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Old 04-08-2019, 10:49 PM   #2801
Questdog
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Originally Posted by DD Martin View Post
Come on I cut slack with the other 3 game series with the less than spectacular Atlanta team. He only has to probably win 1 game in that, so yeah piece of cake
Okay, you win 3 of 4 from Boston and 2 of 3 from Indy and win 4 of 6 from Milwaukee and Atlanta. That is 87 wins on the season. That is going 9-4 to close out the year, which is a pretty tall order, but not impossible.

But even if that record would assure you of the title, it would be no piece of cake. Wining 5 of 7 from the two teams ahead of you a piece of cake? But even if you do accomplish your goals, in order for you to win, BOTH Boston and Indianapolis must lose more games than they win the rest of the way (plus neither Vancouver or New York can go on a big winning streak but that seems like the lesser worry). And one of the Titans or Indians is guaranteed of winning at least two from the other. And that is just to get to a tie and a playoff....

If Boston takes 2 of 3 from Indy (and loses 3 of 4 to you), then they must not do better than split their remaining games and Indy must not do better than 4-3.
If Indy takes 2 of 3 from Boston (and loses 2 of 3 to you), they still have 7 other games (he does not show one of their remaining games) and they MUST lose at least 4 of them in order for you to tie them and Boston cannot go better than 4-2 in their other games.

And this is all assuming you do mange to beat them 5 of 7....

If either Boston or Indy sweeps the other, then the Raccoons are in even deeper doo doo...

Yeah, Piece of Cake, Baby!!

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Westheim (04-09-2019)
Old 04-08-2019, 10:57 PM   #2802
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Originally Posted by Questdog View Post
Okay, you win 3 of 4 from Boston and 2 of 3 from Indy and win 4 of 6 from Milwaukee and Atlanta. That is 87 wins on the season. That is going 9-4 to close out the year, which is a pretty tall order, but not impossible.

But even if that record would assure you of the title, it would be no piece of cake. Wining 5 of 7 from the two teams ahead of you a piece of cake? But even if you do accomplish your goals, in order for you to win, BOTH Boston and Indianapolis must lose more games than they win the rest of the way (plus neither Vancouver or New York can go on a big winning streak but that seems like the lesser worry). And one of the Titans or Indians is guaranteed of winning at least two from the other. And that is just to get to a tie and a playoff....

If Boston takes 2 of 3 from Indy (and loses 3 of 4 to you), then they must not do better than split their remaining games and Indy must not do better than 4-3.
If Indy takes 2 of 3 from Boston (and loses 2 of 3 to you), they still have 7 other games (he does not show one of their remaining games) and they MUST lose at least 4 of them in order for you to tie them and Boston cannot go better than 4-2 in their other games.

And this is all assuming you do mange to beat them 5 of 7....

If either Boston or Indy sweeps the other, then the Raccoons are in even deeper doo doo...

Yeah, Piece of Cake, Baby!!
They control their destiny so with all the issues of the season they got a shot, but if they even go 3-4 let alone even worse against the Titans and Indians......they will be toast!

Good luck Raccoons, you might need it but you have a chance. Now do it
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:59 PM   #2803
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I think my point was that they do NOT control their own destiny.....they need to play great AND get some help.....
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:39 AM   #2804
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I think my point was that they do NOT control their own destiny.....they need to play great AND get some help.....
Oh definitely I agree I’m just being an old school fanboy. They had such an up and down season it would just be a fun ending to see them do it.

But I definitely concede the point to you, they need a lot of help and maybe a little miracle or divine intervention too
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Old 04-09-2019, 01:42 AM   #2805
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Oh, I appreciate the enthusiasm. *Somebody*'s gonna have some …!

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I think my point was that they do NOT control their own destiny.....they need to play great AND get some help.....
Well, we *do* control our own destiny; but as indicated, 5-2 against Boston and Indy in the final week is unlikely to cut a big enough slice of cake. Just like sweeping the Loggers is a must now. 9-4 is probably not gonna be enough given that we trail *two* teams rather than one. Oh and by the way, we have a losing record against both Indy and Boston this year.

It would also help if they would as a general rule of thumb score more than negative eleven runs from their three on, no out situations, and would plate more than 2.9 runs per game for nitty-gritty Rico Gutierrez. One of those numbers is actually true.

I think (and thought right away) that losing Ramos (AGAIN!) did them in, no matter the wonky pitching. Ramos is a career .322/.418/.420 bat and steals two bases per five games he appears in. Ramos is a first-rate difference maker. Ramos is irreplaceable. He is a consistent stir on the opposition and the Raccoons (or any other team!) have nobody to replace him. Not even close.

Alberto Ramos has also missed 60 games on average for the last three seasons.

Colombian Yeshiva Rambam alumnus Juan Magallanes is hardly in the same species compared to Ramos, let alone a comparable ballplayer. Butch Gerster? Last year's Butch Gerster might have briefly, superficially plastered over some of the cracks. This year's Butch Gerster is a damn crack. The Raccoons shoved about 1,000 to 1,400 at-bats down some damn cracks this year, depending on how much wheel spin you get from Elias Matias Tovias Diaz (David Vinson part deux). Tovias is defensively unremarkable, but pitchers like to work with him and say he helps them make smart decisions. It is hard to put a metric on that. And Rafael Gomez? He batted .288/.337/.472 just *two* years ago. I have no idea what happened there.

Maybe we should finally have the lead paint scraped off in the clubhouse??

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If Indy takes 2 of 3 from Boston (and loses 2 of 3 to you), they still have 7 other games (he does not show one of their remaining games)
Whoopsie. I removed the wrong piece o' string there. The Indians play four with the Crusaders; their Thunder games were done on the weekend.

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At least finish ahead of those Lady Canadiennes....
(brashly swipes the smiling plush elk with the wiggling antlers out of Chad's paws)
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:26 AM   #2806
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Raccoons (78-71) vs. Knights (76-72) – September 17-19, 2029

Penultimate week, and every game counted now! Wait, didn’t they count before? Anyway, the Knights were in town and the Coons needed to turn their fortunes against them around sharply and right now; they had won only two games of their previous six against Atlanta, the second-place team in the South, but practically eliminated at 12 games out. They had a -18 run differential, sitting eighth in runs scored and runs allowed alike.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (2-1, 2.22 ERA) vs. Jesse Schiebout (7-7, 4.08 ERA)
Jamie O’Leary (2-9, 3.62 ERA) vs. Mario Rosas (14-13, 3.40 ERA)
Dave Martinez (5-1, 2.54 ERA) vs. Tim Wells (15-10, 4.04 ERA)

Some nagging injuries had thrown the Knights’ rotation into disarray, but we were most likely to get this set of the right-hander Schiebout (pronounce: sheep-out) and then a pair of lefties after that.

And we had to murder all of them, at the same time being without Matt Jamieson and his balking back for at least this series. There was also no hope to get back either Mora or Ramos this week. Mora maybe next week, Ramos likely not then either…

Game 1
ATL: CF Denham – C S. Garcia – 2B J. Johnson – RF Pincus – 1B Lundy – SS Hughes – 3B Greene – LF W. Lopez – P Schiebout
POR: CF Magallanes – 3B Nunley – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – C Ivey – SS Gerster – P Gutierrez

The first 13 batters in the game were all retired until Willie Lopez coaxed a walk from Rico Gutierrez in the third inning. He was bunted over, then stranded on Ryan Denham’s K. In the bottom of the inning the Critters scored a run rather unceremoniously given that after Shane Ivey’s leadoff single he advanced on a Gerster groundout once and on a wild pitch twice. A leadoff walk drawn by Steve Garcia and a Roy Pincus single put Rico into a pickle in the fourth, but he got out of the inning on two fly outs to Rafael Gomez, while the Critters also got Nunley to draw a leadoff walk in the inning, after which Rich Hereford doubled down the rightfield line to present Kevin Harenberg with a clutch situation. Kevin flew out to Pincus, but plenty deep and bringing home Nunley with the second run. Hereford ended stranded when Tim Stalker, batting .189 this month and falling, struck out and Gomez lined out to Craig Lundy. The crowd would get on its hindpaws cheering for Shane Ivey then in the fifth, which the former third-string catcher led off with a jack to right, his first major league homer, and a shot that pushed the score to 3-0. The Coons had a further run thrown out at the plate by Denham in this bottom 5th; Gerster reached on an infield single, stole second, but turned out could not quite score on Magallanes’ single to left…

Rico threw 110 pitches for seven shutout innings, parking runners on the corners again in the sixth and Drew Greene at third base in his last frame. Greene opened the inning with a double to left-center, advanced on a wild pitch after Willie Lopez had popped out, and then still didn’t get across when PH Chris Mendoza grounded out to Harenberg and Denham also popped out to Hereford in shallow left. The Coons would not tack on in the bottom 7th, but Kevin Surginer kept the door shut on the Knights in the top of the eighth, whiffing Garcia and John Johnson and getting Pincus to fly out to right. While Josh Boles was readying himself, Rich Hereford socked a solo shot off Levi Snoeij in the bottom 8th, thus taking off the save chance unless somebody else would fudge up. That somebody else was picked to be Jonathan Fleischer, but he in fact retired the Knights in order to put the game away. 4-0 Furballs. Hereford 2-4, HR, RBI; Tovias (PH) 1-1; Ivey 2-3, HR, RBI; Gutierrez 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, W (3-1);

The Titans won against the Thunder on Monday, but the Indians fell short against the Baybirds, but the Coons remained three games out overall.

Game 2
ATL: 3B A. Alvarez – C S. Garcia – 2B J. Johnson – RF Pincus – 1B Lundy – CF Greene – LF Kym – SS Hughes – P Rosas
POR: CF Magallanes – SS Gerster – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Rodriguez – 2B Stalker – C Tovias – RF Gomez – P O‘Leary

As much as the Coons had suffocated the Knights on Monday, as useless was O’Leaky on Tuesday. There were probably reasons for why he was 2-9; running three-ball counts against everybody and putting the first four batters in the game on base was probably somewhere high on the list. Adrian Alvarez and Steve Garcia hit singles, John Johnson walked, and Roy Pincus hit a 2-run double. Another run scored on Lundy’s grounder, with 3-0 being the end point for this inning. Top 2nd, Rosas singled, Alvarez doubled, Garcia hit an RBI single, and with that, O’Leary was yanked. Stonecipher replaced him, but his very first pitch was wild and scored Alvarez, he walked Johnson, and then was dumb/lucky enough to get Pincus to hit into an inning-ending double play, which also closed O’Flakey’s line at 1.1 innings and five runs, all earned, but I would wait out the game and only beat him to death afterwards.

As the Coons were hitless against Rosas after three innings, the Raccoons decided to give up on this game. Bobby Reed and the rest of the runts of the litter would parade through the last six innings. The good thing about baseball was that a 5-0 loss and a 15-0 loss were all counting the same. Reed tossed two shutout innings, even getting that damn ERA under nine, before his spot came up with Tovias and Gomez on base and one out in the bottom 5th. Nunley batted, popped out, and Magallanes’ grounder up the middle was easily handled by Johnson, and the Coons kept being shut out.

Two shutout innings by Billy Ramm followed, and then the Coons were on base again in the bottom 7th. Wilson Rodriguez led off with a double to left, the fourth hit off Rosas and the first for extra bases, and Rosas went on to lose Stalker and Tovias on walks, giving him six free passes on the day (but the Coons were also at three double plays…). Three on, no outs – the stuff of nightmares. Gomez gunned a grounder into a double play RIGHT AWAY. That scored a run alright, but also ended the big. German Sanchez batted for Ramm to counter Rosas, but flew out to right. The Knights would get a run off Billy Brotman in the ninth. The Coons, after Ryan Allan drew a walk off Jose Fuentes in the bottom 9th, would hit into a fifth double play (Stalker) to end the game. 6-1 Knights. Tovias 1-1, 2 BB; Reed 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K; Ramm 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K;

The competition won; we were now four games out.

Okay, boys. That was your freebie. You won’t get a second one, I’m afraid.

And as if that was not bad enough already, weather got involved, too; it rained all of Wednesday, washing out the rubber game and postponing it to Thursday, a common off day. At that point, the Titans had swept the Thunder, and the Coons were 4 1/2 games out of first…

Game 3
ATL: CF W. Lopez – C S. Garcia – 2B J. Johnson – RF Pincus – 1B Kym – SS Hughes – LF Greene – 3B Ri. Miller – P Wells
POR: CF Magallanes – 3B Nunley – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Rodriguez – SS Stalker – C Tovias – RF Gomez – P Martinez

When the going gets tough, some go home, and some go the extra mile; Dave Martinez kept holding up, somehow, and didn’t allow a run in the early innings, while the Raccoons clubbed Tim Wells for three solo homers in the first two innings. One came off Harenberg’s bat in the third, running the tally to 3-0. The other two? Matt Nunley! Marvelous Matt went deep to right in the first, then deep to left-center in the third, and while the crowd appreciated the first one, they went bonkers on the second bang!

