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Old 05-24-2019, 05:10 PM   #2861
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Raccoons (53-59) vs. Titans (51-60) – August 5-7, 2030

The Titans came in to feast on some corpses, and so did Nick Valdes, publicly wondering why I was a wheelchair with a broken leg, when he had been around during the incident a few weeks prior. Nice to see that some things around here never change, foremost the madness. The Druid explained to him that it was indeed a very bad fracture, oh yeah, and I had to be heavily drugged for the pain. I wondered which pain that was because I didn’t feel any, still. Maybe everybody else was hurting? Maybe everybody else was mad? Maybe this was all a dream? Nope, the Titans were definitely real; here was another team that had no other business than roaring past the beaten Critters. They were sixth in runs scored, eighth in runs allowed, with an unpretty -35 run differential, but, hey, that’s what we’re here for today, isn’t it? So far the Coons led the season series, 7-5, but the times they were a-changin’.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (5-12, 4.05 ERA) vs. Dave Dyer (3-9, 6.63 ERA)
Juan Barzaga (1-1, 5.56 ERA) vs. Greg Gannon (11-8, 3.56 ERA)
Mark Roberts (11-5, 3.78 ERA) vs. Armando Gonzales (5-9, 5.13 ERA)

Three right-handers on paper; but the Titans had been rained out on Sunday and could bring in southpaw Dustin Wingo (11-10, 3.57 ERA) without issue, f.e. for Armando Gonzales or Dave Dyer, examples of right-handed derelicts that had not had a place in the majors ten years ago and didn’t have now, either, e.g. their version of Juan Barzaga.

Game 1
BOS: LF Acor – C Henley – RF M. Matias – 1B Uliasz – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – 3B Knudson – P Dyer
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – CF Allan – C Pizzo – P Shumway

Tom Shumway locked up his 13th loss of the season in quick and efficient fashion. While the Titans stranded a pair in the first inning, they got Adrian Reichardt on base in the second. The persistent coonskinner would be at second base with two outs when Dave Dyer lashed a single to center to put the first run on the board with the fleet Reichardt not stopping at third base. Shumway would go on to lose Dustin Acor on a single, “Hopalong” Henley on balls, and then Mike Matias on a 390-footer over the leftfield wall to explode the tally to 5-0. All the Raccoons would get from Tom Scumbag were 3.2 innings, in which he allowed seven runs before being yanked, beheaded, and having his numb skull put on a pike at the main entrance to warn current and future pitchers of turning against their team in his ways ever again. Keith Spataro knocked in a run with a 2-out single in the fourth; the last run actually scored when Chris Wise came on with two runners on and walked both Rhett West and Adrian Reichardt to push Justin Uliasz across. Dan Knudson struck out to end the inning. What ever happened to winning, our dear owner wondered. Losing builds character, I snapped, while dissolving a few pills from the Druid, and a few from my own stash, all in a glass of Capt’n Coma, the Raccoons’ trusted brain soother for decades.

Yet it was technically a close game; Dave Dyer was no less full o’ **** than ****way, allowed runs on RBI doubles to Pizzo in the second, Harenberg in the third, and had already allowed Pizzo and Gomez on base with 2-out singles in the fourth when Ramos plated the catcher with another single. Tim Stalker walked to fill the bases for Nunley, who was the tying run, but did not bring in another run … despite drawing a walk… how that? Dave Dyer (full o’ ****!) pulled a two-thirds-Diaz as we call it around here, threw not one, but TWO wild pitches in the Nunley at-bat, and thus there was ample space to walk Nunley into. That was all for Dyer, five runs and counting in 3.2 innings in a 7-5 game. Relief man Pat Selby was 0-2 on Harenberg, then nailed him, and then Jamieson grounded out to strand three. (turns around to Slappy) Do you remember when baseball was a game of beauty? – Ya, me neither. (empties his pill-booze cocktail in one gulp)

The madness continued relentlessly; Bryan Rabbitt and his 18 ERA were picked for long relief, resulting in Acor and Henley singles, and wild pitch, and then somehow inning-ending K’s to Matias and Uliasz in the fifth. Harenberg would double in Ramos in the sixth inning to creep within a run, but Kevin Surginer surrendered line drive base hits in the seventh to Knudson and PH Justin Quinn to give it right back to where it came from. In the bottom 8th, Portland had Ramos and Harenberg (nailed again) on base with two outs against Tim Zimmerman, then had to send Tovias (over Magallanes) to bat for Garavito as a result of an earlier double switch to get two innings out of Rabbitt. The plot backfired *now* when Tovias haplessly struck out. Jonathan Snyder, former Furball, came into the ninth inning with a 1.42 ERA, allowed a leadoff double to Hereford to bring up the tying run again, the runner moved up on a Ryan Allan groundout, then scored on a wild pitch, but that still left the Coons a run short. Pizzo struck out. And Rafael Gomez, who somehow had turned a bench assignment into four at-bats in the #9 hole… struck out. 8-7 Titans. Ramos 2-3, 2 BB, RBI; Harenberg 2-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Hereford 2-5, 2B; Pizzo 2-5, 2B, RBI; Rabbitt 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

S-ss-SSSSlappy, I… I… Ifoundoutabousomething! When you … When you –hcks!– … when you drink out the new Capt’n Coma bottle… sssse new lady nexxx to ze Capt’n oh- … oh- … oh-nly wears underwear anymooore.

–hcks!–

Game 2
BOS: LF Acor – C Henley – 1B Uliasz – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – RF Quinn – 3B M. Matias – P Gannon
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – CF Allan – C Pizzo – P Shumway

Harenberg hit into a double play to end the first, then committed a throwing error on a Reichardt grounder in the top 2nd that put him and Rhett West into scoring position with one down. Justin Quinn flew to deep right, Hereford could not reach it, and it was 2-0 on a double. Two more runs scored in the third on three straight singles by the 4-5-6 batters, then a double by Quinn. Just like that, 4-0 again. Not that the Titans stopped there – Spataro singled home Uliasz in the fourth inning with two down. The inning would have been over if not for a catastrophic throwing error by Alberto Ramos that place Uliasz in scoring position without any merit.

The Raccoons technically still took part, but were no factor until the bottom of the fourth when Nunley and Harenberg were on after leadoff singles. Jamieson popped out, but Hereford hit an RBI single, 5-1, and the runners moved up on a throw to home plate. Allan used that for a 2-run single of his own, and ALSO moved up to second base on the throw to home plate. The inning, however, fizzled out after that, and Barzaga retired nobody in the fifth before the Titans caved in his skull on a Reichardt double, a balk (…), a Quinn RBI double, and a walk drawn by Matias. Both inherited runners scored against Fleischer, who leaked a single … and a 2-out, run-scoring wild pitch before whiffing Uliasz, escalating the tally to 8-3. Tim Stalker shortened that to 8-5 off Gannon in the bottom 5th, homering to left with Ramos on first and nobody out. Nunley doubled to right, which was the end of Gannon, and would score on a single hit to leftfield by Matt Jamieson, who was then picked off first by Tim Zimmerman to slowly bring that inning to an unhappy end. Stalker drove in another one in the sixth, cashing Ryan Allan with two down, but they stopped hitting when it was a 1-run game. On to the bottom 8th, where right-hander Jermaine Campbell and his 5.79 ERA was the Titans’ chosen line of defense – there were more than one team in this park that had run over its best-before date for sure… Allan singled to lead off, stole second, and Pizzo also singled, putting the tying and go-ahead runs on the corners. Magallanes was already batting ninth after an outfield shuffle that had put Sean Rigg into Jamieson’s spot. He tied the game with a sac fly, but the Critters failed to get Pizzo around, too. Ramos flew out to left, Stalker popped out. Sean Rigg remained in for the ninth and suffered mild impalement. West singled, Reichardt singled; Quinn bunted them over, Matias hit a 2-run singled, Brett Judkins smacked an RBI single. Somehow Acor made an out, but Rigg walked Henley, and then Uliasz put the finishing touches on the dismantling with a 3-run homer to left-center. 14-8 Titans. Ramos 2-5; Stalker 3-5, HR, 3 RBI; Nunley 3-4, BB, 2B; Allan 3-3, BB, 2 RBI;

That is the fifth double-digit rout since the All Star break, and the second at the hammers of the Titans.

Sean Rigg (4.89 ERA) was sent back to the Alley Cats after the game (he was exhausted anyway), along with Barzaga (7.63 ERA). The Coons would have off days on Thursday AND Monday, and did not need a fifth starter until next weekend. As any old arm would do at this point, Steve Costilow was recalled. We also brought back Sean Catella to play center for a few days (and only this would balance our roster again), and Abel Mora was out for at least another two weeks anyway.

Game 3
BOS: LF Acor – C Henley – RF M. Matias – 1B Uliasz – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – 3B Knudson – P Wingo
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Gomez – CF Catella – C Tovias – P Roberts

Roberts gave up merely a pair in the second, walking Spataro and allowing hits to West and Reichardt, followed by another walk drawn by Knudson. In the third, a Mike Matias homer made it 3-0. Say, Mr. Valdes, why do they keep repeating the same old boring shows? – Funny how you wanted to ask me the same thing right now, isn’t it? – No, it’s not.

Roberts expended 102 pitches through six innings of 3-run ball before we had to go to the miserable bullpen again. It was also still a 3-0 game because the Raccoons just couldn’t be arsed and had only two hits through six against Wingo. Bitterly, the Raccoons got scoreless relief from Rabbitt in the seventh, then Steve Costilow for two innings. The Coons still trailed so badly that Wingo batted for himself with Rhett West on first base in the ninth inning and made the final out, a K, against Costilow. The Critters amounted to a pinch-hit, 2-out double by Allan in the ninth, but that was it. They lost swiftly and crisply this time around. 3-0 Titans. Allan (PH) 1-1, 2B; Magallanes 1-1; Costilow 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K;

Raccoons (53-62) @ Wolves (65-50) – August 9-11, 2030

This was not the right time to be heading to Salem for an Oregon Brawl. Since we didn’t have to fly, I was even packed up and taken along despite the leg cast and the wheelchair. They just tossed me in the trunk of one of the vans we drove down in. They were not scoring all that many runs (second from the bottom in the FL), and fifth in runs allowed. Despite them sitting 15 games over .500, they were 21 under .500 when it came to their run differential. This was the first meeting between the two teams since 2027, and the Coons had dropped two of three in each of the last two meetings.

Projected matchups:
Dave Martinez (10-8, 4.20 ERA) vs. Steve Younts (6-11, 6.29 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (5-8, 4.70 ERA) vs. Lance Legleiter (5-4, 3.40 ERA)
Tom Shumway (5-13, 4.39 ERA) vs. Mario Alva (11-8, 3.78 ERA)

All righties coming up here. Also: Jing-quo Liu, our former Taiwanese backup catcher disaster. He still has that deaf interpreter!

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Martinez
SAL: CF Stedham – 3B M. Lewis – RF Banfi – SS Ferrero – 1B Rempfer – LF Condulmaro – 2B J. Perez – C Liu – P Younts

After a sad top of the first, the Coons put Jesse Stedham on base when Ramos’ throw popped out of Harenberg’s glove for an error, then also Milt Lewis when Martinez threw away his comebacker. Two errors in two plays – the joys of being around this team! And yet, somehow, the Wolves would not score. Luigi Banfi singled to right, but Hereford threw out Stedham at the plate, and a K to Noel Ferrero and a grounder to short off the bat of Brent Rempfer ended the inning. Come the third, the Coons TOOK A LEAD on back-to-back doubles by Catella and Pizzo, and then we forewent the bunt with Martinez and he swung away and hit another double just past the glove of Fontana Condulmaro to extend the gap to 2-0. That was it for the offense, but at least Martinez held the door closed on the Wolves for now. He allowed three hits through five innings, including a single to Liu, who struggled to reach the .200 mark with the stick.

Top 6th, Stalker opened with a double to center. Nunley flew out, and Harenberg was walked intentionally, but Younts could not get Jamieson out. Matt singled to shallow right, Luigi Banfi was not anywhere near the ball and Stalker was sent around and scored ahead of the throw that allowed the trailing runners to move up, too. Hereford was now walked intentionally, too, setting up Catella with three on and one out. For a cardinal sin, he popped out on a 3-1 pitch. Pizzo went down on strikes. Oh well, it was 3-0 for Martinez anyway and he kept maneuvering forwards. He hit Jon Perez with one out in the seventh, but Liu hit into a double play. Kyle Weinstein pinch-hit and singled in the eighth, but Milt Lewis hit into a double play. The Coons did not get the pen up as the ninth inning came around. Martinez, on 91 pitches, looked like he really had this. Luigi Banfi told him, no you don’t, doubled on the first pitch of the inning, and Martinez didn’t finish the game. Ferrero popped out, Rempfer whiffed, but Condulmaro doubled to center, getting the Wolves on the board and also brought up the tying run in Perez. Ohl came on, conceded a single to Perez, 3-2, then another one to Liu (…!) that sent the tying run to third base. When left-handed batter Jeff Rinehart approached in the #9 hole, the Coons went to Billy Brotman. The count ran full, Rinehart struck out, and the Coons had ACTUALLY won a game. 3-2 Coons. Stalker 2-4, 2 2B; Pizzo 2-4, 2B, RBI; Martinez 8.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, W (11-8) and 1-4, 2B, RBI;

Yes, that actually happened. It was not pretty, it was by the skin o’ their pokey teeth, but sometimes a ****ing win is a ****ing win is a ****ing win…

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – 2B Baldwin – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez
SAL: LF Ferrero – 2B J. Perez – RF Banfi – C D. Hill – 1B Rempfer – 3B Stedham – CF N. Colon – SS Tabata – P Legleiter

Jamieson struck out to strand Allan and Harenberg on the corners in the first inning, and Gutierrez allowed a 3-1 leadoff single to Ferrero, threw a wild pitch, but then bailed out on three consecutive pops over the infield. But don’t you worry about any other team not getting their turn against Rico Gutierrez’ corpse – the Wolves got Nelson Colon aboard with a 2-out walk in the bottom 2nd, and then Yachi Tabata hit a booming homer to left to give the home team a 2-0 lead. The following inning, Ferrero and Banfi hit singles, Dean Hill hit a 2-run double, and with two outs Gutierrez walked three straight batters in full counts to push another run across on the walk to Tabata. That brought up Lance Legleiter. SURELY Gutierrez would be able to retire Lance Legleiter! The former Coons hurler whacked a single to right, two runs scored, and the Coons were down 7-0. Gutierrez was yanked, beaten with soap blocks in socks by some angry staff as he entered the shower, and the Wolves stranded two when Ferrero grounded out to Nunley against Jonathan Fleischer.

That was, for all intents and purposes, the end of the game. The Coons laid down and took it like … roadkill. The Wolves didn’t even tack on… no need to tear out a limb here. The Coons had just enough base runners to hit into double plays in three straight innings from the fourth through the sixth, and Legleiter pitched into the eighth, charged with a lone run that was the result of a Ramos Special in that eighth inning. Alberto led of with a single, swiped second, and scored on two groundouts, giving Nunley his first RBI in over a week. They added another run on Miguel Salazar in the ninth, Pizzo singling in Hereford, who had doubled, but, eh, who was even counting runs anymore when the losses were piling up so rapidly? 7-2 Wolves. Ramos 2-5; Hereford 2-4, 2 2B; Pizzo 2-4, 2B, RBI; Catella (PH) 1-1; Stalker (PH) 1-1;

And bidding for a series win in the rubber game would be … ah, **** it, Tom Scumbag. Ah, maybe next week.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – RF Hereford – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Shumway
SAL: LF Ferrero – CF Condulmaro – RF Banfi – C D. Hill – 1B Rempfer – 3B Stedham – 2B J. Perez – SS Tabata – P Alva

Sean Catella legged out the return throw on his grounder to short with Jamieson and Hereford on the corners to break up the potentially inning-ending double play, allowing Jamieson to score, and that made it 1-0 Coons in the game and the first career RBI for Catella in 33 PA split between multiple cups of coffee. We made it 2-0 when Ramos tripled and scored on a Stalker sac fly in the third, but this was still Tom Scumbag pitching… and the Wolves rallied in the fourth. Luigi Banfi led off with a double in the gap, Dean Hill hit an RBI single, Rempfer singled, too, and then the Coons failed to turn two on a Stedham grounder. Jon Perez came up with runners on the corners, hit a soft fly to shallow center, and Catella BARELY got paws on the ball before it could drop in, ending the inning with a 2-1 score. SOMEHOW nailing Mario Alva with an 0-2 pitch in the bottom 5th did not lead to immediate annihilation either…

The Coons were at least still breathing. Top 6th, Ramos got on, Stalker was hit with a 1-2 pitch, and aggravated they pulled off a double steal. Nunley hit a sac fly, 3-1, and Hereford singled in Stalker with two outs, 4-1. The Wolves were not idle, and Shumway still was no good; they had two base hits in the bottom 6th and a Perez sac fly to immediately pull one run back from the Critters, but Shumway added a scoreless seventh before retiring with a half-hearted pat on the bum, having maintained a 4-2 lead. Come the eighth, came Surginer. Luigi Banfi hit a leadoff jack off the righty, his 20th homer of the season, and all the cushion was now gone. Surginer got Hill and Rempfer, then was removed for Brotman against Jesse Stedham, who walked, and Perez, who walked. Ricky Ohl was thrown into the game next, Tabata grounded to short, Ramos with the fumble… and the bases were loaded with two down. Weinstein pinch-hit in the #9 hole. The #3 pick in the 2027 draft was batting .222 in an only recently started career. He hit a hard grounder to third base, Hereford had replaced Nunley in a shuffle switch in this inning, and he made the play, going the short way to second base to end the inning. Ayyyye…….

That left one inning in the game, maybe, and the Coons did precious little against John Fees in the top half. That left Ohl to his own devices in the bottom 9th, facing the top of the order. Ferrero slowly grounded out to Stalker, Condulmaro flew out to deep to Gomez in right, and then Ramos handled Banfi’s grounder to end the game. 4-3 Coons. Hereford 2-4;

In other news

August 5 – After a season of losing, DAL SP Matt Diduch (4-11, 5.67 ERA) is lost for the season with shoulder inflammation.
August 6 – SAC LF/RF Doug Stross (.313, 4 HR, 40 RBI) extends a hitting streak to 20 games with one knock in a 3-2 loss to the Wolves.
August 6 – The Thunder beat the Bayhawks, 17-16 in 15 innings. The Thunder blow three leads in the game, the Bayhawks blow two, including one in the 11th when they score a run in the top of the inning, but can’t hold the 16-15 lead. SFB Victor Ayala (.265, 9 HR, 46 RBI) knocks in eight runs in a 4-hit performance, including a 3-run home run and a bases-loaded double. The Thunder use three starting pitchers in the game, with Zach Warner (11-4, 3.57 ERA) pitching the last five innings for the win.
August 7 – The Thunder lose 7-6 to the Bayhawks despite smashing five home runs, two of those by 2B/SS Alex Serrato (.312, 22 HR, 78 RBI), who drives in three runs in the defeat.
August 8 – The Wolves chill SAC LF/RF Doug Stross’ (.313, 4 HR, 41 RBI) hitting streak at 21 games, holding him dry in a 5-2 Wolves win.
August 10 – TOP SP Nick Danieley (11-4, 3.56 ERA) 3-hits the Aces in a 3-0 shutout. Danieley whiffs eight.
August 11 – TIJ 3B/SS Shane Sanks (.302, 12 HR, 69 RBI) drives in six runs in a 15-1 thrashing of the Rebels.

Complaints and stuff

Amazingly, despite going 3-10 in the last two weeks, we are still only 5 1/2 games out of first. Oh what could have been… well, yeah, a lobotomy without anesthesia at the claws and beaks of the Condors, but … ah…

Say, they can cure cancer these days, but why can’t science find us a starting pitcher or a slugger that doesn’t catch mold after two, three years? Mena – your assignment! I expect your report on Wednesday!

Daily now I have my people confirm to me that Rico Gutierrez won the ERA title just TWO years ago, that Mark Roberts once was a Triple Crown winner, that Tom Shumway pitched a no-hitter THIS YEAR, and that some of those bats were actually smoking hot on a regular basis only one or two years ago. Like Hereford’s. Reminder? 32 homers, 140 RBI in *2028*.

Yes, Maud, it still happened? – Yes? – Promise? – Okay.

The IFA period concluded when the Raccoons snatched up middle infielder Jose Agosto for $170k this week. It took a while! Overall we spent $348k on Caribbean teen boys this year, well under the soft cap.
2B/SS Jose Agosto - $170,000 - SIGNED
C Tony Morales - $95,000 - SIGNED
2B Jose Brito - $76,000 - SIGNED
OF Jose Pena - $7,000 - SIGNED

Fun Fact: Alberto Ramos is only six bases away from setting a new franchise steals record. He currently jointly holds the record with his 2028 season, which tied Yoshi Yamada’s 54 bases in 2005.

The ABL record of 74 might be out of reach this season. Enrique Trevino set that in 2027. But the CL record is “only” 62 and might be up for grabs. Alex Torres of the damn Elks set that mark in ’22.

Hah, the we-don’t-give-****s-anymore Double Yoshi middle infield in 2005, Yamada’s only full season anywhere. That was also the last time the Raccoons finished in sixth place in the North!

Those are lows we’re going back to, by the way.
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:10 PM   #2862
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Okay, even my eternal optimism is fading just a bit....

After delving into the issue very deeply, I think I have found out why the Cutie Coonies stink: there is no Japanese player!

It is so simple! Why did the GM not realize this back in the winter? For shame on him! There has never been a team worth anything in Portland without a Japanese player; why would he think that he can skirt the laws of karma? No one every has. In fact, attempted skirting is what the laws of karma cover more explicitly than anything else!
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Westheim (05-25-2019)
Old 05-25-2019, 12:59 AM   #2863
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I wanted to start with an honestly-felt "Yes, but..." … BUT … no, yours is the most reasonable explanation I have heard so far.
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Old 05-26-2019, 01:34 PM   #2864
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Raccoons (55-63) vs. Buffaloes (70-48) – August 13-15, 2030

The Buffaloes had won eight in a row and held the lead in the FL East as the Coons prepared for this final interleague series of the season. The opposition ranked second in runs allowed and third in runs allowed; they were going to be a serious title contender again this year. They had not won a series against the Raccoons since 2023, a sweep, however, with us taking two out of three and four out of four in the World Series in 2028.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (11-6, 3.81 ERA) vs. Dave Elliott (10-6, 2.90 ERA)
Dave Martinez (11-8, 4.07 ERA) vs. John Waker (1-0, 3.86 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (5-9, 5.17 ERA) vs. Joe Jones (8-10, 3.96 ERA)

Something new this season – we might actually get to face three southpaws if the Buffaloes would not utilize the common off day on Monday to skip John Waker, who the older fans around here might remember as a Raccoons first-rounder that had been traded soon enough to the Stars in the Hugo Mendoza deal in June of 2017. He had a 4.21 career record as a swingman that had somehow also picked up 85 saves, most of them for some sad Stars and Condors teams in the early 2020s. If the Buffos would go for the skip, we would get righty Nick Danieley (11-4, 3.56 ERA) on Thursday.

Game 1
TOP: RF P. Sanchez – CF Coleman – SS Majano – 1B Elder – LF K. Hess – 3B Corder – C Gio. James – 2B Herman – P D. Elliott
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – 3B Hereford – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Roberts

“Launchpad” Roberts put Alex Majano on with a single, then got bombed by former Titan Jay Elder right away in the first inning, putting the dismal Critters – 3-10 in the last two weeks – in a 2-0 hole right away. A Majano error also put Ramos on board in the bottom of the same inning, Ramos swiped his 50th base of the year – only four away from his jointly-held franchise record now – and came around to score to make up half the difference on a Harenberg grounder to Nick Herman. Portland would get a 1-out triple from Elias Tovias in the bottom 2nd, but he was also thrown out at home plate on Magallanes’ fly to left. Mark Roberts, who ironically singled to begin the bottom 3rd before that inning quickly fizzled out, then got taken apart like any other rancid tosser the Raccoons bothered to throw on the mound in the fourth inning. Elder led off with a single up the middle, Ken Hess doubled to left, and while another former Titan, Adam Corder, struck out, it was all downhill with one out. Giovanni James singled to right, Elder scored, and so did Hess once Rafael Gomez overran the ball for a grievous error. Nick Herman singled, and even the pitcher singled up the middle, David Elliott driving in James to run the tally to 5-1. Pablo Sanchez poked a 1-2 pitch up the middle, the fourth single of the inning escaping between Ramos and Stalker, but Herman was thrown out at home plate by Magallanes. Ian Coleman flew out to Magallanes to end the inning – another clobbering complete. Roberts lasted three more batters, allowing two more hits for a total of 11 in 4.1 innings before getting yanked. Bryan Rabbitt got out of the fifth on two grounders to Harenberg.

While the meat of the Coons’ rally was Rich Hereford reaching on catcher’s interference in the fourth inning, the miserable pitching continued to reign. Steve Costilow got tossed from the pen next, retired three batters on three pitches in the sixth and sure fooled nobody in the seventh either, yielded singles to Coleman and Majano and walking Elder. With nobody out, Mauricio Garavito replaced him, allowed two runs on grounders, a singled to James, a walk to Herman, and just before the hammer could come down for good, PH Pat Green struck out in a full count to keep it civil, and at 7-1. Rallying out of a 6-run hole was not necessarily the Coons’ thing this year, and thus the game was about over. Tovias would hit a sac fly in the ninth inning, ending an attempt by ex-Critter Cory Dew for a 3-inning save, but that was absolutely it. 7-2 Buffaloes. Stalker 2-4; Allan (PH) 1-1; Tovias 2-3, 3B, RBI; Wise 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

Game 2
TOP: 3B Corder – 1B Elder – RF P. Sanchez – SS Majano – LF K. Hess – C Gio. James – 2B Herman – CF Coleman – P Waker
POR: 3B Nunley – SS Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Gomez – RF Allan – C Tovias – 2B Baldwin – CF Catella – P Martinez

Dave Martinez got through the Buffos’ order alright the first time through, which was worth mentioning when you were dealing with the CL’s worst rotation by ERA. The Coons got Baldwin on base with a walk to begin the bottom 3rd. The super utility stole second, scored on a Sean Catella single, and the bags filled up with a Nunley single and a walk drawn by Tim Stalker, pulling up Jamieson with three aboard and one down. At 2-0, Jamieson grounded sharply to Majano, no error was to be had from the shortstop this time, and the inning ended the 6-4-3 way. The lead lasted not even a single inning; Martinez began the fourth by nailing Elder with an 0-2 pitch, walked Pablo Sanchez, and allowed a single to Hess with one down, and on a 1-2 pitch. A Nick Herman single and a walk drawn by Ian Coleman, both following a James strikeout, each plated a run and turned the score around in Topeka’s favor, 2-1. Oh well – at least when Martinez surrendered a 1-2 drive to the opposing pitcher, Ryan Allan somehow managed to throw his body in between the ball and the grass to end the inning…

Martinez lasted only five innings, throwing over 100 pitches with four walks and all the other crap he surrendered, but still only trailed 2-1 at the time of his dismissal. That became 4-1 by the seventh inning on account of Jonathan Fleischer being skinned top to bottom for three hits, two walks, including one to Giovanni James with the bases already loaded, and then Garavito getting a double play grounder from PH Travis Benson to escape with theoretical chances still entertainable. Catella doubled in Ryan Allan with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but Harenberg flew out to center when he pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot. The next Coons hurler run through the meat mincer turned out to be Kevin Surginer, who got the eighth, allowed a homer to John Waker (… deadly silence …) and then shoveled the bags full with a 2-out walk to Elder, infield singles hit by Sanchez and Majano, and finally a booming 440-foot slam by Ken Hess that completely exploded the score to 9-2. Steve Costilow replaced him, allowed a homer to Giovanni James, singles to Pat Green and Ian Coleman, a walk to Jamie Wilson, and by the way, it was still two outs in the eighth inning. Ricky Ohl took over care of the vividly burning orphanage, getting Corder to politely fly out to Allan to FINALLY end the most recent anal probe inning. The Raccoons totally rallied in the bottom 8th, scoring one run driven in by Jamieson against righty Adam Rosenwald. Magallanes scored the run, having come on as pinch-runner for Alberto Ramos, who had pinch-hit for Stalker, tripled, then had limped off to seek advice from the Druid. That was all to this game. 10-3 Buffaloes. Stalker 1-2, BB; Ramos (PH) 1-1, 3B; Catella 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

Turns out, with the leg cast I’m unable to throw myself out of the small window in Maud’s office. It also didn’t help that she held on to the other leg, screaming for help until Steve from Accounting wrestled my paws off the window sill.

