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Old 09-06-2018, 08:15 AM   #2601
Westheim
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I spent early January somewhat in love with the scouting report of the Buffaloes' 3B/SS Stephen Williams. A 27-year-old right-handed batter with Nunleyesque defense and tremendous speed, Williams had batted .252 with 15 homers in '25, and was putting up similar numbers ever since debuting early in 2021. He was also affordable. There was just one slight knack to acquiring him – the Buffaloes wouldn't let me. There was no way to make that trade work out, at least not without overwriting them the entire roster. They just weren't trading Williams.

Not even for Ramos!

+++

January 3 – The Stars snatch up ex-SAC SS Trey Rock (.308, 6 HR, 296 RBI). The 27-year-old receives a 7-yr, $12.6M contract.
January 5 – The Capitals sign ex-ATL OF Jeremy Houghtaling (.247, 55 HR, 239 RBI) to a 4-yr, $11.2M deal.
January 5 – The Crusaders trade INF Blake Doering (.278, 11 HR, 77 RBI) to the Stars for 1B Justin Godown (.289, 55 HR, 278 RBI) and a prospect.
January 7 – It's another homecoming in Las Vegas, where the Aces sign former Capital LF/RF/1B Matt Hamilton (.289, 189 HR, 735 RBI) to a 4-yr, $13.84M contract. Hamilton, 32, made his major league debut with the Aces before playing for the Raccoons and Capitals.
January 10 – Active saves leader and former Knight CL Jarrod Morrison (102-89, 2.89 ERA, 413 SV) joins the Cyclones on a 1-year deal. The 40-year-old right-hander will make $2M with the deal.
January 10 – The Miners come to terms with ex-BOS SP Hwa-pyung Choe (82-84, 3.96 ERA), who signs a 1-yr, $1.78M contract.
January 15 – Veteran reliever Harry Merwin (45-55, 3.37 ERA, 270 SV) returns to the Titans on a 3-yr, $5.1M deal. The 32-year-old started his career with Boston.
January 15 – The Capitals ink ex-OCT SP Danny Martin (50-56, 4.08 ERA) to a 2-yr, $6.8M contract.

+++

Chris Munroe signed a $276k deal with the Indians;

+++

2026 HALL OF FAME VOTING RESULTS

The official Hall of Fame ballots have all been tallied, and this year the names of four new members of the Baseball Hall of Fame have been drawn out of the hat, three of them pitchers, and two actually from the same team:

The only non-pitcher inducted this year also received the highest vote percentage in the current ballot and the second-highest vote percentage ever (behind Tony Hamlyn's 99.6 mark) at 99.4% (although the vote percentages of the once active and totally invisible Secret Ninja Committee in the pre-balloting era remain unknown). LF Victorino Sanchez from Soledad, Mexico was inducted as member of the Washington Capitals, for whom he spent the first ten of his 25 major-league seasons including a late-season debut at age 18. Sanchez was an outright dominating batter that would hit for high averages, many doubles, and for a while also 15+ home runs with regularity. All in all he won a staggering TEN batting titles across both leagues and three different teams, led the league in hits 12 times (including ten times in a row), and despite never reaching 20 home runs also was the slugging king of the Federal League once in 2010. He was also of iron condition, not hitting the DL once until his age 34 season. Sanchez' career slash of .347/.442/.492, his 221 HR, 1,530 RBI, 188 SB, and even 831 doubles make him a tremendous standout and one of three members of the 100 WAR club with a career total of 108.5 WAR.

Puerto Rican SP Pancho Trevino, a right-hander that pitched from 2000 through 2018, was inducted with the Crusaders insignia on his cap, with whom he played during parts of both of their three-peats earlier in the century. Winner of 242 games and loser of 161, with a career 3.72 ERA and 3,238 strikeouts, Trevino was a model of consistency, although he never delivered that one magical season the will forever be talked about. He led the CL in wins twice with the Crusaders, but otherwise was remarkably consistent and mostly fool-proof, also abstaining from injuries. He was an All Star three times, and also won a Platinum Stick in 2013.

Two Canadiens were also voted into the Hall of Fame this year, beginning with SP Rod Taylor, who spent 17 of his 20 major league seasons with Vancouver, winning two Gold Gloves and making four All Star Games. Taylor was subscribed to the CL strikeout crown prior to the emergence of Jonathan Toner, taking home the K title eight times, including seven times in a row from 2008 through 2014. He twice led the league in innings pitched, but was also known to be home run prone, surrendering the most in a season six times, even during his hey days in the late 2000s. He led the league in wins in 2011, but his 3.30 ERA denied him a triple crown that season. He was sturdy, especially for a starting pitcher, starting 30+ games for 12 consecutive seasons and 13 times overall. All but 320 K of his 3,473 total came with the Canadiens, with the last three years of his career spent with the Pacifics.

The second Canadiens and fourth inductee overall is closer Pedro Alvarado, who was a team mate of Taylor for 17 seasons and still predated and outlasted him with the Canadiens, debuting all the way back in 1998. A four-time Reliever of the Year and 11-time All Star, Alvarado is also among the very few closers to win a Pitcher of the Year award, doing so in 2005, when he pitched 79.2 innings to a 1.13 ERA, saving 38 games. He led the CL in saves twice, including a 50 SV tally in 2014. For most of his career he would strike out way more than a batter per inning, including marks of 14.9 and 15.1 in his age 35 and 36 seasons. For his career, he whiffed 10.7 per nine innings, and 1,738 batters overall, a staggering total for a reliever. He won 102 games and more importantly saved 624 games, the third-highest total in ABL history behind Andres Ramirez (770) and Angel Casas (641 and not yet HOF eligible).

Complete voting results with year on ballot and vote percentage:

WAS LF Victorino Sanchez – 1st – 99.4 – INDUCTED
VAN CL Pedro Alvarado – 1st – 91.8 – INDUCTED
NYC SP Pancho Trevino – 3rd – 82.4 – INDUCTED
VAN SP Rod Taylor – 1st – 77.0 – INDUCTED
LVA 2B Oliver Torres – 2nd – 73.6
IND C Jose Paraz – 2nd – 67.3
LAP 3B Jens Carroll – 1st – 45.3
MIL CF Jerry Fletcher – 9th – 41.5
??? SP Chris York – 8th – 30.8
TIJ SP Kelvin Yates – 7th – 28.0
VAN 1B Ray Gilbert – 1st – 25.5
CHA CL Luis Hernandez – 4th – 15.7
TOP LF Lionnel Perri – 2nd – 15.1
PIT SP Miguel Rodriguez – 2nd – 7.2
??? CL Tommy Wooldridge – 2nd – 5.0
??? CL Iemitsu Rin – 3rd – 4.7 – DROPPED
??? RF Juan Ortνz – 2nd – 2.8 – DROPPED
DAL SP Jose Flores – 1st – 2.5 – DROPPED
POR 1B Adrian Quebell – 1st – 0.3 – DROPPED
RIC CL Juan Jimenez – 1st – 0.0 – DROPPED

+++

The 100 WAR club consists of:

Tony Hamlyn – 152.3
Martin Garcia – 122.7
Juan Correa – 120.0
Martin Ortνz – 117.1 (and not yet HOF eligible)
Victorino Sanchez – 108.5
Aaron Anderson – 103.0
Jeffery Brown – 102.5
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:42 AM   #2602
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There is a few trash heap signings every year, and they are usually conducted in February and later. The Raccoons did sign a few players to minor league deals as spring approached, and this included bringing back two former farmhands, both infielders. INF Justin Chambers, 28 and without big league experience, signed a minor league deal with a $310k major league option, while INF Ismael Pastor, 26, signed a minor league contract only.

Chambers had been a supplemental round pick in 2016, but had never impressed at any level, ending up being released in 2021 before tuckering through the Crusaders', Gold Sox', Cyclones', and Bayhawks' organizations and ending up on the street every November.

Pastor had been a $80k July IFA in 2015, signed straight out of the Dominican Republic. He, too, had never seen action in the majors, but at one point had been the #100 prospect in the nation. The Raccoons included him in the deadline deal in 2021 that sent Michael Foreman back to the Loggers in exchange for Jarod Spencer, Greg Borg, and Evan Carrell.

+++

January 20 – The Raccoons ink ex-PIT MR Jeff Mudge (34-27, 3.74 ERA, 87 SV) to a 2-yr, $1.4M contract.
January 21 – The Pacifics add experience in ex-LVA SP Samuel McMullen (202-138, 3.45 ERA). The 37-year-old left-hander signs a 2-yr, $7.68M contract.
February 7 – Veteran left-hander SP Tristan Broun (117-131, 3.84 ERA) returns to the Contintental League after a year in Washington. The 38-year-old signed a 1-yr, $1.52M contract with the Aces.
February 8 – The Capitals console themselves with the addition of 34-yr old ex-NYC SP Alejandro "Ant" Mendez (160-130, 3.25 ERA) for 1-yr, $620k.
February 18 – The final type A free agent of the winter falls finally into place, as ex-CIN SP Matt Rosenthal (77-89, 4.60 ERA) signs a 2-yr, $5.12M contract with the Crusaders.
February 27 – 27-year-old Japanese international free agent SP Rin Nomura signs a 3-yr, $2.175M contract with the Raccoons.

+++

With the 33-year-old veteran Mudge the pitching staff was more or less completed. I hesitate to say "perfected", because you could always add a couple of Nick Brown types via kidnapping, but I was happy with the pitching staff as long as Dan Delgadillo would find back to his 2024 self.

I did keep looking for another bat throughout January. After all, we had only added Rafael Gomez in terms of stick wielders, and wasn't the offense our main concern? Ah yes, you might say, another failed offseason. But I would argue against that; Gomez was a pretty dangerous fourth outfielder, and could fill in for anybody. We would also swallow pride and put Cookie on the bench after three zero-WAR campaigns and run out Kopp, Mora, and Alfaro every day from left to right (Alfaro had the better arm compared to Kopp). Yes, those three started approximately seven games together in 2025, but maybe that was why the offense was such a disaster last year.

With Ramos, Spencer, and Mora on top we have three guys with blistering speed to lead off; Spencer is known to slap singles at high volumes, and Mora can go deep. Mora bats third not because he is the best batter on the team (that would be Jon Gonzalez, I would guess, right now), but because he was the only guy that combined speed and power, and I didn't want to put a Gonzalez-shaped roadblock in front of his black, pointy nose. Then Gonzalez in the cleanup spot, followed by Kopp, Alfaro, Tovias in order of hotness, finally Nunley. Somebody's gotta bat eighth.

We just hope that won't be Ramos. He batted .260/.307/.354 in his two stints with the Coons in 2025, which surely wasn't all bad. We would want him to tune down the strikeouts (24 K in 127 AB) and amp up the walks (8 BB in 137 PA) though. He is totally penciled in as leadoff man. If that falls apart, we might have problems.

Bats I was after during this time were f.e. Brody Folk on the Indians, who had batted .251 with 12 HR, and 68 RBI. He was a super utility that could play most any position except catcher, and was also a right-handed batter and capable defensive third baseman to light fire under Nunley's bum. The Indians were however not inclined to trade him, especially not for our meager selection of prospects. Well, Ramos would do, they guessed, but now I wasn't inclined…

What else? Will West signed a 2-yr, $600k deal with the Capitals; Alex Duarte was turned an Indian for $260k; the Buffaloes grabbed Graham Wasserman for $1.1M; Josh Stevenson joined the Gold Sox for $276k; the Stars added Frank Santos for $234k; Jose Gutierrez (age 41!) got back to the Rebels for $324k;
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1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
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: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

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Old 09-08-2018, 04:08 AM   #2603
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March 5 – The Warriors acquire 27-year old INF Cy Burrier (.266, 5 HR, 68 RBI) to the Warriors for MR Harley Molski (10-16, 3.89 ERA, 1 SV) and #65 prospect SP Ben Darr.
March 27 – SFW LF Jeff Wadley (.275, 14 HR, 65 RBI in 2025) will miss Opening Day with a sprained thumb suffered in a high-five with a team mate during training camp.

+++

No more All Stars and future Hall of Famers were acquired by the Raccoons in the final month of the offseason. All points are now set for the start of the 2026 season!

The immortal Pat Slayton (age 40) signed a new $324k deal with Cincy in March; Jonathan Toner remained a free agent until the latter half of March before signing a $306k deal with the Wolves; the Stars picked up Jimmy Lee for $294k;
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Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

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Old 09-08-2018, 05:21 AM   #2604
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2026 PORTLAND RACCOONS – Opening Day Roster (first set in parenthesis shows 2025 numbers, second set career numbers; players with an * are off season acquisitions):

SP Mark Roberts, 31, B:L, T:L (21-7, 2.29 ERA | 78-58, 3.01 ERA) – welcome Mister Triple Crown! Mark Roberts struck out 238 and gutted his way to a short-rest Closing Day win to grab the coveted distinction of having led his league in all categories in 2025 and earned a Pitcher of the Year award on top of it. One of the elite pitchers right now, with a dazzling arsenal, very good control, and the occasional home run bug – he surrendered 19 in '25, but 30 in '24 to lead the league in that category then…
SP Rico Gutierrez, 26, B:L, T:L (11-8, 3.12 ERA | 45-38, 3.33 ERA) – struggled both with nagging injuries early in the season and to get run support during the entire season after he held a share of the wins lead in '24, when nobody in the CL won more than his 16 games. Upped the strikeouts to seven per nine innings in '25 and might still have some more room to grow. Has decent control while keeping batters alert with a move-happy 96mph heater.
SP Lance Legleiter, 29, B:S, T:R (2-4, 3.40 ERA | 4-5, 3.43 ERA) – spent most of the 2025 season as reserve in St. Pete while making a few spot starts in betwee and more in September. His arsenal is generally impressive, but it has taken him until his age 29 season to get a shot at a rotation spot; he has made only 12 major league starts to date between the Coons and Crusaders. Stamina is the main concern for him; he is unlikely to go past six or seven innings.
SP Kyle Anderson *, 27, B:R, T:R (9-14, 4.32 ERA | 51-62, 4.01 ERA) – acquired in a December trade with the Falcons along with Jason Butler for Jesus Chavez, Jack Sander, and a minor leaguer, Anderson – who led the league in losses two years ago – is assumed to have brutally suffered from terrible defense and everything will be so much better in Portland. At least he doesn't walk the world!
SP Dan Delgadillo, 23, B:R, T:R (2-3, 5.44 ERA | 11-12, 4.11 ERA) – 2025 was wholly a lost season for Yusneldan Delgadillo, whatever his real age might be, spending most of it recovering from Tommy John surgery and then getting whacked around during his nine starts with the team late in the season. The BABIP wasn't in his favor, but he also gave up a homer per start there at the tail end. 2026 is about getting all those paws pointed the right way again!

LR Jason Butler *, 25, B:R, T:R (2-2, 7.29 ERA | 2-2, 5.32 ERA) – also acquired in the Anderson deal with the Falcons, Butler has been whacked around in his career so far, but our scouting sees great potential and also solid improvement already. Control is a thing for him, but for now he is penciled in as long man and spot starter (he has never started a major league game in his career).
MR Jeff Kearney *, 33, B:L, T:L (5-6, 3.82 ERA, 9 SV | 24-30, 4.85 ERA, 27 SV) – free agent addition of the Manobu Sugano class of left-handed relievers; lethal to left-handed batters, but absolutely impossible to endure against right-handers.
MR Kevin Surginer, 26, B:R, T:R (6-5, 3.10 ERA | 14-10, 3.23 ERA, 2 SV) – very solid and mostly reliable reliever that goes about his job with so little noise that you sometimes entirely forget he's still there. Spent a considerable amount of his 2025 season in long relief, but figures to be used more prominently this year with the addition of Butler, but that doesn't mean we can't still run him out for multiple innings. His high endurance and stamina mean he is a good choice for long extra-inning games.
MR Billy Brotman, 27, B:L, T:L (2-1, 1.40 ERA, 3 SV | 6-7, 2.41 ERA, 8 SV) – control remains an issue for Billy, but his tendency to keep the ball on the ground help him greatly and he posted his second consecutive sub-2 ERA in 2025. Unlike Kearney, you can also let him face right-handers without closing your eyes and waiting for the crack.
MR Jeff Mudge *, 33, B:L, T:R (3-1, 4.26 ERA, 1 SV | 34-27, 3.74 ERA, 87 SV) – groundballer with a 96mph heater and a vicious curve that should feel right at home with a solid defense around the infield. So far spent all of his 10-year career in the Federal League, so most players he will regularly face so far have never seen him.
SU Jonathan Snyder, 26, B:L, T:R (3-7, 2.93 ERA, 42 SV | 15-11, 2.88 ERA, 67 SV) – struggled considerably down the road in 2025 and with the way Ricky Ohl performed all season long we thought it due to make a change in the closer assignment. Closer is a job that has been in a state of flux for the Raccoons ever since Angel Casas left the team many, many years ago…
CL Ricky Ohl, 27, B:R, T:R (5-1, 1.91 ERA, 1 SV | 6-2, 2.54 ERA, 2 SV) – was outright impressive after coming over from the Capitals and with 11.7 K/9 has been anointed the new closer. We expect great things from him.

C Elias Tovias, 26, B:S, T:R (.248, 11 HR, 60 RBI | .259, 46 HR, 200 RBI) – spent all of the second half of 2025 in a horrendous slump that completely ruined his slash line (.248/.290/.362) after a very promising first half of the season. Still squeezed in 32 extra-base hits despite not hitting much of anything in the last two months.
C/1B Brett O'Dell, 31, B:R, T:R (.283, 7 HR, 25 RBI | .269, 35 HR, 175 RBI) – career backup except for one season with the Bayhawks in '24 that is also on his fifth team seven major league seasons; O'Dell has yet to go deep for the Raccoons after coming over in a garbage time trade with the Cyclones last year, having been exchanged for Graham Wasserman.

1B Jon Gonzalez, 28, B:R, T:R (.300, 21 HR, 91 RBI | .281, 87 HR, 354 RBI) – in his second season with Portland, Gonzalez led the league in doubles (44) and extra-base hits (67), and while we were still hoping for more than 21 homers from him (he hit 24 in San Fran after all…) the resulting 138 OPS+ was a career high. Here is to more of that peak!
2B/LF/3B/SS Jarod Spencer, 28, B:R, T:R (.305, 3 HR, 38 RBI | .302, 6 HR, 173 RBI) – "Pop" Spencer remains an utterly weird player that batted over .300 and stole a CL-leading 46 bases (and being caught only eight times) in 2025, and somehow still managed to wind up with a 96 OPS+. He is not an extra-base hitter (25 XBH, a career high, in 571 AB) and he has no patience whatsoever at the plate. He walked a career-high(…) 18 times in '25, but at least he makes contact: he struck out only *20* times.
SS Alberto Ramos, 20, B:L, T:R (.260, 0 HR, 8 RBI | .260, 0 HR, 8 RBI) – the Raccoons are totally sure that Ramos, who's profile is reminding of what a young Cookie brought to the table more than a decade ago, can pull off the leadoff spot. There is no question about his defense. There are questions about his bat (like 24 K in 127 AB), which I prefer to counter by sticking fingers into my ears and singing LALALALALALALALALALALAICANTHEARYOU.
3B Matt Nunley, 35, B:L, T:R (.271, 6 HR, 45 RBI | .280, 126 HR, 758 RBI) – eternal Matt Nunley, in his 13th major league season remains unaccosted for his spot at the hot corner. No trade for a challenger materialized, and much the contrary, the Coons traded away Mike Grigsby, the only serious "prospect" they had in the high minors. Defense remains excellent, and the bat has remained steady for as long as we can remember.
SS/2B Tim Stalker, 27, B:R, T:R (.246, 7 HR, 28 RBI | .249, 27 HR, 185 RBI) – very good defensive shortstop, more than just token speed, and most of the time also a good batter; he did all he could to keep his spot, like winning a third consecutive Gold Glove at the most demanding position in the field, and yet he still got shunted to the siding by the arrival of Alberto Ramos.
3B/SS/2B Daniel Bullock, 28, B:S, T:R (.261, 1 HR, 13 RBI | .242, 3 HR, 79 RBI) – strong defensive infielder, especially on the left side of the infield, with a negligible bat, the Brazilian shortstop missed roughly half of the 2025 season in recovering from a knee injury. He is the official 25th man on the team, but no replacement for him materialized in the offseason.

RF/LF/1B/CF Terry Kopp, 29, B:L, T:L (.274, 4 HR, 19 RBI | .276, 108 HR, 539 RBI) – after a subpar second half in 2024 and a 2025 season almost completely wiped out by injury (179 AB), Terry will move to leftfield in deference of Alfaro's stronger arm and hope to stay in one piece in a contract year and charge at that 20 HR mark again that he broke only once in his career.
LF/CF/RF/1B Abel Mora, 29, B:L, T:R (.272, 18 HR, 65 RBI | .270, 76 HR, 382 RBI) – as much of an allround player as you can find, hitting for average (having reached .300 once with the Wolves) and power, possessing good speed, and fielding very well, also throwing for eight assists last year. Not quite Neil Reece Reborn, but then again Neil's a Hall of Famer and they just don't fall from the skies.
RF/LF Omar Alfaro, 25, B:S, T:L (.282, 12 HR, 55 RBI | .240, 36 HR, 153 RBI) – Year 4 in the Age of Omar was the first that actually hinted at it possibly being more than a reincarnation of the Dark Ages. While hampered by injury like every other outfielder that dared tumble onto the roster, Omar went deep 12 times and put up his first .800+ OPS with a .282/.354/.459 slash. While he is anointed the rightfield starter prior to the season, he should also be mindful of Gomez breathing down his (and the other starters') neck.
1B/LF/RF/CF Rafael Gomez *, 27, B:R, T:L (.276, 10 HR, 44 RBI | .265, 75 HR, 361 RBI) – acquired from the Rebels, Rafael Gomez is so far penciled in as the fourth outfielder, but will get all the starts against left-handers for sure, and can jump into any opening created by a slumping or injured outfielder.
LF/CF/RF Ricardo Carmona, 34, B:L, T:R (.260, 1 HR, 37 RBI | .309, 21 HR, 602 RBI) – signed to an early extension before the 2023 season even began, Cookie soon enough found himself in hell, not seeing the ball well the entire year and dropping 70 points from his 2022 batting average, and has remained in hell ever since; after three campaigns of zero WAR from Cookie as leftfield starter, the Raccoons concede defeat and will put one of their most expensive players on the far end of the bench for the last two years of his contract, probably also ending his Hall of Fame ambitions which would have hinged on him topping up on those 2,176 career base hits.

On disabled list: Nobody.

Otherwise unavailable: Nobody.

Other roster movement:
SP/MR Alvin Smith *, 31, B:R, T:R (0-1, 4.72 ERA | 19-27, 4.52 ERA, 1 SV) – waived and DFA'ed; intended as injury reserve in AAA after added as free agent on the cheap during the offseason
RF/1B/CF/LF Greg Borg, 27, B:R, T:R (.228, 2 HR, 20 RBI | .212, 2 HR, 25 RBI) – waived and DFA'ed; got 250 AB in 2025 and did virtually nothing with them; good defender across all his positions, but unfortunately doesn't wield much of a stick
LF Justin Gerace, 26, B:S, T:R (.230, 8 HR, 31 RBI | .226, 9 HR, 37 RBI) – demoted on Opening Day, Gerace can slug it, but also has giant holes in his swing, giving him a K rate of almost 25% in '25, and is also not really a gain to any clubhouse…

The remaining surplus players (Mansfield, Magallanes, Derks, Wilson) had already been moved to the AAA roster prior to Opening Day.

OPENING DAY LINEUP:

Vs. RHP: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – RF Alfaro – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Roberts
(Vs. LHP: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – LF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Roberts)

Abel Mora is batting third because he is the only guy that combines speed and power on this roster and I don't want a roadblock in front of him. Putting Ramos, who didn't exactly incinerate pitchers in his debut season, in the leadoff spot is a bit of a gamble, but if he works out, the singles slapper Spencer in the #2 hole will be that more lethal and might drive in tons of runs for a #2 batter. Gonzalez is more or less a lock in the cleanup spot unless Omar Alfaro grows at an exponential pace. The #5 through #7 batters are more or less interchangeable depending on performance, but there is not much hope for Nunley to get out of the #8 hole except when other players get rest and we switch in the reserves.

OFF SEASON CHANGES:

WAR is a useless stat (which isn't stopping me from using it to make a point from time to time, just as I see fit). The Raccoons made three trades in the offseason that I all considered to be advancing the team, yet all of them were WAR-negative. As a result, and because free agent additions were limited to relief pitchers, the Coons ended up 17th in the WAR gain table with a -1.3 value. But then again, WAR was judging them really unfairly this time around.

Top 5: Aces (+9.2), Gold Sox (+7.3), Canadiens (+6.7), Miners (+5.8), Stars (+4.2)
Bottom 5: Scorpions (-5.8), Thunder (-6.4), Titans (-7.0), Loggers (-8.9), Knights (-12.8)

PREDICTION TIME:

For the second straight year I was off my prediction by double digits. After considering the Coons to be shoe-in for 89 wins in '24 (which they didn't come close to), I predicted more misery and a 75-87 season for '25, which they outran by 13 wins.

What is in the division? The Titans have won four titles in a row and they are in any conversation. The Coons are in the conversation because they won 88 and look improved, and Ramos is totally going to bat .372 and steal 86 bases and score 175 runs. Totally!

The Elks and Crusaders seem to have a good offense, but their pitching has holes as big as the Rocky Mountains. The Loggers and Indians don't have much of anything except for question marks and a lousy future. No, the division will really be between the Coons and the Titans, but can we make up 14 games? The Titans lost some feathers, not a lot, but some. If the Coons stay healthy, keep zero-WAR players out of the lineup, and continue to pitch well, they might be a 95-win team. How much will the Titans drop from their 102-60 campaign? We sure hope at least seven games…

I hesitate to make a call as to who wins the division here… I want it to be us so badly, but I wonder whether we got enough.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT:

Portland drops three spots in the farm system rankings from 7th to 10th. That they are anywhere close to the front ranks is still mostly due to Alberto Ramos, although his prospect days are numbered. We also got a top 25 entrant from the July IFA period, but ultimately remain limited to five ranked prospects, the same as last year.

Compared to last season, the Raccoons lost #98 prospect Felipe Delgado in a trade, and former #38 George James dropped out of the top 200.

8th (-7) – ML SS Alberto Ramos, 20 – 2022 international free agent signed by Raccoons
25th (new) – INT SP Izzy Chavez, 18 – 2025 international free agent signed by Raccoons
77th (new) – A SP Aaron Hagemann, 20 – 2025 first-round pick by Raccoons
112th (+45) – AAA CL Josh Boles, 22 – 2022 second-round pick by Warriors, signed as minor league FA by Raccoons
157th (-75) – AA SP Dave Martinez, 20 – 2022 international free agent signed by Raccoons

The franchise top 10 were completed by AA CL Jonathan Fleischer, 23 (), AAA SP George James, 22 (2024 1st Rd.), AA INF German Sanchez, 23 (trash heap), INT SP Raffaello Sabre, 17 (2025 IFA), and AAA 2B/SS Chris Golka, 24 (2021 2nd Rd.)

The top 5 overall prospects this year are:

#1 IND A INF Dan Schneller (newly drafted in 2025)
#2 LVA A SP Josh Heckman (newly drafted in 2025)
#3 ATL AA SP Andy Jimenes (scouting discovery in 2023)
#4 PIT ML 1B Danny Santillano (was #5)
#5 NAS AA 3B Jim Allen (was #3)

The remaining players from last year's top 5 were obviously Alberto Ramos, who dropped from #1 to #8; furthermore #2 VAN AA SP Geoff Swayze, who is still at the same level and dropped to #11, and #4 IND A SP Andy Bressner, who moved up to AA for this season and tossed a no-hitter at the single-A level in '25, but still dropped to #9 in the rankings.

Next: first pitch.
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:23 AM   #2605
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Raccoons (0-0) vs. Crusaders (0-0) – April 6-8, 2026

We were going to kick off the 50th ABL season with a weeklong homestand, with the Crusaders coming in first. The Raccoons hadn't won the season series from the Crusaders since 2021, splitting it last year, so here was the first stepping stone for a successful charge towards the front already…

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (0-0) vs. Chris Klein (0-0)
Rico Gutierrez (0-0) vs. Mike Rutkowski (0-0)
Lance Legleiter (0-0) vs. Carlos Marron (0-0)

Three right-handers to get the season going, with the Crusaders' only southpaw starter, Ben Jacobson, only slotted into the #4 spot in their rotation.

Game 1
NYC: 1B Espinosa – CF Douglas – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – C J. Ramirez – LF R. Allen – SS McWhorter – 2B S. Valdez – P Klein
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – RF Alfaro – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Roberts

The season's first run with Portland involved unfortunately was scored against Portland, with Lance Douglas singling, stealing, and scoring on Nate Ellis' single up the middle in the top of the first against Mr. Triple Crown. The Coons didn't lay down, though; Ramos opened his ROTY season (cough!) with a single over shortstop Tom McWhorter on an 0-2 pitch, moved to second on Mora's single, and both scored when Jon Gonzalez sunk a double in the gap between Douglas and Ellis. That wasn't all; Terry Kopp singled, moving Gonzalez to third base, and from there he scored on Alfaro's groundout, giving Roberts a 3-1 lead. It got even worse for New York, as they had to remove Klein in the second inning with shoulder woes. Matt Rosenthal ended up in the game and surrendered the Coons' first homer of the season, a solo piece by Abel Mora to rightfield in the third inning. For Roberts, this was plenty of Opening Day support. After the early run conceded to Douglas and Ellis, Roberts would not miss another beat and strangled the Crusaders to concede only two more base hits through the eighth inning, completing eight frames on 110 pitches. With that length of service he outlasted Matt Nunley, who was ejected after protesting strike three in the sixth inning and was replaced by Daniel Bullock. Since the Coons didn't add any runs despite a few chances in the middle and late innings, Ricky Ohl was in action for the first time in the ninth inning. He retired Douglas, Andy Schmit, and Ellis in order, whiffing the last two after Douglas started the inning by grounding out. 4-1 Coons! Ramos 2-4; Mora 3-4, HR, RBI; Kopp 2-3, BB; Roberts 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W (1-0);

Game 2
NYC: 1B Espinosa – CF Douglas – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – C J. Ramirez – LF R. Allen – SS McWhorter – 2B S. Valdez – P Rutkowski
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – RF Alfaro – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Gutierrez

The Raccoons had no base hits the first time through the order, but Terry Kopp drew a walk. Alfaro forced him out on a grounder, but stole second base before Tovias grounded out, the first bag taken by force by Portland this year; not Ramos, not Spencer, not Mora – Alfaro! But the top of the order produced the game's first run, with Ramos doubling to center with two outs in the bottom 3rd, then scoring easily on Spencer's single to left-center. Rico Gutierrez had spilled four base hits in the first three innings, but had yet to throw something on the board. But the Crusaders kept crowding him, put runners on the corners in the fourth, didn't score again, and had another two on base in the fifth, but still didn't get the crucial hit until the sixth inning, when Roger Allen took Gutierrez deep with a solo homer to at least tie the game at one run per team, despite New York outhitting the Coons, 9-3. There would be a tenth hit off Gutierrez, a leadoff double (…) by Rutkowski (…!!) in the seventh. Rico remained in to get outs from Juan Espinosa and PH Justin Godown before yielding to Jeff Mudge with Andy Schmit on the approach. The count ran full, Schmit struck out, and Rico was left with a no-decision in his first outing of the season.

Rutkowski was still vying for the win, but surrendered a double down the line to Elias Matias Tovias Diaz in the bottom of the seventh inning. Nunley ran a 3-1 count before getting drilled, pulling up the pitcher's spot, Tim Stalker came out to bat for Mudge, but flew out to Allen in left. Neither starter would get a decision, since Rutkowski was out soon after and the bullpens took turns ducking from blows. Kearney and Snyder pitched scorelessly for the Raccoons through the rest of regulation, and the Coons got nothing against Steve Casey to send the game to extras. The win ultimately went to Billy Brotman, despite a shoddy tenth inning from the southpaw, who surrendered a pinch-hit single to Armando Leal, walked Schmit, and almost surrendered a 3-piece to Jose Ramirez, whose drive was caught at the fence by Terry Kopp. The bottom 10th saw Nunley pop out in foul ground before the pitcher's spot was up again. Rafael Gomez was sent out against Casey now, and hit the first ever pitch he saw as a Critter for 445 feet to left-center to utterly walk off the Critters. 2-1 Coons! Spencer 2-4, RBI; Gomez (PH) 1-1, HR, RBI; Gutierrez 6.2 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K; Snyder 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Game 3
NYC: LF Espinosa – CF Douglas – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – SS McWhorter – C Leal – 1B Godown – 2B Rinehart – P Marron
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – RF Alfaro – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Legleiter

Scoring remained low in the series with no runs plated in the early innings of the Wednesday game. The Coons had runners on the corners in the bottom 3rd after Ramos singled, stole second, and moved to third on Spencer's single to rightfield, but they were stranded there with one out with Abel Mora popping out to shallow center and Gonzalez flying out to right rather easily. While the Crusaders had nothing much in terms of solid contact against Legleiter in the early going, and had only one base hit through four, the Coons had runners on the corners once more in the bottom 4th, and this time with nobody out. Carlos Marron, the former Buffalo, struck Terry Kopp, an old FL East foe on the Capitals, to get the inning underway, and Kopp hustled to third base on Alfaro's bloop single near the right foul line. That brought up the bottom of the order that was 1-for-16 in the early going this year, with dire need for improvement. Elias Tovias emptied the bags, but not in a way we were generally going to appreciate. While he got Kopp in alright, he also smacked the ball right at McWhorter for a trivial double play. That was the only run the Coons got in the inning, and McWhorter erased their lead right away with a leadoff jack in the fifth inning. With two outs in the inning, Jeff Rinehart and Carlos Marron lashed out singles to go to the corners, and it was Nunley with a sprawling catch on Espinosa's low liner to end the inning when Legleiter was just about to fall off the mound. But Portland as a whole became unglued in those middle innings. Lance Douglas drew a leadoff walk in the sixth, went to steal second and took third on Tovias' terrible throw that skipped through Ramos. Schmit's groundout brought him in with the go-ahead run.

Legleiter would not catch the loss for a game-tying sac fly by pinch-hitter Rafael Gomez in the bottom of the seventh inning. That one came with runners (Tovias, Nunley) on the corners once more and one out, with Ramos going down on strikes against Marron to end that inning with a 2-2 score. But the Raccoons couldn't get over that hump; the Crusaders could though. Jason Butler made his Coons debut in the late innings, issued a leadoff walk to McWhorter in the ninth, with Leal's single sending the go-ahead run to third base with nobody out. Justin Godown's sac fly gave the Crusaders the lead, while Billy Brotman had to be bothered to get out of the inning. Bottom 9th, Steve Casey holding a 3-2 lead against Kopp, Cookie (in after two double switches), and Tovias. A strikeout and two grounders to Jeff Rinehart ended the game. 3-2 Crusaders. Alfaro 1-2, BB; Legleiter 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K;

Early numbers on the offense are once more not pretty. Eight runs in the first three games against a team tabbed to have sub-par pitching. Oh, oh, oh, here come the concerns…

Raccoons (2-1) vs. Condors (1-3) – April 10-12, 2026

The Condors had dropped three out of four to the Aces to begin the season, which was a ho-hum sort of result given that the Aces were probably the favorites to win the South this season after coming out on top of the offseason arms race. They had already scored 21 runs though, second in the league. But they also had surrendered 22, last in the CL… The Raccoons had won the season series for two years in a row, both times with a 5-4 final tally.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (0-0) vs. John Waker (0-0)
Dan Delgadillo (0-0) vs. Sean Rigg (0-0)
Mark Roberts (1-0, 1.13 ERA) vs. George Griffin (0-0, 6.23 ERA)

John Waker was a left-hander and had originally been drafted by the Coons way back in 2016. He had been used as a swingman by the Stars for most of his major league career, having made only 23 starts in his 266 major league appearances. The other two starters were right-handers, but included another swingman type in Sean Rigg, a 25-year-old sophomore who was tabbed for his first major league start after back woes had put Opening Day starter Jeff Little (0-0, 0.00 ERA) on the DL early on. Little was probably going to miss two starts.

Game 1
TIJ: 2B B. Rojas – LF O. Larios – 3B Sanks – C Sanford – 1B McGrath – RF M. Matias – CF Hatley – SS Langan – P Waker
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – RF Alfaro – C O'Dell – 3B Nunley – P Anderson

This one was a right mess. Anderson allowed a run before he even pitched a third of an inning as a Coon, allowing a single to Bob Rojas, who stole second, then an RBI single to Omar Larios to start the game. The Condors were absolutely dying to run circles around Anderson; Rojas stole TWO bases his next time around after a 1-out single in the third, and in between Brett O'Dell had thrown out two runners, Larios in the first and Waker(!) in the third inning. Anderson also put every leadoff batter on base, and when Rojas was aboard in the third, surrendered a long homer to Larios to fall 3-0 behind. At that point, the Coons had no hits, and had Cookie in rightfield after Alfaro had left the game following being drilled. It could probably go better at this point, but for now it was going to go a whole lot worse yet, with Shane Sanks going back-to-back with Larios and digging Anderson's hole to four runs in depth.

Only in the fifth inning did the Coons break into the H column; Matt Nunley hit a single past Sanks into leftfield with nobody out and O'Dell aboard after a leadoff walk in the inning. We had seen enough of Anderson at that point, sending Terry Kopp to bat for him, but he flew out to Nick Hatley in deep center. Ramos hit an RBI single, Spencer popped out, and Mora singled up the middle, but Nunley had to hold at third base. The tying runs were thus on for Jon Gonzalez with two outs… and Jon had gone 0-for-13 since his 2-run double in the first inning on Monday. Oh happy day? He was due one! Indeed, Jon cracked a hard base hit through the right side, plating two runs with a single and cutting the gap to 4-3. That also made him the Coons' RBI leader easily with four… Gomez reached on a Paul Langan error to fill the bags, at which point hitting for Cookie looked appealing, but the Raccoons – in the fifth inning – were already out of outfielders. Cookie held still long enough to allow the Condors' battery to flip the score entirely by themselves. First Waker threw a wild pitch to tie, then the Coons moved ahead, 5-4, on a passed ball charged to Pat Sanford. Then Cookie grounded out.

So there were only four innings to collect by the pen to secure a completely unmerited W for Anderson! Jeff Mudge did away with the sixth before the Coons gave the bottom of the order to Surginer in the seventh. Kevin had been the only pen piece not to see action in the Crusaders series, struck out Mike Matias, allowed a single to Nick Hatley, but got out of the inning against Langan and Chad Highsmith. Top 8th, Kearney walked leadoff man Rojas for inconvenience before the emergence of right-handed pinch-hitter Manny Sanchez brought on a switch to Jonathan Snyder, who was bailed out by Nunley on two sharp grounders before Sanford still tied the score with a 2-out RBI single to center. Snyder afterwards went to the trainer's room, so there was that, while the Raccoons were left to look for a run, some run, any run. Cookie led off the bottom 8th against Markus Bates and hit a ball into the gap for a leadoff double, so maybe the Coons could scramble for a win after all. The Coons failed to score the runner though between their beleaguered bottom of the order, with Daniel Bullock now playing second base and batting ninth and popping out after an intentional walk to Nunley. Ramos grounded out to end the inning, after which Ricky Ohl was about to drown in the top of the ninth. Mike Chaplin walked, stole second, moved to third on Paul Langan's single, and then Langan stole second base. Ohl hissed, struck out Chris Grooms in the #9 hole, then had Rojas line out to Bullock to end the inning. Bottom 9th, right-hander Lorenzo Romero in the game for Tijuana. Spencer was nursing an oh-fer, but cracked a liner up the leftfield line for a double and now was the winning run in scoring position with nobody out, and both the bench and pen nearly empty. Abel Mora made it quick and as painless as possible at this point, dropping a single into shallow center to walk off the team. 6-5 Critters. Mora 2-4, BB, RBI;

Sooo, that is two key players ailing and in the trainer's room with Mena, and I heard Matt Nunley overate himself and is holding is stomach, so there is that… Do we have anybody left for the last two games? Mena? MENA??

Also, yes, Jon Gonzalez is 2-for-16 by now, but both hits were worth 2 RBI apiece… he's not far off the team batting average (.215) though…

Game 2
TIJ: 2B B. Rojas – LF O. Larios – 3B Sanks – C Sanford – 1B McGrath – CF Chaplin – RF M. Matias – SS Langan – P Rigg
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo

Portland got their first quick start since Opening Day, placing Ramos and Spencer on base to get going in the first, both advancing on a double steal, and then scoring on Mora's sac fly and Gonzalez' 1-out double to center, giving Delgadillo a quick 2-0 lead. Soon enough, rain would break over the park and force an hour-long rain delay in the third inning that was surely not going to affect Delgadillo in any way… Both teams were also locked in a battle to the death to steal more bases than the opposition; Paul Langan scored on an RBI single by Rojas with two outs in the third, with Rojas then taking another base from the Coons after already stealing three on Friday. I don't know, maybe keep him off the ****ing bases!? On to the bottom of the inning where Abel Mora hit a leadoff single, stole his first base of the year, then scored on Gonzalez' single to left. Gonzalez was then picked off first base by Rigg, and both teams continued to dig their trenches even deeper… Rigg would shuffle the bases full after Rojas' throwing error put Kopp aboard, allowing singles to both Gomez and Tovias before Nunley flew to deep left. Omar Larios made the catch, but got nothing on a throw to home plate, where Kopp scored on the sac fly to get the score to 4-1. Delgadillo then lined out to Sanks to end the interesting inning.

Three hits scored a run (Ramos) to get to 5-1 in the bottom 4th, which led to Chad Highsmith batting for Rigg with nobody out in the fifth inning, and Matias (single to left) and Langan (E8) on base. Highsmith rammed another single to left, plating Matias and getting the tying run up in Rojas, who went down on strikes though. Larios smacked into a double play, getting Delgadillo through qualifying distance on 74 pitches and an additional hour in the wet. He was retained to bunt following Nunley's 1-out single in the bottom 5th, with Ramos hitting a 2-out single to get Nunley to third but no further. Jarod Spencer took care of that, cracking a double to left that extended the lead to 6-2 against reliever Bobby Thompson. Mora flew out to Larios, stranding a pair in scoring position. Delgadillo was done after a clean sixth, with his spot coming up with two outs and the bags stacked in the bottom 6th. Thompson had walked Kopp and Gomez through clumsiness, then Nunley on orders to bring up the pitcher's spot. Tim Stalker batted, but flew out to Mike Chaplin.