The party stopped before long with Martinez getting pierced for two runs in the fourth, which Johnson opened with a triple. Pincus singled him in, got forced out, but Andy Hughes doubled over Gomez’ head and Greene brought in a run with a groundout. With the tying run at third, the Coons put Rich Miller on base with intent, and had Martinez whiff Wells to bail out. The break was but brief; Roy Pincus doubled home Willie Lopez in the fifth, and that one tied the score at three. Martinez’ stint ended after six due to developments outside his control, meaning somehow three Coons fell onto the base paths with two outs in the bottom 6th. Stalker singled, Tovias walked on a questionable call, and Gomez legged out a ****ty roller that died annoyingly far away from Rich Miller to allow him to reach first unbeaten. Sadly, the Coons failed to come up with a pinch-hitter more impressive than Butch Gerster, who flew out to Pincus. The Raccoons failed to get Magallanes around in the seventh despite him reaching on a leadoff walk AND stealing second base. Top 8th, Billy Ramm came on to face Kym, but the Knights sent right-hander Matt Dehne as pinch-hitter. Ramm hung one, Dehne ripped it, and it flew right outta here. Same for Billy Ramm, who got booted down the stairs to the clubhouse.

Bottom 8th, Rodriguez led off with a comebacker which Wells threw into Steve Garcia’s face and the catcher first, first baseman secondly swiped it away with his glove for an error (on Wells). Rodriguez reached second on a wild pitch, and that was the ****ing tying run, so somebody hit the gap right now! Stalker grounded out to Johnson, moving the runner to third, and Tovias grounded back to the mound, moving the runner nowhere in particular while cashing the second out. While clutching Honeypaws to my chest I took aim to slam my forehead on the desk repeatedly once Rafael Gomez made the third out, but Gomez actually remembered for a split second how to be a ****ing batter and lined a single to shallow right that allowed the Coons to tie the score again. Ivey batted for Ricky Ohl and singled to center, and Magallanes batted for himself against Wells, who the Knights trusted to have this. The count ran full, Magallanes dug out another pitch at the bottom of the zone and flung it over Hughes into shallow left-center, and it was enough to send Gomez around to score. COONS HAVE THE LEAD!! Nunley walked, leading to Wells’ removal in favor of righty Ed Blair. Rich Hereford didn’t give a ****, driving in two with a single at the shallow end of the left-center gap before Harenberg hit the deep end of the other gap for a 2-run double, the final bop in a 6-run eighth that gave Portland the victory. …or did it? Bobby Reed got the ball for the ninth with a 5-run lead and immediately set out to blow it all. Mendoza singled, Garcia reached on the pitcher’s throwing error, and after Johnson fouled out, Pincus singled to right. Three on, one out, and Josh Boles was hastily assembled and activated in the bullpen. He rung up Dehne and Hughes to secure the save. 9-4 Coons. Nunley 2-4, BB, 2 HR, 2 RBI; Hereford 2-5, 2 RBI; Harenberg 2-5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; Stalker 2-4; Gomez 3-4, RBI; Ivey (PH) 1-1;

Thus, before the weekend set, the Coons were four games behind the Titans, and two behind the Indians. Those two teams would play each other on the weekend, so for the moment we were kindly rooting for the Indians to win as many as possible.

Raccoons (80-72) @ Loggers (61-91) – September 21-23, 2029

The sad-sack Loggers had played for absolutely nothing for weeks and months. They were firmly nailed into last place, might still get a #1 pick, and could only hope for better times (hey, maybe as early as next week!). They had the fewest runs scored in the league, were conceding the third-most, and overall were not radiating confidence – the ideal stepping stone for the Coons, who nevertheless had already taken the season series, 11-4.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (14-11, 3.45 ERA) vs. Josh Long (6-6, 3.68 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (3-1, 1.92 ERA) vs. TBD
Kyle Anderson (6-6, 3.54 ERA) vs. Francisco Colmenarez (7-16, 3.47 ERA)

Right, question mark, left. The middle spot would have been Alfredo Casique’s, but the righty was suspended for biting Boston’s Stephen Williams during a brawl last week. The Loggers had yet to make a move and announce replacement starter.

We skipped Anderson for two spots with the off day, which would also allow both Roberts and Rico to pitch against the Titans next week, who were now the bigger threat. Unrelated, Matt Jamieson was back in the lineup for the series opener.

Well, on paper it all looked so well. And then rain struck AGAIN. Friday’s game was washed out and a double-header scheduled for Saturday. That of course knocked *either* Roberts *or* Rico out of the Titans series, unless one of them would go on short rest. At this point, conventional wisdom was probably not gonna get us far… The Raccoons made their move: they would both start in the double-header, Rico going first, since despite giving up five runs two starts ago we considered him more on a roll. Rico would go as far as possible unless the Loggers knocked him up early OR the Coons got a tall lead by the middle innings. If that would happen, Rico would get pulled early to allow him to start on short rest on Wednesday. If Rico would not come out early, Roberts would come out early and HE would then start on short rest on Wednesday.

Game 1
POR: CF Magallanes – 3B Nunley – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – SS Stalker – C Ivey – RF Gomez – P Gutierrez
MIL: SS Lockert – LF Cambra – RF W. Trevino – C J. Young – 2B W. Morris – 3B V. Diaz – 1B St. Germaine – CF Wheeler – P Long

By game time, the Coons were 4 1/2 out again, so losing was not an option anyway. Thankfully, all the rain REALLY raked the piss in Nunley, and he blasted a 450-footer off Long in the first inning, putting up the Coons 1-0 right away. The Coons also tacked on; Hereford and Harenberg ripped back-to-back doubles, and Stalker singled home Harenberg to make it 3-0. So far, all going according to plan! Then the bottom 1st began with a drag bunt single by Matt Lockert, Rico walked Cambra, and I started sweating. Willie Trevino flew out to deep right, and then Rico nailed Jim Young in the knee, getting Taylor Canody in the game right here and the bags were full for Wayne Morris, while only 17 pitches into the game the Coons already a crisis conference on the mound. Morris popped out on three pitches, and Vinny Diaz lined the 1-0 softly to Hereford to strand all the tying runs. Not that Rico did get any better – the Loggers put runners on the corners with nobody out in the third and plated them, too, with an RBI single by Josh Long (…) and a run-scoring double play that Lockert hit into. All the best-laid plans …

Rich Hereford homered and Ivey singled home Jamieson after a 1-out double to move the Coons back to 5-2 in the top 3rd, only for Trevino to sock a solo homer in the bottom of the inning. Rico could not be further from a co-ace if he was throwing balls with his paws stuck in a pair of metal buckets. He would throw 83 pitches through five innings, then was yanked simply for sucking. Oh well! We still had “Launchpad” Roberts available …! Stonecipher gave up a run in the bottom 6th with a leadoff walk to Diaz, who stole second, then a sharp Mike Wheeler RBI single, which narrowed the score to 5-4. Brotman allowed a 2-out single to Canody in the bottom 7th, was replaced by Kevin Surginer to face Morris, who was hit for by Alexis Rueda. Surginer threw a stinker, Rueda mauled it, and the score was flipped in the Loggers’ favor on a 2-run homer to right. The Coons left Jamieson stranded after an eighth-inning double (after already having left him stranded after a fifth-inning triple), and tumbled into the ninth on the road to an eliminating defeat. Bobby Valencia opened the inning with a walk to Rafael Gomez, so the tying run was on base once more. Tovias batted in the pitcher’s spot and struck out, but Valencia offered another walk to Magallanes. The problem was that Nunley seemed red-hot, but that wouldn’t make him faster; a double play would end the game. There was also no getting runners started early; Canody had one of the most murderous arms in the league and would easily get Gomez trapped between second and third. There was also no pinch-hitting for Nunley, who had three bombs on the week AND countered Valencia. Matt went to the plate, drew four balls, and they were loaded up for Rich Hereford, who also had already gone yard in this game. He hit a fly to deep left, but not past Gabe Creech; it was a sac fly, tying the game, and left “No Clutch” Harenberg to fly out to Trevino to strand a pair. Fleischer retired the Loggers in order in the bottom 9th to send the game to extras, which was not where I had ever wanted it to arrive. The Coons failed in the top 10th, and Fleischer failed in the bottom 10th. Canody walked, Jason Rauser singled, and Garavito replaced him against PH Ray Masri, who flew out to Jamieson. PH Chris Sherrod whiffed, bringing up Wheeler with two outs. Wheeler ended the game with a single over the head of Stalker that went away for Jamieson far enough to allow Canody to score from second base. 7-6 Loggers. Hereford 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI; Jamieson 3-5, 3B, 2 2B;

The Titans beat the Indians on Friday, and again on Saturday when Lorenzo Viamontes (16-6, 3.16 ERA) threw a 5-hit shutout against the Arrowheads.

Everything was over.

Game 2
POR: CF Magallanes – 3B Nunley – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – SS Stalker – C Tovias – RF Rodriguez – P Roberts
MIL: SS Lockert – LF Cambra – RF W. Trevino – C Canody – 2B W. Morris – 1B E. Arroyo – 3B Parten – CF Creech – P Colmenarez

The Coons hit three singles in the top of the first, then saw Jamieson hit into a double play to end the frame. Stalker led off the second with a double, moved to third on Tovias’ single to left, and then Rodriguez struck out, Roberts struck out, and Magallanes struck out against Colmenarez, who made the start on short rest. Nunley led off with a single in the third. Hereford struck out, Harenberg popped out, and Nunley didn’t advance until Jamieson singled with two outs, putting runners on the corners. Tim Stalker was up, still batting squid on the month, but lined over Jason Parten and into the corner for a 2-out, 2-run double. Tovias then struck out. The Loggers did not get a base hit until the fifth, but then led off with singles by Wayne Morris and Esteban Arroyo to have the tying runs aboard. Parten lined out to center, Creech was retired on the warning track in right, and Colmenarez popped out to strand them. Top 7th, a leadoff single by Nunley knocked out Colmenarez; righty John Nelson got Hereford to hit into a force at second base, but Rich stole second and the Loggers put on Harenberg intentionally with no hesitation. Jamieson singled to left, Hereford was sent and scored, and a bad throw even allowed the other runners to get into scoring position and Harenberg came home from third on a Tim Stalker sac fly, running the lead to 4-0. Roberts went into the eighth inning, but then allowed a single to Wilson Aquino with one out and a Cambra double with two down. Ricky Ohl would replace him against Willie Trevino, served up a 3-run homer, and proceeded with a single allowed to Canody before Alexis Rueda bashed a pinch-hit, 450-foot homer to centerfield. That one flipped the score, too. Top 9th, George Barnett got Hereford to pop out. Harenberg singled and was run for by German Sanchez, who was caught stealing before Barnett could walk Jamieson. Tim Stalker sailed out to center to end the game. 5-4 Loggers. Nunley 3-5; Harenberg 2-4, BB; Jamieson 3-4, BB, RBI; Stalker 2-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Roberts 7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K and 1-4;

(stands motionless, petrified at the window of the visiting GM’s suite long after the game ended, while a Loggers-employed attendant tugs at his shirt sleeve because he wants to kill the lights and go home, too)

Game 3
POR: LF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – SS Stalker – CF Allan – RF Gomez – C Rocha – P Anderson
MIL: SS Lockert – 1B E. Arroyo – C Canody – 2B W. Morris – LF Cambra – 3B V. Diaz – RF St. Germaine – CF Creech – P Feider

Southpaw Travis Feider (2-3, 3.90 ERA) got the spot start as the Loggers readied to say their ballpark goodnight for the winter and hoped for complete demolition of the evil Raccoons that had humiliated them forever and ever. Not this time! This time the Loggers would have the upper axe!

The Coons hit four singles in the opening frame, bringing Nunley around on a Stalker single, and having Harenberg thrown out at home by Gabe Creech on Allan’s single to end the inning. The Loggers countered with a 4-spot against the overwhelmed Anderson right away. Arroyo singled, Canody doubled, Wayne Morris landed a 2-run double, and the inning just went on and on. Cambra hit an RBI single, advanced to second on a futile throw home, then scored on Diaz’ single, too. Milwaukee added a run in the second on a Lockert single, then three straight 2-out walks by Anderson as the sky just never seemed to stop falling. While Portland got an unearned run in the top 3rd thanks to a Morris error with two outs that allowed Jamieson to come home from third base, Coons pitching remained abysmal. Anderson was knocked out in the bottom 3rd on singles by St. Germaine, who stole second, and Lockert, who drove in the run with two outs. Billy Ramm replaced Anderson and at least got out of the inning when Esteban Arroyo hit a liner right into his glove. Gomez reached base with a leadoff single in the fourth. Rocha struck out, and Ramm swung away at the first pitch by Feider and blasted it over the fence in left – that made it a 6-4 game.