Steve Costilow (11.25 ERA) was waived and DFA’ed because a) he sucked the cover off the baseballs, and b) we needed the roster spot for a starter by Saturday. Sean Rigg was promoted from AAA, because we could not hatch a new star pitcher in the last ten days, either…

By Wednesday morning, the Druid reported that Ramos had a mild abdominal strain. He was ruled out for the series finale, but might even be back in the lineup on Friday against the damn Elks.

Game 3
TOP: RF P. Sanchez – CF Coleman – SS Majano – 1B Elder – 3B Corder – LF Benson – C Drews – 2B Herman – P J. Jones
POR: 2B Baldwin – SS Stalker – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Allan – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez

The routinely shattered Critters scored first, which was a neat running gag the baseball gods would occasionally weave into the narrative to make their inevitable collapse – Rico came in with a 5+ ERA after all… - all the more dismembering. A leadoff walk to Harenberg and a single by Allan right after that in the bottom 2nd set up a chance, Catella didn’t take it, but Mike Pizzo doubled over Pablo Sanchez in deep right, and Harenberg came around to make it 1-0 Coons. Gutierrez, one of the worst-hitting pitchers we could remember, struck out, and Baldwin flew out to Coleman to strand a pair in scoring position. Gutierrez stranded Joe Jones (double!) on third base in the third inning, and the Buffaloes had the tying run on third again in the fourth, when Majano after a leadoff walk was the survivor of Corder’s double-play comebacker that erased Elder and his single in between. Rico rung up Travis Benson, the old Falcons foe, to get his ERA under five for the time being.

The Coons couldn’t touch Jones, but at least Rico maneuvered through the middle innings without any major complications, even when he walked Pablo Sanchez to begin the sixth inning. Sanchez, while already 36 years old, had 20 steals on the season, but was forced out on a grounder, and the Buffos didn’t get past first base in the inning. All was well! … until it wasn’t. Corder began the seventh with a single to center, and then PH Pat Green hit a gapper to right-center for a double. Gutierrez got David Drews to pop out, but Herman and Jones (…) hit singles to turn the score around, 2-1. Herman scored from third base on a Sanchez bunt, with the Coons falling asleep on a squeeze play, and it was 3-1. Coleman grounded out to second, but once again, everything had fallen into lots of irregularly jagged pieces.

Rich Hereford hit for Gutierrez in the bottom 7th and brought in a run with a grounder; Catella had doubled to lead off the inning and had advanced on Pizzo’s groundout. This brought the score to 3-2, and then – to anybody’s surprise – Joe Jones fell apart to surrender a game-tying homer to Matt Jamieson in the bottom 8th, and then also shuffled Harenberg and Catella on base. Pizzo with two outs was probably his last batter, the count ran full, Pizzo fell half over home plate fishing for a ball outside, but hit it and looped a ****ty drop into shallow right-center. Harenberg had gone on contact and scored the go-ahead run, and then it was Adam Rosenwald to get out Tovias, hitting for Chris Wise in the #9 hole. Ohl was back out for the ninth inning with a 4-3 lead. He retired Hess, James, and Herman in order, the last two on strikeouts. 4-3 Critters. Baldwin 2-4; Allan 2-4; Catella 2-4, 2B; Pizzo 2-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI;

Our weekly win! Whee.

Raccoons (56-65) vs. Canadiens (62-58) – August 16-18, 2030

How could this series not end up some ugly mess? I mean, the last five series had been ugly messes, and now THOSE guys came in. The damn Elks already held a 6-5 edge in the season series, and they also led the North, which was vexing me to no end. They only ranked fourth in runs scored and fifth in runs allowed, but then again the entire Continental League was a messy pile – with the notable exception of those Condors. Their rotation was weaker than their bullpen, so maybe we could score a run inside the first five innings in one or two games?

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (6-13, 4.31 ERA) vs. Logan Bessey (5-11, 3.96 ERA)
Sean Rigg (2-2, 4.89 ERA) vs. Jeremy Truett (7-9, 4.67 ERA)
Mark Roberts (11-7, 3.99 ERA) vs. Joe Martin (13-6, 3.16 ERA)

Bessey would be a fourth straight left-handed starting pitcher to oppose the Critters, but also the only one the Elks had readily available. The others were righties. Missing on the DL for them was the player I despised most – Ted Gura.

Game 1
VAN: C F. Garcia – LF A. Torres – RF Wojnarowski – 1B D. Fisher – SS Bennett – 3B Anton – CF N. Day – 2B L. Hernandez – P Bessey
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – CF Baldwin – C Tovias – P Shumway

While the Coons got Jamieson and Harenberg to the corners in the bottom of the first inning, Hereford wouldn’t get them across. However, Tom Shumway not only lined up three scoreless to begin his day, he also ended his futility at the plate; having gone 0-for-43 since the beginning of the season, Shumway singled to right to begin the bottom 3rd, and the Raccoons appeared in business when Ramos singled over T.J. Bennett to put two on with nobody out. Bessey got one strike past Stalker, but not a second one; his 90mph offering was hit 400 feet to right-center, and Portland took a 3-0 lead on Stalker’s fifth jack of the season. Of course, nothing good could ever happen to the Coons; top 4th, David Fisher hit a 1-out double, but also hurt himself and was replaced by Dave Pimentel. Shumway allowed straight singles to Bennett and Matt Anton, making it a 3-1 game with the tying runs aboard. Norman Day flew out to Jamieson on the first pitch, but Lazaro Hernandez knocked a sharp RBI single to center before Shumway graciously decided to strikeout Bessey…

Shumway recovered to face the minimum through the following three innings. Only Matt Anton reached base with a 2-out single in the sixth, but was caught stealing. In a perfect world, the Raccoons would have, I don’t know, maybe tacked on a run? They didn’t, amounting to nearly nothing against Bessey, although they did get Jamieson and Harenberg on with two outs in the seventh again. And once again, Hereford stranded them with a poor grounder to Bennett. Shumway was sent into the eighth, rung up Fernando Garcia, but then nailed Alex Torres and conceded a single to switch-hitting pinch-hitter Ricky Ortiz on a 3-1 pitch. Although Matt Good was a left-handed batter and appeared in Pimentel’s spot, the Coons changed lefty for lefty now and brought a new arm in Billy Brotman, who got the K. The next move brought on Chris Wise to face Bennett (no trust in Surginer right now…), and thanks to the earlier injury the Elks were out of counterstrike weapons. Bennett hit a fly to left on 1-2, but Jamieson was master of that ball and the inning ended. Now, the Coons didn’t tack on, considering the Stalker homer ENOUGH for the day. We would try to piece it together against the bottom of the order without Ricky Ohl, who had gotten seven outs in the last two games, some of them pointless. Wise remained in to face Anton, and then the plan was to go to Garavito with the left-handed batters that followed Anton, who by the way singled up the middle. Day bunted over the tying run, Garavito went on to leak a single to PH Jose Navarro, and the whole thing fell apart (as per usual…), with the damn Elks tying the score at three.

Top 10th, Jonathan Fleischer in the game. He walked Torres to get going, Torres stole second, and Fleischer walked Danny Tessmann anyway. Matt Good singled, Torres was sent for home plate, but thrown out by Jamieson. Nevertheless, that was enough from Fleischer, who got yanked to make room for… well, Surginer. It’s not like we can grow reliable pitchers that fast. Surginer got Bennett to fly out to Baldwin, but then lost Anton in a full count. The third baseman singled up the middle, Tessmann scored easily, and the Coons had ruined EVERYTHING … AGAIN. Day grounded out, but the damn Elks unveiled Raul de la Rosa and his 2.17 ERA against the 3-4-5 batters, which did include the pitcher’s spot where Hereford had once stranded four guys in the game. Jamieson struck out. Harenberg walked. Ryan Allan batted for Surginer and walked – tying and winning run both aboard with one down. Pizzo batted for Gomez, struck out, and that brought up Baldwin, and now we were also slowly but surely running out of free sticks… Baldwin ran a full count… and struck out. 4-3 Canadiens. Jamieson 2-5, 2B; Harenberg 2-4, BB; Shumway 7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K and 1-2;

Matt Anton had five hits in this game. The Coons hardly had five hits combined… Okay, they had ten. They still lost like wimps.

Game 2
VAN: CF Tessmann – LF A. Torres – RF Wojnarowski – 1B N. Day – SS Bennett – 3B Anton – C R. Ortiz – 2B N. Millan – P Truett
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Allan – RF Hereford – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Rigg

Tessmann legged out an infield single, Torres homered, and before one out was on the board I looked over to Cristiano Carmona for a long moment and then finally asked him how dangerous *exactly* it was to roll down a long flight of stairs, backwards, and with eyes closed in one of these wheelchairs. Not a lot more happened until the fourth, which Sean Rigg began by nailing Ortiz, before leaking another single to Nelson Millan, and finally he optimistically fired Jeremy Truett’s bunt to third base, but got nobody with that play that even surprised Nunley, and Nunley had been around long enough to see all sorts of ****, you’d think. That was three on, no outs, and the top of the order approaching, in other words, ballgame. Tessmann hit a floater to shallow right, Hereford had the ball on the run, and the slow catcher at third base had to hold. He finally came home on Alex Torres’ sac fly to center, but Wojnarowski grounded out to Harenberg, and the Elks didn’t get past 3-0, and the Coons had the tying run at the plate with nobody down in the bottom of the inning after Truett leaked walks to both Nunley and Harenberg. A wild pitch advanced the runners, but Allan grounded out to first, forcing them to hold, and when Hereford flew out to right, the sac fly still kept Harenberg at second. He only reached third base on a Norman Day error, dropping Millan’s feed of Catella’s pathetic 2-out grounder. Pizzo popped out to strand the tying runs on the corners.

Instead, Ricky Ortiz turned Sean Rigg inside-out with a 3-run homer in the top of the fifth, and the Coons found themselves in familiar territory, down by a ****ing bunch by the middle innings. Ramos and Nunley made it to the corners in the bottom 5th, were left there when Harenberg rolled over to Matt Anton, while the damn Elks kept stomping, putting three runs on Bryan Rabbitt in the sixth inning – he retired none of the first five batters he faced, and he also faced the 1-2-3 batters in the seventh, and they all hit singles. With the dust settling on Brian Wojnarowski’s RBI single to right, the ****ing Elks had a 10-1 lead on the strength of 15 base hits, and the fans left the game in droves. There would soon be photographic evidence of the Raccoons mascot – occupied by Chad, because who else would do this job – giving leaving fans thumbs up before having cups of beer thrown at him. I would have left, too, if only I could. Surginer inherited runners on the corners and nobody out and made it out of the inning with only a sac fly charged to him, which was such a great success these days. Portland scored a run in the eighth, Allan bringing in Nunley, who had hit a leadoff double off Truett, but that was not quite enough to match the ****ing Elks’ output, which only grew with a moonshot by Wojnarowski off Fleischer in the ninth. That one counted for two. 13-2 Canadiens. Ramos 2-5; Gomez (PH) 1-1; Nunley 2-4, BB, 2B; Hereford 2-3, RBI; Catella 2-4;

Bryan Rabbitt (9.00 ERA) was sent back to St. Pete. We had a hard time picking any replacement by now. Hey, how about another round of Nick Derks!?

Game 3
VAN: 1B Good – 2B N. Millan – SS Bennett – RF Wojnarowski – LF A. Torres – 3B Anton – CF Campbell – C F. Garcia – P J. Martin
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Allan – RF Hereford – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Roberts

Like in Roberts’ last start on Tuesday, the second batter he faced went yard. Well, at least Nelson Millan only hit a solo shot (shrugs). The ****ing Elks unfurled four 2-out base hits in the same inning, starting with extra bases from Wojnarowski and Torres, then RBI singles by Anton and Tim Campbell, giving the damn Elks another 3-0 lead. They added a run on doubles by Joe Martin (…) and Millan in the second inning, and straight singles with two down by Campbell, Garcia, and Martin (…!) put another run across in the third inning, putting the Coons in a 5-0 hole, and the ****ing *** **** Elks on ten hits off Roberts. GODDAMNIT, ROBERTS – BE A ****ING MAN AND GET THOSE ****S OUT!!!

“Launchpad” Roberts survived a deep fly to left by Millan to begin the fourth inning, but with two outs ran full counts on Wojnarowski, Torres, and Anton lost all of them; one hit, two walks, and there was the hook. Surginer faced Tim Campbell, got a pop to short, and it remained a mere 5-0 through four. Long relief by Surginer and Derks, who each tacked on two scoreless, and then the ninth by Brotman also in scoreless fashion limited the damage at the top end of the scoreboard, but the Raccoons also had nothing at all against Joe Martin, who reached the ninth inning on a 5-hit shutout, having rung up seven. Ramos hit a leadoff single, was caught stealing, and the Coons didn’t bring Harenberg to the plate. Martin finished them off in 90 pitches. 5-0 Canadiens. Ramos 3-4; Magallanes (PH) 1-1; Surginer 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K; Derks 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

In other news

August 13 – Aces and Wolves play 17 innings, with Salem taking a 4-3 lead in the top of the 17th inning before falling to a single by Ted Schlegelmilch (.297, 7 HR, 47 RBI) and a walkoff homer by Ruben Orozco (.257, 15 HR, 52 RBI), handing a 5-4 win to the Aces.
August 14 – A 2-out RBI single by Loggers utility Aaron Sessoms (.324, 2 HR, 39 RBI) ends the Loggers’ game with the Cyclones, plating Ricardo Ferrales for the only run in a 12-inning, 1-0 walkoff win over Cincy.
August 16 – LAP SP Luis Flores () throws a 1-hit shutout in a 7-0 win over the Scorpions. The only hit allowed is a third-inning leadoff single by infielder Jake Barlow (.204, 6 HR, 27 RBI).
August 16 – TIJ OF Chris Murphy (.259, 9 HR, 52 RBI) drives in four from the leadoff spot with four base hits in an 16-4 whipping of the Knights.

Complaints and stuff

Collapse. Western Roman Empire, 5th century AD? A cheap joke compared to what is going on ‘round here.

But, I would… I would like to show you a few numbers… if I may. (coughs) For the last three weeks, the Coons are 4-15. In those 19 games, we have scored 58 runs, which is already terrible. But, worse, in those 19 games we have given up a mind-boggling *116* runs. That is more than SIX runs per game. And starters’ ERA in those three weeks? Hold on to something.

*8.21* … we have an *8.21* starters’ ERA in the last three weeks. 94.1 innings. 86 EARNED runs. There have also been a pile of unearned runs… I also feel an urge to beat a few of the suckers to death, but nobody will volunteer to wheel me down to the clubhouse!

Matt Nunley is still crawling towards that 1,000th career RBI. Still two short. But, well, the entire team has been hollowed out by termites, so there isn’t always somebody to drive in for him anyway…

The Raccoons started to get the (dim) future in order this week. We signed Mauricio Garavito – a former waiver claim from the Bayhawks – to a 4-yr, $1.8M contract. That will buy out his remaining years of team control and two years of free agency. I may have another offer or two out there.

Speaking of waiver claims, we have reached the point where we have put the first claim in, but the player in question, Dallas closer Alfredo Morua, was likely to be on *revocable* waivers and would thus not actually become a Raccoon. There was no reason to waive Morua irrevocably, none, not rapes, nor rabies.

Next week: free wins for the Loggers and Condors.

Fun Fact: 53 years ago today, the Miners’ Rich Johnson had six base hits in a 9-8 win over the Loggers, the first occurrence of a 6-hit game in ABL history.

Johnson lasted seven years in the ABL and batted .270 with 26 homers for his career. Most of his time was spent in the Federal League for the Miners and Wolves, but he also played with the damn Elks in 1980 and 1981.

THE DAMN ELKS.
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Questdog (05-26-2019)
Old 05-28-2019, 07:18 AM   #2865
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On Monday the Druid removed the cast that had rendered me immobile for the last month and change. I asked him whether I should walk with crutches now or be extra cautious when doling out butt kickings, but he said no, then immediately stared into the distance. When I asked him whether I could see the X-rays he said that he hadn’t kept them, which was also weird, since we had an entire folder of Daniel Hall’s X-rays from the 1980s still lying around. Then the Druid stood up, shook my hand and ran out of the room.

Oh well, all is normal again. Being in a wheelchair was no joy at all.

What is it, Cristiano?

Raccoons (56-68) vs. Loggers (55-67) – August 20-22, 2030

This 3-game set would radiate hopelessness in more ways than one. The Loggers were universally crummy, second from the bottom in runs scored, but also with the second-fewest runs allowed, and the Raccoons… well, the Raccoons were still entrapped in the most dire stretch in recent franchise history, having won but four games in the last three weeks combined, and having allowed two runs for every one run they had scored during the stretch. Maybe facing the Loggers was the right medicine to keep the team from going completely off the rails – 100 losses were still possible, and at the current rate could not entirely be ruled out… Also, the Raccoons held a 9-3 edge in the season series against Milwaukee, which was more or less normal business for the last two decades…

Projected matchups:
Dave Martinez (11-9, 4.05 ERA) vs. Mike Hodge (3-9, 4.67 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (5-9, 5.09 ERA) vs. Alfredo Casique (6-7, 3.94 ERA)
Tom Shumway (6-13, 4.22 ERA) vs. Francisco Colmenarez (14-4, 2.15 ERA)

Colmenarez, a surprise contender for Pitcher of the Year, would be the only left-hander in their rotation.

Regular season victory #4,500 could be achieved this week if this rotten franchise could win out. Eh, well… maybe next month…

Game 1
MIL: 3B Lockert – 2B Sessoms – SS W. Morris – 1B Cambra – LF Creech – RF V. Diaz – C F. Chavez – CF Koch – P Hodge
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Allan – LF Jamieson – CF Catella – C Tovias – P Martinez

This game began like any other – with a deficit. Matt Lockert ripped a single to left, gained a base on a wild pitch, Martinez walked Aaron Sessoms anyway, and despite the double play that Nunley started on Wayne Morris, Firmino Cambra still ripped a double past Ryan Allan to make it 1-0 Loggers with two outs, and Gabe Creech’s fly was also only caught on the warning track by Matt Jamieson. Allan could not reach a Sessoms fly that fell for a 1-out triple in the third inning, but he did get paws on Morris’ fly near the rightfield line, and when Sessoms tagged and went for it, threw out the second baseman at the plate. The Loggers went on to strand a full set in the fourth that stemmed from hits by Cambra and Francis Chavez, then an intentional walk issued to Chris Koch to get Hodge up with two down. Hodge obliged, hitting a weak comebacker for the third out. The Coons had yet to show up, but also loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning on clean singles by Allan and Jamieson, then an infield single that Lockert could not get to in time, spiked by Sean Catella. That pulled up Tovias, the .199 menace, with one out. To anybody’s surprise, he managed to turn a quick 0-2 into a sac fly to tie the score, and then Martinez slapped a single past Sessoms to give himself a 2-1 lead. Ramos bounced out to Cambra, though, stranding runners on the corners.

Hodge viciously came apart in the fifth inning; Stalker hit a leadoff jack, 3-1, and after Harenberg and Jamieson reached base, Catella ripped a 2-out, 2-run triple up the rightfield line. The Loggers walked Tovias intentionally, but Martinez landed another RBI knock to extend the lead to 6-1 before Ramos stranded another pair with a grounder to Morris. Martinez lasted only one more inning, conceding a run on a Chavez double in the sixth, but the Critters pulled that one back with Stalker singling, stealing, and scoring on a Harenberg single in the bottom 6th, 7-2. Now, five runs might sound plenty, but there were still ways to crap on a game like this. Jonathan Fleischer was no stranger to trouble in recent months, put Morris on base in the seventh, and with two outs Ramos threw away Creech’s grounder to put a pair in scoring position. Fleischer failed to buckle down, allowed a 2-run double to Vinny Diaz, and it was a much closer 7-4 again. Billy Brotman retired Chavez to end the inning, hung around to bat with two outs and nobody on in the bottom 7th, and was walked by a clueless Julio Palomo. Brotman, a 1-for-7 batter in his 9-year career, drew his first career base on balls, and initially didn’t quite know what to do with himself until the home plate umpire gave him pointers to first, and the first base umpire helpfully waved at him to get his attention. Ramos grounded out to short again; normally everything started with Ramos, but in this game, everything stopped with him, as he had now stranded five runners.

Top 8th, more misery. Brotman allowed a leadoff single to Koch, then a deep fly to right to PH Ricardo Ferrales. Allan raced back, made the catch at the fence, but failed to break momentum until, well, the fence helped hm. Allan rammed into the wall shoulder first, collapsed in a heap, and had to be dragged off the field on a stretcher. Rafael Gomez replaced him. The collision was so violent and vicious that Chris Koch was stunned and forgot to make a run for an extra base or two. Brotman was also gone, replaced by Chris Wise, who smashed Lockert in the foot with a 2-2 pitch. Lockert could not plant the foot afterwards, and Robbie Rios replaced *him*. Rios was a 21-year-old rookie speed demon who got into his 12th ABL game. Wise ended up retiring absolutely no one. Sessoms ripped an RBI single, 7-5, and Morris walked on four pitches. Garavito inherited the bases loaded with one out and got a Cambra grounder to short that the Coons turned 6-4-3, denying the Loggers an extra run. Matt Nunley hit a jack of left-hander Travis Feider in the bottom 8th to restore the 3-run lead, and Ricky Ohl insisted on putting Chavez and Koch on base with two outs in the ninth to bring up the tying run. Pinch-hitter Taylor Canody ran a full count, then struck out. 8-5 Coons. Stalker 2-5, HR, RBI; Harenberg 2-4, RBI; Jamieson 3-4; Catella 2-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Tovias 1-2, BB, RBI; Martinez 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, W (12-9) and 2-2, 2B, 2 RBI;

Roster move, obviously – Ryan Allan was shipped to the DL with a fractured shoulder blade (sigh!) which would rob him of about a month; we expected him back at the tail end of the season, though. Hopefully. Why are we so sad for losing a 28-year-old sophomore? Must have been the .302 bat he was carrying.

Abel Mora had just started a rehab assignment in AAA and was not yet called up again. How about a glimpse of Jimmy Wallace? The loot of the Jose Menendez trade last month was murdering baseballs in St. Pete, hitting .345/.426/.546 with six homers in 33 games. The plan was to have him play a few games until Mora would come back, and then give him a callup come September. The left-handed batting Wallace would turn 24 on April 1 and given the rate things were going at so far had little competition for a spot in the Opening Day lineup in ’31! He was strictly a corner outfielder, though, so center was between Baldwin and Magallanes for the rest of the week.

Come Wednesday morning, the Druid also smilingly presented me with my X-rays that he had now found. I expressed my concerns about the horse, whose broken leg was pictured on the foil. – Mena, I grew up on a farm. I know what a horse’s leg looks like!

The real concern here would be the single shotgun blast I heard a minute after the Druid left the office.

And as if I needed no other grief, our dearly beloved owner Nick Valdes stopped over in Portland on Wednesday night after just having made a small fortune in Asia, cornering the Bangladeshi market on rice. – What’s with all the losing, you ask? How much time do you have?

Game 2
MIL: RF Wheeler – 2B Sessoms – CF Creech – 1B Cambra – LF Ferrales – C Canody – SS Lockert – 3B V. Diaz – P Casique
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – RF Wallace – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez

The first time Jimmy Wallace touched the baseball in the major leagues, he committed a throwing error that gave Ferrales an extra base in the second inning. Ferrales was on second with nobody out after singling in Firmino Cambra, who himself had hit a double, and yes, Rico Gutierrez looked disturbingly hittable. The signs were subtle, like outfielders running away from home plate on every play, and the contact was so loud that the airport called and complained that it was disrupting air traffic control in the tower. Jimmy Wallace went on to lead off the bottom 2nd, looping a ball over the foot-sore Lockert’s head for a single on the first pitch he saw in the Bigs. Catella walked, Pizzo whiffed, and Casique got greedy on Rico’s bunt and tried to snatch the rookie at third base, but failed – all paws were safe, and Ramos batted with three on and one out. After spending all of Tuesday as the Death of Offense, Alberto worked his eye rather than his paws and squeezed a walk in a full count, pushing in Wallace with the tying run. Portland took the lead on Stalker’s sac fly, and with two outs Matt Nunley – stepping in with 999 RBI – hit a fly into the gap, Ferrales missed it, and this was in and would get Nunley to four digits for runs clubbed home for his storied career! Gutierrez was such a slow runner that Ramos picked him up and carried him halfway between third base and home plate, and when they scored it was 4-1. Casique threw a wild pitch and walked Harenberg before the second inning ended like the first, with Rich Hereford striking out to strand a pair – but in between the Nunley double and Harenberg stepping in, the Raccoons flashed up Nunley’s career achievements on the scoreboard and everybody went out there to cuddle him and had him a piece of cake. Nunley didn’t dig the cuddles, but dug into the cake right away.

