A few extra items:
I’m going to start a thread in this forum about the 2004 Season. This may seem ridiculously premature to some of you, but given the amount of discussion and debate that concerns the rules, scoring system, and so on, I felt it was better to have a single thread to keep it in during the season, rather than have the debate stretched out over 20 different threads, and then be forgotten next February. This way, we can hopefully create a blueprint for the 2004 season (assuming there is enough interest) that allows for opinions formed from this season, rather than what we can remember of this season in nine months’ time. I’ll propose a few ideas to kick things off, and please feel free to criticise, improve, and suggest new thoughts.
However, please be nice to my fragile little ego and avoid vitriol of all kinds. I know there has been more than a little dissatisfaction with this year’s model, and I apologise, but several people have worked hard to get this league up and running, and it seems silly to let their effort go to waste. So let’s enjoy this year’s version, flawed though it may be, and use the experience to try and create a new and improved version for 2004. If you have ideas, let’s hear them.
Interestingly enough, by the way, the DiMaggio Division has the lowest points average of the three, but has the best winning percentage. Just thought I’d throw that one out there.
Sunday, April 27th
Cunning Linguists lost at Evil Empire by 255.00 to 258.83 points
Dawgs from Easton lost at The Larrupin’ Lous by 246.17 to 307.17 points
Fishing with Mendoza lost at Mattingly’s Hitmen by 236.33 to 259.50 points
Lordz of Flatbush lost at New York Squeaks by 154.33 to 240.66 points
The Naked Truth lost at Saxmania’s Swingers by 273.00 to 281.50 points
NY Bombers won at 9 Angry Playaz by 249.33 to 232.34 points
Italian Ice lost at Junior’s Bashers by 250.67 to 274.33 points
Michigan Wolverines won at Newburgh Naughties by 171.16 to 135.67 points
Senators lost at The 4 Horsemen by 187.16 to 280.83 points
Team Won Lost % GB Average Max Min
NY Bombers 5 0 1.000 0 260.70 313.67 226.00
Dawgz from Easton 3 2 0.600 2 243.33 252.33 223.17
The Naked Truth 2 3 0.400 3 267.23 305.66 218.33
Cunning Linguists 1 4 0.200 4 220.30 255.00 171.83
Lordz of Flatbush 1 4 0.200 4 201.67 249.83 154.33
Fishing with Mendoza 0 5 0.000 5 227.77 241.33 186.17
Total 12 18 0.480 3.0 236.83 313.67 154.33
Team Won Lost % GB Average Max Min
Junior's Bashers 5 0 1.000 0 246.40 313.50 186.17
Newburgh Naughties 3 2 0.600 2 226.33 330.84 135.67
The 4 Horsemen 3 2 0.600 2 254.40 291.17 207.50
Michigan Wolverines 3 2 0.600 2 208.07 276.33 148.17
Senators 2 3 0.400 3 225.77 254.00 187.16
Italian Ice 2 3 0.400 3 209.03 250.67 156.33
Total 18 12 0.600 2.0 228.33 330.84 135.67
Team Won Lost % GB Average Max Min
Evil Empire 3 2 0.600 0 264.57 289.50 248.33
9 Angry Playaz 3 2 0.600 0 263.93 319.67 232.34
The Larrupin Lous 3 2 0.600 0 258.70 326.00 205.33
New York Squeaks 3 2 0.600 0 240.37 334.66 180.50
Mattingleys Hitmen 2 3 0.400 1 259.87 310.33 215.83
Saxmania’s Swingers 1 4 0.200 2 229.03 281.50 179.83
Total 15 15 0.500 0.5 252.74 334.66 179.83
Rotation holds together; Bombers drop Playaz thanks to Okha’s woes
Dual outings assisted the NY Bombers in their string of wins to start off the 2003 season, with both Russ Ortiz and Kazuhisa Ishii starting twice for the Ruth Division leaders. Each pitcher won once, and managed to keep the scoring low, with a total of 7 ERs in 24 innings including 17 strikeouts. The rest of the rotation ended up mixed results, but none were hit hard, and the bullpen was also tidy. Matt Mantei saved three games in 4.1 innings of work, and although Scott Strickland was used sparingly by the Mets, he still emerged with a win. The Bombers’ intimidating outfield was quiet, totalling just one home run between the three sluggers, but the infield chipped in with two long balls each for Mike Lieberthal and Derrek Lee. The in-form 4 Horsemen are next.
