Saturday, May 3, 2014

Slaughter House 30


The season 30 Mule Cup, the cumulative head-to-head series played between Little Rock, Indianapolis and Nashville, was such a run-away victory for Little Rock no one bothered coming up with the final win loss totals.  So, the cup stays on display in the childhood home of William Jefferson Clinton and some say it's the main attraction.

n Roll owner, RoundFrog, was unavailable for comment.  Some say he's despondent over an(other) early post-season exit last season while others believe it's the "worst offseason in the history of offseasons" that has him slumped over at his favorite bar stool.

The season 31 Mule Cup holds promise for a more competitive finish.  As mentioned, RoundFrog completely botched his off season while equick is quickly learning the ropes and jquick1 continues his deliberate, calculated and painstaking re-building of the Nashville squad.


Friday, April 11, 2014

LCS Preview

Hello, friends (and that dick From San Juan)!

You may recall last “year” Zeustis kindly asked me to do some kind of playoff preview for Plumpy, and I think it turned out pretty well! To quote my girlfriend, “I won’t say it’s good, but this is better than I thought you could do.” (Which, coincidentally, was the Ottawa Eh’s rallying cry all season.) It went so well, in fact, that Zeustis didn’t even have to ask me to write another one – I just knew he wanted me to.

And really, who better to write an LCS preview than someone who was promptly given the boot in Round 1? I certainly have no shortage of free time on my hands, and was eliminated long enough ago that I have already recovered from the horrible hangover caused by the days-long bender resulting from our unceremonious loss to that pathetic excuse for a franchise known as the San Juan Elephant Seals, or should I say San Juan Ele-FAT Seals!

Ok so let's get to the preview.

This is, after all, about the playoffs – that elusive chance at glory, where the big dogs come to play and the little dogs get peed on by the big dogs. This is about winner take all, loser goes home, only the strong survive. Winner gets the conch and Piggy gets smashed by a boulder. Indeed, this is about the four powerhouse teams who we all knew would be here at the end; this is about Omaha, Little Rock, Scranton, and Tacoma!

Oh wait, only Omaha is left? Crap.

ALCS:

#5 New Orleans Voodoo vs. #2 Omaha Settlers

 

New Orleans (96-66)

A newbie to our hearts, but not to imaginary baseball, ptwoner brought a radical new management style to the former Memphis/Durham goliath. Indeed, New Orleans ruffled some feathers early on by trading aging-but-still-productive veterans for prospects. And mid-season predictions of doom turned out to be 100% accurate, seeing the squad from down south spectacularly fall short of 100 wins for the first time in nine seasons, finishing with an abysmal 96. The Voodoo had the second-to-last laugh, however, as the savvy veteran of 67 HBD seasons correctly predicted the future, intentionally avoiding the suspiciously-cursed #1 seed, and sneaked (snuck?) into the playoffs as a Wild Card.

The Voodoo had a tough first round match-up with the offensive-minded New York Knights. In a high-scoring series in which only once did the winner score fewer than 6 runs, New Orleans rode veteran free agent acquisition Jeff Ausmus to a series-clinching victory in Game 5, conquering New York and banishing the Knights from the playoffs.

Round 2 pitted New Orleans against reinvigorated division rival San Juan Little Rock in another high scoring affair. And just like how I can still beat up my little brother even though he outweighs me by 50 pounds, New Orleans sent Little Rock crying home to mama in a decisive Game 5 victory. While many were surprised at the upset, New Orleans once again proves the age-old saying, “It’s better to be lucky than good, and it’s better still to place a curse on the team you’re playing.”

Omaha Settlers (99-63)

Despite a second consecutive ALCS appearance, clearly the bell doth toll for the Omaha Settlers, and you doth heard it here firsteth. As I pointed out last season, check out Omaha’s win totals the last three years: 101, 100, 99. Now, I’m no statistician, but clearly by Season 48 Omaha will be at home watching the playoffs at 81-81, and by Season 129 they will achieve Plumpy’s first 0-162 season. Enjoy your success while it lasts, Omaha!

