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Old 08-11-2019, 06:28 PM   #281
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2076 Season (6/1)

St. Louis Rams (25-25, .500, 2nd NL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (32-19, .627, 1st NL West)
Solid… that’s the first word that comes to mind when the subject of the St. Louis Rams comes up. They’re ranked 7th or better in every major category with the only laggard being home runs where they rank 10th. The bottom half of their rotation could use an upgrade, and their bullpen is probably 1 or 2 setup men away from being a noteworthy unit – but, with their 8th ranked development system strangely devoid of legit pitching prospect any such upgrade will have to come by trade. Their lone FA of note, SP Trev Anderson, has mostly lived up to his $45M contract but at 5-4 with a 2.09 ERA, it’s safe to say that the rest of the team isn’t giving him the support he needs when he’s out on the bump. Since his opening day shutout victory over Pittsburgh, he’s gone 4-4 with two no decisions with two of those losses coming on a single run – oh, sure, he’s been blown up a couple of times, but let’s blame everyone else… it’s more fun that way. We won’t see him in this series and instead have 2-5 to look forward to (unless they move him up a day on his next start – entirely possible given that their #5 guy is a complete dumpster fire so far in 2076). This, then, is one of those series – the ones where you are up against a club that doesn’t really inspire fear – they can certainly beat us, it’s just that the fear of being embarrassed, at home, in front of our people, is not at the forefront of anyone’s mind. Probably not a good thing as complacency has been the problem with the Lakers since I came to town – Oscar is gon’ Oscar, as they say. Should be an enjoyable 4-game stretch for our fans – starting with game one when we run our always popular Pepper Bobblehead Pepper Mill promotion. Fans will need to hurry to the park before we run out of peppercorns to fill up their new grinders…

52 of 164: Dimitri Pimentel (3-4, 3.57) @ Dejuan Burns (6-3, 2.83)
Win, 6-1.
A 5-run burst in the bottom of the eighth busts this one open for us as SS Kwaku Kwaku hits a solo shot that got our crowd to their feet, which we followed up with a 3-run ding-dong courtesy of Austin Rollins to keep them standing. Welcome to the Hotel California, Mr. Rollins, may you never leave… Pepper and Oscar each contribute NOTHING, backup Catcher Dylan Tucker drove in two, and Rudolf Caldwell snipes the win after Burns goes 7 innings with 8 K’s and 1 earned. Two errors tonight – both of which were charged to Ethan Mullens out in right field, where, if the rumors are true, some rowdy St. Louis fans were caught using a handheld fan to blow pepper from their new limited-edition Pepper Grant Bobblehead Pepper Mill’s onto the field. Look – I don’t know if it’s true, but how else can you explain all those sneezing fits he was having out there tonight?

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Elsewhere: Gainesville Gamecocks SS, Lockjaw Kuykendall, hit a grand slam in their win over the Coney Island Footlongs in Bush League play – he finished 1 for 2 with a GSHR, 4 RBI, and 3 runs. Also of note – he hit the slam off of a dude named Xander Graybill who is now 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA for the season. So, um, yeah – keep that in your back pocket… you never know when it will come during the next trivia night at your local watering hole. Other outlandish names that competed in this contest? Thaddeus Riccio – kinda weird, I guess. WHO NAMES THEIR KID LOCKJAW, THOUGH?!?

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Also, elsewhere, but not really of note: CF Clinton Wolf, out of the CITY OF COMPTON RAIDERS, went 0-4 with 3 K’s against the Gwinnett Stripers in International League play – I bring this up because, well, I had no idea I had this guy on the roster. He’s an international signee out of Curacao who can run the bases and, well, that’s about it. Killer facegen though – my man has been putting that $1M signing bonus to good use at the buffet it seems…

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Old 08-13-2019, 11:47 PM   #282
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2076 Season (6/2)

St. Louis Rams (25-26, .490, 4th NL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (33-19, .635, 1st NL West)
So…we put the Rams under .500 in the first game of the series – time to finish what we’ve started and bury them further below the winning percentage version of the Mendoza Line, right? Well, not so fast – this stuff isn’t easy – if it was, anybody could do it. The Rams are still a professional baseball club filled with major league ready talent at every position – this, after all, is where the best of the best play. So, unless we’re playing against a Bush League club – nothing is a given. Sure, we’re getting Nick Colbaugh and his 8.29 ERA tonight – we like that – but, he’s due – he’s a big-league guy, with big-league stuff that is mired in something of a rough patch. Cool, right? Means… NOTHING. He can huck it around a little bit – the kids got a killer slider and a nice changeup that he can mix in with it when necessary. And, yeah, it’s true – we’re trotting Michael Brisk and his perfectly manicured ‘stache out to the mound tonight, but, even a debonair ladies man like Brisky has an off-night every now and then. This is the deal – in baseball, nothing is a given, this **** goes sideways out of habit and you never know what’s going to happen. Here is a win we should get, one that I’d argue we need (they all count, right?), and one that will carry us forward on our quest to immortality. Gotta have it, man.

53 of 162: Nick Colbaugh (2-4, 8.29) @ Michael Brisk (5-3, 2.93)
Win, 8-6.
A back and forth battle – tug-of-war… We’d break this one open in the bottom of the 7th, after a Hollywood rendition of “take me out to the ballgame” and give the hometown faithful something to talk about on their way back to the ‘burbs. Austin Rollins takes the role of Ray Peterson – 3 for 4 with 4 runs, and 2 RBI – Otto is all Art Weingartner – contributes NOTHING – and Mario Marshburn is Mark Rumsfield without the water hose – 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Brisky had one of those off nights – your boy gave up 6 in 3.2… earning his pay, and Barbaccia (remember him?) picks up save #19 on a 9 pitch 9th inning where he got two weak grounders and a K. We earned this one like a close decision victory in a world title fight that could have gone either way but didn’t. We’ll take it – secured the series win here and we gave ourselves the chance to get a 4-game sweep – a tall order to be sure, but there’s still a chance. It’s all about the opportunity. Some bad news – we lost Joshua Newman for 4 weeks to an abdominal strain – bummer biscuits. We need him. He’s good at baseball. Note: We brought Nash Aguilar up from Compton after the game as a replacement – it’ll be nice to see him in the Purple and Gold for a stretch – let’s hope he’s up to the challenge.

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Elsewhere: Ash Newman, the Phoenix stud that has been unceremoniously optioned to Tucson, pitched another gem today – your boy posted a CG, 7 hits, 14 K shutout against the Brentwood Beakers in International League play. The Arrowhead won the game by a score of 1-0… so, I guess that was enough run support. The former UAF Nanook struggled against everyone not named the Los Angeles Lakers in his stint in the bigs this year, but has posted a 4-1 record with a 3.96 ERA in the developmental league – let’s hope he is able to fix the hitch in his giddyup… he belongs in a major league rotation.

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Old 08-16-2019, 10:24 PM   #283
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2076 Season (6/3)

St. Louis Rams (25-27, .481, 3rd NL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (34-19, .642, 1st NL West)
First thing’s first… what does it say about the NL East when a team, in this case, St. Louis, loses 4 out of their last 5 games and still moves up to 3rd in the standings? It’s a sad state of affairs, man. And, if that isn’t enough news of the “sad” variety – in addition to losing LF Joshua Newman for 4 weeks during the last game when he tore an abdominal muscle sliding into 3rd, our Closer, Steven Barbaccia, was injured as well – after getting save #19 he went straight to the training room – diagnosis is still pending… that can’t be good. This one could get interesting really quickly as we are putting Lee Myers on the bump – he gave up 5 over 6 his last time up – given that we really need him to eat some innings here. Game 3 of this 4-game set is up for grabs – a good opportunity for the Rams to pick up that ever-elusive road win.

54 of 162: Octavio Cervera (3-3, 4.18) @ Lee Myers (4-3, 3.80)
Win, 3-1.
The Rams managed to punch one through in the top of the 2nd on a two-out double from 3B Mike Udelhoven – it’s always nice when you hang a curveball to a scrub and he makes you pay for it. 14th double for the serviceable veteran… it’d be a couple of innings before we’d answer back when Ethan Mullens brings Otto home on a well-hit sac fly. We’d get a couple more in the frame – a Larry Williams triple brings Cooke home, and Stan Wilkins manages to bring Williams in during the next at-bat. From there it was all zeros to close it out – with a dicey top of the 9th as Rudolf Caldwell, doing his best Barbaccia impression, picks up his 1st Major League save on 26 pitches.

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Elsewhere… Dallas SS Kalid Zamara – the MLB’s only active player from Saipan, went 6 for 8 with only a single run and a single RBI in the Cowboys’ 7-3 loss against the Green Bay Packers. A wasted effort… interesting score as well – might as well have been a football game, am I right? Kalid was drafted 62nd overall by the New York Jets out of Notre Dame – he’d spent most of his time bouncing between AAA and the Majors before securing an everyday role with the Cowboys in 2075. He’s out there for his defense and baserunning ability – so a 6 for 8 performance, given his poor contact and avoid K rating is something of a surprise. He may never have a more productive day at the plate…

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The Ballad of Adrian Bae… your boy picked up his 4th win of the season (he’s now 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA) in Hagerstown’s 7-1 win over the Decatur Donnybrooks… Bae went 5.1 innings with 1 earned and 1 K – wait just a gosh darn minute – ONE K? THAT’S IT? He managed to keep the ball down & let the defense eat tonight, I guess – 8 ground out & 4 fly outs. This guy is a tough one to figure – he’s a gamer, and has a knack for making his stuff work for him – but, he doesn’t exactly pop out of the box score, does he?

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In other news – the diagnosis of Barbaccia’s mysterious injury is still pending. Can someone tell me just what I pay my medical staff for? How hard is it? Take a picture, check your little medical book, and tell me what the hell is going on with my closer. See? Easy. The Doctors I have on the payroll are charlatans. Hell, I'd have better luck getting a solid answer out of a fortune-teller whose storefront sits in a strip mall sandwiched between a Payless Shoes and a Little Caesar's...I mean, look at this guy - SKETCHY. Got a real Creed vibe, you ask me...