Our next bright idea was to pitch Jason Butler for length in a 6-2 game. That one went so well, the go-ahead run was up before the seventh inning was over. Chaplin homered, Butler allowed another two hits, another stolen base to Rojas, AND Matt Nunley made TWO errors to sabotage the outcome of the contest. Jeff Mudge would replace Butler with runners on the corners and two outs, and K'ed Shane Sanks to bail out of this mess of messes, but gave up a run in the eighth anyway thanks to a leadoff double by Sanford and productive outs by both Kevin McGrath and Mike Chaplin. No insurance run came forth against right-hander Tim Edmonds in the bottom 8th, and Ricky Ohl was left to his own devices in the ninth, where Langan grounded out to get things going, but Manny Sanchez' pinch-hit single put the lead in jeopardy with the noxious top of the order coming up again. Ohl got Rojas to pop out to short, and Larios never made contact, swinging and missing on the 1-2 pitch to put this one in the books. 6-5 Furballs. Ramos 3-4, BB; Spencer 3-5, 2B, RBI; Mora 3-4, 2 RBI; Gonzalez 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Nunley 1-2, BB, RBI; Delgadillo 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, W (1-0) and 1-2;

By Sunday we got the news that Omar Alfaro had suffered a broken paw on that wayward pitch by John Waker in the Friday night game, which would put him out of action for six weeks.

Aaaand there goes the outfield… Greg Borg was recalled from St. Petersburg to fill the roster spot.

Game 3
TIJ: 2B B. Rojas – 1B McGrath – SS Sanks – 3B M. Matias – C Sanford – RF O. Larios – LF Hatley – CF Chaplin – P Griffin
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 2B Stalker – C Tovias – 3B Bullock – P Roberts

Offense was hard to come by early on with both pitchers doing their utmost to foil the opposition. The Coons squeezed out a run in the second inning on Gonzalez' leadoff double and Tovias' 2-out single up the middle, while Roberts was not seriously touched until Chaplin's leadoff jack in the fifth. There was even an inning, the fourth, in which every single batter that showed up at the plate struck out. That was largely it in the first five innings; on to the seventh already, where a soft single by PH Robby Boggs, who stole second (can anybody hear throw out a runner!!??), and an infield single by PH Manny Sanchez put runners on the corners with one out. Now things got interesting! Chad Highsmith batted for Griffin as the Condors went into Offense Now mode, but Roberts eviscerated the left-handed batter for his eighth strikeout in the game. That still left Bob Rojas to contend with, and he had been nothing but a battleaxe in the Coons' skulls for the entire series. But he was also a left-hander, and Roberts was only on 93 pitches and a PITCHER OF THE YEAR was supposed to get out of this spot without bleeding multiple runs. Or any run. Roberts fell behind 2-0, Rojas rammed a liner to centerfield … but Mora was there! Catch made, inning over, exhale.

None of this got Roberts in line for a W. He lasted eight innings, though, and again on 110 pitches, with his spot up at the beginning of the eighth inning. Markus Bates, a righty, was on the mound as leftover from the seventh where he had retired Stalker, Tovias, and Bullock in order. So here came a left-handed pinch-hitter, Cookie Carmona! The 0-1 was put in play, soft line to right, and dropping well in front of Matias for a leadoff single! The Coons used Ramos to bunt, which worked, then hoped for offense between Spencer and Mora, which didn't. Spencer grounded out to Bates, and Mora whiffed altogether, leaving Roberts unrewarded for his troubles as this remained a 1-1 game. Kevin Surginer got involved at this point and got rid of the Condors in order and with K's to Hatley and Grooms in the ninth inning, allowing for a 1-run walkoff in the bottom 9th. Wouldn't be the first one! Between Gonzalez, Kopp, and Stalker, the Coons had only eight base hits so far in '26, and no homers, but maybe Tony Harrell (4.50 ERA) could be overcome by numbers. Gonzalez cracked the first pitch up the middle for a leadoff single, the Coons' tenth hit in the game. Terry Kopp wouldn't be able to drop a good bunt if his fur depended on it, so he was told to swing away and collected his third K on the day. At this point Rafael Gomez hit for Stalker, but lined out to Rojas, and Tovias lined out to Sanks to send another game to extra innings. Top 10th, Surginer retired nobody, allowing singles to Harrell (…) and Rojas, then walked McGrath. Bases loaded, no outs, Jeff Mudge was thrown into the mess, conceded the go-ahead run on a Sanks grounder, then two more on Matias' triple. Sanford went deep, and not it was even getting ugly. REALLY ugly. Brotman was the third pitcher in the inning, but we were yet waiting for one to not get ripped open. Langan singled, then stole second. Hatley popped out, but Grooms drew a walk, and then Tony Harrell, the ****ing scum face, had his second base hit in the inning, a 2-out single up the middle, chasing home Langan. Rojas struck out, ending a 6-run farce. 7-1 Condors. Ramos 2-3; Spencer 2-5; Gonzalez 3-4, 2 2B; Tovias 2-4, RBI; Carmona (PH) 1-1; Roberts 8.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K;

In other news

April 6 – The Crusaders will be without Opening Day starter Chris Klein (0-1, 16.20 ERA) for two to three months due to the 31-year-old suffering from shoulder inflammation.
April 8 – Ex-WAS RF/LF Jason Stone (.271, 120 HR, 505 RBI) signs a 1-yr, $1.2M contract with the Pacifics.
April 9 – SFW SP Juan Muniz (1-0, 0.00 ERA) spins a 2-hit shutout against the Pacifics, whiffing seven. The Warriors win 1-0, the lone run scoring in the eighth inning on an error by LAP LF/1B Firmino Cambra (.353, 0 HR, 4 RBI).
April 11 – 23-year-old LAP SP Dave Christiansen (1-1, 4.26 ERA) flashes a 3-hit shutout against the Blue Sox, whiffing 10 batters in a 9-0 rout.

Complaints and stuff

Scott Wade was brought in to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day, which was all nice and well. On Tuesday, the ceremonial first pitch belonged to Smokey Stoner (actually born Meredith F. Kuszinski), who had by chance been sold the 500,000th season ticket ever issued by the Raccoons during this offseason. He was not some random nobody in Portland, in fact his local popularity was significant. He had once ran for mayor (and had been narrowly defeated), having run on a platform built significantly on the basis of him having been a co-founder of the city's first communal weed garden, having campaigned for free apples and other… "produce" for school children, and for producing certain merchandise, primarily mugs and hemp fiber t-shirts imprinted with the iconic image of a certain plant leaf and the slogan underneath "Mary J loves you!".

He wore that… while throwing the first pitch. Well over the head of Elias Tovias, I want to add, which made him giggle all the way back to the home dugout. And somehow, by the end of the game, at least a dozen kids in the park were wearing those shirts, too. Let's just say, the Agitator had a field day even with the team at 2-0.

No, we certainly didn't arrange for this. It falls in the category of "random **** that happens only to perpetually cursed franchises".

That already looks a lot like the same ****ty offense we had last year. And the year before that. And all the way back to about 1998. Last in runs scored, near the bottom in OBP, and the pen was been a cardboard box full of cats lit on fire so far. Well, the top three in the order so far have been very productive. The power guys below however… Gonzalez turned it on on the weekend after being dead from the waist up against the Crusaders, but Kopp has given us nothing, Gomez was worth that one walkoff and nothing besides that, and Omar Alfaro is already on the DL. AND the Titans are already in the lead.

Goodness gracious.

Greg Borg (before being recalled) and Alvin Smith went unclaimed and were assigned to St. Petersburg by Thursday.

Next week, road trip, but we'll stay on this side of the mountains, visiting the Bay and the Elks.

Bah, Elks.

Fun Fact: No CL North team is under .500 after one week in the new season, which will probably not last for long.

The most wins a last-place team in the CL North has ever accumulated were the 2004 Canadiens that ended up 76-86. They ended up 41 games out in a year when the Titans won a whopping 117 games. In fact, ONLY the Titans ended up over .500 due to their pronounced stomping on their division rivals that year. The Loggers went an even 81-81 for second place. The Crusaders' 79-83 season saw them come third, and the Indians and Coons ended up tied for fourth with 78 wins apiece.
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Old 09-09-2018, 11:13 AM   #2606
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For Portland, the second week of the season began by disabling another player they were counting on. Setup man Jonathan Snyder had suffered a sprained ankle on Friday and we were hopeful that he would only spend the minimum amount of time on the 15-day DL, plus maybe a day or two. The Raccoons tapped Nick Derks as replacement. The 25-year-old Derks had pitched to a 2.16 ERA in 8.1 innings with Portland last year.

Raccoons (4-2) @ Bayhawks (1-5) – April 13-15, 2026

The Bayhawks were probably not going to get very far this season, and they had already made a strong run for last place during Opening Week. After starting 1-1 they had now lost four in a row, and sat ninth in runs scored and tenth in runs allowed. Both their starters and relievers had an ERA over five after the first week. The Coons had won the season series three years in a row, taking six wins against the Baybirds in 2025.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (0-0, 1.35 ERA) vs. Rodolfo Cervantes (0-0, 9.64 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Jonathan Shook (0-1, 6.00 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (0-0, 7.20 ERA) vs. Allen Reed (0-0, 6.23 ERA)

The 30-year-old Reed was the only left-hander coming at us in this series. Reed had returned to the Continental League as a free agent after spending five years with the Capitals. He had originally started his major league career with the Indians.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – P Gutierrez
SFB: C R. Anderson – SS Camacho – LF J. Correa – RF C. Martinez – 1B Caraballo – CF Hawthorne – 3B Hawkins – 2B Pick – P Cervantes

The Coons sunk two doubles past the reach of Jon Correa in the second inning, a frame that began with a four-pitch walk to Rafael Gomez and continued with said doubles by Terry Kopp, who had to dig out of a 2-for-17 hole, and Matt Nunley, who drove in both runners. Rico held the Baybirds to one hit the first time through the order, but then conceded a run in the fourth on a Cesar Martinez double and George Hawthorne's 2-out single that drove him in. Rico also failed to bunt with O'Dell aboard and nobody out in the top 5th, allowing Ryan Anderson to throw out O'Dell, who had walked to begin the inning, at second base. The Raccoons however proceeded to load the bases on a single by Jarod Spencer – who extended a hitting streak going back to '25 to 12 games – and another one by Abel Mora. Jon Gonzalez batted with the bags full and two outs, ran a full count, then laid off ball four to push home the Coons' third run. Rafael Gomez grounded out to Omar Camacho after that, stranding three.

Despite a low-scoring game, neither starter saw the eighth inning. Cervantes came out in the seventh, and Rico completed seven maintaining the 3-1 lead. After the additional run they had scored in the fifth the Raccoons stranded – of all people – Rico Gutierrez on third base in the top of the seventh when Mora lined out to Tomas Caraballo at first base. By the eighth, the Critters opposed right-hander Manny Sosa, who retired none of the 4-5-6 batters, walking Gonzalez and Kopp and surrendering a single to Rafael Gomez in between. Nunley grounded back to Sosa for an out at home, but Brett O'Dell came through, driving another ball into the leftfield corner for a 2-run double that seemed to put the game away, 5-1, even before Cookie Carmona batted for Gutierrez and dropped an RBI single into shallow left. That was all for Sosa, but he would be saddled with another run on the watch of Alex Cordova, who got Ramos to ground out, but O'Dell still scored from third base. With a 6-run lead, the Raccoons turned to Nick Derks, just called up, hoping for some low-key late innings. The qualifying threshold for success in this situation could surely vary – but Derks was excellent, struck out four and finished the game without allowing a run. 7-1 Raccoons! Spencer 2-5; Gonzalez 2-3, 2 BB, 2B, RBI; Kopp 2-4, BB, 2B; Carmona (PH) 1-1, RBI; Gutierrez 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, W (1-0) and 1-3; Derks 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K;

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – LF Carmona – 3B Nunley – P Legleiter
SFB: 3B Booker – CF Hawthorne – LF J. Correa – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – C Jai. Jackson – SS Hawkins – 2B Pick – P Shook

First inning, first RBI this year for Terry Kopp, driving another double into the Coons' favorite corner in his park, this one scoring Spencer with two outs. This was also the first starting assignment for Cookie Carmona this season, but before he got a defensive chance in the game he had to watch with his sad face as a Cesar Martinez drive broke the plane above the leftfield wall behind him in the second inning. That one was a solo shot, tying the score at one. Cookie would be the one to break that tie in the fourth inning. Terry Kopp was on second base after a leadoff single and a balk laid on Jonathan Shook, and easily scored when Cookie found the gap with a double between Jon Correa and George Hawthorne. The Bayhawks walked Nunley intentionally with two outs, but then ran into Lance Legleiter chipping a single through the right side. Cookie dashed home from second base, scoring the Coons' third run in the game. Ramos grounded out, ending the inning with two aboard.

For Legleiter this was enough of a lead, at least as long as he was in the game. He threw 83 pitches through six innings, holding the Baybirds to four hits along the way and maintaining the 3-1 lead. The only guy that had given him trouble had been Martinez, first with the homer, and then being robbed by Mora in deep center two innings later. Tim Stalker batted for Legleiter to begin the seventh, but grounded out. Ramos singled, stole second, and scored on Spencer's single, 4-1. Spencer stole second base as well, but the inning fizzled out before the Coons could get him around. The Coons scored another scratch run in the eighth, going up by four, then – in the interest of suspense! – sent Jason Butler into the game. Butler got bombed with a leadoff jack by Danny Morales, then allowed two more scorched base hits to Hawthorne and Correa. Suddenly we had a 5-3 game and scrambled for Jeff Kearney, who would get the Coons out of the inning against Caraballo and – all the ridiculous platoon splits aside – against Martinez as well, although the right-handed slugger was the tying run. Ah, the joys of bullpen management …! In turn, Kearney was still around to retire Jaiden Jackson on a grounder to Nunley to begin the ninth inning, and only then we went to Ricky Ohl with two outs left to collect, which he collected despite a 2-out walk to Pat Pick. PH Ryan Anderson struck out, and the Coons went up to four games over .500 at the Bay. 5-3 Furballs. Ramos 2-5; Spencer 2-5, RBI; Mora 2-5; Kopp 3-4, 2B, RBI; Gomez (PH) 1-1, RBI; Legleiter 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, W (1-0) and 1-2, RBI;

Jason Butler is not fooling anybody at all and his ERA is up to 13.50; there's somebody that has to be added to the list of endangered species already…

With the Coons in a long string of games already, we would go on to give out rest days and used the left-hander on the mound on Wednesday to switch out as many left-handed batters as possible.

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Stalker – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C O'Dell – CF Borg – 3B Bullock – P K. Anderson
SFB: 3B Booker – SS Camacho – LF J. Correa – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – C Jai. Jackson – CF Hawthorne – 2B Pick – P A. Reed

The early innings brought back-and-forth action and extra-base hits galore. The Bayhawks got the early start with a leadoff triple by Jaden Booker, who was easily brought in by Camacho with a groundout. Brett O'Dell's first Coons homer tied the game in the second, and the Critters took a 2-1 lead in the third with a Stalker triple and Gomez' infield single. However, Anderson was a bit of a launchpad; the Baybirds ripped him for three hits and as many runs in the bottom 3rd, with the last hit a 2-out, 2-run homer by Jon Correa. For Anderson, it would only get worse, with another homer flying out of the not very homer-friendly park at the Bay, then a solo homer by Jaiden Jackson in the bottom 4th, extending the Bayhawks' lead to 5-2. That was all for Anderson, who was hit for in the fifth inning, but the Coons wouldn't stage a comeback at this point.

It was more of the Bayhawks in the middle innings. Derks, only called up on Monday morning, was in for another 2-inning outing, but this time allowed another homer to Martinez, another solo job, in the bottom 6th. At this point it didn't look very likely that the Coons would make anything out of this contest anymore, but Allen Reed was tiring by the eighth and with one out all of a sudden put on the entire middle of the order, giving O'Dell three on and making himself the tying run. However, O'Dell struck out this time around, and the Bayhawks finally found a reliever, too, sending right-hander Ying-hua Ou to face Greg Borg. Portland sent Elias Tovias to pinch-hit, but his grounder was contained by Caraballo to end the inning. In turn, the Bayhawks took Jeff Mudge apart for three hits, a walk, and three runs in the bottom 8th… 9-2 Bayhawks. Gomez 3-4, RBI; Mora (PH) 1-1;

Raccoons (6-3) @ Canadiens (5-3) – April 16-19, 2026

The Raccoons were tied with Boston and New York for first place heading into this series, but the Elks were only half a game behind and had their own ambitions after not making the playoffs for a decade and change. They were batting a measly .219 as a team in the early going, second-lowest mark of the CL, but had still scored the sixth-most runs and had conceded only the third-fewest. Both marks had the Raccoons beat at this point; the Elks' run differential was +8, while the Raccoons were even with a porous pen despite a league-leading .288 batting average. The Raccoons were defending holders of this rivalry's crown, having won ten games from Vancouver in '25.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Frank Kelly (0-1, 18.00 ERA)
Mark Roberts (1-0, 1.13 ERA) vs. Fernando Estrada (0-0, 6.75 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (1-0, 1.32 ERA) vs. Andrew Gudeman (1-0, 1.13 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (1-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Antonio Muniz (0-2, 7.07 ERA)

Muniz, confusingly nicknamed "Furball" when he was ANYTHING BUT, was their only left-handed starter and was up for the Sunday game of this 4-game set.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – LF Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo
VAN: 2B Gura – RF Wojnarowski – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 3B Anton – C Tanzillo – P Kelly

Jarod Spencer stretched a hitting streak to 15 games with a first-inning double off Kelly, who had been battered for six runs in three innings in his first outing of the year, but was nevertheless left stranded as the game got underway. The Elks were considerably less picky after Ted Gura's leadoff bloop single to shallow center, moving him around bit by bit until he scored on Alex Torres' 2-out single to left-center for the first run of the game in the bottom 1st. The Coons were however quick to turn things around; Frank Kelly was a real mess at this point, and after Tovias hit a 2-out single in the top 2nd he issued walks to Nunley and Delgadillo, bringing up Ramos with the bags full and gave up a pair on a sharp single to the outfield.

Neither starter was rock solid, truth be told. Delgadillo had Brian Wojnarowski and Alex Torres aboard with two outs in the bottom 3rd when he surrendered a rocket to deep left to John Calfee. Rafael Gomez went after that one and snared it, just barely. Kelly was walking them left and right, but stuck around long enough to hit a leadoff single between Nunley and Ramos in the bottom 5th. Delgadillo went on to walk Wojnarowski with one out and was in a pickle again, but this time Tony Coca would pop out and Torres struck himself out with a few mighty swings to get the inning over with. Delgadillo fought off another two base runners in the bottom 6th and was mostly washed up after six tense innings without a breather in between, but he held on to a 2-1 lead while the Coons had failed to exploit lots and lots of free base runners issued by Kelly, who had walked five in his six innings of work. No win was in the offering for him though, with Kevin Surginer being overturned in the bottom 7th, putting Ted Gura on with a leadoff single, then watched Coca wrap a ball around the right side of the left foul pole for a score-flipping 2-run homer.

That was not all to this game, though. The Elks went through four relievers in the eighth inning, and it helped them nothing. Their cacophony of bullpen arms loaded the bases, bit by bit, until Nick Van Fossen, a southpaw, faced Tim Stalker with the bags full and two outs in the inning and lost him to a walk on the ninth pitch of a full-count at-bat. The Elks had only two relievers left and considered Van Fossen adequate for the job to get out of the jam, even in a 3-3 tie. Yet, he wasn't. Ramos cracked a 1-1 pitch to right, past a diving Gura and to Wojnarowski's feet for an RBI single. Jarod Spencer dropped a first-pitch bloop into shallow left center, and that one scored two. The Elks relented, sent right-hander Ivan Morales to face Mora (so, still the platoon advantage on the Coons' side), and Mora grounded out to Gura to leave it at 6-3 for now.

In that situation, the Raccoons had to make do with some patchwork. Tim Stalker ended up playing third base (O'Dell had batted for Nunley against Van Fossen), and Billy Brotman had to get rid of right-handers, because we had our own bullpen problems. Matt Anton would draw a walk in the bottom 8th, but that was it for the Elks against Billy, and after that they saw a backupless Ivan Morales getting shredded for four more runs in the ninth inning, including a 2-run double by Tim Stalker in the #9 hole. 10-3 Coons! Ramos 4-6, 4 RBI; Spencer 2-6, 2B, 2 RBI; Kopp 2-4, BB, 2B; Carmona (PH) 1-1; Tovias 1-1, 3 BB, 2 RBI; O'Dell (PH) 1-1; Borg (PH) 1-1; Stalker (PH) 1-1, BB, 2B, 3 RBI; Delgadillo 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 K;

Boston and New York both had off days, so the Raccoons took back sole possession of first place with their late outburst, now at 7-3.

Also, 10 runs in a game where your 3-4 punch goes 0-for-10 is remarkable!

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 1B Kopp – C Tovias – LF Carmona – 3B Nunley – P Roberts
VAN: 3B Jon. Morales – RF Wojnarowski – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – C Holliman – P F. Estrada

Little offense early in the Friday game; Estrada was perfect the first time through, while Roberts allowed a leadoff single to Jonathan Morales to start his night, but Tony Coca would hit into a textbook 6-4-3. Ryan Holliman, who was 35 these days but looked not a day younger than 53, hit a single in the third, but was forced out on a poor bunt and the Elks didn't get to Roberts again. Young Alberto Ramos would be the first Coon aboard, hitting a double through Adan Myles in the fourth inning, but was left aboard when Spencer grounded out and both Mora and Gomez went down on strikes, tallying up five victims for Estrada through four innings. The Elks also got a double in the fourth, Torres hitting that with two outs up the rightfield line. Then they also got a homer, John Calfee clocking a fastball out of centerfield.

Thus, the Coons trailed again, and still didn't know how to get to Estrada, who wrapped up seven Critters through six innings. Roberts was not on top of his game; he had only three strikeouts through the sixth, an inning in which he put on a batter in every common way with a hit, a walk, and a pitch in the ribs before surrendering a third run to Calfee on a sac fly when the bags were full. At this point, three runs seemed plenty for Estrada, who had yet to put a Raccoon not named Alberto on base. Ramos had walked in the top 6th, but nothing had come out of Spencer – on a 15-game hitting streak! – once more. The seventh saw the middle of the order go down without as much of a squeal. Nevertheless, the Elks batted for Estrada in the bottom 7th, opening up their pen to new adventures. The first guy out there was righty J.R. Hreha, and the first Coon up to face a reliever was Elias Tovias, instantly singling into rightfield. HERE WE GO. I hope. The bullpen carrousel immediately went into the highest gear as Vancouver sent left-hander Greg Becker (formerly a starter), but he allowed a single to Cookie, and then one to the terribly struggling Nunley on an 0-2 pitch. Bases loaded, Jon Gonzalez batting for Roberts, which drew out right-hander Dusty Kulp, who helped his team little by hitting Gonzalez in the bum, thus pushing in the Coons' first run in the game, and cutting the gap to 3-1. Open flung the bullpen door again – here came right-hander Sean Carlsen. That was fun! Keep the line moving! Ramos grounded up the middle, past Calfee, and had an RBI single. Still three on, still nobody out! And then Spencer, Mora, and Gomez ALL popped out over the infield. And in order. I froze in spot on the couch at home and wouldn't defrost until the next morning. The same was true for the Coons, who went down in order in the ninth inning against Luis Vasquez. 3-2 Canadiens. Ramos 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Gonzalez (PH) 0-0, RBI;

…and gone was the division lead again. Also, Spencer's hitting streak.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Tovias – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – P Gutierrez
VAN: 3B Jon. Morales – RF Wojnarowski – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – C Holliman – P Gudeman

The Coons jumped out for two runs in the first inning, hitting liners all over the place. Ramos and Mora hit singles, then scored on Gomez' sac fly and Gonzalez' double to right, respectively. Early support, just what Rico needed! He faced the minimum the first time through the order, notwithstanding a leadoff single by Morales, who got washed up on Wojnarowski's grounder to Tim Stalker, who gave Spencer a day off. The Elks didn't get another base runner until the bottom 5th, when Alex Torres singled, but Torres got himself caught stealing by Tovias, and the Elks remained off the board. The same was true for Portland though as well, as the Coons amounted to only two hits in four innings after the early scoring. The sixth saw two quick outs for Gudeman before Stalker singled, Nunley walked, and then he knicked Gutierrez, provoking loud hissing from the visitors' dugout and from my couch, too. Nothing came of it – no brawl, and no runs either, with Ramos grounding out to end the inning.

The Elks continued to tickle Gutierrez as the innings wore on. Norman Day had a pinch-hit single in the bottom 6th, but was stranded, and Wojnarowski hit a leadoff single in the seventh, but here came another double play, wonderfully started by Nunley and going round the horn. Rico remained unscored upon through eight innings, but slid over 100 pitches in the process and with no run support coming forth wasn't getting a shot at the shutout. Spencer hit in his spot in the top 9th, tripled, then came in on Ramos' sac fly to center, the Coons' first run since the first inning and giving Ricky Ohl the max allowance for a save in the bottom 9th. After Holliman grounded out to Ramos, Ohl disemboweled Anton and Morales on strikes to make Rico the first Coon with two wins this season. 3-0 Critters! Nunley 2-3, BB; Spencer (PH) 1-1, 3B; Gutierrez 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, W (2-0);

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – RF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – CF Mora – C O'Dell – 2B Stalker – 3B Bullock – P Legleiter
VAN: 3B Jon. Morales – RF Wojnarowski – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – C Tanzillo – P A. Muniz

Fortunes reversed again on Sunday, with the Coons' only batter to reach the first time through being Legleiter, while at the same time Legleiter got bludgeoned early. Alex Torres hit a 2-out, 2-run homer in the first inning, and Tony Coca hit an RBI triple in the third as the Elks had no trouble to make hard contact and hit screaming liners off Legleiter. The Raccoons got on the board in the fourth, which saw Spencer getting nailed to begin the inning, advance on Gomez' groundout and scoring on Jon Gonzalez' single to right. That one gave Gonzalez 10 RBI, the first Raccoon to reach the mark in the 2026 season.

Overall, the offense wasn't enough, though, and usually ended with Tim Stalker in this game. Stalker stranded a pair in the sixth, then was no defensive help in the bottom of that inning, missing Gura's grounder with two outs for a single. Nick Derks replaced Legleiter at that point, but when Gura stole second base, Chris Tanzillo was walked intentionally. That one would not work out; both Muniz and Morales would crack singles up the middle to extend the score to 4-1. The RBI was Muniz', but on Morales' single the Elks sent Tanzillo around third base and he got thrown out by Abel Mora at home plate. Muniz was the hero for now, but the seventh inning saw him issue leadoff walks to Bullock and Borg, so things remained interesting with the tying run at the plate and nobody out. Ramos got rung up in a full count, denying the Coons to have the bags full with nobody out (which was not a guarantee for this team to score and that had been a constant for five decades…), but Jarod Spencer hit an RBI single to left center, and now the big guns came up – ignoring the fact that nobody on this team had even TWO homers at this point. Rafael Gomez was no help, bouncing to Morales for an easy force at third base. That brought up Gonzalez with two down, and he hit the first pitch to right, but more or less right into Wojnarowski's mitten. The only run the Coons had gotten was immediately negated by Tony Coca taking the beleaguered Jason Butler deep in the bottom 7th, restoring a 3-run lead to the Elks they wouldn't relinquish. 5-2 Canadiens. Ramos 2-5, 3B; O'Dell 2-4;

In other news

April 18 – The Buffaloes' SP Jose Lerma (2-1, 0.36 ERA) spins a 2-hit shutout against the Capitals, whiffing an impressive 13 batters.

Complaints and stuff

Tony Coca was Player of the Week, leaving me with seriously gnashed teeth and Maud probably has to make a dentist appointment for me, but apart from that… Okay. It is early. But Alberto Ramos is pushing .400 and I reserve myself the right to feel extremely good about myself right now. He is the only batter in the CL to hit over .400 right now, and there is only one guy in the FL beating him, Ricardo Rangel on the Cyclones with a .438 mark.

But, really, does anybody here know where the fence is? Seriously, what happened to power!

In things nobody saw coming, the Warriors are the first team to double digit wins this year.

Fun Fact: 47 years ago this Saturday, Sioux Falls' Chris Lynch dished out six hits in a 4-3 win over the Pacifics.

"Missing" Lynch was a fairly amazing batter in the early years of the ABL, leading the league in home runs three times in 1980 (with the Warriors), 1982, and 1983 (both with the Aces). He batted .266 with 21 homers in '84 before tearing up his knee in August, and never fully recovered from that. He amounted to a .954 OPS in that abbreviated 1984 season (in 99 games). The following year, in his age 31 season, he batted .191/.296/.334 and was just gone, retiring in 1987 after spending all of '86 on the sidelines. For his career he was a .250/.361/.449 batter with 197 HR and 739 RBI.

Well, kids, this is true. Today we can 3D print new ears, arms, and hearts, but back in the 1970s a bee sting or a torn meniscus could round you up forever!
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Raccoons (8-5) vs. Indians (5-7) – April 21-23, 2026

The Indians right now had the highest batting average in the CL (.277), but weren't scoring too many runs with that, sitting just fifth in their offensive tally. Weirdly, they had also jointly allowed the fewest runs in the league, thus had a +13 run differential (Coons: +6), and somehow were still in last place. The Coons had won the season series for three years in a row, including an 11-7 performance in '25.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (1-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. John McInerney (1-1, 3.29 ERA)
Mark Roberts (1-1, 1.96 ERA) vs. Tom Shumway (2-1, 5.14 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (2-0, 0.83 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (1-1, 2.35 ERA)

The Raccoons used their off day on Monday to skip the so far atrocious Kyle Anderson and move him to the end of the line. We expected two left-handers up front from the Indians, with Matthews behind them. We made the assumption here that they would use every opportunity to skip righty Brian Leser (0-0, 2.63 ERA), a 32-year-old career band aid.

Game 1
IND: SS Pizano – CF Linnell – RF Good – 1B Herlihy – C T. Perez – 3B Ju. Jackson – LF Mack – 2B Folk – P McInerney
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – CF Mora – C Tovias – LF Borg – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo

Trent Herlihy's leadoff jack in the second inning was his third of the year and was challenging depressingly for the Raccoons' team total. While the Indians scored another run in the inning following a walk issued to Tony Perez and Craig Mack's single, they also lost Perez to injury in a collision with Nunley at third base. Perez left the game with a quad strain and was probably going to go straight to the DL, with Ricardo Vargas replacing him in the game and scoring on Brody Folk's sac fly. McInerney walked three the first time through the order, but didn't allow a base hit to a Raccoons team that was still wondering where they had left their sticks. Greg Borg drew a fourth walk leading off the bottom 5th, but nothing came of that, either, with Nunley popping out just as Delgadillo did on a pathetic bunt, and Ramos being retired on a grounder to Folk. No-hit panic in Portland!

Jarod Spencer broke the spell in the bottom 6th with a leadoff double zinged into the leftfield corner that the team had so well exploited in San Francisco a week ago. Aim there, boys, aim there! Craig Mack was a mediocre defender and there was lots of runs to be gained from hitting balls past him. Or over him; after Rafael Gomez struck out, Jon Gonzalez banished his own demons with his first dinger of the season, tying the game with a 334-footer that fit just barely over the fence in leftfield. Tovias hit a 2-out double past Mack in the inning, and then the Indians angered Nunley by walking Borg intentionally. Matt singled to center, but Tovias had to hold at third. Three on, two outs got Delgadillo out of the game, with Tim Stalker batting for him, but striking out in a full count. And after all this effort, Jeff Mudge got himself mauled once more with three sharp base hits to right in the top 7th, all of them pinch-hit by Alex Duarte, Gary Kaczenski, and Dan March, giving the Indians back a 2-run lead at 4-2 and raising Mudge's ERA even further to north of 15.

The Coons weren't dead yet, despite giving dying their best effort by sending Jason Butler into the eighth after Herlihy reached on an infield single against Kearney. A Matt Good error on Mora's grounder and a Tovias double off David Elliott put the tying runs in scoring position with nobody out in the bottom 8th and a new right-hander in Myles Mood, who was heretofore completely unknown to us. Borg popped out to shallow left, prohibiting any advance, but Nunley was still angry and singled sharply to rightfield, scoring Mora and moving up Tovias. Terry Kopp batted for Butler and brought in the tying run with a sac fly, but the Coons failed to do more than that in the inning. The Raccoons went on to somehow survive two innings of Kevin Surginer, the 9th and 10th, with four deep drives to Mora and Borg, none of which fell in. Myles Mood was still around in the bottom 10th, allowing a 2-out single to a REALLY PISSED OFF Matt Nunley, then drilled O'Dell when he batted for Surginer (or at least tried to). Ramos would hit a sharp grounder, but got extended to 0-for-5 with a nice play by Herlihy, further stretching out the game. Mood ran out ouf juice in the bottom 11th, walking Gomez and Gonzalez with one out, prompting a move to Nick Salinas and his 12.00 ERA against an 0-for-5 Abel Mora. Time to shine, Abel! Everything that shone was Duarte, though, coming in to retire Mora, and then Tovias flew out to right. After two innings of Ricky Ohl, one of Billy Brotman, and Nick Derks warming up as the last Critter in that ol' pen, Jose Fuentes put Gomez on with a 2-out single in the bottom 13th. A wild pitch advanced the runner, promoting the four-finger salute to Jon Gonzalez. Here was Mora again, now 0-for-6. Time to shine? One ball, one strike, one swing, one sorry looper over the head of Mario Pizano into shallow left, and Rafael Gomez ran the hardest he had ever run in his life and scored the walkoff run for Portland. 5-4 Coons. Gomez 2-5, 2 BB; Tovias 2-5, BB, 2 2B; Nunley 3-6, RBI; Surginer 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K; Ohl 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

That… was a chewy game. That… was thankfully a win.

As I always say, if you gotta lose, lose in regulation goddamnit. Extra innings are for wins!

The Coons opposed Leser after all in the second game, ostensibly pushing Shumway back to Thursday.

Game 2
IND: CF Mack – RF Duarte – SS Pizano – C J. Gilbert – 3B Ju. Jackson – LF Loya – 1B Linnell – 2B Folk – P Leser
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – CF Mora – RF Kopp – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Roberts

The Coons could use a long outing by Roberts after piecing together seven innings with six relievers on Tuesday, and also a bit more timely offense. Nothing great happened in the latter regard the first time through, but Alberto Ramos hit a leadoff triple in the bottom 3rd, so surely that would lead to greatness. While Jarod Spencer singled through the left side, giving Roberts a 1-0 lead, and Rafael Gomez walked to make it two on with no out, the next three in the order fell over one another to make the poorest out in the inning. There was a foul pop, a pop to short, a strikeout, and nobody ever reached third base. The 1-0 lead didn't hold up, with Roberts having held the Indians hitless in the first three innings, but allowed a screaming double to center to Mario Pizano in the fourth, followed by a 2-out RBI single by Justin Jackson. The Coons would come back to load the bags in the bottom 5th (although that included an intentional walk to Jon Gonzalez), but then had Terry Kopp strike out to end the inning.

A long outing for Roberts became unlikely in the middle innings. He used 20 pitches in the first two innings, but then took 61 to make it through the next four, despite the Indians getting only four batters aboard; two in the fourth, one in the fifth, and then Pizano again in the sixth when he leaned into a pitch and nobody called him out for it. Roberts remained in one piece, shaking off a deep drive to right by Richard Linnell in the seventh that Kopp caught near the fence. The bottom of that inning had Spencer on with another 1-out single, and this time he stole second base, then got to third on Gomez' groundout. With two outs, Jon Gonzalez was walked intentionally for the second time in as many appearances, and the Indians tried their luck with Abel Mora, who had slapped in the game-winning 2-out single the previous night. Whether this one would be game-winning remained to be seen, but he sure slapped a 2-out single again, past Jackson and scoring Spencer to give Roberts a 2-1 lead. Kopp was nailed by Leser before he could strike out, and then Tovias was absolutely robbed by Craig Mack in deep center as he took away a marvelous drive and multiple runs. That rat bastard! So it was on Roberts to protect a 2-1 lead, which didn't work out exactly as planned. He retired Matt Good to start the inning, then allowed a single to Mack. That rat bastard! Right-handers were on the approach, but I suddenly had very little faith in Mudge, Butler, and Derks; and Surginer was sore and unavailable. Ricky Ohl had also pitched two innings the previous day. Oh bother, if only we still had Vince D! Too bad, Mark, this is your mess to get out of. Struck out Duarte, got Pizano to fly out to Kopp, and that inning was over. When Matt Nunley outlegged Jose Fuentes' clumsy defense for a leadoff infield single in the bottom 8th, Roberts was not batted for – small ball was in order now. Roberts bunted Nunley to second, where Bullock took over because he would score on most singles. Oh if only the Coons would have hit one… Roberts got sent back out on 97 pitches against the middle of the order, which surely would go all well. Jackson singled, Ricky Loya homered, and everything went to ****. Abel Mora hit a 1-out single in the bottom 9th against Salinas, Cookie hit for the completely useless Kopp, and smacked it into a double play. 3-2 Indians. Spencer 3-5, RBI; Mora 3-5, RBI; Roberts 8.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, L (1-2);

FOURTEEN RUNNERS LEFT ON BASE.

FOURTEEN.

AAAAAAAH.

The Indians? Four.

Game 3
IND: CF Mack – RF Duarte – SS Pizano – C J. Gilbert – 1B Good – 3B Ju. Jackson – LF Loya – 2B Folk – P Shumway
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – RF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – C O'Dell – CF Borg – 2B Stalker – 3B Bullock – P Gutierrez

Rico went 24 innings before issuing a walk in the 2026 season, doing so to Craig Mack in the third inning. Mack – that rat bastard! Nothing came of that, just like nothing had come of Good and Jackson singling to get to the corners in the second inning, and it was hard to say anything about the Raccoons' offense because they had yet to show up. Shumway was perfect the first time through and whiffed three, and the first Raccoon that stumbled on base, Ramos, did so on Pizano's error in the fourth. This was the style in which the Coons loaded the bases in that inning. TWO errors and an infield single by O'Dell, who was slow enough that Jon Gilbert merited being slapped to death over letting that ball roll away for the seventeen minutes it took O'Dell to reach first base. In between, Spencer and Gonzalez had both popped out foul, leaving none other than Greg Borg with three on and no outs. At least he was right-handed, so there was at least a platoo- oh look it's already 0-2. Borg met the third pitch, though, soared it over Pizano into shallow left center, and two runs scored on the play. They were thoroughly unearned, as well as all the team got and more than they deserved in the inning.

No good fortune could go unpunished in this town, though, and Ricky Loya immediately hit a leadoff double to left-center in the fifth inning. After Brody Folk, the despicable ex-Elk, popped out to Gonzalez, it was defense by Gomez hustling after a Shumway drive (…) and Bullock containing a sharp bouncer by Mack – the rat bastard! – to keep the game's score pleasant. The game merrily kept puttering along with what was technically still a pitcher's duel, even after Jon Gonzalez treated the attendance to the miracle of a Raccoon hitting a second homer in April, whacking a solo shot off Shumway in the sixth. Seriously – a blind guy in section 218 could see the ball go out! That came after the top 6th where Pizano singled, but got doubled up on Gilbert's grounder. Mack, the rat bastard, hit a 2-out single in the eighth, but Duarte popped out. Hah, ex-Coons. Never come back to bite you. Gutierrez was hit for in the bottom 8th, which yielded no more miracles, and Ricky Ohl got the heart of the order in the ninth. Pizano reached with a leadoff single, Gilbert lined out viciously to Ramos, but Ohl got himself right there. Good and Jackson both flew to right rather easily for the last two outs in the game. 3-0 Coons. Gutierrez 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, W (3-0);

The good news is probably that we left only two on base in this game…

The bad news is that the team is a lot closer to the bottom in runs scored than I would appreciate.

Raccoons (10-6) vs. Thunder (8-8) – April 24-26, 2026

For the Raccoons, life had been very difficult against the Thunder in recent years, we had won only one of the last six season series, and none in the last four years. Last year we only won three games, at least up from two in '24. They were more on the run-happy side, sitting third in runs scored, but ninth in runs conceded with a +2 differential. Their pen had been rather solid, but their rotation had been waffled for a 4.66 ERA and that had them in the bottom three in the CL.

Projected matchups:
Lance Legleiter (1-1, 3.57 ERA) vs. Max Nelson (1-1, 4.60 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Mike Homa (1-2, 5.71 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (1-0, 2.50 ERA) vs. Jose Diaz (1-2, 5.82 ERA)

Two southpaws coming up in the former reliever Mike Homa, who was new to the rotation this year, and "Butch" Diaz, 32, who was around the CL for the first time since the 2020 season when he was part of the Titans.

Game 1
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – C Pizzo – CF D. Garcia – RF Sagredo – 1B J. Elliott – LF Millan – 2B Ts'ai – P Nelson
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – C Tovias – RF Kopp – LF Carmona – 3B Nunley – P Legleiter

Drama in the second inning at Raccoons Ballpark! Kopp and Nunley were on the corners with two outs in a scoreless contest when Alberto Ramos blooped a 3-0 pitch to shallow left. Omar Millan had to come hard towards the line, slid on his belly and reached as far as he could and snatched the ball fractions of inches off the grass! And then it bounced out of the glove, giving Ramos an RBI single and the Coons a 1-0 lead. The Thunder argued that the catch had been made, to no avail. Spencer hit a single to load them up, and then Mora grounded out to John Elliott anyway. The Thunder put themselves on the corners with a 1-out single by Nelson and an infield single by Lorenzo Rivera in the third, but were contained with a fielder's choice on Alex Serrato's grounder and then a K to Mike Pizzo. In turn, Jon Gonzalez' leadoff single in the bottom 3rd led to him scoring the Coons' second run on Cookie's single up the middle with two down. So far, so well, so early. The Thunder were in the thick of this game still, with Luis Sagredo's homer cutting the gap in half in the fourth, and Millan walked and Zhang-ze Ts'ai reached on an error by Ramos to create some mild excitement before Max Nelson swung over a changeup to end that inning, but Legleiter kept putting them on base and it just would not go well. "Well" stopped in the fifth for good with 2-out base hits by Pizzo and Dave Garcia (not yet hurt!), then a screaming double into the leftfield corner by Sagredo, who now had all the RBI in the Thunder's 3-2 lead. John Elliott almost beat Mora in centerfield with a drive – but just almost. Anyway, three runs were plenty.