A reasonably angry Travis Feider then really amped up the volume. He would face 12 more Raccoons in the game, retired ALL of them, and that included strikeouts to the next four batters after the Ramm homer, and six K in the final dozen retired, and eight for the entire start. Ramm lasted through the seventh, then got patted on the furry bum. Top 8th, the Coons got Stalker on with two outs against George Barnett, and Alex Gutierrez walked PH Wilson Rodriguez to bring up Rafael Gomez as the go-ahead run with another reliever, right-hander Alexis Zamora, in the game, and grounded out to short. The Loggers got an insurance run when Stonecipher led off the eighth by presumably smacking Gabe Creech’s wrist bones to dust with an errant fastball. Mike Wheeler ran for Creech, stole second, and came around on two productive outs, a concept that eluded the Coons wholly and fully. The run turned out crucial; Bobby Valencia opened the ninth by losing PH Juan Magallanes on balls. With one out, Jamieson powered a shot to left that went over Cambra’s glove and the fence, but now that 2-run homer only cut the gap to 7-6. Nunley was the tying run aboard with a single, and now only hoping for a Rich Hereford Special was still available. He singled to left, which brought up Harenberg, which for the Loggers again was as good as ballgame. Harenberg struck out, making Stalker the batter with two outs. He hit a fly to left, no threat for Cambra, and the ballgame ended. 7-6 Loggers. Jamieson 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; Nunley 3-5; Ramm 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K and 1-2, HR, 2 RBI;

(stands motionless, petrified at the window of the visiting GM’s suite long after the game ended, while Kevin Surginer tugs at his shirt sleeve because he really wants to go home, and home was 1,800 miles away)

In other news

September 17 – A no-hitter is tossed by SFW SP Juan Muniz (11-13, 4.37 ERA) in a 3-0 win over the Blue Sox. Muniz walks two and strikes out four and also logs his 10th career shutout in the effort. The 57th no-hitter in ABL history is both the first no-hitter thrown by a Warrior and the first thrown against the Blue Sox.
September 17 – The Falcons beat the Canadiens, 1-0, on the strength of two first-inning singles and don’t ever get another base hit again. LF/RF Barend Kok (.286, 13 HR, 62 RBI) plates OF Nate Nelson (.249, 21 HR, 70 RBI) for the game’s only run.
September 18 – SAL SP Josh Weeks (11-10, 3.78 ERA) allows only three hits to the Buffaloes and strikes out ten in a 7-0, complete game shutout.
September 18 – The Crusaders’ SP Mike Rutkowski (12-9, 3.27 ERA) 3-hits the Condors in a 5-0 shutout, whiffing seven.
September 19 – The Condors rout the Crusaders, 10-1, to seal the Southern Division of the Continental League. It bill be their 11th postseason appearance, and the second consecutive.
September 19 – WAS SP Matt Reimann (6-2, 3.32 ERA, 1 SV) throws a 3-hit shutout against the Scorpions in a spot start. The 27-year-old lefty has appeared in 55 games for the Capitals this year, all but four in relief.
September 19 – CHA INF Raul Mendez (.331, 4 HR, 21 RBI) figures to miss nine months with a broken kneecap.
September 22 – IND 1B Jon Gonzalez (.296, 21 HR, 72 RBI) is out for the year with torn thumb ligaments.
September 22 – LAP MR Chris Cooper (3-1, 3.16 ERA, 3 SV) ends the Pacifics’ game against the Scorpions a 3-2 loss, balking with Antonio Alvarez on third base in the bottom of the ninth to award the runner a free trip to home plate.
September 23 – SAL SP Josh Weeks (12-10, 3.61 ERA) twirls his second shutout of the week, a 4-hitter over the Gold Sox that the Wolves win 5-0.

Complaints and stuff

Well, there was a CL North team spot on this week, and … it was not us. The pitching continued to suck, the offense continued to suck.

Everything sucked. Everything sucks.

Yeah, well, there is always next year. Once more. After 2030 things will probably turn bleak for a while.

No, thanks, Maud, I don’t want a coffee. – No, I don’t want a tea, either. – No, I am not in the mood for Snakes and Ladders, either. I just want to stand here at the window and wait until the sun sets and veils our fantastic shame in darkness.

Fun Fact: Only the Aces, Buffaloes, and Scorpions remain as teams to never have one of theirs throw a no-hitter.

All of them have been on the receiving end several times though; there were two no-hitters against the Buffaloes, including both a perfect game (CIN Juan Garcia, 2008) and Greg Gannon’s no-hitter last month; three against the Scorpions; and five against the Aces. The Raccoons were never involved in any of these.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:22 AM   #2807
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Swept by the Loggerheads......Swept! I don’t care who the manager is, SWEPT BY THE LOGGERS, The AAA team should be able to beat them. Whatever your name is manager, no excuses.....YOU’RE FIRED,
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Old 04-13-2019, 07:59 AM   #2808
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DD Martin View Post
Swept by the Loggerheads......Swept! I don’t care who the manager is, SWEPT BY THE LOGGERS, The AAA team should be able to beat them. Whatever your name is manager, no excuses.....YOU’RE FIRED,
Nah, I have photos.

+++

Raccoons (80-75) vs. Titans (87-68) – September 24-27, 2029

The “not in our face” mentality would probably take a beating in this series, much like the Raccoons as a whole. The Critters could only make the playoffs anymore by winning out in the final week; at the same time, the Titans had to lose all their games, and the Indians had to lose at least one game in their midweek series, and that would only barely be enough to get into a 3-way tie. So yeah, and with Jamie O’Leary on tap for the Coons, the Titans could already put the champagne on ice for eliminating at least one team on Monday. The Titans had broken out of a recently crowded field with a strong September (15-6) despite only ranking sixth in runs scored. They were sporting the best D and bullpen, though, and were allowing the second-fewest runs in the CL. Up 8-6 in the season series, Boston was however a few pitchers short of making a convincing title case, having lost Jeremy Waite, Ryan Corkum, and also Adam Corder, among others, down the stretch.

Projected matchups:
Jamie O’Leary (2-10, 4.14 ERA) vs. Dustin Cory (8-1, 3.78 ERA)
Dave Martinez (5-1, 2.80 ERA) vs. Dave Dyer (1-1, 3.14 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (3-1, 2.22 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (10-9, 2.84 ERA)
Mark Roberts (14-11, 3.41 ERA) vs. Lorenzo Viamontes (16-6, 3.16 ERA)

It is not entirely impossible that we will get a spot starter up on Wednesday, since there is not really a point anymore in Rico starting on short rest… why break the boy yet again? And by the way, yes, that is *that* Dave Dyer, resurfacing with the chance of a ring on a team that had shed some pitchers recently. Wingo figured to be the only southpaw on offer in this series.

Game 1
BOS: CF Acor – LF W. Vega – 3B S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – C T. Perez – 1B Jon. Morales – P Cory
POR: CF Magallanes – 3B Nunley – 2B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – SS Stalker – C Tovias – RF Gomez – P O’Leary

Kevin Harenberg and Tim Stalker both entered the game at 99 RBI and were vying to become the first Coon to get 100 RBI on the season. Harenberg was obviously getting first dips, and converted right away after Dustin Cory nicked Rich Hereford with two outs in the bottom 1st and Harenberg hit his 22nd blast of the season, no doubt out of rightfield. Rhett West would shorten the gap by half right away in the top 2nd, which the Titans opened with a sharp single to left by Dave O’Rourke, a Keith Spataro double to center, and then West’s single to shallow center. O’Rourke scored, Spataro was sent but thrown out at home plate by Juan Magallanes, and O’Leary, normally the unluckiest bastard up and down either coast in the States, wiggled out of that one. Of course, sometimes he was just begging for it, like when he walked Cory to begin the top 3rd. Dustin Acor popped out, Willie Vega grounded into a fielder’s choice, and then they still got onto the corners with Stephen Williams’ single. O’Rourke got rung up to end the inning. The writing, though, was on the wall, and before long O’Leary’s brains were, too, having been beaten in by Jonathan Morales with a booming 3-run shot in the fourth inning, West and Tony Perez dancing home from scoring position.

O’Leary was all ground to dust after five innings, ten hits and four runs, but at least the Critters had a chance to – for once – take him off the hook. Jamieson led off the bottom 4th with a triple and scored on Tovias’ groundout, and the fifth began with a Magallanes double into the left-center gap. Nunley walked, but then Vega reached a Hereford fly to left, Harenberg grounded out, and Jamieson whiffed, stranding the precious runs. The game remained in 4-3 limbo for the next few innings while Fleischer and Brotman lined up a few scoreless innings for the Coons, who did not get another runner into scoring position until Hereford led off the eighth with a single and stole second, but was stranded all the same. The Titans’ bottom of the order spanked Bobby Reed for an insurance run, though, so the Raccoons faced a 2-run deficit by the time they came up again Jonathan Snyder, the ex-Coon, with their own bottom of the order in the ninth. Snyder had infamously not been able to nail down a 5-game lead in Game 6 in ’26, so not all hope was pointless up until now. He had to get those three outs first! Tovias flew out to left, but then Gomez snuck a single through the left side and Snyder lost Ryan Allan on four balls. Magallanes had yielded in center to Allan when the left-handed outfielder had pinch-hit one cycle through the lineup ago, so Reed had to be pinch-hit for in the #1 spot. A team with no bench whatsoever sent up Wilson Rodriguez as the winning run, but he flew out to center. Thus it was down to Nunley or Nothing! Turned out to be Nothing. Matt grounded out to second on an 0-2 pitch, officially ending the Raccoons’ season. 5-3 Titans.

Fittingly, no Raccoon put up even a decent performance worth retelling, like, two singles in five attempts, the commonly accepted baseline for decency around these parts…

Relieved of all sorrows and burdens, we could play out the string of six games in inner peace. Next year. Next year we’d be back. See you then, ****ing Lightning Grabbers.

Game 2
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – LF W. Vega – SS Spataro – 3B S. Williams – C Leonard – 2B R. West – RF F. Rodriguez – CF Reichardt – P Dyer
POR: CF Allan – 3B Nunley – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – SS Stalker – C Ivey – RF Gomez – 2B Cass – P Martinez

Portland took another 2-0 lead on a dinger in the bottom 1st on Tuesday, this time with Nunley drawing four balls and Hereford drawing a helpless fastball that he wacked outta right-center for his 12th dinger of an injury-ravaged season, and his 50th as a Raccoon. Not much else happened in the early innings, with a Harenberg fly falling short of the fence and into Fernando Rodriguez’ glove in the bottom 3rd. That one would have been with Hereford on base, who was stranded for good at the opportunity. Meanwhile, Dave Martinez was very much out of control, which had the neat effect of the Titans being repeatedly fooled into making poor or no contact. Through five innings, he had shed only one hit, but walked and whiffed four apiece, while also exploding his pitch count to nearly 90. Spataro opened the inning with a single, stole second base – the first successful nip in the game after runners had gone collectively 0-for-3 until then – and was on third after a wild pitch with two outs to Keith Leonard, who ended up walking. Rhett West was probably the last batter for Martinez on 102 pitches, singled to center to cut the lead in half, and Martinez was indeed yanked to get Garavito to face the left-handed batting Rodriguez, whom Garavito got to ground out to Sam Cass, whose presence in the lineup also signaled that there was nothing left to play for. Fittingly, the 2-1 lead went bust the following inning with the persistent ruinbringer Adrian Reichardt doubling off the fence against Kevin Surginer and being scored on productive outs by Eddie Moreno and Chris Hollar. To anybody’s surprise however, Shane Ivey hit a leadoff jack off lefty Mike Stank in the bottom of the same inning, restoring the Coons to a 3-2 edge. Sound relief by Ricky Ohl held the Titans short in the eighth, but when the ninth came around, Boles issued a leadoff walk to Rhett West. Rodriguez helpfully bounced into a 4-6-3 double play neatly started by Cass, and then Reichardt could not bring any more ruin than he already had and went down on strikes. 3-2 Coons. Hereford 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Ivey 1-2, BB, HR, RBI; Gomez 2-3;

The W went to Billy Brotman, who got the last out in the seventh after Surginer had run out of clue.

Abel Mora was activated from the DL on Wednesday, but not in the starting lineup against the lefty Wingo, while Sean Rigg (1-1, 4.18 ERA) got the spot start assignment, pushing everybody else back by a day.

Game 3
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – LF W. Vega – SS Spataro – 3B S. Williams – C Leonard – 2B R. West – RF Hollar – CF Acor – P Wingo
POR: CF Magallanes – SS Stalker – LF Jamieson – 2B Hereford – 1B Gomez – RF W. Rodriguez – 3B Gerster – C Rocha – P Rigg

Boston started with two base hits and scored first on Stephen Williams’ sac fly, but *again* the Raccoons would leave their first mark with a 2-run shot. This time, however, it didn’t occur until the second inning. Rafael Gomez doubled to left, and then Wilson Rodriguez ran into a mistake by Wingo and smashed it over the fence in leftfield to flip the score. After a brief rain delay in the third inning and a Stephen Williams error that put Stalker on base with two outs in the bottom 3rd, Matt Jamieson also hit a shot to left, extending the score to 4-1. Keith Leonard singled in Spataro in the fourth to take a run away, but Sean Rigg doubled into the gap in the bottom 5th for his first base knock as a Critter, then came around to score while Magallanes was piled on just short of second base after singling and very much not doubling to shallow right-center. Rigg held up for two more unspectacular innings before he was pinch-hit for in the bottom 7th. Abel Mora grounded out in his spot to end the inning. Boston then announced Adrian Reichardt as pinch-hitter for Wingo to begin the eighth, prompting the Critters to send another confusingly wild enigma, Matt Stonecipher, to see whether he could get a guy like Reichardt out when it counted. He could, it turned out, with Reichardt called out in a full count at a pitch that barely grazed the bottom of the zone, and Stonecipher got through the inning despite a 2-out walk to Willie Vega, his 35th walk in – once Spataro grounded out to Stalker – exactly 50 innings of work in the majors. Also unscored upon in his inning in the game was Josh Boles, despite falling behind three of four batters and walking the leadoff man Williams in the ninth. Somehow, the Titans made three outs without scorching him. 5-2 Furballs. Magallanes 2-4, RBI; Gomez 1-2, BB, 2B; Rigg 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, W (2-1) and 1-2, 2B;

Boys? I really want that series split now… and I mean the SEASON series, not this 4-game set here…

Game 4
BOS: C T. Perez – LF W. Vega – 3B S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – 1B Jon. Morales – P Viamontes
POR: CF Mora – 3B Nunley – RF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – SS Stalker – C Tovias – LF Allan – 2B Cass – P Gutierrez

While Rico Gutierrez had never fared too well against a pile of right-handed bats, it was the lone lefty swinger, Willie Vega, to put the Titans 2-0 on top in the third inning with a 2-run single through the Coons’ left side, which plated Reichardt (on base against Portland by the rulebook) and Viamontes, who had reached when Rico had thrown away his bunt, the error making the runs unearned. The Coons amounted only to three base hits through five against the wannabe-17-game winner Viamontes, but one of those was a stray solo homer by Hereford to cut the deficit in half. The bottom 6th saw an actual chance creeping up, though. Nunley opened with a single over the head of West, who then intercepted a hard grounder by Hereford behind the second base bag, but by the time he had unscrambled himself, Nunley was sliding into second and Hereford legged out his zip to first, putting the go-ahead run on base, too. Kevin Harenberg came up sniffing a chance and got a hanging breaking ball at 2-1. The poor baseball was never seen again, brashly bashed over the fence in right for a 3-run homer!

