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Crash Bag, Vol. 32: Rock And Roll Supergroup Fantasy Draft
Posted By Michael Baumann On December 14, 2012 @ 10:46 am In Crabshurn Urly,Crash Bag,MLB,Potpourri | 26 Comments
Today, we’ve got the longest and most collaborative Crash Bag ever conceived of by man. So I’m not going to bore you with an introduction. Instead, we head immediately to the scatological.
@elkensky: “Why is Ruben Amaro such a poopy-head?”
I don’t know that he’s a poopy-head. I’ve realized that over the years, I’ve developed a stinging dislike for a man I’ve never met and know little about, personally. I know his professional resume, his ethnic background and that he’s a pescetarian. Actually, I’m not even sure about that last bit anymore. He might have changed his mind.
So while I don’t approve of many of his personnel decisions, I might stop short of calling him a poopy-head. I’ve probably called him an idiot, a moron and all sorts of other nasty things in a fit of pique, and I will almost certainly do so again, but I don’t know what he’s like as a person.
But if the aforementioned poopy-headitude is in reference to his professional record, then I can only echo your confusion. And I’ll tell you what, I’d love nothing better than to sit down for a day with Ruben Amaro and just talk to him, on or off the record, formally or casually, and have him explain and legitimately defend, in a back-and-forth format, all of those puzzling moves he’s made over the years.
Because here’s the thing, for a guy who doles out so many bizarre contracts, Amaro doesn’t seem like he’s either stupid or not paying attention. Like, you can look at Dayton Moore and his CV and reach the simple conclusion that he really just has no idea what he’s doing. But Amaro mixes some really aggressive, creative moves in with his freight train of lunacy. I’d love to find out why he thought it was so important to extend Ryan Howard‘s contract when he did. Why Papelbon? Why the parade of raw high school draftees? How does he think?
I don’t think we’re dealing with an incompetent, and that’s why I find Amaro’s track record to be so unnerving. I legitimately have no idea how he thinks, nor does he seem eager to let us in.
So that’s what I want for Christmas. A lengthy, sit-down interview with the GM. It’d be fascinating.
@tbroomell: “rock supergroup draft for the next crashbag?”
Anyone who’s planning a road trip in the near future, this is far and away the best collaborative time-killer I’ve ever heard of. I heard Chuck Klosterman broach the idea in an episode of the B.S. Report a couple weeks before a Phillies-related road trip I took two summers ago, and three friends and I amused ourselves for almost the entire state of Pennsylvania with this. So we five Crashburn Alley writers hopped on the old email chain and did one. Paul and I have done one of these together, and Longenhagen did one with his friends that he apparently put more effort into than I’ve ever put into anything in my life. Anyhoo, here are the rules:
The draft order, as generated randomly by Bill, is as follows:
TO THE DRAFT!
Round 1, Pick 1: Ryan Sommers selects Jonny Greenwood, Guitar, Radiohead.
Not just for his guitar prowess, which is formidable both in the lead (www.youtube.com/watch?
Round 1, Pick 2: Bill Baer selects Paul Waggoner, Guitar, Between the Buried and Me.
With my first round pick, I take guitarist Paul Waggoner from Between the Buried and Me. His solo on “Selkies (the Endless Obsession) is the stuff of gods. I’m told the “sweeps” are “clean”, which seems pretty cool to me. Though all I really care is that it sounds orgasmic. www.youtube.com/watch?
Round 1, Pick 3: Eric Longenhagen selects Jimi Hendrix, Guitar, The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Ill take Jimi Hendrix. I don’t care how cliche it is to take Hendrix in these things. I have big plans and I need a generational talent to get them done. Ozzie Osbourne once said the first time he saw Jimi Hendrix play, he thought it was fake. Once a tools whore, always a tools whore. Plus, he’s left handed.
Round 1, Pick 4: Michael Baumann selects Freddie Mercury, Vocals, Queen.