None of the cuddles could change Rico Gutierrez being long-term-contracted dog ****, though. The Loggers hit three straight singles to begin the third, scored twice in the inning, and it was 4-3 at that point. He began the fourth with a 3-1 count to Diaz, who flew out to deep center, then fell to 3-0 on Casique – who popped out when poking!! Incredible! Can anybody here play this game?? The answer would probably be NO. The very next pitch struck Mike Wheeler in the knee. Wheeler crawled to the dugout right away, replaced by Robbie Rios, who, remember, was a speed demon that might give Ramos headaches soon enough. Rios, who so far had only one stolen base, went right away, but Sessoms poked and flew out to Catella. Four innings in, Gutierrez had thrown 80 pitches, all of them utter ****. Speaking of ****, Casique walked Rico to begin the bottom 4th… and then Ramos hit into a 4-3-6 double play. WHAT THE –

Rico somehow lasted six without blowing the lead, owing to two neat defensive plays by Catella and Wallace in the fifth, and a double play turned on Lockert, who was still feeling that foot treatment from the previous night, in the sixth. The night at the comedy club, however, was yet to see its final bit. Bottom 6th, Casique got an out from Pizzo before allowing a pinch-hit single to Jamieson. Ramos hit into a fielder’s choice (oh boy!), and Stalker grounded to the ailing Lockert, who had to navigate both the ball and his sore limb and then misfired a throw to first that Cambra couldn’t coral and that escaped for a 2-base error into the dugout. Nunley hit a 2-2 pitch to shallow left, Ferrales couldn’t reach it, then overran the single that fell six inches in front of his glove. That was the second error of the inning and it allowed the Coons to tack on a pair rather than just one run, 6-3. It became 7-3 in the seventh when Rafael Gomez drew a pinch-walk with the bags full and one out against John Nelson. Ramos was next and spanked into a double play. Oh boy! That was the final headscratcher in the game, though. The rest of the way there was spotless relief and defense, with Surginer and Derks chipping in for the Critters. 7-3 Raccoons. Nunley 3-5, 2B, 4 RBI; Wallace 3-4, 2B; Jamieson (PH) 1-1;

Here is a tidbit… we have now won back-to-back games for the first time since July 25-26 against the Baybirds and Falcons. It is the first time that we won back-to-back games from the same opponent in more than a month. The last such occurrence? Why, July 16-17, against the Loggers.

We want to play the Loggers 162 times a year now.

Here is another cocky thought – how about our first winning week since BEFORE the All Star Game?

Unrelated, why is the head of a dead horse sticking out of the dumpster behind the ballpark?

Game 3
MIL: RF Wheeler – 2B Sessoms – SS W. Morris – CF Creech – 1B Cambra – C Canody – LF Lockert – 3B Parten – P Colmenarez
POR: CF Magallanes – SS Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Hereford – RF Gomez – 2B Baldwin – C Tovias – P Shumway

Maybe the sweep was possible against Colmenarez, who looked like he would both deserve to be on, and wish to be on a better team than he was. Jason Parten fumbled a Magallanes grounder in the third inning and Tim Stalker went yard to left, which gave the Coons a 2-0 edge and maybe Tim Stalker was now finally awaking for a million dollar slumber, too. Tom Scumbag scattered three singles in the first five innings and never let the Loggers get too close for comfort, too, so this could be the Coons’ first sweep since… oh… uhm… when was that series where Vern Kinnear hit three homers against the Elks?

But Shumway also threw a lot of wasteful pitches. In the sixth he faced four batters, issuing a walk to Wayne Morris, and no plate appearance lasted fewer than five pitches. He was over 100 already when Canody ripped a 1-out double in the seventh, and with right-handed batters approaching as the tying run, including Lockert still seeking revenge, the Coons went to the pen to get some righty relief. Chris Wise struck out Lockert, then walked Parten and went on to surrender three straight 2-out RBI singles to Colmenarez (…), Wheeler, and Sessoms before Morris popped out over the infield. The Raccoons would get the tying run on when Ramos hit a leadoff single in the #9 hole in the bottom 8th. Magallanes ran a 3-1 count, then hit a bouncer back to Colmenarez, who turned a 1-6-3 double play. Fleischer held the Loggers close in the ninth, but Max Nelson removed Jamieson and Harenberg in short order to begin the bottom 9th. Nunley batted for the chronic strikeout that didn’t win the Player of the Year award in ’28, doubled to left-center, and now the winning run would come up. Asking for dice, the Coons sent the rookie Wallace to bat for Gomez to counter the right-handed Nelson. One strike. Two strikes. Thr-poked to right, in for a single, and Nunley had gone on contact and came around to score. Tied game, first career RBI for Jimmy Wallace!!

That gave us extra innings; Fleischer was still in and got around a leadoff double by Sessoms in the 10th, whiffing the next two and getting Cambra to roll out to Baldwin, who had ended the bottom 9th with a grounder to Morris. The Coons also got a double in Nelson’s second inning, that one of the pinch-hit variety and with one out off Mike Pizzo’s bat. This got us back to the top of the order, where Magallanes had reached base twice on accounts of that error and of being nailed once, but was 0-for-3. The last man on the bench was Catella, so it was a gamble… the Coons didn’t take it; they’d still get up Stalker afterwards. Magallanes flew out to center on the first pitch, and Stalker walked against Nelson, bringing up Jamieson, who was 1-for-4 and theoretically also a valid option to be hit for by Catella, but then we also could have done it two spots earlier. Jamieson ran a full count, poked a 3-2 pitch to right, Sessoms couldn’t reach it, and even Pizzo scored from second base by the time the deep-playing Koch got to the ball. 4-3 Furballs! Jamieson 2-5, RBI; Nunley (PH) 1-1, 2B; Wallace (PH) 1-1, RBI; Ramos (PH) 1-1; Pizzo (PH) 1-1, 2B; Shumway 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K; Fleischer 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, W (3-3);

Now, before we get too carried away with this sweep, uhm… there’s another team coming in now…

Raccoons (59-68) vs. Condors (86-41) – August 23-25, 2030

First in runs scored, first in runs allowed, first in the South, first up and down almost every category. Their run differential was +224 in August! There were few things that were not to love about these Condors, except, well, they were the Condors… They were only a mild 4-2 against us this year.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (11-8, 4.18 ERA) vs. Jorge Villalobos (12-8, 2.73 ERA)
Sean Rigg (2-3, 5.51 ERA) vs. George Griffin (8-4, 2.41 ERA)
Dave Martinez (12-9, 4.01 ERA) vs. Jeff Little (9-4, 2.86 ERA)

Another southpaw on Sunday, probably. They had had an off day, and they could also hit us with another southpaw, Joe Perry (12-6, 2.86 ERA), if they so chose. The Condors were without OF Chris Murphy (.260, 9 HR, 52 RBI), who was out with a strained anterior cruciate ligament, but other than that were not missing any significant pieces right now.

Oh. Well. Boys? Don’t get hurt, ya hear me? Don’t get hurt.

Game 1
TIJ: C Zarate – RF Camps – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – SS C. Miller – LF Braun – CF Palbes – 2B R. Herrera – P Villalobos
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – RF Wallace – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Roberts

Lacking the stuff of years gone by, Mark Roberts had a hard time dealing with constant traffic on the bases. The Condors had three singles the first ime through, but didn’t score, then had a walk drawn by Juan Camps and two more singles hit by the disgusting skunk weasel Shane Sanks, .320 with 15 homers, and Kevin McGrath right after that in the top 3rd. McGrath’s single plated Camps for the first run in the game. The Coons had yet to find a way on base against Villalobos, who would go on to retire 11 straight to begin the game before walking Matt Nunley. And then he hung a ball to Harenberg that was absolutely destroyed for a score-flipping 2-out, 2-run blast to right. Annoyingly, Hereford and Wallace also had 2-out hits to keep the line moving, but Catella struck out to strand them. Roberts couldn’t hold on to the lead, either; Danny Zarate hit a double off the wall to begin the fifth, advanced on Camps’ grounder, then scored when the skunk weasel dropped a single into leftfield. Sanks would reach third base with a stolen base and Pizzo’s throwing error during the same, but Ramos handled McGrath’s grounder to end the inning in a 2-2 tie.

Ties were made for breaking. Top 7th, Zarate singled, was caught stealing, and with two outs Camps singled, and stole second. Roberts now faced the skunk weasel again, the count ran full, it was going to be his last batter, and ****ing Shane Sanks doubled up the leftfield line to cause huge deflation in everybody present or watching at home or on the road, on their portable foldout widescreens. Surginer got out of the inning, and the Coons went on get a leadoff single by Magallanes, batting in the #9 hole after a double switch, in the bottom 8th. Ramos grounded out, moving the tying run to second base, and Stalker popped out. Villalobos was done when he lost Nunley on balls, with righty George Barnett to face Harenberg with two on and two outs. Harenberg hit a gapper to right-center, Camps cut it off at the edge of the warning track, Magallanes scored casually, and Nunley was waved around from first base, and tumbled over home plate just ahead of Andy Hughes’ relay throw! It was Harenberg’s second score-flipper of the night! Barnett was torn apart for another two runs on Hereford’s RBI double, then Wallace’s RBI single that made it 6-3. Ricky Ohl blasted the side with three strikeouts in the ninth. Victory! 6-3 Critters! Harenberg 2-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI; Hereford 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Wallace 2-4, 2B, RBI; Jamieson (PH) 1-1; Magallanes 1-1;

Billy Brotman got the W for collecting the final out in the eighth inning.

This is our first streak of more than TWO consecutive games since June 6-10 (!) when the Coons won games from the Elks, Capitals, and Pacifics with productive offense (28 runs in those five games) and decent pitching (15 runs allowed in those five games). That June stretch was the Raccoons’ only winning streak better than four games on the season…

Game 2
TIJ: C Zarate – RF Camps – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – SS C. Miller – LF Braun – CF Palbes – 2B Hughes – P Griffin
POR: POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Hereford – RF Wallace – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Rigg

Going to five games in a row would be hard, though, given that we were stuck with Sean Rigg for the middle game, and the Condors could peel the protective foil off an actual pitcher. The Coons’ plan to get through a handful of innings amounted to a leadoff walk issued to Danny Zarate at the top of the game. Zarate scored on McGrath’s 2-out single, Chris Miller also singled, and then Adam Braun took it over the fence for a 4-0 score. By the second, it was 8-0 on pretty much the same story. Leadoff walk to Andy Hughes, a bit of ****ing around with some second-tier players, and then Rigg got taken over the fence by the ****ing skunk weasel for another 3-run shot. That was it – 1.1 innings, 8 runs, and a sure end to the winning streak.

The Coons got some consolation runs early this time. Sean Catella drove in a run in the second, and after a leadoff walk Griffin issued to Harenberg in the fourth, Rich Hereford smacked his first homer since ****ing July 12. The Coons got three innings of long relief from Nick Derks, who put six Condors on base, but allowed none to score, somehow, and the Condors only got another run in the seventh inning. Chris Miller hit a leadoff triple off Fleischer, Braun hit a sac fly to left, and Hereford hurt himself on the catch or the throw – it was hard to tell, because he was screaming so loud while rolled up into a perfect sphere but for the striped tail flicking back and forth as he rolled over the warning track. Jamieson replaced him, batting ninth (and leading off the bottom 7th) with Garavito replacing Fleischer. Garavito allowed two singles in the seventh, somehow wasn’t crashed for runs, but then walked Camps and Sanks to begin the eighth. Surginer was the next guy in on this very unpleasant day, got a double play from McGrath and Miller to fly out before taking a turn at-bat in the bottom of the inning, because it didn’t really matter… Mike Simcoe got peeled for a run in the bottom 9th, Ramos double, Stalker RBI single, but that was already with two outs. Nunley popped out to end the charade. 9-4 Condors. Ramos 3-5, 2B; Hereford 2-3, HR, 2 RBI; Catella 2-3, 2B, RBI; Derks 3.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K; Surginer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

Immediately we had another gassed bullpen… in an attempt at coping, the root of all evil, Sean Rigg (2-4, 6.84 ERA) was sent back to St. Pete and we brought up a long man in… sigh… Juan Barzaga.

Game 3
TIJ: C Zarate – CF Palbes – 3B Sanks – 1B McGrath – SS C. Miller – LF Braun – RF Ojeda – 2B Hughes – P Little
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – 1B Gomez – RF Wallace – CF Baldwin – C Tovias – P Martinez

Ramos singled, stole TWO bases, and scored on a Nunley groundout for the first run of the game in the bottom 1st. The pair of stolen bases gave Ramos three for the week and tied for his own and Yoshi Yamada’s franchise mark for stolen bases in a single season at 54. Ramos was plunked the next time around, with nobody out in the third, but then his path was blocked by Dave Martinez, who had lobbed a leadoff single over Chris Miller. Stalker flew out, Jamieson hit a comebacker to Little for two, and nobody scored. The Condors tied it up the following half-inning on a skunk weasel double and Miller’s 2-out RBI single. Miller was then caught stealing, but I was still frustrated, and still was even when Rafael Gomez circled the bases pumping both fists after taking Little deep to left, 2-1. Yeah, Rafael, celebrate it – every one might be the last one now…

Martinez nibbled away at the Condors in the fifth and sixth, but lost Sanks on a leadoff walk in the seventh, which was trouble. Not that Sanks was inherently a base stealer, he had four this year, but … y’know… the baseball gods want to have fun, too! But for now, a K retired McGrath, and Miller and Braun made soft outs, and we actually had gotten a starter through seven innings for once…! How about an insurance run? The Coons got the whirling Wallace (.563 average!) on base to begin the bottom 7th, but Baldwin failed to bunt, finally was allowed to swing away, and then hit straight into a double play. Top 8th, Willie Ojeda hit a leadoff single against Martinez and after productive outs by Andy Hughes and Ken Kramer stood at third base with two down for Zarate, who had 58 RBI and was a tough costumer. He would be Martinez’ final batter of the game. He walked him…. AFTER he plated the tying run with a wild pitch. Deflation! Deflation everywhere. Brotman replaced him to face Juan Palbes, who was replaced with right-handed pinch-hitter Matt Dehne, who singled in a full count, putting them on the corners for Sanks, which was about ballgame. The Critters scurried for Ricky Ohl to save their sorry bacon, and he got Sanks to ground out to Nunley. Ha-hah! ****ing skunk weasel!!

Bottom 8th, the #9 spot led off, but the Coons had already made a double switch when Brotman had been inserted. Ohl was batting seventh, and Catella led off the inning with no success against Barnett, but Ramos hit a single, and everybody knew what was going to happen next – and the Condors still couldn’t throw him out. Ramos swiped second on strike one to Stalker, the 55th and record-setting stolen base for him in 2030! No more Yoshi Yamada haunting the history books! Stalker grounded out, but Jamieson hit an RBI double to give the Critters their third lead of the game at 3-2. Nunley grounded out to Miller, leaving things to Ohl in the ninth. For the second time this week he imitated Josh Boles way too closely with getting two out, then putting two on. Braun singled, PH Omar Larios walked. That brought up Hughes, a ho-hum .248 batter, right-handed. He rung him up to help the Coons to a stunning series win. 3-2 Critters! Ramos 2-3; Jamieson 2-4, 2B, RBI; Wallace 2-3; Martinez 7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K and 1-2;

In other news

August 22 – A torn triceps ends the season of LAP SP Eric Williams (9-6, 3.38 ERA).
August 22 – ATL SP Enrique Guzman (8-8, 3.71 ERA) will be out for a year with a torn flexor tendon in his elbow.
August 25 – The Canadiens acquire CL Alfredo Morua (4-6, 3.19 ERA, 31 SV) from the Stars for an unranked catching prospect.
August 25 – RIC SP Joe Hicks (5-15, 5.25 ERA) shines with a 3-hit shutout of the Gold Sox, whiffing seven in a 5-0 win.

Complaints and stuff

The damn Elks had preference with their own waiver claim of Morua and worked out a deal with the Stars. What is worse? That or that the ****ing skunk weasel won Player of the Week in a week he played the Critters? I have … (shakes and finally snaps and topples the desk) RAAAAAHH!!



The Matt Nunley Era will continue for another season, as the Coons and their longest-tenured player agreed on a $1M extension for the 2031 season this week. That might be the last year for Nunley. We have said the same sentence for what, five years running? By the way, while he reached and surpassed 1,000 RBI this week, that does not make him a top 100 RBI machine in ABL history, but the top 100 might be as little as a decent week’s work away. B.J. Manfull of those destructive Crusaders teams from ten, fifteen years ago sits in #100 with 1,012 RBI. Nunley has 1,004. Matt is #8 in career double plays hit into, though, with 335 two-for-ones, and second among active players behind Pat Fowlkes, who has 347.

Ahead of Nunley on the career double plays hit into list are seven players; five are first basemen, and the other two are in the Hall of Fame: Antonio Esquivel (404) and Jimmy Roberts (366).

Meanwhile the Agitator is clamoring for the promotion of the young pitching prospects to the majors, but they are just not ready. Raffaello Sabre, the most advanced of the young crop I talked about a while ago, was 5-6 with a 4.61 ERA in AAA. He walked more than four batters per game and did not even strike out six. There was nothing to be gained by promoting him right now – although he would have to be placed on the 40-man roster by the time of this year’s rule 5 draft.

Here is another funny thing. Uhm… you know how Abel Mora started a rehab assignment in St. Pete early this week? Well, he’s not coming back. He has now come down with plantar fasciitis, and this thing should stretch well into September now…

Fun Fact: Jimmy Wallace likes vanilla ice cream.

Which is funny, because his scouting report says pretty much the same about him: “plain vanilla”. Where did all the excitement go?
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Raccoons (61-69) @ Knights (65-64) – August 26-28, 2030

Here were two dead teams playing soulless games, lifelessly, in August. The Knights were scoring well, third overall in the CL, but were scored upon even more, as they had give away the most runs in the CL, almost a full five runs per game. Their rotation was bad; their pen was even worse. The Coons were 4-2 against them this year.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (6-9, 5.06 ERA) vs. Justin Osterloh (7-11, 5.54 ERA)
Tom Shumway (6-13, 4.11 ERA) vs. Andy Purdy (8-7, 4.28 ERA)
Mark Roberts (11-8, 4.17 ERA) vs. Armando Zaragoza (3-1, 5.49 ERA)

All right-handers coming up, including the seriously underdone rookie Zaragoza, pressed into service because of four pitchers having ended up on the 60-day DL for the Knights, including decently useful starters Andy Jimenes and Enrique Guzman.

Boys, first guy to win a game here notches #4,500 for the franchise!

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Wallace – LF Jamieson – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez
ATL: CF Denzler – 1B Keen – C S. Garcia – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – LF Houghtaling – 3B A. Walker – SS Greene – P Osterloh

Matt Nunley kept grinding away at the career top 100 in RBI’s, plating Tim Stalker with a groundout in the first inning after Stalker had found the gap for a 1-out triple. Much more futile was Rico Gutierrez’ bid to get the old ERA back under five with this game violently derailing away from him after just two outs were made. Steve Garcia opened the gates with a harmless single to center. It was the first of SIX straight 2-out hits for the Knights, most of them knocked rather sharply. With the bases loaded on three singles, Jeremy Houghtaling drove a ball to deep left that Jamieson snared racing back on the warning track, but fumbled and dropped when he smashed into the padding of the fence. Given that he only made the catch with his nose a quarter of an inch away from said fence, Houghtaling got a 2-run double rather than Jamieson being assigned an error, Andy Walker proceeded to hit a 2-run single, and the inning only ended with a 4-1 score and Osterloh popping out. Bottom 2nd, Joel Denzler opened with a single, Matt Nunley sneezed on a Josh Keen grounder for an error, and the bullpen got stirring until Steve Garcia lined a 3-2 pitch into the lunging Gutierrez’ mitten. The runners had been going in the full count, and both were caught far off the bases. Gutierrez, to Ramos, to Harenberg – it was a 1-6-3 triple play!

There was no reason to celebrate, though. Gutierrez didn’t log another out in the game, allowing a sharp single to Roy Pincus to begin the bottom 3rd, and then John Johnson unceremoniously took him deep to left. Down 6-2 after a Nunley sac fly in the top 3rd, Gutierrez was yanked. Nick Derks went in for long relief, allowed a 2-out single to Drew Greene in the inning, then a single to the pitcher into rightfield. Greene went for third, Wallace made an ambitious attempt to kill him, but fired a throw far over Nunley’s head for an error that allowed the run to score. Denzler struck out, keeping it 7-2. Despite Rico Gutierrez’ bid to retroactively have his 2028 ERA crown (!!) revoked, the Coons somehow made it a close game towards the end. Nick Derks somehow pitched excellent garbage relief, and Jimmy Wallace hit an RBI double to score Nunley in the sixth, but that only amounted to get within slam range. Pizzo was stranded on second in the seventh inning, and the eighth began with two outs before Wallace, Jamieson, and Catella all hit 2-out singles off various relievers in the eighth. Catella brought in a run, and Pizzo came to bat as the tying run in a 7-4 game, facing new reliever Andy Wright, a southpaw. Unfortunately, the Coons had already sent Elias Tovias to pinch-hit earlier and could not pinch-hit for Pizzo now, but the maligned primary catcher still managed to push a single through the right side, loading the bases. New reliever, the fourth pitcher of the inning, righty Bryan Barfield, while the Critters sent Rafael Gomez to pinch-hit for Juan Barzaga, who had pitched a horrendous scoreless inning in the bottom 7th. Gomez popped out, and thankfully that contract would be over soon… Top 9th, Levi Snoeij tried to close this one out – he had more walks than strikeouts on the season, one of many indicators as to how ****ty the Knights’ pen was indeed. Ramos and Stalker made outs before Snoeij walked both Nunley and Harenberg. That brought up the .579 hitting (11-19) rookie, Jimmy Wallace, who clubbed an 0-1 pitch up the middle for an RBI single, 7-5. Next was another proven veteran, Matt Jamieson. He popped out, just like Gomez, but that contract was not going to be over so soon… 7-5 Knights. Wallace 3-4, BB, 2B, 2 RBI; Jamieson 2-5; Catella 2-4, RBI; Pizzo 2-4; Derks 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K;

5.41 – that’s Rico’s new ERA. That is twice as much as his ERA in all of 2028: 2.56;

Rico. Rico! – Rico. I must tell you… You… SUCK!!

Nobody would win a game on Tuesday, though, on accounts of rain. We got a double header scheduled for Wednesday. By then the Druid also finally had found out that Rich Hereford had knocked up his numb skull worse than expected – he was out for the season with a concussion. GOOD NEWS, MENA. MORE O’ THAT!!

Hereford was shoveled off to the DL, and the Coons called up an extra arm for the double header (giving us NINE relievers, although we’d probably leave Derks alone) in Matt Stonecipher, not that the right-hander that had been on the Opening Day roster had done anything in St. Pete – and Ham Lake! – to rekindle our affection for him. He was 25 and walking EVERYBODY.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Magallanes – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Wallace – LF Jamieson – 2B Baldwin – C Tovias – P Shumway
ATL: CF Denzler – 1B Keen – C S. Garcia – RF Pincus – 2B J. Johnson – LF Houghtaling – 3B A. Walker – SS Greene – P Purdy

After Andy Purdy walked the bags full at the start of the game, the Critters scored two runs in the first on a Harenberg RBI single and Wallace’s fielder’s choice before Jamieson popped out (…) and Baldwin flew out to Roy Pincus. Elias Tovias would up to 3-0 with a leadoff jack in the second inning, but all of this was happening while Tom Shumway gave his defense a steady diet of line drives to chase after. Every single ball hit off him also had to go to the DL with a concussion… It was SO bad, that when Drew Greene hit a leadoff single in the bottom 3rd, the Knights had Purdy swing away to gain an advantage. Purdy flew out to center and the Knights didn’t score, but they also wouldn’t have with a bunt; so far they were hitting things into the range of the Raccoons’ outfielders…

Ramos hit a sac fly in the fourth, bringing in Baldwin after a leadoff single and having moved to third on Tovias’ double to center, edging the tally to 4-0, but the Knights loaded the bags in the bottom 4th on a Pincus single, a Ramos error that added Johnson with one out, and finally a 2-out walk to Andy Walker – aptly named. Greene grounded out to Baldwin to strand all the runners, so despite being up by four, we were by no means safe – not with any of our pitchers on the mound at least… Jamieson tacked on a run with a groundout, bringing home Nunley, in the fifth, while Shumway remained utterly hittable. He threw eight pitches in the bottom 6th while facing five batters, two of which – Pincus and Johnson – hit back-to-back singles. Somehow, the Knights remained out of the runs column though.

Bottom 8th, Shumway entered on 91 pitches and just like that finally collapsed. Leadoff walk to Josh Keen, singles to Steve Garcia and Pincus, and the bases were loaded with nobody out. The Coons scrambled to unexpectedly get the bullpen involved, with Kevin Surginer tasked with stemming the tide. He very much didn’t. All the inherited runners scored on a first-pitch Johnson single, a Houghtaling sac fly, and a Walker single before the inning somehow ended without total implosion. Ramos singled and stole a base in the top of the ninth, but was left stranded, which soon began to rear its seven ugly heads in the bottom 9th, when Ricky Ohl faltered for a 1-out single by Keen, then a howling double by Garcia. Wallace threw a shot to home plate that was well late and only served to allow the tying run, Garcia, into third base with Pincus coming up again. Jimmy Wallace – much a work in progress, f.e. he obviously has no situational awareness AT ALL. Ohl struck out Pincus on three pitches, then proceeded to walk Johnson in a full count. That brought up Jeremy Houghtaling, the disgusting once-upon-a-time Elk. The count got to 1-1 before Houghtaling hit a ball to deep right, Wallace going back, looking up, and catching one final glimpse of the ball before it wrapped around the fair side of the foul pole. 7-5 Knights. Harenberg 2-3, BB, RBI; Tovias 2-4, HR, 2B, RBI;

(does not move, nor speak, nor blink)

Game 3
POR: SS Stalker – 2B Baldwin – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Wallace – CF Catella – C Pizzo – LF Magallanes – P Roberts
ATL: CF Denzler – 1B Keen – RF Pincus – 2B Johnson – LF Houghtaling – 3B A. Walker – C Martins – SS Greene – P Zaragoza

Roberts struggled to remove batters in 2-strike counts, one of the many signs of old age erasing any sort of skill in pitchers, but at least they didn’t hit rockets all over the place as they had in the matinee. The Coons also didn’t score early, despite a neat chance through Stalker’s leadoff double at the top of the contest. He was left at third, and both teams scattered them left and right through four scoreless innings. Make that five. No, six.

