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Old 12-06-2018, 04:11 PM   #41
DD Martin
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This is really an excellent dynasty story. Rooting for Rip and the Sky
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WeagleWeagle (12-06-2018)
Old 12-08-2018, 08:08 PM   #42
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The First Pitch

“Are you 100% sure that’s what you want to wear out there Mr. Bucknor?”

Rip stood in the hallway leading to the home clubhouse in Big Sky Ballpark dressed as if he were the starting pitcher for the Sky that day. He wore the Billings’ home white jersey with blue pinstripes and “Billings” across the front of the jersey. He wore knee-high socks and had put eye black under his eyes. In his left hand, he held the old brown leather glove that he had worn back when he was a somewhat talented pitcher himself...

The question came from Billings’ Director of Public Relations, an attractive Puerto Rican woman named Isabel Cruz. Rip had attempted to court the young woman but had been quickly rebuffed with the classic “I have a husband and two kids” excuse. Still, it never hurt to ask.

“What exactly is the problem Izzy Dizzy?” Rip asked feigning indignation. “Am I not taking the field as a member of the Billings Sky? Should I not don the proper battle wear?”

Isabel rolled her eyes.

“You are throwing the first pitch, not pitching in Game 7 of the National Championship Series.”

“Dress for success, my dear!”

After opening the season with 10 straight games on the road, Billings returned home for the first game of the season in Big Sky Ballpark. The Jacksonville Sharks had come to town and in honor of it being the first home game of the year, Rip had been asked to throw out the first pitch. He planned to put on a ****ing show.

“Whatever you say sir. Just make sure you throw like an ace if you are gonna dress up as one. It’s time.”


Rip jogged out the dugout and to his surprise was met with thunderous applause. He had been in his office for much of the morning and had not seen what crowd had shown up. Turns out, it was basically a sellout and apparently, they kinda liked him. When they saw his attire the cheers got even louder.

Well, look at you, Mr. Badass.

He gave a courtesy wave and was met at the first base line by catcher Nate Allen who looked bemused.

“You look ready to throw today sir.”

“Damn right I’m ready Nate! You just make sure you catch this heat coming your way.”

Chuckling Nate handed him the ball and made his way behind the plate. Rip, meanwhile, strolled up to the mound, soaking in the applause and the moment.

One day, I’m gonna do this again and it’s gonna be after a championship and it’s gonna be ****ing awesome.

He toed the rubber and looked down towards the plate at Nate. The young backstop popped on hs mask crouched into his stance and then gave Rip a nod letting him know that Nate was ready for some heat. Rip continued to stare at Nate not moving. It took a moment before the 25-year-old realized that Rip was waiting on a sign. Shaking his head, Allen put one finger down. Rip shook it off. Visibly sighing, Allen showed Rip two fingers. Again Rip shook it off.

Cmon, give it to me you ****er.

Allen showed him four fingers and Rip shook it off again. That drew some chuckles from the crowd. Readjusting his stance, Allen seemed to be pondering what it was Rip wanted. Finally, after thinking for some time, he just threw down a middle finger.


Smiling, Rip nodded in agreement and began his wind up. As he stepped back with his left foot, he extended his arms back behind him in a very dramatic motion. Once fully extended, he pivoted his right foot off the top of the rubber to parallel in front of it. He then swung both arms high above his head while he brought his leg up.

I look like a ****ing boss.

Once his arms were fully extended above his head and his left leg brought up to his chest, he powered off his right foot driving towards the plate. He let loose everything he had on the throw as his body rocketed off the mound. When he let the ball go he heard a very loud “pop” that seemed to come from his elbow.


That pop led to excruciating pain which in turn led to him releasing the ball way too high. It soared probably five feet above Allen’s head smacking into the backstop. But Rip didn’t care because he was pretty sure everything in his elbow had just snapped.

“AAAAAHHHHH ****!” he bellowed as he crashed the ground.

Allen raced out his stance up towards Rip while the crowd gasped in surprise.

“Mr. Bucknor?! What happened?”

“I destroyed my elbow, Nate, that’s what happened.”

A little bit later the team trainer Chris Beard arrived on the scene. Sadly, despite his last name the man grew no facial hair. The 45-year old also had a very nasally accent that drove Rip absolutely insane. Doubly so when his elbow was on fire.

“Let’s sit you up real quick, sir,” the infuriating man whinnied at Rip.

“Sit on my ass, Chris!”

“That’s exactly what sitting is sir”

Damn you.

Rip rolled up off the ground and sat with his legs extended cradling his arm. The trainer kneeled down to take a look.

“Now does this hurt?” He asked pressing on his elbow.


“I will take that as a yes…. How bout this?”


“Again, I will take that as a yes. I’m guessing then you can’t really move it at all then sir?”


“Kinky,” Allen said with a smirk.

“I will cut your ass, Nate.” Rip shot back.

“I don’t think you will be cutting anything for like 8-10 months,” Allen answered with a chuckle.

“He’s right sir.” The sniveling witch doctor said with what was supposed to be a concerned voice. “We will need to take an MRI but I suspect you have a torn UCL.”


The trainer and catcher gingerly helped Rip up to a smatter of applause. Isabel Cruz approached as well as they began to lead Rip off to the dugout.

“Well, that went wonderfully,” she said dryly.

“Thank you for your concern, my dear.”

“Eh you’re a tough hombre, you will recover.”

As they approached the dugout, fans continued to give him a pitiful cheer while the PA man awkwardly announced, “Let’s hear it for Billings’ General Manager, Rip Bucknor!”

“Awkward injury aside, I think though we can all agree on one thing.” Rip said to his entourage.

“And what is that?” A skeptical Isabel asked.

With a sly grin, Rip roared, “That I looked ****ing amazing up there in this uniform!”
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Old 12-09-2018, 04:14 PM   #43
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Series 3 - Jacksonville Sharks


Home opener vs the Sharks this week. Jacksonville is off to a 5-5 start after dropping their first series to San Jose 2-3 and then bouncing back to take their 2nd one 3-2 vs Las Vegas. In the offseason, we made a pretty big deal with the Sharks that sent everybody’s favorite closer Ramon Bracamontes along with 2 other young arms to Florida in exchange for some stud prospects including Austin Modderman. Given how things went with Borst, I expect Ramon to strike everyone out and record 5 straight saves….

The Sharks are 7th in the EL in runs scored which is surprising considering they have Mike Frey batting 4th. He’s not Santos dominant but he’s pretty damn close. There’s also Taiwanese import Ju-zheng Zhuo who is beloved in Jacksonville as a 4x All-Star and 4x Best Glove winner. Had a down year last season but has started 2005 strong. The Sharks are expected to be a playoff contender but hey maybe comfy confines of Big Sky Ballpark will get us our first series win?


Game 11

Well, I missed this game due to the fact that I shredded my UCL throwing out the first pitch and will need surgery tomorrow… Glad I missed it though as it would have been infuriating to watch. Harden continues to pitch well but this time got NO help. We had bases loaded with 1 out in the top of 8th. Guess who they bring in? Yep, our buddy Ramon. Marco hits into a fielder’s choice and then Lopez flies out…. Leadoff the 9th with the double from Alpizar? Next 3 all sat down. **** me man….

Game 12

Vernon got absolutely lit up, surrendering 11 hits and ,6 runs in his 6 innings of work. Meanwhile veteran Tim Hooper held us to only 3 runs despite 8 hits. Dan Lopez did get his 3rd HR of the year which was nice. But the heart of that Sharks order with Freddy Sharp, Mike Frey and Tim Spurlock crushed us…. I had to rewatch the game after my surgery on major pain killers which made the experience a lot less infuriating….

Game 13

FIVE GAME LOSING STREAK SNAPPED BABY! Sadly I was not there to witness it in person as the damned doctor is requiring me to say in hospital for the next few days after surgery. I have tried 2 different daring escapes both thwarted by my inability to stop from giggling thanks to these damn drugs… As for the game itself, an incredible 7th inning rally led by Juan Sanchez 2 RBI double proved the difference. Justin Burke got his ERA down to 11.25 as well which is something….

Game 14

Dropped 7 runs in the bottom of the 7th to take a 7-6 lead. Old Man Bill Silander surrenders the tying run but whatever, we get it back in the bottom of 8th. All Justin Burke has to do is not **** it up. So, of course, he does exactly that blowing his 2nd save and moving to 0-3 on the year. Alpizar crushed his 5th HR which was cool and Mendoza hit his first career NBL HR as well but ya….

But a fun story from this game. Jacob Connor plunked Mike Frey in the shoulder after throwing behind him on the first pitch. Frey then charged the mound like a lunatic and the most comical “fight” went down as the two bear-hugged each other to the ground. Frey will miss 4 games while Connor is out 6

Game 15

So remember how Mike Frey got suspended for Sharks? Well his replacement Brent Grady went 4/4 with 2 RBI. Life is fun…. But hey our young bucks Lopez & Alpizar each had a HR so there’s that at least!