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Old 08-17-2019, 12:16 PM   #284
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2076 Season (6/4)

St. Louis Rams (25-28, .472, 4th NL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (35-19, .648, 1st NL West)
We’re in the midst of an 8-2 stretch and are playing some of our best baseball so far this year – things seem to be coming together, even if we’ve suffered a couple of unfortunate injuries of late. Neither are deal-breakers – but they’ll hurt. We recalled RP Jonny Garcia from Compton prior to the game – he came to us as a throw-in piece to the Ruben for Archie trade… who we then flipped for Austin, as, I’m sure, you are well aware. Archie, as it stands, is 4 for 13 so far in Seattle – he’s starting to show signs of life… if he can dial it in Seattle can safely say they won that trade – younger, cheaper, and almost as productive (with potential that is as of yet untapped). Garcia had great stuff, an incredible changeup, but he’s also still developing the kind of fastball he’ll need to pair with it as a setup pitch – he has some potential and gave us four innings on the 2nd against STL – we’ll have him in the pen tonight. We’re giving our resident Diva, Otto Isaac, the day off – slotting Ethan in at CF and starting the recently promoted fan-favorite Nash Aguilar at RF. Would be great to get a 4-game sweep before the team heads to Jacksonville.


55 of 162: Masaya Nakagawa (4-3, 4.66) @ Phillip King (5-4, 2.92)
Win, 4-3.
The Rams would draw first blood in the top of the 4th when Austin Matthews brings in Jonah Dove on a double and then scores a run of his own from 2nd on a single from DH Mark Gibbons. Nakagawa is pitching well through three – only allowing a single hit (though we’re hoping that the 3 walks he’s allowed are a sign of things to come)… We’d get one back in the bottom of the frame – Kwaku hit a single along the 3rd base line that brought Nash in from 2nd – nice to see Aguilar having an impact. I’m pretty high on the guy – but, it’s difficult to find room for him in my crowded outfield. We managed to take a 1-run lead in the bottom of the 6th – Aguilar plates again & Dontrell Gay picks up his first RBI of the game… We trot Rudolf Caldwell out to close the show – but, he’s not up for it, gives up the ghost, and allows the Rams to knot this one up in the top of the 9th… Isaac comes in as a PH to lead off the bottom of the frame and… hits a double that would have exited the park if not for the 15 MPH wind blowing in from LF… and in the next at-bat, Lonzo Gonzo sneaks a dribbler through the infield and Otto legs one out from 2nd for the walk-off! What a glorious way to close out a 4-game sweep. Dig it.

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Still no news on Barbaccia… Craziness. I might have to pay a visit to Tova Kove in NYC while I’m in town for the draft – I need a psychic intervention here.

Elsewhere… LF Otis Murray, of the Orlando City, is having himself a good season thus far – he leads the National League in WAR at 3.3, boasts a .381 average, and has 4 HR’s, 25 RBI, and 35 runs. At 33-years old, and becoming increasingly fragile as his age advances, the 4-time all-star is quietly putting together what may turn out to be the best season of his semi-illustrious career. City is Murray’s 4th club – he was drafted out of San Diego State by the Steelers and toiled with their floundering club for 7 seasons before being shipped off to Green Bay. After playing out his contract with the Packers, he signed with the Sounders for 3 years, won a title with them in 2073, and after another season decided to exercise his player option to become a free agent – his decision to join City, presumedly to kick it with Nacho and his band of good time boys on their historically ho-hum ballclub, was something of a head-scratcher… why join a club that really has no chance? Could have something to do with the fact that he was born and raised in Sunset, FL, but still – you only have so many reps in you, why waste them plying your trade for a club that isn’t committed to winning? I guess $30M over 3 years may have had something to do with it.

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Next up… 2076 Draft (where we have the last pick of the 1st round…) & a 3-game set in Jacksonville against the AL East-leading & defending champion Jaguars. Interleague silliness is my least favorite kind of silliness.
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:43 PM   #285
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2076 Draft (6/5)

2076 Draft (6/5)
We’d have to sit on our hands for 17 picks before getting a chance to find a diamond in the rough… Some early surprises: SS Toddrick Carr goes 3rd to the Vancouver Whitecaps – let’s see if he signs with them, I have my doubts. IMHO he’s the only real sure-thing in this year’s draft – he really is a can’t miss guy with generational upside. Two pitchers go before him, both will be solid at worst or all-stars at best – still, passing up a potential generational talent, who plays SS – questionable. The first three position players drafted all play the SS position – 2076 is a bumper crop for infielders – with Oliver Vallee, out of Wyoming, being drafted 8th by Minnesota (a nice pick from Shawna and her brain trust – he’ll be an all-star eventually) and Ron Henry, out of Boston College, going 9th to the 49ers.

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Round 1, Pick 18: Owen Mack, 2B, Vanderbilt Commodores – Mack can hit, the kid rarely strikes out, has good contact and a little bit of pop… he can also wreck the base paths, which we like, but his fielding has a good distance to go before we trust him to take over 2B on the big club. The Cerritos, CA native has a ton of upside, good work ethic, and is super intelligent – the only red flag is that he is kind of a loner, doesn’t mix it up with his teammates much, but, at least the guy has a reputation for working incredibly hard – a few seasons in Compton should bring this guy out of his shell and get him sorted.

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Round 2, Pick 15: Zion Herrera, C, Wyoming Cowboys – I went against my scouting director on this guy. No reason really, outside of his work ethic and baseball IQ he doesn’t have much that stands out. He’s got a chance at being solid – probably not a starter at Catcher unless he finds himself on a lower-tier club. Great catching ability, good eye at the plate, and, well – that’s about it. But, whatever – it’s all a crapshoot at this point in the draft anyways.

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Things went downhill fast for us at the end of the 3rd round – we picked up Paul Bryant, a Left-Fielder out of Tennessee whose upside is likely as AAA filler & future BL starter. We round it out with a guy named Pete Glass who is unlikely to stick and an SP named Luke Hazelwood out of Florida – he has a lot of work to do, but my scouts are high on him and tell me he may turn some heads after a few years of development… time will tell, I suppose.

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Old 08-17-2019, 01:53 PM   #286
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2076 Season (6/5 – 6/7)

Los Angeles Lakers (36-19, .655, 1st NL West) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (30-23, .566, 1st AL East)
A 3-game set against the team that broke our hearts in last season’s World Series - doesn’t get any better than that, am I right? Gross. Would have preferred a run through the AL West for our interleague play this season - less travel, a set in Seattle, a chance to enjoy some Texas Bar-B-Que... but, alas, it was not to be - so, instead, we settle for a trips to Wisconsin, Florida, and Toronto (hey, I love Toronto - fun town). Jacksonville is every bit as good this season as they were in 2075 - however, with Luc Felix our for the season, a repeat championship will require their entire staff to step up to carry the load left in his absence. That’s a tall order - but, one they are more than capable of pulling off. This is a historically successful if at times unlucky, outfit with a Front Office who are among the best our league has to offer. Theirs is the model most try to adopt - a nearly impossible feat for most (though Philadelphia looks like they have pulled it off so far in 2076 with every single one of their offseason moves paying dividends thus far). The Jags get **** done - point blank - their starters are lights out (1st in the AL) and they are solid enough at the plate to give them all the run support required to secure their share of W’s. Also, it doesn’t hurt that 1B Jeremy Glickstein is tearing it up so far - .285/9/33 - the Captain of their offense is performing at a clip that rivals some of the best in the game, even though he’s not really one of them. Leading the way for All-Stars like Isidro Lutz (who’s getting a little long in the tooth) and Telma Tavares who have both eased their way into a groove this season and are starting to perform like you’d expect players of their caliber to do. We’re in a good way right now, but if there’s any team who is adept at killing a vibe, Jacksonville could wear that title as well as anyone.

56 of 162: Nat Millard (4-1, 2.64) @ Gary Benoit (6-2, 3.49)
Win, 3-2.
As expected, this was a tightly contested tilt in Florida – Nat Millard gave us 7 solid innings of work, allowing only 2 earned and striking out 6, and Dom Cooke finished at 2 for 4 with a 2B and a run. Benoit was solid – better than solid really – and left the game at the end of the 6th with only 1 earned run charged to his account – the bullpen, specifically, Anderson Parker, was the culprit here… he gave up a game-tying homer to the resurgent Otto in the 8th and the game-winner on a run-scoring single courtesy of Lonzo Gonzo that brought your boy Nash in from second. Scrappy, my club has some scraps – 6 straight W’s for the good guys now. Let the good vibes wash over you like glitter in the rain – who knows when this will end…

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Ugh… stupid, stupid game… Barbaccia is out for 2-months with an elbow strain. Dumb. Bright side… we called Newton Wiser up from Compton – let’s see if the young(ish) prospect is ready for primetime, shall we? The future starter (I think) will join the pen as a Long Reliever for now…

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Elsewhere… Palmer Parker, out of Philadelphia, went 5 for 6 with a two-bagger, and RBI and 3 runs in Philly’s victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy in interleague play today, and CF Norris Flattery drove in 6 runs off of TWO 3-RUN HOMERS… that’s called having yourself a game. The 6ers won by a score of 13-3. Just smashing clubs…

57 of 162: Dejuan Burns (6-3, 2.67) @ Joseph Hinder (1-0, 1.00)
Win, 5-1
. We’re so locked in right now – it truly is a sight to behold. Dejuan goes 7 innings of 5-hit ball and allows only 1 earned run and Larry Williams drives in 2-runs in the 1st inning during a tone-setting 4-run start to the contest. Otto, Rollins, Cooke, and Marshburn all score, Pepper contributes a couple of RBI’s, we steal two bags and turn a snappy DP in this one – dominating every facet of the game on their turf. A small measure of revenge against the club who broke our hearts? Sure. But it’s the micro-victories that you must savor on this long slog of a baseball season. Sidenote: All-Star voting update was delivered today – Otto leads all vote-getters so far at ~900K, Palmer Parker is 2nd at ~830K…

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58 of 162: Michael Brisk (5-3, 3.49) @ Matthew Krebs (2-6, 4.43)
Win, 3-2
. SWEEP – MAKE THAT TWO SWEEPS… IN A ROW. This is a form I haven’t seen too much of… We survive a CG performance by Krebs, Brisky goes 8 strong with only 2 earned, and Cooke, Williams, and Pepper drive in a run each – Grant’s was on a solo home run in the 3rd that put us up 3-0. Glickstein does his level best to keep his club in the game – he went 2 for 3 with a run, but Tavares & Isidro continued to struggle in this series, both contributing nothing of note to the cause. A nice pitchers duel in this one, with Brisky coming out on top – we stole a couple more bags, Rudolf gets his second save in Barbaccia’s absence, and we got another Marshburn-Williams-Rollins DP on the books for the Quick Pitch crew…

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Elsewhere: Harlem Peterson, of the Montreal Impact, hit two out of the park today against the Golden State Warriors – the Impact lost the game though by a score of 5-3. Harlem can’t do it all by himself. Not to be outdone, Tom Franzone of the Pittsburgh Steelers blasted two moonshots of his own and totaled 4 RBI in their 15-2 win over the Dallas Cowboys – take that Harlem. In another 2 HR performance, this time out of the International League, DJ Wilders of the Calgary Flames, hit 2 bombs, scored 3 times, and drove in 3 runs in their 12-6 win over the Huntington Beach Bombers. Wilders has put four seasons of work in at the AAA level and his hopes of ever making the big club are quickly fading – this performance will give him some hope for a while though. Oh, and, there’s more… 1B Micky King, of the Gainesville Gamecocks, went 2 for 4 with, you guessed it, 2 HR, 5 RBI, and 2 runs in their 15-12 loss against Decatur… King washed out of AAA after only two seasons and has spent the last couple of years in the BL – first with the Blowfish and now with the Gamecocks on a $169K 1-year deal. There’s still light at the end of the tunnel – but the batteries on his flashlight seem to be a little low.