Top 7th, Rico got the first two batters, including Reichardt to dip his ERA back into the 1’s in the injury-ravaged season of his. Jonathan Morales hit a 2-run triple, and then the Titans sent left-hander Eddie Moreno to pinch-hit; that would be Rico’s last batter of the year, and if he got him, he could settle down with a 1.xx ERA for the winter, however little that meant. He got Moreno to 2-2, but couldn’t get him to miss another pitch. Moreno hit a drive to right, Hereford ambling back and… he made the catch, ending Rico’s season on a high note. The Titans would creep closer with Tony Perez’ jack off Surginer in the eighth, which made the Coons hold only a 4-3 lead, especially once they badly failed to get an insurance run in the bottom 8th against Stank, who served up a 1-out double to Tovias, but then managed to chew through a pile of right-handed pinch-hitters in Jamieson, Rodriguez, and Gomez. Jamieson was walked intentionally, and the other two made poor outs. Ricky Ohl got the save chance here and retired the 5-6-7 in order… even Reichardt, who flew out to Mora on a 3-1 pitch. 4-3 Coons. Hereford 4-4, HR, RBI; Harenberg 1-4, HR, 3 RBI; Stalker 2-4, 2 2B; Gutierrez 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, W (4-1);

This indeed gave the Coons a split in the season series, and it also gave the Indians a decent enough chance to still catch the Titans by ironically flattening the Critters on the weekend. Indy had taken three of four from the Crusaders, which put them two games out, which was not a great scenario, but sure beat anything the Coons had going right now…

Raccoons (83-76) vs. Indians (86-73) – September 28-30, 2029

Indy sat second in runs scored, third in runs allowed, overall sported slightly better numbers than the Titans, and needed those wins badly. That was really all there was to know. They had already won eight from the Coons this year, and really had to make it eleven to have a shot.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (14-11, 3.41 ERA) vs. Andy Bressner (10-6, 3.47 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (6-7, 4.03 ERA) vs. Sal Bedoya (14-3, 2.73 ERA)
Dave Martinez (5-1, 2.66 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (9-10, 4.96 ERA)

Only righties from here on out. 1B Jon Gonzalez (.296, 21 HR, 72 RBI), who had put the hurt on his former team the last time around, was out for the season however, having torn thumb ligaments.

Game 1
IND: SS Pizano – RF Plunkett – CF Suhay – 1B Blades – C Dear – 2B Schneller – LF M. Cowan – 3B Roesler – P Bressner
POR: CF Mora – LF Jamieson – 3B Hereford – 1B Harenberg – SS Stalker – C Ivey – RF Allan – 2B Baldwin – P Roberts

The ball sure flew well off Mark Roberts in this game. Mario Pizano tripled on his first pitch, and while Mike Plunkett struck out and Ben Suhay popped out, the Indians still managed to drum up two runs in the inning by ripping straight sharp singles off the bats of Brett Blades, Matt Dear, and Dan Schneller before Mike Cowan flew out to Jamieson. Bottom 1st, Jamieson singled up the middle, Hereford walked, and then Harenberg beat Suhay in center for an RBI double. Tim Stalker had not gotten a single ribbie against Boston and still sat at 99, but finally leapt into the triple digits with an RBI single to left, tying the score. Bressner bowed out on two pops from Ivey and Allan, and we might be in for an interesting one here…

For some, it was also a short one. Tim Stalker would finish the season with 100 RBI, leaving the game with a strained hammy in the fourth inning, replaced by German Sanchez. At that point it was 3-2 Indians thanks to a Schneller homer off Roberts, who fooled nobody in particular. Even Andy Bressner doubled off him in the fourth inning… Roberts managed to shed 11 base hits through six innings without getting completely blown out, while Bressner had settled in after the rough first inning and allowed only two base hits to the Coons from the second through the fifth innings. Harenberg hit a leadoff single in the bottom 6th, but Sanchez whiffed and Ivey hit into a double play. Roberts leaked a 12th base hit, a soft Pizano single, to begin the seventh inning, but after Plunkett bunted the insurance run to second base, Roberts ended his season with back-to-back strikeouts against Suhay and Blades, giving him 187 for the year, which surprisingly enough might even turn out to be enough for the CL whiff crown. And just when the Indians seemed to have wrestled this one from lame-ass Coons, a Dan Schneller throwing error put Abel Mora on second base with nobody out in the bottom 8th, and that was still in a 3-2 game. Matt Jamieson wasted NO time against his old team and cracked a single to left. Mora raced around and scored ahead of Cowan’s throw, and Jamieson dazzled to second base when nobody paid him any attention. Hereford then grounded to second base where Schneller, the rookie, blundered again for another error that put runners on the corners with nobody out. All of this went so fast, the Indians’ relievers were still warming up in the pen and couldn’t come in; Harenberg popped out on the second pitch, and then Nunley batted for Sanchez. He flew out to Zachary Ryder in right, but deep enough to get Jamieson home with a VERY unearned run. Bressner, never relieved, struck out Ivey to end the inning, but suddenly the Arrowheads stared down the guns of Fort Boles.

Josh came out, walked PH Trent Herlihy, who was soon exchanged for a pinch-runner in Alex Aleman, then nailed another pinch-hitter Edgar Paiz, who would be the go-ahead run. Nobody out, too, as the top of the order came up. Relentless, Boles hit Pizano with the VERY NEXT PITCH even after a lengthy mound conference. The Coons were no less stunned than the Indians at this sudden collapse. Ryder popped out to Butch Gerster at short before right-hander Todd Johnson was sent to bat for Ben Suhay, a likely K batting from the left side. The Coons, who had torn down the Titans earlier in the week would give the Indians no less of a fair shake – the wickedly offbeat Boles was yanked for Ricky Ohl, the best right-handed shot at a K we had. But wasn’t collapse inevitable? Was there any way the Coons deserved to get out of this one? Ohl walked in the tying run against Johnson, rung up Cesar Castro, then conceded a 2-run single to Matt Dear before getting out of the damn inning on a pop. Down 6-4, Allan led off the bottom 9th with a single against Franklin Alvarado. Magallanes batted for Baldwin, singled up the middle, and the madness continued. Elias Tovias batted for Ohl, ran a full count, then bashed a ball to deep right where it hit off the fence for an RBI double. 6-5, tying run at third, winning run at second, nobody out, and the top of the order was back up. Abel Mora grounded out so poorly, the runners had to hold. Jamieson whiffed on three pitches. With first base open, the Indians still had a choice here whether they wanted to pitch to Hereford or Harenberg, but neither of them would face the righty Alvarado the way they liked. The Indians went for Rich Hereford. And Rich Hereford went 360 feet on the 1-0 pitch. Drive to right! High! Long! GONE!!!!! 8-6 Furballs!! Jamieson 2-5, RBI; Hereford 1-4, BB, HR, 3 RBI; Harenberg 2-4, 2B, RBI; Allan 2-4; Magallanes (PH) 1-1; Tovias (PH) 1-1, 2B, RBI;

That was the end of the Indians’ season; the Titans won a 3-2 squeezer against the Elks, and thus established a 3-game lead with two games left on the calendar. Rich Hereford’s 2-out, come-from-behind walkoff shot broke Indy’s last arrow.

By mid-day on Saturday, the Titans sent over a voucher to Rich for the finest steak place in town. Also, some flowers, which made for a nice appetizer.

Although, if I was there manager, I would lock Dan Schneller naked in the showers and then give all the veterans on that team a sock and a bar of soap and then let them decide how to proceed.

Game 2
IND: SS Pizano – RF Plunkett – CF Suhay – C Dear – 2B Schneller – LF Zanches – 1B Mack – 3B Blades – P Bedoya
POR: CF Mora – 3B Nunley – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – SS Gerster – 2B Cass – P Anderson

Hereford put the Arrowheads in arrears again in the middle game, plating Mora with a groundout after Abel had ripped a double to left to begin the bottom 1st. Harenberg followed up with a solo shot to right, putting Portland up 2-0. Anderson leaked the odd runner here or there early on, but didn’t get into trouble until the fourth, which Suhay opened with a walk, and Matt Dear followed up with a single. In that spot the 5-6-7 batters unleashed three pops of varying height and depth, but all three had a Critter parked underneath in due time. The bottom 5th in turn saw the Coons put Sam Cass on with a leadoff single, then Anderson bunt into a double play. Abel Mora walked, then was picked off in quite the inning… The Indians did get on the board in the sixth when Anderson walked Suhay yet again, and this time Matt Dear doubled him in, but then was stranded himself when Schneller flew out to center and Alex Zanches popped out.

Bottom 6th, the Coons started with a Nunley walk, then a Hereford bloop for a single. Harenberg ran a 3-1 count before flying out to Plunkett, which advanced Nunley to third from where he scored when Rafael Gomez rolled a grounder through between Blades and Pizano for an RBI single, 3-1. Tovias lined out to Pizano, but Bedoya lost Gerster in a full count, bringing up Sam Cass with three on and two outs. If the game had mattered anything, we would have hit for him here, but we were already ahead, and what better way to gauge the kid’s guts than this spot? He struck out. Badly.

Anderson went six and two thirds before the top of the order would have come up again and the Indians had a Craig Mack at second base. Fleischer got Pizano on a fly to left to end the seventh. The game was still very much up for grabs until the bottom 7th, with Bedoya still hanging around. Mora drew a 1-out walk, Nunley dropped a soft single between half a dozen defenders, and that brought up Rich Hereford again. Unfortunately the Coons were no longer playoff-bound, because Rich Hereford was surely searing white hot. Bedoya’s 108th pitch was mashed for 366 feet to right, well over the wall, and the Coons ran the tally to 6-1! With Bedoya yanked in favor of J.R. Hreha, the Coons put another run together in the inning on a Gomez single and Tovias RBI double. The Raccoons then tried to slip the last six outs from Bobby Reed’s clumsy paws, which worked to the tune of four hits and two runs before Kevin Surginer restored order. 7-3 Coons. Mora 2-3, 2 BB, 2B; Hereford 2-4, HR, 4 RBI; Gomez 2-4, RBI; Anderson 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, W (7-7);

The Coons pried Alberto Ramos off the stretcher for the final game of the season, which sure provoked excitement, the game lacking any meaning be damned…! The CL stolen base crown would be decided in this game, though. Ramos returned with 49 bags; Pizano had 50. Nobody else was even close.

Game 3
IND: SS Pizano – RF Plunkett – CF Suhay – 1B Herlihy – 2B Schneller – LF Zanches – C Paiz – 3B T. Johnson – P Matthews
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – LF Hereford – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Rodriguez – C Tovias – 2B Cass – P Martinez

The race was even before everybody had settled in; Dave Martinez retired the Indians in order in the first, but Ramos rolled a single to right, then swiped second despite everybody and their mothers knowing he was gonna try. That was his 50th base, tying him up with Pizano for the CL lead. Before long, the Coons put up a 3-spot but the key offense in the inning was actually provided by Matthews, who walked the bases full, then threw a wild pitch to score Ramos after Harenberg had already lined out for the first out. Nunley and Rodriguez hit RBI singles to get to 3-0. The Indians made up a run in the second when Trent Herlihy drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a Zanches single and came home on Paiz’ sac fly, but there was still the one-man wrecking crew stirring it up in the bottom of innings. Ramos hit a 1-out single in the bottom 2nd, stole second AGAIN, even though the Indians were still aware of his presence, then came home on Abel Mora’s liner for a single to center. A Ramos Special! It was so pretty!