Around the NBL
  • Huge surprise in Omaha as New Orleans took it to the Storm winning 4 of 5
  • Choo Choos survive a battle out west as they win a tough series with OKC
  • San Antonio continues to be really bad losing another series, this one 2-3 to Louisville
  • Always a fun series when Santa Fe & Indianapolis synch up. Bandits got the better of the Racers at home 3-2
  • Last year's NCS rematch when a different way as Charlotte took the series from the Pioneers
  • Giants continue their surprising start as they whoop up on poor San Jose
  • Tough start to this season for the Flames as they were almost swept by Las Vegas

- The Wolf is at it again as Doug Fetherolf threw a 2 hit shutout against Indianapolis
- Santa Fe loses their stud closer Eric White for 4 weeks due to a bicep injury
- Another big time closer down as Portland’s Jon Mossman suffered a serious elbow injury that will keep him out for at least 8 months. Tough blow for the 25 year old

A lot went wrong this week obviously. First, there's the whole blowing my elbow out thing in front of a packed crowd to start the series. Then, there was the whole drop 4 of 5 games.... Something fun though is that Lorenzo Alpizar leads the Western League in home runs with 6. We are also not last which is cool too. Unfortunately, Justin Laskowski is gonna miss 2 games with back stiffness so Robby Santos will get some work. Also will be down Connor next series so we effectively have 23 men on the roster right now. Offense is sitting middle of the back but whew buddy our pitching....

Last edited by WeagleWeagle; 12-11-2018 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:27 PM   #44
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Series 4 - Chattanooga Choo Choos


A VERY good Chattanooga team comes to Billings next and boy am I not looking forward to it… The Choo Choos are off to an 11-4 start lead by a dynamic offense and a strong pitching staff. They have not been shy about pursuing foreign free agents. Dong-hyun Oh, Masafumi Tsutsi and Ta-kao Zhou are three critical pieces to this lineup. Ace Owen Garside has struggled out the gate but David Thompson has been amazing giving up only one earned run over 22 innings pitched. Lurking at the end of the game is the best closer in the NBL in Salvador Martinez. This is gonna be ugly….

Game 16

Well, that was a pleasant surprise… David Harden continues to be just flat out amazing. He even drove in a run. Actually, every single starter in the lineup got a hit. Jody elected to keep Laskowski in the lineup even though he’s battling a bad back. Proved a good idea as he came through with a HUGE 2 RBI single. Bullpen didn’t blow it either. Color me shocked

Game 17

Good news, we got a run on David Thompson which is only the 2nd one he’s surrendered this year. Bad news, they got 9… Gary Wentzall was insane going 3 for 4 with a double, triple & home run. Dave Martinez continues to swing a hot bat for us though it didn’t matter today. Worst news of the day is rookie Marco Mendoza was injured in a collision at 2nd base. Whiny man Chris Baird, our team trainer, says he will miss 2 weeks. We put him on the 10 day DL & called up Matthew Nebeker. He’s a mediocre bat that can play below average defense everywhere. Yay….

Game 18

We lost 1-0…. We lost freaking ONE to ZERO…. Chattanooga’s second basemen Jordan McKinney had the lone RBI on the day. What a waste of all our time….

In happier news, our claim on former OKC reliever Jason Goodberlet went through. Very mediocre career but the 34 year old did have a sub 4.00 FIP last season and started same way this year. We put suspended starter Jacob Conner on waivers as while I fully support beaning other teams’ best players, his FIP has been north of 5 the past few seasons and is even worse this year. Throw in a rising BB/9 and a falling K/9 along with there really being no long-term upside & well, it’s time to go. Jody wants Goodberlet to be the setup man and now has moved Chad Owens into the rotation full time which is what I wanted

Game 19

Another ****ing shutout… Goodwin is now 0-3 on the year with a lovely 7.78 ERA. Just not much happy to talk about which was expected but still infuriating

Game 20

Holy ****! Yes we lost the series but we only lost 2-3! Ain’t that sumtin? The Choo Choos defense let them down as the go-ahead run was a silly error by usually reliable Edwin de Soto. Owens gave up 7 hits in 5 innings but kept the damage minimal. Bullpen threw 4 shutout innings, that’s something to celebrate

Around the NBL
  • OKC took a tough series from Jacksonville 3-2
  • Well if you are a San Antonio fan a 2-3 series loss is somewhat an improvement right? The Racers got the better of the Silver Stars but probably wishing they could have taken one more game
  • The Devils continue to roll this time taking their series with Omaha
  • Santa Fe continues to be strong within Thieves' Den as they take a hard fought series from Louisville
  • Oh boy.... New Orleans traveled out to visit the defending champs Portland and got swept
  • Rochester ALMOST took 4 of 5 from San Jose on the road but a late rally in the final game let the Sea Dogs steal the final contest
  • Columbus is the surprise team out the gate & that continues as they went on the road and whooped Las Vegas 4-1

- After dropping the 1st game to Billings, Chattanooga made their fans happy by announcing a 3 year extension with elite closer Salvador Martinez. The 6x EL Reliever of the Year has only worn a Chattanooga jersey and that will continue for the foreseeable future
- The Devils star 3B Tony Herrera had his hit streak snapped at 26 in a loss to Omaha Sunday
- Omaha announced signing of RP Noah McIntyre today to a 1 year $2.12 million deal. Was an All-Star back in 2001 but injuries have really hurt his career in recent years


Well honestly that series ended up better than I expected. Chattanooga is a playoff contender and I thought they might actually sweep us. We took 2 which isn't the worst thing in the world. David Harden is making a strong case to remain as part of this organization's future. A .268 BABIP says that he's due for some rougher outings ahead but his 10.5 K/9 & 2.6 BB/9 along with a 2.87 tell me his 1.88 ERA ain't THAT far off

Lorenzo Alpizar is tied for the HR lead in the Western League with Oklahoma City's Grant Arnold and Portland's Jaime Ryan. That's a good pair to be mentioned with. He and Lopez lead all hitters in WAR early which is what we wanna see though I think we could get more from both moving forward. The big surprise early for us is Dave Martinez. 24 year old is an ok defender who was terrible in his NBL debut (-0.9 WAR) but is swinging a hot bat early. Has a bit of an inflated BABIP so could come back down to earth very soon. Other than that a whole lot of meh on this team right now....

Last edited by WeagleWeagle; 12-12-2018 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:19 PM   #45
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Series 5 - Santa Fe Bandits


We are on the road once again as we travel southwest to face the Santa Fe Bandits. Per usual they sit near the top of the standings thanks to a dominant pitching staff and a good enough offense. We will face the best pitcher in the NBL in Doug “Wolf” Fetherolf. He’s been an All-Star all 7 years and is a 4x Pitcher of the Year winner. Dude is the GOAT when it comes to pitching in this league & ain’t really anybody close yet when it comes to pitching at this high a level year in & year out.

The core of this team is starting to age. Typically the Bandits have relied on wily vets to offset some youthful talent but now it’s mostly veterans. Leadoff man Alex Varela is one of the best in the NBL but has seen his numbers drop some in recent seasons. Roberto Solares since coming over from Columbus back in 2004 has been the power threat in the middle of the lineup along with Anier Moser. Stud 2B Alfredo Herrera will miss this series most likely as he recovers from a strained abdomen. They are also down their elite closer Eric White who is down for at least 3 more weeks with an arm injury.

Game 21

David Harden was fantastic again except for one pitch. That single pitch was sent into the LF stands by Anier Moser and that’s all the Wolf would need to get the W. Another 1-0 loss for the Sky… Lovely….

Game 22

Not much more success offensively against their #2 arm in Jason Walker. Nate Allen drove in the lone run while Jim Vernon got lit up once again

Game 23

1-0…. I get that we are gonna lose a bunch but must we keep losing by the same infuriating score? Santa Fe’s closer Jose Arce had to leave the game with an injury. They are already down their regular closer so that could be a big blow

Game 24

Hey look at that! We scored some runs! Not enough obviously but progress people… Dan Lopez had a strong showing going 3-5 and driving in 2 runs. We are closing in on being swept for the first time this season….

Game 5

We will be swept this year BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY! Chad Owens was sensational going 8 innings and only surrendering 4 hits & 2 runs. Alpizar has struggled all series long but got a much needed 3 hit day that included a 2 run HR. Lopez also tripled and scored 2 runs.

