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Old 05-31-2018, 06:57 AM   #2541
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The Raccoons added two more players in right-hander Juan Barzaga and 2020 supplemental-rounder Jake Burrows, already 26, who would be the third-string catcher we had lacked so far.

Raccoons (73-76) vs. Thunder (79-70) – September 16-18, 2024

Both teams played out the string, since despite the Thunder having won six more games than the Raccoons, they were just about as far ahead of the division leader in the South. Their mix of doing everything reasonably well, but excelling at nothing, had not sparked into a playoff run, but at least they were one win away from taking the season series against the Raccoons, which stood at 4-2.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (14-7, 2.98 ERA) vs. Bryan Hanson (10-7, 3.10 ERA)
Josh Whitaker (0-5, 4.31 ERA) vs. J.J. Menendez (12-10, 4.32 ERA)
Jack Sander (9-8, 4.15 ERA) vs. Chris Munroe (11-16, 4.56 ERA)

Left, right, right, and after that another ten games and then it's finally over.

Game 1
OCT: SS L. Rivera – 2B Serrato – 1B A. Baker – C Burgess – CF Bareford – 3B Castellanos – RF F. Larios – LF Millan – P Hanson
POR: LF Spencer – 2B Walter – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – SS Stalker – 3B Nunley – C Burrows – CF Borg – P Gutierrez

Jake Burrows played himself right into everybody's hearts with a throwing error in the first inning that allowed Lorenzo Rivera to go to third base on a steal attempt of second, from where Gutierrez balked him in, so, yeah, every inning in the books was a relief at this point. Nothing got better from there, with the Coons stranding a pair in the first, Nunley and his leadoff double in the second, and then sunk to 3-0 down when Frank Larios hit a 2-out, 2-run homer off Rico in the fourth inning. Alex Serrato added a solo shot in the fifth, 4-0. Gutierrez lasted six and a third before being relieved in another outing that indicated why he would not win the ERA title, with the Raccoons still trailing, pulling out only one run against Hanson in the fifth. Greg Borg hit a leadoff single, was bunted over by Gutierrez, then scored on Jarod Spencer's single. That one aside, Hanson mostly created very weak contact, but occasionally a grounder sneaked through, like for Burrows in the seventh. The not-so-young rookie catcher hit a leadoff single to left, but was quickly removed from the bases on Borg's fielder's choice. Grigsby hit for Kevin Surginer and flew out to right, and Spencer grounded out to short on a 3-0 pitch, which was not a promising approach to winning. Jon Gonzalez smacked into a double play in the eighth after Hanson drilled PH Justin Gerace to begin the inning. Portland entered the bottom 9th trailing 5-1 (after a run scored on Jimmy Lee in the top 9th) and facing Andy Palomares, who was entirely unknown to me and retired nobody. Stalker got hit, Nunley hit a homer, 5-3, and here comes Jesus Lopez, a right-hander, to close things. Abel Mora walked in Burrows' spot to bring up the tying run, which – after Borg made an out – became Omar Alfaro, who ended the game with a nifty double play grounder. 5-3 Thunder. Spencer 2-4, RBI; Nunley 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI;

Game 2
OCT: SS L. Rivera – 2B Serrato – 1B A. Baker – RF Dobbs – CF Bareford – 3B Castellanos – C Kubesh – LF Camarillo – P J.J. Menendez
POR: CF Mora – 2B Walter – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – SS Armetta – P Whitaker

Jon Gonzalez murdered another inning with a double play grounder, this time right in the first. Walter (having forced out Abel Mora) and Tovias (error) had been on the bases, and he left on nobody with a zinger at Lorenzo Rivera. Meanwhile Whitaker faced an entirely right-handed lineup, which went so-so for a while until John Kubesh hit a solo homer in the second inning in his first official at-bat of the season (he had already a sac fly on his ledger). Whitaker hit a hard liner to center his first time at the plate, which came with Cookie and Sam Armetta on the corners after a pair of 2-out singles in the bottom 2nd, but former Raccoons centerfielder Andy Bareford felt playing spoiler and caught the ball on the run, denying the Raccoons a run again. And those Critters sprinkled plenty of singles early on, six in the first four innings, without getting a run moved across. Armetta singled twice, both times with two outs and a runner on first, and the inning always died with Whitaker, which was not all Whitaker's fault, but … eh.

Elias Tovias finally tied the score in the fifth with a solo homer, which was not enough for Whitaker to finally get into the W column yet. He also ran into Kubesh again with Jesus Castellanos on second base in the sixth inning, and Kubesh sure enough didn't miss another pitch and hit an RBI double to the fence in leftfield, giving birth to another Thunder lead, 2-1. Both teams stranded pairs of runners in the seventh, with Vince D doing the rounds for Portland after Whitaker expended 103 pitches in completing six innings. Terry Kopp singled off Peter Gill in the eighth inning, but then Nunley found a way into a double play. The Thunder failed to get an insurance run, though, against Surginer and Lillis in the eighth and ninth, and the bottom of the ninth inning began with the leadoff man reaching base again as Cookie Carmona singled to right off Jesus Lopez. Zach Graves flew out to left. Jarod Spencer flew out to left. Abel Mora … struck out. 2-1 Thunder. Walter 2-4; Carmona 2-4; Armetta 2-3; Whitaker 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, L (0-6);

This loss eliminated the Raccoons from playoff contention mathematically.

Game 3
OCT: SS L. Rivera – RF Branch – 2B Serrato – 1B Kuzman – 3B Flournoy – C A. Baker – LF Cesta – CF Millan – P Munroe
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Kopp – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Sander

The Thunder obviously scored first again, utilizing a Chris Kuzman single, a walk to Adam Baker, a wild pitch, and then Mike Cesta's sac fly to score a run in the second inning. Serrato hit a solo homer in the fourth inning, and that was all the scoring through five. Sander wasn't exactly fooling anybody, but got some help from the defense (if he let them), while the Thunder's Chris Munroe – a former Raccoon seven years removed – held the home team to two base hits through five, both soft singles that led nowhere nice. Sander reached 105 innings after just 5.2 innings and was removed, with Hector Morales getting the last out in the sixth from Cesta. David Kipple was less fortunate in the seventh inning, allowing a leadoff single to Omar Millan and walking Rivera to put two aboard that Ryan Corkum couldn't clean up efficiently. Alex Serrato's 2-out single scored Millan from third base, putting the Thunder 3-0 ahead. Come the ninth, never-used closer Jonathan Snyder was ripped apart by wild animals for a leadoff walk to Rivera and then doubles, back-to-back, by Serrato and Kuzman, both plating a run for a 5-0 lead. The Raccoons were still 2-hit by Munroe at that point, got a pinch-hit single from Shane Walter in the bottom 9th, but failed to reach even second base in the inning. 5-0 Thunder. Walter (PH) 1-1;

(groans)

Raccoons (73-79) @ Loggers (73-80) – September 20-22, 2024

Technically we were playing for third place in the North, but actually nobody cared. The Loggers had lost six in a row, the Raccoons would never win another game, and it was all horrible. Milwaukee, tenth in runs scored and sixth in runs allowed, had a 9-6 lead in the season series against the Raccoons. They had not won the season series in TEN years.

Projected matchups:
Jesus Chavez (7-15, 4.22 ERA) vs. Pedro Hernandez (9-14, 3.74 ERA)
Mark Roberts (11-9, 3.40 ERA) vs. Ian Prevost (13-10, 3.36 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (14-8, 3.08 ERA) vs. Jorge Villalobos (11-7, 2.80 ERA)

Three right-handers; not like we can hit anybody, no matter if left-handed, right-handed, or no-handed.

Game 1
POR: 2B Spencer – CF Mora – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – 3B Nunley – RF Graves – SS Stalker – LF Gerace – P Chavez
MIL: LF W. Trevino – 2B March – CF Coleman – RF Gore – SS Tadlock – C Wool – 1B Gilmor – 3B A. Velez – P P. Hernandez

Every left-handed batter he saw, Jesus Chavez shuffled on base; Dan March doubled to right, and he walked Ian Coleman. Brad Gore's single loaded the bases, and Ron Tadlock – a right-hander – lined out to Nunley. Josh Wool was a left-handed batter and singled to score two, which was when the pattern ended with left-hander Nick Gilmor popping out foul on a 3-2 pitch. And again, the Raccoons were trailing – the most familiar sight. Another very familiar sight presented itself in the second inning, when the Raccoons had the bases loaded thanks to Nunley working a walk, Graves and Stalker singling, and then Justin Gerace hit into an inning-ending double play. They were just blastingly bad…

Meanwhile Chavez, loser of 15, worked hard for his 16th loss in keeping a steady supply of runners available for cash-in for the Loggers. Josh Wool hit another RBI single with two outs in the bottom 3rd, plating Coleman, who had drawn a 4-pitch walk earlier. Those were all the runs off Chavez, who lasted six innings on a bit more than 100 pitches, continuing the Raccoons' starters' run of futility – and also with no support whatsoever. The most notable offensive things the Raccoons did through six was Jarod Spencer smacking a single to center in the sixth only to get caught stealing immediately, which I personally found very offensive.

An actual threat developed in the eighth inning. Tim Stalker singled on Hernandez' first pitch of the inning (and only his 84th overall), and then Hernandez lost Gerace to a walk in a full count. That brought up the tying run in Omar Alfaro, in other words: maybe we can re-rally with one on and two outs. Actually, Alfaro's grounder up the middle was too quick and eluded Ron Tadlock and Dan March for a single, loading the bases for the top of the order. The Raccoons continued to ground in the direction of the second base bag, which was the most dangerous way to go about things. Spencer's grounder was intercepted by Tadlock, but they only got an out on Alfaro as the Coons scored their first run in what was now a 3-1 game, and 3-2 when Mora singled to center. Tovias tied it with a dying swan single into shallow right. Gonzalez grounded out, which advanced the runners, but continued to leave him completely useless. Nunley batted with two outs, and before he could drive in the go-ahead run, Hernandez plated it himself with a wild pitch. Nunley popped out. Ron Tadlock hit a triple off Ryan Corkum in the bottom 8th, but that came with nobody on and two outs, and Josh Wool popped out to have both teams strand a man on third base in the eighth inning. Snyder had been cooked by the Thunder in the ninth on Wednesday, but nothing undue happened to him in this game as he added a save to his ledger. 4-3 Coons. Carmona (PH) 1-1; Stalker 2-4;

Game 2
POR: CF Mora – 2B Walter – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – SS Stalker – LF Carmona – P Roberts
MIL: 2B Mancia – C Wool – SS Tadlock – RF Gore – CF Coleman – LF W. Trevino – 1B G. Sauceda – 3B A. Velez – P Prevost

Abel Mora drew a walk to begin the game, was caught stealing (like all other four Coons trying to swipe one so far this week), and there was really no point in not putting this one into the L column and hit the bar to drink as long as the stool would hold me. The Loggers burst ahead in the second inning on what was really two teams working together neatly. Brad Gore hit a leadoff double off Roberts, a chump just like the other Bayhawk we got last winter, scored on a Willie Trevino single for the first tally in the game, and when Gabriel Sauceda singled to center, Trevino went for third. Mora fired a rocket that missed third base grossly, and Trevino scored on the error, 2-0. Roberts drilled Alberto Velez, but someone evaded further damage; Prevost bunted over the runners, and Danny Mancia hit one sharply at Stalker to end the inning.

It wasn't quite a case of "Ballgame!" yet, thanks to Mora dabbling aboard again in the top 3rd and being collected on Shane Walter's game-tying homer to right center, but the Coons then also stranded a pair afterwards. Jon Gonzalez was included in that pair, but only reached base for getting plunked. The Loggers also lost Mancia to injury in the inning, and replaced him with Dan March. Brad Gore put the Loggers back on top in the bottom 3rd, hitting a solo piece off Roberts right in the area where Walter had sent his pitch to exit, and yes, this is left-handed starters getting clobbered by left-handed batters now, but what does it matter anymore? Roberts struck out only two in another dispiriting appearance that lasted six innings. Spencer batted for him to begin the top 7th against Prevost and knocked a single to right to become the tying run in the 3-2 affair. Abel Mora hit an infield single that was to be blamed on March, and the Raccoons appeared in business, at least until they hit two pop outs and Gonzalez struck out.

