If you mention and explain the concept of MTV's Rock N' Jock to '90s babies, they will look at you glassy-eyed and slowly walk away. But it's true, in the late '80s and early '90s it was possible to gather the best and sexiest celebrities in TV, film and music for a carefree softball match, with pro sports ringers sprinkled in for good measure. Even Kevin Costner was at a few of them.
Now you are more likely to see a celebrity-laden Madden or Skyrim tournament than a real-life game on a field. Maybe stars and athletes today are too worried about getting hurt or maimed. I doubt you will see Bret Michaels and Tone Loc duke it out anywhere but on a reality show in 2012, but in 1990 it could happen on a softball diamond.
Beginning in 1987, R&J was an MTV institution pitting the Salamanders and Aardvarks, then the Awayboys versus the Homeboys, on a softball field for pop-culture mortal combat. Last year sports blog Grantland did a fun overview of R&J and its many permutations, including basketball and touch football.
One of the last of those matches happened here in Houston for Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Of course all of this nostalgia made me want to draft my own teams for 2012, with a dream and a prayer that R&J will one day make a triumphant comeback.
Those little celebrity softball games during the run-up to each Major League Baseball All-Star game are not enough to feed my hunger. I mean don't get me wrong, there are perks to those games, if you know what I saying, dawg...
Cee-Lo Green, Manager: Face it, all the dude is good for is sitting, drinking Gatorade, chewing sunflower seeds, and occasionally ripping ass.
Brian Wilson, Starting Pitcher: No, not the Beach Boys mastermind, I mean the bearded fella from the San Francisco Giants, who somehow makes having a beard look douchey. (I secretly wish my beard was as full as his.)
Jonah Hill, Catcher: This isn't a fat guy thing, because he has lost a lot of weight. But still...
Tyler, The Creator, Shortstop: Mainly I want to see this because if he grew a beard he would look like Cardinals great Ozzie Smith. Plus, Tyler may spit on people or trip them as they round the bases.
Jersey Shore Cast, Outfield: You've heard of having angels in the outfield, but what about guidos? Ronnie, Paulie, The Situation hold down the fort for the Homeboys.
Kate Upton, DH: I just wanted to type her name. Kate Upton. Feels so right. Try it!
Chris Brown, First Base: Because ratings, and MTV, and the Internet exist.
Justin Bieber, Second Base: The tight baseball pants are the selling point here, and the prospect that a rough slide by a base runner could ruin his chances at having children, because Selena Gomez has been through enough.
Katy Perry, Third Base: I don't know about you, but I would like to get to third base with Katy Perry. I had to look up what "third base" is on Wikipedia, and I think I would really enjoy that sort of thing. It seems pleasurable.
Ryan Gosling, Rover: A rover is a position common in softball, which allows the player to roam freely where he or she desires. So I am drafting Baby Goose to do this. Maybe he could go chat with Ms. Perry, or even Ms. Upton. Whatever he prefers, as long they film whatever happens for later sale.
Dave Grohl, Manager: Grohl would make a great coach, what with leading the Foo Fighters now for 17 years. Here's hoping he doesn't change the lineup after every third inning or so.
Cole Hamels, Starting Pitcher: He seems like he would be handsome and smell good in person.
Prince Fielder, DH: I was a big fan of his dad Cecil Fielder, and he gave hope to fat kid tubs like me that we could play ball too. He's got some cool tattoos too, including the Ore-Ida logo on one side of his neck. When I make tater tots at home, I overcook them a little so they crunch really good. How about you?
Joe Mauer, Catcher: hate Joe Mauer because we share the same birthday and he makes millions of dollars in contract and endorsement deals playing a position I played in junior high and he is engaged to a model, Maddie Bisanz. Last night I emptied a can of tuna into a bowl of ramen noodles and watched two straight episodes of Friends.
Drake, First Base: He played basketball on Degrassi, so he has to like softball. That seems rational. As long he doesn't get paralyzed again.
Dan Auerbach, Second Base: The Black Keys belter has a hidden history as a jock in college, before he was a real, authentic, gut-bucket blues man. I'm being facetious. About the blues thing, I mean.
Kelly Clarkson, Third Base: I celebrate her entire catalog, and I have a crush on her, and how can I say this delicately...she's built like a ballplayer. But it's cool! I like that.
Robyn, Shortstop: I assume that her and Katy Perry are package deal, right?
Skrillex, Left Field: Oh, he's playing left field alright, literally. He's going to surrounded by 4,000 sweaty, moshing, nu-ravers. If one of the balls get hit into his area, it's an automatic home run. Rules are rules.
RedFoo & SkyBlu of LMFAO, Center Field: Screw it, let them both just hang out over there.
Hunter Pence, Right Field: I miss your socks, your face, the way you run. I miss your musk... and when all this baseball career business gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together!
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Rico Rodriguez, Rover: The short and squatty Rodriguez is commonly known as the short and squatty Manny from ABC's Modern Family. I am drafting Rodriguez because he reminds me of myself from 1990 until 1995, and I feel bad for him.