May the 4th be with you! While celebrating Star Wars on May 4th is kinda like amateur hour, like partying on New Year’s, for someone that can do Star Wars at the drop of the hat and for many possible reasons, that doesn’t mean I’m going to pass over this opportunity. Honestly, the five of you that will read this post would be disappointed if I did.
Last week, I gave those that follow me on Twitter a choice:
#StarWarsDay is coming, which means, like it or not, you are getting a SW themed post. Should it be comparing Cardinal players to the sequel trilogy characters, scouting Rey, Finn, etc. as if they were baseball prospects, or something else?
— Cardinal70 (@C70) April 28, 2020
If the lack of baseball runs long enough, maybe I’ll revisit the scouting idea. However, let’s take a run down the roster and assign some players to the sequel characters. I’ve not done this since The Force Awakens came out, so it’s a new twist on one of my old standbys. (Also, if you want more Star Wars/Cardinals mashups, here you go.)
As always, a disclaimer. If I assign a player to a bad guy, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like the player or think that he’s a liability for the Cardinals. Also, if a player is matched up with a female character, that casts no aspersions on his masculinity. Pretty sure Rey could destroy anyone that opposed her, anyway. So with those issues out of the way, let’s get started!
THE GOOD GUYS
Rey–Jack Flaherty. As I said, Rey can dominate any situation even though she is still learning her craft. Flaherty is the same way, plus he’s right now the true star power on the team, just like Rey is the focus of the sequel trilogy. Flaherty has a power that not everyone has and has learned well from a wizened mentor.
Finn–Carlos Martinez. Finn went from the Empire to the Resistance and Martinez went from the bullpen to the rotation to the bullpen. Basically the same thing, right? Finn’s got skills in his own right, though he’ll always be overshadowed by Flaherty going forward. Plus Finn grew out his hair for The Rise of Skywalker and if anyone can appreciate a change in hair style, it’s Martinez.
Poe Dameron–Kolten Wong. Brash. Cocky. The best at what they do. Whether it’s Poe’s flying around Takodana in TFA or Wong making remarkable plays around second base, there’s a good chance that you’ll see a master at work at his craft. He’s also had his issues with those in command in the past, though Wong never sent his teammates out to learn how to run the bases without management knowing.
BB-8–Tommy Edman. Short, mobile, and able to do it all. BB-8 is really one of the unsung heroes of the trilogy (though you wouldn’t know it from the marketing), consistently helping the humans get out of jams. Edman did that as well last season, playing whatever position was needed and coming through with some big moments. He also had surprising power, just like our BB unit’s ability to generate current.
Rose Tico–Matt Carpenter. Rose came in for a lot of grief from the fan base (undeserved, I’d say, and especially so when some supposed fans came after the actress on social media) and Carpenter knows all about that. Rose came up from nothing, a mechanic in the fleet, and became a general by TROS, much like Carpenter was a late-round draft pick that wound up being a star player in the league and an MVP candidate. It’s unknown if he likes horses the way Rose likes faithers.
“Snap” Wexley–Miles Mikolas. You may not be aware of the name, though I’m sure you know Wexley by sight. He’s Poe’s wing mate, a part of Black Squadron both in TFA and TROS. As such, he’s an understudy and in the shadows, much like Mikolas is with Flaherty (and possibly Martinez) in the rotation. However, he’s still a strong pilot in his own right, the way Mikolas is a good starter.
Maz Kanata–John Brebbia. Maz comes in at some key moments, is one of the most intriguing characters, and you wish you could see more of her. Brebbia is a character in his own right, of course, and there’s a lot of people that believe we should be seeing him more in some big situations. Plus I could completely believe Brebbia would get right up in someone’s face to look at their eyes.
Commander D’Acy–Paul Goldschmidt. D’Acy is a competent leader who obviously has been around and worked her way up in the ranks, but is also not someone that really stands out in the organization. Which would seem to match Goldschmidt’s personality. He’s going to get the job done, but he doesn’t need to be the person everyone is talking about (or to). Just someone that typically gets the work done.
General Leia Organa–Paul DeJong. You could make the argument that DeJong is the rock of the team, continuing to develop into a leader that the Cardinals need. He’s got power like Leia does, can field smoothly (or diplomatically, you could say), and seems to be looked up to and well thought of in the clubhouse.
Lando Calrissian–Dexter Fowler. He’s smooth. He’s got a great smile. He’s also somewhat living off the reputation he had in the past. I mean, even Lando says that his flying days are behind him (before again flying the Millennium Falcon). He can pop up and give you a big moment or two, but there’s a reason he’s more on the sidelines in this fight.
D-O–Brad Miller. A new addition who hasn’t had a chance to really resonate with the fan base. Still, seems to be a droid/player that can do a lot of different things and chip in with some key contributions, whether it’s a big hit or info that helps puts together a puzzle.
Luke Skywalker and Yoda–Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina. The old guard, the ones that remember the glories of the past and try to pass those ways on to the next generation. Adam is more hands on in teaching his successor, while Yadi doesn’t necessarily buy that “we are what we grow beyond” thing.
Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo–John Gant. Stepped up when there was a crisis (Leia’s coma, starters not going long) and did admirable work, then ended by blowing up. The pitcher at least gets to try to have a better ending, though I doubt we’ll ever be talking about “The Gant Maneuver”.
