Make Mine (Team) Marvel!

Yesterday, Minor League Baseball announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment.  Over the next three years, 96 of the 120 teams will play at least one Marvel-themed game with special jerseys and the like.  You know, the sort of thing that minor league baseball does.  (BTW, if you are interested in going to one, Memphis and Springdale are participating.  Peoria isn’t and, well, Palm Beach still isn’t over facing Noah Syndergaard this season.)

All of that led me down a path I’ve trod before, trying to figure out which Cardinals are the most equivalent to the Marvel superheroes.  (I’ve done this a LOT with Star Wars, but I’m not sure I’ve written a Marvel cross-over.)  So I put it out there as a discussion topic.

Unsurprisingly, there were a lot of people that chimed in on this, including the resident comic book expert Mr. Kyle Reis.  (His avatar is a modified Hawkeye panel, for instance.)  So read through that thread, because there are going to be some much better answers than mine.  However, it’s the offseason and we need to fill this space every once in a while so I don’t get kicked out, so that’s what we are going to do today.  Feel free to add more in the comments or over there on Twitter.  Most of my Marvel knowledge comes from the MCU, so take everything with that grain of salt.

The consensus view seems to be that Paul Goldschmidt fits the Captain America role to a T.  I know that a number of years ago Tara and I assigned Adam Wainwright to that spot, but things are different now.  Goldy’s the quiet soul of the team as well as being one of the most powerful ones on it.  Goldy keeps his head down, just does his job, and is a leader in a less-than-demonstrative way.  Heck, as Ben Godar pointed out, his nickname is America’s First Baseman, so this one is a slam dunk.

A few folks came back on me for picking Nolan Arenado as Iron Man.  It’s true that Arenado definitely doesn’t have the Tony Snark (I think you see what I did there) but he’s got more flair, flash, and pizzazz than Goldy and I think of these two as the leaders of the team offensively.  (Granted, they aren’t Wainwright and Molina, but they well may be the ones that step up when those guys are gone.)  Arenado obviously has the power to work for Iron Man and his creativity in the field rivals Tony’s mechanical genius.

Another obvious one was Tyler O’Neill as the Hulk.  We know about O’Neill’s physique and the fact that he can, well, smash, but there’s also the Bruce Banner side of things to think about.  O’Neill’s not just a hulking brute, but he’s got amazing speed and we know he’s a pretty well-rounded person, what with his piano playing and his thoughtful research before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

I listed out Tommy Edman as Black Widow and the more I think about it the more I like that comparison.  Natasha is an excellent spy and team leader, but on a team with a souped-up human, a literal god, a rage machine, and a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist (and that’s without the suit), Widow’s a little more run of the mill.  Much like Edman, who was always in the midst of the action even if he didn’t have the tools (power, on-base) that the rest of his teammates had.

There were some good suggestions but I think I like the idea of Dylan Carlson as Hawkeye.  Carlson had eight outfield assists, throwing darts like Hawkeye shoots arrows, also seeming to be unable to miss.  Hawkeye’s also kinda on the second tier behind Cap and Iron Man and some of the others, which is where Carlson is right now, though probably not for much longer.

If we’re sticking with that circle shot in The Avengers, that would bring us to the God of Thunder.  Personally, I’d like to see the Cardinals take a flyer on Noah Syndergaard this offseason if possible, but we’re stuck looking through the rest of the roster.  I’m not sure, but I think I could see Jack Flaherty as Thor.  There’s no doubt that Jack brings the thunder and the lightning when he’s on his game, striking quickly with his powerful arsenal.  Some went with Harrison Bader here, given the blond hair, but I’m not sure there’s more that works there.

There was a great suggestion in that Twitter thread of Yadier Molina as Nick Fury.  Besides the fact that I’m sure Molina would still catch even if he lost an eye, it speaks well to his leadership role on the Cardinals.  Molina runs the show and I could completely see him saying, “I recognize that the manager has made a decision, but given that it’s a stupid-(blank) one, I’ve elected to ignore it.”

We can’t do a post like this without his compatriot, so let’s cast Adam Wainwright as Dr. Strange.  Wainwright doesn’t have the jerkery that Strange does, but he can pull out a smirk from time to time and he would definitely be one that would engage in good-natured trollery.  Also, the way Wainwright pitches is like he is weaving spells around the strike zone and getting the hitters to fall for it.  Besides, I think he’d rock the cape.

Mr. Reis, in his infinite wisdom, said that Harrison Bader should be Adam Warlock, who will make his MCU debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (if not before, in the Guardians Holiday Special next Christmas).  The look is there, no doubt, but I don’t know enough about Warlock to know if there are other ties we can make for Bader.  So I’m going to make Bader Star-Lord.  If there’s a bro Avenger, it’s got to be Peter Quill.  Plus Peter’s a bit inconsistent with doing the smart thing, just like Bader can be inconsistent at the plate.  Bader’s growing, though.  It remains to be seen if Star-Lord is.

There are others, of course.  Jeff Jones suggested Luis Garcia would work well as Groot.  Brendan Schaeffer thought someone like Genesis Cabrera could be Spider-Man.  Until the last month, you could have said Andrew Knizner was Drax the Destroyer because if he stood still enough nobody would know he was on the roster.  So if you’ve got other ideas, let me know!


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