The Playaz, by contrast, launched an offensive assault in Week 7, with three long bombs each for Carlos Delgado and Eric Chavez, while Brad Wilkerson and Jim Edmonds each launched a pair. With Cincinnati’s Jose Guillen a new arrival for Week 6, the production from the Playaz appears peerless. However, the pitching staff should hang their heads in shame – Tomo Okha lost twice in just 3.2 innings of work, allowing no less than 10 earned runs. On his own, Okha lost the Playaz nearly 20 points, easily enough for them to have reversed the result against the Bombers. The rest of the starters were modest enough, with only David Wells a winner, although the bullpen did the best of a bad job with 3 saves from Jose Mesa and the usual dominance from Arthur Rhodes. Time for the Playaz’ pitching coach to earn his overtime, as the Swingers touch down next.
MVP: Russ Oritz – Tempting a candidate as Ohka was for the Bombers, Ortiz ate innings for his team.
Not to be outdone, Bashers blast past impressive Italians
With two teams remaining unbeaten in the 2003 season, the Bashers kept a friendly rivalry with the Bombers alive with a healthy win over a quietly-improving Ice side. Offense helped to bail out an unlucky rotation, with ace Derek Lowe not gathering a win despite a tidy start, while the Bashers’ Ramon Ortiz was less useful than his brother as his complete game win languished on the bench. With Tim Worrell being hit by a loss despite allowing no earned runs, it was a good thing the bats were hot. Carlos Beltran kicked off the onslaught, with his three homers being tempered by the fact that only one came with a runner on. Bret Boone, Corey Koskie, and Gary Sheffield were close behind, adding two moon shots each, and allowing the lineup to carry another slow week from Benito Santiago. If the hitters stay locked in, the Dawgz from Easton may well be brought to heel next week.
Stamina was the problem for the Ice, for whom the starters appeared to tire easily. Elmer Dessens was the only one to last seven innings, and although he and Kerry Wood left the mound with wins, they weren’t enough to paper over the shortcomings of John Burkett and Steve Traschel. With Mike Cameron and Fernando Vina spraying extra-base hits around the park (Vina a particular surprise), the Ice remained in the hunt, but Tony Womack was a large hole to hide, and Jim Thome’s struggles continued – he hit safely just twice all week. Plenty of upside for the Italians, with the slow-starting Linguists in their sights.
MVP: Gary Sheffield – Two homers, seven ribbies, and did we mention three steals?
Lous issue warning to Mantle Division; dispose handily of Dawgz
No sweat for the Larrupin Lous, as Week 5 saw them rise to joint-leaders of the Mantle Division with the highest score of the week. With Pedro Martinez not trusting the bullpen, it was up to the Boston ace to win his starts, and Martinez threw a complete game in one of his two starts to end up with only one run allowed with 22 batters left bewildered by his pitching. Further wins from Wells, Thomson, and Morris leaves the Lous looking deep and dangerous where starting pitching is concerned, and the offense isn’t far behind – Andruw Jones and Preston Wilson both found their home-run stroke twice in seven days, and the rest of he hitters provided protection ably. The sounds of the Imperial March will not intimidate the Lous, as the Evil Empire’s arrival should be a good matchup.
No complaints about the Dawgz’ restlessness in terms of roster moves, as new recruit Kevin Millwood’s no-hitter threatened to match Pedro Martinez pitch for pitch. The Phillies’ ace even had enough gas to go out a second time, and totalled 17 whiffs and 15 innings on the week. With Jason Johnson adding depth, the Dawgz must have felt that the struggles of Brian Lawrence and Shawon Chacon were mere details. Run support, on the other hand, was a topic that loomed large, and the infield was particularly culpable in the loss – no homers, with J.T. Snow not even managing an extra-base hit all week. The outfield wasn’t quite as poor, but still didn’t add enough power to overcome the meagerness of the team’s production, and the Dawgz now drop two games behind the Bombers at the head of the Ruth Division. If that wasn’t bad enough, the undefeated Bashers are the new arrivals for next week.
MVP: Pedro Martinez – He don’t need no stinking bullpen.
Empire clings to power; suppresses Cunning Linguists with Klesko
A precarious perch at the head of the ultra-competitive Mantle Division remains the Empire’s this week, as they held off the resurgent Linguists to remain on top by 0.66 points’ average more than the Playaz. Ryan Klesko led the aerial assault, totalling four over the fences and eight driven in. With the rest of the hitters held in reserve, Livian Hernandez commanded the ground troops, throwing seven innings for one earned run, while Mark Redman’s departure to the DL was at least mitigated by the seven shutout innings he threw for Florida. Juan Acevedo, however, may be demoted after allowing 6 earned runs out of the bullpen. Still, plenty more where he came from as the Empire eyes up the Larrupin Lous for invasion.
