Sunday Rewind: “All-Christmas Squad 2008”



Blogger’s Note:

I first posted this on December 16,2008 and wanted to include some of our favorite Christmas characters into a baseball scenario. So this is my All-Star Christmas Team for the 2008 season. Hopefully within the next few days I will also have a posting on my 2009 selection to the squad………Maybew this year I will pick Super Heroes..hmmmmm

I do not have one of these nights very often, but I  seem to get them more and more during the Holiday season. I do not know why, but I have  a bit of a insomnia around the Christmas Holidays. So I went on and was  strolling and checking out the Christmas blogs and “wish lists” when I thought to myself, I said “Self, what would be the ultimate Christmas baseball team?” So I thought it was the right time of the year to come up with a stellar squad of icons and characters for the holidays.


And being bit tired and delirious, I somehow answered myself that I should find the right combination of Christmas-based characters both human and cartoon characters to field the perfect Holiday baseball squad. Now I do not know why, but this sounded like a fantastic idea so early in the morning. So I hit into my past memories of great Christmas moments on film and television and mettled, cursed and prodded as I searched my brain for past names,  wild photos and even a airdate that the original movie/cartoon was presented to the world.


Let me tell you that sometimes even Wikipedia can’t help you on a quest for a team like this one. So I used every  memorable holiday phrase and  try to recount audible soundsfrom the past to try and determine the right pairing of  10 players and coaches for the Polar Express. Now I did this in a variation of using at least 5 cartoon personalities and 7 human figures as my fantasy team. Being that we are playing in the  North American League, I have instituted the Designated Santa on my team.

I think this squad as the right  hint of animation and perfect human element to make this team a sure fire winner in the Winter Leagues. So I will introduce my 2008 team moving from the 1-9 positions in the lineup, then I will divulge the  2 special coaches for the team. But we have to first begin with our outstanding mound presence on our squad.
Starting Pitcher:
The starting pitcher for the North Pole Express is the one and only Charlie Brown. His  classic Christmas television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” first hit the airwaves in 1965 and was an instant hit with kids of all ages.  So I decided to use Brown as my pitcher because of the  huge amount of past experiences while pitching during the Spring to Summer leagues down in the lower 48 states. Of course we know that he can sometime be de-clothed by a sharp liner back up the middle after he hangs one of his patented hanging curveballs. He has the experience and the fortitude to throw hard and long into games for the Express and will be a calming presence on the mound for the team.
I had to think long and hard about the right guy to catch for this team. I needed someone who had some brawn and might be dumb enough to sit back there and be ready for anything coming off the fingers of Charlie Brown. And considering all the plusses and minuses, I came up with Cousin Eddie from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. This movie first hit the movie houses in 1989 and also became an instant classic for it’s off beat humor and  funny situations. Also Eddie is a pretty big guy, and he looks like he could block the plate like an ice sheet.

Now that we have the pitching and catching battery taken care of, I have decided that we do not need any relief pitchers since we might have a 10-run rule going after just the 5th inning knowing the way Charlie Brown pitches to batters’. So let’s get you aquainted with the 5 infield positions on the team.
First Baseman:
I wanted to get a guy who has some baseball experience on first base, because we need a solid guy on this bag to protect the lines and also make therequired plays and positioning if the ball gets hit into the infield. I chose a guy who owns a few minor league ballclubs in real life as my first bagger. I think he can do the job with a flair, and if not, with at least a funny manuver or two while out on the bag.
 I decided to use Francis Xavier Cross from the movie “Scrooged” as my first baseman.  I have always thought this was a awesome take on the classic, “A Christmas Carol.” It was originally in theatres in 1988, and is still one of my favorite odd  comedy movies for the holiday season. I think that Murray captured the perfect sarcastic essence of Scrooge and his comic genius shows through in this  Christmas time remake. If you have a chance, you must catch this belly-busting redition of the Dicken’s classic tale.
Second Baseman:

I wanted my second baseman to be fast and quick as a rabbit, or bunny. He needed to have the killer instinct and the speed to get the toss for the double play, or also cover the bag when Quaid launches a rocket to second to catch  a rambling polar bear trying to steal a base trying to get into scoring position. I picked the smart little guy Ralphie Parker from “A Christmas Story” to play second base for me. The movie is a all day affair on TNT nowadays on Christmas Day, and has been another holiday appetizer since its original screening date in 1983.

In the movie, Ralphie showed the moxie I want on second to decide on the fly to either talk about the notorious leg lamp, or just be quiet as a mouse. He also has the fortitude and determination to keep pestering his parents for that Red Ryder BB gun. Hopefully the ball coming in hard and fast from Quaid behind the plate will not put his eye out……..again.