The first two were on again in the eighth. Kopp doubled past Gore, and Nunley walked onto the open base. Prevost struck out Stalker, but brushed Cookie's uniform, which put Cookie aboard on the barely-grazed-by-pitch, loading them up for Spencer. He fouled out, which was out number two, and slowly but surely the room started to spin around me. Yet, I needed more booze unless Abel Mora could pull this one out of a rat's arse. He grounded to first base, Gilmor MISSED IT, and two runs scored on the "single". OH **** IT, WE'LL TAKE IT!! Mike Kress replaced Prevost, got Tony Delgado to ground out, which was all dandy. We had Billy Brotman. My last coherent thought resulted in him ordered into the game and not removed until he had saved this ****. Saving it he did, but by then I had passed out at the foot of the bar. 4-3 Furballs. Mora 3-4, BB, 2 RBI; Kopp 2-5, 2B; Spencer (PH) 1-2; Brotman 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, SV (4);

So now we still have a chance to extend our string of not losing the season series to the Loggers, so horrendous things will happen to Rico Gutierrez in the Sunday game.

Game 3
POR: 2B Spencer – C Delgado – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – LF Kopp – 3B Nunley – RF Alfaro – SS Stalker – P Gutierrez
MIL: 2B Mancia – 1B Jaeger – SS Tadlock – RF Gore – CF Coleman – LF W. Trevino – C T. Williams – 3B A. Velez – P Villalobos

Try to grasp the following: the Coons … SCORED FIRST. When Terry Kopp hit his 17th long one of the season in the top of the first, the Coons jumped up 3-0 on Spencer walking and Gonzalez singling (!!), which was so unheard of that Gutierrez was out of shape immediately, bewildered and confused. Mancia, laboring on a tweaked oblique, singled, and he hit Kevin Jaeger. Somehow, the infielders kept him in shape in the first, even after a wild pitch. Rico continued to shuffle runners aboard; Ron Tadlock hit an RBI double in the bottom 3rd to get the Loggers on the scoreboard, 3-1, their only run in the first five innings.

Terry Kopp smacked another one, a leadoff jack off Villalobos in the sixth inning to restore the 3-run lead, while Gutierrez was the first Raccoon to conclude six innings this week without having a pitch count at, over, or near 90 (if they even got there…). Rico threw only 68 pitches through six, but that was also a bit of a testament to the Loggers not having to wait around very long for something hittable. Gutierrez only spent ten pitches on the seventh for two hard outs to Stalker by Ian Coleman and Willie Trevino, a Travis Williams single up the middle, and then Velez flying out to Alfaro in pretty deep right. The eighth was less dramatic, and Gutierrez batted for himself, making the final out in the ninth inning against lefty Tim Dunkin with nobody on base (after Stalker had hit into a double play…). That put him up with the 4-1 lead in the bottom 9th, facing the core of the Loggers' order. Ron Tadlock flew out to right. Brad Gore went down on strikes. Ian Coleman bounced back to Gutierrez for an easy final out. 4-1 Raccoons!! Kopp 2-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI; Grigsby (PH) 1-1; Gutierrez 9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, W (15-8);

In other news

September 16 – PIT OF Jorge Lopez (.263, 0 HR, 42 RBI) is on the shelf for the season with shoulder inflammation.
September 17 – CHA MR George Barnett (1-1, 6.53 ERA, 3 SV) hits New York's Angel Diaz and then issues three walks to allow the Crusaders to walk off without putting a ball in play, 4-3.
September 18 – With a 2-1 win over the Warriors the Topeka Buffaloes clinch the FL East for the first time in 20 years.
September 19 – LAP 3B/2B Alex Mesa (.235, 11 HR, 51 RBI) will miss the rest of the season with torn ankle ligaments.
September 21 – The Gold Sox' Cory Briscoe (.281, 2 HR, 43 RBI) extends his hitting streak to 25 games with a single against the Wolves, who beat the Gold Sox anyway, 6-5.

Complaints and stuff

The Titans won the North on Sunday with a 7-6 win over the Elks. Oh well, so it shall be.

Throw Gonzalez on the pile of Adam Youngs, I'm sick of the chump.

.195/.287/.268 … .164/.243/.194 … .163/.268/.224 – these are the September slash lines of three Cons position players that were locks as starters when the season began. Well, two of them still are starters. The third is Alfaro. The others are Gonzalez and Stalker. I am not saying whose line which is. You don't need to know. They speak for themselves.

Fun Fact: 40 years ago today, on September 22, 1984, the Canadiens' Raϊl Herrera collected six base hits in a 14-1 crushing of the Titans.

That was the first of five times an Elk hit six times in a game, but of course in our book Herrera stands for something else … the inability to add a player and actually have him be a valuable member of the team in particular, or society in general. Decades of substance abuse could not erase the memory of Herrera actually starting that 1984 season as a Raccoon before batting .217/.257/.332 for 81 games. That one coming off an '83 campaign where he hit .311/.341/.430 with the Blue Sox as a 23-year-old. He would retire at 33 eventually, never again reaching that 1983 .771 OPS for either the Elks or the Stars, and ended up a .279/.318/.384 batter that happened to be in the right spot to win two rings.

We acquired Herrera in a trade in November of '83, along with a flurry of soon-to-be-failed prospects, for Fletcher Kelley and Alejandro Lopez. He never produced in centerfield (and it would be a few more years before Portland found a centerfielder worth the oxygen), but … in that case it was a good thing!

The loot the Raccoons got for him in the July 22, 1984 trade with the Elks to get rid of his face?

Kisho Saito.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:00 AM   #2542
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Was Gutierrez drafted? If so, what round?

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Old 05-31-2018, 01:42 PM   #2543
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Rico was signed for $112,000 in the July 2015 International Free Agency period. He was moved from the international complex to Aumsville in 2018 aged 19, going 3-6 with a 4.09 ERA in 12 starts. He played at all three minor league levels in 2020 and made the jump to the majors in '22 and is still sticking, currently at 33-30 and a 3.44 ERA in 83 starts.

I would wish for him to whiff more than 6.1/9 (career rate), but since he is only marginable above that mark this year, I don't think there's much hope for him to whiff 200 one year.

Gutierrez is actually a weird signing; during the 2015 IFA period we were after a number of players, but money was a bit on the tight side for a while. I initially bid on Rico, but then dropped both him and Ismael Pastor from our pursuit list to nail down another starting pitcher, Manny Gomez. The price on that guy rose to $420k by the All Star Game, which was a bit too insane, I did a 180, and instead picked up Gutierrez and Pastor for much cheaper.

Now, while signing Gomez would have blown us through the soft cap completely, the effect on the 2016 period would have been negligible. The only success ("success") out of that one was Daniel Bullock, and technically Marco Vallejo (since an Elk), and both would have come us less than the scratch minimum at the highest penalty level.

Pastor, 25, has never made the majors so far, but he was a key piece in the 2021 trade that sent Michael Foreman back to the Loggers for Jarod Spencer and Greg Borg (along with a useless reliever).

And Manny Gomez? The Condors blasted $550k on him, then traded him to the Thunder for Jim Bryant in '19. Gomez was a #76 prospect at one point, but right now he is a 25-year-old right-handed reliever with 272 career games (zero starts) and a 4.35 ERA along with 5.5 K/9. In short, I did it right at that occasion.

Fun fact: in 172 outings as a professional, Rico has never come on in relief.
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:05 AM   #2544
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The end of the string is in sight! The Raccoons still had a chance to finish at or above .500, but also still had a chance to dawdle away a protected first-round pick by winning excessively. Oh, I'm sure all will be fine.

Raccoons (76-79) vs. Crusaders (81-74) – September 23-26, 2024

Two teams defeated would play a meaningless series here in the final week. The Crusaders held an 8-6 lead in the season series while ranking seventh in runs scored and second in runs allowed in the CL.

Projected matchups:
Josh Whitaker (0-6, 4.14 ERA) vs. Lance Legleiter (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Jack Sander (9-9, 4.12 ERA) vs. Ben Jacobson (7-6, 4.34 ERA)
Jesus Chavez (7-15, 4.23 ERA) vs. Tim Dunn (3-9, 4.03 ERA)
Mark Roberts (11-9, 3.43 ERA) vs. Jonathan Toner (5-3, 2.70 ERA)

A few more injuries to the staff had washed the 27-year-old replacement Legleiter into the rotation. Like the well-known Jonny Toner he was throwing from the right side, other than the two guys in the middle of the series.

Jonny Toner had made 12 appearances (6 starts) since returning from seemingly endless injury and an extensive rehab program in AAA Lexington, pitching 53.1 innings in the majors. The ERA was pretty, the rest really wasn't all that much. In those 50-some innings, he had allowed six homers and had walked 30 against 38 strikeouts. This was not the Jonny Toner we knew and loved anymore, and it saddened my heart gravely to see him, our 4-time Pitcher of the Year, getting moored like that.

Sentimentalities aside – boys, go out there and kill him.

Game 1
NYC: SS S. Valdez – CF Douglas – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – C Asay – 2B Oosterom – 1B A. Diaz – LF J. Williams – P Legleiter
POR: CF Mora – 2B Walter – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Whitaker

The Raccoons managed to strand pairs of runners in each of the first three innings without ever scoring, which was very helpful for Winless Whitaker to keep his unfortunate moniker given that the Crusaders were less picky. Lance Douglas singled, stole, scored on Andy Schmit's single in the first, and in the second the Coons were aiding the Crusaders in loading the bases with shoddy defense (Jon Gonzalez was charged an error; Shane Walter was not), leading to an unearned sac fly for Lance Legleiter to get the score to 2-0. Highlights for the Coons included Terry Kopp popping out with Mora and Gonzalez on the corners in the first, Mora popping out with Cookie and Sam Armetta in scoring position in the second, and Nunley flying out to Jake Williams with Tovias and Gonzalez in scoring position in the third. Elias Tovias grounded out to short in the fourth to strand runners on the corners again, but by then the Raccoons had put up a run as Cookie had hit a leadoff single, had advanced on Armetta's groundout, and had scored on Whitaker's single past Angel Diaz. Yay, the thrill of raking pitchers!

Said raking pitcher was done after five because the Raccoons loaded the bases in the bottom 5th through Nunley singling and Cookie and Armetta drawing walks, all with two down. Omar Alfaro batted for Whitaker – and stalwartly grounded out to Legleiter himself. While the Raccoons got four mostly spotless innings of relief from Barzaga, Morales, Corkum, and Kipple afterwards – except for a solo home run by Jake Williams off Hector Morales in the seventh inning – they also kept their rallying mostly to themselves until the ninth inning and Steve Casey arrived. Tovias and Gonzalez hit a pair of quite soft singles with one out that put the tying runs aboard. Terry Kopp flew out to left to stretch his personal futility in the game to 0-for-5, pulling up Nunley, who had already fulfilled his personal quota for home runs in a season, and thus struck out. 3-1 Crusaders. Tovias 3-5; Gonzalez 2-4, 2B; Whitaker 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, L (0-7) and 1-2, RBI;

Well, Whitaker, that is some ****ty kinda loss. Do better next time!

(sigh)

Not much longer, and we will compare Omar Alfaro unfavorably to Luke Newton. And then Clyde Brady, because we are all grown up and know that he will get another 3,000 at-bats before I realize he's a turd.

Game 2
NYC: 1B X. Garcia – 2B S. Valdez – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – LF J. Williams – C Asay – SS Doering – CF Douglas – P Jacobson
POR: LF Spencer – 2B Walter – C Tovias – 1B Gonzalez – RF Graves – 3B Grigsby – SS Stalker – CF Borg – P Sander

On the bright side, Jack Sander faced the minimum the first time through the order and struck out the side in the third inning (even if that was just the bottom of the order…), but on the other hand the Raccoons managed to strand more and more runners, landing four singles in the first three innings and plating absolutely nobody. Xavier Garcia hit a first-pitch double to begin the top 4th, but was stranded at third base eventually, and while Jake Williams hit a leadoff single in the fifth, Jason Asay found his way into a double play to get rid of that particular runner. The Raccoons would actually find a run in the bottom of the inning thanks to Greg Borg's leadoff single, Sander's bunt, and then the Crusaders walked Jarod Spencer intentionally, which said something about the hitting prowess of a guy that was as powerful as a fly larva. Shane Walter punished the Crusaders anyway, singling into center to score Borg for the first tally in the game. There were still two on for Tovias, but Elias hit one to short for an inning-ending double play.