Despite this dismal trend, Omaha coasted to yet another division title, riding studs Del Moya and Vic Pena (a combined 31-13) to the third-best team ERA in all of baseball, and best in the AL. Combine that with three All-Stars in Moya, Elston Olson, and Matty Wilfredo, and Silver Slugger 3B Pedro Moreno, and Omaha has one of the more well-rounded teams in Plumpy.

By settling for their third consecutive first round bye, the Settlers watched as San Juan quickly dispatched Ottawa 3-1, setting up a re-match of last season’s ALCS in which the E-Seals thumped Omaha 4-2. In an exciting back-and-forth series, Omaha proved that revenge is a dish best served during the PM cycle, clubbing the Elephant Seals 4-1 and moving on to the ALCS. 

Players to watch: Chad Pride had a throwback season this year with a 2.99 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, while Del Moya has only given up 2 ER over 13.2 play-off innings.

NLCS:

#6 Richmond Renegades vs. #5 Chicago Boomers

 

Richmond Renegades (88-74)

In his second season as owner of the Richmond Renegades, and second full season of HBD overall, Hooperc2 (the 2 stands for ‘2 cool 4 school’) basically set out in search of a video game arcade with a sweaty fistful of dollars, and somehow ended up in a strip club with a sweatier fistful of dollars. Is it a stretch to say those dollars are Cla Dixon, Al Cabrera, and Russell Butler? I don’t know, because to me bad analogies are like bad analogies.

The Renegades’ playoff hopes initially looked bleak: they had just been swept by their first round match-up 3 games earlier, and in facing red-hot Montgomery, Richmond looked like they were at a major risk of getting Montgomery burned! [Commissioner’s note: good one.] However, in an HBD twist of fate Hooperc2 will eventually grow to hate like the rest of us, his fortunes miraculously changed course, and the Renegades came back from a 1-2 series deficit to pull the upset, 3-2.

Richmond truly hit their stride in Round 2, facing an uphill battle against the apparently-no-longer-rebuilding Scranton Boll Weevils. In a series of moves designed to show the league he wasn’t “just some newbie manager,” Hooper2cool4school rode savvy veterans Dixon and Diego Lee, creatively utilized his stellar bullpen to keep the Scranton hitters off balance, and finally started Stan Walters at catcher for the decisive Game 4. When reached for comment after the game, Zeustis responded with, “Are you ****ing serious?” and Hooperc2 said, “Oh shit, really??” Well played, gentlemen.

Chicago Boomers (91-71)

Here in the AL, not much is known about the Chicago Boomers, other than they are not the Tacoma Magma. But the similarities between Chicago and Richmond in this match-up are abundant: both are relatively new owners, both have built on early career successes, and both knocked off NL powerhouses to get where they are. Chicago finished second in the NL North, and while Chicago’s strength is pitching – they boast the fourth-lowest run total in the entire league (second in their own division) – they do back-up their namesake, crushing 248 homers over the course of the season, good for second in the AL (second in their own division).

Perhaps Chicago had a deathwish, perhaps they knew something the rest of us didn’t, or perhaps they’d had enough of hearing the label “Second in their own division,” because the Boomers appeared excited at a potential second round match-up with the Tacoma Magma. Overheard screaming to his team, “WE SHALL DRINK THE BLOOD OF TACOMA!” Chicago set the tone in the first round, making the Boise ‘Turds crap their pants during a 13-7 shellacking, and went on to win in a closer-than-it-seemed series sweep.

Facing their division rival, Chicago got two solid performances from rookie Ted “Mother” Tucker, and perhaps shed light on Tacoma’s true weakness: Julio Rijo can’t pitch every game, just most of them. In a series in which neither team won consecutive games, Chicago bookended the series with 2-0 and 2-1 wins, securing temporary bragging rights and upsetting the champ. As the Magma darkly packed up their gear, trying to avoid looking at the giddy celebrations of the Boomers dancing to “We Are the Champions” blaring over the stadium loudspeaker, veteran Turner Eldred was heard remarking, “Hey coach, don’t we got another series?”