Especially with the Coons around to take turns at poke. Mora poked for a leadoff double and Gonzalez walked, but after that it almost got dire again. Terry Kopp's liner dropped in front of Garcia though as the centerfielder decided to not break his neck on a headlong play, tying the score, but Cookie grounded out poorly for the second out. Nunley was walked intentionally and we still hoped to wring another inning from Legleiter and let him bat, because, let's be honest, who would get a hit in here with three on and two outs in a tied game? Legleiter did. His grounder to right was poor, but so was Elliott's defense, and the ball escaped the infield for a stunning 2-out, 2-run single. Ramos was so stunned he grounded out to strand two, after which Legleiter somehow got two outs, but was no feature anymore in the sixth inning. Cookie spoiled a drive by Millan; Ts'ai struck out, tried after a 9-pitch battle. That was enough, Mudge replaced Legleiter even with the pitcher at the plate, two out, nobody on, and fanned him to carve slices off his 14.29 ERA.

There were still things to cheer for in the game though; for example, the Raccoons put three more runs on Max Nelson in the sixth inning. All were unearned after an Elliott error that put Mora on the map and the bases to begin with. Mora stole second, scored on Gonzalez' single up the middle, but key to the inning was a 2-out, 2-run triple by Cookie Carmona that got the fans on their feet as they voraciously cheered their favorite that had unfortunately gotten long in the tooth. Cookie waved from third base after his 109th career triple, 15th all time in the ABL, then retreated to the dugout when Serrato retired Nunley on a sharp grounder, that one already with Mike Tandy pitching in relief of Nelson. Now it was time to watch the guys with the ugly ERA's. Mudge had a scoreless seventh, getting four outs in total. Butler struck out two while getting out of the way of some vicious liners, one of which fell in, in a scoreless eighth. The ninth was Nick Derks', and the couldn't finish it. Carlos de Santiago's pinch-hit leadoff jack put the score at 8-4, and with two outs Pizzo singled and Garcia doubled. This was now a save opportunity, but a left-hander was up, so we tapped Brotman to face Sagredo, who was not hit for, ran a full count, then popped out to Terry Kopp in shallow right. 8-4 Raccoons. Spencer 2-5; Gonzalez 2-4, BB, RBI; Kopp 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Carmona 2-4, 3B, 3 RBI;

First place was changing more or less daily in the CL North right now, but after this 8-4 win and a Crusaders loss it was the Critters' once more!

There was a roster move for Saturday, as Nick Derks went back to AAA. This had nothing to do with his shoddy ninth, but more with Jonathan Snyder coming off the DL and us not being quite ready yet to shoot Jason Butler between the lights.

Game 2
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – C Pizzo – CF D. Garcia – RF Sagredo – LF Millan – 1B Rummelhart – 2B Ts'ai – P Homa
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – CF Mora – C O'Dell – LF Borg – 3B Nunley – P Anderson

Portland scored first, and in the first, Ramos singling and moving around until Jon Gonzalez plated him with a sac fly, his 15th RBI of the season and leading the team easily. Anderson faced the minimum the first time through the order, which had less to do with his excellence and more with Mora shagging two deep flies and the infield turning as many double plays. This could not go well forever, but the Thunder left another man on base in the fourth, and the fifth saw Sagredo and Millan aboard with one out when Ts'ai grounded to the left side. This wasn't quite hard enough for Nunley to turn two and they only got the out at second base, but at least Spencer spared another sharp bouncer by Homa to end the inning anyway. Maybe more offense by the home team could make everybody a bit more comfortable?

No such thing ever happened, but the Thunder finally took the bats to Anderson directly in the sixth inning. There was a Serrato single with one out, which was innocent enough, but he stole a base, advanced on a groundout and then Dave Garcia came through with a single into leftfield to tie the game. That wasn't all. Garcia took off for second, had it stolen, and also got to third when O'Dell threw the ball away. He scored on Sagredo's single, and Millan hit an RBI double. Brian Rummelhart's first-pitch RBI single to right ended Anderson's ****ty day, and the bullpen didn't suddenly stop sucking either. While Kevin Surginer got out of the inning, he issued a leadoff walk to Homa (…!!) in the seventh inning. That runner was on third base with two outs when we moved on to Kearney, who allowed an RBI single to Pizzo, 5-1, walked Garcia (a right-hander, so it could have been worse), then conceded another single to Sagredo. One more left-hander came up, and Millan struck out … except that O'Dell didn't come up with the ball and all hands were safe by the time O'Dell got hold of the ball again, running the score to 6-1. Snyder came out and struck out Rummelhart to strand three, but what a game for the bin… 6-1 Thunder. Carmona (PH) 1-1;

Game 3
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – C Pizzo – CF D. Garcia – RF Sagredo – 1B J. Elliott – LF Millan – 2B Ts'ai – P Jo. Diaz
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – CF Borg – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo

Hitting into double plays in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, the Raccoons still somehow managed to lead 2-0 after five. Part of that was good ol' (or young? Who knows!) Yusneldan Delgadillo pitching a solid game without much flash, whiffing just two in the first five, but also holding the Thunder to a hit and two walks. The runs for the home team had come across in the second, when Gonzalez came home on a sac fly by Tovias, who was actively fighting off the .200 mark, and in the fifth when Greg Borg hit a home run to left-center, his first this year and the third in his 359 AB long career. Pizzo singled off Delgadillo in the sixth, Millan hit a 2-out single in the seventh, but neither runner progressed very far on the bases. However, Dan was up to 94 pitches and wasn't going to go the distance. More offense wasn't going to fall from the sky any time soon, but Dan at least stuck around for a wee bit longer, whiffing "Butch" Diaz to begin the eighth. He got through the inning with (deepish) fly outs by both River and Serrato. Now, Delgadillo had stamina like a horse, but he wasn't going to face the middle of the order the fourth time around unless the Coons added at least another run, better two. Delgadillo's spot was also up in the bottom 8th, but Nunley drew a leadoff walk ahead of him and thus the pitcher was used to bunt. No run came together, though with Ramos popping out and Spencer grounding out to Serrato. Thus it was Ohl in the ninth. Strikeout against Pizzo, a lefty. Nunley chased down a foul pop near the stands to get Dave Garcia for the second out. And then Ricky Ohl disemboweled Luis Sagredo on three pitches. 2-0 Furballs! Gonzalez 2-3; Borg 2-3, HR, RBI; Tovias 1-2, RBI; Delgadillo 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, W (2-0) and 1-2;

In other news

April 23 – SAC CL Ben Marx (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 SV) joins the 300 saves club with his protecting of a 5-2 lead over the Pacifics on Thursday. Marx, 34, led the league in saves twice in his career, both with the Capitals, and is 61-59 with a 2.79 ERA in the regular season in 11 years, but whenever his merits are discussed, people usually concentrate on his 8.86 ERA in the postseason, including his infamous 2022 playoff performance with three losses to his name and an ERA north of 17.
April 23 – A broken elbow will put TIJ SP Luis Flores (1-1, 3.45 ERA) out for the season. The 33-year-old was already held to only ten starts last season.
April 24 – The Condors deal OF/1B Robby Boggs (.167, 0 HR, 0 RBI) to the Blue Sox for INF/LF Dave Bross (.250, 0 HR, 2 RBI).
April 25 – After a swift start, ATL SP Jim Shannon (3-1, 1.59 ERA) will miss a month with an oblique strain.
April 25 – The Loggers are not only shot down 10-0 by the Falcons, but also hit to three hits in a shutout pitched by CHA SP Greg Gannon (3-1, 2.40 ERA).
April 26 – SFW LF Jeff Wadley (.324, 3 HR, 13 RBI) hits a grand slam in the Warriors' 8-run third inning against the Rebels, in the grander scheme of things part of their 13-1 rout over Richmond.

Complaints and stuff

Just once in my life I would like to have an offense that his fun to be around. Just once.

No such luck.

The team has a decent batting average at .262, but is in the bottom three in slugging, on-base plus slugging, home runs, and – as usual – walks. The home runs are infuriating, to be honest. The Coons have hit six. They have given up TWENTY.

On the plus side, the team is 6-0 in series openers.

Brian Rummelhart is an awesome name. A winner's name! Like Bradley Heathershaw.

Boy, did Bradley Heathershaw stink as a Raccoon. That doesn't mean though that I can't trade Ramos for Rummelhart.

Fun Fact: Brian Rummelhart was an exchange piece in a Ryan Corkum trade after being drafted in the third round in 2021 by the Falcons.

Players on this roster that were traded with or for Ryan Corkum are currently limited to Jason Butler, and that was on the way out of Portland.

Why exactly did we bring him back?
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Old 09-11-2018, 03:48 PM   #2608
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Raccoons (12-7) vs. Knights (9-9) – April 27-29, 2026

Here was another team that couldn't score a run if they were carried halfway round the bases on a horse before being dropped on second base. The Knights had both 60 runs scored and 60 runs conceded, with one could imagine were very much near the low end in the CL after 19-or-so games. That was even fewer runs conceded than for the Critters, who had given up 63, including those 20 homers. (gnashes teeth again) The Knights had won the season series, narrowly, in 2025, winning five from the Coons.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (1-2, 2.30 ERA) vs. Chris Chatfield (0-2, 7.50 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (3-0, 0.61 ERA) vs. Mike Cockcroft (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (2-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. TBA

Between the injury to Jim Shannon and a double-header on Saturday, the Knights had a bit of a mess to their rotation; we would have to see what they would roll out for Wednesday, whether it would be any of the Saturday starters Leon Hernandez (1-1, 3.08 ERA) and Brian Cope (1-0, 2.00 ERA) or someone else entirely. In any case, none of the four likeable starters were left-handed, so it was all righty from here.

That meant at-bats for Cookie, who in limited action had randomly snipped the ball into play, which was not something true for any other living outfielder right now…

Game 1
ATL: CF M. Walker – LF Stuckey – SS Showalter – C Luna – 2B T. Jimenez – 3B V. Ramirez – RF Briscoe – 1B Nieto – P Chatfield
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Carmona – RF Kopp – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Roberts

C'mon Coons, how about tearing up a guy with an ERA twice the league average!? Well, you'd be surprised… There were no surprises early on. The Coons scattered a few singles, but were overall pretty toothless against Chatfield and his terrific stats (13 BB in 12 IP coming into the game). Mark Roberts was somewhat amazing, whiffing eight and scattering two base hits through five innings, but also had some control issues early on, walked a few batters, and ramped up his pitch count early. The game appeared to be scoreless through five with Nunley and Roberts making quick outs in the inning, but then Ramos singled, Spencer singled, and Mora singled, all of them hitting the ball to some shade of shallow center. When Ramos rounded third base and scored, it was actually the first time anybody in the game had touched third base, except for Nunley, who many years ago had developed a tic to toe the bag with his left hind paw after every out the Coons made in the field, and couldn't stop himself. Gonzalez grounded out to Tony Jimenez to end the inning, now with a rousing 1-0 lead and Chatfield's ERA down by almost two runs. Johnny Stuckey hit a leadoff single in the sixth, another apparent bird drop into shallow center, but Roberts K'ed Andrew Showalter and Ruben Luna grounded to Spencer for two, getting Roberts through six, with his pitch count now almost at 100.

107 pitches got Roberts through seven and that was it. Rafael Gomez batted for him after Nunley reached with a leadoff single in the bottom 7th and shot a hard grounder over the mound and into center for a second single to the inning. Would the Knights stick to Chatfield long enough for any actual damage to occur? Sort of, yes. Ramos grounded out, advancing the runners, and then Spencer hit an RBI single that was good parts on Andrew Showalter being 35 and having played professional ball for half his life. Ramos would have had that ball, easily, and would have had time for a pizza before getting the out. Instead, it was 2-0 and the Coons had them on the corners with one out for Mora, who ripped an RBI single through Vinny Ramirez. Gonzalez grounded out, advancing the runners again, before Chatfield drilled Cookie with the first pitch to load the bases, sparking a violent explosion of boos from the ranks. The term "violent explosion" also soon came to apply to Chatfield. Terry Kopp drove in two with a single, and Tovias plated another one with another single, 6-0. Nunley doubled, 7-0, and when the Knights finally found a reliever in their travel bags, Adrian McQuinn had Rafael Gomez, who had pinch-hit for Roberts about six hours ago, at 0-2 before throwing a wild pitch that brought home Tovias. Gomez struck out, but it was 8-0 now. It would be 9-0 before the game was over, left-hander Ryo Kaneko surrendering a run on three singles in the eighth. The Coons never missed a beat and allowed only four hits in total. 9-0 Coons. Ramos 2-4, BB; Spencer 2-5, RBI; Mora 2-4, 2 RBI; Borg (PH) 1-1; Gonzalez 2-5, RBI; Kopp 2-4, 2 RBI; Nunley 3-4, 2B, RBI; Gomez (PH) 1-2; Roberts 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K, W (2-2);

That was 17 base hits for Portland in the game, and 18 total bases. Can you have any less power than that?

Game 2
ATL: CF M. Walker – LF Stuckey – SS Showalter – C Luna – RF G. Ramirez – 2B T. Jimenez – 3B V. Ramirez – 1B Nieto – P Cockcroft
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Carmona – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – P Gutierrez

The Knights got on the board in the first against Gutierrez, who allowed three base hits to Mark Walker, Andrew Showalter, and Guadalupe Ramirez, the latter singling to center with two outs and two strikes and his ERA would soon enough soar over one, with Showalter hitting an RBI double in the third inning after Gutierrez had drilled Johnny Stuckey with a 2-2 offering. The Coons were playing their same ol' shoe against a marginal pitcher and habitual reliever, as Cockcroft held them to a few select hits and almost as many double plays. Nunley hit into one in the second. Gonzalez found one in the fourth. The first actual loud contact made was by Terry Kopp all the way in the fifth inning, a 1-out double past Stuckey to at least show up in scoring position for once. Here, Cockcroft lost control after so far holding the Coons to three hits and no walks in 42 pitches, and put Nunley and O'Dell aboard with ten pitches, eight of them balls. We felt it too early to pinch-hit for Gutierrez. It was April 28, not October 12. Rico hit a fly to left, deep enough for a sac fly, but when Ramos singled up the middle, Nunley was thrown out at home after starting from second base, keeping the Coons 2-1 behind through five.

Rico, like Roberts, lasted just over 100 pitches, 105 precisely, through seven innings, but unlike Roberts was not in line for the W. It would have to be the bottom of the order to get him into a lead, or at least take him off an unmerited hook. Kopp popped out. Oh goddamnit, why can't they ever … why is … why is life so haaard …!? (sobs) … Nunley dropped in a single while I sought comfort with Honeypaws who as usual was not very talkative in this situation. The Raccoons sent both of their catchers to bat in the inning, neither of which got a ball past Vinny Ramirez, and Gutierrez remained on the losing end through seven. Jeff Mudge had a perfect eighth, which was progress in itself, and Cockcroft stubbornly remained in the game by the bottom 8th, but allowed a 1-out single to Spencer. Goddamnit, get that ****ing ball outta here now!! I may or may not have threatened them with a bottle of booze in my raised right hand, or possibly with Honeypaws, grabbed at his tail. Can't remember, it was all a fog, and they couldn't really see me behind the glass high above the field anyway. Mora grounded to Jon Nieto for a force out at second base. Mora stole second base, after which the Knights semi-intentionally let Gonzalez' 3-1 count expire. That brought up a hitless Cookie, but Cockcroft was still in the game and we weren't going to let go of the platoon advantage now. And why would we? Cookie snipped a single over Vinny Ramirez, Mora scored on the play, and we were tied – Rico's honor (and undefeatedness) was safe for another five days! In a perfect world, Terry Kopp would have picked this spot for his first dinger of the year (…), but grounded out to Jimenez instead, ending the inning.

Billy Brotman held the Knights away in the ninth; while he allowed a single to Raul Claros, O'Dell threw out Claros when he tried to nip second base, but we looked destined for extras once again until PH Rafael Gomez reached on Showalter's error with two outs in the ninth and Alex Silva then hit Alberto Ramos. That moved the winning run to scoring position for Spencer, and any single would probably do. He flew out to Stuckey, who then got also caught stealing by O'Dell in the top 10th, then with Jonathan Snyder on watch. Bottom 10th, Silva struck out Mora, then allowed a long double to Jon Gonzalez and the winning run presented itself again. Cookie bounced a sharp one at first base, where Cory Briscoe was almost undressed by the ball, but got glove enough on it, to knock it into the ground, from where it bounced up high. Briscoe had to wait forever for the ball to come down – this saved the Knights because while Cookie had a single, he did NOT have a double. Still, Gonzalez was on third with one out and Kopp was up. GET A HIT, GODDAMNIT!! (shakes Honeypaws violently) Kopp grounded at Jimenez, who fired home to kill off Gonzalez. Nunley walked the bags full, but Stuckey caught O'Dell's fly. Inning over. Bottom 11th, Ramos on with a 1-out single, stole second, Spencer grounded to Jimenez, and his throw clanked off Briscoe's glove. Runners on the corners, one out for Abel Mora. I was out of voice by now and could only shake things at this point. Mora grounded out, Gonzalez popped out. Nobody scored. Never mind the Knights having runners in scoring position with one out in the 12th and popping out twice against Ricky Ohl, the Coons had them in scoring position with no outs in the bottom of the inning against Alfredo Morua after a single by Cookie, who stole second, and an intentional walk to Kopp, followed by a wild pitch. COME ON NUNLEY. Matt grounded it back to the mound, Morua looked back the runners, then lobbed the ball to first base. More or less. It was a terrible throw. Briscoe couldn't come up with it, had to chase it into foul ground, Nunley fell safe onto the base, and Cookie hustled home and slid in ahead of Briscoe's desperate throw to home plate. It was a walkoff … of sorts. 3-2 Blighters. Ramos 3-5; Spencer 2-6; Carmona 3-6, RBI; Kopp 2-5, BB; Gutierrez 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; Snyder 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Somehow, this team is 14-7. Somehow. Sometimes it takes an intentional walk, a wild pitch, AND an error.

Whoooey.

Game 3
ATL: RF M. Walker – 2B T. Jimenez – C Luna – SS Showalter – 3B V. Ramirez – CF N. Hall – LF Briscoe – 1B Nieto – P L. Hernandez
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Kopp – 1B Gonzalez – LF Carmona – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Legleiter

After three doozy innings to start the game, in which neither team reached third base, the Knights were on the corners with nobody out in the fourth and wouldn't let go of Legleiter's neck anymore. Luna's double and Showalter's single had started the inning, and it would continue relentlessly with RBI singles by Ramirez and Nate Hall, then a sac fly by Cory Briscoe before Nate Hall made an out on the bases and Leon Hernandez lined out to Ramos. Legleiter was all washed up after only five innings, conceding eight hits and three runs, while the Coons only dug out their second base hit on Nunley's leadoff single in the bottom 5th. Abel Mora split the outfielders in left-center though, and the resulting double brought up the tying run in Elias Tovias, who was still stuck in the middle of nowhere and batted .211 as his second-half funk from 2025 was clearly still raging. Nothing like a 3-run homer to break out of something like that. Tovias hit the 0-2 pitch with his eyes closed, and maybe that was a recipe for success going forward, because that ball crossed the Willamette after it left the ballpark and tied the score at three.

The Coons would briefly take a lead in the sixth on a Mora sac fly, bringing in Cookie after his second hit on the day – batting .385 now! – but Kevin Surginer, who had to go two innings, couldn't hold on and gave it back in the top of the seventh on Mark Walker's 2-out RBI double that cashed in Briscoe. The bullpens were deadlocked for a while into the bottom 9th then, when the Raccoons were donated the strangest of 2-out opportunities. Alex Silva drilled Tim Stalker in the #9 hole, then couldn't dig out Daniel Bullock's grounder for an infield single. The Brazilian shortstop was in the #1 hole after two double switches, playing third base with Nunley gone. Jarod Spencer was still around. Nothing better than a slap single here! He fouled out behind home plate, though. And MORE extra innings. The tenth saw Jon Gonzalez and Brett O'Dell stranded in scoring position when Mora flew out to Stuckey. At that point, the Coons shrugged and went to Jason Butler. Can't pitch Ricky Ohl every ****ing day in extra innings… Butler allowed a single to Showalter, another single to Vinny Ramirez, then finally a 3-run homer to Guadalupe Ramirez. He eventually found the way out of the inning, but there were clear instructions for the bench coach. Get the sucker showered up and then straight to the bus terminal with him. The teasing Coons brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom 11th after singles by Stalker and Bullock, pulling up Spencer with one out. His liner off Alfredo Morua narrowly eluded Showalter into shallow left, loading the bases for the middle of the order which was something like 1-for-9 in the game. Kopp hit a sac fly that was totally not helpful; Gonzalez didn't hit anything, but got hit instead. That gave Cookie the bases loaded and two outs. The crowd was giddy, hoping for a walkoff triple. Cookie didn't quite live up to expectations, but dropped the ball in left near the foul line, and far enough away from Stuckey to plate two and tie another bonkers game at seven. Greg Borg was the last man off the bench as he batted for Butler here, but was popped up over the infield by new reliever, southpaw Adrian McQuinn, so this game actually continued.

Oh, look, there's Ricky Ohl. Mark Walker singled off him to begin the 12th inning, but was caught stealing, and Jimenez and Luna went down on strikes. Showalter hit a leadoff single in the 13th, but again the Knights struck out too often (twice) and didn't pull through. MAYBE THE COONS… HMM? WOULD… WOULD YA?? Nah. Ohl would strike out six in three innings, but that was all we could reasonably ask for with him, and only Jeff Mudge's bleached corpse remained in the bullpen. The bottom 14th began with Cookie, with Ohl's spot behind, so the signs were meh. Mora hit a 2-out single, stole second, but Tovias fouled out, so … meh. The 15th was Kyle Anderson's. This worked out because the Coons would have an off day and would skip to Dan Delgadillo by Friday, assuming this game would end by then. There was an error that put Stalker on base in the bottom 15th as the winning run, but Bullock bunted badly and he was forced out. Bullock tried to be redeeming by stealing second, but was left on anyway. Cookie drew a 1-out walk the following inning, with Anderson bunting him over as the only useful thing he could do. Abel Mora was carelessly walked, and his run didn't matter anyway. Tovias came up batting a glorious .206 and 0-for-6 in all at-bats that hadn't ended with him exiting the ball here. Lefty Ryo Kaneko threw him an 0-1 inside, Tovias somehow twisted to hit it over the infield and it dinked into shallow left. Stuckey hustled in, Cookie hustled around, being windmilled to home plate by the third base coach, who otherwise couldn't help but yawn. Stuckey's throw was sleepy, Cookie slid in safe, and this game was ****ing over, too. 8-7 Blighters. Bullock 2-4; Carmona 3-7, BB, 2 RBI; Nunley 2-4; O'Dell (PH) 1-1, 2B; Mora 2-6, BB, 2B, RBI; Tovias 2-8, HR, 4 RBI; Brotman 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K; Ohl 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K; Anderson 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, W (1-2);

Goddamn****inhell****it. Don't you lot know that I need my sleep??

Jason Butler and his 9.00 ERA were demoted on Thursday. We called up Nick Derks again.

Raccoons (15-7) vs. Crusaders (12-9) – May 1-3, 2026

New York sat 11th in runs scored, but had decent pitching, conceding the third-fewest runs in the CL. Their pitching staff so far didn't appear to have the holes that I had expected, while in turn their offense wasn't churning out runs as I had expected. Then again I had also expected us to hit a homer once in a while, so what the **** did I know? The Coons led the season series, 2-1.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (2-0, 1.73 ERA) vs. Mike Rutkowski (0-1, 2.89 ERA)
Mark Roberts (2-2, 1.88 ERA) vs. Carlos Marron (2-1, 1.24 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (3-0, 0.98 ERA) vs. Eddie Cannon (4-0, 2.60 ERA)

Three more right-handed pitchers here, with Ben Jacobson (2-2, 5.68 ERA), their only left-hander, not coming up again until Monday.

Game 1
NYC: LF Espinosa – CF Douglas – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – SS McWhorter – C Leal – 1B Godown – 2B Rinehart – P Rutkowski
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Carmona – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C O'Dell – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo

Yusneldan survived an Andy Schmit triple in the first inning as well as walking the bases full against left-handed batters Jeff Rinehart, Juan Espinosa, and Lance Douglas, then facing Schmit again with one out in the third inning. Schmit struck one at Ramos, and the Coons turned two handily. They even got a run before the 15th inning when Abel Mora hit a leadoff double over Nate Ellis in the third inning, then scored on a 1-out single by… Delgadillo. The Coons' starter also maintained a 2-hitter through five, but with generally ill control and four walks on the ledger he was not a candidate for a long outing. It took him 80 pitches to get through five, and the sixth was indeed his final inning and saw him crawl through three full counts, with one of those – to Ellis – ending in another walk. Still, he held on to the 1-0 lead. Not a good outing, but surely not a terrible one. Now bring on the beleaguered bullpen again…

Jeff Kearney pitched a scoreless seventh, after which he complained about discomfort, so that was an added bonus to the general state of the pen. Kevin Surginer was out for the eighth, walked Espinosa, threw a wild pitch, but somehow got through the inning, still up 1-0. The Raccoons did – lo and behold – pick up a second run against Rutkowski in the bottom 8th, that one coming together on Ramos getting drilled and eventually coming home on Gonzalez' sac fly. On to the ninth, where Ricky Ohl was still not available after throwing 47 pitches on Wednesday (in vain, as shall be added again). The only reliever to not see action on Wednesday got the ball against the middle of the order: Jeff Mudge, and his 9.00 ERA. His ERA would remain unchanged in this game; Nate Ellis slugged a leadoff triple into the leftfield corner to extend a hitting streak to 16 games and came home on Tom McWhorter's sac fly. Roger Allen grounded out. Justin Godown singled. I broke sweats. Jeff Rinehart ran a full count, grounded to right, Gonzalez on it, and he tossed to Mudge in time to end the game. 2-1 Blighters. Delgadillo 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 5 K, W (3-0) and 2-2, RBI;

Boy, would I like a game for a change in which they score four in the first, then another two a bit later, the starter creates little panic, goes eight for a run or two, and it is all over in a crisp 2:35, a 7-2 win in the books. That would be so nifty.

No word on Jeff Kearney yet. Not sure whether that is good or bad. The Druid ducked for cover though when I asked him.

Game 2
NYC: 1B Espinosa – CF Douglas – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – LF R. Allen – SS McWhorter – C J. Ramirez – 2B S. Valdez – P Marron
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Carmona – 1B Gonzalez – CF Mora – C Tovias – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – P Roberts

For starters, the Raccoons scored one run on a Spencer single, Cookie walk, and Mora single in the opening inning, which was better than pressing their noses against the dugout railing, mute, all day long. Rafael Gomez made it 2-0 with a leadoff jack in the bottom 2nd, and that was already all for Marron, who left the game in the same inning with an injury, to be replaced by Travis Giordano. Roberts for his part got Espinosa to ground out at the start of the game, and allowed a 1-out single to Sergio Valdez in the third inning. In between he struck out all six batters consecutively. Valdez remained on base as well, but Cookie didn't after his leadoff single off Giordano in the bottom 3rd. He moved up on Gonzalez' groundout, then scored when Mora singled to left center, 3-0.

By the fifth, the Crusaders had a chance with the bases loaded after singles by both Roger Allen and Jose Ramirez, plus Roberts hitting Valdez with a pitch. That brought up the #9 hole, where Giordano was swiftly replaced by PH Jamie Richardson, a left-hander that ended up fanning, Roberts' first K since the streak had ended. His next pitch came right into Espinosa's red zone, though and was ticked into centerfield for a 2-out, 2-run single that got us back into a 1-run game, which seemed to be all there was to our existence right now. Douglas struck out, though, but the team continued to at least get on base in weird ways. Bottom 6th, Gonzalez hit a leadoff double past Ellis, after which Mora reached on catcher's interference. With right-hander Jarod Stone pitching, this was a swell spot for Tovias to hit another homer! Nope, Portland got a fielder's choice, a walk issued to Gomez, then Nunley grounding to Valdez on the edge of the infield dirt. Valdez had trouble though grabbing the ball after initially knocking it down, and Nunley legged out the throw for a run-scoring infield single, 4-2! Roberts batted for himself, flew out to left, Tovias was sent… and thrown out at home plate. That ended the inning, but at least Roberts hung around for two more strerling innings, getting to a dozen strikeouts and completing eight innings on 110 pitches. The Raccoons even dug out two more runs (one earned) on Brandon Smith's pitching and Andy Schmit's defense in the bottom 8th, but Schmit also drew a leadoff walk off Snyder in the ninth. Nothing came of it, though. Ellis struck out, and Roger Allen hit one at Ramos for a double play. 6-2 Coons. Carmona 1-2, 2 BB; Mora 2-3, 2 RBI; Gomez 2-3, BB, HR, RBI; Nunley 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Roberts 8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 12 K, W (3-2);

That was a much calmer game already. I appreciated this! Also, we have a 6-game winning streak, and a 3 1/2 game lead in the North! Ahead of … huh? The Elks??

Game 3
NYC: 1B Espinosa – CF Douglas – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – LF R. Allen – SS McWhorter – C J. Ramirez – 2B S. Valdez – P Cannon
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Carmona – 1B Gonzalez – CF Gomez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Gutierrez

Two undefeated pitchers went at each other, although you wouldn't have guessed that from the way Cannon and Gutierrez pitched. Rico walked three and was taken deep once in the opening inning. Fortunately, Lance Douglas homered (which is a weird thing to say), although with Espinosa on at that point, and then two walks and a 2-out single by Ramirez the Crusaders still scored three runs in the inning. The Coons had nothing in the first, but flipped the score in the second inning that saw a 2-out single to center by Tovias to score Rafael Gomez (who hit a triple), and with Nunley already on, Cannon hit Gutierrez to load them up for Ramos. Alberto hit the first pitch to deep left, well past Roger Allen, and cleaned the bases with the Coons' second triple of the inning! And Portland wasn't done yet. Spencer singled in Ramos, 5-3, then stole second, and after Cookie walked Jarod also took off for third. Ramirez misfired, sailing the throw into leftfield, allowing Spencer to score. Cookie moved up, then scored himself on Jon Gonzalez' single to left. Eddie Cannon, the poor thing (!) couldn't get anybody out – Rafael Gomez singled, advancing Gonzalez to second base. Terry Kopp singled, plating Gonzalez, 8-3. Nunley singled to score Gomez, 9-3. That was it for Cannon, who was finally replaced by Bryce Neal, a southpaw that surrendered another run on a Tovias single before whiffing Gutierrez, the first out logged by the Crusaders in TWELVE batters!

Rico Gutierrez was still far from a win in this game. His pitching was just not up to snuff in this contest. He got through the third, but gave up a solo shot to Ramirez in the fourth. Okay, still up by six. Nobody twitched for the bench when Rico came to the plate with three on and two outs in the bottom 4th, although there was quite some hissing when Neal drilled him. Yes, this forced in a run, but would you please not try and break Senor Gutierrez all that hard? We have balls, and we know where your heads are!! For the moment though, Rico got around a 1-out triple by Douglas in the fifth, with Schmit lining out to Nunley and Ellis taking strike three. It took Gutierrez 90 pitches and two bruises to get this far and with right-handers up we were not likely to roll him back out for the sixth… Nick Derks got the call, spilled four hits and a run in two innings, and that was also the last run the Crusaders got despite putting two on against Mudge in the eighth and one against Brotman in the ninth. The gap was too big for them to ever create excitement again, and the Raccoons won a laugher. 11-5 Furballs! Spencer 2-5, RBI; Gonzalez 2-3, 2 BB, 2B, RBI; Gomez 2-4, 3B; Nunley 3-3, 2 BB, 2B, RBI; Tovias 3-5, 2 RBI;

In other news

April 28 – LAP RF D.J. Fullerton (.333, 0 HR, 3 RBI) produces the only run in the Pacifics' 10-inning, 1-0 win over the Rebels, plating John Hansen (.329, 0 HR, 10 RBI) with a pinch-hit single in the top of the 10th.
May 3 – RIC 2B Marco Hernandes (.263, 1 HR, 10 RBI) drives in four in a 14-1 rout the Rebels hand to the Buffaloes. Hernandes lands three hits, including a 2-run triple.
May 3 – TIJ CL Tony Harrell (1-2, 3.38 ERA, 5 SV) blows a save against the Aces and walks them off in the ninth inning with two hits and two wild pitches on his ledger, taking the 5-4 loss.

Complaints and stuff

For chunks this week, the Raccoons were the most awful 18-7 team that you could possibly watch. The first four games went like glue, gave us ten extra innings, and did I mention the glue? Yes, it was a 6-0 week, but man it felt like 2-3 with a rainout that you waited for six hours to get started still.

We are sure hitting for average (leading the league right now in fact), but there is no extra base magic. The team is not only 11th (there is a worse one!?) in homers, but also in the bottom three in extra base efforts. Well, we already had a, what was it, 16-for-17 in singles in a game? Singles are great! But hit a ****ing homer once in a while.

Meanwhile the power duel on the team keeps raging. Gonzalez and Gomez both with TWO, and any of them could land their third one this month!

Guess who was Rookie of the Month! Why, of course Alberto Ramos! He batted .330 with no dingers and 9 RBI during the month of April, which was good enough to be showered with this accolade. Not only that, but his OBP was also .374, which is a very solid margin. Although he could probably still do better than that.

That is not even the only accolade we have – Matt Nunley won Player of the Week honors going .591 (13-for-22) with no homers and 5 RBI. No homers is a team topic that has been going on for longer, but winning **** is rather new! It's the third time in Nunley's 14-year career that he has been named POTW, and the first time he did it in a month other than July (2018, 2023). And much longer ago, he was also once each Rookie of the Month… and of the Year!

And yes, I said that Cookie's place was on the far end of the bench this year, and yes, he started every game this week, but there are factors to that. Plenty actually. Omar Alfaro on the DL was one, Gomez and Mora and Kopp sucking all on the same straw was another, and then it came down to playing the hot paw.

Next week, two 9-15 teams in the Loggers and Miners.

Fun Fact: Ricky Ohl led the bullpen by far with 12.2 innings pitched in the month of April. No other Raccoons reliever exceeded nine innings.

There is a lot of things to read out of this stat. He pitched ten times in April, and saved six games. He won two. And he fruitlessly offered five innings' worth of sweat in two of the Raccoons' most endless games this month.
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Last edited by Westheim; 09-11-2018 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:02 PM   #2609
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Even teams on a 7-game winning streak could get bad news, and the Coons got such by Monday morning when they were to leave to Milwaukee. 24 players actually left; Jeff Kearney didn't, though. The druid kept him in Portland and on crutches with a torn meniscus in his knee. The conservative estimate on this is three months, which makes me wonder why we don't lobby the Mexican Prick to pony up the money and give us a few android prototypes as players. They break a leg, you just exchange the leg, and don't wait three months until it magically grows back together.

Kearney's misery meant the major league debut, at some point, for left-hander Josh Boles. Once a Warriors second-rounder, then a Coons trash heap pickup, Boles had saved games in AAA so far and had pitched to a 1.00 ERA. The 22-year-old southpaw was flying up from St. Pete to meet the team there.

Raccoons (18-7) @ Loggers (9-15) – May 4-7, 2026

The Loggers ranked last in the North and were not really in the mood to face the Raccoons, who were already 8 1/2 games ahead of them in early May. There was a lot of "mediocre" on that Loggers roster. Eighth in runs scored with the tenth-best batting average; also tenth in runs allowed. Their pen was actually pretty good, but there was only so much damage control a pen could do for a bottom-three rotation. The Raccoons had won 13 games from the Loggers last year and would also try to extend their mind-bogglingly long streak of beating the Loggers over and over; Milwaukee hadn't won the season series since *2013*.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (1-2, 7.02 ERA) vs. Vincent Alfaro (1-3, 4.73 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (2-1, 4.13 ERA) vs. Jorge Villalobos (1-1, 1.56 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (3-0, 1.41 ERA) vs. Danny Soto (1-1, 4.32 ERA)
Mark Roberts (3-2, 1.94 ERA) vs. Warren Polito (2-3, 4.24 ERA)

All the Loggers' starters were right-handed, so there was no need right now to bench Cookie again, especially since the other three outfielders (nobody is seriously considering Greg Borg for anything around here) were still not lighting on fire.

Game 1
MIL: 2B Mancia – C J. Young – 1B Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – CF Coleman – SS Ferrer – RF I. Flores – 3B S. Green – P V. Alfaro
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Carmona – 1B Gonzalez – RF Gomez – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Anderson

Portland got going well with a double by Ramos, whom Spencer singled home before an out was made. In turn, Cookie made two outs with a bouncer back to the pitcher, which sucked given that Jon Gonzalez hit his monthly home run right after that on the next pitch, so the Coons got only two runs when they could have had three in the opening inning. With Kyle Anderson doing his thing on the mound, the lead didn't live long, Ivan Flores driving out a ball with Ian Coleman aboard in the second inning to get the teams back even again at two. While nothing about Kyle Anderson's first month in Portland advertised him as a starting pitcher, or much of a pitcher at all, the Raccoons at least kept scratching Vincent Alfaro's legs. Top 3rd, Spencer and Cookie both hit 1-out singles. Gonzalez hit a sharp grounder at Danny Mancia that handcuffed the second baseman for just long enough to take off the double play and left only Gonzalez out on the play. Rafael Gomez walked, loading them up for Abel Mora, who cracked a liner into the gap in left-center to carve up Alfaro on a bases-clearing double. That wasn't all, although with the Gonzalez groundout we had already recounted all the outs Alfaro would collect in the game. Nunley singled, moving Mora to third, and then Willie Trevino misplayed a Tovias fly into a 2-out, 2-run double. Any which way, boys! Any which way! That was it for Alfaro, saddled with seven and replaced by right-hander David Warn, who struck out Anderson.

With a 7-2 lead, the game was Anderson's to lose. No excuses – we want to see at least six innings! By the fifth inning, Anderson had an RBI (a sac fly), Alberto Ramos had hit a 2-run triple to be a homer short of the cycle (and also one homer short of his first career homer), and Matt Nunley was out of the game with a bad ankle, replaced by Daniel Bullock. The news on that last one were slow to come out, but it was so typical Nunley to get hot and then get hurt immediately. The Coons were actually up 10-2 in the middle of the fifth with Bullock replacing Nunley at the hot corner. Anderson made it six, and depending on what your standards were (4 BB, 2 K?) it was a job done okay-to-well, especially with the Loggers not getting another hit out of him in the middle innings. Ramos didn't homer his next time up, doubling instead off Koto Hayashi, and that also drove in the Coons' 11th run, plating Tovias with two outs in the top 7th. There was no need to remove Anderson immediately after the sixth either as he collected another five outs from as many batters before bumping his pitch count up to 107. The Coons let Nick Derks finish the game, which worked not so well (four hits, two runs in the ninth), but the Loggers were in no position to come back all the way anymore. 11-4 Raccoons! Ramos 4-5, 3B, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Spencer 2-5, RBI; Gomez 3-4, BB, 2B; Mora 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI; Nunley 2-3, 2B; Tovias 2-3, 2 BB, 2B, 2 RBI; Anderson 7.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, W (2-2);

Back-to-back 11-run games! … On the other hand, we will get some Daniel Bullock at third base for the next few games, because of Nunley's woeful ankle. The Druid considered him to be hampered for the rest of the week, but there was no point in disabling him. He was also available for emergency pinch-hitting.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Carmona – 1B Gonzalez – CF Mora – RF Kopp – C Tovias – 3B Bullock – P Legleiter
MIL: 2B Mancia – RF Rueda – 1B Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – CF Coleman – SS Ferrer – C J. Salazar – 3B S. Green – P Villalobos

The first time through the order the Raccoons sure looked like they weren't going to be eligible for another run for roughly 17 innings. The only batter that reached was not a batter, and Legleiter was awarded a rather generous single on a grounder that dinked off Ron Tadlock's extended glove. The Loggers weren't any better; they had one hit the first time through, then had Willie Trevino get knocked in the fourth, but left him on base just as well as Manny Ferrer after the shortstop's leadoff double in the bottom 5th. John Salazar advanced him with a grounder to first, but then Sam Green grounded to Bullock at third base, which kept the runner pinned long enough for Legleiter to escape a sticky situation with a strikeout to the opposing pitcher. When a pair of 2-out singles put Ramos and Spencer on the corners in the top of the sixth that was easily the most rage the Raccoons had created in this game, but Cookies truck out on a high fastball and they had to retreat to the dugout without crossing home plate. Top 7th, Gonzalez drew a leadoff walk, the first free pass in the entire game. Mora grounded softly to short, forcing Ferrer to hustle in… and overrun the ball. The error put two on with nobody out, and the Coons still didn't score. Kopp flew out to right, Tovias whiffed, and Bullock flew out to right again. The Loggers finally broke through in the bottom of the inning when Coleman doubled into the corner in leftfield and scored on Ferrer's single. Legleiter yielded only four hits in seven innings, but it looked like that would be enough to beat him. No movement in the eighth, and in the ninth the Coons saw former Furball Joe Moore again, who had 13 K in 13 innings, but faced the middle of the order. Cookie grounded out. Gonzalez struck out. Mora flew out to Alexis Rueda in right. 1-0 Loggers. Legleiter 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, L (2-2);

Thus ended an 8-game winning streak. Well, at least the Elks didn't win either, so our lead remained 3 1/2 on them, and we are actually up by five against the Titans, who sit fourth behind the Crusaders.

We were arriving at the middle of a 13-game streak without an off day, so we'd give out days off to our regulars now. However, with Nunley out and the outfielders steadily shaking it up, there were really only the top four in the current lineup to give off days to. Gonzalez and Cookie were tapped for a day off on Wednesday, while Tim Stalker would continue to cycle through the middle infielders in the next two games.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – C O'Dell – 1B Kopp – 2B Stalker – 3B Bullock – P Delgadillo
MIL: 2B Mancia – C J. Young – 1B Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – CF Coleman – SS Ferrer – RF I. Flores – 3B S. Green – P D. Soto

Plans had to be modified at moving speed, though, because the Coons' lineup didn't even make it through the first inning intact. Elias Tovias' off day lasted barely beyond getting dressed and ripping open the first bag of cookies on the bench for Danny Soto drilling Brett O'Dell with a 2-2 pitch to load the bases. O'Dell had to come out of the game, leaving our bench seriously reduced. Terry Kopp would single in two, Ramos and Mora coming across after hitting singles earlier in the inning, before Tim Stalker flew out to Trevino in leftfield. Stalker would sparkle though in the following inning, bailing Delgadillo out of a tight spot with a wonderfully amazing double play, lunging for a grounder by Sam Green behind second base, flinging it to Ramos, blindly, and Ramos zinged it to first to beat Green on a bang-bang play. Delgadillo threw only three pitches the following inning for three easy outs, so things could still go either way for him, while the Coons were a bit crummy again, putting Mora and Gomez in scoring position with one out in the top 3rd, only for Tovias and Kopp to both strike out. The Coons' lead went out the window in the bottom 4th, though, with a Trevino double, Coleman single (and included Mora fielding error), a wild pitch (…!), and then Ferrer's run-scoring groundout, levelling the teams at two runs apiece through four.

