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Old 07-20-2019, 09:56 AM   #261
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2076 Season (4/30 – 5/3, cont.)

25 of 162: Phillip King (3-0, 1.39) @ Ryan Burg (1-1, 4.32)
Loss, 6-2… In Baseball, all good things must come to a resounding thud. It’s a requirement – there must be suffering, fear, and loathing. King gives us 7.1 innings in this contest – he allowed 5 earned and lacked command throughout. We’d only manage 5 total hits with Dom, Ethan, Otto, Pepper, and Mario doing the honors. Dom and Otto hit doubles. King gives up two long balls – at times he was just out there serving it up… Berger did the most damage for Brooklyn – a 3-run homer in the 8th was the icing on the cake. And just like that – King takes his first loss & our 8-game winning streak ends on a sour note. Baseball, man, she’s a mean chickadee sometimes – you had better wipe the seat if you know what’s good for you.

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26 of 162: Merl Crawford (1-1, 3.63) @ Sam Gehring (0-2, 8.15)
Win, 4-2
… You can’t get too high with the highs or too low with the lows in Baseball – we’d bounce back here with a win and hope that this is the start of a new streak. Merl was dealing – 7 innings of work with 8 K’s and 1 earned… his fastball had that late-life that makes it hard to deal with. Pepper Grant busted out – 3 for 4 with a HR, an RBI, and a run. He’s quietly starting to put together a nice line so far in 2076. Otto stays ice-cold, Weaver got hit by a pitch but toughed it out, we get a crafty double-play, and Barbaccia picks up his 11th save. Of note: Jules Winfield got the start at DH in this one – he went 0 for 3 and was hit by a pitch and batted 9th for the Citizens. Nice to see that guy all kitted up and getting some MLB AB’s.

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Time-out for Adrian Bae… Making his Bush League debut at home for the Hagerstown Hummers against the Beaumont Bullies, Bae, after recording two strikes, hit the leadoff batter. Ruh-roh. He gave up a solo HR in the 2nd, his only earned run of the game and finished at 5 innings pitched allowing only 2 hits and 1 earned while striking out 8 batters. Hagerstown wins big – 10-2, and Adrian Bae, former Laker and lead singer of the Good Time Guava Boys, a calypso-salsa fusion band that plays the So-Cal club circuit in the off-season, gave a good account of himself in his first BL win. If he keeps it up the MLB will come calling – there has to be a club out there that’s willing to buy his contract out and install him into their bullpen.

27 of 162: Dejuan Burns (3-2, 3.09) @ Isaiah Zuno (1-4, 2.56)
Win, 5-4
… We lost Pepper in this one – he’s DtD with back spasms… Dejuan goes 7 and gave up 5 hits and 3 runs – he’d pick up the Win off of a performance that can only be described as, “good enough”. Mario Marshburn had his turn in the limelight tonight – 3 for 3 with 2 RBI – Weaver breaks the tie with a run-scoring sac fly in the 7th, we gave Otto a day off (because, why not, he sucks), and Barbaccia gets his 12th save of the season. We continue to play some good, solid team ball – but, the good time will only last so long if Otto doesn’t wake up soon.

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About Otto – he faded last season in the end there, made a critical error in the World Series – the kind that gnaws at a man – and thus far has been a mere shell of his former self. The psyche is a mysterious thing – it’s difficult to say that he’ll eventually bounce back. Sure, he has all the skill in the world, but if he can’t clear this mental hurdle it will all go unfounded – hopefully, he will tap into the form he displayed last year, a Boyce winning year by the way, and get back on the horse. We’ll need him if we are to avenge our heart-shattering loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars over 7 gut-wrenching games in last year’s World Series. Maybe when we arrive at the Philadelphia ballpark to begin our 3-game set against the hottest team in the league – looking across the diamond at Palmer Parker, who is laying claim to Otto’s crown as best active player in the game thus far, will be enough to stir up his emotions, stoke his competitive fire, and allow him to come out of this coma.

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Old 07-21-2019, 11:17 AM   #262
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2076 Season (5/5 – 5/7)

Los Angeles Lakers (18-9, .667) @ Philadelphia 76ers (21-4, .840)
The team boarded a bus, an upscale bus, immediately following our last win over Brooklyn. Their day off would be spent in Philadelphia where the tricentennial festivity planning was in full swing – this is not unlike a Superbowl preparation… there’d be construction, closed streets, an entire downtown getting a facelift to make sure it looks acceptable on the 16K stream. In short – getting around would be difficult. I traveled alone, in a rental, and took my day off in Trenton, NJ. By choice, which, I know, is odd. It was an opportunity to see an old friend from university whom I haven’t seen, in person, since our graduation. A nice respite from the grind – a stop at the Pretty Bird Café to catch up and to make baseball secondary… if only for a couple of hours. I had the Monte Cristo (with some of the best house-made raspberry jam available for purchase in the continental United States (and probably the rest of it too)) and a Piccolo latte. Good food, good coffee, great conversation. A critically timed renewal of spirit before arriving in Philly to face the best team in Baseball in front of the rogue’s gallery that makes up the worst fans in Pro sports. The 76ers are 21-4 – an unstoppable force that is in top form (6-game winning streak). Their recipe seems simple – they score a lot (140 runs so far, ranked #1 in the universe) and they don’t let you score that often (85 runs against – 3rd in the league). CF Norris Flaherty may have eclipsed Otto as the best Centerfielder in the league – he certainly is miles ahead of him this year – and Palmer Parker, the at times flashy and always debonair Leftfielder, is widely considered the best player so far in 2076. They lead an offense that is built to smash – an old-school stick-up crew who have no time for the long con. On the other side of the diamond they have the GOAT Josiah Weber, who has recaptured his form after a subpar 2075, and Paul Yeager, who prefers the change-up as a closeout pitch and who works well within the sound barrier, leading a staff that is ranked #3 in all of baseball. They have Philadelphia in the palm of their hand right now – the fanbase believes – and after three straight losing seasons anything less than a deep run in the playoffs will undoubtedly result in a riot. The mayor has made it clear that his tricentennial celebration must include a winning brand of baseball and, so far, the 76ers have delivered.

28 of 162: Michael Brisk (3-1, 2.17) @ Josiah Weber (3-0, 1.01)
We’d get a stay of execution when this one gets canceled due to weather (it is, in fact, not always sunny in Philadelphia)…. But now face the possibility of being executed twice on the same day as it has been rescheduled for tomorrow.

Elsewhere: LF Hudson Collier, of the Buffalo Bills (Toronto Reds BC affiliate), tied the RL record for HR’s in a game with 3 and also tied the RL regular-season record for RBI’s with 7 in the Bills’ 13-12 win over the Salt Lake City Alpines. The Dayton Beach, FL native and former Holy Cross Crusader is the #47 ranked prospect in baseball and looks to be very close to earning significant time on the big club. He’s currently trending to hit 46 home runs for Buffalo this season.