Sander pitched six shutout innings, then was broken up in the seventh. The Crusaders tied the score with leadoff doubles that Sergio Valdez and Andy Schmit hit past either side of Jarod Spencer in left, and Jake Williams and Jason Asay chipped in singles to take the lead with one out, 2-1. Sander was removed when the left-handed Jamie Richardson appeared to pinch-hit for Blake Doering, with Billy Brotman coming on. Brotman got Richardson, but surrendered a 2-out single to Piet Oosterom that brought in the Crusaders' third run before Ben Jacobson struck out to end the top 7th. Other than Whitaker, Sander was spared the loss thanks to a pair of solo home runs off Jacobson in the bottom 7th. Shane Walter hit the game-tying shot, following the first career dinger for Justin Gerace, pinch-hitting for Brotman with one out. Tovias hit a deep drive to left after the game had been tied already, but Jake Williams robbed him of a double on the track. Ceaseless horrors saw Kevin Surginer allow a single to Sergio Valdez in the top 8th, with Brett Lillis replacing him with two outs and Nate Ellis up. Ellis grounded to first, Jon Gonzalez crapped out for another error, and then right-hander Felipe Delgado singled to left. Gerace had gotten onto the field out there, and fired home voraciously when Valdez was sent for home plate … and was thrown out to keep the game tied. The game subsequently went to extras where both teams continued to struggle offensively. The Raccoons got Jon Gonzalez on with a leadoff single in the 11th, and then had Zach Graves smack into a double play right away. Oosterom was on base with Kipple pitching in the 12th, but that inning ended on a strike-em-out-throw-em-out. Bottom 13th, Jon Ozier pitching. Spencer singled up the middle leading off, then was bunted over by Jon McGrew, who somehow had wound up in the #2 spot. Tovias and Gonzalez were still around, and still not helping. Tovias struck out, Gonzalez grounded out to short, and the game continued for one more inning. Jason Asay's homer off Juan Barzaga in the 14th turned out to be the game-winner, with the Raccoons getting Zach Graves on via the hit-by-pitch in the bottom 14th, and then stranding him as Grigsby flew out to deep left, Cookie Carmona grounded out, and Alfaro flew out to deep center. 4-3 Crusaders. Spencer 2-5, BB; Walter 3-4, HR, 2 RBI; Grigsby 3-6; Gerace (PH) 1-3, HR, RBI; Kipple 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K;

(lies motionless, face-down, on the couch)

Game 3
NYC: 1B X. Garcia – 2B S. Valdez – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – LF J. Williams – C Asay – SS Vacarri – CF Douglas – P Dunn
POR: 2B Spencer – C Tovias – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – 3B Grigsby – LF Gerace – SS McGrew – P Chavez

Chavez coughed up a run in the first, walking Xavier Garcia and allowing a single to Valdez that sent the runner to third base before Schmit hit into a run-scoring double play. The Raccoons moved in the second; Jon Gonzalez reached on an error while Omar Alfaro found a single in his bat. Grigsby flew to deep center, and Lance Douglas made a running catch in full retreat, but stumbled, tumbled into the fence, and lost the ball, while the Raccoons came up with a 2-1 lead on what ended up being a triple for Grigsby. Mike was probably hoping to dislodge Matt Nunley from third base soon, and every little bit helped his cause. He scored on Justin Gerace's bloop single to shallow left, giving Chavez a 3-1 lead that was to be blown instantly. Top 3rd, Valdez singled, Schmit laced a line drive homer, and we were tied again.

We weren't tied for long. Jake Williams cracked a go-ahead homer in the fourth, and Chavez didn't retire another batter, or any batter in the fourth inning. Asay singled, Giacobbe Vacarri tripled, and here came Brett Lillis, obviously unhappy to pitch in the fourth inning of a garbage game. He struck out Lance Douglas, then got the runner removed from the bases when Vacarri was convinced he could steal home, but slid into Tovias' planted body and was out. That still left Chavez on a well-deserved 5-3 hook. That score would grow bigger with time; the Crusaders plated two runs off Hector Morales in the sixth inning, including a solo homer by Asay, and the Coons looked defeated down 7-3 until the eighth inning rolled around. Tovias reached on Vacarri's error, and Abel Mora hit a double, putting runners in scoring position with one out. Jon Gonzalez – of course – cocked it up again, grounding out to Tim Dunn himself, but Alfaro came through, singling between Vacarri and Schmit to bring in both runs and close the score to 7-5. Grigbsy grounded out to end the inning, making room for a horror show in the top of the ninth. Jimmy Lee allowed four base hits and was charged with three runs when Jonathan Snyder – not needed as closer, and not helpful as anything else – eagerly waving around the runners until Mora made a running catch on Piet Oosterom with three aboard to end the inning. Bottom 9th, Gerace hit a leadoff single, Cookie Carmona pinch-hit for McGrew and straight into a double play, and the Coons died in style once more. 10-5 Crusaders. Alfaro 2-4, 2 RBI; Gerace 2-4, RBI;

Game 4
NYC: 1B X. Garcia – SS S. Valdez – 3B Schmit – RF Ellis – 2B Oosterom – CF Murillo – C F. Delgado – LF J. Williams – P Toner
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – C T. Delgado – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Roberts

Raccoons fans were entirely intent on turning this game into a Toner Lovefest, and they shall be forgiven. The diehard crowd – excessively thin in awful weather including light rain and whipping wind – was more rooting for the out-of-town hurler than their own. They did appreciate a Cookie single in the second inning, but they really roared on the previous non-play, Tony Delgado going down on strikes, Toner's first K in the game, and #2,273 overall. Toner bunted badly in the third inning after Felipe Delgado and Williams had hit singles to begin the inning, getting the Crusaders' Delgado forced out at third base. That cost them a run in the inning, because on Garcia's fly to right, even Delgado could have scored easily from third base. Valdez fouled out, keeping the game scoreless. Bottom 4th, Toner was in trouble after Gonzalez' leadoff single, a walk to Terry Kopp, and a 3-1 count to Tony Delgado, at least until Delgado poked at the 3-1 and grounded to short for a double play. When Cookie clipped a 3-2 pitch past a diving Garcia to bring in Gonzalez from third and give the Raccoons a 1-0 lead, it almost broke the crowd – they didn't know whether to cheer or sneer at that point. Toner lost Tim Stalker to a walk, then allowed a full-count, blooping RBI single to shallow left to Mark Roberts that brought in Cookie with the second run before Spencer popped out. The crowd was displeased. Weird game.

It got weirder. The rain got worse by the sixth inning and soon sent the game to a rain delay that lasted north of an hour and obviously wiped out both starting pitchers, with Roberts so far not having missed a beat with a 2-hit shutout. Vince D effortlessly blew the game in the seventh inning, allowing a leadoff single to Andy Schmit, an RBI double to Nate Ellis over the head of his former Wolves mate Abel Mora, and then the game-tying RBI single to Felipe Delgado.

The Raccoons retook the lead on a Tony Delgado single in the bottom 8th, but Delgado didn't get an RBI. Delgado batted against right-hander Kevin Woodworth with Kopp on first and nobody out, singled to center, and Kopp made for third. Jake Williams thought he had a play, really hadn't, threw wildly, and Kopp scored on he error, breaking the 2-2 tie. Woodworth went on to walk Stalker, after which Omar Alfaro batted for Billy Brotman, and hit right into a double play. Top 9th, Snyder led off against Andy Schmit, who hit a scorcher into the gap in left-center, exactly what you need with a slim 1-run lead. Schmit turned second and raced for third, but there arrived Cookie's throw, beating him by a few feet and Nunley tagged him as the Crusaders made the first out at third base, the cardinal sin of base running, and it probably cost the Crusaders a chance at a rally. Snyder struck out nobody, so a leadoff man at second would have been gold. 3-2 Raccoons. Carmona 2-4, RBI; Roberts 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K and 1-2, RBI;

Raccoons (77-82) vs. Indians (60-99) – September 27-29, 2024

The Indians were up against the perfect team as they tried to avoid 100 losses and needed a final-weekend sweep to stick at 99. They had lost seven in a row, though, were 6-17 in September after an 8-20 August, and they were bottoms in the CL in runs scored AND runs allowed, and really should be 52-107, pythagorean style. Their run differential was a crazy -270. We led the season series, 9-6.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (15-8, 2.98 ERA) vs. Alvin Smith (6-9, 5.14 ERA)
Josh Whitaker (0-7, 3.91 ERA) vs. Tom Shumway (12-10, 3.40 ERA)
Jack Sander (9-9, 4.12 ERA) vs. Juan Ortega (1-5, 5.94 ERA)

Right-left-right to end the season. Let's see whether we can make it without another torn up knee, shredded elbow, or broken neck.

Game 1
IND: 1B Duling – 3B J. Jackson – C T. Perez – 2B Ri. Mendez – SS Folk – LF Linnell – CF Coffman – RF Faulk – P A. Smith
POR: CF Mora – C Tovias – 2B Walter – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – SS Stalker – P Gutierrez

Coons scored first, Justin Gerace singling in Terry Kopp, who had walked and advanced on Nunley's groundout, in the second inning. Stalker also singled, but Gutierrez flew out to right to end the inning. Gutierrez sprinkled three base hits in the first three innings without too much terror arising, but that changed in the fourth with a leadoff single by Rich Mendez and then two walks to Brody Folk and Richard Linnell right away. That loaded the bases with no outs, but the Indians would not score more than the tying run. Nick Coffman struck out, A.J. Faulk hit a sac fly, and Alvin Smith grounded out to Stalker. On the other side of the coin, the Raccoons got Gerace (walk) and Stalker (single) aboard to begin the bottom 5th, and then Gutierrez bunted into a terrible double play, third-and-first, to completely tear that inning apart. One inning further down the road, singles by Walter and Gonzalez with one out created a chance, and then Terry Kopp spontaneously struck out. This was not the way to go about things, even on the last weekend of the season and playing a rancid sand bag of a team. The buck stopped there, though, with Matt Nunley taking command and singling determinedly to rightfield, breaking the 1-1 tie with Shane Walter scoring. Gerace singled to center, plating Gonzalez from second, and Smith lost Stalker to the walk. That loaded the bases for Gutierrez, who was at 90 pitches anyway. Jarod Spencer batted for him, turned an 0-2 pitch around and knocked it past the ex-Elk Folk into left-center for a two more runs' worth of damage! Kyle Lamb replaced Smith afterwards, ending the inning when he got Abel Mora to pop out foul. But the Coons were now up by a slam and expected their pen to hold that lead for three innings against the absolute worst offensive team in the land. Vince D and Surginer got the seventh and eighth over with just fine, but Richard Linnell hit a leadoff single off Morales in the ninth. Morales was hooked instantly, with Ryan Corkum coming on. Coffman singled to center, Linnell trying for third, only to realize that he had messed up and he was now caught in a rundown. The Coons not only tagged him out, but also kept Coffman at first base, and got out of the game without too much trouble. 5-1 Coons. Gerace 3-3, BB, 3B, 2 RBI; Stalker 2-2, BB; Spencer (PH) 1-1, 2 RBI; Gutierrez 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, W (16-8);

Game 2
IND: 1B Duling – 3B J. Jackson – LF D. Morales – C T. Perez – 2B Ri. Mendez – SS Folk – CF Stevenson – RF Faulk – P Shumway
POR: 2B Spencer – 3B Grigsby – CF Mora – 1B Gonzalez – RF Alfaro – LF Gerace – SS Stalker – C Burrows – P Whitaker

Jake Burrows made a throwing error on the first play of the game, firing wildly past Jon Gonzalez to place Mike Duling on second base to start the contest, from where Whitaker – not possessing any means to hold runners aboard, ever – allowed him to score on a Danny Morales double. The run was unearned, but that was little consolation for a guy with a sub-4 ERA and an 0-7 record. For a while, we had a typical game on our hands as they transpired in late September with 182 losses already on the field. Few did much, many did little, and soon we were in the fifth and saw Whitaker walk the bags full with one out, starting with the ****ing pitcher. That brought up Morales, a 2-0 count, and then a fly to center that ended up with Mora, but brought in Shumway with the game's second run. Tony Perez grounded out to Stalker to strand two. It got worse in the sixth, with Mendez reaching on a walk, and Brody Folk doubling the tally with a shot to right-center. Josh Stevenson reached on a blooper that fell for a single, and Whitaker walked Duling with two outs to end his season. Ryan Corkum replaced him and got Justin Jackson to ground out, keeping the score at 4-0. And while the Raccoons had to contend with Tom Shumway, who was undoubtedly the best player left on that Indians team, their own pitching was messy, and their offense was non-existent. Shumway pitched eight shutout innings, whiffing seven, and against Nick Salinas in the ninth they disappeared quietly into the night. 4-0 Indians.

Game 3
IND: SS Folk – 2B Ri. Mendez – C T. Perez – 1B M. Rucker – LF D. Morales – CF Linnell – RF Staebell – 3B Duling – P J. Ortega
POR: CF Mora – C Tovias – 2B Walter – 1B Gonzalez – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – SS Stalker – P Sander

Sander walked the bases full in the second, then conceded a sleeper over the middle of the plate that Ortega knocked for a 2-out, 2-run single. Brody Folk struck out after that, giggling the entire time at the plate. In a season finale not for the ages, Sander was on five walks by the fourth inning, but at least the Raccoons found their way onto the scoreboard in the bottom 4th. Tovias doubled to begin the inning, then scored on Gonzalez' single. Jon moved up on the throw, as well as on Kopp's groundout, but with two down Nunley got robbed of a maybe-double by Danny Morales in left-center, and the Indians maintained a 2-1 lead through four.

Sander lasted five and two thirds before getting stuck; Mike Rucker hit a 1-out single in the sixth inning, but underestimated Abel Mora in right-center as he tried to make it a double. Mora held him to a single and the second out at second base, after which Morales hit another single. Kipple replaced Sander and got Linnell to ground out to short in his 70th appearance of the year. John Staebell drew a leadoff walk from Kipple in the seventh, then moved up on Duling's groundout. That put Ortega in the box again, Kipple was still out there … and allowed an RBI single to center. That made it 3-1 Indians, and 3 RBI for the pitcher. The Indians could actually have somebody else drive in a run, though; Bob Reyes hit a 2-out RBI double off Billy Brotman in the eighth. The run was unearned thanks to an error in the inning, but that was not offering a whole lot of consolation overall.

Bottom 8th, Ortega drilled Tim Stalker to begin the inning, then walked Omar Alfaro, who had entered in a double switch with Brotman earlier. That brought up the tying run and made plenty of room for more heartbreak, too. Juan Ortega remained in there for now, with Abel Mora hitting one behind second base. Folk cut it off, but couldn't do anything with it and the bases were loaded with nobody out. Tovias sent a soft fly to left that Danny Morales dropped for an error, advancing everybody a base and plating Stalker, 4-2. Walter popped out, very helpfully, with Ortega still hanging in there. Jon Gonzalez worked a run-scoring walk, 4-3, after which Grigsby batted for Brotman. He flew out to shallow right, Staebell scaring Mora back to his base, and then Nunley lined out to Morales… again. Snyder retired the Indians in order in the ninth, giving the Coons another chance to turn this one around. Nick Salinas retired Cookie on a grounder to second base, but then walked Jarod Spencer, batting in Stalker's spot. Alfaro struck out, and Abel Mora lifted one to shallow right that Rich Mendez caught going backwards, and this season was over. 4-3 Indians.

In other news

September 23 – The hitting streak of Denver's Cory Briscoe (.281, 2 HR, 43 RBI) ends after 26 games in a 5-4 loss to the Pacifics, but a new 20-game hitting streak is born for SAC INF Trey Rock (.302, 1 HR, 59 RBI) with a 1-for-5 day in the Scorpions' 10-0 romp over the Stars.
September 24 – LAP SP Matt McCabe (15-10, 3.29 ERA) got the bad news that he is headed for Tommy John surgery after tearing his UCL. The 33-year-old right-hander is expected to miss all of 2025.
September 24 – In a 17-3 thrashing of the Indians, the Canadiens score in each of their first seven innings, including six crooked numbers. Five Canadiens land three base hits each, and Tony Coca (.251, 11 HR, 64 RBI) leads the team with three hits and 4 RBI.
September 24 – The Wolves beat the Warriors, 1-0, on a home run by rookie RF/CF Nelson Colon (.258, 2 HR, 7 RBI).
September 25 – A badly sprained wrist will probably render BOS CF/LF Adrian Reichardt (.284, 14 HR, 68 RBI) unavailable for the rest of the season and the playoffs, throwing a wrench into the Titans' gearbox.
September 25 – BOS SP Jeremy Waite (11-3, 2.90 ERA) throws a 2-hit shutout in a 1-0 win over the Loggers.
September 25 – DEN OF Armando Martinez (.330, 14 HR, 72 RBI) has manufactured a 20-game hitting streak with a 3-hit day in an 8-4 win over the Pacifics.
September 26 – WAS SP Danny Arguello (10-11, 4.41 ERA) spins a 3-hit shutout against the Miners, whiffing five in a 5-0 game.
September 26 – SAC INF Trey Rock (.301, 1 HR, 59 RBI) has his hitting streak end at 22 games after going empty in a 4-1 win over the Stars.
September 27 – The Knights become the last team to punch a playoff ticket with a 6-3 win over the Falcons, eliminating the last remaining contenders, the Condors, mathematically from reaching the postseason berth in the CL South.
September 27 – And the third 20-game hitting streak of the week ends as well, as DEN OF Armando Martinez (.327, 14 HR, 73 RBI) goes hitless in a 4-0 loss to the Stars.
September 29 – OCT SS Lorenzo Rivera (.328, 1 HR, 45 RBI) ends the season with a cast, having broken his kneecap. The Thunder hope to have the 25-year-old back for Opening Day in '25.

Complaints and stuff

Third straight losing season. Protected draft pick - #10 if I can count that far without accident. I am not sure I can… I just know our players can't count to ball four without getting a headache.

There are many measures for futility, but Josh Whitaker has to be right up there with a 3.99 ERA and an 0-8 record.

Rico Gutierrez won 16, which is enough to tie for the lead in the CL, which is slightly odd, especially given that Chris Sinkhorn won 22 for the Gold Sox in the FL. Gutierrez also finished third in ERA behind Jorge Villalobos and Luis Flores. If there is some positive to draw from this season, it's probably his emergence as a worthwhile pitcher. Let's not get into that .274 BABIP now.

Fun Fact: Of all Raccoons pitchers with zero franchise wins, Josh Whitaker (0-8) now has the most losses.

He replaces "Brenda" Teasdale at the top of that list. Teasdale went 0-7 with a 6.39 ERA from 2008 to 2010, making ten starts in total, the same amount as Whitaker this season. Teasdale would go on to win elsewhere, as many as 13 in a season with the 2014 Gold Sox, but overall ended up a pretty rotten 54-99 with a 4.81 ERA in a 12-year career.
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:38 PM   #2545
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2024 PLAYOFFS

Once again, the 107-55 Scorpions entered the playoffs with the best record in baseball, which hadn't stopped them from choking with regularity in recent years, and often already in the CLCS. They were in the playoffs for the 13th time, and the record-setting sixth year in a row. This team had scored an impressive 883 runs while allowing 637, the latter mark second-best in the Federal League, while the 883 runs scored led all of baseball. Offense clearly was the strength of this team that put up a league-leading .378 team on-base percentage and added to power to make it count, although only 1B Luis Moreira (.269, 25 HR, 108 RBI) had hit over 20 home runs and had driven in at least 100. The pitching staff was rock-solid, but lacked the killer ace, although Ian Rutter, 36, had a pretty good 17-4 season with a 3.14 ERA. The Scoprions had lost CF Justin McAllester (.293, 19 HR, 103 RBI) to injury in September, which in a weird way helped to balance their lineup a little bit, which was ridiculously hanging to the left side. All their starting pitchers were right-handed, and Ben Marx (10-5, 3.47 ERA, 1 SV) was the only meaningful left-handed reliever, but his name was already tied to a colossal playoff meltdown with the Capitals…

The 95-67 Buffaloes, the first version of that team to make the playoffs in two decades and sixth overall, had led the Federal League in runs allowed, with a pretty good rotation and the best bullpen anywhere. Carlos Marron (15-7, 2.94 ERA) had led the rotation and Mike Baker (7-4, 1.88 ERA, 40 SV) was saving mostly anything there was to save. The offense however was not so shiny; they had finished only sixth in runs scored, and were relying on the middle of their order to get things done; the bottom of their lineup was pretty thin compared to the Scorpions. At least their lineup and pitching staff were pretty balanced between left- and right-handed players, and they had no injuries to worry about.

Over in the Continental League, the 92-70 Knights had homefield advantage after beating out three teams within five wins of their final tally. They had made the postseason on offense alone, scoring the second-most runs in the CL (an even 800), but had conceded 710, which ranked them in the bottom half of all CL teams. They could parade in but one starting pitcher with an ERA better than four in Leon Hernandez (14-10, 3.61 ERA), and had maybe three reliable arms in the bullpen. Those aside, there was a whole lot of 4's across the board. On offense, C Ruben Luna (.268, 31 HR, 95 RBI) had tied for the CL lead in home runs, and SS Andrew Showalter had also hit 25 dingers and driven in 92. It was a dense lineup without many weakspots, but then there was the pitching staff, which was one giant weakspot. Their injuries had made much of this worse, with Frank Kelly (2-4, 2.88 ERA) and Brian Cope (14-10, 3.59 ERA) having gone down to injuries when they greatly could have livened up the rotation. From the lineup, they missed INF Tony Jimenez (.278, 6 HR, 29 RBI), who had shattered his ankle in July and was still on crutches with no weight-bearing. The Knights were in the playoffs for the seventh time and the second time in this decade after '21, but they hadn't played in the World Series since *1986*.

The 91-71 Titans weren't exactly healthy, having lost key lineup cog Adrian Reichardt (.284, 14 HR, 68 RBI) at the very end of the season, and were also without infielder Mike Kane (.258, 5 HR, 66 RBI), who had a chance to return after the CLCS, but they combined their top 3 offense (750 runs) with the best pitching in the league as they had posted only 601 runs allowed, which gave them a far superior run differential when compared to the Knights. Jeremy Waite (13-4, 2.96 ERA) had the best ERA, while Dustin Wingo (16-13, 3.82 ERA) had tied for the league lead in wins. The bullpen was sturdy, with four left-handers to counter any left-handed batter the Knights would throw in. Boston was in their 11th postseason and the third in a row after a 16-year playoff drought. They were also the twice-defending champions.

Two of the four ABL teams to never win a championship are in the postseason: the Buffaloes and the Knights. The Scorpions tie for third place with three titles, most recently in 2020, while the Titans are in second place with sixth titles, vying to tie the Crusaders for the top spot with a seventh championship. While the Knights' 1986 World Series loss to the Blue Sox was their only trip to the Big Show, the Buffaloes had most recently made it in 2001, falling to the Titans in their second attempt at the championship after 1981 (when they lost to the Indians).

Nevertheless, the pundits don't give the zero-ring-teams much of a chance. Everybody expects a Titans-Scorpions series. But nobody expected the Scorpions to bow out of the last three consecutive FLCS either…

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2024 LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Titans @ Knights … 6-0 … (Titans lead 1-0) … BOS Chris Klein 9.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, W (1-0);

Chris Klein no-hits the Knights for 8 1/3 innings to begin the 2024 playoffs until Phil Neubecker plays pinch-hitting spoiler. His single remains meaningless, however.

Buffaloes @ Scorpions … 2-5 … (Scorpions lead 1-0) … SAC Jason LaCombe 0-1, 4 BB; SS Jorge Castro 3-5, 2 RBI;
Titans @ Knights … 8-5 … (Titans lead 2-0) … BOS Adam Braun 3-5, 2B, RBI; BOS Adam St. Germaine 3-5; BOS Gil Cornejo 3-3, 2B, 2 RBI;

A rain delay, a 5-run fifth for the Knights dissipating quickly, an injured Titan (Cornejo), and an injured Knight (MR Freddy Heredia) is the tally of this wicked Game 2.

Buffaloes @ Scorpions … 2-3 … (Scorpions lead 2-0) … TOP Nick Danieley 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K and 2-3; SAC Michael Foreman 8.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K;

Infielder John Byrd walks off Sacramento with a home run off Mike Baker in the ninth, but the Scorpions still take a terrible blow as they lose star outfielder Pablo Sanchez (.351, 10 HR, 74 RBI). A strained hamstring renders him out for the rest of the campaign.

Knights @ Titans … 8-2 … (Titans lead 2-1) … ATL Johnny Stuckey 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI; ATL Andrew Showalter 3-5, 3B; ATL Jeremy Houghtaling 2-4, BB, 3B, 2B, 3 RBI;

Another sour apple as Andrew Showalter is out with a bruised wrist, robbing the Knights of a key piece of their lineup.

Scorpions @ Buffaloes … 5-3 … (Scorpions lead 3-0) …
Knights @ Titans … 0-4 … (Titans lead 3-1) … BOS Adam Corder 2-5, RBI; BOS Chris Klein 8.1, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, W (2-0);

Scorpions @ Buffaloes … 3-5 … (Scorpions lead 3-1) … SAC Jason LaCombe 2-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI; TOP Marco Hernandes 3-4, 2B;
Knights @ Titans … 3-4 … (Titans win 4-1) … ATL Will McIntyre 3-5; BOS Matt Owen 2-3, 2 RBI; BOS Dustin Wingo 8.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W (1-0);

Scorpions @ Buffaloes … 3-6 … (Scorpions lead 3-2) … TOP Alfredo Quintana 2-3, BB, RBI; TOP Chris Mendoza 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI;

Buffaloes @ Scorpions … 3-4 … (Scorpions win 4-2) … TOP Chris Mendoza 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; SAC Trey Rock 2-3, BB, 2B; SAC Michael Foreman 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W (1-0);

No more shame in the CLCS for Sacramento – the top seed actually moves to the World Series this time!

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2024 WORLD SERIES

The Titans had more or less dominated the Knights in the CLCS, moving to the World Series as expected, and only at slight cost. Gil Cornejo was still laboring on a mild hip strain, but was available from Game 1. The overall balance to the Titans' roster could only help them to master the Scorpions, especially the four left-handed relievers could come in handy in this series.

On the other hand, the Scorpions being robbed of Pablo Sanchez was the grimmest joke the baseball gods had pulled in a while, and they had to dig deeper into their outfield reserves, with Justin McAllester already on the sidelines. They remained seriously lopsided with few if any left-handed pitching options, and a really, really heavily left-handed lineup, but they had outscored the Titans by 133 runs in the regular season, and that should count for something, right?

Both teams had some injury woes; the Scorpions probably still had a slight edge with the lineup, but only as long as the Titans stuck to their right-handed starters. Boston on the other hand still had the best pitching overall and the good pitchers were supposed to beat the good hitters, right?

Boston in seven!

+++

Titans @ Scorpions … 7-4 … (Titans lead 1-0) … BOS Adam St. Germaine 3-5, HR, 2 RBI; BOS Gil Cornejo 3-3, 2 RBI; SAC Luis Moreira 3-3, BB, 2 2B, RBI;

Titans @ Scorpions … 8-5 … (Titans lead 2-0) … BOS Adam Corder 0-1, 4 BB; BOS Adam St. Germaine 3-4, 3B; BOS Gil Cornejo 2-3, BB, 2 RBI;

Boston drops five in the third inning to take command early and now has a sterling chance to win their third straight title in a row at home. Only one franchise has ever won three in a row, and they did it twice: the 2007-09 *and* 2013-15 Crusaders.

Scorpions @ Titans … 7-2 … (Titans lead 2-1) … SAC Trey Rock 4-5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI; SAC Jorge Castro 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI; BOS Gil Cornejo 2-3, HR, 2 RBI;

Scorpions @ Titans … 3-9 … (Titans lead 3-1) … BOS Adam Corder 4-4, BB, 2 RBI; BOS Matt Owen 2-4, 3 RBI; BOS Chris Klein 7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, W (4-0) and 2-3;

14 hits, all singles, put the Titans one win away from the trophy. Sacramento's Jordan Caldwell allows six runs in four innings, but only two of those are earned as the Scorpions suffer a complete defensive breakdown and the 14 hits aside also fudge up three errors.

Scorpions @ Titans … 4-2 … (Titans lead 3-2) … SAC Doug Stross 3-3, 2 BB, 2B; SAC Justin Jackson 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI;

Behind Mario Alva, who guts it for 6.2 innings of 1-run ball on 110 pitches, the Scorpions send the series back to Sacramento, with the Titans stranding the tying runs aboard in the eighth and ninth innings.

Titans @ Scorpions … 9-1 … (Titans win 4-2) … BOS Adam Braun 4-5, 2B, RBI; BOS Adam St. Germaine 2-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI; BOS Rhett West 2-4, BB, 2 RBI; BOS Gil Cornejo 2-5, RBI;

The Scorpions keep it close until the sixth, when their defense does them in … again. The innings begins with Jeremy Waite, the Boston pitcher, reaching on Luis Moreira's error, and the Titans add two walks, two singles, and a bases-clearing, heart-piercing double by St. Germaine in dismantling the team that wins the West every year, but really not a whole lot more.

2024 WORLD CHAMPIONS
Boston Titans

7th title

+++

Herewith, the Raccoons go to hiatus, as has been previously announced.

Laptop delivery is currently scheduled for the end of the week, although that date has been fleeting in both directions so far, and I expect it to take me a few days to get it set up like I want it.

(places hammer on the table)

This is also my first Win10 device that is not in an office where I have no rights to do anything anyway. Am I right that the first thing to kill is OneDrive?

Ah, all will be so well.
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Old 06-06-2018, 02:24 AM   #2546
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Did I mention the fleeting delivery date? Overnight, it moved back five days.
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:54 PM   #2547
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Come back soon! But also, enjoy the rest/relaxation from the stress of the Furballs as you get that new gaming box.
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Old 06-15-2018, 03:01 AM   #2548
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Laptop delivery announced for today!

(parks himself up near the window in anticipation of the delivery guy)
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:32 PM   #2549
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So, well, **** my life. Yeah.

The laptop is going to be returned. Basically the D key is broken to begin with. And who knows what else. Trading all players with a D in their name would be a workaround, but what about Daniel Hall? Can't trade a retired player.

So, all the hiatus was pointless, everything I ever do in my life is pointless, in fact, and I seriously wonder why I am even surprised. It's not like I have had a run in life, recently. Or ever.

Raccoons go on with the offseason opening post as soon as I can collect my three remaining marbles in the tin can that is my brains. With the old laptop of course. Which drives me crazy.

So do the Coons. And the Mets. I did mention '**** my life' already, right? Right.
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Old 06-18-2018, 05:21 PM   #2550
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Forget about economic indexes and studied pundits explaining you where the country was going to go and whether or not to stockpile on non-perishable food. If the Raccoons hadn't won at least a pennant but got a 10% raise from their cheapskate owner, then inflation had to be rampant.

For 2025, we went from $26.2M to $28.6M, and from 17th to 15th in the ranking of all teams in the league. The average budget was just a hair under $30M, while the median budget was $29.5M.

The Crusaders would routinely maintain their top dog position with the biggest budget, $43M, ahead of the Scorpions ($40.5M), Titans ($38.5M), Capitals ($36M), and Gold Sox ($35.5M). At the bottom of the pile, smoldering, lay the Indians ($24M), Warriors ($23.8M), Falcons ($23.6M), Wolves ($23.4M), and Stars ($21.2M). The missing CL North teams lined up 13th (Loggers, $29.4M) and 17th (Elks, $26.2M).

Unfortunately, $2.4M didn't mean we had a bunch to spend, or even that much to work with. Several players were due hefty raises, including Terry Kopp, Mark Roberts (more on that in a moment), Dan Delgadillo (for dwelling on the DL), and Abel Mora. We also had a scoop of players that had so far made the minimum and would be arbitration-eligible for the first time. Unfortunately, Mark Roberts was arbitration-eligible for the final time with a $1.8M estimate.

There was another thing that was a rampant issue on the team (leaving the perpetual quo vadis aside for the moment), and that was a constantly bickering clubhouse. The last time we had had such a thing, it was mainly one bad apple (R.J. DeWeese of course), but this time nobody seemed to get along with another at all. If there were bad apples in the basket, it surely was a whole tree's worth. I would be relying on our coaches to work out where to make incisions.

However, we get to the free agency and arbitration table after all; free agents there will be three, including two of the pitchers that constituted our general closers' mess, Ryan Corkum and Brett Lillis. We probably can't afford to keep either one around, and will default to Jonathan Snyder as closer for 2025 because he's here and that's about it for good reasons I can think of. Also, Tony Delgado, who still contained himself valiantly at 37. There was the question whether we wanted to keep him around. First off, he was fine with playing second fiddle to Elias Tovias, so that was not the issue here. The reason why he was cranky looped back to the basket's worth of bad apples, and we'd have to see to that.

Meanwhile there were nine players on the arbitration list, including some obvious keepers in Roberts, Vince D, Gonzalez, Spencer, and Stalker. That left Sander, Cowen, Bullock, and Graves to muse about.

Jack Sander arrived on waivers from the Cyclones in the middle of the season. He pitched 176 innings, split almost perfectly halfway between the two teams, and went 9-10 with a 4.09 ERA. Awkwardly, his ERA in Portland was almost a full run better, not only because of a BABIP swing of 26 points in his favor, but also because he struck out more batters (6 per 9 IP). Whether this was a permanent possibility was uncertain, but the Raccoons – bereft of Dan Delgadillo for probably all of 2025 – needed starting pitching badly and as we had already established were probably not going to be able to through sacks of coins around. If you look closely, it's really Roberts, Gutierrez, Chavez, and Sander is clearly the #4 starter right now in the organization, which is not a huge acclamation given that #5 is Josh Whitaker, and he is the most miserable creature on earth after waggling his bum clean underneath the extra-low bar set by Brendan Teasdale many a sad year ago.

Like with catching prospects, pitching prospects were not exactly easy to see without squinting in our organization. In fact, there was a certain desolation to the position that was not really Coons-like. All our AAA starters that weren't already on the extended roster were either toeing the rope of a 1 K/BB in AAA or getting there bums whooped despite getting strikeouts, or both. In fact, here are the three Raccoons minor leaguers with the highest strikeout totals this season:

A Josh Boles (185 K in 185 IP)
A Jonathan Fleischer (175 K in 174 IP)
AA Hank Gibson (164 K in 178 IP)

That is two trash can signings in Aumsville, and then Gibson, a former fourth-round pick who was drafted shortly after the War of 1812 and was so old that the term "prospect" was ludicrously misapplied to him here. He would be 27 at the start of the season. If there was hope for any of these, it was Boles, who pitched to a 2.68 ERA and a 10-8 record for a raucously pathetic Beagles team. Hope there was as long as he could get his third pitch, the changeup, to work. My coaching tribunal on the coach resists the urge to give me a thumbs up right now.

Okay, we've got nothing. That throws Sander on the "damn heck yeah" pile of players that must be kept.

That brings us to Zach Graves, corner outfielder and hot on the heels of Clyde Brady in terms of perpetual futility. At least Graves contained his uninspired bat (99 OPS+ this year) to part time work, but he also had hit zero home runs in 172 AB this year. It is hard to hit zero home runs in Raccoons Ballpark. I say that although Cookie ended a 4-year dry spell in '24. Graves, 27, had never hit for much power, and he never would. This was probably a roster spot we could improve on.

Daniel Bullock got us into the damaged goods section of the arbitration process. He would be 27 to start the season, and his knee was forked. He would definitely start the season on the DL and would probably not return to action before June. He was a slick-fielding, light-hitting shortstop (and utility infielder) that could come a dime a dozen; was there much value in keeping him around even if for little coin? Maybe there were some feelgoods to gain from him still (albeit no WAR, as he had gobbled up all of 0.1 WAR in '24), given that he once cost us $6k in the IFA bidding bonanza and any time he came to the plate to draw a single ball we were already gaining it tenfold over the buying price. We sure have better things to do with our money, but how many better things is that estimate going to buy you?

That leaves Adam Cowen, who tore his rotator cuff in June, and in the best of days was only a mediocre long man. He will also be 30 years old. At some point, even $300k is too much…
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:46 PM   #2551
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Late October came, and we started picking out the aforementioned bad apples, those putting in little effort and much snout in terms of contributions to the team's success. Justin Gerace and Greg Borg were reassigned to St. Petersburg right at the start of the offseason, and among two players being DFA'ed, Sam Armetta's placement on waivers was for being an unproductive loudmouth and distraction even from the far end of the bench. Adam Cowen was DFA'ed because he came off the 60-day DL and there was no room on the 40-man roster on the very first day of the offseason. He cleared waivers, but would be eligible for free agency since we would not make him an offer in arbitration.

The Raccoons were not normally a team paying much attention to social dynamics, given that no matter which players you'd assemble, they'd always bicker over the piles of food all day long, but maybe it would be good to bring in a real leader personality, which is something we apparently lacked badly right now.

Meanwhile we sampled players off the arbitration list that we intended to not shoot quite yet, extending 1-year deals to Tim Stalker ($425k), Vince Devereaux ($340k), and Jarod Spencer ($277k) by the final weekend in October. Over the following weeks we also signed 1-year deals with Jon Gonzalez ($650k) and Jack Sander ($280k).

There was also a bigger deal to be talked about, precisely a 4-yr, $8.3M extension with SP Mark Roberts. The left-hander had led the Continental League with 30 bombs surrendered, but for the time being he was our ace, unless Rico Gutierrez would extend his 2024 performance into the following years. The deal started with $1.7M next year (which was his final year under team control, and then $2M once and $2.3M twice in the three years of free agency we got from him. He wanted a 5-year deal for eight figures, he also wanted a player option – he got neither.

The Roberts contract was not our longest commitment to any player, the first one to stretch into the 2028 season, surpassing agreements with Cookie Carmona, Dan Delgadillo, and Abel Mora that would all end in '27 (although Delgadillo would remain under team control for longer than that).

There was also a trade and it erased the Raccoons' biggest commitment for the 2025 season!

On November 4, the Raccoons came to terms with their division rivals, the New York Crusaders, for a 4-player trade. The Raccoons sent 34-year-old INF Shane Walter (.305, 52 HR, 627 RBI) and 26-year-old MR David Kipple (7-9, 5.37 ERA, 2 SV) to the Crusaders and would receive 28-year-old LF/RF Jake Williams (.266, 40 HR, 201 RBI) and 27-year-old SP/MR Lance Legleiter (2-1, 3.51 ERA).

I claim, between these four players, we win on five accounts. First, between Shane Walter and Jarod Spencer mostly splitting second base between them, we were not getting enough from either of them. This allows us to place Jarod Spencer at the top of the lineup as everyday second baseman, at roughly one tenth of Shane Walter's price for '25 ($2.48M). David Kipple was wholly erratic, and also a bad apple with low work ethic, dumb, and constantly mouthing off of wanting to play for a winner. Jake Williams, if nothing else, will light fire under Omar Alfaro's bum (and also kills off Zach Graves' Coons career for good, as he was not offered anything in arbitration). We also saved $2.3M in this trade.

That leaves the mystery box that is Legleiter, a 27-year-old swingman that scouts agree has the stuff to be a major league starter, but despite the advanced age, the Crusaders only let him try three times in his career. There were also considerable control woes, but given the Raccoons' starting pitching situation, as bereft of Delgadillo as they were, Legleiter was a cheap case of throwing stuff at the wall until something would stick. Josh Whitaker hadn't in 2024.

This sends Shane Walter to the Crusaders for the second time after two stints with the Coons. We had once gotten him off waivers from them, prior to his first stint.

As a sixth perk from the Walter trade, we now have some real money to play with on the free agent market.

+++

November 1 – The Blue Sox deal SP Matt Gossen (25-55, 5.05 ERA) to the Warriors for three prospects.
November 1 – The Loggers trade left-handed reliever Mike Homa (12-25, 5.50 ERA, 1 SV) to the Thunder for a prospect.

+++

2024 ABL AWARDS

Players of the Year: SAC LF/RF Doug Stross (.357, 8 HR, 89 RBI) and ATL C Ruben Luna (.268, 31 HR, 95 RBI)
Pitchers of the Year: SAL SP Jorge Beltran (16-9, 2.37 ERA) and TIJ SP Luis Flores (16-10, 2.87 ERA)
Rookies of the Year: LAP C Dylan Allomes (.263, 11 HR, 54 RBI) and TIJ SP/MR Mark Morrison (11-2, 2.35 ERA)
Relievers of the Year: TOP CL Mike Baker (7-4, 1.88 ERA, 40 SV) and TIJ SP/MR Mark Morrison (11-2, 2.35 ERA)
Platinum Sticks (FL): P TOP Jose Lerma, C DEN Matt Harry, 1B SAL Kevin Harenberg, 2B WAS Dave Menth, 3B CIN Eddie Moreno, SS LAP John Hansen, LF SAC Doug Stross, CF SAC Justin McAllester, RF SAC Pablo Sanchez
Platinum Sticks (CL): P SFB Brian Simmons, C ATL Ruben Luna, 1B IND Mike Rucker, 2B ATL Devin Hibbard, 3B NYC Andy Schmit, SS LVA Andres Medina, LF LVA Justin Dally, CF LVA Ron Raynor, RF LVA Cesar Martinez
Gold Gloves (FL): P TOP Carlos Marron, C SAL Armando Galan, 1B PIT Josh Keen, 2B NAS Matt Otis, 3B SAC Jason LaCombe, SS SAC Trey Rock, LF SFW Jeff Wadley, CF SFW Pedro Cisneros, RF SAL Luke Gross
Gold Gloves (CL): P IND Alvin Smith, C IND Tony Perez, 1B OCT John Elliott, 2B SFB Pat Pick, 3B POR Matt Nunley, SS POR Tim Stalker, LF TIJ Omar Larios, CF BOS Adrian Reichardt, RF BOS Adam Braun

Matt Nunley had to grow to the ripe age of 33 before he could get his well-deserved Gold Glove! This is somewhat of a shame that it took this long, especially since his glove work alone was usually worth roughly 1 WAR per season according to the statheads, occasionally rivalling whatever he did with the stick. He is not a bad batter, but he's never been a great one. His OPS+ for his career is 106.

Tim Stalker won the award for the second year in a row, although it's hard to polish over his complete disappearance at the plate in the second half of the year, or actually everything past April. Stalker batted .309 in April. He batted .228 or worse in four of the other five months.
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Old 06-22-2018, 05:31 AM   #2552
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The Raccoons signed a 1-year extension with one more player before the time for salary arbitration and free agency arrived. That player was Tony Delgado, who would stick around for another season for $400k. By contrast, we could not agree to a deal with Daniel Bullock, who was thus sent to arbitration after demanding in excess of $300k compared to a $270k estimate. Cristiano Carmona advised me that he was worth about $690k to us, and he almost had me for a while, although I was not sure about his motives.

Bullock actually had the guts to request over $410k at the actual arbitration hearing, giving the arbitrator a good chuckle before he brought the hammer down and told him NO in unmistakable terms. He received our offer, the $270k estimate.

Zach Graves and Adam Cowen did not receive offers, and neither did any of the remaining free agents.

And with that, the offseason began in earnest and we had to compile a laundry list of things to do with not much money at all. Unearthing any sort of competitive, combative starting pitcher over Josh Whitaker was certainly a thing I would like. Whitaker had not been horrendous, but 0-8 was 0-8. If you fill your team with 0-8 pitchers, you'll end up 0-162. Even freaking Damani Knight had won some 20% of his starts in the majors. Damani Knight!

Depending on our confidence with Hector Morales, we were also in the market for a new left-handed reliever behind Billy Brotman after including David Kipple in the earlier deal with the Crusaders.

The good news were that we could probably mostly focus on the pitching for the moment given that except for one nostalgic question mark (Cookie, obviously), our starting lineup appeared more or less set unless there was some major bargain to be made somewhere. Tovias behind the plate, Gonzalez, Spencer, Stalker, and Nunley around the infield, and Mora and Kopp as outfield starters were all more or less unchallenged. Mike Grigsby had done nothing to unseat Nunley, there was no threat in AAA or still on the extended roster for any other infielder, and while there was competition of the intense kind for the rightfield job with Kopp, Alfaro, and Williams, Terry Kopp seemed to have that one down for the moment.

Like I said, that left the nostalgic question mark of what the **** to do with Cookie Carmona, who had batted .247 and .248 in his last two seasons and had put up on-base clips of just barely over .300 in either year. He had 2,074 base hits alright, the most ever by a Raccoon for the Raccoons, but he also had collapsed the second we had given him that now ludicrously overpaid $7.5M deal prior to the 2023 season, and last year had only been the first of four years for that contract. He remained on the payroll through '27, and given his lack of stick he was untradeable unless we would pick some similarly dead meat in return. Remind me of this the next time I want to give a multi-year deal to a 31-year-old…

Terry Kopp was the one trade chip I held to flip for a major pitching improvement given the density at corner outfield, but there was no pressing need to trade him right now. He was under contract for two years through '26, but he also had batted for only a .731 OPS with the Raccoons down the stretch last year, and had driven in only 24 runs in 54 games after plating 81 in 98 games with the Cyclones.

You know, just another batter fitting in seamlessly here.

There was no point in wasting much breath on AAA, because there was not a whole lot there that could help us out in the foreseeable future. Down in Ham Lake we had 18-year-old Alberto Ramos, a blue chip shortstop that had batted .261/.344/.343 after being promoted there from Aumsville in the middle of the season. His contact, eye, and speed potential were off the charts, and he was fielding not the highest level, but he would not embarrass you, either. He was the ABL's #2 prospect prior to the '24 season, and definitely on the fast track, but I still didn't expect him to be an option before the 2026 season and he would start 2025 in Ham Lake.

+++

November 13 – The Loggers trade SP Morgan Shepherd (31-43, 4.06 ERA) to the Titans for two unranked prospects including the interesting SP Alexis Zamora.
November 21 – The Thunder pounce on the routinely-injured former Bayhawk OF Dave Garcia (.297, 208 HR, 772 RBI) and sign the 29-year-old to a 6-yr, $15.84M deal.
November 21 – The Gold Sox sign up ex-LAP INF Nick Herman (.276, 64 HR, 428 RBI). The 31-year-old right-hander receives a 4-year deal worth $9.28M.
November 24 – The Loggers surprisingly mingle on the free agent market, signing ex-LAP SP Vincent Alfaro (66-66, 3.77 ERA) to a 5-yr, $15M contract.
November 24 – The Bayhawks trade 25-yr-old OF/1B Rafael Gomez (.264, 65 HR, 317 RBI) and cash to the Rebels for two prospects including #96 SP Ben Lipsky.
November 25 – Former Capitals SS Tom McWhorter (.272, 320 HR, 1,281 RBI) joins the Continental League for the first time in his career. The 36-year-old signs with the Crusaders for 3-yr, $7.92M.
November 29 – RF/LF Cesar Martinez (.265, 158 HR, 521 RBI), who played for the Indians and Falcons in 2024, signs a 6-yr, $23M contract with the Bayhawks.
November 29 – The Knights add ex-RIC LF/RF/1B Jon Correa (.276, 112 HR, 592 RBI) for 4-yr, $8.33M.
December 1 – Rule 5 draft: 19 players are selected over four rounds. The Raccoons draft 28-yr-old INF Dustin Jurek from the Bayhawks. The Pacifics draft 31-yr-old MR Will West from the Raccoons.
December 1 – The reigning champions add to the fold with ex-SAC SP Ian Rutter (185-122, 3.37 ERA). The 37-year-old right-hander returns to Boston after eight years in Sacramento, enticed by a 2-yr, $7M deal.
December 1 – The Stars sign ex-SFB SP Brian Simmons (107-74, 3.84 ERA) to a 2-yr, $4.48M contract.
December 1 – The Buffaloes trade 2B Marco Hernandes (.288, 7 HR, 213 RBI) to the Rebels for SP Dan Lambert (131-118, 3.75 ERA, 18 SV), a prospect, and cash.

+++

I have spent some effort on finding suitable backup infielders this November, and it was all a bit in vein. Jurek, a 28-year-old wannabe rookie that signed out of beer league in 2021, may not be a perfect solution, but it's definitely a good move to at least have a placeholder available. The search for actual backups will have to continue though.

Coons finding shelter early on are limited to Zach Graves signing with the Stars for 2-yr, $444k. Maybe he can hit a homer there.
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:25 PM   #2553
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The winter meetings were upon us with the Rule 5 draft gone by, and when I looked at our pitching, I saw where our priorities should be.

Heading into the winter meetings, our rotation was Roberts, Gutierrez, Chavez, Sander, and… huh. Whitaker, Legleiter? In the pen, of all the closers only Jonathan Snyder was left over, with Vince D as setup man. Behind that: Surginer, Brotman, Lee, and whatever you think of Legleiter. Theoretically Juan Barzaga and Hector Morales. That's not a pitching staff that evokes good vibes of the "hey if the dice fall right, we're valid in September" sort, but more of the kind that made you want to put your head in the stove.

I reached out to ex-Titan Chris Klein during the winter meetings, but he apparently already had a 5-year deal well north of $15M on the table and the Raccoons – under tears – could not offer more than $2.75M annually at this point. Which was of course not enough to add a top-notch starter like Klein, who would also have us had forfeit our second-round pick since he was a type A free agent.

No, the Raccoons could afford neither him, nor the other first-rate free agent starting pitchers, Jose Menendez, and the Loggers' former Pedro Hernandez, who had lost 16 games in '24 but had also led the league in strikeouts. The Raccoons had to sift through the various pitchers on the market that were less flashy and often flawed.

Also on the market: Jonny Toner, who by now was pretty much the definition of damaged goods. The Crusaders had given him a $2.28M deal for 2024, well knowing that he would miss at least the first two months of the season. In the event, he didn't join them until after the All Star Game, and then made it only into 13 games (7 starts). Yes, he ended up 5-3 with a 2.73 ERA, but that was with a ridiculous .222 BABIP in 59.1 innings. He struck out 6.2/9, or in other words roughly half of what he put out in his heydays. He walked 5.2, that one pretty much in line with his last years in Portland, tumbling from injury to injury.

So what is the lower threshold for a 4-time Pitcher of the Year to make the Hall of Fame? Is 162-72, 2.62 ERA, 2,275 K going to be enough?

+++

December 3 – Three years and $4M land the Cyclones ex-DAL/LVA INF Raul Maldonado (.321, 23 HR, 553 RBI).
December 3 – The Condors trade RF/1B Chris Hollar (.266, 14 HR, 67 RBI) to the Stars for MR John Waker (22-23, 3.46 ERA, 23 SV) and #83 prospect CL Tom Zack.
December 3 – Oklahoma City acquires SP Adam Henry (12-27, 4.97 ERA) from the Cyclones. Cincinnati receives two prospects for the 29-year-old left-hander.
December 3 – After nine years in the Federal League, 38-yr-old ex-DEN LF/RF Mike Bednarski (.286, 260 HR, 1,253 RBI) returns to the Continental League, signing a 1-yr, $880k deal with the Condors.
December 3 – The Loggers trade for the Falcons' 38-year-old C Jamal White (.261, 222 HR, 915 RBI), who batted for only .200 and two homers between two teams in 2024. The Falcons receive MR Justin Guerin (12-19, 4.14 ERA, 34 SV) and a token prospect.
December 4 – Ex-CHA/POR CL Ryan Corkum (21-26, 3.60 ERA, 125 SV) signs a 2-yr, $3.1M contract with the Indians.
December 5 – The Knights send SS Phil Neubecker (.264, 9 HR, 53 RBI) to the Stars for swingman Yoo-chul Kim (26-26, 4.09 ERA, 6 SV).
December 6 – The Raccoons acquire 25-year-old MR Ricky Ohl (1-1, 4.86 ERA, 1 SV) from the Capitals, sending LF/RF Jake Williams (.266, 40 HR, 201 RBI), recently acquired from the Crusaders, and AAA C Ricky Ortiz to Washington.
December 6 – The Capitals also acquire ex-CIN CL Pat Selby (33-25, 3.64 ERA, 104 SV) for 1-yr, $1.56M.
December 6 – The Gold Sox pick up ex-MIL RF Brad Gore (.286, 98 HR, 624 RBI) for five years and $14.4M.
December 7 – The Buffaloes trade two prospects to the Miners for 27-yr-old SP Joe Jones (25-38, 4.52 ERA).

+++

Let me explain the Ohl trade. I said before that Ricky Ortiz is a promising catching prospect, but Elias Tovias is here and is here to stay, and behind Tovias, and further down the minors, we have another very good catching prospect in Elijah Bean. There was no value to Ortiz but as a trade chip.

And the same is true for Jake Williams, just earlier picked up with Legleiter from the Crusaders. We had four corner outfielders between Cookie, Kopp, Alfaro, and Williams, and that was before we were going to the half-baked demi-prospects like Mansfield and Gerace (a bad apple). You can't trade Cookie with that contract, so he has to stay here anyway, and I have too much of a big mouth invested in Omar Alfaro to silently send him off to the Federal League, and Terry Kopp is the best of all of them. Williams has never *really* broken out. His best effort was a .264 season with 16 homers. It's not like he's worth his weight in gold.

Ricky Ohl is a young reliever with a murder slider. His control was wonky last year as a rookie, but with this vicious stuff he could walk them loaded and still emerge unscathed with three strikeouts.

Although this was not his GM's suggested battle plan. I have pills, but I don't always know which are for irregular heartbeats.

Ex-Coons shuffeling around: Adam Cowen signed with Vegas for 2-yr, $454k; Raul Claros got $580k from the Indians for one year;
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:26 PM   #2554
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December 11 – The Indians add ex-SAL/DEN 3B/2B Mike Green (.239, 95 HR, 392 RBI) on a 1-yr, $1.2M contract.
December 13 – Former Loggers SP Pedro Hernandez (135-114, 3.42 ERA) signs with the Gold Sox, who will pay $7.76M over two years to the 32-year-old right-hander.
December 13 – The Buffaloes sign ex-POR CL Brett Lillis (42-61, 3.02 ERA, 302 SV) for 2-yr, $1.9M.
December 14 – The Rebels add offense, signing ex-TOP LF/RF Alfredo Quintana (.282, 87 HR, 806 RBI), who will net $22.4M over seven years.
December 14 – The Cyclones add a closer in ex-Pacific Troy Charters (49-53, 3.77 ERA, 213 SV) for 3-yr, $6.36M.

+++

Yes, once upon a time the Raccoons had a third baseman not named Matt Nunley, although it sure felt like when the glaciers most recently receded from the Pacific Northwest they already left Nunley behind. That was not true, and the previous entrenched third baseman had been Jon Merritt. Good ol' Jon was already 34 when he signed a 5-year deal with the Coons prior to 2010, which led to three jolly good years, a year marred by injuries, and then Matt Nunley had already arrived and relegated Merritt to reserve duties in 2014. However Merritt's career was then far from over. He played for another five years in the majors, getting as many as 251 at-bats at age 40 with the Stars, before taking bit assignments with three different teams afterwards. Although superficially unassuming, Jon Merritt would lead his league in triples three times, all in his 30s(!), including once with the Raccoons in 2010. Merritt's mark of 18 three-bag hits still stands, towering over the remaining top 10, which are mostly populated by Cookie Carmona, who has six entries in the franchise top 10 for triples in a season with a high, and overall second-best, of 14 in 2015.

Another former Raccoon on the ballot was Ron Alston, although like Merritt he delivered most of his body of work elsewhere. Ron Alston played in Portland for only two-and-a-half years, arriving in a huge deal in 2008 that sent Daniel Sharp, Ryan Miller, and Jimmy Oatmeal to the Indians. He hit 33 dingers between the two teams in 2008, then led the CL with 35 in '09, one of four times he won the home run crown in addition to three batting titles and one RBI belt, although he didn't line it all up for a triple crown. But his appearances atop any sort of leaderboard were as far as 14 years apart, indicating a player that was very good for a very long time. Unlike Merritt, who was more on the average side of "pretty good", Alston was an impact player and is regarded as a sure-as-heck first-ballot Hall of Famer, owing to his 475 homers and 1,598 RBI. The former mark had him as the all-time ABL leader, and the latter mark ranked him third behind Will Bailey (1,714) and Martin Ortνz (1,670). The former was already in the Hall, and the latter would not appear on the ballot until two years from now.

There was one thing though that Alston and Merritt had in common – they were part of the most recent Raccoons team to reach the World Series in 2010.

Three more former Raccoons are on the ballot, including one new arrival, although Manuel Reyes passed through only briefly in 2000 on the way to Atlanta, where he did his best work. We got him from the Blue Sox for Cesar Gonzalez, then sent him to Georgia with Marvin Ingall (who would soon return) for Jesus Palacios and a host of obscure fringe players.

Still on the ballot are Jerry Fletcher, also a half-season Coon only, in his eighth season and Kel Yates, the reason for my most-recent arrest in Canada, in his sixth season. None have particularly good chances, with Yates especially harmed by relative brevity despite piling up an impressive 2,773 strikeouts.

Full ballot below.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:13 AM   #2555
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In the middle of December, I was not getting good nights' sleep. I spent most of nights tossing and turning, staring out of the window, and then called fellow GM's again at 3:21 in the morning, which usually didn't further my standing in any sort of trade discussion, of which several were going on at this point.

The real reason was that I was going to take a Daniel Dickerson-sized and –shaped flyer and I consulted all the sources for advice I could think of. Slappy handed me just another bottle of booze. Honeypaws stared at me, indifferently. And the trusty ol' magic 8-ball advised me to ask again later.

+++

December 15 – The Blue Sox sign ex-TIJ SP Jose Menendez (76-90, 3.50 ERA) to a 2-yr, $7.88M contract.
December 16 – The Raccoons ink former Scorpions and Titans MR Justin Hess (46-31, 3.37 ERA, 102 SV) to a 1-yr, $450k contract.
December 17 – The Stars get 25-year-old OF/1B Doug Bell (.272, 2 HR, 32 RBI) from the Warriors in a trade that sends 2B/LF/SS Trent Pierce (.281, 7 HR, 39 RBI), 26 years old, to the Warriors.

+++

Hess is already 34 and knows the playoffs in and out, having been there for six consecutive seasons. Now, I'm not saying that these sorts of streaks can't abruptly end, but come on, what are the chances that Hess suddenly loses his playoff mojo? Of course he was signed *exclusively* for his postseason expertise!

No, sometimes even I don't believe that I actually just said that.

I still haven't found a real leader type to get the clubhouse's **** together. Well, we are in need of a backup infielder, and I think I have a suitable backup infielder found on the open market, but there is some slight issue with his past allegiances that make me cough up a furball. Although with time we learned to like both Kisho Saito and Tetsu Osanai, so why not? He was a natural born leader; the question was just how well he could lead from the bench because he wasn't getting past either Jarod Spencer or Tim Stalker…
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Old 06-28-2018, 05:41 PM   #2556
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In mid-December I had a trade worked out that would have seen the Raccoons acquire OF Matt Jamieson from the Pacifics. This probably sounds nuts, but we would have sent them Jesus Chavez, either in a one-for-one, or while exchanging a pair of middling prospects, too, with the Pacifics sending AAA SP Ed Miller to Portland. Jamieson, who spent a number of years with the Condors and would be 30 in April, was a right-handed batter that played all outfield positions well and was a natural born team leader. Just what the Raccoons needed!

I was even able to look past his absolutely meager 2024 season, in which he batted .239 with two homers (but he had never been a power guy, topping out at 12 dingers in a season). The price was affordable (roughly $1M per year, almost the same as Chavez), but there was one huge problem.

Jamieson expected to be in the starting lineup – as most team leaders probably would. Now, you might say that we have an open spot in the outfield. Abel Mora is good-to-great, Terry Kopp is good-to-great, and Cookie Carmona is old and a bitter memory of better times. He isn't even that old. It's just all bitter. Also, Omar Alfaro, y'know, the *young* perpetual disappointment.

And still, I was not able to punt Cookie Carmona from the lineup. Even after two years of batting .248 and being worth precisely zero WAR. I just couldn't.

And not just because his brother was still interning around here and was handling my coffee. Yes, actually; Maud kept freaking me out with drawing smiley faces in some fluffy latte from that terribly fancy Italian devil machine somebody dragged into here, and last year we found two bucks that remained in the budget for a plastic tray that he can place on his thighs when he rolls around the offices. Cristiano knows exactly what I want from a coffee. Black as the night, and the cup only half full. I need some space for liquor and pills in the cup.

Yeah, Chavez. His stats for '24 are terrible. He lost 16 games, tying for third place in the Continental League, but well, that can happen on measly teams. (By the way, as we are on weird stats – would you have believed that Mark Roberts led all qualifying pitchers in the CL with a 1.13 WHIP last season?)

But Chavez didn't only lose sixteen games, he also allowed 29 dingers (second to Roberts in the CL), walked almost half as many as he struck out, and piled up a 4.40 ERA and 90 ERA+ despite getting .274 BABIP-like defense behind him. He's outrageously crummy, and turning him into any player of value would be a tremendous gain. But we won't trade him for Jamieson, because of Cookie.

Which is a sentence that doesn't make that much sense. We didn't trade him because of Cookie. We didn't trade him because of bananas. We didn't trade him because of cat memes. We didn't trade him because of the Battle of Chattanooga. Pick any of these – none make much sense.

+++

December 19 – Salem snatches up ex-CHA RF/LF Travis Benson (.281, 122 HR, 526 RBI) for 2-yr, $2.72M.
December 19 – Former Indians LF/CF Danny Morales (.275, 50 HR, 333 RBI) lands with the Miners, signing a 1-yr, $888k deal.
December 21 – The Raccoons ink a new pitcher in ex-WAS SP Graham Wasserman (100-93, 3.79 ERA). The 34-year-old right-hander signs a 1-year deal worth $1M.
December 28 – Ex-TOP INF Wade White (.288, 50 HR, 564 RBI) joins the Warriors on a 3-year deal. The 35-year-old left-handed hitter will net $4.92M over the life of the contract.
December 31 – Portland will be the fourth team in four years for ex-NAS 2B/SS Matt Otis (.262, 25 HR, 328 RBI). The soon-to-be-36 veteran joins the Raccoons on a $400k contract for 2025.
December 31 – The Stars add 29-year-old former Logger C Josh Wool (.281, 66 HR, 376 RBI) to the fold, giving out a 4-year, $6.12M contract.

+++

Don't say it – I know. We're signing bits and pieces only. I know it. I know it.

Nobody quite remembers, but Graham Wasserman is a Raccoon again after ten years abroad. He made his major league debut with the Critters in 2014, being rocked for ten runs in 6.1 innings over two starts. He has since put up some respectable seasons elsewhere, although he amounted only to an 8-8 record and 4.47 ERA in 2024. Still better than Josh Whitaker.

In 2013, the regressing Raccoons shelled out four players including three major leaguers in Colin Baldwin, Craig Bowen, and Michael Palmer, to get the then-#19 prospect Wasserman from the Stars, only to flip him for Ronnie McKnight a year later. McKnight, also 34 now, was the 2015 Rookie of the Year, but has not played in the majors in two years. Wasserman is still active.

Otis is a former Elk, but he is also a team leader, and he also has experience leading a team from the bench, which I hope to exploit next year.

Former Raccoons now being fed elsewhere are limited to Andy Bareford signing with Dallas for 2-yr, $1.62M during the latter half of December.
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Old 07-01-2018, 09:43 AM   #2557
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The Raccoons started January by announcing a $2.8m deal that was not going to enrich their roster in any way; much rather we signed a 4-year escalating extension with the weirdly exciting Jarod Spencer. This contract, starting at $400k and adding another 200 grand per season, would only kick in by 2026, as Spencer was still making $277k this year. This keeps Spencer, a .302/.324/.368 batter, in the brown shirt through his age 30 season. His slash line in 2024 was a much more interesting .326/.356/.416.

+++

January 4 – The last type A free agent of the winter jumps CL North ships as former Titans SP Chris Klein (111-90, 3.31 ERA) signs a 5-yr, $18.36M contract with the Crusaders.
January 18 – The Scorpions spend $11.4M on a 6-year deal for 30-year-old international free agent C David Drews, who enters the league from Japan where he was born and raised.
January 29 – After five years in Indianapolis, 37-year-old 1B Mike Rucker (.254, 317 HR, 1063 RBI) joins the Pacifics on a 2-yr, $3.64M contract.

+++

No, we haven't done anything else in the month of January. Where is the team even supposed to go? What am I even supposed to do?

Honestly. What's my job around here? I vaguely feel like it is about bitching and yelling at people, but from time to time someone brings in a paper I have to sign, too?

Ex-Coon Watch: Chris Munroe signed with the Baybirds for $262k; Josh Stevenson joined the Loggers for $256k;

+++

2025 HALL OF FAME VOTING RESULTS

The ABL inducted three new players into the Hall of Fame this season, all of them outfielders and also including a near-unanimous first-ballot selection.

The #85 pick by the Bayhawks in the 1998 pick, outfielder Earl Clark hit for the cycle in the minors within one week of being selected. He would never repeat this feat in the major leagues, and neither would he ever suit up for the big-league Bayhawks, but the eventual 6-time All Star and 5-time Platinum Stick winner had his way of piling up numbers. Clark, who made his major league debut at the age of 20 for the Sioux Falls Warriors, whose insignia he will also wear on his Hall of Fame plaque, led the league in on-base percentage three times and in stolen bases twice, always a threat to get on and move on once on. Clark never won a World Series despite being around a number of winning teams later in his career. He finished his career in 2017 with a slash of .309/.404/.447 with 137 HR and 967 RBI as well as 265 SB and was elected in his third year on the ballot after missing out by 2.5% last year.

Despite a career riddled with injuries, the 2002 #2 draft pick Stanton "Clockwork" Martin was one of the best players of his generation and piled up more awards than most. Spending all but one of his 17 major league seasons with the Crusaders helped him win six World Series rings, partaking in both of the Crusaders' three-peats, and he was also an 8-time All Star, 9-time Gold Glover, and the 2013 Player of the Year. He led the league in a triple crown category only once, in RBI in 2008, but four times led the league in slugging between 2005 and 2013. This tendency to do big damage is reflected in his .297/.334/.514 career slash line, augmented by 296 homers and 1,294 RBI.

Ron Alston was selected 18th by the Indians in the 1997 draft and made his debut in the majors at 19 years old in '99. Compared to Stanton Martin he enjoyed much better health and also was the more prolific power hitter, still leading the league in career home runs five years after retiring in 2019. Alston, who played for four teams in his career, all in the Continental League, three times was named Player of the Year, including in his age 22 season in 2002, and also in 2003 and 2012. Alston was regularly challenging for a triple crown, but never quite lined it up, winning three batting titles (all in his 30s), four home run titles (dispersed all over the place), and only one RBI crown (in 2003). He led the league in OBP four times, and in slugging twice. Overall he was a .307/.395/.491 with 475 HR and 1,598 RBI.

Ron Alston is now the first player in the Hall in alphabetical order, displacing Thunder Aaron Anderson, who had been elected ten years ago. He is the third Indian inducted (joining Billy Robinson and Curtis Tobitt), while amazingly Stanton Martin is the first Crusaders player to make the Hall of Fame. Earl Clark joins Andres Ramirez as Warriors in the Hall.

Complete results with year on ballot and percentage of votes:

IND LF Ron Alston – 1st – 97.8 – INDUCTED
NYC RF Stanton Martin – 2nd – 83.7 – INDUCTED
SFW CF Earl Clark – 3rd – 82.6 – INDUCTED
NYC SP Pancho Trevino – 2nd – 74.1
LVA 2B Oliver Torres – 1st – 70.0
IND C Jose Paraz – 1st – 64.8
TOP LF Lionnel Perri – 1st – 47.0
MIL CF Jerry Fletcher – 8th – 32.6
CHA CL Luis Hernandez – 3rd – 31.9
??? SP Chris York – 7th – 28.9
TIJ SP Kelvin Yates – 6th – 27.8
PIT SP Miguel Rodriguez – 1st – 15.6
??? CL Tommy Wooldridge – 1st – 11.9
??? CL Iemitsu Rin – 2nd – 8.9
??? RF Juan Ortνz – 1st – 7.0
DAL SP Paul Miller – 4th – 3.0 – DROPPED
??? CL Charlie Deacon – 2nd – 3.0 – DROPPED
IND 1B Mun-wah Tsung – 1st – 2.2 – DROPPED
NYC 1B B.J. Manfull – 1st – 1.9 – DROPPED
SFB 3B Javier Rodriguez – 1st – 1.1 – DROPPED
??? 3B Jon Merritt – 1st – 1.1 – DROPPED
ATL MR Manuel Reyes – 1st – 0.7 – DROPPED
??? SS Armando Rodriguez – 1st – 0.4 – DROPPED
??? 2B Francisco Caraballo – 1st – 0.0 – DROPPED
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:04 AM   #2558
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Players who miss the Hall by less than one percentage point always intrigue me.....

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Old 07-02-2018, 04:58 PM   #2559
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(has a really good laugh) Ha-ha-ha-haah, you won't - … you won't - … (wipes away a tear while Slappy and Chad – in full costume – fist-bump on the couch) you won't believe what I … (giggles)

I claimed Dwayne Metts off waivers.

Well, yeah, ufff. I don't really – it came over me. If you dare to remember, Metts was traded to the Cyclones last summer in the Terry Kopp deal, then was traded in a minor deal to the Bayhawks at the winter meetings. The Bayhawks ran out of room and put him on the street, and that's where the Raccoons swooped in, and just to be clear, we are talking about a 29-year-old .241 batter with six home runs in barely a season's worth of at-bats in his career, and who has no options and no room on the roster.

I think I have reached the age where I don't really notice my advanced level of cruelty to small animals anymore.

Then again, Metts was actually worth 0.7 WAR last season … virtually the same as Omar Alfaro. This – while a traumatizing revelation – says probably more about the monumental bust Alfaro than about Metts. But this is also the point where I have to point out that WAR is a bogus stat and means nothing, and Omar will be a star and the Raccoons will be back in the World Series at some point. Soon. Very soon.

Very, very soon.

+++

February 2 – The Crusaders sign 29-year-old C Armando Leal (.283, 59 HR, 415 RBI) to a 3-yr, $1.98M contract. The switch-hitter played for the Blue Sox and Rebels in 2024.
February 3 – After four years away with the Falcons, C Tim Robinson (.261, 191 HR, 668 RBI) signs with the Titans again. The 35-year old receives a 1-yr, $830k contract.
February 8 – The Knights trade 3B/2B Jaylen Rolland (.271, 23 HR, 147 RBI) to the Gold Sox for OF/1B Cory Briscoe (.282, 3 HR, 63 RBI).
February 26 – The Pacifics add ex-OCT SP Bryan Hanson (79-57, 3.51 ERA) for 2-yr, $4.56M.
February 26 – In a trade between the Titans and Wolves, 27-yr old LF/RF Matt Owen (.292, 23 HR, 144 RBI) and a prospect go to Salem while Boston is the destination for 29-yr old LF Yasuhiro Kuramoto (.283, 69 HR, 360 RBI).

+++

Ron Thrasher made only four appearances for the Loggers in 2024 before being diagnosed with a ruptured UCL. Ultimately subjecting to Tommy John surgery, the 37-year-old two-time Reliever of the Year hoped to be back in action by his 38th birthday in late April, but nothing will come of a comeback. After a setback in recovery and another tear reappearing after he began to throw again, Thrasher had to announce his retirement just before training camp opened in late February. A Raccoon for 11 of his 15 major league seasons, Thrasher went 48-45 with a 2.49 ERA and 204 SV in 922 games, striking out 1,088 batters.

Thrasher was the Warriors' #42 pick in the 2006 draft and soon enough shot into the top 10 in the prospect rankings. Starting games in the minors, he pitched a no-hitter at the single-A level in 2008 before getting traded three times in less than two months in 2009, mostly involving bit players. Via the Wolves and Canadiens, Thrasher ended up with the Raccoons, along with returnee Ricardo Huerta and cash in exchange for Sergio Esquivel, and made his major league debut the following season at age 23, instantly blitzing baseball by going 29 innings in 42 outings with a 1.86 ERA, 11.8 K/9 and no home runs allowed. He remained a mainstay at the tough end of the Raccoons' pen throughout the 2010s and up to and including their 2020 late-heartbreak season.

He was an All Star and a Reliever of the Year with the Raccoons once; he was an All Star twice, Reliever of the Year once more, and won two rings with the Titans.

Now he's gone.

+++

Jonathan Toner signed a $336k last-ditch deal with the *Loggers*; Ruben Pelles signed with the Stars for $256k; Brian Petracek was picked up by the Condors for $248k; the Cyclones take a $550k flyer on Frank Kelly coming off two Tommy John procedures in 24 months; Wade Davis joined the Pacifics for $310k;
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:49 AM   #2560
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As the offseason was winding down, nobody around the Raccoons could help but feel that it had been a huge disappointment. No distinct improvement could be made out. The team was probably less than what it had been in 2024. Ultimately, what few deals the Raccoons had struck looked kind of weird going into March. Ultimately, the Raccoons had traded Shane Walter for a reliever, yet in a convoluted way. The two deals with New York and Washington that saw Jake Williams come and Jake Williams go were the Raccoons' only trade agreements during the offseason, and apart from that they had only signed second-rate (if that) free agents and … claimed Dwayne Metts off waivers. Add a dire rule 5 pick, and that's it.

Oh dear, we're going to suffer.

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March 11 – The Titans pick up swingman Hwa-pyung Choe (72-80, 4.01 ERA, 21 SV), who pitched in only 19 innings for the Scorpions last year and will miss Opening Day in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Choe will make $560k in 2025.
March 11 – The Thunder pick up Milwaukee's LF Carlos de Santiago (.271, 20 HR, 90 RBI) in exchange for C Adam Baker (.265, 32 HR, 117 RBI).
March 25 – 34-year-old LF/RF/1B Ray Meade (.280, 218 HR, 1,031 RBI), who led the Federal League with 116 RBI last year, is traded from the Rebels to the Pacifics, along with a prospect, for C Matt Dehne (.244, 58 HR, 219 RBI).

+++

Pat Slayton and his gray moustache keep finding jobs, signing with the Scorpions for $334k; the Gold Sox gave a $278k deal to Alex Duarte;
__________________
Portland Raccoons, 55 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019 * 2026 * 2028
1 OSANAI
: 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 28 CASAS : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic



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