Around the NBL
  • The Silver Stars got their first series win of the year by knocking off OKC. Tough one to swallow for the Drillers
  • San Jose dropped another series moving to 8-17 on the year after traveling to Omaha
  • Big road series win for Las Vegas who traveled to The Frontier & knocked off the defending champs Portland
  • The once proud franchise Indianapolis now finds themselves with the worst offense in the whole NBL (yes even worse than Billings) & that led to another series loss this one to Jacksonville
  • The Flames pushed Charlotte but NBL's top team was able to stand strong at home & get the series win
  • HUGE series down in the Big Easy. New Orleans halted the Giants hot start by taking 4 of 5 games. Big showing for the Weird

- One of Omaha’s top arms Mike Allen is going to miss 3 more weeks as he recovers from a strained back muscle. Up until 2004 he was one of the most consistent pitchers in the NBL
- Las Vegas catcher Jaden Bell had a huge day against Portland going 5-5. His 8th inning 2 run HR proved the difference in the 6-4 victory
- The incredible story of Fernando Andrade continues. Dropped on waivers by Rochester back before the 2004 season, Portland claimed him and he ended up having a huge breakout year as a rookie. He’s kept it going in 2005 winning the WL Best Hitter of the Month after batting .451 with 3 HR & 17 RBIs
- Stud Rochester CF Ryan McCulloch took home EL Best Hitter of the Month honors after going .372 at the plate with 6 HRs & 20 RBIs
- 27 year old Pioneers’ starter Pat DeBolt took home the WL Pitcher of the Month award. He’s been hot & cold for Portland over the years but put together arguably his best month ever to open the 2005 season
- Not a surprise here as David Thompson of Chattanooga won EL Pitcher of the Month. Over 29.0 IP so far in 2005 he’s given up only 2 runs
- Omaha took Angel Sanchez in the Rule 5 Draft this past offseason and I’m betting San Jose wished they had protected him as he wins Rookie of the Month in the Western League. The 23 year old hit .421 with 5 HRs & 11 RBIs
- Andy Kinsey was drafted by Billings in the 7th round back in 2000. He was traded to Chattanooga as part of the Shane Ritter deal in 2001 & then moved again to Columbus in 2004 in a move involving the aforementioned David Thompson. Finally given a chance to show what he’s got, Kinsey has not disappointed winning the Eastern League’s Rookie of the Month thanks to a .315 average at the plate along with 2 HRs & 12 RBIs


Well we are officially last in the NBL though we share the existence with are old friends San Jose. Offense has just been absolutely miserable with Dan Lopez the only regular with an average above .300 and it's just one point over. Alpizar is still tied for the HR lead now only with Jaime Ryan but he's gotta do more than just slug HRs. David Harden continues to be outstanding and Chad Owens showing well in his first 2 starts. Chances are good we will be dumping Sam Goodwin & Jim Vernon soon though not sure who exactly in Boise is ready to move up. Also need to get back to exploring what to do with all this OF talent we have especially considering Lorenzo Navarro is slashing .365/.421/.541 out the gate while Franciso Castro is putting up an early line of .366/.379/.505. Could keep both and have a strong 4 man OF to use but I think flipping someone like Navarro makes a lot of sense....

Full prospect report to come at the end of the next month

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Old 12-13-2018, 09:02 AM   #46
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Series 6 - Portland Pioneers


Up next are the defending NCS champs and our hated rivals Portland. The Pioneers were once the laughing stock of the NBL until all of sudden they weren’t after smart drafting and nifty moves by GM Gabe Johnson turned the once pushover into a dominant force in the NBL. They converted their first playoff appearance into a championship last season and are looking to go back to back in 2005.

They are led by arguably the best player in baseball CF Jaime Ryan. The 34-year-old has five 10+ WAR seasons to his name and ranks #2 in the NBL in career HRs at 372. Long in the shadow of Adam Parlier, Ryan finally surpassed the Titan last year claiming his first ever Western League Player of the Year award. So far, however, he’s off to a very slow start in 2005 hitting only .225 though he is tied with our own Lorenzo Alpizar for the HR lead in the WL.

It’s who surrounds him though that makes this team so dangerous. The Pioneers have the #1 offense in the WL thanks to the likes of Oliver Swartz, Carlos Garza, James Olson & Fernando Andrade. Throw in ace Toshiro Oka, the NBL’s first ever #1 overall draft pick and you have a championship caliber team. Chances are very good we are going to get our asses beat this week….

Game 26

An error & 3 straight walks in the 1st inning ended up costing this game…. Ryan took a 1 HR lead over Alpizar with his solo shot. Luke Gruen came through with a HUGE double in the bottom of the 9th to give us a chance to win but stringing two clutch hits together is just not what we do right now….

Game 27

Jim Vernon was actually decent today going 8 innings & only giving up 2 runs but he got 0 help from the offense. We currently have 0 people batting over .300. Some big news though is that Justin Kroener comes off the DL. We sent him down to Boise to get some tune-up innings in. He will make his Billings debut in the near future which means no more Justin Burke trying to close out the rare chances we have at winning. Yay!

Game 28

We scored 9 runs & lost…. Juan Sanchez drove in FIVE runs on the day thanks to a grand slam while Josh Harding flashed that plus power. But when you give up four HRs it’s hard to win… Ryan now up to 9 bombs on the year for Portland

Game 29

BOOOOOOM!!! Just like that Alpizar is tied once again with Ryan for the HR lead in the WL! Oliver Swartz also hit a HR for Portland to join Ryan & Alpizar at 9. Good to see Sam Goodwin finally put together a decent performance. Honestly expected to get swept so pumped for the fellas

Game 30

WEEELLLLPPPPP….. That’s what you call an ass kicking. Oliver Swartz hit 4 HRs this series to take the WL HR lead. Ole Chad Owens got really roughed up after two nice starts. The Medrano/Varnell bullpen pairing has been awful last two days as well. Marco Mendoza is eligiblerehabome off DL & was sent to Boise for a rehad assignment

Around the NBL
  • The Storm went to OKC & thumped the Drillers taking 4 of 5 games in that series
  • San Jose continues to challenge Billings as the worst team in the NBL. They dropped 4 of their 5 gameas against a not great San Antonio squad
  • The Bandits took a tough series over the Gamblers but Portland's domination of the Sky means they now share the WL lead
  • Rochester continues their disappointing year dropping a series to the Racers. That pitching staff is getting them killed
  • Feels like the Giants are coming back down to earth as they lost their 2nd straight series, this one to the Louisville Redbirds
  • New Orleans made em sweat a bit but Chattanooga took the series at home
  • Woah... Jacksonville sent a loud message to the EL that they ain't playing around as they whooped up on Charlotte taking all but one game in that series

- Charlotte ponied up a lot of money to keep RF Aidan Campbell in a Devils uniform so it hurt extra to see him go down with a sprained ankle on Sunday. He was hitting .315 with 2 HRs & 9 RBIs. Campbell is expected to miss at least 5 weeks of action
- Another huge blow to the Devils as starter Mike Poczatek is down for basically the year with a torn labrum. He was off to a slow start in 2005 with a 6.46 ERA but was a key piece of that rotation


Ok so we really suck.... Not a surprise but it still, well, sucks... The good news is Dan Lopez & Lorenzo Alpizar are the leaders of this team. While a .282 & .241 batting averages aren't something to yell & scream about they both have wRC+ north of 120, lead the batters in WAR & both have wOBAs above .350. Both have had some really bad luck with Alpizar posting a .225 BABIP so I expect their slash lines to climb very soon.

The big thing about this season is discovering who else can play a role for this team moving forward. Dave Martinez is #2 on the team in average but you look at his peripherals and see that some of that is luck. A .329 BABIP paired with 80 wRC+ screams regression. His -1.7 ZR tell me that he's probably not really the SS of the future though maybe he's a useful bench bat. Justin Laskowski has come down to earth some after a nice debut last year. I think his #'s will get a bit better but he is what he is & that's a 4th OF. At end of this month we are going to do some serious thinking about the promotions. A lot of the guys on this roster right now probably ain't surviving past this season if they are lucky

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Old 12-13-2018, 04:43 PM   #47
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Deliberating the Future

Rip sat cross-legged on top of his desk as he poured over the notebook in his lap. Within those pages were everything imaginable related to this year's draft class. The pool had just been released today and Rip was already submerged in an absurd amount of numbers trying to figure out who the heck he was going to draft with the #1 overall pick.

I've got to ****ing nail this

A knock came on his office door.

"Rip? You good to chat?"

The question came from Derrick Dunn, the longtime scouting director for the Sky. The relationship between Rip and Dunn was a bit complicated considering the fact Rip had worked for Dunn all the way up to the point until he had been named the general manager of Billings. That had surprised Dunn but to the man's credit, he had taken it in stride.

"Come on in Derrick"

Dunn was one of the few people Rip didn't really mess around too much with for multiple reasons. First, the man was just too nice to pick on. While Blake was a pleasant fellow he could also be annoying as hell. He gave the old man just a proper enough amount of respect considering he was his boss but still would tweak him when he got the chance. Not so much with Dunn. It just wasn't that much fun to mess with such a nice dude.

But it wasn't just Dunn's temperament that stopped Rip from being, well Rip, around him, it was also their history. While Rip didn't think Dunn was exactly a top-notch scout, the 47-year-old New Yorker had vouched for Rip on countless occasions. Given Rip's ability to attract trouble, there had been plenty of times that a pink slip would have made a lot of sense. Every single time, Dunn had stood up for Rip including literally paying Rip's bail in Mexico after Rip had a "disagreement" with a local officer at a cantina just outside of Juarez. He believed in Rip's ability to find and recognize talent. He also seemed to think it was his calling in life to help the Wild Man find his way. While Rip thought the man hopelessly naive, he appreciated the man's stubborn loyalty and wanted to return it in turn. That's why despite there probably being better options out there, Rip had elected to keep Dunn around.

