2020 Fly-By-Night Team Article Archive


STATE OF THE NEW ENGLAND ANGELS - 2-17

Well we are finally moved in and settled in our new home in Florida. I was a bit apprehensive in making this move. It came up quite suddenly. Now that I am fully retired, I had pretty much decided to just stay in Connecticut throughout my retirement years and just do a lot of traveling in my motor home in the winter months. My Daughter Karyn, (who I have been living with) had the opportunity to transfer to her company's W Palm Beach office and she decided she wanted to go. But she did not want to go alone so she asked me if I wanted to go with her. She really wanted this and since my heart surgery last April I have been far more uncomfortable in cold weather, so I told her I would try it. I made the move with the stipulation that I may decide to go back to Connecticut. Well now that I am here, the stipulation is that I have no intention of ever having to wear a heavy coat again. If it is not 70 degrees I will not be there. As far as I am concerned all Connecticut is good for is the FBN, and providing a way to get from New York to Rhode Island.......I absolutely love it here. I prefer heat and hurricanes to Cold and freezing rain. So while I will be coming back to Connecticut often, I have no intention of ever being cold again. Sadly this means I will have to draft from Florida in the future, and I have most likely made my last appearance at a Strat opening day or FBN draft. I have every intention of sticking with the FBN as long as you all will have me. Great bunch of guys and I love this league. Besides, along with the infamous Mr Klee, I am still looking for that elusive championship trophy.

So, with all that said, please use Lamanna's rookie list as my draft instructions in the unlikely event that I cannot join you via slack this coming Sunday. Looking forward to it. I had hoped to be sitting out on the patio sipping on a Michelob Ultra in 80 degree sunshine. But, the forcast is for heavy rain all weekend, so I guess I will be in my office at my desk. Good luck to everybody in the draft and the upcoming season.

Bruce F.
New England Angels (soon to be the New England Snowbirds)

 

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ALLYN STREET SPRING TRAINING NEWS - 3-5

Spring is in the air. ASt. Spring Training News.

With the sun shining and a good weekend planned Allyn Street opened it's Spring training camp. Pitchers were the first to arrive. Veteran starter CC Sabathia looked trimmed at 300 pounds and ready for his final season in the FBN, as he announced that he will be retiring after the season. Trevor Bauer and Tyler Mahle came in and said that they were ready to anchor the starting staff. Newcomers, Masahiro Tanaka, Kevin Gausman and Michael Wacha were welcomed to camp by the three vets plus Manager Casey Stengel and Pitcher Coach Al Jackson. As usual, Casey called everyone kid, since he can never remember anyone's name.

The batters were next to arrive. Manager Stengel and Batting Coach Jim Hickman put them thru batting and fielding drills after Doctor Morrone gave his approval. "We don't need injuries before the season even starts. It has to start first"' said Casey.

As the team was still preparing to start the season there was only one position that was undecided. Would second year player Willy Adames be the Opening Day shortstop or would it be rookie Mauricio Dubon? That question would be decided on Wednesday after the team played a four game series with the World Champions US Jarheads.

On a beautiful morning the two teams would meet in a four game series. Each game would last one inning. Game one was played at Kate Elizabeth Park and W. Harry Pavilion. It was a gem of a game. But after the one inning neither team could score a run. Game ended in a tie 0-0.

Game two moved to the School Yard. The teams had difficulty getting started as Allyn Street was trying to use an "Old Ballpark". The game wouldn't allow it for some reason. So, after going back to the Wrigley Field style park everything worked out and the game could start. The long wait must have tired out the Jarheads as Allyn Street "crashed" the World Champs 1-0 on a Willy Adames homerun. Allyn Street took a 1-0-1 lead in the series.

Back to KEP & WHP. Another "crashing" 1-0 win by the 89'ERS. ASt. now up 2-0-1. USJ got back on the winning side by winning the next game by the slimmest of margin, a 1-0 win :-)

After the 2-1-1 "great" spring training season Casey and GM Weiss decided on the final Opening Day Roster. Adames with his homerun beat out rookie Dubon. "Dubon never played in the series. Not seeing his name in the line was a sign," said Casey.

In 1962 the battle cry was "Lets go Mets!" and "Break up the Mets!" as the newest team in New York played their first season and went 40-120. They were dead last 60 1/2 behind the team that used to call the Polo Grounds home, the now San Francisco Giants. The 89'ERS are bring one of them fittingly back for the 2020 season. "Break up the 89'ERS! We won't be as bad as my second favorite team (1961 Yankees are my favorite team.) but we think we will be bad as we get ready for the 2021 draft in 2020 season!

 

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ALLYN STREET SCHOOL YARD GOALS FOR 2020 - 3-11

89'ER Player Goals coming into the 2020 Season.
JD Martinez has 466 Runs. He needs 12 more to pass Edgar Martinez for 10th on our All-Time List.
JD has 488 RBI needing 18 to pass Shane Victorino for 10th All-Time.
JD has 2891 At Bats. He needs 187 to pass Shane Mack for 10th All-Time.
JD has 838 hits. He needs just 68 to pass Lance Berkman for 10th All-Time.
JD has 173 doubles. He will pass Mike Lowell if he hits 22 this season.

