Birds of Pray vs. Speakers

Game 1 (and then some) – Neither team’s offense seems to care. Yasiel Puig nearly dents the scoreboard in the 5th, but Garrett Richards denies the home run attempt.

So after 9, each team is blanked on 4 hits. The Birds’ Melky Cabrera finally becomes the first runner for either team to reach 3rd base in the bottom of the 15th.

JJ Hardy puts an end to the embarrassment with a 2-out RBI single in the bottom of the 23rd inning! After nearly 2.5 hours, league officials will investigate pace of play initiatives. (Maybe they should just teach each team how to hit.) The Speakers finish with just 7 hits, all in separate innings, while the Birds pound out only 10!

W – Zach Britton (1-0), L – Jeremy Jeffress (0-1)

Game 2 – The first four Birds reach against hard-luck loser Felix Hernandez, scoring the only run Miguel Gonzalez needs in his 8.2 IP of 5-hit shutout ball. Melky goes deep in the 8th for insurance, 2-0. The Speakers have yet to score this season with King Felix (2.81 ERA) on the mound.

W – Gonzalez (1-0), L – Hernandez (0-2)

Game 3 – The Birds strike in the top of the 1st as Chris Davis strokes a 2-run HR off Bud Norris. The Speakers snap their 36-inning scoreless streak on Anthony Rizzo’s 2-out RBI single in the bottom half.

Melky Cabrera (2) homers again in the 3rd for a 3-1 Birds lead, but the Speakers scratch back to even the score through 9. Davis nearly homers again in the 10th, but settles for a 2-out RBI double followed by Nelson Cruz’s RBI single.

The Speakers get one back, but fail with 2-outs and the tying run in scoring position for a 5-4 final. Two of the Speakers’ runs are unearned, so they’ve scored two earned runs in 46 innings and drag a six-game losing streak into Game 4.

Game 4 – Davis yet again is denied a HR in the 1st, but scores Scooter Gennett with an RBI double. Danny Santana leads off the bottom half with a fly ball that just sneaks over the wall in left, thanks to Julio Teheran’s -12 power.

Puig comes up clutch in the 3rd with a 2-out 2-run double to put the Speakers in foreign territory: a lead, and 3 runs scored in 3 innings! Of course, Davis crushes yet another HR to answer in the 4th.

The Speakers nurse that 3-2 lead until the 7th when Yoenis Cespedes guns down Alex Gordon as the potential tying run at the plate following Jose Altuve’s single to end the inning.

Teheran (remember, -12) gifts Anthony Rendon in the bottom of the 8th for a 2-run margin to the 9th. Rendon carries an incredible .081 batting average (3-37, 12 Ks) into Game 9 later this week. Of course, the team average stands at a paltry .185.

Yoervis Medina retires the Birds in order in the 9th, but needs to turn back two hits to earn the save, 4-2.

W – Jordan Zimmermann (1-1), L – Teheran (0-1), S – Medina (1)

Speakers vs. Unhinged Wahoos

Game 1 – First batter of the season, Mookie Betts, nearly homers to begin the series and eventually scores an unearned run on Scott Van Slyke’s RBI single. The new look Unhinged Wahoos strike on Devin Mesoraco’s 4th inning 2-out Baltimore Special to take a 3-1 lead.

Andrelton Simmons immediately solos to begin the 5th as the Speakers climb to within a run. In the 7th, Simmons strikes again with Yoenis Cespedes on 2nd for a 4-3 lead. Anthony Rendon almost follows with a 2-run shot of his own yet neither Speaker scores.

With Leonys Martin on 2nd in the 8th, the Wahoo thunder (Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Abreu) pops up and whiffs, respectively. (They would get their revenge later in the series.) Jeremy Jeffress sets down the Wahoos in order in the 9th.

W – Chris Archer (1-0), L – Danny Duffy (0-1), S – Jeffress (1)

Game 2 – 2015 #1 pick Corey Kluber lives up to expectations by firing a neat 3-0 2-hitter to defeat Felix Hernandez. Encarnacion’s 1st inning sac fly is all the support Kluber requires; however, Nolan Arenado and former Speaker Asdrubal Cabrera tack on 7th inning RBIs.

The Speakers roll one walk (denied) and 5 singles, and never touch 2nd base in Kluber’s complete game gem.

W – Kluber (1-0), L – Hernandez (0-1)

Game 3 – Solo shots rule early as Mesoraco clocks his 2nd and Betts strokes 2 in consecutive innings. Jon Lester also walks Albert Pujols with the bases loaded to give the Speakers a 3-1 4th inning advantage.