Mora and Gomez were left in scoring position AGAIN by Tovias and Kopp in the fifth, this time on a pop and a grounder to short, while Yusneldan was under pressure in the bottom 5th after leadoff singles by Soto (…!!) and Mancia. Fortunately, Jim Young skipped a grounder to Stalker for another double play and Delgadillo conquered Tadlock on strikes to keep the Loggers away. Rain would end both starters' tenure in the game by the seventh inning, coming down hard with Delgadillo working on Rueda to begin the bottom 7th. The delay took almost 90 minutes and knocked out Delgadillo for sure, with Josh Boles making his major league debut against the left-handed Rueda. He got strike three on Rueda after inheriting a 2-2 count, then also struck out Terry Harris and Danny Mancia. Lisuarte Paradela struck out three Critters in the top 8th, but in the ninth Jon Gonzalez had a pinch-hit 1-out double against Joe Moore and pulled up the top of the order while Cookie went out to run for him. The Loggers were scared of a 20-year-old kid, walking Ramos intentionally to get to Spencer, who lined out to centerfield, and then Mora grounded out to Tadlock. Ugh, this team! Surginer's clean ninth gave us more extra innings and in the 10th a leadoff double through Jon Berntson at third base off the bat of Rafael Gomez. When Tovias grounded out, Gomez moved to third, and the Loggers walked Kopp intentionally, pulling up Tim Stalker, 0-for-4 and .118 overall. Unfortunately, the bench was seriously reduced and in a double play situation Matt Nunley was not an option to emergency-pinch-hit. However, Stalker got the job done, somewhat, with a sac fly off new pitcher Mike Linderman before Bullock struck out. Ricky Ohl now had no cushion, but at least got into the game…! That didn't mean there was a happy end, and in fact there was none. Wilson Aquino (who??) pinch-hit and homered to begin the bottom 10th, erasing the lead instantly, and the Loggers walked off on a Jim Young single and Ron Tadlock double. 4-3 Loggers. Mora 3-5, 2B; Gomez 2-4, BB, 2 2B; Bullock 2-5; Gonzalez (PH) 1-1, 2B; Delgadillo 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K;

Back-to-back stinker games! Actually, also our first back-to-back losses this season.

I could have done without either.

The Raccoons also had to make an odd roster move for Thursday with no diagnosis on O'Dell. Nick Derks was demoted to AAA to make room for a backup catcher. Jake Burrows, 28, batting .246 with three homers in St. Pete, was called up because he was the only catcher on the 40-man roster.

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – LF Carmona – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Gomez – 2B Stalker – C Burrows – 3B Bullock – P Roberts
MIL: 2B Mancia – 3B S. Green – 1B Tadlock – RF W. Trevino – CF Coleman – SS Ferrer – LF Rueda – C J. Salazar – P Polito

Through five, four hits per side, and no runs for anybody. The Raccoons remained offensively inoffensive. While the Loggers reached third base twice, but were always quelled in time by Roberts flashing some stuff, the Raccoons never reached that far in the first five frames of this Thursday affair. Things usually went like this, as happened in the sixth inning: Alberto Ramos hit a leadoff single, then someone would strike out or pop up, or a random selection of those, three times in a row. In that top of the sixth, the Coons went K, pop, pop. Ramos walked back to the dugout from first base, dejected. In the seventh, Stalker hit a 1-out single up the middle, and Jake Burrows hit into a double play. Roberts held up with a 4-hit shutout through seven, but was also already over 100 pitches. He was hit for with Spencer in the top 8th with unimpressive results. Ramos snapped a 2-out single after that, and suddenly Warren Polito, who was actually Warren Polito IV, which explained how a boy born in '96 had a name of a boy born a hundred years ago, walked the bases full against Cookie and Mora, bringing up Gonzalez. C'mon Jon! We need it! He would face lefty Lisuarte Paradela in place of Polito, ran a full count, held still on a pitch inside, and got the call. Bases-loaded walk, 20th RBI for Gonzalez (yaaay…), and Roberts had a posthumous claim to a W. The Raccoons actually got two more runs on Rafael Gomez' single to left, also in a full count, before Stalker popped out foul, which was so going to help his .162 batting average. The Coons put the game away anyway; Jonathan Snyder pitched two scoreless innings, and Terry Kopp actually hit an RBI double after entering in the double switch that also brought on Snyder. Kopp's double plated Daniel Bullock in the ninth, who had drawn a walk off Paradela. 4-0 Coons. Ramos 3-4, BB; Gomez 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Stalker 2-4; Kopp 1-1, 2B, RBI; Roberts 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, W (4-2); Snyder 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, SV (1);

Raccoons (20-9) @ Miners (11-17) – May 8-10, 2026

Like the Loggers, the Miners were 8 1/2 games out in their division. Like the Raccoons, they had split a 4-game set during the week. Like the Loggers, they had a bottom-three rotation coupled with a decent but not overwhelming bullpen. And unlike the Raccoons, they had really gotten the short end of the stick in interleague play between these two teams over the last 50 years, winning games against the Raccoons at only a .315 pace. They had won two out of three the last time these teams faced off, though, which was back in 2023.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (4-0, 1.73 ERA) vs. Tadasu Abe (4-1, 4.12 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (2-2, 5.55 ERA) vs. Ramiro Benavides (1-3, 5.50 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (2-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. Mel Lira (1-2, 4.28 ERA)

Benavides was the only southpaw starter we would get this week, while Sunday's assignment, Mel Lira, had a nickname that would fit this team much better: "Dinnerplate". I wonder why he had that! There was a reunion with former Raccoon Tadasu Abe, who was the only hurler from the Coons' late-10s trifecta with Toner and Santos that was still pitching in relatively decent fashion. He was on his third FL team since we had sent him to Nashville during the '21 season and was doing decent work, but not overwhelming anybody. He had lost 14 games last year, and had lost 11+ for four straight years after never losing more than ten in Portland.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Gomez – LF Carmona – C Tovias – 3B Bullock – P Gutierrez
PIT: LF J. Lopez – 3B D. Jones – CF de la Riva – RF B. Ortega – 2B Tomlinson – 1B Keen – C A. Baker – SS Becker – P Abe

Rico had won his last start against the Crusaders mainly for a 10-run outburst by the Raccoons, but had pitched gruesomely, and that didn't change for this game in Pittsburgh. The Miners got a run off him in the first when he issued a 4-pitch leadoff walk to Jorge Lopez, who eventually scored on Bobby Ortega's single, then allowed a single to Josh Keen and a 2-run homer to Adam Baker in the bottom 2nd. The Coons' offense was nowhere to be seen and the ground was opening up again underneath Gutierrez in the bottom 3rd. Carlos de la Riva and Bobby Ortega hit sharp 1-out singles, and then Bruce Tomlinson reached on Gomez' error to load them up. Somehow, the baseball gods spared Rico the fatal lightning strike right there and then; Keen popped out to first base, while Baker grounded out to Ramos, stranding all three runners.

Abe held the Coons to two base hits in the first five innings, the top halves of which could just as well have been skipped altogether. Maybe Ramos' leadoff single in the sixth could bring about a vague hint of threat. Spencer flew out to center, but Mora got a double to fall in, and now the tying run drew up, with home run monster (3!) Jon Gonzalez at the plate. He hit an extremely impressive foul pop that gave the Miners two outs in the inning, but Gomez found a hole between Dan Jones and Jeff Becker for a 2-out, 2-run single… and then Cookie popped out. With Rico only lasting six innings, the Coons pieced two more frames together from Boles and Mudge – remember we still had the short bullpen with O'Dell's corpse lingering on the roster – but as the ninth inning dawned they didn't look much like winners. Right-hander Erik David would try and do the honors against the 5-6-7 batters. Rafael Gomez led off by hitting an absolute rocket to deep center… and had it spared by de la Riva. Oh well, if we can't even get that ball to fall in… Cookie singled on a 3-1 pitch, and that brought up Tovias, who so far had not gotten the ball into play in fair territory in this game, then peppered a 1-1 pitch to deep right. Deep, deep – gone! That one … came out of NOWHERE!! This one took Rico off the hook and threatened to make Jeff Mudge a winner if only Ricky Ohl could hold on this time. He walked Chris Mendoza, he walked Bobby Torres. Jorge Lopez hit a 1-out single, and the bags were loaded. Oh why… Left-hander Danny Santillano would pinch-hit for the fallen David in the #2 hole, and in desperation mode the Coons threw Billy Brotman into the game. He got two strikes on Santillano until the Miner put the ball in play after all, a fly to short-ish centerfield. Mora came in a little bit for the catch, timed it well, and lasered home when Mendoza tagged and went for home plate. Tovias was served perfectly by Abel Mora and punched out Mendoza with the runner's leg about six inches from home. Ballgame! 4-3 Coons! Spencer 2-4; Carmona 2-4; Mudge 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, W (1-0);

Game 2
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – C Tovias – RF Borg – SS Stalker – 3B Bullock – P Anderson
PIT: LF J. Lopez – 1B Santillano – C Henley – CF de la Riva – 2B Tomlinson – SS Becker – RF C. Mendoza – 3B D. Jones – P Benavides

Benavides had more walks (28) than strikeouts (22), and that in only 37.2 innings pitched. It was all about being ****ing patient and then getting timely hits. Top 1st, Spencer singled, Mora walked, they pulled off a double steal, and then Benavides came mighty close to KKK the Koons, whiffing up Gomez and Tovias, but still spilled a run when Jon Gonzalez grounded out on a 2-2 pitch. Unfortunately, with Kyle Anderson pitching, a 1-0 lead was not going to stand up. Anderson got rid of the first two batters in the bottom 1st, then got bombed by J.J. Henley, which was one thing to do and was only human. It was however not acceptable to concede another three 2-out base hits, a 2-out walk, one more run, and then require Stalker to get the last out from Dan Jones with a really nifty play after going to two strikes on five of those last six batters. With two strikes, Anderson couldn't topple a glass of water, let alone get one by that would convince the umpire. The game was tied again by the third inning, in which Benavides walked three, including Anderson as the first Coon up, and plated Anderson to tie the game with a wild pitch that sent batter, catcher, and umpire scattering. The concept of "timely" hit did elude the Raccoons, though, and they let him off the hook there.

On to the fourth, where Greg Borg drew a leadoff walk, then got forced out by Stalker when he couldn't hold still in a ****ing 3-ball count. Stalker made it to third base when Henley threw the ball past either middle infielder on Stalker's stolen base attempt, and Stalker scored when Daniel Bullock legged out a grounder to Tomlinson at the far edge of the infield dirt. Never mind that Bullock collapsed in a heap right behind the base after colliding with the first baseman and clamored violently while clutching his paw. This sucked, since Matt Nunley was still nursing that ankle, but he claimed to be good enough to finish out the game, which was in the fourth inning and could well go 18 in a 15-13 bonanza. Nunley was bunted to second base, but didn't make any attempts to score on Spencer's single to center. Abel Mora came through in a full count, though, singling to right center to extend the lead to 4-2. Gomez then popped up a 3-1 pitch, causing my raw ire to flare up again and a mirror to shatter in the bar where I watched the game. It's all okay, all teams know where to send the bills to…

Damage control protocol active, the Coons now had a limp third baseman, a 4-2 lead, and Anderson still going in the fourth inning. The lead was taken care of first when Santillano hit a 2-run homer off Anderson in the bottom 5th. The Coons had runners on the corners in the sixth when Gomez ran a 3-0 count against right-hander Dan McLin, then popped up again! GODDAMNIT HOLD THE **** STILL YOU ***HOLE!! To no avail, the third out was recorded, again. Somehow, the Coons dragged Anderson's body through six without getting into trailing mode, but nothing about this game had been even remotely pretty so far. Maybe Jon Gonzalez' leadoff double against Armando Pena in the seventh could get us somewhere nice? Tovias was walked intentionally for weird reason, with Borg flying out to right then. Tim Stalker hit a sharp grounder at first baseman Adam Baker, who was totally eaten up by it. The ball went through him, up the line, and all the way into the corner! Gonzalez scored, Tovias scored, and Stalker slid into third base with a 2-run triple! He would not score after Nunley whiffed, Kopp got nailed, and Spencer grounded out to short, and the Raccoons had precious little bullpen available to find nine more outs. It was not certain they would… Surginer allowed singles to Henley and Tomlinson in the bottom 7th, then got a grounder from Josh Keen to Spencer. The Coons tried to turn two, but Stalker was taken out by Tomlinson in a wild collision. Caps, gloves, and suspenders went flying, and in the end, Stalker picked himself out of the dirt, and Tomlinson didn't, being eventually stretchered off with a broken foot. Bobby Torres replaced him while Surginer struck out Mendoza to end the inning. Nobody came forth with more offense for Portland, and after Brotman did the eighth, we were back with struggling Ricky Ohl in the ninth. AND the middle of the order. Henley singled. De la Riva singled. Oh dear baseball gods, HELP!! Torres flew out to right. Ortega singled up the middle. Mendoza singled to right. That made it 6-5 with the bags full and one out. For the second time in the series, Ricky Ohl was yanked with the bases loaded. This time Jeff Mudge was ejected from the pen in a hurry. Dan Jones hit a 2-2 to center, Mora with another catch. He again brought in a throw that looked good, but this time de la Riva bowled over Tovias, who lost the ball (but at least no limbs). The game was tied, though. Then Mudge served up a 3-run homer to Adam Baker, and the Coons lost, absolutely miserably. 9-6 Miners. Spencer 3-4, BB; Bullock 1-2, RBI;

That one hurt, badly. And the Elks are closing in.

It would also help tremendously if the Druid could finally sort through all the injuries here. MENA! MENA!!! Where is he!?

Mark Roberts says he went to get body bags. Uh-oh.

For the moment, the Raccoons had to place Daniel Bullock on the DL with a fractured thumb. He was going to miss a month or so.

To keep the bench from falling over due to a lack of weight on the far end, the Raccoons called up Justin Gerace, batting just .191 in AAA.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – 3B Nunley – RF Kopp – C Tovias – P Legleiter
PIT: 3B D. Jones – 1B Santillano – C Henley – RF B. Ortega – SS Becker – LF C. Mendoza – CF L. Otero – 2B B. Torres – P Lira

The Raccoons were retired in order the first time through the lineup while the Miners seemed to start every inning with a man on base, which was all so comforting. They only scored once in those early innings when Danny Santillano hit a 2-out double over Terry Kopp to plate Bobby Torres in the third inning. The Raccoons saw ten of theirs retired in order before they reached base, and then got both Spencer and Mora aboard with a pair of infield singles. And then Jon Gonzalez hit into a double play…

Both teams hit a leadoff triple in the fifth inning, and both actually got that run in, stretching the score to 2-1 Miners after the fifth, and Ramos hit an infield single in the top 6th, only to get doubled up by Spencer. So if anyone dared counting, that made for four base hits for the Coons, only one of which had left the infield, and two of those had been blackballed back to the dugout by their own team. Thank goodness we had absolutely no ambitions! And yes, the Miners were also dumb, but … ugh! Jeff Becker got hit in the bottom 6th, and then Chris Mendoza had an infield single as it was just swarming of those things in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoons, apparently. Leo Otero grounded to Spencer, with the Coons too slow to turn two, but then Torres grounded at Ramos, and this time they DID turn two. Two teams that couldn't drink a glass of milk without adult supervision, punching the air in front of them – what a sight to behold. Top 7th, Gonzalez singled, Gomez hit into a double play. It just kept going! In the worst game ever witnessed by humanity, the Raccoons suffocated in a storage room full of oxygen containers, taking a series loss and their first losing week of the year in turn. 2-1 Miners. Legleiter 7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K;

In other news

May 4 – CIN SP Adam Moran (4-1, 4.63 ERA) spins a 2-hit shutout in a 3-0 win over the Rebels.
May 5 – OCT 2B/SS Alex Serrato (.269, 9 HR, 18 RBI) achieves the rare feat of homering three times in a single game with three solo shots in the Thunder's 5-2 win over the Knights. It is the 48th 3-or-more-homers game in ABL history, and the second for the Thunder franchise after Jose Jimenez' effort in 2018.
May 7 – The Rebels bring out a pair of 6-run innings, just barely enough to beat the Cyclones, 14-10. RIC LF/RF/1B Dan Brown (.203, 2 HR, 13 RBI) drives in seven on three base hits, including a first-inning grand slam off CIN SP Diego Mendoza jr. (5-0, 3.06 ERA), who allows six runs in three innings, yet grabs a no-decision.
May 7 – Despite 13 base hits (including a double and a triple) of their own, the Warriors lose a 1-0 game in regulation against the Gold Sox.
May 10 – The Rebels will be without RF/CF Dan Dalton (.339, 2 HR, 14 RBI) after the 29-year-old has suffered a broken thumb and will be out for at least a month.
May 10 – The Scorpions trade RF/1B/LF Roberto Amador (.385, 1 HR, 4 RBI in 15 AB) and #39 prospect SP Francisco Colmenarez to the Loggers for SP Vincent Alfaro (2-4, 5.02 ERA).

Complaints and stuff

Nope, not a playoff team. Not much of a team at all. Some of them maybe not even alive. Mena, check pulses. – The pulse! (motions weirdly) – That… no! No the thing at the… - Ah, just give me that! (rips away the sphygmomanometer)

So few surprises. Not a surprise that Matt Nunley keeled over immediately after having a hot week. Same for O'Dell, who was just about to get serious playing time, and keeled over. Not a surprise that Ricky Ohl basically retired nobody after I patted him on the head last Sunday. So few surprises. Well, at least the home run race is still raging, but Jon Gonzalez with three now has a pretty daft lead on all the guys with two… I must say I am a little bit surprised that the Elks are chasing us down (and not a more renowned team), but that's the pretty thing about the baseball gods – always a new way to get poked in the bum by that burning trident! How can a team with a .275 batting average be this lame in the run column? And they *run* even well! We are at 26 stolen bases already! Which is 16 more than our homer total. I don't know. Much of this defies any sort of logic.

By the way, the league lead in homers is nine, and yes, that is the value for an INDIVIDUAL PLAYER. Two actually, Vancouver's Tony Coca and Oklahoma's Alex Serrato. We will thankfully face neither of those teams next week, although maybe we can get swept by the Indians on the weekend.

And with a rout on Monday and Tovias' late miracle on Friday, the Coons are now 10-0 in series-opening games. Pretty close to .500 in all other games, though. This could be improved!

The Raccoons arrived back in Portland with Daniel Bullock in a thumb cast, which let Cristiano Carmona to lament that this sucked because they now couldn't do the thing with the hose and the sponge anymore. This confused me a whole lot, because neither were classic baseball equipment, but they trudged / wheeled off together before I could get further into the hose and sponge thing.

Fun Fact: On May 7, 1996, Miguel Lopez lasted just two pitches in that Tuesday's game against the Warriors, leaving with a torn rotator cuff. The Raccoons' Gabriel De La Rosa took the 3-1 loss in relief. Vern Kinnear had three hits. Nobody else had much for the Raccoons.

That was the 32nd games of the season and the loss dropped the 1996 Raccoons to 21-11. Lopez eventually came back, though not in time to be of use to the 1996 Coons anymore that went from 21-11 to 108-54 and the World Series.

Let's just not get into what came afterwards.
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:40 AM   #2610
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Brett O'Dell was FINALLY disabled on Monday with a bruised wrist. No fractures, no strains, no traumatic amputations, no third-degree burns… MENA – WHAT TOOK SO LONG?? – MENA!!

… no, he licked that yellow frog again and is out. We're on our own.

Raccoons (21-11) vs. Pacifics (15-17) – May 11-13, 2026

The Pacifics were already ten games out of the dominating Scorpions in the FL West, although their case was a weird one. They were more or less like the Raccoons; they were average in scoring runs, and had very good pitching, and somehow they were still two games under .500 despite a +21 run differential (Coons: +38). They had suffered some rotten luck so far, apparently, and we should better be cautious going into this series. The Raccoons had not won a series against the Pacifics since 2018, and the last time they had encountered them in 2023 had gotten swept.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (3-0, 1.66 ERA) vs. Shane Baker (2-2, 3.50 ERA)
Mark Roberts (4-2, 1.69 ERA) vs. Gavin Lee (4-0, 2.41 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (4-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. Dave Christiansen (2-3, 3.12 ERA)

Christiansen was the only one of their three southpaws we would be facing in this series. His nickname was "Mauler" – the same that the great Juan Correa had carried in the 70s and 80s. A major leaguer since 2024, he had yet to deliver a season with a sub-3 ERA, but then again he was only 23… Included in those left-handers we would miss was old foe Sam McMullen (2-3, 1.91 ERA).

The Coons put Brett O'Dell on the DL and brought up a reliever to balance their numbers again, selecting Nick Derks from St. Petersburg for the third time this season.

Game 1
LAP: SS Cook – 2B Hansen – CF Jamieson – C Allomes – LF Pence – RF Fullerton – 3B Janes – 1B Read – P S. Baker
POR: SS Alb. Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – C Burrows – P Delgadillo

Only Jon Gonzalez had a base hit the first time through either lineup, and his single was immediately wiped off the board and especially the bases on Rafael Gomez sharp grounder to John Hansen; to Ben Cook, to Howard Read, double play! Hansen would also have the Pacifics' first hit, a single to start the top of the fourth that got through between Nunley and Ramos, and then Matt Jamieson immediately parked a fastball in the leftfield stands to put L.A. up 2-0. That lead didn't last, with Ramos' single and Mora's double placing the tying runs in scoring position in the bottom of the inning. Jon Gonzalez singled again, getting the ball just barely past Erik Janes, and both runners scored to tie the contest again. The following inning Cookie led things off with a bloop single to shallow left. The quirky Coons concocted some sort of weird plan, using Burrows to bunt, and then told Delgadillo to swing away. At least they didn't blunder into a double play this way, got Cookie to third base, and Alberto Ramos flipped a single to shallow center to plate him with two outs for a 3-2 lead.

This lead was in mortal danger in the sixth inning, which saw Dylan Allomes double to center with one out. This was a tricky lineup, especially for Delgadillo, who was a bit prone to walking people, and from Allomes on down the Pacifics had rolled out five left-handed batters in a row, including some old Continental League opponents. Delgadillo promptly lost Eddie Pence on balls, then got a bouncer from D.J. Fullerton that he threw into Ramos' legs at second base, loading the bases on the error. The Coons had snoozed at this point, didn't have a left-hander ready, and Delgadillo faced Erik Janes, who sent a fast bouncer to the left side, but right into the deadly glove of Matt Nunley, who started an around-the-horn double play to get the Critters back into their dugout, still ahead 3-2. Delgadillo got through the seventh without issue, but also reached 100 pitches. When Cookie hit another leadoff single in the bottom 7th, the Raccoons already knew they were hitting for Delgadillo, so they bunted with Burrows again, giving Terry Kopp a chance with a man in scoring position. The Pacifics, weirdly, didn't bite and walked him intentionally, preferring to go after the rookie with 96 more points of batting average. But it worked; both Ramos and Spencer flew out to centerfielder Matt Jamieson, and the inning ended. Snyder and Boles combined for a scoreless eighth, although much credit was again due to Nunley for starting another double play to end yet one more inning, this time on Allomes. So; who will close this one now? No insurance run came forth, so pickings against the 5-6-7 batters consisted of Brotman, Ohl, and Mudge, all overused, and a fresh Nick Derks if you felt that special kind of crazy. We didn't, and here came Ricky Ohl, while we simultaneously braced for impact. Impact duly occurred, with a pinch-hit single by Brian Roberts, a single by D.J. Fullerton, and then Erik Janes' 2-run double, all with nobody out. Alex Ramos would do away with the Coons in the bottom of the inning. 4-3 Pacifics. Ramos 2-4, RBI; Gonzalez 3-4, 2 RBI; Carmona 2-4; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K;

Congratulations, Jonathan Snyder, old and new closer.

And **** you, Ricky. Just **** you.

Game 2
LAP: RF Vanatti – 2B Hansen – CF Jamieson – C Allomes – 3B Avent – LF Pence – SS Janes – 1B Read – P G. Lee
POR: SS Alb. Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – 3B Nunley – RF Kopp – C Tovias – P M. Roberts

Both teams had three base runners in the opening inning; while Roberts stranded his with consecutive strikeouts to Dan Avent and Eddie Pence to avoid a terrible start, the Raccoons put out singles by Ramos, Mora, and Gomez to get the game's first run across. Terry Kopp would get nailed to begin the bottom 2nd and Tovias drew a walk, bringing up Roberts with two on and nobody out. His bunt was pounced on by Allomes and used to put out Kopp at third base, but the Raccoons still turned the inning into something even after Ramos' grounder into a fielder's choice at second base. Well, Gavin Lee deserved most of the credit for plating Tovias with a wild pitch, which also advanced Ramos into scoring position, which he promptly exploited on Jarod Spencer's single to left-center, 3-0. While Roberts reigned himself in after the shaky beginning and held the Pacifics off the board through five, he also needed 90 pitches to get there for some long counts throughout his day, and was thus not going to go very deep into the game. It also started to rain in the bottom 5th, and the Raccoons were secretly hoping for drowning rain to end the game early… and got just that! Roberts threw three pitches to Matt Jamieson in the sixth inning for a 1-2 count, and by then the rain was bad enough for the umpires sending the game to a rain delay. We never emerged from that, and the game was called 90 minutes later. 3-0 Coons! Gonzalez 2-3; Tovias 0-0, 2 BB; Roberts 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, W (5-2);

Technically, this was the fourth career shutout for Mark Roberts, and the first this season, as well as his first "complete game" this year and 10th overall.

Any which way which doesn't involve the bullpen!

Since we currently had no backup infielder with third base experience and wanted to get Matt Nunley off his paws against the left-hander Christiansen, Jarod Spencer got the off-beat third base start in the rubber game, with Stalker at second. It would be the first time that Jarod Spencer played at the hot corner in the major leagues. Sorry, Rico, I do what I can…

The plan didn't noticeably change when bad weather persisted and wiped out baseball on Wednesday. Since neither team had places to be on Thursday, the Pacifics hung around the park for most of the day while everybody involved played no their phones or picked their noses, and the rubber game was rescheduled for Thursday. Christiansen remained the starter, and Jarod Spencer remained at the hot corner.

Game 3
LAP: RF Vanatti – 2B Hansen – CF Jamieson – C Allomes – 3B Avent – SS Cook – LF B. Roberts – 1B Janes – P Christiansen
POR: SS Alb. Ramos – 3B Spencer – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – C Tovias – CF Borg – RF Kopp – 2B Stalker – P Gutierrez

The second inning was a good one for Rico, as he first struck out the side, then drove in Borg (single) and Kopp (drilled once more) with a 2-out single in the bottom of the inning. Christiansen would get his revenge, sort of, with a 1-out double into the gap in the third inning, with John Hansen driving him in with a 2-out single of his own, but for the moment the Coons remained 2-1 ahead. The fourth saw the bags fill up for the visitors; Allomes singled, Brian Roberts singled, and Rico nicked Erik Janes with a 1-2 pitch. That brought up Christiansen with two outs, and Rico also had him at 1-2, and also could not put him away. "Mauler" Christiansen cracked a liner to right, but Jon Gonzalez threw himself in the way and somehow fondled the ball in his mitten to end the inning. Off the bat, that damn thing looked like a 3-run double… In turn, Rico also stepped in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning, but he got the chance with nobody out following a Borg walk and a pair of singles against Christiansen, who had yet to fan anybody, but used this spot to ring up Rico. Alberto Ramos grounded slowly past the mound, with Janes having to hustle in and Christiansen having to hustle over, and they barely beat out Ramos at first, but couldn't prevent Borg from scoring. That ran the score to 3-1, and when Jarod Spencer rushed a liner into the left-center gap for a first-pitch double, he score advanced to 5-1.

But this game was far from over. Rafael Gomez couldn't get in Spencer, then also couldn't get to Joe Vanatti's drive at the start of the fifth. Vanatti doubled off the wall, moved to third on Hansen's single, and then scored on Jamieson's grounder to Spencer, who got an out at second base at least, keeping the double play in order at least until Gutierrez threw a wild pitch… somehow, the Pacifics let him get off the hook despite hitting rockets all over the place and remained 5-2 behind, but it was 5-3 by the sixth, an unearned run in which Ben Cook's single conspired with a passed ball charged to Tovias and a throwing error by Alberto Ramos to get the Pacifics a bit closer. Rico Gutierrez was also done at this point after 106 somewhat messy pitches. So here came the pen, and we closed our eyes once more. Kevin Surginer survived a leadoff single by Hansen in the seventh, while Billy Brotman struck out the side in the eighth. Indeed it would be Jonathan Snyder with the save opportunity in the ninth, then even with the max allowance in terms of runs after a solo homer (the rage!) by Jon Gonzalez in the bottom 8th against Joey Hopkins. Snyder got pops from Mario Diaz and Vanatti before facing the surging Hansen again … but struck him out to clinch the series. 6-3 Furballs! Borg 1-2, BB; Gutierrez 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W (5-0) and 1-2, 2 RBI;

Raccoons (23-12) @ Indians (13-20) – May 15-17, 2026

The Raccoons had won two out of three from Indy in the first series between the two teams in '26 and hoped to get more of that in this weekend set. The Indians were right near the bottom in runs scored in the CL with a 3.9 runs per game, but had respectable pitching that nevertheless couldn't quite keep up with the lack of support. Their rotation was actually the second-best by ERA behind the Coons'.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (2-2, 5.64 ERA) vs. Brian Leser (1-2, 4.50 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (2-3, 3.40 ERA) vs. Mo Robinson (1-3, 2.56 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (3-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Mark Matthews (3-2, 3.00 ERA)

Those would be their three right-handed pitchers, but they had an off day, too…

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – 3B Nunley – RF Kopp – C Tovias – P Anderson
IND: SS Pizano – CF Linnell – 3B Good – 1B Herlihy – C T. Perez – RF Kaczenski – LF Mack – 2B Chambers – P Leser

The Raccoons got a run without landing a base hit in the opening inning thanks to Trent Herlihy's gross throwing error that put Ramos on second base to begin the game, then two productive outs from Spencer and Mora. The following inning, Kyle Anderson became the second Raccoons starting pitcher in a row to nip a 2-run single in the second inning, dropping one in against Leser to score Nunley and Kopp, and the following inning Jon Gonzalez mashed a 400-footer in solo fashion and the Coons put Gomez and Nunley to the corners to allow Kopp to bring in a fifth run with a sac fly to Craig Mack. Brian Leser wouldn't be around much longer; Alberto Ramos' single in the fourth inning would not lead to a run, but besides extending Ramos' hitting streak to 13 games also knocked out Leser after 3.1 innings. Myles Mood got the Indians out of the inning, but would load up the bases in the fifth, walk Anderson with two outs (…!), and then plated another run with a wild pitch.

Meanwhile, Kyle Anderson, heretofore routinely beleaguered, was nursing a 2-hitter and didn't let the Indians get to him all that much. By the bottom 5th, he had that ghastly ERA down to the 4's and also had six strikeouts on his ledger after getting only 12 K in his first 30.1 innings of the season. All was well until the sixth, in which Mario Pizano and eternal thorn-in-the-side Matt Good hit singles to go to the corners, Anderson hung a 1-2 breaking piece to Trent Herlihy and it was never seen again on the slugger's sixth dinger of the season (and only his 14th RBI). A single by Robert Chambers and a 2-out walk to Pizano jammed Anderson for good in the seventh and the Raccoons sent for Billy Brotman with three left-handers drawing up. He entered in a double switch with Cookie at Kopp's expense, and got Richard Linnell to fly out to center rather easily on his first pitch of the day. Portland had a chance to put the game away for good in the eighth with bases loaded against Mike Lake, but the right-hander rung up Gonzalez to end the inning, after which Brotman shoveled two batters aboard in the bottom 8th and somehow escaped thanks to a nifty double play started by Spencer. The Raccoons DID score two in the ninth, though. Nunley doubled off the fence, scored on Justin Gerace's pinch-hit single, with the throw home allowing Gerace to reach second base. Tovias was walked intentionally despite a blinding oh-fer, and Cookie dinked in an RBI single. However… with a 9-3 lead, Nick Derks managed to create a save opportunity in the bottom 9th, walking three and allowing an RBI single to Pizano in between. The Raccoons had to send Josh Boles to face Herlihy with three on and two outs, and a 1-2 pop to Spencer FINALLY ended this game. 9-4 Raccoons! Spencer 2-6; Gonzalez 2-5, HR, RBI; Nunley 3-3, 2 BB, 2B; Kopp 1-2, BB, RBI; Gerace (PH) 1-1, RBI; Carmona 1-1, BB, RBI;

Well, that is the first career save for Josh Boles, and wholly unexpected…

The virtual tie for first place that had more or less persisted since Monday (although the Elks had taken a half-game lead during our initial rainout on Wednesday, which he had gotten back on Thursday) was broken here, with the Titans beating the Elks, 4-3, giving the Raccoons a full game lead again for the first time since Sunday night.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – C Tovias – P Legleiter
IND: SS Pizano – LF Loya – 3B Good – 1B Herlihy – C T. Perez – RF Kaczenski – CF Duarte – 2B March – P M. Robinson

Herlihy's sac fly gave the Indians the lead in the first after singles by Pizano and Good, but the Coons rapped out three singles of their own to begin the top 2nd, Gomez, Nunley, and Carmona doing the honors in order to begin the inning. That already tied the game, but Tovias' double play bouncer almost ended the inning, putting Nunley on third with two outs. Lance Legleiter became the third Coons hurler in a row to get an RBI in the second inning, flipping a 2-out single into shallow right that Gary Kaczenski even overran for an error, but Nunley was of course scoring all the way to give the Coons a 2-1 lead. While now one half of the team started to play sketchy defense, Mora in the third and Ramos in the fourth being charged with errors that somehow didn't derail Legleiter, the other half continued to hit into double plays. The Raccoons had Gomez and Nunley aboard again after leadoff singles in the top 4th, but this time Cookie was the double play goat, and the Indians escaped with four wide ones to Tovias (hitting absolutely nothing at this point) and whiffing up Legleiter. It was a low-scoring game throughout the middle innings, but by no means a pitchers' duel either. Both teams landed plenty of base hits, the Coons reaching ten by the eighth inning, but couldn't push another run across for the longest time. Even weirder, Legleiter had no strikeouts whatsoever through seven innings, and faced two more batters in the bottom 8th, but lost them both in full counts. Pizano – a speed demon – hit an infield single, while Ricky Loya walked. The Coons were as good as doomed with two fast players on the bases, but sent for Brotman to pitch the third day in a row in a terrible spot. He faced only Matt Good, who flew out to center, which advanced Pizano, after which the Indians sent right-hander Ricardo Vargas to hit for Herlihy. Jeff Mudge was sent to see him, but had to considered rusty after seeing no action all week long up to this point. He failed to keep the lead alive, surrendering a sac fly to left to Vargas before Tony Perez grounded out, with the game locked 2-2 after eight. Top 9th, Nick Salinas whiffed Tovias and Kopp before Ramos singled to left, extending his hitting streak at what was maybe the last opportunity. He even stole second base, but was stranded when Spencer grounded out to Pizano. The Raccoons now hoped to get to extras with Kevin Surginer at the helm, which worked, then for offense in the 10th, which didn't, despite the Indians sending in Jose Fuentes, who had walked SIXTEEN in 9.1 innings, but the Raccoons were too damn ****ing impatient and poked, poked, and poked, making three pathetic outs between the heart of the order, and none of the ****ers got the ball out of the infield. Richard Linnell bombed Surginer as pinch-hitter in the bottom 10th, ending the game with the walkoff homer. 3-2 Indians. Gomez 3-5; Nunley 3-4; Legleiter 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K and 1-2, RBI;

****ing Jose Fuentes entered with a "SCORE NOW" sign hung from his neck, and the Coons produced two grounders and a pop. Wow.

WOW.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – 3B Nunley – RF Kopp – C Burrows – P Delgadillo
IND: SS Pizano – CF Linnell – 3B Good – 1B Herlihy – C T. Perez – RF Kaczenski – LF Tinsley – 2B Chambers – P Matthews

Both sides had three hits in the first three innings, and neither scored. The Coons couldn't convert a leadoff single by Ramos in the first, nor a leadoff double by Burrows in the third inning, while the Indians started the bottom 3rd with a Chambers single to right, only to have Matthews bunt badly to get him forced out by Delgadillo, and then Matthews also made third out at third base on Linnell's single to center. Top 4th, Gomez hit a single, Terry Kopp was hit with two outs, but that only brought up Burrows, not much of a hitter in general, and here – HO-LY COW, WHAT A DRIVE!! And it's OUTTA HERE!!!

While I should stop making comments about batters' individual abilities, the Raccoons now had a 3-0 lead, Delgadillo struck out seven through five innings, and it was raining again, so maybe … nah, the baseball gods wouldn't give us two rain-shortened wins in a week, would they? For the moment, they gave Jake Burrows another RBI on a 2-out single in the sixth, plating Rafael Gomez, and while the tarp did come onto the field in the bottom of the inning, its time in play was but brief this time and play resumed with Delgadillo finishing a 1-2 count from before the rain delay for a K on Dan March pinch-hitting in the #9 hole and holding the Arrowheads off the board through six. Portland added an unearned run on Adam Howell in the seventh, Spencer scoring from third base on Mora's groundout after arriving there on Perez' errant throw on his attempt to steal second. Delgadillo ran out of juice in the eighth inning, which saw Kopp pick a borderline homer by Kaczenski off the top of the fence, his early unravelment with some 80 pitches probably something that could be blamed on the rain delay throwing him off sync. Enter Ricky Ohl, pitching for the first time since being disgraced and now tasked with getting four outs in a 5-0 game. For starters he rung up Robert Chambers to end the inning. To anybody's baffled surprise, that was not his only strikeout in the appearance. Come the ninth, Ricky Ohl struck out Alex Duarte, struck out Mario Pizano, aaand struck out Richard Linnell. 5-0 Coons! Ramos 2-5; Gomez 3-4, BB; Burrows 3-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI; Delgadillo 7.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, W (4-0); Ohl 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K;

In other news

May 11 – VAN SP Andrew Gudeman (3-2, 2.44 ERA) pitches the Canadiens into the top spot in the CL North with a 1-hit shutout over the Scorpions. Only a single by 3B Jason LaCombe (.303, 1 HR, 11 RBI) spares the Scorpions from getting no-hit in Canada.
May 12 – Torrid VAN LF/RF Alex Torres (.364, 5 HR, 22 RBI) will miss a week with a strained oblique.
May 13 – DAL OF/1B Adam St. Germaine (.228, 1 HR, 9 RBI) will be out until early June with a strained hammy.
May 13 – Indians and Capitals play a 19-inning marathon that ends with IND LF/CF/1B Ricky Loya (.308, 6 HR, 10 RBI) homering off WAS SP Killian Savoie (0-4, 7.24 ERA) in the bottom of the 19th, giving Indy a 9-8 win. Prior to that, neither team had scored since the eighth. IND C/1B Tony Perez (.396, 2 HR, 13 RBI) dishes out five base hits in eight attempts and drives in two.
May 15 – MIL INF/LF Danny Mancia (.268, 0 HR, 9 RBI) is likely lost for the season with ruptured foot tendons.
May 17 – CIN SP Diego Mendoza jr. (7-0, 2.69 ERA) not only stays unbeaten in 2026, but also holds the Capitals to three base hits in a 6-0 shutout.
May 17 – The Crusaders expect to be without RF/LF Nate Ellis (.294, 4 HR, 16 RBI) for three weeks as the 32-year-old outfielder is suffering from a herniated disc.
May 17 – The Warriors cream the Stars, 15-2, with four base hits and two RBI chipped in by SFW C Mark Thompson (.252, 6 HR, 24 RBI).

Complaints and stuff

First off, first in the power rankings!

Mark Roberts' rain-shortened win on Tuesday not only kept the Coons in lockstep with the surging Elks, but also moved Roberts into the lead in the ERA table and got him even with several other pitches with five wins in the Continental League. He had already been at the top of the strikeout board, so on May 13 the reigning triple crown king was again on pace for a triple crown. As he made no start for the rest of the week, it was not exactly likely that he would remain atop all leaderboards, and he didn't, with Carlos Marron of the Crusaders lowering his ERA to 1.42 by Sunday night, and technically also Dan Delgadillo moved ahead of Roberts. Both showed identical 1.54 ERA's by Sunday night, but Delgadillo's is actually 1.537 while Roberts' is 1.542 …!

There was also a new entrant into the batting title race from Portland, with Ramos foundering a wee bit despite having an active 15-game hitting streak. No, it's Matt Nunley! Matt sits third in the CL with a .333 batting average right now, trailing Alex Torres (since DL'ed) and his .364 mark as well as .354 batter Danny Serrano on the Aces.

Ricky Ohl's Monday cock-up ended our string of ten consecutive series-opening games won from the start of the season until… well… Monday. No idea what is wrong with him. And that yellow frog looks pretty much covered in saliva.

What about Rin Nomura, that pretty decent Japanese guy we signed late in the winter? He has made seven starts at AAA, but the numbers are not good. Walks are okay, but he strikes out not even six per nine innings, and has given up six homers. He has a 3.52 ERA despite top-notch defense (.255 BABIP). Not a worthwhile candidate for a call-up right now. Even George James looks better with a 2.40 ERA and 6-1 record, also aided by great defense. Only three homers, but he also has nary a strikeout, 33 K in 56 innings.

Well, so far it was all fun and games, but we have a VERY serious week coming up. Four in Boston (who tore up the Elks on Sunday, 12-0), then three in Vegas. This will be … "interesting"! Yeah, the Titans may be five games out, but I still see them as the biggest threat in the division even though they were in fifth place for a few days this week.

Fun Fact: Terry Kopp has been nailed as many times (six) as he has extra-base hits on the season (six). All of those XBH are doubles.

