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Marvel “Secret Wars” in Cincy: The Reds as Comic Book Villains…?

Yesterday, one of our favorite writers – Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch – decided to match up Marvel (and one DC) heroes with our favorite Cardinals players. If you haven’t read his entertaining account, CLICK HERE.

His efforts inspired us. So, we’ve pieced together a Marvel Villains lineup with Cincinnati Reds players. For a fun way to kill a few minutes and lower your work-day productivity, check it out below!

(Disclaimer: Some Marvel characters are associated with political and/or social issues. Those are not relevant here, so let’s not go beyond simple entertainment, okay?)

1. Walt Jocketty, Reds GM is…The Kingpin of Crime! With his behind the scenes machinations and plots, Jocko looks for every opportunity to both turn a profit and hurt the Cardinal family where it counts. His mercenary hires of former Cardinal players smacks of back-office bribes of once trusted individuals within Cardinal Nation.

2. Dusty Baker, Reds Manager is…The Red Skull! His sinister plans serve a selfish purpose all his own. In Major League Baseball, Baker’s reputation precedes him – a reputation of self-centered pitching decisions and a philosophy that could likely be summed up with the statement, “the sacrifices of the many are justified by the gains of the one.” Perhaps the most dangerous part of this scowling manager…he’s very smart and very good at what he does. In fact, perhaps his only weakness…his intense emotional reaction to being thwarted time and again (in other words, anger).

3. Brandon Phillips, Reds 2B is…The Green Goblin! His cackling laughter drips of insanity while his dual personality struggles both enchant Reds Country and infuriate Cardinal Nation. He swoops into St. Louis, launches a few bombs, and swoops out again, leaving destruction in his wake. But when it all comes down to it…he’s still just a twisted clown with a few dangerous toys and a pretty intimidating Bat.

4. Jay Bruce, Reds OF is…Sandman! As Spiderman’s annoying nemesis, Sandman can be soft and easily displaced…or hard as a rock and strong enough to swing fists of stone with authority. His situational difficulties make him a somewhat sympathetic character, but ultimately…he chose the wrong side. There are days when he’s all-too forgettable…but more often than not, he’s a threat to be taken seriously. Of course, there are also days when he just seems to get into every little nook and cranny and chafe…and irritate…did I mention irritate?

5. Scott Rolen, Reds 3B is…Magneto! Occasionally a good guy, oftentimes a bad guy, this famed character has a tendency to disappear from relevance for extended periods of time…but when he’s around, his presence is significant, and his leadership is unquestioned. Rolen/Magneto is the uber-powerful veteran that commands respect just by standing in the room. While he possesses superhuman offensive weapons, he is most known for his ability to attract and hold objects within his zone of influence (read: snagging grounders at the hot corner and intense magnetic powers). Ultimately, however, his life will forever be impacted by a fundamental disagreement with an iconic leader of our hometown heroes that forced the two in opposite directions (TLR vs. Rolen and Xavier vs. Magneto). It should also be noted that the futures of both Rolen and Magneto were drastically altered by significant wounds from their past.

6. Bronson Arroyo, Reds Pitcher is…Bullseye! This dude just gets under my skin. With no real unique or special ability to speak of…this guy just tosses all manner of junk at the opposition with uncanny accuracy. He’s a favorite of The Kingpin, but don’t think that engenders any loyalty from the junk-ballin’ marksman. He’s a mercenary…plain and simple (okay, maybe I’m just letting my irritation with Arroyo color my judgement a bit). In most cases, the match-up between this particular villain and just about any other Marvel Hero should go in the Hero’s favor…on paper. But this guy just has a knack for taking down bigger, stronger enemies with what looks like minimal effort.

7. Johnny Cueto, Reds Pitcher is…Kraven the Hunter! Alright…so maybe going with Kraven here – the fabled “man among men” who once killed Spiderman – is giving Kicking Cueto too much credit. But I do see 3 striking similarities. 1) Both share a desire to attack prey from the shadows when they’re not looking. 2) I can’t help but think that Cueto also loves to wear leopard print pants and zebra patterned accessories. 3) Come on…Kraven the Hunter? Cueto the Craven Coward? Too crazy, right?

8. Joey Votto, Reds 1B is…Onslaught! There’s no doubt that both Onslaught (google him) and Votto possess amazing power in their respective universes. Where Onslaught re-made the Marvel Universe in one violent story arc, Votto re-shaped the face of the NL Central with repeated and consistent violent swings from the left-handed box. With the absence of Pujols and Fielder, Votto’s dominance in the Central could be matched by only Ryan Braun. And let’s not forget, Votto and Onslaught are each “men” of few words in their stoic mission. Of course…both Onslaught and Votto have their personal demons, but neither character’s struggles seem to be a threat at the moment.

Wrap-Up!

Alright…that’ll do it. Now, if only we could get a Marvel exec to take up our cause and put ink to paper…I’m thinking, maybe an 8-issue story featuring the Cards and Reds in a pitched battle as Marvel heroes and villains.

GO CARDS!!!

Bonus Character: Come on…don’t you think Tony La Russa would be perfectly represented as The Mad Thinker?!

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