Do you know the ‘Galaxy Brain’ meme? It is a good meme, used largely to explain moments of what I’d call extreme inspiration and what less enlightened beings might call foolishness. It goes like this (apologies for the week-old Jetsy subject matter; it’s hard to text search these on Twitter, because they are photos):
With that in (exploding?) mind, here are the Galaxy Brain Red Sox. You’ll love them. Chances are you already do. And as a programming note: The galaxy doesn’t use the DH, so we didn’t. If you have issues with that, take it up with the singularity.
General Manager/Team President: Theo Epstein in the gorilla suit
Or is it Theo? Epstein famously avoided reporters outside Fenway Park following his brief resignation in 2005 by donning a gorilla costume and escaping from a side door. That’s our type of guy, even if we don’t may never know for sure who’s in there nowadays, but the hairy ape is the only real choice to lead our team to interstellar domination. Monkeys went to space long before we did anyway.
Manager: Bobby Valentine
Some of the people on this list will be great Red Sox, but we are led by an incomparable, hilarious failure. Bobby V was the worst. The worst. The “hometown” boy come to Boston (he’s from Stamford, Connecticut, which is very much Yankee territory), he flamed out so badly in his one year at the helm that it only gets more impressive the further away we get, like looking at Jupiter. He took over a team coming off one of the most shocking playoff eliminations of all-time and somehow made everything 10 times worse. It’s hard to argue that’s not a skill. If this list is secretly just one of absolute values, the only thing for which the Galaxy Brain cares, Bobby’s our man.
Galaxy Brain Backup Administrators
|GM/President||Harry Frazee||Sold Babe Ruth.|
|Manager||John Farrell||If you #FireFarrell into outer space, where does that leave him?|
C: A.J. Pierzynski
In a sport filled with assholes, Pierzynski stands out. I respect the guy for somehow sticking around the majors and broadcasting booth despite being liked by exactly no one. He’s just acceptably good and persistent enough at a demanding position that you can’t seem to get rid of him, even if you’d like nothing more. Once you finally do, and he catches on somewhere else and burns you, and you wonder: Is this just a lucky break, or is he actually Satan? Either way, you want him on the squad.
1B: Bill Buckner
This was the last one I came up with, and, in retrospect, the most glaringly obvious. It’s the least we can do for the guy.
2B: Nick Punto
The man, the myth, the legend, Punto hit .200/.301/.272 in 65 games for the Red Sox before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster deal. Far more expensive and quality baseball players were swapped in the franchise-reviving “Nick Punto trade,” but the man himself wasn’t simply a throw-in, as former Over the Monster editor Marc Normandin wrote in a post last year celebrating Punto’s retirement:
Punto was included because, by dealing him at that point in the season and making his contract the property of the Dodgers, the Red Sox could get under the luxury tax threshold for the first time in years, resetting the penalty percentage in the present instead of forcing them to attempt to do so the next season. That's no small thing, either, as a reset penalty meant a 17.5 percent tax the next time they went over, whereas the Sox were in line for 40 percent as a repeat offender.
Instead, the Sox got a clean slate heading into 2013, at which point they won the World Series. Because of Nick Punto. Get him a space-uniform.
Shortstop: Alex Rodriguez
The Red Sox reached an agreement to trade for A-Rod from the Texas Rangers in December of 2003. The deal was not certified but it was, in the simplest sense, done. It was derailed by second-order factors, yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that the people in charge agreed to put A-Rod on the Red Sox to play shortstop. Nomar Garciapparra and Manny Ramirez were to be shipped out of town, and A-Rod and Magglio Ordonez would come back to Boston. The union didn’t sign off on the deal, Aaron Boone got hurt playing basketball, the Yankees traded for A-Rod in February, and that was that.
The on-field events of 2004 immediately pushed it to the background -- it was hard to imagine A-Rod in red and white after Jason Varitek pushed him into a background, pictured above -- but it is one of the greatest what-ifs in baseball history (along with this one, which will come up again), and perhaps the perfect counterpoint to the Babe Ruth sale for Red Sox fans. Had he landed in Boston, maybe the 2004 season doesn’t happen, the drought continues, and for that we merely get A-Rod more or less cementing his place as the greatest shortstop ever. Maybe they win four titles with a Papi/A-Rod lineup. Such a pairing would have been unthinkable even at this point last year, but now they’re in a TV booth together, and it’s clear they were born to pal around. If we had to wait for it, I’m cool, but what if we hadn’t?
3B: Pablo Sandoval
Have you actually seen Kung Fu Panda, and, if so, do you remember it? My young daughter loved it and its sequels for a period of about six months, which is another way to say that I loved it and its sequels for about six months and allowed her to watch them so I could too. Anyhow, the first movie is the basic Hero’s Journey, where the titular panda, named Po, is anointed the “Dragon Warrior” in surprise fashion not unlike you or I being randomly gifted the Nobel Peace Prize. He of course ends up being the Dragon Warrior and beating bad guys throughout the trilogy. Sandoval is great because he’s what would happen if some random schmo was actually named the Dragon Warrior and tasked with keeping the peace in our valley and was just a total, total failure. The Galaxy Brain can’t hate on that sort of incompetence.