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Old 08-17-2019, 03:41 PM   #287
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2076 Season (6/8 – 6/10)

Los Angeles Lakers (39-19, .672, 1st NL West) @ Green Bay Packers (33-25, .569, 1st AL East)
After dispatching Jacksonville from their roost atop the AL East, we meet the newly appointed division leaders in Green Bay. I should clarify that statement, though, as “we” will not be meeting them in Green Bay because I’ve elected to head back to LA to take care of some housekeeping while the club bides their time in that lonely Wisconsin town… don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Green Bay – they have a few breweries I like to frequent whenever I find myself in their town – but, I’m tired after spending a long couple of days in NYC for the draft before heading down to Florida to join the team. I’m also the GM – so, yeah, I do what I want. This year’s model of the Green Bay Packers is built on pitching – 3rd in RA, 2nd in Starters ERA, 3rd in Bullpen ERA – and paired with a middling offense in need of new blood – 8th or 9th almost everywhere except Base Running where their +10.8 rating is top of the pops. They lost 3B Austin Tolzmann for 10 months due to a torn posterior cruciate ligament (also known as creaky knee) earlier this month and will undoubtedly miss the .418 average he was putting up, but 1B Quinn Charvart is still in the lineup – the consensus #1 rated 1B in the AL is batting .376 with 8 ding dongs and 42 riblets so far – putting together a pretty fierce campaign thus far, and at only 24-years old, his is a name we may hear often in the years to come. Always fun to play in Green Bay, even if the nightlife leaves a bit to be desired, as they have superior fan interest (96) and great fan loyalty – the stands will be full of drunken behemoths singing songs about beer, cheese, and beer cheese soup.

59 of 162: Lee Myers (5-3, 3.55) @ Don Gadient (4-4, 2.98)
Loss, 4-3
. All good things must come to a resounding thud… like taking a log of provolone to the face. Myers lasts 5, gives up 3 earned, Johnny Garcia gives up another in 3 innings of work, including the walk-off single to John Negrete in the bottom of the 9th. Otto finished 2 for 4 with a couple of runs, Ethan struggles in a 1 for 5 performance, and Pepper drives in a run – he’s been quietly consistent lately. Losses are always tough to take, and a walk-off at the hands of the Packers can be tougher than most, but the fact that I caught this one from the comfort of my couch made my decision to skip the Green Bay trip seem like a great idea in retrospect. Now, I need to find a taco truck somewhere nearby that is still open so I can get some tacos al pastor and eat my feelings.

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Elsewhere… the Ballad of Adrian Bae: Your boy was, well, dominant – 7.2 IP, 4 H, ZERO EARNED, and 9 K’s in a winning effort. Hagerstown continues to dominate in Bush League play, they are now 26-12 and in 1st place of the Independence Division with a 4 ½ game lead over the Naperville Nibblers. My rule that I don’t simply buy him out and put him back into the fold is getting harder and harder not to break – I could use him right about meow… but, alas, we have to let OOTP have control here and see how this thing plays out – there can be no outside interference into the Ballad of Mr. Bae.

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60 of 162: Phillip King (5-4, 2.88) @ Dacquan Lyons (4-2, 2.98)
Loss, 4-0
… Oof. Shutout in GB – that’s not wonderful. Lyons gives the Packers 6.2 innings before handing it off to the pen, who finish the job with the aplomb and dignity befitting a lactose intolerant prom king in a dairy town. Out their hotdogging and carrying on – we won’t forget this Mr. Surber and Mr. Hag – your day will come. We only manage 6 total hits in this one with one each for Otto, Dom, Austin, Williams, Pepper, and Marshburn. Just not our best effort here – oh, and Marshburn left in the 5th after hurting himself while running the bases – he’s listed DtD for a couple of weeks, so nothing to get your panties in a bunch about. 2 losses in a row, though? That’ll do it.

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Elsewhere… Former Packer, and 36-year old grandpa, Sherman Hardcastle went 4 for 5 with a Grand Slam in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 8-4 win over Orlando City. He got the hit off of RP JJ Chavasse in the top of the 9th – that’s dramatic. Chavasse has struggled a bit this season – he currently has a 6.86 ERA and has blown 3 saves in his last 5 attempts… that’s not how you secure career longevity guys. Also, in international league play we had 3 CG shutouts – Dontell Willburn (Gwinnett Stripers) pitched a 2-hitter with 11 K’s, Justin Lynch (Salem Silverbacks) pitched a CG 5-hitter with 8 K’s, and KJ Judd (Mexico City Diablos) pitched a CG 4-hitter with 9 K’s.

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61 of 162: Nat Millard (4-1, 2.63) @ Truman Phillips (4-4, 5.16)
Win, 6-4
. We avoid the sweep here even though Nat gives us his worst performance as a Laker (5 innings, 4 earned), as Ethan Mullens (2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI, R) and Dontrell Gay (2 for 4, 2B, 2 RBI, R) propel us to victory. Austin finished 3 for 4 with a run, Kwaku drives in two, Pepper scores a run, and Otto does nada… 0 for 4, 3 K’s – somebody stayed out too late carousing with the local talent, eating too many cheese curds, and drinking way too many IPA’s. I just don’t know about that guy sometimes – he’s a poor decision-maker… I mean, IPA? Get a lager, friend, save your taste buds… from what I hear, he went through 12 IPA’s like a hot knife cutting through buttah… he won’t be able to taste his food for a week.

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So, the team is headed home, where their subpar effort against the Packers will be rewarded with a day off before we welcome the Phoenix Suns to town. We have a 10 ½ game lead on the Suns – looking forward to keeping it that way.
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Old 08-17-2019, 06:24 PM   #288
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2076 Season (6/12 – 6/14)

Phoenix Suns (27-31, .466, 4th NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (40-21, .656, 1st NL West)
Ah, the Phoenix Suns – that underachieving mess of a club that came crashing down into the desert like a giant radioactive meteor that has, instead of enlarging the local ant population, made their home town faithful stay as far away from the club as they can. Attendance, local television ratings, merchandise sales are all down, the team is hemorrhaging money, and their once-vaunted Minor League System comes in at a paltry 6th in the rankings. Their offense, led by 23-year old wunderkind SS Ray Gerhold has been stellar – 1st in Avg, OBP, OPS, and wOBA & 3rd in RS, bWAR, and HR’s. Unlike their offense, however, their pitching is in shambles – just shuffling along like a zombie that got kneecapped by some thug with a tire iron… 11th in Starters ERA with 3 of their 5 hurlers flexing a 5.5+ ERA, 8th in FIP & RA, and 7th in Bullpen ERA. Let’s call it what it is – their staff is a dumpster fire, a blaze that has spread so quickly that the Phoenix Brass has no idea what to do about it – they sent Sanchez-Flores down to Tucson after a solid start to the season, moved Cam Murphy to the rotation (where he was pretty solid), and bumped a struggling Julen Morales out of the Ace spot – only to recall Sanchez-Flores today, move Cam back to the pen and demote some scrub MR that had no business on the big club in the first place. Messy business, you ask me. Of course, this is coming from a guy that demoted Phillip King (our leader in K’s so far this season), moved prospect Newton Wiser into the #5 spot on the rotation, and brought Mason Sandoval back up from Compton so I can watch him, and his 6.11 ERA, lose us some ball games in relief. So, yeah, maybe I’m in no position to cast aspersions on my peers who came from the desert…

62 of 162: Julen Morales (3-5, 5.67) @ Dejuan Burns (7-3, 2.55)
Loss, 12-3
… the last time Julen pitched against us, we charged 5 runs to his account in 4 innings – no tip & a ****ty comment on the rating card… this time, well, not so much – Julen had us on a string for 7 innings where he allowed 8-hits, 1 earned, and struck us out 7 times – and that offense, yeah, they played pretty well, I guess. RF Burton Darden hit two out, one on Burns and another on Olsen (he’d add 5 RBI too), and CF Jason Bland went 4 for 6 with a triple, 3 RBI, and 2 runs. Burns got burnt – toasted, roasted, and crispified – 2.2 innings, 6 hits, 2 walks, SEVEN earned runs – yikes, these savages may have ruined him forever – gonna have to shop this guy around now that the Phoenix offense have all but eviscerated his soul. We hit 2 doubles, a triple, and a HR – but, who really cares – we lost by 9 runs. Nothing matters, no matter how “good” it is when you lose by 9 runs.

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Elsewhere… David Arney, of the Los Angeles Galaxy, spun a CG 5-hit shutout with 14 K’s against the Golden State Warriors – the Galaxy won the game by a score of 8-0 – not wonderful news for us as we are both playing at home over the next 3 days – so while we are on the other side of town getting kicked in the teeth by the Suns, the Galaxy, and their snooty, uptown fanbase are busy enjoying an 8-0 shutout.