Haha! You fools! This run on guitarists leaves open the No. 1 pick on my draft board all along, the great Freddie Mercury! Unparalleled in vocal range, unparalleled in on-stage charisma, unparalleled in mustache! I select Freddie Mercury, even though doing so precludes me from taking my sleeper guitarist, Brian May, later in the draft. Even though I remain convinced that the genius behind Queen was May, and not Mercury, there is literally nothing you can’t do vocally with Mercury at the helm (and when he wants to place nice vocally with others, he can).
Round 1, Pick 5: Paul Boye selects Liam Gallagher, Vocals/Guitar, Oasis
Round 2, Pick 1: Paul Boye selects Tom Morello, Guitar, Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave
The idea of formulating a certain recognizable sound has me driven to create something unique with this draft. So, with my back-to-backs, I’m going to draft Liam Gallagher as my vocalist and Tom Morello as my guitarist. Gallagher’s vocals were some of the most recognizable to come from the 1990s, I’m intrigued by the power of his voice of some of Oasis’s “harder” songs (“Fade Away,” “Morning Glory,” that vein) and think that, backed by Morello’s choppy, beautifully mangled guitar stylings, there could be the potentially for something awesomely weird here.
Round 2, Pick 2: Michael Baumann selects Eric Clapton, Guitars/Vocals, Cream/Derek and the Dominos/The Yardbirds
I know this is incredibly uncreative of me, but Clapton is a guitarist of temendous virtuosity, creativity and versatility. Clapton has overseen guitar parts ranging from a walking into the bar, unzipping of the pants and placing of genitals on the table (seriously, it’s an all time great up-and-at-’em intro) to the heart-rendingly sad to groovy, banal music for your parents to dance to. Clapton, for me, is not an artist I listen to a ton, but that he can play any guitar part that needs to be played, and he can sing while doing it. Which is important, because I think I’m going to try to put together the most overqualified power pop band ever assembled.
Round 2, Pick 3: Eric Longenhagen selects Prince, Guitar/Vocals
I’ll take the Purple One, Prince, to play rhythm guitar and sing. He’d bow to Hendrix’s lead while maintaining his own signature funk and would make a great front man for the sound I’m going to create. He was the star of the best Super Bowl half time show of my lifetime and would be in charge of making pancake breakfasts for the band as well as offering them grapes.
Round 2, Pick 4: Bill Baer selects Les Claypool, Bass Guitar/Vocals, Primus
If you thought I wasn’t taking this seriously with my first pick, let this pick end the debate. Of course I am. Bassists are like starting pitchers in that there may be a lot of them, but a truly good one can make the difference between a .500 club and a World Series winner, so to speak. There are a few legendary bassists to pick from, but I like the name Les.
Round 2, Pick 5: Ryan Sommers selects Garth Hudson, Multi-instrumentalist/Vocals, The Band
To quote Wikipedia: “As the organist, keyboardist and saxophonist for Canadian-American rock group The Band, he was a principal architect of the group’s unique sound. Hudson has been called “the most brilliant organist in the rock world” by Time Magazine and “the first true rock keyboard virtuoso” by Keyboard Magazine.” Like Greenwood, Hudson has a ton of versatility and range, and the two can combine to create some awesome dark textures with Garth on the organ (youtu.be/k5llloWEgiY?t=39s), with which he can also support Greenwood’s lead parts. Hudson can also drive songs with his singular piano talent (www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yq5n5hwTO0), with straight ahead rock parts or jaunty funk. When needed he can also supply saxophone, accordion, and clavinet.
Round 3, Pick 1: Ryan Sommers Selects Tina Weymouth, Bass Guitar/Vocals, Talking Heads
With the way the band is shaping up, to accommodate the complex Hudson/Greenwood interplay and the drummer that I’m thinking about taking, I need a straight-ahead, reliable, tasteful bassist. Weymouth can churn out some steady rock bass grooves (youtu.be/cJJ9u4yrjvY?
