S18 World Series

Game 1: Colorado 3, Chicago 4
Player of the Game: Gerardo Cedeno goes 8.0 innings for the win.
Notables:
Wilfredo Estrella: 2 for 4, Run scored
Shea Brooks: 3 for 5, 2 SB, 2 Runs scored, 1 RBI
Albert Bell: 2 for 4, 1 RBI
Gerardo Cedeno: 8 IP, 9H, 3ER, W

Game 2: Colorado 7, Chicago 10 (11 inning game)
Player of the Game: Wilfredo Estrella hits walk-off home run

Notables:
Wilfredo Estrella, pinch hit HR, 3 RBI in 11th inning
Shea Brooks: 3 for 6, 2 Runs scored, 1 RBI
Albert Bell: 2 for 5, 1 Run scored, 2 RBI
Ivan Andujar, 2 for 4, 1BB, 2 Runs scored

Game 3: Chicago 8, Colorado 13
Colorado scored 6 times in the 8th inning.

Player of the Game: John Wallace drives in 4 runs

Notables:
John Wallace: 2 for 4, 4 RBI, Run scored
Albert Cairo: 3 for 3, 4 RBI, 2 Run scored
Leon Dickerson 5 for 5, 2 RBI

Game 4: Chicago 0, Colorado 4

Player of the Game: Ruben Romano drives in 3 runs

Notables:
Ruben Romano: 1 for 3, 3 RBI

Game 5: Chicago 20, Colorado 10

Player of the Game: Albert Bell hits for the cycle

Notables:
Albert Bell: 4 for 6, 4 RBI, 3 Runs, hit for cycle
Wilfredo Estrella: 4 for 6, 5 RBI, 3 Runs scored
Ivan Pescado: 5 for 5, 4 runs, 1 RBI, 2 SB
Shea Brooks: 3 for 7, 3 runs, 3 RBI

Game 6: Colorado 5, Chicago 6 (13 innings)

Player of the Game: Shea Brooks hits walk-off home run

Notables:
Shea Brooks: Walk-off homerun (13th), 2 for 7, RBI
Wilfredo Estrella: 3 for 6, 1 RBI, 1 Run scored
Albert Bell: 2 for 5, 1 run scored
Anthony Mulholland, 4 for 6, 1 RBI

CHICAGO WINS THE WORLD SERIES

MVP Candidates:
Wilfredo Estrella
Shea Brooks
Albert Bell

S18 League Leaders: Pitching Statistics

American League Wins
Gerardo Cedeno (CHI), 21
Louie Gonzalez (NB), 21
Joaquin Gil (CHI), 20
George Crandall (NB), 19
Adam Phillips (SFE), 19

National League Wins
Julian Flores (HEL), 19
Oswaldo Ramirez (NOR), 18
Clay Malone (BUR), 17
Del Butler (BUR), 17
Juan Cora (HEL), 17

American League ERA
Gerardo Cedeno (CHI), 2.25
Bip Bartee (NB), 2.71
Louie Gonzalez (NB), 3.06
Joaquin Valentin (CHI), 3.12
Marcus Perry (NB) 3.43

National League ERA
Vic Cordero (POR), 2.62
Clay Malone (BUR), 3.08
Javy Sierra (LOU), 3.09
Cozy Ponzon (CHI), 3.15
OT Ferrara (BUR), 3.18

American League Saves
Alex Dellaero (BOS), 38
Ruben Tatis (SFE), 38
Clarence Torrealba (CHR), 35
Brutus Nixon (NB), 35
Cliff Smart (NB), 35

National League Saves
Valerio Herrera (SLC), 50
Al Canseco (HEL), 49
Robert Owens (BUR), 47
Jorge James (ARI), 41
Benj Kent (POR) 40

American League WHIP
Bip Bartee (CHR), 1.09
Gerardo Cedeno (CHI), 1.11
Joaquin Valentin (CHI), 1.17
Louie Gonzales (NB), 1.18
Toby Haynes (SEA), 1.18

National League WHIP
Clay Malone (BUR), 1.07
Cookie Ramirez (BUR), 1.13
Tomas Gonzales (HEL), 1.13
Cozy Ponzon (CHI), 1.14
Del Butler (BUR), 1.16

American League OAV

Bip Bartee (CHR), .207
Gerardo Cedeno (CHI), .222
Toby Haynes (SEA), .226
Joaquin Valentin (CHI), .228
Louie Gonzales (NB), .232


National League OAV

Cookie Ramirez (BUR), .215
Clay Malone (BUR), .219
Del Butler (BUR), .220
Kelly McPherson (JAC), .228
Cozy Ponzon (CHI), .237

American League Quality Starts
Bip Bartee (CHR), 28
Gerardo Cedeno (CHI), 27
Louie Gonzales (NB), 24
George Crandall (NB). 24
Joaquin Valentin (CHI), 23

National League Quality Starts
Cookie Ramirez (BUR), 25
Julian Flores (HEL), 25
Andrew Newson (BUF), 23
Tomas Gonzales (HEL), 23
Clay Malone (BUR), 22

S18 League Leaders: Offensive Statistics

American League Batting Average
Shea Brooks, CHI Billy Goats--- .351
Wayne Ellis, LA Canyoneros----- .348
Kevin Rolls, CHI Billy Goats--- .334
Pete Charleston, BOS Americans- .326
Sammy Boggs, BOS Americnans --- .322

National League Batting Average
Albert Cairo, COL Colorado Crush- .353
Mateo Montero, ARI Sun Devils---- .334
Parker McIntyre, BUF Blizzard---- .333
Derrek Silva, POR Rain----------- .328
Pete DeJean, SLC Grizzlies------- .325

American League Home Runs
Kevin Rolls, CHI ----------------- 65
Michael Harper, MEM -------------- 56
Alexander Green, SFE ------------- 56
Pasqual Jimenez, SEA ------------- 54
Ramon Jiang, SFE ----------------- 52

National League Home Runs
Geronimo Martis, NOR ------------- 67
John Yashian, COL ---------------- 49
Chris Tobin, JAC ----------------- 48
John Wallace, COL ---------------- 42
Sidney Gardner, IND -------------- 41

American League Runs Batted In
Kevin Rolls, CHI ----------------- 168
Ramon Jiang, SFE ----------------- 160
Alexander Green, SFE ------------- 151
Endy Horton, NB ------------------ 141
Mark Mieske, SAL ----------------- 139
Michael Harper, MEM -------------- 139

National League Runs Batted In
Geronimo Martis, NOR ------------- 156
John Yashian, COL ---------------- 141
Chris Tobin, JAC ----------------- 136
Santos Santana, ARI -------------- 135
King Ray, SLC -------------------- 123

American League Hits
Kevin Rolls, CHI ----------------- 222
Fernando Rodriguez, CHA ---------- 205
Sammy Boggs, BOS ----------------- 203
Tripp Patel, CHA ----------------- 200
Richie Johnson, SFE -------------- 197

National League Hits
Albert Cairo, COL ---------------- 234
Parker McIntyre, BUF ------------- 211
Albert Hernandez, IND ------------ 210
Santos Santana, ARI -------------- 201
Kirk Hundley, LR ----------------- 201

American League Runs Scored

Fernando Rodriguez, CHA ---------- 161
Alexander Green, SFE ------------- 151
Kevin Rolls, CHI ----------------- 142
Hick Delahanty, SAL -------------- 135
Shea Brooks, CHI ----------------- 127
Ken Easley, MEM ------------------ 127