63 of 162: Patrick Keith (1-2, 2.41) @ Michael Brisk (6-3, 3.38)
Loss, 7-1
… Good grief. Another day, another shellacking – Keith pitches a CG, 1-run gem for Phoenix, he had stellar command and mowed down every single one of our guys who were not named Austin Rollins (2 for 4, HR, RBI, R) and Gianni Berghuis (a 2B that they got by trade from Dallas) went 4 for 4 with a GS that he put under Brisky’s name. There really isn’t much to parse out here – Otto sucked, Pepper was trash, Ethan had an empty 2 for 4 day, and our leadoff guy, Lonzo Gonzo struck out 3 times.

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Elsewhere: Weston Spann, of the Calgary Flames, tied the International League record with 3 home runs in a single game – for the contest, an 11-4 win over the Hartford Whalers, Spann went 3 for 4, with 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R, and 2 BB’s. The effort moved him into the #2 slot on the Top Game Performances (Batters) table behind Hudson Collier who went 3 for 5, with 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 , and 3 BB’s against the Salt Lake Alpines on Cinco de Mayo as his club, the Buffalo Bills, defeated the Alpines by a score of 13-12. So far this season, Spann and Collier are the only two players to post a game score of 100 or better in the International League – the MLB has had only one player post a 100+ score in 2076 (Adam Collins – Minnesota Timberwolves) and the Bush League has had 4 players post a 100+ game score – Archie Hineman (Hagerstown), Jon Bunch (Dearborn), CJ Morris (Nolanville), and Brian Bradford (Decatur) have all accomplished the feat so far…

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64 of 162: Jack Sanchez-Flores (3-4, 5.64) @ Lee Myers (5-3, 3.66)
Win, 6-0
… we avoid the sweep for the second series in a row and exact a small measure of revenge by sending Phoenix on their way with a shutout – Myers gave us 5 innings of 3-hit baseball, he allowed nada and struck out 6 and Dom Cooke went 2 for 4 with a double, 3 riblets, and a run. RP Johnny Garcia gave us 4 innings of work in relief – he was stellar, economical, and dominant in his time on the bump – 1 hit and 4 K’s on a total of 55 pitches (35 for strikes), Rollins put one out of the park, we got two DP’s and every single starter registered at least one hit for the game – nice to see the club shake off the last two and bounce back for a dominant win.

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Elsewhere: Adrian Bae put in 4.1 innings of work for Hagerstown today in an effort against the Nolanville ‘Nauts – he gave up 5 hits, no runs, and struck out 5 – but, was pulled early after hitting a pitch count of 75. Hagerstown lost by a score of 8-4 and used 7 total pitchers during the game – some weird managerial decisions in the Bush League. In other news… Rad Taylor got the start for the Calgary Flames against the Hartford Whalers – he went 5.1 innings and gave up the only run scored during the game – taking the L despite allowing only 5-hits and dealing 6 K’s – without bad luck, Rad would have none at all. Grimm McGowan, the Whaler who pitched against him, went 8 strong, gave up 3 hits, no earned while walking 3 and striking out 4. I’m also inclined to give him the nod in the battle of first names – Grimm, it’s got something snappy, I think.

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Old 08-18-2019, 09:14 AM   #289
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2076 Season (6/16 – 6/17)

San Francisco 49ers (31-31, .500, 2nd NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (41-23, .641, 1st NL West)
When 37-year old SP Matthew Townsend went down with a season-ending injury, torn rotator cuff, on 5/21, it was a huge loss for the club. He’s been a leader and top performer for them over the last 3 seasons – winning 18 & 19 games in 2074 & 2075, respectively. Last season, his best as a professional, he took home the Pacheco Award – but, now, given his advanced age, his future is in serious jeopardy. It’s difficult to suffer a loss like that and not just call it a day for most clubs – but, the 49ers have pitching depth and could use it to overcome his loss. It’s just that, well, they haven’t – because the universe hasn’t let them… they’ve since suffered season-ending injuries to SP Pascal Paiz & SP Alex Gillentine which has left their rotation a mess – and, that’s not all as Outfielders Brady Till and Kyle Denham are both out too… for the year. It’s a hard thing to swallow – here’s a club that should be giving us a run in the NL West who has been devastated by the injury bug – ligaments stretched to their limit… their positional depth razed by the barbarians at the gate whose primary target is your health. As a result, the 49ers fulcrum point has shifted and they’ve struggled to maintain any sense of balance – remnants of what could have been shine through here and there – they are 1st in Bullpen ERA, FIP, Pitching WAR – but mostly they’re a puzzle that was cut with a dull jigsaw which has created a situation where it’s difficult to make the pieces fit even when you find a match. Their offense has taken a nosedive – 9th in RS, 8th in AVG, and 11th in bWAR – and their pitching (outside of the pen)/defense hasn’t fared much better – 8th in Starters ERA, 8th in dEff, and 11th in ZR. For a club that is only a mere two seasons removed from winning the whole thing, it’s difficult to see how they will be able to avoid a tailspin that finds them mired in a period of inadequacy for years to come.

65 of 162: Foster Bantel (1-2, 3.86) @ Nat Millard (5-1, 2.98)
Win, 5-2
. Nat bounced back nicely from his last disastrous performance and gave us 6.2 innings of work where he only gave up 2 earned runs – this is not to say that he was back to his old self – 7 hits, 5 walks – but, he got the W and seems headed in the right direction… Dontrell went 2 for 2 with a run, Ethan finished at 2 for 4 with an RBI, and Kawku hit a solo HR in the 5th that led to a 4-run frame that got us the lead for good… the Otto-Rollins-Pepper triumvirate went a combined 3 for 11 with 4 K’s between them, and Rudolf continues to perform well as our de facto closer, earning his 4th save of the year.

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Elsewhere… When the Portland Timbers put 33-year old RP Patrick Zimmer on the waiver wire, I put in a claim on a lark – surely someone else would go after this guy… he’s been a rock-solid bullpen guy for the last 4 seasons and was selected to the All-Star team in 2070. So, when I got him, well, it came as something of a surprise. Not sure how this move will end up for us – but, I’m excited to see this one play out. This move means that Mason Sandoval, who took losses in both of his outings since joining the big club, will be sent back to Compton – if the 4 innings he pitched for us since the 12th are any indication, Sandy needs a sturdy amount of seasoning before he’ll be ready to contribute at the level required. Also… sidebar… Lockjaw Kuykendall, of the Gainesville Gamecocks, was at it again tonight – he went 3 for 5, with 2 doubles, a homer, and 5 RBIs in their 7-5 win over the Beaumont Bullies…

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66 of 162: Alex Gillentine (1-7, 4.47) @ Newton Wiser (0-0, 0.00)
Win, 5-2
. Newton’s 2076 MLB debut could not have gone any better… he was locked in for us in this one, an 8 inning, 6-hitter where he only allows two to come across and K’s 5, and Caldwell managed to get his 5th save on the year (he was a bit shaky but managed to get it done). Outside of Otto who went 0 for 5 with 3 K’s, everyone on the offense is serviceable – Dom, Ethan, Williams, Stan Wilkins, and Kwaku all drive in a run, Lonzo Gonzo lifts a bag, and we’d hit three doubles in the contest… we did what we were supposed to do here – nothing more, nothing less. So, it’s off to the showers, then home, then back at it against the Impact for a 4-game series in LA (in fact, it’s all home cooking for us for an 8-game stretch as Philly come in for 4 after Montreal).

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Old 08-19-2019, 06:24 PM   #290
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2076 Draft (6/5)




Round 2, Pick 15: Zion Herrera, C, Wyoming Cowboys – I went against my scouting director on this guy. No reason really, outside of his work ethic and baseball IQ he doesn’t have much that stands out. He’s got a chance at being solid – probably not a starter at Catcher unless he finds himself on a lower-tier club. Great catching ability, good eye at the plate, and, well – that’s about it. But, whatever – it’s all a crapshoot at this point in the draft anyways.
I have to admit, this is totally the type of player I routinely target. The Denver Brewers organization is becoming loaded down with high defensive value, poor hitting, decent to great walk rate catchers with strong positive character traits. Can't really say whether it's paying off for me, but I figure with the scarcity of great hitting catchers, I can at least get some Gold Gloves out of the mix. And just hope it has enough of a positive impact on our pitching staff to counteract all those empty AB's.
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Old 08-19-2019, 06:30 PM   #291
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Oh, and apropos of nothing, I think Palmer Parker should marry Parker Posey. I mean, it's 2076 so pretty sure she's long gone. But maybe she has a grand-daughter named after her.
And then maybe she could hyphenate her name: Parker Parker-Posey.
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:38 PM   #292
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I have to admit, this is totally the type of player I routinely target. The Denver Brewers organization is becoming loaded down with high defensive value, poor hitting, decent to great walk rate catchers with strong positive character traits. Can't really say whether it's paying off for me, but I figure with the scarcity of great hitting catchers, I can at least get some Gold Gloves out of the mix. And just hope it has enough of a positive impact on our pitching staff to counteract all those empty AB's.
Kid hasn’t signed yet. He’s playing hard to get. Also, strange how it’s 2076, yet most of my references are from the 90s. Ha! Parker Posey Rules!
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:05 PM   #293
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2076 Season (6/18 – 6/21)

Montreal Impact (34-31, .523, 2nd NL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (43-23, .652, 1st NL West)
The National League is top-heavy in 2076 – there's us and the tricentennial darling Philadelphia 76ers… and then, there’s everyone else. Montreal is in 2nd place of the NL East, playing better than .500 ball, have one of the best outfielders in the game in Mack Ramirez, but still, find themselves 13 games behind the 6ers. THIRTEEN GAMES. Built on pitching and defense, with little to no attention spent on their lineup, the Impact are 1st in runs against (they like that low-scoring and boring brand of baseball it seems), 2nd in Starters ERA, 3rd in FIP & pWAR, and 4th in Bullpen ERA – they have a championship-caliber staff. What they don’t have is offense – 10th in Runs Scored, 11th in AVG, 10th in OBP, and dead last in the NL for OPS & wOBA… this is not the sort of offensive unit that inspires fear. And, unfortunately for me, therein lies the problem – my Lakers are prone to malaise, perfectly content to put forth the minimal effort and galivant around the field like they were in the Sound of Music when they feel like we have a patsy coming to town. But these cats are no patsy – they’ll work to keep the games close, lulling us into a false sense of security, before putting a well-placed base knock into the gap to steal a game, or two, or this entire 4-game series. Could be a maddening stretch here folks…

67 of 162: Kikuzo Ueno (3-4, 3.66) @ Dejuan Burns (7-4, 3.25)
Loss, 5-3
. And so it begins… we’re lulled to sleep in this one through the first 5 innings of play until Montreal strikes like a Cobra going after a distracted Mongoose… A quick strike to the neck, and, just like that – they put 4 on the board and have us centered in their rearview. Gavin Roberts (MTL – a below replacement level Catcher) hit a 2-run double off of Burns in the 6th to put MTL up for good, and Ueno gives Montreal 8 quality innings of 3-run ball. Burns doesn’t make it out of the 6th – we let Zimmer (Waiver Saver!) finish this one up – his LA debut is a 3+ inning, a 49-pitch performance where he only allows two hits… and Otto finished 2 for 3 with a solo HR and a walk. Rollins & Marshburn get a couple of hits, Pepper hits into a rally-killing DP, and Lonzo Gonzo hit a double – the malaise is real. Sidenote: Montreal lost Cleveland Hunter for the season after a harrowing collision with Marshburn at 2nd – somehow Mario was left unscathed.