Round 3, Pick 2: Bill Baer Selects Chris Cornell, Vocals, Soundgarden/Audioslave/Temple of the Dog
I’m in a minority when I say that I absolutely loved his Audioslave days. There aren’t many vocalists out there who can span from a song like Soundgarden’s “Gun” (www.youtube.com/watch?
Round 3, Pick 3: Eric Longenhagen Selects ?uestlove, Drums, The Roots
My third round pick is going to be ?uestlove. Now you guys have an idea where this is going. A hip hop influence with two of the more creative and innovative guitar players of the past 50 years. Who knows what Hendrix could have done if he would have lived to be exposed to this type of music. I can’t even comprehend what these three (and my next two picks, who I already have planned) would do together.
Round 3, Pick 4: Michael Baumann Selects Chris Thile, Mandolin/Vocals, Nickel Creek/Punch Brothers
Well my third-round pick was also going to be ?uestlove. But I’m going with someone who can add a little bit of everything. Thile is most famous as a singer and mandolinist, but he can double on rhythm guitar when we let out a little bit of leash on Clapton. But mostly, he’s a one-man backing group, a tenor who can fill the vocal range between Mercury and Clapton and add a little bit of folk and bluegrass to the greatest, most overqualified power pop band ever assembled. He also has a penchant for creative cover choices. And he’s officially a genius. Plus he jams with Steve Martin. Let’s put it this way–I’m picking him over Mark Ronson, who is, in my opinion, the Coolest Man on Earth.
Round 3, Pick 5: Paul Boye Selects Brian Eno, Multi-instrumentalist
Thile’s a great pick, would’ve considered him if I wasn’t going a bit more proggy.
But because I’m going proggy, I’m going to pick a multi-instrumentalist who can help fine tune the kind of sound I’m looking for, and can do it from the stage to boot. I’m picking Brian Eno. So now, suffice to say, this band is filling up with characters, but imagining the sound Eno could craft and mold with Morello’s guitar playing is a little too much to pass up.
Round 4, Pick 1: Paul Boye Selects Chris Bear, Drums, Grizzly Bear
And to pair with Eno, I’m also picking Grizzly Bear drummer Chris Bear. I don’t want to say Bear is overlooked because of the vocals of Ed Droste and Dan Rossen and the higher-profile production skill of Chris Taylor within Grizzly Bear, but I feel it’s safe to say he could be underrated. His skill as a drummer in creating unique beats overrides the apparent clash in style between Grizzly Bear’s music and the Oasis/Rage/Eno mash-up I’d constructed so far, but if I’m going for a proggy sound (without turning this band into Nu-Rush and drafting Neil Peart), I want a guy who can play some faster stuff if Morello wants to go nuts (see the chorus on “Speak In Rounds”).
Round 4, Pick 2: Michael Baumann Selects Inara George, Vocals/Bass Guitar, The Bird and the Bee
I needed a bassist, and while George is hardly Flea in that department, she’s competent, which is really all I’m looking for. Besides, a great bassist would get lost behind Clapton and Thile in this band. George gets picked because I want the option to have a chick singer.
I’ve got a playlist on Spotify, and this is absolutely true, called “Talk Dirty to Me,” that’s composed entirely of songs by female artists with deeper, breathy voices that…well, I appreciate that kind of voice, and Inara George’s is probably the best. Apologies to Chan Marshall and Rachael Yamagata, done in by their inability to play bass and my insistence on going frontman early.
Round 4, Pick 3: Eric Longenhagen Selects Flea, Bass Guitar, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Yeah I’m taking Flea in round 4. Not only talented, but a good locker room…er…tour bus guy to have around. Even if Prince is a bit volatile and Hendrix , well, I think it’s fair to say a guy who choked to death on his own vomit has makeup issues. I like Flea and ?uestlove to fit in musically and also move the band’s pH closer to 7.
Round 4, Pick 4: Bill Baer Selects Neil Peart, Drums, Rush
Honestly, picking Peart for drums is just obvious and doesn’t need an explanation. I was thinking about going with ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy just to be different, but I’ve already passed over so many legends to get the jewels of my eye. This fantasy band stuff is serious business.