Trevor Bauer has started 141 games. He needs just 4 more to pass Ramon Ortiz for 10th All-Time.
Bauer has 72 wins. He only needs 2 to pass Dustin Hermanson for 8th All-Time.
Bauer has 940 innings. 96 more will have him passing Josh Johnson for 10th All-Time.
With 894 K's Bauer needs 59 more to pass Josh Johnson for 8th All-Time.

Mark Melancon has 162 saves. Mark needs 12 saves in 2020 to pass Billy Wagner for the 89'ER All-Time lead in saves. Billy has held the record of 173 since 2011.

Wagner 6 seasons, 375 GA, 591 IP.
Melancon 8* seasons 328 GA, 585 IP. *In 2019 Melancon had one appearance. Pitched 0 innings giving up 1 hit.

 

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BATON ROUGE - 3-28

2003 to 2019 Team Statistics - Updated

While the team hitting and pitching stats have only been updated by 2 years - adding in 2018 and 2019 - the top 20 for the various categories have changed significantly. The last couple years have seen a few super teams that have dominated the opposition both in terms of hitting and pitching as well as previous years teams statistically. The hitting 2003 - 2019 top 20 lists are shown in the attached document. The pitching top 20 lists will be given in our next installment. I will just make a few comments about the more significant changes here.

Runs scored - Two teams have joined '07 Taxachusetts as the only teams to have scored more than 1000 runs in a season - '19 Milford scored 1021 and '18 Manchester scored 1006. Taxachusetts still has a comfortable lead in first place with 1076 runs. Five teams from '18 and '19 have made the top 20 in runs scored.

Home runs - A total of 8 teams hit enough home runs to be added to the top 20 (actually 22 due to ties). The '18 Taxachusetts joined '07 Jersey City as the only teams to have hit more than 300 home runs in a season. Taxachusetts now sits number 2, 3, 7 and 8 in the top 20. This explains much of the reason why the runs scored increased so much recently.

Walks - Surprisingly three teams walked enough to make the top 6 in that category. Another reason for the increase in runs scored.

Strikeouts - The most changes to the top 20 occurred in strikeout category. Hitters struck out at an incredible rate in the past two years. 8 of the top 9 teams in hitter strikeouts were from the '18 and '19 seasons. In fact, 14 of the top 20 were from the '18 and '19 seasons. 17 of the top 20 were from the '17 through '19 seasons. I guess not advancing a runner while striking out doesn't particularly hurt the runs scored total.

All four of these highlighted areas will probably have several new additions after the '20 season. There are several teams that seem likely to continue bashing and scoring (and striking out). Who knows. We may have another entry into the RHZ.

Click here to view the Top 20 team hitting leaders...

 

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US JARHEAD SCUTTLEBUTT - 3-29

Ronald Acuna named Jarhead of the Month...
Acuna finished the block leading the team with a triple crown performance .370 8HR 25RBI. He also leads the team with 20 runs and is tied with Mike Trout with 3 SB.

Honorable Mention:
Jeff McNeil .369 4HR 15RBI
Jordan Lyles 4GS 2-0 3.09

The defending Champs finished the first block in 2nd place with a 15-5 record. Three Contributing Factors:
1. 7.5 RPG ... Out scoring OPP 150-92. The Jarheads out HR OPP 45-27 and outpaced them in BB 107-52
2. Only 3 Errors ... One by a pitcher, one by Grandal on SB att and one by 2B Freeman.
3. Bullpen ERA of 2.70

The Highlight Performance of Block One took place at Halo Park vs NE in a 9 inning game. Batting leadoff, Paul Goldschmidt went 7 for 7 with 4 runs 4 rbi D T and in his final AB drilled a HR to complete "The Cycle".

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 3-29

The Blue Devils opened play in their 34th season in the FBN with completely mediocre results of 10-10 to finish Block 1 although not that different than the last 2 seasons opening at 11-9. So far it has been an "all or nothing" performance as the team has hit 39 HR's in 20 games but has struck out 173 times. Sounds like similar results to a lot of teams this year. At this pace, the Blue Devils will hit 316 HR's and strike out 1,401 times - both numbers would be franchise records obliterating the previous highs. The pitching staff is also on a record pace to give up 291 HR's which would be almost 60 more HR's than their previous high of 230 back in 1997 .... .the new reality of baseball.

Nelson Cruz, despite approaching 40 years old, continues to mash leading the team in virtually every offensive category batting .338 with 15 runs, 16 RBI and 9 HR's. Freddie Freeman is doing his usual hitting at .333 and Brett Gardner has shown some pop with 4 HR's and 13 RBI. David Freese, acquired in the offseason to add depth, crushed the ball in his first 30 AB's batting .387 with 6 HR's and 13 RBI.