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Hey! Let’s try this again…
28 of 162: Michael Brisk (3-1, 2.17) @ Josiah Weber (3-0, 1.01)
Loss, 5-3. Josiah earned his 40th K of the season against Zarate in the top of the first and then earned his 41st K of the season when the hapless Otto Isaac whiffed on a Slurve. Or was it a curve? Change-up? Slider? Do we care? Can Otto even baseball anymore? By the time the Philadelphia fans treat us to a spectacularly profane version of ‘take me out to the ball game’ during the stretch, the score is 4-3 Philly – Brisk and Josiah are going at it, nether has their otherworldly stuff but both are dealing here. In the end, like so many who’ve come before, we’d not have enough to secure the win. Palmer Parker hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd, it’s his 9th so far this season, the Jenkins brothers finish 3 for 7 with a run, Otto strikes out twice against Josiah, and Marshburn & Ethan both hit homers. We also got 2 DP’s… but, Philly was just too good, Josiah was crisp, their offense delivered when they had too, and we looked listless. Just going through the motions, nothing to see here…

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29 of 162: Case Tunnell (4-0, 4.14) @ Troy Helm (1-1, 3.44)
Win, 5-4
… It took an extra inning, but we got it done – Dontrell Gay made our fans watching back home happy – leading the offensive attack with a 2 for 4 performance and 2 runs & 3 RBI’s, Otto went 2 for 4 with a 2-run jack – he also hit the top of the 10th sac fly that put us up for good, and Barbaccia picks up save number 13. It’s always a good day when you can make the unhappy citizenry of Philadelphia even more unhappy. Also – file under crappy news – my training staff informs me that Pepper’s back is still all spasmy and that the hitch in his giddyup will require a few more days of rest. So, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them all, and then you have the facts of life…. Or something like that.

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30 of 162: Phillip King (3-1, 2.27) @ Vin Uhlman (2-1, 5.22)
Loss, 3-2
… An ex of mine, from the salad days, as they were, once told me – in her yelly voice – that baseball is dumb. I didn’t believe her. Or maybe, I just wasn’t listening as she was throwing my stuff off the 2nd-floor balcony of our apartment while she delivered her thesis much to the chagrin of our neighbors who had gracefully stopped what they were doing to enjoy the show. Her thesis, if I recall correctly, was that baseball is dumb, boring, and well just really, really dumb. I’ll give credit where credit is due – she was right when she said baseball is dumb. Really, really dumb. Getting walked off on the road is a special kind of suffering. Getting walked off on the road in Philadelphia? That’s the kind of thing a man will carry with him – like a parasite that gnaws at your stomach, except forever. Otto only struck out once today – so, we have that going for us.

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Enough about suffering, can we talk about Adrian Bae? Bae made his second Bush League start – in front of his home crowd – against the visiting Columbia Blowfish. He didn’t get the win, his offense couldn’t be bothered to start playing until the bottom of the 9th when James Anderson hit a 3-run homer to send the Blowfish to the showers with their heads hung in shame. Bae was good – he turned a few heads in this one I think – 6 innings, 3 hits, 2 earned and 6 K’s. He gave up two HR’s though – you can’t do that if you want a big-league club to take a flier out on you. Note: Bae told reporters after the game that the Good Time Guava Boys are planning to release their 3rd album in October.

Hey! At least we didn’t get swept, right? Taking a long flight home to meet the Vancouver Whitecaps in LA for a 3-game set… looking forward to a long shower (Philly seeps into your pores) and sleeping in my own bed.
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Old 07-21-2019, 01:06 PM   #263
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Palmer Parker just sounds like the name of a superstar.

P.S. I'd like to add that as someone who majored in English Literature, used to publish/edit an arts magazine, and has dabbled in creative writing a bit, your style here is just so refreshing and compelling. I often feel like my style here is not me at my most creative. Reading your posts partly makes me feel a bit ashamed of my own wooden prose but mostly leaves me inspired and entertained. Thanks for that!

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Old 07-21-2019, 05:10 PM   #264
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Thanks, Bird! High praise, indeed. And, for the record, what makes the WPK so compelling is the thoroughness with which it is covered. It’s a refreshing deep and thoughtful look into your universe. I dig it. I subscribed to get alerted to new posts via email, so its nearly a daily read.
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:55 PM   #265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauwoo View Post
Thanks, Bird! High praise, indeed. And, for the record, what makes the WPK so compelling is the thoroughness with which it is covered. It’s a refreshing deep and thoughtful look into your universe. I dig it. I subscribed to get alerted to new posts via email, so its nearly a daily read.
Thanks! I do try to make up for the lack of creative flair in my WPK reporting with an attempt at giving well-rounded glimpses into the WPK universe. In other words, I try to do my best to make it seem as real and living a thing as it feels like to me.
Sometimes the challenge, at moments like this especially, is that I get caught up in the forward momentum and drama of the season for my Brewers that I start moving too quickly. For instance, I believe it is probably past time for another WPK Franchise Report.
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Old 07-27-2019, 04:06 PM   #266
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2076 Season (5/8 – 5/10)

Vancouver Whitecaps (15-13, .536, 2nd NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (19-11, .633, 1st NL West)
We welcome the Whitecaps to town, a team we own a 2-1 record against so far this season, for a 3-game set. Vancouver is a good club with a rock-solid offense and a good group of starters – their bullpen, however, is in shambles. Ranked dead last in the MLB for Bullpen ERA and Runs Against, the Whitecaps haven’t seen too many leads that inspire comfort so far in 2076. Innings 7 through 9 have had a tendency to go from sure-thing to chaotic in a hurry – the equivalent of betting on a sure-thing horse in the Kentucky Derby only to have the jockey fall off the saddle during the final furlong. That’s where they’ve been beatable – after the stretch… you’re unlikely to get at these guys early. They’re also saddled with injuries as their top pitcher, Bill Marvin, is out for 4 weeks with a strained hamstring, and 1B, Colt DeWees is out for that same stretch with a strained groin, which sounds painful because it is. Even without those guys, and mostly due to the heart of their lineup (Monte Lofthus, Arthur Grant, and Mercury Aghajari), the Whitecaps find themselves in 2nd place of the NL West and only 3-games off the pace. If they can hold on and play at a level just a smidge above treading water, they will be in a great position to make some noise after the all-star break.

31 of 162: Jack Souris (3-1, 4.55) @ Dejuan Burns (4-2, 3.21)
Loss, 4-2 (in extras)… Souris was in a groove for 7 innings – he’d strike out 5 and allow only 2 runs – and Dejuan was, mostly, equal to the challenge over 7 innings where he gave up 2 runs and K’d 7 batters. The story of this one was the bullpen – ours, not theirs – as Barbaccia gave up 2 runs in the top of the 10th that our club was unable to answer. Otto continued his season-long slump with another 0 for 4 performance, and none of our batters recorded more than 1 hit for the game – the Whitecaps kept us guessing here until our closer got it wrong. Not a great way to start a 3-game set at home, but if baseball was easy we’d play golf.

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32 of 162: Elijah Hall (2-1, 4.03) @ Nat Millard (1-1, 2.93)… Guess who’s back, back again…
Win, 16-3…
Millard gives us a 6-inning, 7-hit effort in his return from the IL, allowing only a single run to plate during the outing – good stuff & exactly what we need from him. Overshadowing his return, however, was the awakening of our offense – Zarate goes 3 for 6 with a double, a homer, and 4 RBI, Ethan finished at 4 for 6 with a double and 3 RBI, and Otto (remember him?) went 3 for 5 with a 3-run homer. As a team, we hit three doubles and three homers, Otto gets 6 total bases, and we turned 3 double plays. When we are on – we’re on… and this one was anything but a nail biter.

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33 of 162: Luke Mann (0-1, 2.25) @ Michael Brisk (3-2, 2.91)
Win, 5-3. We overcame a vintage Arthur Grant performance in this one – he went 2 for 3 with a HR and 2 RBI – and Michael Brisk went 7 strong with 8 K’s and 3 earned. Zarate went 2 for 3, Otto finished 1 for 4 with a run, and Ruben, Weaver, Gay, Williams, and Newman each brought in a run for the club. Our defense was stout – 3 DP’s today – Crawford earns his 3rd hold of the season, and Barbaccia brushed off his last collapse with a 13 pitch 9th to earn his 14th save of the year. Still putting together solid wins without consistent offensive output from our “best” guys at the plate. Looking forward to getting Pepper back into the lineup, but his back spasms keep flaring up and prolonging his stay on the IL.