Round 4, Pick 5: Ryan Sommers Selects Billy Martin, Drums, Medeski Martin & Wood
I love a guy with unimpeachable fundamentals, and a “student” of the drums, having studied with an impressive roster of the greats. He’s known more as a jazz drummer maybe, but it’s impossible to pass up the kind of grooves he can create (www.youtube.com/watch?
Round 5, Pick 1: Ryan Sommers Selects Tunde Adebimpe, Vocals, TV on the Radio
Saving a frontperson for my final pick was difficult; I had to find someone that fit the band, rather than building the band around a central figure. But I think Adebimpe is perfect for this group. His timbre is very distinctive, and he’s great at crafting bluesy passing tones between his notes. For the loud, climactic parts, he’s got a great growl that he can infuse his voice with, and for the quieter or slower songs, his falsetto is beautiful. He also brings a ton of energy to the stage, with constant, spastic dancing and jumping around. See: youtu.be/-J-
[Note: I owe considerable gratitude to Rob, former band mate and fantasy supergroup philosopher, and Maggie, sister, music-lover, and all-around awesome person, for fulfilling the roles of Special Draft Advisers.]
Round 5, Pick 2: Bill Baer Selects Conor Oberst, Songwriter, Bright Eyes
I believe I’m the only one to pick a specific songwriter. Obersts vocal stylings take a while to get used to, if you get used to them at all, but you can’t deny his legendary talent for songwriting. Right now I’m imagining Cornell’s vocals on Oberst’s “A Scale, A Mirror, and These Indifferent Clocks” (www.youtube.com/watch?
Round 5, Pick 3: Eric Longenhagen Selects Billy Preston, Keyboards
Billy Preston to play keyboards and have an afro.
Round 5, Pick 4: Michael Baumann Selects Matt Tong, Drums/Vocals, Bloc Party
Tong is fast. Tong is musical. Tong can play cool syncopated rhyhtms. Tong can get creative while keeping rigid time at breakneck speed. We like Tong. Plus he does backing vocals in Bloc Party, because everyone sings in The Greatest, Most Overqualified Power Pop Band Ever Assembled.
Round 5, Pick 5: Paul Boye Selects John Entwhistle, Bass Guitar, The Who
I’m leaving some big names – Paul McCartney, Geddy Lee – on the table, but those guys don’t quite have the edge I’d be looking for. McCartney, well, you know about him. Lee could double as occasional vocalist and is proggy, but doesn’t quite feel like the fit the Who’s John Entwistle would be.
Jeff Loria’s Severed Head (Ryan Sommers):
Kony 2012 (Bill Baer):
Eric and the Longenhagens:
Jackie Bradley Love Tortoise (Michael Baumann):
Papelbon Iver (Paul Boye):
I suspect this one’s going to generate some comment section traction, so knock yourselves out. After all that, I do think it’s time to get straight back to baseball.
@JakePavorsky: “It seems as though part of the Phillies reasoning behind not pursuing Swisher hard is because they would lose a first round pick. When it comes to signing big(ger) name free agents, should first round picks be valued that much?”
That’s a good question. As much as I grouse about the Phillies not getting much out of their first-round picks of late, a first-rounder, on its face, is far from a sure thing. Earlier this summer, someone was getting on Bradley Ankrom’s case for speculating that Jesse Biddle, whom the Phillies drafted No. 27 overall in 2010, might have a career similar to that of Randy Wolf. I don’t think it was a direct player comp, but the gist of Ankrom’s point was that Biddle could be Wolf.
And he got ripped. People were furious that a top Phillies pitching prospect, a former first-rounder at that, would be compared to Randy Wolf, who was often good, but never great, and has carved out a nice little 14-year career for himself as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. Not anymore, of course, but for a long time he was pretty good. He’s going to get a pension and show up on the Hall of Fame ballot, even if no one is going to vote for him.
