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Baseball’s Dream Team

The U.S. baseball team beat China 9-1 on Monday. Doesn’t it seem as though it should be even more lopsided? Well, it would be if baseball followed basketball's lead and sent its top professionals. Logistics obviously stand in the way of that with the major league season in full swing during the Olympics. But what if it was possible? Who would go? We’re not going to make the mistake that was made in the World Baseball Classic — taking a bunch of players who used to be good (Roger Clemens, Jason Varitek, Al Leiter). We’re focused on dominating now. We're probably just dreaming, but here's our team. Baseball won't be going to London in 2012, so it'll have to stay a dream team for now.

Outfield

Right field:

Josh Hamilton



Center field:

Grady Sizemore



Left field:

Ryan Braun



Reserve:

Matt Holliday





Just one of these guys is capable of taking over a game at the plate. All four of them together is just unfair.

Infield

First base:

Ryan Howard



Reserve:

Lance Berkman



We'll trade all of Howard's strikeouts for his ability to drive in runs. Berkman's versatility as an outfielder is a plus.





Second base:

Chase Utley



Reserve:

Ian Kinsler



Utley is the best second baseman in the world right now. That ought to earn him a starting spot. Dustin Pedroia might have had the edge of Kinsler in the All-Star Game but Red Sox fans don't get a vote here.





Shortstop:

Jimmy Rollins



Rollins provides a brash edge to the team. If he's always ready to make predictions about the Phillies' chances what would he say about this team?





Third base:

Alex Rodriguez



Reserve:

David Wright



Love him or hate him, Rodriguez is the best player in baseball. Some might even suggest starting him over Rollins at short, but we'll leave him where he's comfortable. (Evan Longoria is ready to step in if A-Rod decides he wants to play for the Dominican team.)





Catcher:

Joe Mauer



Reserve:

Brian McCann



Mauer and McCann are both deserving of starting, but we’ll give the edge to Mauer’s incredible career on-base percentage.

Pitchers

CC Sabathia

The 2007 AL Cy Young winner is a pretty imposing presence on the mound.



Jake Peavy

The 2007 NL Cy Young winner: How many strikeouts could he have against a weak opponent in pool play?



Brandon Webb

The 2006 NL Cy Young winner: Throws a nasty sinker that overpowers opposing batters and produces extremely reliable results.



Roy Halladay

The 2003 AL Cy Young winner: Who needs a bullpen when this guy pitches?



Tim Lincecum

He’s the brightest young arm in the game today.



Josh Beckett

Proved he is a pretty good big-game pitcher in his postseason starts.



Ben Sheets

He already owns one gold medal. We’ll give him a chance at No. 2.



Joba Chamberlain

Hank Steinbrenner didn’t want him dominating out of the bullpen, but it suits our needs nicely.



Trevor Hoffman

Call it a career achievement award. He’s Team USA's answer to Mariano Rivera.



Joe Nathan

Other closers have bigger names. All he does is get people out.



Jonathan Papelbon

No one in the game today is more feared in the ninth inning. Let's just hope he doesn't embarrass us by doing that dance on the medal stand.

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