Posted on May 4, 2011 at 7:27 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
Today is a very special day on the calendar. It is a time when we honor hope, faith, courage. It is a time that brings us all together as we say a common phrase:
"May the Fourth be with you."
A couple of notes. One, if you read the older post, you'll see that some of the players have changed who I assigned to them. Who cares about consistency? Well, usually I do, but I rethought some of these and I think they could be reassigned.
Secondly, a couple have been assigned to female characters. This casts no aspersions on their masculinity or has anything to do with how they are viewed, but the reasoning has been explained in the post.
Finally, I obviously didn't do the whole roster because....wait, let me check. Nope, that's wrong, I am a huge geek. Which means everyone gets a mention.
So now, let's see how things would be if the Cardinals stepped back a long time ago to a galaxy far, far away......
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Albert Pujols--Anakin Skywalker.
This possibly is the strongest correlation that I have, save the manager. Albert is the greatest of the team of Cardinals, Anakin the greatest of the team of Jedi. Both can be reckless and impulsive. Both wield their weapon with aplomb and can terrorize people with it. The question remains, will Anakin's destiny be Albert's? Will he give in to the dark side, sign with the Cubs, and become the newest Darth Vader?
Yadier Molina--Ahsoka Tano. Again, remember my caveat about feminine characters. For those of you that aren't huge Star Wars geeks and/or do not have young boys in the house, Ahsoka was established in The Clone Wars animated series that airs on Cartoon Network. She is Anakin's Padawan, learning how to become a Jedi Knight under his tutoring. Doesn't that sound like Yadi? It's been well established how strong the bond between Molina and Pujols is and it seems that Molina has learned a lot from being around him. While Molina, like Ahsoka, will not likely ever reach the heights that their mentor will, they've still learned much from the association.
Lance Berkman--Obi-Wan Kenobi.
While Berkman could probably fit into the Obi-Wan role at any point in the saga, I'm thinking of the wise old sage of Episode IV
. We heard about his wise words at the beginning of the season, inspiring the team to shake off that 2-6 start. We've seen him be strong in the Force with two Player of the Week awards already to his name. He has led by example, and he's also sacrificed himself to talk to the media on days when no one else seems to want the job. Like I say, his wisecracks and general bearing would fit in well with the younger Kenobi, but he works as words of wisdom in a clubhouse that needs them.
Matt Holliday--Han Solo. He's the gunslinger that backs up whatever crazy plan is going on, whether it's rescuing a princess or having Nick Punto lead off. He's got the cool air of detachment while always willing to rush in to help his friends. When he's gone, either via carbonite freezing or due to losing his appendix, things don't seem to go quite as well. Either the team loses a lot of games or someone loses a hand. Just like Solo is vital to the Rebellion, so also is Holliday to the Cardinals. I just don't know if he has a cool ride like the Millennium Falcon, though.
Adam Wainwright--Luke Skywalker. The new hope. The one who could lead an organization out of the dark times. A man of deep faith and commitment to his friends. There are so many different ways that Waino and Luke are tied together. If Pujols does leave in the offseason, Wainwright will likely become the face of the franchise, plus he might have to do battle with Darth Vader if Pujols stays in the National League. They've even both had to have reconstructive work on their arms, though Luke's was a bit more extensive. Plus, you know Waino has to be strong in the Force, because he pulled a Jedi Mind Trick on Carlos Beltran in 2006 with that curveball.
Chris Carpenter--Mace Windu. Windu is a focused, relatively humorless Jedi Master who ranks just below Yoda in the Jedi hierarchy. He's an amazing warrior who is very strong in the Force. I mean, he was played by Samuel L. Jackson, for cryin' out loud? He's the only Jedi to have a lightsaber that isn't blue or green. This is one tough cookie with the weaponry to back it up. Doesn't this remind you of our current staff ace? Carpenter is one of the leaders in the clubhouse and a guy that no one wants to mess with.
Tony La Russa--Yoda
. The leader of the whole group.
Yoda has his eccentricities, a word that often gets tossed around when talking about the Cardinal manager. Ironically, Yoda doesn't want to train Luke because he's too hold, while the knock on La Russa is that he doesn't take on guys that are too young. Still, the wealth of knowledge that resides with both of them commands respect and loyalty among their charges. They also recognize when a talent comes along (such as Luke or Pujols) that doesn't fit what they usually do, but can adapt to use them anyway.
David Freese--C3PO. It's not because Freese is inherently fussy, nor is it because he comes across as one of those walking encyclopedia types. I don't know if he can even speak two languages, much less be fluent in six million forms of communication. No, this connection is strictly due to the fact that C3PO tends to be the one that loses arms or other limbs or otherwise has some sort of misstep. You just know that if it was possible for Threepio to play ball, he'd get plunked and have to hit the repair shop almost immediately.
Jason Motte--Chewbacca. I don't think that Motte and Holliday are the best of friends or that Motte owes Holliday a life debt or anything. Still, I don't think you can go wrong with the Motte/Chewie connection. First of all, you've got the facial hair thing going, so the looks are similar. However, dig a little deeper. Chewie's not the most subtle of creatures. He comes at you with brute strength, for the most part. He might occasionally throw up a diversion, but not often. Sounds like Motte's pitching style to me.
