Friday, July 31, 2009

Offseason changes and rumors

The biggest piece of news to report right now is that there are no changes. No changes in ownership, no teams moving. As stability is usually a great sign for a league, this reporter is pleased to have nothing to report on this subject.

With no team/ownership moves to report, we might as well get the rumor mill up and running. Quite a few names have been bandied about as being available at the GMs meetings in Hawaii. The most prominent of them would be Seattle's King Winn, who struggled mightily after being dealt to the Pacific Northwest mid-season. The likely landing spot for him would be another AL team. Washington is dangling power-hitting 1B Jimmie Williams, as the Blue Coats continue their rebuilding process. Speedster Rico Valdes could be playing for his 5th team in 7 seasons, as Chicago is dangling him. Trenton was disappointed in their 82 win season and looking to make some changes, making it clear that Enrique Park and Alex Sanchez are available for the right price. Expect a flurry of deals right before free-agency- I think a lot of deals are going to get done this season.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Boise Shadow Wolves Press Conference S6 Wrap-up

It was another good year in Boise. We reached our goal of 75 wins, improving over last year and setting a new franchise record.

Ralph Wilkins settled down this year in the long relief roll and had a great season with a 9-4 record and team leading 1.24 WHIP, a 3.10 ERA, .242 OAV and 88 strike outs in 101 innings. Max Dalgado had another strong season in the set-up roll playing 91 innings over 77 games, with a 6-2 record, a 1.51 WHIP, a 3.96 ERA and 76 strike outs. Pete Rubel with his more reasonable contract and less pressure had a solid season as a starter for us this year. his 12-13 record wasn't as good as it could have been, but his 1.28 WHIP, 4.22 ERA, .259 OAV and 137 strikeouts shows that he was getting the job done, it's the offense that wasn't keeping up. York Watson made a good show as a starter after moving over from long relief early in the season with similar stats to rubel. Alex Cornejo was acceptable as the closer picking up 39 saves in 46 opportunities, but management expects him to work on his game in the off-season to bring his WHIP and ERA down a little.

On the batting side of things, rookie Alex Suh lead the team in batting average with .288, followed closely by sophmore catcher Hiram Spooneybarger with .285. Ryan Hamill lead the team in RBIs with 98, followed by Derrek Beddard with 91 and Spooneybarger again with 85. Beddard lead the team in HRs with 31, with Hamill and Spooneybarger close behind with 28 and 27 respectively. Master thief Abdullah Dillon greatly improved on his 40 stolen bases last year, to lead the team with 64 this year. Hal Ball came in second again, jumping from 39 to 55 SBs. Early season aquisition Hideo Nikano was a bust, and will be let go to free agency.

So after another year of improvement, Boise is on the verge of moving up in the division and is looking towards a playoff appearance in the near future. We still have a number of very talented bats looking to find room on the roster, as well as a large pool of starters that are almost ready to make the jump. The Shadow Wolves is a name that other teams will come to fear for years to come.

Wolf Industries and the Shadow Wolves Management Group thanks you for your time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

32 Teams, 32 tweets

A synopsis of each team's season, done Twitter-style (135 characters or less)

National League

Atlanta: No guts, no glory- we get Black, we get MacDougal, we get Romero, we win the title!

Trenton: Patchwork offense, average pitching somehow equals an above .500 record.

Norfolk: Great Gordon season wasted on a 70 win team. Boy, did we miss Broadhurst.

Washington: Just another season closer to the Leonard/Rader era. Biddle and Javier can join them.

Fargo: Simple math: Bad defense + blown saves = wasted Javy starts = early playoff exit.

Chicago: Another 98 win season leads to another early playoff exit.

Toronto: Gave the fans early hope. Won't deviate from the rebuilding plan.

Philadelphia: Bernie and the Phans get a top-3 draft pick.

Houston: NLCS appearance cements our status as one of the best teams in the league.

San Juan: We're the Fouts-era Chargers- score a ton, give up a ton.

New Orleans: There's a hex on everyone on this team not named Matos.

Austin: Work in progress. Better than last season.

Salem: We beat Cheyenne out again. Too bad our march through Atlanta made Sherman roll over in his grave.

Cheyenne: Three playoff apperances, 0 series wins.

Salt Lake City: So close to the playoffs. Top offense in the league. Maybe another starter?

