Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who bats cleanup: Hulk or Rick Ankiel?

This is old news, but Marvel Comics and Minor League Baseball teamed up to produce a special Marvel comic book that would only be available at 30 minor league ballparks. It sounds like a good idea and it would be nice to see The Incredible Hulk playing baseball and interacting with fans instead of what he's currently doing in the Marvel Universe, which is beating the holy hell out of every single super hero. What caught my eye was that there were three special covers created for specific cities, Memphis, Buffalo, and Durham. And on the Memphis cover, you have the Memphis Redbirds' mascot, Rockey the Rockin' Redbird, signing autographs for fans along with Marvel heroes Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk. But what's really interesting is that they are joined by Rick Ankiel. And if there was a player who deserved to have a comic book, I think Ankiel would be in the running. Former pitcher washes out and then, through a mystical event or scientific accident (or medical supplements), he comes back as a homerun hitting superstar.
Rick Ankiel, a budding pitching superstar, loses his control and washes out of the big leagues. To clear his head, he joins an archeological dig in Egpyt and uncovers an ancient Ankh, the symbol of life and immortality, which gives him super strength and reflexes. He hides the find from the other members of the dig and flies back to America to beg for a tryout from the cellar-dwelling Philadelphia Phillies. He uses his new powers, wearing the ankh underneath his uniform, to gain a starting position on the team and quickly leads them up the standings. However, the ancient egyptian gods have become displeased by the missing item and they take human form and create a path of destruction in their search for Ankiel. Eventually, Ankiel is forced to confront the gods and after proving himself in battle, they allow him to keep the symbol, as long as he devotes himself to fighting injustice. So, as he travels the country in the major leagues, he rights the wrongs caused by evildoers and leads the once hapless Phillies closer and closer to the World Series.
I wonder why more superheroes or, perhaps more importantly, super villains don't use their powers to excel in major league sports. Why waste time trying to break into banks or gaining world domination when you could be the greatest pitcher of all time? Some have, I guess. Boomerang had been a major league pitcher but was banned after accepting bribes, which lead him to a life of crime. Bullseye has an even better story, purposely beaning an opposing player and killing him after he grows bored with pitching a no-hitter, which gets him charged with manslaughter. The second Kangaroo, of the Legion of Losers, actually has the most realistic story, a super power who plays in the major leagues but is banned after his super powers are discovered.
I guess my whole point of this post is to suggest that perhaps Barry Bonds hasn't taken steroids but is simply a superhero who gained his powers in 1999 in some freak accident. And maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates should expose all their players to gamma radiation in the hopes of fielding a team of Incredible Hulks.


Hank Hulkum said...

Maybe A-Rod isn't the best player in the game, but the best non-gamma-ray-exposed player. Sort of a like a mortal traipsing around with gods, or like those super heroes that don't really have any sort of power but just rely on technology to make it seem as though they have power (green goblin and his son might qualify).

Let's be honest. I'm out of my depth. I am a 6'9", 270 pound dark-completed man whose last name is Hulkum, and I grew up extremely insecure about his body image. I've always had an aversion to the comic books that made making fun of me more possible.

hannah said...

Wait, was Hulk the green one ore the one with the surfboard?

charles braun said...

This post worries me in that no mention of God is in here, and I think we need to be mindful of the first superhero, and that's Jesus. Obviously superpowers are around for one purpose only, or at least were intended, much like the grace bestowed upon the angels, to be for one purpose only: to save mankind. Saying that superheroes should entertain as well as help save the earth from evildoers puts a great strain on superheroes and their time, I think. We should let superheroes do what they do and leave the entertainment to folks with a little less responsibility for the fate of mankind. That said, the water to wine episode puts us in a gray area for sure...