That and he had a 4-year contract worth $107K a year which is nothing to sniff at on Billings budget. Oh and he's also 6'6" 225 lbs so Rip was pretty sure the kind man could crush him if he wanted.

It's always the nice ones that end up killing you...

"Is that actually comfortable?" Dunn asked with a smirk as he took a seat awkwardly across from Rip.

"Eh not sure but it freaks Mrs. Lightfoot out which makes me laugh."

Shaking his head, Dunn opened up his own notebook. "Ok well, I guess we should get started. Not sure what you are thinking so far but I will throw out my two cents."

"Make it rain Derrick!"

"I think Matt Morales is going to be the guy. Elite bat, great speed and a chance to be a really good defender. He's a clear five-tool guy. I saw him a few weeks ago and he slugged a HR, stole 2 bases and made a tremendous diving catch. He's going to be special"

Rip nodded in agreement.

"Yes, yes he's definitely got the upside you want with this pick. I definitely like that bat and a .495/.607/1.095 line sure as hell ain't nothing to sneeze at no matter the level of play. But I do have some concerns."

Rip hopped down off the desk and began pacing in front of Dunn.

"First off, this league is oversaturated with OFers. I mean hell look at our roster. YES, I want to draft the best player available but if he's not clearly the best I think it makes sense to consider the market. Oh, he's also gonna be hard as hell to sign." Rip smiled as he pointed at Dunn. "Now I'm feeling Greg Gibbs. Looks like a damn god standing up there at 6'7" 235 lbs throwing 98 mph fastballs. College #'s aren't exactly what you wanna see but he can hurl it."

Dunn shook his head, "You and I are like the only people who think that highly of Gibbs. OSA sees him as nothing more than a replacement level player down the line."

"BAH! Who gives a **** what ****ing OSA thinks." Rip pounded his own chest. "WE ARE THE GENIUSES!"

Dunn laughed.

"Maybe, but it's something to consider. I think if you want to go starting pitcher Joe Allen is the guy. I know he's not 6'7" but he's got a very nice repertoire and had a stronger year at Florida than Gibbs did at Arizona State. OSA likes him even more than we do."

"Ya I like Allen too honestly but part of me might have a hard time passing up Wayne Hirschkorn. First off, kickass name. Secondly, power hitter at corner infield spot. I know his glove is mediocre but I can live with it if he's driving in 120+ runs a year. I think we have to consider him."

"Agreed" Dunn answered. "So obviously I am gonna go take another look at all those guys but whom else do you think we should watch? I know you got some non-1st round guys you are excited about."

"Oh, you know me soooo well Derrick!" Rip jumped into the seat next to his old boss excitedly. "First off, Sam Braeger. The catcher position is an abyss right now and this is a kid with potential to be great behind the plate and hit for a lot of power. Doesn't make a ton of contact and strikes out a bunch but when he does square ball up it's gone."

Dunn nodded as he made a note. Rip continued, "Jordan Rochelle is another. Yes I know I went on that diatribe about outfielders earlier but we still need em. He's got like 0 power but he gets on base, can run and is a solid defender."

"Finally, take a look at Jon McClain. Another big kid with a live arm. A southpaw with a sick forkball. He's a bit erratic but definitely, someone we should take a long look at with our 2nd or 3rd round picks. Obviously, I will keep digging and see who else is out there."

Dunn finished taking notes and then stood up.

"Sounds good Rip, I will get on this immediately. Let me know of any other names."

Rip saluted Dunn, "Absolutely my good man. Wish you the best of luck in your search for our next super star!"

Because we can absolutely not **** this thing up...
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:41 PM   #48
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Series 7 - Omaha Storm


This week's personal for Jody. He spent seven years in Omaha, won just under 600 games for them and captures 2 NCS titles in his 3 playoff appearances yet after two subpar seasons following the front office allowing Adam Parlier and other stars to walk had fired the veteran. He wanted to prove how wrong they had been.

Unfortunately, we don't really have the squad just yet to prove that lesson. The Storm sits 3rd in the WL and are led by new super star slugger Kyung-tae Kim. After Parlier signed with San Antonio, Omaha elected to bring on the South Korean native to replace him. He was good his first year but became elite in his last two winning the batting title in 2003 and slugging 55 HRs last year. So far in 2005, he's off to another strong start.

On the mound, Luke Marsik and Josh Rieger are still around. Both pitched for Jody in his NCS championship seasons but both are starting to see their numbers slide. The Storm are also down three important pieces in 2B Tim Vaughn (.278 8 HR 50 RBI in 2004), 3B Angel Muniz (.267 39 HR 100 RBI in 2004) and SP Mike Allen (1-1 1.80 ERA). Still, not optimistic about our chances.

Game 31

Harden's worst performance of the season. Good ole Burke gave up 2 extra in the 9th just to be safe

Game 32

Luke Marsik has been a steady 5+ WAR performer for 4 straight seasons. Performances like today are why.... To make the day even worse Dave Martinez went down with a strained groin and will miss at least 4 weeks. We sent him to the DL and called up Ryan Michael. Not sure he's ready yet but he will get a month to prove so. If he overly struggles we can always send him down & bring up a scrub

Game 33

Michael's debut was a mixed bag. He hit a single on his first AB but then hit into a double play in a run scoring chance and committed an error. We will keep an eye on his performance and make sure the NBL isn't too overwhelming for him just yet

Game 34

Jody is gonna be REALLY pissed if the if the first time we get swept is in this series....

Game 5

Well it's not a sweep! Owens was solid today but really happy to see the bullpen pull its weight. Laskowski, Smart & Harding combined for 7 RBIs on the day. Also Cris Gutierrez came off the DL and was sent to Boise for a rehab assignment

Around the NBL
  • Portland took the series from OKC thanks to a wild 14-7 win on game 5
  • One of the biggest shockers of the year went down this past week as Santa Fe travelled to San Jose & got SWEPT by the Sea Dogs. SF is no longer atop the standings while SJ is no longer at the very bottom
  • Silver Stars are starting to find their stride as they took 4 of 5 from Las Vegas
  • Don't look now but the Racers are getting hot. They took down the now cooling Giants 4-1
  • The Devils dropped a tough series to Chattanooga this week. The two squads now share the best record in baseball
  • After taking it to Charlotte in their last series Jacksonville turned around and dropped a series to New Orleans. That team makes no sense
  • The Louisville/Rochester series was cut short which is probably good news for the Flames considering they were down 3-1 before game 5

- Louisville's Humberto Martinez became the 4th player in NBL history to hit 300 HRs. He joins HR king Adam Parlier (380), Jaime Ryan (376) and Francisquo Fariseu (311)


Well we continue to suck really badly and unfortunately our young studs had a really rough series. Alpizar is battling a .215 BABIP so I GOTTA think he's gonna break out at some point. Ryan Michael acquitted himself pretty well in his first 3 games. We will see if he can keep it up. Justin Kroener dominated in his 5.1 innings of relief work in Boise so made decision to activate him so we placed Joe Varnell on waivers. In his 14 innings of relief work he had a 7.07 ERA and was walking 3 more batters than he was striking out. So long Joe!

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Old 12-13-2018, 06:23 PM   #49
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Meet the Team: Columbus Giants

Owner: Jason Hernandez (1998 - present)
Overall Record: 473-612 (.436)
General Managers: Jim Dimich (1998 - present)
Managers: Charlie Gray (1998-2004), Ethan Bloom (2005 - present)
Ballpark: The Mountain
Playoffs: N/A
Championships: N/A


It's been a tough first 7 years for the Giants of Columbus. A team whose payroll typically hovers between $24 million and $34 million has struggled to hang with the likes of Indianapolis, Chattanooga and Charlotte. The Giants have finished 7th or 8th every year in the Western League sans their debut season in 1998. They have never had a winning record.

There is some hope early in 2005 as the Giants sit at 18-17 and only 3 & half games out of first. However, they've dropped 9 of their last 12 games making fans wonder if this thing is headed for familiar rocks once again

Best Hitter

Roberto Solares was one of the first stars of the Eastern League in the NBL breaking onto the scene with a terrific 6.4 WAR year in 1998. That season he slashed .337/.380/525 slugged 19 home runs and drove 91 runners home. He would go on to collect 6 All-Star bids, a Best Glove and a Best Bat. In his five year career as a Giant, he slashed .312/.362/.487/.849 with 120 HRs and 526 RBIs. He compiled 30.8 WAR during his time in the green and orange becoming a fan favorite and a star of the league.

But in 2003, the Giants decided to move the stud for a slew of prospects. The Giants traded Solares to Santa Fe in exchange for five prospects, none of which have done much for the Columbus organization. Meanwhile, Solares put together a solid 2004 campaign for the Bandits and is off to a strong start in 2005 at the ripe age of 32 years old. Santa Fe have him wrapped up until 2009 on a $48 million deal. Still, Giants fans claim the Venezuelan as one of their own and the #29 jersey is still one of the top selling jerseys in the state of Ohio.