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Elsewhere… in the City of Compton: Our (very) recent draftee out of Tennessee (79th overall), Paul Bryant, who I pegged as AAA-filler, went 4 for 4 with 2 HRs, 4 RBI, and 2 runs in the Raiders’ 7-5 win over the Austin Grackles. Listen – my assessment hasn’t changed… Bryant has some talent, that much is clear, but his work ethic is garbage and he has the attention span of a gnat. But, kudos to him – not a bad day at the plate.

68 of 162: Jaxton Mottola (3-5, 4.11) @ Michael Brisk (6-4, 3.87)
Win, 3-0
. Brisky was out on the bump chewing bubblegum and all smiles, like a kid at a little league game… he went 8.2 innings of 2-hit baseball before handing the pill off to Rudolf Caldwell, who picks up Save #6 – a 5-pitch strikeout seals the deal for him here… and Ethan & Otto both go 2 for 3 with a run. Larry Williams picks up 2 RBI, and Pepper scores our 3rd run when he makes it all the way home on a well-hit line drive single from Marshburn. Montreal did their level best to lull us to sleep again in this one, but it was time for Rikki-Tikki-Tavi to get some revenge.

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Draftee Update: C Zion Herrera, our 2nd round draft pick out of Wyoming (52nd overall), has broken off negotiations – it seems that the young man can’t picture himself living high on the hog out here in La La Land with a buxom blond on each arm and would, instead, prefer to play elsewhere… somewhere like Green Bay? Or Dallas? Who knows… we’ll see who takes a flier out on the kid in the 2077 draft if anyone does at all. Heck – if I have the chance, I might draft him again just to mess with the brat.

Elsewhere: Quincy Second Baseman, Homer Devine, who never quite lived up to his name over 15 years in Toronto (most spent as a super-sub), went 4 for 5 with a double, 2 ding dongs, 4 riblets, and 4 runs in the Quackers 14-8 win over the Hagerstown Hummers… that he hit one of his jacks off of your boy Adrian Bae, who was pulled after two innings because he gave up EIGHT runs, is of no consequence… everyone was crushing on him today.

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69 of 162: Norm Rodriquez (6-4, 3.73) @ Lee Myers (6-3, 3.43)
Win, 5-2
. Lee Myers was rock solid – all steely grit, determination, and skills… 8.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K’s – he handed it off to Olston who promptly gave up a run before handing it off to Rudolf for save #7… closer by committee playing hot potato. Kwaku, Lonzo Gonzo, Rollins, Otto, and Larry Williams drive in a run each, Otto puts #14 out of the park, and Mullens swipes his 18th bag of the year… all in a days work. Former Laker, Sammie Fregoso went 1 for 3… he’s batting a paltry .229 on the season with 3 jacks and 20 RBI – I think I got the best of that trade. This W makes 45 wins in 69 tries – not too shabby.

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Elsewhere… Otto Isaac took over the #1 spot for most All-Star votes in the NL – Palmer Parker is now 2nd and is 100K votes off the pace. Listen, we like this, Otto likes this - but, here's the reality... Palmer Parker's day will come - he's coming for Otto's crown and it won't be too much longer before he gets it.

70 of 162: Ferdinand Loving (5-3, 2.53) @ Nat Millard (6-1, 2.96)
Win, 8-1
. We finally have a breakout offensive performance for our hometown fans in this one, but the star of the show, as is usually the case when he takes the mound, is Nat Millard who threw for 8.1 innings, allowing only 4 hits and 1 run… Oh, and he went ahead and rung up 14 K’s too… Rollins goes full beast mode – 2 for 4, 2 HR, 5 RBI, and 2 runs – and, Lonzo Gonzo scored 3 runs on 2 for 3 hitting. Otto drove in a couple, Pepper & Marshburn hit doubles, and we hit TWO SAC FLIES (one for Otto and one for backup Catcher Dylan Tucker)! A nice way to cap off a 3-1 series win against a solid club at home.

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Next up is a battle of the #1 power ranked team (Philly) against the #2 power ranked team (the La La’s) in our park – we’ll need to bring our A+ game if we want a split. They’re good… they’re really damn good.
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Old 08-29-2019, 09:43 PM   #294
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2076 Season (6/22 – 6/25)

Philadelphia 76ers (49-20, .710, 1st NL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (46-24, .657, 1st NL West)
The Philadelphia 76ers are the standard-bearers this season in the Major League - they’ve charted a course that leads directly to the promised land, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars. They’ve imbibed the patchouli-laced freedom of 1976 and converted it into an omnipresent force for the tricentennial set, ushering in a new age of peace & love amongst the AI-controlled environs that pervade our 2076 reality – it’s all love beads, deep learning, and black-box algorithms. Or, not, I may be overstating things a bit - waxing philosophically and attaching undue import to a baseball team. It’s hard not to, though... their timing is perfect - ushering in a new age of 76er dominance just in time for the tricentennial. And, it’s easy to see why - their offense is fierce... 1st in RS, AVG, OBP - 2nd in HR, and OPS. Most would call this the PALMER PARKER effect, but they’d only be half right... Norris Flaherty, the smooth fielding, slick hitting, base running dynamo out of Florida - who had two 5-hit performances against TCU during his collegiate career - is batting .297, with 8 HRs and 39 RBI so far this season. That he has hit 3 walk-offs (two in 2076) and swiped 4+ bags 8 times during his short MLB tenure (he’s only 25 and already outplaying his potential) has only added to his legend. Flaherty is the guy that the players talk about, the silent assassin whose social awkwardness has kept him from capturing the imagination of fans outside of Philly, and who is living in Palmer Parker’s shadow... that’s just how he likes it. If Parker is the heart of the 76ers lineup, Flaherty is its soul. And, listen, friends, I won’t bore you with any details about their staff - they’re top-notch, feature the GOAT, Josiah Weber (um… 9-2, 1.81), as their ace, and are built like that horror movie from your youth that ruined you forever and still informs your opinion of the dark... tl;dr - the Philadelphia 76ers are the boogie man, be afraid, be very afraid...


71 of 162: Josiah Weber (9-2, 1.81) @ Newton Wiser (1-0, 2.25)
Win, 7-2
. Beating Josiah is always special – but there are levels to that, um, ‘special-ness’, and this one took the cake… we put five on the GOAT in the 2nd, including a 3-run homer courtesy of Mario Marshburn (from the 9-slot), and chased him out of the game after the 4th inning. All in a days work for the La La’s… Rollins finished 2 for 4 with 2 runs, Stan Wilkins went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI, and the aforementioned Marshburn added another RBI later in the game to run his total up to 4 on the day. Palmer went 2 for 4 with an RBI and Flaherty finished at 1 for 4 with 3 LOB… side note: Pepper went 0 for 4 and struck out three times. He did his level best to make Weber look good in this one. Also, Newton Wiser pitched beautifully – 8.1 innings, 12 hits (yikes!), with only 2 earned and 8 K’s… not bad for a guy lining up against his idol if you ask me…

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Elsewhere: Hamza Alert! Your boy, Hamza McDonnell of Clan McDonnell, went 4 for 5 with a double, a HR, 3 RBI, 5 runs, and 2 walks for the New York Jets in their TWENTY-TWO to 7 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Hamza, you may recall, was a favorite of mine during my Phoenix days… I traded him to the 49ers (reluctantly) and he has since taken a bit of a nosedive… his overall & potential ratings have decreased with the quickness and he’s become known as a “fragile” player who can’t seem to stay healthy long enough to put a good run together – maybe this will be the start of something good for the young man… and, if not, it’s no bother – he still has one of the best mustache’s in the game.

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72 of 162: Paul Yeager (7-4, 3.16) @ Dejuan Burns (7-5, 3.56)
Win, 5-2
. Our 5th win in a row here… we’re putting something magical together, it seems… PEPPER hit a 3-run homer for us that was the difference-maker – he brushed off those 3 K’s from yesterday like they were no big thing. That’s called being a veteran. Dejuan gave us 6-strong and only allowed 2 to plate before handing it off to the pen – a solid outing even if he was outpitched by Yeager… Rudolf gets save #8, Rollins and Otto both go 2 for 4 with a run, we stole two bags (Lonzo Gonzo & Otto), and Mullens got himself a nifty little OF assist – good stuff from the good guys. Side note: Palmer Parker? 0 for 4. Norris Flaherty? 1 for 5.

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Elsewhere: Telma Time! Telma Taveras, the league leader in doubles with 24, went 4 for 6 with a (you guessed it) double, 4 RBI, and 4 runs in the Jaguars 12-5 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy. Taveras is now hitting .259 with 1 homer, and 34 RBI… so, yeah, nothing too special at the plate. But the kid had himself a day and is always a superior defensive guy with superb base stealing abilities – everything else is a bonus, icing on the proverbial cake.