The Linguists appear to have shaken off their winter slumber, and are attempting to kickstart another charge up the standings, a la last year’s stunning recovery. They’ll need to do more than this, although Estaban Loiaza’s gem was a good harbinger – the ChiSox starter went 8.1 innings for a win, with just six baserunners allowed. Kevin Brown dominated hitters, although he couldn’t get enough run support from his Dodgers for the victory, and had it not been for Rick Reed’s 10 ERs, the Linguists might even now be celebrating. But, Magglio Ordonez aside, this offense is looking short on power, and no hitter amassed more than 5 ribbies all week, meaning that the Linguists fall to a worrying 1-4 record. Time to get a grip, as the Ice come to town.
MVP: Ryan Klesko – Just pitch around him already.
Swingers finally in the wins against Texan Truth, who suffer from punished pitchers
A long time coming, but the Swingers have finally started to put together some points. By far their best weekly total to date, this week’s score was facilitated by wins from almost the entire rotation, with Tim Redding the best in picking up a pair of victories without dominating, and Mike Mussina chalking up another masterpiece in his eight innings. With Roy Halladay finally victorious, only a cursory hitting display was required, and Tampa Bay’s Aubrey Huff did the rest with four blasts to lead his team, while Scott Rolen and Edgar Renteria racked up eight RBIs each. The offense still isn’t consistent, but more luck like this for the starters and the Swingers may begin to build momentum as they pack their bags to visit the Playaz.
Just the opposite for the Naked Truth, for whom a devastating performance from the lineup was undermined by pitchers who couldn’t hold on for the wins. An outstanding 5 long balls by Juan Gonzalez, added to two from Alez Rodriguez and three from Carl Everett meant a total of 32 runners plated by the three Texas Rangers’ sluggers. With a core like that, the Truth will be truly scary for the rest of the year, but their rotation was their undoing. Although no starter was downright awful, only Greg Maddux stayed around for the win, while the other four starters exited with at least one loss, while Jeff Suppan got saddled with two. A couple more for a bullpen that was far from abysmal, and the Truth were left staring up at .500, rather than down at the rest of the Ruth Division. Assuming their luck improves, the Truth will be taking their frustrations out on the Senators next week.
MVP: Tim Redding – Got his wins and then got the hell out of there.
Champs may need to change a vowel; Squeaks enjoy absent pitchers
The New York Squeaks continue to keep themselves in the hunt for the Mantle Division top-spot, this week taking advantage of the Lordz of Flatbush’s lengthy disabled list. Arguably the best all-around pitching staff in the majors was not dominant this week, but was still good enough to go deep into games and emerge with positive contributions. Barry Zito’s seven-inning win couldn’t be faulted, while two starts each for Tom Glavine and Tim Hudson resulted in enough IPs to keep them in credit, although Hudson was especially unlucky not to win at least one. A save-heavy bullpen adds up to a pitching staff with almost no weak links, and Mike Lowell’s six extra-base hits (including three that cleared the fences) were the coup de grace for the Lordz. The Squeaks move on to the Hitmen next week.
The Lordz, meanwhile, are casting about for healthy pitching. With franchise ace Curt Schilling hit hard in his five innings of work, and Rodrigo Lopez leaving his start for the Orioles after just one inning pitched, the Lordz have the right to bemoan their luck, and are running out of places to put their injured. The arrival of new recruits Brandon Webb and Miguel Batista might help, as the Flatbu................es show a predilection for Arizona pitchers, but the hitters will also need to come around – an infield of Konerko, Glaus, Vidro, and Hernandez should be producing more than five extra-base hits per week, none of them long bombs. Things will turn around for the Lordz eventually – will it be next week, against the Naughties?
MVP: Mike Lowell – All of the pitchers contributed; he was the only hitter to make a difference.
Michigan sneak through quietly as Naughties’ manager prepares punishment
Hardly picking up from where they left off, but the Michigan Wolverines are at least winning games, and even now have a winning record in the Ruth Division. This week, they took advantage of the imploding Naughties, riding the hitting of Albert Pujols to their third win. The St. Louis slugger hit three moon shots and drove in nine, while scoring ten times for a week that put the rest of the lineup in the shade. Aside from that, there was little good news for Michigan – Oswalt and Miller, the young Houston starters, struggled to find wins, and Carlos Zambrano pitched his way onto the bench in his two starts. Still, the bullpen held things together with three saves and a win, and the Wolverines are well-placed to improve as they visit Mendoza.