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Elsewhere… Montreal SP, Dylan Bauer, a 28-year-old lefty out of Minnesota pitched a complete game 2-hit shutout in their 2-0 loss against Orlando. The game went an insane 18-innings before the result would be sorted by City when they managed to squeeze two across in the top of the 18th. Tough loss for Bauer and an even tougher game to watch for the home fans in MTL. Can you imagine staying for 18 innings, you’re tired, cold, and forced to choke down your third serving of poutine only to lose in the 18th? 6 hours and 23 minutes of little to no offense… Yikes! At least they got to see their man Bauer put 10 K’s on the board. It’s the small victories that help fans rationalize their love for the game in times like these… am I right?

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With the series win, we moved into the #3 spot on the weekly power rankings with only the Chicago Fire and Philadelphia 76ers ranked above us. We’ll get a day off before heading back out on the road for six straight interleague games starting in Charlotte to visit the 17-14 Carolina Panthers then traveling north to face the 17-14 NY Jets. Should be a fun trip – at least the visit to Charlotte – as we only get out to their park every other year.
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Old 07-27-2019, 06:13 PM   #267
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2076 Season (5/12 – 5/13)

Los Angeles Lakers (21-12, .636, 1st NL West) @ San Diego Chargers (15-17, .469, 4th NL West)
So, umm, yeah… do you ever look at your upcoming schedule, get excited by something you see and miss what comes before it as a result? No? Just me? Well, OK – fine – that’s what I’ve done here. When I approached our clubs travel coordinator about getting out to Charlotte early, she gave me a weird look – you know the one… the “what’s wrong with you, are you broken” look you get from your wife when she finds a McDonald’s receipt while cleaning out the car. Long story short – we’re in San Diego for a two-game parlay against the Chargers instead of out east visiting the Queen City. The Chargers are an okay club – middling, serviceable, tanned – who have some speed (1st in Stolen Bases) and a lockdown bullpen (1st in Bullpen ERA), but are decidedly average everywhere else. At full strength, they’d be formidable – kind of – but find themselves broken at this early juncture of the 2076 campaign with 5 contributors and 1 borderline all-star making their living on the IL. Even still, they have good fan loyalty & interest which is, well, surprising given the dearth of outdoor activities available to the citizenry of San Diego. I mean, how do you explain a 6% increase in attendance for a club that has taken a large step back from where they were last year? Instead of eating Umami Fries at the park these folks could be people watching at the beach, combing the sand with the latest in metal detection technology, or frolicking in the surf… so many other options for entertainment when you live in paradise. Instead, they come to the park to cheer on the Burt McElheny’s of the world, to hold their breath when Smith Wells works the count full, and to sample the many over-hopped microbrews on tap throughout the park. If it was me – when choosing between watching the local talent on the beach while enjoying a sugary alcoholic concoction of dubious origin versus destroying my taste buds with each sip of a 1000+ IBU & outlandishly hopped up microbrew while watching the Chargers drop another ballgame – I’m applying some of that SPF 50 lotion, grabbing my favorite pair of aviators, and heading to the surf.

34 of 162: Case Tunnell (4-0, 4.20) @ Mike Augustine (2-3, 6.25)
Win, 11-2
. Case reigns supreme and gives San Diego all seven layers in this one – an 8 inning, 7-hit performance where only two runs manage to come home for the Chargers – and Dom Cooke went off in a 4 for 5 performance with two doubles, a homer, 4 runs, and an RBI. Ethan had himself a day as well – 3 for 5, a double, and an RBI for the Dallas, TX born & bred right fielder… Otto finished 2 for 3 with 3 RBI’s, Williams scores twice, and Weaver drives in 3 runs. The Lakers are dominant here – 3 doubles, a triple, and a home run – and left the San Diego fanbase rethinking their life choices when this one was all said and done. If thought bubbles were visible – like some kind of real-life comic book – I can’t see a scenario where every single fan along the first baseline didn’t simultaneously entertain the thought that “I could’ve gone to the beach today”, after our 6-run 6th inning of doom. Instead, they were treated to a shellacking and probable permanent taste bud damage from washing down their sorrows with one too many of those Sculpin IPA’s by Ballast Point Brewing Company that was on a 2-for-1 special until the stretch. Ahh, hints of apricot, peach, mango, lemon, and disappointment – should have reached for a high life.

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Elsewhere… Adrian Bae got his 3rd start for the Hummers today against the Quincy Quackers… and left after throwing 73 pitches over 3 innings of sub-par work. He was laboring out on the bump today – walking 3, allowing a couple to get across, giving up a couple of hits, and striking out 5 – listen, he wasn’t terrible, but Quincy was making him work way too hard for it. He just didn’t have his good stuff. Bright side – game went to extras and Hagerstown walked Quincy off in the bottom of the 11th when Yoshinori Okada hit a run-scoring single. All is well that ends well and Adrian lives to fight another day.

35 of 162: Phillip King (3-2, 2.45) @ Aden Grey (1-5, 5.89)
Loss, 4-3. Phillip King struggled early, giving up three runs in the bottom of the first, and our offense decided that effort is for suckers. Mullens & Zarate showed up – 5 for 10 with 2 RBI’s between them, Otto was out there swinging at pitches like he got sunblock in his eyes, Cooke struck out 4 times, and, outside of hitting a couple of doubles, we did jack squat the rest of the way. Ben Compton, the erstwhile San Diego first baseman drove in all the Chargers’ runs – 1st on the 3-run homer he hit on King in the 1st and then later on a run-scoring single against King in the 3rd. In other news, I tried myself one of those Sculpin IPA’s – my mouth feels like I just had my teeth cleaned and the dentist’s assistant accidentally nicked my tongue with the Novocain. So that’s fun.

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Old 07-28-2019, 07:49 PM   #268
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2076 Season (5/15 – 5/17)

Carolina Panthers (17-17, .500, 6th AL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (22-13, .629, 1st NL West)
The Panthers try really hard – they’re a good effort club – but they just don’t have the arms to be competitive in the MLB… Starters, Bullpen, Outfielders that can catch a guy at 3rd – doesn’t matter, they ain’t got it. 11th in Runs Against, 11th in Starters ERA, 11th in Bullpen ERA, 11th in FIP, 12th in pWAR, 11th in Defensive Efficiency – they are, without a doubt, scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to anything that includes throwing a baseball. So, how are they 17-17 then? Hard to say, really, but my guess is that the gap between the haves and the have nots is so wide in the AL that a team like Carolina can make a comfortable living smack dab in the middle. Their star, 1B Pablo Madera, is likely gone at the end of the season – he’ll be a free agent, is known to keep an even keel (nothing phases this cat), and is widely considered the best first baseman in the league – Carolina has him on a $545K bargain right now, but whoever has him next will be paying for it through the nose. After Madera, they don’t really have anything of note – the most interesting thing about them then is their powder blue home kit adorned in white pinstripes, and, well, that’s just not enough to inspire the masses. 6 straight losing seasons, sitting at .500 in 2076, and no end to the misery in sight – the Carolina Panthers are an also-ran… and given the state of their franchise that isn’t going to change any time soon.