The pitching staff has struggled so far with a 4.62 team ERA as you would expect giving up so many HR's. Robbie Ray and Zack Eflin have controlled the HR ball only allowing 5 HR's combined in 8 starts and consequently lead the team with ERA's of 3.80 and 3.62. Conversely, Mike Minor and Jake Arrieta have given up 13 HR's in 8 starts and have ERA's of 5.75. CT will need the pitching performances to improve quickly as they head into Block 2 play that includes the 2 current NL juggernauts - Taxachusetts and Jarheads.

 

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BATON ROUGE - 4-4

2003 to 2019 Team Statistics - Updated - Pitching

With one exception the change in the top 20 team pitching statistics did not change nearly as much as the hitting top 20 - that exception being team strikeouts. Of course, the bottom line is wins. We had a team enter the Rich Hamel Zone (the RHZ). Rich's teams dominate the top 20 wins category. His teams hold the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th positions in that category with 123, 119, 117, and 115 wins. The Rich Hamel Zone is 115 or more wins in a season. Before the 2019 season only the '07 Taxachusetts team had entered the RHZ with 116 wins for 5th place on the list.

Check out the pitching top 20 in the attachment. Here are a few highlights ...

Wins - The '19 Milford team won 121 games which puts them at number 2 on the team wins list. Honorable mention goes to the '19 New Hampshire team that won 113 games for 9th place on the list - a near miss of the RHZ. At this early point in the -20 season there are three teams on pace to enter the RHZ - Milford, Taxachusetts, and US. Milford should win about 150 games at his current pace.

Strikeouts - Wow, that's a lot of K's. The top 5 and 8 of the top 9 positions for top 20 team strikeouts occurred in 2018 and 2019. The '19 Milford team set the new team record with 1594 K's in a season. That's 9.8 strikeouts per game. Prior to this update the previous high was 1504 by the '16 Milford team.

ERA - Surprisingly, there were 4 additions to the lowest team ERA top 20. With the huge increase in home runs hit, I would not have expected any new additions.

Only one category had no new additions - fewest home runs allowed. The '19 California team is in the 107th position for the fewest HR's allowed - the best from the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Did your team show up in one of the lists??

Click here to view the Top 20 team Pitching leaders...

 

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WORD ON THE STREET - 4-11

40 games in and the Barons are struggling through their worst FBN season in their 22 years with their worst team, 14-26. However, 10 of the losses were by 1 run, 8 when the opponent scored the go ahead run in the 9th or later. Another loss came when the opponent hit a Grand Slam in the bottom of 9th. Yet, the Barons are 3-1 in extra inning games.

Aaron Nola in 55IP should have issued 21BB but he has 36!!! Domingo German has 28 walks. German should walk 2.45/9innings, he gave up 9 in 5.2 innings in his last outing!!! As a team Wall Street has issued 47 more BBs than stats would suggest - frustration.

Manager Earl Weaver, "it's easier to lose 7 -1, than these 1 run losses" Barons are looking forward to an early DP in the draft of 2021 or 2022 ????

 

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US JARHEAD SCUTTLEBUTT - 4-26

The US Jarheads move into Inter-league play with the best part of the pitching staff headed to Parris Island for some much needed R&R. Relievers Jandel Gustav 2-0-2, 0.47 and Casey Sadler 2-2-1, 2.61 are going south for an extended stay and are not expected back on the USJ Major League roster until the final block of the season. The P.I. Bullpen will see Brasier, Hale, Hirano and Herrera competing to replace, Gustav and Sadler.

The Jarheads two best Starting Pitchers are also headed to P.I. Jordan Lyles 6-0, 3.95 and Brandon Woodruff 6-1, 3.29 are expected to miss both Blocks of Inter-League play. Call ups to fill out the Rotation vs the AL will be Colin McHugh and Waiver Wire selection Drew Verhagen.

Jeff McNeil completed Block 2 on a tear, including a 13 for 16 series that helped raise his BA to .399.

Yasmani Grandal is 2nd on the team with a .318 BA.
Yas is tied with Goldschmidt with 42 Runs.
Tied with Trout with 15 HR.
Tied with Acuna with 40 RBI
Leads the team with 36 BB

 

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BATON ROUGE - 4-28

Team stats and FBN vs MLB

For your reading pleasure ... 1985 The Fly By Night baseball league consisted of 16 teams. The Illinois Aces had the best regular season record winning 104 games. The World Series however pitted FBN charter manager Craig Hanes and his Chicago Blue Chippers against Steve Walters' Galactic Gladiators. The Gladiators won in 7 games despite being out scored 25 to 20 in the series. How did these teams compare to last years World Series winners, the US Jarheads? Just how good were the Farmington Valley teams of the late 1990s compared to the 2019 Jarheads or any other FBN team? How do the FBN team statistics compare with the MLB stats on which our game is based? Take a look. Read on. Click the link and see ...