Or, put another way, Randy Wolf has more career rWAR than any player drafted 27th overall, with the exception of Vida Blue. In fact, take out Pete Harnisch, and Wolf has more career WAR than any two players drafted 27th overall. So if you pick 27th and you get the pre-free agent years of a decent mid-rotation starter, you’ve pretty much hit the jackpot.
So giving up the occasional mid-to-late first-round pick for a good free agent isn’t that big a deal, particularly if you’re looking to win sooner rather than later. But I’ll remind you that Brett Myers, Cole Hamels and Chase Utley were all mid-first rounders, as was Kyle Drabek, the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay trade. So if you give up a bunch of first-rounders in a row, it becomes much harder to funnel young talent into your system. Not that there aren’t other rounds of the draft, or the international market, but you know what I mean.
Short answer: compensation picks are not a trivial cost in signing a free agent, but neither are they a prohibitive cost.
@hdrubin: “As it stands right now, how would you write up the
Phillies lineup card? And how do you think Cholly would do it?”
Here’s how I’d do it, assuming an unsuspended Chooch: Against RHP: Revere, Ruiz, Utley, Howard, Rollins, Brown…umm, can the Phillies sign Swisher or something? Because this blows…(holds nose) Ruf (LF), Galvis (3B), Pitcher. Revere is interesting. I’d hit him either first or eighth, nowhere in between. He can use his contact skills and speed to get on base at an acceptable level at the top of the lineup. But he has so little power that I want no part of him hitting with men on base. The good news is that if he’s leading off a lineup against a righty with Freddy Galvis and the pitcher hitting 8-9, there’s absolutely no danger of there being men on base when he comes up. Here’s the flip side of that lineup.
Against LHP: Rollins, Young, Utley, Ruiz, Brown, Mayberry (LF), Ruf (1B), Revere, Pitcher. The downside to not having power, as Ben Revere does not, is that pitchers don’t have to fear you if they know you can’t hit it out of the park. If you don’t fear a hitter, you don’t need to throw him as many balls, and if you don’t throw him as many balls, he’ll never walk. Put Revere in front of the pitcher and he might get a couple more walks. At least that was what people said was happening to Chooch before we realized that, yes, he is a good offensive player.
And you’re damn right I’d leave Ryan Howard out of the lineup entirely against lefties. He’s so far gone that I’d take my chances with Ruf. As for Michael Young hitting second, where, according to the newfangled lineup construction wisdom, you want your best hitter, let me just say that we’re capitalizing on his one useful skill. Last year, in the midst of being the second-worst everyday player in baseball, Michael Young hit .333/.371/.423 against left-handed pitching, which, given the surfeit of left-handed hitters in the Phillies’ lineup, works just fine in a key spot.
Here’s what I think Uncle Cholly will do, against both left-handed and right-handed pitching:
Rollins, Revere, Utley, Howard, Young, Ruiz, Mayberry, Brown, Pitcher. Charlie Manuel is famous for seldom changing his lineup, which is great when your lineup has an aggregate OPS of a billion, like it did in 2007 and 2008. It’s true, look it up. But when your lineup is riddled with high-priced veterans with serious platoon issues, it might behoove you to mix and match a little bit. And if Revere hits second behind Rollins, holy God the number of sacrifice bunts we’re going to see.
@Living4Laughs: “Who are the 3 greatest New Jerseyans?”
Well, it sure as hell is not Mitch Albom. That I’ll tell you up front. And while doing some cursory research, I also reminded myself that Andrea Dworkin is from Camden Country, which I had blocked out of my memory. So thanks for that.
New Jersey produces, either by birth or by heritage, a lot of great singers: Sinatra, Whitney Houston, Springsteen. The Jonas Brothers. And a lot of great actors: Danny DeVito, James Gandolfini, Joe Pantoliano, Ray Liotta and so on. The latter is important because without New Jersey’s contingent of male actors, it’d be really hard to make mafia movies. Also a billion soccer players: Claudio Reyna, Tony Meola, Jozy Altidore, Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Juan Agudelo and that traitor Giuseppe Rossi.