36 of 162: Evan Church (2-2, 4.33) @ Nat Millard (2-1, 2.53)
Loss, 6-3
… We get some OG Otto in this one – 3 for 4 with a HR and 2 RBI – and Nat is solid – 7 innings of work, 3 earned runs, and 7 K’s. It’s the bullpen that does us in – Merl allowed two runs in the 8th and Barbaccia let one slip by in the final frame when Madera hit an RBI double to extend Carolina’s lead. With the loss, and another poor bullpen performance, we find ourselves ranked dead last in Bullpen ERA in the NL – something will have to change there if we are to realize our championship potential… if that is, we even actually have championship potential.

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37 of 162: Larry Ramirez (1-5, 6.03) @ Dejuan Burns (4-2, 3.10)
Loss, 5-4
… Another stellar day for Otto – 4 for 5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R – and another loss for the La La’s. We just can’t get on the same page with that guy. Dejaun leaves early with an undisclosed injury (ruh-roh) and the Panthers happily charged five to our Bullpen’s account… we got a trash bullpen you guys, I need to get on the phones and bring in some talent there… We’d get RBI’s from Zarate and Williams, Weaver finished 2 for 4, but out lone double-play is overshadowed by two errors and our 3rd consecutive loss.

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Note: Burns has been diagnosed with a mild abdominal strain – he’s listed DtD with an expectation that 2 days rest should do the trick… but, listen, our trainers don’t know **** – they said the same thing about Pepper and where’s he at? Still out of the lineup that’s where…

38 of 162: Cosmo Puente (0-0, 0.00) @ Michael Brisk (4-2, 3.04)
Win, 6-1
. Otto goes 1 for 2 with a couple of walks and the La La’s win… why not? Larry Williams finished 3 for 4 with a run, Weaver went 3 for 3 with an RBI and a run, and Marshburn, Gay, Newman, Cooke, and Zarate all drive in a run – a total team effort here as we save some face in front of our home crowd and avoid the sweep at the hands of the lowly Queen City Panthers. We’ll take it – Brisk was locked in, Kyle gets a clutch AB, we turn a tasty little DP – I mean, what’s not to like? This wasn’t great baseball, but it was winning baseball. We’ll take winning baseball any day.

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Old 07-29-2019, 10:41 PM   #269
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2076 Season (5/18 – 5/20)

New York Jets (19-18, .514, 3rd AL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (23-15, .605, 1st NL West)
There was a guy, an underwater guy who controlled the sea, got killed by ten million pounds of sludge from New York and New Jersey… Which is it anyway? New York or New Jersey? Let’s be honest, folks, those 8 miles make a world of difference. The Jets aren’t average – they’re quite good… when they’re at full strength. Right now, they are not at full strength as their best player, 2B Rich Hamilton, has a couple of weeks left on the IL as he recovers from a fractured wheel. The 5-time Boyce Rigg recipient’s absence has been felt defensively – the Jets are ranked 9th in defensive efficiency without him in the lineup – but, offensively, not so much… The Jets are doing just fine in that department. 1st in runs scored, OPS, wOBA, Ding Dongs, and 2nd in OBP. Where they’ve struggled a bit is in the pitching department where they rank 10th as a unit and only have one starter with a sub-4.00 ERA. They’re treading water here – content to just stay afloat long enough to allow Hamilton to heal before making a run at Chicago & Jacksonville. Let’s not get carried away though, even at full strength it will be a difficult slog to catch up to either of those clubs – but not impossible. They find themselves four games off the pace and in our house against a version of our club that has been sub-par, lethargic, and, at times, just plain out of sync – a good opportunity for New Jersey’s finest to make up some ground in the AL East…

39 of 162: Kevin Hothan (4-1, 6.08) @ Case Tunnell (5-0, 3.91)
Win, 7-6
… A slugfest – Zarate is the man of the match with a 2 for 4 performance that includes a homer, an RBI, and three runs, and Larry Williams hit a 2-out Grand Slam in the bottom of the 8th that all but sealed the deal for us. Of course, the deal would not be done until Barbaccia came in to attempt the save – he performed admirably… 13 pitches, a ground out (double play alert!), and a flyout. Good stuff from him. Pepper finished 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI in his return to action – his back is spasm free… finally, and Otto went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a walk (we’ll take it). The not so good – Case gets shelled for 6 runs over 5 innings – he did get 8 K’s though. We survived the rollercoaster ride through and eked out a win – so, that’s cool, we’ll take it. Also… HAMZA ALERT – the man, the myth, the mustached legend finished 1 for 3 with a 3-run homer, 2 walks, and an error… killer ‘stache though.

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Elsewhere: Your boy, Adrian Bae, got the start today for the Hagerstown Hummers as they were in Naperville to pay the Nibblers a visit in some Bush League action… it went a’ight – he didn’t exactly light the world on fire, but he did finish with 5.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned, a couple of free passes, 6 K’s, and the W… all in a days work. I’m dangerously close to buying out his contract – I can use a guy like him in my bullpen. However, house rules, man… I must let the ballad of Adrian Bae play out the way the OOTP Gods intended with minimal interference. Plus, he really styles that Hagerstown kit, doesn’t he? My man looking CRISP out there.

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40 of 162: Ferdie Acker (2-3, 6.39) @ Phillip King (3-3, 2.75)
But first… what kind of name is Ferdie? From the Spanish Ferdinando, a name of uncertain origin and meaning. It is thought to be of Germanic origin composed from the elements frithu (peace), and fardi (journey), or ferchvus (youth, life) and nanths (courage), nanthi (venture, risk), or nand (ready, prepared). Win, 9-5PEPPER!!! 2 for 3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 Runs, and a walk for your boy – stylin’ & profilin’. Ethan went 3 for 5 with a HR, Newman finished 2 for 4 with a double and 3 riblets, Otto scored a couple of times (and stole a bag), we got two DP’s, and only struck out 3 times as a team – all killer, no filler. King pitched well – 5 innings of work, three get across, 6 are sent back to the dugout with their heads hung low – and the bullpen, well, they sucked – they just didn’t suck hard enough to lose this one for us. Don’t get me wrong – they tried, just weren’t successful. Our bullpen is clown shoes… I really need to buckle down and make some trades.

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41 of 162: Cliff Slavinski (4-4, 3.41) @ Nat Millard (2-1, 2.86)
Win, 4-3
. Nat wasn’t great – I hope he’s not trying to pull a Kawka on me, man. Can’t have that. He went 6, gave up 3, K’d 5… not terrible, but not exactly lights out either. Otto goes 2 for 3 with a couple of runs, Larry Williams drive in two, and NYJ reliever Noah Zuech walks in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th – SWEEP CITY! Super weird way to get the sweep, but when the broom comes out, do we really care how the dirt finds its way under the rug? The answer is no. No, we do not.

