Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One vote makes Leonard back-to-back AL MVP

Gonzalez narrowly edges Anderson for second career AL Cy Young

One vote was all that separated Buffalo's AJ Leonard and Monterrey's Sean Simpson in the AL MVP race. In the end, it was Leonard taking home his second straight MVP, denying Simpson his second career distinction, first on the American League side.

It's not very often that an MVP imrpoves his numbers the season after he wins the award but that's just what Leonard did this year. The Blue Cheese LF batted .328 with 56 homeruns 166 RBI and a 1.086 OPS, up from his season 9 OPS of .993. Leonard won the voting 13 votes to Simpson's 12 in what was the tightest (obviously) of all awards voting.

The AL Cy Young race was nearly as close as Monterrey's Albert Gonzalez edged out St. Louis pitcher Yogi Anderson, 14 votes to 11, and earned his first career Cy Young Award in the process. Gonzalez posted a 16-4 record with a 2.60 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 33 starts for the division champion Sultans. Gonzalez led the American League in ERA for the regular season.

Over in the National League there was far less competition among the award winners. Atlanta's Santiago Perez received a comfortable 15 votes on his way to his first career NL Cy Young Award. Perez led all of The Bigs with 23 wins while posting a 2.64 ERA in 35 starts for the Bandits this season. Perez's teammate, Kazuhiro Wang, finished second in the voting with 7 votes.

Huntington 2B Willie Scott had quite the career season and it earned him his first career All-Star appearance and a National League MVP Award. Scott produced an all-around performance including a .316 batting average with 30 homeruns 115 RBI with 31 stolen bases. Scott also posted a .934 OPS on his way to winning the award.

The Rookie of the Year votes were comfortable wins as well for the award winners. In the AL, it was starting pitcher Bruce Stairs of the Shadow Wolves taking home the hardware. In 33 starts, Stairs posted a 17-11 record with a 3.70 ERA. Washington 2B Andrew Clayton was the NL ROY after he racked up 42 homeruns and 110 RBI in his debut season with the Blue Coats.

Cheyenne's Coco Hines won his second straight AL Fireman of the Year Award after a regular season that saw him collect 56 saves in 61 opportunities while posting a 3.11 ERA. The 56 saves is three shy of the single-season record of 59, set by Hines last season. Alex Javier took home his second NL Fireman of the Year Award in three seasons with Washington, posting 45 saves in 47 opportunities. Javier finished the season with a 1.40 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 77.1 IP.

A.J. Leonard
Blue Cheese
Age: 25B/T: S/R
Born: Verona, NJ
Position(s): LF/1B/DH
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

World Series GM interview: drvmu1

A few quick questions for Anaheim Chiles GM drvmu1 before the season 10 World Series gets underway

This is just your third season with a winning record and second playoff appearance and yet you have the Chiles just four big wins away from the first World Series title in franchise history. What would it mean to you to get this one?
It would be a great deal to win it all this year. Although we are not happy with "just being here", this season and this run have been very rewarding in that they have provided solid affirmation that the approach I took to building this team was the right approach. As recently as last year an article appeared in the blog analyzing what I was doing wrong, and suggesting a variety of "fixes". I have also had several trade chats over the past several seasons providing unsolicited advice as to how to maximize the talent on my team. I don't take offense, but I also never wavered from my approach. Now, here we are, playing for the title - its rewarding.

What will your Chiles need to do to bring home the WS trophy to Anaheim?
Our strength is starting pitching. Its got us this far, and we will definitely need it at is best in order to beat a very tough Huntington squad. But, starting pitching alone won't be enough. We can't afford slumps from our power guys in the middle of the lineup - at least two of our big 3 power guys -Milligan, Candelaria and Stewart- need to have a solid series. Finally, we will need a little luck against Ramirez and Gates. Those guys are as tough as they come, and our offense has been around the middle of the league all year - which will not be good enough to get a win off either of those SPs.

Do you foresee having to make any changes in strategy against this Huntington team?
Good question. We don't want to give away any strategy secrets before the series. But, suffice it to say that yes, we will need to alter our traditional approach. Huntington presents some different challenges that we haven't had to deal with much this year. For example, Huntington's team speed is scary. Cesar Trevino had a good year throwing out baserunners - but, I don't know if he has faced a challenge like this.

How will not having the DH for a few games in Huntington affect your lineup?
It could affect us quite a bit. Jim Adkinsson had a great year for us with 32 HR and hitting nearly .290. In addition, he hit .325 in the post season so far, so we will be without a solid offensive contributor in some of our most crucial situations.