Click here to view the FBN vs MLB Team Comparison...

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 4-29

The Blue Devils completed Block 2 play with a successful 15-9 record improving to 25-19 - right in the playoff chase. Connecticut finished the block with a frustrating series vs. the defending Champion Jarheads. Tied 1-1 in the series, Blue Devils led 5-1 in the 9th inning of game 3 but couldn't hold on blowing the lead and then in a close one run game 4 - Blue Devils had two chances to win the game in the 9th but failed. Although it was a disappointing series end, management was encouraged that the team went "toe to toe" with the league leading Jarheads - could bode well for the future.

Last year at this time, Connecticut was 3 games better at 28-16. Although the offense is scoring almost a run more per game this season, the pitching staff is struggling allowing 1.5 runs more/game as well. Robbie Ray is the only pitcher with an ERA under 4.00 at 4-3 3.63. Mike Minor and Zach Eflin lead the team with 5 wins each but have ERA's of 4.57 and 5.03 respectively. The bullpen, a big strength last year, has been very inconsistent this year with the 6 relievers used so far combining for an ERA of 5.46. The pitching staff is on pace to give up 250 HR's this season - a franchise record - the most since 1997 (234).

The offense is also on a pace for 250 HR's which would be the most since hitting 282 HR's in 2001. Nelson Cruz continues to crush it leading the team in HR (19) and RBI (42) while hitting .326. Trevor Story leads the team with 34 runs scored and is hitting .320. Freddie Freeman has tried to increase his power output this year after hitting just 16 last year. With 9 HR's so far, Freeman is on a pace to hit 33 but this approach is taking a toll on his batting average which is down to .239 - not even close to his normal .300. Yadier Molina may finally be showing some signs of aging as he has struggled batting just .213 with just 1 HR and 11 RBI. But his arm continues to be elite although that usefulness has been mitigated with the lack of stealing in the league now.

Connecticut heads to interleague play having to face 3 of the top 4 teams in the AL this block - Milford, Hotlanta and New Hampshire - a daunting challenge but certainly will be fun.

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 6-14

The Blue Devils haven't played very well in Block 4 going 7-9 before getting all the breaks in a series vs. Norwich and sweeping 4 games to move their record to 43-36. The Blue Devil offense scored 2 or less runs in 11 of the 20 games played this block - brutal! The pitching fortunately improved dramatically to offset the poor offense and keep the team above .500. Pitchers held opponents to 2 runs or less in 8 of the 20 games.

The 5 starting pitchers have been pretty decent all year with Mike Minor, Robbie Ray and Zack Eflin notching 7 wins each, Merrill Kelly has 6 wins and Jake Arrieta with 5 wins. Robbie Ray continues to pitch the best with a 3.08 ERA allowing just 69 hits in 87 innings. Mike Minor has been on a hot streak finally lowering his ERA to respectability at 3.75. Reliever Paul Fry was called up this block for his first action this year and in his first 6 games allowed just 1 hit, 1 walk with no runs in 9 innings. Nice surprise! Steve Cishek, despite a bloated 5.04 ERA has picked up 16 saves in 32 games leading the team.

With the offense struggling, the lack of HR's being hit this block seems to be the main culprit. CT has hit only 14 HR's in 20 games this block - much less than the 1.5 HR/game pace they were on the first 3 blocks. The team is now on a pace for 220 HR's this year - they were previously on a pace for 250 HR's. Nelson Cruz, although still hitting .313, has cooled off his HR pace hitting just 1 HR in Block 4 after hitting 22 HR's in the first 3 blocks. The Blue Devils are on a pace to strike out 1,427 times which would annihilate their previous record set last year with 1,343 K's. The new way in baseball . . .

CT finishes the block with a home/away series against the outstanding pitching of Burlington. Will be quite a challenge to hold their ground in the standings . . .

 

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ADMIRAL ORDERS - 7-15

Admirals make a mini-charge in block 6, going 9-3 after a 3 game sweep down in deep south at Atlanta, a series in which the Ads hit .383, 19 doubles, 5 triples, 16 bombs and scored 48 runs. Still, I think I'd rather have Dante's team with the young talent he's assembling.

Stephen Vogt, whose at bats are unfortunately near exhaustion, is putting on quite a show. In 253 at bats, Vogt has an incredible 25-2-15 extra base hit line as well as 43 runs scored and 45 ribbies, to go with a respectable .269 BA.

Yorktown team BA has increased from .238 to .252 in current block of games. Cesar Hernandez was 14-19 with 6 runs scored in a series at Louisville. Justin Smoak has oddball extra base hit line of 4-0-17.