Vancouver: Safe to say the season 4 NL championship was a fluke.

American League

Louisville: Another AL East banner, another heartbreaking playoff loss.

Scranton: Too many good AL teams this season to get in the playoffs. Still a solid season in PA.

New York: The whole Martin thing was weird. Was Omar Minaya GM this season?

Boston: Gonna need more than Cashman on the staff. Fenway's no place for mediocre pitchers.

Milwaukee: If not for the Season 4 title, we'd be the Buffalo Bills.

St. Louis: Pitching staff kept us in almost every night. That's how you win 95. Oh, and have Carrasco close.

Buffalo: We have some talent, but not enough. Need pitching.

Syracuse: Bolivar and Miller go 7-44 combined. McMahon leads team with 7 saves. Need I say more?

Monterrey: Always in the thick of it, but we're hearing footsteps.

Jackson: 91 wins establishes us as a force for seasons to come. Wish that came with a playoff spot.

Oklahoma City: Name change didn't much. More watchable this season, though.

Charlotte: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Black/Winn era is over.

Helena: Loving the new ballpark. Hating the new divisional rivalry.

Seattle: Lost the battle but won the war with Helena. What a roller-coaster ride! Can we get back on line?

Anaheim: Quietly won the most games in our history since our lone division title.

Boise: Cracked 70 wins for the first time. Future looks fairly good in Idaho.

Season-Ending Awards for Season 6

The Fargo branch of TBDN already did a great job of recapping the season-ending awards, so I won't run through all the votes again. But, as usual, I'll tell you who won, who I voted for, and why.



Winner: Osvaldo Johnson, 1B, Chicago
My vote: Johnson

Why: I know he's a 1B, but his numbers are too big to ignore. He hits for average, drives in runs, and steals bases. He's maybe not quite what he once was, but he's still very good. The other candidates were all 1B/COF types, anyway.

Cy Young

Winner: Javier Henriquez, Fargo
My vote: Stephen Michaels, Atlanta

Why: I saw these two guys as being in a virtual tie. I have absolutely no problem with Javy winning this. In fact, looking at the numbers again, I'd probably say he should have. Michaels was so close and I figured this may be his last chance to win one, while Henriquez will likely walk away from his career with so many of these trophies, he won't know what to do with them all.

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Melvin Taylor, Salem
My vote: Taylor

Why: At least I think I voted for him- I honestly don't remember. I'd have to think that batting .316 with over 30 HRs and over 100 RBI would grab my attention. I wish my veterans could put up those numbers.



Winner: Burt Stevenson, Milwaukee
My vote: Stevenson

Why: Took a serious run at the Triple Crown. He ended up winning the batting title, finished 4th in HRs, and 5th in RBI. If you didn't vote for him, you could point to his low number of games played and at-bats (116, 438, respectively), but the damage he did while in the lineup was good enough for me.

Cy Young

Winner: Miguel Benitez, Seattle
My vote: Benitez

Why: This was maybe the most interesting of all the votes I cast. St. Louis closer Carlos Carrasco had a phenomenal season, probably the best season we have ever seen out of a reliever here in the Bigs. He saved 51 out of 52 games, had an ERA of 1.80, a microscopic WHIP of 0.75, and the league hit .163 off him- those are just some of his statistical highlights. However, due to the fact that starters pitch so many more innings, their body of work has to be given more weight in a vote like this. Benitez went 23-8 with a 3.00 ERA and a WHIP of 1.16. More importantly, he pitched a Roy Halladay-like 10 complete games and therefore led the league in innings. He wasn't quite as dominant as Carrasco, but the extra 200 innings is probably more valuable to his team, so he wins the award. This is not to say I would never vote for a closer- if not for Benitez, I would have picked Carrasco here.

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Yogi Anderson, St. Louis
My vote: Anderson

Why: If you've been paying attention, I've been touting Anderson since before he got to the bigs. Went 14-6 with an ERA of 3.09 for a playoff team at the age of 22. He's only going to get better.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

World Series Recap- Season 6

So the World Series pitted the Milwaukee Manic Maulers, making their 4th straight World Series appearance, against the Atlanta Bandits, who were making their first appearance on this stage.


