1. Bip Bartee - No doubt the creme de la creme in this offseason, he may get a 5 year deal worth 100 million, plus a signing bonus, if a team can afford him. It is not often that 28 year old pitchers in their prime hit the free agent market, and Bartee has generated more excitement than any free agent in recent history. If he doesn't return to Portland (where he is likely to return to the postseason), expect Las Vegas, Trenton and New Britain to make a serious push for his services.
2. Yogi Cooper - The 38 yr old Cooper has won >200 games in 13 seasons, and has been a 6 time all star. His age may deter some potential teams, but expect Cooper to sign with a team in need of a back of the rotation starter to round their staff with a veteran presence in a 1-2 year deal.
3. Jeremy Blauser - The skills of a 34 yr old starter may be starting to slow down, but Blauser is likely to do well in a competitive team in search for a #2 or #3 starter. Blauser is a durable starter who can give his team 30+ starts per year, even if his 133 wins are fewer than some of his veteran peers who have pitched for better teams.
4. Nick Doster - The 34yr old veteran southpaw from Tulsa, Oklahoma has been a constant presence for the Colorado Colorado Crush for the last 6 seasons, managing to win 73 games despite a significant injury two seasons ago. Interest in a 34 yr old left hander with a significant injury in his past may be cool at first, but once teams look closely at the numbers he compiled despite pitching in Coors Field and some of the more desirable free agents get locked up in contracts, Doster will be a nice addition to any team.
5. Oscar Lunsford - 36 yr old pitcher declined a 4.5 million option to become a free agent. Expect Lunsford to be signed to be a back of the rotation starter, much like Yogi Cooper, but interest will be lower for a pitcher likely to pitch less than 150 innings and whose skills are declining.
1. The El Paso Fighting Tacos become the Jackson Sizzle. Following a dispute with the city of El Paso, who raised their demands for a lease to play at their home stadium, the Fighting Tacos decided to pack up their tortillas and move on to a more welcoming city. In changing their name, the league's favorite mascot will cease to exist as the team repackages their image.
3. The New Orleans franchise relocates to Little Rock after 6 years in Cajun country, becoming the Devils. This franchise had previously been in Little Rock, and the big city in Arkansas is glad to have their once demonized team back, even if their new team name is a far cry from their tradition as Christian gentlemen. Hand out.
4. Scottsdale Raiders move to St Louis and become the St. Louis Dispatch. On the same day that the gateway to the West lost their Kamikazes, the league announced that a new team would move into the latest reincarnation of Busch Stadium. An ownership group spearheaded through a local newspaper spearheaded efforts to bring the former Scottsdale franchise to St. Louis. The city is looking forward to meeting the new faces in town and to giving some stability to this franchise.
5. Sioux Falls Cougars relocates and becomes the Pawtucket Red Sox. Under a totally new ownership team, they hope to draw from their Northeastern roots to move into the future.
6. Mexico City moves to Nashville and will be known as the Banjo Bears. The league's winningest franchise relocated last season to Mexico City on a trial basis, and headed north across the border to land in Nashville. The wolves had become los lobos and will now be the Southern city's Banjo bears.
7. Salem Whips are now the Salem Trappers. Same team, same city, same owner, new brand and new name should reenergize this team.
8. Cincinnati Redlegs Revenge relocate to Indianapolis, sill be the Redlegs. After the bulk of this franchise's existence being in Cincinnati, dwindling attenadance forced management to relocate to the more favorable lands of Indianapolis, where the team will drop "revenge" from their name.
1. Jimmie Henley - The 38 yr old Jimmie Henley had a 13 year major league career, primarily as a CF and 2B. Known as an aggresive baserunner (298 career stolen bases) with a propensity to strike out a lot, Henley was a one-time All Star with the Bison and a Gold Glove CF for the late Washington Dukes franchise. He played last season in the minors.
2. Keith Durham - The 35 yr old Durham was a 4-time Gold-Glove CF in a 12 year ML career. He spent last season attempting a comeback in the Redlegs' minor league system.
Game 1: Portland at New Britain. New Britain's George Crandall matched up against Portland's Bip Bartee. Bartee, 18-7 in the regular season, pitched a complete game while Crandall's post season woes continued to the beat of 5 runs in 6 1/3 innings. The Rain hit 3 homeruns, one each by Art Sweeney, Willie Lopez and Derrek Silva. Andres Beltre went 5 for 5 with 2 RBI.
Final Score: Portland 10, New Britain 3
Game 2: Portland at New Britain. Portland jumped to an early 5-0 lead, but the Rain's starter, Cody Miles, ran out of steam in the 5th and allowed the Bombers to tie it. Despite regaining the lead, the Portland bullpen could not hold it and New Britain would win it 9-7. The Bombers' D'Angelo Gil hit a 3 run HR, while JT Stowers, Luis Lee and Carlos Lee got 2 hits a piece.
Final Score: Portland 7, New Britain 9
Game 3: New Britain at Portland. Starters Louie Gonzalez and Vic Cordero pitched extremely well, giving their teams a chance to win. After several bullpen changes, this game would go into extra innings, where David Lee would hit a solo HR in the 11th off of Portland's Max Almonte.
