The 2011 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game is the continuation of a proud, long American tradition. I’d love to shake the hand of the person who thought, "America loves Taco Bell All-Star Legends, and they also love their celebrity softballs -- why not put them together?" Pure, inspired genius.
Speculation is running wild as to who will be included in this year's TBASLACSG (or LegCebs, as they’re referred to on the SB Nation site devoted to the celebrity/legends game). They haven’t released the full list of celebrities -- MLB.com lists only Larry Fitzgerald and Jennie Finch so far, along with Nick Jonas, who is rumored to be "the Wilton Guerrero of the Jonas Bros."
MLB has released the names of the current and former major leaguers, though. The legends. It's an interesting assortment:
Jake T. Austin
Usually, the idea is to stack the team with former All-Star players, but apparently someone is taking a chance that people will tune in to watch these lesser-known ex-baseball players. At least, I think they’re ex-baseball players. They certainly can’t be celebrities because I haven’t heard of a single one of them. But without taking the time to look them up, here’s a brief rundown of the participants.
- Amaury Nolasco was a live-armed right-hander who played for the White Sox for six years, mostly in long relief. Fans might remember him getting the last out in the 2005 World Series, unless that wasn’t him.
- Chord Overstreet was one of the Rays’ first-round picks this year, a college closer from Rice who is expected to move quickly. No, seriously, Chord Overstreet has to be the name of a college closer who was drafted in the first round, or everything I know about this world doesn't make sense anymore.
- Dave Annable is a starter in the Padres' outfield right now. He’s hitting .141/.182/.290 for an OPS+ of 102.
- AJ Calloway was the A’s first-round pick in 2004, an outfielder from Texas with average tools, but a really good on-base percentage in college or some crap. He’s still in the A’s system, where he is hitting .243/.329/.400 now, where he has hit .243/.329/.400 in the past, and where he will hit .243/.329/.400 at any level he plays in the future. He has already been pre-released by six other teams just in case he accidentally signs with them, and he didn’t move from first to third on that single just now.
- James Denton was a former Mets prospect whose career was derailed by six successive Tommy John surgeries, the last of which was controversial because he used one of Johan Santana’s ligaments without asking.
- Jordin Sparks is a reliever for the Angels who was created in lab. Arte Moreno commissioned Dr. Mindbender to use his cloning research and combine the DNA from former Angels relievers like Brendan Donnelly, Pep Harris, Chuck Crim, and Hilly Hathaway. After his creation, there was dissension in the Angels’ clubhouse when Cobra Commander remained the closer.
- Chris Pratt is actually Scott Hatteberg. The former A’s first baseman legally changed his name because Louis B. Mayer thought that "Hatteberg" sounded too ethnic for a movie like "Moneyball."
- Kate Upton is the older brother of B.J. and Justin, a toolsy outfielder who was once considered one of the best prospects in the game. His career ended, though, when he hurt himself in a bar fight with his own father in Gatlinburg in mid-July/when he just hit town, and his throat was dry.
- Greg Grunberg was a situational lefty who made over 609 appearances in his career, pitching 203-1/3 innings for 26 different teams.
- Jake T. Austin was a backup first baseman for the Yankees, Rockies, and Blue Jays, best known for mashing lefties and signing his name as "Jake R. Austin" to irritate autograph collectors and memorabilia dealers.
- Paul Dimeo is 5’5", has average speed, and has played five different positions, including shortstop. He was a utility player for six different teams, though he did start and lead off for several different Dusty Baker teams. He received his B.A. in gritty from Baylor, and his M.A. in all the little things from Stanford. He was certified as a clubhouse leader through a University of Phoenix online program.
- Tom Papa was a backup catcher for the Brewers for sixteen years before being released in 1998. No one told him he was released, though, so he still shows up to every game, gets dressed, and cheers his team on. He actually thinks he’s playing in the All-Star Game, not the TBASLACSG. Please, no one tell him the truth. It would break him. Tom Papa has always been a proud man.
It’s a bold move replacing guys like Robin Yount and Fred Lynn with current and former fringe players in a Legends Game, but it just might work. Of course, no one really cares about the ex-players at the game -- it’s all about the celebrities! So when the list of celebrities is released, we’ll go over the list in great detail. (Just between you and me, I’m hoping for someone whose name rhymes with "Resident Co-Llama!!! Hint hint!")
So, just waiting for the celebrities list. Yep.
Juuuuuust waiting for the full list. Should be exciting.