In game 1, neither James Morton nor Stephen Michaels pitched very well- both gave up 3 runs in failing to get out of the 6th. Michaels himself started the scoring in the 3rd by driving in Eric Baker with a single up the middle. Gregg Black stretched the lead out to 3-0 with a 2-run shot in the 5th, but Milwaukee came back in the 6th with 3 runs, as the first four batter reached base and an RBI groundout followed. It stayed 3-3 until the 9th, when Black hit his second homer of the game, a walkoff solo shot off Seth Faulk to send the Atlanta fans home happy after a 4-3 win by the home team.

In game 2, Woody Hiller held the Bandits to two solo shots (Jason Walker and Stan Starr). But Matty Eusebio was better, allowing only 1 run in a 2-1 Bandit win.

In game 3, Atlanta was still playing longball, hitting 3 home runs. Atlanta starter Fred Carter was good enough to win, and the bullpen was again great in a 6-4 victory. Atlanta took a commanding 3-0 lead. Would Milwaukee lay down and die?

In a word, no. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth, Harold Lewis hit a 3-run shot off Tex Howell and Burt Stevenson drew a bases-loaded walk in the 10th to win a 4-3 decision and stave off elimination in game 4.

Game 5 saw a dominant performance from Milwaukee starter Woody Hiller. He went 8 innings, giving up 5 hits and no runs. Ray Buchanan drove in 4 in a 7-0 mauling to bring Milwaukee to within 3-2.

Game 6 saw Milwaukee's bullpen let the team down. Up 6-5 in the 9th, closer King Burns struck out the first two hitters, then allowed 3 straight hits to tie the game. After a pitching change, a walk loaded the bases for Carlton MacDougal, who singled for a walk-off, World Series ending hit. The Bandits won the game 7-6 and the series 4-2. Congrats to the Bandits and to all for a great season 6.

American League Playoff Recap

Here's a recap of the American League Playoffs:

In round 1, despite having 2 fewer wins, #4 Louisville dusted off #5 St. Louis in three straight. Louisville scored more runs in game 3 (11) than St. Louis did in the entire series (8) #6 Seattle knocked off #3 Monterrey 3 games to 2 in the other series. The road team won all 5 games.

Round 2 saw Louisville again take one of the AL titans (this time Milwaukee) to the brink of elimination and fail to get it done. The Legends had a 2 games to 1 lead before falling 3 games to 2. The other series saw Seattle win another deciding game 5 on the road to knock off Helena 3 games to 2.


This set up the perennial contenders against the upstarts. Game 1 saw Milwaukee's Harold Lewis hit 2 home runs off Cy Young winner Miguel Benitez in a 6-2 Milwaukee win.

Game 2 saw both bullpens melt down after good performances by the starters, but Quilvio Sanchez got the last out to earn a save in a 9-7 Seattle win. Seattle was up 9-3 in the ninth, but Milwaukee staged a 4-run rally to make it interesting.

In game 3, Luis Martinez, Harold Lewis, and Ray Buchanan all hit solo shots to lead the Manic Maulers to a 5-1 win in Seattle. Quinton Hughes went 6 strong innings to get the win.

Game 4 saw Quilvio Sanchez load the bases with 2 outs in the ninth with a 5-3 lead. Luis Martinez hit a clutch 2-out single to tie the game, and Milwaukee ended up winning the game with 4 runs (2-run homers by Lewis and Buchanan) in the 10th in a 9-6 win that was the pivotal game of the series.

After the back-breaking loss in game 4, Seattle had nothing left for game 5. They managed only 5 hits and starter Junior Bennett could not keep Milwaukee off the scoreboard. The 7-0 thrashing seemed like a foregone conclusion to the disappointed Seattle crowd. Still, they managed to cheer their team for their great season and unexpected playoff run. As for Milwaukee, they would move on to face Atlanta.

National League Playoff Recap

Here's a quick National League playoff recap:

In the first round, #5 Chicago outscored #4 Salem by a count of 32-21 and still lost the series 3-2. David Dunwoody outdueled Orber Marin in a tense 4-3 game 5 win. In the other series, #3 Houston's pitchers kept #6 Cheyenne's hitters off-balance and won fairly easily, 3-1.

In Round 2, Atlanta ran through Salem in three straight. They pounded co-ace Dwight Salmon for 10 runs in game 1 and never looked back. Houston pulled a mild upset, beating the defending champs in 4 games. Houston won both games that Fargo ace Javier Henriquez pitched- in game 1, his defense and bullpen let him down (story of his life) and in game 4, the Riverdogs got him for 6 runs.


