This generation of college baseball players grew up on a video game by the name of ‘Backyard Baseball.’
Backyard Baseball, for those who don’t know, is a video/computer game that is near and dear to millennials’ hearts. It allows the user to form teams from a collection of fictional characters (emphasis on characters, given their typically eccentric personalities) and square off against computerized teams.
The best players in the game are able to earn baseball power-ups -- essentially, superpowers on the baseball diamond. In anticipation for the College World Series finals, we asked Coastal Carolina players who their favorite characters are and which baseball superpower they’d love to bring to the field.
Here’s what they said.
Player: OF Connor Owings
Preferred baseball super power: “I’d want the aluminum power bat – every time I touch the ball, I want it to leave the park.”
Favorite Backyard Baseball player: “Pablo Sanchez, Pablo Sanchez absolutely. He raked. He was a five-tool player, can't go wrong there.”
Way-too-literal analysis: Owings bats cleanup for Coastal Carolina, so his Sanchez/aluminum power bat choices make complete sense. He has 16 homers on the season but has yet to go deep in Omaha, so an extra dash of power would be a welcomed addition to the Chanticleers’ lineup.
Player: 3B Zach Remillard
Super power: “I think I’d go with telepathy – so I could know what pitch is coming, know if the other team is going to bunt, that sort of thing. You sort of have the game at your finger tips if you know what’s coming.”
Favorite Backyard Baseball Player: "All of them."
Way-too-literal analysis: Too many great Backyard Baseball characters to choose from, but I really liked Remillard’s superpower answer. I was expecting something more along the lines of what Owings said, given how he leads the Chanticleers in homers with 19. But now we know there is more to the Coastal third baseman’s approach in the batter’s box than muscle.
Player: OF Anthony MarksSuper power: “Definitely super strength. I don’t have any home runs yet, so I’m definitely trying to join everyone else on our team and hit some home runs.”
Favorite Backyard Baseball player: Kenny Kawaguchi
Way-too-literal analysis: Props to Marks knowing the one missing ingredient to his game. The left fielder went 3-for-4 last night and is getting on base in more than 40 percent of his trips to the plate, but he hasn’t hit for power this season. With super strength, Marks would be ridiculously good. Oh, and Kenny Kawaguchi was an awesome, albeit unexpected answer.
Coach: Gary Gilmore
Favorite Backyard Baseball player: "You know what, to tell you the truth, I don't think I've ever heard of Backyard Baseball."
Way-too-literal analysis: Shocker, coach.
Player: SP Andrew Beckwith
Preferred baseball superpower: “Super strength, like Thor. I’d just want to throw as fast as I possibly can.”
Way-too-literal analysis: I was half expecting Beckwith to use his superpower on everlasting stamina -- but he may already have that. The Coastal sidewinder threw upwards of 130 pitches on Friday night, and seemingly got stronger as the game wore on. He's still awfully tough to hit in the upper 80's, but imagine if he added a few miles per hour to his heater.
As I ran into Coastal Carolina reliever Bobby Holmes for my next interview, I saw that he was carrying the famous Chanticleer mascot ‘Rafiki’ with him, so I decided to ask the rally monkey a few questions.
“This guy gets more attention than anybody,” Holmes quipped.
It’s easy to see why:
Preferred baseball superpower: “The undergrounder. I’m a jokester at heart. I want to be able to hit a ground ball, for it to disappear under the dirt and by the time it pops up, I’ve already crossed the plate.”
Favorite Backyard Baseball player: “Petey Wheeler. The guy is a speed demon, a great tone-setter. He also knows how to keep things loose in the dugout."
Way-too-literal analysis: Never change, Rafiki. Never change.