Thursday, August 25, 2011

Last chance to dance

As Thursday’s midnight voting deadline draws near for the Minors Moniker Madness tournament final, Thomas Saucke and myself decided to pick sides in the battle and lay it all on the line, in one final push for the two remaining candidates.

The case for Seth Schwindenhammer (Tom)

Frazier and Ali in ’71. NC State and Houston in ‘83. The Twins and the Braves in ’91. Schwindenhammer and Harvard in ’11.

The brilliant voters at could not have picked a finer final than this. Dusty Harvard, the fresh faced 23-year-old Oklahoma State graduate, finds himself up against 2010’s Cinderella story Seth Schwindenhammer. The two youngsters, who throw right and bat left, have dismantled their opposition on their way to this much anticipated title bout. Little League World Series teams have foregone practice to stuff the ballot boxes for their favorite. The esteemed Craig Forde even missed work to skew the ‘Odor v Hunt’ Elite-8 matchup and ruin my dreams…but I digress…

As worthy as both have been to this point, simple reasoning proves that we have a clear cut favorite and he should skip away with the title giddier than Terry Francona at the Double Bubble* factory’s all-you-can-pilfer summer special.

How criminal it will be when “The Hammer” is unable to crack a cold one once he prevails in 2011 at the ripe old age of 20. Sure, Harvard has an Ivy League name and a flashy college education from the Big XII, and so what if T. Boone Pickens is moving assets around with gusto and verve at BP Capital Management to fund a TV commercial onslaught before tonight’s deadline? Schwindenhammer’s name rolls off the tongue with poetic elegance. His nickname alone, “The Hammer,” summons thoughts of Aaron and Greenberg…the stuff of legend. Break down Dusty Harvard and you get something you’re always trying to get rid of and a school with more endowments than any other university in the United States. Can’t we just rename the kid ‘Wealthy Nuisance’ and call it a day?

Schwindenhammer, the 2010 runner up, has the experience and pedigree to get over the hump and take the crown in 2011. Let’s be honest, the young man has a strikeout problem (97K in 190AB through August 24th). What remains most important, however, was uttered by the great Wayne Gretzky. “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

“The Hammer” has never been shy about taking his hacks and I reckon he takes this one so deep to center at LeLacheur Park that it ends up in the Merrimack.

Schwindenhammer 61% - Harvard 39%.

The case for Dusty Harvard (Craig)

It’s easy for everyone in this region to put their support behind “The Hammer” simply because he plays for Lowell. But he’s been here before and fallen flat in his quest, as he will do once again when the votes are tallied. Dusty Harvard has his own ties to the region and some might say they run a little deeper than Mr. Schwindenhammer, a renowned lover of all things New York (from what I hear). Sure “The Hammer” may play within the Boston Red Sox organization, but Harvard claims that deep down he is a die-hard Boston fan, his favorite movie is Good Will Hunting, he once played for the New Bedford Bay Sox in the NECBL, he owns a Flutie Brothers Band album, he enjoys the culinary stylings of Fall River's Emeril Lagasse and he named his pet rabbit Bobby Orr (one of these is actually a true story).

Harvard, the #2 seed in the Razor Shines bracket, has taken down such heavy hitters as Rex Brothers, Xander Boegarts and Beamer Weems to get to the finals, whereas Schwindenhammer had an easy path as a one seed, easily defeating duds like Flande, Belter, Stumpo and Butts who just sat there like a pitch from Robinson Cano's dad in a Home Run Derby.

But when you really get down to brass tacks, the facts fully support the candidacy of one Mr. Dusty Harvard. There is no denying that people will be voting in favor of the two-syllable first name, as three of the first four Moniker winners have proven (Will Startup in 2008 was an anomaly). Seth just falls flat on the tongue and Schwindenhammer is just far too much for people to handle…my dad is still working on Saltalamacchia. On top of that, the magic “Y” at the end of Harvard’s first name will also aid in his campaign, seeing as the last two winners had the second-to-last letter of the alphabet in their respective corners. Lastly, people love Dustys, plain and simply. Dusty Baker is a World Series champion as a player and three time MLB Manager of the Year; Dusty Rhodes, one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, was nicknamed “The American Dream;” Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man has been featured in movies and sung by countless drunk chicks at bars on a weekly basis; and of course Dusty Napoleon took this very contest back in 2009.

For the record, I am already starting my Angelbirth Montilla/Rougned Odor 2012 campaign,but until that time, here is how I feel this one will play out in the end.

Hardy 51% - Schwindenhammer 49%

Minors Moniker Madness Winners
2011 - ???
2010 – Rowdy Hardy
2009 – Dusty Napoleon
2008 – Will Startup
2007 – Houston Summers

*We have direct information from an inside source that Terry Francona’s gum of choice is, indeed, Double Bubble. We cannot divulge our source, (who may or may not be someone who writes for a big-time internet destination) but we do thank him for providing us with confidential information that we could use here and we are forever in his debt (beer is an acceptable payment).

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