So that left Houston against Atlanta in the NLCS. In game 1, Stephen Michaels pitched a 2-hit shutout over 7 innings, and Carlton MacDougal had 3 hits and drove in 2 to fuel a 4-1 Bandit win.

Game 2 saw some drama. Houston's Lonny Gates was spectacular, pitching a 2-hit shutout over 6 innings. It looked like a 3rd inning RBI single by Cy Hughes would hold up until the 9th, when the great Gregg Black stepped up against Houston closer Matt Skinner with one on and launched a 2-1 pitch into the rightfield bleachers to give Atlanta a 2-1 walk-off victory and a 2-0 lead in the series.

Game 3 saw the Houston bats energized in front of their home crowd. The Riverdogs jumped on Atlanta starter Fred Carter early, getting 7 runs in 5 2/3 innings. That was plenty for Jason Sprague, who pitched 7 strong innings in a 7-2 win.

Unfortunately for Houston, they used up all their hits in game 3 and had none left for the 4th game. Stephen Michaels had all his pitches going and held Houston to 2 hits again, this time going 7 1/3. A bases-loaded walk in the 6th proved to be the only run in a 1-0 Bandits win.

Game 5 saw the Riverdogs stave off elimination thanks to a 3-run first inning homer by Bob Koplove, which was more than enough for Jerome Oliver, who went 8 innings in a 3-1 win.

Game 6 was another low-scoring affair. A 4th ininng passed ball by Houston produced the only run of the game until the 9th, when Orlando Franco hit a home run off Atlanta (and former Houston) closer Tex Howell to keep the series alive. But in the bottom of the 13th, Lynn Abernathy singled home Vicente Romero to clinch the series for the Bandits, securing a 2-1 win in the game and a 4-2 series win.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Season 6 Bigs-less Awards

We all know who were the best of show in the AL and NL, but what about the players that deserve a "Flying Fickle Finger of Fate" trophy or ones that may need a new job at seasons end?

Pitchers Dream Award:
NL: Steven Leonard with 146 strike outs in 642 AB's.

AL: Randall Fisher with 153 strikeouts in 642 AB's.

Chicks Dig It (Adam Dunn) Award:
NL: Monte Duvall with 58 chick magnets and a .258 average.

AL: Henry Rogers with 54 chick balls with .239 average.

Police Laughing Award:
NL:Lynn Abernathy with 5 thefts but got caught 20 times.

AL:Tommy Jordan with 13 thefts and getting caught 23 times.

My Bad Award:
NL: Eric Baker with 41 fumbled attempts.

AL: Marty James with 53 fumbled balls.

Minus Plays or What Was I Doing Award:
NL: Brace Kroeger wins the award for the second straight year with 12, losing to Willie Scott by a plus play.

AL: Albert Reith with 28 mind numbing boo boo's.

Am I A Pitcher or What Award:
NL: Turner Darr with a 2-20 record in 33 starts.

AL: Louie Bolivar with a 4-24 record in 34 starts.

Hero-less Complete Game Award:
NL: Benji Stewart with 2 CG's to his credit but a 9-11 campaign.

AL: Kelly Downs with 2 complete games and 2 shutouts but a 8-11 record.

Failure to Duck or Taking One for the Team Award:
NL: Melvin Taylor has 24 bruises to prove it.

AL: Justin Hernandez has 22 seams tattooed around his arms.

Iron-Manless Hitting Award:
NL: Raymond Lamb with .253 average in 632 AB's.

AL: Alfredo Hogan with a .229 average in 621 AB's.

Iron-Manless Pitching Award:
NL: Albert Valdez compiled a 10-14 record while pitching 209 innings and 40 starts.

AL: Ham Bruske compiled a 5-20 record with 203 innings of work.

The Backstop is My Friend Award:
NL: Ted Robertson for allowing 12 balls to go by.

AL: Hiram Spooneybarger as he allowed 16 backstop bouncers.

O.J. takes home fourth MVP, Stevenson gets his second

Henriquez collects third NL Cy Young

The voters have spoken and they say that Chicago's Osvaldo Johnson is the season 6 National League Most Valuable Player, making this the second straight season and fourth time overall that O.J. has been named the NL MVP in his six seasons of play. O.J. compiled a .322 batting average and .394 OBP to go with his 51 homeruns and 143 RBI in his first season with Chicago.