No such silver lining for the Naughties, who saw most of their front-line starters hit well and often. Roger Clemens and Al Leiter were both defeated, while Ted Lilly’s return to Yankee Stadium was not a pleasant one. The outfield did what it could, with both Raul Mondesi and Trot Nixon sending runners home with so useful base hits, but the infield produced neither power nor average. Tino Martinez appears to be slowing down, and Miguel Tejada’s struggles are hurting the Naughties as well as the Athletics. A good time to recover would be next week, at the vulnerable-looking Lordz.
MVP: Albert Pujols – Where would the Wolverines be without his constant production?
Schmidt makes the difference; Hitmen hurt Fishermen while they’re down
A complete game shutout by Jason Schmidt was the difference between these two teams, with the Hitmen clambering up towards .500 in the Mantle Division while Mendoza remains rooted to the foot of the Ruth Division. Schmidt struck out twelve and allowed six baserunners in his victory, generating 41 points for Mattingley’s Hitmen, and it was a good thing he did – none of the other starters won in their outings, and Mike MacDougal lost two games as the Royals start to come back to earth. With Charles Johnson enjoying the Colorado air, and some solid support work from Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa – not often you see that sentence in that particular order. More work to be done next week, as the Squeaks are next on the Hitmen’s list.
With the Swingers escaping at the fifth attempt, Fishing with Mendoza are the last remaining team in the NYYFans.com League without a win. They came close to shedding the stigma this week, with excellent outings for Joe Kennedy, Brett Myers, and Mike Hampton, and singles being churned out by Nomar Garciaparra. But the big bats in the lineup were ominously quiet, in particular Alfonso Soriano, John Olerud and Frank Thomas, while Jeff Weaver was hit for 10 earned runs in just over 10 innings. If the marquee players wake up, then Mendoza’s offense should carry a few games, but they’ll need to be roused soon. The Wolverines are the first wake-up call of the rest of the season.
MVP: Jason Schmidt – The difference between two under-performing teams.
4 Horsemen building up steam with Dreifort and Meche; Senators drop third straight
A couple of wins in a row means that the 4 Horsemen are coming up the inside straight of the DiMaggio division, and have condemned the Senators to joint fifth after a hot start. With Dreifort throwing 13 innings of useful ball, including one win and 14 strikeouts, and Meche going seven innings without conceding a run, the Horsemen were out of the gate fast. Javier Vasquez didn’t win, but did strike out 12 in seven innings of work, and Mike Sweeney watched three balls sail over the fences, while Frank Catalanotto and Rafael Furcal spent plenty of time on the basepaths. Even with Bernie Williams and Edgardo Alfonzo quiet, the Horsemen were lengths ahead of the Senators by the time the finishing straight came into view. They run again next week at the undefeated NY Bombers.
Odalis Perez’s outing will have given the Senators optimism, as the Dodgers pitcher went 8.1 innings without allowing a run, striking out eleven hitters while allowing just eight to reach base. But Byung-Hyun Kim’s struggles will send him to the DL next week, and Mark Prior’s outing didn’t result in a win for the Senators or the Cubs. Although Barry Bonds’ home-run stroke is as reliable as ever, and Ty Wigginton’s bat found the gaps often, the rest of the offense couldn’t pick up the staff, with Brent Mayne and Karim Garcia especially unproductive. Time to bear down, as the Senators visit the high-scoring Naked Truth next week.
MVP: Darren Dreifort - struck out batters and chewed innings.
Team of the Week: Larrupin’ Lous (307.17 points)
Matchup of the Week: Cunning Linguists at Evil Empire (3.83 points’ difference)
Unlucky Team of the Week: The Naked Truth (lost with 273.00 points)
Lucky Team of the Week: Michigan Wolverines (won with 171.16 points)
Sunday, May 4th
Italian Ice at Cunning Linguists
Junior’s Bashers at Dawgs from Easton
Michigan Wolverines at Fishing with Mendoza
Newburgh Naughties at Lordz of Flatbush
Senators at The Naked Truth
The 4 Horsemen at NY Bombers
Evil Empire at The Larrupin’ Lous
Mattingly’s Hitmen at New York Squeaks
Saxmania’s Swingers at 9 Angry Playaz
Would one of the Assistant Commissioners like to do next week’s newsletter? I will be out of town at a housewarming party on Saturday evening, and I’m happy to get back to do the round-up Sunday evening, but it will be a little later than usual, so I thought I’d offer the opportunity. I’ve attached the scoresheet with this week’s newsletter if either of you are interested.
Be seeing you,