With Encarnacion and Abreu on board in the 8th, Carlos Gomez hits the top of the wall to knot the game at 3-3. That’s where we stay until the 14th inning!

With 2-away, Adam Eaton doubles and Martin triples him home with the Wahoos’ game winner. Andrew Miller retires all 5 Speakers he faces to earn the victory, 4-3.

W – Miller (1-0), L – Yoervis Medina (0-1)

Game 4 – After being blanked for 10 innings, the Speakers blitz Adam Wainwright for 4 in the 1st, highlighted by Rendon’s bases-loaded walk and Jason Heyward’s 2-run double. With 2-outs and nobody on in the Wahoo 2nd, Jordan Zimmermann flubs a chopper and Pujols misplays a grounder. Cabrera makes the Speakers pay with a 3-run bomb.

Encarnacion and Abreu each go deep in the 3rd following Eaton’s triple as the Wahoos quickly erase the deficit and take a 6-4 lead. The teams trade a single run the rest of the way as the Wahoos write OOTL history, 7-5.

W – Wainwright (1-0), L – Zimmermann (0-1)

Manager Mann’s squad enjoys an official record over .500 for the very first time. Congratulations to the Unhinged Wahoos!

2015 Draft Day

Before our much anticipated Rookie Draft, we perform some annual housekeeping.

We begin by crowning our 2014 champion, Steve Gaiski, whose Arrogant Bastards (named for the Stone Brewing Company ale) faced eight elimination games enroute to their very first OOTL World Series title. Steve received our traveling trophy and a plaque to keep.

Our vote on league officers maintains Brandon Matlock as President, Craig Dolan as Vice-President and Bob Boyd as Secretary-Treasurer. Executive committee first alternate is John Ingiosi; second alternate, Kevin Baker.

2014 Player of the Year voting results: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson.

2014 Pitcher of the Year voting results: Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander and Derek Holland.

Both runners-up were summarily released by the Speakers during the Rookie Draft!

Rule clarifications:

Rule 3.07 must be clarified to allow for only one (1) previously carded player designated as injured reserve per team roster per season.

Pitchers that can both start and relieve are not limited to only the number of *** relief appearances as in the corresponding MLB season. The combination of starts and relief appearances cannot exceed total *** starts or *** total games.

Following a mid-series injury that lasts more than one (1) game during the playoffs, the affected team may activate any inactive player on its roster.

Rule reminders:

Rule 2.12 (a) Should rare play result 28 appear consecutively, pitchers with positive control roll to potentially prevent a walk. If the pitcher prevents a walk, the count shall be three (3) balls. (On the initial 28, roll for a negative control pitcher to potentially walk the batter.

Rule 2.19 When 1st base is occupied, the runner is being held on (HO) and a slow (S) left-handed batter, board result 12 becomes a double play.

Rule 2.22 In 8th inning or later, the score must be two (2) runs closer than indicated on the boards to execute a successful pickoff play. This also applies to the 37/39 pickoff chart.

Rules discussion:

1 – (Brandon, Barry & Steve) Eliminate Rule 2.12 (e) Runner on Second board play result 26 requires a defensive roll for fielding: Fielding 1 – Batter out at 1st, runner holds; A-2B, PO-1B.
Fielding 2 & 3 – Batter out at 1st, runner advances one base; A-2B, PO-1B.
(Fails 5-6.)

2 – (Brandon) Edit Rule 5.06. Except for injury or ejection, no starting pitcher may be removed from a game unless one of the following criteria has been met:
a) Must face a minimum of nine (9) batters if no runs have been scored. After facing the 9th batter, the starting pitcher may be removed anytime.
b) Starting pitcher may be removed prior to nine (9) batters faced if one run has scored.
c) No restrictions during the post-season.
(Passes 6-5, but with eliminating c) above.)

3 – (Brandon) Change the fatigue chart for Q3* and Q4* relievers. The fatigue chart would remain as is for Q2* relievers OR any pitcher who can both start and relieve. Q3* and Q4* relievers would begin to fatigue at seven (7) batters as current, but instead of losing one (1) grade, they would lose two (2) grades. At ten (10) batters, they would lose an additional three (3) grades. The Q3* or Q4* reliever would continue losing three (3) grades at every additional interval.
(Passes 7-4.)

