I'm not exactly an authority on grit, but it was about time someone named an All-Grit Team. All-Star Week seemed appropriate.
- C Jason Kendall
- 1B Platoon: Doug Mientkiwicz / Kevin Millar
- 2B Mark Grudzielanek
- 3B Ryan Freel
- SS David Eckstein
- LF Scott Podsednik
- CF Aaron Rowand
- RF Eric Byrnes
If a DH were needed, the all-grit team would do one of two things:
- Bat the pitcher, because truly gritty players are throwbacks to when pitchers could hit for themselves
- Go with Willie Bloomquist.
The bench is a little unbalanced--in addition to the eight starters, 1B platoon, and Bloomquist, that leaves four or five spots. Again, these guys are throwbacks, so a 10-man pitching staff would have to do the job. That leaves two roster spots for Craig Counsell (team captain) and Nick Punto and three more for backup catchers. Doesn't really matter which ones, though I think Paul Bako has to be on the team.
It doesn't matter that there aren't any backup outfielders, because any truly gritty player can play anywhere in the diamond. In that sense, there are twelve backup outfielders. Similarly, it doesn't really matter which outfielders are assigned to which position, since any of the three could play center, but they, of course, will play wherever they're needed.
I haven't figured out what to do about the pitching staff, since pitchers aren't generally considered gritty in the same way that position players are. It seems that gritty pitchers are generally guys who have hung on past their prime (like Jamie Moyer) or lefty relievers (like Brian Shouse) or both.
You may note that I didn't include a batting lineup--the list above is just the fielding alignment. That's going to be a serious problem for manager Gabe Kapler--left to their own devices, everyone on this team would bat second.