National League Runs Scored
Albert Hernandez, IND ------------ 135
Santos Santana, ARI -------------- 124
John Yashian, COL ---------------- 115
Brendan Lee, HEL ----------------- 113
Larry Dupler, HEL ---------------- 112

American League Stolen Bases

Edgar Polanco, SXF ---------------- 83
Hick Delahanty, SAL --------------- 64
Aaron Bailey, CHR ----------------- 63
Geronimo Melian, SXF -------------- 62
Julio Alcantara, SXF -------------- 51


National League Stolen Bases

Vasco Marin, RIC ------------------ 65
Bailey Darensbourg, JAC ----------- 63
Albert Moraga, NOR ---------------- 60
Max Wolfredo, LR ------------------ 42
Jeremy Lyon, LOU ------------------ 39

American League On Base Percentage
Alexander Green, SFE ------------- .417
Tripp Patel, CHA ----------------- .401
Sammy Boggs, BOS ----------------- .400
Anthony Mulholland, CHI ---------- .400
Diego Pineiro, BOS --------------- .398

National League On Base Percentage
Omar Pena, HEL ------------------- .405
Patrick Knotts, OMA -------------- .402
Albert Cairo, COL ---------------- .401
Wade Dalrymple, HEL -------------- .398
Mateo Montero, ARI --------------- .398

American League Slugging Percentage
Alexander Green, SFE ------------- .705
Kevin Rolls, CHI ----------------- .680
Shea Brooks, CHI ----------------- .676
Endy Horton, NB ------------------ .644
Albert Bell, CHI ----------------- .629

National League Slugging Percentage
Geronimo Martis, NOR ------------- .685
Chris Tobin, JAC ----------------- .603
Santos Santana, ARI -------------- .591
John Yashian, COL ---------------- .589
Del Henley, JAC ------------------ .585

Top Free Agents of S18... How are they doing?

The offseason saw some big names changing teams and even more money changing pockets. With 30 games into the season, what do the early stats tell us about busts and bargains?

David Lee - Los Angeles Canyoneros - .232 AVG, .306 OBP, .464 SLG. The biggest free agent name in the offseason got a big contract (110 million over 5 years), but his performance over the first 28 games has been abysmal. The season is young, and Lee should improve as the season progresses.

Doug Thompson - Charleston Stingrays - 6 starts, 3-2, 4.05 ERA. Thompson has pitched as well as could be expected from his history, but has pitched particularly well on the road. After being a reliever and spot starter in Little Rock, Thompson returned to the starting role that he is most comfortable with, and where he has spent the bulk of his career.

Banana Hawkins - Salem Trappers - 7 starts, 6-1, 2.76 ERA. The 37yr old southpaw has been outstanding for Salem. If he stays healthy and pitches like this through next season at 38, he will be a bargain at 6 million a year.

Ben Morris - Omaha Cobfathers - .271 AVG, .322 OBP, .579 SLG, .901 OPS. Morris, one of several Redlegs to walk out in free agency, has been a solid hitter, delivering power as promised for his new team.

Shannon Casey - Texas Steers - .336 AVG, .368 OBP, .546 SLG, .914 OPS - Casey has shown a live bat, and has exceeded expectations in the early returns. If he keeps up the pace, his 2.9 million per season for 2 years may be a huge bargain.

New Owners Join Mathewson, Teams renamed

Today, the Mathewson League's Commisioner's office made official announcements about new owners joining the league and the franchise's new home cities and team names. The returning owners welcome the new members with open arms.

Montreal Maroons. The former New York Fadeaways, who made the post-season last season as a wild card team, has officially relocated to Montreal as the Maroons. The team is owned by experienced sports management group, Rubnsly, who has 8 previous seasons of professional baseball management in different leagues.

Charlotte Knights. Formerly the Wolfpack, Charlotte retains the team under a new name. This franchise is solid, with a relatively low payroll, solid talent that posted two consecutive winning seasons and should be competitive for a long time. The new ownership, Lone Ranger Inc, is new to baseball franchise management but hopes to remain within reach of a postseason berth that their predecessor missed by one game last season.

Santa Fe All Blacks. An experienced ownership group picked up the former Durham franchise, which lost 100 games last season. The new ownership, dshimoda, looks to return this franchise to the success it once had.

Boston Americans. Rookie owner Leslie Chow has jumped into big league management with the acquisition of several teams in several professional leagues. He is committed to improving on a Boston franchise that carries the historical record in franchise losses in this world. The first step was the rebranding of the franchise as the Boston Americans.

Minnesota Grape Apes. The former Montreal Monarchs franchise found itself without a home when the new ownership brought the Maroons into town, and Grapeape Management bought the team and relocated it to the Twin Cities, where it will carry the company name and be known as the Grape Apes.

Welcome to all the new owners and best of luck to all teams in the new Season.

Two franchises relocate for Season 18

The league commissioner announced today the relocation of two franchises, which will retain the same ownership.


The Tacoma Hammerheads, which were abandoned by their previous owner halfway through S17, found a new home in Utah's Salt Lake City, where they will be known as the Grizzlies. (How somebody convinced the commisioner that Salt Lake City is a northern city remains a mystery).

In the American League, the Nashville Banjo Bears relocated to another Southern city and changed their name to the Charleston Stingrays.

George Crandall named S17 World Series MVP


George Crandall was named S17 World Series MVP after pitching his team to 2 wins in the series. Crandall started four times in the post-season, including two stellar starts against Colorado in the World Series. The 26 yr old right hander had a season of ups and downs, following his first stint on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury. The injury limited Crandall to 154 innings and only 24 starts, both career lows in the majors. Crandall regained his form, pitching brilliantly since his return and shining in the World Series. "George is a tough competitor and he deserved the recognition for coming through for us as big as he did," said New Britain's GM Lyle Diekmann, "and that's why we locked him up to that contract. Crandall is our ace and he has even more awards in his future."

S17 Award Winners

Season 17 ML - NL MVP Award and votes
MVP: John Yashian, Colorado Crush - 16

Runner ups:
Santos Santana, Hammerheads - 10
Tomas Liriano, Shoeless Joes - 4
Tyler Merrick, Bison - 1
Joaquin Santiago, Bison - 1

Season 17 ML - AL MVP Award and votes

MVP: Shea Brooks, Billy Goats - 16


Runner ups:
Horacio Vallarta, Banjo Bears - 10
Endy Horton, Bombers - 2
David Lee, Bombers - 2
Pasqual Jimenez, Lightning - 2

Season 17 ML - NL Cy Young Award and votes
Cy Young: Jackie Little, Shoeless Joes - 18


Runner ups:
Bey Franco, Sizzle - 7
Hector Riley, Tars - 3
Tomas Gonzales, Handbaskets - 3
Andres Hernandez, Colorado Crush - 1

Season 17 ML - AL Cy Young Award and votes
Cy Young: Wolf Miller, Canyoneros - 24


Runner ups:
Harry Regan, Banjo Bears - 4
Julian Jimenez, Fadeaways - 2
Dennys Satou, Trappers - 1
Luis James, Trappers - 1

Season 17 ML - NL Rookie of the Year Award and votes
ROY: Del Butler, Bison- 22


Runner ups:
Angel Lopez, Wild Turkeys - 4
Don Hasegawa, Colorado Crush - 3
Walt Walker, Handbaskets - 2
Santiago Oliva, Riot - 1