Final Score: Portland 2, New Britain 3
Game 4: New Britain at Portland. In the second game in a NL home park and no DH, Bip Bartee threw another complete game for the Rain, keeping his team in the game by allowing 3 runs in 9 innings. However, the Rain's offense would come up short and New Britain would take a 3-1 seris lead. Marcus Perry started for New Britain and picked up the win in 5+ innings of work before turning it over to the bullpen. The Bombers runs came through homeruns. With Portland leading 2-0 in the 5th, outfielder Sal Greene hit a 2-Run shot to tie the game. D'Angelo Gil hit a solo shot in the 6th, and that would be enough for New Britain to secure the win.
Final Score: Portland 2, New Britain 3
Game 5 : New Britain at Portland. The Rain's pitching would help their team live another day by shutting down the powerful bombers. 17-game winner Cody Miles threw 6 shutout innings before being lifted for Frank Shigetoshi and rookie closer Benj Kent. Javy Sierra took the loss for New Britain.
Final Score: New Britain 0, Portland 2
Game 6: Portland at New Britain. Game 6 moved back to New Britain, where the Bombers made true to their name and CRUSHED the Rain in front of a sellout hometown crowd. The Bombers hit 6 homeruns. DH Mike Fox hit 4 hits, and CF Thomas Serrano hit a pair of homers. Carlos Lee hit a 3-Run Homer to decisively give his team the lead in the 5th inning. 38 year old Sean Donovan, a future Hall of Famer, appeared in relief for the Rain, but didn't fare any better than his comrades.
Final Score: New Britain 21, Portland 8
New Britain wins the World Series
Chicago Billy Goats (95-67) and New Britain Bombers (99-63)
The Billy Goats entered the postseason with a Wild Card spot, finishing second to the mighty Trenton Fire in the AL EAST. After defeating the Salem Whips in 5 games, the Billy Goats matched up well against their division rivals, and while Trenton had the best record in the regular season, Chicago defetaed them in 5 games to take the series. Young Quinton Hansen has pitched brilliantly in the postseason, including a 5 hit shutout in the Game 5 clincher against Trenton. Rookie Thom Monroe has continued to be the offensive behemoth that carried this team all season long. Kevin Rolls (51 HR in regular season) has struggled in the post-season with a .175 AVG, but is due to break out of his slump any time. 21 yr old staff ace Gerardo Cedeno got 17 wins in the regular season, and is a Cy Young candidate. This is the 2nd consecutive post-season appearance for the Billy Goats, and their young core will likely take them to many future postseasons.
The New Britain Bombers are no strangers to the postseason, with their 5 consecutive appearance being as close to a dynasty as any of the current teams in this world. The Bombers' post season success has hinged primarily on the bats of D'Angelo Gil and J.T. Stowers. Stowers, who came in a late season trade, only hit .250 with 1 HR down the stretch with the Bombers, but has redeemed himself in the postseason. Louie Gonzalez has carried the post-season pitching for his team, but 17 game winner Javy Sierra is yet to make a single appearance. The Bombers are the slight favorites to win this series and make their second straight World Series appearance.
Burlington Bison (90-72) and Portland Rain (96-66)
To say that the Bison have no business being in the postseason would be an understatement. The 90-72 Bison surprised by claiming a Wild Card spot in a season that saw them move from Iowa City in a self-proclaimed "rebuilding" effort. The team's offense is a combination of mid-season veteran acquisitions (Eddie Ingram, Felipe Vega), unsigned free agents acquired mid-season (Jayson Penny, Tony Zito) and a handful of franchise veterans, they have no power, but have good pitching and defense. Leadoff man Aaron Bailey has consistently set the table in the postseason and Richie Johnson has been the team's best hitter. The Bison squeezed by the El Paso Fighting Tacos in 5 games and surprised everybody by defeating the world's best team, the 105 win Buffalo Blizzard, in the second round of the playoffs. Pitcher Ismael Alvarado has shown the consistency in the postseason that he had lacked in previous seasons.
The Portland Rain is a solid team with an incredible balance of power, pitching and defense. Their three regular outfielders are silver sluggers, seven regular players hit 15 or more homeruns in the regular season, all 5 of the regular starters reached double digits in wins, and rookie closer Benj Kent nailed 33 saves in 37 opportunities. Often underrated centerfielder Robb Gant has been outstanding in the postseason, exceeding his regular season performance (which was already MVP worthy). Cody Miles has been arguably the Rain's best postseason pitcher this season, but S14 All-Stars Bip Bartee, Vasco Picasso and Vic Cordero carry impressive track records and will likely carry the Rain to another straight World Series appearance.
1. Thom Monroe, 1B/ DH Chicago Billy Goats - The 25 yr old former first round pick has been tearing up the minors since being drafted in S11. Monroe has been tearing up AL pitching and leading all major league rookies in batting average (.335), Home runs (33), RBIs (86), OPS (1.075 ) and Slugging (.697) while being the leading vote getter to be the starting first baseman for the AL All-Star team.
2. Santos Santana, 1B St. Louis Kamikazes - The gentle giant from Almirante, Panama, with a name more reminiscent of a wrestling luchador than a major league ball player was signed to a 16 million bonus in S12, and in just 3 seasons he has shown that he belongs in the Majors. Santana has hit a career high 32 HRs in less than half a season at the ML level, while hitting .290 and swiping 11 bases. Santana is the undisputed NL rookie of the year for the first half of the season.
3. Buddy Bailey, DH Salem Whips- Bailey is hitting .318 and has a .428 OBP with 23 HRs. If it wasn't for Thom Monroe, Bailey would be putting together one of the most impresive rookie seasons in AL history.