4 – (Brandon) Change the Steal Chart and Hit and Run rules:
a) A team can hit and run with any player. Two (2) 31s are no longer required to call hit and run. However, a team would be limited to calling hit and run no more than five (5) times in a nine (9) inning game. In extra innings, a team can only call hit and run twice, regardless of the number of times the hit and run was called during the first nine (9) innings.
b) Change the steal chart for C, D, & E runners on steals of 2nd base as follows:
C – Anytime
D – Remove the out restrictions; allow the runner to be able to run either up or down two (2) runs. After the 6th inning, all restrictions are removed.
E – Remove the out restrictions. After the 6th inning, runner can run either up or down four (4) runs.
(Passes 6-5.)
c) Hit & Run penalties under the SAL chart remain.
d) Remove the penalties listed on the SAL chart: If a runner is ineligible to steal, SALs lose numbers as follows: A=(-0), B=(-2), C=(-5), D=(-7), E=(-10), F=(-12), G=(-15), and R=(-20); and then, is subject to Master Game reductions, (i.e., stealing 3rd & home).
e) Create a Pitchout rule. The defensive manager may call a pitchout once an offensive manager has decided to call either hit and run or a straight steal with only a runner on 1st. The pitchout may be called only once per game as long as neither team leads by more than three (3) runs. Once a pitchout is called, the runner on first will automatically attempt a straight steal, automatically losing 12 points on the stolen base attempt. Also factor the catcher’s arm, but DO NOT calculate the pitcher’s MF.

5 – (Barry & Brandon) If above Hit & Run rule fails and 2014 rules continue to apply, eliminate the roll for a foul ball on the hit and run play.
(Passes 9-2.)

6 – (John) During the regular season allow any starting lineup batter with steal attempts remaining to hit and run with no reductions; dice result 13 would be two (2) strikes on the batter and a steal attempt; dice result 14 would be two (2) balls on the batter and a steal attempt. Replacement batters/runners and post-season would use present rules. batter would need to have two 31’s on his card.
Also reduce steal attempts from 80% to 70%. (APBA uses the A thru R to reduce the number of opportunities to steal and the 70% will do the same thing.) Straight steals use the present rules.
Overuse of stolen base attempts result in the player returning to the draft pool at the end of the season. If excessive, a draft pick could also be lost (7th round ) or whatever seems appropriate.
(Fails 3-8.)

6a – (John) Player overuse (G, GS, IP, AB, SBA) results in immediate release. NO games will be replayed.

7 – (Craig) 80% steals should be eliminated and 100% of steal usage should be allowed. It is a waste of calculations and limits the value of key players.
(Fails 1-10.)

8 – (Bob Silks & Barry) Current game conversion chart for 100 games should be used for steal attempts.

9 – (Craig) If an owner makes a mistake at the draft resulting in an illegal roster and it is not caught by the Executive Committee at the draft, the owner is entitled to an additional drop/add move(s) when the error is discovered (before roster approval) in order to make the roster legal. He will not have any transactions voided or be forced to keep a player he had cut.
(Fails 1-10.)

10 – (Craig) If a pitcher played a position in MLB other than pitcher, he is permitted to be used at that position in the OOTL but is still not permitted to bat. Examples of usage could include a defensive replacement or even a double switch to put the pitcher in left field while a left handed reliever pitches to a batter and then reinserted to pitch to the following batter. This was done more frequently in the past in the MLB and is very rare now but was done this year by the Padres. If used in a game, the pitcher is not pitching, it would count as a game against his usage.
(Fails 2-9.)

11 – (Craig) All starting pitchers without relief appearances in MLB can also relieve in OOTL playoffs on one day’s rest after a start. Once these starting pitchers pitch in relief, they are not allowed to start another game in that playoff series. Their relief usage would be judged as any Q4* reliever.
(Fails 3-8.)

12 – (Craig) If an owner quits OOTL and is replaced, any draft picks traded by that owner will be replaced by a supplemental draft pick at the end of the corresponding round.
(Passes 11-0.)

13 – (Bob Silks) Limit player Batter Characteristics to +/- 7.
(Fails 2-9.)

14 – (Bob Silks) Make either the first 8 or first 9 on a hitter’s card a hit.
(Fails 3-8.)

15 – (Barry) Eliminate Rule 2.20: ability to switch from Fielding One to either Fielding Two or Three if one of those results is better for the defense.
(Passes 6-5.)

16 – (Brian) Reintroduce the BROWN BOARD, which deals with dropped throws and allows for trail runners to take extra bases.
(Any manager playing Brian in the 2nd or 3rd Period may agree to trial the Brown Board during that series to become more familiar with its nuances.)

17 – (Brandon) No more than two (2) XB J-4 players may be selected in one draft.
(Fails 2-9.)

