2013 Fly-By-Night Team Article Archive


HEARD ON THE STREET - 3-24

 

"1st inning of 1st game of the season, 1out bases loaded, KK rolls a split 1-10 HR, 1-20 SF, gone, GS and our luck hasn't improved!" Mgr Earl Weaver. "Our opponents had a 232 BA against our staff and we go 7-11. Take Scherzer out and our team era was 3.22!!!! Frustrating."

Offense can't get clutch hits and "D" has hurt us tremendously - typical was final game of the block - 1st inning WS 2 in, bases loaded, 1 out, Longoria K, Salty ground out. 4th inning, opponents get X chance RF (3e5), Swisher makes his 2nd 2base E of block, bb, WP, X chance 3b (Hairston in for the inj Longoria (3e28)) 2base E, 2runs score, get 2 outs, X chance to LF Holliday 4e3, double, another unearned run scores, and so it goes.

The Good - A Gonzalez 323/415/508 13rbi
The Bad - D Solano 156/222/200
M Holliday 221/338/309
The Ugly - M Scherzer 0-3 11.2 IP 25H 21 ER 16.20 era and hasn't made it thru 4th inning yet!! whip 2.67 !!!

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SCHOOL YARD CHATTER - 3-25

Casey Stengel has been very happy with the team results after the first block. The team is 11-7. "Florida came into the school year and kick our butts in the opening series. Lannan pitched a great game or we would have been 0-3 to start", said Stengel. Lefty Pitching coach Warren Span worked with Lannan over the winter. "The kid has shown improvement. We just hope he gets some innings in this year in MLB", said Span. Lannan was sent down to AAA West Broad Street due to the lack of pitching last season in MLB. "The kid needs to rest his arm. He'll be back at the end of the season", said Span.

The team actually only split their first 6 series but with sweeps at Arsenal and with Hazardville the team has a winning record.

Robinson Cano is trying to make up for a horrible playoff series. He is batting .423 with 12D, 1T, 4HR and 13RBI. Will Venable is off to his best start ever batting .327 with 5D 1HR and 12RBI. Alfonso Soriano may have found the fountain of youth as he leads the team with 5HR. He also has 12 RBI. Last season he did 18 HR but only had 60RBI.

The pitching has been better then expect so far. Both pitching coaches have been pleased. "Spannie has done a great job with Lannan and Rapada. I just hope my work with the righties will result as good", said Rightie Pitching Coach Bob Feller.

All-Time 89ER Numbers Cano 534th Run to pass Daryl Hamilton for 6th.
Cano 290th Double to pass Alfonso Soriano for 4th.
Victorino 500th Run.
Cano 4000AB
Soriano 1460th Game to pass Jose Vizcaino for 4th.
Cano 1096th Game to pass Brenden Inge for 7th.
Pujols 1026th Game to pass Richard Hidalgo for 10th.
Victorino 200th Stolen Base to pass Wally Backman for 4th.
Halladay 418th Game to pass Duane Ward for 5th.
Johnson 730th Strikeout to pass Dustin Hermanson for 8th.

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DEVIL DOODLES - 4-1

The Blue Devils have gotten off to a solid start at 11-8 in their 27th season in the FBN. With this season being an historic first with the one league format, it is hard to predict what kind of record will be needed to make the playoffs. Last season’s 82-80 record might be good enough but management is expecting better results than that.

The CT offense struggled in the first block batting just .248 as a team with only 13 HR’s in 19 games but they did manage to score 4.53 runs/game – not too bad. Small ball and speed were critical to winning some games as the Blue Devils stole 30 bases in those 19 games and won 2 games on squeeze bunts. Newly acquired Mike Baxter batted .419 in a platoon role and Emilio Bonifacio hit .365. Alex Rios, trying to rebound from a poor 2012 season, showed some pop leading the team with 3 HR’s and 14 RBI in those 19 games. On the down side, half the infield – Jemile Weeks and Chipper Jones are both batting just .145.

The CT pitching staff was solid posting a 3.54 team ERA for the block. Rookie 2nd rd draft pick David Phelps stepped into the rotation and was phenomenal pitching 19 innings and allowing just 6 hits, 6 walks and 1 run while striking out 19 for a 0.47 ERA. Unfortunately, he won only one of the 3 games as the offense struggled losing 1-0 to Baton Rouge and 3-2 to Urpaign. Jose Valverde was untouchable in the bullpen pitching 12 innings and allowing only 1 hit with no walks, no runs and 10 strikeouts.

On to Block 2 which includes two long-time rivals – the Klub and the Chiefs . . . . .

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SCHOOL YARD CHATTER - 4-12

At California the 89ERS went 3-1. The team hit .250 but the pitching was red hot with a 1.03 ERA. Bob Feller and Warren Spahn both agreed "Give the credit to the pitchers not us!" Soriano had 2HR to increase his team lead to 7.

"At Illinos the team hit well in the wins and not so well in the losses", said Casey. The team hit .240. The pitching was good in the wins and not so good in the losses, continued Casey. Rookie Sam Deduno got a complete game win for his first win in the FBN. Soriano was off the chart hitting .333 with 4HR and 10 RBI. "I'll except a trade to Illinois anytime", said Soriano.

Early season stats: Soriano is on pace to 69HR and 156RBI :-)

All-Time 89ER Numbers
Cano 1100th game
Furcal 6000th AB, Soriano 4900th AB, Pujols 3800th, Victorino 3300th AB
Furcal 1641st Hit to pass C.Knoblauch for 2nd All Time
Cano 289th Double to pass C.Knoblauch for 2nd Place
Soriano 347th BB to pass M.Lowell for 7th
Halladay 418th Game to pass D.Ward for 5th
Halladay 200th Win
TEAM STATS:
42,600th HIT
4000th HR
20,000 RBI

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DEVIL DOODLES - 5-1

The Blue Devils finished Block 2 on a disappointing slide splitting a 4 game series at home to the struggling JC Cracker Jacks and then getting swept 4 games on the road by the archrival Klubbers. After reaching a peak of 5 games over .500 – CT heads into Block 3 at 22-21.

The CT offense continues to struggle having 6 players with over 95 AB’s batting under .230 for the season: McCann .228, Rios .221, Hairston .211, Jones .189, Torres .172, and Weeks .125. Hard to get any kind of consistency when a big chunk of the lineup is hitting that poorly. The offense has been carried by Paul Konerko .294 7 HR’s 31 RBI, Jose Reyes .287, 31 runs, 18 stolen bases 13 doubles and Justin Ruggiano .388 with 17 doubles, 5 HR’s and 21 RBI.

The CT pitching staff has been decent for the most part posting a respectable 3.94 ERA. The overall bullpen has been very good except for closer Koji Uehara. Uehara, despite having an almost blank card has blown 5 saves in 15 chances and is 2-4 with a 5.87 ERA. He’s given up more hits than IP with that good of a card . . . hard to figure . . .

Cliff Lee has managed to go 5-3 despite a 4.99 ERA allowing 100 baserunners in 70 IP. C.J. Wilson, also 5-3 3.41 continues to pick up where he left off last year with his 20 win season. Wesley Wright, the Blue Devil’s last pick in this year’s draft has been stellar in the bullpen allowing just 1 run in 21 appearances for a 0.37 ERA.

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BATON ROUGE NOTES - 5-1

The season started well for the Silver Bullets finishing the first round of games with a 9-9 record. The second round also started well splitting the first two series for an overall record of 13-13. Ed’s prediction of a 21st place finish seemed way too low and thoughts of at least an 80 win season seemed plausible. Then the luck ran out and, in fact, went negative. In the five series since being even, the Bullets have gone 3-17 for a current record of 16-30 – and 21st place. Just as Ed predicted. We still have Hotlanta, Klees, and Taxachusetts left in this round of games. Now we are thinking Profar, Myers, Bundy, Taveras, or Miller.

On the bright side 2nd round pick up Miguel Gonzalez is 5-0 with a 1.8 ERA. On the flip side, Darvish is 3-6 with a 5.1 ERA, Santana is 1-7 with a 4.2 ERA, and Hanson is 2-5 with a 8.0 ERA. This trio has given up 32 homers so far in 174 innings. On the offensive side (I mean trying to score runs) Zimmerman leads the team in qualified average at .236 with Rizzo at .242. The combined batting average of Gomez, Martin, Getz, Stubbs, and Brandon Crawford is .192. Zambrano has as many homers as Stubbs – 1. Martin leads the team in homers with 9 thanks to 4 dingers against Allyn St last night. Morneau, Dobbs, Joyce, and Casilla are creating whatever scoring that is happening for this team.

Things do look a little brighter for next year but it is only May 1st and a lot can and will happen yet.

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SCHOOL YARD CHATTER - 5-1

The 89ERS played .500 ball during Block 2 as the team batting average went down and the team ERA went up. Asking Casey what was the cause for these results Casey said, “the other teams pitcher’s did better getting our batters out while our pitchers didn’t get those guys out as often.”

For Block 3 the team sent veteran Rafael Furcal out to Triple A West Broad Street and activated Steven Drew off the DL. Furcal was struggling at bat hitting only .226 while also leading the team with 5 errors. “He’ll be back, said Casey. He just needs some time to rest. You now these darn reporters at the School Yard are merciless.” Since coming of the DL Drew is hitting .458 (11 for 24) with 3 doubles and 5 RBI.

I thought my starting pitching was going to be pretty good. That’s before the season started and I really looked at the cards. I thought Josh Johnson was going to be top number 2 maybe a number 3 starter. I guess I never really saw his card before the games started. The plus 8 hold is also a killer. At 4-5, 5.90 ERA he needs to improve. Roy Halladay was counted on as a top notch number 4 starter. So far he’s either real good or real bad. He has a winning record at 4-2 but his ERA is 4.54. Rookie Sam Deduno has been a pleasant surprise at 4-2, 4.28 ERA. Deduno is on a limited innings count this year so he will be resting after Block 3 until the end of the season. Tony Swarzak or Tommy Hunter will take his place as of Block 4.

The biggest surprise so far has been the bullpen. The pen is 4-2-14 with a 3.61ERA. Only veteran’s Joel Peralta 0-2 5.00 and Javier Lopez (demoted to AAA after Block 1) 0-0 14.50 ERA have been disappointing.

Rookie George Kontos has bounce back after is opening series jitters with 1-0-7 record and 3.00 ERA to lead the pen. Brad Bach is next with a 1-0-3 record and 2.54 ERA.

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SCHOOL YARD CHATTER - 5-15

The 89ERS started block three with 3-1 wins at Baton Rouge, New England and Burlington for a 9-3 record. Then Manager Jeff (Superman) Kent marched his Jarheads into the school yard and pounded the 89ERS taking 3 of 4. Mr. Dixon, West Broad Street School Principal was not pleased by the pounding. He was so upset he decided to cancel recess for the rest of the week. “We’ll have to wait until next Tuesday to finish the block with Milford. Mr. Dixon won’t let us play out to play until Tuesday”, said Casey Stengel.

The 3rd win gave the Jarheads their 100th Victory at the School Yard. This rivalry dates back to 1987. Bill, started the rivalry with something that has become a tradition. The visiting GM brings Dunkin Donut coffee for both GM’s to enjoy! Thanks Bill it’s been fun!!

Team notes
Stephen Drew was been red hot since coming off the DL replacing injured Rafael Furcal. Drew is hitting .434 with 5 doubles, 1HR and 13 RBI. “We are watching him closely, said Left-handed batting Coach Bobby Murcer. We don’t want Drew re-injuring himself”.

Kyle Lohse leads the team with 8-5 record and 3.56 ERA. The only other starting pitcher with a winning record is Roy Halladay 4-3 4.61 ERA.

The bullpen continues to be strong at 5-2-15.

Rookie Sam Deduno will be sent to Triple A West Broad Street for a rest. He is on a limited innings count for 2013. Deduno is 4-2 4.27 ERA. Replacing Deduno in the rotation will be Anthony Swarzak. Swarzak has been outstanding coming out of the pen (0-0 3.16 ERA) in 25.2 innings. “Deduno has earned his place in the rotation”, said Right-handed Pitching Coach Bob Feller. Tommy Hunter will be called up from Triple A to replace Swarzak in the bullpen.

All-Time Numbers
Soriano 1500th Game
Cain 1500th Inning Pitched
Cano 600th RBI
Pujols 600th BB
Soriano 300th Double

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TAXACHUSETTS NEWS - 6-1

Chiefs of the Month - May

The month started with the Bullets sweeping the Chiefs in a four-game set, but the Taxmen bounced back to finish the month 12-11.
R.A.Dickey 4-0, 2.16
Miguel Cabrera .304, 8 HRs, 21 RBI

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DEVIL DOODLES - 6-1

The Blue Devils struggled in Block 3 at home going 2-10 and dropping from a peak of 5 games over .500 to 3 games below .500 very quickly. The CT offense was atrocious at home getting shutout 3 times in those 12 games and scoring a grand total of 26 runs – barely over 2 runs/game. Batting averages plummeted as no everyday player on the team has a batting average above .280. Chipper Jones, on his farewell tour, continues to scuffle batting just .206 with only 3 HR’s and 19 RBI in 69 games played – not the way he hoped to go out . . . .

On the pitching side, Cliff Lee has managed to achieve a 9-5 record – a rare winning record during his CT career – but his numbers are still ugly . . . 4.93 ERA 146 hits allowed in 119 innings but he does have a great walk to strikeout ratio of 26 -113. First round draft pick Mike Fiers has been a huge disappointment going 2-7 6.51 in 12 starts. The bullpen has been solid overall with all 7 relievers having ERA’s under 3.90 but they have been overworked with the starting pitching struggling.

Despite the disappointing results, the Blue Devils are still within striking distance of the playoffs with almost 90 games left to play – still plenty of time to make a run of some kind . . . . only if the bats get a clue . . . .

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WORD ON THE STREET - 6-15

After finishing block I 7-11, Barons are pleased to be 45-36 and tied for 8th at mid-season. Barons success is a product of pitching (3.78 era) and unexpected power (108HRs). Pitching is led by Scherzer (8-3) and Morrow (7-3). After a slow start, Scherzer has been a stud highlighted by a WS record 17K'S over NN. Closer Fernando Rodney has been hot & cold 3-5-15 -- 5 loses and 2 other blown saves with the card he has is hard to fathom.

Offense has had balanced power as 6 players have 10 or more HRs - led by Saltalamacchia's 17. Adrian Gonzalez .323 (24 pts over MLB) leads team in BA & rbi (54) - however, ALL other position players are 5 to 27 BA points below their MLB numbers. WS has plenty of IP and ABs to make it through 2nd half but ABs for Longoria, Moss and Solano have to spotted wisely. Mgr Weaver, "Obviously, we need a 2nd half that matches the first half if we hope to make the playoffs."

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SMOKE SIGNALS - 6-15

Chief fans are pleased with the 49-33 start to the season. A run differential of 421 to 329 supports this record, unlike last season. The Chief pen has an ERA of 2.94 but only an 11-10 record, which is reflected in the team's 10-14 performance in 1-run games. In those games, the Chiefs are hitting only .226 with a .675 OPS.

Opponents have shutout the Chiefs 7 times already. Interestingly, Chief batters have more whiffs than hits, and Chief pitchers have more Ks than hits allowed.

Individual highlights include Carlos Quentin's monster first half. In 172 ABs, he's hitting .343 with 24 DOs, 16 HRs and 45 RBI and an OPS of 1.195. R.A. Dickey has led the pitching staff with 11-5, 3.02. And Joe Nathan has dominated the 9th inning, 20 saves and a 1.04 ERA, 45 Ks in 34.2 IP.

We're looking forward to an exciting second half.

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US JARHEAD SCUTTLEBUTT - 6-22

The US Jarheads reached the halfway point of the season with a 49-32 record. After a short break to bring in reinforcements, the team opened the 2nd half with a 9-3 mark in the first 3 series to move into 4th place with a 58-35 record. A stunning 23 games over .500 for a team that was predicted to finish 20th. When asked how a team with such a ragtag pitching staff could find themselves in a serious playoff drive, Mgr Jeff Kent answer was, "'Artillery'... and lots of it. With enough artillery you're seldom out of a game, especially with the variety of firepower we have this season. In the past we had mostly solo shots but this year we've been employing a ton of 3 run bombs."

With a league leading Team BA of .286, contributions are coming from up and down the lineup and off the bench, but several are more than noteworthy.
Mike Trout .328 28hr 76 rbi 80r 37sb
The Big EE .271 29hr 79rbi 65r
Ryan Doumit .364 13hr 37rbi......in only 165ab(can't figure out who, but somebody kept Doumit in minors for 24 games giving Flowers a shot at the C job)

The much maligned USJ pitching staff has had a few surprises as well. Kyle Kendrick may be the biggest surprise. In 18 starts Kendrick is 11-2 with a 3.61 era including a CG shutout of the Dogfaces...er Dogfish. Drew Smyly posted a 7-1, 3.61era as a starter, but was moved to the BP replace the oft used Jeremy Horst.

The bullpen of Avilan 4-2-6 3.04, Cishek 6-4-13 2.03, Ziegler 3-1-1 3.19, Horst 2-0-1 1.91 did an adequate job, but were in need of reinforcements and replacement innings. USJ management was able to add former Jarhead Jim Johnson, and Dotel and Atchison to hopefully keep the Bullpen functional for the rest of the season.

Newly acquired Starter Edwin Jackson lost his first start as a Jarhead, but has bounced back with 2 straight wins, including a CG 4 hit shutout of the Admirals.

Asked if the team had any other player moves in mind GM Nieman was noncommittal. "When July and 'Dues Month' arrives, we'll reevaluate and see who might be available for those 2015 picks'.

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CHIEFS CHAT - 7-1

The Chiefs went 24-8 in the month of June, averaging 6.53 RPG with a team ERA of 3.21. Leading candidates for Chief-of-the-Month: M.Cabrera .321, 12 HRs, 40 RBI; D.Wright .383, 34 runs, 13 DO; D.Young .419 (26 for 62), R.A.Dickey 6-0, 2.02; and Jake Peavy 5-0, 1.85. The club will put it to a fan vote later this week.

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NAVIGATOR'S LOG - 7-5

Navigator’s Log (Post on the current Norwich Season)
Things have been going about as planned- with the team heading into the final 60 games, the team has good pitching and adequate hitting. Usage constraints limits the team from really breaking out, but hopefully there is enough for a playoff push. The trade for Grant Balfour looks great at the moment, with the ‘Gator closer currently holding a 1.19 era, and 18 saves in 19 chances. Chris Davis is the biggest disappointment with the bat, holding a .212 BA with “only” 12 HR (we expect an uptick next season  ). Clayton Kershaw is pushing for CY Young consideration, currently 16-3 with a 2.13 era. Jordan Zimmerman has been the most disappointing starter, with a 5.04 era and almost 13 baserunners per nine allowed (somehow he is 9-7). Team goals are to stay the course, and hope to finish in the top six!

Gator Tales (Post on Norwich’s Hot Stove thinkings)
Well, last year at this time, the Navigators thought they had their 3B of the future, with Mike Moustakas tearing it up. Since that post, its been more of the “stink it up”, tho the glove has been better than advertised. That pick set off a sequence of events that Norwich management are worried about, with problems all over the middle (2b, ss, C, CF) of the diamond. The corners, tho, are mostly in good shape- By sliding Joey Bautista (who Toronto was kind to give a couple of games at 3b early in the season) the Gators have corner players of Crush Davis, Joey Bats, The Choo-Choo, and Nate (I want a nickname!) McLouth all looking like stars for 2014. Norwich still has an old, fat, DH who has a nickname, the Big Papi, in what I think may be his last great strat card. The pitching is still good, but the team depth is on fumes. Its good to be expecting a nice draft next year, we should be around for a few more seasons yet!

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SCHOOL YARD CHATTER - 7-9

Time for School Yard REPORT CARDS!
The offense B: Rated as the 13th best team in the FBN the offence has surprised management hitting .274, 4th best in the league. Lead by Robinson Cano at .323, Stephen Drew at .312 and Rajai Davis at .302. But, the team is only scoring 4.8 runs a game. That's 10th best in the league and that is not good enough. Another problem is lack of Home Run power. The team ranks 16th.

The starting pitching B+: The starters are 36-31 with a 4.18 ERS. Kyle Lohse 9-7 3.53 and Matt Cain 8-6 3.45 lead the starters. Rookie, Sam Deduno has been a pleasant surprise at 5-2 4.05 ERA.

The Bullpen A: The bullpen lead by George Kontos 2-1-10 3.75 ERA has received "gold star's" for his fine work. Brad Brach 4-1-3 2.68 has become the 8th inning man. The bullpen is 9-5 with a 3.44 ERA.

D Grades: Josh Johnson 6-8 5.21 ERA must turn things around in the second half we don’t want him repeating.
Ryan Roberts .228 also needs to improve. The only reason Roberts passed with a D was his 25 runs, 20 RBI and 14 SB. He must be “teacher’s pet” because he was the team’s first round DP last year.

First half F Grades: Rafael Furcal in his farewell season is hitting only .226. Casey is bring him back from Triple A West Broad Street so he may finish his career with the parent club, but he’ll need to do better to keep his job for the rest of the year.
Rookie AJ Pollock batting .174 needs more seasoning. But, GM Rickey has given him a pass for this year since he is a rookie. He’ll go to “Summer School” and we’ll see how he improves for next year. Javier Lopez 0-0 9.95 ERA. The team in going to need him in the pen as Clay Rapada is wearing down.

ALL-TIME RECORDS: Soriano 1545th game to pass Knoblauch for 3rd place. 35th Triple to pass Inge for 7th, 300th Double.
Victorino 3600AB, 1000th Game, 1000 Hit, 195th Double to pass R.Hidalgo and M.Lowell for 9th. 300th BB, 534th Run to pass D.Hamilton for 7th. 400th RBI and 211 Stolen Bases to pass Soriano for 3rd.
Pujols 4100AB, 800th RBI, 290 Doubles to pass Furcal for 4th.
Cano 1300th Hit
Inge 700th Hit
Roy Halladay 1900th Strikeout
Josh Johnson 890th IP and 800th Strikeout

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DEVIL DOODLES - 7-15

The Blue Devils completed Block 5 at 16-8 – their best block of the season moving from below .500 to 56-50 – barely hanging on to the last playoff spot. A sweep of Burlington and a series split against the powerful Dogfish gave the team momentum. Connecticut improved its record in one run games to 19-8 for the season – certainly the biggest reason they are in the playoff hunt.

Chipper Jones had his best block of the season improving his BA from .213 to .237 hitting 5 HR’s and 16 RBI. Alex Rios also got hot blasting 5 HR’s with 18 RBI during the block while Jose Reyes bumped his BA from .286 to .301. Reyes leads the team in runs (65), doubles (39) and stolen bases (39). On the down side, the 2nd base combo of Jemile Weeks and Freddy Galvis has combined for a paltry .180 batting average with just 32 run and 15 RBI – a big hole in the lineup all season.

On the pitching side, the bullpen continues to be excellent combining for a 20-12 record with 27 saves led by Drew Storen 0.74 ERA allowing just 21 base runners and only 2 runs in 24 IP. Lefty Jake McGee has been stellar in middle relief going 6-1 with a 2.00 ERA. For starting pitchers, C.J. Wilson has been solid following up his 20 win season last year going 10-7 3.79 with an outside chance at another 20 win season. Cliff Lee, at 11-6 is winning but still has a high ERA (4.86) and has allowed a whopping 190 hits in 161 innings – not the stats of ace material . . .

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WHIPPET WAMBLINGS - 7-15

Worst. Block. Ever.
The Lake Wobegon Whippets have just completed a 1-23 run through block 5, after finishing the first four blocks of the season at 39-43. The lone win of the block came versus Baton Rouge, in a game for the ages won by the Whippets 22-15. The losses included blowouts as well as six losses by 1 run, with the major culprits (as you might expect) on the pitching staff, coming in with a whopping 5.6+ ERA for the season thus far.

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SCHOOL YARD CHATTER - 7-29

Rumor's Flying!
The team is coming off an 11-5 run to go 15 games over .500. The locker room should be full of fun and games but it is not. A dark shadow has been cast over the team with rumor's that Albert Pujols may be "transfer" out of West Broad Street School. "This rumor is a joke, said GM Branch Rickey. We have no intentions of transferring Albert. I called him today to give him our 100% commitment to his contract. Plus, Princal Dixon said Albert's been a good student. Not like the Bruno kid.

NEWS: Channel 3 News in Harford has report from an unidentified sources that Albert Pujols after 6+ years with the 89ERS has been traded to the Taxachusetts Chiefs. "We cannot give our sources name but he said, "The kid, yeah they traded him. Once management says "No way we're doing that." You know you're on your way out the door, said Stengel.

Pujols will be missed. On the ALL-Time 89ER list he rates 8th in games played, 5th in runs, 2nd in RBI, 6th in AB's, 6th in hits, 4th in doubles and 2nd in HR.

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US JARHEAD SCUTTLEBUTT - 7-30

Road Warriors:
The US Jarhead Expeditionary Force continues its devastating march through the FBN. In Block 6, the JEF ranged from Maine, through Klubberville and on to Hotlanta, blasting their way to a 7-2 record. The Jarheads are 16-5 on the road over the last two blocks, for an incredible total Road Record of 41 -19.

Unsung USJ Third baseman:
.AB....R....H....D....T....HR...RBI...BB...SB... AVG
498...62...147..44....9.....9......66.....23.....2... .295

Heavy Artillery:
The Big E has pulled away from teammate Mike Trout in their Homerun rivalry. Encarnacion reached 41 HRs and 103 RBI after this block while Trout hit only 1 HR this block for 32 on the season with 95 RBI. Trout continues to outpace Edwin in BA .331 to .279. Trout reached 101 runs scored and Edwin stands at 91.

The Other Edwin:
Edwin Jackson is 6-3, 2.20 in 9 starts with USJ, including CG, 1-0 shutouts of Maine and Yorktown. OooRah!

Rebounding:
Newest Jarhead, Ryan Vogelsong replaced Jeremy Guthrie (4-10, 6.00) in the starting rotation this block. In his first two starts he was "Guthried" and knocked out by the 2nd inning for an 0-2 record and a 19.50 ERA. Since then he went 7 innings 3 runs and 6 innings 2 runs to even his record at 2-2 and drop his ERA to 7.36.

Unsung USJ Third baseman:
Scott Moore, Willie Bloomquist, Ryan Wheeler

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CHIEF NOTES - 8-1

- R.A. Dickey is making a run at the Cy Young award, hoping to join Greg Maddux and Johan Santana as the only Chiefs to win the award. Dickey has won 15 straight decisions and is now 19-5, 2.84.
- The key to Miguel Cabrera's run at a 3rd FBN MVP may be the newly acquired Albert Pujols, who will be hitting behind him. Miggy's numbers are on the rise - .316, 38 HRs, 103 RBI with 41 games left. We'll have to see how he performs down the stretch.
- Joe Carter named David Wright the lead-off hitter to start the season, and he has remained in that role all year. Wright has scored 105 runs, which is on pace for 141 runs. He is also second on the team in RBI with 71.

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DEVIL DOODLES - 8-1

The Blue Devils recently had a very up and down streak. After getting swept by Wall Street to fall to 60-55, Connecticut swept 3 games at home from Florida and then went on the road and swept a tough Salem club to move to 66-55 – their high point of the season with one series left in the block vs. Arsenal.

Management was so pleased with the 6 game win streak and their entry back into the playoff race, they completed a couple trades to bolster both the offense and pitching. Colby Lewis was acquired from Lake Wobegon and will jump into the rotation for the remainder of the season most likely replacing 1st rd pick Mike Fiers who has struggled at 5-10 5.46 ERA. Then Yadier Molina was acquired from Hart Street to help out the catching as Brian McCann has been fighting a bunch of nagging injuries and has only produced 10 HR’s and 38 RBI in 114 games – not McCann-like numbers. Molina will bolster the middle of the batting order and provide sterling defense.

Jose Reyes has been the MVP so far for the Blue Devils. Reyes is hitting .311 with 80 runs scored, 43 doubles and 47 stolen bases while playing solid defense. Unfortunately, his double play partner – Jemile Weeks has been completely the opposite producing an extremely poor sophomore season. Weeks is hitting just .160 with an unbelievably low RBI total of just 7 in 109 games – really??? Cliff Lee was on another rough streak losing 3 straight starts till a recent victory over Salem. Lee’s numbers continue to be hideous- despite a 12-9 record, Lee has a 5.25 ERA allowing a 223 hits and 26 HR’s in 182 IP.

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SCHOOL YARD CHATTER - 8-15

This season we started by winning 3 series and by losing 3 series but with 3-0 wins with Hazardville and Arsenal we finished block 1 at 11-7. Block 2 we won 2 series, tied 2 series and lost 2 series to play .500 ball. At 23-19 Casey was not pleased as the 89ERS could not beat the teams with worst records than the 89ERS. Block 3 turned out even worst as we feel to 7-8 losing all but one series and the one winning series was at Johns Creek. That one series win did turn the team around somewhat as we went 12-12 in block 5 against some of the top 10 teams. "We played better. What can I say", said Casey. In block 6 we won 4 of the six series to go 13-6, to improve to 70-54. Block 7 the team has been red hot going 9-0. The team is on an 11 game winnig streak. "We beat the second division teams that we needed to beat" said bench coach Ralph Houk. "Next up is Connecticut on Tuesday night. We'll be able to tell more about our season after that series", said bench coach Leo Durocher.

"The recent trade of Albert Pujols for Ty Wigginton has finally settled the lineup", said batting coach Elston Howard. "Casey couldn't decide where to bat Albert. He kept moving Albert around. So no one knew from 4th to 7th where they would bat from one game to another. Guy's just don't like that", said Howard. Wigginton since joining the team is batting .361 with 3D, 4HR, 6R and 7RBI. "The School Yard fits my swing" said a happy Wigginton. "I just hope they sign me for next year too."

AJ Pierzynski in the last 12 games is batting .412 with 4D, 1T, 3HR and 7R and 8RBI. Kyle Lohse has won his last 3 starts to improve to 17-8. His ERA increased from 3.29 to 3.34. Lohse was quoted as saying, "I'll take the increased ERA as long as I keep winning." Josh Johnson won his last 2 starts to improve to 10-13. He lowered his ERA from 5.30 to 4.79. Bob (Feller the RH'ed pitching coach) has been working with me on my off days. He's showed me the 'double windup'. It's been working for me that and good rolls!" Pitching Wonders: Starter - Samuel Deduno 7-2 3.49 and Anthony Swarzak 3-2 3.18. Relievers - Brad Brach 7-2 2.58, Mark Melancon 2-1-3 1.66 and Tommy Hunter 3-1 4.34. Bob Feller must be a genius.

TEAM NOTE: 2,500th win.

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DEVIL DOODLES - 9-1

The Blue Devils limped to the end of Block 7 – their toughest block of the season – at 75-67 hanging on to the last Wild Card spot by about 3 games. Connecticut’s last 4 series of the block were all against teams in the Top 8 in the league – Hotlanta, Tax, Klee’s and Allyn Street. The Blue Devils went 3-9 in that stretch including back to back sweeps at the hands of arch rivals – Chiefs and Klubbers. Management hoped to just survive the block in decent playoff position knowing the last block of the season features 5 opponents ranked #12 or lower in the standings. Hopefully, the Blue Devils can make up some ground in the last 20 games and solidify a Wild Card spot.

Newcomer Report - The recent player acquisitions have had mixed results. The GOOD- Yadier Molina is batting .310 with 4 HR’s & 17 RBI in 17 games. The BAD – David Cooper has produced just 4 RBI in 16 games. The UGLY – Colby Lewis, expected to solidify the 4th spot in the rotation, has been dreadful. 1-3 6.04 ERA in 4 starts allowing a mind boggling 7 HR’s in 28 IP.

Offensively, Justin Ruggiano, acquired from the Hogs in the offseason, has been simply tremendous. In just 288 AB’s Ruggiano has produced a .368 BA, 33 doubles, 17 HR’s, 49 runs and 63 RBI also stealing 17 out of 20 bases. Jose Reyes continues to be the catalyst at the top of the order batting .314 with 99 Runs, 48 doubles and 55 Stolen bases. Alex Rios leads the team in HR’s with 24 and RBI with 89 but is hitting just .258. Paul Konerko has been disappointing batting just .237 although he has produced 21 HR’s and 73 RBI. Finally, youngster Matt Dominguez is showing he may be ready to take over 3B for Chipper Jones next year as he is hitting .295 with 8 HR’s 20 RBI in just 120 AB’s.

Pitching wise – Rookie David Phelps has been solid going 6-4 in 16 starts with a 3.34 ERA allowing just 63 hits in 94 IP. CJ Wilson (4.07) & Tommy Milone(4.36) lead in wins – both are at 13-9. Cliff Lee . . . . no comment . . . .

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CHIEF NOTES - 9-15

First 22 games as a Chief, Albert Pujols is 35 for 87 (.402) with 10 DO, 5 HR and 18 RBI. He currently has a 12-game hitting streak. He's also made 5 errors, giving the Chiefs 21 errors at 1B this season (Cabrera 14, Howard 1, Morse 1).

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DEVIL DOODLES - 9-15

The Blue Devils started off the last block of the season going 6-2 – splitting a series on the road vs. California and sweeping Yorktown at home. The Admirals offense struggled in that series scoring just 3total runs in 4 games vs. the Blue Devil pitching. Connecticut is holding a 2 game lead over Hazardville for the last playoff spot. The magic number for the Blue Devils appears to be 7 with 12 games left to play. Upcoming series are home vs. Illinois and on the road vs. Hart St.

Colby Lewis pitched his first good game as a Blue Devil in his 6th start pitching a complete game shutout of Yorktown. Yadier Molina continues to produce since joining the team batting .304 with 6 HR’s and 23 RBI in 25 games. Jose Reyes recently hit his 51st double of the season. The team record is 62 set by Craig Biggio back in 1995. With only 12 games left, it is unlikely Reyes can reach that mark but he can move into 2nd place All-Time if he reaches 57 doubles surpassing Grady Sizemore and Tino Martinez.

Quick stat note – somewhat of a “Closer by Committee” has had success this season. The team has 40 total saves with 8 different relievers picking up saves. Koji Uehara has 20 saves to lead the bullpen. Drew Storen and Jake McGee have combined for a 10-2 record and 11 saves.

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SCHOOL YARD CHATTER - 10-1

The 89ERS finished the year in 9th placed and made the post season. As we wait for the playoffs to start we decided to compare the two halves of the season. In the first half our record was 45-36. The team hit .274 and the ERA was 3.98. We had 387 runs, 185 doubles, 18 triples, 76 homeruns and 365 RBI. The pitching had 730.1 IP'ed, 662 hits, 342 runs 323 earned, 99 homeruns, 255 BB and 553 strikeouts. The pen had 22 saves.

In the second half the team only hit .254 but the team ERA was 3.52. The record was 49-32. As Casey would say, Pitching is 110% of the game and hitting is the other 50%". We had 361 runs, 150 doubles, 20 triples, 80 homers and 332 RBI. The pitching had 731.2 IP'ed, 691 hits 315 runs, 286 earned, 85 homeruns, 239 BB and 579 strikeouts. The pen had 30 saves. Kyle Lohse was 9-7 3.53 in the first half and improved to 9-4 3.52 in the second half. Matt Cain was 8-6 3.45 in the first half in 125.1 IP and 8-6 4.70 in 113 IP in the second half. He gave up 109 hits in 125.3 IP in the first have while giving up 120 hits in only 113 in the second half. We will need him to perform like his first half stats if we are going to move on in the playoffs. Roy Halladay was 6-5 4.88 ERA in the first half and 3-4 3.53 in the second half. We'll take his second half but with some better luck. Josh Johnson 6-8 5.21 ERA to 7-7 4.16. Both Johnson and Halladay reduced their second half ERA by more than a full run. B.Brach 8-2 2.38, S.Deduno 8-3 3.65 ERA, A.Swarzak 6-2 2.78, T.Hunter 3-1 4.07 ERA, T.Cloyd 2-1 3.39 ERA. Their 27-9 record was a big factor in our making the playoffs. Go figure!

Alfonso Soriano hit .259 with 19 HR and 58RBI in the first have and slipped just a little in the second half .251, 17HR and 49RBI. Robinson Cano had the biggest dip in batting aveage .330 to .270, but was consistent with 14HR and 46RBI to 13HR and 41RBI. AJ Pierzynski picked up the slack in the second half after Albert Pujols was traded. AJ hit .268 with 8HR 44RBI in the first half to .294 with 15HR and 48RBI.

The Wild Card Series with Klee's will be very interesting. During the regular season we were 4-3 with Klee's. We were 1-2 at the School Yard and 3-1 at Jim Bouton Field. Did Casey throw some games :-) so Klee's would have home field "advantage"? Only the Shadow knows.

All kidding aside, good luck to all the playoff bound teams. I hope to see one of you in the World Series against these same 89ERS!
Casey Stengel aka Rob

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DEVIL DOODLES - 10-5

The Blue Devils completed their 27th season in the FBN with an 88-74 record – good for 10th place in the League and the last Wild Card playoff spot. This will be the 17th playoff appearance for Connecticut as they face the Wall Street Barons in the first round. The Blue Devils were hanging around the 5 to10 games over .500 mark heading to the last two blocks of the season and coming off a 1-5 stretch vs. Arsenal & Wall Street when management decided to shake things up a bit with a couple trades. Yadier Molina was acquired to beef up the offense as Brian McCann was having an off year bothered by injuries. Colby Lewis was picked up to replace rookie Mike Fiers in the rotation. The rookie had been struggling going 5-11 5.66 in 21 starts. CT also picked up a couple useful bench players in David Cooper and Jason Nix. Although the trades didn’t bring outstanding results (team improved to 14 games over .500), the Blue Devils definitely played better and the offense clearly picked up. Will that be enough in the playoffs??

The MVP of the team with a solid all-around season was Jose Reyes. He started all 162 games batting .309 with 210 hits, scoring 113 runs, 56 doubles, 7 triples, 7 HR’s 70 RBI and he stole 61 bases. Alex Rios led the team with 25 HR’s and 100 RBI but batted only .265. Paul Konerko contributed 24 HR’s and 81 RBI. Justin Ruggiano was extremely productive in his 318 AB’s batting .362 with 18 HR’s and 68 RBI. The pitching staff was led by C.J. Wilson for the 2nd year in a row. Wilson went 15-9 3.88 with 4 complete games and 2 shutouts. Cliff Lee finally had a winning season at 16-11 4.87. The bullpen was solid all season with some excellent stat lines. Drew Storen was 4-1 w/6 saves and a 0.54 ERA. Jake McGee was 7-1 with 5 saves 1.75. Koji Uehara had 22 saves to lead the team. Rookie David Phelps impressed going 9-4 3.26 in 19 starts and is being considered for the opening playoff game start vs. the Barons.

Team Records – The pitching staff blew away the previous best season for strikeouts with 1,354 K’s – easily surpassing last season’s record total of 1,180. On offense, the team stole 202 bases – the 2nd highest total in team history. Only the 1988 Blue Devil team was faster with 225 stolen bases. Jose Reyes 56 doubles were 6 short of the team record by Craig Biggio in 1995 (62).

Good Luck to all the playoff teams – Have Fun!

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BATON ROUGE NOTES - 10-10

The Amazing Miguel Gonzalez.
The Silver Bullets picked Miguel Gonzalez in the second round of the 2013 draft as part of our pitching staff makeover. Despite the poor season for the Bullets this year, Gonzalez had the most amazing statistics for any starter in the entire 26 year history of the Baton Rouge team. With the team going 67-95 for the year – a .414 winning percentage – Gonzalez went 11-0 with a 1.55 ERA. He pitched 105 innings during 17 starts. Over those 17 starts he gave up just 18 runs (all earned) with a WHIP of less than 1.0. The team was 14-3 in his starts. We always managed to score a few runs for him which was enough to stay in the lead during his games. Once he left, we were 3-3 – back to .500 ball.

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ALLYN STREET - POST SEASON NEWS - 10-29

I’d like to thank Roland and Bud for two fun playoff series. It’s always fun to play Roland because we joke about Manager’s Kramden and Stengel. To the moon! In a very tough loss Roland was a gentleman. I do believe Lady Jennifer has a lot to do with Roland’s transformation. (Anyone who played Roland in the past at his condo will know what I mean.

Bud was gracious in his team’s victory. I didn’t realize that Bud had built his team to win at the School Yard. While the Chiefs won 3 of 4 during the season at the friendly School Yard I didn’t notice the “new” bats that the players were using. In the playoffs each team won a game at War Memorial Coliseum, home of the Blue Dwarf BP HR 20 for RHB’ers. No red flags at this point. But, at the School Yard, the Chiefs real guns game out to play as Taxachusetts again with those “new” bats won all three games. That gave the Chiefs a 6-1 record at the School Yard this year. The Chiefs played at the School Yard as if the BP HR’s were 20! As Klee’s manager Kramden would say, “to the moon” that is how far they hit them.

With their season now over GM Branch Rickey and Manager Casey Stengel had to make some tough decisions on player personal. Veteran’s Ty Wigginton and Brandon Inge decided to join forces and hold out for multiyear contracts and for more money. Wigginton was acquired in the Albert Pujols trade. Wigginton hit .284 during the season and was the best 89ER in the Playoffs hitting .444. Inge hit only .183 during the season but hit .333 in the Playoffs leading the team with 3 homeruns and 6 RBI.

“It’s never easy when you release a veteran ballplayer but careers do come to an end. We have decided not to offer contracts to Ty Wigginton and Brandon Inge. We wish them well”, said GM Rickey. Inge has been a member of the 89ERS since 2002. In the same news conference Rickey announced that the team would not offer contracts to three additional veterans, first round draft pick of 2001, Rafael Furcal plus Ronny Paulino and Adam Kennedy. With the release of these five players the 89ERS will need a first baseman, third baseman and a backup at shortstop to go along with a ton of starting pitcher innings.

In a second news conference later that day, Manager Casey Stengel introduced two new ballplayers that GM Rickey acquired after the playoffs. The players were the new first baseman, Justin Smoak and the new third baseman, Placido Polano. “All I know is he answered the phone (email) and a deal was done with Norwich. I was told we had to trade the “kid”, I said, which “kid”, I call them all “kid”, said Casey. Catcher, Yan Gomes was sent to Norwich to complete the trade. “We’ll need another catcher, said Casey. Without one we’ll have a lot of baseballs!”

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