Best Pitcher

From 1998-2002, one of the most reliable pitchers in the Eastern League was Jared Gittens. Making his debut in 1998 at a youthful 22 years old, Gittens established himself as the ace of the Giants staff immediately. He earned All-Star bids in 1999 and 2000 making himself a fan favorite of the Columbus fanbase.

In 2003 before the trade deadline, the Giants shipped the southpaw off to Portland for a deal that brought back the talented Marvin Cruz and shut down closer Jorge Alejandro. Gittens struggled in a Pioneer uniform and was allowed to go to free agency after 2003. He signed with Louisville on a 1 year $1.12 million deal. The Redbirds then decided to flip him at the trade deadline to Santa Fe in exchange, for now, Sky prospect 3B John Sainsbury and pitching prospect Matt Fanelli. He'd bounce back in a Bandits uniform and win a Best Glove that year. This past offseason he signed a 4 year $10.72 million deal with the Las Vegas Gamblers. It appears the 29 year old has lost some of his previous spark as his numbers have dipped but there's no denying he's had a fantastic NBL career to date.

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Old 12-13-2018, 11:07 PM   #50
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Series 8 - San Antonio Silver Stars


Back on the road as we head south to face the 17-18 Silver Stars of San Antonio. After a rough start, this club has bounced back to win ten of their last thirteen games. A big reason why being the return of super slugger Adam Parlier to the lineup. Parlier is the best hitter in NBL history. He might have peaked too soon and some other guys might pass him on some career #’s but what he did from 2000-2002 will be almost impossible to match ever again. In 2000, the man they call “Titan” won his 2nd triple crown by batting .397, driving in 182 runs and hitting an astonishing 75(!!!) home runs. He wore an Omaha uniform at the time and that incredible 13.3 WAR season led to a Storm title. He followed that year up with 10.8 and 10.2 WAR seasons but has since seen his numbers begin to decline. Still VERY good but not the insane status they were not too long ago. Now at 37 years old, the 4x WL Player of the Year is reaching the twilight of his career but he’s still a monster threat in the middle of this order.

San Antonio though has a new rising star in hitting behind of him in the order. Dario Cardone was an international free agent signing back in 1999. He’s now developed into one of the premier defensive center fielders in the game and his bat is starting to get there too. However, he suffered an injury two days ago and is still being diagnosed. He might miss this series. That would be a tough blow considering starter Kyle Day is down for a while with a ruptured UCL closer Gabe McMunn is trying to recover from forearm inflammation and 3B Josh Lamb is battling a mild shoulder strain.

Our old friend Victor Rodriguez will be starting in left field this week. He’s, of course, leading the Silver Stars in batting average. Between him, Borst & Bracamontes I sure am outstanding at trading away talent…

Game 36

Well that was quite the game… Dominated all the way up to the 8th and then Bill Silander tried to choke it away. Come right back and get a run back which gives Justin Kroener chance to make his 2005 debut. Does what you would expect striking out 2 batters and we get the W! Frustrating that Silander gets the win instead of Harden. He’s now blown 3 saves on the year but is 3-0…. San Antonio also learned their star CF Dario Cardone is done for at least 7 months with a broken knee cap… Brutal loss

Game 37

Well if you are gonna give up 11 hits and 5 runs might as well eat up all the innings doing so…. Some interesting transaction news, Las Vegas claimed Joe Varnell off waivers. Good luck to the guy

Game 38

This was a really frustrating game. Every single time we fought back, immediately surrendered another run. Learning this series that Adam Parlier is still really ****ing good at hitting a baseball

Game 39

Man this was like actually a good team win… Huh… Justin Kroener has now pitched 2.2 innings in 2 appearances and nailed down 2 saves. He’s fun to watch. Can we capture our first series win of the season?

Game 40

This was an infuriating game… We were chugging along with a 3-2 lead when Chris Oswald entered and shat all over it. He walked 2 straight batters on 8 total pitches after inheriting a runner then surrendered a double to clear the bases. But wait! Then Ryan Michael goes deep for his first career HR and Laskowski follows with a shot of his own! 6-5 with a chance! Bickings singles & an error moves him to 2B. Then a groundout puts a runner on 3B with 1 out. ****ing Gruen and Santos both groundout….. No series win yet for us….

Around the NBL
  • Tough road trip for the Gamblers as they drop all but one game in Omaha
  • Santa Fe captures a hard fought series with OKC
  • Not as easy as they had hoped but Portland takes their series with San Jose
  • The Devils got back rolling again almost sweeping Columbus
  • Huge series for the Choo Choos who took 4 of 5 from Indianapolis
  • The Sharks edged out the Redbirds
  • Rochester is trying to climb out of the EL hole and were able to take a series from the Weird


So I'm trying to decide what to do with this pitching staff. At first, I thought I would ship Jim Vernon to a remote island but a closer look at his numbers indicates he's actually not as horrible as his 1-7 record and 6.26 ERA claim he might be. His FIP of 4.55 says he's due for some regression and that .361 BABIP only further iterates that point. He actually put up positive WAR so far this year. Nick Treleven on the other hand... HIs 6.33 FIP says that the 5.10 ERA he's sporting is actually BETTER than how he's actually pitched. He ain't striking anybody out and isn't suffering bad luck. People are just hitting him... Sam Goodwin's #'s are also pretty terrible and his career numbers do not offer much more comfort.

Meanwhile, down in Boise, there's Scott Bacher. A 25-year-old southpaw who has now pitched 100+ innings in AAA and in those innings put up a 3.68 FIP and done a very good job keeping the ball in the park. So far in 2005, he's 1-0 with a 2.39 ERA. Walk rate is a bit high but overall a solid performance. I think it may be time to give him his chance. So we optioned Treleven back down to Boise and called up Bacher. He will make his NBL debut in New Orleans in the coming week. Shockingly, Jody thinks he's got ace potential and slid him in the day 1 spot....

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Old 12-14-2018, 09:53 PM   #51
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Series 9 - New Orleans Weird


I ****ing hate playing in New Orleans… Their owner employs 9 different jazz bands who each are asked to play nonstop during an inning. I like jazz and all but holy **** does that get annoying and obnoxious. Especially when they randomly blast offkey notes in the middle of your pitcher’s wind up… There was a push to have the “The Fury” (as they are called) banned but the commissioner refused stating, “it’s each unique team’s culture that makes this league so wonderful!.” **** him….

As for the actual team, the Weird find themselves 2 games under .500 at 19-21. Their clubhouse is riddled with broken bodies as all the following players are on the DL:
  • SP Eric “Biscuit” Wlodarczyk (1-4 3.20 ERA in 2004)
  • SP Josh Maurer (1-0 3.38 ERA in 2004)
  • SS Eddie Oswald (.289 7 HR 30 RBI in 2004)
  • 1B Sean Glass (.308 4 RBI in 2003)
  • RP Alex Lopez (2-2 3.72 ERA in 2004)
  • LF Donovan Pelzer (.250 6 HR 21 RBI)

Pelzer & Oswald being out are the two biggest blows to this lineup. As for who is actually healthy, Dennis Albright is having a breakout campaign for New Orleans in 2005. He’s a two-way player who leads the Weird in batting average (.331) and ERA (2.32). He’s a dynamic ball player who only at the age of 24 has a chance to be special in this league

Game 41

I’m a bit pissed at Jody for how he handled Bacher in his debut. The kid gave up 1 run through 6 but was clearly gassed and Jody left em out there for the 7th. Ends up being on the hook for 6 runs when it should have only been 1. Also Oswald is ****ing awful and I am thinking long & hard about sending him to Boise. Threw 2 passed balls and walked 2 batters in his “relief” of Bacher. Just pathetic

Game 42

HOLY ****! WHERE DID THIS OFFENSE COME FROM?! Every starter got a hit including Harden who weirdly only went 4 innings. I wonder if Jody got overy sensitive to my tirade from yesterday on leaving starter to dry… Dan Lopez and Lorenzo Alpizar played like we dream of them playing with the two combining for 7 RBIs on the day. Lopez is close to getting that average back over .300. He was named Western League’s Player of the Week as well. Also New Orleans injury problem got worse as they lost catcher Juan Lopez to a ruptured medial collateral ligament.

Game 43

TWO WINS IN A ROW BABY!!! Vernon finally put together a very strong outing and Dan Lopez continues his hot streak. Some bad news though as Justin Kroemer had to leave early with fore arm stiffness. He will be out for 5 days. We are gonna keep him off the DL for now

Game 44

IT HAPPENED! IT FINALLY HAPPENED! The Sky took home their first series win of the year thanks to another explosive offensive showing. A strong 4 RBI day for Harding who hit a 3 run HR in the 6th. Sam Goodwin threw 7 shutout innings and Ramiro Medrano was electric in his 2 innings of work

Game 45

Huge series for the Sky. Needed some positivity after literally 8 straight series of failure. Laskwoski had a 4 hit day while Alpizar went deep for the 10th time on the year. Chad Owens not only pitched 6 strong innings he drove in 2 runs as well.