73 of 162: Troy Helm (2-2, 2.71) @ Michael Brisk (7-4, 3.53)
Win, 8-4
. You guys… what is happening right now? 6 wins in a row and 3 in a row over the Philadelphia 76ers? Craziness. Otto finished 4 for 4 with a double, TWO JACKS, 5 RBI, and 2 runs… he’s still got it and wants to make sure that young Mr. Parker knows it. Brisky did Brisky **** – 6.2 innings with 6 hits, 1 earned, a couple of free passes, and 7 K’s – all in a days work for big sexy (6’0” & 200lbs – so, yeah, not the best nickname… let’s forget I called him that, Okay?). Parker has another 0 for 5 days – maybe the pressures of Tinseltown are getting to the young man, and Flaherty got the night off… We’re handling these guys like they were the Minnesota Timberwolves – and given that we aren’t even halfway through the Tricentennial campaign, who knows, maybe they are…

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74 of 162: LaVaughn Stewart (1-1, 5.46) @ Lee Myers (7-3, 3.21)
Loss, 8-5
. Well, it had to happen sooner or later, right? The Philadelphia 76ers woke up this morning and remembered that they are, in fact, the PHILADELPHIA 76ERS. Palmer Parker is the difference maker – a run-scoring single in the 4th inning that puts the bad guys up for good in this one… Mullens went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and a run, Otto drives in two, and Lonzo Gonzo swipes another bag – his 8th on the year. But, alas, it was all for naught as the 76ers manage to dig deep and avoid the sweep here and become the 1st team to reach 50 wins this season in the process… you know what that means, right? The first team to win 50 games almost always… wait, sorry, my bad, this isn’t bouncy ball – this is baseball, first to 50 don’t mean squat.

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Elsewhere: The Ballad of Adrian Bae… Well, your boy Bae didn’t quite take one to the teeth as he did during his last outing – he went 5 innings with 4 hits, 3 earned, and 5 K’s… he was, well, serviceable. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the kind of performance that will make a big-league club looking for bullpen depth come calling – that much is for sure. 74 pitches with 19 balls hit fair and only 6 fouled off… Look – if this is it for him, he always has his band – sure, that side-hustle won’t pay like baseball does, but if you can do something you enjoy for a living then why not? Bae is one of the lucky ones no matter how you slice it – he has two loves… music & baseball, and if an athlete has only so many reps in him before he is forced to hang them up, at least Adrian will have something to keep his mind occupied where he can continue to bask in the applause afforded to him by the crowd.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:26 AM   #295
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2076 Season (6/26 – 6/28)

Los Angeles Lakers (49-25, .662, NL West) @ Chicago Fire (41-33, .554, 2nd AL East)
The Chicago Fire currently find themselves in a 3-way tie for 1st in the AL West with the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers... this is an anomaly, a matter of unfortunate luck, and had they not let that black cat cross the street in front of them earlier in the season they’d be 45-29 and running things. But they’re not, because the Pythagorean means nada, and we actually play the games in this league. Nowhere has this bad luck been more evident than during this last 7-3 stretch. I know, seems odd - 7-3 is solid - but when you come off a 4-game sweep over the Seattle Sounders and then follow that up with two wins over Golden State only to get walked off in the next two, both in extras, that’s what I’d call bad juju or baseball for short. Here’s a squad that is 1st in OBP, 2nd in HR, RS, and bWAR, and 3rd in OPS and wOBA - so, why then, aren’t they better? Is it their pitching? Not really - they’re 2nd in Starters ERA and 3rd in Bullpen ERA. Must be the defense, right? Not so fast - they’re 2nd in RA. So, all we’re left with then is... bad luck. Listen, the AL West will be won by either Chicago or Jacksonville - Carolina will fold and Green Bay (gross) will get the wild card. That’s how this thing will go down - but first, they have to tango with the La La’s, so, let’s hope this stretch of “bad luck” holds for at least three more games. Of course, there is always the old saying that starts out with, “you can wish on one hand...”, and this is, situationally, no different - it’s like I said earlier, we actually play the games in this league, and, if 37-year old, 6-time all-star, LF Jerry Lewandowski, who is hitting .332 with 14 jacks and 53 RBI in his 16th year in the bigs, has anything to say about - our trip to the Windy City will be gusty. You see, a light breeze in Chicago can knock you on your rump, dry out your eye sockets, and make you redefine your concept of “wind chill”, and after our last loss to Philly, our hot streak has disintegrated into a something that is more lukewarm. Something like a frozen burrito that could use another minute in the microwave (hot pockets....), and the Chicago Fire are bringing what should be a 9-1 record in their last 10 to the table for this 3-game set - this, then, will be our finest hour or gut-check time.

75 of 162: Nat Millard (7-1, 2.75) @ Nathaniel Firestone (9-5, 3.16)
Loss, 5-4
. After getting walked off twice in a row by the Golden State Warriors, the Chicago Fire were able to right their ship with a walk-off win over the La La’s… Designated Hitter, Victor Benfield, hit the walk-off, 2-run single in the bottom of the 9th off of our own Rudolph Caldwell, who has now blown his 2nd save of the season. Austin Rollins is our only shiny beacon of light in this one – 3 for 5 with 3 RBI’s – he’s now hitting .411 since joining the team.

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Elsewhere… 3B Sherman Hardcastle, with the Los Angeles Galaxy, earned his 2000th career hit today, off of the St. Louis Rams. Hardcastle is a hardscrabble, old school type of guy who owes this milestone to work ethic and longevity more than anything else – over his 14 MLB seasons, Sherman has hit .263 with 303 doubles, 44 triples, and 291 HRs. Interestingly, Sherman signed with the Hagerstown Hummers of the Bush League in the offseason but didn’t play in a single game for them as the Los Angeles Galaxy purchased his contract shortly before the 2076 MLB campaign. Hardcastle is putting together a fun campaign this year – including a memorable walk-off, 2-run jack against the Sounders in April – the Galaxy won that one by a score of 7-6 in 10 innings. Here’s to one more year in the sun, good Sir!

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76 of 162: Newton Weiser (2-0, 2.20) @ Vince Sturkie (2-1, 2.30)
Win, 6-0
. Judging by his performances in his first three games since being called up from Compton, Newton Weiser has no plans to return to the Silver & Black – he’d get the first CG shutout of his major league career in this one, a CG, 4 hit effort with 11 K’s. Can’t lie – I’m really excited about his start here – when I arrived, he had a higher potential rating than he does now and he’s still developing. He may never be a Josiah type, but he’ll make a solid Ace or #2 guy for years to come, I think. Also, PEPPER went 4 for 5 with a double, an RBI, and a run… Rollins went 3 for 4 (hitting .420 in the Purple kit), and Nash Aguilar, super-sub extraordinaire, went 2 for 5 with a couple of runs – he left 5 guys stranded, though, which is a bummer.

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77 of 162: Dejuan Burns (7-5, 3.52) @ Shizuka Takeuchi (3-3, 3.35)
Loss, 7-5
. Our late, 4-run rally in the 9th came up a bit short as the Fire managed to get a nice home series win against us in this one… Chicago Catcher Laz Braun went 3 for 4 with a 3-run jack, Takeuchi allows only 2 scores over 8 innings of work, and Landowski managed to score a run. The lone bright spot for us was Kwaku’s GRAND SLAM in the top of the 9th – kid tried to get us going there, but our other guys just couldn’t be bothered… every starter got at least one hit today (except for Nash Aguilar, who we let hit from the leadoff spot), so maybe it was our turn to have some bad luck?

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Elsewhere… SP Lee Pullen, a career minor leaguer out of Pennsylvania (this is his 7th season in the International League), pitched the best game of his career for the Salem Silverbacks today – the young(ish) man pulls off the no-no against the Seattle Supersonics… Pullen mowed through 28 batters on 125 pitches, walked one and K’d 11 for the game – this is the second no-hitter of the 2076 season in the International League – the first, hucked by PJ Street for the Hartford Whalers came on May 5th and included 13 K’s.

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Old 08-31-2019, 05:53 PM   #296
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2076 Season (6/30 – 7/2)

Jacksonville Jaguars (43-33, .566, 1st AL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (50-27, .649, 1st NL West)
Ah... the Jacksonville Jaguars... what fun! Those 2075 harvesters of sorrow who stole our Championship out from underneath us in a game 7 smash match that still has cause to wake me from a deep sleep in a cold sweat and confused state. How many sleepless nights must a GM endure after coming so close to our games ultimate prize? All of them as it turns out, friends, every single one of them. They’ve persevered despite losing last year’s World Series difference-maker, SP Luc Felix, for the entirety of the 2076 campaign and have managed to pitch well enough to earn the #2 ranking for hurling in 2076 so far... and while their offense, currently rated at #6, is decidedly middle of the road, they are nobody’s patsy either. A good club that should be great navigating their way through yet another better than solid campaign... and with 40 playoff appearances & 4 championships charged to their account, it’ll take more than an injury to a key contributor to make them fold. Another tough series against another expertly constructed club whose consistency doesn’t always inspire the fear that it should. We got knocked around a bit in the Windy City, but we’re back home, in front of our fans now - a good opportunity to get back on the good foot.

78 of 162: Neal Hinton (6-7, 4.07) @ Michael Brisk (8-4, 3.39)
Loss, 7-0
. Do you know what sucks worse than getting shut out at home? Getting shut out at home by the team that ripped your heart out during Game 7 of last season’s World Series. This is a tough one to rationalize… Hinton gets a CG shutout, 3B CJ Kelley hits a 2-run homer, and SS Craig Rambis does the same. For our part – we can only manage 3 total hits, Rollins & Gay both strike out twice, and Dom Cooke committed a throwing error. We basically sucked tonight.

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Elsewhere: RF Andrew Beck (TOR) won the BoTM award in the AL – he had a .372 average, with 11 jacks, 21 RBI, 21 scores and a .434 OBP… Our own 1B Austin Rollins took home the NL’s version of the same honor – he hit .413 with 6 ding dongs, and 22 RBI in June – it’s nice to have him on the club, the old dog (he’s 30…) is fitting right in. SP Cliff Slavinski (NYJ) is your AL PoTM & SP Landon Sampson (SF) is your NL PoTM – both were good, neither was named Josiah… moving on… Our own SP Newton Weiser took home the RoTM award – he went 3-0 with 24 K’s and a 1.42 ERA in 25 innings of work… 1B Archie Imanov (who we traded to Seattle for Austin Rollins) went 2 for 2 with 2 HR, 3 RBI, and 3 runs in Seattle’s dominant 9-1 win over the St. Louis Rams – he’s now batting .354 in Seattle and starting to come alive a little bit… Your boy Adrian Bae got another start in Hagerstown, went his usual 5 innings, gave up his usual 5 hits and 3 runs, and K’d his usual 5 batters – he also gave up a solo HR to some dork called Travis Snyder – who is an SC alum with questionable work ethic, and questionable talent.

