Here’s your batting order for the reigning Solarius Division champions:
1. Cheetagrah Johnson (LF). The Smashers addressed a lack of team speed in 2006 by signing Johnson, who has led the league in infield hits four years running thanks to a left-handed swing and the ability to transform instantly into a cheetah. A subpar left fielder (playing the outfield as a quadruped), Johnson is still a veteran leader in the clubhouse, except on days surrounding a full moon, when he becomes a feral killing machine. But as long as he’s also a run-producing machine (.523 OBP, 234 SB, 345 R in 2006), team chemistry will survive a few maulings.
2. Nippon Ham Super Baseball Robo X (2B). Last year’s postseason breakdown should be forgotten, with Smashers management purchasing an extended warranty for the switch-hitting Japanese import. Expect performance in line with his 2004 (.400 BA, .400 OBP, 30 HR) and 2005 (.400/.400/30) seasons, in which he consistently moved runners over, played a flawless second base, and was unable to understand the concept of love.
3. Ograx Howard (CF). It’s put up or shut up time for the 28-year-old Plutonium Glover, who stunned fans this offseason by balking at a long-term deal to test the market next summer. The charismatic 8-foot-6-inch star has a keen eye and astonishing patience—.600 OBP and 200 runs are possible—but Ograx continues to have a hard time running the bases when his right head, Thograx, hits seventh.
4. Baron von Crush (1B). With the league banning the use of oak trees as bats, Crush will struggle to match his 2006 MVP campaign (.525 BA, .832 OBP, 126 HR, 236 RBI). He’ll also be learning a new position: with his unicorn steed Thelonius eaten by a dragon in the controversial finish to last year’s divisional series, the aging Crush no longer has the mobility to play left field. But he remains a fan favorite for his stunning physique, singlets, and dapper handlebar mustache, and he’s still the most feared hitter in all the Midway. A lock to lead the league in home runs and fisticuff-inflicted fatalities.
5. Mephisticus the Mighty (3B). Dare mortals tug on the sinews binding this realm to the void? Should any being practice dark congress with the hoary avatars of the night? Must man resort to telekinesis to improve his power numbers? At $10 million a year he damn well better. (.473 BA, .632 OBP, 75 HR)
6. Cindy Jenkins (SS). Cindy is blissfully unaware of her stunning natural beauty, making her saner than most beautiful women. She places no premium on endless conversations, intuiting your heart based on your actions. She is fiercely intelligent and pushes you to learn new things, but not in a way that makes you feel inferior. Her statistics are irrelevant, but, if you must know: 35-24-35.
7. Thograx Howard (RF). The albatross. Unable to see pitches through his brother’s head (540 K). Consistently out of position in the outfield (245 E). But the sullen, enigmatic Howard has a new five-year, $60 million contract, courtesy of Scott Boras and the bargaining chip on his left shoulder. The inexplicable failure of that agreement to lead to a long-term deal with brother Ograx (another Boras client) should make Howard a target of fan scorn, and parking-lot broadsword attacks, all year long.
8. President Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del. ©.
9. Alternate Reality Chris White (P). With no progress in the field of predicting dimensional rifts, A.R. Chris White has thus far been unable to return to the universe where, at age 10, he was not drilled in the face his first time at the plate in Little League. In that universe, Chris White was not scared of the ball, did not fail to get a hit in his first three years of play, and in college did not fail to discover a gift for throwing 12-6 curveballs and end up sitting on the roof of his dorm trying to tune the Phillies in on AM radio while quietly weeping. A.R. Chris White was lights-out in 2006 (430 IP, 0.02 ERA, 937 K), and rumor has it he’s bopping that Cindy Jenkins.
What a guy!