The staggering bleakness of the Coons being held to five hits and no runs through eight by the “seriously underdone rookie” Zaragoza was not easily comprehended, nor coped with. Roberts at least matched the pace, somehow, through seven and a third, but left the game when Steve Garcia singled on his 102nd pitch. Fleischer took over and exited the inning on two groundouts. Levi Snoeij kept the Coons down in the ninth, while Johnson singled off Chris Wise to begin the bottom 9th, and Chris Mendoza went on to draw a 1-out walk hitting in Walker’s place. Eric Martins however hit into a double play, and the game went to extras in scoreless fashion. Top 10th, Ramos batted for Pizzo, singled, then was caught stealing on a pitchout. Magallanes had been supposed to execute a hit-and-run, but could not possibly hit a pitch at ear height. Top 11th, Ernesto Lozano tried to keep the game under control, but the former starter allowed a leadoff single to Stalker, then a double to Chris Baldwin. Nunley cashed Stalker with a single to right, the first marker on the scoreboard after ten innings of futility. Baldwin scored on a wild pitch, but while Lozano walked the bags full against Wallace and Jamieson (hitting for Stonecipher in the #7 hole), Rafael Gomez flew out to left to leave the bags full when he batted for Magallanes with two down. Closing duties fell to Garavito despite an array of righties coming up in the bottom 11th, since all the good right-handed relievers had already been burned. It was Barzaga or an actual chance at nailing it down. Maybe we should rather play the lottery, though… Pincus walked, Johnson hit an infield single, and the tying runs were aboard. There was Houghtaling again. If I could move anything at all, I’d now close my eyes, but I had to keep staring at the scene unfolding as Houghtaling hit the cover off a baseball at 1-1 again. This time, though, he hit it on the ground, right at Baldwin, and the Coons turned two to salvage a game and the season series. 2-0 Blighters. Stalker 2-5, 2B; Baldwin 3-5, 2 2B; Ramos (PH) 1-1; Roberts 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K and 1-3;

Stonecipher got the W, then was shipped right back out of town. Barzaga was also demoted in favor of SS/3B Butch Gerster, batting .222 in St. Petersburg.

Raccoons (62-71) @ Crusaders (60-74) – August 29-September 1, 2030

Sadness in the second division continued with a 4-game set in New York. The Crusaders led the season series, 7-4, despite an absolutely frigid offense that ranked at the very bottom of the league in most categories and foremost runs scored. They did have nice pitching, but conceding the fourth-fewest runs was not nearly enough when you were barely putting out 3.7 runs a game.

Projected matchups:
Jason Gurney (0-0) vs. Eddie Cannon (12-9, 4.00 ERA)
Dave Martinez (12-9, 3.93 ERA) vs. Mike Rutkowski (10-13, 3.76 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (6-10, 5.41 ERA) vs. Keith Roofener (6-4, 3.59 ERA)
Tom Shumway (6-13, 4.10 ERA) vs. Ian Prevost (8-6, 3.31 ERA)

All right-handers again.

To replace Stonecipher on the roster and make the spot start (although anybody delivering a decent start had the chance at the permanent assignment, just sayin’), the Coons called up the 2026 Nick Brown Memorial Pick, Jason Gurney. The 25-year-old southpaw (duh!) had a 5.11 ERA in St. Pete, but options were slim and we still weren’t going to bring up Raffaello Sabre to feed him to the wolves this fall, when there was no point to the exercise.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Wallace – LF Jamieson – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Gurney
NYC: 1B Olszewski – LF Serrano – SS Obando – CF Coca – RF Reardon – C Dear – 2B T. Fuentes – 3B Czachor – P E. Cannon

Gurney’s major league career began with a strikeout against Drew Olszewski, a scoreless first, being spotted a lead on a Harenberg jack in the top 2nd – Kevin’s 20th on the season – and then a thorough initiation into what being a Raccoon meant after all. Nunley fudged Tony Coca’s grounder to begin the bottom 2nd, Chris Reardon hit an RBI triple, and it was off to the races right away. Gurney walked Matt Dear, Tony Fuentes hit an RBI single to put New York in front, and after Ryan Czachor popped out, Nunley threw away Eddie Cannon’s bunt for his second error of the inning, and another run scored. Olszewski flew out, Danny Serrano got nailed, and somehow Catella didn’t fart on Guillermo Obando’s pop, and the Crusaders stranded three in a 3-1 game. Long inning, sad inning, soul-murdering inning. The third was not much better, as the Crusaders loaded them up again, but then brought up the pitcher, who flew out to Jamieson to strand three more. In the fourth, three straight 2-out singles scored a run for the New Yorkers, making it 4-1 at that point…

Catella and Pizzo went to the corners when they led off the fifth with a pair of singles. It was still a wee bit early to bat for the pitcher, so Gurney was allowed to bunt, presenting Ramos with a pair in scoring position, but the Coons did not get more than a sac fly out of that situation, and Stalker popped out over the infield. Gurney ended up lasting six and maintaining a 4-2 score, which, y’know, would really be more like 2-2 at most if Nunley hadn’t laid a pair o’ eggs in the second inning… The Coons remained close, but could not get over the hump against the Crusaders’ pitchers, remaining glued to two runs despite churning out 12 hits through eight. The bottom 8th saw the Coons’ pen implode once more then; Billy Brotman began the inning by getting out Olszewski, then allowed a double to the switch-hitting Serrano. Fleischer took over, only to get flogged once more. Obando hit an RBI triple, Coca walked, and Reardon hit an RBI double before someone finally made the last two outs… In the ninth, Portland got a 13th hit with a Catella single… and then Pizzo hit into a game-ending double play. 7-2 Crusaders. Harenberg 2-4, HR, RBI; Wallace 2-4; Jamieson 2-4; Catella 3-4;

We found our way into four double plays in all…

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – RF Wallace – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Gomez – C Pizzo – CF Catella – 3B Gerster – P Martinez
NYC: SS Obando – LF Serrano – RF Reardon – CF Coca – C Dear – 1B Olszewski – 3B Czachor – 2B T. Fuentes – P Rutkowski

Ramos walked, stole second, and … then foundered as the 2-3-4 batters made poor outs. Ramos reached 59 sacks taken with another stolen base in the third, and then again was stranded; this time only Wallace flew out to left to do the deed, as Ramos had already reached with two outs. Through three, he was the Critters’ only base runner. The Crusaders had nobody reach base in the first two innings, but Czachor snipped a leadoff single in the bottom 3rd. Fuentes grounded out, but Rutkowski hit a very regrettable RBI double to left-center. Obando singled in his pitcher, and the Coons trailed once more, 2-0. I resigned myself to alcohol with Ramos’ next spot still three innings away, but the Coons actually did get somebody on base, briefly, in the fifth inning when Butch Gerster hit a rather unexpected solo homer to left-center to cut the gap in half. It was the 29-year-old’s seventh career homer in 380 at-bats. The Coons’ next runner was only Harenberg in the seventh after having been nailed, and he was doubled up swiftly by Rafael Gomez. In between, the Crusaders had turned another three runners into two runs in the bottom 6th: Obando walked, stole second, and Coca and Dear hit 2-out base hits past either side of a stretching Ramos, although in between Martinez also threw a wild pitch to move Coca into scoring position in the first place. That made for six runners and four runs off Martinez… He lasted seven in a hopeless cause, and Kevin Surginer was battered for a walk, two hits, and two runs that scored on Garavito’s watch in the eighth. Rutkowski went the distance for New York, whiffing eight. He lapsed briefly in the ninth inning, serving up Jimmy Wallace’s first career dinger, but that was not enough to get Rutwkoski out of the game. 6-2 Crusaders.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Wallace – LF Jamieson – CF Magallanes – C Tovias – P Gutierrez
NYC: 1B Olszewski – LF Serrano – SS Obando – CF Coca – RF Reardon – C Dear – 2B T. Fuentes – 3B Czachor – P Roofener

Straight singles by the 2-3-4 batters in the top 1st gave Rico Gutierrez a 1-0 lead right away… and then he walked Olszewksi right away. His next pitch was wild, moving the runner to second and taking off the double play on Serrano’s grounder to Ramos. Instead Olszewski moved to third, then scored on ANOTHER wild pitch. Obando doubled to center, and I was already regretting again that you could hardly take any weapon on a flight anymore… but had I spotted a new shop for torture devices two blocks from the ballpark? I could have sworn there was a morningstar in a shop window over there… Coca popped out, but Reardon singled in the run, and damn Rico Gutierrez couldn’t get anybody out anymore…

Top 2nd, Serrano dropped a Jamieson fly for a 2-base error. That run came around when Gutierrez grounded out with one out and Jamieson and Tovias on the corners, which allowed Jamieson across to tie the ballgame. A Ramos single and a walk to Stalker filled the bases for Matt Nunley with two gone, but Roofener prevailed with a swinging strikeout. To anybody’s surprise, Rico retired the bottom of the order in order in the second, but the bottom of the order wouldn’t be up every inning… Olszewski pounded the first pitch of the bottom 3rd for a homer, and another run scored on an Obando double and Reardon RBI single. Reardon was sent on a 2-out double to left-center hit by Matt Dear, but was thrown out at home plate to keep it civil and 4-2. Top 4th, Ramos stole his 60th base and was left stranded once more, and Gutierrez got through the bottom of the order, somehow, in the bottom 4th. He walked Fuentes, Czachor popped out, and then Fuentes got picked off first by Rico. Roofener struck out, but more horrors awaited in the fifth, in which the defense bailed out the inept pitcher to get him through five.

Neither pitcher logged an out in the sixth. Magallanes’ leadoff walk removed Roofener in favor of the pen and lefty Jorge Farinas, and when his spot came up following a Tovias strikeout, Gutierrez was hit for with Gomez, who also struck out. Ramos legged out an infield single, Farinas clipped Stalker, and Nunley was up with three on and two gone again. Fuentes intercepted his grounder to end the inning. The Raccoons dilly-dallied around a while longer, but couldn’t mount a charge. The Crusaders tacked on a run in the eighth on back-to-back doubles by Reardon and Dear off Nick Derks, then sent Travis Giordano to save a 5-2 game against the 2-3-4 batters in the ninth. Stalker reached on a 2-base throwing error that went under Olszewski’s glove at first. Nunley struck out, but Harenberg doubled past Serrano in left to get Stalker across. That brought up the tying run in Wallace, still batting .410 although his first week had been much better than his second. He grounded out to second, moving up the runner, but it didn’t help in the grander scheme of things, and Matt Jamieson struck out anyway… 5-3 Crusaders. Ramos 2-4, BB; Harenberg 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI;

This particular loss dropped the Raccoons into a virtual tie… with the Loggers… for last place. What a way to finish August.

With that, rosters expanded for September ball. Going through the motions, the Raccoons added a third catcher in Shane Ivey (the only one on the 40-man roster), an outfielder in Wilson Rodriguez, a token infielder in Edwin Alvarez, and a near-random ramshackle assortment of pitchers from the bargain bin grab bag: Nick Bates, Billy Ramm, and Bryan Rabbitt.

Tom Shumway started the Sunday game on short rest and would be limited to 70 to 80 pitches. Prevost was scratched and replaced by Shane Baker (4-1, 4.47 ERA, 1 SV) for a spot start for reasons unknown.

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Wallace – LF Jamieson – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Shumway
NYC: 1B Olszewski – LF Serrano – SS Obando – RF Reardon – 2B Hurtado – CF Laughery – C Mayeux – 3B Czachor – P S. Baker

Baker retired the Critters in order the first time through, while Shumway walked two, got a double play, and nailed Baker with one out in the third inning. Olszewski and Serrano chipped singles to load the bases, Obando grounded to Stalker, who only had the play at first base, and that plated the pitcher for the game’s first run. Reardon flew out to left to strand a pair in scoring position. Ramos led off the fourth with a single, was caught stealing by Brennen Mayeux, and it was the more bitter when Tim Stalker ripped a double to left. Nobody scored, with Stalker stranded on Nunley’s fly to Serrano and Harenberg taking strike three. Shumway, missing all over the place on three days’ rest, used 70 pitches in just four innings, and when his spot came up in the top 5th, the Coons batted for him with Jamieson on second base and Pizzo on first after the intentional walk. Rafael Gomez came out with two on and two gone once more, and for once managed something ****ing productive, getting a single past Mario Hurtado to tie the game at one. Ramos knocked in Pizzo with another single, 2-1 Coons, before Stalker lined out unluckily to a lunging Czachor.

Billy Ramm, in the rotation two Opening Days ago while we waited for Rin Nomura to come off the DL, and who had since been disgraced and banished, made his season debut in the bottom 5th. He retired Olszewski before Serrano singled, after which the Coons went to a righty, picking Bryan Rabbitt and his 9.00 ERA, and Rabbitt got them out of the inning. Top 6th, Harenberg got on base and was singled home with two outs by Matt Jamieson. Baker allowed a double to Catella, putting a pair in scoring position for Pizzo, but the beleaguered catcher struck out to strand the runners in a 3-1 game. The Coons got through seven with Rabbitt and Wise before turning to Surginer, who for the umpteenth time this week was not up to snuff, walked Obando, and allowed a 1-out double to Hurtado, which placed the tying runs in scoring position. The Crusaders sent left-hander Jamie Richardson to pinch-hit here, making the Coons move on to Billy Brotman. Pizzo, the dumb ass, allowed the first run across by losing Brotman’s first pitch and kicking it ever deeper into foul ground, and then Richardson tied the score with a very deep sac fly to right. An eventless ninth got us into extra innings, which was the right thing to crawl through at the tail end of a 1-5 week. Giordano leaked nothing but a 2-out double to Harenberg in the 10th, and then Wallace grounded out to run up an 0-for-5. Nick Derks got into the bottom 10th, the eighth pitcher the Coons threw against the wall here to find something to stick. He was also the last one. Obando hit a single, stole second, and was driven in by Hurtado with another single. 4-3 Crusaders. Ramos 2-5, RBI; Stalker 2-5, 2B; Jamieson 2-3, BB, RBI; Gomez (PH) 1-1, RBI; Rabbitt 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

In other news

August 27 – DEN SP Tommy Weintraub (8-11, 4.67 ERA) could miss the rest of the season with a broken rib.
August 28 – The Canadiens clobber the Bayhawks, 17-4, with teammates Alex Torres (.244, 6 HR, 48 RBI) and Nelson Millan (.256, 6 HR, 35 RBI) both driving in five runs with, among other hits, a homer. Millan also has two doubles for eight total bases.
August 28 – The Blue Sox walk off, 3-2, on the Stars, with NAS OF Federico Nuno (.247, 11 HR, 53 RBI) getting hit by DAL MR Jay Schimek (0-1, 4.82 ERA) with the game tied and the bases loaded to end the game.
August 30 – Word is that TOP RF/LF Pablo Sanchez (.355, 4 HR, 60 RBI) will miss three to four weeks with a sprained ankle.
August 30 – SAL SP Phil Harrington (10-3, 2.07 ERA) is probably out for the season with a rotator cuff strain, but might have locked down the Federal League ERA title owing to having 165 innings pitched to his credit.
September 1 – DAL C/1B Jack Stickley (.210, 13 HR, 48 RBI) hits a home run off SAC SP Michael Foreman (3-6, 3.69 ERA) for the only tally in the Stars’ 1-0 win.

Complaints and stuff

Regular season victory #4,500 was thus brought home by Mark Roberts. It would have been Shumway, but let’s not get into that. Shumway’s game makes me sad. Also making me sad: that was the only win this week. The Crusaders’ sweeping us over an extended weekend put them at 11-4 against the Litter Pickers this year, forcefully ending a 4-year run we had with taking the season series. Also, the Loggers swept a double header from the Titans on Sunday, thus dropping the Coons into last place by 1 1/2 games. Again, we have not finished last in 25 years, but I really don’t see how we’d avoid it now.

I don’t ****ing see how we’d avoid 100 losses, to be fair. Oh well, there was a zero chance we’d lose on Monday. Monday we’ll have off. After that? Indians and Titans.

Cristiano Carmona puzzled me with a question this week, making me name our (regular) pitcher with the worst FIP. I guessed through all the obvious suckers and the rotation twice before he revealed it to be Kevin Surginer. His contract was up at the end of the year, too, and Cristiano recommended letting him just go away. Kevin Surginer, really? How’s that…?

Truth be told, I don’t like FIP. It measures things in a vacuum. And the thing with vacuums is that the real world is very much not a vacuum. – Almost five?? How’s that even possible??

Alberto Ramos has reached the top 10 in terms of stolen bases in a single season. Here are those top 10:

1st – Enrique Trevino – 2027 – 74
2nd – Guillermo Obando – 2027 – 67
3rd – Nando Maiello – 2020 – 66
4th – Alex Torres – 2022 – 62
t-5th – Danny Flores – 2015 – 61
t-5th – Guillermo Obando – 2025 – 61
7th – Javier Rodriguez – 2006 – 60
t-7th – Alberto Ramos – 2030 – 60
9th – Danny Flores – 2016 – 59
10th – Moromao Hino – 1998 - 58

With roster expansion and some trivial pitching being pulled up from St. Pete, we also moved one of the pitching prospects showcased a while ago to AAA. Ignacio del Rio moved to AAA with a 2.64 ERA in Ham Lake.

With Harenberg entering his final month in town, the Raccoons realize that their candidate to replace him from within, 2025 second-rounder Craig Hollenbeck, was not up to the job. He was batting for a .350ish slugging percentage in AAA. It was a sad sight to see.

Terrible times ahead.

Fun Fact: The last time the Raccoons finished last in the North, in 2005, they finished 70-92, 21 games out of first.

Not only was that the last time we finished last, but also the most recent time we won 70 games or less, and only twice since have the Coons come up more than 21 games away of first place in the intervening quarter century. We were 22 games out in 2015, a 78-84 campaign that was the only losing season between 2007 and 2021. The year after that, ’22, was the nadir of the quarter century; the Critters came up 71-91, 35 games out.

The last time we won less than 70? That would be 2000, a 63-99 choke job.

We are also well on pace for a 4+ team ERA this year, which has not happened since 2003, and the current 4.17 ERA would be the worst since 2000 and 2001 (4.63 each), and the third-worst ever.
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Questdog (05-30-2019)
Old 05-30-2019, 04:53 PM   #2867
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Well, at least you're getting close to the #1 overall draft pick...so that's something, right?

*checks Federal League standings*

[gulp] Never mind.
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Old 05-30-2019, 05:09 PM   #2868
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bub13 View Post
Well, at least you're getting close to the #1 overall draft pick...so that's something, right?

*checks Federal League standings*

[gulp] Never mind.
Nothing to worry about! We've got the momentum to pull this off!
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:46 AM   #2869
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Raccoons (62-75) vs. Indians (70-66) – September 3-5, 2030

Indy was three games out in the North and really hoped to continue their stomping of the harmless Raccoons. They had a 9-3 edge in the season series already, and I was not quite sure how that run would turn around… They ranked eighth in runs scored, fifth in runs allowed, looked nothing like a playoff team, but that was the CL north of ’30…

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (11-8, 4.00 ERA) vs. Andy Bressner (16-7, 3.53 ERA)
Dave Martinez (12-10, 3.98 ERA) vs. David Saccoccio (10-12, 3.59 ERA)
Jason Gurney (0-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. John McInerney (8-14, 4.17 ERA)

McInerney would be a southpaw, but like us they had Monday off and could make arrangements. The Coons had made two of those, moving Martinez ahead of Gurney and they would do the same switch move with Shumway and Gutierrez for the weekend series. Not that Shumway was a delight to see pitch anymore, but Rico Gutierrez was just … not safe for work, nor did he belong into daytime programming…

Game 1
IND: 2B Schneller – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Suhay – LF Plunkett – C J. Herrera – SS T. Johnson – CF Baron – 3B Dichio – P Bressner
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Wallace – LF Jamieson – CF Magallanes – C Ivey – P Roberts

After a leadoff single by Dan Schneller on a 3-1 pitch Mark Roberts reared back and struck out the next SIX batters before Dominique Dichio poked a ball into play to begin the third inning. He grounded out, as did Bressner, and Schneller struck out, giving Roberts 7 K through three innings and a pitch count already north of 50. Through five, he issued 80 pitches and ten strikeouts, ringing up Juan Herrera, Todd Johnson, and John Baron the second time through the order, too. In a perfect world, the Raccoons would have supplemented his stuff display with a bit of hitting, but this was Portland in 2030, and the perfect world was far away. In fact, both pitchers had a 2-hit shutout through five innings. The only difference was Bressner had a more manageable pitch count on only 3 K.

Bressner flew out to center to begin the sixth, after which Roberts signaled for the trainer, and after a brief conversation with the Druid left the game. The home crowd was stunned, but it was hard to shock *me* these days… Rabbitt replaced him, put Jon Gonzalez and Ben Suhay on the corners in the inning, but got out when Mike Plunkett popped out. Bottom 7th, Bressner was still in, but issued his first walk to Harenberg at the top of the inning, and then Jimmy Wallace banged a ball off the fence in right for a double. This set up the first Coon on third base, and an actual goddamn scoring opportunity for Matt Jamieson with runners on second and third and nobody out… except that it didn’t because the Indians gave him the four-fingered salute. Magallanes was allowed to bat in the vain hope that he’d coax a walk – his only vague ability – but he poked at the first pitch, grounded to Schneller, and the still-current Rookie of the Year fired home to kill off Harenberg. There was no way Shane Ivey would bat for himself; Sean Catella came out, hit a sac fly, and Rafael Gomez batted for the pitcher Billy Ramm, but struck out. Way to go! Chris Wise allowed a 2-out single to Schneller in the eighth, but rung up Gonzalez afterwards, and Ricky Ohl came around for the ninth, struck out a pair, then walked Herrera. The Indians sent Alex Aleman to run for him, and Joseph McClenon to pinch-hit, but the latter never got a chance to do any damage. Aleman went on the first pitch, the Coons had sniffed something like that being a possibility, and Elias Tovias was up like a shot and hammered out the runner at second base to end the game. 1-0 Raccoons. Wallace 2-3, 2B; Roberts 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K;

Mark Roberts was diagnosed with a sore thumb and would be out not nearly long enough to miss a start. We penciled him in for Sunday in Boston.

Raccoons have thumbs? (looks at his paws and turns them around a few times)

Game 2
IND: 2B Schneller – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Suhay – C J. Herrera – SS A. Medina – CF Baron – LF Zanches – 3B E. Sosa – P Saccoccio
POR: SS Ramos – CF Catella – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Wallace – 2B Stalker – RF Rodriguez – C Pizzo – P Martinez

Three scoreless innings to begin this game kept the run total for both teams combined for the series at one until Andres Medina hit a single off Martinez in the fourth, stole second, and came around on a John Baron single to make it 1-0 Arrowheads. Martinez seriously lacked stuff and even Odilon’s Mighty Hand – according to this booklet Dave gave me a while back the hand is an entity itself and needs capitalizing – could not prevent a pitcher with this little bite from going by completely unscathed, even against the low-scoring Indians. Kevin Harenberg hit an equalizer to center in the bottom of the fourth, then came back up with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom 5th. That inning started like the third; Pizzo reached base, somehow, and then Martinez bunted. He had bunted badly in the third, getting Pizzo forced out, but got him to second in the fifth – it didn’t matter. Either time Ramos ended up on first stuck behind a snail “runner” and could not add to his 60 SB tally. He singled in the third, but was walked intentionally in the fifth. Catella was an out both times. Nunley struck out earlier, but now also walked, bringing up Harenberg, who fell to 1-2 before getting a pretty thick fastball that he belted to deep right-center … and outta here! GRAAAAAAAAAAND SLAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMM!!!

Martinez lumbered on into the seventh with the 5-1 lead, but the Indians finally inched in on him. Elias Sosa singled, Dan Schneller walked, and with two outs Jon Gonzalez got a soft line over Ramos’ glove for an RBI single. That one brought up Suhay, the annoying homer-or-die batter, who was batting .212 with 22 dingers and 112 strikeouts. Maybe we should get up somebody with stuff! Kevin Surginer was washed forth from the pen, gave a 2-run single on the first pitch, and only struck out Herrera, then in a 5-4 game… Bottom 7th, Baldwin led off with a pinch-hit double against Juan Melendrez, who would go on to walk the bags full, intentionally where Ramos was concerned, and cautiously when it came to Harenberg, who was responsible for all of the Coons’ runs in this game. That brought up Wallace’s spot with two outs and three aboard, but the Coons made a move. Melendrez was a lefty, and Wallace was already 0-for-3 in the game. Matt Jamieson batted for him, ran a full count, and walked in a run. Tim Stalker singled in two before Antonio Quintana restored order for Indy and got Wilson Rodriguez to ground out. That was the final at-bat with a man in scoring position of the game. The Coons did nothing in the bottom 8th, and Brotman and Derks pitched neat relief to finish out the game for Portland. 8-4 Coons. Harenberg 2-3, BB, 2 HR, 5 RBI; Baldwin (PH) 2-2, 2B;

Back-to-back wins? Is this real life?

I don’t know whether the appearance of Nick Valdes in a purple suit and yellow hat with feathers will convince me of one thing or the other. He was obviously trying to get people to ask what he was up to, but nobody did.

Game 3
IND: 2B Schneller – 1B Jon Gonzalez – RF Suhay – LF Plunkett – C J. Herrera – SS T. Johnson – CF Baron – 3B Rolph – P McInerney
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – CF Baldwin – 3B Gerster – C Tovias – P Gurney

The Indians took a 1-0 lead on a Juan Herrera sac fly after Gurney shoveled the bags full in the first inning of his second career start, but didn’t move on to finish him right away when Todd Johnson flew out to Baldwin in center. Rafael Gomez’ leadoff jack (probably the last one, this time, really) tied the game in the second, but the Indians came right back in the third. Jon Gonzalez drew a 4-pitch walk to begin the inning, which was sub-par even for Raccoons starters’ standards, but the thing got complicated when Ben Suhay’s grounder was forked by Butch Gerster and the Indians had two on with nobody out. Herrera would come through with a 1-out gapper, a 2-run double that put them ahead 3-1, but the Raccoons came scratching back again, and in style – their first four batters in the bottom 3rd hit for the cycle off McInerney, who allowed a double to Ramos, a triple to Stalker, a single to Jamieson, and then a 2-run blast to Harenberg, which put Portland up 5-3.