Players to watch: Youngster Howard Washington has 12 RBI and a .500 OBP so far in the playoffs, while the duo of Ted Tucker and Guillermo Cabrera have combined to allow a measly 6 ER over 29.2 innings.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ten Things to Watch During the Last Third of Season 30

As the season rounds the corner towards the home stretch, here are ten things Plumpy fans should be watching:

10.) Who will emerge as the favorites from the crowded NL Wild Card pack?

6 teams are in serious contention for the two NL Wild Card spots.  One of those 5 teams , one will win the crowded NL South, which currently finds the upstart Richmond Renegades (64-48) with a one game lead over Montgomery Burns (63-49), and a six game lead over the dangerous Charlotte Nature Boys (58-54).  While Tacoma is running away with the NL North (again), his division mates in the Chicago Boomers (62-50) and Toldeo Thunder (58-54) are both fighting for a play-off berth.  Finally, Louisville (59-53) is right in the mix of its second consecutive play-off appearance as well.

If the season were to end today, Richmond would win the NL South, while Burns would win the 1st Wild Card spot, and the Boomers would win the second.  Louisville is three games out of the last Wild Card berth, while Toldeo and Charlotte are four games back.

9.)  Will the Magma actually win 120 games?

Right now, the reigning champs are on pace for 114 wins.  However, with a fully healthy SP rotation, anything is possible.

8.)  Will the AL East champ finish at or above .500?

It’s possible, but it will likely come down to the wire.  New York has played below its expected winning percentage all season, but currently finds itself 2 games below .500, and four games ahead of Indianapolis. 

7.)  Will the NL West champ finish at or above .500?

Woof, what happened to the once proud NL West?  Right now there is an ugly tie between Boise and Vancouver, both of whom sit at a whopping 12 games below .500.  Look for the rest of the NL to push for divisional realignment next season.

6.)  Who will emerge as the favorites from the VERY crowded AL Wild Card pack?

Right now, the AL Wild Card standings look like this (note, tie breakers have not been made as of yet):

1.) New Orleans Voodoo (68-44)
2.) Columbus Dodger Blue (60-52)
3t.) San Juan Elephant Seals (59-53)
3t.) Oakland Hammers (59-53)
3t.) Salem Witch Hunters (59-53)
6.)  Nashville Merchants (56-56)

The Voodoo have a healthy 8 game lead for the first WC spot, and while anything is possible, for now that lead appears to be safe.  That leaves four very good teams within one game of each other for the final AL play-off berth.  The two time defending AL Champion E-Seals have underperformed their expected win percentage all season, but so has Columbus.  Conversely, Salem has dramatically exceeded its expected winning percentage, while Oakland has been basically in line with it.  Nashville is in the mix as well, but we may be a year or two away from the Merchants making the leap into the post-season.  Columbus has been nipping at the heels of the Ottawa Eh’s all season, but the Eh’s have built up a strong 6 game cushion, and with that starting rotation, it’s hard to imagine them relinquishing their lead.


5.)  Who will win the Little Rock ‘n Roll ROY award?  Bill Jepsen  vs. Pedro Cabrera  (http://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=5755668 vs. http://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=5557428.)


It’s not every season you get two consensus top 5 prospects making their ML debut.  It’s even rarer when those two prospects make their debut for the same team.  In Season 30, Little Rock ‘n Roll saw both mega studs emerge from it’s potent farm system, and is currently skyrocketing towards the #1 seed in the AL thanks largely to these two stallions.  But the question everyone’s asking is, during Little Rock’s post-season team awards party, which player will walk away with the coveted ‘n Roll ROY award in Season 30?  Let’s look a bit deeper:

Here is Jepsen’s .avg/.obp/.slg line, followed by Cabrera’s:

.273/.340/.559
.299/.366/.544

Damn... that’s close.  We need more information.  Here are some random, related facts to help you make your own decision:

-Jepsen is a Catcher, who can throw runners out, but isn’t a great pitch caller (IF we’re going to be picky.)
-Cabrera is a 2B, with a nice glove but lowish range (IF we’re going to be picky.)
-Cabrera has stolen 30 bases in 33 attempts this season.
-Jepsen has thrown out 30% of all potential base stealers.
-Cabrera has created 91.84 runs
-Jepsen has created 76.46 runs

Hmmm... 15 runs is a pretty big difference.  Is there anything else we should consider?

