You’ll Never Take My Freedom: Cistulli’s NotGraphantasy Club

Over the course of the week, members of this important internet weblog have written about their respective contributions to what organizer Robert J. Baumann has called the First-and-Only-Ever NotGraphantasy Draft. The object: to assemble, via a snake-draft format, the squad which most embodies the spirit of this nearly perfect internet weblog.

Contrary to David Temple’s overzealous claims of yesterday, it is the present author who has distinguished himself as the No. 1 SuperChamp of this exercise — not only because he is (read: I am) the boss of everyone (although, please note, I am quite literally the boss of everyone), but also because I’ve allowed my own Infallible Nature to guide me, as a compass, to the correct picks.

Before enumerating in greater detail the myriad virtues of Team SuperChamp 2013, first a brief note on the title of this post. It’s very possible that certain of my colleagues — like that inveterate contrarian Patrick Dubuque, for example, with his little face and everything — will suggest that my reference to very popular and woefully inaccurate 1995 film Braveheart is symptomatic of my own mindless allegiance to what mid-century German theorist Theodor Adorno referred to as the Kulturindustrie, or (in English) the Culture Industry. Accordingly, they will attempt to dismiss whatever follows as the product of a mind contaminated by the flotsam of consumerism and jetsam of empty utopian aspirations.

“Ha! Just let them try!” is my response to that. On the contrary, allow me to submit that a truly liberated aesthetic, such as the author possesses, is necessarily large enough and sufficiently expansive to account for texts of all sorts, be they high or low, auteurist or focus-grouped.

The club assembled below — and annotated by clever remarks — is a result of such an aesthetic.


CA: Jeremy Brown, 11th Round (Profile)
Noted character from Michael Lewis’s important, if polemical, Moneyball. Actually made 11 major-league plate appearances. Retired suddenly following age-27 season having never recorded an OPS below .718 at any level.


Dick Allen

1B: Dick Allen, 1st Round (Profile)
Not the straw that stirs the drink, but rather the drink itself. An expensive drink.



2B: German Mesa, 9th Round (Profile)
Greatest-fielding shortstop in Cuban history, according to everyone with knowledge of the situation. Subject of multiple and transcendent YouTube videos, which the author has or hasn’t watched in the smallest hours of the night.



3B: Mark Bellhorn, 2nd Round (Profile)
Unwavering devotee of the The Wet Look. Probably member of band called The Wet Look. Important member of 2004 Red Sox. Amusingly swing-averse.



SS: Aparicio Rodriguez, 4th Round (Profile)
Legendary shortstop character from Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding. Prose style not unlike Borges’.



LF: Mike O’Neill, 10th Round (Profile)
Only active player on list. Largely ignored as prospect, yet author of 3:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio over last season-plus. Diminutive.



CF: Glenn Burke, 6th Round (Profile)
Tragic insofar as he (a) very likely invented the high-five (itself a symbol of great joy) but was also (b) very likely jettisoned from baseball early because he was a gay man. Died rather young of AIDS-related causes.



RF: Tony Conigliaro, 7th Round (Profile)
Boston-area native (and Italian-American) who played and succeeded for Sox. Remains owner of best offensive season relative to league average among all teenage players since the beginning of the 20th century. Career effectively over at age 22 after hit by pitch in eye. Circumstances of death almost even more heartbreaking than that.



P: Dazzy Vance, 3rd Round (Profile)
Owner of three best seasons by strikeout rate relative to league, and four of best five. Pitched 99% of his 2966.2 innings after 30th birthday.



P: J.R. Richard, 5th Round (Profile)
Was easily most impressive pitcher on 1980 Astros club that also included Nolan Ryan. Career ended in July of that same year after suffering stroke. When told by author at Twins winter event that he’d been “baddest there was,” replied “I know.”



P: Candy Cummings, 8th Round (Profile)
Inventor of curveball. Also: mustachioed graduate of Northeastern boarding school.



Mngr: Oscar Wilde, 1st Supplemental Round (Profile)
Not imaginary, per se, but also not actual ever baseball manager. Owner of wit amenable to post-game conferences. Died in France, like everyone should.



Exec: Alexander Cartwright, 2nd Supplemental Round (Profile)
Established rules of baseball, foremost among them to “have the reputation of a gentleman.” Commendably bearded.


Driving Park

Park: Driving Park, 3rd Supplemental Round (Profile)
Home to Northampton Meadowlarks of Connecticut League between 1909 and -11 and of Twin States League after that until 1914. Home, more recently, to annual demolition derby, which author has attended multiple times.

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Joe D.
9 years ago

Why in the name of fuckity fuck is no one taking Jim Bouton for one of their pitcher spots? Member of the One! Year! Only! Seattle Pilots, author of one of the most fabulous books on Base Ball ever written, eloquent like a sonofabitch, smart, one of the hearty few men to attempt to make a living via the ball of knuckles, Bulldog, Assface, 1.48 ERA in World Series play.

What in the hell else do you want him to do? Invent a wildly popular and altogether outrageously awesome bubblegum? Well he goddamndid for the sake of Christ!

Y’all can kiss the hairy white ass that is sitting in my computer chair right about now. And by computer chair, I mean that which I sit in when I am on the computer, not a chair which is also a computer or some crazy-ass Notgraphs shit like that.

Peace out, bitches.

Patrick Dubuque
9 years ago
Reply to  Joe D.

Blame the system. Three pitchers as opposed to eight position players meant that a lot of good arms got left out.

In my defense (and only mine, since the sting of your words, Joe D., scalds like boiling Listerine) I’d already chosen Jim Brosnan, and two author-pitchers seemed like overkill. Plus, I took Joe Schultz! I got your Pilots in there.

Joe D.
9 years ago

Ah, ’tis true…you pounded the ol’ Budweiser, so you’re off the hook.