4. Guy Zaun, RP San Antonio Stallions - Zaun has been the best rookie pitcher in the AL. He has been snubbed as an all-star selection, but he has been impressive with a 1.01 WHIP in 96 innings, holding batters to a .181 AVG and has not allowed a single inherited runner to score.
5. Bey Franco, SP El Paso Fighting Tacos - Franco has been the NLs best rookie pitcher, starting 10 games and holding a 7-4 record with 104 Ks in 115 innings.
6. Juan Pena, SP/RP Burlington Bison - Pena, a Rule 5 selction taken from the Colorado Colorado Crush, has been a big reason that the Bison are not in the basement of the division. Pena gracefully shifted between bullpen and rotation before being awarded a spot in the rotation. The native of Noord, Aruba has a 5-1 record in 9 starts as the Bison's #5 man, and nailed 2 saves in 2 save opportunities, and a 2.70 ERA.
Cozy Ponson, Pittsburgh Pirates - After 3 injuries almost derailed his promising career in S11 and getting traded twice, Ponson has excelled and shown no evidence of a sophomore slump. Ponson is on target to be a first-time All-Star, and with an 11-5 record, and a 2.63ERA, he will likely put up even better numbers than his impressive rookie season.
Kirk Heiserman, Trenton Fire - 22 saves in 23 opportunities en route to his 5th All-Star Game appearance, leading the AL in saves.
Amp Harris, Pittsburgh Pirates - Harris nomination as a possible all-star is well deserved. Harris has 17 saves in 19 opportunities and a meager 1.65 ERA. This would be his first appearance for the veteran who became a full time closer for the Pirates this season. Harris was released by the Salem Whips in the offseason, signed as a 1yr free agent by Cincinnati and claimed off waivers by the Pirates.
Oscar Martin, New York Fadeaways - Looks for his 3rd All-Star appearance, Martin has a 10-3 record and a lead leading 2.53 ERA.
Wolf Miller, San Antonio Stallions
Javy Sierra, New Britain Bombers
Neil Parris, LA Canyoneros
Felipe Colon, Oakland Elephants
David Lawrence, Oakland Elephants
Juan Marin, Trenton Fire
Damaso Pineda, LA Canyoneros
Tomas Espinosa, Memphis Blues Boys
Eli Ugueto, New Britain Bombers
Horacio Vallarta, Mexico City Manada de Lobos - Vallarta is hitting .421 and has a .487 OBP. Vallarta is the last ML player to hit >.400 for an entire season.
Cesar Rincon, New Britain Bombers - .356 AVG, .433 OBP, 18 HRs
Thom Monroe, Chicago Billy Goats - This rookie is an offensive juggernaut, leading all ML rookies in most offensvie categories.
Patrick Knotts, Salem Whips
Larry Dupler, Trenton Fire - Looking at his 4th All-Star game
Thomas Serrano, New Britain Bombers
Miguel Mairena, Boston Minute Men
Lonny Pujols, Texas Steers
Miguel Espinoza, New York Fadeaways
Santiago Campos, Chicago Billy Goats
Albert Hernandez, Chicago Billy Goats
Trevor Bellhorn, Trenton Fire
Shea Brooks, Chicago Billy Goats
Jesus Pineda, Trenton Fire
Alexander Green, San Antonio Stallions
Fernando Rodriguez, Trenton Fire
Russell Leonard, Mexico City Manada de Lobos
Del Alvarez, Buffalo Blizzard - The Blizzard's closer leads the majors with 31 saves and a 1.18 ERA.
Hector Riley, Norfolk Tars - His 27 saves are second best in the NL; an impressive total for a team that has won 45 games.
Andres Hernandez, Colorado Colorado Crush
Cookie Ramirez, Burlington Bison - 11-3 record is 3rd best in the NL, but his 2.04 ERA leads all major league starters. This would be his 7th All-Star game appearance
Vasco Picasso, Portland Rain - Picasso just went on the DL with a shoulder aneurysm and will miss the rest of the season, but his 13 wins lead the NL at this point of the season.
Bip Bartee, Portland Rain - His 12-2 record is only second best to his teammate, Vasco Picasso
Julian DeRojas, St. Louis Kamikazes
Vic Cordero, Portland Rain
Tony Delgado, St. Louis Kamikazes
Bob Willis, Las Vegas High Rollers
Ken Atkins, Buffalo Blizzard
Cody Miles, Portland Rain
Robert Owens, Burlington Bison
Dick Naulty, Scottsdale Raiders - This middle reliever is Scottsdale's only rep in the All-Star game
Phil Zheng, Buffalo Blizzard - Zheng's .370 AVG leads the NL
Roger Webb, Vancouver Titans
Chris Tobin, Chicago Shoeless Joes - Tobin has hit 40 HRs with more than half a seaon to go. The 24 yr old also has also drive in 89 runs.
Brad Green, Colorado Colorado Crush - The 34 yr old veteran is having a typical Brad Green season (.340 AVG, 22 HR), and is less than 50 hits away from career hit #3000.
Tony Sakamoto, Colorado Colorado Crush - The NLs most consistent 2B looks at his 3rd straight All-Star game appearance
Tyler Merrick, Burlington Bison - The young Bison is having a breakthrough year while carrying his team's offense and looks at his first All-Star game appearance as a backup to Sakamoto.
