You hear that? That’s what nostalgia sounds like. Many a rainy day began with that sound. Homework never got done because of that sound. A lot of joy was given by that sound.
That was the opening to one of, if not the best, baseball game ever created. Created in 1997 (the game is old enough to drink) by Humungous Entertainment for the PC, it spawned a family of other Backyard Sports games. It allowed players to create their own teams, play a season, and win a “World Series.”
To this day, I’ve never lost in this game and won a handful, if not more, championships. I was the first in my family to be named to the Backyard Baseball Hall of Fame. It is with these credentials that makes me the perfect candidate to pick and announce the official, Backyard Baseball All-Star team.
#1 – Pete Wheeler, 2B
Now, he may not win a Nobel prize anytime soon or even know how to read the scouting report, but this kid can play. And by play, I mean run. And by run, I mean this kid has some wheels. By far the fastest player in the league, Pete is a threat to steal any base at any time. He can beat out any bunt, turn a single into a double, and score from second. On the defensive end, he doesn’t even need a first baseman to throw to. He can beat out any batter to the bag. He is exactly what you want in a lead-off hitter.
#2- Dante Robinson, CF
Despite the amount of food he can put away, this kid also can move on the base paths. He can hit for average and has a quick first step. At only the young age of 10, he’s a three-star athlete, excelling in both soccer and football (his school allows him to play both in the fall). This gives him a high sports IQ in which he rarely makes a mistake. His only downfall? His hats/helmets never stay on.
#3- Mikey Thomas, 1B
This kid can mash. When he gets the bat on the ball, everyone better beware. It’s gonna be hit hard, and, in many cases, far. Having a growth spurt before the rest of his class, he has an unnatural strength for someone his age (and yes I checked his birth certificate). He’s not gonna wow you with his speed or arm strength, but he can catch a ball and bring in runs. That’s all you really need in a first baseman.
#4- Pablo Sanchez, 3B
Easily overlooked at first glance, this kid should be the first pick of every draft. Don’t let his lack of height or fitness fool you, this is the best player in the league. He can do it all. He can hit for average, crush home runs, steal bases, play defense, and pitch. Whatever you need, whenever you need it, he’s exactly the kid to do it. He can change the momentum of the game with one swing of the bat. He’s a baseball unicorn. This little snippet doesn’t do him justice, he deserves an article all to himself. And the story of his creation is really cool too. You can listen to that here.
#5- Achmed Khan, C
The headphones might be borderline illegal. I’m not sure if he’s listening to music, having someone give him the signs, or just using them to cancel out the noise. Perhaps he’s listening to some Biggie. Regardless, they’ve been approved by the school.
This kid is a stud behind the plate. Opposing runners don’t even dare to steal, knowing they’d be facing doom and despair. He calls a great game too, not bad for a kid just starting to learn fractions. Offensively, he’s satisfactory. He won’t wow you, but he won’t get you in trouble either. He’s basically a 2nd lead-off hitter as the bases are normally cleared after Pablo is at the plate.
#6- Stephanie Morgan, SS
If you want someone that loves the game, this is the kid for you. She will do whatever it takes to get an out, get a run across, and win the game. She’s a superb defender with great range. She doesn’t swing at bad pitches and if you need a relief for your starting pitcher, she loves to step up into the challenge. She doesn’t come without controversy though as opposing players have claimed her gum smacking is a distraction. This type of mental gameplay makes her a perfect player for your team.
#7- Dmitri Petrovich, RF
He already has offers from Boston Dynamics, Elon Musk, and NASA to work for them. His intelligence is unprecedented and he uses it to great advantage on the field. His photographic memory allows him to memorize every scouting report ever created. He can predict where the ball will end up based on the start of a pitchers wind-up (don’t ask me how. it involves very complicated math). He can move too. Managers also love him because they don’t have to hire statisticians or analysts.
#8- Angela Delvecchio, P
This kid can pitch. Think of the best pitcher you’ve ever seen and times that by two and you’ve got this girl. She’s got a commanding fastball and one hell of a curve. She mixes them up well and moves the ball around, keeping hitters guessing throughout their at-bats. Hits are hard to come by against this stud on the mound. Rumors also have it that she has the family recipe to the best pasta sauce (or what she calls gravy) on the block.
#9- Kenny Kawaguchi, LF
This kid literally has wheels, which makes him a threat on the bases. He is also the best bunter in the league, which might seem useless but if you’re playing small ball, it’s a huge deal. Normally, managers put their worst hitter at the bottom of the order, but I like to bookend my line-ups with fast players who can get on base. This is exactly what this kid can do. He’s not an automatic out. His defense is also great, with the ability to wheel down any ball hit his way. His bat flip BEFORE the pitch is thrown also intimidates opposing pitchers.
There you have it, folks, that right there is your Backyard Baseball All-Star lineup!
Now as the Hall of Fame announcers, Sunny Day and Vincent (Vinnie) the Gooch, so warmly say….“Play Ball!”