My shortstop has to be quick and have smart reflexes at the same time. He has to be able to  use instinct to decide if the throw should be made, or to run and cover second as the pivot man on a ball hit to the first base side of second base. I decided to use a quick guy who is also small and nimble. I think, that Hermie, the dentist elf from ” Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer” would be the perfect guy to man the hole position for the Express. He showed remarkable smart judgement during the movie, which first hit the networks in 1964. And with over 44 years of intelligent moves, should be a valuable additon to the  2008 squad.
Third Baseman:

Playing third, I had to find a big guy who could move laterally and go blindly and swifty into the foul territory for quick pop-ups. He also had to have some horizontal versatility towards the hole or the  chalk on the left-field line.  He must be able to leap to and fro anytime it was called for in the contest. He had to also be a power hitter to produce some runs and protection for our little squad. It had to be a movie character from the last 5 years to have youthful vitality and vigor for the position. He had to have the enrgy and the motivation to add to the teams awesome chemistry.

The person who fit this position perfectly to me was Buddy from the movie “Elf.”  He has the comedic chops to take one for the team down the line and will sacrifice his body for his craft. Because of this, he was a hands down favorite to make the All-Frozen Tundra team during the time before the spring thaw. His quick wit and glove along with his quick wrists and power stroke should power the ball to all fields and should produce a slim chance of the opposition getting to his liners and high drives to the  high walled snow fences.
Left Fielder:

My choice for leftfield could not have two-left feet. He has to have the agility and the coordination of a leopard.  And the guy has to adequately take the position and make it his own by exhibiting speed and smart thinking through the Christmas season. He has to be sure footed and should be able to dance in the outfield while chasing down flares and dying quails. The guy who I think would be a model left-fielder is George Bailey of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”  I just hope George remembers to put some zuzu petals in his uniform pockets before he takes the field. You know they are magical.

I wanted to have a shrewd and calculating centerfielder. Someone who could get a baserunner to make a mistake and try and score on his arm, then he guns them down at the plate.
I needed someone with a huge heart who would run and run all over the field and get the ball whereever it is in the field. I also needed someone who could exhibit some emotion even if he is a problem-child at times, but play the game on our terms too. And for that reason, I picked  Grinch from the movie “The Grinch”. I wanted someone who could go from bad to good in a  heartbeat. And if he did make a bad play,or make a questionable play or action on or off the field,  I could just say it was the “Grinch being  the Grinch.” 

I wanted a right-fielder who would not be afraid of the  snow wall, or of taking one for the team down the icy foul line.  If the ball was in the air long enough, I wanted to see distance and a nice combination of  horizontal or vertical movement towards the failing sphere. He needed to have a rifle arm and also a wit about him to keep base runners honest on the basepaths. I chose Ernest from “Ernest Saves Chrsitmas”. This 1988 sequel, to the sequel, to the sequel kept a long line of profitable movies going for over a decade. We needed that kind of staying power in rightfield. A streak like that is contagious on a team. If the team has confidence, they will go above expectations and strive to be the best in the Winter League.
Designated Santa:

I needed a huge character in this spot in the lineup who evokes the charm and the outward joy of the big guy himself. He has to be able to belly up to the plate and hit it a mile, or at least to the South Pole with every swing. The guy I picked for this position has been cranking out movies for a long time, and also has played the part for several installments of his own movie franchise. I picked Scott Calvin as my Designated Santa from the movie , The Santa Clause.” He has made this a blockbuster hitting streak by hitting  a trifecta of pitches out of the park in this series of movies. That kind of power will be needed in the clutch on this team. It also helps protect the younger hitters on the team by showing the power and the possible results of pitching to this Christmas giant.

Now that we have finished with the fielders and DS position. Let’s meet the two  extra ordinary base coaches’ selected for the Polar Express team. Both come with their own set of particular  unique in-game behaviors, and both can help baserunners and hitters in the situations during  offensive appearances at the plate.
First Base Coach:

Over at first base we have a guy who makes the ball seem to freeze in mid-air. He has ben instrumental with teaching players how to hit a frozen rope down the line for extra bases for the Express. He has been described as a cold hearted soul, who can melt you with his smile. But his cunning directions and cool and calm manner make him the perfect first base coach for the team.
I am talking about the cool cat also known as the Snow Miser. He was in the 1974 classic movie ” A Year Without Santa Claus“, and has been giving icy banter to opposing players and baserunners for years. His cold demeanor on the basepaths has been legendary for the past 34 years. He uses his cold hard facts to make the opposition freeze in their tracks while diving for low balls or foul pop-ups.
Third Base Coach:

Our third base coach is a Christmas legend and a member of the Kringle Hall of Fame.  He is almost as famous as our Designated Santa. He had been blazing the trail like a beacon for years pioneering the use of  unique signals and  well placed lighting to facilitate the proper transfer of  anticipated moves and pre-arranged actions to baserunners’ and batters’ for the Express. He knowledge of reindeer games and his leadership expertise is reknown in the Winter League. I am talking about the brilliant Rudolf.