Albert DeSoto, Colorado Colorado Crush
Bud Burke, Buffalo Blizzard
Rey Shigetoshi, Buffalo Blizzard
Harry Blanco, Las Vegas High Rollers
Mariano Gonzalez, Colorado Colorado Crush
Joaquin Santiago, New Orleans Ragin' Cajuns
Robb Gant, Portland Rain
Albert Moraga, Norfolk Tars
Tommy Ransom, Buffalo Blizzard
Alex Gonzalez, Portland Rain
'Tis the Season to be Moving - Chicago, New York, Burlington, Sioux Falls and Scottsdale are newest ML cities
The Flatlanders, after several seasons as one of the top teams in the NL, had a sudden change in management, with an unexpected sale of their team in the middle of a pennant race. The new owners are moving to Chicago, where they will be known as the Chicago Shoeless Joes.
American League baseball returns to New York city, with the former Toronto Saints announcing that they are relocating to the big apple and the franchise will be known as the New York Fadeaways.
In Burlington, VT, the former team from Iowa City, the Bison, had a press release to declare them the new home for the roaming herd. The bison had been looking for an Eastern city to host them since the end of last season when IA City failed to renew the lease on their stadium. "Burlington welcomed us with open arms after the deal fell through in Iowa City", said team spokesperson Mike McGlinchy. The Bison are retaining their team name and logo.
The Pawtucket Sox announced a move to Sioux Falls, where they will be known as the Cougars under new ownership.
Finally, Scottsdale Arizona will have baseball beyond spring training. The former Colorado Springs Raiders will play the S14 season with Scottsdale as their home town. They will retain the name of Raiders.
In New Orleans, the team is undergoing a facelift and image remake. The former "Fifth Ward Reds" will now be known as the Ragin' Cajuns, a more uplifting name that has immediate appeal with the local, regional fanbase.
Iowa City spokesperson and former player Mike McGlinchy issued a statement: "We are very grateful to the fans who gave us a great home after jumping from Columbus to New York before landing here. It is unfortunate that the city's demands were not something we could work with, leaving us homeless and our loyal fans in a bit of limbo. We warned them that we would be forced to look elsewhere if a deal could not be reached, and I don't think they were listening. We have several prospective cities that are offering us mutually beneficial deals and we will explore those options, although we will not discuss those at this time. We need to make a decision quickly, preferably on a short term deal at a different city, while we explore the options of a long-term deal somewhere. The thing is, we could not move on to next season and have the league set the schedule without a stadium deal in place, and we ran out of time with the Iowa City negotiators for next season. They are still delusional in thinking that we are bluffing. Time's up. The league needs to know where we are playing, and it can not be in Iowa City for next season. They are unrealistic about timelines and expectations, and we can not keep postponing the inevitable."
A spokesperson for the mayor's office said: "These are tough economic times for the working people of our city. We have had to make some tough financial decisions across the board, making cuts left and right, and we can not give away the use of the stadium when it is a clear source of revenue for the city, and we know they could easily meet our demands if they wanted to. We think they are bluffing and they will not move. We just need a break from the negotiations and we will reconvene next week and invite them to the table to start all over the week after that."
In addition to the award, Gonzalez was presented with a brand new Chevy Corvette.
Bip Bartee (19-8, 2.76 ERA) vs George Crandall (20-5, 2.99 ERA)
Opening night brought a matchup of Cy Young award winners and a close game that could have gone either way. Ultimately, the Bombers edged the Rain with timely hitting and clutch pitching to win by one run. The Bombers scored all four runs after two outs in a disastrous 5th inning that the Rain would rather forget. With the Rain leading 3-0, a costly error by Harry Encarnacion brought up the deathly trio of D'Angelo Gil, David Lee and Kareem Nunnally, who delivered as promised. Crandall pitched 7 strong innings before turning it over to the bullpen, with Brutus Nixon pitching a perfect 9th to get the save, featuring a dramatic strikeout of Rigo Plata for the last out.
for New Britain ---
George Crandall (W), 7 IP, 7H (2HR), 3BB, 3ER, 6K
David Lee, 2 for 3, 2 RBI, 1R, 1BB
D'Angelo Gil, 3 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 R
Brutus Nixon, S, 1 IP, oH, 1K
for Portland ---
Bip Bartee (L), 6IP, 4R, 0ER, 8H, 2BB, 3K
Robb Gant, 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1HR
Player of the Game: George Crandall
Final: Portland Rain 3, New Britain Bombers 4
New Britain Leads the Series 1-0
Game 2: Portland Rain at New Britain Bombers
Sammy Ugueto (14-2, 2.65 ERA) vs Louie Gonzalez (12-7, 3.32 ERA)
Art Sweeney hit a solo shot and Robb Gant drove in a run with a double to give the Rain a 2-1 win over the Bombers. In another close game, both starting pitchers put out strong performances, but the game would swing in Portland's direction to tie the series. Closer Stephen Welch put it away with 8 pitches in the 9th to log the save.
for New Britain---
Louie Gonzalez, (L) 6 2/3IP, 5H, 2BB, 7 K
Sammy Ugueto (W) 6 IP, 1ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 Ks
Stephen Welch (S) 1 IP, 0H, O, BB, 1K
Robb Gant, 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1HR
Art Sweeney, 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1HR
Player of the Game: Sammy Ugueto
Final: Portland Rain 2, New Britain Bombers 1
Series Tied at 1-1.
