Space Jam: Baseball Edition

Looney Tunes and Ohtani. Who are we taking to save Earth?


Come on and slam, and welcome to the jam/Come on and slam, if you wanna jam”

The term “Slam” is becoming quite popular in baseball today, thanks to an emphasis on the home run ball and the fortuitous naming of California cities. So, even though the Space Jam theme song was written for basketball’s second-best player of all time, we can still apply it to baseball! Best of all, we only have to change a couple of words here and there and the Space Jam theme song would work for a baseball-themed movie.

There have been many, many great baseball movies made over the past century, but there has never been a Space Jam for baseball. Where is our version of a Looney Tunes superteam? Who will save the Earth from invasion by Monstars or the Goon Squad? Today, we determine the ultimate Looney Tunes lineup (plus one superstar) that will keep the Earth alien-free.


Who’s the Superstar?


The Space Jam movies had the luxury of clearly defined GOATs to pick from. Michael Jordan was unquestionably the face of basketball in the 1990s, while LeBron James has been the face of basketball for at least a decade. Baseball has had players ascend to that status during their careers (for example, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, and maybe even late-2000s Albert Pujols) but has never had a clearly defined GOAT for a sustained period of time in the same way that basketball had.

So, our biggest problem with the roster is finding the ‘face’ of baseball to build around. Baseball fans are very blessed today to have multiple ‘faces’ representing America’s pastime, including (but not limited to) Ronald Acuña Jr.Shohei OhtaniMike TroutVladimir Guerrero Jr., and Fernando Tatís Jr. It’s almost impossible to choose.

If we’re going strictly by acclaim and awards, Mike Trout is the obvious choice. He’s been the best player in baseball for nearly a decade and has three MVPs to show for it. LeBron James and Michael Jordan are the closest basketball equivalent to Trout, as each has multiple MVPs to their name and will be (if not already) inner-circle Hall of Famers when their careers conclude.

None of the other players can touch that type of critical acclaim, although Shohei Ohtani is arguably the next up because of his success as a two-way player. Even Trout can’t pitch at an elite level every 5th or 6th day, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he could. When a player is constantly being compared to Babe Ruth (and surpassing records he set), they’re probably pretty darn good!

It gets trickier when you select a player based on how they would appeal to movie audiences. Let’s face it, Mike Trout is a superb baseball player. But, he probably wouldn’t be exciting enough (or a good enough actor) to keep people interested in a 90-minute movie. Young baseball players probably want to be like Mike… but they also probably want to act more like Acuna or Tatis during games.

In my mind, the clear pick for Space Jam: Baseball Edition’s human superstar is Shohei OhtaniEven during All-Star Week, a week filled with some of the best players in baseball, the spotlight was primarily on Ohtani. As much as I love Vladito, Acuña, and Tatis, none of them stack up to Ohtani in terms of popularity or watchability. Remember, we want people to see the movie and remain interested for at least 80-90 minutes. Ohtani has the talent to draw people in and the personality to keep them invested.


Filling Out the Rest of the Team


Ideally, Ohtani has a supporting cast of 8 other extremely talented athletes to help him save the Earth from alien destruction. But, as LeBron James learns in Space Jam: A New Legacy, it’s silly to try to recruit people from other Warner Brothers films. James is ultimately stuck with the Looney Tunes, just as Ohtani will be in this hypothetical. So, who are we picking to help Ohtani bring home the W?


Catcher/Super-utility: Bugs Bunny

In the Looney Tunes short “Baseball Bugs,” Bugs Bunny is called upon to help this poor pitcher:


Thanks to this, er, conga line of runs, Bugs’ team is down by a boatload when he’s called in. Luckily, Bugs can do it all!

He throws a slowball that generates an incredible amount of CSW:


He hits, uh, pinballs:


He’s a regular Shohei OhtaniHowever, Bugs actually takes it a step further by playing every position on the diamond basically at once! At the end of the slowball, Bugs is behind the dish receiving the pitch right after throwing it! Bugs will almost certainly play any position we ask him to, but I think he would be best utilized behind the plate when Ohtani pitches.


First Base: Foghorn Leghorn

I’m a big fan of power-hitting first basemen, and it’s important that we add some thump into this lineup to drive home some of the guys on base. I think Leghorn is the man for the job here. He looks like he packs some muscle into that frame in a way that no other Tune can. In the original Space Jam, Leghorn did not score a single point in the game against the Monstars and turned the ball over twice. That’s not someone we want to count on in a premium defensive position.

I also gave some consideration to Gossamer, who is pretty fearsome and also looks like one of the heaviest Looney Tunes, but since he’s made completely out of hair, there’s probably not so much muscle for him to draw on.




Second Base: Daffy Duck

Second base requires a real grinder. The best 2Bs are the guys who can play good defense and put together long at-bats that end with them on base. We want our second baseman to be in the mold of guys like Jose Altuve and David Fletcher, guys that are tough outs at the dish and make a lot of tough outs on defense.