Season 17 ML - AL Rookie of the Year Award and votes

ROY: Luis James, Trappers -21

Runner ups:
Pasqual Jimenez, Lightning - 6
James Suzuki, Canyoneros - 2
Pascual James, Steers - 2
Welington Gandarillas, Minute Men - 1

S17 Pitching Leaders by League

National League

Wins (W)
1 Bey Franco (JAC) 21
2 O.T. Ferrara (BUR) 18
3 (T) Del Butler (BUR) 17
3 (T) Jackie Little (CH2) 17
5 Oscar Martin (COL) 16

Earned Run Average (ERA)
1 Dave Lewis (NOR) 1.87
2 Jackie Little (CH2) 2.68
3 Tomas Gonzales (HEL) 2.72
4 Juan Cora (HEL) 2.80
5 Del Butler (BUR) 2.92

Saves (S)
1 Esteban Sosa (JAC) 47
2 Hector Riley (NOR) 46
3 (T) Robert Owens (BUR) 41
3(T) Al Canseco (HEL) 41
5 Andres Hernandez (COL) 38

WHIP
1(T) Vincenzo Wall (OMA) 1.08
1(T) Juan Marin (HEL) 1.08
3 Tomas Gonzales (HEL)1.11
4 Jackie Little (CH2) 1.11
5 Juan Cora (HEL) 1.11


American League

Wins (W)
1 Wolf Miller (LA) 25
2 (T) Brooks Reames (CH1) 18
2 (T) James Suzuki (LA) 18
2 (T)Louie Gonzalez (NB) 18
2 (T) Dennys Satou (SAL) 18
2 (T) Omar Gilbert (SAL) 18

Earned Run Average (ERA)
1 Harry Regan (NAS) 2.31
2 Luis James (SAL) 2.47
3 Wolf Miller (LA) 2.79
4 Ivan Henriquez (SEA) 3.12
5 Brooks Reames (CH1) 3.14

Saves (S)
1 Julian Jimenez (NY2) 47
2 Alex Dellaero (BOS) 43
3 R.J. Nunez (CHA) 37
4 Felipe Colon (OAK) 36
5 Clarence Torrealba (NAS) 35

WHIP
1 Harry Regan (NAS) 1.11
2(T) Brooks Reames (CH1) 1.14
2(T) Wolf Miller (LA) 1.14
4(T) Ivan Henriquez (SEA) 1.17
4(T) Luis James (SAL) 1.17

S17 Offensive Leaders by League

National League
Batting Average (AVG)

John Yashian, COL .... .343
Mariano Gonzalez, COL. .335
Santos Santana, TAC .. .321
Tomas Liriano, CH2.... .320
Ross Carter, LV ...... .319

Home Runs (HR)
Geronimo Martis, NOR - 58
John Yashian, COL - 51
Norm Parris, NOR - 47
Art Sweeney, POR - 43
Chris Tobin, JAC -39

Runs Scored (R)
Mariano Gonzalez, COL -138
Albert Hernandez, IND - 127
Brendan Lee, HEL - 118
Pasqual Martin, BUR - 116
Santos Santana, TAC - 116

Hits (H)
John Yashian, COL - 218
Albert Hernandez, IND - 213
Santos Santana, TAC - 211
Mariano Gonzalez, COL -210
Tomas Liriano, CH2- 203

Runs Batted In (RBI)
John Yashian, COL - 143
Ben Morris, IND - 126
Geronimo Martis, NOR -126
Larry Dupler, HEL -121
Parker McIntyre, BUF - 118

On Base Percentage (OBP)
Mariano Gonzalez, COL -.417
John Yashian, COL - .399
Hugh Stargell, JAC - .394
Santos Santana, TAC - .389
Chris Tobin, JAC - .388

OPS
John Yashian, COL - 1.036
Geronimo Martis, NOR - 1.034
Mariano Gonzalez, COL - .950
Chris Tobin, JAC - .945
Santos Santana, TAC - .943

Stolen Bases (SB)
Albert Moraga (NOR) 57
Bailey Darensbourg (JAC) 55
Melvin Lawrence (BUR) 46
Brendan Lee (HEL) 44
Trevor Bellhorn (OMA) 38


American League
Batting Average (AVG)

1 Horacio Vallarta (NAS) .372
2 Alberto Ordonez (TRE) .349
3 Russell Leonard (CHA) .337
4 Wilfredo Estrella (CH1) .329
5 Luis Lee (NB) .324


Home Runs

1 (T) Shea Brooks (CH1) 52
1 (T) Bruce Relaford (TEX) 52
3 Kevin Rolls (CH1) 46
4 Fernando Rodriguez (CHA) 45
5 Michael Harper (MEM) 45



Runs Scored

1 Fernando Rodriguez (CHA) 132
2 Shea Brooks (CH1) 126
3 Ken Easley (MEM) 122
4 Hick Delahanty (SAL) 122
5 Bruce Relaford (TEX) 114

Hits
1 Fernando Rodriguez (CHA) 206
2 Tripp Patel (CHA) 199
3 Richie Johnson (DUR) 197
4 Horacio Vallarta (NAS) 195
5 Gabe Marshall (TRE) 193


RBI
1 Bruce Relaford (TEX) 141
2 Kevin Rolls (CH1) 137
3 Lonny Pujols (LA) 137
4 Endy Horton (NB) 137
5 Fernando Rodriguez (CHA) 135

OBP
1 Horacio Vallarta (NAS) .440
2 Alberto Ordonez (TRE) .436
3 Patrick Knotts (SAL) .431
4 Russell Leonard (CHA) .421
5 Juan Colon (MON) .408

OPS
1 Horacio Vallarta (NAS)1.047
2 Alexander Green (DUR) 1.005
3 Patrick Knotts (SAL) .997
4 Kevin Rolls (CH1) .996
5 Shea Brooks (CH1) .995

Stolen Bases
Aaron Bailey (NAS) 60
Julio Alcantara (SXF) 53
Edgard Polanco (SXF) 51
Evan Spencer (OAK) 47
Hick Delahanty (SAL) 47

S17 World Series: To Crush or to Bomb?

World Series 17 rolled around with two of the winningest franchises facing off for the fall classic. The Colorado Colorado Crush has the third most wins in league history, but a World Series title has elluded them. New Britain makes their fifth appearance in the last six seasons.

Game 1: Colorado Colorado Crush 1, New Britain Bombers 9
The New Britain Bombers' George Crandall held Colorado to 1 run in 8 innings while the Bomber bats amassed 16 hits and 9 runs. Colorado starter David Martin was rocked to the rhythm of 7 earned runs and 9 hits in less than 3 innings. Bomber catcher Cesar Rincon got 3 hits, including a HR, and drove in 3 runs. RF Eduardo Molina and 3B Endy Horton got 2 hits a piece.

Player of the Game: Cesar Rincon, 3-5, 3 RBI, HR
Notable: George Crandall 8 IP, 4H, 3BB, 1ER, 9K

Game 2: Colorado Colorado Crush 1, New Britain Bombers 0
A classic pitching duel went Colorado's way to even the series. The Bombers' Louie Gonzalez held Colorado hitless through 4 innings, but Colorado scored on 2 hits and a sacrifice fly in the 5th. Gonzalez struck out 11 in 7 1/3, but Colorado's Yorrick Kramer pitched even better, with no runs allowed to earn the 1-0 win.