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79 of 162: Justin Torres (1-0, 3.66) @ Lee Meyers (7-3, 3.59)
Loss, 4-3
. We’d get clipped late in this one – a 1-run top of the 9th seals it for the Jags… CF Jason Dalton only hit, a solo HR in the top of the 9th, is all Jacksonville needed to embarrass us in front of our wives, girlfriends, side-chicks, and potential one-night stands once again… Ethan went 2 for 4 with a run, Newman went 2 for 2 in his return to the starting lineup, and Lonzo Gonzo got two hits and scored… he also committed a costly error in the 6th, but we don’t need to talk about that. One bright note: Telma Taveras went 0 for 5. Dig.

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80 of 162: Joseph Thompson (5-6, 2.87) @ Nat Millard (7-1, 2.80)
Loss, 4-3
. We got swept at home. By Jacksonville. This is the worst-case scenario, friends – Phil Murray could call at any moment to fire me… don’t shake your head at me, this is a VERY real possibility – the guy is a weirdo for criminy sakes. Seriously – who makes their fortune off of Gophers eradication? Thompson gave the Jags a superior pitching performance – 7.1 IP, 3 ER – and TELMA TAVERAS got tired of being a non-factor… he went 3 for 4 with a double, a run, and a couple of walks… Nat was OK, but we pulled him after 6 when his pitch count got too high, Lonzo K’d 3 times, Otto & Ethan K’d twice, each, and Rudolph Caldwell took the loss after giving up the winning run – it’s his second loss of the year. He’s sort of undependable. I probably need to go looking for a proper closer…

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Trade alert: I traded SP Phillip King, who was languishing in Compton, and CF Aston Monroe (AAA filler) to the NY Jets for 1B Ian Hanan and low-key pitching prospect Hudson Dorsch. Hudson tops out at about where King is now, but when the Jets offered Hanan for King and Monroe, I asked for him as a gimme… and they were cool with it. This trade doesn’t really do much for my team – but they offered, and I was bored. Going to try Austin at DH and let Hanan start at first for a while – maybe that will help me get more life out of Austin’s 30-year old body.

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We'll welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps to town next - let's hope we have our **** together by the time they get to town...
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Old 09-02-2019, 06:34 PM   #297
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2076 Season (7/3 – 7/5)

Vancouver Whitecaps (39-41, .487, 3rd NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (50-30, .625, 1st NL West)
Is it possible that a sub-.500, 39-41 team is playing over their heads? That’s the first question that comes to mind when I look at Vancouver. Their problem is simple – they really don’t have much talent. Their cleanup guy, 1B Colt DeWees, has seen better days and at 36-years old he’s just squeezing every ounce of skill out before he calls it a day – the 3-time all-star is a long way gone when you look back at the seasons where he secured that honor. 2076 is a long way from 2064 & 2066 – that much is certain. It’s difficult to win games when your cleanup guy is a has-been… .262, 4 HR, and 19 RBI so far in 36 games played. See, if being good at baseball is his problem, then his inability to stay healthy this season is his curse. The Whitecaps are a mid-table offensive club – 5th in RS, 7th in AVG & OPS, 10th in OBP – and a poor pitching club… they rank 8th as a unit in the National League. They just aren’t very good – the exact kind of club my collection of ne’er-do-wells should smash – but, seeing as though we are both coming off sets where we were on the wrong side of a sweep… this series is up for grabs. It’s about who wants to stop getting embarrassed the most.

81 of 162: Luke Mann (3-6, 5.00) @ Newton Weiser (3-0, 1.42)
Win, 4-2
. Newton Weiser has been an absolute godsend for our club – he picked up his 4th consecutive win today, went 7-strong, allowed only 6 hits, 2 earned, and K’d 9 during yet another stellar effort. We’ll look away from the fact that he granted four free passes today and just let the positivity wash over us without being hyper-critical. Lonzo Gonzo finished 2 for 3 with an RBI & a run, Pepper hit one out, new guy Ian Hanan went 2 for 3 with a run, and Caldwell broke free from his mini-funk to secure his 9th save of the season. Halfway home now, folks – there’s still a lot of runway & plenty of time for Phoenix to start making a move on us… but, for now, we’ll just sit back and enjoy this one after getting our behinds handed to us against Jacksonville during our last set.

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82 of 162: Adam Gunter (8-4, 3.05) @ Dejuan Burns (7-6, 3.78)
Win, 9-1
. Dejuan was magical – 8.1 innings, 1 earned, Lonzo Gonzo finished 3 for 5 with a triple and 3 RBI, and Otto (remember him?) went 2 for 4 with HR # 18, 2 RBI, and 2 runs… Every player with the exception of Marshburn got at least one hit – Rollins hit a 2-run jack, Hanan scored, Mullens swiped his 20th bag, and we recorded two phenomenal double-plays – including a nifty one where Hanan caught a liner and tagged the runner at 1st who was expecting it to get by him. So, we record our second W in a row while the lowly Whitecaps find themselves mired in a 5-game losing streak. Sorry, not sorry.

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Elsewhere… in the land of poor GMing: I was informed today that my entire coaching/training staff have contracts that will expire at the end of the season… didn’t see that one coming. I’m happy to part with my Team Trainer – he took way too long to diagnose Babaccia, but our Manager, Ryan Rudnick, has got to stay – the guy is a mastermind (sometimes).

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83 of 162: Jake Refner (7-6, 4.43) @ Michael Brisk (8-5, 3.47)
Win, 5-3
. Mean Mr. Mustache, Mr. Dependable, Mr. Hollywood, or just Brisky if you’re nasty… You gotta love this guy – sure, he’ll let you down in clutch situations every now and then, and, yeah, he probably cares more about how his hair looks than he does about winning, but it’s nights like tonight that you remember why you keep the ol’ softy around. 8 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned, and 7 K’s for LA’s second most eligible bachelor… and he made sure that we secured the sweep. Mullens went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run, Lonzo Gonzo scored twice, Otto drove two home, and new guy Hanan had his first hitless day in a Lakers uniform. We also stole two bags (Lonzo & Otto) and got to see Caldwell secure his 10th save of the season – that’s 10x his previous career-best.

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Elsewhere: The Carolina Panthers destroyed the Toronto Reds by a score of 22-5 today – 3B Andy Gardner went 4 for 5 with 3 doubles, 8 RBI, and 5 runs… LF Robert Gay went 3 for 4 with a double, 3 RBI and 5 runs… and, 1B Pablo Madera went 4 for 5 with 2 doubles, 7 RBI, and a run. Gardner now owns the #1 game performance of 2076 with a game score of 124 (22 higher than the 2nd highest game score this season). His 8 RBI tied the Carolina regular-season game record for RBIs… side note: my man is going to regret those sideburns when he looks back on this accomplishment 20 years from now – can you imagine him trying to explain his poor choice in facial hair to his grandson? It’s unfortunate is what it is…

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Old 09-02-2019, 07:25 PM   #298
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2076 Season (7/5)

Hagerstown Hummers (41-20, .661, 1st Independence Division) @ Gainesville Gamecocks (28-32, .466, 4th Indy Division)
Adrian Bae (5-1, 3.32) @ Michael Wilson (1-5, 5.83)
Loss, 8-7.
Your boy, Adrian Bae, was strong in this one – looked fierce, like a rhythm guitarist lost in the moment – a syncopated rhythmic machine perfectly in time with the drummer… he went 6 innings, gave up 3 hits, and only 1 earned run. He earned a game score of 62, took home PoTG honors, and his club, the Hummers, took the loss. That’s weird… but, I guess that’s to be expected – nothing about Adrian’s baseball journey has been normal. Bae threw 72 total pitches, 44 of them were for strikes, faced 22 batters (one of whom – Micky King – hit a homer off of him), got 11 ground outs, 6 fly outs, and K’d one batter. ONE BATTER? IS THAT ALL? Whatever… he looked good – but, was it good enough? Did his performance get lost in the shuffle? Were there even any MLB scouts in attendance? Who knows… in the end the Gamecocks overcame a fine effort from your boy – stole a narrow 8-7 win on Cocks Field, and did so in exciting fashion… Some guy, we’ll call him Micky King – because, why not, he had himself something of a day – hit a 2-run double off of RP Luke Borosky to walk the Hummers off unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and just plain unhappy. Here’s a guy in King – a never-was if you will – who spent 3 years in Portland’s development system (down in Salem) before signing a contract with the Blowfish in 2075 to become a career Bush League guy taking Bae’s glory and sprinkling it on himself like it was free glitter at a crafters convention… the guy is hitting .204 this season for Pete’s sake.

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Old 09-02-2019, 10:41 PM   #299
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2076 Season (7/6 – 7/7)

Minnesota Timberwolves (33-49, .402, 6th NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (53-30, .639, 1st NL West)
Shawna’s T’Wolves are a hard club to figure. They’re solid offensively – 1st in Base Running, 4th in OPS & wOBA, 5th everywhere else – and boast a lineup anchored by the best Catcher in the game in Rex Engelstad and a 3B star in the making in Aldo Fernandez. Really, if their pitching staff was even halfway serviceable, Minnesota would be a better than average club that was making a bid for a WC spot – but, alas, it is not and so they are not. The cupboards aren’t bare though – they have some talent down in Tulsa, but it’ll be a bit before they have the seasoning required to cook up something nice on the big club, so, for now, it’s just a collection of stiffs content to listlessly meander their way through another campaign while being ranked dead last in the NL as a unit. So, basically, the Timberwolves are not great – far from it, in fact – and their future doesn’t really look all that bright... I mean, the dark days will give way to some light within the next couple of years, but this thing, this experiment of Shawna’s, has a long way to go before they deliver on her promise to become a perennial contender, a club that’s always in the mix, and a club that is capable of reaching dynasty status. Unfortunately, for their players and their fans, this year’s model is inept, utterly devoid of pitching talent, and already staring down a seemingly insurmountable 20 games abyss between them and the promised land.