The Coons dragged Gurney through five, with a runner stranded in both the fourth and fifth innings for Indy. The bottom 5th began with a slow roller off Jamieson’s bat that Herrera threw past Gonzalez for a 2-base error. At this point the Indians probably snapped because nothing they did afterwards made any sense. After Harenberg grounded out and moved Jamieson to third, they walked Gomez (!) intentionally. Baldwin grounded slowly to second base, taking away a double play, or a play at home from Dan Schneller. Jamieson scored, and Gomez went to second with two outs… and then Butch Gerster (!!) was walked intentionally! Tovias puffed the dust off his .190 average and singled up the middle against freshly-brought-in Quintana, Rafael Gomez scored from second, and at least THAT run had been completely unnecessary (and they were both unearned). Gurney struck out, but completed six innings before being removed after just over 100 pitches, not all of them great. Or good. He was *serviceable* which Rico Gutierrez f.e. very much wasn’t. The Raccoons went on to score another bushel of stupid runs in the bottom 6th against Quintana and David Warn; two were out and none were on when Jamieson reached on a Brad Rolph error, Gonzalez reached on a Schneller error, and then Gomez’ single and Baldwin’s double plated three total, getting the Critters into double digits. Two more runs fell out of Warn in the seventh, driven in by Stalker and Jamieson, and the Coons felt comfortable enough to have Nick Bates and his 18.90 ERA collect two innings’ worth of outs from the battered Arrowheads. 12-3 Furballs! Jamieson 3-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Gomez 3-4, BB, HR, 2B, 2 RBI; Baldwin 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Tovias 2-4, BB, RBI; Catella 1-1; Bates 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

First career win for Gurney, and Bates shaved seven runs off that ugly ERA of his…

Nick Valdes also enjoyed himself, but nobody asked him about the outfit all through Thursday and then we were so sorry but we had to board a flight to Boston…

Raccoons (65-75) @ Titans (68-72) – September 6-8, 2030

The Indians swept, the damn Elks stumbling, the Titans still had a chance, somehow. Despite being four games under .500 in September, they were only 5.5 games out in the division and all they needed was for the Raccoons to remember that they were supposed to suck. This was the final series of the year with Boston; they held an 8-7 edge. Across all the CL, they ranked sixth in offense and ninth in counteroffense, with an unpretty -30 run differential.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (6-13, 4.06 ERA) vs. Dave Dyer (4-12, 6.56 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (6-11, 5.48 ERA) vs. Tony Chavez (0-0)
Mark Roberts (11-8, 3.88 ERA) vs. Greg Gannon (13-10, 3.88 ERA)

Chavez would be making his major league debut on Saturday. The 24-year-old southpaw had been signed for a $398k bonus in the 2022 IFA period and had since then ripened in the Titans’ system. He was the current #16 prospect and had ranked as high as #10 in the past, and had dwelled in the top 20 all the way since 2026. Three pitches; 94mph heater, changeup, splitter. Coons would probably not touch him, but that’s just the pessimism… and experience. He was sandwiched by two veteran righties.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – CF Catella – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – LF Wallace – RF Gomez – 2B Baldwin – C Pizzo – P Shumway
BOS: LF M. Avila – C Henley – 1B Uliasz – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – RF O’Rourke – 3B O. Castillo – P Dyer

Nunley hit a first-inning double, but immediately left the game with a barking hammy. Gerster replaced him and was stranded by Harenberg, who grounded out to Rhett West to end the inning. As usual, Tom Shumway fell over in the bottom of the first inning and then couldn’t get up anymore. “Hopalong” Henley hit a single, scored on Keith Spataro’s triple, and Rhett West singled to right to make it 2-0. Adrian Reichardt also singled, because he always singled against the Coons, unless he doubled, tripled, or homered, and only a running grab by Sean Catella on Dave O’Rourke’s fly ended the inning. Tom Scumbag went on to walk Dyer in the second, which somehow didn’t bring the house down, but then allowed another run on a reversal of fortunes in the third, when Henley tripled and Spataro singled him home, 3-0. He had sunk so low, that when the fourth began with an O’Rourke single and Oscar Castillo coaxed a walk, the Titans forewent the bunt with their pitcher…! Dyer flew out to center. Shumway allowed an RBI single to Moises Avila, a bases-loading single to Henley, and then was yanked after 3.1 innings and between four and seven runs, depending on how Surginer would fare against the middle of the order. The final tally was six, thanks to a 4-pitch walk issued by Surginer to Justin Uliasz, then a run-scoring groundout by Spataro. West grounded out, keeping it at 6-0. Dyer gave the Raccoons actual fits, scattered the odd single, but not once after the Nunley double seemed in trouble, clear through the seventh.

The eighth began with a Pizzo single, which was innocent enough. It was the Coons’ fifth hit in the game against five strikeouts as far as Dyer was concerned. Tim Stalker batted for Jonathan Fleischer in the #9 hole and hit a ball over O’Rourke for a double. That should at least get the Titans’ attention after they had cruised through the middle innings. And despite runners on second and third, the dismal Coons wouldn’t score. Ramos hit a comebacker, Catella grounded out to first, and Gerster flew out to right. The runners never budged. Dyer was gone after this inning, but Boston tacked on a run with Brett Judkins’ pinch-hit homer against Garavito in the bottom 8th. Jeremy Waite finished out the game for the Titans. 7-0 Titans. Nunley 1-1, 2B; Tovias (PH) 1-1; Stalker (PH) 1-1, 2B;

Matt Nunley’s injury was not serious, but would hamper him enough that we’d leave him be for the next two or three days. Well, Monday was an off day one way or another.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – CF Catella – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – 3B Baldwin – RF Rodriguez – C Ivey – P Gutierrez
BOS: LF M. Avila – C Henley – 1B Uliasz – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – RF O’Rourke – 3B O. Castillo – P T. Chavez

The debutee retired the Coons in order and on nine pitches in the first inning, so maybe there was a future All Star seen at work, or maybe the Raccoons were just full o’ ****. Rico Gutierrez surely was, allowing a single to Moises Avila on the first pitch he threw. Avila stole second and came around on two groundouts, putting the Coons into an early hole, in which they made it cozy for themselves in style. Jamieson hit a 1-out single in the top 2nd, then got doubled off when Baldwin lined out to Spataro with Jamieson running on Chavez starting his motion. He was out by about 75 feet. Tim Stalker chipped in by dropping Rhett West’s pop to begin the bottom 2nd with an error, but Reichardt hit into a double play to clean up the mistake. Mindbogglingly Rhett West would then drop a Shane Ivey pop for an error in the following half-inning. Gutierrez then bunted into a force at second. Are you happy, my children? The circus is in town, and it’s full of clowns!

Jamieson doubled home Harenberg with two outs in the fourth, giving the Coons their first score in 11 innings in Boston, and it also tied the game momentarily, but ties tended to be temporary with Gutierrez around. Rico stranded two in the third, one in the fourth, and two more in the fifth as he constantly wobbled, but didn’t quite fall yet. The score remained 1-1 through six, with Chavez remaining utterly stingy, but then he issued a 1-out walk to Chris Baldwin in the seventh, his first in the majors, that soon looked like it would be his death. Wilson Rodriguez grounded to third base, Castillo threw it well away, and the Coons had runners in scoring position with one out. Shane Ivey collapsed between the on-deck circle and the batter’s box after being hit in the neck with a tranquilizer dart – don’t you DARE stepping in there!! Rafael Gomez pinch-hit while the batboys dragged Ivey by the ankles into the dugout. Gomez also unhelpfully struck out. On the other hand, this was a win move because we could get Rico out there after a *halfway decent* outing, and before he could get blown out for the 75th game in a row. We need offense, y’know, Rico? No offense occurred – Jimmy Wallace struck out. In turn, Chris Wise allowed a single to Chavez (…) with two outs (…!) in the bottom 7th, threw a wild pitch (…!!!), and then allowed the go-ahead run to score on Justin Quinn’s pinch-hit double. Chavez lasted eight, then handed the 2-1 lead to Jonathan Snyder, who faced the 4-5-6 batters. Harenberg hit a leadoff double! …and then Jamieson grounded out to Castillo, Baldwin whiffed, the tying run was still on second base, and Elias Tovias hit for Rodriguez… fell to 0-2, poked a ball in front of home plate, and somehow replacement catcher Lance Skinner failed to make the play and Tovias hit an infield single. Runners on the corners for Pizzo – first pitch, pop to shallow left, game over. 2-1 Titans. Harenberg 2-4, 2B; Jamieson 2-4, 2B, RBI; Tovias (PH) 1-1; Gutierrez 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K;

Even with this performance, Rico’s ERA in his last eight starts is still over EIGHT.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Catella – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 2B Stalker – RF Wallace – C Pizzo – 3B Gerster – P Roberts
BOS: LF M. Avila – RF O’Rourke – 1B Uliasz – SS Spataro – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C Skinner – 3B O. Castillo – P Gannon

Boston filled the bags without the benefit of a base hit in the bottom 2nd as Roberts walked West, nailed Reichardt, and walked Skinner, too. Oh yeah, and with no outs. He struck out Castillo, but Gannon jabbed an RBI single to right, the first run in the game. Roberts had Avila at 0-2 before nailing him, pushing across the second run for the Titans, O’Rourke hit a comebacker that got Skinner killed at home plate, but then Roberts lost Uliasz with two strikes. The 2-out, 2-run single between Ramos and Gerster ran the tally to 4-0, and the inning only ended on Jamieson’s arm, with O’Rourke thrown out at home plate on Keith Spataro’s single to left. What a team…!

Despite the onslaught, Roberts dragged himself into the fifth inning, where he was knocked out with an Uliasz homer and a 1-out double hit by West. At that point, the Coons had no runs on four hits, which should not really surprise anybody at this point. Fleischer finished the fifth to keep the Titans to no more than one run per inning on average. The Coons were no threat at all to the Titans; Jimmy Wallace drew a leadoff walk against Gannon in the seventh, but when Pizzo grounded to West for a potential double play and Wallace clobbered into Spataro, the Titans shortstop fell on top of him and both were a bit numb after the experience. Spataro stayed in the game, but Wallace required replacement by Rafael Gomez during the seventh-inning stretch. He had broken up the double play – but what did that faze the Critters? Butch Gerster tried again, grounder to second, 4-6-3. By the bottom 7th, we had clearly given up, as indicated by Nick Bates getting the ball. He walked Uliasz, Spataro reached on an infield single, West hit into a 6-4-3, but Bates plated the runner with a wild pitch, 6-0. Funnily (fake-laughs) he finished the inning, and still managed to lower his gigantic ERA. (fake-laughs) Another run would fall out of the other fake pitcher named Nick, Derks, in the eighth. The Coons made it onto the board in between in the top half of the eighth on Gannon allowing a leadoff single to Juan Magallanes, a walk to Ramos, and ultimately Jamieson’s sac fly. That turned out to be all; Gannon saw them off himself in the ninth and finished with a complete-game 5-hitter. 7-1 Titans. Ramos 1-2, 2 BB; Harenberg 2-4; Magallanes (PH) 1-1;

In other news

September 2 – The Falcons smash the Aces, 17-0. CHA LF/RF Graciano Salto (.284, 20 HR, 73 RBI) drives in six on three hits, all for extra bases, including a fifth-inning grand slam off LVA MR Steve Carr (0-1, 32.40 ERA). The 24-year-old right-hander Carr made his major league debut in this game.
September 7 – CIN SP Danny Soto (10-10, 3.83 ERA) and CIN CL Andy Hyden (2-5, 2.00 ERA, 18 SV) pitch a combined 1-hitter against the Blue Sox, who amount to no more than a seventh-inning single by OF Federico Nuno (.250, 12 HR, 57 RBI) in a 2-0 Cincy win.
September 8 – ATL SS Andrew Showalter (.379, 3 HR, 25 RBI) announces his retirement after a tough setback during his rehab for a broken leg. The 39-year-old shortstop would have been a free agent at the end of the year and was not expected to play again this season. Showalter, who won the batting title in 2029 with a .347 clip, ends his career with a .311/.359/.473 slash line, 284 HR, and 1,371 RBI, and 2,958 base hits in a 19-year career for five different teams. He was an All Star eight times and won six Platinum Sticks. Showalter also led the Federal League twice in hits during the 2010s when he was with the Blue Sox.

Complaints and stuff

I would prefer not to talk about the irony of us sweeping the Indians in an effort to help the damn Elks into their first playoffs since Nick Brown was an ace.

Andrew Showalter will walk again despite the ugly broken leg – too bad he didn’t get a chance at 3,000 hits. He ends up 18th on the all-time hits board for now. There have been 15 batters with 3,000+ hits, and two that missed the mark by a mere seven base knocks, including a former Critter – Ron Alston.

Does it surprise anybody that there is only one former Raccoon inside those 15 batters with 3,000+ hits? Bonus points if you can guess him. Hint: Ramos wears his number. Speaking of Ramos…

ABL SINGLE SEASON STOLEN BASE LEADERS
1st – Enrique Trevino – 2027 – 74
2nd – Guillermo Obando – 2027 – 67
3rd – Nando Maiello – 2020 – 66
4th – Alex Torres – 2022 – 62
t-4th – Alberto Ramos – 2030 – 62

Next week – last place shootout against New York, then the Bayhawks on the weekend. The Aces will conclude this final homestand before we go on the road to Milwaukee, Elktown, and Indy to finish the year.

You know, I feel much more free around the heart and stomach and soul now that the desperate attempts to compete are over and we can just revel in our terrible misery. It sure makes the game less stressful when you are playing for 90 losses rather than 90 wins. … But don’t tell Valdes, I don’t think he’ll appreciate the thought.

Fun Fact: Ray ****ing Gilbert was the final out in Nick Brown’s no-hitter on September 9, 2016.

He flew out to Ron Richards. Holding on to that ball was probably the greatest thing Ron Richards did as a Raccoon. Below is part of the box score (which was in my Steam content library; I can’t find the bottom part.)

Also, Brownie’s in the Hall of Fame, and Ray ****ing Gilbert is not, so we win.

Chad, stop wiggling the antlers on the stuffed toy elk, or I’ll stuff you!

+++

You know what’s a great musical supplement to the team as it currently is? The winning song of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Duncan Laurence – Arcade. It reaches inside you and touches you, much like going to Boston and scoring only two damn runs does, AND contains plenty of applicable lines like “a broken heart is all that’s left”, “I’m still fixing all the cracks”, “I got addicted to a losing game”, “loving you is a losing game”. Findable on Youtube.
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Old 06-01-2019, 06:05 PM   #2870
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Raccoons (65-78) vs. Crusaders (65-79) – September 10-12, 2030

This was for last place honors! They had the fewest runs scored in the Continental League, but had also given up the third-fewest. However, they were on a 5-game losing streak, but at the same time were 11-4 against the Raccoons this year.

Projected matchups:
Dave Martinez (13-10, 4.03 ERA) vs. Eddie Cannon (13-10, 3.93 ERA)
Jason Gurney (1-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. Mike Rutkowski (11-14, 3.81 ERA)
Tom Shumway (6-14, 4.29 ERA) vs. Robby Gonzalez (5-10, 4.43 ERA)

We didn’t see a southpaw drawing up here, but the order might get jumbled a bit due to the common off day on Monday.

Game 1
NYC: SS Obando – LF Serrano – RF Reardon – CF Coca – C Dear – 2B M. Hurtado – 1B Olszewski – 3B T. Fuentes – P E. Cannon
POR: SS Ramos – CF Catella – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – 2B Stalker – C Pizzo – RF Rodriguez – P Martinez

Alberto Ramos opened proceedings for the home team with his third homer of the season, a no-doubter to right. Ramos would hit a double his next time up, but got stuck behind Martinez, who had reached on an error, and both were stranded in scoring position by Sean Catella and Matt Jamieson. Odilon’s Mighty Hand guided Martinez through the early innings; only Drew Olszewski reached base the first time through, hitting a leadoff double in the third, but was stranded on third base with a K to Guillermo Obando. The Crusaders gradually got additional base runners, though, and after Wilson Rodriguez’ stray solo homer in the bottom 5th cut the Coons’ lead in half in the top 6th when Danny Serrano, Tony Coca, and Matt Dear all hit singles in the inning.

Martinez finally ran out of guile and guidance in the seventh inning; Olszewski drew a leadoff walk, Tony Fuentes singled, and after a bunt by Cannon, Martinez lost Obando on four pitches. Bases loaded, one out in 2-1 game, the Coons went to Garavito against the switch-hitting Serrano to turn him to his weaker side. Serrano shrugged, hit a gapper for a 2-run double, and another run came in on Chris Reardon’s grounder to short, putting Portland in a 4-2 hole. From that hole they never emerged; in fact, the team amounted to only one more base runner, Mike Pizzo reaching in the ninth inning against Travis Giordano, because… Chris Reardon dropped his pop fly to shallow right. Rafael Gomez pinch-hit, admittedly hit a ball well, but it fell into Serrano’s glove on the warning track, and Elias Tovias struck out to finish the game and dump the Coons into sixth place again. 4-2 Crusaders. Ramos 2-3, BB, HR, 2B, RBI; Stalker 2-4;

Game 2
NYC: 1B Olszewski – LF Serrano – SS Obando – CF Coca – RF Reardon – C Dear – 2B M. Hurtado – 3B Czachor – P Rutkowski
POR: SS Ramos – CF Catella – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – 2B Baldwin – C Tovias – RF Magallanes – P Gurney

Ramos reached in the first, but was caught stealing, while the Crusaders got a good start only in the third inning again. Ryan Czachor drew a leadoff walk, was bunted over, reached third on a wild pitch, and then Gurney nailed Olszewski with a 3-2 offering. Serrano hit an RBI single – probably getting the winning run driven in for the second straight day – and Olszewski went to third on the play, then scored on a fielder’s choice when Obando grounded to short. The rest of Gurney’s day consisted of failing to bunt really badly, hitting into a double play instead at 0-2, and stranding pairs of runners in the fourth and fifth, barely, before a pitch count over 100 put him out of the action by the sixth inning. The Raccoons meanwhile did what they did best … and hid from the spotlight. It took them until the seventh inning to get on the scoreboard against Rutkowski, then with a leadoff single by Catella, who advanced on outs twice before Nunley dropped a single into shallow right to announce that he was still here and wasn’t going away either. That one cut the score to 2-1, and Chris Baldwin struck out IMMEDIATELY.

Kevin Surginer struck out three against one walk in the eighth, keeping the score close, and when Rutkowski lapsed just a little bit in the bottom 8th, an actual chance materialized. In this case, Tovias slapped a leadoff single, and then Rutkowski nailed Magallanes, which was ONE way to utilize an otherwise useless body stuck on the roster. Surginer was retained to put down a bunt, did so more meh than anything else, Rutkowski pounced, threw to third, but spiked it, and Czachor couldn’t keep it in his glove. All paws were safe and this was generously scored as a fielder’s choice, no outs. Butch Gerster ran for Surginer while Ramos stepped in with three on and nobody out (…?), couldn’t do better than a sac fly, and then Catella spanked a grounder right at Obando for a double play. Sometimes… With the score now tied at two, Ricky Ohl pitched the top 9th and kept the Crusaders off the board despite a pinch-hit leadoff single by Jamie Richardson. Bottom 9th, the Coons faced righty Casey Moore. Jamieson flew out to right, but Harenberg singled. Nunley flew out to center, but Rafael Gomez hit a single in Baldwin’s spot, sending the winning run to third base! Tovias walked, filling them up for … nah, maybe Magallanes can get nailed again? Nope, he fouled out on a 1-2 pitch, and the game went to extras. Ohl pitched a futile 10th, Wise put men on the corners in the 11th, but Garavito struck out Olszewski to end the frame. The Coons still couldn’t score for the sake of their whiskers. Top 12th, Serrano reached 5-for-6 state with a single up the middle to begin the inning, Nick Bates replaced Garavito, and issued a walk to Obando and an RBI single to Reardon to break the tie. Dear and Hurtado both struck out, but the Coons had to move now, and with the bottom of the order, against Giordano. Tovias led off with an infield single (!), moved up on Magallanes’ groundout, Pizzo struck out, and Ramos flew out to Reardon. 3-2 Crusaders. Ramos 2-4, BB, RBI; Gomez (PH) 1-2; Tovias 3-4, BB; Ohl 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

Jimmy Wallace remains out of the lineup, and the Druid informed us that he was out for at least the rest of the week with continuing back soreness.

Game 3
NYC: 1B Olszewski – LF Serrano – SS Obando – CF Coca – RF Reardon – C Dear – 2B M. Hurtado – 3B Czachor – P R. Gonzalez
POR: SS Ramos – CF Catella – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – 2B Stalker – RF Rodriguez – C Pizzo – P Shumway

The Coons scored TWO in the first inning, beginning with a Ramos Special; Alberto walked, stole his 64th bag of the year, then came home on Catella’s single. Catella himself would score on singles by Nunley and Stalker with two out. Wilson Rodriguez hit a superficially good liner to right, but also right at Reardon, ending the bottom 1st. The second inning saw Ramos and Matt Dear get entangled at second base in a broken-up double play, but to anybody’s surprise it was Dear who had to be helped off the field with some sort of injury. Josh Wool replaced the starting backstop. The Crusaders had a few runners in the early innings – there was a Nunley error and two walks issued by Shumway – but didn’t get a hit until the fourth, when Tony Coca singled to right, but was also stranded right there at first base. Shumway also had to run the bases twice early on; in the second inning he forced out Pizzo with a ****ty bunt, while in the fourth he hit a single, only his second base knock of the year, raising his average all the way to .037, but was stranded both times. Despite the extra wasted energy, however, Shumway seemed to have things more or less under control. Coca hit a 2-out single in the sixth and was stranded on a weak Reardon grounder, and besides Coca nobody had landed a base hit yet.

Bottom 6th, Pizzo led off with a soft single past Mario Hurtado. Shumway for once got a good bunt down, but the Crusaders responded with an intentional walk to Ramos, then yanked their starter. Keith Roofener took over, rung up Catella, but allowed a bases-filling single to Jamieson, the tenth hit in the game for the Raccoons, who still only had a 2-0 lead. Kevin Harenberg came up, the Crusaders stuck to the right-handed Roofener, who got Harenberg to 1-2, and then made a mistake in the sweet spot that Harenberg buried in the depths of centerfield for a 2-out, 3-run double! And that was really the game. The Crusaders couldn’t get the sticks up. Shumway pitched seven scoreless on 105 pitches, and Rabbitt and Bates kept the shutout going to the end. Ramos added an RBI single in the bottom 7th, and Nunley chipped in a sac fly in the eighth for the final tally. 7-0 Furballs. Harenberg 4-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Nunley 3-4, RBI; Pizzo 1-2, BB; Shumway 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, W (7-14) and 1-2;

Raccoons (66-80) vs. Bayhawks (74-72) – September 13-15, 2030

Funnily, the Raccoons were the team with more playoff chances in this weekend pairing; the Bayhawks were already eliminated in the South, while we had a mathematical chance despite dwelling in last place. San Fran was fifth in runs scored, seventh in runs allowed, and the season series was tied at three.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (11-9, 4.03 ERA) vs. Gilberto Rendon (12-6, 2.76 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (6-11, 5.31 ERA) vs. Jesus Blanco (9-10, 4.37 ERA)
Dave Martinez (13-11, 4.09 ERA) vs. Ben Lipsky (14-11, 3.94 ERA)

Three more right-handers. The Bayhawks were without two key bats in Cesar Martinez and Tomas Caraballo, who had combined for 34 homers and 137 RBI this season.

Nick Valdes is also here for the weekend, and he has brought cookies! – You baked those yourself? – No, I’m just asking… that one looks like there’s shards of glass stuck in it.

Game 1
SFB: 2B J. Cruz – 3B Myers – CF Hawthorne – C J. Wood – SS Pulido – LF Raynor – 1B Jon. Morales – RF Rankin – P G. Rendon
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – C Pizzo – CF Magallanes – P Roberts

Roberts had a long opening inning around a Dave Myers double and a walk issued in a full count to George Hawthorne, but stranded the runners in scoring position on 27 pitches. Nobody scored in the first three innings, but then got Jimmy Wood on in the fourth inning. Roberts threw a wild pitch that came up not mattering once Jose Pulido lodged a ball in the rightfield corner for an RBI triple. Ron Raynor and Jonathan Morales both struck out to keep Pulido on base. Jose Pulido came up in the sixth with Hawthorne and Wood on the corners after a pair of singles, hit a grounder at Nunley, but the Coons wouldn’t turn two and Hawthorne scored. That made it 2-0 for the Baybirds, while the Raccoons had yet to reach third base and had landed only two base knocks against Rendon. Nothing greatly changed about that. Roberts was gone after seven innings of decent 2-run ball, but couldn’t get any help for his life. Nunley dropped a single at some point, nothing came of it, and the Baybirds were confident enough to keep Rendon in the game in the ninth, on 85 pitches, and in a 2-0 game. Catella led off, pinch-hitting in the #9 hole, and struck out, the fifth K for Rendon. But with the top of the order coming up, the Baybirds did finally twitch and sent Marcus Owens. Ramos flew out to left, Stalker down on strikes, and that was another loss on the books. 2-0 Bayhawks. Roberts 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, L (11-10);

Nick Valdes inquired why the team was playing so badly. I replied I had to structure my thoughts first and would come back to him in November.

Game 2
SFB: LF Balado – 3B Myers – CF Hawthorne – 1B Dupuis – C J. Wood – 2B J. Cruz – SS Sears – RF Pacheco – P Blanco
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Gutierrez

Getting Rico through seven on two runs sounded like a noble goal, but he didn’t get strike three on any of the three Bayhawks he got strike two on in the opening frame, so the jury was out on that one. The Coons scored the first run in the first inning and on a Ramos Special; single to center, stolen base, single by Stalker to get him around. Rico retired the side in order the first time through, but the second time through was a bit less… ideal… Jose Balado led off with a single to left. Myers hit an infield single that tied halfway up the third base line. Hawthorne walked, and there were three on and nobody out. It didn’t get that much better from there. Jon Dupuis hit a single to center to flip the score as Balado and Myers both made it across home plate. Wood struck out, but Cruz walked, and more runs scored on a passed ball and Micah Sears’ groundout before Vincent Pacheco rolled out to Harenberg. 4-1 Baybirds, and who didn’t have seen it coming?

Harenberg scored a run in the fourth, hitting a double, moving up on a wild pitch, and coming across when Rafael Gomez grounded out. The following inning the Coons got Rico on when Balado dropped his fly, Ramos walked, and then Stalker had a 3-1 pitch coming his way, poked it to the third baseman, and the 5-4-3 double play ended the inning. Rico Gutierrez crawled into the seventh inning, where he threw a single pitch on which Pacheco grounded out, then left the game with back discomfort. Derks took over and finished the inning, and the Coons were down 4-2 and technically in striking distance, but when Valdes asked me whether I thought they’d win it I told him bluntly what I thought. He blushed.

The Coons wasted away a leadoff double by Catella in the bottom 7th, and in turn had Chris Wise fumble a run onto the board in the eighth on two base hits, both of them knocked hard. The tying runs were on base however in the bottom 8th, courtesy of a Jamieson single that knocked out Blanco, and then two 2-out walks issued to Nunley and Gomez by former Raccoon Dan McLin, who was on six losses for the season and bidding for a seventh. Sean Catella batted for himself in this crucial spot, because the bench was … entirely terrible. He grounded out to Dupuis. Jose Balado responded by giving the score some more length, hitting a 2-out, 2-run homer off Bryan Rabbitt in the ninth inning; half the damage was on Brotman for walking Pacheco earlier in the inning. The Raccoons scored a meaningless run on three singles off Brent Beene in the bottom 9th, but that was no satisfying answer to Valdes’ answer, either. 7-3 Bayhawks. Ramos 1-2, 2 BB; Rodriguez (PH) 1-1; Nunley 1-2, 2 BB; Gerster (PH) 1-1;

Rico Gutierrez would have to be evaluated; for the moment we activated Ryan Allan for the Sunday game. Yeah, let’s see more of this 28-year-old hope for the future …!