Player of the Game: Yorrick Kramer , 7 IP, 5H, 1BB, 3K

Game 3: New Britain 7, Colorado 2
With the series shifting to the NL, New Britain's starter, Mateo Colon got pulled early in favor of a pinch hitter. With a 4 run lead in the 5th, the manager chose to rest Colon and hand the game to the bullpen, who held the lead. David Lee and Yorvit Beltran collected 3 hits a piece while Eduardo Molina drove in 3.

Player of the Game: Eduardo Molina , 2-5, 3RBI

Game 4: New Britain 5, Colorado 0
George Crandall came back on short rest and once again shut down the Colorado offense for 6 innings (6IP, 0 ER, 3H, 4BB), while Cesar Rincon hit a 2 Run homer in the 4th and Yorvit Beltran followed with a 3 run homer in the 6th.

Player of the Game: Yorvit Beltran

Game 5: New Britain 9, Colorado 6
Louie Gonzalez pitched another solid game (7IP, 7H, 2ER) and David Lee and Kevin Sikorksi hit 3 hits a piece to give New Britain the win and the World Series title.

S17 Offseason Starts with Relocation Announcements

The commissioner's office announced the approval of new owners for several franchises. Highlighting the new owners is the return of wolfman, who has significant major league management experience in this league.

In the American League:
1. Charlotte Wolfpack - taking over the former Baltimore Blast, the new owner is ready to compete. This young franchise has a low payroll and deep talent, after years of rebuilding in Baltimore. Charlotte welcomes the team with open arms.

2. Montreal Monarchs - a new ownership team has taken over the former Pawtucket Red Sox. The team, which lost 96 games last season, poses a challenge to the new owner, but with a high draft pick and some major league talent, this team will be competitive and is in great position to be shaped in whatever direction the new owners decide.

3. Sioux Falls Badlands - a new ownership team took over the former Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. After 15 of the previous 16 seasons under the same owner, the franchise is stable and in good position to compete. With a high pick in the forst round, the team is close to competing while still rebuilding.

4. Durham Bulls - following 6 years under the same owner, the former San Antonio Stallions are now the Durham Bulls. The team is solid, despite underperforming last season and seeing significant talent drafted away in the Rule 5 draft.

5. Tacoma Hammerheads - in yet another move, the league's wandering team has found a new home - from New York, the NL North's worst record in S16 became the Tacoma Hammerheads.

6. Arizona Sun Devils - the Vancouver Titans retained the same ownership group, but have relocated to Phoenix, AZ to benefit from the warmer weather... and are now known as the Arizona Sun Devils.

World Series 16 Game by Game Recap

Game 1: Norfolk Tars at Chicago Billy Goats (Andre Sparks (13-3) vs Joaquin Valentin (14-2, 3.14 ERA)

Opening night in Chicago featured a matchup of the Tars' ace, Andre Sparks, against Joaquin Valentin. Sparks had pitched brilliantly in the post-season, but he appeared rusty at Wrigley Field, giving up 5 runs in the first inning, including a grand slam by Albert Bell. Although Norfolk tied it in the 3rd, the Tars' bullpen could not hold off the hometeam's attack. Valentin pitched well enough to win, despite giving up 9 hits and 6 runs in 7 innings.


Player of the Game: Albert Bell, SS, 2-4, 5 RBI, 2B, HR

Notable performances:
Ivan Pescado, RF, 2-5, 2 R, 2 SB

Final: Norfolk 6, Chicago 7
Chicago leads the series 1-0.


---
Game 2: Norfolk Tars at Chicago Billy Goats (Billy Fox (6-9, 4.34 ERA) vs Joaquin Gil (14-7, 3.54 ERA)

Game 2 in Chicago opened with Joaquin Gil on short rest and an even shorter leash. After a first inning where Gil gave up one hit and one walk, the Billy Goats' manager sent out Pedro Uribe in relief to start the 2nd. Uribe, who started 29 games in the regular season, pitched brilliantly in relief: 6 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs and 7 Ks en route to a combined shutout of the Norfolk offense. However, it was once again shortstop Albert Bell who would be the deciding player of this game, with a 2 run double in the 1st and a solo shot in the 3rd

Player of the Game: Albert Bell, SS, 2-4, 3 RBI, 2B, HR

Notable performances:
Pedro Uribe , RP, W, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 7 K

Wilfredo Estrella, LF, 2-2, 2 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI

Final: Norfolk 0, Chicago 6
Chicago leads the series 2-0.


---
Game 3: Chicago Billy Goats at Norfolk Tars (Dave Lewis (11-6, 3.47 ERA) vs Gerardo Cedeno (22-9, 2.72 ERA)

The series moved to Norfolk with the Billy Goats leading 2-0. Chicago brought their Cy Young Winner to the mound, against Dave Lewis. The Tars threatened against Cedeno, with runners in scoring position in the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th, but ever actually scoring. Dave Lewis actually outpitched Cedeno for the first 4 innings, but he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 4th, and the Tars bullpen could not hold off the caprine attack. Cedeno allowed 12 hits in 7 innings, but never allowed a run to score. Cedeno even showed that AL pitchers can hit, getting 2 hits and driving in 1 run to help his cause. The Tars hit two homeruns in the 9th, but it wasn't enough to catch up to the Billy Goats, who won the game with 7 runs.

Player of the Game: Shea Brooks, CF, 2-5, 3 RBI, HR, 2 R

Notable performances:
Gerardo Cedeno, SP, W, 7 IP, 12 H, 0 ER, 4 K ; 2-4 with 1 RBI

Kevin Rolls, 1B, 2-5, 2 RBI, HR, 2 R

Wilfredo Estrella, LF, 2-3, 2 BB, 1 R

Final: Chicago 7, Norfolk 2
Chicago leads the series 3-0.


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Game 4: Chicago Billy Goats at Norfolk Tars (Joaquin Gil (14-7, 3.54 ERA) vs Juan Cueto (7-6, 3.45 ERA)

With a sweep on the line, Joaquin Gil returned to the mound for the Billy Goats, but the Tars were ready for a comeback, scoring 4 times in 7 innings. A change in the lineup brought Albert Moraga to the cleanup spot, where he came through with a 3-4 night and a homerun.

Player of the Game: Juan Cueto SP, W, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB

Notable performances:
Albert Moraga, CF, 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR

Final: Chicago 2, Norfolk 4
Chicago leads the series 3-1.


---
Game 5: Chicago Billy Goats at Norfolk Tars (Andre Sparks (13-3) vs Joaquin Valentin (14-2, 3.14 ERA)

A rematch of Game 1 starters showed a refreshed Sparks pitching brilliantly during the first 4 innings, not allowing a single hit and only one runner reached base (on an error). The 5th inning was a different story. Following a leadoff homerun by the Goats' Albert Bell, Sparks seemed to unravel, and before the inning was over, the Goats scored 7 runs. Goat 1B Kevin Rolls hit a grandslam to chase Sparks. Sparks' counterpart, Joaquin Valentin pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 runs to earn the victory and give the Goats' the World Series title.


Player of the Game: Kevin Rolls, 1B, 1-5, 1R, HR, 4 RBI

Notable performances:
Albert Bell, ss, 3-4, 2 R, HR, 1 RBI

Joaquin Valentin, SP, W, 6IP, 6H, 2R, 1 BB, 4 K

Wilfredo Estrella, LF, 2-5, 2 RBI, 1 R

Anthony Mulholland, 3B, 3-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI

Final: Chicago 10, Norfolk 2
Chicago WINS the WORLD SERIES.