LF: Manny Ramirez
The Galaxy Brain is his. It’s for this reason I almost wanted to keep him off this team. It’s too real, but some things are very, very on the nose. Like when you hit a ball like this:
There is something transcendent about that homer. It was nothing less to me than the triumph of hitters over the fake, bastardized idea of the closer, even if Francisco Rodriguez is clearly a very good one and earned a lifetime pass for his work with the 2002 Angels. What this homer said to me was that, ultimately, relief pitching is merely asking to be owned in the most brutal fashion in the biggest spot possible; it was a game of failure inside a game of failure. It was a dream within a dream. It should not be surprising that the man most comfortable there was Manny. He’s incepted onto our squad.
CF: Carl Crawford
Crawford’s nickname is allegedly “The Perfect Storm,” and goddamn if it isn’t a solid backhanded compliment here. The Red Sox gave him a 7-year, $142 million contract before 2011, and he put up a .694 OPS in that godforsaken season, only to get hurt in 2012 and get traded to the Dodgers in an AIG-level Sox bailout. Prior to the contract, Crawford had been a very good baseball player in Tampa Bay, and he attributed some of his failures in Boston to the toxicity of the atmosphere. Guilty as charged, but when you sign as a free agent, my sympathy is lower than it might otherwise be. My receptivity to hilariousness is unchanged, though, and Crawford’s in center.
RF: Carl Everett
He will not be great for team dynamics, but we’re not here to make friends. We’re here to radiate white heat, and C-Rex must be included. He famously doesn’t (or didn’t) believe dinosaurs were real because of their conspicuous absence from the Bible and infamously couldn’t keep his cool to save his life, but the best Everett moment, hands down, was when he broke up Mike Mussina’s perfect game on Sunday Night Baseball on September 2, 2001. Everett would have been the last out, but the moment he walked to the plate, it was so, so clear he was going to ruin it, because, at heart, he was an agent of chaos. Of course, he did, and for both his signature achievement and his full body of work he’s got a place in our outfield.
Galaxy Brain Backup Hitters
|C||Doug Mirabelli||A galaxy's worth of unearned self-confidence.|
|1B||Doug Mientkiewicz||Tried to keep 2004 World Series-winning ball.|
|2B||Mookie Betts||His natural position!|
|SS||Dustin Pedroia||His too!|
|OF||Joe DiMaggio||Famously "traded" to the Red Sox in drunken haze.|
|OF||Magglio Ordonez||Famously "traded" to the Red Sox.|
|OF||Izzy Alcantara||Kicked a catcher in the face.|
SP: Pedro Martinez
Like Manny, Pedro owns the Galaxy Brain. (How can two people own it? It’s the Galaxy Brain, that’s how.) You cannot leave this man off the squad:
Endor is in a galaxy far, far away, but it’s a galaxy, and it’ll play. Obviously I could write more about Pedro here, but what’s the point? You know everything. He’s the best.
SP: Babe Ruth
Let’s say there’s no “No, No, Nannette” -- however dubious the claim that Harry Frazee sold Ruth the Yankees for the specific purposes of financing a Broadway play with that name -- and the Babe sticks around Boston. He wouldn’t have pitched much, as he started hitting nearly full-time in the 1919 season for the Red Sox, driving up his price, but he did pitching 29 ⅓ scoreless World Series innings to lead Boston to its infamous 1918 title. Per the always correct Wikipedia, he was prouder of this than any of his hitting accomplishments. We could have used him as a designated hitter, but what’s more galaxy brained than leaving the Babe out of your starting lineup? Pitching ‘The Babe!’
I heard a Red Slox fan yelling he smelt Sweep, He was actually smelling Sheep (Red Slox fans) being led to the slaughter. The Babe!— baberuth (@baberuth) October 26, 2007
SP: Bill Lee
He’s the Spaceman. He’s on the team.
SP: Bronson Arroyo
He’s got Saturn Nuts. He’s on the team.
SP: John Wasdin
His balls went into orbit. He’s on the team.
RP: Joe Kelly
He thinks he’s the best pitcher in the galaxy. He’s on the team.
RP: Larry Anderson
What’s crazier than trading a future Hall of Famer for a relief pitcher during the stretch run? Doing it again for the galaxy brain squad. Bagwell, you’re cut! Anderson, you’re in!
RP: Dennis Eckersley
Eckersley’s iconoclasm is legendary and endearing, so rumors that he’s a big Glenn Beck fan didn’t turn me off to him in the least. Some people just rub against the squares, man, and Eck is one of them, serving as one of the best and most honest color men in the league while probably believing the government is out to get him or you or me or us or something. He’s also one of the five best relief pitchers of all-time, and even that might be selling him short. He’s a lock for the team, but in true Galaxy Brain fashion, he’s not even the closer.
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
He’s the best. He’s the worst. He’s also the only choice with the game, or the fate of the galaxy, on the line. He lips looked like a butthole when he pitched. Yep: That’s our guy. The universe is so clearly ours.
Galaxy Brain Backup Pitcher
|P||Tim Wakefield||The only backup we'll ever need in, frankly, the role he was born to play.|