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Elsewhere… Today marked the first day of the NCAA tournament… Some teams to watch (of those who won their first-round games)… the University of Alaska Anchorage (just because I went there for a year before transferring elsewhere), Purdue (because they upset a #1 seed (NC State… buh-bye), and the University of Washington (because we want to see them lose spectacularly in their 2nd round match-up against Clemson)… also, Polk Community College (Panthers reppin’ for Al Bundy fans everywhere) are still in it – so, neat…
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Old 07-30-2019, 07:36 AM   #270
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2076 Season (5/21 – 5/24)

Los Angeles Lakers (26-15, .634, 1st NL West)) @ Phoenix Suns (21-19, .525, 4th NL West)
In Phoenix for four games – not ideal, we have a history me and this town, but, on the bright side, I’ll spend at least one of my mornings before reporting to the ballpark in a hot air balloon taking in the sights and sounds of the Sonoran Desert. Their website claims that, afterward, when safely back on the ground, I’ll get to enjoy a Champagne breakfast, and chat with the group about my flight experience… I’m not sure why they want me scaring the other passengers with my tales of severe terror and all-encompassing fear, but I do love a mimosa. At 21-19, the Phoenix Suns are one of those teams that just can’t get healthy – they have the pieces to be a legit contender and even signed Julen Morales out from under us during the offseason – but, alas, here we go again with the injuries… Al Van Wilder is still out – a ruptured UCL takes some time to heal (he’s got at least 3 months left), Wil Lewandowski is DtD with back tightness (not to be confused with back spasms), and stud 3B Homer Wingard is out for 3 weeks with a broken bone in his elbow (I’m not sure which one though…). When you add it up – this is a team that needs better training staff or something – sheesh. There are some bright spots too – take, for instance, their offense – it’s stellar – 1st in runs scored, AVG, OBP, OPS, wOBA, and HRs… they can bat it around and often do – with a reckless abandon no less. Not unlike our last two opponents – Phoenix’s trouble area is their pitching & defense where they rank 11th in starters ERA and runs against. They are the peanut butter without the jelly, the bacon without the eggs, and the pizza without the pineapple. Could be an interesting stretch for us here as we engage in an old-fashioned duel with the Suns to see whose pitching will falter first…

42 of 162: Dejuan Burns (4-3, 3.28) @ Julen Morales (2-3, 5.76)
Win, 5-2. Dejuan outduels Julen – 7.1 IP, 2 earned, and 3 K’s – while Otto gives Phoenix some of his vintage stuff in a 4 for 4 performance with a HR, RBI, and 2 runs. PEPPER also gave his former club the business in this one – the recently injury-free third baseman finished 2 for 4 with a HR and 2 RBI. We’d score all 5 runs on Julen – he really hasn’t looked great this year so far… Kyle Weaver contributes 2 hits, Gay drives in a couple, Otto steals a bag & gets an OF assist, and the infield unit turns FIVE double-plays – we’re out here treating Phoenix’s fans to some web gems…

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43 of 162: Michael Brisk (4-2, 2.83) @ Jack Sanchez-Flores (2-4, 6.38)
Loss, 3-2
Heartbreaker… Sanchez-Flores spins a masterpiece over 8 with only 2 charged to his name & Brisk responds in kind but takes out a note on an additional run that we can’t afford to pay the interest on. Mullens & Williams drive in the runs and Otto is good at the plate in a 3 for 5 performance. There isn’t a lot that stands out in this one – we’re more serviceable than good, just going through the motions a bit I guess.

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Elsewhere: Washington gets by Clemson by a score of 3-1 (lame), UAA squeaks by San Jose State, 2-1, and Polk CC lost a heartbreaker to Purdue in extras where they went up by 1 in the top of the tenth only to have Petino Ortiz walk them off on a dramatic 2-run homer. Petino, despite have a cool first name, is not widely considered a professional prospect – his ceiling looks to be a season or two in the Bush League… max.

Note: Ran out of time this morning, so, I’ll finish this 4-game stretch later this evening or tomorrow…
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Old 07-30-2019, 02:32 PM   #271
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That darn Charles Thompson/Black Francis/Frank Black and his crazy imprecise lyrics.

(Or in other words, nice Pixies reference. )
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:52 PM   #272
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2076 Season (5/21 – 5/24, cont.)

44 of 162: Case Tunnell (5-0, 4.45) @ Bentley Hawkins (3-3, 6.27)
Loss, 10-9
. Walked off in the bottom of the 10th – not a good way to go out. Jacob Wells, the erstwhile Phoenix First Baseman, put a 4 for 5 performance on us – he’d hit a double, bat one in, and score three of his own before the day was done… Marshburn hit a two-run triple, Ethan hits a grand slam, and Cooke brought in 2 – all in the 5th, a NINE RUN FIFTH. The problem here – same as it ever was – is the bullpen… Miyakawa gives up 2, Merl only manages a single out, Barbaccia blows his second save, and Sandoval throws the walk-off pitch. Frustrating. That’s what it is.

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Trade Alert: This bullpen issue is driving me bananas – so I made a trade. Truth be told, this won’t solve it – but I had to do something and so… I did. Kyle Weaver heads to Houston along with a so-so prospect for RHP Joshua Moeller and 35-year-old LF Stan Wilkins. Wilkins will be a back-up outfielder and Moeller will cure all that ails us. Or he won’t – he probably won’t. Good trade for Weaver too – he’s a spot starter for us, but should be an everyday guy in Houston.

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Elsewhere… Portland’s SP Cuco Verhoeven came so close to completing a no-no against the Houston Dynamo today – 9IP, 1 measly hit, 0 earned, and 4 K’s – He had everything working for him in this one. I really would’ve loved to see him get the no-no though… Strangeverse hasn’t seen a no-hitter since 2074. That season we saw four… including a gem thrown by Seattle’s Bradley Hughes that included 17 K’s… easily one of the, if not THE, greatest pitching performances ever.

45 of 162: Phillip King (4-3, 2.97) @ Liam Anderson (4-3, 3.88)
Win, 2-1
. We split the series in Phoenix and win the final game on a real pitcher’s duel where King goes 7.1 with 1 earned, Merl gets his 5th hold of the year, and Barbaccia earns save #17. We got 11 hits & 11 K’s as a club, Otto & Pepper drive in one each with Otto’s run-scoring double being the difference-maker in this one. Not a whole lot of action in this one – but it sure was nice to see the bullpen deliver a good performance to bring this one home for King – we’ve made a habit of wasting too many of these types of performances this season.

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Elsewhere… the Great 8 – Cal beats Troy, 6-3 and their starter, Liam Clarke K’s 8 on the day… UAA beats West Virginia, 2-0 and their starter, Luke Carlson, gave them a complete game shutout – he’ll go in the first round this year. Kentucky ousts Wichita State, 4-1 and the SS prospect (80 potential), Toddrick Carr goes 2 for 3 with an RBI. AND the Purdue Boilermakers defeat the UW by a score of 5-3 in a grueling 14-inning contest – Reliever Adam Rigsby gave Purdue 5.2 innings of 4 hit ball and retired 22 batters to help secure the win. Nice to see the UW get tossed. Huck the Fuskies. Also – it’s pretty cool to see UAA make the final four – I’m not holding out hope that they win the whole thing – I’ll save myself the disappointment – but, I wouldn’t be mad if they did.
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:12 AM   #273
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2076 Season (5/26)

Minnesota Timberwolves (17-27, .386, 6th NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (28-17, .622, 1st NL West)
Shawna Betts and her T’Wolves… At the beginning of the season, Shawna told everyone within earshot that her goals for this year’s model would reach the playoffs – at 17-27 so far, I think it’s safe to say that they’re going to fall well short of that mark. Injuries to key players and poor play by the healthy among them is the culprit here – in fact, if you add it up, the math says that they just aren’t capable of being much more than they’ve shown. Here we have another team that can hit a little bit, but who can’t back up that batting prowess with good – or just above average – pitching. They are ranked last in the NL as a staff – averaging 6 runs against – and come into this series with a combined 5.40 earned run average. Emphasis on average, or below average as it were. And with the second-lowest payroll in the MLB, whatever magic Shawna is attempting to conjure has undoubtedly been a knock-off – a cheap imitation of a ballclub. But, they have a charter – they even have uniforms – so, here we are, looking down the snub-nosed barrel of a 3-game set against the worst club in the National League. Don’t worry though – if any club has been consistently guilty of playing down to the level of their competition, it’s the La La’s. This town has a knack for making even the non-talented shine bright on the big stage – as long as you look good and act confident, we can sell it. And, hey, their road kit is pretty swanky.

