In honor of the newly-minted 2011 baseball season, a light-hearted look at the Olympian pantheon, if they were a baseball team.
Your starting battery: at pitcher throwing the thunderbolts that put a charge in the ball, it's the father of gods and men himself, Zeus. At catcher, the mistress of hearth and home plate, the keeper of the eternal flame, Hestia. She's a light hitter but she's got that internal fire a catcher needs, and she always makes the batter welcome and keeps up relations with the umpire.
At first base, the power-hitting sea god Poseidon. He's big, he's powerful, and at the tap of his trident, the legendary "Earth Shaker" can make it dicey for the runner coming into first.
At second base, we have the robot automaton built by the god of creative fire and technology, Hephaestus. Heph was born lame, but he's a whiz with metal, and he's made a helper who can really make the turn at second. Lays down a mean sacrifice bunt, too.
At shortstop, that paragon of manliness, Apollo. If there's a ball deep in the third base-shortstop hole, the "Far Shooter" will get it to first base on time.
At third base, who better to man the hot corner than the hot man himself, Helius, the sun god.
In centerfield, the guy with the winged sandals who's fast enough to catch everything hit his way, Hermes.
In left field, you've got the goddess of the wilderness, Artemis. She covers almost as much ground as Hermes, and if a stray cat emerges from the grandstand or bird alights in the outfield, she can take care of them, too.
In right field, the teenage phenom Persephone is platooning with the aging veteran, Cronus, father of Zeus. Persephone's bound to spend part of the season in the Underworld, so who better to preside in the pastures of the outfield than the King of the Golden Age, Cronus.
The designated hitter, big dummy who hits it a ton but can't add two and two, we've got the war god, Ares. You can get him out with the curve, because he can't think ahead, but if you make a mistake over the plate, he'll kill it.
The middle reliever is Hera, wife of Zeus, who's always cleaning up the messes he makes and scheming about one day getting to start in his place.
As for our closer, you've never seen a guy shut the door on a team's hopes until you've seen the god of death, Hades, serve up his sinker ball. When Hades goes in, the batter's going down.
The utility man: Heracles, the only mortal ever to earn his way into the "big" leagues by hard work. He can hit it a ton and whatever you ask him to do, he does. "I'm just glad to be here," says the deified hero.
This unbeatable crew is managed by the goddess of military strategy, heroes and generals, Athena herself.
The umpiring is done by the Furies, who definitely have a thirst for justice. Don't try to scuff the ball or put any hair gel on it, because they'll take you out.
And now, for your off-field personnel:
The groundskeeper is the goddess of the harvest and the growth of plants, Demeter.
The official scorer and beat writer is the blind poet, Homer.
Dionysus, god of wine, drunkenness, and temporary madness, is the head of concessions.
Cheerleader, Aphrodite. Rumor has it she's been having an affair with the designated hitter. The mascot: Eros. A lovable little guy who can make you fall in love with the team.
The general manager is Prometheus. His name means Foresight, so he's one of the shrewdest baseball minds out there. Who do you think signed Heracles?
The ownership group: the Fates, Clotho, Atropon, and Lachesis. They pull all the strings, and believe me, what they say, goes.
Don't miss their next game-- against the famous Hundred Handers. It's going to be a real barn-burner.