It's going to be interesting to see the baseball season develop, if it actually does with Buster Posey now deciding to sit out. Wonder if this will be a domino effect? Admirals have lost Ian Desmond. If SOM decides to go with actual 2020 statistics in next year's set, I think one thing we'll have to think about is relaxing the Max AB/IP requirements. I think there will be significantly less players/pitchers with, say, 80-120 at bats and 40-60 innings (in a 162 game season) available the last 4-5 rounds of the draft. I almost hope that they just release the set based on their projected season.

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 7-15

The Blue Devils have been pretty awful in Block 5 so far going 5-11. What has been most frustrating is that the team played well against the top teams in the NL going 4-4 in competitive series vs. the Chiefs and Jarheads. But the Blue Devils laid two huge eggs going 1-7 against struggling teams - 89ers and Barons. Now those teams are still competitive but if you want to be a playoff team, 1-7 is just unacceptable. CT closes out the block with a series vs. Maine before facing the AL again. Blue Devils under .500 for the first time this year at 49-50.

The pitching staff which had been doing pretty reasonable all year imploded in block 5 giving up 8 or more runs in 8 of 16 games so far including 5 games of 10 or more runs. The team ERA shot up to 4.80. Zack Eflin has been the fortunate starter getting plenty of run support as he has gone 9-5 but with a 5.49 ERA. Robbie Ray on the other hand is only 7-9 with a nice 3.98 ERA. Mike Minor has been solid all season with a 3.74 ERA and 9-7 record. He has allowed just 119 hits in 149 innings but has allowed 26 HR's which have hurt along with 59 walks. Rookie Merrill Kelly may have hit a wall. In his first 12 starts, he posted a somewhat respectable 5-3 record 4.91 ERA. However in his next 9 starts he has gotten pummeled going 1-6 with a 9.78 ERA giving up 75 hits in 46 innings including 13 HR's. His card may not be great but those numbers are ridiculous.

The offense continues to sputter. After reaching a high point with a .261 team BA in the first 50 games, the next 50 games has seen the team BA drop to .243. The Blue Devils reached double digit hits in just 5 of the 16 games this block. Nelson Cruz still leads the team with 27 HR's and 72 RBI but has cooled off and has seen his BA drop below .300 for the first time this season at .299. One encouraging sign is with Freddie Freemen - mired in a slump most of the year batting in the .230's - he finally had a big series vs. the Jarheads and upped his BA to .252 . . . still well below expectations. Trevor Story has also hit below expectations at .248. Both were counted on to be close to .300 hitters this year. Still 60 games to go so maybe they are due for a hot streak . . . .

 

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NOTES FROM THE WHIPPETS - 7-17

The Whippets at 103. How have we arrived at 52-51?

The Lead: Runs scored 578; Runs allowed 542 (5.61 - 5.26)
So .532 Pythagorian, expected wins are 54.8, so LW is a bit low.
Report Cards... OFFENSE: Good     PITCHING: Below Average

The Stars
Lindor (LW) .256/.281/.455
       (act) .284/.335/.518
Springer (LW) .303/.396/.619
       (act) .292/.383/.591
Yelich (LW) .321/.393/.652
       (act) .329/.429/.671

The team stars are doing just fine, Francisco Lindor is struggling a bit with the bat, but his picking at SS has been stellar as usual. All three are approximately on pace to match their real life extra base hit numbers, save for Lindor who is short on doubles.

Regulars
Ramos (LW) .249/.294/.590
       (act) .288/.351/.416
Mazara (LW) .328/.381/.545
       (act) .268/.318/.469
Moran (LW) .279/.313/.426
       (act) .277/.322/.429
Schoop (LW) .259/.279/.498
       (act) .256/.304/.473

Where Wilson Ramos has been scuffling at the plate, especially in the power department (only has hit 2 of 14 real-life homers), Nomar Mazara has been picking up the slack, hitting at an all-star level. Mazara is even walking and striking out more than he should. Colin Moran and Jonathon Schoop have been mostly as-advertised with the bat.

Part-time heroes
Dickerson (LW) .319/.349/.507 [145 PA]
       (act) .276/.332/.489
Duffy (LW) .359/.441/.511 [151 PA]
       (act) .252/.343/.327
Farmer (LW) .356/.408/.667 [98 PA]
       (act) .230/.279/.410

Alex Dickerson is the main replacement outfielder when Springer and Yelich have to rest, which they do often, due to real life injuries. He has replaced their offense quite well. Mike Duffy and Kyle Farmer have caught some good luck in their part-time appearances.

Part-time bum
Dietrich (LW) .125/.304/.234 [161 PA]
       (act) .187/.328/.462

Double D's deplorable performance has one cause: lack of homeruns. He hit 19 in real life, and has just 3 for the Whippets in half of his alloted AB. If he turned 8 outs in homeruns (as expected) then his slash line would be almost exactly what it was for the Reds.

