger to the gym (let’s put those HGH rumors to bed) the switch-hitting Machamp is a force in the middle of the lineup and is often found at the center of bench-clearing brawls.
Second Base – Raticate: A baseball team is nothing without grit and Raticate has it in spades. The pesky, undersized second baseman makes a living with speed and sticktoitiveness. Raticate perennially posts high OBP thanks to its diminutive size and is a constant nuisance on the basepaths. The David Eckstein of the Poké-world drives opposing pitchers golbatty, but also infuriates equipment managers who constantly are replacing chewed up Louisville Sluggers.
Third Base – Pinsir: Built like Kyle Seager, Pincer is capable of making a play on the ball with either its two hands or pincers, uniquely equipping it to handle the hot corner. One of the strongest pound for pound Pokémon, Pincer also contributes at the dish, providing key protection and pop behind the heart of the lineup.
Shortstop/Manager – Mewtwo: A unique blend of brains and brawn make Mewtwo the first player/manager to compete in MLB since Pete Rose in 1986. Its long and lean frame is perfectly suited for shortstop and with nearly unparalleled intelligence, Mewtwo knows all the right buttons to push in order to guide team Pokémon to post-season success.
Leftfield – Farfetch’d: Extremely rare and only available via trade (hopefully you can find it on a team with the famously dense Slowpoke as GM) Farfetch’d excels at the plate thanks to excellent bat control (a skill acquired from fighting with a stick) and also offers plus defense in the outfield thanks to its flying ability.
Centerfield – Dragonite: Don’t be fooled by its size, Dragonite is still one of the quickest Pokémon in the game. The highly intelligent creature has the skills and smarts necessary to captain the defense from centerfield, but does struggle to cover the outer portion of the plate due to its stubby arms.
Rightfield – Poliwrath: Providing power from one of the corner outfield positions, Poliwrath’s sculpted physique reminds many scouts of a young Ted Kluszewski. The land-dwelling but water loving Pokémon was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants, where it spend the majority of its time battling with kayakers in McCovey Cove.
Designated Hitter – Marowak: No offense to Nelson Cruz, but the real “boomstick” in baseball belongs to this Pokémon designated hitter. Known throughout the Poké-land for its deadly ability with a bone club, Marowak is the classic middle-of-the-order thunder that managers covet and opposing pitchers fear. Look for the team Pokémon marketing department to utilize plenty of “bad to the bone” promotions like the Mariners did with Jay Buhner.
9. Mr. Mime
Pinch Runner – Rapidash: Speed is the name of the game when it comes to pinch runners and having been clocked at 150 mph with unparalleled acceleration, Rapidash will be the first player off the bench when Mewtwo wants to put the game in motion.
Pinch Hitter – Kangaskhan: A liability in the field and on the bases, the muscle-bound Kangaskhan nonetheless provides outstanding value as a late-inning power source. Consistently leads the league in hit-by-pitches despite limited at bats.
Utility – Chansey: Although it offers little on the field or at the plate, Chansey is the perfect clubhouse presence required to hold this diverse group of players together. In addition to being known for good luck, Chansey also lays delicious eggs which make an ideal mid-inning snack or projectile to fire at umpires.
Starting Pitcher – Electabuzz: Daisuke Matsuzaka’s legendary Gyroball might just have been smoke and mirrors, but Electabuzz’s Electro Ball (learned at level 22) is the real deal. The staff ace of team Pokémon is a bundle of energy who is capable of winning a playoff series on his own – unless he’s facing the New York Knights.
Starting Pitcher – Hypno: The Greg Maddux of Poké-pitchers might not have the same raw stuff as Electabuzz, but is just as successful, using its patented pendulum to put batters to sleep before shutting them down.
Lefty Reliever – Jynx: Physically underwhelming and armed with subpar pitches, team Pokemon’s LOOGY is nonetheless one of the league’s toughest relievers to make hard contact against thanks to its hypnotic movements on the mound and deceptive delivery (ala Brian Fuentes).
Reliever – Golduck: Another brainy member of the Poké-pitching staff, Golduck serves as the set-up “man” to Magmar. Its webbed fingers allow Golduck to create unusual spin on its pitches – nicknamed “fowl balls” by opposing hitters.
Closer – Magmar: The classic hard-throwing closer, Magmar has a temper to match its fiery fastball. Despite his hot-headed demeanor Magmar is a physical specimen who gives the Pokémon a Craig Kimbrel-like presence at the end of their bullpen. In order to avoid getting burned, steer clear of Magmar after blown saves.
Meowth was originally in line to serve as manager before its gambling problems were revealed. The legendary birds (Zapdos, Articuno and Moltres) are represented by Scott Boras and thus did not fit into the salary cap. Charizards short arms and even shorter fuse make it incapable of contributing in team sports. Seattle previously attempted to evolve Mike “Magic” Carp into Gyrados…it failed.
The Spokane Indians are the Short Season Class ‘A’ Affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Ticket Packages and Hospitality Areas for the 2016 Spokane Indians season are available now. For more information, please visit SpokaneIndians.com or call (509) 343-OTTO (6886). Parking at all Spokane Indians games is FREE!