84 of 162: Braylen Shively (3-4, 3.62) @ Lee Myers (7-3, 3.66)
Win, 4-2
. Our parade of stellar pitching performances continues as Lee Myers takes his turn atop the high wire and comes through unscathed – 8.1 innings, 7 hits, 2 earned, and 3 K’s for the young craftsman… Kwaku went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 batted in, Rudolph, on a tear now, brings home save #11, and Mullens & Hanan are responsible for our other two runs. 4 doubles as a unit, a 2-out ribbie for Ethan, and he stole two bags (22 on the year now – kids got wheels, as they say…), and we got another tip-top Grant-Kwaku-Hanan double-play. A good, workmanlike effort out of the good guys tonight.

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85 of 162: Adrian Hollyfield (3-2, 6.32) @ Nat Millard (7-1, 2.80)
Loss, 3-2
. Nat Millard is 0-1-2 in his last three starts… I haven’t been this concerned about an ace since Bootleg Josiah took a nosedive on us in 2075. 6 innings, 8 hits, 3 earned, 2 walks, and 5 K’s for the $10 million-dollar man… Just not good enough. Rex Engelstad puts the go-ahead run on the board for Minnesota – a run-scoring single in the top of the 4th that was the beginning of the end of Millard’s night. Otto, Rollins, Pepper, Kwaku, and Lonzo Gonzo combine for a 0 for 16 night with 7 K’s – and that should just about tell you all that you need to know… but, it doesn’t, because Lonzo Gonzo got caught trying to burgle a bag and Pepper committed an error so grievous that I may not sleep soundly for weeks.

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Elsewhere: The Portland Timbers are leading the AL West by a game over the LA Galaxy & Seattle Sounders with a 41-42 record. That’s embarrassing for baseball. Even more embarrassing is the fact that they are doing it with a ho-hum staff and a truly dreadful offense – and when I say DREADFUL, I mean HISTORICALLY BAD. 12th (that’s last) in AVG, OBP, OPS, bWAR, and wOBA, 11th in RS… just woeful. And guess what… ELOY DELANDO IS STILL MAD. This guy is getting paid $9M a year to hit .239 with 14 jacks and 52 riblets – I mean, chill out my dude – you’re rich. New rule - if you’re rolling up to Voodoo Donuts in a lime green Ferrari on your way to the park, you don’t get to act all aggro all the time.

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Old 09-03-2019, 09:23 PM   #300
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2076 Season (7/9 - 7/12)

Los Angeles Lakers (54-31, .635, 1st NL West) @ San Diego Chargers (38-47, .447, 5th NL West)
When we last met the San Diego Chargers, for a quickie 2-game parlay, they were an injury riddled club playing .500 ball. 48 games later and here we are - looking across the field at a floundering club, in poor health, that has failed to live up to its preseason promise. The Chargers are the type of club that a GM like me admires from a distance - they’ve made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, took the division in 2074, and came into 2076 refreshed and retooled with a stable of solid, better than average, veteran pitching at the top of their rotation with youthful talent filling out its bottom half. The ultimate paper tiger for the tricentennial - a staff good enough to earn a spot in the top 3 of the NL (their bullpen is still ranked 3rd) paired with an offense built on speed (1st in Steals and Base Running) and good ABs where they focus on making your guys work (3rd in OBP). At the start of the season a bet on the La La’s, Phoenix, or San Diego to, at least, make the playoffs would’ve felt like playing with house money - on paper those horses were clearly juiced, primed to burst out of the gate, and a sure thing to put you in the money. Ahh, best-laid plans... two of the three have come up lame - all these pulled muscles, snapped UCL’s, and back spasms have made many a betting man’s blood pressure boil. See, there will be no plot twist in the prose - fans of the Chargers, now sitting at 38-47, are stuck out in the cold, and unlike Sam McGee from Plumtree, Tennessee there will be no shelter from the storm.

86 of 162: Newton Weiser (4-0, 1.67) @ Aden Grey (4-6, 5.11)
Loss, 8-3
. In his first MLB road game, young Newton Weiser shut the Chicago Fire out in a clinical performance - tonight, while serviceable, didn’t go as well for him - he gave us 6 innings of work with 10 hits, 3 earned, and 6 K’s. Of our 6 total hits two were good enough for two bags, and two went out of the park (Dom gets #5 and Kwaku #4 on the year), Hanan would get pegged by Grey in the bicep, and we turn two slick DPs - but, unfortunately, as soon as Weiser exited stage left, RP Joshua Moeller gave up 4 runs on only 14 pitches and took the loss - it’s always difficult to parse out what went wrong when you lose to a poor club, but my money is on Moeller.

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Elsewhere: SP Patrick Keith (PHX) is out for four weeks due to bone spurs in his elbow – yikes. Kid pitches like a boss but can’t stay healthy – and he’s only 26. He was one of my prized pick-ups while I was with the Suns. He was 3-2 with a 2.23 ERA so far – finally delivering on some of his early promise (69/73). 1B Shawn Scaramella (MIN) has extended his consecutive game hit streak to 20. Usually, when you get one of these notices, the streak will end in only a day or two… SP Logan Squirrell pitched a complete game 2-hit shutout for the Long Beach Dirtbags (LA Galaxy affiliate) with 7 K’s in their 3-0 win over the Hartford Whalers…. SP Dalbert Anhalt pitched a complete game 3-hit shutout for the San Jose Sharks (Golden State affiliate) with 8 K’s in their 1-0 over the Gwinnett Stripers… Tommy “Dick” VanDyke pitched a 10-inning, complete game, 6-hit shutout for the Salem Silverbacks (PDX Timbers affiliate) with 9 K’s in their 3-0 win over the Cincinnati Bengals… It’s safe to say that there is some pretty solid pitching talent earning their stripes in the International League…

87 of 162: Dejuan Burns (8-6, 3.57) @ Finlay MacDonald (0-0, 4.63)
Loss, 6-3
. Ian Hanan went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI, but it wasn’t enough for us as Dejuan Burns gives up 5 total runs (4 earned) in only 4.2 innings of work against the Chargers. Pepper hit a double (cool), Lonzo Gonzo stole a bag (cool) & GIDP (not cool), Mullens & Marshburn swiped bags (both cool), Otto got caught trying to steal a bag (not cool), and Dejuan keeps our error streak alive as he flubs a weak grounder early in the 5th… So basically, we had our moments, but it just wasn’t our day today.

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Elsewhere: C Darby Helton of your CITY OF COMPTON RAIDERS went 3 for 5 with a double, a homer, 6 RBI, and 2 runs in our 13-7 win over the Columbus Bluejackets… Darby was a throw-in player in our trade with the Montreal Impact that brought Adrian Bae (now in the Bush League) and Dejuan Burns (tonight’s losing pitcher on the big club) to town in exchange for Sammie Fregoso, Rad Taylor, a couple of bums, joey bag-o-donuts, and a six-pack of Coors Light.

88 of 162: Michael Brisk (9-5, 3.38) @ Rod Garcia (2-3, 4.75)
Win, 6-4
. Brisky… 6.2, 6 H, 3 earned, FIVE WALKS, 4 K’s, and the W. Not sure how this guy does it, man. Rollins is clutch – 4 for 5, a double, 2 RBI, and a R – and Otto finished 1 for 5 with a 3-run HR. Pepper & Cooke each get two hits (one of Pepper’s was a double – his 14th of the year), Lonzo Gonzo is a bag swiping machine – he’d get # 17 – and we got THREE double-plays, and an outfield assist – Lonzo caught a dude trying to make it home on a shallow fly-ball. Rudolph gets save #12 despite giving up a run in the bottom of the 9th – he’s why I should buy stock in the company that manufactures Tums…

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Elsewhere: Otto Isaac set the record for most-ever all-star votes today making him the most popular player… EVER. This also means I can never trade him – I’m now officially all in on Otto, it’s a ride or die situation. He and Palmer Parker were the only two players to amass over 4M votes.

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Notable All-Stars:
  • 2B Heathcote Kinton (LAG) - .318/.413/.514, 333 AB, 13 HR, 21 SB, 151 wRC+, 4.9 WAR
  • SP Josiah Weber (PHI)* - 10-5, 2.29 ERA, 125.2 IP, 1.05 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, 2.8 WAR
  • C Dominic Cooke (LAL) - .246/.321/.365, 260 AB, 5 HR, 88 wRC+, 1.4 WAR
  • SS Ray Gerhold (PHX)* - .351/.461/.443, 325 AB, 2 HR, 18 SB, 145 wRC+, 4.8 WAR
  • LF Otis Murry (ORL)* - .329/.457/.424, 304 AB, 6 HR, 7 SB, 151 wRC+, 3.6 WAR
  • LF Palmer Parker (PHI)* - .338/.393/.558, 364 AB, 18 HR, 1 SB, 162 wRC+, 3.7 WAR
  • CF Otto Isaac (LAL)* - .287/.364/.528, 324 AB, 19 HR, 23 SB, 143 wRC+, 3.9 WAR

89 of 162: Lee Myers (8-3, 3.54) @ Burt McElheny (8-5, 3.34)
Loss, 6-0
. Ouch – losing 3 of 4 to the Charger sucks… CG 5-hit Shutout for Burt (with 7 K’s). Myers is serviceable, every bit as good, or better than Brisky was in our win – 7.1, 6 H, 4 ER, FOUR WALKS, and 2 K’s but takes the L in this one… Only Otto, Rollins, Kwaku, and Newman manage to get hits, Pepper & Hanan both strikeout twice. This was not the series we were looking for – but, if you are going to drop 3 of 4 to a sub-par team with sub-par skills who play in a sub-par parked filled with sub-par fans, then it’s best to do it on the road. Well, not really – losing 3 of 4 sucks no matter where you do it.

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Elsewhere: 2B Rich Hamilton (35, NYJ) reached 2000 hits at home against the Chicago Fire – file that away for all your trivia night needs… Shawn Scaramella’s hit streak ended at 22 against the San Francisco 49ers… we moved down to #4 in the weekly power rankings (Philly, MTL, and JAX are 1, 2, & 3)… Jacksonville landed SP Tommy Mathieu in a trade with the Dynamo & did so in lopsided fashion – Mathieu will be slotted in as their ACE after the all-star break… we lost ETHAN MULLEN for 4 weeks due to a sprained ankle (happened in-game #89 – ugh)… The Dynamo made another bad trade with the Fire – I don’t feel like listing the players, so let’s just say that they traded a great one and a good one on consecutive days for what basically amounts to minor league filler.

All-Star Break...
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