Why giving up so many runs?
Besides the usual "offense was up again in 2019" type of excuse, the Whippets' staff has suffered some pretty bad beatings. They are just not what anyone would call "outstanding" :) One factor is an unusual amount of unbalanced cards on the staff this season. Just 6 of the 18 pitchers getting innings (and only 1 of the standard Starting pitchers) have balance ratings from 2L to 2R. Everyone else has a weak side, and that is not so good in Stratball, especially when you can load up against a Starter. Interestingly, my "Opener" Chad Green is a 1L, and his usual follow-on reliever Matt Strahm is an E. Their combined ERA is right around where Steven Strasburg's ERA sits, up near 4.00. Liam Hendriks and Jarlin Garcia (both 4R balance) are doing fine out of the bullpen, which can be said about nobody else.

Despite the struggles, The Whippets will be pushing in the last 1/3rd of the season for a chance to get obliterated in the playoffs. We'll need a new pitching coach, I think ours quit somewhere back in Block 4.

 

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BATON ROUGE - 7-19

The Bo Show

Management got a look at the future as all the young, newly drafted rookies were brought up for the 4th and 5th rounds of games. The lineup included Jimenez, Calhoun, Bichette, Lopez, Mejia, Chavis, and Haseley. This team played .500 ball through these rounds compared to .375 up to that point despite some bad pitching - notably Richards (7.65 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 32 homers allowed in 122 IP). Jimenez has been up all season with a .244 average but leads the team with 23 home runs and 65 RBI. Rounds 4 and 5 were definitely the BO Show. Bichette was THE star of these rounds hitting .369/.404/.702 with 20 doubles and 12 home runs yielding 35 RBI in 46 games. Mejia (.290/.330/.556), Chavis (.296/.343/.470), Haseley (.298/.361/.482) also had very good performances. We certainly are encouraged that the win total in the next few years will allow the Bullets to climb back into playoff contention. Now if we could just get some pitching… It remains to be seen if Lucchesi, Canning, and Urquidy can fill that bill.

 

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CHIEF CHAT - 8-4

The Chiefs are looking for a new home as War Memorial Coliseum has fallen into disrepair. As one local reporter quipped, "The coliseum looks as if whatever war it was a memorial to had been fought within its confines."

Bill Savitt is trying to woo the Chiefs to Hartford to play at a rebuilt Morgan G. Bulkeley Stadium. Savitt, now 119 years old, borrowed a phrase from a former Hartford resident, "Rumors of my demise in 1995 have been greatly exaggerated." Savitt, a jeweler by trade, has suggested a name change to his old Savitt Gems, or even the Hartford Chiefs, the Braves minor league affiliate in the 1940's and 50's before they left Boston for Milwaukee. During the Depression and WWII, Savitt was famous for coaxing Major League and Negro League teams to play his semi-pro Gems on off-days while traveling between New York and Boston. Locally, his jewelry store was famous for its POMG slogan, "Peace of Mind Guaranteed!" Given the Chiefs' recent history, POMG might mean "Pitching? Oh, My God!"

North of the border, Montreal has also been courting the Chiefs, as it already had plans to build beautiful Parc Labatt, pictured below. Mayor Valerie Plante promises that if the Chiefs move to her city, we'll all be singing the Edith Piaf classic, "Non, je ne regrette rien." (No, I regret nothing.) The Chiefs will likely wait for the USA November election results before deciding whether to move to Montreal.

Both venues have remarkably similar dimensions and weather patterns.
Morgan G. Bulkeley Stadium LHB    RHB
June/July/August Other Weather SI* HR SI* HR
1-7    1-3            Hot            9   9   9   18
8-17   4-13         Beautiful    8   8   8    16
18-20   14-20       Cold         7   7   7   14

Parc Labatt Bleue Gauche    Droite
Juin/Juillet/Aout Autres Il fait . . . SI* CC SI* CC
1-7   1-3          Chaud     9   9   9   18
8-17   4-13       Beau     8   8   8   16
18-20   14-20    Froid     7   7   7   14

We'll have to see what 2021 brings and if there's even an FBN season.

 

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ADMIRALS ORDERS - 8-10

My son is on a tour of the West and he sent me some things from El Paso. I think a couple of the guys in our league are big college basketball fans and I think this was a real big deal. There are 3 snippet about the 1966 Texas Western, now Texas El Paso basketball team and some photos from my son. A movie was made a few years back about this game called Glory Road. It was a great movie. Don Haskins stayed at TW/UTEP the rest of his long career.

 

 

 

 

Merk  

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DEVIL DOODLES - 8-14

The Blue Devils rebounded from an awful Block 5 in the NL to go 10-5 in the most recent interleague block against the AL finishing at 61-57 - tied with Illinois for the final 2 NL playoff spots. Not exactly a great record but since the devastating 4 game sweep at the hands of the Wall Street Barons, CT seems to have righted the ship a bit going 12-7. But can they continue their better play back against the NL? Tough road ahead as CT has to play all 3 top teams in the NL next block - Burlinton, Jarheads and Chiefs. Surviving that gauntlet may be the key to whether CT can hold on to a playoff spot.