18 – (Steve) Runner on First board – if offense calls hit and run and card result is 6, no further “double roll” takes place (to potentially change to a 3). All other scenarios pertaining to Rule 2.24 still apply.
(Passes 6-5.)

19 – (Brandon) Edit Rule 11.04 to read: Stats are due following the 10th day after each period:
Stats submitted more than a week late result in an offense. A first time offense will be the forfeiture of a seventh (7th) round draft selection in the next Rookie Draft. The second offense will result in the forfeiture of a sixth (6th) round selection. The third offense will result in the forfeiture of a fifth (5th) round selection. Any additional offenses can result in losing multiple draft picks. If the guilty manager no longer owns the designated forfeited selection, the next higher selection must be forfeited.
Any playoff team that has not submitted stats is not eligible to compete in that season’s playoffs until stats are submitted. Non-submission of stats can result in removal from the league.
The Executive Committee can take into account extenuating circumstances prior to applying any penalties.
(Passes 10-1.)

20 – (Barry) Eliminate Rule 2.20: A defensive manager that rolls Fielding One has the option of any of the three Fielding results. This no longer applies to Results 36-41 or Rare Play board results.
(Already passes as rule proposal 15 above.)

Following a brief break, the time had come for Mike to make the first selection of this year’s Rookie Draft.

2014 Championship Series Highlights

#4 Arrogant Bastards vs. #2 Devil Dogs

A little over two years ago I think I was having lunch w/ Brandon and Mike. We were talking about APBA and the OOTL was in search of a new manager. So I said to Mike, “if you join the league, I’ll come back.” He did and so did I.

On Saturday afternoon I finally won the whole damn thing! To my playoff opponents Bob, John and Barry, I was on the lucky end of 3 VERY GOOD series. Down 2-1, 3-1, and 3-1 I rallied to go 8-0 in elimination games and that’s only half of it.

I try to go into every year with a goal of leaving the draft as a potential playoff team. Normally I’m pretty loyal to players and don’t make too many trades. So this year I went against that by making 3 trades prior to the draft obtaining Adrian Gonzalez, Kenley Jansen and Homer Bailey. Three pieces that I needed this season.

At the draft my goal was to get better in the bullpen and I did that. I also drafted a guy with these words, “I hate this guy but I’m taking Russell Martin.” It was the right move. As my draft wound down I looked at my team and knew it could contend. But I’d lost to a playoff rotation for the ages a year prior. So I drafted Tanner Roark…then near the end if my draft I made a decision to build a playoff team that could win it all and I drafted Jared Cosart. Including the playoffs Cosart started 9 games – I won each game – he went 8-0.

As the regular season moved along I hovered around the 4th or 5th playoff spot. But I had a hole or two. Starting a 1 left fielder who was hitting under .200 wasn’t cutting it. Matt Holliday was my leading hitter hitting over .350 but a move had to be made. So I traded for Allen Craig, David Ortiz, and Mark Ellis. I wanted Choo, but Brandon keenly pointed out that Craig was a 4 at first base and could back up Agone. (Craig moving from LF to First after running for Agone helped me win 2 or 3 games.) Papi, well Papi is Papi. Ellis improved my infield D. And I also traded for Caleb Thielbar. But did I have enough? In addition to these deals I nearly pulled the trigger on a trade that involved Giancarlo Stanton and Danny Duffy and others, but I decided to keep the beast. Matt Holliday hardly played again.

So I was set…I felt if I get to the playoffs I have a shot to win this. But that comes down to luck. Game 5 of my first round and I’m down 2-0 in the 9th with an out and Matt Wieters ties it with a HR; and I go ahead on a SAC fly later in the inning…and win the series 3-2. Luck on my side.

Then I fall behind the Lymebees 3 games to 1 and in game 6 Bottom 10th, 2 outs, and I’m down 5-4; and Matt Wieters hits another 2-run HR to walk off to game 7. More luck . Mike Trout delivers in the bottom of the 7th of game 7 to send the ABs to the Series.

There were 3 shutouts in the WS – games 1, 4 and 6…and I found myself down 3-1 in the series again. A 12-inning game 5 win sent the series to Saturday afternoon. Lee and Hamels went 5 innings in each game for the wins. After that my pen took over as they had in each series. Adrian Gonzalez knocked in both runs in game 6. And Papi jacked a 1st inning 2-run HR to set the tone in game 7. Trout also homered. And when Ellsbury flew out to LF with a man on in the 9th, the 4-1 victory and 3rd series comeback was complete. Again I was very lucky. I was helped out by John and Barry’s dice. I guess it was my time.

Thanks again to Bob, John and Barry for 3 great series. Also thanks to Craig for providing some insight during the playoffs…he kept believing from Florida! Also thanks for all the other well wishers. Rumor has it Mike was on the Moon the entire series chanting, “BASTARDS BASTARDS BASTARDS”.

It’s great to win but ultimately I’m a baseball fan who generally tries to draft and remain loyal to guys that I like. When I got home I thought that in this league it’s great that names like Utley, Hamels, Howard, Lee, Longoria, Stanton, Holliday, Trout and even Ichiro can be a part of an OOTL championship team.

For the stat whores, here are my team relief pitching stats for the playoffs. Not too shabby:

Innings – 66.0
Hits – 40
R – 8
ER – 7
HR – 2
BB – 9
K – 72
E – 1
HBP – 1
WHIP – .74
ERA – 0.95

I’ll savor this one for a while but it’s now time to start preparing for the 2015 draft. That is where the marathon begins. Thanks everyone. Happy New Year and good health to everyone! See you ALL at the draft.


Head East – All I-70 All the Time

Saturday, June 8 – UBT Day Eight

You know what they say about Ohio. It’s high in the middle and wide on both ends.

I have family in the Dayton area so I’m familiar with just how wide. Plus, a couple of our UBTs have covered nearly every professional team in Ohio. (I’ve only missed the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and possibly a new team that’s sprung up since our Ohio tours.)

Although none of this week’s driving has dragged, I brought along a laptop in order to share something with Mitch. Of course it’s baseball-related.

I’d been fanatical about baseball since Little League. Even considering our brief season, pickup games, whiffle ball, The Sporting News and the Game of the Week, I craved more. So I finally responded to the APBA ad (in The Sporting News) to receive a free Johnny Bench card. What better way to spend some birthday cash?

I still have that set and every season since. I’m still active in a fun face-to-face Master Game league called OOTL with about a dozen other local baseball enthusiasts.

I also embraced technology and play in some leagues using their computer version, BBW or Baseball for Windows. That brings me to my point.

The BBW version features Ernie Harwell doing radio play-by-play of your games! What better complement to a UBT stretch of driving than to play a few league games through Mitch’s truck radio?

I boot my laptop and arrange my starting lineup. Soon we hear Ernie paint the diamond picture with the Riegle Speakers hosting. Ohio’s girth never seemed so narrow!

Before we know it, we cross into West Virginia for a familiar grocery store stop. (If you’re unfamiliar with Pennsylvania’s laws regarding beer sales, think Dark Ages.)

Over the PA border lies Washington County. When traveling I-70, you can literally glance directly into the ball yard home of the Washington Wild Things.

Our hotel also hugs the Interstate as we’re perhaps 150 yards from the home plate entrance. This is where UBT 2013 will conclude.

Due to Washington’s proximity to Pittsburgh, two friends in Mitch’s face-to-face All Star Baseball winter league join us on the hotel patio for pre-game pizza and beverages. Chris joined us for UBT 2010 featuring both Chicago MLB teams and Milwaukee with bookend games in South Bend and Gary, Indiana. That had been our most aggressive trip prior to this marathon. We’re glad he and Jeff can share in our final night of UBT 2013.

The four of us stroll toward the entrance of Consul Energy Park. Our perfect evening of independent Frontier League ball is enhanced by the “Turnpike Classic.” The Lake Erie Crushers represent the Cleveland Browns while the home team assumes the role of the Steelers.

Consul Energy Park Pregame - Washington, PAThe outdoor stadium features artificial turf and dirt. Although bouncers do kick up some sort of cloud.

Bleacher seating is flanked by a picnic area down the left field line and a party deck in far right. The kids really enjoy the mascot as many families attend.

Steeler-themed giveaways highlight between-inning moments. The Crushers live up to their name during those innings, scoring early and often, coasting to a 9-1 victory.

Mitch's Popcorn Snack - Consul Energy Park - Washington, PAThe Wild Things load the sacks in the bottom of the 9th, but come up empty. No one homers, but Russell Moldenhauer strokes an RBI triple in the 4th.

We enjoy post-game beverages and baseball highlights back at the hotel before Chris and Jeff travel back to Pittsburgh. All that remains for Mitch and me is a good night’s rest and a leisurely Sunday drive to Harrisburg.

UBT 2013 gives us a lot to talk (and write) about. Our custom T-shirts, binders, photos and conversations keep these UBT memories alive. Thank you for taking this journey with us.

From Deep Short