With some of the best athletes in the world, the United States could compete at the top of any given sport if priorities were different. Take handball, for instance. What if the top American MLB players of all time had decided to focus on winning an Olympic gold medal in handball?
Handball is a glorious seven vs. seven sport that combines the physicality of rugby, hand-eye coordination of football and pure arm strength of baseball. For reference, here what handball positions look like:
Obviously this fantasy team features players from different eras, but you should get a sense of why their skills translate:
Left Wing: Nolan Ryan
"The Ryan Express" regularly threw fastballs above 100 mph. Ryan would be unstoppable as a sniper shooting left to right. His imposing demeanor and rugged strength help him ward off defenders. Pencil him in as the tournament's top scorer.
Right Wing: Randy Johnson
Same principle applies here. The Big Unit's sidearm sling can evade defenders with ease. At 6-10, Johnson can effortlessly shoot over a wall of defensemen. Not even the legendary Mikkel Hansen will be a match for the five-time Cy Young Award winner.
Pivot: Ken Griffey Jr.
The newest member of the Hall of Fame is perfect for this unique position, which oscillates between central defensive midfielder and attacking center forward. Griffey's speed, agility and elusiveness make him a nightmare to defend. Look for him to lead the team in assists, while also finding the back of the net often.
Right Back: Jesse Barfield
Any questions? Didn't think so.
Center Back: Bo Jackson
As a running back and center fielder, Jackson has a perfect skill set to anchor this defense. His physicality allows him to disrupt opposing attackers. His speed and agility allow him to move in transition. His arm makes him a threat to score from anywhere.
Left Back: Rick Ankiel
The non-superstar Christian Laettner of our manufactured Dream Team is the former pitcher-turned-outfielder known for his cannon. The left-handed Ankiel is needed to heave the ball up field to Ryan or Griffey. At 6-1 and 210 pounds, Ankiel is an imposing figure on the court.
Goalie: Johnny Bench
The "Little General" can command his troops from the back line. It is only natural for a catcher to patrol the net on this handball select squad. He was one of the best fielding catchers of all time and he will hold his own in Olympic handball. Bench had a rocket for an arm, which only helps from goal.
Manager: Joe Maddon
Who better to mix and match this eclectic group of stars? This guy puts pitchers in left field for fun.
Follow Jack Minton on Twitter @jackminton95.