Since his first sighting on televisions in 1964, he has been leading a lighted path for children and players alike to the real spirit of Christmas. His classic “Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” special is a holiday classic that is without equal. It is for that reason that he should be the perfect third base coach for this high-powered squad of Christmas icons. Both a legendary character by actions and by reputation.
For without the right leader, like Rudolf showing us the way on Christmas, we would be blinded by the darkness and might lose our way. So it is with great pleasure that I have selected and commissioned the first 2008 All-Christmas Team. There will be additions and subtractions by characters moving on or retiring to the  celluloid and video vaults, but the true essence and the sprit of this team will live on forever in our hearts and minds……………………..Play Ball!!


Aww, this is a clever idea. I haven’t seen some of the movies you’ve referenced, but I like the thought process you took towards picking out the “perfect” holiday characters for each position. Great way to mix baseball with the holiday season :-)

Thanks for that.
I sometimes like to use my brain for more than a Rays cap holder, and this one was one of my favorites from 2008.
I am a bit older, so some of the character’s can be unknown to some people.
I try and make people smile more than frown.

Rays Renegade

Since you didn’t say it, let me do the honors: Ralphie IS Dustin Pedroia. Just look at ’em! It’s the same kid! Great post, Cliff!

Coming from one of the master of the tongue-in-cheek comment. I am humbled.
Seriously, Ralphie is taller than Dustin, and he also has that Red Ryder BB gun to proveit. Pedroia just has that serving dish aka MVP award.

Rays Renegade

What a great post! Bravo!!
My bit of imsomnia goes for the entire year. The other night, they almost left me locked up at a store.
Charlie Brown is my favorite cartoon. Love the Charlie Brown Christmas tree! And how many of us have not had one of our trees nicknamed “The Charlie Brown tree.”
go Polar Express!

That would definately be a winner.
You may want to consider some reserve players as well.

Clark W. Griswold (aforementioned Christmas Vacation):
Set-Up role out of the bullpen. Obviously gets into some trouble every now and then, but dependable to get out of it.

Det. John McClane (Die Hard.. it’s a X-Mas movie!):
Utilityman off the bench. He’s played for a few teams such as NY, LA and back to NY which shows he can handle the pressure. Like Dustin Pedroia, little guy.. big time swagger.

You’re going to need a good bench coach, someone who knows the tricks to the trade, perhaps an Ebenezer Scrooge. Sure, there have been a few including George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart… but Reginald Owen from 1938’s version of Dicken’s classic should fill in nicely.

You’ll also need a General Manager, someone who can keep the boys in the right uniform for a good long time, handle the press and entice those free agents from the isle of misfit toys… otherwise known as New York (HA!) I’m thinking ‘The Old Man’ Mr. Parker from the aforementioned A Christmas Story. He has a way with words (“Nada Finga!”), can appreciate a championship (“My Major Award..”) and can definately work with players agents and league reps (“Brain power…”)

Merry Christmas to all and to all…. well, you know.

I think all of us can relate to Charlie Brown from time to time, or even daily.
I actually played him in a play in Junior High. (I think I was the only kid in the school with a blockhead).
Never had a Charlie Brown tree because my father had a friend who owned a Evergreen farm in North Carolina and he used to give him a small section of his station parking lot to seel the trees straight out of the semi trailer.
Always had the first tree off the truck in our house.

Rays Renegade

I like the way you ended the list……..very nice.
I did not want to seem like I was going overboard, so I stopped at a point where I felt comfortable.
Clark Griswold seemed too much like former Rays GM Chuck LaMar, so he was automatically excluded from the list (lol).

Rays Renegade

I love the idea, and this team would surely be a force to reckon with. I thought your idea for coaches and very appropriate choices of them were very clever. This is the best holiday post I’ve seen!
Happy holidays and good luck to the Christmas squad.


No pun intended here, but it was the best team I thought I could…draw up.
Seriously, this time of year should have a baseball tradition, and within the next few days I will also figure out the members of another team that can play them yearly…..Maybe on Christmas Eve.

Rays Renegade

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: