How they got here...
New York Fun Bags
In a tough American League East Division that saw three teams enter the postseason, the 95-76 New York entered the playoffs as a Wild Card team. The Fun Bags played the first round of the playoffs against the New Britain Bombers. In a tough series that went to a Game 5, New York advanced to face the Oakland Elephants.
As a team with 105 wins, the well rested Elephants came in as a heavy favorite, but New York dispatched them in 4 games. New York moved on to play Pittsburgh in a series that took 6 games before they advanced to the World Series.
The Bison, at 84-78 had the second worst record of the teams entering the postseason, edging only with only Wild Card team Helena (82-80) by two wins. The Burlington Bison did get the advantage of winning their division to earn a first round bye and were well rested when they faced Honolulu in the Division Championship Series. Defeating Honolulu in four games, the Bison advanced to the League Championship Series to play the Colorado Crush. After a six game series, the Bison advanced to the World Series
Game 1: Gerardo Cedeno (16-6, 3.22 ERA) vs Bob Willis (12-7, 3.51 ERA), in Burlington
Bison shortstop Gustavo Unamuno got two hits and drove in two runs while Pete DeJean broke a 2 run tie with a bloop single in the 6th inning. Willis pitched 5 solid innings before turning the game to the bullpen.
Player of the Game: Pete DeJean (drove game winning run)
Bob Willis -- 5 innings, 1 Earned Run
Gustavo Unamumo - 2 hits in 4 at bats, 2 runs batted in
Pete DeJean -- 1 hit in 4 at bats, drove in the game winning run
Final Score: New York 3, Burlington 4
Burlington took the series lead
Game 2: Kiko Simpson (14-11, 3.17 ERA) vs Joaquin Gil (13-11, 3.80 ERA), in Burlington
Joe Strange smacked a 3-run homer in the third and the Fun Bags never looked back. Simpson struck out 10 Bison in 7 2/3 to earn the win. Rookie Burke Snyder homered for the Bison.
Player of the Game: Kiko Simpson
Joe Strange: 3 Run HR, 2 hits, 2 runs scored
Final Score: New York 5, Burlington 2
New York tied the series 1-1.
Game 3: Roosevelt Greene (11-8, 2.44 ERA) vs Jonathan Poole (3-3, 6.21 ERA), in New York
The 23 yr old Jonathan Poole, who was injured for most of the season, started for the Fun Bags as the series shifted to New York. Poole pitched six effective innings while Joe Strange, Jimmie Biddle and Clem Reese got two hits each and York McNamara drove in two runs. Greene got tagged for 4 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. For the Bison, David Lee, Brian Ramirez and Adrian Beltre got two untimely hits each in the losing effort.
Player of the Game: Jonathan Poole
Notable: York McNamara, 2 RBI
Joe Strange, Jimmie Biddle and Clem Reese got two hits each
Final Score: Burlington 3, New York 5
New York leads the series 2-1.
Game 4: Gerardo Cedeno (16-6, 3.22 ERA) vs Christy Pearson (8-4, 2.94 ERA), in New York
In a controversial decision, the Bison started rookie Pearson in Game 4 instead of Bob Willis against perennial Cy Young candidate Cedeno. Pearson had been called up and used as a swing man spot starter and reliever during most of the season due to injuries to Bison pitching. Although Willis was the announced starter, Pearson was a game time decision as the pitching coach claimed Willis "wasn't at 100%". A Bison coach was quoted as saying "We had planned on Bob starting, but we also agreed that he'd only go at 100%. He may have been at 94-95%, but that's still not 100% and we chose to give the ball to Christy." Pearson pitched 7 2/3 solid innings to earn the win behind an offense powered by Brian Ramirez' 3 run homer in the 6th. Ramirez and Gustavo Unamuno got 2 hits each.
Player of the Game: Brian Ramirez (2 hits, 3 run HR)
Notable: Gustavo Unamuno, 2 hits, excellent defense
Christy Pearson - 7 2/3, win
Final Score: Burlington 4, New York 3
Burlington evened the series 2-2.
Game 5: Bob Willis (12-7, 3.51 ERA) vs Kiko Simpson (14-11, 3.17 ERA), in New York
Bison pitcher Bob Willis returned after 5 innings in Game 1, and threw 5 scoreless innings to get the win. Brian Ramirez was the offensive sparkplug, driving in 3 runs for the Bison and earning Player of the Game honors. The Bison took advantage of 3 errors by the Fun Bags.
Player of the Game: Brian Ramirez (2 runs, 3 RBI)
Notable: Bob Willis, 5 scoreless innings
Final Score: Burlington 5, New York 3
Burlington took the series lead 3-2.
Game 6: Mariano Gonzalez (12-7, 4.27 ERA) vs Joaquin Gil (13-11, 3.80 ERA), in Burlington
Final Score: New York 2, Burlington 1
New York tied the series 3-3.
Game 7: Gerardo Cedeno (16-6, 3.22 ERA) vs Roosevelt Greene (11-8, 2.44 ERA), in Burlington
Game 7 featured the third start by New York's ace, Cedeno, against the Bison's ERA leader. The Bison jumped to an early start with a solo HR by Pete DeJean in the 2nd, and added three more runs in the bottom of the 4th to chase Cedeno, and two more in the bottom of the 7th. Greene pitched 7 solid shutout innings before giving way to the bullpen. Greene also provided some offense with 2 hits and one RBI
Player of the Game: Roosevelt Greene, 7 shutout innings, win; At the plate: 2 hits and 1 RBI
Notable: Pete DeJean, 2 RBI, 1 HIT (HR)
Edgardo Polanco, 2 hits, 2 RBI
David Lee - 2 hits
Final Score: New York 2 , Burlington 6
Burlington Wins World Series 26