I… yeah… I… I don't know. That's a pretty ****ty bid for a contract year!
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:05 AM   #2611
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Raccoons (25-13) @ Titans (20-18) – May 18-21, 2026

The Time of Truth had come for these wannabe Raccoons – their first series with quadruple-defending champions Boston this season, and one for four games. Right now, the Titans looked rather innocent in their fourth place, five games behind the Coons, but the numbers were there to show how lethal they could be. They had the most productive offense in the Continental League, plating a flat five runs per game, and only their pitching was still trying to catch up. Their rotation was pretty darn good, second in the CL with a 3.49 ERA, but their pen was undoing a lot of good effort and intentions. The Raccoons had not won a season series from Boston in their last four attempts, losing ten of eighteen last year.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (5-2, 1.54 ERA) vs. Alberto Molina (2-4, 4.31 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (5-0, 2.18 ERA) vs. Morgan Shepherd (4-1, 3.31 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (3-2, 5.35 ERA) vs. Guillermo Regalado (2-2, 1.58 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (2-3, 3.28 ERA) vs. Jeremy Waite (3-3, 4.29 ERA)

We would tip-toe around their sole southpaw starter, Dustin Wingo (3-2, 4.01 ERA), in this 4-game set. We'd see whether that would do us any good…

Meanwhile there was reinforcements coming from the DL, with Justin Gerace sent back to St. Pete to make room for Omar Alfaro. Replacing a 1-for-3 player with a 2-for-10 player here, but I was TOTALLY sold on the dream that Omar Alfaro would light fire under Terry Kopp's impending free agent bum.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – RF Alfaro – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Roberts
BOS: CF Reichardt – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – 2B R. West – 3B Corder – 1B Gasso – C James – SS Kane – P A. Molina

Roberts retired the Titans in order the first time through, whiffing three, which in this short form glossed over the near-stroke I suffered when Adrian Reichardt hit his very first pitch for some 400 feet in a part of the park that was more like 420' and Abel Mora actually made the damn catch at the fence. Omar Alfaro hit into a double play his first time up, which was probably part of his bigger battle plan to appear like the giant dork his stat line identified him as to get better pitches later in the series. Reichardt hit a single up the middle to begin the fourth inning for Boston, but was caught stealing, and that was literally almost all the action in the first five innings. Three singles for Portland, one for Boston, and nobody reached third base until Alberto Ramos legged out a leadoff infield single against Molina in the top 6th and advanced to third on Spencer's blooper near the rightfield line that also fell for a single. Mora put a run on the board with a single past Adam Corder into leftfield, after which Gonzalez and Gomez were not very helpful. That brought up Alfaro, who ran a full count with two outs, upon which Molina and the Titans decided to challenge him. Alfaro hit the challenge into the leftfield corner, plating two, and the Coons were up 3-0. Oh my god, Alfaro is a GENIUS!! The Titans in turn didn't get another hit until the bottom 7th, when Adam Braun singled, while the Coons did not get another run until the eighth, which saw Gonzalez snap a leadoff jack to left off Molina. Roberts looked impregnable until he didn't, with Mike Kane hitting a 2-out whammy off him in the bottom 8th to get Boston on the board, 4-1. That was also Roberts' 105th pitch of the game, and there was little point in messing around. It was time to bring on the pen and close those old eyes so they wouldn't have to bear witness. The Raccoons went straight for Snyder in this situation to get a 4-out save, entering in a double switch with Alfaro that brought on Kopp in the #9 hole. Panic was present almost instantly with a pinch-hit single by Jay Elder bringing up the top of the order in the eighth, and Adrian Reichardt rammed an 0-2 pitch to deep right. Kopp didn't get to it, it hit off the fence, and the Titans waved Elder around third base. Big mistake – Kopp collected the double eventually and unleased a murderous throw home that allowed Tovias to knock out the runner before he could touch home plate, ending the inning. The Coons wisely added two runs against Javy Salomon in the ninth inning, sparked only by a 2-out Ramos triple, followed by Spencer singling, stealing second, and scoring on a Mora single. Snyder didn't miss a beat anyway in the bottom of the inning, retiring the 2-3-4 batters in order. 6-1 Raccoons! Ramos 3-5, 3B; Spencer 3-5, RBI; Mora 2-5, 2 RBI; Gomez 2-4; Roberts 7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, W (6-2);

First to six wins in the CL – Mark Roberts!

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – LF Kopp – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Gutierrez
BOS: CF Reichardt – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – 2B R. West – 1B Elder – 3B Corder – C Leonard – SS Kane – P Shepherd

Morgan Shepherd struck out three in the opening inning – but not until after the Raccoons had rapped out four base hits and scored as many runs on him. Ramos singled, Spencer singled, Mora hit an RBI single, and Jon Gonzalez rung Shepherd's bell with a 3-run homer to left-center, his seventh on the year. Finally defrosting there! Rico had Titans on base in each of the first two innings, but they wouldn't score, with Keith Leonard hitting into a double play to defuse the bottom 2nd for example. The Raccoons added a run when Gutierrez hit a sac fly to Adam Braun with three on and one out in the third inning, stretching the score to 5-0, but the game and potentially the series turned poisonous in the bottom of the same inning when Rico faced Reichardt with two outs and nobody on and clocked him really well. Reichardt fell instantly and it took the Titans minutes to pick him up and gingerly walk him off the field. Jamie Wilson replaced him on first base and playing centerfield, but the Boston crowd that had so far being endured being outscored 11-1 in the series was hostile from this point on.

While the occasional cup of beer was now flung at one Raccoon or another, the Titans on the field also discarded their pitcher, sending Dan Moon into the game in the fourth for long relief in his season debut. Moon, a 2010 Coons supplemental rounder, was coming off nine years in low-noise bullpen roles with the Elks and had a 4.79 ERA to his career. The Coons didn't get to him, but the Titans were now in Gutierrez' head and rapped out Braun and Rhett West singles, then a Jay Elder RBI double to begin the bottom 4th. Gutierrez was tended to psychologically by the pitching coach with the tying run appearing in the on-deck circle, and Rico managed to hold the Titans to two runs in the inning on Adam Corder's groundout, getting Leonard to pop out to Spencer, who also handled Kane's grounder for the third out, while all stuff had been lost on Gutierrez ever since he had beaten Reichardt semi-comatose. Rico remained beleaguered, though, with the Titans putting up two with two down in the bottom 5th, which West ended by grounding out to Ramos.

Top 6th, the Coons scratched a run from Moon with singles by Ramos, Spencer, and Alfaro when they really could have used another 3-run homer with Rico mentally absent as it appeared, and the bullpen being not exactly fire-resistant. The angry Titans kept helping him out in the bottom 6th, which began with a 4-pitch walk to Elder. Adam Corder struck himself out swinging for the fences, with Leonard then singling through the right side. Elder went for third base, but was thrown out by Alfaro, which saved at least a run in the end, with Kane hitting a booming RBI double right afterwards. Gil Cornejo flew out easily to Alfaro to end the inning, 6-3. On 95 pitches and distraught, Rico was hit for in the top 7th, and then the pen had to find nine outs without giving up three runs. Jeff Mudge retired the 1-2-3 batters in order in the seventh, but in the eighth the Titans scored a run between the pitching of Ohl and Boles, singles by Elder and Kane, and finally a fielding gaffe by Alfaro. At least Snyder remained immaculate in 2026, retiring Gus Gasso, Jamie Wilson, and Yasuhiro Kuramoto in order in the ninth. 6-4 Coons! Ramos 2-4, BB; Spencer 3-5; Gonzalez 2-5, HR, 3 RBI; Tovias 2-3, BB;

There was a roster move after this game, as the Raccoons waived and designated Greg Borg for assignment to get up another infielder. Butch Gerster was a guy for the left side of the infield, batting right-handed, and hitting .264 with two homers in AAA. He had been our #18 pick in the 2022 draft, and had since languished in the minors without impressing anybody. He was 25 at this point…

Before the Wednesday the Titans also disabled a badly bruised and shaken Adrian Reichardt (.293, 3 HR, 21 RBI), but expected him to be back within two weeks.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – LF Kopp – 3B Gerster – C Burrows – P Anderson
BOS: 1B Elder – C Leonard – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B R. West – CF F. Rodriguez – 3B Kane – P Regalado

Weirdly, this was another game that was scoreless through five innings despite Kyle Anderson's best efforts to throw batting practice only out there. The Titans got some damn fine swings on him in the first two innings, but always ended up in the gloves of either Alfaro or Mora, and eventually had only two hits against Anderson through five, both soft, and one of them hadn't even reached the mound before trickling out. The Raccoons were not much better, their offense mostly limited to Ramos getting on base (now with an 18-game hitting streak) and seeing how far his speed would take him, which was in all cases not far enough, also a leadoff single issued to Jake Burrows in the top 5th that dissolved quickly when Anderson bunted into a double play.

An hour-long rain delay in the sixth inning would eventually serve to knock out both starters before anybody could put a run on the board. The Raccoons would put runners in scoring position finally in the eighth inning on a walk drawn by Kopp and Butch Gerster's first major league hit, a double off Salomon, but Burrows lined out to Rhett West to end the inning. The Raccoons sent Jeff Mudge into the bottom 8th where he faced four batters and retired none, conceding the go-ahead run and loading the bases on four singles. Ricky Ohl had to replace him and gave up another run on a sac fly by Adam Braun, but by then the game was already in the bin. 2-0 Titans. Spencer 2-3, BB; Kopp 1-2, 2 BB; Anderson 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K;

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Gomez – LF Carmona – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Legleiter
BOS: CF W. Vega – C Leonard – LF Kuramoto – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B R. West – 1B Elder – RF F. Rodriguez – 3B Corder – P Waite

Rhett West drove in Leonard and Wilson with a well-placed 2-out single in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Titans an early lead for the first time in the series. While Jeremy Waite fooled absolutely all the Raccoons, Legleiter fooled precisely nobody, but definitely didn't fool West the most; the Titans had two man aboard again in the bottom 3rd when West's spot came up, and this time he bombed Legleiter to left, extending the home team's lead to 5-0. Legleiter managed to commit a throwing error and allowed another single to Fernando Rodriguez before being yanked after 2.1 innings, eight hits, a walk, and (so far) five runs. Nick Derks replaced him and got out of the inning when Rodriguez was caught stealing and Adam Corder flew out to Cookie. The Raccoons would not hit for Derks come the fifth inning with Nunley and Tovias in scoring position and one out, because they were really keen on that long relief. Derks hit a ****ty grounder in front of home plate that was easily turned into the second out with the runners keeping pinned, after which Ramos grounded out. Back on the mound in the bottom 5th, Derks walked Kuramoto and Wilson to get started, then loaded the bases with a bloop single by West to get yanked anyway. Only the greatest developments on this Thursday! This included Kevin Surginer coming on to whiff three in the inning… AFTER hitting Jay Elder with the bases loaded and surrendering a bases-clearing double to Waite, of all people.

When the Raccoons put up a 3-spot against Waite, with a 2-run double by Tovias the most damaging part, it still didn't mean much against the rout that was in progress, and continued to rage with Surginer on the mound. Bottom 6th, Rhett West remained a 1-man hurricane dousing and drowning every and each pitcher the Raccoons would dare to send out. He came up with two men on again, and hit his second 3-piece in the game, Cookie angrily flinging his cap after the ball as it crossed well, well, well above him into the bleachers, putting Rhett West at 8 RBI in the game. Only Josh Boles would retire him between all the hapless hurlers the Coons threw against him in this game, striking him out with Wilson aboard in the bottom 8th. Nothing that could drown out the ravenous cheering and howling of the home crowd, though… 12-3 Titans. Kopp (PH) 1-1, 2B; Nunley 1-2, BB, RBI; Tovias 2-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Boles 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K;

…and the sad thing is that after those first two games I felt really, really, really good.

Yikes.

Raccoons (27-15) @ Aces (20-22) – May 22-24, 2026

Despite no injuries of significance, no flu epidemic, and no voodoo magic immediately apparent, the Aces were suffering through a horrible May after starting the year with a 13-9 April and looking pretty good at that point. They were seventh in runs scored in the league, but the devil definitely seemed to be in their pitching, which ranked at the very bottom of the CL with 5.1 runs allowed per game. Rotation and bullpen were equally guilty for them, both sitting 11th by ERA. The Raccoons had lost the last two season series against them, both times 4-5.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (4-0, 1.54 ERA) vs. Matt McCabe (1-2, 2.91 ERA)
Mark Roberts (6-2, 1.50 ERA) vs. Joel Trotter (2-4, 5.32 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (6-0, 2.41 ERA) vs. Ed Hague (6-2, 3.46 ERA)

And again the Coons seemed to snake around the left-handers, probably not meeting either Abramo Archibugi (3-4, 6.18 ERA), nor Tristan Broun (0-4, 4.71 ERA).

We started this series with a seriously bombed out bullpen and needed another goody from undefeated Yusneldan Delgadillo.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – RF Alfaro – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Delgadillo
LVA: CF Serrano – LF Raynor – RF Bednarski – 1B M. Hamilton – C T. Robinson – SS A. Medina – 3B A. Velez – 2B Farias – P McCabe

Portland went up 1-0 in the first inning without the benefit of a hit, instead exploiting a throwing error by Andres Medina that moved Ramos to third base following a leadoff walk, with Spencer jogging into second. Abel Mora's sac fly was still all they could make out of runners in scoring position with nobody out. The Raccoons wouldn't actually get a base hit until a Gomez single in the fourth inning, at which point there was not much to that inning anymore as the single occurred with two outs, nobody on, and Alfaro soon flew out to Ron Raynor. They also didn't have the lead anymore, which Danny Serrano had erased with a 1-out RBI double, plating Emilio Farias in the bottom 3rd. The Vegasians would take the lead the following inning after a 2-out walk to Medina issued by a not-very-sharp Delgadillo, after which Alberto Velez, the former logger, got really all of a fastball and banged out his sixth homer of the season, giving the home team a 3-1 lead. McCabe didn't hold that for very long though; Matt Nunley flicked a single in the top of the fifth, advanced on a wild pitch, Tovias' groundout, then scored on Delgadillo's groundout. With two outs and nobody on, Ramos singled, which meant 20 straight games with a base hit for him, and Spencer found the gap to double him in and re-knot the score at three.

It got better, at least once Rafael Gomez defused an absolute scorcher by Raynor with Serrano in scoring position in the bottom 5th. Gonzalez opened the sixth with a soft single, bringing up Gomez, who hit anything but. Now he hit a real rocket, and Ron Raynor wasn't getting to this one in the gap. Gomez' RBI triple gave Portland the lead back, 4-3, and there was still nobody out in the inning. At this point, the Aces walked Omar Alfaro (.160 with no power) intentionally, preferring to have the right-hander McCabe pitch to the .322 singles slapper and left-handed menace… Matt Nunley. Ultimately, it didn't matter either way; Matt hit a sac fly off the other Matt, the Coons went up 5-3, and Tovias didn't come through, neither did Delgadillo. For the latter, it was now about holding the **** on, because we couldn't possibly piece four innings together from the pen while maintaining a slim lead against this lineup. Bottom 6th, sharp single by Mike Bednarski, sharp single by Matt Hamilton, and weren't those two MY FAVORITE BATTERS OF ALL TIME?? Tim Robinson lined out to Spencer on a 3-1 pitch and I felt my heartbeat get out of rhythm there. Medina grounded out, advancing the runners, but Velez popped out, and somehow the Coons dodged a hail of bullets there.

Top 8th, another weird procedure, actually similar to the one in the sixth. This time Gomez led off with a triple against maybe Hall of Fame-bound, but clearly on his last leg, Ernest Green. The Aces stayed true to their ideals and walked Alfaro again, giving Nunley runners on the corners and nobody out once more… except that the Raccoons sought the platoon advantage and sent Tim Stalker to bat for Nunley, who was none too pleased. Tim singled up the middle, 6-3, after which Green knocked Tovias to load the bases. Delgadilo was not batted for in this spot, as he had another inning in him, and the lead was in "sizable" territory. Plus, my joy was boundless when he hit a fly up the rightfield line that totally beat Bednarski for a 2-run double. OH THE JOY!! **** YOU BEDGNATSKI!! Abel Mora would drive in two more against Ian Van Meter, another washed-up Federal League veteran trying to better his pension, giving the Coons a 5-spot and a 7-run lead. The Coons ran Delgadillo out there until Farias hit a 1-out single in the ninth, then let him come out after 113 pitches. Jonathan Snyder entered, trying to get two outs, but instead made a mess. He allowed Farias to score on a Jeremy Dein double, then allowed an RBI triple to Serrano, which actually put the first run of the season on his own stat card. Raynor walked before Bednarski drew up, the most legendarily useless batter I could remember, and grounded out to Tim Stalker at short. 10-5 Coons. Spencer 2-5, 2B, RBI; Mora 2-4, 3 RBI; Gomez 3-5, 2 3B, RBI; Nunley 1-2, RBI; Stalker (PH) 1-2, RBI;

I would really dig it to keep Serrano of the bases. He is leading the batting race in the CL by a good margin with a .367 clip.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Kopp – LF Carmona – C Tovias – P Roberts
LVA: CF Serrano – LF Raynor – C T. Robinson – 1B M. Hamilton – SS A. Medina – 3B A. Velez – RF Piepoli – 2B Moroyoqui – P Trotter

Saverio Piepoli's homer gave the Aces a 1-0 lead in the bottom 2nd, although Jarod Spencer pulled the Coons back even again in the third with a 2-out RBI double that chased home Tovias. The ball seemed to fly well off the bats of the players on either team, so it was probably best to hold on to something and I chose to hold on to a bottle of bourbon. But most of those harder drives ended up caught, and when a team piled up a few runs in the fifth inning, it was mostly on singles. That team was the Coons, with Cookie hitting a leadoff single to right. Tovias' groundout moved him to second, and before Roberts could do much, Trotter threw a pitch that graced his uniform and put him on base. Ramos' fly to left was caught by Raynor, but Spencer chipped in an RBI single to claim the lead, and after Gomez walked, Jon Gonzalez singled to center to drive in two more, 4-1. Nunley then grounded out to Velez to strand two. Mark Roberts seemed better in control and able to keep balls out of the Jetstream in the middle innings, although Tim Robinson hit a hard drive to right to begin the bottom 7th. Kopp caught that at the fence, and Roberts continued unfazed, retiring Hamilton on a pop and Medina on strikes. Trotter stayed in the game til the eighth and a 2-out walk to Cookie, which prompted a move to ex-Coon Wade Davis, who got Tovias on a grounder to short. It was still a close game, and although Roberts had a chance to go the distance here, throwing only 79 pitches through seven, the pen was alert and some guys were seen stretching as the eighth inning began. They were just about to begin throwing in earnest after a Velez single to lead off when Roberts got Piepoli to ground one to Ramos, who turned a textbook double play. Jesus Moroyoqui doubled, the pitching coach was on the phone constantly by now, but Jose Vargas grounded out again, and Roberts still looked on 91 pitches. As he came to the dugout after the inning, he expected a pat on the bum, but instead got a stick with the #9 spot due to lead off the ninth, so he went back out there and ripped a triple off Franklin Alvarado! The Aces now walked Ramos intentionally, which was going to end his hitting streak unless the game went extras or the Raccoons would seriously **** up the scoreboard. Ramos out of spite stole second base despite no steal sign visible anywhere, his 11th of the season, but despite runners in scoring position and nobody out, the Coons failed to get another run across, as Spencer grounded out poorly and Gomez and Gonzalez both popped out. Roberts struck out Serrano to begin the bottom 9th, got Raynor on a grounder, and then… got bombed by Robinson. BULLPEN SCRAMBLE!! He was going to face the left-hander Hamilton, though, who was still not the tying run… and who struck out. 4-2 Furballs! Spencer 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Roberts 9.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, W (7-2) and 1-2, 3B;

Second career triple for Mark Roberts, and his first base hit this season after going 0-for-20 so far. That was even with bad luck; he actually only struck out five times and was 0-for-15 on balls actually put in play. For his career he has over 400 at-bats with a .225 clip so he is one of the better-hitting pitchers out there…

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Kopp – C Burrows – P Gutierrez
LVA: CF Serrano – 3B A. Velez – RF Bednarski – 1B M. Hamilton – SS A. Medina – LF Piepoli – C J. Vargas – 2B Moroyoqui – P Hague

The game's first run scored on a Bednarski throwing error, which filled me with glee, coming as Terry Kopp, who had doubled, tagged up and went for third base on Jake Burrows' fly to rightfield. Bednarski had that, but then overthrew any and all defenders to allow Kopp to score in the second inning. The team broke out singles by Ramos, Spencer, Gonzalez, and Nunley to score two more runs in the third inning, but just when Hague looked ripe for consumption, Alfaro fouled out and Kopp soared a lazy one to Piepoli. At least Alfaro was playing spoiler to Serrano on defense, robbing him of potential extra bases both in the first and third innings while Rico remained untouched in the early going, but also struck out nobody in the first three innings, at least until he whiffed Velez … and then Burrows didn't come up with the ball, allowing Velez to reach on uncaught third strike. This gave the Aces an unnecessary 2-out runner in the bottom 3rd. Bednarski promptly singled, but Gutierrez rung up Hamilton to escape after all. Hamilton would also end the bottom 5th with another pair of runners on, this time the tying ones; Gutierrez had surrendered a rather impressive solo homer to Jose Vargas in the fourth, but still was 3-1 ahead.

Rico held on, but the Aces' Ed Hague now also found his strength and kept the Raccoons to mostly nothing in the following innings. Ramos had a single and stole second in the seventh inning, but couldn't entice his team mates to bring him in. While Hague went eight and struck out as many, Rico bumped over 100 pitches in the seventh and was not seen again for the eighth. Instead we saw Jeff Mudge walk the tying runs aboard, after which we had to shrug and send in Ricky Ohl, who somehow got an easy fly to left from Piepoli, then whiffed Vargas. The Coons also left a pair on base in the ninth, which started with a pinch-hit single by Cookie, a pinch-walk by Tovias, and then three pathetic outs from the 1-2-3 batters. Snyder was in for the bottom 9th; Moroyoqui grounded out to Ramos, but Emilio Farias slapped a 3-2 pitch up the middle for a 1-out single. That brought up the torrid Serrano, who had hit singles in his last two at-bats against Gutierrez and was now bloodthirsty to stave off the sweep. That count ran full as well, and on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Serrano cracked a mighty liner into play. Even mightier? Matt Nunley! He lunged, caught the damn ball in flight, and then found Farias halfway between first and second base after going on contact! Farias threw the anchor, scrambled back, but NOT IN TIME! Nunley lasered a throw to first base, and it reached Gonzalez with Farias still 15 feet away for a sweep-sealing double play! 3-1 Furballs! Ramos 2-4, BB; Mora 2-5, 2B; Gonzalez 2-4, RBI; Nunley 2-4, RBI; Carmona (PH) 1-1; Gutierrez 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, W (7-0);

In other news

May 18 – WAS RF/LF Tsuneyoshi Tachibana (.318, 5 HR, 26 RBI) knocks out four hits, including two home runs, a drives in three in the Capitals' 12-3 rout of the Rebels.
May 19 – An oblique strain fells NYC 3B Andy Schmit (.303, 4 HR, 17 RBI). The 28-year-old is expected to miss the next three to four weeks.
May 19 – The Crusaders beat the Canadiens, 2-1, when they walk off on a passed ball charged to VAN C Chris Tanzillo (.268, 0 HR, 11 RBI) that allows OF J.D. Laughery (.160, 0 HR, 2 RBI) to score from third base.
May 20 – SAC SP Michael Foreman (7-2, 2.01 ERA) spins a 2-hit shutout and takes a 5-0 win of his Scorpions over the Warriors.
May 22 – The Falcons pick up left-handed former starter, now hapless reliever Greg Becker (0-0, 10.38 ERA) from the Canadiens in a deal that sends a prospect to Vancouver.
May 24 – The Bayhawks lose CL Brian Gilbert (1-0, 1.23 ERA, 11 SV) to a torn meniscus that will keep him out for all of June and July.
May 24 – It might be season over for WAS SP Danny Arguello (5-2, 3.14 ERA) who has been diagnosed with radial nerve compression and needs to be shut down for now.

Complaints and stuff

Greg Borg went unclaimed and joined the Alley Cats on Saturday. I really thought we'd lose him, but then again he's not a good batter one way or another.

The Raccoons are now fourth in runs scored in the CL, with exactly 201 runs in 45 games. That is not quite 4.5 runs per game, but those are nevertheless lofty heights for this franchise! I would still like to figure out what's wrong with Alfaro now. Maybe he's gone suddenly blind? No, you can't go by them finding their food bowl without accident, they do that by smell.

No the thing that really irks me are the 15 home runs. What the furball!?

Rafael Gomez meanwhile became the 11th Raccoon to hit two triples in a single game.

In AAA ball, George James has his ERA down to 2.07, pitching to a 7-1 record, but with only 34 K in 65.1 innings. We're watching that one, and if Legleiter keeps dropping or Anderson resorts to crummy, we might make a move. We have an off day on Monday, which we will use to move Delgadillo up one day, ahead of Legleiter. The latter and Anderson going back-to-back is a bit of a strain on the pen…

Around the league, the Knights axed most of their front office on Tuesday, which is damn early in a season for a purge. Granted, they are playing some mighty .289 ball (11-27 entering Tuesday, worst team in the league), but … it's May!

Fun Fact: In 2023, the Nashville Blue Sox kept rule 5 pick Jose Rojas on their major league roster until early May before sending him back to the Titans. Despite being on the roster for more than a month, Rojas didn't get into a game once. It was also only the first of two instances within 18 months in which the Blue Sox would release him.

Rojas, a 28-year-old infielder, has since signed a minor league deal with the Coons, who have struggled to keep healthy numbers in the high minors at this point. He's not the only ancient roster filler now assigned to AAA, with the Coons also adding 31-year-old LF/RF/1B Kyle Koel, who other than Rojas has indeed NEVER made it into a major league game. Rojas did appear in 25 games, batting .207 with one homer, for the Blue Sox… but that was in *2024* after they really and actually took another swing at him.
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:23 PM   #2612
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2026 DRAFT POOL ANALYSIS

I am in love with a black kid from Massachusetts that I will never be able to touch and - … and let me start again.

I am in love with this 22-year-old black right-hander from Massachusetts that is never going to fall to our #16 pick, which makes me so sad. Brandon Nickerson has a great selection of pitches and an infectious smile. Could be the poster boy for Maud and her social media awareness brand things. To be honest, most of the time I have no idea what she's doing.

We have compiled our annual shortlist of 87 players that will be in the draft pool come June, all of which have some nice qualities or other. Yes, that means there are hundreds upon hundreds of kids with no nice qualities, and I blame their stupid game phone… their… (waves helplessly) whatever they're doing with their fingers on their ****ty phones! Oh! Oh – AND computer games! See, this shortlist (and the accompanying hotlist, which looks more like a young hurlers' directory) contains way more pitchers than hitters. Nobody seems to be able to coordinate hands and eyes anymore. All they can do is this … this … (waves helplessly again) MAUD WHERE ARE YOU I NEED HELP WITH WORDS!!!

(frowns) All the boys do these days is playing their stupid games. Nobody can hit a baseball anymore unless their mommy has placed it on a stick for them. They can still *pitch* though – probably a factor of throwing their gamethings at the wall when they don't let them win. Their… (more arm waving) … their thumb… dawdling… MAUD!!

PORTLAND RACCOONS HOTLIST (*indicates HS player)

SP Brandon Nickerson (12/14/9) – BNN #4
SP Justin Osterloh (12/13/13) – BNN #1
SP Sean Fowler (12/13/12)
SP Steve Younts (13/12/12)
SP Dale Mazie (12/13/10) – BNN #8
SP Jamie O'Leary (11/13/13)

SP* Chris Henry (13/12/13) *
SP* Nate Burleigh (11/16/13) *

CL Andy Hyden (19/14/7)

INF/CF Jose Cruz (14/7/13) * - BNN #9

RF/LF Mike Plunkett (9/12/13)
OF Billy Jennings (9/10/12)

Why the asterisks? Well, these two are listed as starting pitchers, but Carrasco has raised red flags. For example, Henry from Troy, Ohio; everybody raves about the 91mph heater that is sure going to gain and that swooping curveball. Nobody has ever said much about what other pitches he plans to throw to big league sluggers. Probably because kiddo ain't got a clue.

And yes, those three are the only mildly exciting batters we can think of. Probably safe to say that our first-rounder is going to be a pitcher this year, because you can't hump yourself beautiful on these batters in the pool. Seriously, they make *Daniel Bullock* look like an All Star. – No, Cristiano, he's never been an All Star. – Not in *my* heart!
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:04 PM   #2613
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Raccoons (30-15) @ Falcons (22-22) – May 26-28, 2026

With their even record, the Falcons were only four games behind the Thunder and tied for second place in the CL South. They were tied for the most runs scored in the CL, but were also in the bottom three in all of runs allowed, starters' ERA, and bullpen ERA. While they led the league in home runs with 41, they were rock bottom in stolen bases with *five*. This was very much a one-way team, and one-way teams can have a hard time… The two teams had not met yet in the new season, but the Raccoons had won the season series for three straight years, with a 6-3 effort in '25.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (3-2, 4.64 ERA) vs. Jesus Chavez (3-2, 4.60 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (5-0, 1.92 ERA) vs. Greg Gannon (5-2, 4.22 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (2-4, 4.01 ERA) vs. Jim Bryant (3-4, 4.33 ERA)

Only right-handers were going to be involved in this series. The off day had allowed the Coons to move Delgadillo ahead of Legleiter to split the two weakest links in their rotation, and it would also theoretically allow the Falcons to skip somebody, although skipping would only get them as far as Jack Sander (3-3, 4.99 ERA).

Coming in, the Falcons had traded for the Miners' RF/LF Chris Mendoza (.261, 1 HR, 3 RBI), sending away minor-league catcher Toby Ross, while the Raccoons activated Brett O'Dell from the DL and returned Jake Burrows to St. Petersburg.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Kopp – C Tovias – P Anderson
CHA: 3B Czachor – C A. Gonzales – 1B Fowlkes – LF Kok – RF Munn – 2B Pelles – SS Burns – CF Cano – P J. Chavez

The Coons started the game with a pair of singles, then a double play by Mora, and Gonzalez popped out. Pretty much the same pattern repeated in the third inning, except that then Ramos singled following up Anderson's grounder eluding Kyle Burns, and Spencer chopped into a double play. Mora then merely struck out. Both teams swung their sticks in exceedingly crummy fashion in this game, though, with the Falcons getting Barend Kok aboard with a leadoff single in the second inning, and then found ex-Coon Ruben Pelles to hit into a double play. No score through five, although the Raccoons were outhitting the Falcons 6-2 and had to wonder why the heck there was no run on the board. Anderson batted for himself with a 2-hit shutout going in the top 6th, even though there were three aboard with two outs after a single by Alfaro, a ground-rule double that definitely cost a run by Terry Kopp, and Tovias being put on intentionally. Anderson chopped a 1-2 pitch to left, but it was easy pickings for Kok there and the inning ended. Come the bottom of the same inning, Anderson retired Ryan Czachor and Alfonso Gonzales, but then loaded them up with walks to Pat Fowlkes and Danny Munn sandwiching a Kok single. Oh, we had played that so well! Ricky Ohl came on, almost walked Ruben Pelles, which was a tough thing to do, but Pelles eventually struck out, meaning the sixth saw six aboard, yet no one scored. Ohl came apart in the seventh with Kyle Burns' leadoff single, then a pinch-hit 2-run homer by the recently-acquired Chris Mendoza.

Nine hits off former Raccoon Jesus Chavez didn't mean squat for Portland through eight innings, but the Falcons sent former starter, now struggling (7.71 ERA) closer J.J. Rodd into the ninth inning. He was a southpaw, and the Coons were trying everything now, sending Rafael Gomez to hit for Kopp, and Gomez hit a leadoff triple into the gap. Ah, an extra-base hit – how new an experience!! Tovias' RBI single put the tying run aboard, with Cookie running for him and O'Dell hitting for Jeff Mudge. Rodd whiffed him, got Ramos to pop out, but walked Spencer (sic!). There was temptation to throw in Stalker or Gerster to bat for Mora, but … oh **** it. Tim Stalker batted for Mora, lined into the gap for a double, but Ricky Cano cut off the ball quickly, holding Spencer at third base in a tied game. In an obvious move, Jon Gonzalez was walked intentionally, loading them up for Nunley. And Matt……. popped out on the first pitch. Talk about deflating experiences. Nick Derks extended the game to extras, which is exactly what I needed, more time away from the minibar in my hotel room! Two more singles in the top 10th, putting Gomez and Cookie on the corners until O'Dell smacked into an inning-ending double play to Pelles. No, the Raccoons needed an idiot to walk the bags full, who they found in Joe Perry in the 11th. Alfaro (.152!) batted with three on and two outs in the inning, rolled a ball to left, and Burns somehow missed it completely. The ball got away into the outfield for a 2-out, 2-run single, and now the Raccoons just needed a good save from Jonathan Snyder. Cano led off with a double to left, and after Raul Mendez popped out foul to Nunley, Mendoza singled, scoring the runner. Alfonso Gonzales had enough power to worry me, but cracked a ball at Ramos instead, and Ramos started a 6-4-3 game-ending double play. 4-3 Blighters. Ramos 3-6; Spencer 3-5, BB; Stalker (PH) 1-1, 2B, RBI; Alfaro 2-5, BB, 2 RBI; Kopp 2-3, 2B; Gomez (PH) 2-2, BB, 3B; Derks 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, W (1-0);

16 hits and they barely made it. I love the hits. I would love more homers more, though.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Delgadillo
CHA: 3B Czachor – C A. Gonzales – 1B Folkes – LF Kok – SS Ra. Mendez – RF Munn – 2B Pelles – CF Cano – P Bryant

The Coons got their second ground-rule double in as many games early on Wednesday, with Abel Mora hitting a high-enough bouncer off the track to go over the low fence in right-center to follow up Nunley's leadoff walk in the second inning. The Falcons, who had walked Gonzalez intentionally twice in the previous game as well as Tovias once, did the same to Elias again, bringing up Delgadillo with the bags full and no outs. He struck out, as did Ramos. Spencer flew out to Ricky Cano – and no one scored. Portland would have eight hits through five innings, but no runs to show for it and I was slowly but surely going completely bonkers. The Falcons entered the bottom 5th with one hit off Delgadillo, but leadoff man Pelles on second base on a single to right and Kopp overrunning the ball, got a 1-out single by Bryant, and then somehow Delgadillo wiggled out without giving up a 3-piece, whiffing Czachor and getting Nunley to handle a scalding grounder by Gonzales for the third out.

The sixth saw a 2-out single by Delgadillo, which was neat but futile, and a 2-out double by Raul Mendez, which ended with Danny Munn striking out, and the game remained scoreless. Jon Gonzalez was nicked in the seventh, but Roberts otherwise struck out three, while Delgadillo reached 103 pitches after seven shutout innings and would not come back. Tim Stalker had a pinch-hit single for Mora in the eighth, was caught stealing, and I couldn't quite believe it. On to the ninth, where Ramos hit a 1-out double off Rodd in a scoreless game. NOW GET 'EM, BOYS!! Spencer put an 0-1 pitch into play, over Kyle Burns at third base and up the line. Kok couldn't cut it off, and Ramos scored on the RBI double! That was already it, Gomez not getting him in, Gonzalez being walked intentionally, and Kopp popping it up. Billy Brotman got the save opportunity in deference to two lefties up in the bottom 9th, and Snyder's difficult outing one night before. After Kok grounded out and Mendez was retired by Gomez in centerfield, Brotman rung up PH Geoff Simko to - … they called WHAT?? Catcher's interfence was called on Tovias, sending Simko to first and bringing up the winning run in Pelles. Ah, he wouldn't …! And he didn't, popping out foul. 1-0 Blighters. Ramos 2-5, 2B; Spencer 2-5, 2B, RBI; Gomez 2-5; Kopp 2-5; Stalker (PH) 1-1; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K and 2-3;

12 hits. One run. Unfathomable.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Legleiter
CHA: 3B Czachor – C A. Gonzales – 1B Fowlkes – LF Kok – RF Munn – 2B Pelles – SS Simko – CF Cano – P Gannon

Legleiter was going to drown right in the first inning after issuing a walk and three base hits. Barend Kok had singled in Ryan Czachor already and the bases were loaded with one out for Pelles, but Pelles was Pelles, grounded an 0-2 pitch back to the mound, and Legleiter bailed out on a 1-2-3 double play. While this 1-0 deficit already looked like a difficult tackle for this Raccoons team, when Legleiter gave up three straight 2-out hits to Kok (single), Munn (RBI double), and Pelles (RBI single) in the bottom 3rd, the Falcons advanced to 3-0, and what was a raccoon going to do now? A 3-0 deficit sounded like having to climb a 20-story tower – on the outside.

The Raccoons' first two base hits were both Jarod Spencer's, a single in the first and a triple in the fourth. They somehow scored him on the latter occasion, giving rise to hope in the less experienced fans in the fold. The Coons had three hits, but didn't score in the fifth, mainly for an untimely double play that Tovias hit into in between. I felt bad for a kid (…!) in the first row on the first-base side of the seats. Family with three kids, all decked out in Coons gear, maybe expatriates on the East Coast. Mom and Dad held on to their drinks, the two older kids were dutifully thumbing their phones, and then there was the youngest boy, who had Coons logo stickers on his cheeks, and kept hopping up and down with a cardboard sign, self-made probably, that read "LETZ GO CONS" whenever a Raccoon stepped into the box. The camera kept panning to that family for some reason, and there was no stopping his euphoria on this day, but he was definitely in for a lifetime of grief.

Kiddo got infinitely excited in the seventh inning when Abel Mora hit a 1-out double into the rightfield corner. The tying run came to the plate, then popped out foul on two pitches. Alfaro batted for Legleiter, and used the first pitch to ground out to Pelles. Maybe in the eighth! Ramos drew a leadoff walk, then reached third base when Spencer singled through Czachor. Runners on the corners, no outs, middle of the order coming up. The young fan almost went bonkers on camera, while I was expecting nothing but the absolute worst. Oh what a cynic I have become! Instead of the Coons falling all over one another for an unassisted triple play (they can do that without a man on second base!) Rafael Gomez singled to centerfield to get the score to 3-2 and now Gonzalez would actually be pitched to with men aboard… but flew out to Munn. Kopp chipped a single past Pelles, though, and that loaded the bases for Nunley, with no reliever in sight. He tied the game with a groundout, which was a ho-hum outcome, but still left Mora with two in scoring position and two outs, but the Falcons' Greg Gannon walked him halfheartedly on four pitches that all missed well outside. Tovias fell to 0-2 with two outs, then hit a ball high to right, but nowhere near deep, and Munn had no bother to register the third out there. On came the bottom 8th. The Raccoons juggled relievers as best as they could, but the Falcons countered their every move. Brotman allowed a single to pinch-hitter Bill Adams. Ricky Ohl allowed a 450-footer to pinch-hitter Chris Mendoza and the Coons went down to defeat. 5-3 Falcons. Spencer 4-5, 3B; Mora 2-3, BB, 2B;

I wonder whether that boy maintained composure after that Mendoza moonshot. Probably not. The camera never showed him again, and they never show crying children.

Thankfully, they also never show crying GMs.

Raccoons (32-16) vs. Bayhawks (24-22) – May 29-31, 2026

The Baybirds had a 5-game winning strea going that had gotten them within two games of the Thunder in a mediocre CL South. The Raccoons had won two of three games from them in the first series between these teams in '26, and were hoping for more W's. San Francisco ranked eighth in runs scored, ninth in runs allowed, and their -22 run differential wasn't exactly crying out for the playoffs, but then again we all saw the Cyclones reach the World Series last year…

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (7-2, 1.56 ERA) vs. Jonathan Shook (5-3, 3.57 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (7-0, 2.29 ERA) vs. Allen Reed (3-4, 4.58 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (3-2, 4.10 ERA) vs. Matt Huf (6-3, 2.18 ERA)

Allen Reed, 30, will be the only southpaw on offer this week, clearly dwarving the number of former Raccoons starting pitchers that were all discarded at a young age that we will have seen this week. While we didn't get a glance at Jack Sander in Charlotte, we'd get Shook and Huf in this series, and if the Bayhawks did something funny it would only pull up the third pitcher we sent over in the Mark Roberts deal, Reese Kenny (2-4, 6.15 ERA).

Game 1
SFB: 3B Booker – C R. Anderson – LF J. Correa – RF C. Martinez – 1B Caraballo – CF Hawthorne – SS Camacho – 2B Pick – P Shook
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – RF Alfaro – C O'Dell – P Roberts

There was a home run for the first scoring in the game, which should be enough for any alert Coons fan to know that San Francisco scored first. Mark Roberts hit Cesar Martinez really hard to begin the second inning, then served up a 2-piece to George Hawthorne to end up in a 2-0 deficit. Portland countered with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom 2nd thanks to singles by Gonzalez and Nunley, then a walk drawn by Mora. Well, hold on – that's only three on and nobody actually across! True, but Jonathan Shook lend the Coons a hand (paw?), walking Alfaro to force in a run, then threw a wild pitch to tie the score. O'Dell hit an RBI single, and Roberts hit into a run-scoring double play for a 4-run outburst of sort. Ramos then singled but was caught stealing to end the inning. Jaden Booker singled to begin the third against Roberts, who snorted, then struck out the next three. Bottom 3rd, double to left by Spencer, then a long one to right from Gomez. HOME RUN!! A HOME RUN!! AN ACTUAL HOME RUN!!!!

(cough) That made it 6-2 Portland, which didn't mean that Roberts wouldn't still get into sticky situations. He found one in the fifth inning, in which he surrendered a 1-out single to reliever Steve Singer, then drilled Ryan Anderson with two outs. Thankfully, Alfaro got to Jon Correa's shallow fly to end the inning. The next inning Cesar Martinez came up with a leadoff walk, followed by the darn-deepest fly to left that Tomas Caraballo could possibly hit without hitting it out or off the fence. Instead Rafael Gomez reached up right at the wall and took it off the top of the wall. Phew! Hawthorne's double play grounder to Ramos ended the inning. On to the seventh, Pat Pick's 1-out bloop single and Zachary Ryder's roller on the infield that led to the same result, albeit of the pinch-hit variety. Things got dicey after a passed ball advanced the runners, but Jaden Booker popped a 1-2 pitch to Spencer. Roberts declared confidence to the pitching coach that he could devour .215 batter Ryan Anderson with two outs, probably his final batter in a game that was not yet a success, nor a disaster, but in which he had only whiffed four. Anderson banged a spiked bouncer to the left side, but somehow Nunley got paw on it and fired to first base in time to retire the slow-limbed catcher to turn away the Baybirds once more.

