Name that infield

A common baseball party trick over the years has been to come up with “all-star” teams based on specific criteria. The favorite is to create an “all-name team,” choosing players at each position because they all have the same name or their names are related to the body, a holiday, heritage or various other themes.

There are a few new tricks now that the Royals have signed Doug Mientkiewicz and Mark Grudzielanek, at least when Mientkiewicz gets into the game at first base alongside Grudzielanek at second.

The combined 24 letters in their last names (12 in each) equal the letters in the last names of the entire starting infield for Mientkiewicz’s former team, the Mets: Delgado (7), Matsui (6), Reyes (5) and Wright (6).

Based on projected starting lineups at this mid-December date — a long way from spring training still, let alone Opening Day — the right side of the infield in Kansas City features as many or more letters on the backs of the jerseys than 13 teams:

Orioles: Surhoff (7), Roberts (7), Tejada (6), Mora (4)
Yankees: Giambi (6), Cano (4), Jeter (5), Rodriguez (9)
Blue Jays: Overbay (7), Hudson (6), Adams (5), Koskie (6)
Athletics: Johnson (7), Ellis (5), Crosby (6), Chavez (6)
Giants: Niekro (6), Durham (6), Vizquel (7), Feliz (5)

White Sox: Konerko (7), Iguchi (6), Uribe (5), Crede (5)
Cardinals: Pujols (6), Cruz (4), Eckstein (8), Rolen (5)

Phillies: Howard (6), Utley (5), Rollins (7), Bell (4)
Cubs: Lee (3), Walker (6), Cedeno (6), Ramirez (7) [It’s 21 if they go with Neifi Perez at short instead of Cedeno.]

Brewers: Fielder (7), Weeks (5), Hardy (5), Hall (4)
Dodgers: Choi (4), Kent (4), Furcal (6), Mueller (7)

Devil Rays: Lee (3), Cantu (5), Lugo (4), Gonzalez (8)

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