-Bill Jepsen has 35 homers while Pedro Cabrera has 23

Wait a minute, wait a minute, these players are both incredibly valuable, with strong cases to be made for each as the Little Rock Rookie of the Year, but if these guys are really so good, how come when I look at the ‘n Roll stat page I see players not named Jepsen or Cabrera leading the team in Runs Created, HRs, OBP, SLG, and 2Bs?  Do you expect me to believe that Roundfrog has created some kind of super lineup, full of guys making the league minimum?  Good one, you almost had me there.

4.)  How many first round picks will reject their initial offers?

As of game #112, four first round picks remain unsigned.  Will any of these players disregard their mother’s wishes and take the big pay day, or will next season by Type D party time?

3.)  Will Trade-mageddon pay off for the Voodoo?

Earlier this season, new owner ptwoner made a bold and controversial move to send many of its franchise cornerstones away for younger, cheaper talent.  The Voodoo child was adamant that these moves were done not to give up on this season, but to keep the franchise a contender now and into the future.  We won’t know the long term success of this bold plan for at least a few seasons, but in the meantime, New Orleans has maintained a .607 winning percentage and is on pace to win 98 games... almost exactly as many as ptwoner projected at the time of the trades. 

2.)  Will Roger Conroy re-sign?  http://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=4077106

The four time MVP is having another incredible season, but thus far has not agreed to re-sign with ‘n Roll.  Conroy has maintained that his focus is on winning a championship for Little Rock, and that he doesn’t want contract negotiations to distract from that goal, but the Arkansas sports columnists seem more concerned about the future than the present.  One fan, desperate for Conroy to re-sign, was overheard at a recent autograph session asking Roger, “Would it be enough for your leaving heart, if I broke down and cried?  If I cried?” Conroy responded with, “I know, it’s only Little Rock ‘n Roll, but I like it.”

1.)  Will Edge Yount break his own league batting record and make a push for .400?  http://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=4950554

I’ll be honest, I started this column last week, and it’s been one of the rougher week’s in Edge’s career, as his average was then sitting pretty at .370, and is now down to .347 (embarrassing.)  While .400 may be out of the question for season 30, Yount actually has a chance to wind up with has career average around .350.  .350!  His current career rate is .347, which is already 11 points higher than the next closest player... EVER.  With Witch Hunter nation firmly strapped to his back, what can’t Edge Yount do?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Almost Unbiased Hall of Fame Breakdown



Greetings Plumpertons.  As you know, life is miserable right now.  The icy chill of the polar vortex pierces us to our souls, which are already wanting and empty by the lack of professional baseball and football.  And of course, nothing extinguishes the last vestiges of warmth within us like the existential nightmare that is coach hiring. Plagued by these decidedly first world problems, the last thing anyone wants to do spend time researching HOF candidates.  After all, examining and discussing Hall of Fame worthiness is a tired, often frustrating exercise.  However, since we devote an absurd amount of our lives to these fake players, we may as well create a fake Hall of Fame worthy of those we adulate.  Hopefully, one man's almost-unbiased overview of the most eligible candidates will provide a little background and at least ensure maximum voter turnout.

For background purposes, to be eligible for any HBD HOF, players must meet the following requirements: Position players: 10+ years of ML experience with 400+ PA per season; Relief pitchers; 10+ years of ML experience with 50+ IP per season; Starting pitchers: 10+ years of ML experience with 150+ IP per season.  As far as I can tell, players do not have a maximum numbers of years eligible as in MLB.

