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03/27/09 9:00 AM ET
Subject to debate: Who's the Top Pick?
Finalists Pujols, Hanley lobbying to become fantasy's undisputed No. 1
Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez are vying for your votes in the race to be named fantasy's Top Pick. (AP)


Top Pick '09 finalists Hanley Ramirez and Albert Pujols did not debate on the campus of the University of Georgia last night. But if they had, it just might have gone something like this -- and the moderator most definitely would have been the MLB Network's own, Bob Costas.

Costas: Gentlemen, there's no denying that these are uncertain times. Images of prancing unicorns and Slinkys dancing down escalators have been replaced by far less delightful visions. But the primary question facing us tonight, of course, is who should be the Top Pick in fantasy baseball drafts this spring. So I'm going to skip the vegemite and cut right to the chase here: Why should you be the Top Pick in '09?

The first response goes to you, Mr. Pujols. You have two minutes.

Pujols: Thank you very much, Mr. Costas. Before I answer that question, I'd like to thank the commission and the University of Georgia for hosting us tonight. And a special thanks to the brothers at Kappa Delta Beta, who have yet to complain about the shattered windows; what can I say, I've lead the Majors in slugging for a reason.

There is no denying that we are at a defining moment in the world of fantasy baseball, a world where friendships are in peril and fate hangs in the balance. And we all know what I'm talking about: The Head-to-Head and Rotisserie Debacle, known to many of you as the Stat Spat. To put more antlers on the deer, we're going through the worst auction-league crisis in history.

And while we continue to hear about the travesties on Wall Street and on Main Street, we still don't know for sure if Huston Street will be closing for the Rockies. As a seven-time All-Star and two-time National League Most Valuable Player, I am the one who can bring us all together.

Costas: Very well, then. Mr. Ramirez, you have two minutes to deliver your opening statement.

Ramirez: Well, thank you, Mr. Costas. And thanks to the great people at the University of Georgia. And an extra special thanks to Allison from the Fran Tarkenton Cafeteria for the extra French toast sticks this morning. They were delish as always; I don't know how you do it.

My opponent is correct. These are trying times in the fantasy baseball world. From the Grapefruit League to the World Baseball Classic, I've witnessed it first hand on the faces of the people across our fabulous planet. I've seen it on the face of Danny Klusterman from Jupiter, Florida, who lost his league last year because he didn't know what a hold is. I've seen it on the face of Billy Carpenter from Scottdale, Arizona, who drafted Erik Bedard and Aaron Harang in his auction league but didn't leave enough to grab a catcher. These problems are real. These problems are serious. But more importantly, these problems are fixable.

Costas: Twenty seconds, Mr. Ramirez.

Ramirez: Now, Mr. Costas, I don't know if you noticed, but I arrived to this debate a good 15 minutes before my opponent. Do you know why? Well, let me tell you: speed. While my opponent took his time dilly-dallying around town, chalking up a hop-scotch board on the sidewalk cement, I was cruising in my moped in the express lane, displaying the same speed I used to swipe 35 bags in '08 and 51 in '07. The problems facing the fantasy world need to be solved. And they need to be solved in a timely and efficient manner. I've proven that I can do just that.

Costas: Let's move on. Mr. Ramirez, as a power/speed threat, you've championed yourself as a one-man tour de force who can lead a team with 30/30 vision.

Ramirez: Yes!

Costas: You do realize that by all medical interpretations of vision metrics, the numerator is ALWAYS
20 -- whether it's 20/20, 20/40 or 20/10 -- rendering 30/30 vision a virtual statistical impossibility?

Pujols snickers.

Oh, don't laugh too hard, Mr. Pujols. It was your campaign ad that erroneously criticized Mr. Ramirez, asking the people of the world if they really want to be lead by a man with blurry vision.

Ramirez snickers.

Pujols: Need I remind the world that it was Mr. Ramirez himself who originally called his 30/30 vision to light in his campaign ad?

Ramirez goes silent.

Costas: Moving on, gentleman. Mr. Pujols, exactly how important is position scarcity when considering who should lead us as the Top Pick?

Pujols: I am, um, a firm, yes, FIRM believer that when it comes to the Top Pick, it's only prudent to draft the best player available. And if that best player is a first baseman, then you must draft that first baseman. Let me put it this we way, if I may: I feel very strongly that we have come to a point in history when players should no longer be judged by their place on the field but by their production at the plate.

Costas: Mr. Ramirez, the same question goes to you.

Ramirez: Position scarcity is of the utmost importance when it comes to all picks, especially the Top Pick. And it only follows that if you don't draft me with the first overall selection, you could end up with someone like Adam Everett as your shortstop. No offense to Mr. Everett, who's a renowned defensive wizard, but do you know what he batted last year? READ MY LIPS: .213. That .357 average my opponent had a season ago isn't so helpful when it's weighed down by a .213 mark from your shortstop. I just want everyone out there -- like Sally Kickingstallionsims, with whom I recently shared a corndog in Lakeland, Florida, and who vowed to never again play fantasy baseball after drafting Andruw Jones in the fifth round last year -- to know that a vote for Pujols is a vote for Adam Everett.

Costas: As time is of the essence, any final words, Mr. Pujols?

Pujols: My body of work speaks for itself. I hit for a really high average. I slug for a really high percentage. My OPS flies so high, they call me Sully. I have more Golden Gloves than Oscar De La Hoya, and more Gold Gloves than -- you guessed it -- Adam Everett. I see the ball. I hit the ball. Really far. I'm as consistently awesome as any player who's ever played the game. I am, without a doubt, the people's Top Pick in '09.

Costas: Mr. Ramirez, any final words?

Ramirez: I am the whole package. I do it all. I've got so much power, they call me Snap. I've got so much speed, they call me Keanu. I am the ultimate pupu platter of production at the spiciest position in fantasyland. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When God gives you a stick, part the Red Sea. When the computer generator randomly gives you the No. 1 choice in your draft, select Hanley Ramirez, your Top Pick in '09.

Costas: That concludes our debate, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, and may the best player win.

Dave Feldman is a fantasy reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.