Game 3
SFB: LF Balado – CF Hawthorne – 1B I. Pena – C J. Wood – 3B Myers – RF Chaplin – SS Pulido – 2B J. Cruz – P Lipsky
POR: SS Ramos – LF Allan – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – CF Catella – C Tovias – RF Alvarez – P Martinez

Martinez nailed Balado with his first pitch well enough to get him into an ambulance. Pacheco took over, Hawthorne walked, but the Bayhawks then hit a string of pops to strand the runners. Top 2nd, Martinez nailed Mike Chaplin, then walked Pulido. I think I’ve seen that one before… Jose Cruz popped out, Lipsky couldn’t get the bunt down, and Pacheco went down on strikes. The Coons got them on the corners in the bottom 2nd; Harenberg led off with a pop out, but Nunley continued with a double to the base of the fence in right-center, and Pulido fudged Catella’s grounder for an error. Whatever works! Tovias’ sac fly was all the Critters got, with Edwin Alvarez grounding out poorly. Martinez put three Baybirds on and stranded all of them, somehow, in the top 3rd, but I felt like there was an easier way to go through a start…

Portland added a run in the bottom 3rd, which Martinez opened with a double to left, then scored on two groundouts by the 1-2 batters. The Baybirds countered with a Jose Cruz leadoff double in the fourth, and now Cruz pulled up lame and had to be replaced by a pinch-runner, Tristan Levinson! Lipsky bunted, Pacheco got nailed – the third drilled Bayhawk in the game, and the first that had not been in the starting lineup. And AGAIN the Baybirds failed to get Martinez to meet his maker, or Odilon, depending on philosophy. Hawthorne lined a 1-2 pitch at Ramos, Levinson had run from third in a display of terrible situational awareness, and was doubled off with a casual toss to Nunley, a 6-5 double play! On to the bottom 4th, where the Coons singled Lipsky to death. Harenberg and Nunley singled, Tovias hit a 1-out RBI single, Lipsky plated a guy with a wild pitch, walked Alvarez (which was REALLY hard to do!), and Martinez hot a single to center to load the bases in a 4-0 game, which became 5-0 on Ramos’ sac fly to Chaplin. Allan grounded out, stranding two, but the Coons shook a sixth run out of Lipsky in the bottom 5th with a Harenberg double, a wild pitch, and a Nunley sac fly.

However, three hits, four walks, and three hit batters had exploded Martinez’ pitch count, and he entered the sixth inning on 96 pitches. The bottom of the order was up, so we hoped to get at least that inning from him. He did retire the 7-8-9 spots in order, including another K to Levinson, completing six shutout innings, and well, all the welts were the Bayhawks’ problems… Billy Ramm did the seventh, and Ramos put on a show in the bottom of the inning. He singled, stole second on the first pitch to Allan, stole third on the second pitch to Allan, and Alex Cordova was unnerved enough to walk Allan after that. Cordova also became the third Bayhawk to leave the game with an injury after getting a fielder’s choice (Ramos scored) from Stalker and a deep fly to left from Harenberg for the second out. That was the last casualty in the game, and no more runs were scored, either. The pair of Nicks finished the game for Portland without inviting San Fran back into the game. 7-0 Furballs. Nunley 2-2, 2B, RBI; Martinez 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K, W (14-11) and 2-2, 2B;

In other news

September 9 – LAP OF Justin Fowler (.291, 27 HR, 93 RBI) will miss at least one week with an oblique strain.
September 11 – Oklahoma City star Dave Garcia (.310, 28 HR, 97 RBI) slugs four hits, including three home runs, and drives in six in a 12-2 rout of the Falcons. It is the 57th 3-homer game in ABL history, the second this year (DEN Jeremiah Brooks), and the third for the Thunder (Jose Jimenez, 2018; Alex Serrato, 2026).
September 11 – OCT SP Leon Hernandez (18-7, 2.97 ERA) has his stellar season derailed; the 35-year-old faces a 9-month revocery process for a torn flexor tendon in his elbow.
September 12 – The Canadiens lose a most crucial 13-inning thriller against the Indians, 10-9, despite knocking out 24 base hits, and while both teams use 24 different players each. VAN INF Jose Paredes (.214, 0 HR, 3 RBI) comes off the bench for three hits and three RBI, all in vain.
September 14 – RIC 1B Miles Monroe (.260, 7 HR, 45 RBI) hits a fourth-inning single for the Rebels’ only base knock in a 3-0 loss to the Warriors. SFW SP Mike Ibarra (2-1, 2.75 ERA) pitches seven innings for the win.
September 15 – Falcons swingman Brian Bowsman (6-3, 3.03 ERA, 8 SV) sparkles with a 1-hit shutout against the Crusaders, walking three and ringing up seven in a 5-0 shutout. NYC CF/RF Tony Coca (.217, 18 HR, 70 RBI) has the only hit for the Crusaders, a second-inning single.
September 15 – The season of SAC LF/RF Doug Stross (.311, 4 HR, 53 RBI) ends early with the diagnosis of a partially torn labrum.
September 15 – LAP RF/LF Oscar Mendoza (.288, 11 HR, 68 RBI) is out for the year with shoulder tendinitis.

Complaints and stuff

…and the 2030s start with a losing record! Wonderful. Good job, boys. Good job.

Rico Gutierrez’ season ends at 6-12 with a 5.32 ERA. The back problems are a bit more serious and he will not be able to make another start in the final two weeks. That means further dipping into the quagmire. Maybe some more Sean Rigg? Or are there any volunteers in the audience?

ABL SINGLE SEASON STOLEN BASE LEADERS
1st – Enrique Trevino – 2027 – 74
2nd – Alberto Ramos – 2030 – 68
3rd – Guillermo Obando – 2027 – 67
4th – Nando Maiello – 2020 – 66
5th – Alex Torres – 2022 – 62
t-6th – Danny Flores – 2015 – 61
t-6th – Guillermo Obando – 2025 – 61
8th – Javier Rodriguez – 2006 – 60
9th – Danny Flores – 2016 – 59
10th – Moromao Hino – 1998 – 58
t-10th – Oscar Mendoza – 2030 – 58

Gettin’ there! Of course, Mendoza managed to scratch the top 10, but also went on the DL, so he’s done for the year.

The minor league seasons ended. Best team around was the Ham Lake Panthers, going 74-66 and finishing third in their league. The Aumsville Beagles ended fifth, 67-73, in A ball, while the St. Petersburg Alley Cats lost 88 games and were hammered into last place with great force.

Fun Fact: Alberto Ramos has 263 career stolen bases, ninth-most among active players, and tying Armando Sanchez for 32nd place all time.

I mentioned this last winter – Ramos is banking on staying healthy for once, then will try to get a HUGE deal afterwards. Well, he surely did well on his part!

Sanchez was a Raccoon from 1985 through 1988, when he was already in his 30s, but he did swipe 33 bags to lead the CL in ’87 at age 32. He batted .277 with 16 homers that year and really wasn’t the reason the mid-80s Coons always came short. In ’87 we missed the playoffs by one game against Indy.

Sanchez, who got his start with the Wolves in ’77 and finished his career with three years in Pittsburgh, hit .282/.366/.405 for his career, with 158 HR and 928 RBI. He was an All Star four times, including three of the four years he was with the Critters.
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Old 06-02-2019, 03:33 PM   #2871
DD Martin
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I’ll bite the bullet for the team and bring my 72 mph fastball and 45mph change up with me. My daughter is a fastball pitcher and could probably out do Riggs

Really been an unexpected tough season for the Raccoons but at least you will get a top draft pick out of this mess
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Westheim (06-02-2019)
Old 06-03-2019, 05:01 PM   #2872
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DD Martin View Post
I’ll bite the bullet for the team and bring my 72 mph fastball and 45mph change up with me. My daughter is a fastball pitcher and could probably out do Riggs

Really been an unexpected tough season for the Raccoons but at least you will get a top draft pick out of this mess
A very noble offer, dear Sir, and we will consider whethe- ah **** it, here's a glove. No, we only have a glove for the right hand, you have to throw left-handed.

Yes, you both have to share the glove, too.

+++

Raccoons (67-82) vs. Aces (65-84) – September 16-18, 2030

Last CL South opponent for the year. The Coons were seven under .500 against the South this year, and 2-4 against the Jokers – yeah, not many actual aces with the Aces, either! Las Vegas ranked 11th in runs scored, ninth in runs allowed, and had their work cut out for the future, just like these Raccoons. This was also the last home series of 2030.

Projected matchups:
Jason Gurney (1-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. Ismael Gutierrez (13-10, 3.97 ERA)
Tom Shumway (7-14, 4.12 ERA) vs. Alex Ortiz (7-13, 5.17 ERA)
Mark Roberts (11-10, 3.98 ERA) vs. Pete Molina (8-9, 4.07 ERA)

All righties here.

The Raccoons also shoveled Rico Gutierrez’ tarred and feathered remains onto the DL for the rest of the year. And this became the major league debut for Raffaello Sabre – the “oldest” (just turned 22) of our young future pitchers. No more Sean Rigg. One more game by Sean Rigg, and I’m gonna bolt. However, Sabre was not added to the roster yet to protect his service clock. The Coons had an off day on Thursday, which would help them, but they would need the extra arm in the final week. Sabre would then make either one or even two starts (including the season finale?) next week.

Game 1
LVA: RF Crow – LF Dunlap – 1B Ra. Tello – SS Schlegelmilch – 2B Ronchetti – 3B Borchardt – CF Lynch – C Scheffer – P I. Gutierrez
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Gurney

Four hits trickled through the infield through all the seams in the first inning, with Nick Ronchetti plating Tom Dunlap for the only run; Ramon Tello, Ronchetti, and Joel Borchardt were all stranded when Kevin Lynch grounded out to Nunley. That was far, far from everything that fell out of Gurney, who somehow got through three innings without blowing up before the bags were loaded in the fourth, one out, and Ramon Tello at the plate. Here came for sure the most weird-ass play of the season, if not decade. Tello zinged a double into the left-center gap. That was not weird-ass, just sad. Ismael Gutierrez scored, Andy Crow scored, Tom Dunlap was sent from first base, thrown out on a MASSIVE throw by Matt Jamieson and – oh! – there was Tello stranded between second and third, hung up, and didn’t know where to go! Pizzo to Nunley – out! An inning-ending, 1-out, 2-run double, 7-2-5!

Gutierrez loaded the bags with Coons reaching solely on balls in the bottom 4th. Jamieson would get in an RBI single, only the team’s second hit in the game, but Catella and Pizzo both made poor outs and stranded a full set. Gurney limped through five, gave up three walks, ten hits – the last of which was a solo homer by Joel Borchardt – and was rewarded by being put up for the win when the team rallied over Gutierrez in the bottom 5th. Ramos and Allan reached base with one out, stole a pair of sacks, then scored on a Stalker single (Ramos) and a wild pitch (Allan). Harenberg walked, Nunley was robbed by Dunlap in left, but Dunlap had no chance on Matt Jamieson’s shot, a long-gone 3-run homer that put the Coons up 6-4. The Critters’ pen would put up 2.2 innings of hitless relief before PH Evan Donahue tripled off Garavito in the eighth. Andy Crow singled in the run before Dunlap struck out to end the top 8th, with the lead down to a skinny run. Allan left runners on the corners in the bottom 8th, but Ricky Ohl fought his way through a hailstorm of left-handed power hitters sent up as pinch-hitters in the ninth inning (Ruben Orozco, Ramiro Barrientos, and Josh Motley had 32 homers between them this season) and got three groundouts to end the game. 6-5 Coons. Ramos 2-5; Harenberg 1-2, 2 BB; Jamieson 2-4, HR, 4 RBI; Magallanes (PH) 1-1;

Next was Tom Shumway – eh… not. Tom Shumway was a scratch, having come down with a severe earache and there was no way he’d pitch with his skull exploding. Hel-lo, spot starter Billy Ramm (1-0, 0.00 ERA). Don’t get fooled; remember he was 5-6 with a 5.45 ERA last season.

Game 2
LVA: RF Crow – LF Dunlap – 1B Ra. Tello – SS Schlegelmilch – 2B Ronchetti – 3B Borchardt – CF Lynch – C Scheffer – P A. Ortiz
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – CF Catella – C Ivey – P Ramm

Of course everything was awesome, Billy Ramm tossed a 3-hit shutout, and everybody went home happy. – Of course not! That is the sort of **** that I tell Chad after the game to get him to sleep!

Crow tripled to begin the game and his run came across on a Ramon Tello single, but that was only one run and Alex Ortiz was soon hit for far more. The Raccoons got Jamieson on base with a single in the bottom 2nd, and Sean Catella got nailed. Shane Ivey struck out to run his line to 0-for-11 for this cup of coffee, but Billy Ramm crucially legged out an infield single on a 3-2 pitch, and the Aces came unhinged right away. Alberto Ramos singled sharply to right, plating two to reach the 50 RBI plateau, which was remarkable for a leadoff batter coming up behind the sort of gunk we were playing in the 7-8-9 holes. Catella drew a throw from Crow that was late, allowing the remaining runners to gain an extra base, which meant both scored on Ryan Allan’s single to center, running the tally to 4-1 until Stalker grounded out to end the inning. Ted Schlegelmilch pulled a run back with an RBI single, plating Crow in the top 3rd, one of two Aces Ramm had carelessly walked before the cleanup man came up. Bottom 3rd, the Coons had a Harenberg double, a walk drawn by Nunley, and Jamieson singled; three on and nobody out in the inning. After Catella annoyingly flew out to shallow left to keep everybody pinned, Shane Ivey poked at a 3-1 pitch that was none his business. The bouncer got past Borchardt, however, for an RBI single, 5-2. Ramm struck out, but Ramos hit a ball off the fence for his second 2-run knock, this one a 2-out double, running the tally to 7-2 and knocking out Ortiz. Relief man Russell Curtis then got Allan to fly out to left.

However, the Aces just couldn’t get ANYBODY out. Bottom 4th, the bags were soon loaded against Casey McQueen with two outs. Ivey singled up the middle, plating two. Ramm singled up the middle, plating one more. Ramos doubled past Dunlap, bringing in his fifth run of the game, 11-2. Perhaps more miraculous than the 11-run outburst across three innings was that Billy Ramm settled down somewhat; he spilled a few more walks down the road, but actually did manage to go seven innings of 3-hit ball. Never mind the pawful of walks. After seven and along with Ramm left most of the Raccoons’ everyday players. The reserves and Nick Bates would surely finish this game. And they did! Bates, not really a long guy, looked gassed after only 34 pitches, but it was enough to get the last six outs from the Aces and put this rout into the books. 11-2 Furballs! Ramos 3-5, 2 2B, 5 RBI; Allan 3-5, 2 RBI; Stalker 2-5; Nunley 2-3, 2 BB; Jamieson 2-4, BB; Ivey 3-5, 3 RBI; Ramm 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, W (2-0) and 2-3, RBI; Bates 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K;

Shumway still couldn’t go on Wednesday, so Mark Roberts would make his start on schedule. Shumway was reassigned to the opener in Milwaukee on Friday. This of course would also change the table on Raffaello Sabre; it was now no longer necessary for him to make two starts.

Nick Valdes would also pay the ballpark one last visit before we’d nail it shut for the winter. He was accompanied but what appeared to be three incredibly dumb supermodels that were also each at least one head taller than him. Maud recognized them from the fashion magazine covers, but nobody else was very impressed by their presence. Everybody around here was way too much into food and balls to give anything about supermodels, and the only magazines we read were about food and balls.

Game 3
LVA: RF Crow – CF Lynch – 1B Ra. Tello – SS Schlegelmilch – 2B Ronchetti – 3B Borchardt – LF Montes – C Scheffer – P P. Molina
POR: SS Ramos – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 2B Stalker – RF Gomez – C Tovias – CF Magallanes – P Roberts

Valdes asked whether the Raccoons were getting into playoff form while Ramos singled, stole second (#70), moved up on a Jamieson single, scored on a Harenberg single, Stalker doubled home Jamieson, and Gomez hit a sac fly to right to make it 3-0 in the first after Roberts had whiffed the side to begin the game. I bluntly replied No, then ordered supermodel #2 to put down the Kisho Saito bobblehead, which was very dear to me. There were at least four words in that sentence she didn’t understand, not least of which “Kisho” and “Saito”. We quabbled about all of that for a bit before a terrible loud noise shook the park – it was Philip Sheffer hitting a 1-2 pitch with runners on the corners and belting a ball to deep left. To anybody’s amazement, Jamieson snared the ball off the top of the fence, and the top of the second ended with the 3-0 score still in place. Also, ladies, it’s September, and you are wearing almost nothing! – And there comes Maud with a set of blankets.

Jamieson and Stalker added a run with a pair of doubles in the bottom 3rd, Ramos stole a base in a pitchout but was stranded in the fourth, and Roberts whiffed seven through three, then began to really struggle. After a leadoff single by Andy Montes in the top 5th, Scheffer was robbed of at least extra bases for the second time by Rafael Gomez, who also caught a soft fly by Andy Crow racing inwards to end the inning. Bottom 5th, Jamieson (nailed by Molina) and Stalker (double) were in scoring position with one out for Gomez, who grounded to second to get Jamieson home, 5-0. Tovias grounded into no man’s land on the infield, the Aces couldn’t make the play, and the lead-footed catcher had an RBI single, 6-0. Harenberg added a run in the sixth, while Roberts finally came apart in the seventh inning, allowing a walk to Montes and an RBI double to Scheffer, who finally found the green stuff in the outfield. One groundout advanced Scheffer to third, and when Surginer replaced him, PH In-chul Yi hit a grounder to short to get the second run across, but the Coons pulled those runs back in the bottom of the inning as the Aces pen kept being taken apart. Right-hander John Woods allowed a single to Gomez, a double to Tovias, and a pair of groundouts would do the trick, and Tovias and Ramos drove in three runs total off Woods and Steve Carr in the ninth inning, all with two outs to give the Coons back-to-back rout wins in their final games in Portland for 2030. Nick Derks retired the side in order in the ninth, with the remaining fans that had made it through the season with or without going insane (some 16,000 attended the game) showing their appreciation after conclusion of the contest. 12-2 Furballs. Ramos 4-6, 3 RBI; Jamieson 3-4, 2B; Harenberg 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Stalker 3-5, 3 2B, 2 RBI; Tovias 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Magallanes 2-5, RBI; Roberts 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, W (12-10) and 1-3;

That was our 70th win of the season.

Oh yeah, the supermodels fled in horror when they first saw a table full of food including a cake, two pies, bowls of noodles and yogurt, an entire ham and several loafs of bread – or a lifetime’s supply of food for all three of them combined – THEN Matt Nunley sitting down at the table and piling EVERYTHING in his face.

Raccoons (70-82) @ Loggers (73-79) – September 20-22, 2030

The Loggers were scrambling to come up with a winning record for soul-soothing purposes, although playing the Raccoons was probably a bad plan for them. Of the 15 contests the team had fought out on the season, the Raccoons had won a full dozen. (Do not do the math on where we’d sit if there were no Loggers in the league. Don’t. Just don’t.) They were having a 5-game winning streak, so they sure had SOME momentum, but were scoring the third-fewest runs in the league, which didn’t help having the second-best pitching. They had also been unlucky or unclutch, or whatever you’d want to call it; despite sitting six games under .500, they had a positive run differential of +20.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (7-14, 4.12 ERA) vs. Francisco Colmenarez (17-5, 2.00 ERA)
Dave Martinez (14-11, 3.96 ERA) vs. Joe West (7-17, 3.78 ERA)
Jason Gurney (2-1, 4.09 ERA) vs. Morgan Shepherd (5-7, 2.95 ERA)

We would face a southpaw, then two right-handers for this weekend set.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Catella – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Gerster – P Shumway
MIL: CF Creech – RF Cambra – C J. Young – 1B W. Aquino – LF Ferrales – 2B Sessoms – SS Lockert – 3B Parten – P Colmenarez

While the offense did next to nothing and got only two base hits off Colmenarez through five, Tom Shumway retired the first 12 hitters in a row to begin the game. The vague thought that he might toss a second no-hitter this year suffered a first dash when Tim Stalker’s throwing error put Wilson Aquino on second base to begin the bottom 5th, and was then killed altogether on Ricardo Ferrales’ double off the leftfield wall. That one drove in Aquino, and Ferrales would score on two productive outs, Aaron Sessoms rolling over to second and Matt Lockert hitting a sac fly to center. Aquino drove in another run in the sixth in which a rapidly decomposing Tom Shumway issued three singles to the Loggers. He lasted only six and a third, allowing a double to Jason Parten in the seventh inning before being yanked. Fleischer walked Gabe Creech, the only batter he faced, but Garavito would dig the other pitchers out in the inning. None of it mattered; Colmenarez pitched into the ninth inning and was only removed when Alberto Ramos hit a 1-out single, only the third base hit on the Coons’ ledger. Max Nelson came on to replace Colmenarez, got Stalker to fly out to left, and Nunley, hitting for Jamieson, to do the same. 3-0 Loggers.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Wallace – 3B Nunley – C Pizzo – CF Magallanes – P Martinez
MIL: 3B Lockert – 2B Sessoms – SS W. Morris – C J. Young – CF Creech – LF Cambra – 1B W. Aquino – RF V. Diaz – P J. West

Ramos led off with a double to right, then scored right away on a Ryan Allan single, the 20th RBI for the rightfielder. Also back in the lineup was Jimmy Wallace after missing most of the last two weeks, and he would plate Allan with a 1-out groundout to put the Raccoons up 2-0. We also got Magallanes and Ramos onto the corners in the second inning, but then Allan grounded out. Meanwhile the Loggers started their first few innings with extra-base hits. Lockert was stranded after a leadoff double in the first, but Gabe Creech hit a ball into deep center and dashed it out for an inside-the-park homer, cutting the lead in half. Starting with an Aaron Sessoms double, the Loggers filled the bags with two outs in the bottom 3rd, too. Wayne Morris was nailed with two strikes, Jim Young singled, and Martinez sent a prayer to Odilon to find any sort of strength. Creech grounded out to short, and the Coons remained 2-1 ahead. Bottom 4th, back to extra bases to the first batter. Firmino Cambra doubled to right, and that run would score on a Vinny Diaz single to left, tying the score at two.

Top 5th, Ryan Allan zinged a triple into the rightfield corner. Now there was some excitement, and this came with one out – surely good enough to get the lead back! Tim Stalker ran a 3-1 count, popped out, and I felt a certain agony. Harenberg, however, came through – he singled sharply past Sessoms to bring in Allan and the Raccoons had a new 3-2 lead! And now Martinez was even holding up; he would pitch another three innings without allowing the Loggers into scoring position. He would have been removed anyway, but his spot also came up with three on and two outs against Jonathan Hose in the top 8th. The right-hander had issued two walks and a single scattered between Harenberg, Wallace, and Pizzo. Magallanes had struck out on three pitches, and now Matt Jamieson came out to pinch-hit, but flew out to Creech in center. We continued with Kevin Surginer blowing the lead in the bottom 8th, allowing a leadoff single to Sessoms, who was run for by Danny Valenzuela, who in turn had not much running to do. Surginer balked him to second base, and from there he scored on two groundouts, tying the tally at three. Nobody scored in the ninth, with Chris Wise getting the Coons to extras, where the old fart Nunley was parked on first base with a 2-out walk and then was waved around all the way on a Pizzo double over the head of centerfielder Creech. Catella hit for Magallanes, but grounded out, and thus the lead was only one run for Ricky Ohl to protect. And why would Ricky need more than one run? He sat down the Loggers in order to even the series. 4-3 Coons. Ramos 2-5, 2B; Allan 2-5, 3B, RBI; Harenberg 3-5, RBI; Pizzo 2-4, BB, 2 2B, RBI; Martinez 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K;

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Wallace – 3B Nunley – CF Catella – C Tovias – P Gurney
MIL: CF Creech – 2B Sessoms – SS W. Morris – 1B W. Aquino – RF Valenzuela – C F. Chavez – LF D.J. Mendez – 3B V. Diaz – P Shepherd

The Coons went into the lead in the top 1st on a Ramos Special. Alberto singled, took his 72nd bag, moved to third on Francis Chavez’ throwing error, but only came home with two outs when Harenberg singled to right. Gurney would drive in Catella in the second inning, knocking a 2-out single through between Morris and Diaz, but that didn’t make his pitching any better, or bearable. The Loggers poked him for three hits and a run by the bottom 2nd, D.J. Mendez singling home Danny Valenzuela to keep the Loggers close. The remaining 2-1 lead came apart before long because Gurney just couldn’t get anybody out. He nailed Creech to begin the bottom 3rd, Morris doubled the score even, and Valenzuela hit an infield single, but pulled something and was replaced by Mike Wheeler. Francis Chavez hit a bouncer at Nunley with two outs, Nunley had the ball glance off his wrist, and the Loggers took a 3-2 lead on the misplay… Mendez would pop out to bring the inning to an end.

It took the Critters til the sixth inning to mount something, anything. Harenberg hit a 1-out double to left, which put the tying run in scoring position for a nice change. Jimmy Wallace hit a single to center, but there was no way we could run Harenberg in that situation. Runners were on the corners for Nunley, who had some redemption to do, but flew out to Mendez on a 1-1 pitch, and again Harenberg could not run here. Catella grounded out to Diaz, and now Harenberg could walk slowly back to the dugout… Seamlessly, the Coons went into having the bags full of Loggers, courtesy of singles by Diaz and Angelo Becerra and a walk issued to Creech, all with one out in the bottom 6th. Billy Brotman came on, allowed a 2-run single to PH Taylor Canody, and the Loggers had a 5-2 lead before Morris hit into a double play.

…which the Loggers pitchers took as a challenge. Top 7th, Tovias grounded out against Julio Palomo, but after Magallanes slapped a pinch-hit single, Palomo walked Ramos and Allan to fill the bases with one down for Tim Stalker. Again, Stalker uselessly popped out, and Harenberg flew out to center, stranding another bushel of runners. A variety of Raccoons relievers loaded the bags in the seventh, Chris Wise retired Ricardo Ferrales to strand another set of three, but then came apart for three hits and two runs himself in the eighth inning. The Critters found no inspiration in the final innings and went down to defeat. 7-2 Loggers. Ramos 2-4, BB; Harenberg 2-4, 2B, RBI; Magallanes (PH) 1-1;

In other news

September 17 – BOS CF/LF Adrian Reichardt (.301, 9 HR, 64 RBI) is out for the season with a torn abdominal muscle.
September 22 – DEN OF/1B Elvis DeLoach (.239, 5 HR, 39 RBI) drives in five runs in the Gold Sox’ 14-5 rout of the Scorpions.

Complaints and stuff

The Titans, huh? You can’t ever beat those Titans to death, can you?

The Coons were eliminated on Gurney’s second ****ty start of the week, sliding to eight games out compared to the Indians on Sunday. Not that we had been in contention … ever.

Alberto Ramos was Player of the Week, tearing the opposition at a 14-for-29 (.483) rate, driving in eight runs on 11 singles and three doubles. He swiped four bags and scored five times and also got his OPS back over .800 for the first time since early August. For good measure, he is on a 13-game hitting streak.