Johnson didn't run away with the award though as teammate Sean Simpson, Fargo's Alex Lim and Salt Lake City's Vic James gave him some competition. In the end, O.J. received 11 votes, Simpson 7 and six a piece for Lim and James.

The American league Most Valuable Player award voting wasn't nearly as close as Milwaukee's Burt Stevenson took home his second career AL MVP. Stevenson amassed a .342 batting average and a .449 OBP along with his 48 homeruns and 123 RBI for the Manic Maulers this season. He received 15 votes while Jackson's Dennis Tamura finished second with 8.

Much like the MVP, the Cy Young vote was a close one in the National League. Fargo's Javier Henriquez narrowly edged Atlanta's Steven Michaels to earn his third career NL Cy Young award, 14 votes to 12. Henriquez went 18-6 this season with a 2.29 ERA and 0.93 WHIP and struck out a league-leading 262 batters in 224 IP.

Over in the American League, Seattle's Miguel Benitez ran away with the Cy Young award, receiving a total of 17 votes. Benitez compiled a 23-8 record with a 3.00 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 267.1 innings pitched. Benitez's 23 wins fell just one short of the single season wins record of 24, set by Fargo's Jim Arnold in season 2.

In other awards news, Salem's Melvin Taylor was named the NL Rookie of the Year after hitting .316 with 31 homeruns, 106 RBI and a .393 OBP in his first major league season. St. Louis pitcher Yogi Anderson won the AL ROY after he posted a 14-6 record with a 3.09 ERA in 25 starts this season.

Houston's Matt Skinner was named NL Fireman of the Year for converting 36 of 42 save opportunities and posting a 2.56 ERA while striking out 90 in 84.1 IP. St Louis' closer Carlos Carrasco took home the award in the AL. Carrasco converted 51 of 52 save chances and posted a 1.80 ERA, 0.75 WHIP in 55 innings pitched.

Osvaldo Johnson
Snake Tamers
Age: 31B/T: R/R
Born: Bethania, PA
Position(s): LF/1B
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Friday, July 24, 2009

World Series

Milwaukee Manic Maulers vs Atlanta Bandits - The #1 seeds face off in the ultimate battle. With the injury to the Maulers Luis Martinez could be crucial as the backup is not as good. Will the shuffle be good enough to stave off the Bandits. More pressure will be added to Burt Stevenson to break the vaunted starting pitching of the Bandits. The Odds-Makers like the Bandits pitching staff and they call the hitting even to the tune of 3-1.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Minors For Season 6

Congrats to the minor league World Series winners!

AAA - Austin City Limits downs Boise Shadow Wolves 4-0
AA - Boise Shadow Wolves downs Toronto Toros 4-3
HiA - Helena Grotto Gottos downs Austin City Limits 4-2.
LowA - Boston Bambinos downs Vancouver Golden Otters 4-0.
Rookie - Milwaukee Manic Maulers downs Austin City Limits 4-3.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Seattle Killer Whales vs Milwaukee Manic Maulers - Quite a match up in the AL, the #1 seed vs a very good #6 seed. Puffer may miss the first two games and that could hurt Seattle's chances. The Odds-Makers like Milwaukee 3-2.

Houston Riverdogs vs Atlanta Bandits - These two do not like each other, plain and simple. Houston got by the Dirtbags rather easily while Atlanta snuffed out Salem quickly. The Odds-Makers like the 'Dogs bite but their money is on Atlanta's hidden talents 3-2.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Round 2

Louisville Legends vs Milwaukee Manic Maulers - An interesting match up as the Legends swept the Nannies to get here. The Maulers were 7-1 against the Legends early in the season but the Legends took two of three late. This could be an upset in the making. The Odds-makers don't believe it though as Milwaukee is favored 3-1.

Seattle Killer Whales vs Helena Grotto Gottos - A match up of division foes. This one could go either way as Seattle beat Monterrey on the road but lost at home. Helena must win at home to stop this trend since they have home field. The Odds-makers don't like this series and call it even money.

Salem Sacrifices vs Atlanta Bandits - Salem shocked the baseball community by upsetting Chicago as their late game heroics fell short. Salem didn't fare well against Atlanta at home but did manage a 3-3 split in Atlanta. Odds-makers likes Atlanta 3-1.