The Coons went on to produce a few double plays; Hereford hit a single in the bottom 2nd, but Harenberg doubled them up, and then the Coons had Nunley and Tovias in scoring position with one out in the third when Sam Cass flew out to left. Zanches made the catch, Nunley was sent, and thrown out. Bottom 4th, Ramos had his third single, bid for his third stolen base, but this time was thrown out by Paiz. Yet, Pizano had yet to reach base, so Ramos still was having sole possession of the SB lead, and then hit ANOTHER single to right in the bottom 6th, this time with two outs. He didn’t get a chance this time as Mora got a fat pitch right away from Matthews, but flew out to Zanches in deep left. Martinez never allowed him on base, but was squeezed out in the seventh inning when the Indians put Zanches and Johnson on the corners with two outs. Ricky Ohl came out once Brett Blades was announced as pinch-hitter, got him to 2-2, but then still allowed a sharp grounder. That one went right at Nunley, though, and Matt made the play to end the inning and strand two. Ricky wouldn’t retire Pizano, though, to begin the eighth inning. But Pizano did himself no favor in the stolen base battle, homering to left-center, which precluded any chance for a stolen base in this inning. Eh, as long as the Indians wouldn’t bat through the order of course. Ohl got the next two, Brotman got Herlihy on a pop, and under normal and welcome circumstances only one inning remained. The Critters didn’t bring Ramos back up in the eighth, so it was all on Boles now. Schneller struck out. Zanches struck out. Paiz walked and was run for by Aleman. Johnson walked. DAMNIT, BOLES!! WE EAT ON TIME!! Mike Cowan batted in the pitcher’s hole, ran the count to 2-1, then hit a grounder to left. Ramos pounced, zinged it to second, Todd Johnson was out, and the season was over. 4-2 Furballs. Ramos 4-4; Mora 2-3, BB, RBI; Hereford 2-3, BB; Rodriguez 2-4, RBI; Martinez 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, W (6-1);

In other news

September 26 – The Buffaloes wrap the FL East with a 6-1 win over the Capitals, securing their ninth playoff appearance and their fourth in the last six years.
September 27 – SFW SP Eric Barlow (13-11, 4.14 ERA) tosses a 4-hit shutout against the Pacifics, the sole surviving competitor for the Warriors in the FL West, which also reduces the Warriors’ magic number to two.
September 27 – LVA C Josh Motleyy (.255, 8 HR, 48 RBI) has torn posterior cruciate ligaments and will face eight to nine months of recovery, costing him at least the first two months of the 2030 season.
September 28 – LAP SP Luis Flores (12-9, 3.21 ERA) 3-hits the Gold Sox as the Pacifics cling on to dear life in pursuit of the Warriors. L.A. wins the game 7-0.
September 28 – The Pacifics are still eliminated on the same day after losing the second leg of their double header with Denver, 2-1, while the Warriors beat the Scorpions 4-2. The Warriors will be in the playoffs for the tenth time in franchise history.
September 29 – Knights SP Mike Cockcroft (1-7, 3.89 ERA) might miss most of the 2030 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery for a torn UCL.

Complaints and stuff

Sweeping Indy on the final weekend ended up giving us our seventh straight season series win against them, barely squeezing them out at a 10-8 rate this year. Yes, it was all meaningless. Well, not quite. Ramos rose from the dead in time to snatch the stolen base title from Pizano. And wasn’t that some kind of performance!? 4-for-4 with the two sacks!

Also, had he lasted for about a dozen more games this year and batting at this rate, he would have won the batting title, too. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

All our minor league teams came up with losing records, but aren’t we used to that by now?

But I can tell you what really ticks me off; Josh Boles’ preserved pattern of picking two and dropping as many right after that. He did that so often last year, and he kept doing it this year right until the final out of the season that Mike Cowan grounded into after he had issued two last-straw walks. Whyyy, Josh? Whyyy??

Regardless of individual performance, this troupe would be back as a team in 2030 to make another bid for a third title. They already were a dynasty nearly on the level of the 1990s crew. A third ring, though… might tilt the scales in their favor!

Fun Fact: Lackluster baseball performances notwithstanding, Sam Cass already has an award on his shelf, having been named the 2005 Ugliest Baby Boy by Yuck Magazine.

It is true.

Also true: he is one of four players drafted in the eighth round or lower we used this year. Him and Magallanes were taken in the ninth round; Shane Ivey was an eighth-rounder. And of course, Mark Roberts was taken in the *12th* round by the Falcons in 2012, even deeper down than Nick Brown 17 years earlier. And despite that he just led the CL in strikeouts.

And home runs.
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Last edited by Westheim; 04-13-2019 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 04-13-2019, 10:44 AM   #2809
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westheim View Post
Regardless of individual performance, this troupe would be back as a team in 2030 to make another bid for a third title. They already were a dynasty nearly on the level of the 1990s crew. A third ring, though… might tilt the scales in their favor!.
Sacrilege! Just like no Cincinnati Reds team will ever surpass the Big Red Machine of the 70's, just like no NY Mets squad will ever surpass the '69 Miracle Mets, no gaze of Racoons is ever going to surpass the Ring-Eyed Rats of the early 90's.

(had to look up the gaze word.....)
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:28 AM   #2810
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questdog View Post
Sacrilege! Just like no Cincinnati Reds team will ever surpass the Big Red Machine of the 70's, just like no NY Mets squad will ever surpass the '69 Miracle Mets, no gaze of Racoons is ever going to surpass the Ring-Eyed Rats of the early 90's.

(had to look up the gaze word.....)
One way or another, the '90s Raccoons and late-'20s Raccoons have lots in common. They can actually score runs. They have two rings apiece. And the current edition will face the grim abyss after 2030 (although the 1997 Critters didn't exactly see it coming…)
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Old 04-13-2019, 02:58 PM   #2811
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The Critters did what I asked going 6-1 against those top 2 teams. If only the previous weeks dreadful showing against the Loggers and Atlanta.

Man what could have been...... a likely sweep out of the playoffs, but still it would have been great
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Old 04-14-2019, 02:03 PM   #2812
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2029 ABL PLAYOFFS

With the playoff bracket set, it was time to see who had the longest breath in the ABL. First applicant for World Series honors were the 93-69 Buffaloes, who had won the FL West by six games. Topeka lined up three strong left-handed starting pitchers with ERA’s under three, led by Jose Lerma (15-9, 2.69 ERA). Their pitching staff was by far the best in the Federal League, as was their defense, and they could not only rely on the best rotation, but also the best bullpen by ERA, and despite a 3.24 ERA, closer Adam Rosenwald had saved 42 games, so he sorta had to know what he was doing. The problems for the Buffaloes, who fell to the Raccoons in the 2028 World Series, was the offense. There was only select power in the lineup, with Ken Hess hitting 18 homers to lead the team, and they were also not hitting for average, sitting eighth with a .256 team average and seventh in runs scored overall. They were also not stealing a lot of bases outside of Alex Majano, who had nipped 39 in the regular season. They would offer a balanced lineup with options to load up on one type of hitter or another, depending on the opposing pitchers.

Those pitchers would be part of the 91-71 Warriors, who had a staff led by 20-game winner Pat Okrasinski and his 2.71 ERA, although they were a bit weaker further down the rotation and especially in their bullpen, where they could not show off more than two lockdown relievers, while the Buffaloes had an entire pen’s worth. The Warriors were not necessarily outdoing the Buffaloes in any offensive category, either; they had scored the fourth-most runs, but had done so on an even weaker team batting average (.253, 10th in FL). They did have a bit of power, but had still been led in the department by Justin Uliasz (.230, 20 HR, 94 RBI). Pedro Cisneros was batting .324 in the leadoff spot, but from there on down it was *a lot* of .230 batters… Their run differential had only been a paltry +9, and somehow that had been enough to stave off the Pacifics by three games to end up in this Midwestern “Middle of Nowhere” series.

Over in the Continental League the Condors were going to take another stab at making it to the World Series. They had the best record in baseball at 97-65, clinching home field advantage throughout the postseason after coasting to a 15-game margin of victory in an otherwise shoddy CL South. They had scored the most runs in the CL and had conceded the fewest for a +198 run differential, which was already a convincing case they were making. They had three starting pitchers with ERA’s under three, with so far unheralded Adam Potter (17-11, 2.69 ERA) leading them in wins and ERA. Their pen was perhaps a soft spot as they had gone through several closers over the year without finding The One. Last year’s CL Player of the Year, Shane Sanks (.279, 27 HR, 112 RBI) had been awesome again and had led the team in the power department. They had another 20-dinger slapper in Kevin McGrath, who hit 21 and drove in 93, and a well balanced lineup around that tough-as-nails core, although injuries had taken out two of their starting outfielders for much of the season as Adam Braun (knee) and Chris Murphy (oblique) were going to miss the playoffs.

The Titans were looking forward to adding to their pile of trophies, which was the tallest in all of the ABL, despite only breaking out of a tight CL North field in September and finishing the season 90-72 with the worst record of all the playoff teams. They had the second-fewest runs allowed, but had struggled offensively at times, and had only posted a +94 run differential. Power was not their game; they had the second-fewest dingers in the league, and their team leader was Rhett West, batting .237 with a paltry 10 long balls. On the other hand, they were following an Anaconda Plan approach, getting on base at the highest clip in the league and also stealing a second-highest 135 bases. And they sure were not shy about hitting bases-clearing doubles, either. Lack of offense had also left its marks on Dustin Wingo, who had posted the best ERA on the staff at 2.88, but had posted a 10-10 record. Lorenzo Viamontes (16-7, 3.24 ERA) had led the team in wins. Like the Condors, the Titans had injury troubles, having lost Jeremy Waite (elbow) and Ryan Corkum (labrum) from their staff a long time ago, and now were also missing infielder Adam Corder (knee), who was out for the CLCS, but might be available should the Titans get through the Condors.

The Titans had the tied-most playoff appearances (14) and the outright most championships (8) among all ABL teams, including those in the playoff field. The only other team with a title in the trophy case in the playoff field were the Warriors, who had won the World Series all the way back in 1978 and not once since. They had their tenth playoff appearance going, while the Condors were in October for the 11th time, and the Buffaloes for the ninth time. The latter two teams had never won the championship. The Condors had made it to the World Series three times, most recently in 2016 when they lost to the Pacifics, while the Buffaloes had lost the 2028 Series to the Raccoons, their most recent of three World Series appearances. The Warriors had made and lost in the World Series four times since their 1978 title, most recently in 2014 to the Crusaders. The Titans had won four titles in this decade, but had lost the 2027 World Series to the Pacifics.

The experts were pretty much convinced that we’d see a Condors-Buffaloes World Series, and thus also the number of teams to never win a championship reduced to three; the other two ringless teams being the Miners and Knights.

+++

Warriors @ Buffaloes … 5-3 … (Warriors lead 1-0) … SFW Mark Walker 3-5, HR, 2 2B, 4 RBI; TOP Steve Roundtree 2-4, 2 RBI;

Warriors @ Buffaloes … 1-2 … (series tied 1-1) … TOP Jose Lerma 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, W (1-0) and 2-3, 2 RBI;
Titans @ Condors … 2-5 … (Condors lead 1-0) … TIJ Juan Camps 2-3, BB, 2 HR, 3 RBI;

Titans @ Condors … 1-5 … (Condors lead 2-0) … TIJ Mike Matias 2-4, 3B, 2 RBI; TIJ Jorge Villalobos 8.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, W (1-0);

Buffaloes @ Warriors … 4-3 … (Buffaloes lead 2-1) … TOP Pat Green 3-4, HR, 2 RBI; SFW Pedro Cisneros 3-5, 2 2B, RBI;

Buffaloes @ Warriors … 5-3 … (Buffaloes lead 3-1) … TOP Alex Majano 2-4, 2 RBI; TOP Jay Elder 2-4, HR, 2 RBI;
Condors @ Titans … 3-1 … (Condors lead 3-0) … TIJ Kevin McGrath 3-5;

Buffaloes @ Warriors … 0-6 … (Buffaloes lead 3-2) … SFW Luis Ortegon 2-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; SFW John Rucker 7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K, W (1-1);
Condors @ Titans … 5-7 … (Condors lead 3-1) … TIJ Shane Sanks 0-1, 4 BB; BOS Dustin Acor 2-3, BB, 3B, 2B, 3 RBI;

Condors @ Titans … 2-4 … (Condors lead 3-2) … TIJ Kevin McGrath 1-2, 2 BB, HR, 2 RBI; BOS Dave O’Rourke (PH) 1-1, 2 RBI;

After being 3-hit by Jeff Little through six innings, the Titans rally from the dead with four runs off Steve Gowan in one third of an inning in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Warriors @ Buffaloes … 4-10 … (Buffaloes win 4-2) … TOP Ken Hess 2-3, BB, HR, 2B, 2 RBI; TOP Travis Benson 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; TOP Allen Retzer (PH) 1-1, HR, 2 RBI;

The Buffaloes break up Eric Barlow (3 IP, 6 ER) quickly and thoroughly, then tend to their lead with care for the rest of the game, while David Elliott takes his second W of the series with six innings of 2-run ball as the Buffos win their second consecutive pennant.

Titans @ Condors … 0-3 … (Condors win 4-2) … BOS Bryan Hanson 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K; TIJ Joel Denzler 1-3, 2B, 3 RBI; TIJ Jorge Villalobos 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, W (2-0);

The game is scoreless through the middle of the eighth before the Condors load the bags against Pat Selby and Denzler hits a gapper that gives them all their runs in a 3-0 win that puts them into the World Series.

+++

2029 WORLD SERIES

The experts were right, and there would be a first-time champion in the 2029 World Series as the Condors would have homefield advantage over the Buffaloes in the best-of-seven contest. Would there be any runs scored at all? Both teams would cart up the best pitching of their respective league. The advantage would thus inevitably lie with the Condors, who had plated 112 more runs than the Buffaloes, and had allowed only 34 more than their Federal League opponents.

Neither team had suffered injuries during their LCS, but of course the Condors were still hampered and without Braun and Murphy, but the common tune on the sports talk shows before the first pitch was that the Condors would have enough to push through the Buffaloes here and win the first title for a team outside the United States since 1984.

