The Niners: A New MLB Franchise

6 November 2009, Created By: Ronnie Schwartz
The Niners: A New MLB Franchise
With one World Series (baseball) drawing to a close and the final table of another (poker) set to kick off Friday, we thought we'd bring you a not-so-useful cross-genre analogy just for shits and giggles.

Welcome to the first ever World Series of Poker November Nine baseball team.

Players: The nine dudes at the final table, silly.
Manager: Me
Team Name: The Niners

Although this blog may not have any value or pertinent relevance, at the very least let it be an exercise in thinking outside of the (batter's) box. B'doom ching!

So as GM of this unique squad it is my duty to delegate positional defense as well as arrange the most effective offensive line up. The assignment is as challenging as it is pointless. I look forward to it.

So without further ado, I present to you The Niners.

Batter #1 (Leadoff hitter): Joe Cada

The leadoff hitter needs to be the catalyst for the team's offense. His job is to get into the action anyway he can whether by drawing free cards (walks) or making solid contact hits on the flop.

Joseph Cada
Give me a C! Give me an A ...

The leadoff is an aggressive player who steals a lot of pots and puts himself into scoring position with crafty moves like well timed check-raises. He makes life hell for the pitcher and all others who act before him.

The leadoff hitter has the highest on-base average on the team. The kids these days call it being loose-aggressive.

Leading off for The Niners is quick and aggressive short-stop Joe Cada.

Batter #2: Darvin Moon

This player needs to advance the leadoff hitter along the base path and therefore must have the highest hitting percentage on your team.

Based on the way he got to the spot he's in now, is there anyone else hitting at a higher rate than Darvin Moon? There most certainly is not.

Darvin Moon
Swinging for the ... moon?

No matter what the board throws out there, Darvin Moon's got a piece of it. As GM of this team you can rest assured that big first-baseman Darvin Moon is hitting in the 2-spot.

Batter #3: Eric Buchman

A batter hitting third in your lineup needs to hit for both power and consistency. This player isn't afraid to raise the stakes and go big but has the patience for small ball when the flop is scary or he senses strength in his opponent.

This player is rarely walked because he is followed by the cleanup hitter. This mixture of being devalued yet respected manifests itself as quiet confidence.

Hitting third for The Niners is crafty third-baseman Eric Buchman.

Batter #4: (Cleanup hitter): Phil Ivey

This is a no brainer. The cleanup hitter needs to have the power to clear the base paths and drive home all runners. He is a player who is feared by opponents and subsequently gets a lot of walks and free rides.

Phil Ivey
The Tiger Woods of Baseball.

People are often afraid to make a mistake against the cleanup hitter and instead opt to get out of his way.

The center fielder and clean-up hitter for The Niners is Phil Ivey. LDO

Batter #5: Jeff Shulman

In an ideal world the 5th hitter should instill as much fear in opponents as the cleanup man. If players think they can give the cleanup a free pass for a chance at the 5 hitter they will.

This creates a problem. The 5 hitter needs history and credentials.

In the 5-spot, seasoned veteran and resident second-baseman Jeff Shulman.

Batter #6: Antoine Saout

Essentially the bottom half of the order mirrors the top with a speedy and efficient 6, a high percentage 7, reliable and versatile 8 and the pitcher or remaining player in 9.

Fitting the bill for speedy and aggressive we have the young import left-fielder Antoine Saout. He had some rough weeks in spring training learning to play ball with his hands rather than his feet but the adjustment period has long since passed.

This Frenchman is a cerebral player and a quick learner.

Left Fielder Antoine Saout will bat sixth for The Niners.

Batter #7: Kevin Schaffel

Given his recent second-place finish at the WPT Legends of Poker, Kevin Schaffel is definitely hitting in this spot for any team I'm managing.

Kevin Schaffel
Old man Schaffel.

He's proving that his skills in the clutch are no fluke. Kevin has the potential to cement his legacy as Mr. November.

Time will tell. As the oldest member of the nine, Kevin brings experience and saavy to a team that will soon share a spotlight larger than most could ever dream of.

His veteran leadership will pay dividends, let's just hope he can call the game from behind the plate and that his half-century old knees hold up for the remainder of the playoffs.

Based on all this I'm slotting Kevin Schaffel into the 7-spot on the scorecard.

Batter #8: Steven Begleiter

If not for a lack of room up front Steven Begleiter definitely would be hitting higher in this line-up.

His recent performances and his understanding of statistics and trends are major additions to the team. His recent top 10 finish at the Legends shows that his game is still sharp.

He mixes up his game well and keeps opponents on edge.

Right fielder Steven Begleiter hits 8th for The Niners

Batter #9: James Akenhead

It's not that his hands aren't good (or that he doesn't play them well) it's simply that he's still not accustomed to the rules. That is why offensively he is batting last.

Defensively, however, his running side-spin one-hopper bowling/pitching style brought over from his cricket years in England is virtually unhittable for North American batters. He's our "Ace in the hole" if you will.

The ninth batter for The Niners is team pitcher/bowler James Akenhead.



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