The Critters then tried to piece together the eighth with Derks and Boles, leading to Snyder entering for a 5-out save with Caraballo on second base and the tying run in the on-deck circle… Spencer handled both Hawthorne's grounder and Omar Camacho's pop, banning the most immediate threat, then created a new one in the ninth. Walk issued to Danny Morales, a single by Booker, and suddenly the tying run was up in PH Jaiden Jackson, who had pop enough to scare me. He also had the speed of a three-legged turtle, and was no challenge to double up on when he grounded to Jarod Spencer, ending the game. 6-3 Furballs! Spencer 2-4, 2B; Nunley 2-4; O'Dell 2-4, RBI; Roberts 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, W (8-2) and 1-3; Snyder 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, SV (7);

Game 2
SFB: 3B Booker – SS Hawkins – LF J. Correa – RF C. Martinez – 1B Caraballo – CF Hawthorne – C R. Anderson – 2B Pick – P A. Reed
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – CF Mora – RF Alfaro – C Tovias – 3B Gerster – P Gutierrez

The Bayhawks opened the game with three straight singles, but didn't score on Rico thanks to Abel Mora throwing out Jaden Booker at home plate on Jon Correa's single to centerfield. Two groundouts produced by Martinez and Caraballo did the rest. For a while it looked like the Bayhawks had already blown their best and maybe only chance. For the next three innings, they amounted to one single, while the Raccoons amounted to an unearned run in the bottom 1st after Reed's error put Ramos on base and he stole his way into scoring position for Rafael Gomez' single to plate him, and then they ****ed up with double plays in good spots in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. The Bayhawks bid their time and Rico lost cohesion in the middle innings, putting Pat Pick aboard in the top 5th. Reed swung away and popped out, bringing up Booker, who had hardly been retired so far in this series, and wasn't here, either, flipping a homer over the fence in left. That was surprising, because Booker was not a regular power threat, and still not surprising, because the Raccoons had one coming for them… Rico couldn't get out of the sixth, walking one and allowing three hits, and departed down 4-1 with runners on the corners and one out. Surginer replaced him, got a liner right into Spencer's mitten for the second out, then rung up Reed, and would strike out the top of the order 1-2-3 in the seventh, but the damage was done, and the Coons looked hopeless, just like every other day. Reed held the Raccoons well in check through eight innings, then was replaced with right-hander Manny Sosa and his 5.63 ERA for the bottom of the ninth. Jon Gonzalez hit a leadoff double, and thus the flame of hope flickered again just after being suffocated. Caraballo's error on Mora's grounder put runners on the corners, and the tying run came up in .171 menace Omar Alfaro. He batted, because I hoped to send Terry Kopp as the winning run – not that either of them was hitting them outta the yard. Alfaro in any case hit nothing in particular, striking out, and when Nunley batted for Tovias, his run-scoring groundout was not exactly an advancement to our case. Terry Kopp batted for Gerster, flew out to centerfield, and everything was horrible once more. 4-2 Bayhawks. Gomez 2-4, RBI; Gonzalez 2-3, BB, 2B; Surginer 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K;

First loss of the season for Rico Gutierrez, and the Elks won and were now in a position to rob first place from us on Sunday unless the ****ing offense finally lit up around Kyle Anderson.

Game 3
SFB: 3B Booker – SS Hawkins – LF J. Correa – RF C. Martinez – 1B Caraballo – CF Hawthorne – C Jai. Jackson – 2B Pick – P Huf
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – 1B Kopp – LF Carmona – C O'Dell – P K. Anderson

Anderson whiffed two and faced the minimum the first time through the Baybirds' order, which included a leadoff single by Cesar Martinez in the second inning that led to a double play grounder by Hawthorne. The Raccoons scored a run in the bottom 2nd on a 2-out combo where Kopp doubled off the fence and Cookie singled him in, much to everybody's delight. Martinez went on to rob Ramos of his maiden dinger in the third inning, a ball that sure seemed destined for outta here, but was grabbed from three inches above the top edge of the fence in rightfield.

The Coons had no further base hits … or even made any impressions… through five innings, and Kyle Anderson did his very goodest to hold on to the 1-0 lead, but just couldn't. Pat Pick flew out to begin the sixth inning, but then Matt Huf flicked a soft single to right, and Jaden Booker dropped a bloop between the converging Spencer and Gomez, too. Gomez fired to first, but stumbled over the fallen Spencer at the same time, resulting in a wayward throw that chased Matt Nunley up the leftfield line and allowed Huf to score from first base. Booker would be left in scoring position on Hawkins' fly to center and Correa going down on strikes. The score remained tied at one into the eighth inning, which was both curse and blessing; actually, with these Coons, it was hard to distinguish between those two. The Coons had the go-ahead runs in scoring position in the sixth (Ramos and Mora reaching) and seventh (Kopp), and didn't get them in. The Baybirds got Jackson on with a leadoff single in the eighth, then Huf on Anderson's misguided attempt to force Jackson at second base on the bunt. Jaden Booker ran a 3-1 count with one out, at which point the Raccoons and Anderson in particular deserved every bit of harm he would inflict on them, and then he grounded to Ramos. Around the horn they went, and the terrific Booker was doubled up to end the inning. For his troubles – a 4-hitter was far from shabby – Anderson received a no-decision. The Raccoons did nothing in the bottom 8th, but Snyder was at least able to escape a leadoff walk to Hawkins in the ninth.

That put the 2-3-4 batters up for a walkoff attempt (giggles) against Matt Huf in the bottom 9th. Huf was on 90 pitches, a 2.08 ERA, and had hardly broken a sweat. Then he drilled Jarod Spencer with his 93rd pitch, and instantly was in the ****. IF the Raccoons could do better than Mora's groundout, which at the very least didn't count for two, moving Spencer to second. One out, Gomez. Nah. The Bayhawks walked him intentionally, a curios choice, since it brought up a string of left-handers against Huf, although few Raccoons were easier to double up than Matt Nunley, and if he didn't get doubled up, few Raccoons struck out readier than Kopp. But there was somebody on the bench – going against every trend, the Raccoons sent the right-handed Jon Gonzalez to bat for Nunley, and first base was not open this time. He hit the first pitch to center, and for the second out, too. Kopp grounded out to Caraballo. Extra innings. Top 10th, the Bayhawks loaded the bases against Snyder on a Hawthorne single, then two errors by Stalker and Gerster. Hawthorne singled to center to plate two, and the Raccoons were going to go down in infamy. Down 3-1 in the bottom 9th, Cookie hit a leadoff single off Manny Sosa before O'Dell unbelievably popped out on a 3-0 pitch. Tim Stalker singled, putting runners on the corners. The way they were toying with their fans – and GM – desperately hoping for a comeback was most cruel. Elias Tovias pinch-hit for Snyder in the #1 spot and hit a sac fly to center, which was totally not helpful. Spencer singled to center with two outs, Stalker turned third, then at some point found out he had gravely misjudged this play, tried to scramble back, but at this point had been trapped in a rundown between second and third, where Hawkins, Pick, and Booker converged on him and tagged him out after a short while. And ballgame. 3-2 Bayhawks. Kopp 2-4, 2B; Carmona 2-4, RBI; Stalker (PH) 1-2; Anderson 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K; Snyder 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, L (0-1);

Yup, all their runs were unearned.

In other news

May 25 – The Rebels lose 2B Marco Hernandes (.279, 2 HR, 23 RBI) for the season after the 28-year-old has broken his kneecap. Hernandes batted .340 with 238 base hits last season.
May 26 – Aces RF/LF Mike Bednarski (.298, 5 HR, 16 RBI) started the day at 1,996 base hits and banged out enough to reach 2,000 for his career in a 7-3 loss to the Canadiens. Bednarski, a career .286 batter with 216 HR and 1,070 RBI, has two singles and two homers in the game and drives in all his team's runs – in vain.
May 27 – LVA OF Danny Serrano (.357, 3 HR, 16 RBI) has joined together 20 straight games with a base hit following a fifth-inning double in the aces' 8-5 loss to the Canadiens.
May 27 – The Miners acquire 1B/3B Jonathan "Banjo" Morales (.349, 1 HR, 21 RBI) from the Canadiens for a prospect.
May 27 – A home run by RIC C Matt Dehne (.172, 2 HR, 9 RBI) provides the only offense in the Rebels' 1-0 win over the Capitals, a game in which both teams combine for only five base hits.
May 28 – The Condors trade swingman John Waker (1-4, 5.74 ERA) to the Wolves for two prospects.
May 29 – In the Indians' 16-8 drubbing of the Falcons, IND INF/LF/RF Matt Good (.247, 3 HR, 25 RBI) goes 4-for-4 with two walks and drives in a whopping seven runs.

Complaints and stuff

The newest thing that drives me crazy are … unsurprisingly, the Elks. They have a new mascot… unsurprisingly, an elk. Took them a while to accept their legacy, huh? Worse yet, they sent me one of their stuffed toy elks now. It looks frighteningly cute with plush sunglasses, and the plush antlers are wiggling when you shake it, and the color choices made are very tasteful. I have a hard time hating this thing! As does Chad. – Chad, stop shaking it. Chad, don't do that. – Chad, stop with the ant- Chad. Chad. CHAD STOP IT.

Also: **** the Aces. Mike Bednarski, the persistent scum, has a good day ONCE in his life, and then they still fumble the game to the damn Elks!

Mark Roberts went 6-0 in May with a 1.44 ERA and 39 K in 43.2 innings, which was well enough for the Pitcher of the Month award. Quite an upswing after his 2-2 April, although to be fair his ERA was pretty darn low then as well.

Oh, you know who'll come in on our next homestand starting June 9? The damn Elks!

(Chad shakes the toy elk, antlers wiggle)

Come to daddy, Honeypaws, I need some warmth.

Fun Fact: The 2026 Raccoons are on pace for 50 home runs this season, which would by far be their lowest ever season total.

"By far" hardly captures the seriousness of the situation. The Raccoons, who still hit 100 homers last year, missed hitting at least 80 every year just once, and that came exactly 20 years ago, in 2006, when they hit just 74. And they are currently on pace to get almost by one third below that mark. Staggering!

The 2006 team saw Clyde Brady tying for the team lead with 12 dingers, which was bad in itself, and then it was BRADY, the Avatar of Losing. He shared the crown(…) with Adrian Quebell who was recently completely snubbed for the Hall of Fame. This was his first full season in the majors, a.k.a. Year 1 of Al Martin's murdered career, and he packed an OPS of just .716 … Among qualifiers, Brady's .761 OPS actually led the team.

It only gets more infamous if you go through the rest of the top 5, if you're so inclined. Craig Bowen hit 10 dingers in what was essentially half a season, but he's excused for multiple reasons, including still the only 4-homer game in the ABL, and also the Raccoons having a fever dream that Bob Wood could be their catcher of the future. He wasn't, batting .199 with one homer in this season, which he brought down to .130 with no homers in 28 games the following year – which was also the last one in the majors, forced out at age 26.

Fourth in dingers in '06 was Jose Carlos Crespo, only one in a string of brittle centerfielders the Raccoons paraded out year after year (and sometimes month after month) in the mid-naughts. He actually hit nine the following year, but due to injuries that crippled him gradually he never once topped his 350 AB from 2006, his age 25 season. In fact, after 2007, where he got 297 AB, he only collected another 213 AB for the rest of his career all the way through 2015.

The final top 5 entry was Bob Mays, another one of those demi-prospects acquired in trade that would totally end our decade-long losing spell. That one cost us Concie Guerin's decaying body to the Falcons in 2005. Mays' 333 AB in 2006, his age 22 season, marked more than half his career total. Same for those seven homers. He also struck out 76 times. That he stole 24 bases for a team that never stole all that many didn't help him. The best one can say about Mays these days is that he was in the package that brought in Jerry Fletcher for the second half in '08, but that also ended with nothing to show for against the Crusaders.

Bob Wood, Yoshi Yamada, and Steve Searcy all hit exactly one homer for the 2006 Coons. For all of them it was the last one of their careers.

Okay, they totaled only ten between them.

But if you can't out-dinger Clyde Brady, Adrian Quebell, and ****ing J.C. Crespo, you're in trouble, sitting at 33-18 or not.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:44 AM   #2614
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Raccoons (33-18) @ Thunder (27-22) – June 1-3, 2026

Division leaders clashed to start the month of June, with the Thunder holding just as much of a dicey lead in the South as the Raccoons did in the North. Their stats were however not quite as pretty as the Raccoons', ranking just ninth in runs scored and fourth in runs allowed. Oklahoma had been through a weird stretch, losing seven of their last nine games in May, which included four days without a game from the 24th through the 28th, except a double header with the Titans on the 27th. Terrible weather had washed out all their other games in that time frame. The Raccoons held a 2-1 edge over them in '25.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (5-0, 1.72 ERA) vs. Mike Homa (5-3, 3.78 ERA)
Lance Legleiter (2-4, 4.06 ERA) vs. Jose Diaz (1-4, 5.53 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-2, 1.65 ERA) vs. Andy Palomares (6-2, 2.93 ERA)

After seeing only ten left-handed starters so far this year, the Raccoons would get two southpaws to start this series with "Handyman" Homa and "Butch" Diaz.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – CF Mora – RF Alfaro – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Delgadillo
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – 1B M. Rucker – CF D. Garcia – RF Sagredo – C Burgess – LF O. Millan – 2B Ts'ai – P Homa

The second inning continued our first-place nightmare as the Raccoons couldn't score after getting Gonzalez and Mora aboard with two singles to begin the inning, while Dan Delgadillo got flogged in the bottom of the inning. Luis Sagredo hit a leadoff double, Omar Millan singled, and then Zhang-ze Ts'ai buried a liner deep in the right-center gap for a 2-run triple, coming around to score on Homa's groundout. Delgadillo struck out nobody the first time through, and it put him in a 3-0 hole that these Coons were unlikely to emerge from. Truth to form, Delgadillo and Ramos hit singles to begin the top 3rd, and then Spencer hit into a double play and nobody scored once Gomez grounded out. Not that it mattered – Mike Rucker, the ancient messenger of doom, buried Delgadillo five deep with a 2-run shot in the bottom of the inning, at which point all your worries were over, really. Delgadillo lasted five innings, giving up another run in the fifth, although that was unearned after a throwing error by Spencer. The Raccoons eventually got on the board, but Abel Mora's 2-run double yielded only unearned runs because without a grim throwing error by Alex Serrato there would not have been anybody to drive in to begin with. Not that it polished up the final score; the Thunder put two more runs on Kevin Surginer in the eighth inning to win by six in a complete stinker of a game. 8-2 Thunder. Gonzalez 2-4; Mora 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – C O'Dell – RF Kopp – 2B Stalker – 3B Gerster – P Legleiter
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – 1B M. Rucker – CF D. Garcia – RF Sagredo – C Burgess – LF O. Millan – 2B Ts'ai – P J. Diaz

Legleiter began his day with a 4-pitch walk to Lorenzo Rivera, who stole second and score on consecutive productive outs, then also got taken deep by Dave Garcia to get cozy in Delgadillo's early-deficit burrow from Monday, 2-0 after the first, and that only grew from there. Singles by Diaz (…), Serrato, Rucker, and Garcia produced two more Thunder runs in the bottom 3rd, extending the home team's lead to 4-0 and getting the Coons closer to 0-4 in their last four games. Legleiter lasted only five-and-a-third innings, conceding five runs eventually, while the offense did absolutely nothing. Brett O'Dell had a leadoff double in the second, never moved off second base, and that was pretty much it for them through five innings.

"Butch" Diaz was still going strong in the seventh despite a leadoff single to Terry Kopp. How long was that runner gonna last? Not past Tim Stalker's at-bat, as Stalker expertly hit the ball to Rivera for a 5-4-3 double play. The actual Butch, Gerster, then singled, with Omar Alfaro pinch-hitting for Josh Boles in the pitcher's spot. He hit a dying quail to shallow left that fell uncatchable for a single and brought up Ramos with two on and two out. Young Alberto finally got that big knock we hadn't seen in … uh… weeks? Ramos tripled into the gap, plating both runners, but was stranded when Spencer grounded out to Serrato. So for three second there was some rage around the Coons, and then it all died quickly, and they were still down by three runs. Putting runners on base from this point forward would probably help with that, but no Raccoon reached in the eighth against Diaz, and no Raccoon reached in the ninth against Ryan Corkum, either. 5-2 Thunder. Ramos 2-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Alfaro (PH) 1-1;

And there's that vaunted 4-game losing streak. Will we ever win again? All chips are on Roberts now, who is 7-0 in his last seven starts, getting 5.4 runs of support per game.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – C Tovias – P Roberts
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – CF D. Garcia – 1B J. Elliott – RF Sagredo – 2B Ts'ai – C Pizzo – LF Camarillo – P Palomares

The Coons grabbed an actual lead for the first time in the series after Kopp and Nunley began the top 2nd with sharp singles, almost the best team hitting effort we had seen in Oklahoma. Cookie however hit into a fielder's choice at 3-1, which was not so funky. Tovias flew out to left, just deep enough to get Kopp home from third, and Roberts popped out foul, then had to protect the 1-0 lead, which worked in the bottom 2nd even after he hit Sagredo with an 0-2 pitch, which was followed by Ts'ai hitting into a double play. Kopp hit an unearned RBI ground-rule double in the top of the third, bringing in Mora from second base after Jon Gonzalez had only reached with two outs on Rivera's fielding error. Nunley's pop kept them aboard, and Mike Pizzo's leadoff double in the bottom 3rd led to the first Thunder run on Rivera's 2-out RBI single, keeping Roberts afloat only at a 2-1 rate through three, and that ended in the fourth, in which the Thunder scored the tying run on Ts'ai's sac fly after John Elliott and Luis Sagredo had begun the inning with base hits off Roberts. Danny Camarillo lashed a 2-out single to right, with Sagredo making for third base, but Kopp threw him out right there. The Thunder made the third out on the base paths again in the fifth inning, which Palomares opened with a single (deep sigh) and after Rivera's bunt was on second base when Serrato flew out to Mora. For reasons known only to the running pitcher, he was actually making for home, although the ball was clearly caught, and the Coons had no trouble doubling him off to end the inning. That's what it took them to not lose outright – utter stupidity by the other team.

Top 6th, Kopp began by flying out before Nunley and Cookie whacked singles. Before throwing a pitch to Tovias, Palomares was called out for a balk, advancing the runners, which then led to an intentional walk to Tovias, bringing up Roberts with the bags full and one out. The Coons' ace somewhat came through, hitting a ball to centerfield for a sac fly to score Nunley, giving the Coons the lead back at 3-2 before Ramos struck out. Bottom 6th, Roberts's struggles as well as the Thunder's breakneck baserunning continued unabated. Leadoff singles by Garcia and Elliott, with Garcia being thrown out at third base by Mora. The home crowd was getting slightly annoyed now. The Thunder didn't score on Roberts in that inning, nor in the next with Camarillo's 1-out single and two nifty plays by Nunley, who didn't look much like 35 when he was donning the glove. Bottom 8th, leadoff single up the middle by Serrato, so the tying run was on yet again. Roberts battled with Garcia before striking out the elite slugger, which was only Roberts' fourth K in the game. John Elliott came up, fell to 0-2, then crashed the party with a homer that flipped the score when it went over a non-moving Cookie's head and landed well up the leftfield stands. All our dreams were dead – until Elias Tovias hit a leadoff jack off Corkum in the top 9th, tying the score again and taking Roberts off the hook. Since Roberts had finished the bottom 8th, he could still extend his winning streak if only the team could crumble a few runners together, or maybe the Thunder would make four errors to aid them. Gomez grounded out in his spot; Ramos singled, Spencer lined out, but Mora singled, bringing up Gonzalez with two outs against a wonky Corkum. But that wonky Corkum got Gonzalez to ground out to Serrato on the first pitch, so the winning streak was over, as was the inning. The game didn't end until the 10th, then with Ts'ai's leadoff single plating Sagredo with two outs against Ricky Ohl. 5-4 Thunder. Ramos 2-5; Mora 2-5; Kopp 2-5, 2B, RBI; Nunley 2-5; Tovias 1-2, BB, HR, 2 RBI;

And that is a 5-game losing streak. Wonderful.

The worst thing is not the losing; it's that the goddamn Elks just keep winning.

Raccoons (33-21) @ Crusaders (29-23) – June 5-7, 2026

As all things Coons crumbled, the Crusaders had been looking for third gear ever since the season started, but seemed to get better on track now and were only 4 1/2 games back of the Elks at this point, tied for fourth in the North. Their problem was offense (who's wasn't though…) with the fourth-fewest runs scored in the Continental League, while their pitching retained second place in terms of fewest runs conceded. The Coons were 5-1 against them in the season, but at the rate things were developing at they were ripe for three 1-0 losses.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (7-1, 2.63 ERA) vs. Carlos Marron (4-2, 1.36 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (3-2, 3.51 ERA) vs. Eddie Cannon (5-3, 4.70 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (5-1, 2.22 ERA) vs. Ben Jacobson (5-5, 5.79 ERA)

Right-right-left. There were significant injuries to the Crusaders, not least SP Chris Klein, but they were also missing three regulars from the lineup with Nate Ellis, Andy Schmit, and Tom McWhorter all on the DL at this point, them combining for a .290 clip and 11 homers when healthy this season.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – C Tovias – P Gutierrez
NYC: 3B R. Soto – CF Espinosa – C J. Ramirez – LF R. Allen – RF I. Vega – 2B S. Valdez – 1B Richardson – SS Vacarri – P Marron

The Coons scratched the tough customer Marron for a run in the first, coming together on Ramos' single and stolen base, Spencer's single, then Gonzalez' sac fly. And the Coons kept putting them on base, loading the bags with nobody out in the second on a sequence of Nunley single, Cookie getting nicked, and another single by Tovias. They would only get one more run; Rico struck out, Ramos got one man in with a groundout, but Spencer's soft fly ended up with Ivan Vega. The Crusaders erased the deficit at once in the bottom 2nd with Roger Allen's leadoff jack, then a double by Vega and Sergio Valdez' single. Gutierrez was more or less lucky to elope with all his whiskers still attached as they were really hitting rockets off him.

Top 4th, Cookie had a moment in the sun for once. He led off with a single past Jamie Richardson, then stole second, going to 5/5 on the season. Tovias struck out, but Gutierrez singled to right, Cookie was sent, and Vega didn't have much of an arm for a rightfielder and wasn't going to nip Cookie, who slid across with the go-ahead run. Gutierrez was left on base, then juggled his way through a walk to Allen and an error by himself to add Vega to the on-base population with one out. A lack of stuff meant that everything had to come from the defense, and the defense was at least ready to bail him out of this tough spot. Cookie caught Valdez' fly, and Ramos made a good play on Richardson's grounder to end the inning. There was no defending against Giacobbe Vacarri's monstrous leadoff shot in the bottom 5th though, and that one tied the game once more…

Rico was notoriously shaky throughout the middle innings. Alberto Ramos made another strong play in the field to turn an inning-ending double play for him in the sixth, then made another bid for his maiden homer again to lead off the seventh. He came up short again, but tripled off the leftfield wall anyway. Spencer walked, which was inconvenient NOW that we wanted the go-ahead runner to come home from third base, but Mora hit a sac fly to Roger Allen to get Ramos home and give the Coons a new 4-3 lead. That was also the end for Marron, who was replaced with Jon Ozier, who immediately got a double play from Gonzalez to end the inning. One pitch was all for Ozier in the game as he was hit for with Jeff Rinehart in the bottom 7th after Gutierrez, trying to grind his way through the left-handed bottom of the order, had drilled Vacarri with two outs. Rinehart softly lined out to Spencer to end the inning. Rico faced two more batters, departing after a 1-out single by Juan Espinosa in the eighth. That was the tying run once more thanks to Cookie grounding into a double play in the top 8th. He was removed in a double switch that brought on Rafael Gomez in left and Jonathan Snyder to pitch. The 3-4-5 batters were all right-handed; the plan was to have Snyder face those, then use Brotman to close the game. Jose Ramirez almost beat Mora in deep center with a drive on a 2-2 pitch, but Mora made the catch on the jump, with Espinosa advancing to second base on the play. Allen struck out, though. No insurance run came forth despite a 2-out triple by Ramos (his second in the game) off Steve Casey in the top 9th, and Snyder didn't figure in the bottom 9th with lefty Justin Godown coming out to pinch-hit right away. Brotman came into the game at once, and couldn't have been farther from dominating. Godown singled, but Valdez popped out. PH Armando Leal walked before Vacarri flew out softly. Lance Douglas, another left-handed bat, pinch-hit in the #9 hole, ran a full count, then singled through between Nunley and Ramos. Godown scored, save blown, and the game went to extras after Robby Soto grounded out.

Endless agony. I went into a numb daze on the Douglas single and didn't get much from the 10th and 11th innings and just got back to my senses when the game was in the 12th and the Crusaders' comedy of errors saw a throwing error by J.D. Laughery, a wild pitch by Brandon Smith, and then a Mora base knock score Rafael Gomez for the go-ahead run. Lead, the fourth on the day! The Coons now wanted to be smart; since the Crusaders were out of bench players, they could ill pinch-hit anymore. Josh Boles thus started the bottom 12th in relief of Kevin Surginer and would face Robby Soto, who struck out and got ejected when he gave the ump quite an explanation of why he sucked, then Espinosa, who grounded out to Gonzalez. With that, the Coons went on to Jeff Mudge, who only had to get one out. Jose Ramirez grounded to short, Ramos' throw was high, but Gonzalez went up and collected it AND came down again in time to log the final out before Ramirez could crash into first base. 5-4 Blighters. Ramos 3-6, 2 3B, RBI; Kopp 3-5, 2B; Gutierrez 7.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K and 1-3, RBI; Surginer 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, W (3-2);

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – C O'Dell – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – P Anderson
NYC: LF Espinosa – 3B R. Soto – RF Richardson – 1B Godown – C Leal – CF Douglas – 2B Rinehart – SS Vacarri – P Cannon

After merely 145 at-bats in the year, Terry Kopp logged his first home run in 2026, a 2-piece in the second inning for the initial dot of scoring on the board. Jon Gonzalez had preceded him and had reached with an infield single. That wasn't even all the Coons' output in the inning, with singles by Nunley, Alfaro, and Ramos plating a third run before Spencer grounded out to Vacarri. Neither was Terry the only Raccoon to get their first homer of the year in the game; Matt Nunley rammed a solo homer to right in the fourth after merely 158 fruitless at-bats. The same inning, singles by Alfaro and Ramos plated another run, with a nice bunt by Anderson in between, running the score to then 5-0. Even earlier, the Crusaders got Leal, Douglas, and Rinehart on base in the bottom of the second inning, but Leal was thrown out at home plate by Alfaro on Rinehart's single, and nobody scored for them once Vacarri flew out easily to Abel Mora, and defense continued to assist Anderson, who struggled considerably against a mostly left-handed lineup. But he kept the New Yorkers in the park, and the defense did the best they could, amounting to five innings of 3-hit shutout ball for Anderson at qualifying distance. The Coons put the game ostensibly out of reach in the seventh inning when Kopp rapped Cannon for his second homer of the game, that one a 3-piece to right-center, upping the score to 8-0 in the process. But Anderson stopped working in the bottom 7th, allowed an infield single to Douglas, then a raging RBI double to Jeff Rinehart, and at 102 pitches came out of the game after six and a third. Jeff Mudge replaced him, loaded the bases with walks to Vega and Espinosa, then somehow escaped on Ramos' strong defensive play on Soto's grounder up the middle. Ramos hit an RBI single in the top 8th to get that run right back, 9-1, and then the Coons got cocky and longed for two innings from Nick Derks and his 6.00 ERA. It really didn't matter how many runs he surrendered; he would come out long before he'd surrender eight. He gave up one on two hits in the eighth, which wasn't aiding that ERA of his, but it was all about getting outs for the Raccoons. Bottom 9th, J.D. Laughery and Juan Espinosa both reached on infield singles (…!), and when Derks put Jamie Richardson on with a 2-out walk, he got the hook. Ricky Ohl ended the game with a K to Leal …… but only AFTER he allowed a bases-clearing double to Roger Allen… 9-5 Coons. Ramos 3-5, 3 RBI; Gonzalez 2-5; Kopp 2-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI; Nunley 3-4, HR, RBI; Alfaro 3-3, BB; Anderson 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R; 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, W (4-2);

No lefty on Sunday; the Crusaders would send right-hander Matt Rosenthal (5-5, 4.64 ERA) instead!

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – CF Gomez – LF Kopp – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – 2B Stalker – C Tovias – P Delgadillo
NYC: LF Espinosa – 3B R. Soto – RF Richardson – 1B Godown – C Leal – CF Douglas – 2B S. Valdez – SS Vacarri – P Rosenthal

Dark clouds overhead, the Coons went up 1-0 in the first inning on Ramos' single and Gonzalez' RBI double, but the Crusaders didn't take long to flip the score against Delgadillo who seemed overwhelmed with so many left-handed bats. Leal tied the game with a leadoff jack in the second, and then Douglas singled, stole second, and regrettably scored on Rosenthal's 2-out single. This one could well go either way, with Rosenthal also bleeding base hits. Stalker doubled with one out in the fourth, and Tovias walked onto the open base. The Critters let Delgadillo swing away, but he struck out, yet Ramos tied the game anyway with an RBI single to left that scored Stalker and wouldn't have scored Tovias anyway. Gomez struck out, ending the inning. Teams remained tied at two through five innings, with the fifth concluding just as the rain started to come down.

Both starters' days ended soon after that. Tim Stalker hit a leadoff single past Vacarri in the sixth after which it really came down and the game went into a delay of more than an hour, on the other side of which Jared Stone took up the gauntlet for New York, while Delgadillo stood in the on-deck circle as decoy, waiting for things to develop with Tovias at the plate. They developed for a double to left-center that put runners in scoring position with nobody out. We wanted the ball put in play here, sending Spencer to the plate and thus forewent the platoon advantage against the right-handed Stone. Jarod delivered, singling to left to score the go-ahead run, 3-2. From there, the inning unraveled with a fly by Ramos to left, Tovias being nailed out at home by Espinosa, and Gomez flying out to center… The Coons threw Josh Boles into the 3-2 game now given the endless parade of left-handers in the Crusaders' lineup. He got seven outs before Richardson singled off him in the bottom 8th and the Crusaders sent Roger Allen to bat for Godown, prompting a move to a righty. Surginer replaced Boles, was doubled against by Allen, and now the tying and go-ahead runs were in scoring position with one out. Here, Leal popped out in shallow left, nobody daring to run on Kopp's arm, and Lance Douglas' .226 bat appeared in the box. The Coons twitched, moving to Brotman, and the Crusaders sent Jose Ramirez' .279 bat with six homers instead. Billy looked to the dugout, where all the faces were frozen. Pitch to him, NOW! The first pitch to Ramirez was cracked hard to the left side, and Nunley jumped and caught it!! MATT NUNLEY THE ****ING BEAST!!! No insurance run came forth in the top 9th despite a leadoff single and stolen base by Cookie, because the top of the order collectively crapped out. The Coons now had to get through the bottom of the order; Brotman would start the inning, but Snyder was ready and would come in as soon as the Crusaders sent another right-handed pinch-hitter. Maybe this would never happen; Valdez reached on an 0-2 infield single, which was bitter to the n-th degree. Vacarri grounded out, J.D. Laughery grounded out, and Espinosa still was no right-handed batter. And for the umpteenth time this week, the Coons blew a lead with two outs; Espinosa doubled to right-center, the game was tied, and Rinehart batted for the pitcher and struck out to send the game to extras.

While Ricky Ohl held the Crusaders very short (5 K) in the 10th and 11th, the Raccoons didn't reach base either until Ramos' leadoff single in the 12th. Rafael Gomez utterly failed to get a bunt down, and eventually flew out poorly. Terry Kopp was the next batter to face Ozier, and somehow had lit fire by now. Kopp really murdered a fastball to deep right, and outta here! That was all that Snyder was gonna get in the bottom 12th, but he also got a head start besides the 2-run lead, because the Crusaders' bench had already been empty and reliever Brandon Smith had to bat to begin the inning! Snyder greatfully took the free strikeout there, then gave up a homer to Richardson. OH FOR ****'S SAKE!! And it wasn't gonna get better. Snyder walked Allen, walked Leal, and blew the lead on Ramirez' RBI single. No help could be expected from the bombed out bullpen right now. This was Snyder's to lose now. And he needed only one more pitch to do so, serving up a 3-run bomb, some 400 feet to left-center, to Sergio Valdez. 8-5 Crusaders. Ramos 2-5, BB, RBI; Kopp 2-6, HR, 2 RBI; Gonzalez 2-6, 2B, RBI; Stalker 3-5, 2B; Spencer (PH) 1-1, RBI; Carmona 1-2; Boles 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K; Ohl 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K;

In other news

June 1 – A home run by TIJ OF Nick Hatley (.250, 3 HR, 15 RBI) is all the scoring in the Condors' 1-0 win over the Crusaders.
June 1 – Even better, in Salem SAL LF/RF Matt Owen (.248, 6 HR, 29 RBI) hits a home run off WAS CL Marcus Owens (1-4, 4.35 ERA, 6 SV) for a 1-0 walkoff win in the 10th inning.
June 2 – LVA OF Danny Serrano (.358, 4 HR, 17 RBI) extends a hitting streak to 25 games with one hit in a 6-1 loss to the Titans.
June 2 – The Bayhawks expect to be without 1B/LF/RF Jon Correa (.308, 6 HR, 25 RBI) for a month as the 33-yr old is suffering from a herniated disc.
June 3 – CIN CF Nando Maiello (.328, 1 HR, 18 RBI) will be out for a month after being DL'ed with shoulder soreness.
June 5 – The Buffaloes score FOURTEEN runs in the second inning of their 18-8 madhouse against the Rebels, eating up three different pitchers in the process. RIC SP Eddie Krumm (1-6, 12.17 ERA) is saddled with ten runs in 1.1 innings.
June 5 – BOS CF/LF Adrian Reichardt (.298, 4 HR, 28 RBI) powers his team with three base hits and 5 RBI in a 15-3 clubbing of the Indians.
June 5 – Season over for IND SP Mark Matthews (3-4, 3.83 ERA). The 23-year-old right-hander is being shut down to rehab a stretched elbow ligament.
June 7 – LVA OF Danny Serrano (.370, 6 HR, 23 RBI) stretches his hitting streak to 30 games with three hits he bangs out in a 3-1 win over the Condors, missing the cycle by the triple.
June 7 – The Pacifics score two 7-spots in their 14-3 destruction of the Warriors, one in the fifth and another one in the eighth.
June 7 – NAS SP Jose Menendez (2-6, 4.38 ERA) will be out for a year with a torn flexor tendon in his elbow.

Complaints and stuff

Why. Just… Just why.

Maybe the team was fake from the beginning, I have no idea. This was a completely disgusting week. The offense sucks. The bullpen sucks. The weather sucks, even outside of Portland. How, for ****'s sake, can you trail the Elks??

Oh by the way, the Elks are coming in on Tuesday. It will be a massacre.

In lesser injury news, ex-Coon Justin Hess had made just five appearances for the Cyclones after being stashed away with their AAA team for the first two months. He was now out with shoulder inflammation, ending the 35-year-old's season.

Daniel Bullock will start a rehab assignment at St. Petersburg and will probably come back in a week or so. Speaking of St. Petersburg… Did I mention that George James had an ERA in the low 2's in AAA? Well, since then he's gotten stuffed with five runs in a complete game effort against Akron, then six runs twice against Toledo and Chula Vista, and the ERA is now up to 3.54 …

Fun Fact: The ****ing Elks have not made the playoffs since the 2012 season.

Which was of course the final weekend of the season where they unfurled the Raccoons after both teams entered the series at 92-67, and Brownie won a 5-2 game on Friday. Angel Casas balked in the winning run for the Elks on Saturday, and the only scoring that occurred on Sunday was a pair of Ray Gilbert home runs.

**** Ray Gilbert. **** him forever.
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:51 AM   #2615
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Raccoons (35-22) vs. Canadiens (35-19) – June 9-11, 2026

As soon as I was done spending the entire Monday cursing, the Elks came in for a key 3-game set that started Tuesday. They sat second in runs scored in the Continental League, plating 5.2 runs per game, third in home runs and led the league in stolen bases, and their pitching was average enough to not be much of a stepping stone. They were sixth in runs allowed, and their rotation was even fourth by ERA. The season series was even at two.

Projected matchups:
Lance Legleiter (2-5, 4.43 ERA) vs. Antonio Muniz (5-3, 3.96 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-2, 1.90 ERA) vs. Andrew Gudeman (6-3, 2.84 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (7-1, 2.72 ERA) vs. Jesse Bowsher (7-1, 2.50 ERA)

"Furball"(??) Muniz was their only left-handed starter. We would not get eyeballs on reconstruction project Frank Kelly (5-1, 3.90 ERA) unless they would do some crazy skips.

The Raccoons made a roster move prior to this series, sending Nick Derks (1-0, 7.56 ERA) to St. Petersburg and calling up 31-year-old Alvin Smith, who had pitched to a 5.94 ERA in St. Pete, but with incredibly crummy defense behind him (.325 BABIP). The right-handed Smith had been an insurance signing prior to the season and could reasonably either start or relief.

Game 1
VAN: RF Wojnarowski – 3B Anton – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – C Tanzillo – P A. Muniz
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C O'Dell – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – P Legleiter

We were very much hoping for a changed team with the Elks in town for this series of utmost importance, but it sure didn't look like it. Yes, the team staked Legleiter to a 2-0 lead by the third inning, but they did that only on a Spencer single, which I probably should elaborate on. The third inning was pretty much over when Alberto Ramos grounded to Matt Anton, except that Anton's throw went over the head of Adan Myles for a 2-base error. Spencer singled in Ramos, then stole second, then scored on Chris Tanzillo's throwing error on Rafael Gomez's ****ty grounder. Those were two absolute gift runs, there was no other way to express it. So far the Elks had not amounted to much offense either, although Brian Wojanrowski had already been an annoyance with a 2-out triple in the top 3rd. Anton had struck out after that, though, and in fact Legleiter had ended every inning with a K so far, and he would also ring up Muniz with Adan Myles at third base to end the fifth inning, although in between John Calfee hit into a double play after a 1-out walk to Alex Torres in the fourth. There had been stern reminders to all Coons pitchers to not walk Tony Coca and Alex Torres – both were vying for the league lead in stolen sacks (with Alberto Ramos and others), and the terrible thing about Coca was that he had 15 homers (or in other words, a Coons team's worth) on the season and was a terrible threat to any team that struggled to score anything at all.

Legleiter staved off a leadoff walk to Wojnarowski in the sixth after the Raccoons had gotten Ramos and Spencer on with two outs in the bottom 5th, without Rafael Gomez getting them in, grounding out to Ted Gura instead. Mora made a strong play on Coca's soft fly to center in that sixth inning, and the Coons continued to paw themselves from one dicey situation to the next. That next one was a tough spot indeed; John Calfee hit a leadoff triple past Gomez in the seventh, and Legleiter lost Myles to a walk. He was removed at once, with Jeff Mudge tasked with cleanup duties. He conceded the lead run on a Gura sac fly, then whiffed Tanzillo and got Muniz to pop out, thus preserved at least a 2-1 edge, and who knows, maybe the Coons would find another base hit or two to add to the THREE they had enjoyed so far. Indeed, Matt Nunley hit a 1-out single in the bottom 7th! And then Alfaro hit into a double play. In exchange, Wojnarowski hit a leadoff jack off Josh Boles in the eighth, putting the score even at two. The agony.

Kevin Surginer walked Anton and allowed an infield single to Torres, the runners pulled off a double steal, and somehow the Coons didn't lose all their fur instantly. PH Curtis Hargraves, a lefty, struck out on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt, and Gomez retired Myles hustling in and on the run, ending the top 8th. The bases were loaded in the top of the ninth, with Gura's leadoff single against Surginer, then two walks issued by Brotman to PH Tim Campbell and Anton, and now Tony Coca was up with two outs and the game very much on the line. The Coons moved to Snyder, he of Sunday-in-New-York infamy, and he secured a grounder to Ramos to end the inning. The Coons had nothing going still, but Snyder got through the 10th without ALLOWING ANOTHER FIVE RUNS. Bottom 10th, the Coons were still trying to reach the nuts that Sean Carlsen (6.27 ERA) had in his pockets. Mora reached on a bloop single to begin the inning and was bunted to second by Nunley. Cookie batted in the #9 hole, but popped out where most singles would do, and Ramos grounded out to Chris Brill at short. Thusly came about the Raccoons debut of Alvin Smith in the 11th inning and he retired the bottom of the order 1-2-3. Bottom 11th, Spencer with a leadoff single against Carlsen. He was then caught stealing. The Raccoons lost Matt Nunley to an arm ailment by the 12th inning, Gerster replacing him, but the game was far from over. Alvin Smith held out to the 14th inning before O'Dell's throwing error put Ivan Morales (a reliever…) on base, and Matt Anton whooped a fastball over the wall to break the 2-2 tie. The same Ivan Morales had to get through the 2-3-4 batters in the bottom of the inning to end the game, struck out Spencer, then allowed a single to Gomez. Gonzalez struck out (going to 0-6), but an 0-5 Terry Kopp found a single in his bat. O'Dell to the plate, also 0-for-5, and with **** to make good. Well, he didn't. Ted Gura handled his grounder, and the Raccoons were smitten. 4-2 Canadiens. Spencer 2-5, RBI; Gomez 2-6;

Infernal **** team.

The Druid recommended DL'ing Matt Nunley with a tired arm, which was the sort of "soft" diagnosis that would soon lead to amputation, but what was there to do… with Nunley to the DL, the Raccoons recalled Daniel Bullock from AAA, where he had gone 0-for-7 – perfect fit for this team.

Game 2
VAN: RF Wojnarowski – 3B Anton – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – C Tanzillo – P Gudeman
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – RF Alfaro – C Tovias – 3B Bullock – P Roberts

Brian Wojnarowski hit a first-pitch single to begin the game, then stole two bases before Coca got him in with a groundout. Elias Tovias didn't get a throw off once. The Raccoons began their offensive day with three straight singles from Ramos, Spencer, and Mora, which already tied the game, until deflation kicked in again with full force as Gonzalez struck out and Kopp smacked into a double play. The Elks had three hits off a helpless Roberts in the top 2nd, with Chris Tanzillo singling home Calfee (single) and Gura (double) with two outs, putting the Coons in a 3-1 hole. The Raccoons even loaded the bases in the bottom 2nd on an Alfaro walk, Roberts double(!), Ramos single, and when Spencer singled up the middle in that situation he scored one run, but Roberts was thrown out at home plate by Tony Coca, ending the inning. The following inning saw Kopp and Alfaro in scoring position, but Tovias flew out ****tily to Torres to keep them stranded.