Just because I was curious, I looked up how our HBD Hall of Fame compares to the MLB Hall of Fame by position distribution:

Count of Hall of Fame Members by Position
Numerical Order
Position
Number of Inductees
Rank
Pitchers
70
1
Center Fielders
25
2
Shortstops
24
3
First Basemen
21
4
Left Fielders
21

Right Fielders
21

Second Basemen
18
7
Catchers
16
8
Third Basemen
14
9
Designated Hitters
1
10
Position
Number of Inductees
Rank
Hall of Fame Positional Frequency

HBD Hall of Fame by position (as determined by me):
1B – 5; COF – 4; SP – 7; 2B – 2; 3B – 3; CF – 1; C – 2

At least three caveats apply here.  One, HBD positions are more fluid than MLB positions, since the ratings are all that dictates fielding ability (experience at a position doesn’t matter).  Two, the MLB Hall features many inductees appointed by a Veterans Committee and formerly a Negro Leagues Committee, which muddles the comparison to the strict merits-based voting of HBD.  Finally, our HBD Hall obviously reflects a tiny sample.  

With those in mind, the only clear trend (based on ZERO mathematical analysis) I see is that Plumpy voters are more likely to vote for power-hitting 1B/COF than MLB voters, and less likely to vote for players at defensive skill positions like CF and SS.  This may be due to the lingering effects of the season 1-14 steroid era (see Todd Ford – a 1st ballot HOFer without the juice, but season 10 gives you an example of easy HRs came during the golden age of Plumpy), the relative ease of hitting HRs in HBD compared to MLB, or the dead defense era (check out the + play stats until about season 14).  In any case, I would argue Plumpy voters should pay a little more attention to value provided at tough defensive positions, and a little less attention to traditional MLB HOF statistical benchmarks like 400 HR.  

Okay let’s actually look at the players and stop this pseudo-intellectual babbling.  I have narrowed the candidate pool down to only players I think could arguably be included in this year’s top 5:

PANTHEON NO-DOUBTERS



Einar Pena – SP

Key Stats:  325-128 W/L, 3.00 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 3724/1348 K/BB
Bling:  FIVE GOLDEN CY YOUUUNNGGSS!
Best Season:  23-1, 2.26 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, all in San Juan’s slugger’s paradise.  Lost second to last start of the season 1-0 or would have been undefeated.
Argument: Um, he’s the best pitcher Plumpy’s ever seen?  

SECOND BALLOTERS

Andrew Fox – CF

Key Stats:  .277/.351/.574, 533 HR, 1246/1383 R/RBI, 227 SB
Bling:  1 lonely Gold Glove-CF, 1 AS nod, and two SS-CF…the award logic is the worst
Best Season:  .299/.378/.640, 45 HR 105/105 R/RBI
Argument:  Andrew Fox requires you to look past the surface to see how clearly he deserves to be a HOFer, although a lifetime .925 OPS and 533 HR with gold-glove defense in CENTER FIELD and base-stealing ability should be enough on its own.  But he did all this playing most of his career in the offensive wasteland that is Tacoma, a -4 -4 -4 -4 -4 black hole where enjoyable fake baseball goes to die.  He’s probably the best true CF Plumpy has ever seen.

SHOULD BE IN

Barry Bowman – CF

Key Stats:  .289/.360/.479, 383 HR, 1731/1513 R/RBI, 428 SB, 2805 H
Bling:  10 AS appearances, 8 SS (CF) and two Gold Gloves
Best Season:  .308/.376/.560, 36 HR 108/109 R/RBI, 39 SB – BANANAS for a true SS
Argument:  Like Fox, Barry Bowman’s batting resume only shines brighter when you consider the heartland dump (-1 -2 -1 -2 -2) he called home for his entire career.  This sweet-swinging lefty is one of only 8 Plumpy players to notch 1500 Runs and 1500 RBI, and guess where the other 7 are enshrined.  The career Settler also played gold-glove defense in Center, totaling 107 plus plays and only 3 minus plays for his career in CF.  Pepper in elite base-stealing ability and you’ve got a clear-cut Hall of Famer. 