World Series 16 is a tale of David and Goliath

(89-73)

VS.

(109-53)

Chicago, IL - The field is ready, the fans are pumped and the chilly fall weather is here for the opening of the World Series. As the Norfolk Tars come into town to face off with the hometown Billy Goats, both teams look back at the long road that brought them here.

Norfolk entered the playoffs with the second wild card slot, which they secured in the last two games of the season after passing division rivals the Indianapolis Redlegs in the standings. Once in the playoffs, the league's version of David - the Tars - stormed through the playoffs, taking no prisoners and conceding nothing to their rivals. Norfolk defeated Helena 3-1 in the Divisional Play-in Series, swept Colorado 3-0 in the Division Championship Series and then swept Las Vegas in the League Championship Series. They have been resting, waiting to face off with the champions of the junior circuit.

The road the Billy Goats traveled was no less arduous, but they managed to win 109 games during the regular season - 20 games more than the Tars - and finished with the second-best record in the majors. Their regular season record bought them a first-round bye in the playoffs, but quickly dispatched the Trenton Fire 3-1 in the Divisional Series. In the League Championship Series, the Billy Goats faced off with the best record in the majors and returning AL champion New Britain Bombers. The series went to 7 games, but the Billy Goats emerged as the new AL champions. Meet the mighty Goliath.

Despite their regular season records, these teams match up pretty well. Without the advantage of a DH, Norfolk hit 73 homeruns less and hit 11 points lower than Chicago. The Billy Goats led the majors in team homeruns, and were only second to Colorado in team slugging and OPS. Despite facing far fewer pitchers at the bat than designated hitters, Chicago's pitching staff almost matched the Tars in almost every category. And thus, this battle will be a good one, likely decided by the details and nuances of the two teams.

Norfolk's record "on the road" was only 41-40, and the Billy Goats will likely benefit from the friendly "confines" of Wrigley Field, where they finished with a 54-27 record. The Billy Goats had 6 players who hit 20 or more HRs, but none if feared more than 1B Kevin Rolls, who hit 54 HRs, 141 RBIs in the regular season. Shortstop Albert Bell hit a career best 43 HRs to make up for his poor defensive play in the field. Rolls has had a disappointing post-season, but he is likely to turn it around at any moment.

Norfolk does not have a single player with 30 hrs or more, but their team OBP was 20 points higher than Chicago's. Albert Moraga led the team with 26 HRs, but the individual player stats are misleading, as Norfolk utilized a deep bench and only 4 players had 500 at bats or more. Norm Parris, who hit .237 in the regular season with 25 HRs, has hit 7 HRs while hitting for .375 in the post-season. Moraga is an exciting player that hit 26 HRs while stealing 72 bases and playing gold-glove defense in CF. All-Star SS and Silver Slugger Patrick Page brings his gritty play with a combination of power, contact and speed.

The Billy Goats had one of the most consistent and reliable starting rotations in the majors in the quintet of Gerardo Cedeno (22-9, 2.72 ERA), Joaquin Valentin (14-2, 3.14 ERA), Joaquin Gil (14-7, 3.54 ERA), Brooks Reames (14-6, 4.40 ERA) and Pedro Uribe (13-10, 5.04 ERA). Cedeno, the leading candidate for the AL Cy Young award, has a 4-0 record in the postseason. Norfolk's starting rotation features Andre Sparks (13-8, 3.63 ERA), Dave Lewis (11-6, 3.47 ERA), Oswaldo Ramirez (12-4, 3.93 ERA), Billy Fox (6-9, 4.34 ERA)and Juan Cueto (7-6, 3.45 ERA). A late season injury to Ramirez has kept him off of the playoffs so far, but the Tars have not missed a beat, maintaining a 2.16 ERA in the post season while holding opponents to a .212 average. Sparks leads the pack with a 0.47 ERA in 3 starts.

Prediction: Chicago is the favorite to win this series. In a short series likely to feature impressive pitching, it may be the long ball that decides it. Chicago's home record, Norfolk's road record and Chicago's ability to hit HRs give a slight edge to the Billy Goats, but don't count out the underdog Tars just yet. Remember David? Oh yeah, the kid did kill the giant Goliath when nobody expected it...

ADDENDUM: The Billy Goats announced that no fans will be allowed to sit in the first row of the left field line for any home games.

PUBLIC OR PRIVATE? (contributed by pita323)

PUBLIC or PRIVATE?

Below are the results of a poll taken among all owners who have been in this world for a minimum of 10 seasons. This is not to say that the remaining 11 owners are not committed to this world and should not have a say so. If this poll showed a one-sided result, all owners would be asked their thoughts and a final decision decided from there.

This was not done to "not include" any of you, but to hear the comments of the owners that have been through more than 60% (the target number I wanted) of this world's life. 10 seasons is the closest number to 60%.

One of the things I find interesting when searching for the long time owners is that there are 11 owners who were here at the very beginning and 8 others who have a minimum of 10 seasons. That is 19 longtime owners and hopefully others will join this group as this world continues.

Including my response we have votes/comments from 14 of the owners out of 19 involved in this "poll".

Some of the comments are interesting and some are repeated among several owners.

2 comments that appeared on several replies are:
= 1st comment - Would going private make the rollover take longer with having to recruit new owners every season?
==== Being proactive was a comment on preventing that
==== Stronger and more stable if we hand pick owners when needed.
==== Is it worth the wait if we did have to wait a little longer to rollover.
==== One owner who also is in other private worlds says his experience is that it is a longer wait.

= 2nd comment - This world has been strong as a public world, why change.
==== Only a couple issues (2 past owners were mentioned more than once) in all our seasons
==== Stronger and more stable as a private?
==== How much discussion/arguing would be needed to pick a commish and set any world rules we may want?


2 good topics above. With the comments, below is the vote from the participating owners:

PRIVATE - 6 votes
PUBLIC - 3 votes
EITHER - 4 votes
ABSTAIN - 1 vote (longtime owner expected to leave this season)

IMO I do not believe there is enough of a majority to make the change, even though I would be willing. If we decide later to change to private, I would expect us to take volunteers for commish and have the owners vote in an election for commish and any guidelines we may set.
(- pita323)

Seattle hoping for Lightning Strike

Seattle, WA - Last season was a tough one for baseball in Seattle. Finishing with the worst record in franchise history (99 losses), Seattle fans had little hope for a quick turnaround. In a press conference, Lightning GM Greg Soulblazer gave some honest, although unusual, insight into the rebuilding effort that was well underway as the offseason came around. "We are working on a long term rebuilding plan. Yes, the team has been bad for a long time, but we have been working out various things, and trying to find what works best for this team. I believe that things are finally starting to come together".

"Basicaly, our plan calls for a young core of players to make an impact at the major league level in two seasons. This year, and next year, are holding years, in which we admit that the team may be pretty rotten, but trying out different players to see who might stay with the team and who should not. We've avoided signing long term contracts for that reason, along with nobody commanding big pay checks. So we've been spending the last few seasons drafting well and signing some international prospects, and they all should be in the bigs by year 18".

"We traded for a couple of players from Colorado this year in keeping with that spirit, to see what they can do for the team: Julio Johnson and Willy Bergeron. "

"Our free agent signings were limited to two older vets on one year contracts each for fill-in roles: SS Willie Lopez and RF D'Angelo Caballero . Lopez has a reputation as a great fielder with some power, and should provide a defensive upgrade over Omar Pena, who declined an option and departed as a free agent.