Game 3: New Britain Bombers at Portland Rain
Vasco Picasso (13-9, 4.82 ERA) vs Marcus Perry (10-7, 3.96 ERA)
The New Britain Bombers made true to their name in dramatic come from behind fashion, exploding in the 9th inning to chase Portland closer Stephen Welch . Rob Cox, the Bombers' rookie CF hit a grandslam to put his team ahead. This was Cox's 2nd HR of the game. Portland saw a strong pitching performance by starter Vasco Picasso, but Welch could not hold the lead, blowing the save and losing the game. The 9th inning Bomber explosion started in an unconventional way. With his team trailing 3-1, David Lee was replaced by pinch hitter Luis Lee, the Bombers' typical DH. The unexpected move worked, as Luis Lee led off with a sharp single to right field. Luis Lee is hitting >.400 in the postseason.
for New Britain---
Rob Cox 2 for 4, 2 HRs, 5 RBI
Brutus Nixon, S, 1 IP, oH, 1K
Game 4: New Britain Bombers at Portland Rain
George Crandall (20-5, 2.99 ERA) vs Bip Bartee (19-8, 2.76 ERA)
In a rematch of game 1 starters, Crandall pitched 6 solid innings to get the win, and Felipe Vega drove in 3 runs to give the Bombers a 5-2 win over the Rain. Brutus Nixon picked up his third save of the World Series.
Felipe Vega, 2 for 3, 3 RBI, 3R, 1 HR
A rematch of Game 2 starters gave Sammy Ugueto his second win of the series and Alex Gonzalez and Andres Beltre both homered for the Rain. Ugueto appeared a bit wild on limited rest, walking 5 batters. Stephen Welch got the save despite a shaky performance. Portland fans were at the edge of their seats in the 9th, as they saw Kareem Nunnally, the potential tying run, drive a deep fly ball to right field that was caught by Alex Gonzalez at the warning track.
for New Britain---
Yorvit Beltran, 1 for 3, 2 RBI
D'Angelo Gil, 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Cesar Rincon, 2 for 4, 1R, 1 BB
Alex Gonzalez, 2 for 4, 1R, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 1SB
Sammy Ugueto (W) 5 2/3 IP, 2ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 5 Ks
Stephen Welch (S) 1 IP, 2H, 1 ER,
Player of the Game: Alex Gonzalez
Final: New Britain 3, Portland 5
New Britain leads the series 3-2.
Game 6: Portland Rain at New Britain Bombers
The Portland offense exploded for 15 hits and 8 runs and Vasco Picasso pitched 7 scoreless innings to send the series to a deciding Game 7. Andres Beltre homered, hit a triple and drive in 3 runs while Art Sweeney got 4 hits, including two homeruns and 4 runs driven in. Alex Gonzalez, Robb Gant and Derrek Silva got two hits a piece. Picasso allowed 2 hits and walked 1 in 7 innings of work before giving way to Jose Piedra for the combined 8-0 shutout of the powerful Bombers' offense.
Vasco Picasso (W) 7 IP, 2H, 1BB, OR, 4K
Art Sweeney, 4 for 5, 4 RBI, 2HR , 3R, SB
Andres Beltre, 3 for 5, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 1 3H, 2R
Robb Gant, 2 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 R
Alex Gonzalez , 2 for 4, 1 BB, 2R, SB
Derrek Silva, 2 for 3, 1 BB
Player of the Game: Art Sweeney
Series tied at 3-3.
Game 7: Portland Rain at New Britain Bombers
Facing off for the third time in the World Series, the pitching aces delivered as promised. The final score: 1-0 Portland. The Rain got 10 hits, but only scored once, while Bip Bartee and two relievers combined for the 3 hit shutout. Portland closer Stephen Welch, who was inconsistent and shaky in the series, was lifted with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Cody Miles recorded the last out for the save and gave Portland its second World Series title.
Bip Bartee (W) 7 IP, 1H, 4BB, OR, 3K
Andres Beltre, 2 for 5, 1 RBI
George Crandall (L) 6 2/3, 5H, 1R, 4 BB, 4K
Cesar Rincon 2 for 3, 1 BB
Player of the Game: Bip Bartee
Final: Portland 1, New Britain 0
PORTLAND WINS THE S13 WORLD SERIES
How the numbers compare:
New Britain won 103 games in the regular season, tying for the best record in the majors. Portland won 99 and finished 2nd behind S12 World Series champion and the other team to win 103 games, the Columbus Flatlanders.
Portland had a team season ERA of 3.88 (3rd in the NL) while New Britain had a 3.91 ERA (1st in the AL). New Britain allowed 668 runs (least in the AL), while Portland allowed 680 (3rd in the NL).
New Britain's mighty offense hit .288 AVG (1st in AL), had a .351 obp (2nd in AL), hit 240 HR (6th in AL), while scoring 904 runs (3rd in AL), and scoring 236 more runs than their pitching allowed
Portland hit for a .260 AVG (11th in the NL), a .328 OBP (8th in the NL), 273 HRs (2nd in NL), and scored 841 runs (5th in NL), which is 161 more runs than their pitching allowed.
Prediction: Although the overall numbers seem to slightly favor New Britain, the teams are actually very evenly matched for a 7 game series that is likely to be defined by key performances from individual players. Portland is very capable of hitting the long ball, which is easily overlooked when only comparing average and OBP.
Who to watch for?
Bip Bartee (19-8, 2.76 ERA) - Bartee logged 250 innings in the regular season and has pitched well in 5 starts this postseason.