Pedro Campos – SS

Key Stats:  .291/.354/.493, 311 HR, 1362/1205 R/RBI, 288 SB
Bling:  2 MVPs, 10 AS appearances, 5 SS (3Band SS) and two Gold Gloves
Best Season:  .307/.364/.593, 36 HR 112/141 R/RBI – BANANAS for a true SS
Argument:  If Campos doesn’t get in, we may as well declare positional value dead.  He is the best all-around SS Plumpy has ever seen – power, speed, patience, solid defense at SS, on-base ability, even chiseled good looks.  He’s got all the hardware: two-time MVP (one of 12 in Plumpy history, 6 of the others are already HOFers), ten-time all-star, and even won a Home Run derby.  Only real nit to pick is the power numbers are aided by a career in sunny San Juan +0 +2 +0 +2 +3, but that shouldn't stop him from being the long overdue first SS in Plumpy HOF history. 


Vic Herrera – SP

Key Stats:  275-182 W/L, 3.61 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 3542/1380 K/BB
Bling:  1 Cy Young, 6 AS appearances
Best Season:  21-8, 2.21 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 203/76 K/BB
Argument:  3rd on the Plumpy all-time Wins leaderboard, more than any current HOFer.  Classic great for 20 years over elite for 12 example, the Bert Blyleven of Plumpy.  4000 innings of clear No. 1 starter level pitching, incredibly durable.  Better career than some of the SPs already inducted.

TOO CLOSE TO CALL

Rich King – 1B/LF

Key Stats:  .293/.370/.533, 420 HR, 1722/1353 R/RBI, 814 SB
Bling:  10 AS appearances, 5 SS (LF and 1B)
Best Season:  .316/.395/.597, 43 HR 177/136 R/RBI, 73 SB – BONKERS for anyone
Argument:  Rich King is a terrifying offensive triple threat: he gets on base, steals bases efficiently and prolifically (top 5 all time in career steals), and can hit HRs like a man who’s much, much slower and fatter.  Ireland's best baseballer (look it up) flat-out produces runs (top 10 in career runs scored) like a night of Guiness and Bangers, or something.  However, he did most of it in Hartford, the +2 +3 +1 +4 +4 insurance runs capital of the world.  Given that discount, his offensive output remains outstanding, but below the standard set by the roided-out 1B/COFs already in the Hall.  He may well be deserving, but I don't think it's this year.

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR




Geoffrey McNamara - SP


Key Stats:  221-130 W/L, 3.61 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 2800/1074 K/BB
Bling:  7 AS appearances
Best Season:  21-7, 2.87 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 237/80 K/BB
Argument:  Clear-cut Ace for better part of two decades.  Eerily similar numbers to Herrera, but 1000 fewer innings logged.  Pretty darn similar resume to an SP that snuck in during the early years of the Plumpy HOF (I'm looking at you Nate Maduro).  Without Herrera's longevity, the ERA/WHIP are great but not Hall-worthy, especially with no Cy Youngs.  For me, McNamara is just about the best pitcher I'm willing to put comfortably outside the hall.  There's McNamara, a gray area, and then eternal greatness.  Not a great epitaph.

Mateo Bennett - 3B

Key Stats:  .282/.342/.487, 485 HR, 1376/1632 R/RBI, 2711 H
Bling:  Just 2 AS appearances, 1 Gold Glove, Rookie of the Year
Best Season:  .293/.366/.550, 37 HR 84/109 R/RBI
Argument: Hitting 485 bombs and playing gold glove caliber defense at 3B is a very good start - could even play a subpar SS for a couple years at his peak.  This switch-hitter was a stalwart in the middle of the lineup and at a skill defensive position for 15 solid seasons, playing 162 games 5 times.  However, due to defensive interchangeability in Plumpy, 3Bs aren't as tough to find as in the MLB.  But the clincher is that Bennett only OPSed over .900 one time.  To use a contrived, largely imperfect architecture metaphor, he was a cornerstone but never the keystone.