We also acquired a major league talent through the Rule 5 Draft, and hope he will be a key addition to the team in Charley Carasone.

The first player of the 'young crop' that we hope will turn around the team will make his ML debut when he pitches the opening day game: International free agent signing Jose Lee.

Other players in the farm system who plan to be in the bigs by Season 18:

Amos Tanner
BJ Carter
Pasqual Jimenez
Matt Roberts
Ralph Marshall
Carson O'Keefe
Graeme Mercker
Bronson Dong
Joakim Castillo

"We also plan to sign another international prospect this year that hopefully could be in the bigs by year 18 or 19, and during the offseason or next offseason change the budget to make a big free agent signing to add another stud hitter to the major league club'.

There is no doubt that the Lightning's rebuilding efforts are well laid out and they have the prospect depth to show that their plans have already been set into motion. There is a bright future for the Lightning, and the league's first World Series champion promises that Lightning WILL strike again.

Which Bison herd will show up for S16?

Burlington, VT - Last season was, by all accounts, a season of rebuilding for the Burlington Bison. Making few offseason moves, the Bison were poised for a season of rebuilding. Holding steady at last place at the All-Star break and looking to unload aging talent but finding no takers, the Bison played on... and actually turned the season around to clinch the second NL Wild Spot on the last day of the season by tying with the Norfolk Tars. Management has given no clear indication of which route the team is taking for S16, but with the core of the team returning, this team could be the first half losers of S15 or the second half contenders. GM Raul Padilla is convinced that his team is an improvement, but is still a few pieces away from being a legit contender and not a fluke. "Last season, we had several guys who put up career years. We think we can compete, and have brought in some new talent both from the free agency market and from the minors, but we will be looking to tweak the team midseason depending on how things go", Padilla said.

Once again, the Bison put together an anemic offensive team with good defense and good pitching, but don't expect the Bison to finish any better than last in a tough division.

Departing... Gone are 1B Jayson Penny (.285 AVG, 8HR), 3B Eddie ingram (.231, 9HR and a huge disappointment), C Aaron Schrenk, P Bud Lankford, P Elvis Forest and RP Walt Robinson .

Robinson, who departed as a free agent to sign with the Buffalo Blizzard, will likely be the biggest loss to the Bison.

Arriving...
Patrick McCurry, 2B - signed by the Bison to a ridiculous contract for an aging player, it is not clear where he will play or how frequently, but the Bison were attracted by his mixture of contact, speed and defense at the top of the lineup.

Greg Smith, C - The Bison have repeatedly tried to acquire Smith over the years and are convinced that he will be the backup catcher they have sorely missed, but others believe Smith is simply holding a spot until the arrival of one of the Bison catching prospects.

Clay Malone, P - Malone signed as a free agent for the Bison, and could be a huge mistake if he doesn't stay healthy... which is a HUGE unknown factor. He will battle for the 5th starting spot with Geronimo Martinez and Juan Pena, both of whom played swing roles between starting and relief last season.

Torey Mercado, LH RP - Mercado was a reliable lefthanded specialist for the Bison several seasons ago. AFter lingering in minor relief roles and swinging between AAA and the Majors, the Bison reclaimed him as a Rule 5 pickup from Seattle and are looking for him to return to top reliever form.

The prospects...
Expect the last position spot to be filled after a Spring training battle between Dustin Nunnally, Alberto Santayana and Rodrigo Vargas, one of which will likely earn the at bats that Ingram had last season. Pitcher Fernando Baez, who had a cup of coffee with the team after the September callups, has an outisde shot at earning a bullpen role after an impressive spring, but will likely compete with fellow prospects Del Butler, Glenn Hall and Joshua Davenport. However, the Bison's top prospects are all catchers, with Nick Vitiello apparently ready for the ML team, but likely to spend another year in the minors. Other minor league catching prospects may become trade bait if a mid-season move needs to happen or if injuries deplete the ML roster.

The Bison's lineup (and last seasons totals) projects to be:

Aaron Bailey, CF - (.254 AVG, .317 OBP, 4 HRs, 60+ SBs)
Patrick McCurry, LF (.302 AVG, .373 OBP, 11 HRs, 50+ SBs)
Norberto Fernandez, 1B (.273 AVG, .345 OBP, 18 HRs)
Tyler Merrick, 3B (.273 AVG, .345 OBP, 21 HRs)
Anthony Christensen, RF (.257, .334 OBP , 21 HRs)
Dustin Nunally, 2B (.294 AVG, .380 OBP, 20 HR in AAA)
Brandon Raines, C (.242, .304 obp, 16 HRs)
Tony Tatis, SS (vs R) (.249 AVG, .298 OBP, 6 HRs)
Steve Karl, SS (vs L) (.221 AVG, .271 OBP, 9 HRs)

Bench:
Gerald Sanders, IF (.255, .308 OBP, 8 HRs)
Greg Smith, C (.238 AVG, .287 OBP, 9 HRs)
Tony Lamb, 1B/LF (.256 AVG, .327 OBP, 10 HRS)

Pitchers:
Cookie Ramirez, RH SP (18-7, 2.31 ERA)
Ismael Alvarado, RH SP (6010, 3.19 ERA)
Rick Cobb, RH SP (15-10, 3.21 ERA)
OT Ferrara, LH SP (8-10, 3.40 ERA)
Clay Malone, RH SP (6-5, 4.28 ERA)
Juan Pena, RH SP (7-5, 3.69 ERA)
Geronimo Martinez, RHP (7-1, 1.69 ERA)
Norm Holdridge, RHP (5-2, 3.65 ERA)
Woody Brosius, RHP (4-4, 3.40 ERA, 8 SV)
Edwards Ransom, RHP (4-6, 4.59 ERA)
Torey Mercado, LH RP (4 IP, 3.86 ERA)
Robert Owens, RH RP (14 SV, 3.14 ERA)
Fernando Baez, RH RP (2 IP, 0.00 ERA)

Rule 5 Brings Major League Help to a few teams

The S16 Rule 5 league brought some new faces to some teams, giving a handful of players the opportunity to help at the ML level when their original teams wouldn't.

1. Melvin Lawrence - CF - drafted by the Boston Minutemen. Lawrence is a speedy CF with a great ability to get on base and a high batting average through the minor leagues. Lawrence has hit 7 HRs in 4 seasons of professional baseball, but projects to help and improve with the Minutemen if given regular playing time.

2. Charley Carasone - 2B - drafted by the Seattle Lightning. Arguably the best hitter taken in the draft, Carasone should see lots of playing time with his new team. Carasone will likely strike out a lot at the ML level, but will see plenty of opportunities to hit 10-20 HRs while providing adequate defense.

3. David Meadows - RP - drafted by the Helena Handbaskets. Meadows has two major league quality pitches, but is still developing and will likely struggle at the ML level. New Britain took a gamble and left him unprotected, while Helena acquired some solid talent, and Meadows will mature into a top ML reliever if given enough innings.

4. Ernest Taft - 2B/3B - drafted by the LA Canyoneros - Taft is a great contact hitter with great on base potential, although he has never played above the High A level. After lingering at that level for 3 seasons, Taft is welcoming a fresh start and may see some action off the bench and get occasional starts.

World Series 15 Game by game recap

World Series 15 featured two evenly matched teams, both on top of ther respective league's leaders in offense and pitching. New Britain's Bombers made their second consecutiuve World Series appearance while the Indianapolis Redlegs made their first. Here is what happened...

Game 1: Indianapolis Redlegs at New Britain Bombers (Yogi Cooper, 15-7, 3.01 ERA, vs Juan Marin, 12-8 2.21 ERA)

Opening night in New Britain brought the 38yr old Cooper, a veteran of numerous post-seasons and 220 career wins, a chance to shine for his team. Marin, an ace with 210 career wins, got a chance to show why New Britain traded for him in the offseason. Both starters pitched well enough to win, but a 2-run homer by the Redlegs, 33yr old catcher Paul Lewis would be enough to win. Although the Bombers threatened with the bases loaded in the 8th, the Redlegs halted their momentum when 38yrd old reliever Torey Arnold induced a groundball double play. The Redlegs added insurance runs off of the Bombers' bullpen to win it.

Player of the Game: Paul Lewis , C, 2-4, 3 RBI, (2 R HR)
Notable performances:
Yogi Cooper, P, 6 IP, 5H, 0ER, WIN
Howie Martin, ss, 2-4, 2 RBI

Final: Indianapolis 5, New Britain 1
Indianapolis leads the series 1-0.

Game 2: Indianapolis Redlegs at New Britain Bombers (Banana Hawkins, 13-7, 2.34 ERA, vs Louie Gonzalez 13-16, 3.93 ERA)

The 34 yr old Hawkins, acquired in an offseason trade, was a key part to the Redlegs' breakthrough season. Hawkins pitched like a veteran 13 game winner, while Gonzalez got pummeled with 6 runs and 10 hits in 4 innings. Torey Arnold made his second consecutive appearance with 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

Player of the Game: Sidney Gardner, 2B, 2-3, 3RBI, HR
Notable performances:
Banana Hawkins, SP, 6 1/3, 8H, 2 ER, WIN
Ben Morris, CF, 2-4, 2 runs
Torey Arnold, RP, 2 2/3 IP, 0H

Final: Indianapolis 6, New Britain 2
Indianapolis leads the series 2-0.

Game 3: New Britain Bombers at Indianapolis Redlegs (George Crandall, 15-8, 3.34 ERA, vs Rick Ramirez, 14-8, 4.57 ERA)

With the series moving to Indianapolis, young phenom Crandall limited the Redlegs to one hit in 7 innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter, but he was matched by 7 shutout innings by Ramirez. The game would go into extra innings, where a clutch double by Ben Morris in the bottom of the 10th would bring in Howie Martin all the way from first base to score in a dramatic close call at the plate. Torey Arnold appeared once again in relief with a perfect inning.

Player of the Game: Ben Morris, CF, 1-4, 1 RBI
Notable performances:
Rick Ramirez, SP, 7 IP, 0H, 0 ER, 7k

Final: New Britain 0, Indianapolis 1
Indianapolis leads the series 3-0.

Game 4: New Britain Bombers at Indianapolis Redlegs (Mateo Colon, 16-8, 3.35 ERA vs Yogi Cooper, 15-7, 3.01 ERA)
Yogi Cooper came back on short rest to try to wrap it up in the series sweep, but despite throwing 5 solid innings and leaving with the lead, the Redlegs' bullpen was unable to hold the lead. The Bombers' bats came to live with a 4-run attack in the 8th inning and their bullpen shut down the Redlegs for good. Thomas Serrano hit a bases loaded double, followed by a 2run RBI single by Eduardo Molina.

Player of the Game: Eduardo Molina, LF, 2-4, 3 RBI, 1HR
Notable performances:
David Lee, 2B, 2-4, 1 RBI
Thomas Serrano , CF, 1-3, 2 RBI

Final: New Britain 6, Indianapolis 5
Indianapolis leads the series 3-1.

Game 5: New Britain Bombers at Indianapolis Redlegs (Banana Hawkins, 13-7, 2.34 ERA,vs Juan Marin, 12-8 2.21 ERA)

While it could be said that both starters have pitched better games, it is hard to argue that this was a very good game. The game would go into the bottom of the 9th, tied at 5 a piece when the Redlegs' offense put it away to clinch their first World Series Title. Sidney Gardner ste the table with a leadoff walk, and made it to third base with very aggresive base running on a controversial close call at third after a single to CF by Howard Robinson. Ben Morris threatened to end it, but a spectacular catch by LF Sal Greene came very close to killing the Redlegs' momentum. A walk-off single to RF by Mateo Montero drove Gardner in to clinch the World Series title. Bart Sheldon, who pitched a perfect 9th for the Redlegs, got the win. Ageless veteran Torey Arnold pitched 3 scoreless innings in relief after Hawkins hit the showers, and kept the Redlegs in the game.

Player of the Game: Mateo Montero, 3-5, 4 RBI, including walk-off single in 9th
Torey Arnold, RP, 3 IP, 0 ER, 2H, 2Ks
Ben Morris, CF 2-5
Sidney Gardner, 2B 1-4, HR

World Series 15 Promises to be a solid matchup

The teams and how they got here

Indianapolis Redlegs (NL) - The Redlegs make their first World Series appearance after a long drought. The Redlegs moved from Cincinnati and immediately found themselves at home in only the second post-season appearance for this franchise. After years of seemingly underperforming, the young core of the Redlegs finally matured enough to put it all together into a juggernaut that won 95 games in the regular season. The Redlegs have breezed through the post season, dispatching the Burlington Bison in 4 games before sweeping the Chicago Shoeless Joes in 4 games, and are fresh and rested for the World Series.

New Britain Bombers (AL) - The mighty Bombers return to the World Series to defend the ring the took last year, and finished their 6th consecutive division championship. The post-season has seen the Bombers roll over the Salem Trappers 3-1 in the series before going to a 6 game series against the Chicago Bill Goats.

Both teams are evenly matched in offense and pitching, with New Britain carrying a slight edge in both categories. However, the Redlegs have a handful of individual players who could carry their team in a short series.



The Hall of Fame Looms Large

After 15 years of Mathewson baseball, the commissioner's office announced today the formation of a panel of baseball experts in anticipation of the first Hall of Fame at the beginning of next season. The announcement was met with enthusiasm and some trepidation, as most fans agree that most of the best players of the last 15 years are still playing. Sports radio shows and columnists quickly lined up to voice their opinion and support for different players, and the panel is even considering expanding the list of eligible players before nomination.

At a date to be announced, all teams will be able to nominate retired players to the Hall of Fame. After the list of nominees is set, voters will then get to pick who gets enshrined in baseball's pantheon of fame. The following list of early eligibles was compiled by writers from three different cities as some who deserve consideration.

1. Mike Burrell - RF - Charlotte Wolfpack, Iowa City Bison - Burrell's .327 career AVG is 3rd amongst all HOF eligible players, and his .406 career OBP is nothing to ignore, he hit 330 career HRs, hit 2082 hits, scored 1333 runs (2nd amongst HOF eligibles), made 5 All-Star appearances, was a 3 time silver slugger RF, was a key part of one World Series victory for the Wolfpack. With 1333 runs scored (2nd amongst HOF eligibles), Burrell will always be remembered as a versatile outfielder who could get on base, clutch hit and score, but had enough power to be a game changer. Burrell had the respect of his teammates, and was credited with the Iowa City franchise's resurgence when he signed as a free agent in the latter years of his career.