Lots of great men and women are left out of the top three, however. Among them are astronaut Buzz Aldrin and adopted Cherry Hillite Muhammad Ali. Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. But we have our three, in no particular order.
@patchak21: “you seem like a man with an opinion on this: Paul McCartney and Nirvana?”
Sweetheart, I’ve got an opinion on everything.
It was awful. America is watching and you play a bunch of Wings songs. You get Nirvana back together and you play one song? And you get Dave Grohl on stage, when you know he’s got in his back pocket one of the great covers of all time–AND IT’S A WINGS SONG–and you send him on his way so you can trot Alicia Keys back out there to blast a pandering ballwashing song dedicated to a city that needs its balls washed less than perhaps any other on Earth. Except for maybe Paris. I know Nirvana’s oeuvre ain’t exactly boilerplate charity concert material, but would it have killed him to belt out a couple bars of “You Know You’re Right?”
You disappoint me, Sir Paul.
@tholzerman: “If you were to introduce a newbie to Philadelphia a sandwich experience that wasn’t a cheesesteak, what would it be?”
Wawa Gobbler. I’m leaving the Philadelphia area in a couple weeks and I’m trying to ballpark how much Wawa food I can physically insert into my body between now and then.
But kudos to Ben Revere, whose cheesesteak snafu this afternoon (I assume) generated this question, for displaying remarkable public relations aplomb. Revere ordered…some…thing at Chickie’s and Pete’s and tweeted a picture of what he claimed was his first cheesesteak. It could have been any number of things, but it certainly wasn’t a cheesesteak.
But Revere handled the situation with aplomb and good humor. If you follow him on Twitter, he ends probably half of his tweets with two exclamation points, but in a good way, as if he actually is that excited to be vacuuming his living room carpet. I’m on the Ben Revere bandwagon, even if he is an outspoken Georgia Bulldogs fan.
So welcome to Philadelphia, Ben Revere.
@Jimish_Mehta: “I’m sure you’re inundated with Ben Revere-cheesteak-related questions. So…best PR snafu by a Philly athlete?”
I’m going to have to go with Allen Iverson’s bizarre, felony-ridden rampage back in 2002. Kicking your naked wife out of your house, then toting a gun around, breaking into other people’s apartments to look for her? That’s not exactly good PR.
@B_Lang_: “Why are Phils hating on Swisher? He’s a good fit right?”
I couldn’t tell you. He’s a switch-hitting power bat who can play a competent defensive corner. I’ve always been a big fan of Nick the Swish, but at first, it didn’t look like he’d fit the Phillies’ needs in the outfield, namely center field, because he hasn’t played center since college. But look at him. Since 2006 you can pencil him in for about (usually exactly) 150 games and about (usually exactly) four wins above replacement. Considering the paucity of right-handed power in this lineup, particularly in the absence of Carlos Ruiz, Swisher makes an absurd amount of sense for the Phillies. He gets on base and is inoffensive elsewhere on the field. Plus he’d save the beat writers from trying to get meaningful quotes from Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and Jonathan Papelbon.
And by the way, I bet Swisher would hit 50 home runs in this ballpark.
@danirvin: “Who is more likely to be found/discovered? Bigfoot or Jimmy Hoffa?”
Well, Hoffa existed once, so my first instinct is to bet on him. But if his body is somewhere in a swamp, it’s probably beyond recovery even if it hasn’t decomposed past the point of recognition.
I’m not even sure I’d want to find Bigfoot. What if he’s a vicious, aggressive manbearpig? But on the other hand, what if he’s gentle and friendly? What if he’s a reformed Bumble?
My fiancee once had a dream where I owned a pet Yeti. It was roughly man-sized, but friendly and doglike. Apparently I taught it to fist-bump, which would be awesome. Now I’m pissed I don’t actually have a pet Yeti.
First person to find me a Yeti gets…I dunno, I’ll think of something. Keep the questions coming and you’ll have more answers next week. Until then, vaya con dios.
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