Sammy Ugueto (14-2, 2.65 ERA) - In his first complete season as a full time starter, Ugueto did not disappoint, with 160 Ks in 176 innings. His four postseason starts so far have been disappointing (5.14 ERA), but Ugueto can pitch and his success is key to Portland's chances.
Art Sweeney (55HR, 138 RBI) - the young outfielder had a power surge this season, which carried his team offensively. His power will be essential to the Rain's success. Sweeney in an excellent defensive outfielder.
Andres Beltre (1B) - (.323 AVG, 48 HR, 105 RBI) - The sophomore almost doubled his HR totals from his rookie season and has shown much better patience at the plate, with a .431 OBP and a .658 SLG. Beltre is likely to run away with the NL 1B Silver Slugger award, unseating perennial winner Parker McIntyre despite being snubbed out of the All-Star game.
Robb Gant (CF) - Fan favorite Gant is a spectacular CF who will win this season's Gold Glove award after his prowess with the glove has become legendary. At 25, Gant is a seasoned veteran who has hit 20 or more HR while swiping 20 or more bases in each of the last 5 seasons. Although his batting average and SLG dipped slightly this season, Gant's balance of defense, power and speed are key to the Rain's winning ways.
George Crandall (20-5, 2.99 ERA) - The sophomore pitcher is the leading AL Cy Young candidate, and if he pitches like he did all season, it will be difficult to beat his team when he starts. In his 3 postseason starts so far, Crandall has shown that thsi 21 yr old has what it takes to compete and succeed in big games.
Louie Gonzalez (12-7, 3.32 ERA) - traded mid season from Vancouver, Gonzalez went 7-2 for the Bombers and made two amazing starts in the playoffs, winning both games.
Cesar Rincon (C) - The Bombers's 24 yr old catcher had a breakthrough season, reaching career highs in at bats, HRs (30) and RBIs (87), batting AVG (.327), OBP (.417) and SLG (.571).
David Lee (ss/3B) - Lee split time between 3B and SS, but it is his bat (.320 AVG, 29 HR, 101 RBI) that is worth watching.
Kareem Nunnally (1B/DH) - The 35 yr old veteran and future hall of famer was the veteran presence around which this team anchored its success, but Nunnally's bat shows no evidence of slowing down (44 HR, 132 RBIs). Nunnally only committed 1 error at 1B in 148 games played in that position.
Vasco Picasso (13-9, 4.82 ERA) The 6-7 giant from Wellington, Ohio needs to step up and show why he was a first round draft pick a few seasons ago. Hampered by injuries, Picasso has been a great ML pitcher, but he is capable of being a superstar. This season was characterized by a tendency to give up the longball, with 28 HRs allowed in 32 starts. Picasso has pitched well in the postseason, and his previous experience in big games should serve him and his team well.
Marcus Perry (10-7, 3.96 ERA) - Perry is likely to get the start in game 3 for the Bombers. Perry has been good but inconsistent all season, and the Bombers will need him to step up if they are to go deep into the World Series.
Although these teams are evenly matched in defense, Portland holds a slight but significant edge. Portland fields two gold glovers in the outfield, with CF Robb Gant being a nightly highlight reel.
New Britain's main defense up the middle in the postseason has been good (2B D'Angelo Gil, ss David Lee and CF Rob Cox/ Thomas Serrano), but Portland's (2b Rigo Plata, CF Rob Gant and ss Willie Lopez/Rob Bailes) has been better. New Britain's catchers threw out less than 20% of potential base stealers, and this is a distinct disadvantage against a team with at least 5 base stealing threats. Although New Britain has 6 potential base stealing threats, Portland's Derrek Silva's 36% caught stealing percentage (2nd in the ML) should discourage them from using base stealing as an offensive weapon.
While Nunnally has been very good at 1b, with only one error committed, the career catcher and DH has a somewhat limited range, and he is unlikely to compensate for errant throws from his infield partners.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
This is a very evenly matched world series, and it can go either way even if New Britain carries a slight edge due to overall pitching and offense. Look at performances from key players and surprise role players to give their team the edge. This should be an exciting series, featuring some of the young All-Stars of the game who will be the face of the league for years to come.
BEYOND THE STORY
The National League has won more World Series (7) than the American League (5) in the 12 year history of the Fall classic. No league has won it in two consecutive years, and only two teams have won the World Series more than once.
To get to this point, first we had to be bad the previous season.
Fast Forward to Season 13 - Preseason.
From Vancouver, we take a plane to Virginia. In the small town of Prince Edward County, VA, outside of Richmond, we go to the field of the PEC Eagles to scout HS Senior Albie Mercedes - 1st team all-conference in baseball and football, and 2nd team all-conference in basketball. In the 2 games we watch while there, he plays 3 different positions, (C-LF-2B), hits 2 HRs, drives in 6 runs as he goes 6 for 9. Scouts say he can be the #1, BUT, while there, it is noticed that football scouts are also there (during baseball season?), talking to locals. It appears Albie has a football scholarship about to be offered, and he is considering it! We have an opportunity to talk to Albie, and we have doubts on his commitment to baseball.
Next stop - we stay in Virginia and head to Lynchburg's Liberty University to see the Flames' SP Harry Regan pitch in a game. What a game we saw here. A 1-hit shutout, striking out 8, no walks. I want to see him pitch again, maybe a return trip! It is planned.