Houston Riverdogs vs Fargo Dirtbags - Houston put down a Cheyenne Nation uprising to get here. Fargo had to hold onto the division lead late in the season. The series was a 5-5 wash. The Odds-makers love this series and are proclaiming an upset as they favor Houston 3-2.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Helena vs Vegas

Did the move from Las Vegas to Helena make a difference?

Overall Hitting: 1st in AL this season, 3rd at home, 2nd on the road. Although the team has always hit well on the road this years road warriors was about the same as in most of the past seasons. The home effort was the best since season 1 by quite a bit.

The HR total though was not as great as many would think, they only hit 214 which is 10th ranked, that is 24 more than last year but still far fewer than the first 3 seasons in Vegas. The home run total was split between home and away. They led the league in doubles and triples, a big improvement by the team from past seasons, not records, but the best by an AL team since season 3. More were hit on the road than at home. The team had more overall hits at home which might indicate that the ball park was the cause but they also had more hits on the road than in previous seasons also.

Overall Pitching: 6th in the AL this season, 3rd at home, 13th on the road. You would have thought it would have been more evenly distributed or better on the road. Kind of surprised me also, as Las Vegas is more of a pitchers park but never they pitched well at home there.

Overall Team Defense: 8th in the AL this season. Actually ranked lower and played better than previous seasons.

Was it turnover? Actually there was in the hitting department as Will Weston, Karim Batista and Aurelio Prieto made complete season debuts. A few non hitting defensive bums were let go from previous seasons, even All-Star SS, F.P. Saipe. The pitching staff remained the same however.

Did the Park contribute to Helena's success over Las Vegas. The numbers don't exactly say they do. It looks like the answer lies in better personnel. However will someone please tell me why Clarence Hartman is such a waste? Pitchers cringe when he is catching. His stats show he is not a bad hitter but struggles to get there, trust me on that. His stint at AAA looks good, .343, walks to SO's look good and 7 HR's in 49 games look good, until you find out that of those 7, 4 were hit in one game and 5 were hit against a fatigued pitching staff. Just seems like he takes the patience thing a bit too far.

Monday, July 13, 2009

3 Games To Go

I have seen some wild finishes before, but this season takes the cake. Normally, with three games to go most of the seeds have been claimed with maybe 1 or 2 that is a fight to the finish. Not this season.

First the wild NL races.

1. Atlanta Bandits - Has won the East crown and the #1 seed.

2. Claimers: Chicago Snake Tamers, Fargo Dirtbags, Houston Riverdogs
Fargo has run into a buzz saw lately and are still reeling going 2-11 and dropping a 10 game lead in the North. While the Dirbags were off fishing for a win, Chicago started a 16-2 run that has them tied atop the North and poised to take the crown. Houston hoped to grab the #2 seed while Fargo was getting thumped but fell victim to Chicago.
All three are in the Show, but Chicago hosts the spoiler capable Toronto Toros who just swept Fargo. Fargo travels to the home of Philadelphia Phantoms who surprised Chicago in game 1 their series and could spoil Fargos dreams. Houston faces the tough upset minded New Orleans Voodoo. If you go by teams records, Fargo has the best shot at claiming the #2 seed while Houston claims the #3 seed and poor Chicago captures the #5 seed, but boys and girls, this is exactly why we play the games.

4. Once, in a galaxy very very far away, this seed belonged to the Salem Sacrifices until Salt Lake got done with them. Out of nowhere rode the Cheyenne Nation with brightly painted faces and war clubs pounding opponents into submission. Now these two bitter enemies will do battle in a three game set in Cheyenne to see who wins the crown and the seed.

5. The loser of the North gets to claim this lowly slot.

6. The loser of the West can claim this slot if it is not a sweep, ironic. The Salt Lake City Shakers who got into this predicament by the Toronto "Spoiler" Toros before sweeping Salem could yet claim the seed with a sweep of the home standing Vancouver Golden Otters but needs help with a sweep in the West title series.

Did everyone get that? I am not sure either..whew..that is enough to make ones head spin. So onward to the easy AL. Did I say easy? Think again grasshopper.

1. Milwaukee Manic Maulers - Came from behind as predicted to claim the North crown and the #1 seed. Has a 3 game set at Buffalo.