Tallie Lintra–Tyler Webb. Tallie was the A-Wing pilot that helped protect the bombers at the beginning of The Last Jedi. She was competent and able to do her one job, but then was unjustly destroyed when Kylo Ren blew up the hanger she was in. Webb is also competent in his one job and might be getting unjustly destroyed when the three-batter minimum comes into play, as he was less good against righties.
Han Solo–Mike Shildt. Like Han, Mike’s been through the battles. He knows what life is like, what baseball (or the Force) is all about. He’s trying to instruct the younger generation as well, taking them under his wing, giving them blasters….well, probably less that last part for Shildt.
Lor San Tekka–Matt Wieters. A man that has been around for a long while, compiling relevant experience, but barely gets any screen time.
Lt. Kaydel Connix–Dakota Hudson. Connix, who was played by Billie Lourd, seems solidly in that middle tier of authority. She can order some folks around (as we see in the opening moments of The Last Jedi) but also has many others that she answers to. Hudson is a little like that in the rotation. He’s definitely not to the level of a Martinez or a Flaherty, but his strong season does give him reliable footing and the ability to hold off challengers.
Temiri Blagg–Dylan Carlson. You probably don’t know the name, but you may recognize his nickname: “Broom Boy”. He’s the stable boy on Canto Bight that is shown to have an aptitude with the Force. Carlson, like Blagg, has served his time in the underbelly of a successful organization (in his case, minor league baseball) and has shown abilities beyond other players. We have no idea if Blagg will be in the future of Star Wars, but we know that Carlson is the future of the Cardinals.
THE BAD GUYS
Kylo Ren–Harrison Bader. A promising prospect that has fallen from grace and has shown the dark side of his talents. A man who can cover lots of ground (how exactly did Kylo get ahead of Rey and Finn in the Starkiller Base forest?) but is known to swing wildly with his lightsaber or bat. A good player who always seems like he should be better in his field than he is. Also, the hair. That’s really what this is about, the hair.
General Armitage Hux–Tyler O’Neill. Hux is paired with Ren, though he’d much rather have Ren’s position and favor with those in charge. He needs Ren to fail to really be able to blossom on the big stage. However, I don’t think O’Neill is likely to try to sabotage Bader like Hux did with Ren.
The Knights of Ren–Lane Thomas, Justin Williams, Austin Dean. They look cool. They are of the same cloth as Kylo Ren. They obviously have powers and talents. Yet we really know nothing about them and they aren’t allowed to develop their skills on screen.
Supreme Leader Snoke–Brett Cecil. He–or in Cecil’s case, his contract–hangs over everything. Yet he’s not fully developed, not completely there. He also is cut down, much like Cecil has been over the last couple of years with injury. He was quickly forgotten when a new big bad (or big relief pitcher) showed up. When he is gone, it seems unlikely he’ll be missed. At least Cecil isn’t an attempt at cloning, though.
Captain Phasma–Andrew Miller. Phasma was a huge deal in the marketing of The Force Awakens. She was expected to be powerful, to be commanding, to be a key cog in the machinery of the First Order. Instead, she got limited screentime and was ignominiously thrown in with the garbage. She returned in The Last Jedi but things didn’t improve a lot for her. Overall, it felt like a wasted opportunity. I feel like you can see the connections between that and the big free agent signing for 2019.
Zorii Bliss–Giovanny Gallegos. Bliss was a mysterious character who came out of nowhere to be an invaluable help in The Rise of Skywalker. Things don’t go nearly as well without her help and there’s a solid chance the good guys don’t find out what the Sith dagger said and don’t retrieve the Falcon without her. There’s no way the Cardinals retrieve their standing as NL Central champs without Gallegos last year, which was very unexpected given that he started the season in the minors.
Unkar Plutt–Rangel Ravelo. Plutt’s got power but that’s about all we know about him. He’s spent a lot of time in the backwater of Jakku, much like Ravelo spent a lot of time in the minor leagues. There was also a deleted scene from The Force Awakens where Plutt got his arms ripped off by Chewbacca in Maz Kanata’s castle, but I don’t think that has much relevance to our bench bat here.
Bala-Tik–Ryan Helsley; Tasu Leech and Razoo Qin-Fee–Austin Gomber and Daniel Ponce de Leon. These are the three mercenaries that came after Han Solo on his ship, only to be chased down by a bunch of rathtars. They wanted what was owed them. They felt they’d been more than patient. And honestly, I love the idea of Helsley on one side and Gomber and Ponce de Leon on the other with Mike Shildt in the middle trying to explain why they aren’t going to be starting in the big leagues. If you don’t, tell that to Kanjiklub.
Babu Frik–Kwang Hyun Kim. Frik is another new character we don’t know much about and, due to the coronavirus, we don’t know much about Kim yet either. Frik has skills, though, and he’s considered the best on his world at what he does. Kim might not be the best in the KBO, but he was up there as a very viable option. Also, there’s the language thing. Frik needed Bliss to interpret for those that didn’t know him as well.
That…was much more than I really thought when we started, but I think we covered the entire 26-man roster plus some others that will be showing up with expanded rosters if we get baseball this year. If you made it this far, let me know what you think of the comparisons, whether I missed some obvious ones or if these seem right!