Temple, Tx is next on our scouting trip. Visiting the college of the Temple Leopards, school for prospect B.C. Moreno. We watch B.C. pitch, 6 innings, 1 run. 7 strikeouts and a walk. He seemed to be showing some wear as he gets farther in the game, but he sure can pitch! Scouts like him, but as a #1 pick... hmmm. On to Coffeeville, KS and another school (Coffeeville CC Ravens) and another top SP prospect! Vincenzo Wall. He retires the 1st 9 batters, striking out 1, but 3 balls hit to the track and caught. Only 1 hit in the next 2 innings, a HR after an error on the 3B which is the 2 runs allowed. In the 6th inning, he has to be pulled as it appears there is an issue with his thigh.
Back to Virginia, where Albie Mercedes hits 2 HRs, drives in 6 in one game and runs down a ball in the LF corner. This guy is a great athlete!
Harry Regan throws a no-hitter with full command on his pitches, 2 baserunners (errors on the defense). Striking out 6 and walking 1. Our scouts think he can be better with a stronger training program. But talking to Harry, he wants to play pro ball and he has the arm to potentially compete with the best. Wish I could stay in VA a little longer to watch Mercedes and Regan a few more times, but San Francisco is calling for our next stop.
The Dons of the University of San Francisco. Here is a major college with a major talent! 22 year old senior SS Bobby Upshaw: 2 time All-American and school record holder in several categories. But, a lot of rain for a couple days, we don't get to see him play, so we can't scout him while we are there. Find the videos of him playing! Last stop is closer to home as we end our trip in Marysville, WA, home of the Tomahawks of Marysville High School.
Senior SP Kris Gates will be pitching today. Being close to home, we have seen him pitch as a junior and we have seen him a few times. 5 pitches and great control. He does not disappoint us this day either. 2 hit shutout, making many hitters look foolish! We get to talk to his coach, since we have scouted Kris several games. Very good kid and great potential.
Back to Vancouver to look over our notes. We have decided to discuss 2 players for the #1 spot. Our Virginia prospects, Albie Mercedes and Harry Regan. They both should be regular members of the All Star teams, and both stand out above the prospects we were able to scout! Albie can hit, but what will it take to sign him? Will it be worth it? Probably! Will football lure him away from baseball? Possibly! We do have prospect money to spend this season.......! Harry showed us something in the 2 games we watched that shows he should be outstanding. He does want to play pro ball and should be easier to sign than Albie! A stud hitter (with very good defensive tools), or a #1 starter? Finally, draft day is here and the announcement is made......
"With the 1st pick in the draft, the Vancouver Titans select......... Harry Regan!
P.S. He signs right away and is ready to pitch in the Rookie League! Stay Tuned!
The prospects were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of dollars danced in their heads. An agent and thief, a pen in his hand, had just settled his brains on a bonus that's mad.
When out on the roof there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.
With a little old owner, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be cubs69. Larger than his Titans, from Vancouver that is, he first picked and he shouted and called them by name:
"Now Regan! Now Johnson! Now, Peters and Ruiz! On, Gomez! On, Soto! Cedeno and Grissom! To the top of the list! To the top of the wall! Now sign away! Sign away! Sign away all!"
He sprang from his chair, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all signed with a quill and and the inkster. But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Draft Day to all, and to all some good luck!"
Never complaining about his limited opportunities in Seattle, the now 28 yr old grizzled catcher jumped at the opportunity to start for the Salem Whips. In 35 games, Stowers has taken advantage of every opportunity to show that he belongs in the Major league team. By anchoring the pitching staff, Stowers has helped his new team turnaround what seemed like an atrocious start to the season. Surprisingly, he has also handled the bat quite well - at the rhythm of a .292 batting AVG.
Earl Stowers is not an All-Star, he is not the best catcher in the league or even in his division, but this blue collar, hard-nosed, no-nonsense old-school catcher has taken advantage of every opportunity and he is not looking back.
Brad Green, Colorado Colorado Crush - 33 yr, 12 time All-Star, 2696 career hits. Barring a major injury, Green is likely to reach the 3000 hit milestone by the end of next season. At 33, with excellent health, and playing in Colorado's thing air, there is no doubt that this future Hall of Famer and career .361 hitter with 530 + career homeruns, Green may be the best offensive player in Mathewson history.
Leo Billingsley, Colorado Colorado Crush - 35 yr, 9 time All-Star, 2625 career hits. Billingsley is roughly 400 hits away from the 3000 hit landmark. At 35, he would need to play until he is 37 yr old and still averaging @160-180 hits per year to reach 3000. Billingsley does not have the durability on the field that he used to have, and he is on the last year of his contract with the Crush. A move to a different city will likely hurt his chances at 3K. Although he has never spent a day in the DL in his entire ML history, his 35 yr old body is not the same as the all-star shortstop that he once was. Billingsley should reach 3000 hits, but it won't be easy.
John Russ, Louisville Wild Turkeys - 36 yr old, 9 time All-Star, 2477 career hits. Russ is a stretch to reach the 3000 hit landmark, although he still has enough ability to play for several years. Russ is 523 hits away from 3000, which translates to having to average 200+ hits over the next 2 1/2 years to reach the milestone before age 40.