Miguel Rojas - RP

Key Stats:  552 Saves, 72-89 W/L, 3.58 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 710/341 K/BB
Bling:  9 AS appearances, 3 Fireman of the Year
Best Season:  40/45 SV/SVOpp, 5-4, 2.09 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 51/18 K/BB
Argument:  Most Saves in Plumpy history, by a lot - 100 more than the no. 3 closer, 38 more than 2nd place.  Great longevity, solid ERA and WHIP compared to HOF SPs, but a much worse ERA and WHIP than other elite relievers like Pascual Fernandez and Doug Caruso.  In fact, among HOF-eligible RPs, Rojas's ERA ranks a pedestrian 12th, despite playing his whole career in HR-depressing San Fran (+1 0 +3 -3 -3).  Pitched less than 1000 innings for his career, or 3.5 seasons for Vic Herrera.  Personally, I don't think he's close, but those who appreciate closers would disagree.

HONORABLE MENTIONS







Steve Myatt, Rafael Henriquez, Julius Moreno:  If you're looking for a 1B/COF with a career OPS of .874-.887, 470-575 HR, and 1200-1500 R/RBI, you've got enough choices here to convince me that none of them is a special enough snowflake for our fake Hall of Fame.

Philip Gardner: Your .415 lifetime OBP makes me so, so moist, but it isn't enough on its own.

Jim Maxwell, Rico Rosa:  James, your roid-era-free .886 OPS at 2B is outstanding, at LF not quite enough.  Rico, your elite 2B defense and crazy pop for a skill position are amazing, but not so amazing considering you played exclusively during peresteroidka...SOVIET DOPING PUN.

Aaron Hinske: You have a 4.00+ ERA.  Kindly leave.

Lots of Steroid-era players who didn't play very long:  Tough cannolis.

So there you have it.  1000 words on RETIRED fake ballplayers when I could have just gone on world chat and posted Pena/Fox/Campos/Bowman/Herrera.  Let's Get out the Vote.  






  

 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

LCS Preview

Finally, you guys. It’s finally here. After thirty-two fake teams, one hundred and sixty-two fake games, twenty fake trades, twelve fake playoff teams, and two decisive fake game 5s, we’ve finally weeded out the real losers to get our four fake clubs vying for a real chance to play for the fake championship. And just as (in)significantly, we’re also finally down to few enough teams that you can no longer tell our Dear Leader you don’t have the free time to write up some goofy playoff narratives. Hurray!

ALCS:

#5 San Juan Elephant Seals vs. #2 Omaha Settlers

 

San Juan (100-62)

After winning the Season 28 Championship, San Juan began their title defense in fantastic form, winning 13 of their first 18 games in Spring Training. Unfortunately, in a season of fake games, Spring Training is the fakest, and San Juan must have spent too much time staring at the trophy rumored to decorate his homepage, as the defending champs started the real fake season 15-21.

However, proving once again you can have an impact even if you suck too much to make the playoffs, the Elephant Seals righted the ship against the pitiful Ottawa Eh’s, jump-starting their season with seven consecutive wins and 14 of their next 18. Propelled by stellar hitting and stellarly-average pitching, San Juan enthusiastically sleepwalked the rest of the way to second place in the AL South, the first Wild Card spot, and the second-best record in the AL.

The E-Seals started the playoffs with a vicious hay-maker, literally punching Shigetoshi Jang to death in a 22-5 victory over Chicago. The Fatties tied it at 1-1, but the death of Jang was too much to overcome, as the series culminated in San Juan dominating Jang’s reanimated corpse in Game 4, 10-3. With that, San Juan rode their offense into a matchup with loveable Durham.