Around the NBL
  • The Pioneers came AWFULLY close to taking 4 of 5 from Chattanooga but the Choo Choos rallied in game 5 to keep it a bit more respectable still a strong series win for the defending champs
  • Jacksonville took another series this one at home against Omaha
  • Big bounce back series for Columbus as they've had a rough streak going. They were able to fight off the Bandits in the final game to take the series
  • Racers keep record above .500 with series win over San Jose
  • The Gamblers continue to struggle this time falling on the road to Louisville
  • Another series, another W for Charlotte who got the better of the Drillers
  • San Antonio and Rochester's series got cut short due to rain. The two teams each took 2 games a piece. Due to make it up in August

- Huge news out of Santa Fe as they will lose stud pitcher Jason Walker for the year to a torn labrum. He was 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA so far in 2005
- Another major injury in OKC where former the 13th overall pick in the 2002 draft 2B Ivan Noyola suffered a torn meniscus and is done for 4 months


We knew eventually the good kind of regression would come along for Alpizar and it's definitely hit. Last week he hit .400 and this week is slashing an absurd .667/.714/1.000. He isn't slugging HRs out of the park at same pace he started season doing but still plenty of power. Obviously this will level out some too but it's good to see the young man finally breaking through a bit.

Ryan Michael seems to have come down to earth. He started off strong but is now batting .245 with an 80 wRC+. He's had some bad luck according to his .262 BABIP but needs to do a better job working the count. He's got a 3.8 BB% and a 13.5 SO%.

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Old 12-15-2018, 03:47 PM   #52
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Series 10 - Indianapolis Racers


Don’t look now but we are riding a 4 game win streak baby! The old man is beside himself with joy and stupidly asked me about our Wildcard chances…. This week will bring him back to reality as we head to The Raceway to take on the once king of the NBL - Indianapolis. The Racers were the first ever NCS champs and made 3 straight trips to playoffs from 1998-2000. They haven’t been back since….

Not looking likely they will be making it back this year either as they sport one of the worst offenses in the NBL. Injuries have ravaged this team as 3 starters in their rotation are down for the count. There is some serious young talent though on this squad. CF Dennis Campbell (.331 5 HR 23 RBI) is a rising star and 2B Francis “The Troll” Martin (.309 3 HR 12 RBI) is following up his strong debut season in 04 with an equally strong 05. The Racers typically have one of the best bullpens every year as for some reason that’s where they blow all their cash. Hard to beat a back end of Erik Downs, Raul Vazquez, and John Strader.

Let’s see if we can get two series wins in a row…

Game 46

Well winning was fun while it lasted…

Game 47

We just can’t hit this pitching staff… The only 2 hits came for Alpizar and Harding

Game 48

LOL they keep scoring 4 and we keep putting up 1s & 0s. Marco Mendoza’s rehab stint is up. We activated him and sent Nebeker back down. Nebeker was BAAAAADDD in his limited time in NBL action

Game 49

I would seriously appreciate the Racers scoring a different # than 4 tomorrow

Game 50

Knew it would happen eventually you just kinda hope the sweep doesn’t come after you won 4 of 5 but this team wanted to make sure no one got their hopes up

Around the NBL

- Santa Fe’s JD Westrick tossed a no-hitter today (5/27) against the Sharks. That’s the 4th ever no-hitter in NBL history joining San Antonio’s Cory Bolton in 2003, Jacksonville’s Angelo Aybar in 2003 as well and of course Doug Fetherolf’s perfect game in 2004
- Charlotte’s Aidan Campbell had a set back in his recovery and expected to miss 2-3 more weeks of action


Well that one series win was fun for a while wasn't it?

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Old 12-19-2018, 10:14 PM   #53
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Rip's notes - 5/31

So I'm in a bit of a predicament. Aaron Ash our stud 1B prospect I stole from Portland's dumbass this offseason is ready for the big leagues. Between our system & Portland's he's had over 300 plate appearances in AAA and put up a line of .304/.386/.429 with 8 HRs, 48 RBIs, 122 wRC+ and 1.5 WAR. His defense ain't good but it's never gonna be good. I want his bat

The problem is we have two 1B on the roster right now - Josh Harding and Marco Mendoza. Both have been horrible

Harding - .172/.289/.344 6 HR 17 RBI .275 wOBA 67 wRC+ -0.2 WAR
Mendoza - .246/.315/.338 HR 7 RBI .296 wOBA 82 wRC+ 0.0 WAR

Harding is the obvious guy to move given he's two years older and has over in 650+ ABs in the NBL with a wRC+ of 81. The only thing he provides is power but it's not enough to make up for his other failings. With those types of numbers, no one else seems that interested in him. I tried shopping Mendoza as well to see if there were any nibbles but nada.

Thought about a few salary offloads where we eat a bad contract but nab a prospect but nothing too appealing. So end result is I am just sending Harding to Boise (he's pissed but whatever) and calling up Ash. Super anti-climatic right?

Frustratingly, Jody doesn't share my vision of Ash as the future and wants to keep starting Mendoza. I'm gonna let that happen for the next two weeks and reassess but I think he's wrong on this one. We will see....

Last edited by WeagleWeagle; 12-21-2018 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 12-25-2018, 12:22 PM   #54
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Series 11 - Charlotte Devils

Well after getting swept by the Racers we must now welcome the best organization in baseball to town in the Charlotte Devils. Totally a great way to bounce back right?

The Devils have the best record in baseball but only a one-game lead in the Eastern League over Chattanooga. Down two of their top players in Aidan Campbell and Mike Poczatek, this is still a tough roster to take on. The star of this team is Francisquo Fariseu. The Brazillian has been the best player in the EL since the start of the NBL winning three Player of the Years and is 3rd all-time in WAR behind only Jaime Ryan and Adam Parlier. Now at age 35, the man they call “Grumpy” is starting to see his production slip a bit. He’s always been one of the top OBP men in baseball but this year it’s at a career low of .376 (lol at that being a low). He still has plenty of power slugging 16 HRs this season which is good for 2nd in the EL. Fariseu is still stupid good but you can tell he’s numbers are about to stop being HOLY **** good to only WOW good.

It’s 29-year-old 3B Tony Herrera and ace Cody Wappelhorst that appear to be taking over as the next superstars of this team. Herrera is on pace for a career year slashing .342/.357/.546 and slugging 12 HRs. Wappelhorst is coming off his first EL Pitcher of the Year but seems to be suffering a slight hangover though his #’s are still solid. It’s actually been the veteran Raul Valadez and the rising youngster Travis Boeke who have led this staff to the 2nd best ERA in the EL. Bottom line they got talent everywhere and are once again the team to beat in the NBL.

Game 51

****ing disgusting… Took a 5-2 lead into the 8th only for Justin Burke to enter the game with bases loaded, hit 2 batters & throw a wild pitch to bring in the winning run. Harden left in the 1st inning with a sore back & up until Burke bullpen had been fantastic, namely Ramiro Medrano who went 4 innings. Alpizar had 2 deep shots but couldn’t come through in bottom 9th when he had a chance. I hate losing…

Game 52

For the 2nd straight game we ****ed things up in the 8th to lose the damn game… Lopez hit his 5th HR which was cool

Game 53

Well on our way to being swept again…

Game 54

For the 3rd time in 4 games against these damn Devils we blew the game late. This time it was our All-Star closer Justin Kroener who blew the save. Justin Burke then came in & took a **** on the mound for good measure… Done with Burke for now. Sent him to Boise & called back up Jacob Conner. Tomorrow’s the draft at least so that should be fun….

Game 55

And there it is… Ten straight losses… And how did it happen again? Why of course a blown save to end the game

Around the NBL
  • Louisville’s RF Sean Foster had his hit streak snapped at 21. The longest in NBL history is still 30 set by Jacksonville’s Ju-zheng Zhuo back in 2000


Well that REALLY ****ing sucked... We are supposed to be bad. The Devils are supposed to sweep us. But to blow FOUR GOD DAMNED GAMES is just maddening... The old man I think is starting really have doubts about this ridiculous decision to hire me as GM but I'm hoping to inject some hope into the organization with the upcoming draft. The nice thing about prospects if they haven't ****ed your dreams just yet...

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Old 12-26-2018, 01:29 PM   #55
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Draft Day




“TURN THAT CRAP DOWN RIP!” Hale bellowed at his frustrating general manager.

The majority of Billings' brain trust was hunkered down in the Sky’s “War Room” as they prepared for the 2005 National Baseball League Amateur draft. By “War Room” of course, they meant the conference room which today had been given a fun name. Rip had decided to embrace the name and had set up a boombox in the corner where he was blasting “war” related songs in an effort to raise morale.

It appeared to not be working. Rip didn’t really care.