Buffaloes @ Condors … 1-3 … (Condors lead 1-0) … TIJ Kevin McGrath 2-4, 2B, RBI; TIJ George Griffin 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, W (2-0);

Buffaloes @ Condors … 1-5 … (Condors lead 2-0) … TIJ Joel Denzler 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

Condors @ Buffaloes … 1-5 … (Condors lead 2-1) … TOP Jay Elder 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; TOP David Elliott 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, W (3-0) and 2-3;

Condors @ Buffaloes … 6-7 … (series tied 2-2) … TIJ Kevin McGrath 3-4, BB, RBI; TOP Steve Roundtree 3-5, 2B, RBI; TOP Ken Hess 2-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI;

The game is tied at six in the bottom of the ninth inning when Mike Baker stops retiring players at all. PH Allen Retzer draws a leadoff walk, then scores on straight singles by Ian Coleman, Steve Roundtree, and Alex Majano to walk off the Buffos.

Condors @ Buffaloes … 3-2 … (Condors lead 3-2) … TIJ Matt Good 2-5, 2B, RBI; TIJ Kevin McGrath 3-5, HR, 2B, RBI; TIJ George Griffin 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, W (3-0);

Buffaloes @ Condors … 4-2 … (series tied 3-3) … TOP Pat Green 2-4, RBI; TOP Ken Hess 3-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI; TOP David Elliott 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, W (4-0) and 2-3, 2B, RBI;

David Elliott sure gave his everything in this postseason, going 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA in 28 innings in his first postseason at age 26. For good measure, he also batted .444 in October and kept the ball moving in the Buffo’s 4-run sixth inning, pretty much their only inning of activity, and it was just barely enough to set up Game 7. There, Ernesto Lujan (1-1, 4.00 ERA) for Topeka would oppose Tijuana’s Jorge Villalobos (2-1, 2.28 ERA).

Buffaloes @ Condors … 0-7 … (Condors win series 4-3) … TIJ Dave Bross 2-4, 2 RBI; TIJ Jorge Villalobos 8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K, W (3-1);

Villalobos and Josh Sharp throw a combined 1-hitter to win Game 7 for the Mexican side, the only blip the Buffaloes manage to put on the scoreboard being a seventh-inning single by Alex Majano.

2029 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS
Tijuana Condors

(1st title)
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Old 04-14-2019, 03:17 PM   #2813
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Despite getting another $2M to play with in 2030, the Raccoons dropped out of the top 5 in big-time spenders in the ABL, and into a tie for sixth with the Capitals with a new budget of $38.5M. Granted, the top 5 were only dimes away. The top 5 spenders in the ABL would be the Pacifics ($48.5M), Titans ($43M), Condors ($40.5M), and tied for fourth the Cruaders and Buffaloes with $39M each.

The bottom 5 would be the Wolves ($25.2M), Blue Sox ($23.6M), Rebels ($23.2M), Loggers ($21.6M), and Falcons ($21M).

The median budget was $34M. The average budget was $32.9M. Both those marks were up over half a million bucks. The missing CL North teams sat 8th (Elks, $36M) and t-18th (Indians, $26.6M).

I was of course glad that Nick Valdes had less inclination like his dead-but-not-yet-forgotten scrooge father, and did not slash the budget in half at the slightest hint at things going backwards. Of course he was not that dumb; the 2029 Raccoons had obviously been undone by injuries and nothing else. And even despite missing Ramos, Gutierrez, Hereford all for roughly half a season, and many other players for significant chunks, too, the Raccoons had hung in there until stumbling over the Falcons and Loggers in the middle of September, which, y’know, stunk then, still stunk, and would stink for a while longer, but there was a time in June or July where I was sure we’d have a well-protected pick in the 2030 draft…

Yet, the $2M tack-on to the budget left us with very little wiggle room due to a number of factors. This included scheduled raises to a few players like Tim Stalker, Ricky Ohl, and Elias Tovias, but also a rapidly escalating arbitration estimate for Alberto Ramos.

And with that, we come to the arbitration and free agency table [see below]. The Raccoons had nine players up for business, including three free agents, which included Matt Jamieson and Matt Nunley as two edges of the Raccoons version of the devil’s triangle on the left side of the field, the third one being Rich Hereford. Both were really only scheduled to face opposite-handed pitching, but since Hereford missed two months, and Ramos missed more time that allowed for shifting the middle infielders and open two spots on the left side for those two, they had ended up getting a total of 1,033 at-bats between them. And they had been awesome: those two old farts had combined for 27 homers and a .287 batting average, and had piled up 6.6 WAR. The main reason why nobody has bothered to offer extensions to the pair of Matts already is that I was not quite sure what sort of budget Big Nick was gonna give me for 2030… and now we had precious little wiggle room to fit both of them into next year’s budget.

The third free agent was Kyle Anderson on his second tour of duty. Anderson had been part of the pickings-up when we had dealt Rin Nomura out of raw disgust in July, and had done *okay*. He was a guy you’d like to keep around especially since there was really an open spot in the rotation for next year…

That rotation brings us to the arbitration cases. Boles and Ramos were really no-brainers. Magallanes had done decently enough in a poor man’s leadoff batter’s role whenever Ramos had been laid up with some tweak or other, and was, despite being a singles slapper with average defense, too valuable to just let walk away like that. Sean Rigg was a professional garbage disposal person who had his applications; we might want to look into options with him. Mauricio Garavito had been a waiver claim from the Bayhawks and spectacular improvement when Jeremy Moesker was not getting anybody out early in the season, and we were going to have two left-handers anyway…

And then there was the elephant in the room, Dan Delgadillo. He was arbitration eligible for the final time, and his price point in this season had already been $2.15M, for which he had pitched 127 innings with a 10-8 mark and 4.61 ERA before shoving off to the DL once more. Through six seasons, he had made only 142 starts, and last year the walks had crept up on him, too. There were A LOT of issues with Yusneldan. Of course, he was not going to get LESS money in arbitration. Cutting him free after six years of 50-43 baseball with a 3.93 ERA and a meager 5.8 K/9 was something we had seriously considered last year, and it was on the plate again this season.

It wasn’t even that he was getting paid for that one strong season he had enjoyed, the 2026 campaign when he had gone 12-7 with a 2.76 ERA in the regular season and 3-0 in the playoffs, with an 0.89 ERA there (His playoff totals were 6 G, 5 GS, 4-1, 1.53 ERA). And just go back to the 2026 World Series again; throughout the playoffs, Rico Gutierrez and Dan Delgadillo had won their assignments, while Mark Roberts and Rin Nomura decidedly hadn’t. The mantra before Game 6 had been, oh shucks, it’s Nomura, BUT … if things go pear-shaped (which Nomura made every effort to allow them to go to), we would have Dan Delgadillo in Game 7 and what could happen then at all?

No, he had signed for big bucks out of Cuba, getting a 4-yr, $6.5M contract right away and only after that had entered arbitration. After signing, he had been named the #71 prospect in the land, and he tore his UCL the same year (2024), which is all a lot of window dressing to the situation that the Raccoons were bound to pay a mediocre right-hander up to $2.5M when they could get more pitching for less.

Also, Matt Jamieson, also a second-tour Coon, was probably not willing to stay around for free, or come back for a third tour any time soon…
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:12 PM   #2814
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Many times an offseason begins with a dull period of the weeks leading up to the free agency date, because the team knows what it’s gonna do. These guys go; those guys are made go.

This was not one of those offseasons.

The Raccoons began the offseason in a right pickle money wise. My goal was to extend both Matt Nunley and Matt Jamieson to short-term deals. Last year’s arrangement from the start was them playing a disjointed platoon with Rich Hereford travelling back and forth between third base and leftfield, depending on the opposing pitcher; for various reasons, that arrangement only lasted about six to eight weeks total, most of those reasons relating to medial malaise. All three batters were actually great contributors, and when could we ever say that about any three Raccoons on the same team at the same time?

The thing was that we were left with little wiggle room for the 2030 roster *and* Matt Jamieson had been inspired by his strong 2029 outing to ask for a final shot in the arm in the vicinity of 3-yr, $6M, which was not something the Raccoons could spontaneously come up with. In the days after the World Series, we quickly signed a $570k extension with Nunley, once again probably his final one, but Jamieson wanted more. Much more.

And I wanted Jamieson, goddamnit!

While Jamieson was the right-handed batter and thus on the short end of the stick in a platoon between the two Matts, more things had developed during the season, such as the proverbial death of Rafael Gomez. He had batted for an .810 OPS in ’27, then .749 in ’28, then all of .602 last year. He was also a right-handed batter, and Rich Hereford was also able to cover that position, so we would actually see Rich more in rightfield, giving more breathing room to Matt Jamieson. But to make that happen, we had to sign Jamieson to an extension.

Well, Gomez was not going to go anywhere. He was in a contract year and making $1.72M, and as already brought up he had batted for a .602 OPS last year; he was all but immovable. The Coons had to make do with him this season, then part with him on the other side of the 2030 campaign.

To find $2M for Jamieson, the Coons had to find a different player making roughly as much that could be shifted elsewhere. Abel Mora with $1.3M was probably at the bottom end of the range here, but we appreciated what he was doing. He would also be in the contract year, part of the ongoing narrative that the 2030-31 offseason would be the death of this team, although we had significant ressources invested into 2031 and beyond. Tovias, Ohl, Hereford were all signed for ’31, and Ramos and Boles were under team control. Roberts, Gutierrez, Stalker, and Shumway were even signed for longer, and there was admittedly a fairly mean set of left-handed starters in that mix.

That said, however, Tim Stalker had underperformed in 2029 and was probably not movable at this point. Rico was coming off injury and seemed to hold no value in BNN rankings, either, despite him having won the ERA crown in ’28. Roberts was probably wishing himself back to San Francisco. Tom Shumway’s value was undeniable… except he’d also come back from injury.

INJURY. INJURY. INJURY.

No, the guy to be moved was clearly Dan Delgadillo. He had cashed $2.15M for a 4.61 ERA in 2029, and I could find a 4.61 ERA pitcher for much less. We probably had a bunch on the roster already, f.e. Kyle Anderson (who was also a free agent, but one after the other…). To my great surprise, Delgadillo drew quite a bit of interest, with almost half the league offering up their own versions of overpriced non-contributors. But not all the offers were phony; some teams, including in our division, were desperate for any straw to get their rotation rejuvenated. The question was just what the Coons could ask for in return; ideally we wanted a capable player, say, somewhere between Butch Gerster and Tim Stalker in terms of ability, and he’d make the minimum. Or, y’know, a prospect. Doesn’t harm to have prospects…

+++

October 27 – The Raccoons trade 26-yr old SP Dan Delgadillo (50-43, 3.93 ERA) and 25-yr old SP Jamie O’Leary (2-11, 4.32 ERA) to the Crusaders for 22-yr old #89 prospect AA CL Chris Wise.

+++

Wise might be the next Ricky Ohl – just give him another year or two; so there is definitely value in that return. And we managed to shed over $2.3M in commitments, which was really the main goal of the exercise. The Crusaders would not do the deal straight up, and it took another player to complete the deal. They would also have enjoyed to dig into whatever demi-prospects we had at the AA level (some pitching there, not so much offense…), but settled for O’Losey, who could not have had a much worse rookie experience. It takes special skill to go 2-11 in 16 starts. That is well south of Damani Knight territory!

Not that including O’Leary was the perfect solution, but it was the only one that I was comfortable with, and I enjoyed adding Chris Wise to the prospect pool very much. Also, now we had dough to go after Jamieson!

What I didn’t see coming (and didn’t inquire beforehand about) was however that Kyle Anderson also thought he was entitled to a 3-year deal worth several millions. Well, maybe he was, but he couldn’t get that from the Coons.
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Questdog (04-16-2019)
Old 04-17-2019, 04:20 AM   #2815
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It should fairly be noted in the post mortem on the Delgadillo trade that the other team in the CL North that made a productive offer for Delgadillo was the Titans. We could have gotten either Rhett West or Stephen Williams for Delgadillo, which in other circumstances would have been dandy, but we already had two people parked up at the hot corner, Williams (who ended up traded anyway, but see below) wasn’t much of a shortstop defensively, and Rhett West had no room at second base either; also those two made roughly $1M each themselves, so that’s a very expensive bench piece if you don’t have any sort of productive corner outfielder yet…

True, our depth was seriously challenged this season and the lack thereof frequently exposed. But then again, need to keep that offense humming, and Jamieson hummed neatly.

Of course, with the Delgadillo trade, holes had opened in the rotation. It was now Roberts, Shumway, and Gutierrez as perhaps the best trio in baseball (the only thing slightly annoying me was that they were all left-handed, but you can’t have it all…), and after that mostly the chirping of crickets. We had Dave Martinez, whatever you wanted to make of him, and our head scout, whom I had seen before but could not put a name on, opined that his stuff was not going to be what he first considered it to become, but somehow he had held up in the last two months of the season after that dastardly late-inning performance where he hit a batter with the bases loaded to tie a game in the 17th inning, and also after getting royally blown up in his cup of coffee in ’28. We had Allen Reed, as soon as he could get out of his hospital bed, as the remaining return in the Rin Nomura trade. We had… Sean Rigg? Bobby Reed? … Oh dear.

So the Critters probably had to find at least one serviceable starting pitcher on the cheap end of the scale.

But this was a task for after the free agency deadline. Right now it was about skimming some edges on the arbitration demands of the remaining set of five and getting Matt Jamieson extended. At least Jamieson wasted no time; three days after he had been made a 3-yr, $4.5M offer, he signed it. There were some incentives in that deal that he was not likely to make, but at least we had skimmed another five-hundred grand, bringing the total savings this offseason to $2.8M! At least that is how Maud explained it to Slappy at the water cooler. Typical women’s logic – they would stampede in and out of a “buy two, get one free” shoe sale and then claim they had actually gotten these cute fur boots for free.