World Series GM interview: jmagliaro

A few quick questions for Huntington Riverdogs GM jmagliaro before the season 10 World Series gets underway

This Huntington franchise has been one of the most successful franchises in The Bigs over the last 10 seasons, winning a WS in season 3. What would it mean for you to get your second one here in season 10?
I think Huntington is the only franchise in the Bigs to have 90+ wins in every season. The goal is to win it every year so I try to put a solid all around team together. To get a 2nd title would be special especially in a league like this. There's some great, dedicated owners here. It won't come easy though, Anaheim has a very solid team.

What will your Riverdogs need to do to bring home the WS trophy to Huntington?
Pitching is always the key. It seems to be a pretty even match up. I'm counting on 5 solid starts between Gates and Graves and good solid defense. Pitching and defense wins championships in my book.
Do you foresee having to make any changes in strategy against this Anaheim team?
We run a lot and Anaheim has some great defensive catchers. So I may need to slow that down a bit.

How will having the DH for a few games in Anaheim affect your lineup?
Having an extra bat in the lineup will be nice. I think it gives us a really nice edge. I think it's more difficult for an AL team losing the DH. My prediction - Huntington in 6.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

One on one with Kansas City GM shobob

We recently caught up with another one of The Bigs' original owners, Kansas City's shobob, to chat about the state of the Scouts franchise, his recent trade for Sammy Pierce and, of course, LeBron James joining the Miami Heat. Here's what shobob had to say:

Which of your HBD teams is your favorite and why?
I have to say that it's the Montreal Maroons in Yastrzemski world. It is the first world I joined, and I am now the commish over there. It is the team that I have won two of my three championships with. Also, there are a couple of my real life friends in that world. It was one of them that introduced me to HBD. My team in The Bigs is a close second though. I love that I am the only owner of this franchise ever.

The Scouts have wrapped up their first NL North division title since season 1. Does your team have what it takes to make a deep playoff run against the likes of powerhouse teams in Atlanta and Washington D.C.?
I think that my team has what it takes to go for a deep playoff run. Having said that, I also wouldn't be surprised by a first round exit, considering that I am likely to face one of D.C., Atl, or Austin. I know that my starting pitching stacks up against any team in the world. I know that my defense wins me games. If we can get some timely hitting, we can go far.

You’ve got a pretty young team there in Kansas City and one that is shaping into a contender. What would you say is the missing piece that would put your team on the same level as the elite of the NL?
We feature pretty good depth across our lineup, but lack an elite power bat.

Explain your thoughts on your trade for future Hall of Fame starter Sammy Pierce. What prompted you to pull the trigger on that deal?
My franchise is coming out of a rebuilding phase, and I decided that I could afford to give up a few prospects in order to pursue any elite talent available through trade. The players I gave up to get Pierce were blocked at the ML level, so I had no problem dealing them. At 32 years old, and with 3 years left on his contract at 8 mil, I figured I was getting a good price for an elite talent.

The world is talking about it so I feel as though I have to ask you. What do you think about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joining forces in Miami?
As a Raptor fan, I feel sad to see our franchise player leave. As a sports fan I'm looking forward to seeing these three guys play together. As a human being, I'm already tired of the hype.

In your opinion, which ratings are the most important when it comes to determining how successful a pitcher might be?
I value control, splits (esp vsR), and having good pitches, keeping mind that it's good to have a knockout pitch. I also value the flyball rating and velocity, but they are secondary. Having the right durability and stamina combination is essential to getting the best out of your staff.

If you could change one thing about HBD, what would it be and why?
HBD is a great game, and I think that WiS does a pretty good job of updating the game. Perhaps the only thing I would change would be loosening up the budgeting restrictions a wee bit. Make 5 or 6 the maximum possible change in budgets. I feel that new owners taking over train-wreck franchises are a bit handcuffed by the budgetary restrictions

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The War Cry Gazette

The final addition of the War Cry Gazette I am afraid. Going on vacation for a month and a half at least. Chances of me returning next season is very remote, a pun in there somewhere. Sorry NJ.

It has been a wild ride for the War Cats this season. I wasn't too happy about how the team played in the new stadium at all. The lineup performed about the same as they always do but have started to come around a bit. Then again it could have been the trade of William Bolling that started the upward mobility. Who really knows. The pitching staff is even looking better. The pitching staff is actually more geared to Cheyenne than their stats at home indicate but I also noticed an improvement after Bollong was gone also. Coco only needs 6 saves to tie last years record and it is possible for him to do it I think or even surpass it.

With 15 games to go, I thought maybe there was a chance to still make the playoffs. But being behind by 6 would be a monumental task. Going 14-1 is about the only way. Even with that, Jackson would only need to win 8 games. But one never knows when a complete collapse will occur, I just don't see it happening.

Have a good one everyone, will check back in season 12 if nothing else.