“Look, Mr. Hale, you called the conference room the War Room and you know that I’m that ****ing dude. So this is really on you.”

“I’m glad you can laugh during a 10 game losing streak Rip,” a very smug Blake Madson shot from across the table.

**** that prick.

“Given your history of failure Blake,” Rip returned with a smile. “I’m not at all surprised how well you are handling this **** week.”

“ENOUGH!” A now very pissed Hale roared. “Watch your language and enough of this bickering! We’re all mad about losing but we can work to change that today. Now let’s go over this again.”

A ten game losing streak had been brutal on morale. Rip had warned everyone that the team would be awful this year but talking about tanking was one thing, experiencing it was quite another. Rip was also pretty sure that the old man had hoped that Rip would pull off some sort of miracle immediately with this group. The Sky owner seemed to think Rip was some sort of baseball savant which so far had proven far from the case.

It would be nice though if we could win a ****ing game once in a while…

Rip had gritted his teeth through the last 10 days, watching failure after failure. He had to keep reminding himself there was a plan and this suckiness would not last for long. That and well the pain pills he was pills covertly devouring helped with the crushing disappointment.

Blowing my ****ing arm out was helpful in some ways….

Today though was about the future. The 2005 NBL Amateur Draft was set to go down within the hour. The Sky had the #1 pick and Rip knew he needed to nail this one. Luckily, this was a draft pool where the clear #1 player was apparent. The tougher part was going to get him to sign.

“You are right good sir.” Rip answered while taking a seat at the table. “Let’s get to the business at hand then. I think we are all in agreement here. Morales should be the pick.”

Matt Morales was an 18-year-old stud out of South Charleston, West Virginia. The 6’3” 175 lb right-hander was not only a 5 tool player out in centerfield, but he also had the potential to be a top of the rotation arm. Rip and head scout Derrick Dunn had gone out to watch a few of his games and had been unaware at first that he was also a top-tier pitching prospect. Heck, most teams were because Morales hadn’t done it until his senior year. But then he took the mound one day, struck out all but four batters he faced and completed a one-hitter. He also crushed two home runs that day. The car ride home had been a short conversation between Rip & Dunn.

“We are ****ing taking that guy right?” Rip had said.

“Yup” had been the simple answer.

But Morales wasn’t exactly enamored about spending his young professional years in Big Sky country.

“I talked further with his agent yesterday,” Blake was saying. “They are pretty firm on the fact that it will take at least $3 million to get him.”

“Then let’s pay the man what he wants” Rip responded.

“Sir are you ok with that kind of move? I know you wanted us to keep things under $4 million this draft,” Rip’s sniveling right-hand man asked Hale.

Gotta get daddy’s permission right Blake?

Hale rubbed his forehead. The older man had taken the day’s loss to the Devils hard and Rip knew he was starting to feel the pressure. A lot of people had thought he was losing it giving Rip this job. This season’s results only further entrenched the view.

“Gimme the run down again Rip.”

Rip sighed but dove in.

“Right-handed pull hitter that has plus power. Has all the tools at the plate you could want. Won’t strike out a ton, will work the count, can knock the ball out of the fuc--, I mean flipping park and consistently puts the ball in play. Defense ain’t great now but the room is there to grow. Elite speed as well. Had 33 stolen bases this past year, hit for .495 AND crushed 12 HRs in only 105 ABs. Then there’s the fact that he’s also got ace potential. Only 2 pitches which might force him to be a shutdown closer type of guy but a 96 mph fastball paired with a slick moving slider is good stuff. Top notch stuff with big-time movement. Controls it too. In 12 starts, posted a 0.62 ERA & went 9-0. This dude will put butts in the seats as he can literally do it all.”

“Strong leader too,” Dunn said chiming in. “Extremely competitive. Will push the guys around him to be better. Fiery dude.”

“I like all that but no one’s perfect.” Hale said tapping the table. “What are we nervous about?”

There was a bit of a pause as the table considered the question. Everyone was pretty much on board with the move so it felt a bit pointless to talk flaws. But Rip appreciated the old man’s thoroughness.

“Age is a concern. Only 18 years old. He was as dominant as he should be at that level but can he grow into his potential over the next 3-4 years? Also money too. He doesn’t wanna play here so we are gonna have to pony up. We could probably take a safer guy when it comes to signing and production if you wanted but here’s the thing sir. We ain’t never gonna win here being cautions. I say go for it and let’s reel in the best player in the draft.”

Hale considered Rip’s words. The old man had become a bit more hand’s on in recent weeks. Undoubtedly in response to the struggles on the diamond but also due to the scathing articles that seem to come out daily against the Sky organization. Most of them saying the same things. There’s no excuse for a professional organization to be this bad and that the NBL should really consider moving the franchise to a different city with an owner more willing to spend money. That stuff didn’t bother Rip. He planned on using it against every single columnist or reporter who threw knives at this point. They would hear it from him when things turned.

But not Hale. He took it personally and Rip knew that the old man was very concerned that the NBL front office might take action if there was not any improvement in the near future. That kinda pressure forced men in Hale’s position to be a bit more vocal about things moving forward. However, at the end of the day, Hale still believed in Rip and often let the Wild Man do as he pleased.

“Ok, let’s make the move but Rip,” Hale said with a serious expression. “You better sign this kid. I can’t take that type of negative press right now.”

Rip saluted in response, “Oh captain, my captain!”

He hopped out of his chair and sprint over to the boombox.

“Alright with that nonsense out of the way, let’s get ****ING HYPED PEOPLE!” Rip roared as he tapped on music at full blast




God, I hope that’s true….
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Old 12-26-2018, 01:36 PM   #56
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Draft Recap

2nd RD - SP Jon McClain | 22 | 20/50
This was all Dunn. Tall lefty with a 97 mph sinker I really like. Probably not a future ace but could be a solid middle of rotation arm down the road.

3rd RD - C Brian Rich | 21 | 20/55
Bit of a risk here by me but given the lack of C prospects out there I wanted to make the move. Very good behind the plate with the potential to bring some pop in the lineup. OSA thinks he’s garbage so we will see…

4th RD - 2B Nick Whittle | 18 | 20/40
HS kid with nice upside but far from a sure thing. Could end up a true 5 tool player up the middle. Could never make AA ball…

5th RD - CF Mike Dunn | 18 | 20/40
Another Dunn guy. Loves his speed and power potential. Defense is ok so probably ends up in one of the corner OF spots eventually.

6th RD - C Ben Wilson | 21 | 20/40
High OBP guy with solid defense. Not a ton of great catchers in the NBL so used 2 of first 6 picks on them in hopes one will pan out

7th RD - RP Frank DeHaven | 21 | 20/25
Interesting profile in that he tops out at 89 mph & his top pitch is a circle change. Could also play a mediocre 3B. This was someone Dunn wanted so allowed it though I don’t see much of a future here

8th RD - SP Andy Darling | 18 | 20/40
Again not a hard thrower but three solid pitches and a guy with the potential to really master the strike zone. Was outstanding in HS last year with a 2.14 ERA

9th RD - CF Jeff Siddons | 20 | 20/30
Can do everything but hit with power. Very good defender with speed and ability to get on base. Hoping turns into a decent 4th OF down the line

10th RD - LF Eddie Guzman | 18 | 20/25
Some of the best remaining power at this time in the draft. Probably a medicore defender but has the potential to be a solid bat in the lineup.

11th RD - 1B Ben Sanders | 23 | 20/25
Again, a guy with great power but not much else. At this point in the draft I’m looking for specific traits. He & Guzman are power guys

12th RD - SS John Serrano | 18 | 20/20
Tons of speed and ability to play all over the diamond. Will get on base & can hit some gappers. Could give ya some relief innings as well on the mound

13th RD - SP John Etter | 22 | 20/20
Massive dude at 6’5” 220 lbs. Dunn was asking to take this guy back in the 8th round so finally gave him his shiny toy. Was terrible at New Mexico last year so don’t have high hopes for the kid.