2. Currently held by the Helena Grotto Gottos thanks to St Louis and Boise for beating up on Seattle and Monterrey losing. Helena faces Seattle for the West crown once again and needs to win one of the three for that to happen and 2 wins could wrap up the #2 seed.

3. Monterrey Sultans wins the South crown thanks to a Charlotte win over Jackson. Could claim the #2 seed but first must get by the Jackson Vipers who still have a slim playoff chance.

4. Louisville Legends wins the East crown and faces the Scranton Janitors in their finale. The Legends could climb a seed or two if they are lucky.

5. St. Louis Silly Nannies will likely end in this spot as they face the Syracuse Simpletons. A sweep is expected but not guaranteed ya know but needs a win to ensure a playoff spot or a Jackson loss.

6. The Loser of the West or the Jackson Vipers. The Vipers could make it but only if they sweep Monterrey and Helena sweeps Seattle or Syracuse sweeps St. Louis (I said Jackson's chances were slim but better than none).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

10 To Go

With 10 games to I wold have thought things may have cleared a little, but there I go thinking again. This week we will look at the NL first where scheduling was done by the Commissioners front office gopher, Dick Dastardly and his sidekick Muttley. I will tell you they are a sadistic pair as you will see.


1. Atlanta Bandits - Has East Crown and maybe the #1 seed and came very close to thumping the Bunnies out of the playoff picture. Up next is a 4 game series with the North Leading Fargo Dirtbags.

2. Fargo Dirtbags - Leads the North comfortably and has a playoff spot, but must travel to Atlanta in what could be a prelude to the playoffs already. This has Chicago tuning their flutes and Houston licking their chops.

3. Houston Riverdogs - Has the South crown already in hand and sees the Fargo - Atlanta series as a way to jump seeds. Always a but though, a 4 four game home series with the playoff bound Chicago bunch could prove to be another playoff prelude. After that they have to face them Dead Bunnies who may not be DOA.

4. Salem Sacrifices - Leads the West by 4 games. They travel to Washington for a 4 game series before facing playoff contenders Salt Lake City and Cheyenne both on the road.

5. Chicago Snake Tamers - AS already stated they still have a shot at the division crown, but must play Houston and hope Atlanta beats up on Fargo.

6. Cheyenne Nation - Has a 1 game lead for the final spot and has a relatively easy schedule until the final 3 with Salem.

7. Salt Lake City Shakers - After dropping the last three to Trenton put their hopes on hold. They do have a relatively easy schedule with only Salem to dim their hopes.

8. San Juan Dead Bunnies - After resuscitation from the Atlanta disaster it doesn't actually get much better with Trenton and Houston in their schedule. Still could pick up the pieces if Cheyenne and Salt Lake fold.

9. Trenton Traffic - Yes, they are still in the mix barely after winning 5 of their last 6. They could also pick off a spot though it is remote as they face the Bunnies and Bandits yet.

What a week it will be in the NL!!!! But if you think that is wild, look at the AL.

And if you thought the Dick and Muttley lineup was fun, look at the AL. At one time all the front runners was tied for the #1 seed and it could happen again this week.


1. Milwaukee Manic Maulers - Has suddenly come alive and usurped the North lead to start, thanks to the St Louis demise at the hands of Jackson. The Maulers have a relatively easy schedule and could easily knock St Louis out of the playoffs later in the week.

2. Seattle Killer Whales - Has a 1 game lead in the West and in a tie for the #1 seed. Has an upcoming 4 game series with St Louis that could break someones back and of course the season ending series with Helena.

3. Monterrey Sultans - Had a seemingly comfortable lead in the South until the Jackson Vipers raised their ugly heads and struck without compassion. An ending series with Jackson could be interesting if things go haywire.

4. Louisville Legends - The only team in the AL with a guaranteed playoff spot at the moment with the East crown already in their pocket. Moving up the ladder to another seed will be tough as their schedule isn't hard but sure isn't easy by any means.

5. Helena Grotto Gottos - Has lost the lead in the West to the revived hard charging Killer Whales. Losing their last two game to their nemesis, Buffalo, the last being a 16 inning marathon, hurt. The schedule is relatively easy till the final series with Seattle which could decide the West race.

6. St. Louis Silly Nannies - Did have the North crown in sight, but 5 straight losses to Buffalo and Jackson dimmed that issue and put their playoff hopes in jeopardy. With Seattle and Milwaukee in the next 7 games could be a ball buster.