By the way, Maud, that fur on those boots looks suspiciously like raccoon.

It also makes the boys shy.

(tries to talk Matt Nunley down from light fixture)

Anyway, as award season began, the Coons also signed 1-year deals with Josh Boles for $720k, Juan Magallanes for $300k, and Mauricio Garavito for $280k. That left Sean Rigg (do we have to?) and Alberto Ramos (can we do more?).

Despite the huge injury problems I tried to get Alberto Ramos to sign a 6-year deal… That would have bought out his final arbitration year and secured him for another four seasons, but he wasn’t having it. Under no circumstances would he sign anything but a 1-year contract, and I knew exactly where he was going. The Excitement wasn’t dumb. If he just ONCE could get a healthy season together, he would probably steal an ABL record-smashing 80+ bases, might win the batting title, and could even win Player of the Year honors. If he could stay on the field just ONCE… Well, and that would of course have his value skyrocket. I offered $10M at first, then just over $11M, but he wasn’t buying it. If he could get a healthy season together just ONCE… he could probably command a deal that would also smash R.J. DeWeese’s record for the largest contract doled out by the Critters, and that was in the previous decade (7-yr, $23.1M, and the returns were utmost pitiful). Tom Shumway had signed for the same value per year, but only for five years and $16.5M total.

But Ramos could be the next Pablo Sanchez. He might not actually hit .400, which Sanchez did as a 27-year-old for the ’21 Scorpions, but he was almost that valuable. …if he could stay on the field ONCE. Sanchez was by the way now 35, had a bust shoulder, but according to BNN had 96.7 career WAR and was basically already writing his Hall of Fame induction speech as a 3-time Player of the Year, 12-time All Star, and a pile of other accolades, like four batting titles. He was also coming up as a free agent after 17 years with the Scorpions that had netted him nearly $51M in salaries, as far as I could tell the most ever earned by an ABL player. Sanchez in his prime was so absurd, he scored his 1,000th major league run when he was a week shy of turning *28*.

Sean Rigg signed a $350k deal for 2030 on November 5. Alberto Ramos followed suit two days later, signing a 1-year deal worth $1,333,000. Not much else happened up until the free agency deadline, maybe with the exception of Tom Shumway coming down with a case of splashing diarrhea. Ah, at least it was in the offseason…

+++

November 1 – The Titans trade 3B/SS Stephen Williams (.257, 96 HR, 617 RBI) back to the Federal League with the Capitals as the receiving team, to reunite with SP Greg Gannon (103-74, 4.01 ERA), who had left Boston as free agent after the 2027 season. The Capitals also receive a prospect.

+++

2029 ABL AWARDS

Players of the Year: PIT 1B Danny Santillano (.334, 28 HR, 86 RBI) and TIJ 3B/SS Shane Sanks (.279, 27 HR, 112 RBI)
Pitchers of the Year: WAS SP Jorge Beltran (20-8, 2.82 ERA) and TIJ SP Adam Potter (17-11, 2.69 ERA)
Rookies of the Year: PIT 2B/SS Jim McKenzie (.293, 9 HR, 48 RBI) and IND 2B Dan Schneller (.262, 7 HR, 48 RBI)
Relievers of the Year: DEN CL Michael Frank (9-7, 3.28 ERA, 24 SV) and BOS CL Jonathan Snyder (8-6, 2.08 ERA, 26 SV)
Platinum Stick (FL): P LAP Dave Christiansen – C SAC David Drews – 1B PIT Danny Santillano – 2B WAS Enrique Trevino – 3B SAL Guillermo Obando – SS WAS Dave Menth – LF SAC Doug Stross – CF DEN Abel Madsen – RF LAP Oscar Mendoza
Platinum Stick (CL): P NYC Robby Gonzalez – C TIJ Danny Zarate – 1B POR Kevin Harenberg – 2B ATL John Johnson – 3B TIJ Shane Sanks – SS ATL Andrew Showalter – LF LVA Tom Dunlap – CF NYC Tony Coca – RF OCT Luis Sagredo
Gold Gloves (FL): P NAS Joel Trotter – C TOP Giovanni James – 1B DEN Brad Gore – 2B PIT Jim McKenzie – 3B SAL Guillermo Obando – SS SAC Matthew Crabtree – LF DAL Tony Hensley – CF PIT Carlos de la Riva – RF NAS Khalil Sams
Gold Gloves (CL): P ATL Mario Rosas – C LVA Josh Motley – 1B SFB Tomas Caraballo – 2B POR Tim Stalker – 3B TIJ Shane Sanks – SS SFB Jose Pulido – LF BOS Willie Vega – CF BOS Adrian Reichardt – RF POR Rafael Gomez

Congratulations to Rafael for having morphed from a slugger into a “defensive specialist” in a power position. How much is he gonna cash? – Really, Steve? Really? – Steve from Accounting says it’s still $1.72M.

Fairness demands I add that Rafael Gomez won a Gold Glove once before. That was in 2023 when he was still with the Bayhawks, and when he was batting .304 with 17 homers and made it seem rather routine. The Bayhawks traded Gomez to Richmond principally for Ben Lipsky after the ’24 season (and the Coons picked him up the following summer), and Lipsky led the CL in pitcher WAR (a useless stat) one year after missing the entire 2028 season with a torn rotator cuff.

Meanwhile Tim Stalker won his fourth career Gold Glove; the other three came consecutively at shortstop from 2023 through 2025 before Alberto Ramos raced onto the scene and stole his position.

Now you must excuse me. Shane Sanks won another Player of the Year award, the ****ing scammer, and I gotta barf.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:32 AM   #2816
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While I tried to get any attention from other teams that were going to pile onto the various type A free agent starting pitchers – and I would try to preserve our #16 pick in the 2030 draft if at all possible, never mind we did not really have the budget space to go after, say, Vincent Alfaro, Jorge Beltran, or Mel Lira – there were some very interesting and peculiar developments in the second half of November.

One of those developments was Dan Delgadillo, who was a Crusader for about three weeks and on paper only. When they discovered there was not going to be any reasoning with him regarding his 2030 salary, they cut their (already tremendous) losses and let him walk rather than take him to arbitration and get hit with a $2.5M bill. Within a week Yusneldan teamed up with his third CL North team in less than a month, signing a 2-yr, $534k deal with the Indians.

There was a lot to unpack in this story, none of which was particularly worth unpacking. The bottom line was this: the Coons had fleeced a ranked prospect from the Crusaders and still had saved several millions while doing so. The Crusaders were left with Jamie O’Leary and a raging fan base. Regardless of whether Chris Wise turns into a badass closer or an exiled pariah for walking sixteen batters per nine innings, I claim we have already won this one.

+++

November 17 – The Loggers pick up 29-yr old OF Khalil Sams (.256, 28 HR, 227 RBI) and unranked prospect 1B Omar Huerta from the Blue Sox in exchange for 30-yr old LF/RF Willie Trevino (.245, 77 HR, 370 RBI).
November 27 – After catching for the Pacifics and Crusaders in 2029, C Jaiden Jackson (.292, 145 HR, 713 RBI) signs a 2-yr, $2.52M contract with the Blue Sox.
December 1 – 35-year-old career Scorpions superstar RF/LF Pablo Sanchez (.344, 122 HR, 1,278 RBI) signs a 3-yr, $11.24M contract with the Buffaloes.
December 1 – The Titans sign ex-PIT/RIC C J.J. Henley (.284, 182 HR, 689 RBI) to a 2-year deal worth $6.36M.
December 1 – Rule 5 Draft: 18 players are selected across two rounds. The Raccoons are not affected.
December 2 – The Falcons sign 33-year-old righty SP Ed Hague (94-85, 4.10 ERA) to a 1-yr, $980k contract. Hague had spent the last four years with the Aces.
December 5 – The Scorpions try to jumpstart the rebuilding process with a 4-yr, $9.34M contract to 29-year-old ex-PIT/NYC SP Mel Lira (81-74, 3.84 ERA).
December 6 – The Pacifics snatch up one of the biggest fish in the free agency pond, signing 30-year-old right-hander former Capitals SP Jorge Beltran (127-91, 2.81 ERA) to a 7-yr, $30.88M contract.
December 6 – The Crusaders deal RF/LF Matt Owen (.288, 87 HR, 462 RBI) to the Miners for 3B Ryan Czachor (.240, 77 HR, 449 RBI) and a prospect.
December 6 – The Indians sent 3B/1B Brett Blades (.237, 26 HR, 133 RBI) to the Scorpions for MR Juan Melendrez (12-11, 5.06 ERA, 5 SV) and a second-rate prospect.
December 6 – The Wolves acquire C Dean Hill (.279, 24 HR, 100 RBI) and a prospect from the Blue Sox in exchange for SP Josh Weeks (37-28, 3.80 ERA, 2 SV).
December 7 – Sacramento sends 35-year-old C David Drews (.305, 130 HR, 533 RBI) to the Buffaloes for five prospects. The package includes right-hander and #61 prospect Matt Broughton as well as #117 prospect 3B Fidel Nunez.
December 8 – The Cyclones sign ex-DEN RF/1B Brad Gore (.282, 171 HR, 944 RBI) to a 2-yr, $6.48M contract.
December 8 – Milwaukee acquires 25-yr old OF Josh Stephenson (.280, 6 HR, 66 RBI) from the Miners for two prospects including #72 SP Jon Bleich.
December 10 – The Indians get SP Mark Morrison (61-65, 4.09 ERA) from the Stars along with a pile of cash for AAA infielder Mike Roesler (.214, 2 HR, 33 RBI) and a prospect.

+++

Unfortunately, the Delgadillo episode made us non the more competitive compared to the Titans, for example, and despite valiant efforts during the last few weeks and the winter meetings, I have been unable to come up with an answer for the glaring hole in the rotation. The top free agent pitchers are out of our price range, and the other teams are less than impressed by our selection of non-prospects and bit players for their solid pitchers.

Man, wouldn’t it be great to have actual prospects for once?

Other Raccoons signing with new teams: Omar Alfaro joined the Scorpions for $710k; Matt Hamilton hooked up with the Knights for $1.44M; Chris Munroe took $326k from the Indians; Pete Molina got $1.42M over two years from the Aces; Kyle Anderson signed with the Buffaloes for $298k (!!);

Anderson? Really? Well, I won’t trade for that guy again!

If it is any consolation, there is a new Hall of Fame ballot out. It contains a few former Raccoons, but if we’re honest… it is not overwhelming… it might well be the worst HoF ballot we have ever seen since the Secret Ninja Committee stepped down and selections for the Hall were made in the open. I mean, Ron Thrasher was a thrill – there were a season or two where it was all but impossible to score on him. But he faded after his departure and ended up with the Loggers in the end, and when was that ever a winning entry on a resume? It’s a ballot where anybody but a few of the first basemen should be deleted right away…
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Questdog (04-19-2019)
Old 04-20-2019, 05:09 PM   #2817
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Christmas was near and the Raccoons had yet to add a single player that had already sniffed major league air at some point. Not that major league air always smelled that great… (strolls through the locker room with its certain odor) … I gotta send Slappy down here. He will then sit around here for three days pretending to do something, and do nothing. It’s a little game we have played for a while.

Other than cleaning **** up around the house, the Raccoons really needed to act to address their pitching need(s). The bullpen was probably going to be very solid again, but we *had* to get a #4 starter; we could probably scrape by with Dave Martinez pitching out of the #5 hole, but I did not feel well by going with him *and* Allen Reed. I also wanted a right-hander in the open slot, which Reed was decidedly not. And no, Bobby Reed was not an option, though right-handed.

I reached out to a few free agents… we didn’t really need an ace. We needed a solid pitcher, but even those were hard to get with little money and a protective attitude towards the #16 pick.

Meanwhile I tried to skim some bucks at the edges of the roster. Rafael Gomez caught my eye once more and I shopped him (along with other players, including some mainstays that would be surprised to hear that they were being offered for something, anything, like Billy Brotman and Kevin Surginer), and for once we actually got an offer for Gomez.

It was from the Elks.

It was for ****ing booger picker Ted Gura.

Good one, Elks. Good one! Now get out of the line, I need to call Dr. Kevin, the TV psychiatrist on Channel 69, to talk about my agonies.