The pitching staff continues to be led by Mike Minor (11-7 3.59) and Robbie Ray (11-9 3.54) who have pitched well all year - their only issue has been giving up too many HR's combining for 52 allowed in 300 IP. But that is somewhat offset by 293 combined K's. The bullpen has been somewhat "by committee" as 7 different relievers have saves but Steve Cishek still leads the way with 22 saves in 48 games.

The offense, which was a disaster in the last NL block, came to life vs. the AL scoring 6 runs or more in 11 of 15 games. This included double digit scoring of 11, 16, 19 and 24 runs in four blowout wins. Nelson Cruz continues his MVP type season leading the team in BA at .306, HR's with 38 and RBI at 98 along with 68 runs scored. Freddie Freeman has gotten hot lately . . . after floundering around .230 most of the year, he has steadily marched his BA up to .276 to go along with 28 HR's and 84 RBI. Trevor Story (20 HR's 63 RBI) and Brett Gardner (19 HR's 62 RBI) have been productive as well.

 

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ADMIRALS ORDERS - 8-29

Matt Weiters continues his assault on Barry Bonds season HR record on a pro rata basis. Weiters now has 21 bombs in 165 plate appearances.

Walker Buehler continues as staff ace as his line now 17-7, 3.19, 187 (his "real life" ERA was 3.20).

Cesar Hernandez continues stellar season as his BA climbs to .297, and he's crossed the plate 72 times.

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 9-15

The Blue Devils started strong in final block play going 10-2 including 4 game sweeps of the Klubbers and Powderkegs and splitting a series with Illinois. CT now sits at 82-72 - solidly in playoff position in 4th place but not quite officially clinched. The Blue Devils had been treading water in the standings for quite some time going 28-31 over the last three blocks. So it was very satisfying to see the team finally get hot in the stretch run. We'll see if the team can stay hot to clinch a playoff spot and get past the initial Wild Card round.

Offensively, the team is on pace to hit 239 HR's - the most since 2001 when the team hit 282 HR's. Nelson Cruz continues his big season with 32 doubles, 48 HR's and 122 RBI while leading the team with a .291 BA. Freddie Freeman, after struggling early in the year, has rebounded with great power number hitting 35 HR's with 105 RBI while batting .273. Trevor Story has contributed 26 HR's and 88 RBI and veteran Brett Gardner is having his best power year hitting 28 HR's with 86 RBI. On the negative side, the team is on pace to strike out 1,445 times which would easily eclipse last year's franchise record of 1,343 K's. 7 Blue Devil hitters have 100+ strikeouts.

The pitching staff has been up and down all season sporting a team 4.57 ERA - their highest ERA since 2016. However, 4 CT starting pitchers have double digit wins with Mike Minor (14-9 3.51) and Zach Eflin (14-7 5.08) leading the way. The bullpen has been the most disappointing this season as only 1 reliever has an ERA under 3.00 (rookie Jacob Webb 3-2 3 saves 2.97). Tommy Kahnle, expected to be a key late inning reliever, has struggled all season allowing 68 hits and 23 walks in 61 innings along with 12 HR's leading to a 4.72 ERA. Can he turn it around along with the rest of the pen should the Blue Devils make the playoffs?

 

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ADMIRALS ORDERS - 9-20

Yorktown has wrapped up it's 2020 season. The Admirals had a much better year than the world has had, finishing 85-77 overall, much better than team execs expected. Chester Nimitz Stadium saw no Covid cases, no wildfires, and lots of satisfied fans. On the field, in addition to having an excellent season on the road (48-33), Yorktown fans saw:

1. Walker Buehler had a fantastic year as the Ads' #1 starter, racking up impressive, and realistic, stats:
       MLB: 14-4 182 IP 3.26 ERA 37 BB 215 K
       Ads: 18-8 200 IP 3.24 ERA 41 BB 202 K

2. Hector Neris' season as a closer fell just short of the all-time Admiral records set by Lee Smith in 1995 with the following line:
      4-5-38, 70 fireman points 98 Ks in 74.33 innings

3. Rhys "Walkman" Hoskins did his job, and Harold Richman did his job:
       MLB: 570 AB .226 33-5-29 116 BB 173 K OBP .364
       Ads: 574 AB .228 38-4-29 112 BB 174 K OBP .364

4. Ryan Pressly had eye popping numbers before being dealt for Brandon Crawford late in the year:        Ads: 39 IP 16 H 13 BB 51 K 1.38 ERA 0.74 WHIP

5. Old Man Ivan Nova, who has spent his entire FBN career in Yorktown, gutted out 11 wins.

6. Former utilityman Eduardo Escobar led Ytown had 157 hits along with 104 ribbies to go along with a 28-5-29 power line.