7. Jackson Vipers - They have made their presence known quickly. After seemingly blowing their chances with Louisville and Buffalo (there is that team again), have come on strong winning their last 7 games and making a strong bid for a playoff spot. Not that easy of a schedule left and Monterrey may decide their fate in the final 3.

Footnote: A 100 win season by a team looks very remote in the AL this year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

International Market News, Top 5

Miguel Castilla became the highest paid IFA so far this season at $27M and a MLB contract. Was he worth it? The answer to that question is to wait and see. But, if you ask me, we can say future Cy Youngs abound for this young superstar pitcher and it might start by the end of next season for Austin.

Max Javier is second so far tolling in at $20M. Washington D.C. fans are a little down on the kid as they are worried that he isn't going to be a world class SS they hoped for. Not to worry because he can play 3B and can hit for average with a few dingers tossed in.

Alex Jose is next on the list at $18M. Although it is tough figuring out which is his first name, he does have the credentials to play SS even if it might be on the light side. Who can turn down a power hitting SS anyway.

Neifi Gonzalez is fourth in the list at $18M. Nefi will be good, but his stamina is weak to go real deep into games and the pitching stable is a little light and odd.

Del Rodriguez rounds out the top 5 at $15.5M. Not the greatest on defense but does have adequate PC and glove. Power and more power as he will be tough out and many will land in the upper deck.

21 Games To Go

With everybody seemingly wanting something to read, I will post this little article.

In the AL, nothing is set in stone except maybe the playoff teams. I chose 90 wins as a plateau because that rules out most of the teams at this time but 7.

AL North

St. Louis Silly Nannies are in 1st but for how long remains a question but with only needing 8 wins to reach the magical 90 win plateau they are pretty well assured a playoff spot barring a complete collapse that I don't see happening.

Milwaukee Manic Maulers are 1-game behind the Nannies which is surprising. Don't count the Maulers out just yet as they will be playoff bound also needing 9 wins to reach 90.

AL East
Louisville Legends needs 9 wins to reach the 90 plateau and looks to be in the playoffs.
Scranton Janitors was in position to make a run but their last 4 losses falling 10 games back put them in serious jeopardy and chances on making 90 wins impossible.

AL South
Monterrey Sultans needs 5 wins for the plateau and should arrive to it quickly with probably the number 1 seed.
Jackson Vipers are in 2nd and needs 13 wins. 90 wins is not impossible and could throw a kink into another teams playoff plans but it may take more than 90 wins and that could be hard. They remain a dark horse to make the playoffs.

AL West
Helena Grotto Gottos lead the West and only needs 7 wins for 90.
Seattle Killer Whales have made up ground and has moved slowly into contention for the division crown and only need 9 wins for 90 which should be relatively easy.

1. Monterrey Sultans
2. Milwaukee Manic Maulers
3. Helena Grotto Gottos or Seattle Killer Whales
4. Louisville Legends
5. St. Louis Silly Nannies
6. Helena Grotto Gottos or Seattle Killer Whales
7. Jackson Vipers

The NL on the other hand is a much different picture. Several teams are still in the picture and need to step their game up to have a chance.

NL North
Fargo Dirtbags look poised for another crown.
Chicago Snake Tamers needs 10 for 90 wins and that will easily put them in the playoff picture.

NL East
Atlanta Bandits are the only team that has a playoff spot guaranteed as they have layed claim to the division crown and probably the #1 seed.

NL South
Houston Riverdogs are playoff bound, just a matter of time.

NL West
Salem Sacrifices lead the West but have a couple usurpers on their tail.
Salt Lake City Shakers have been on a run as of late to get into playoff position and a possible division crown.
Cheyenne Nation was in position to claim the title but ran into a buzz saw the last 10 games and needs to turn it around.

1. Atlanta Bandits
2. Fargo Dirtbags
3. Houston Riverdogs
4. Salem Sacrifices, Salt Lake City Shakers or Cheyenne Nation
5. Chicago Snake Tamers
6. Salem Sacrifices, Salt Lake City Shakers, Cheyenne Nation, San Juan Dead Bunnies or Trenton Traffic.

The 4th and 6th seed will be a fight to the end. The New Orleans Voodoo, although on a tear of late, are not consider in contention at this time needing to run the gamut. Not unheard of, of course, but pretty doubtful.