Colby Rasmus--Leia Organa. Remember my earlier comment. Now, like Wainwright, if Pujols leaves the Cardinals, there's a good chance the team will be built around him, both on the field and potentially off of it as well. Wainwright is not the last hope, there is another. Besides, both of them have daddy issues.
I separated out Descalso from his other middle infield associates because, well, there's a little more of a cult following surrounding him, just like there's a huge R2D2 fan base. Descalso, like R2, comes in a smaller package but has a number of skills (and gloves) to choose from. He's able to come in and fix a problem, whether it is a damaged Schumaker or a wounded Freese. Unlike Artoo, though, you can't call Daniel by a shortened name. A nickname, that's another story
. (Daniel Descalso--D2. I'm sure the girls can come up with two Rs to go with it.)
Jaime Garcia--Lando Calrissian. There's really nothing with the Cardinals that equals Lando's betrayal and redemption, save if a player had gone to another team and then returned to St. Louis. However, Lando came out of nowhere in The Empire Strikes Back and not only played a key role in that one, but hung around to be a long-term member of the Rebellion. Similarly, Garcia was a major contributor to last year's battles and has already been productive again this year. Lando doesn't get as much screen time as some of the other regulars, which also works out well, because Garcia doesn't always pitch as many innings as the other starters either. Besides, you have to figure Jaime is just as smooth with the ladies as Lando is.
Eduardo Sanchez--Boba Fett. You don't see Boba Fett much. (More since Lucas went back and added him into a few places, but still not that much.) Yet his reputation is such that it strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who is in his crosshairs. While Sanchez hasn't been around that long, you know that people are starting to get the same impression. Sanchez, like Fett, gets a job (or a bounty) and does it (collects). In, out, with bodies left in his wake.
Kyle McClellan--Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan's mentor, only appears in The Phantom Menace, being killed at the end of it by Darth Maul. However, Qui-Gon is able to figure out how to become one with the Force and thus moves on to a different plane of existence, still being able to communicate with the living world. In a similar but much less dramatic way, McClellan's career has been like that, spending time in the bullpen then evolving up into the starting rotation with no intentions of returning. (Hey, if you are still reading by this far down, you gotta realize there are going to be some real stretches.)
Mitchell Boggs--Captain Rex.
Rex is the leader of Anakin's clone trooper squad in The Clone Wars and as such does a lot of the grunt work and dangerous jobs that military types typically do. He's someone you want with you when everything is on the line. So far, Boggs has lived up to that type of reputation. He's come in and gotten saves on a more regular basis than anyone else in his squadron (otherwise known as the bullpen) and has proven he doesn't mind taking the earlier innings either.
Fernando Salas--Cad Bane. Bane, another new invention for the animated series, is a bounty hunter that has been known to foil the Jedi from time to time. Like the Sanchez/Fett comparison, Salas and Bane share the "get in, do the job, get out" mentality as well as the reputation of being able to do that job well.
Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse--Kit Fisto and Ki-Adi-Mundi. Both Fisto and Adi-Mundi were Jedi Masters who sat on the Jedi Council, meaning they'd been around a while and had strong abilities. While the talent portion of the analysis might not hold up so well under scrutiny, since Westbrook and Lohse are not All-Stars or top-flight pitchers, at least over their careers, they are some of the elder statesmen in the clubhouse and, if Westbrook pitches like he did last year (and his last couple of starts) and Lohse pitches like he has this year (save Monday night), they will also be considered skilled warriors.
Tyler Greene, Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker, Ryan Theriot--Ewoks. If you were to look up scrappy in the Star Wars universe, you'd have to think a picture of Ewoks would be next to the definition. They play to the limit of their abilities, using heart and primitive weapons to take down the mighty Empire. Our scrappers do similar, taking down advanced statistical weaponry with a well-placed bunt and some dirt on the uniform.
Allen Craig, Mark Hamilton, Jon Jay, Gerald Laird--Rebel soldiers. Sure, Han, Luke and Leia got all the screentime. Who won all those battles they planned, though? Were they in the trenches, staring down AT-AT walkers on the snowy fields of Hoth? Did they put on their green uniforms and help take down a shield generator? Did they sit on the bench until the ninth, then come through with a clutch hit? Every organization has leaders, but it has many more followers and guys that don't necessarily get the face time, but do their part to get the job done.
Miguel Batista, Ryan Franklin, Trever Miller--Stormtroopers. They are the guys you don't really want to see. They have their moments--they captured the princess, after all, and figured out the droids had the plans--but on the whole, they aren't that useful. They can't seem to hit the broad side of a barn (which, given Miller's control issues of late, is fairly appropriate) and even when they have the advantage, they seem to blow it. Sometimes it's a wonder the Empire didn't collapse before it did with these guys holding it up.
So, as you watch tonight's game against the Marlins, be sure to keep in mind that, with a little squinting, you could be watching an epic battle from another galaxy. May the Force be with you, always!