That was only the normal prelude to the real deal, a colossality of a fourth inning that hadn't been seen in a while and probably would never be seen again, at least not by me, once I found the gun that used to be in the top drawer of my desk. Alex Torres drew a leadoff walk, which was not outside the usual misery, then got forced on a fielder's choice. One out. The Coons would not get another one for hours. Roberts walked Myles, drilled Gura, threw a wild pitch with the bags full, walked Tanzillo anyway, then walked Gudeman to force in another run. Wojnarowski flew to left on a 2-2 pitch, Kopp over, touched it, and dropped it. Which was the end for Roberts, and ultimately also for the inning, Ricky Ohl getting Anton to pop out and Ramos to catch Coca's scathed liner. The damage, of course, was done, now in a 7-2 deficit that the Coons would never, ever make up. In fact, they wouldn't score another run until with two outs in the ninth inning, which was obviously too late. Ricky Ohl had to pitch long relief, which worked somewhat decently, while Kevin Surginer and Josh Boles both failed to keep their stuff tight, each conceding a run in the eighth and ninth, respectively. Adan Myles homered off Surginer, which was – not for Surginer, or Myles, but for the big picture – another thousand stabs right into the heart. 9-3 Canadiens. Spencer 4-5, RBI; Mora 2-4, BB, RBI; O'Dell (PH) 1-1, RBI; Alfaro 2-3, BB, 2B; Ohl 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K;

With a boom, heads rolled the very night after this loss. Elias Tovias (.203, 3 HR, 20 RBI) was sent packing his **** and was off to St. Pete in the morning. Jake Burrows was hastily recalled. Same for Omar Alfaro (.224, 0 HR, 7 RBI); he was replaced by Juan Magallanes, who was batting .292/.426/.369 in St. Pete. Finally, Lance Legleiter was axed and replaced by Rin Nomura, the Japanese international free agent who had been so-so for the Alley Cats, and who would make his ABL debut on the weekend, unless I found my gun before the weekend and would indiscriminately murder them all.

Game 3
VAN: RF Wojnarowski – 3B Anton – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – C Tanzillo – P Bowsher
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C O'Dell – CF Magallanes – 3B Gerster – P Gutierrez

To be fair, deep inside, I knew Rico had no chance against this lineup in which Wojnarowski was the only left-handed bat, and Rico walked him on four pitches to begin the game. An Anton triple and a sac fly by Coca put the Elks 2-0 in front at once, and that would be the sweep, no doubt about that. Ramos drew a leadoff walk in the bottom 1st, was caught stealing, and nothing surprised me anymore. No Raccoons catcher would ever throw out a runner in this series, but let's not get into that. Rico got piled on in the fourth with a Coca single, a stolen base (…), then Calfee's RBI double and Myles' 2-run homer, which extended the score to 5-0. The Raccoons didn't put up even the vaguest of threats for five innings until Mora and Gonzalez hit soft singles to begin the sixth inning. Kopp flew out to center, and the bases were loaded when Bowsher drilled O'Dell. Hey, the tying run in the on-deck circle … if you dared calling Butch Gerster as much. Magallanes' groundout put a run on the board, but Gerster struck out, and the difference was still a slam. Despite their boy having been beaten badly quite early, the Coons had to run out Gutierrez until he exhausted his pitch count, thanks to two horrendous performances that had completely uprooted the pen right after the off day. When Gutierrez was clobbered with back-to-back-to-back home runs by Myles, Gura, and Tanzillo in the seventh, we considered 86 pitches "exhaustion". Jeff Mudge got six outs, with the Elks scoring none but stranding four, while the Raccoons had two on in the seventh and hit into a double play, then had two on in the eighth and hit only air until it was over. Ramos hit a 1-out triple in the ninth. And J.R. Hreha rung up Spencer and Mora to prevent even that runner from scoring. 9-1 Canadiens. Ramos 2-3, BB, 3B; O'Dell 2-3;

There are no words.

Raccoons (35-25) vs. Cyclones (29-32) – June 12-14, 2026

The Portland Forsakens would next welcome the Cyclones in the next round of interleague madness. They had a -3 run differential we were a good pick to polish up for them, and sat fourth in runs scored and tenth in runs allowed in the Federal League. Once of their more amazing players, Nando Maiello, was on the DL, but apart from that they were pretty much complete.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (4-2, 3.30 ERA) vs. Diego Mendoza jr. (8-3, 4.13 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (5-1, 2.31 ERA) vs. Josh Irwin (3-3, 4.67 ERA)
Rin Nomura (0-0) vs. Adam Moran (6-4, 5.01 ERA)

Right, right, left; loss, loss, loss.

Game 1
CIN: 3B Rangel – SS Eisenberg – RF Booker – LF Meade – 1B E. Moreno – 2B R. Maldonado – CF Bob O'Dell – C Roush – P D. Mendoza jr.
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C Br. O'Dell – CF Magallanes – 3B Gerster – P Anderson

After two hits and a walk, the Coons pulled up Mendoza to bat with three on and two outs in the top 2nd of a scoreless game, knowing little that all runners would score. Mendoza doubled past Abel Mora, and the third runner, Tim Roush, scored on an error by Ramos, putting the Coons into an early 3-0 grave. With a soft single by Raul Maldonado, Bob O'Dell (distantly related to Brett O'Dell, but with their respective partial clans in a blood feud dating back to 1720s Ireland) getting nicked, and another incredibly soft single hit by Roush, the bases were loaded with nobody out in the fourth inning. Kyle Anderson apparently wasn't going to get anybody out, conceding another RBI single to the opposing pitcher, then a sac fly to Ricardo Rangel, who had 18 steals and was already angry to not get on base. That put the lead at 5-0, with two on base still, but somebody popped up, yada-yada… what's up with the Coons, though? Well, they had two aboard with two outs in the bottom 4th, but instead of instigating some 2-out trouble with Kopp and Brett O'Dell waiting, Magallanes struck out. Ray Meade homered off Anderson in the fifth, the unsuccessful starter's final inning in this particular awful game. The teasing Coons then put up a 3-spot in the bottom 5th made up out of Stalker's pinch-hit double, an RBI single by Spencer, then Mora's home run to center that came across a bit cynical after all the extra innings on Tuesday in which no Furball could ever lay wood on a ball. And now, it didn't matter anymore. Never mind the 3-run homer Jaden Booker hit off Jeff Mudge in the sixth inning… The Cyclones knew that was enough and would not tear out a limb in the final three innings against the depleted Raccoons pen, while the Raccoons offense remained as rotten as they'd always been. 9-3 Cyclones. O'Dell 2-3, BB; Stalker (PH) 1-1, 2B; Ohl 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K;

Game 2
CIN: 3B Rangel – SS Eisenberg – RF Booker – LF Meade – 1B E. Moreno – 2B R. Maldonado – CF Bennett – C Roush – P Irwin
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Gomez – 1B Kopp – C Br. O'Dell – LF Carmona – CF Magallanes – 3B Bullock – P Delgadillo

For a nice change, a Raccoons starter balked in the go-ahead run for the opposing team, thus occurring in the second inning when Eddie Moreno was hauled in from third base by the home plate umpire after some sort of twitch or other by Delgadillo that the ump didn't like. I hadn't seen anything for sure, but then again my eyes were wet and my vision blurry and that hadn't changed in days. Apart from the Moreno double in the second, a Ray Meade double in the fourth, offense was slow; from the Coons anyway, and the Cyclones also were waiting for the right moment to strike, although nothing seemed easier strikeable than Delgadillo, who struck out nobody until Frank Eisenberg hewed over a 2-2 pitch in the dirt with runners on the corners and two outs in the fifth inning. Funnily enough, Josh Irwin struck out NOBODY through five innings, and the Coons still looked like frozen arse. None of this mattered much once Ray Meade followed up Booker's leadoff single in the sixth with a homer to left-center. A 3-0 gap was nothing that the Coons could bridge unless the Cyclones would hit six batters in the same inning. No such thing occurred, and the Raccoons also didn't get one of those strange new developments, and "extra-base" hit – whatever the mercy that was! – until the bottom of the eighth when Delgadillo batted with two outs and nobody on (and why would there be somebody on?) and doubled into the gap. He went nine. He was definitely the best Coon on the field this Saturday. And it helped him nothing. The only rally the Raccoons amounted to in the bottom of the ninth was a 2-out infield single by Kopp before ex-Coon Troy Charters rung up O'Dell to end the game. 3-0 Cyclones. Bullock 2-3; Delgadillo 9.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, L (5-2) and 1-2, 2B;

Game 3
CIN: C Roush – SS Eisenberg – RF Booker – LF Meade – 2B R. Maldonado – CF Bennett – 3B Garner – 1B E. Moreno – P Moran
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Bullock – CF Mora – C Burrows – P Nomura

While the Coons amounted to the minimum of batters in three innings – a single by Abel Mora being erased when he was caught stealing – the Cyclones' Alvin Bennett greeted Rin Nomura rather rudely to the big leagues with a solo homer in the second inning. That was the only tally through three, during which Nomura struck out nobody. By the fourth, Meade homered to make it 3-0, and why were people even still coming to the ballpark? The diehard fools got their cookie in the bottom of the fourth inning, which Alberto Ramos led off with his first career home run, a long one to rightfield that cut the score to 3-1. Yaay, Ramos! And off a lefty! However, as honorable his efforts were, as futile they were, too. No Raccoon batted with a man on base for another hour, and while technically Jon Gonzalez hit a homer in the seventh off Moran, that still kept the Coons in the L column, then 3-2. Nomura lasted eight, getting a groundout from Meade with runners on the corners after nailing Tim Roush and walking Jaden Booker in that final inning, and while the deficit wasn't big, I was dead-certain that the 0-6 week was logged already, at least in the book of the baseball gods. In accordance with that, Moran struck out Mora and Burrows in the bottom 8th, then got Stalker to ground out. A bored Jonathan Snyder also struck out two in a perfect ninth, bringing up the top of the order for late redemption in the bottom 9th, facing Charters again. Ramos hit a looper past Eisenberg to bring up the winning run in Spencer, who had yet to homer this year, and maybe this was the day? Nope, bloop single to left. After Gomez failed to bunt three times, the sign was taken off lest he broke his nose with a upwards bunt. He grounded out instead, but that put the tying and winning runs in scoring position with one out for Jon Gonzalez, who was NOT walked intentionally, but DID strike out instead. All eyes on Kopp! 1-2 pitch low chopped into play to the right side, Maldonado lunged and missed it, Ramos in to score, Spencer waved around behind him, the throw from Booker … - late! It's a walkoff! 4-3 Blighters. Ramos 2-4, HR, RBI; Gonzalez 2-4, HR, RBI; Kopp 1-4, 2 RBI; Nomura 8.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K;

Whee…

In other news

June 9 – RIC C Matt Dehne (.219, 2 HR, 22 RBI) has four hits and as many RBI as the Rebels this time win the Battle of Nashville, 16-2.
June 9 – The Bayhawks trade OF/3B Jaden Booker (.300, 4 HR, 26 RBI) to the Cyclones for two prospects, including #32 SP Gilberto Rendon.
June 10 – SFW RF Justin Quinn (.247, 6 HR, 15 RBI) could be out for two months with a strained hamstring.
June 10 – SAC LF/RF Doug Stross (.338, 2 HR, 41 RBI) has three hits and plates five runners in the Scorpions' 13-4 rout of the Gold Sox.
June 11 – MIL CF/RF Ian Coleman (.271, 1 HR, 25 RBI) will be out for three months with a torn abdominal muscle, the Loggers being thus more or less eliminated from contention.
June 11 – The Loggers also lose a 10-inning, 3-2 walkoff affair to the Titans on a passed ball charged to C Jim Young (.307, 5 HR, 23 RBI).
June 11 – A fractured rib will put ATL INF Tony Jimenez (.222, 2 HR, 16 RBI) out of action for the rest of the month.
June 12 – Las Vegas' Danny Serrano (.387, 6 HR, 27 RBI) extends his hitting streak to 35 games with a 1-hit outing in a 4-1 loss to the Buffaloes.
June 12 – NYC SP Eddie Cannon (6-4, 4.70 ERA) carries a no-hitter into the eighth inning before a single by SFW 3B/SS Andy Walker (.241, 2 HR, 13 RBI) ends his bid. Cannon has to settle for a combined 1-hitter.
June 13 – The Canadiens trade for the Loggers' SP Warren Polito (6-6, 2.89 ERA), parting with #81 prospect SP Zack Ward.
June 13 – OCT CF Dave Garcia (.295, 8 HR, 29 RBI) is probably out until August after straining an oblique.
June 14 – TOP 1B Ieyoshi Nomura (.241, 1 HR, 10 RBI) reaches the 3,000 hits club not a second too soon; the 42-year-old goes 2-for-4 in the Buffaloes' 6-5 win over the Aces, including a 2-run homer run, the 81st of his career, although that was not the milestone hit. Nomura, who won his only batting title in his age 38 season with the Gold Sox, is a career .305/.385/.399 batter with 1,040 RBI and an interesting Hall of Fame case. If elected, he would likely be inducted as a Raccoon, spending 12 years over two stints with the Portland team out of his 23-year career.
June 14 – The week is over, but the hitting streak of Las Vegan Danny Serrano (.381, 6 HR, 28 RBI) very much isn't after a fourth inning RBI double in a 6-5 loss to the Buffaloes. Serrano has now connected in 37 consecutive games, which is already the fifth-longest hitting streak in ABL history.

Complaints and stuff

There are … no words.

As a quick overview – between Josh Boles' only pitch on Tuesday being taken well yard by Brian Wojnarowski to break a 2-1 lead, and Terry Kopp's last-ditch score-flipping single on Sunday, the Raccoons didn't hold a lead for a single breathing batter, let alone an inning.

Such agony has not been seen in Portland since probably '86 or so when we fought the Elks for most of the summer, then got swept in consecutive 4-game sets. Nothing compares. Nothing! The Ray Gilbert home runs of 2012 don't compare. Juan Diaz's three wild pitches are a joke. Keith Ayers out at home is a mere footnote. Glenn Johnston dropping Ed Parrell's fly is cute. The Dennis Fried deal, a masterpiece.

Those games in '86 were at least close games. Nothing was close about this midweek series. They won three games, we won none. They hit seven homers, we hit none. They stole eight bases, we stole two when they weren't paying attention. They drew nine more walks, but we had seven fewer strikeouts. Despite being swept in the 3-game set, the Raccoons totaled as many base hits as the Elks in the series – 26. But if you need three singles and a wild pitch FOR EVERY ****ING RUN … well, then you probably ain't gonna ****ing score much. I don't know.

I know nothing. And I have never known anything.

Gilberto Rendon, sent to San Francisco in the Booker deal on Tuesday, was of course a Raccoons farmhand. We sent him to the Cyclones in 2024 to get paws on Terry Kopp. Boy did that ever work out for us.

Fun Fact: Danny Serrano's hitting streak is the second streak of *more* than 30 games in this decade.

Cookie Carmona hit in 32 straight games in April and May of 2020.

Those were the times.
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Old 09-23-2018, 04:02 AM   #2616
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I wonder how well the Perfect Team version of the Portland Raccoons would do. :P


Am still enjoying this thread!
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Thank you for this post:
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Old 09-24-2018, 02:28 PM   #2617
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2026 AMATEUR DRAFT

The ABL insisted on holding a draft the Monday after our little world had all but collapsed. The world is cold, and unloving. Nobody loves me, anyway. No Raccoon anyway, and definitely no Elk.

Chad, stop wiggling that dastardly disgusting Elk toy thing or I will take your arms clean off.

The Raccoons had the #16 pick in every round in the draft, but no extra picks due to their prolonged stretch of not having any high profile free agents, which might have its roots in every good player coming to Portland to die, but let's not get any deeper into the mysteries of the universe right now, and straight to pickings. There was still this hotlist to mull over:

PORTLAND RACCOONS HOTLIST (*indicates HS player)

SP Brandon Nickerson (12/14/9) – BNN #4
SP Justin Osterloh (12/13/13) – BNN #1
SP Sean Fowler (12/13/12)
SP Steve Younts (13/12/12)
SP Dale Mazie (12/13/10) – BNN #8
SP Jamie O'Leary (11/13/13)

SP* Chris Henry (13/12/13) *
SP* Nate Burleigh (11/16/13) *

CL Andy Hyden (19/14/7)

INF/CF Jose Cruz (14/7/13) * - BNN #9

RF/LF Mike Plunkett (9/12/13)
OF Billy Jennings (9/10/12)

As we had established earlier, there weren't many really promising position player types in the pool and there were many promising pitching selections instead. The Raccoons were rather certain to pick a pitcher in the first round, given that the nine above were far from the only interesting options. There was almost another dozen that I would happily take with no questions asked.

The Baybirds had the first pick in the 2026 draft thanks to their rotten previous season and selected the most interesting position player right away, taking Jose Cruz with the #1 pick. The Blue Sox selected Sean Fowler, the Falcons took Nate Burleigh, the Rebels picked Brandon Nickerson, and the Stars made it five with the choice of Justin Osterloh. Not that the other teams were done with dismantling our hotlist at this point; the Wolves took the #6 pick to take Steve Younts. On it went: Mike Plunkett to the Indians at #7, Dale Mazie to the Warriors at #8, and only the Knights selected somebody not on the hotlist with the #9 pick, taking SP Bob McClung.

The hotlist was reduced further when the Cyclones took Andy Hyden at #13, leaving only three players by the time the Coons got to make their selection. With doubts about the value of Chris Henry as a starting pitcher due to the utter lack of a third pitch, and Billy Jennings looking a lot like one of those Chris Beairsto types with 16 homers and a .216 average, the Raccoons almost defaulted to Jamie O'Leary. Hey, he's a lefty! Lefties are good.

Chris Henry went #23 to the Scorpions, and Billy Jennings dropped to the supplemental round, taken #29 by the Knights. That cleaned the hotlist long before the Raccoons got another pick; when their time rolled around again, Miguel Carrasco was quick to pick out a quirky second baseman from Illinois who didn't have the best numbers in high school, but who he thought had huge room for growth.

After that we always found an easy pick to make, too. It was easily the least controversial draft for us in a long time. The exception was maybe the fourth round when there were about four pitchers Carrasco ranked similarly. In that case, the OSA reports broke the near-tie in favor of our pick Guttormson.* The shortlist emptied over time, with the last batter taken off the shortlist being OF Jared Parker to the Cyclones with the #207 pick, while we emptied the pitching side of the shortlist ourselves with our 10th round pick.

2026 PORTLAND RACCOONS DRAFT CLASS

Round 1 (#16) – SP Jamie O'Leary, 22, from Aurora, CO – southpaw with strong control and a groundball tendency; good mix of pitches with a cutter, changeup, and forkball to keep hitters off balance.
Round 2 (#58) – 2B George Burke, 17, from Oak Brook, IL – great range for a middle infielder and a solid contact bat; with room to grow he is expected to add some pop, and he also has good speed to swipe bases in the double digits.
Round 3 (#82) – OF/2B/1B Dillon Barkley, 19, from Livermore, CA – could be a well-ranged, quick corner outfielder with a murderous throwing arm if only he could find power in his bat; should bat for contact and avoid K's alright…
Round 4 (#106) – SP Pat Guttormson, 21, from Potomac, MD – 91mph cutter, curve, and circle change for a fairly decent arsenal, but there is somewhat of a flyball tendency to him
Round 5 (#130) – CL Nick Bates, 20, from Long Beach, CA – California surfer boy that is right-handed and can't really locate the 94mph heater. Nasty slider, though.
Round 6 (#154) – RF/LF Bobby Houston, 17, from Seattle, WA – a bit of a wild pick here, because he is not really showing power, but our scouts think he has it in him; also really not much of a defender – hit the ball right at him for extra base glory.
Round 7 (#178) – INF Marco Diaz, 20, from Bayamσn, Puerto Rico – let-handed batter and strong defender with good speed, no power, and he probably needs glasses, too…
Round 8 (#202) – C Ryan Clark, 22, from the Bronx, NY – intelligent and knows how and where to touch pitchers to get the best out of them; unfortunately he can't hit a lick.
Round 9 (#226) – SP/MR Brett Morgan, 20, from Lafayette, IN – righty throwing 93, with a curve and a splitter and decent stamina; could be a starter or a reliever, but given his lack of control over any of those pitchers he will probably toss batting practice in independent ball before he's 30…
Round 10 (#250) – MR Mike Joy, 20, from Middletown, NY – right-hander with little stamina and even less control
Round 11 (#274) – MR Jason Gurney, 21, from Yale, OK – this year's obligatory left-hander in the 11th round can pitch all day, and maybe he will find the zone at some point even; 90mph fastball, and he has a slider, too
Round 12 (#298) – OF John Richard, 20, from Clinton, CT – here we asked ourselves who of the remainders liked to aim for the fence. Well, Richard aims. That doesn't mean he gets it there.
Round 13 (#322) – 2B/SS Bob Bayer, 18, from Dayton, TN – mediocre in all aspects even my rural high school standards

Jamie O'Leary was assigned to Ham Lake right away; the remaining players started the professional careers with single-A Aumsville.

We also released a handful of players, including a few that were notable largely for being peculiar picks, including Nick Brown Memorial Pick Joe Ashe (2022), who was running up a 9.49 ERA in Ham Lake shortly before turning 25 and wouldn't ever figure out where the zone was in his lifetime. The same was true for 27-year-old Josh Hill, our 2020 fifth-rounder in St. Petersburg.

Also gone were 2022 eighth-rounder OF Scott Bahl, last year's eighth-rounder MR Jimmy Powell, and 2022 amd 2023 runts of the litter (13th rounders), MR's Steve Lehman and Nick Brill, as well as a few international players that had been in the blazing spotlight of the lower rounds of the amateur draft. All of those had been in Aumsville and way past their bedtime.

Speaking of Aumsville – the Beagles have a 14-43 record at this point. They are wholly gruesome.

Including the DL's, we have 124 players in the professional part of the system and some two dozen in the international complex.

*The Loggers would then jump in a swipe up another one of those pitchers (in fact all three were taken before our next pick came up) who I would have sworn had entered under a fake name, but apparently he is indeed named John DePasse. It is not a porn name, I am being told. Maud insists.
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Old 09-25-2018, 05:40 PM   #2618
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Raccoons (36-27) @ Stars (25-37) – June 15-17, 2026

These teams had most recently met in 2024, when the Raccoons had won two of three games from Dallas, and maybe, just maybe, the Coons could find some ****ing offense in the most offensive park in the league. But probably nah. But not even the Stars could utilize their ballpark in any remotely happy way, ranking second from the bottom in runs scored in the Federal League with only 3.7 runs per game (!!), while they were conceding the absolute most runs in the league, giving them out like candy and 5.1 treats per game in total.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (8-3, 2.31 ERA) vs. Brian Simmons (5-5, 5.17 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (7-2, 3.38 ERA) vs. Jonas Mejia (4-6, 4.60 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (4-3, 3.72 ERA) vs. Jeff Dykstra (5-3, 2.73 ERA)

Their sole southpaw was coming up right at the start of the series.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – C O'Dell – RF Kopp – 3B Gerster – P Roberts
DAL: 2B Clooken – LF I. Suarez – CF St. Germaine – 1B Hollar – SS Rock – C Wool – 3B C. Padilla – RF L. Gross – P Simmons

The Coons moved Spencer and Mora into scoring position in the first inning and then Gonzalez grounded out to the pitcher while Gomez' fly to deep right was hauled in by Luke Gross, which was really how it was always going with this nerve-tearing team. The game was scoreless in the early innings, with Roberts fanning four the first time through the Stars' order while drilling Chris Hollar to begin the bottom 2nd. He looked damn right spot on – even if as usual nobody else was. On to the fourth, where Mora and Gonzalez led off the inning with a pair of singles. Infield singles at that, two of 'em! Brian Simmons' next pitch was ticked into left-center by Rafael Gomez for another single, and that one brought in the first run of the game as Abel Mora ably scored from second base. That was it already, though, O'Dell lining out to Ivan Suarez in leftfield and Terry Kopp bouncing a ball to Silvio Clooken for a double play. When Butch Gerster led off the fifth with a single, Roberts bunted him over, but neither Ramos nor Spencer could hit the ball further than 50 feet – in fact, they both popped out. That had to come back to bite, it just had to. Josh Wool drew a 1-out walk in the bottom 5th, a spot in which Roberts was still pitching a no-hitter. Well, not much longer! Carlos Padilla tripled into the gap to tie, then scored on Gross' single to left to put Dallas in front. That misery had started with Wool, with whom it would also end for Roberts in the sixth. Roberts had just issued hits to Hollar and Trey Rock when Wool rocked him woolly deep with a 3-piece to right. Dallas: five hits, five runs. Portland: six hits, blech. While the Coons got two more hits, including a triple, in the eighth inning, that was not good enough for another mercy run. Ramos led off with a single, and Mora tripled, but in between Spencer had already smacked a Simmons pitch into a double play. Even more astonishing was the fact that the Raccoons would bring up the tying run in the ninth inning even after Ivan Suarez homered off Josh Boles in the bottom 8th. Down by five and now facing left-hander Chris Rountree, there were already two down when singles by Stalker and Gerster and a walk drawn by Cookie Carmona loaded the bags. Ramos' 2-run double between Gross and ex-Titan Adam St. Germaine brought up Spencer as said tying run, and Trey Rock couldn't reach his sharp grounder up the middle that became a 2-run single. The Stars scrambled for new relief in Eric Davidson, who was to face a 3-for-4 Abel Mora, who was the go-ahead run, and who also grounded out quite definitely to Silvio Clooken. 6-5 Stars. Ramos 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Spencer 2-5, 2 RBI; Mora 3-5, 3B; Stalker (PH) 1-1; Gerster 2-4;

How on earth do you lose to a team with a leadoff man named SILVIO CLOOKEN??

HOW??

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C O'Dell – LF Carmona – 3B Bullock – P Gutierrez
DAL: 3B C. Padilla – 2B Neubecker – CF St. Germaine – 1B Hollar – SS Rock – C Wool – LF Cooper – RF L. Gross – P J. Mejia

Vague signs of intelligent life against the omnipresent background garble were a 3-run homer by Jon Gonzalez in the first inning and two more runs plated with 2-out singles by Ramos and Spencer in the second inning, although those were unearned after the two preceding errors by Phil Neubecker. All could have been merry if Rico Gutierrez hadn't been beaten into a bloody pulp by the second inning as well. His line was utmost disgusting; 3.1 innings, seven runs, all earned, including three homers mashed by Gross and Padilla in the second as well as Hollar in the third. The Stars didn't stop there, of course, because these punching bags would not come back so soon. Josh Wool hit a 2-run double off Surginer in the fifth inning – making it five innings of scoring for Dallas in this game – and only Alvin Smith made them shut up in the sixth inning, retiring reliever Matt Diduch, Padilla, and Neubecker in order.

Retired not quite in order, but rather orderly were the Raccoons after the early 5-run onslaught that had sent Mejia for an early shower. Singles by Bullock and Gerster showed some signs of activity in the sixth, but the top of the order wouldn't be of any help, and when Mora's leadoff walk and Gonzalez' single off Diduch put two aboard with nobody out in the top 7th, the next three batters outdid each other in who could deliver the most anemic out. Top 8th, singles by Bullock and Ramos put them on the corners with one out, and finally one of the suckers came through as Spencer singled up the middle to shorten the gap to 9-6 and evict Diduch from the game after 3.1 innings a.k.a. a decently-sized start for Rico Gutierrez these days. Lefty Tom McGuire faced only Abel Mora and surrendered an RBI single, bringing up Gonzalez with the tying runs on and Chris Brooks the new batter. Brooks, 30, and with only 89 innings of major league experience of the 4.74 ERA caliber was a weird choice in this crucial spot, but even weird choices could get a double play any time from these Raccoons. Gonzalez to Neubecker to Rock to Hollar, inning over. Nobody else would reach base anymore in the game. 9-7 Stars. Ramos 2-5; Spencer 2-5, 2 RBI; Mora 3-4, BB, 2 RBI; Gonzalez 2-5, HR, 3 RBI; Bullock 2-4; Gerster (PH) 1-1; Smith 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K;

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – RF Kopp – C Burrows – 3B Bullock – P Anderson
DAL: 2B Clooken – RF I. Suarez – CF St. Germaine – 1B Hollar – C Galan – SS Neubecker – LF Cooper – 3B J. Navarro – P Dykstra

Jon Gonzalez drove in a run in the first inning with a 2-out single that chased home Abel Mora after a single and a passed ball, so the Raccoons were probably doomed to lose again, and doomed in general. The Stars were certainly knocking on the door right from the start, stranding pairs in the first two innings and having Ivan Suarez caught stealing in the first inning, before the Raccoons loaded the bases on singles by Anderson, Spencer, and Mora in the third inning to bring up Jon Gonzalez once more with one out and all bases covered. In just two pitches, the inning ended; Gonzalez popped out to short, and Gomez flew out to center. The fourth then saw Terry Kopp thrown out at third base by St. Germaine on his leadoff DOUBLE and no Coons tally, while the Stars put Neubecker aboard, and their guy stole second base. Andrew Cooper's groundout moved the runner to third base, prompting a 2-out intentional walk to Jose Navarro to bring up the pitcher. Dykstra of course singled to tie the game. Clooken grounded out to Spencer.

Ramos being caught stealing took the teeth out of the Coons' 3-hit fifth inning, with none of those hits going for more than 90 feet of course. That made TEN hits for Portland in the ****ing Stars' ****ing shoebox and still only a single run… The Stars cobbled together three hits to take the lead, 2-1, in the bottom 5th, and despite knocking Dykstra up for ten hits in five innings, the Coons couldn't get him out of the game, and also couldn't get another hit until Mora's leadoff infield single in the eighth. Gonzalez, ever the slugger, bounced into a double play to Dykstra, and while Gomez singled after that, Kopp struck out. Tim Stalker's leadoff single was met with uninspired groundouts by Bullock and O'Dell in the ninth inning, but that brought up Ramos at least with the runner at third base, so maybe we could … and Kurt Evans snagged his lousy fly to complete the sweep. 2-1 Stars. Spencer 2-4; Mora 4-4; Stalker (PH) 1-1;

Haha, a sweep. Ha, that's funny. That is… that is… that is sooo…

…!

Raccoons (36-30) vs. Titans (39-27) – June 19-21, 2026

You blink and the Titans are already three games ahead of you (and we're not talking about the Elks even now), but maybe we can arrange so that we just hold very still and they won't make too much noise while they ravage us for the weekend. The season series was even at two, but I was very much sure it would not be for much longer. They ranked second in runs scored, fourth in runs allowed, and were definitely not half as bad a **** show as the Raccoons.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (5-2, 2.38 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (5-4, 4.22 ERA)
Rin Nomura (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. Julio San Pedro (2-2, 3.47 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-4, 2.63 ERA) vs. Guillermo Regalado (4-2, 2.03 ERA)

Left-right-right for the second straight time this week. Maybe this time it won't end with loss-loss-loss. Speaking of losses, we are 3-12 in June.

Game 1
BOS: LF W. Vega – C Leonard – CF Reichardt – RF Braun – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B R. West – 1B Elder – 3B Corder – P Wingo
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Gomez – C O'Dell – RF Kopp – 3B Gerster – P Delgadillo

Willie Vega, the little pest, walked, stole second, then was thrown out trying to nip third base, too, to begin the game. Adrian Reichardt also kept being a royal annoyance. With the Raccoons having Gonzalez and O'Dell on the corners, Reichardt made two strong plays in the bottom 2nd, robbing Kopp coming in, and Gerster going out to end the inning. The Titans turned on Delgadillo in the top 3rd with singles by Jay Elder and Adam Corder to begin the inning, followed by a bunt. Vega lined out to a leaping Ramos for the second out, but Keith Leonard broke the ice with a sharp single into rightfield that conted for the first two runs in the contest. It was also all the runs off Delgadillo in his six innings, and Delgadillo was also the only Raccoon with an extra-base hit at that point, a leadoff double. Dustin Wingo was still on a shutout, though…

Not that all was rosy for the Titans, either. They had Ricky Ohl cornered in the seventh inning on an infield single by Adam Corder and walks drawn by Vega and Leonard, but then choked when Reichardt struck out in a full count and Adam Braun popped out foul in another full count. All of this kept the Coons tantalizingly close at 2-0, but they could just as well have trailed by 20. It took them until the eighth to be a vague, undefined threat again when Wingo allowed a 1-out single to Spencer that dropped into shallow right-center between three defenders. Nominally that brought up a slugger with the tying run, but (chuckles) come on. Be serious. Mora grounded out. Gonzalez walked, bringing up the go-ahead run. Rafael Gomez singled to left, Spencer went around third and was going to score with Gonzalez advancing to third base. Jamie Wilson cut off the throw home and instead fired to third, but late! The run scored and the Coons had them on the corners for O'Dell … except that we brought Tim Stalker to pinch-hit after some recent success at the plate. He flew out to Braun. To make things even greater Josh Boles and Jonathan Snyder allowed a walk and two hits in the top 9th to allow Wilson to get the 2-run lead back with a 2-out RBI single up the middle. Regardless, the tying runs were on in the bottom 9th against lefty Mike Stank, even if just with two outs after Burrows and Ramos both singled. Power was not yet near (and even if it had been, not likely). Stank got Spencer, hard to whiff, to 2-2, then missed the corner and instead gave Spencer a ball to drive up the leftfield line. That evil thing fell for a triple and tied the game! Javy Salomon then rung up Mora to bring about extra innings. The Titans didn't linger long, hitting Kevin Surginer for a double (Jay Elder) and an RBI single (Vega) in the top 10th, before Lorenzo Viamontes opened the bottom 10th with K to Gonzalez. Cookie batted for Surginer, singled, and Stalker singled just past Wilson to bring the winning run aboard. Terry Kopp remained no help whatsoever, grounding out and leaving the game to … Butch Gerster… He popped out on the first pitch. 4-3 Titans. Ramos 2-5; Spencer 2-4, BB, 3B, 2 RBI; Carmona (PH) 1-1; Burrows 1-1; Delgadillo 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K and 1-2, 2B;

It is hard to find words. Or the energy to move at this point.

Game 2
BOS: CF Reichardt – C Leonard – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – 2B R. West – 3B Corder – 1B Gasso – SS Kane – P San Pedro
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – C O'Dell – LF Carmona – CF Magallanes – 3B Bullock – P Nomura

Gus Gasso gave Boston the lead in the top 2nd with a 2-out RBI double past Abel Mora in rightfield, chasing home Adam Braun and his leadoff single, but Mora got his revenge on Mike Kane's following single to right, with Gasso turning third and finding himself thrown out at home plate to end the inning. While Nomura on his own was not allowing a lot of bad things to occur, the other Coons would kindly help him out once the time came. Jon Gonzalez had just tied the game with his 10th homer in the bottom 4th, 1-1, when Kane slapped a leadoff single in the top 5th. O'Dell misfielded San Pedro's bunt, badly, for a 2-base throwing error, and the Titans plated two runs on Reichardt's single and Leonard's sac fly. O'Dell allowed a passed ball the following inning that extended that inning and eventually stranded two Titans in scoring position when Spencer made a strong play on Kane. So Nomura's line stayed somewhat orderly… until the seventh. San Pedro led off with a triple (…!!), was doubled in by Reichardt, and a 4-pitch walk to Leonard ended Nomura's start in shambles. Another run would score on a sac fly against Jeff Mudge, not that it would likely matter.

In the middle of another 5-1 drifter, the Coons cobbled together a run in the bottom 7th, Cookie hitting a leadoff single and somehow scoring on Kopp's pinch-hit groundout, then had Spencer and Mora aboard with nobody out in the eighth. That got rid of San Pedro for sure, with Salomon going to face Gonzalez… who masterfully fouled out behind home plate. O'Dell grounded out, advancing the runners for Cookie, who would see lefty Brent Beene, grounded slowly near the mound, and was out on a bang-bang play, ending the inning… That was not the final time that the tying run came up; it did so also in the bottom 9th against Dustin Cory after pinch-hit singles by Gomez and Stalker (and the Coons were now out-hitting the opposition once more, 10-9), pulling up Ramos as the tying run with one down. Cory walked Ramos to increase tension. Spencer grounded to Corder, who had a play at second base, but that was all; Gomez scored, but Mora was now up with two outs, WALKED, and here came Gonzalez! First pitch, grounder to Corder… and out at first base……. 5-3 Titans. Mora 2-4, BB; Gomez (PH) 1-1; Stalker (PH) 1-1;

(is not moving at all, and curiously poked by Chad with the giant index finger of the Coons mascot costume)

Game 3
BOS: C Leonard – 1B Elder – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – 2B R. West – 3B Corder – CF W. Vega – SS Kane – P Regalado
POR: SS Ramos – 3B Spencer – RF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – C O'Dell – LF Carmona – 2B Stalker – CF Magallanes – P Roberts

While Abel Mora hit a 2-run homer in the first inning (!!!!!) to give the Coons an early lead (….!!!!), Mark Roberts would find a way to get on the road to losing some more, issuing a hit and three walks in the second inning, including a bases-loaded walk to Keith Leonard to get the Titans right on the board. Bottom 2nd, Cookie singled, even Magallanes singled, Roberts was nicked, and then … Ramos and Spencer BOTH popped out to strand a full set. It always was and still remained unbelievable. Roberts remained a mess for all of this start, issued a fourth walk the following inning, then blew the 2-1 lead in the fourth on singles by Kane, Leonard, and Yasuhiro Kuramoto. He had NOTHING. Oh he actually had worse than nothing. He walked Rhett West to begin the fifth inning, then threw away Corder's bunt, and walked Vega. Three on, nobody out, and here came the hook – lefty for lefty, Billy Brotman coming in. He held the Titans to a Mike Kane sac fly, which meant the Coons would maybe only lose by that one run rather than six.

Bottom 7th, Tim Stalker opened with a single against Regalado, who then got Magallanes to ground to the right side. West cut off the ball, but it had been hit with some spin and bounced back out of his glove. That one time reaching for the ball again cost West the play, and the tying and go-ahead runs were aboard with nobody out in a 3-2 game. Butch Gerster grounded out, advancing the runners – but here was a kink. Gerster had pinch-hit the previous time through the lineup and had then replaced Spencer in the game so the Coons could get multiple innings from Kevin Surginer; and that singles bat in the #2 hole was sorely missed now. Oh, I was sure Ramos could get it done, too! Well, not really, but then … eh. His grounder was hustled for by Regalado, but he bobbled it and chased it all the way into foul ground, putting Ramos on with an error, and the tying run scored with Stalker, levelling the score at three. Kopp batted for Surginer, and knocked a 2-2 pitch up the middle for an RBI single, 4-3, Regalado walked Mora to fill 'em up for Gonzalez, and Gonzalez struck out. But the Titans were becoming unglued now. Regalado faced only one more batter, conceding two runs on an O'Dell single, and then Cookie hit an RBI single against Beene, running the score to 7-3 with a 5-run seventh. Even more stunning, Ricky Ohl and Jonathan Snyder allowed no base runners in the last two innings to put the game IN THE WIN COLUMN. 7-3 Coons. Spencer 2-3; Kopp (PH) 1-1, RBI; Carmona 2-4, RBI; Magallanes 2-4; Surginer 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, W (4-3);

In other news

June 15 – TOP C Victor Ayala (.281, 1 HR, 6 RBI) ends an 11-inning game with the Loggers with a pinch-hit walkoff grand slam off MIL CL Joe Moore (3-2, 2.62 ERA, 19 SV).
June 16 – LVA OF Danny Serrano (.385, 6 HR, 31 RBI) doesn't save on the hits, knocking out three in a 6-5 win over the Wolves to extend his hitting streak to 38 games.
June 16 – PIT SP Bobby Morris (5-5, 4.75 ERA) will be out for the rest of the year after tearing his labrum.
June 17 – The Aces trade 1B Allen Retzer (.206, 1 HR, 12 RBI) to the Pacifics for 37-year-old SP Samuel McMullen (5-5, 3.50 ERA).
June 17 – IND SP Chris Munroe (2-1, 2.70 ERA) 3-hits the Rebels in a 2-0 shutout.
June 19 – Hitting streak over: LVA OF Danny Serrano (.379, 6 HR, 31 RBI) goes hitless in a 9-5 win over the Falcons, ending his hitting streak at 39 games, the third-longest streak in ABL history.

Complaints and stuff

Monday in Dallas was our 3,900th regular season loss … THIS YEAR ALONE.

Aahhh…

In AAA Elias Tovias hit a few homers, then went on the DL with a rib cage thing. Omar Alfaro however looked very dead in his eyes even with the Alley Cats. Then he strained an oblique.

Misery, misery everywhere.

Fun Fact: Before the Raccoons lost 16 games this season they had already tallied up 32 wins. In between their next 16 losses they won just four games.

That one stands for itself.
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Old 09-26-2018, 05:59 AM   #2619
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Raccoons (37-32) @ Indians (24-42) – June 22-24, 2026

Two miserable teams met for a 3-game midweek series in Indianapolis that ddn't have any big implications anymore and it was only June. The Indians ranked 11th in runs scored, eighth in runs allowed, but the Coons were getting there… the season series stood 4-2 in Portland's favor… so far.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (7-3, 3.96 ERA) vs. John McInerney (3-7, 4.09 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (4-4, 3.67 ERA) vs. Chris Munroe (2-1, 2.70 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (5-2, 2.42 ERA) vs. Mo Robinson (2-7, 3.70 ERA)

Just like the last few series; left-right-right from the opposition. Great. Don't go out of your way to break us out of our rotten funk! By the way, Tom Shumway (4-9, 3.97 ERA) is still alive, but somehow we keep on missing him in these series.