2.
Carlos Rincon - The all time career leader in stolen bases (570) also batted a career .323 average and scored over 1000 runs. He never appeared in an all Star Game or win any awards. In S8, Rincon established the single season stolen base record with 104 while only being caught 13 times. Rincon is a borderline HOF caliber player, and is not likely to get picked on his first attempt at the hall.

3.
Kennie Perez - The native of Kodiak, Alaska will always be remembered as an All-Star CF, but he is amongst the most balanced players to ever play in this league. He starred as a CF, but graciously transitioned to be a 3B and a RF, even played SS for a stretch run at the end of S9 to help LAs Vegas make it into the playoffs. While he played at his prime for the Memphis BluesBoys, he also played for Las Vegas, Helena and Iowa City. Perez made 2 All-Star appearances, was a 3-time Silver Slugger, got 2 Gold Gloves (at different positions), and probably suffered from his biggest asset: his versatility to play multiple positions. He Leads HOF eligible players in runs scored, is 2nd in career hits (2130), hit 278 career hrs, and was a .292 carrer avg. He earned 1 World Series ring with Memphis. Perez was a leader in the club house and at the top of the lineup.

4.
Carlos Franco - 3B - The most likely player to be inducted into the HOF, Franco was the Colorado Colorado Crush's 3B for 11 seasons. In that time, he was a 6 time All-Star, 2 time Silver Slugger 3B. 507 career HRs, 1985 career hits, .320 career AVG, .377 OBP, his career OPS (.998) ties for best amongst HOF eligible players. While critics argue that his offensive numbers were inflated by Colorado's thin air, and that 507 career HRs are not even in the top 10 in league history, nobody will argue that Franco was one of the most dangerous hitters of his playing years.

5.
Willie Vazquez - CF/RF/2B - Norfolk, Portland - Although best remembered for a controversial contract signed in S8, Vazquez deserves respect for his accomplishments in the playing field. He was a 6 time All-Star, a 5 time silver slugger CF, a gold glove RF who hit 301 career HRs, 1095 RBIs, a .287 career AVG, and a .402 career OBP. It is unlikely that he will be picked for the Hall of Fame, but he will definitely get some consideration.


6.
Fausto Canseco - The journeyman wore multiple jerseys in his career, but this LF was an offensive force to be reckoned regardless of where he played. He made 1 All-Star game appearance, but hit 457 career HRs, 1596 career hits, and compiled a.294 career AVG.

7.
Mike McGlinchy - 3 Time All-Star, 1 Gold Glove, hit 419 career HRs over 9 seasons. Although popular for playing his entire career with one franchise and establishing most franchise career offensive records, he is unlikely to get enough support outside of his home team fan base to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

8.
Rick Harnisch - 3 Time All Star, 2 time Silver Slugger 3B put up similar career numbers to McGlinchy (427 career HRs, .292 career AVG, 1616 hits, .829 OPS) in 200 more games (1555), and is likely to receive equal treatment.


9.
Billy Hermansen - All Star catcher for the Louisville Wild Turkeys for 10 seasons is the career leader in batting average amongst HOF eligible players (.338), a 2 time all-star, a silver slugger catcher, and earned one World Series ring.



10.
Don Gonzales - All time saves leader (423 in 471 opportunities) amongst HOF eligibles is second all-time in save totals, and is one of only a handful of pitchers worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement. Although relievers tend to get snubbed out of the Hall, there is no arguing that Gonzales was amongst the best, being a 10-time All-Star, a 4 time Fireman of the Year, and got two World Series rings (one for Memphis and one for Buffalo). Gonzales should be a unanimous decision.

11. Sam Goodwin - Sam Goodwin won 142 games, which is best amongst HOF eligible pitchers (but not even top 15 in league history). He was a 2-time Cy Young Award winner, a 4 time 20 game winner, and made 3 All-Star game appearances. A key part of the Charlotte Wolfpack's early success, Goodwin suffered from making his major league debut after 10 years of professional baseball in other circuits. He was known as a "junkball" pitcher that relied heavily on his knuckle ball while keeping batters off-balance with an arsennal of off-speed pitches. He managed a career 3.55 ERA, held batters to a career .252 OAV and had a 1.24 career WHIP. Of all the starting pitchers eligible for nomination, Goodwin is as good as it gets

12. Richard Magee - a 4-time All-Star that trails only Goodwin in Career wins (141) amongst HOF eligibles, Magee was a 4-time All star and collected two World Series rings (one with Memphis and one with Las Vegas).

13. Alexander Goldman - Goldman was the anchor of the Las Vegas pitching staff for the first 7 years of this league's history, earning a Cy Young award and making two All-Star appearances. In S4, he was a key part of the Rollers' World Series victory. Goldman was a fierce competitor and an innings-eating workhorse for 6 years, before becoming a mopup reliever in the dusk of his career. Much like Goodwin, Goldman also suffered from debuting at the start of this league as a career veteran of other leagues. In 9 seasons, Goldman posted 122-52 career record, including 10 complete games. He had a 4.05 career ERA, and won 16 or more games 5 times, including a 21-6 record in S5 and a 19-4 record in his Cy Young award winning S2. Goldman will get some Hall of Fame consideration, but is not likely to be a unanimous choice for induction.

Where have all the homers gone?

It is official. The league has pulled the plug on power. With slightly less than 20% of the season completed, the question everybody is asking is "Where are the homeruns?"

A comprehensive analysis by San Antonio Ken Adadry notes that average home run production is down 30% over last year and roughly 36% over the years before. Projected statistics of all major batting categories show no no change year over year in AVG or OBP, nor average total hits, walks or strikeouts, doubles or triples. The impression is that home runs are simply turning into singles. Average SLG and by turn OPS, have dropped as a direct result of the lower numbers of homeruns being hit.

A different analyst presents a different interpretation, although the overall lack of power is confirmed across the league. According to Seth Zooba of the Iowa City Baseball Insider, the numbers do show a decrease in overall power, but it is not as clear that homers have simply turned into singles. "We have seen big hitters barely hitting it out of the infield, never mind out of the park. The "across the board" decrease in power probably reflects that homers are turning into doubles, previous doubles into singles... while sharply hit singles are still singles. If you look at a guy like Parker McIntire, a guy that will likely give you 650 at bats - in the past he has hit 50+ HRs and 20-25 doubles. This year, his avg is typically Parkeresque (.347), but he is on pace to hit 15-20 HRs and 35-40 doubles. I think by season's end, we will see things stabilize to resemble last season, when a roughly 20% decrease in homeruns was seen... but the era of guys hitting 70+ homeruns is gone. This season's lack of power has been incredible."

The trend is reminiscent of the drop in triples seen between seasons 2 and 3. Baseball was played differently back then - aggresive base running and poor defense amounted to lots of triples in the league for the first two seasons, averaging >100 triples per team. Amphetamine use was reportedly rampant across the league, but by season 3, teams were averaging 20-25 triples per team.

"It's as if overnight, the gods of baseball collided to take away offensive advantages and rearrange the way the game is played - we see different leaders in the leader boards, different standings and very likely, a different amount of value placed on a player's attributes", Zooba said.

Why this sudden drop in power (slugging and OPS) is seen across the league is unknown, but some cite stricter testing for performance enhancing drugs, the standardized use of humidors for storing baseballs in all major league ballparks, better pitching across the league and significantly more experienced owner and GMs putting together teams with improved pitching... or then again, it is just too early to tell and it will all even out by season's end.