Daffy has played a lot of roles in Looney Tunes media over the years, but in every single one of them, Daffy brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy to his role. That’s exactly what we need in a second baseman, who will give 110% on every play and will outlast pitchers until they give him something to hit.




Shortstop: Lola Bunny

In one of the most difficult positions in baseball, we want someone with a strong arm, elite athleticism, and a great attitude. No one exemplifies that better than Lola Bunny, who was the Robin to LeBron’s Batman in Space Jam 2, and tallied eight points on four shots in the original Space Jam. I see a lot of Francisco Lindor in Lola Bunny, in that they will both give you everything they can offensively and defensively and do it all with a genuine love for the game.




Third Base: Yosemite Sam

This one was really tough to choose, but I went with Yosemite Sam for his quick-twitch hands and aggressive personality. At the hot corner, we need someone who can make quick decisions and follow through with conviction! There’s no time for thinking when a ball is slowly rolling up the third base line! There are going to be some chemistry problems with Sam, who is known to be a bit of a hothead. But, we’ve seen third basemen with fiery personalities succeed at the MLB level (Manny Machado), so I’m willing to take the risk for Sam.




Left Field: Speedy Gonzales

This is going to be a bit of a theme for the outfield. Since the Looney Tunes lack true power hitters (they have plenty of people with doubles power, but maybe one or two guys with true home run power), we’re going to really lean into the smallball strength of the Looney Tunes by picking people that can get on base and then burn you with elite speed. In fact, a short-lived comic book series, called Superman and Bugs Bunny, shows Speedy matching the Flash in terms of foot speed, which is just unfair for any alien trying to get him out on the basepaths. Let’s just say there will be no question about Speedy going first to third on a single.

And, the best part is that Speedy has a strike zone the size of a thumb. He’s going to be an on-base machine with unlimited speed, a lethal combination. The only drawback for this pick is that Speedy is going to have a tough time bringing back home runs. His diminutive frame is going to make it difficult to climb walls and reach over to grab those balls that might be home runs. And, against an alien team, that might prove to be important in a big moment. But, the possibility of someone who is going to be basically automatic as a base stealer and a consistent scoring threat is too good to pass up.




Center Field: The Road Runner

This outfield is going to have oodles and oodles of speed.

Let’s face it, the Road Runner is probably going to be a negative with the bat. He doesn’t have the size advantage of Speedy, nor does he have any muscle to help him put the ball through the infield. The best we can hope for is that he develops enough at the plate to become a slap hitter or an ace bunter. If he can find a way to get on base, the Road Runner has Flash/Speedy-level speed and will certainly be a base-stealing threat.

But, that’s not why we are grabbing the Road Runner for the most important outfield defensive position. We want guys that can cover a lot of ground and take away any cheap base hits. Although, with the Road Runner in CF and Speedy in LF, the only hits are going to be the ones put on the ground through the infield or the ones hit over the wall.



Right Field: Tasmanian Devil

This team has a lot of personalities — they are the Looney Tunes, after all — but we need someone who is going to inspire the heck out of his teammates. If it’s not Shohei or Bugs Bunny, it’s going to be Taz. His ferocity is going to make him a menace at the plate. When Taz makes contact, he’s going to hit that ball so hard Barry Bonds’ 2002 World Series HR is going to look like a routine pop fly.

Imagine pitching to this:

If I’m a major league pitcher and this guy steps into the box, my white pants are not going to be white for very long.

Oh, and did I mention his foot speed?


How in the world is an alien baseball team going to get a base hit against this outfield?


Score Prediction


Look, if the Looney Tunes plus Shohei Ohtani are going to be up against a team of Monstars, it’s going to be a great battle. The rules of sports movies dictate that it will come down to the bottom of the ninth. There will probably be a moonshot home run from one Monstar/Goon Squad member (my guess is the alien version of Joey Gallo) during the course of the game as well. Another important rule in sports movies that involve a “big game” is that our heroes have to face adversity and will be reminded of just how difficult it will be to triumph when all is said and done. But, I have a lot of confidence in my squad for a few reasons:

  1. Are we forgetting how difficult it is to get a hit against Ohtani? The man’s splitter is one of the best pitches in baseball. If he’s got good command of his pitches, he’s going to be untouchable.
  2. The defense on this team is going to be superb. If the Tune Squad loses, it won’t be because of poorly-timed errors.
  3. Unlike in Space Jam, the team around Ohtani is going to actively help him win the game. In Space Jam, the directors framed the story as if LeBron and MJ were dragging a cast of undertalented misfits to a win. We’ve already established that the Looney Tunes’ strengths are perfect for baseball, which gives our Earth-saving team some depth.

My final score: Tune Squad + Ohtani 22, Monstars/Goon Squad 20. Ohtani is hard to hit, but this is a Space Jam-type movie. The scores are going to be comically high.


(Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire | Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)

Adam Sloate

Die-hard Angels fan since birth; misses the good ol' days of Vladdy, Kendrys, and Weaver. Temple University alumnus, UCLA Law student.

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