To open this series, Alberto Ramos got his first off day in … since … I don't know, when did Carthage fall? He had been through a rough series against Boston, here was a left-hander, and Tim Stalker had been hot off the bench last week. Well, at least as hot as a Raccoon could be.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Stalker – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Gomez – LF Carmona – 3B Gerster – C Burrows – P Gutierrez
IND: LF Loya – CF Folk – RF Duarte – 2B Pizano – C T. Perez – 3B Good – SS Benedetto – 1B Tinsley – P McInerney

As both starters got scratched for a first-inning run, Rafael Gomez plating Mora with a 2-out single in the Coons' case, and Rico Gutierrez kept wavering against whatever opposition dared to show up, Butch Gerster also made us long for the return of Matt Nunley from the DL. Gerster looked bad on Brody Folk's double in the first inning – although Folk pulled something and was out of the game immediately, replaced by Richard Linnell, who was no less a pest – and then dropped Matt Good's poor pop to begin the second inning for an error. At least that latter one got cleaned up when one shortstop grounded sharply to the other, the Coons going 6-4-3 to bail out Gutierrez, who didn't seem like he had a plan at all.

By the third inning, the Indians were on their third centerfielder, which was at least some misery we could chuckle about, with Linnell getting hurt diving for a Mora fly. He got the fly, but he also suffered some backlash to the neck and came out right away. Hello, Alex Zanches (sic!) – we hope dearly you got insurance out there. The Mora fly in question moved Stalker – who had doubled – to third base, after which the Indians walked Gonzalez, but surrendered the go-ahead run on another Gomez single with two down. Lo and behold, Gomez would come up with runners on the corners for a third time in the fifth inning, this time with one out after Mora singled, stole second, and Good's error put Gonzalez aboard. And a better defensive third baseman than Good (Nunley?) would have turned his spiked grounder for a double play, but Good was eaten up by Gomez' lance up the line and Gomez had his third base knock, a 2-run triple, holding all out RBI's in the 4-1 game, at least until Cookie's sac fly ran the score to 5-1. All eyes on Rico now, the lone surviving starting pitcher in the game at this point. He had whiffed a pair in the third, gotten through the fourth okay, and it was really about improving on the last few starts, but the Indians kept squishing him. Jason Benedetto hit a leadoff double to left-center in the bottom 5th, then scored on two groundouts to get the Indians back within three, but Rico struck out three in the bottom 6th while allowing a 2-out single to Mario Pizano.

Portland added a run in the seventh inning when they had Mora and Cookie on the corners with two outs and Cookie twitched to get going. Myles Mood twitched as well, but did so with the foot on the rubber and was rightfully called out for a balk, which brought in Mora, 6-2, and gave Cookie second base anyway, after which Butch Gerster(!) got an intentional walk to bring up Burrows. It says something about your stature in the league when they walk BUTCH GERSTER intentionally to get to you; indeed Burrows popped out. Rico would not get through the bottom 7th, surrendering a 2-out run on Trent Herlihy's pinch-hit single on his 100th pitch, with Ricky Ohl getting a fly out from Ricky Loya to end the inning after that. The Indians' pen eroded for two runs in the ninth, Gomez remaining unretired with another single, before the Coons sent Alvin Smith into the 8-3 game against his former team. Leadoff walk to Tony Perez – alright, here we go. No, we didn't. Good and Benedetto struck out, Matt Tinsley fouled out to Burrows, and the game went into the books a win. 8-3 Raccoons. Mora 3-5; Gomez 4-4, BB, 3B, 4 RBI; Kopp (PH) 1-1, RBI; Gutierrez 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K;

Indy's Linnell went straight to the DL, Folk went for further tests, and Jake Burrows went 0-5 with an RBI groundout in the ninth. Don't do the math on that.

That is back-to-back wins for Portland for the first time since June 5-6 in New York. Don't do the math either.

And Matt Nunley won't come back before maaaaybe the weekend.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Gomez – 1B Gonzalez – CF Mora – LF Carmona – C O'Dell – 3B Bullock – P Anderson
IND: CF Zanches – LF Loya – 3B Good – 1B Herlihy – C T. Perez – RF Kaczenski – 2B Mack – SS Pizano – P Munroe

Kyle Anderson struck out pairs in each of the first three innings, which was out of the ordinary on one paw, and exploded his pitch count quickly on the other. There was no scoring early, but the Coons loaded the bags in the fourth inning on Spencer and Gonzalez singles – it was the 100th single for Jarod Spencer this year in game #71 – and a walk drawn by Mora. Cookie flew out to Gary Kaczenski, but deep enough to get Spencer home for a 1-0 lead, and then Good's not so good defense showed again and he couldn't come up with Brett O'Dell's grounder with two down and let it escape for an RBI single. Bullock flew out to end the inning, and then Anderson also gave the Indians three on and one out with Good and Perez singling, a wild pitch, and then a walk to Kaczenski. Craig Mack turned an 0-2 pitch into an RBI single into centerfield, Pizano's sac fly tied the game, and Munroe thankfully grounded out to end the charade.

For the Coons it got worse before it could get better. Munroe struck Jon Gonzalez with a pitch in the sixth inning and Gonzalez went into the dirt at once before being helped off the field to be replaced by Terry Kopp. That was surely going to help offense! On to the seventh, Bullock drew a leadoff walk and was bunted over by Anderson, prompting an intentional walk to Ramos. Spencer singled sharply up the middle, Bullock dashed for home and arrived well ahead of Alex Zanches' throw, which put Portland 3-2 ahead and the other runners also took an extra base on the throw. A throwing error by Good on Rafael Gomez' grounder brought in a run, and Kopp would at least chip in a sac fly to give the Coons a 5-2 lead at the seventh-inning stretch. Anderson made it through seven before Josh Boles threatened to make it interesting in the eighth. He faced the top of the order, and ran three full counts on Zanches, Duarte, and Good, retiring the first two but losing Good on balls eventually. Herlihy singled up the middle, Good went for third, but he had just all the rotten luck at this point, stumbled slightly halfway to third base and that cost him a few inches – the margin by which Abel Mora threw him out at third base to end the inning. On to the ninth, where Juan Magallanes opened as pinch-hitter for Boles, reached on Craig Mack's error (D was not the Arrowheads' strong suit…) then stole second base, the first loot of his major league career. Ramos was walked intentionally again, and, disgusted, both runners pulled off a double steal. Spencer found the hole between Good's legs for a 2-run single, and the resulting 5-run lead survived contact with Jeff Mudge in the ninth. 7-2 Coons. Ramos 2-3, 2 BB; Spencer 3-5, 3 RBI; Kopp 1-1, RBI; Mora 2-4, BB; Anderson 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W (5-4);

Jon Gonzalez was unwell and unavailable for the series finale.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 1B Kopp – C O'Dell – LF Magallanes – 3B Gerster – P Delgadillo
IND: CF Zanches – LF Loya – 3B Good – 1B Herlihy – C T. Perez – RF Kaczenski – 2B Folk – SS Pizano – P Mo Robinson

Yusneldan Delgadillo told me before the game that his dead great-grandmother had appeared to him in a dream and had told him he would throw a complete game today, which was weird, but at least he didn't leave the game with an injury in the second inning, which was what happened to Mo Robinson just after a Gomez single, two wild pitches, and Magallanes' sac fly had put him on a 1-0 hook. But with dark clouds overhead, Delgadillo was probably no closer to a complete game than I was at this point, and indeed it started to rain in the third inning, which also saw Alex Zanches tie the game with a sac fly of his own after Pizano's leadoff double and a bunt by Pat Collins. There was a brief delay in the fourth inning, after which the middle innings were exceedingly dull right up until, with Zanches on first base and two outs, Trent Herlihy's fly to left looked like easy pickings for Magallanes, then hit the Coons rookie in the chest for a 2-base error, and if Zanches had been more alert, he would have scored. Tony Perez batted with men in scoring position instead, flew to deep, deep right, but somehow Rafael Gomez got glove on that drive that read 2-run double all over the bat, but instead ended the inning. When the tie was broken, it was the Indians anyway – Matt Tinsley homered off Delgadillo in the bottom 8th, giving them a 2-1 edge and Nick Salinas into the game for a save opportunity in the ninth. He threw one pitch with a chance for that, which Terry Kopp clobbered for a score-knotting leadoff jack, quietly also becoming the second Critter with as many as four home runs this season. When O'Dell doubled right after that, Bullock ran for him while Cookie batted for Magallanes only to be walked intentionally. Gerster bunted over the runners, after which Stalker batted for Delgadillo, who didn't want to let go of the bat for the dream with the complete game, but Dan, you are on 112 pitches and the game is on the ****ing line, so SHUT THE **** UP AND SIT DOWN. Stalker lined out to Good, Ramos was walked intentionally routinely now despite an 0-for-4 day, and Spencer grounded out to Good to strand a full set of runners, and that allowed the Indians to walk off against Surginer in the bottom 9th on Pizano's single, him stealing second base, and then Tinsley's walkoff single to right center. 3-2 Indians. Kopp 2-3, BB, HR, RBI; Delgadillo 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K;

Matt Nunley returned from the DL in time for the Friday game, with Butch Gerster (.222) sent back to St. Pete, but the Coons were still without Jon Gonzalez as the weekend series kicked off in Mexico.

Raccoons (39-33) @ Condors (35-37) – June 26-28, 2026

Third in the South and six games out, the Condors were looking to have themselves some coonsteaks. They were actually having similar success to us in the runs thing, sitting eighth in runs scored and tied for second (with us) in runs allowed. They had a very good bullpen especially, something that the Raccoons could not claim at all at this point. The Coons' pen had an ERA .6 runs worse than the rotation… Portland had a 2-1 edge in the season series.

Projected matchups:
Rin Nomura (0-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. Danny Castaneda (3-2, 3.62 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-4, 2.70 ERA) vs. Jeff Little (6-4, 2.51 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (8-3, 3.97 ERA) vs. George Griffin (5-4, 2.84 ERA)

For a change, the left-hander would pop up in the middle game, as the teams' aces would match up, with the right-handed Costa Rican Castaneda in the opener instead.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 1B Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – C O'Dell – P Nomura
TIJ: SS B. Rojas – CF Chaplin – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF O. Larios – C Sanford – LF Denzler – 2B Bross – P Castaneda

Joel Denzler's throwing error when Ramos went first-to-third on Gomez' 2-out single in the third inning saw the ball get far enough away from Shane Sanks to allow Ramos to race for home plate, scoring the first run of the game, but the Condors were not far removed from a comeback. Bottom 4th, Nomura allowed runners to occupy the corners with nobody out after a Sanks double and Omar Larios' single. Pat Sanford grounded a ball sharply at Nunley, which was usually the recipe for goodness, but Nunley showed rust fresh off the DL and mishandled the ball into a run-scoring error. Denzler hit into a fielder's choice, stole second, but Dave Bross struck out, leaving it to the pitcher with two outs and as many in scoring position. Annoyingly, Castaneda singled through the left side to give himself a lead when Larios scored. Denzler tried to have some, too, but was thrown out at home by Cookie, ending the inning in a 2-1 deficit. The Raccoons would go on to put a man on base in every inning that followed, but usually hit into a double play (Gomez in the fifth f.e.) or popped out incessantly until the inning was over. The Condors added two runs in the bottom 7th on Mike Chaplin going 4-for-4 with a 2-out single off Billy Brotman, then stole second against Jeff Mudge and scored on Kevin McGrath's single. Mudge moved the runner over with a wild pitch, then conceded him on Sanks' single. Top 8th, at a point where nothing much was expected anymore from the Critters they got Nunley on base with a 2-out walk. Cookie singled in a full count, moving Nunley to third base, after which O'Dell found the gap with a drive and landed an RBI double. Suddenly the tying runs were in scoring position, the pitcher's spot was up and … and the bench consisted of Burrows, Bullock, and Magallanes. Ack! Bullock was sent because he could bat left-handed against Castaneda, who was not removed because the Condors could see our bench very clearly. Bullock flew out to Denzler, and that was more or less the ballgame. 4-2 Condors. Carmona 1-2, 2 BB; O'Dell 2-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Nomura 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, L (0-2);

By Saturday the Raccoons had placed Jon Gonzalez on the DL, finally, with a broken elbow. He was out for the season. And with that, at 31 years and 38 days of age, it was time for the major league debut of 1B Kyle Koel, batting .400 with no homers in AAA in the 15 games since he had arrived there, which was a weird way of saying I had little to no hope for him.

ALWAYS MORE GOODNESS 'ROUND HERE.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – LF Gomez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – 1B Koel – C O'Dell – P Roberts
TIJ: SS B. Rojas – C Zarate – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – LF Hatley – CF Chaplin – RF Denzler – 2B Bross – P Little

Amazingly, Kyle Koel failed to come up with the first chance of his major league career, a bouncer by Bob Rojas that was neither dangerous nor deceitful and went past Koel for a "single". Danny Zarate hit into a two-for-one right after that, which was probably everything that spared Koel from getting his skull parted with an axe after the game. Or during the game. He also flew out to Nick Hatley in a 3-0 count in the second inning, which was helpful in ticking off all the usual boxes about why a 31-year-old never made the major leagues.

While Koel was around for comic relief – depending on your affiliation with one team or the other, your quality of fun probably varied though – the two pitchers in question hardly missed a beat. Roberts put a few guys on in the early inning, but overall neither had his defenses breached for runs through five innings. Roberts had a 3-hitter, whiffing six, but was outdone by Little's 1-hitter and 7 K. Little would manufacture the first interesting situation for Portland himself in the sixth inning, walking Spencer with two outs, then putting Mora on when he dropped McGrath's feed at first base. Gomez grounded out to Sanks, though, ending the inning. The Condors also left a pair on in the bottom 6th, in which Roberts walked Zarate, then plunked McGrath, but nothing came of that, either. Nunley chugged a double in the seventh that led nowhere nice, then came to bat in the eighth with three on, two outs, and Markus Bates trying to keep Little's effort in one piece. He rung up Nunley on three pitches, and instead the Condors broke the drought with Pat Sanford's pinch-hit leadoff jack off Roberts in the bottom 8th. That was all Roberts allowed. And it was enough. Tony Harrell threw four pitches in the ninth, getting Cookie, O'Dell, and Stalker to fly out to Chad Highsmith in centerfield three times. 1-0 Condors. Spencer 2-3, BB; Roberts 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, L (8-5);

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 1B Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – C O'Dell – P Gutierrez
TIJ: SS B. Rojas – C Zarate – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF O. Larios – CF Chaplin – LF Denzler – 2B Bross – P Griffin

The Coons had Mora double in the first for no serious consequences, but Terry Kopp led off the second with a double into the rightfield corner. Griffin struck out Matt Nunley, except that Zarate could not contain the ball and not only did Nunley reach on the uncaught third strike, but Kopp also scooted to third base, allowing Cookie to bring him in for the first run in the game with a sac fly to center. It was not the last time in the game that Kopp was scored by Cookie; both hit doubles in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 2-0. Rico held the Condors hitless into the fourth until McGrath's solo homer got them on the board anyway, cutting that lead to 2-1.

Griffin left the game after only 5.1 innings of not being whacked around very hard by the Raccoons; instead he had whacked Kopp with a pitch, but nothing ill happened to his ERA after his departure because Nunley refused to let Cookie come up again and instead hit into a double play against Bobby Thompson, who would put the least effort ever into 2.2 innings of perfect relief, throwing just 24 pitches against the lackluster Coons, who STILL held a 2-1 lead because Rico was picking his fights carefully, at least until he met Pat Sanford, last night's spoiler. Sanford spoiled again, singling into leftfield, and Rico was gone after Bob Rojas bunted the tying run into scoring position. Ricky Ohl inherited that tough spot, in which the Raccoons would manage to make the absolute worst of what they had. Ohl had Zarate at 1-2 before allowing a liner to left. Ramos lunged, missed it, Cookie picked it up, saw Sanford making for home, unleashed a laser that was off, the runner scored, and Cookie left the game in pain, replaced by Magallanes while Zarate scooted into scoring position. And only after all that mess, Ohl struck out McGrath and Sanks to end the inning.

The Raccoons had the go-ahead run on third base with one out in the ninth inning. Facing Markus Bates, Rafael Gomez had singled, stolen second base (his first of the year actually), and had advanced on Kopp's groundout. All eyes on Nunley – except the Condors weren't buying it. They wanted the .136 slugger Magallanes up, right now. So they walked Nunley intentionally, only to have Bates drill the rookie, giving O'Dell three on with one down, but he struck out in a full count, and Tim Stalker flew out to Larios. GODDAMNIT, ****ING SCUMBAGS!!! Billy Brotman would then not get a single pitch across in the bottom 9th, but somehow retired the side in order thanks in no small part due to Magallanes making a sprawling catch on Larios' leadoff drive before tumbling over the warning track, eating some dirt in the process.

Extra innings, yay? Alberto Ramos got on base after an 0-for-4 day when Bates plunked him as well, then was caught stealing before Spencer singled. He was left on by Mora and Gomez. Somehow there was an 11th despite Brotman and Mudge conspiring in the bottom 10th, and Kopp met Zach Weaver's first pitch for a leadoff jack. That one was already impressive and well outta here, but the next pitch was hit even further by Matt Nunley as the Coons went back-to-back when it was least expected! Merrily, Jonathan Snyder, though unseen for a while, was still alive and well nurtured and would surely get through the meat of the order with no issues in the bottom 11th. Well, again, all depended on your standards for "no issues". McGrath led off with a scathed liner to left for a base hit. He thought he had a triple. Magallanes though he had a double. The rookie was right, throwing the runner out at third base. Sanks sharply grounded out to Nunley, and Larios rolled over to Spencer to end the game after that. 4-2 Coons. Kopp 3-4, HR, 2 2B, RBI; Carmona 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI; Gutierrez 7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K; Brotman 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K;

In other news

June 26 – The Aces trade 2B/3B Emilio Farias (.359, 0 HR, 10 RBI), who is 39 years old, to the Capitals for OF Luis Leija (.286, 2 HR, 24 RBI), age 29.
June 26 – BOS 1B Jay Elder (.235, 3 HR, 31 RBI) drives in five in the Titans' 18-3 rout over the Falcons, in which BOS SP Guillermo Regalado (5-3, 2.20 ERA) even carries a no-hitter into the eighth inning before having it broken up by CHA 1B Russ Greenwald (.286, 0 HR, 0 RBI) with a leadoff double.
June 27 – Rebels and Wolves end up in a 6-6 lock in the seventh inning, then don't score for about three hours before the Rebels break through with two in the top of the 18th inning to win eventually, 8-6. No player on either team did anything remarkable in a 6:38 slog.
June 28 – NAS SP Sergio Arendondo (1-3, 6.33 ERA) is out for the season with shoulder inflammation.

Complaints and stuff

Yeah, THAT Russ Greenwald. There is only one in the census records going back to 1790.

When Terry Kopp is your last hope for one-swipe offense, you might as well fold.

With that broken elbow, that 5-year extension to Jon Gonzalez looks REALLY good now. Man! I really have a paw for assembling players into teams that everybody talks about! Speaking of talk – I think a momentous occasion like the major league debut of a 31-year-old career AA roster filler like Koel (pronounce: coal) in the starting lineup like on Saturday marks the point where any once hopeful team officially resigns from the competition. In our case and this year, it occurred on June 27.

No, Maud, we'll give out the Jon Gonzalez bobbleheads anyway next month. They were expensive. – No, we won't model arm casts onto them.

As far as our outfield "depth" was concerned, Greg Borg went on the DL with a separated shoulder, joining Omar Alfaro and Devin Mansfield as nominal Alley Cats on the minor league DL. So it would be interesting to find a replacement for Cookie Carmona, who has to hit the DL with shoulder soreness and is probably out until the All Star Game.

Lost in last week's detritus was the fact that the Raccoons had been swept by the Stars for the first time since 1997, also known as the Year of Brrrr.

At 7-17 and with two games left in June, the Raccoons still have a chance for a 7-19 month.

The Raccoons most recently lost 18 games in a month … TWENTY YEARS AGO. It was May of 2005, also known as the penultimate howl of the Decade of Darkness. It was the Yoshi Yamada Year. Nick Brown won 15 games. Clyde Brady went deep 22 times. They still lost 92.

Fun Fact: Jonathan Toner and Mark Roberts have identical 1.07 career WHIP marks for the best among active pitchers.

Of course, Toner's has been on the rise. He is with the Wolves right now. Wolves occupy the third and fourth spots as well, Jorge Beltran and Joel Davis, the latter a former Raccoons reliever. Jonny Toner has been demoted to swingman status by now. He has made 12 appearances (4 starts) this season, going 36.2 innings for a 3-1 record and 2.45 ERA. He has struck out 34, which is even an increase in K/9, but he could not be further from the Hall of Fame right now…

No clue when the Coons most recently lost 19 in a month, but not as long as I have kept the monthly stat caps in 2004.
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Old 09-28-2018, 09:48 AM   #2620
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Raccoons (40-35) vs. Aces (35-41) – June 29-July 1, 2026

Here were two teams that both wondered what the heck had happened to them. Both were eight-ish games behind an unlikely division leader and neither was getting any closer. The Aces were at least scoring, ranking fourth in runs plated in the CL, but were at rock bottom in runs conceded, with almost precisely five runs surrendered per game. Rotation and bullpen were equally guilty for them. The Coons had swept them the first time around this year, but that had occurred in much better times in general…

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (5-4, 3.57 ERA) vs. Ed Hague (8-6, 3.97 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (5-2, 2.41 ERA) vs. TBD
Rin Nomura (0-2, 3.15 ERA) vs. Matt McCabe (2-4, 3.99 ERA)

Two right-handers and a hole in the middle; the middle start would be the turn of Tristan Broun, who was a shocking 0-8 with a 4.63 ERA, but he was officially laboring on a sore shoulder and was a coin toss at this point. Another left-handed veteran would move into this series if the Aces would send their guys on short rest: Sam McMullen (5-6, 3.40 ERA).

The Raccoons started their week by placing Cookie Carmona on the DL with his own shoulder thing, pulling up LF Justin Gerace (.229, 8 HR, 37 RBI) from AAA.

Game 1
LVA: CF Leija – LF Raynor – RF Bednarski – 1B M. Hamilton – C T. Robinson – SS A. Medina – 3B A. Velez – 2B Moroyoqui – P Hague
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 1B Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – C Burrows – P Anderson

Anderson spent 36 pitches on the first inning alone, loading the bases on a Matt Hamilton single and walks to Ron Raynor and Tim Robinson, and then still somehow escaped unscored upon when Andres Medina grounded out to Terry Kopp. By contrast, Ed Hague threw seven pitches to retire the Coons in order… At least Anderson held tight through five innings, holding the Aces to only two hits and himself to under 90 pitches, which was so encouraging. The Raccoons scratched out runs in the second inning, then on three singles by Gomez, Kopp, and Gerace, who got the RBI, and another one in the fifth when Burrows led off with a single, was bunted over, advanced on the struggling Ramos' groundout, and was plated on Spencer's single. Mora (walk) and Gomez (Alberto Velez error) would fill the bags, but Terry Kopp lined out to Medina to keep them on base.

No win was in the offing for Kyle Anderson, though. Three singles by Mike Bednarski, Robinson, and Medina plated a run in the top 6th, and Rafael Gomez' late throw home on the third single also allowed the remaining runners to take scoring position with one out. Ricky Ohl replaced Anderson, but the lead evaporated on Velez' sac fly before Jesus Moroyoqui grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning in a 2-2 tie. But the house that Mike Bednarski – the eternal scumbag – built in the sixth he also tore down ass-first in the bottom 7th; Ramos had just hit a 1-out single to right – his 100th hit of the year, but not yet ending his deep slump – when Spencer also got a ball past Moroqoyui. Ramos went for third, Bednarski, the bitter old man, didn't want to let him, but threw wildly past Alberto Velez. The error gave the runners an extra base, plating Ramos with the go-ahead run. Mora grounded out, moving Spencer to third, and here the Aces apparently thought that the inning was as good as over with the Coons – in situations with a runner in scoring position and two outs – had a clutch average of roughly negative .117 … alas, the Critters broke out the extra base power! Rafael Gomez had an RBI triple, Terry Kopp still an RBI double, and then Matt Nunley conquered the leftfield fence to tear up Ed Hague completely, who ended up surrendering seven in seven. There was another extra-base hit in store for Portland though; Alberto Ramos conquered Ian Van Meter with a 2-out solo jack in the bottom 8th! 8-2 Raccoons. Ramos 2-5, HR, RBI; Spencer 2-5, RBI; Gomez 2-4, 3B, RBI; Kopp 3-4, 2 2B, RBI; Ohl 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, W (3-4);

Tristan Broun would pitch in the Tuesday game… right until ten minutes before game time. Then he was a late scratch, replaced by former Pacifics stalwart Ernest Green (0-3, 5.80 ERA).

Game 2
LVA: CF Leija – LF Raynor – RF Bednarski – 1B M. Hamilton – C T. Robinson – SS A. Medina – 3B A. Velez – 2B Roundtree – P E. Green
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Kopp – CF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – LF Gerace – 1B Koel – P Delgadillo

Kyle Koel had his first major league hit in the third inning, a single that led nowhere. The Aces had the best chance in the early innings, right off the get-go with Luis Leija's leadoff double in the first, but Delgadillo worked around that and a walk to Raynor and eventually struck out Robinson to exit the inning unharmed. Gerace robbed Medina deep in the gap in the fourth inning, but the Coons would actually score first in the bottom of the same frame. Spencer hit a leadoff single, scooped second base and was balked to third before Velez couldn't dig out Kopp's roller that ended up an RBI infield single. Offense remained at a premium even after that cascade of smallest ball; the Raccoons had the occasional hit off Green, but didn't get into scoring position. The Aces had NOTHING off Delgadillo. After Leija's double and the walk to Raynor, he allowed one more walk, and then a 2-out single to *Green* in the *eighth* inning. Leija thereafter flew out to center. Yusneldan had consistently produced poor contact, but was now at 98 pitches and in a 1-0 game. Maybe the Coons would knit a run or two together in the bottom 8th? They actually did – but at that point, leadoff man Delgadillo had already been hit for. Kopp brought in a second run with a groundout, plating Abel Mora, and then it was off to Snyder. K to Raynor, K to Bednarski, then Hamilton doubled. But another righty came up … and K to Robinson! 2-0 Coons! Spencer 2-4; Kopp 2-4, 2 RBI; Delgadillo 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, W (6-2);

This gem not only prevented the Coons from posting their worst month in over 20 years (still shabby though), but also sealed the season series (for the first time since 2023) with Vegas at 5-0 with four to play.

Game 3
LVA: CF Leija – LF Raynor – RF Bednarski – 1B M. Hamilton – SS A. Medina – 3B A. Velez – C Scheffer – 2B Moroyoqui – P McCabe
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 1B Kopp – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – LF Magallanes – P Nomura

Nomura struck out three around Bednarski and Hamilton singles and a Gomez error that gave them an extra base before Medina went down to leave them in scoring position, after which the Raccoons got to McCabe early with Ramos' leadoff triple and Spencer's run-scoring groundout, and for three in total thanks to additional base hits by Mora, Gomez, Kopp, and O'Dell. In total they would have six base hits the first time through the order, including the maiden single for Rin Nomura, who in turn struck out six the first time through, including the battered McCabe, who would be sent to the showers to cry himself out after only 3.2 innings, in which he allowed 13 base hits and eight runs, his outing ending on a 3-piece by Terry Kopp far and wide over the head of Bedgnatski. The sizable lead coincided with Rin Nomura losing his touch on the zone and his stuff. The Aces got on the board in the sixth after a leadoff walk drawn by Leija, Raynor's double, and then Hamilton drove in the runners with a liner to right, but notably Bednarski grounded out to Nunley to keep the runners pinned – a lifelong sucker in action! Bottom 6th, Matt Nunley pulled a run back with a solo homer, extending the Coons' lead to 9-2 at that point, but Nomura was getting whacked hard now and was removed after a seventh inning in which the Aces hit three rockets, but only one fell for a hit. In the bottom of the inning, Kyle Koel got his first career RBI after a Magallanes single, then Ian Van Meter balking and throwing a wild pitch, followed by Koel's single up the middle. Rookie power! Singles by Ramos and Gerace (who hit for Spencer) loaded the bases before Abel Mora beat Bednarski in the gap for a 3-run double that was as sweet as a 6-run double because it made Bednarski look even worse. As the Aces kept sending pitchers, the Coons kept getting on base in a vicious rout. Kopp singled, and Nunley would have hit into probably an inning-ending double play, but Moroyoqui stumbled and fudged the ball, giving Matt an RBI instead and eventually allowed another run to score after O'Dell's single and Magallanes' bases-loaded groundout. Koel then struck out, but even with as many regulars as we could removed by the bottom 8th, the Aces still ran into more damage, like Mike Kress allowing a leadoff single to Ramos, then a homer to Gerace. The Aces got a run off Josh Boles in the ninth. Nobody cared. 17-3 Furballs!! Ramos 3-5, BB, 3B; Spencer 2-4, RBI; Gerace (PH) 2-2, HR, 2 RBI; Mora 4-6, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Gomez 2-5, 2 RBI; Kopp 3-5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; Nunley 3-5, HR, 2 RBI; O'Dell 3-5, 2 RBI; Koel (PH) 1-2, RBI; Nomura 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, W (1-2) and 1-3;

The mother of all sweeps?

Raccoons (43-35) vs. Canadiens (48-28) – July 2-5, 2026

Just like before the last meeting between these two teams, the Raccoons were trending upwards again while the Elks came off a 1-2 series against the Knights, which was not among their more stellar moments in franchise history – all of which had been recorded in black-and-white photographs. (Slappy chuckles and raises his bottle in acknowledgement) They were still 20 games over .500, a mark the Raccoons had not reached before tumbling into the abyss at the start of June. They were second in runs scored and fifth in runs allowed, and their run differential (+66) was quite a bit better than the Coons' +53 mark even after they had ravaged the Aces. Of course they also had the upper hoof in the season series, 5-2…

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (8-5, 2.59 ERA) vs. Jesse Bowsher (8-1, 2.35 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (8-3, 3.86 ERA) vs. Warren Polito (9-6, 2.68 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (5-4, 3.56 ERA) vs. Frank Kelly (6-3, 4.30 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (6-2, 2.23 ERA) vs. Antonio Muniz (6-5, 3.47 ERA)

Three right-handers leading up to the southpaw "Furball"(???) Muniz on Sunday. Also, Chad has found that plush Elk again that I hid in the most remote closet I could find, and I am not amused.

Game 1
VAN: RF Wojnarowski – 3B Anton – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – SS Calfee – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – C Tanzillo – P Bowsher
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Gomez – 1B Kopp – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – LF Gerace – P Roberts

Roberts had neither stuff, nor luck, that much was clear from the start. Winless in his last five outings, Roberts hardly got a ball past anybody, and Chris Tanzillo struck himself out after coming up with three on and nobody out in the second inning. Bowsher then bounced out to Nunley, but the Elks scored in the following inning after singles by Brian Wojnarowski and Matt Anton to begin the inning. After Tony Coca popped out to short, Wojnarowski went for third base, O'Dell threw wildly, and the runner scored on the error, with Anton moving to third, where Nunley stranded him with an awesome swipe of Alex Torres' liner, after which John Calfee grounded out. Adan Myles' leadoff jack in the fourth made it 2-0, and the Coons had more or less nothing going against Bowsher. They didn't even have a hit until the fourth, when Mora singled up the middle. A throwing error by Tanzillo on Kopp's grounder placed runners in scoring position with two outs for Nunley, but he struck out to let the chance get away. The Mora single remained the Coons' only hit through six innings, with Roberts getting buried three deep after a Tanzillo homer in the top of the seventh. All those balls that the Coons had hit into the outfield had dropped in against the Aces, but the triplet of Platinum Glovers the Elks were running out were catching EVERYTHING. Bottom 7th, the tying run came up without much in terms of hitting. Rafael Gomez had an infield single, Matt Nunley walked. O'Dell grounded to Ted Gura, who got only one out at second base, letting Gerace have a rip at it with two outs. Ripping he did, he just didn't hit anything. Tony Coca's homer off Surginer in the eighth put the game away for good even before Jeff Mudge was incinerated in the ninth inning. Facing six batters, he retired but one, and would be charged with five runs after John Calfee drove in the two he didn't let score himself with a 2-out single off Ricky Ohl. 9-0 Canadiens. Mora 2-4; Koel (PH) 1-1, 2B;

Jeff Mudge (6.39 ERA) arrived at a dead end here. Brought in for quite the money as a reliever, he was doing nothing but blowing up the score. He ended up on waivers the same night. The Raccoons brought up Lance Legleiter.

Game 2
VAN: RF Wojnarowski – 3B Anton – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – SS Fitzsimmons – C Tanzillo – P Polito
POR: SS Ramos – CF Mora – RF Kopp – LF Gomez – C O'Dell – 3B Nunley – 2B Stalker – 1B Koel – P Gutierrez

Portland scored before they made an out when Abel Mora doubled in Ramos after the rookie's leadoff walk. O'Dell would chip in a 2-out RBI single to give Rico Gutierrez a 2-0 lead after the opening frame that came close to evaporating right after that in the second inning. Despite the awesome defense on the left side of the infield, disgusting Ted Gura, Tom Fitzsimmons, and Tanzillo hit three singles through there with one out. Thankfully the digusting Gura was thrown out at home plate by Gomez on the last single, and Polito struck out to strand a pair. The Elks hit two more singles through the left side in the third inning, but Rico also struck out three while his pitch count skyrocketed. In the fourth, Fitzsimmons and Tanzillo singled to the other side for a change, but Polito struck out bunting and Wojnarowski grounded out to Stalker, who was giving Jarod Spencer the mandatory day off during the long string of games prior to the All Star Game. The Elks finally scored in the fifth on back-to-back 2-out doubles by Torres and Myles, cutting the Coons' lead to 2-1, and maybe they should stop napping now. They didn't. When Mora tripled with one out in the bottom 5th, the Elks walked Kopp intentionally, and then Gomez hit into a double play. Instead, Fitzsimmons kept tearing up Gutierrez, singled AGAIN in the sixth, and Tanzillo remained unretired as well and homered to right to flip the score.

Rico was all done after six innings and 12 hits allowed, but wouldn't suffer the loss for Brett O'Dell waffling a 377-footer to left off Polito at the start of the bottom 6th. That was pretty much the inning, leaving Gutierrez with a no-decision in a 3-3 game. Top 7th, leadoff walk to Tony Coca issued by Ohl. He struck out the next two before Boles replaced him to face PH Norman Day, who singled to center anyway. Ramos fumbled a Fitzsimmons grounder, outrageously, loading the bases for Tanzillo, who ran a full count before Boles threw a high fastball and the Elk swung through it, ending the inning. The Coons had another double play affair in the bottom 7th. Then the Elks pushed a run across in the ninth on Tony Coca's leadoff single against Alvin Smith, a stolen base, and two productive outs. Portland brought the bottom of the order to the plate against Ivan Morales in the ninth and put the tying run aboard instantly on Tim Stalker's double to left-center, the first ball that wanted to fall on either side of Coca in the series. Spencer batted for Koel, STRUCK OUT (!!), and after a wild pitch moved the runner to third base, Daniel Bullock popped up for Fitzsimmons, bringing tears to my eyes. Then Ramos wiped them away with a single to right, knotting the score anew before he was caught stealing to send the game to extra innings.

Top 10th, the indescribably outrageous Tanzillo led off with a single off Snyder, after which Nunley fumbled a grounder by John Calfee in the #9 hole. Somehow, nobody came through after that as Snyder tiptoed out of a real mess on a fielder's choice, a foul pop, and a grounder to Nunley that didn't end up being accidentally devoured. The Raccoons put nobody on base in the 10th against Morales or the 11th Fernando Estrada, then watched Billy Brotman explode for five runs in the 12th, including homers by FITZSIMMONS and a 3-piece with two down by Torres. The Coons faked three runners on base in the bottom 12th, then had Gomez fly out to Wojnarowski to end the game. 9-4 Canadiens. Ramos 2-5, BB, RBI; Mora 3-6, 3B, 2B, RBI; O'Dell 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; Stalker 2-5, 2B;

That is six straight losses against THE ****ING ELKS, and each one is worse than the one before.

Game 3
VAN: 2B Gura – 3B Anton – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – 1B Myles – RF Day – SS Fitzsimmons – C Tanzillo – P Kelly
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – C Burrows – 1B Koel – P Anderson

"Most Slappable Face" poster boy for July, Ted Gura, led off the game with a bunt single, which was enough to send me for the liquor, although to be honest I hadn't stopped boozing since Thursday. All this despite Gura failing to score even after a wild pitch, and the Coons taking a 1-0 lead on Spencer, Mora, and Nunley singles in the bottom 1st. But, oh, I knew them better! They were just toying with me… they hated me… I knew that much!

The second inning saw Fitzsimmons (single) and Tanzillo (walk) reach base, also Anderson deceiving Kelly well enough for a 2-out balk, but Kelly struck out anyway. The next time Kells came up it was again with two on and two outs in the fourth. This time Anderson lost him on straight balls (…!!!) before Gura grounded out to Ramos. Somehow the Elks hadn't found that little… that tiny… that special poison yet. But there were plenty of innings left. And the home team's offense did NOTHING. Top 6th, Myles hit a leadoff double to centerfield, which was certainly going to do them in. Day flew out easily to left, but Fitzsimmons walked. At that point the miserable utility player that had only been promoted earlier this week after batting .306 in select action in AAA had been at the plate nine times in the series, and had reached every time but twice. GET THAT ****ER OUT NOW!!! For the moment, the other axe in the Coons' skull, Tanzillo, hit into an inning-ending double play.

Anderson's day ended in the seventh with an error by himself, dropping Koel's feed at first base that put Gura on as the tying run with one out. Wojnarowski was batting for Anton, and the Coons went to Josh Boles, who would not throw a single strike. With two on, Surginer entered in a double switch, walked them full against Coca, blew the lead on Torres' sac fly, walked Myles to restock the bases, and then Norman Day popped out to Nunley. Day was just lacking that … that little special something! Meanwhile the Coons kept performing like they had lacked oxygen to the brain ever since birth and would never score a run agai- oh hold on. Kelly kept pitching for Vancouver, and faced Kyle Koel to start the bottom 7th. He hung a breaking ball, and Koel belched it over the fence for a leadoff jack and a 2-1 lead! Surginer didn't even blow that one in the eighth despite a leadoff single by FitzAARGGGHH!! who remained stranded at second base. Snyder retired the Elks in order in the ninth, and somehow the Coons stumbled home winners in this one. 2-1 Blighters. Spencer 2-4; Mora 2-4; Gerace 2-3; Koel 2-3, HR, 2B, RBI;

All the left-handed regulars would get the day off against Muniz. Maybe we can win a 1-0 game behind another Delgadillo gem, IF the Elks made four errors in an inning.

Game 4
VAN: RF Wojnarowski – 3B Anton – CF Coca – LF A. Torres – 1B Myles – 2B Gura – SS Fitzsimmons – C Tanzillo – P Muniz
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Stalker – RF Gomez – C O'Dell – LF Gerace – 1B Koel – 3B Bullock – CF Magallanes – P Delgadillo

The gem was off the table right away with a walk to Wojnarowski, who stole second base, and then back-to-back 2-out RBI doubles by Torres and Myles that put the Elks ahead 2-0 early on. The Elks pushed a third run across after loading the bases in the third inning with Gura's sac fly with one out. The Raccoons had stranded Stalker and Gomez after singles in the first inning, then put Spencer and Stalker on the corners with leadoff singles in the bottom 3rd. The tying run was thus up with whatever power we had in the middle of the lineup. Gomez hit a sac fly. O'Dell hit into a double play. No, only the ****ING ELKS could get a hit with a runner in scoring position, like in the fourth inning. Tanzillo (single) and Wojnarowski (walk) were in scoring position, there were two outs, and Tony Coca singled them home with a liner to left. It never got better. Alex Torres hit a 3-run homer off Legleiter in the sixth inning. Somebody fumbled together something against Alvin Smith in the ninth. The Raccoons never fumbled together anything. They just made out upon out. Daniel Bullock drew 1-out walk in the fourth inning. He was the last base runner for the home team. 9-1 Canadiens. Stalker 2-4;

In other news

June 29 – The Indians lose SP Brian Leser (2-7, 4.20 ERA) to a torn rotator cuff. The 32-year-old is not expected back this season.
July 1 – RIC SP Rich Guerrero (10-4, 3.25 ERA) 3-hits the Gold Sox in a 6-0 win. He strikes out eight batters in the game.
July 1 – The Buffaloes lose RF/LF Dave O'Rourke (.252, 10 HR, 36 RBI) for the season with a broken elbow.
July 4 – DEN LF/CF Armando Martinez (.277, 6 HR, 37 RBI) retires from baseball with a torn labrum. The 30-year-old outfielder won World Series rings with the Aces in 2018 and 2019, his first two major league seasons, and batted .292 with 73 HR and 511 RBI overall. He led the league in stolen bases in 2021 and took 230 bags in his career.
July 5 – NYC RF/LF Nate Ellis (.287, 7 HR, 28 RBI) goes on the DL with a hamstring strain that is expected to take six weeks to heal.
July 5 – The Gold Sox blow an 8-run lead and the Scorpions rally to tie the game in a 7-run eighth inning before walking off in the ninth, 12-11. SAC 1B Luis Moreira (.253, 15 HR, 47 RBI) drives in four runs with a pair of dingers.

Complaints and stuff

Despite a bad slump (5-for-39) at the tail end of the month, Alberto Ramos took home his second monthly rookie award in June, batting .283 with 2 HR and 12 RBI.

Also, the Coons swept the Aces for the second time this season, and they truly did it in style, plating 27 runs between the three games. Overall this year in six games we have outscored them 44-13. I wonder what the Aces lack that other teams like the goddamn Elks have. I will not say anything about that series except that I don't remember the team getting raped so hard by a #7 batter in a series ever before.

Speaking of rape, the Mexican Prick let me know this week that he wants to see more happy families at games. I replied he should start watching Scorpions games and get the **** off my back in the meantime.

Jeff Mudge went unclaimed on waivers and is now roughly a $1.05M problem I am trying to solve because he can and will refuse minor league assignments. In a perfect world I could trade him for a first baseman of any denomination. Maybe we can find one in a wheelchair that no other team wants anymore. – What is it, Cristiano? – Why so upset? – I am sure the other guys on the roster love you just the way you are, too, not just Bullock. – Not that was just… because, y'know, a first baseman in a wheelchair has no value.

Okay, he rolled out now and is pretty mad at me, but there's a long line in front of the office of that sort of people…

With July 1 the International Amateur Free Agent period kicked off. However, since the Raccoons blasted $930k including tax last season, far exceeding the soft cap, they would not be able to sign anybody for more then $35,833 this year, so excitement would probably be low. It is also not a bad thing, because we don't have much budget left over anyway…

Fun Fact: The 1979 Raccoons remain the worst in franchise history, losing a lot early and never winning much at all and ending up 55-107.

Yeah, but even they won ten games in June…
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Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
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Resident Mets Cynic



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