Vladimir Valentin, Chicago Billy Goats - 37 yr old, 8 time All-Star, 2336 career hits. Despite being one of the best historical hitters in the league, Valentin is unlikely to reach 3000, but had an outside chance at doing so. Valentin is in excellent health, has never been on the DL and has more durability on the field than many players half his age. He would have to maintain a pace of @190 hits per season and would reach 3000 by age 41.
Tony Lunar, Oakland Elephants - 34 yr old, 2 time All-Star, 2307 career hits. Lunar, a career .292 hitter with excellent health and durability, is likely to reach 3000 if he plays into his late 30's (38) at his current hitting pace.
Parker McIntyre, Buffalo Blizzard - 30 yr old, 9 time All-Star, 2065 career hits - Will likely reach the 3000 milestone by age 36. Big Mac will likely be the Mathewson historical leader in homers by the time he's done playing,
Season 1 -- Stan Uribe, P
Drafted by Salem, currently with Toronto. Probaly due to the game being new, but it's surprising he was taken with the 1st pick. Uribe has been good, but not great over the years, and is still pitching at the ML level as a starting pitcher. He has a lifetime 119-95 record and a 4.42 ERA and has been traded four times while only been on the DL once. Decent pitcher, but too high for a 1st pick overall. Parker McIntyre was the 17th overall pick of this draft.
Season 2 -- Alfonso Gabriel, P
Drafted by Boston as a risky pick, and he never signed. A waste of a first pick.
Season 3 -- Oscar Martin, P
Drafted by Toronto, currently with Toronto. A good pitcher, worthy of being taken with the 1st pick. Still with the team that drafted him ten years ago, he's a SP who has been named to the All Star Team twice and has a impressive 117-73 record and a lifetime 4.33 ERA. Oscar has been on the DL twice and was a good pick.
Season 4 - Clay Malone, P
Drafted by Texas, currently with Pittsburgh. Another pitcher, he's been just as good as Oscar Martin, with a lifetime 57-48 and a career ERA of 4.74. Malone made one trip to the All Star game and a Gold Glove award in Season 12. Malone has a bad history of injuries, though, going on the DL 6 times and being traded twice before being a SP with Pittsburgh. Risky for a 1st pick.
Season 5 - Cookie Floyd, P
Drafted by Texas, currently with Pawtucket. A bit of a stretch for a 1st pick, Cookie has been traded twice, and is currently a SP with Pawtucket. He's been on the DL twice and has a lifetime 59-64 record and 4.96 ERA. Not worth a 1st pick, a pattern which seems to be repeating.
Season 6 -- Patrick Knotts, C
Drafted by Cincinnati, currently with Salem. The first player taken who was not a pitcher, it's hard to argue with Patrick going 1st. He may not be a catcher, but he's a very good hitter, putting up 109 HR's and 354 RBI's with a lifetime .319 average. Making the All Star team last year, he has been traded twice and never injured. Despite his low pitch calling rating, he has been used as a catcher for most of his ML career. It seems he would do better if he was used just as a DH and had the chance to play every game. Knotts signing bonus ($10.4 million) is the highest in league history.
Season 7 -- Larry Dupler, SS
Drafted by Trenton, currently with Trenton. Another non pitcher taken in the 1st round, again he looks like a good pick at that spot. Still with the team that drafted him, Larry is making big money (9.5 mil a year) and has earned a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award playing RF, as well as two All Star trips. Only once has he gone on the DL and he has 172 HR's and 569 RBI's witn a lifetime avg of .283. He's going to be a good player for a long time to come.
Season 8 -- Lonny Pujols, SS
Drafted by Texas, currently with Texas. Another SS taken with the 1st pick, he's mostly played 2B and 3B in his time in the bigs. Not a full time starter until last year, in his limited time Lonny has 72 HR's, 228 RBI, and .260 average and has never been injured. A very good player, but perhaps too high to take with the 1st pick.
Season 9 -- Valerio Reyes, SS
Drafted by Boston, currently with Columbus. Yet another SS taken in the 1st pick, he again seems to be too high to spend that pick on. Valerio played all of last year as a starter at the SS position, then was traded to Columbus this year where he's played 2B and spent time on the DL, his first injury. In his young career he has 25 HR's, 126 RBI's, and a .281 average. Very similar to Lonny, in that he should be a very good player. It should be noted that pitcher Cozy Ponson was taken with the second pick.
Season 10 -- Octavio Guerrero, P
Drafted by Richmond, currently with Richmond. A pitcher is finally taken with the 1st pick again with Octavio, although it's debatable if he was worth it. Still in Triple A as he works his way up, he's a starter with a lifetime record of 26-29 and a ERA of 4.72 and has been injured once. Should be a decent SP in the 4th or 5th spot for a desperate team, but better as a LR. Very debatable spending a 1st pick on.
Season 11 -- Douglas Slaughter, P
Drafted by Colorado Springs, currently with Colorado Springs. Another SP, he again fits into that 'good, but not worth a 1st pick' group again. Currently in Double A, the young Douglas has a 12-9 record and 3.75 ERA with no injuries. Time will tell how he does in the bigs, but he should do better than the last pitcher taken in Season 10.
Season 12 -- King Ray, RF
Drafted by New Orleans, currently with New Orleans. The first player of his position taken in the 1st pick, King is already in Double A, although spending a few days as part of his first trip to the DL. He jumped from Rookie ball last year to Double A this year, he has 19 HR's and 78 RBI's with a .318 average. He has the abilities to be a wonderful player who can hit for power, but it's too soon to pass judgment on his worthiness as a 1st round pick.