14th RD - C Brandon Bouie | 21 | 20/20
Great defensive catcher & that’s literally it

15th RD - SS Brian Sedlak | 18 | 20/35
Elite defender with elite speed. Liability at the plate but we drafted more the person than the skillset. Can be a leader in the clubhouse despite his offensive deficiencies
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Old 12-26-2018, 01:38 PM   #57
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Rip’s Notes - 6/5

With the draft done, it was time to rework the system a bit. All of a sudden Bismark had 33 players. There was also some promotions I wanted to make so here’s a quick rundown:
  • SP Richard Turnipseed has now pitched over 150 innings in AA ball over the past two seasons. Over that time has compiled a 3.59 ERA, 4.16 FIP & put up 2.3 WAR. Not striking out as many as I would like & walked WAY too many but seems like it’s time to head to Boise. The plan will be to keep him there the rest of the year (with maybe a late call-up) & see how he performs in spring training next year
  • CL Mitch Robbins has been in AA for three years now. He has a 3.53 FIP over those 101 IP in relief along with a 6.3 K/9. Still plenty of room for improvement but time to challenge him by pushing him up to AAA
  • 3B John Sainsbury appears ready to take that next step to Boise as well. He’s played in AA ball the past two seasons. Over 500 ABs he’s slashing .290/.368/.451 with 16 HRs & 73 RBIs. His glove is his strength though and he appears close to ready for NBL jump. Will definitely be an August call up candidate
  • C Dustin Barthlow is ready to head to AA in Cheyenne. In two years at Bismark in A ball, he’s slashed .284/.359/.484 with 11 HRs & 56 RBIs which is good for a 3.0 WAR. He’s an okish defender behind the plate but proving interesting with his bat
  • SP Roberto Castillo has now thrown over 200 innings in A ball and although this year’s numbers are down a smidge from last year, looks ready to make the jump to Cheyenne.
  • RP Todd Sachs has been in A ball for an absurd five years. He’s having one of his best seasons though in 2005 so let’s give him a shot at AA. If he can’t get it done then we will just send him on his way

Went ahead & cut some older folks who don’t appear likely to ever amount to much. Once we get our top 5 draft picks signed, should have a better feel of how the system looks & can make any more adjustments from there.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:29 PM   #58
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Series 12 - Louisville Redbirds

A 15-12 May has put the Redbirds in position to compete for the Wildcard spot in the EL. It’s an organization not used to success so got a feeling they will fall apart at some point. The big difference between Louisville & Billings is that the Redbirds wait until someone becomes a star before trading him away. With the 14th largest budget, they too have to scrap & claw for anything they get. But Louisville at least as a playoff appearance…

This year’s group is led by a pair of former 2002 1st round picks in CF Chris Prevett and SP Phil Cox. This is Prevett’s debut seasons & he’s making a strong push for the EL Newcomer of the Year Award while Cox appears to finally be getting comfortable in the NBL in his 3rd year. They have once great slugger Humberto Martinez lurking in the #4 spot but at 39 he’s not the man he once was.

We should absolutely not get swept this week but can’t put anything past this club of ours…

Game 56

THE STREAK IS OVER! Good ole David Harden is looking more & more like a fella that should stick around in this rebuild. Alpizar had the day off & Robby Santos was very good in his absence going 2-5 with a solo shot

Game 57

Uh wut is this? Two wins in a row?! Laskowski is having a heck of a series so far and he delivered the walk off double today

Game 58

Ended up on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel. It happens… Did get some good news as 5th rd pick CF Mike Dunn agreed to our $80K offer

Game 59

This got out of hand fast… Lopez had 2 RBIs which was nice tho. The huge news of the day was fact that our 1st round draft pick Matt Morales agreed to our $3.5 million offer. 4th round pick Nick Whittle also signed

Game 60

Just too much to hope for a series win...

Around the NBL
  • Huge day Tuesday for Las Vegas’s Dave Serrano who became the 5th pitcher in NBL history to toss a no hitter and the 2nd this season in a 7-0 win over New Orleans. The 32 year old was emotional after the game calling it “one of the best moments of my life”
  • Big news out of Portland Thursday as they announced a huge extension with star catcher Carlos Garza. The deal is worth $61 million over 7 years. The 30 year old is a 5x All-Star, 5x Best Bat winner & a Best Glove winner as well. He’s slashed .321/.363/.461 in his career with 47 HRs & 445 RBIs. His career 26.9 WAR is the best of any catcher in NBL history

Speaking of Portland, they are starting to build a little lead in the WL up 4 games now on Omaha and Santa Fe. Their offense is absurd. Jaime Ryan has hit 13 HRs and that's good for 3rd... James Olson has 14 and Oliver Swartz has a stupid 21(!!!) to his name. He's on pace to his 53 if he can stay healthy and put up an almost 13 WAR year. Backend of that pitching staff aint great but they have the 1-2 punch plus the lineup to repeat.

In the EL, the Devils continue to lead with the best record in baseball though Indianapolis is surging and finds themselves #2 once again. Racers have long list of wounded but that's opened the door for some young blood who are producing. Devils/Racers/Choo Choos have been the consistent kings of the EL and looks like for once all three might be ready to make a push


Well that was a better series though it would have been MUCH better if we had actually won it... Dan Lopez and Lorenzo Alpizar are seeing some positive regression lately which has boosted their numbers some. Jody's decision to keep Marco Mendoza as a starter is paying off right now as well though Aaron Ash has been pretty good in his limited action. However, things aren't going well for our SS of the future Ryan Michael. Batting .181 with a 38 wRC+ ain't good at all... Defense has been ok with only 1 error and a ZR of 1.0. Hoping he can at least get his bat from horrendous to below average this year.

On the mound, Scott Bacher is taking well to NBL life. Sure he has an 0-2 record but he's sporting a 3.55 FIP producing an absurd # of groundballs. He's due for a bit of regression with a .341 BABIP but happy to see some early success for the lefty in his NBL debut. David Harden though continues to be our best arm and I am gonna have to think long and hard about whether or not he should be trade bait or a foundational to this rotation moving forward.

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Old 01-03-2019, 11:32 PM   #59
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Apologies for the long break over the holidays. Wasn't able to get much OOTP in but hoping to get back on a more regular schedule moving forward. Appreciate all the positive feedback I've gotten so far & it's wild to me there's been almost 2,000 views! Plenty of more ridiculous Rip tales to come in 2019!
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:19 AM   #60
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Series 13 - Oklahoma City Drillers

Did ya’ll know that Blake used to be the general manager at OKC? Of course you do because the damn man won’t shut the hell up about it….

The Drillers spent big this offseason but it hasn’t helped. They sit stuck 10 games back of Portland with a record under .500. Free agent signees Justin Davis, Ricky Garcia and Andrew Bono have been HUGE disappointments. There is Grant Arnold who continues to crush baseballs out of the park. The rising superstar has hit 16 moon shots this year and looks set to put together another All-Star calibre year. He’s not had a ton of help though 24 year old LF Jim Grimm is having a nice sophomore campaign and actually leads the team in WAR thanks to his outstanding glove. They actually have the worst pitching staff in the WL which is saying something considering who they are about to face. Should be a lot of runs scored this week on both sides.

Before the series started we got some good news in that 2nd round pick SP Jon McClain had signed with us. That leaves only 3rd round selection C Brian Rich as the member of this 2005 draft class to not already begin work in Bismark. Hoping to hear from his annoying ass agent soon….

Game 61

Who was that guy that said there would be a lot of runs? What a dumbass….

Game 62

INCREDIBLE rally in the bottom of the 9th to put this into extra innings thanks in large part to rookie Ryan Michael’s base clearing triple. But just couldn’t find that one clutch hit and then things melted apart in the 12th. We aren’t gonna win many games though when Lopez, Alpizar & Mendoza combine to go 0-14 at the plate…. Chris Guitierrez is done with his rehab stint so we activated him and sent a still really bad Jacob Conner back to Boise. Also our final remaining draft pick in Brian Rich signed so the whole 2005 draft class is now down in Bismark

Game 63

Alpizar hit his 13th HR of the year and Laskowski had a 3 hit day but we keep losing…

Game 64

Reaching sweep danger zone again… Four of our 6 hits came from Lopez and Juan Sanchez. Chris Gutierrez made his 2005 debut by surrendering 3 runs…

Game 65

We have now lost 18 of our last 20 games which imo is pretty bad

Around the NBL
  • Portland ace Toshida Oka was at it again spinning a 3 hit gem against Omaha on Friday in a 2-0 win. He improves his impressive record to 7-1 with a 2.53 ERA. Might he challenge The Wolf for the Pitcher of the Year in 2005?

Not a great week for Portland dropping the series to Omaha so their lead in the WL dropped a game. In the EL, the Racers are right on the heels of Charlotte. The top 3 teams in the EL would all lead the WL if they played in the same league. Dough Fetherolf is having another ridiculous year with a 1.43 ERA but Min-Soo Kim is a guy to watch as well. The South Korean import is having a heck of an NBL debut with a 5-2 record and an EL best 1.63 ERA. Scarily his BABIP is .230 so this dude has a chance to continue putting up monster #’s. Unsurprisingly we boast two of the top pitchers with the most losses in Jim Vernon at 11 and Sam Goodwin at 8. Fun stuff…


Alpizar and Lopez hit a bad skid this past series and you saw the results. We just can’t win if they aren’t hitting the baseball well. Big concern though for me is how bad this defense as been. .673 is atrocious and puts us 7th in the WL. The good news is the worst offenders aren’t guys we plan to keep long term. Joe Smart has 11 errors on the year at 3B and Juan Sanchez has 8 at 2B. Laskowski with a miserable -5.1 ZR so ya…..

All-Star break fast approaching. We got series with San Jose & Las Vegas before it happens. Over the break have to sit down and figure out game plan for trade deadline. Namely which OF prospects do we keep, which do we sell and make a decision on Dave Harden’s future with the org. Also maybe, just maybe figure out how to not have the worst record in NBL history. Don't mind another #1 overall draft pick but let's have a LITTLE dignity fellas...

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