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Blockbusters aplenty when linking movies and baseball

Mid-July is always a time for blockbusters, whether it’s at the local multiplex or while watching baseball’s annual All-Star Game.

With baseball on break this week to conduct its star-studded affair, it’s a good time to link this season’s developments on the diamond with some films that have been among the top-grossing at the box office since opening day. Thankfully, this shouldn’t take anywhere near as long as either the Academy Awards or a normal Yankees-Red Sox game.

“Godzilla” – Unlike the mutant lizard, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels torments more than one city. No team anywhere enjoys playing the Angels, as long as Trout seems intent on avenging two straight seasons as MVP runner-up. Going into the break with a .310 batting average, 22 homers and 73 RBI, Trout is the prohibitive favorite to end Miguel Cabrera’s two-year control of the American League trophy.

“Million Dollar Arm” – When it comes to spending top dollar for sidelined pitchers, don’t look any further than the New York Yankees. Four-fifths of their opening day rotation is currently on the disabled list; the combined 2014 salary for the injured quartet of CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova, and Michael Pineda: just over $48.8 million. The Yanks have already utilized 26 pitchers this season and somehow remain in the hunt in the American League East.

“Blended” – Credit the Buffalo Baseball Hall 0f Fame, which last Friday inducted three new members from various roles in the game and from different eras, too. Greg Tubbs played with the Bisons in the early 1990s, manager Eric Wedge led the Herd to back-to-back playoff berths in 2001 and 2002, and Bob Miske has been scouting professionally for over 50 years.

“Maleficent” – What team can be described, like the movie, as posting the highest gross this year in a non-superhero production? Try the Oakland A’s, who have the majors’ best record and have done it with a decidedly nondescript cast. Perhaps that will change with six A’s dotting the American League All-Star roster. Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson each have 20 homers, one of only two 20-HR duos in the big leagues (along with Trout and Albert Pujols of the Angels). Scott Kazmir (11 wins) and Sonny Gray (10) are perhaps MLB’s most anonymous 10-win duo.

“22 Jump Street” – Make it a double-feature: Clayton Kershaw (who wears #22 for the Los Angeles Dodgers) is poised to win his third Cy Young Award in four years on the strength of his 1.78 earned run average, a 15-strikeout no-hitter, and a 41-inning scoreless streak. The Yankees’ Tanaka appeared to deserve his $22 million salary before going on the disabled list last week with elbow problems.

“Think Like A Man Too” – Rename it “Walk Like A Man Too” and give the starring role to Dan Johnson, who had already drawn the most walks in all of baseball with the Bisons, then drew four more in his first game with Toronto last Friday.

“Deliver Us From Evil” – That’s what the Cincinnati Reds might say every time they hand the ball to Aroldis Chapman. The fireballing lefthander overcame a gruesome spring training injury, when he suffered a skull fracture from a line drive off his head, and has merely set a major league record by posting a strikeout in 41 consecutive appearances.

“Jersey Boys” – Every major league team except the Yankees has sported at least four different jerseys this season. Seven teams (!) have worn seven different uniform tops this year. The only missing thing: a pre-game red carpet parade, complete with breathless reporters asking ballplayers what they’re wearing.

www.twitter.com/mikehaim


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