Unfortunately for davecallahan, bcpbcp7 is still unaware there was an owner change after S27, as his hate for Memphis/Durham still burns with the fire of a thousand simulated suns. Despite losing the season series 2-8, the defending champs quickly dispatched the Dirt Dogs in a three game set, proving yet again that there can be only one Highlander.


Omaha Settlers (100-62)

After a fantastic S28 regular season culminated in a disappointing 3-game exit from the playoffs, Omaha literally missed only one beat this season, de-improving their record from 101-61 in S28 to 100-62 in S29. A bold strategy. In contrast to San Juan, Omaha seemed to recognize that the start of the regular season counted, sprinting out to an 18-7 record in a tough division.

After a bit of a lull (in which Omaha went 4-3 against San Juan), they followed up the Amateur Draft by winning 17 of 20, a feat so astonishing I had to make sure I wasn’t looking at the Low A schedule. It turns out I was, but Omaha’s Major League squad actually topped that by winning 13 straight, and 23 of 28 overall. Good golly.

After edging out Oakland once again for the AL West title and a first round bye, the Settlers settled the score (nice) with his rival, mattwithanh, adding an interesting real life chapter for the two old war buddies. [Commissioner’s note: I don’t think this is true…]

Players to watch: Bret Moore already has 6 HRs and a .516 OBP after hitting 10 HRs in last season’s playoffs, while Matty Wilfredo has a 1.371 OPS from the SS position.

NLCS:

#2 Scranton Boll Weevils vs. #1 Syracuse Magma

 

Scranton Boll Weevils (94-68)

After a heart-breaking 3-2 first round loss in the S28 playoffs, Scranton owner zeustis was heard to remark (paraphrased), “Well, I’m so used to winning 100+ games that it must be time to rebuild.” And he truly made a valiant attempt, trading several aging veterans and purging contracts down to a $38M team salary in S29. But, just like the S28 first round series, his good attempt ultimately ended in pitiful, pitiful failure, resulting in the worst rebuild record of all time, 94-68 and a first round playoff bye. Disgusting.

The Boll Weevils ALMOST followed their owner’s advice, hitting a late-season rough patch that saw them lose 10 of 15, but they ultimately choked at the end, winning 5 straight against playoff contenders Charlotte and Montgomery to take back the NL East from surging Louisville and Hartford, securing a first round bye.

In Round 2 of the playoffs, Louisville almost got their revenge, taking an early 2-1 lead. But zeustis hates lasagna and loves Mondays as the Boll Weevils erased Jim Davis in a 13-2 Game 4 win, and clinched it with an exciting 3-2 victory in Game 5. As Louisville’s bus pulled out of the Scranton parking lot, celebrations could be seen inside tiny Lackawanna County Stadium: champagne popping, players laughing and hugging, and in the distance our Dear Leader could be seen urinating on a picture of Courtney Holliday.

Syracuse Magma (112-50)

If zeustis is Dear Leader, zyrion must be the T-1000. After making it to the S28 NLCS, the Magma were upset 4-2 by Montgomery. Using advanced future knowledge, like spikey tinfoil hands and an apparent cure for ALS, Syracuse responded by going on a mission this season to destroy the entire fake human race. Leading the league in team ERA and coming in third in team OPS, the Magma finished a preposterous 20 games ahead of division “rival” Chicago (who won 92 games themselves!), and enjoyed a delicious cake-walk to the #1 seed and #1 overall record.

With Montgomery having traded Roger “Schwarzenegger” Conroy during the regular season, Syracuse demonstrated in Round 2 what would have happened if Ahnold weren’t in Terminator 2, destroying the Montgomery John Connors in four games with a mixture of pitching, hitting, and James Cameron Explosions™. The win caused a tear in the space-time continuum and, more importantly, brought Syracuse back to the NLCS.

Players to watch: Scranton’s win allows for a miraculous comeback for Midre Barrios after he inexplicably left in the middle of a game to have elbow surgery, while Patrick Gehrig comes back tan and well-rested from his vacation we all call "the regular season."


Good luck to all you stupid winners!