+++

December 12 – The Aces land 30-yr old LF/RF Ruben Orozco (.263, 126 HR, 433 RBI) on a 3-yr, $5.26M contract. Orozco spent the last one-and-a-half seasons with the Bayhawks and hit 27 home runs in ’29.
December 13 – The Canadiens deal MR Jared Stone (8-15, 3.91 ERA, 9 SV) and AAA MR Edgar Gonzalez to the Miners for INF T.J. Bennett (.295, 1 HR, 20 RBI).
December 16 – Los Angeles secures ex-NYC 3B Andy Schmit (.265, 85 HR, 520 RBI) on a 4-yr, $10.24M contract.
December 18 – The Thunder pick up ex-VAN SP Leon Hernandez (148-119, 3.65 ERA) on a 2-yr, $3.24M deal.
December 20 – Former Capitals outfielder Jeremy Houghtaling (.250, 106 HR, 471 RBI) returns for a second stint with the Knights. The 32-year-old switch-hitter signs a 2-yr, $1.94M contract.
December 22 – The Canadiens trade for the Stars’ 2B/SS Lazaro Hernandez (.280, 0 HR, 18 RBI). The 25-year-old infielder costs them nothing more than 34-year-old INF Sean Light (.253, 11 HR, 147 RBI).
December 24 – For $7.2M over two years, the Thunder get ex-DEN/NAS SP Danny Arguello (85-71, 3.62 ERA, 10 SV).
December 24 – The Capitals add ex-OCT LF/RF Dan Brown (.251, 132 HR, 702 RBI) on a 2-yr, $2.64M deal.
December 25 – The Pacifics’ fanbase gets ex-WAS SP Eric Williams (154-117, 3.28 ERA) for a Christmas present. The Pacifics shell out $20M over five years for the 33-year-old lefty.
December 26 – The Crusaders get 25-year-old righty swingman Victor Alvarez (2-0, 2.80 ERA) in a trade with the Aces, who receive a prospect.
December 29 – The Blue Sox trade for New York’s OF Fabien Ugolino (.225, 5 HR, 56 RBI), with the Crusaders receiving SS/2B Josh Brown (.225, 4 HR, 26 RBI). Both players are 25 years old.
December 29 – Former Pacifics OF/1B Joe Vanatti (.281, 56 HR, 393 RBI) joins the Aces on a 3-yr, $2.82M contract.
January 1 – The Scorpions pick up former Knights SP Tim Wells (106-98, 3.98 ERA) for four years and $12M.
January 2 – The Warriors acquire 36-yr old LF/RF/1B Jon Correa (.272, 177 HR, 862 RBI) from the Pacifics in exchange for MR Harry Merwin (59-66, 3.31 ERA, 325 SV) of the same age and a decent prospect.
January 8 – 34-year-old veteran 1B Pat Fowlkes (.296, 187 HR, 946 RBI) signs a 2-year deal worth $2.48M with the Cyclones. Fowlkes spent all of his 12 major league seasons with the Falcons up to this point.

+++

Let me clarify. When I say that Ted Gura is a ****ing booger picker, I don’t mean his own boogers.

Can’t have that on this team. Raccoons don’t like to have their noses picked.

+++

To nobody’s great surprise, nobody was elected to the Hall of Fame this year, the first such occurrence in a long, long time.

PIT 1B Steve Butler – 2nd – 48.2%
LAP 1B Stanley Murphy – 2nd – 47.1%
SAL 1B Alberto Rodriguez – 1st – 32.7%
ATL LF Gil Rockwell – 3rd – 19.9%
CIN C Jayden Jolley – 1st – 13.2%
ATL SP Dave Butler – 1st – 11.8%
VAN 1B Ray Gilbert – 5th – 10.7%
??? SP Bob King – 4th – 10.3%
LAP 3B Jens Carroll – 5th – 9.6%
??? SP Fred Dugo – 1st – 4.8% - DROPPED
??? SP Juan Valdevez – 2nd – 2.2% - DROPPED
??? SP Ken Harris – 1st – 1.8% - DROPPED
WAS RF Victor Sarabia – 1st – 1.5% - DROPPED
??? CL Ron Thrasher – 1st – 0.0% - DROPPED
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Old 04-22-2019, 02:51 PM   #2818
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At some point in early January, an intern from the Agitator called the front office. They wanted to know whether we were actually still around, given that the Raccoons had yet to make ANY move this offseason. Maud says that when she told the intern that we were working on all fronts to improve our performing group and were constantly looking for new angles of attack on the opposition, the intern said to a certain Jim he was with that yes, indeed, they (we) had no clue and were probably having buckets on our heads and constantly running into the walls, after which Maud explains she treated the Agitator to a “courtesy disconnect”.

After the Hall of Fame balloting reveal and the revelation that the induction ceremony in the summer would be cancelled this time around, we were indeed the only ABL team with only one player added this winter, which again was of course #89 prospect Chris Wise. The Condors and Titans had two each, which was the next-fewest. Those were also three teams with what I would call “decent success” in recent times. In other words: these three teams combined for the last EIGHT Continental League pennants and SEVEN championships in that time span; the 2027 Pacifics had been the only FL team to get anywhere near a set of rings recently. In fact, the Federal League had only won *four* of the last *seventeen* World Series.

None of this gave the Coons a player, though…

As I said before time and again, we had no prospects worthwhile that could sway another team to give us shiny toys, and the free agent market was expensive and the top pitchers were out of reach. There remained only the grab bag in the discount aisle.

But at least we could be assured that we still had a strong team as things were; a lineup with Harenberg, Hereford, Jamieson, Mora, Nunley, Stalker, and not least Ramos was certainly formidable, and regarding Elias Tovias, hey, somebody had to bat eighth, right? The bench remained suspect with Ivey, Magallanes, Gomez, and whatever we ended up fancying our backup infielders. Maybe there was also room for Wilson Rodriguez.

Pitching? Sure! Shumway, Roberts, Gutierrez, Boles, Ohl, Surginer – terrific top half of the staff. And then there were the more recent arrivals like Fleischer, whatever could be gotten from Dave Martinez, not to forget the left-handers Brotman and Garavito, the curious case of Matt Stonecipher, who had strong stuff and no control, but didn’t amount to a Ron Thrasher level of blast, and then again Ron Thrasher didn’t amount to a level of at least one Hall of Fame vote; and if you didn’t like Stonecipher around, or his name was too long to fit neatly on the uniform, some other chump for long relief, and it might just as well be Sean Rigg.

But that hole at #4 in the rotation; that one kept poking.

By the middle of January, somebody asked an uncomfortable question. It might have been me. But what about Vincent Alfaro? The 33-year-old righty was still unsigned. He was a type-A free agent, and he had lost 32 games between the last two seasons amidst the collapsed Scorpions’ sea of rubble and detritus. Defense around him had been pretty bad with BABIP’s as high as .345 in ’28. We might be able to help that, and money was tight, but we might be able to squeeze out an offer to him that he would at least mull over.

There were red flags, though, and not just a few. He had never been a strikeout pitcher, topping 6 K/9 only once in his career in ’22, then with the Pacifics, but he had enjoyed fairly good control in his earlier years. However, those K/9 and BB/9 values were starting to move towards each other. He was most or less a bank to allow 15 dingers (probably 30 once he got to Raccoons Ballpark…), but our scouting department pointed to something else entirely. Alfaro had been a 3-pitch guy throughout his career, but last year had barely thrown his slider, and when he had thrown it, the pitch had not seen any sort of bite. He was almost entirely relying on the 96 mph sinker (a very good pitch!) and a swooping curveball. Even if you got him for $2M (and the #16 pick), there was every possibility that within a but brief amount of time you might wind up with a very much battered back-end guy in the rotation, or a ridiculously middle innings reliever, neither of which merited $2M. Honestly, if we wanted to give a battered guy $2M, we could have kept Delgadillo…

+++

January 14 – The Canadiens announce the addition of 35-year-old utility player Matt Good (.285, 144 HR, 867 RBI) to a 2-yr, $3.24M contract.
February 4 – The Pacifics reunite with 33-yr old SP Vincent Alfaro (122-133, 3.97 ERA) for $7.68M and two years.

+++

Yes, yes, we are still here. No, we don’t have a player yet. We are in talks though. For example about redecorating some stuff here, and who will get a bobblehead this year, and whether we should add actual tails to the uniform pants.

Lots going on here!

One former Raccoon found a tree hole to shelter up in: Josh Stevenson signed for $790k with the Crusaders;
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:47 AM   #2819
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Nick Valdes called repeatedly and left increasingly panicked voicemails in early February for our complete lack of adding players since *October*. Nobody ever answered the phone, which was not for all of us having closed up shop and having gone home, but for a few days an increasingly hard-fought game of hide-and-seek was going on at the ballpark. Chad won it, despite hiding in plain sight, wearing the mascot costume and walking the halls. Nobody ever bothered to “find” him. My own hiding place, next to a secret liquor stash in the basement was found out within minutes by Slappy. We just agreed to both keep silent about it and turn to the liquor to get away from the madness for a moment. Turned out to be three days.

None of this got in players. At this point, the Raccoons were after two “proven veteran” free agent pitchers, none of them exciting. Between them they had zero All Star nominations. One of them had led the league in walks fairly recently. The other had once managed to post a losing season with a 2.57 ERA.

Talks with both had started around the holidays, and as of February were still going on. We really only needed one of them to sign, but good lord, they were both fighting for every dime and penny to boost their retirement fund.

Progress on this was excruciatingly slow, and with the Raccoons still not willing to part with any sort of demi-prospect (we might need them very soon…), no trade with another team for a valid, valuable piece could be arranged.

There were other areas for improvement that could still be tackled in February. For a while I was in talks with the Loggers to acquire Jim Young, which would have given Elias Tovias some honest competition, but that didn’t happen. It was hard to trade with the Loggers, who were already spending more money than they had, and then again, only prospects are free, and the Coons… well… eh…

There was also Mike Pizzo, the veteran catcher, still unemployed in February. He had hoped for a $20M deal in free agency, he was no closer to employment looking for a $2M deal, and the Coons weren’t even willing to offer that. The last two seasons had seen Pizzo lead the Federal League in strikeouts in ’28, batting all of .236, and then last year he had swatted 21 dingers and had posted an .848 OPS. It was like those two seasons were put up by entirely different players. In just roughy 10% fewer at-bats, he struck out almost 50% less, hit 50% more dingers, and earned almost 75% more WAR, which is a useless stat. We’d take the 2029 Bayhawks version, please?

Alas, money was tight, and Pizzo had some sheep out and dark clouds were forming, and he had to get those sheep in. And what is that, is it almost March already? When does the season start again?

We were at a point where random selections off the waiver wire started to make sense.

+++

February 5 – The Crusaders sign outfielder Danny Serrano (.318, 37 HR, 452 RBI) to a 2-yr, $2.8M. The 31-year-old outfielder played with the Aces and Capitals last year.

+++

Isn’t this exciting?

Former Critters alert: Wade Davis signed for $394k with the Warriors; and that was already it!
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1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
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: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

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Old 04-24-2019, 05:10 AM   #2820
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After an entirely pointless stint with the Cyclones in 2028 during which he was not penciled into the starting lineup even once and batted only .227 with no extra-base hits, Cookie Carmona had been hung up to dry during the winter and by March news seeped through that he had retired, ending a 17-year major league career, 16 of which had been spent with the Raccoons.

This ultimately closed the book on our “Dingus” Morales gambit from 2011, where the Coons, fresh off a pennant, had signed the famed slugger (since enshrined) to a 1-year deal in April, forfeiting their first-round pick in the process. Morales batted .352 with nine homers in 74 games with Portland, which was not enough to keep the team in the race. On July 21, 2011, he was thus traded to the Capitals as a 2-month rental, which didn’t make the Capitals go any places prettier, either, but gave the Raccoons ultimately four prospects, three of which flamed out at varying intensity.

Pitcher Gary Dupes amounted to 11 major league appearances (5 starts) over three seasons and two teams (the Thunder also took a bite out of him after we were done), and retired with a 2-3 record and 8.04 ERA for his efforts.

Outfielder Mike Cook ended up in another trade the following year without ever suiting up in the brown shirt, being flipped to the Aces for Mike Bednarski – oh joy. For almost a decade, the Aces gave Cook cups of coffee and waived him numerous teams, never finding a taker. He retired in ’25, having garnered only 194 at-bats across nine different seasons, and having batted .227 for them, with seven homers, which was 40 fewer dingers than Bednarski would hit for the Coons, but he was also 40 times as annoying.

Lingering on the Coons’ roster for years and years for no greater good would be Jason Bergquist. The second baseman got almost 2,000 plate appearances in the bigs, batting all of .239 with 17 homers and finishing with a career WAR as negative as the other two busts, most of that exposure gained as a Raccoon from 2013 to 2017.He never managed to out-hit a .656 OPS as a Raccoon, and only surpassed that mark noticeably twice, with the ’19 Pacifics and the ’22 Stars. The latter was his final major league season, after which he bounced around the minors for half a decade more.

No, no, the main prize then and now was always Cookie Carmona. He was the #11 prospect at the time of the trade, and he would soon embark on making that number mean something. The Coons called him up the following summer at the age of 20, and he batted a noble but uninspired .288 in that first rookie season. Lighting on fire was reserved for his first full season the year after that. He batted .320, stole a league-leading 45 bases, and drove in 57 runs, mostly from the leadoff spot. A natural born centerfielder, his body nevertheless couldn’t take the toll. With mounting injuries a grave concern, the Raccoons moved Carmona out of centerfield by his age 25 season(!) and parked him in rightfield for a while, then ultimately moved him to leftfield by ’21, where he remained for the rest of his career. Injuries ultimately caught up with him there, too, but he was able to stay on the field at least for a little while longer in the less physically demanding corner spots. Cookie won a batting title in 2017, hitting .344 that season, led the CL in stolen bases three times, in hits and runs once each, and in triples twice. He was an All Star only once because he would usually get drowned out in the noise of slugging corner outfielders, won a Gold Glove, and after years and years also a championship with the 2026 Raccoons, although at this point he was no longer a regular starter and batted only .291 for a .679 OPS that season.

Cookie Carmona remains the Raccoons’ franchise stolen base leader with 428 bags, as well as in base hits (2,299) and triples (110). Matt Nunley might take the hits crown from him this season; the other two – less likely. Cookie, who earned over $23M from playing professional baseball and used much of it for infrastructure projects around his home town of David in Panama, retired with a career .307/.356/.384 slash line and 2,304 total hits, 21 home runs, and 645 RBI. He also drew more walks (558) than he struck out (436) during his career.
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Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

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