7. "Outfield by committee" worked very well until the committee ran out of gas after block 7:
       Hunter Pence: .298, 21-0-10, 46 ribbies in 315 ABs
       David Dahl: .270, 29-7-10, 66 runs, 60 ribbies in 411 ABs
       Tyler Naquin: .294, 22-1-11 in 303 ABs
       Trent Grisham: .257, 5-0-12 power line, .371 OBP in 167 ABs

8. Adding to the long bomb FBN season, Matt Weiters had 24 HRs in 186 ABs vs. 11 HRs in 168 ABs MLB,.

9. Cesar Hernandez led the Ads with 186 knocks, yielding a .285 average.

10. Steven Vogt put up serious power numbers with 30-3-17 in only 300 plate appearances.

It's becoming harder and harder to comprehend I've been in this league since 1975. It's been a great activity in my life, and I appreciate all managers. Good luck in the playoffs and the off-season!

Merk

 

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DEVIL DOODLES - 10-1

The Blue Devils completed the 2020 season at 86-76 - 9 wins less than last year but good enough to lock down 4th place and home field advantage in the NL Wild Card series. This will be Connecticut's 18th playoff appearance in 34 seasons in the FBN. The Blue Devils also surpassed a league milestone getting their 3,000th franchise win this season finishing the season with a franchise record of 3,056-2,452. Only Allyn Street has more wins in league history with 3,120 wins. (but also played two more seasons than CT)

Offensively, the team clubbed 239 HR's - which is the most in a season since 2001 when the team hit their franchise record of 282 HR's. The team also set a franchise record with 1,453 K's easily outpacing last year's record of 1,343 K's. Blue Devils swiped just 49 bases all year - the lowest amount in franchise history. Nelson Cruz led the team with MVP type numbers batting .291 with 34 doubles, 52 HR's, 131 RBI and 94 runs scored. Freddie Freeman followed with 37 HR's and 116 RBI batting .275 - a lower average than expected from him. Trevor Story completed the "Big 3" with 29 HR's and 93 RBI with a team leading 113 runs scored batting .261 - also below expectations. Brett Gardner had his career year blasting 28 HR's with 88 RBI.

The pitching staff was led by the starting rotation. CT used just 6 starters all season after averaging 8 starters per year over the previous 3 seasons. The starters combined to go 68-57 with a 4.59 ERA - obviously nothing spectacular but consistent enough to keep the Blue Devils in most games. Mike Minor pitched the best with a 3.52 ERA and 1.17 WHIP but only finished 15-11 as he gave up 35 HR's which hurt him in some key spots. Zach Eflin was the lucky starter this season getting the offensive support finishing at 15-8 despite a 5.13 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and 30 HR's. The bullpen was somewhat by committee as 8 different relievers earned saves with Steve Cishek leading with 29 saves but with a 4.41 ERA. Rookie Jacob Webb showed some promise for the future going 3-2 with 3 saves and a 2.80 ERA in 35 innings.

The Blue Devils will now prepare to face the Navigators in the NL Wild Card round. CT went 9-3 vs. Norwich during the season so there will be a big revenge factor working in the series . . . should be interesting.

 

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US JARHEAD SCUTTLEBUTT - 11-3

The 2019 World Champion US Jarheads made it to their 6th NLCS in 7 years, but failed to attain their 4th World Series appearance. The Chiefs ousted the Jarheads in 6 games ending the Jarheads title defense. Last years 93 win, 4th place finish was bettered with this season's 98 win 3rd place finish and a WC bye.

2020's 4.99 ERA was up over a run from last season's 3.85. The Jarhead offense did their best to overcome. A .264 BA, 773 BB, 127 HBP, and a franchise record 330 HRs led to another franchise record of 1019 Runs.

GM Harry's machinations were somewhat curbed this season, by a scarcity of USJ of picks and a lack of depth at any position. But he was able to make one big upgrade at the winter meetings, acquiring SS Paul DeJong from the Hogs to replace last years SS star, Brandon Crawford. Crawford didn't really hit and fell from a SS1 to a 3. DeJong step in and produced an All-star season of his own in 2020. A SS2e7 he starred in the field and at the plate. DeJong, despite being HBP 25 times, played 160 games and made only 4 errors. And he was a huge contributor at the plate. With a .249 BA he smashed 35 HRs and drove in 113 runs. He was 9-0 SB and scored 98 runs. With Mgr Jeff Kent burning through the bullpen, GM Harry was able to pick up Ryan Pressly from Yorktown in the 2nd half by moving Brandon Crawford.

Team MVP goes to Mike Trout. He led the team with 48 HR and hit one every 10.66 ABs, .281, 119 R, 30 D, 4 T, 48 HR, 120 RBI, 104 BB, 11-1 SB.

Outlook for 2021? The Jarheads are not likely to make an appearance in the NLCS in 2021. And are not likely to be any where near the playoffs. The pitching, both SP and bullpen all look worse than the 2018 last place team that posted a 7.62 ERA.

 

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CHIEF CHAT - 11-23

Here is a neat MLB trivia queston. Q: The only four players to homer as both a teenager and as a forty year old.

....click here for the answer

 

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