ABL SINGLE SEASON STOLEN BASE LEADERS
1st – Enrique Trevino – 2027 – 74
2nd – Alberto Ramos – 2030 – 72
3rd – Guillermo Obando – 2027 – 67
4th – Nando Maiello – 2020 – 66
5th – Alex Torres – 2022 – 62

Sabre has to be put on the 40-man roster anyway this winter. (Same for Bernie Chavez, the fourth-best SP prospect in the system) So letting him make a start at the tail end here is probably not the end of the world? He would consume an option in AAA one way or another next season, because I don’t see him in the Opening Day rotation. ……. Yet.

In passing I noticed that Rin Nomura tossed a shutout on six hits against the Miners this week. Since he had been dealt to the Gold Sox, life and baseball in particular had not been kind to him. He had sucked hard enough (1-9, 6.22 ERA) to be put in the pen last September, and only recently had gotten back into the rotation. In 50 games (5 starts) this year, he was 7-3 with a 4.54 ERA.

Fun Fact: Alberto Ramos has been caught 87 times in 354 steal attempts, giving him a career 75.4% success rate.

This year he is even a bit better, roughly 77.4% having gone 72/93.

Man, that will be an expensive contract…!
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:05 AM   #2873
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Raccoons (71-84) @ Canadiens (76-79) – September 23-26, 2030

The Critters were eliminated while the damn Elks had almost drunken away a division (in which no team was assured of a winning record yet) that was lying on the ground, ripe for picking up and taking home, and they… walked past it. Run past it, actually – the damn Elks were a spectacular implosion for all of September, winning only FOUR of their *21* games in the month. Well, here came the Coons! The damn Elks were 9-5 against them on the year, but had recently sagged in all aspects of their game (well, how DO you play under .200 in a month?). They were now fourth in runs scored, fifth in runs allowed, and were wildly swiping in all directions to win any game at all.

Projected matchups:
Billy Ramm (2-0, 1.69 ERA) vs. Logan Bessey (6-13, 3.94 ERA)
Mark Roberts (12-10, 3.94 ERA) vs. Joe Martin (16-8, 3.15 ERA)
Tom Shumway (7-15, 4.03 ERA) vs. Jeremy Truett (11-12, 4.63 ERA)
Dave Martinez (14-11, 3.91 ERA) vs. Victor Govea (10-17, 4.57 ERA)

Bessey would be the only left-hander to contend with in this series.

The damn Elks had some injuries, but mostly were missing only relievers, foremost CL Raul de la Rosa (3-1, 2.14 ERA, 32 SV) who was out with a forearm strain.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – CF Catella – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Gerster – RF Rodriguez – P Ramm
VAN: 3B Anton – 2B Morrow – RF Wojnarowski – 1B D. Fisher – SS Bennett – LF A. Torres – CF LeJeune – C F. Garcia – P Bessey

The damn Elks took a 1-0 lead in the first on singles by Matt Anton, Eric Morrow, and David Fisher, then ultimately a wild pitch thrown by Billy Ramm, who was getting the start with no real explanation as to why. Bessey countered with allowing straight hits to begin the second to the 4-5-6 batters. Sad-sack Butch Gerster hit into a run scoring double play to tie it up, 1-1, and Wilson Rodriguez also rolled out gently to Matt Anton. Bottom 2nd, Ramm allowed a leadoff single to Jesse LeJeune, who advanced on a passed ball charged to Tovias, then to third when Fernando Garcia grounded out. Ramm then walked them full behind him against Bessey (…!) and Anton, bringing up Morrow with three on and one out. Morrow was a .168 hitter, which was not of concern once Ramm’s first pitch nailed him in the hip, pushing home the go-ahead run. Brian Wojnarowski struck himself out when he tried to improve on those 25 homers of his, but David Fisher hit a 2-run single, T.J. Bennett brought in another run with a single, and then Ramm was yanked after 1.2 sordid innings of six hits, two walks, a wild pitch, a nailed guy, and god knows how many runs ultimately… five, as it turned out; Jonathan Fleischer struck out Alex Torres.

Bessey lasted only three additional outs before suffering removal for injury. That came with Ramos (single) and Stalker (walk) on base and two outs in the top 3rd. Antonio Muniz replaced him and got Jamieson to ground out. Fleischer shuffled the bags full on a hit and two walks in the bottom 3rd, but Billy Brotman struck out Wojnarowski to strand everybody. It was just one of those dismal games, really… The game was basically over at that point. The Raccoons scratched out a run in the fourth, again driven in by Butch Gerster and this time even without making a single out, but that was really all for a constantly fizzling offense. Ramos was on three times and extended his hitting streak to 14 games, but his only steal attempt ended in being thrown out. Nick Bates surrendered a run in the fifth, putting the damn Elks up 6-2. That remained the score into the ninth, where Fernando Nora allowed 1-out singles to Jimmy Wallace, pinch-hitting in the #9 hole, and Ramos, Alberto’s fourth time on the bases, but now blocked by the slow-ish Wallace. The damn Elks brought on Chris Sinkhorn, the veteran starter, to close the game then – sure, damn Elks, you know best how to blow money down a drain. Why not start him? What the heck do I know. The Raccoons sent Harenberg to bat for Catella, resulting in an RBI single that brought up the tying run in Stalker, who walked, and Sinkhorn kept sputtering. Jamieson hit an RBI single, putting the go-ahead run on base, still with one out. Rafael Gomez was up next, 3-for-4 on the day, and when he hit a ball over Wojnarowski in right I jumped up from my trusty couch at home and hopped up and down screaming in a way that was sure to draw complaints from the neighbors. Gomez touched Sinkhorn for a bases-clearing double, putting Portland in the lead, 7-6! Tovias was walked intentionally before Sinkhorn was yanked for another lefty, Estevan Delgado, to face Matt Nunley, who had come into the #7 hole a bit earlier. Both him and Magallanes flew out to left to end the inning. But the Coons had the lead! – and if only Ricky Ohl could have held on… but he nailed Alex Torres with an 0-2 pitch to begin the bottom 9th, then walked Matt Good with one out. Danny Tessmann pinch-hit in the #9 hole, hit a 1-1 pitch to center, Magallanes couldn’t reach it, and the runners were flying around the bases. Torres scored easily, and Matt Good still scored comfortably, Ramos’ relay coming way late. 8-7 Canadiens. Ramos 3-4, BB; Harenberg (PH) 1-1, RBI; Jamieson 2-5, RBI; Gomez 4-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Tovias 2-4, BB; Wallace (PH) 1-1; Rabbitt 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K;

Sigh! Looks like another night spent gnawing on the wooden leg of this table…

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – RF Allan – 2B Stalker – 1B Harenberg – LF Wallace – 3B Nunley – CF Catella – C Pizzo – P Roberts
VAN: CF Tessmann – 2B Morrow – RF Wojnarowski – 1B D. Fisher – SS Bennett – LF A. Torres – 3B Anton – C F. Garcia – P Martin

I will admit to some early gloating in this game when last night’s dark villain Danny Tessmann led off with a double to center, thought he’d rather have a triple, and was thrown out at third base, all to begin the bottom of the first inning. Also, damnit, Roberts, keep the ****ing ball in the infield! There was no way the team wasn’t gonna pay for my open display of schadenfreude, but for the moment Roberts held up, even when Tessmann singled with two outs and Fernando Garcia on second base in the bottom 3rd. Garcia was too slow to score, and then Morrow struck out to strand them on the corners. Bennett hit into a double play in the fourth after Roberts had put on the left-handed bats of Wojnarowski and Fisher to begin the inning, helping defuse that situation.

Through five, there was no scoring (and no base hit from Ramos, either). Allan led off the sixth then with a single to right, and Tim Stalker hit a gapper right on his heels. That gapper kept eluding Torres and Tessmann long enough to allow Stalker all the way to third base for an RBI triple, the first marker on the scoreboard! The damn Elks walked Harenberg intentionally to get to Jimmy Wallace, who nevertheless jocked an RBI single up the middle, 2-0. That was all in the inning; Joe Martin struck out three of the bottom four, only loading the bases on a Catella infield single poked at 0-2. While Roberts held the fort, the offense failed to tack on. They got not a whole lot at all in the seventh, with Ramos walking and being doubled off soon enough by Allan, and then got three guys on in the eighth, one of which (Wallace) was thrown out on a failed hit-and-run, and the other two (Nunley, Catella) were stranded when the $1.3M mistake behind the plate pathetically popped out. Roberts arrived in the eighth on 87 pitches, but needed only three more to get through Good, Tessmann, and Morrow, which set him up for a shutout attempt in the ninth given that the damn Elks would lead off with two left-handed batters and Ricky Ohl had been blown out on Monday. Garavito would have been an option, but the Coons committed by having Roberts bat and fly out to Torres to begin the ninth. Ramos grounded out, which meant his hitting streak would end if Roberts could do his job in the bottom 9th; he walked Wojnarowski on four pitches to begin the inning. Fisher grounded out, and the Raccoons stuck to Roberts here. Bennett struck out, the sixth K for Roberts in the game, and there came Alex Torres, who was hitting .234 with seven homers and was on a career trajectory not too different from f.e. Rafael Gomez and Rich Hereford. He poked an infield single at 0-2, which was a bit of bad luck, too, but Matt Anton would be the last batter for Roberts; Surginer and Garavito were stirring behind him. Neither got in the game – Anton hit a 1-2 pitch to deep center, Catella hustled back, back, back … and he made the catch! Wallace 2-4, RBI; Catella 3-4; Roberts 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K, W (13-10) and 1-4;

Sixth career shutout for Roberts, and the fifth as a Raccoon. He most recently had shut out the Indians in May of ’28, which was also his most recent complete game.

Between games, the desperate Elks picked up outfielder Nando Maiello (.248, 0 HR, 20 RBI) in a waiver deal with the Cyclones. Three games out with five to play, how was an over-the-hill singles slapper going to save them?

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Wallace – 3B Nunley – 2B Baldwin – C Pizzo – P Shumway
VAN: CF Tessmann – 2B Morrow – RF Wojnarowski – 1B D. Fisher – SS Bennett – LF A. Torres – 3B Anton – C F. Garcia – P Truett

Scoring was again slow; Alex Torres hit a solo jack in the bottom 2nd for the only run in the early innings. The Coons though slowly began to accumulate in the fourth inning. Harenberg and Nunley hit singles, Baldwin snuck a single by a diving Bennett to fill the bags, and then came Pizzo as well as light rain. The catcher hit a ball to deep center that eluded Tessmann and hit off the base of the fence for a 2-run double, flipping the score. The pitchers ran a 2-2 count against another before the rain intensified to force a 45-minute delay. When play finally resumed, Shumway struck out on the next pitch, but Ramos singled hard up the middle to drive in a pair with two outs, 4-1, before the inning ended with Allan flying out to left.

Shumway ended up going five-plus on 87 pitches, but left with Wojnarowski and Fisher getting back-to-back singles to begin the bottom 6th, hit past either side of Chris Baldwin. Surginer took over the 4-1 game and both runners scored on his watch on back-to-back singles by Torres and Anton with one out. Garcia fouled out and Truett flew out to left to end the sixth with a 4-3 score. The Raccoons had Garavito and Derks follow on to protect the shallow lead, but also couldn’t find any more offense. Nunley and Pizzo hit singles in the ninth inning, but Wojnarowski caught up with Ramos’ shallow fly to strand them in scoring position, which ended up with the Coons sending Ohl for another attempt in the bottom 9th, where the damn Elks’ new acquisition, Nando Maiello, would lead off as pinch-hitter. He singled on the first pitch. Pop behind home plate by Tessmann, then a wild pitch. RICKY, GODDAMNIT!! Yelling helped; PH Dave Pimentel popped out, and Wojnarowski went down on strikes, giving Portland the lead in the series. 4-3 Furballs. Nunley 4-4; Baldwin 2-4; Pizzo 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

Three games down in the final week and Ramos has not managed to steal a base yet… still two short of the single season record.

The Indians beat the Loggers on this Wednesday, which axed Milwaukee from postseason contention, assured that the CL North winner would not have a losing record as it put the Arrowheads at 81-77, and also put the damn Elks behind the eight ball, with a magic number of one. The Coons could eliminate them with another win on Thursday!

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Wallace – 2B Stalker – C Tovias – P Martinez
VAN: CF Tessmann – 2B Morrow – RF Wojnarowski – 1B D. Fisher – SS Bennett – 3B Anton – C van der Hout – LF LeJeune – P Govea

Ramos opened with a single, then was caught stealing for the second time in the set, and the Coons didn’t score in the opening frame. That was the start to another unlikely pitchers’ duel. The Coons amounted to only three hits through five innings, including a lonely Nunley double, while the damn Elks had four knocks off Martinez in the first five, two of which were Govea singles. Tessmann once forced him out in the third, but also singled in the fifth with one out, however both Morrow and Wojnarowski made poor outs after that. Top 6th, Ramos and Allan opened the inning with singles, then pulled off a double steal on the first pitch to Jamieson. The 29-year-old Donny van der Hout, technically a sophomore, but with less than a full year of service time, actually tried to get Allan at second base, but couldn’t beat the runner. Jamieson would make a poor out on a shallow F8, and Harenberg on 98 RBI was walked intentionally much to his chagrin. Nunley came up with the bags full and one out, popped out, and a struggling Jimmy Wallace was out on strikes. Nobody scored.

Bottom 7th, Martinez got stuck. Back-to-back singles by Torres and Tessmann knocked him out of the game with one out in the inning, especially with Matt Good hitting for Morrow. Brotman came on to counter the left-handed barrage, got a K from Good, but the Elks were cunning and sent right-hander Nelson Millan to hit for Wojnarowski. Portland countered with Surginer, and Millan lined out softly to Stalker to end the inning. Top 9th, still scoreless, Harenberg got on base to begin the inning thanks to a David Fisher error, fumbling a perfectly good Alfredo Morua feed. Baldwin ran for Harenberg while Morua would face more left-handed bats. Nunley grounded to Jose Paredes at first base… and Paredes had the ball stuck in his glove for a second error in the inning! Jimmy Wallace singled past Nelson Millan at second, and now the bags were full with nobody out. Stalker broke the drought with a fly to left that Good caught, but Baldwin tagged and scored for a sac fly. Catella hit for Tovias, but grounded out, and then Gomez hit for Surginer, but grounded out poorly as well. Ohl got his third 1-run lead in the series, and this time could nail the coffin on the damn Elks shut – but Maiello hit a leadoff double to left on 0-2 to put the tying run in scoring position right away. Norman Day struck out. Tessmann also fell to 0-2, then flew out to Baldwin in shallow center. That made Matt Good the final straw for the damn Elks. 1-1 pitch, grounder up the middle, Stalker over, the throw to first was in time, and the damn Elks collapsed into another winter of agony. 1-0 Furballs!! Ramos 2-4; Allan 2-3, BB; Stalker 0-3, RBI; Martinez 6.1 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K;

**** YOU, ELKS!! **** YOU!! UP YOUR DUMB ****ING ***!!! Ha-HAH!!!

(gloats)

At this point it was the Indians two games up on the Titans and that was all that was left to this dismal division. The Elks and Loggers were knotted for third place, four behind. We were tied with the Crusaders for fifth (and last…), seven behind. Oh by the way, we will have paws in the outcome here, travelling over to Indy to finish the year. The Titans would play the Elks.

The Pacifics had already locked up the FL West on Monday; the FL East was still playing meaningful games, tough, with the Miners one game up on the Buffaloes as they were going head-to-head to finish the season.

Raccoons (74-85) @ Indians (81-78) – September 27-29, 2030

We were in a 6-9 hole in the season series. Indy ranked eighth in runs scored, third in runs allowed, but only had a +19 run differential, and in case they DID make the postseason, they were one-in-a-million longshots to the romping Condors…

Projected matchups:
Jason Gurney (2-2, 4.61 ERA) vs. Andy Bressner (18-9, 3.30 ERA)
Raffaello Sabre (0-0) vs. Sal Bedoya (13-8, 2.92 ERA)
Mark Roberts (13-10, 3.77 ERA) vs. Mark Morrison (11-10, 3.67 ERA)

All righties to finish the season.

Can Ramos swipe another bag to tie the single season record? Or maybe two to make it all his own? The Indians’ catching corps didn’t have that great a set of arms…!

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – CF Allan – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – RF Wallace – 2B Stalker – C Tovias – P Gurney
IND: 2B Schneller – LF Plunkett – RF Suhay – 1B Jon Gonzalez – C J. Herrera – CF Baron – SS T. Johnson – 3B Dichio – P Bressner

The Arrowheads cobbled together an all-right-handed lineup to face Gurney, who was swiftly blown up in a 4-run second inning. He nicked Juan Herrera, then allowed singles to John Baron and Todd Johnson. Dominique Dichio hit a bases-clearing double, gained an extra base when the Coons chased the ball around the infield like little idiots, and scored on Bressner’s sac fly. While Bressner retired the first ten batters in a row, including Ramos twice, before Ryan Allan hit a double and eventually scored on Harenberg’s 2-out single in the fourth, the Coons were otherwise not a threat, and in turn Dichio, who had come into the game with no RBI on the year, got a fourth one with an RBI single in the bottom 6th, chasing home Herrera. The run was unearned; Herrera had reached on a Tovias error. There was also Todd Johnson on base, but Gurney stuck around with two on and two outs and the pitcher Bressner at the plate… but Bressner singled over Stalker to knock in another unearned run to make it 6-1 and to knock out Gurney, too. Bressner held the Critters to three hits into the ninth inning, but then Ramos legged out an infield roller for a leadoff single. Bressner lost Allan on straight balls, the runners would take off on another double steal, and Herrera threw out Ramos at third base. So close, and yet the record was so far away… Matt Jamieson would double home Allan and knock out Bressner, but that was it for this game. Matt Francis got the final two outs from the Critters without much drama. 6-2 Indians.

The Titans beat the Elks, 3-1, so the division was still up for grabs, but the magic number was one. The Crusaders won against the Loggers, so we had last place all to ourselves.

And Ramos is still stuck at 73…

Abel Mora returned to the team after multiple injuries had wiped out most of the final quarter of the season for him. Also, the major league debut for Raffaello Sabre was on Saturday.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – RF Wallace – C Pizzo – P Sabre
IND: 2B Schneller – LF Plunkett – RF Suhay – 1B Jon Gonzalez – SS A. Medina – C Paiz – CF Zanches – 3B T. Johnson – P Bedoya

Matt Jamieson hit a jack to put the Coons up 1-0 in the first, while Sabre’s first out in the majors came in a pack of two. Dan Schneller hit a leadoff single off him in the bottom 1st, but Mike Plunkett’s sharp grounder was turned for a 5-4-3 double play by Nunley. He got another double play from Andres Medina in the second after Jon Gonzalez had drawn a leadoff walk. Edgar Paiz singled, but Alex Zanches, the only natural left-handed batter in the lineup, struck out for Sabre’s first career whiff. Before long, the rose-tinted glasses came off, though. Todd Johnson hit a single to begin the third, Dan Schneller hit a homer to left, and then Plunkett singled and Ben Suhay homered to center. That put the Coons in a 4-1 hole in a real hurry. But Matt Nunley wasn’t done with clawing for the season; when Bedoya leaked leadoff singles to Jamieson and Harenberg in the top 4th, Nunley followed that up with a monster homer to left-center, measured at 433 feet, and it tied the game! We were still tied at four in the top 5th when Ramos hit a 1-out single, but didn’t get a chance to steal on account of a wild pitch that moved him to second before he could measure his ideal distance from first base. Stalker then grounded out to short, keeping him pinned at second, so it would take a Jamieson single to get h– and he’s going for third base! Paiz’ throw – WILD!! Up the line, Ramos around to score, and the Coons lead 5-4 as Ramos tied the single season mark for stolen bases with his 74th of the season! Jamison would fly out to Suhay to end the inning.

The Arrowheads shrugged it off quickly, though. Bottom 5th, Sabre got two outs before Suhay doubled. Jon Gonzalez singled him home, and Medina singled to center. Paiz was probably going to be his last batter with Zanches coming up after that, and he indeed was; Paiz was still mad about the throwing error in the previous half-inning and mercilessly took it out on Sabre, blasting a go-ahead, 2-out, 3-run homer to left to saddle Sabre with eight runs in 4.2 innings of his forgettable debut. The Indians would pile on a few more, plating two runs on Chris Wise in the sixth, with an RBI triple by Schneller the key piece to the inning. Nick Bates would log two scoreless at the tail end here, but a) the damage had been done, and b) the Coons failed to collect their bats again and went down mostly silently against Jim Kretzmann and Juan Melendrez in the end. 10-5 Indians. Jamieson 2-4, HR, RBI; Bates 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K;

The Indians celebrated on the field here like there was no tomorrow, and for the Titans at least there wasn’t. This was not too bad. I lived. And we still had the delirious joy of seeing the damn Elks collapse on their own ugly field. That was probably all there was to take into the offseason with you…

On Sunday, Ramos would be able to do whatever he dared, but he had already done so on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Coons needed a win to have a chance at tying for fifth place at season’s end, but that also meant the Crusaders had to lose to the Loggers.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Catella – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – RF Gomez – LF Wallace – C Tovias – P Roberts
IND: SS Pizano – LF Plunkett – RF Suhay – 1B Jon Gonzalez – C J. Herrera – 2B Schneller – CF Baron – 3B T. Johnson – P Morrison

For all intents and purposes, this was the farewell game for Harenberg, Mora, and Gomez. None of them were expected back in 2031. So was Pizzo, but we didn’t give a rat’s bottoms about giving him another chance to display his ineptitude. The other three had been with the Coons since at least 2026, and in Mora’s case 2024, and in fact Harenberg and Mora had been teammates for most of their careers, as both of them had come over from the Wolves.

Morrison entered with 103 walks on the season, and issued another one to Ramos straightaway, but two Coons made outs before Ramos was caught stealing, too. Mario Pizano then opened the bottom 1st with a double to right; you may remember Pizano as Ramos’ chief rival in the stolen base department for the last few years, but he had missed more than three months on the DL with torn ankle ligaments and the Indians had pried him off the stretcher just in time for the regular season finale. Ex-Coon Jon Gonzalez singled home the run to give Indy a lead in the first. The Raccoons didn’t get a base hit until Nunley singled with two outs in the fourth, but that was not going to be enough for a run. Similarly, Pizano’s second double off Roberts came with two outs in the fifth and with nobody on, and Plunkett grounded out to short to keep him on base and this a 1-0 ballgame.

When Mora opened the seventh with a single to left, that was only the third base hit for Portland in the game. It might also likely be the last one for Mora in a Raccoons uniform. He insisted on getting the ball, which made me slightly sentimental. And he was also ultimately doubled up by Jimmy Wallace, interrupting a barrage of strikeouts in this final week to end the seventh in a hurry. Mark Roberts threw 101 pitches in his 35th start of the year and held the Arrowheads to four hits and that damn run from the opening inning, but it just wasn’t good enough, was it? Allan batted for him with one out in the eighth and singled to right, but he was stranded. Ramos flew out to Suhay for the second out of the inning, meaning that he would not set a new record for stolen bases unless the Coons either had a massive ninth or at least got the game to extras. Derks, Brotman, and Fleischer shared a scoreless eighth, stranding PH Alex Aleman, who drew a leadoff walk off Derks, at third base. It would be right-hander Ben Darr against the left-handed 3-4-5 array with a 1-0 deficit on the board in the ninth inning. Nunley grounded out to Johnson. Harenberg flew out to Baron. Abel Mora, who had been collecting the ball from that single earlier had to reach base any which way to keep the Coons from going out on a whimper in 2030. He struck out. 1-0 Indians. Allan (PH) 1-1; Roberts 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, L (13-11);

The Buffaloes and the Miners fought to a standstill and would play a tie-breaker on Monday. Both came up 93-69 in the regular season and the winner would enter the playoffs as the #3 seed. The Miners’ Mike Greene sets up the play-in game when he offers a wild pitch that plates Jay Elder from third base to allow the Buffos to walk off in regulation, 2-1, on Sunday.

In other news

September 23 – The Pacifics clinch the FL West with a 5-0 shutout over the Scorpions. This will be their 13th playoff appearance and the fourth in the last five years. They have four championships, winning most recently in 2027.
September 23 – The season of SAL OF/1B/2B Noel Ferrero (.244, 1 HR, 37 RBI) ends early with a herniated disc.
September 23 – SAL SP Mario Alva (13-14, 3.72 ERA) and SAL MR Miguel Salazar (5-3, 3.59 ERA, 6 SV) spin a combined 1-hitter over the Warriors, who amount only to a Pedro Cisneros (.274, 10 HR, 75 RBI) single in the first inning and nothing more in a 2-1 loss to the Wolves.
October 1 – The Miners beat the Buffaloes, 2-1, in the FL East tie-breaker game. PIT LF/RF Yvon Bonaccorsi (.293, 24 HR, 89 RBI) and PIT SS Josh Peddle (.297, 4 HR, 41 RBI) both go deep against TOP SP Jose Lerma (20-4, 2.63 ERA) to give their team the first postseason berth since 2016.

Complaints and stuff

Last place. Arf.

Ramos tied Trevino, but went a dismal 2/5 this final week to prevent him from setting a record for stolen bases of his own. They now share the mark of 74.

The Indians win the North for the first time since *2006*. Kids were born, had grown up, and had finished college in the time it had taken them to get back to the postseason. In 2006, they had lost the World Series to the Stars. Their only championship had come in 1981 over the Buffaloes. So there were doubtlessly a few kids that had been born, had grown up, had finished college, and had kids that had already finished college since the Indians’ last and only set of rings… They are something to root for, but the Condors will smother them in the CLCS.

Winning three of four from the stupid Elks this week meant we came up 8-10 against them this year, just as bad, but not worse, as last year. The struggle is real; we have won only one of the last five season series against them.

With the Indians however making the postseason, the damn Elks are now the longest-ago CL North team to make the playoffs, all the way back in 2012. The Crusaders last won the division in 2016, which is a pretty long drought for a team that won two three-peats in a decade (2007-09, 2013-15). The Loggers won it all in ’21, and of course the Coons won it all in ’28. Last year the Titans took the division.

Note that 1B Danny Santillano of the FL East-winning Miners clinched the triple crown.

Josh Boles missed a comeback at the end of the season by a couple of days. He would have been available if the Coons had made the playoffs. Shane Ivey would be waived after the end of the regular season to make room on the 40-man roster for the returning closer.

Fun Fact: The only team to ever go worst-to-first, so finishing in sixth place in their division one year and winning the division the following year, are the 1987 Indians, who beat the Raccoons to the crown by one game.

Apart from that, when you are in last place, there is no fun!
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:49 PM   #2874
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Eliminating those maple syrup drinkers made this a fun week, even if we end up in the caboose.... it did not make this a fun year, however...

But, hey! All we have to do is win 85 games next year to go worst to first!

But can this offense win 85 games without Harenberg? That's a pretty pedestrian looking bunch without him....