46 of 162: Pedro Aceves (0-5, 10.37) @ Nat Millard (2-1, 3.15)
Win, 10-2
. Otto Isaac leads the way, going 2-for-4 with 3 RBI’s. Millard picked up the win, improving his season record to 3-1. He struck out 6 in 6 innings. Bernard Desjardins picked up the save, his 1st (the stud went 3 innings for us today). Pepper Grant, who is tied for 8th in the NL in home runs with 7, aided the Los Angeles cause with a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third – 3 RBI’s for the hometown favorite. We hit 2 doubles, Otto hit his 8th HR of the year, and turned two double plays. Stan Wilkins, getting his first spot start since our trade with Houston, tied the LAL record for most walks in a game at 4 – not the most exciting splash in the pool (I’m more of a cannonball man myself), but we’ll take it.

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Also, UAA lost their Final Four game - more on that later...
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:27 PM   #274
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2076 Season (5/27)

Minnesota Timberwolves (17-28, .378, 6th NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (29-17, .630, 1st NL West), Game 2.
After last nights 10-2 victory over the T’Wolves we are 4-0 against them so far this season – and it’s been a dominant 4-0 as we have posted a +18 rDiff against them during that stretch. Of course, we’ve only played them four times – so, weak sample size. With that being said, however, it’s difficult to see/understand what Shawna’s actual plan for her stolen club is. There really doesn’t seem to be an actual plan – unless putting together a collection of stiffs & selling wolf tickets to the citizens of Minneapolis is the plan.

But first… Sad news out of Jacksonville – Luc Felix, a guy who dominated the 2075 post-season will miss the remainder of the tricentennial season due to a torn flexor tendon in his elbow. He’d posted a 5-3 record and 2.41 ERA so far for the defending champion & current #1 power ranked team in the AL (Philly owns that designation for the MLB – and the La La’s own the #2 spot). Felix is one of the MLB’s superstars – so the Major League galaxy of stars will be a little less bright until someone surprises us all and shines a light into that void. Essentially, what this really means is that the chances of a repeat championship for the Jags are slim to none. And that sucks for them.

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47 of 162: Morton Bradley (1-4, 4.66) @ Dejuan Burns (5-3, 3.18)
Win, 2-0
… Minnesota registers 4 hits in the top of the 1st – a shaky start for Dejuan – but failed to get anything across, while we draw a walk in our first AB (Newman), follow that up with a K on a bad pitch (Ethan), and then hit into a DP (thanks, Otto). Our first hit of the game was a triple, courtesy of Larry Williams – nothing doing though as we couldn’t get him across. This went on for a bit until Pepper gets us on the board with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the 4th… Marshburn gets us another in the very next at-bat, and that’s pretty much where we leave it. Burns goes 7 innings with 5 K’s and no earned runs, Merl gets his 6th hold (he’s starting to put things together – which is nice to see), and Barbaccia gets save #18 in a top of the 9th where he throws 23 pitches, gives up a hit, and registers all three out by K (all looking too – how do you make a backward K on the keyboard? You should be able to do that – baseball is life). Otto finished 0 for 4 with 2 K’s and Pepper went 1 for 2 with an RBI, a walk, and a K. We’re now 5-0 against these clowns – with this win being our only shutout among them.

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City of Compton – our AAA affiliate is 16-30, stacked with prospects that are starting to look like bad decisions, meh, I don’t want to talk about it. I am pretty psyched about Rajkumar Kosciusko though – the 22-year-old former OSU Beaver is hitting .333 with 5 homers and 29 RBI. He also has a +1.2 ZR and 3 fielding errors, 4 outfield assists, and one DP (Ethan Mullens, our only other outfielder with a DP leads our program with 2 so far this season). So, he still has some work to do in Compton.

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About that UAA loss… they got shutout, y’all. SP Rasheed Paez (so-so prospect – projecting to be a backend of the rotation or bullpen type of guy) pitched an absolute gem for the University of Kentucky. He got 7 K’s to go with his complete-game shutout – stakes were high, kids a gamer. He’ll be in the upcoming draft, so, I’ll go ahead an add him to the watch list – might take a flier out on the young man.

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Note... I'm toying around with the idea of going game by game as my complete lack of patience had inadvertently led to me missing some of the goings-on around Strangverse - like this for instance... Philly has only lost 9 total games so far, the next closest team has lost 17 (Hey! that's the La La's). So, I'm thinking that the game by game approach will allow me to sort of kick the can around a little bit and find some cool stuff around the leagues. I'm sure that I'll get impatient quickly and go back to the series by series flow I've been stuck on for a while - dunno, just seeing how it goes.
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Old 08-03-2019, 09:52 AM   #275
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2076 Season (5/28)

Minnesota Timberwolves (17-29, .370, 6th NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (30-17, .638, 1st NL West), Game 3.
We arrive at the ballpark with the unique opportunity to sweep the Minnesota Timberwolves twice in a row – the first coming in the confines of their ballpark back in April. This is good – it’d be a nice feather in my cap and something that I can hold over Shawna throughout the remainder of the season, assuming we continue to dominate her club after this set – there is always the possibility that whatever trash I talk could backfire with a stretch of poor play or those dreaded injury woes. Either way, this should add some complexity to what is already a complicated relationship – Shawna and I are friends, rivals, and enemies – with each of those designations often creeping up in the span of a single conversation. We talk trades that never materialize, discuss metaphysics (well, she does at least), and both share a love for seafood – but what do I really know about her? What does anyone know about her? The answer, really, is… not much. Like her club that has stayed more than an arm’s length away from winning since she moved them, Shawna is a master of keeping a safe emotional distance – she’ll make you believe you are tight and then go in for the kill. You just can’t sleepwalk through anything when she is involved – and, as the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, that means you can’t sleepwalk your way into a sweep against these guys. This is no sure thing – we’ll need to be focused here if we are to get the job done.

But first a trade… We reached a deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy today – after a ton of back and forth – where we receive SP Lee Meyers, Reliever Declan Bennett, 1B prospect Oh Hong, and SS low-key prospect Kwaku Kwaku for SP Case Tunnell, Pitching Prospects Trevor Dotson & Jared Dewan, and minor league SS Renfrew Chaille. I get a serviceable starter and a reliever I can slot into my bullpen rotation but have to give up a fan fave in Case and a pitching prospect I felt pretty good about to do so. The bonus kicker here is Oh Hong who has an outside chance of developing into something special.

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48 of 162: Gregory Highman (3-2, 612) @ Michael Brisk (4-3, 2.89)
Win, 8-3
. The team recovered from the news that Case was traded to our crosstown rival quickly today as we exploded for 5 runs in the bottom of the second – a stretch that included a 3-run ding-dong for Joshua Newman for his second hit of the game. The good times kept rolling in the bottom of the 3rd when Dontrell Gay hit a 2-run triple that puts us up by a score of 7-0 with a ton of runway left… Ethan adds to the tally in the bottom of the 4th with a solo homer – his 8th of the season (27 RBI’s too… he’s giving Otto a run for his money this season). Minnesota would save a little bit of face before we closed the book on this series when PH Hunfredo Tavares hit a 2-run HR off of Brisk – it seems that we left him in a bit too long tonight. He went 8 innings with 5 hits, 3 earned, 5 K’s – but gave up two homers in the eighth (3B Louis Lackey drew first blood in the first at-bat of the frame). Gay & Newman each contribute 3 RBI, Ethan & Newman hit balls out of the park, Otto got a double (his only hit), and we get a hard-earned sweep as we continue to completely dominate the T’Wolves. I’ll be sending my first braggadocious text message to Shawna in 3… 2…. 1….

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City of Compton… SP Newton Wiser, one of our top prospects, saw his record drop to 2-7 on the season today as our Raiders dropped a game in Seattle to the Supersonics by a score of 3-1. Newton continues to pitch well – we just can’t get him the support he needs at the plate – and went 8 strong innings where he allowed 8 hits, 3 earned and recorded 6 K’s. Sonics LF Justin Burton (who my scouts tell me is a so-so prospect with a bush league ceiling) brought in the go-ahead run in the 8th inning off a 1-run double. Thinking that a shake-up of my development staff may be in the mail – I’m not seeing my prospects develop at a clip that I’m comfortable with.

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Elsewhere… Fresh off of shutting the UAA Seawolves in the final four, the University of Kentucky were at it again – this time in the final against the formidable California Golden Bears… Kentucky dominated on their way to the championship during their 6-0 win where they got a complete game shutout performance from Senior Joel Sletten and a clutch hit from the highly touted SS Toddrick Carr whose 2-run triple in the 1st gave Kentucky all the cushion they would need. This is Kentucky’s first NCAA Championship in 15 tourney appearances.

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Another home set for the La La’s in on tap next as we’ll welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to town – they arrive on a 4-game losing streak and with LF Tony Voorhis in a foul mood & looking to do some damage.
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:47 AM   #276
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Just want to say I enjoy reading this thread.
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:41 AM   #277
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Quote:
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Just want to say I enjoy reading this thread.
Cool, man! Thanks for dropping a line. That makes me feel good. Appreciate it!
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:32 PM   #278
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2076 Season (5/29)

Pittsburgh Steelers (22-25, .468, 4th NL East) @ Los Angles Lakers (31-17, .646, 1st NL West)
Tony Vorhis, of Dutch ancestry (Voorhis is the Dutch variant of Vorhees according to Ancestry.com, so I’m going with it - sounds legit), is a stud. An important distinction - he’s not a superstar and does not reside in the same orbit as the Otto’s and Palmer’s of Strangeverse. He’s a hard hat & lunch pail guy - comes in, goes to work, eats a sammich, puts in some more reps, heads home, kisses the wife and kids, and then gets up and does it again. Lather, rinse, and repeat - Mr. Clockwork, Mr. Dependable. That he plies his trade for a floundering franchise whose cupboards are bare is, well, unfortunate – but it doesn’t matter to a dude like Tony – see, Tony is about the work, he’s about that grind, and he’s not about to throw a pity party out here and get all diva with trade demands and mean-spirited soliloquy’s to the press. His club is ho-hum – defensively stout, sure (2nd RA), but stuck in the middle everywhere else. But, in that averageness, Pittsburgh is consistent – they are a clockwork club and if we can keep their pace (we should be able to…) and maybe gain a step or two on them in each of these three games, we could be in line for our second straight sweep of this homestand. Note: I tried to trade Otto (only 1-year left on his current contract and already seeing Bryce Harper-ish dollar signs on the horizon) to Pittsburgh for two pitchers and Tony Voorhis… but, alas, they wouldn’t budge. They just wouldn’t give me enough and in the end, they will probably be better for having said no – does Pittsburgh really think that they have a shot at signing Mr. Hollywood? I guess they didn’t, and I know that they don’t.

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But first… in my infinitely wishy-washy brand of General Management, I’ve made another trade – because I wanted to… Zarate (1B) & Merl (RP), and some minor league riff-raff to Brooklyn for Imanov (1B), Caldwell (RP), and Garcia (RP). Does this move me closer to the bar that Philly has set so far this year? Nope. Why do it then? I guess because I’m tired of typing Zarate for posts – it requires that I move my hands too close together on the qwerty keys – and, well, it makes me fighty.

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49 of 162: Gregory Morgan (3-3, 3.18) @ Lee Myers (4-2, 3.41)
Loss, 9-6
. Otto went off – 2 for 4, with 2 runs, 4 RBI, 3-run homer – but new guy Lee Myers gets shelled for 6 and the other new guy Joshua Moeller gets rocked for 4 (in 1.2 innings of ‘work’). Pitching continues to be a problem area despite all my wheeling and dealing… Newman stays hot in going 3 for 4 with 2 batted in, and we hit 2 doubles, two homers, and get an outfield assist from Newman despite ending up on the wrong side of the final tally in this game. Pittsburgh successfully snaps their four-game skid and we successfully deny ourselves the chance at completing two straight series sweeps at home. Oh well, that was a long shot anyway. Voorhis finished 1 for 2 with two batted in and a couple of free passes – I’m told that the sammich he ate during the 7th inning stretch was bologna on rye with stone ground mustard and a slice of tomato. A man after my own heart – every sammich is better on rye. Am I right? I’m right.

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Elsewhere…. The Ballad of Adrian Bae – we saw two 1-hitters and a complete game 4-hit shutout in the Bush League today – and none of those performances belonged to Adrian Bae… Chandler Keaton of the Shreveport Sashimi Samurai gave his club 7 innings of 1-hit ball that includes 8 K’s in their win over the Naperville Nibblers while Landen Clark of the Beaumont Bullies did the same (though he could only manage to record 3 K’s) in his clubs 6-0 victory over the Quincy Quackers – and, my favorite of the bunch, belonged to Flamengo Zamora who gave the Nolanville ‘Nauts 7 innings of 4 hit, 1 run ball in their 2-1 win over the Columbia Blowfish. Adrian’s day went a little differently as he gave Hagerstown 4-inning, 4-hit, 2-run performance that included 5 K’s. The Hummers lost the game by a score of 6-2 against the Gainesville Gamecocks – who put up three runs in the top of the 9th against Hagerstown’s 8th pitcher of the day, Luke Borosky.

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Old 08-03-2019, 08:34 PM   #279
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2076 Season (5/30 – 5/31)

Pittsburgh Steelers (23-25, .479, 3rd NL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (31-18, .633, 1st NL West)
So, how do Otto, Dejuan, and Pepper celebrate last nights loss? Funny you should ask because, if TMZ 3000 is to be believed, it seems that they revel in their mediocrity by staying out all night at various clubs – including the club where a 30-man melee broke out at when someone “accidentally” took a sip off another man’s watermelon martini. You read that right… Watermelon. Martini. Kids these days, man… they don’t build them as they did in the 2040s do they? Buncha softies you ask me.

50 of 162: Robby Garrett (2-7, 3.27) @ Phillip King (5-3, 2.78)
Loss, 3-0. Well, let's hope that Otto (0 for 4) and Pepper (0 for 3) learned a valuable lesson here… it’s probably not a good idea to go out clubbing on the night before a game. We only managed to get 4 hits – FOUR MEASLEY HITS – one walk and struck out 5 times. We just came out flat. 5 total bases, an error (Cooke), Newman got caught trying to swipe a bag, and King can only hang for 6 after giving up 3 runs on 10 hits. Just not a game that you want to think much about – we sucked, played down to the level of our competition, and allowed them to wipe the floor with us. I’ve been flirting with the idea of trading Otto – preferably for someone who is locked up for 3 or more year as I do not want to pay him the money he will command next season – but, I don’t want to be impatient and even flightier than I am now. I mean, I need this job – unless, of course, the league expands by four clubs like the owners threatened to do at the end of last season.

