As most of you know, comic book legend Stan Lee passed on November 12th at the age of 95. You know this because it was all over your Facebook page/Twitter timeline. It was all over your feeds because, even if you aren’t a comic book nerd (a classification for which my own credentials lapsed some time ago), you cannot escape the influence Stan Lee had on our culture. Not if you’ve ever been to a movie, or watched a TV show, or been trick or treating, or you have lived longer than than a handful of years and had conversations with other sentient beings.
Because the best things about superheroes is, they feed our imagination. Like, if you were a superhero, which superpower would you pick? Or, if you were a fan of a baseball team, which player would be which superhero?
Let’s find out!
[Note: The byline says “John Ford” but this was a team Slack effort. Thanks to my fellow Avengers.]
First up is our handsome, fleet-footed, platinum-glove winning centerfielder.
Now, the easy choice for KK would be a Mister Fantastic, for the way he stretches waaaaaaaaaay out for those balls in the gap. Or maybe Spiderman, for his uncanny ability to climb walls. But we decided to go a different route.
Look. I’m glad that KK heals so quickly. It’s...great. But ... maybe try not getting hurt instead? How about that? Because Deadpool gets hurt all the dang time. KK is Deadpool until further notice.
After suffering a humiliating demotion to the minors last year, the former hotshot prospect traveled the International League in search of his mojo.
A sojourn under The Tall One (Kyle Snyder) proved transformational, as the triumphant Snell returned to Tampa Bay as the Sorcerer Supreme of the staff and primary protector of the Trop against run scoring threats.
His ability to manipulate the flight path of baseballs beyond the bounds of physics clearly makes Blake Snell our Doctor Strange.
Blake Snell, Curveball Path. pic.twitter.com/Je1ZMz5tMP— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 8, 2018
Not gonna lie, lots of folks wanted Chaz Roe for Doctor Strange. And that slider is surely some dark wizardry. But as fun as the slider is, he doesn’t have the diversity of weaponry you need in a Doctor Strange. He’s more the guy who shoots his trick arrow at third base, then watches it swoosh across the plate.
Chaz Roe, Crazy 82mph Slider movement. pic.twitter.com/WUDD2PKlg1— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 17, 2018
Chaz Roe is Hawkeye.
This one is easy. With that hammer and that hair, Ryne Stanek is Thor.
The recent @RaysBaseball pitching strategy has put Ryne Stanek in some interesting company:— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) July 7, 2018
Most Scoreless Starts Before All-Star Break - All-Time
1963 Sandy Koufax: 9
2014 Adam Wainwright: 9
2018 Ryne Stanek: 9
1968 Don Drysdale: 8#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/AYu7I4TtWA
Joey Wendle has no discernible superpowers. Yet he is still amazing. So of course Joey Wendle is Daredevil.
Willy Adames and Jake Bauers
Willy and Jake are a team, and hopefully will always be a team. So that made this one of the most difficult decisions we had to make. Because Marvel doesn’t have a lot of good buddy comedy/superhero pairs.
There is just no Batman & Robin in the Marvel universe. I mean, Rocket Raccoon and Groot? I don’t think so. Plus, you can’t make one of these two Groot, when C.J. Cron is clearly Groot.
And then there is the undeniable, scientific fact that if anyone is Spiderman on this club, it is Willy Adames. He has the looks. The personality. The cool skills. The cool hair. Everybody wants to be around the web-slinging Willy Adames.
But where does that leave Jake Bauers?
As Venom? You’re seriously gonna try and sell me this guy as Venom?
Venom is a bad guy! Jake Bauers is pure light!
There’s only one other solution. Only one way to keep this couple together and still make Marvel cinematic sense.
Jake Bauers is Gwen Stacy.
And Jake, I’m really sorry about this. On multiple levels. For one, it sucks that you’re gonna die. On the bright side, Gwen Stacy was super hot. And she was clearly the best Peter Parker girlfriend, by a mile, the one he spent his whole life looking to replace. Plus, later on, clones!
Isn’t that better, Jake?
(OK, fine, you can be Venom)
We considered Tommy Pham for Nick Fury, because Fury is a bad ass and no one on this team could deliver Samuel L Jackson dialogue better than Pham. But the eye condition thing is a little too on the nose for our tastes. Plus, Pham is a dude who gets banged up, over and over, but manages to heal in no time so he can continue punishing baseballs.
Who does that sound like?
Tommy Pham is Wolverine.
End of discussion.
If we’re dipping into the Netflix heroes, someone needs to be Luke Cage. Who better than hitting coach and pushup-er extraordinaire, Ozzie Timmons.
Jose Alvarado is the Human Torch. Just ask the American League. Flame on!
The movement on this 97mph Jose Alvarado fastball is absurd. pic.twitter.com/om8AwEg8lA— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) June 11, 2018
Wait, no. Maybe Diego Castillo is the Human Torch?
No that baseball basically teleports to the plate.
Clearly Castillo is Nightcrawler!
We don’t really know much about Mike Zunino yet, but we feel pretty confident in giving him the Hulk. First, he puts on the tools of ignorance on purpose, just like Bruce Banner decided experimenting on himself would be a good idea. Second, we know he whiffs at fastballs like Bruce Banner probably would a good percentage of the time. But we also know that when he connects, HULK SMASH!
OK I know I said Cron is Groot, but when it comes to the other slugger, let’s consider his incredible strength, build, and overall gruffness.
That’s not Groot! That’s The Thing!
Finally we get a villain! Glasnow is Loki. Why? Well, because Glasnow is “tiny horse” and Loki is “tiny frost giant.” Also, Glasnow has stuff that borders on magical, but we aren’t entirely sure yet if he’s going to figure out how to use it for good.
Look, I know he’s from South Korea. So this is gonna get the fanboys all worked up, like when [insert latest dumb fanboy controversy]. But Choi is Captain America. Because there is nothing more American than the road this guy took, bouncing around in different places, sticking with it, not giving up, then finding a home and doing this.
If you can watch that and not hear the bombs bursting in your ears, then you should just move to Canada, because that right there? That’s America, baby!
The Rays don’t have an Iron Man anymore. Not since we traded him last year to San Francisco for Denard Span, Christian Arroyo, and a brand new direction.
Maybe we’ll have an Iron Man again some day, but we don’t right now, and do you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes you have to let go.
Instead of Iron Man, we do have a third baseman who has been an approximation but who also missed time to a significant injury. That’s right, Matt Duffy is War Machine.
Thank you, Stan Lee, for making Marvel what it is today, and rest in peace.
Did we miss any obvious connections between the Rays and Marvel rosters? Let us know in the comments below.