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Old 06-06-2019, 04:19 PM   #2875
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questdog View Post
But, hey! All we have to do is win 85 games next year to go worst to first!

But can this offense win 85 games without Harenberg? That's a pretty pedestrian looking bunch without him....
[crickets in the distance]
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:52 AM   #2876
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2030 PLAYOFFS

Once more, the grueling 162-game slog of the regular season had ground 20 teams to dust, and only four more were left standing. These four would play out the 2030 World Series Champions in two rounds of play.

For the 94-69 Miners, it had even been 163 games. They had needed a tie-breaker to get through the Buffaloes and into the postseason. The name of the game for Pittsburgh was the offense, as they had led the Federal League in batting average and home runs, hitting almost one dinger per game and 158 in total. That had netted them the second-most runs scored. There was no speed in the lineup, the defense was average, and the pitching was decent, but not overwhelming. While the Miners could run up five batters with 18+ home runs, led by triple crown winner Danny Santillano (.360, 34 HR, 105 RBI), they had a stingy back end of the bullpen and at least two tough-as-nails starters in Jonas Mejia (21-8, 2.67 ERA) and Nick Salinas (15-6, 2.94 ERA). The back end of the rotation and middle relief were really weak. They were also without outfielder Matt Owen and his .304 clip and 11 homers; a mild shoulder strain was keeping the well-travelled veteran on the DL for the FLCS.

Opposite the Miners, the 95-67 Pacifics enjoyed home field advantage in the FLCS. They had come fourth in runs scored, but had allowed the fewest runs in the Federal League. Their rotation had the lowest ERA and the bullpen had come second-best in ERA. Dave Christiansen (22-4, 2.36 ERA) headlined the rotation, with Jorge Beltran (17-9, 2.84 ERA) also very impressive. Their lineup knew how to get on base, with a .347 team OBP, mainly via the walk; their batting average was only the seventh-highest in the league. The offense was led by Justin Fowler (.296, 29 HR, 96 RBI) and Terry Kopp (.278, 23 HR, 94 RBI), but the lineup would get a bit long in the tooth down the order. They, too, were down an outfielder in Oscar Mendoza, batting .288 with 18 homers, who would miss the FLCS with a shoulder injury. Furthermore, SP Eric Williams (9-6, 3.38 ERA) was lost for the season.

Over in the CLCS, one side of the box score would be taken up by the Indians, who won a shockingly weak CL North with an 84-78 record. They were *eighth* in runs scored, and while they had the third-best pitching in the Federal League, their run differential of +29 hinted kindly at the face that they really weren’t any better than an 84-78 team. They had no starter with an ERA better than three, their pen was so-so, and while they had hit the third-most homers in the Continental League (121), they had batted only .249 as a team, and THEN had to compensate for missing two capable outfielders in Alex Zanches and Ivan Vega on the DL. Jon Gonzalez (.283, 17 HR, 86 RBI) and Juan Herrera (.268, 18 HR, 67 RBI) had put up the best numbers offensively, while Ben Suhay had hit 25 homers alright, but had only batted .213 while doing so.

The other team in the CLCS were the defending champs, the stomping 107-55 Condors, who won their division by 22 games. The Condors were first in runs scored, first in runs allowed, first in starters’ ERA (2.92!), first in bullpen ERA, first in defense… they had run up a +268 run differential. The only thing they didn’t do exceptionally well was hitting home runs. They had come only eighth in dingers in the CL with 102 bombs away, and nobody had hit 20, with team leader and twice-defending CLCS Player of the Year Shane Sanks (.299, 19 HR, 94 RBI) falling just short of several nice round numbers. Kevin McGrath went deep 16 times and drove in 103. In the rotation, Adam Potter had the most wins with 19, while Jeff Little (2.77) and George Griffin (2.76) had posted the best ERA’s. The bullpen was stingy top to bottom.

The FLCS is considered rather open-ended by the pundits and will maybe go the distance. The CLCS is considered no more than a warmup for the Condors.

Miners and Pacifics had opposed another three times in the FLCS before. The Miners won the contest in 1982, but fell to the Canadiens in the World Series. The Pacifics won the last two duels in 2012 and 2016, and won rings both times. Indians and Condors had never met in the postseason before.

The Pacifics made their 13th playoff appearance, most in the field, and tying for fourth all time with the Raccoons. The Condors moved up to sixth overall with their 12th appearance. The Miners made the postseason for the eighth time, tying the Falcons for 14th. And the Indians finally were in their sixth postseason, tying with the Canadiens and Bayhawks for 18th overall.

The Pacifics had won the World Series four times, tying the Raccoons for third-most. The Condors and Indians had one championship each, tying with five other teams for 15th. The Miners were one of three teams that had never won the World Series so far, joined by the Buffaloes and Knights.

+++

2030 LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

IND @ TIJ … 2-3 … (Condors lead 1-0) …

PIT @ LAP … 2-4 … (Pacifics lead 1-0) … LAP Zachary Ryder (PH) 1-1, HR, 2 RBI;
IND @ TIJ … 6-4 (14) … (series tied 1-1) … IND Mike Plunkett 2-5, 3 BB, 2 RBI; IND Jon Gonzalez 4-8, 2B; IND Matt Francis 3.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, W (1-0); TIJ Chris Murphy 4-7, 3B; TIJ Lisuarte Paradela 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K;

Zachary Ryder hits a walkoff homer off Mike Greene to win Game 1 in the FLCS.

PIT @ LAP … 5-4 … (series tied 1-1) … PIT Dan Brown (PH) 1-1, HR, 3 RBI; LAP Terry Kopp 2-3, HR, RBI; LAP Dave Christiansen 8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K;

The Pacifics blow a 4-0 lead in the final two innings, with Brown completing the comeback with a 2-out homer off 45-saves closer Chun-yeong Chah in the ninth inning.

TIJ @ IND … 11-1 … (Condors lead 2-1) … TIJ Kevin McGrath 3-5, 3 HR, 7 RBI; TIJ Adam Potter 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, W (1-0) and 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

LAP @ PIT … 3-10 … (Miners lead 2-1) … PIT Josh Peddle 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI; PIT Danny Santillano 2-4, BB, 2 RBI; PIT Jim McKenzie 3-5, 2B, RBI;
TIJ @ IND … 5-0 … (Condors lead 3-1) … TIJ Shane Sanks 1-2, 3 BB, HR, 2 RBI; TIJ Jorge Villalobos 8.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K, W (1-0);

LAP @ PIT … 11-10 (series tied 2-2) … LAP Jaden Beatty 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI; LAP Dylan Allomes 2-2, 3 BB, RBI; LAP Bobby Marshall (PH) 1-1, 2 RBI; PIT Yvon Bonaccorsi 2-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI; PIT Carlos de la Riva 3-5, HR, RBI; PIT Toby Ross 2-5, HR, 3 RBI;
TIJ @ IND … 0-6 … (Condors lead 3-2) … IND Ben Suhay 2-4, HR, 5 RBI; IND Sal Bedoya 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, W (1-0);

The Miners put up six in the first, then quickly waste it away, finding themselves trailing by the fifth. They would take another 8-7 lead in the sixth, but wouldn’t hold on.

LAP @ PIT … 5-2 … (Pacifics lead 3-2) … LAP Justin Fowler 3-5, 4 RBI; LAP Chris McEwen 3-4, 2B, RBI;

IND @ TIJ … 3-6 … (Condors win 4-2) … TIJ Andy Hughes 3-4, HR, 2 RBI;

The Condors score four in the second inning against David Saccoccio and never look back on the way to their second pennant.

PIT @ LAP … 2-3 (12) … (Pacifics win 4-2) … LAP Jaden Beatty 2-2, BB, RBI; LAP Justin Fowler 4-6, HR, RBI;

Fowler completes the World Series matchup with a 12th inning walkoff homer off Pittsburgh’s Erik David.

+++

2030 WORLD SERIES

The juggernaut Condors had clubbed their way through the Indians to meet the Pacifics in the World Series. The Condors would enjoy home field advantage in deference of their superior regular season record. All their strengths were still true, and while they had lost Omar Larios to a concussion in the CLCS, he was only a bit player in the outfield. The Condors looked sharp, strong, and like favorites to repeat.

The Pacifics, who had tallied a +161 run differential, dwarved by triple digits by the Condors’, had squeezed here and there against the Miners and had won several games by a single run only. They had also lost Gavin Lee (9-10, 3.34 ERA) to blisters in the FLCS. While the Pacifics’ lineup was balanced, the Condors’ lineup was mostly right-handed against the Pacifics, who were likely to cart up three left-handed starters, giving another advantage to Tijuana, who seemed like the odds-on favorite, and some claimed the series was not going to finish in Tijuana, either.

Both teams had won the World Series in recent memory; the Condors were defending champs, while the Pacifics had won the 2027 edition against the Titans. These two with one set o’ rings each, the Titans (five!), and the Raccoons (two) were responsible for all World Series winners going back to 2022.

These two teams met once before in the World Series. That was back in 2016, perhaps the most lop-sided World Series ever played. The Pacifics not only swept the series back then, but razed the Condors in a way that they never allowed them more than one run in any game, and won the four games with a combined run total of 14-3.

+++

LAP @ TIJ … 2-10 … (Condors lead 1-0) … TIJ Chris Murphy 2-5, 2 3B, 3 RBI; TIJ Kevin McGrath 2-4, BB, HR, 2B, RBI; TIJ Chris Miller 3-4, BB, RBI;

LAP @ TIJ … 9-4 … (series tied 1-1) … LAP Justin Fowler 4-5, HR, 3 RBI; LAP Ben Cook 2-4, BB, 2B, 2 RBI;

TIJ @ LAP … 6-7 (12) … (Pacifics lead 2-1) … TIJ Shane Sanks 3-5, BB, HR, 2 RBI; TIJ Kevin McGrath 4-6, 2B, RBI;

The Pacifics take Game 3 with a concerted team effort as not one bat sticks out. Zachary Ryder hits a walkoff single to plate Andy Schmit against Jose Fuentes for a 12th inning walkoff. Before that, Tijuana’s Joe Perry blows a ninth-inning lead with three straight singles, Fowler plating Travis Williams for the tying run to extend the game.

TIJ @ LAP … 1-3 … (Pacifics lead 3-1) … LAP Andy Schmit 2-3, BB, 2B; LAP Vincent Alfaro 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Chris Cooper and two relievers finish off the Condors in just six base hits and two-and-a-half hours to give the Pacifics two matchballs and a chance to win it all at home.

TIJ @ LAP … 1-2 … (Pacifics win 4-1) … LAP Oscar Mendoza 2-3, BB; LAP Zachary Ryder 2-4, 2B, RBI; LAP Luis Flores 7.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K;

Indeed, the series does not comeback to Tijuana, as the Condors are swept in L.A. and have to surrender the roving trophy to the Pacifics. Flores, Joe Moore, Alfaro, and David Gerow (in his first save attempt of the postseason) hold the Condors to six hits again, only one of them, a Juan Palbes RBI double, for extra bases.

2030 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS
Los Angeles Pacifics

(5th title)
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Old 06-08-2019, 11:52 AM   #2877
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I was not shocked that Nick Valdes took the axe to the budget after the end of the dismal 2030 campaign. I was shocked that he brought me flowers, ten each of red and white roses, along with the message, which he delivered in person. That Chad ate the roses later the same day was a surprise, but I had seen worse and weirder things…

The new budget was $36.5M, cut by $2M from last season, and we would go into why this was a problem and at the same time was not a problem in a minute or so.

The new budget ranked the Raccoons ninth in the ABL, down from a tie for sixth last season. The Crusaders dropped out of the top 5, where they had been seemingly forever as suddenly the damn Elks decided to spend some serious dough. The top 5 now contained the Pacifics ($54M), Titans ($44.5M), Condors ($43.5M), Buffaloes ($41.5M), and damn Elks ($39M). At the very bottom of the ladder, much the same crowd as usual with the Wolves ($27.6M), Blue Sox ($24.4M), Loggers ($23.8M), Rebels ($22.6M), and Falcons ($21M).

The remaining CL North teams clocked in at $37M and a tie with the Warriors for seventh in case of the Crusaders, and the defending division champs Indians sat all the way down in 17th with $29.4M to spend.

The median budget for 2030 was $35.25M (up $1.25M), while the average budget was $33.76M (up $900k).

This brought us to salary arbitration. The Coons had five players heading for arbitration, all head scratchers one way or another that needed dissecting. They also had six free agents, including a ton of disappointments that were either over the hump or could use a change of scenery, and a single free agent that was compensation eligible. That would be Kevin Harenberg, who was rated a type A free agent.

That brought us right to the business part of the winter season. The Raccoons were without a doubt not going to contend in the very near future. They would likely suck for the next year or two, with Kevin Harenberg or without. The 2028 World Series MVP had been an import from the Wolves in ’26 after Jon Gonzalez (who would come back to become 2026 World Series MVP) had gone down with the broken elbow. Harenberg hit .325 with 14 homers in the second half and kept dealing in the CLCS before going down to injury himself. He would hit 99 regular season homers for the Coons, 11th-most in Raccoons history, right between R.J. DeWeese and Elias Tovias. His Coons OPS of .823 was the seventh-highest for the franchise amongst all players with at least a season’s worth of plate appearances (behind Ramos!).

But he had to go. He was worth two draft picks, and the Coons needed to restock the routinely depleted farm. He was also 33 years old and it was not guaranteed that he would still be around long enough for another winner to be assembled.

It was fundamentally different for Ramos, and the reason why we’d try to sign Alberto to a long-term deal this winter any way we could. The injury proneness be damned! I need my Alberto! Ramos was a .322/.414/.415 batter with 2,354 career at-bats, 758 base hits, and 269 stolen bases … and The Excitement would not turn 25 until December. He would still be around for the next competing Raccoons edition… assuming we’d get the revamp done in under ten years this time……

Gomez, Mora, and Pizzo had all been various grades of disappointing. They were all over 30. Mora was probably the least disappointing, but also the oldest at 34, and he was playing an agility position. Not that Juan Magallanes was an answer for centerfield (how had he not been demoted even once in the last two years??). The departure of the quartet of those three and Harenberg would eliminate almost $7M in salaries, so the $2M budget hit was not exactly cutting into the flesh.

Another $1.05M had been paid to a set of 31-year-old relievers in Billy Brotman and Kevin Surginer, who had been second- and third-round picks respectively, but both taken by other teams, and had arrived in Portland as prospects. Brotman had come from the Blue Sox in the same trade as Tim Stalker when we sent Tadasu Abe, Danny Margolis, Ruben Santiago, and Adam Zuhlke to Nashville in late July of ’21, notably also a season defined by crashing and diving into the cellar of the division. Meanwhile, Surginer had the unique story of having been taken by the Raccoons in the rule 5 draft… TWICE. We drafted him from the Rebels on December 1, 2021, but sent him back in January, only to find him still unprotected on December 1, 2022. That time, he stuck around. Both of these two long-time relievers were somewhere on the edge, and sometimes erratic. Both were 31. Both would probably not cost the world, and our young relief corps was … eeeeek.

Who else was up for salary arbitration? Besides Ramos and Magallanes, there were three pitchers in Sean Rigg, Jonathan Fleischer, and Josh Boles. Boles had lasted only 26 innings before heading to the DL for the year, which was unfortunate but probably didn’t doom the team on its own. Rigg had been useful mainly in a sponge role, soaking damage to the tune of a 6.84 ERA in 48.2 innings. And Fleischer had eroded completely in the second half. He had ERA’s of 3.77 and 2.78 in his first two full seasons. His WHIP jumped by .2 in ’30, and he gave up almost as many homers as in his first 2+ seasons combined. Ugly. But not necessarily a case for discarding the guy.

Given the advanced state of degradation our rotation was in, we still needed sponges.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:47 AM   #2878
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It was definitely worth talking money and expectations before making any offers. First off, Steve from Accounting reported that even with the reduced budget, the Critters could expect to have about $4.5M in budget space heading into the offseason proper. That was awesome!

And yet, it solved none of our problems.

The problems are manifold. For example, we will have nary an outfield left after the free agency departures. Matt Jamieson is under contract for another two years and $3M, half of each on a player option. Him aside, we had nothing but a flurry of demi-prospects and hopeless boys that had sure grown old quick. Ryan Allan had batted .299, but was probably not the future given that he was already 28 during his breakout season. Wilson Rodriguez had been terrible, and Magallanes and Catella had not been far off. Jimmy Wallace had arrived with a splash, had gotten hurt, and finished his debut season going 6-for-41. That was a whole lot of hot air for no gain at all. Granted, it was also the least of our problems, given that we had money to throw at the issue. Given that Wallace was the youngest and most-promising, he might have a role in rightfield to begin the 2031 season and we were really looking for a centerfielder, preferably younger than Abel Mora…

Then however there was the rotation. No amount of money thrown at it could fix the rotation. Between them, Mark Roberts, Tom Shumway, and Rico Gutierrez were owed another $25.6M. Some of those were options, but you wouldn’t expect Shumway to waive his player option for ’33 and 3.3, and we could only ditch Rico Gutierrez three years from now, and even then it would cost us $1.1M to buy out the last two years of his contract. And nobody was going to trade for anybody in that sad trio. I would have thought I’d be able to move Shumway at the trade deadline, and – nothing. Behind those four was Dave Martinez quietly leading the team in wins in exchange for nothing more than the league minimum, which was daft. The fifth spot was open; Raffaello Sabre wasn’t going to hold it on Opening Day. Maybe another 1-year rental like Jose Menendez to keep the spot warm. I don’t think I can stomach a full season of Sean Rigg. And I don’t think Jason Gurney (2-3, 4.91 ERA) will be any better in the long run…

So there was a pretty big roster sore, and the next one was the backstop slot. Mike Pizzo was gonna go, but Elias Tovias was going to hang out for another year for no particular reason. He had been the primary catcher for most of the 2020s. There had been a few good offensive seasons in the sense that a .750-ish OPS from the catcher was better than what most catchers usually displayed. But of his last six seasons, five had been for an OPS of .702 or worse, and for an OPS+ of 97 or worse, including 2030 (.619, 75) – much worse. Elliott Thompson, 20, was a good two or three years away. Another hole to plug.

And the bullpen? Well, Boles was going to be back, and we still had Ricky Ohl under contract for one more year. Nobody yet knew whether Brotman and Surginer would be back (they would NOT have been if they had meant a draft pick), but besides a 4-year deal signed with Garavito late in the season we had not much to show. Jonathan Fleischer had been largely abysmal in the second half, and the last guy from the Opening Day roster, Matt Stonecipher, had been shanked in May for walking EVERYBODY and had dropped all the way to Ham Lake during the year, and pitched only one more inning for Portland the rest of the year. Ironically, that was a scoreless inning for an extra-inning win over the Knights in August. He was not even called up in September.

The rest of the ramshackle relief rodeo had been various degrees of annoying to grating. Either they were walking everybody (Ramm, Bates), getting suspiciously good defense (Derks), or were just outright dull (Rabbitt), and some were just routinely assaulted for their naughty spots (Rigg, Barzaga, Costilow, Reed). The lone bright spot had been Chris Wise, fleeced from the Crusaders for Dan Delgadillo and Jamie O’Leary, neither of which managed to out-pitch Rico Gutierrez (5.32 ERA) in ’30.

Well, at least there were no worries about the infield. Matt Nunley, Alberto Ramos, and Tim Stalker were holding down their positions hard. If only because one of them might bite if you tried to remove him, and another one had batted for a .650 OPS while making $3M this year… It deserved mention that Rich Hereford was also under contract for another year, so there was another potential corner outfield candidate. And given that he had batted for all of a .700 OPS, I had no hope to shift him, either given that he came with a $2.48M commitment for ’31.

But with Kevin Harenberg on the way out, a hole was opening at first base. For a while we had considered Craig Hollenbeck, our second-rounder from the 2025 draft, a replacement candidate. Unfortunately, Craig Hollenbeck was a bit of a dud. He had now played two-and-a-half seasons in St. Petersburg. He had hit only 12 homers in all that time. His OPS had been .769 in ’29, but had dipped to .721 in ’30. He was hitting 30 doubles, yeah, but a first baseman that couldn’t even hit double digit dingers? What was that supposed to be? Rich Hereford has never played first base, so we’re not sure that’s an option…

We should mention as well that Ryan Allan and Chris Baldwin both had first base experience, packed first base gloves, and neither of them had hit a homer in a combined 416 at-bats in 2030.

Holes, holes, holes! – Yes, Matt, there are also good holes. – Yes, like the holes in the donut. – Matt, did you eat ALL the donuts? – There were three boxes of- … Maud! Maud! – Matt Nunley ate all the donuts! Do something!

Sigh.

Of the five non-compensation-eligible upcoming free agents, Billy Brotman was the only one receiving an extension offer. Cristiano Carmona had compiled some colorful chart and talked to me about WAR and FIP and WPA and OWOBA a lot, which was probably all some youth slang and not entirely appropriate to the topic. He said that Kevin Surginer was just not worth holding on and had been held together by defense, but that Billy Brotman was steady enough to retain despite the command issues he had displayed throughout his career.

However, no deal came together; Billy Brotman was insisting on a multi-year deal and a significant annual raise, and the Critters weren’t eating that.

While the Raccoons did a minor shift or two on the trade market (see below), I also found out already that Mark Roberts was going to invoke 10/5 rights on any deal, including one to the Bayhawks, his team of old.

In the week prior to the salary arbitration hearings we came to agreements with Jonathan Fleischer ($300k) and Juan Magallanes ($325k) for 1-year deals, but not with Sean Rigg, who was taken to arbitration. The team offered $395k, which was quite a lot for an ERA creeping near seven, and Rigg was rightfully laughed at by the arbitrator for asking for as much as $480k. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the team.

Kevin Harenberg refused arbitration and became a free agent, but we now were eligible for a set of draft picks. We hope we get something nice to go with our protected #5 pick! Harenberg is one of 11 type A free agents this year, a class that also includes fellow 2026 Coons first-sacker Jon Gonzalez (last with the Arrowheads of course). The Condors – like they needed draft picks – were the only team with two type A free agents (Jose Fuentes and Adam Potter). I can also confirm that we will not under any circumstances sign a type A free agent ourselves, even when there are guys like David Lessman who would definitely plug a gaping hole, this one at catcher.

+++

October 25 – The Raccoons trade 29-year-old SS/3B Butch Gerster (.251, 7 HR, 37 RBI) to the Blue Sox for 25-year-old 1B Jarod Howden (.269, 18 HR, 105 RBI).
November 3 – The Blue Sox ship CL Jimmy Souders (17-19, 4.69 ERA, 49 SV) to the Warriors for two prospects.

+++

Curb your enthusiasm about the Howden deal. Well, we turned a more or less useless player into a candidate that was certainly not worse than Craig Hollenbeck. Howden had been a rule 5 selection by the Blue Sox prior to ’29 and had been splitting first base duties for a while. There was *some* power in that bat, but he was no Harenberg, not a by a long shot. It was certainly bringing in an option for how to proceed, and he made the league minimum, too.

Neatly, at that point this minor deal fired the Critters all the way to the #1 in the early revision of the BNN WAR gains board. At least we’re #1 in SOMETHING!

There is also more significant news to report. In late October the Raccoons avoided arbitration with the two more obvious cases that begged for the players’ retention. Josh Boles refused a long-term deal, but settled for $900k for 2031, slightly less than the arbitration estimate.

Alberto Ramos however DID sign the long-term deal this time. The Raccoons splurged on this one, shelling out an eight-year deal worth $20M! The contract is flat at $2.5M per year, but there are also incentives of almost $400k annually. The final year of the contract (for the 2038 season) is a team option with a $650k buyout. Alberto thus replaces Rico Gutierrez as the Raccoon with the longest guaranteed contract (when including team options; if you do not count those as guaranteed, Tim Stalker had the longest guaranteed contract). Ramos was thus going to draw the fourth-biggest paycheck in ’31, narrowly edging Hereford and behind only Tom Scumbag ($3.3M), Stalker ($3M), and “Launchpad” Roberts ($2.6M). None of those were likely to be traded during the winter, and not because we really, really wanted to keep them…

+++

2030 AWARDS

Players of the Year: PIT 1B Danny Santillano (.360, 34 HR, 105 RBI) and OCT 2B/SS Alex Serrato (.302, 29 HR, 98 RBI)
Pitchers of the Year: LAP SP Dave Christiansen (22-4, 2.36 ERA) and MIL SP Francisco Colmenarez (18-6, 2.03 ERA)
Rookies of the Year: NAS 3B Jim Allen (.332, 8 HR, 60 RBI) and IND C Juan Herrera (.268, 18 HR, 67 RBI)
Relievers of the Year: PIT MR Ramiro Benavides (6-5, 1.79 ERA, 1 SV) and BOS CL Jonathan Snyder (6-2, 1.79 ERA, 37 SV)
Platinum Sticks (FL): P LAP Dave Christiansen – C DEN Jeremiah Brooks – 1B PIT Danny Santillano – 2B WAS Enrique Trevino – 3B PIT Omar Lastrade – SS SAC Matthew Crabtree – LF CIN Kelvin Winborn – CF LAP Justin Fowler – RF SAL Luigi Banfi
Platinum Sticks (CL): P VAN Joe Martin – C OCT Mike Burgess – 1B SFB Tomas Caraballo – 2B OCT Alex Serrato – 3B OCT Dave Garcia – SS POR Alberto Ramos – LF LVA Dom Dunlap – CF SFB George Hawthorne – RF VAN Brian Wojnarowski
Gold Gloves (FL): P RIC Tony Fuentes – C CIN Pat Sanford – 1B SFW Kumanosuke Henderson – 2B SAC Tim Stackhouse – 3B CIN Ricardo Rangel – SS CIN Frank Eisenberg – LF TOP Ken Hess – CF PIT Carlos de la Riva – RF CIN Ken Gibbs
Gold Gloves (CL): P SFB Jesus Blanco – C CHA Matt Cooper – 1B CHA John Elliott – 2B BOS Rhett West – 3B POR Matt Nunley – SS MIL Wayne Morris – LF BOS Dustin Acor – CF MIL Gabe Creech – RF VAN Brian Wojnarowski

Congratulations Matt Nunley for winning a gold glove (his second) at age 39!
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:53 PM   #2879
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That deal looks pretty sweet to me. I think you can find a spot for 105 RBI’s in your lineup. I mean he isn’t a superstar but looks to be a decent low cost bat (both financially and what you gave up for him).

Edit - oh my bad I didn’t understand those RBI’s were a 2 season total. Still looks like a decent deal though

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Old 06-09-2019, 03:12 PM   #2880
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DD Martin View Post
Edit - oh my bad I didn’t understand those RBI’s were a 2 season total. Still looks like a decent deal though
Yeah, I'm not really prominent about it, but during the offseason the stats given in the various news bullet points are always career numbers; everything between the playoffs roundup (or last game in the World Series if the Coons take part) and the Opening Day post, basically.
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