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Elsewhere… Jacksonville Jaguars stalwart, LF Isidro Lutz, banged out his 300th MLB home run – he’s hitting .269 with 300 HR, 904 runs scored, and 905 RBI’s for his career. Case Tunnell, in his first start for the Los Angeles Galaxy, went 6 so-so innings, gave up 4, struck out 7, and earned his first W for his new club. I miss him. That trade may have been stupid – the jury is still out. RF Patrick Adams, of the Seattle Sounders, went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a ding dong, 2 RBI, and 3 runs in their 7-6 win over everybody’s least favorite club, the Green Bay Packers. The Phoenix suns were shutout by Brooklyn – that makes the La La’s getting shutout a little easier for me to swallow – misery loves company.

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Trade alert… Archie Imanov’s stay in LA was a short one as I put him on the block and was surprised to see that Seattle was willing to part with Austin Rollins to get him – Austin is older, has a fatty contract, and is a little bit better in the field, so Seattle is going for youth and a long-term upgrade at the position here… I guess. We also threw Lee Sobania in as he just hasn’t found a way to fit in with us and they threw in CF Lonzo Gonzalez who has some potential but will likely be used as trade filler down the road as I have plenty of outfield depth in my development system. So, um, yeah… Buh-bye Archie, we barely knew ye.

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51 of 162: Tim Kelly (4-2, 3.71) @ Nat Millard (3-1, 2.90)
Win, 6-1
… Nat stems the bleeding for us here – 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 6 K’s, and the much-needed DOUBLE-U. Otto was awake, 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R – have Rollins around will do him some good I think, and, speaking of, Rollins went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a run – an auspicious enough start for me. Ethan, Larry Williams, and Mario Marshburn all get a couple of hits, Ethan’s were both doubles, Williams added a stolen bag to the register, and we worked Tim Kelly over 4.2 innings – put 5 on the young man, ate his soul, sent him off into baseball purgatory where he will languish in obscurity while running this one back in his head for all of eternity – or not… he may just shrug it off and come back stronger for his next time out. This is baseball after all.

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Elsewhere… Jerry Landowski (Chicago Fire – AL) & and our own Captain of Frustration Otto Isaac (Los Angeles – NL) won Batter of the Month for their respective leagues – both put on a fantastic smile for the cameras as the awards were presented… Josiah Weber – the man, the myth, the living legend – won Pitcher of the Month in the NL (the AL gave it to a closer… so, not feeling it, not gonna highlight it) – your boy was vintage… 8-0 in 10 starts, 69 K’s and a 1.39 ERA in May. We, despite losing two of three to the Pittsburgh Steelers, are still ranked at #2 in the power ranking with Josiah and the 6ers holding down the top spot… Jack Sanchez-Flores pitched a CG shutout with 14 K’s in Tucson’s 7-0 win over the Brentwood Beakers in International league action – not sure why he got sent down by Phoenix – in his last MLB outing he went 8 innings against us in a winning effort, so… maybe they’re rehabbing a lingering injury that we don’t know about or maybe they felt like a spot on the big club was too much too soon for the young man as he still has a ton of untapped potential. 1B Warren Kwan, of the Beaumont Bullies, had himself a nice little day in their 4-1 win over Quincy in Bush League action – the well-mustached infielder went 3 for 4 with a double, a HR, 3 RBI and 2 runs for the game. At 29 years old and 3 years removed from his last MLB appearance it seems that Mr. Kwan is just riding it out now and soaking up as many days in the sun as he can before he has to hang them up and join the rest of us living that 9-6 life – rumor is that the former Boston College Eagle standout has an open invitation to join their staff as a hitting coach.

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4 more games before we head back out on the road - I kind of miss the road, feel like I've been home too long given that it's still Baseball Season. We'll welcome St. Louis to town for a 4-game series where we'll, undoubtedly, get to know each other much better than we'd like to at this early juncture. Who knows... maybe, if we're lucky, we'll see a donnybrook break out during one of the games - it'd give me a chance to get on the broadcast as I'd definitely rush the field in a drunken stupor and throw a chair into the melee.
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Old 08-04-2019, 05:18 PM   #280
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2076 Season (On Heathcote Kinton)

All Hail Heathcote...

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Born in the winter of 2050, in Fairview, Texas, Heathcote Kinton was supposed to follow in his fathers’ footsteps and become the next man up in a long line of career rodeo clowns. He had everything you need to be a great rodeo clown – speed, the ability to stop on a dime, pivot, and explode in another direction, agility, and a keen sense of what the bulls next move will be – it’s in his blood & interwoven throughout his DNA. Baseball wasn’t supposed to be in the cards – it was just supposed to be a distraction, another sport to play to keep him in shape and from getting bored of always doing the same workouts designed to develop a superior rodeo clown candidate. But, as those of us with kids know well, they, our kids I mean, tend to develop their own interests – ones that diverge wildly from what we’ve mapped out in our heads. So, while cowboys and their bovine partners are the stars of that show, with the clowns existing to keep the engine firing, Heathcote found a way to apply his family tradition to baseball. All these same traits were required at his preferred position in the infield – the mentality of a stuntman coupled with the athleticism of a running back. It was when he realized that his life’s work – and the life’s work of his family – could be applied to baseball that his two paths converged, and he worked up the courage to tell his father that his path would lead to a career in the Big Leagues and on diamonds spread throughout the United States. Acceptance took time, of course, but looking back on it now, Heathcote’s father, Belvedere Kinton, would be the first to tell you that his son made the right choice – from a financial perspective at least.

Heathcote’s career started in Fairview, Texas where he became a highly ranked High School infielder in short order – he was a natural… able to anticipate where the ball would bounce with the inherent ability to line up in the perfect spot. When he turned down multiple in-state offers from Texas-based colleges and elected, instead, to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks his choice raised some eyebrows – with some of the locals branding him a traitor to the Lonestar State. What was clear – to anyone who was willing to pay attention – is that Heathcote Kinton, not unlike his father, was very much his own man who would place his needs above outside concerns when it came to forging his path forward. His career at UAF is a storied one – his clutch 5 for 5 performance against the Georgetown Hoyas to secure UAF’s 2nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament is still widely discussed in the frozen north to this day and his Silver Slugger still sits in the Nanook Pub in downtown Fairbanks on prominent display next to his signed UAF jersey.

As the first pick in the 2071 draft, Heathcote’s ascent to superstar status has not come as quickly as some may have hoped – he started 2075 off on the good foot until injuries derailed his launch into the stratosphere – but, if his performance so far in 2076 is any indication – the Kinton era has officially begun. Thus far, he’s leading the league in WAR at 3.8 and in triples at 4… and among second basemen he leads HRs (10), RBIs (31), Slugging Percentage (.574), Total Bases (113), Walks (29), Extra Base Hits (24), and Isolated Power (.244). In short, he’s running things – the best Second Baseman in the league, bar none, and the Galaxy’s biggest & brightest star. And at only 25 years of age – he’s still getting better. He’s showing an improved eye at the plate and has showcased an improved swing, with a better launch angle, and improved power. The 185-pound second baseman is an elite fielder with plus speed and superior technique on the bases – a real plus-plus guy who will be one of our rare treasures in Strangeverse for many years to come. He projects as a potential HOFer – and given his steadfast dedication to his craft, it’s a possibility that seems more likely every day.
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