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Big Daddy Baseball League

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BDBL Weekend V: Cleveland

The Crew
Standing from left to right: Greg Newgard, Brian
Potrafka, Jim Doyle, Tony Chamra, Mike Stein,
Mike Glander and, seated, Jeff Paulson.

CLEVELAND, OH -- The fifth annual BDBL Weekend celebration took place on June 25th and 26th in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio.  This year's participants included Mike Glander, Jim Doyle, Mike Stein, Jeff Paulson, Greg Newgard, Brian Potrafka and Tony Chamra.

The adventure began on Friday night with a road trip to Akron, where the group took in a game between the Double-A Akron Aeros and Bowie Baysox.   Canal Park is a typical modern minor league park featuring all the comforts and amenities one might expect, including dirt-cheap hot dogs and beers.

Akron Aeros
Canal Park, Akron

The highlight of the rather uneventful game was a three-run homer by Corey Smith in the second inning and an appearance by last year's OLCS hero Carl Sadler.  The Aeros won by a score of 5-1 while the group of seven BDBL members enjoyed some good discussions over BDBL history, baseball and politics.  From there, the group set off for Jillian's, where the night became a bit of a blur.  Much pool was played, much food was eaten, and much beer and hurricane shots were consumed.

Akron gang
From left to right: Paulson, Stein, Doyle and Newgard.

The next morning, Glander and Doyle met up with Paulson and Newgard in the lobby of the beautiful Hyatt-Regency Hotel and set off to get some lunch.  On the way to their destination, Doyle ran into a man in the streets who is apparently the chairman of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.  While Doyle and the chairman walked down the street in one direction, Glander, Paulson and Newgard took off in the opposite direction.  After a while, Doyle finally figured out that he had been ditched, and retraced his steps to rejoin the rest of the group.  Despite the chairman's recommendations, they decided to have lunch at a four-star diner located nearby.

That afternoon, Doyle and Newgard decided to lock horns over Newgard's laptop, in a series that would be dubbed, "The Clash of the Titans."  Doyle's 30-50 Irish Rebels took a commanding lead after three innings thanks to FIVE home runs (each of which was accompanied by the booming directive of Doyle to "SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!")  Despite all those longballs, the Irish Rebels just barely managed to eke out a victory by a slim one-run margin.  The win extended Manchester's season-high winning streak to five games, giving Doyle hope that his beloved Rebels would imitate the success of the '04 Devil Rays.  But alas, those hopes were dashed when Manchester's streak came to an end in Game Two.  The series would end with the 24-56 Silicon Valley CyberSox taking three of four from the hapless Rebels.

Sensing an opportunity to boost his team's already-overinflated record, Jeff Paulson then sat opposite of Doyle and easily won three out of four himself, giving the Irish Rebels a 2-6 record on the weekend.

While Doyle and Newgard were locked into their two and a half hour marathon series, Stein took Glander and Potrafka on a tour of the wonderfully-captivating Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  There, the group was able to gawk at such historical artifacts as Justin Timberlake's jeans, David Cassidy's jumpsuit, Duran Duran's feather boas and Elvis Presley's junior high school report card.  (If there were any artifacts contributed by Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Rush or The Doors, they were all missed by this reporter.)

Jeff and Bob
From left to right: Bob Feller and Jeff Paulson.

At around 5:00, the group headed to Jacobs Field.   The ballpark is as beautiful as advertised, from the wide-open concourses to the architecture to the most amazing scoreboards in all of baseball.  Not only does The Jake feature the game's biggest scoreboard, but there is so much information (such as updated lineups for both teams and updated stats for every player -- including OBP and SLG) packed onto that board (not to mention the exhaustive out-of-town scoreboard and all of the other DiamondVision screens scattered around the ballpark) that it is by far the most impressive feature of the stadium.  The concession stands are filled with nearly every type of food imaginable, at prices that would put a Yankee Stadium vendor out of business.  And all around the park, there are places to sit, stand or eat at a table within full view of the field.

The Jake
The Jake.

The game featured a match-up of new Marlboro ace C.C. Sabathia against Sylmar mainstay Joe Kennedy.  But after throwing just eight pitches, in a three-up/three-down first, Sabathia walked off the mound rubbing his shoulder.   At the top of the second, everyone's favorite porn star, Kaz Tadano, jogged in from the bullpen sporting an ERA of 7.30.  This caused Paulson -- a big fan of offense, in bold contrast to his BDBL team -- to weap with joy.  Yet Tadano thrilled the home crowd by blowing away (pun intended) the competition, whiffing nine batters in six innings of work, while allowing just one run on four hits and a walk.

Meanwhile, Cleveland had managed to score a run in the second on an RBI single by Stamford legend Lou Merloni, and another in the third on a fielder's choice by Manchester's pride and joy, Omar Vizquel.

With Tadano throwing bj's -- er, I mean, bb's -- that 2-0 lead looked like it was going to stand, causing Paulson much angst.  However, in the seventh, the visiting Colorado Rockies finally got on the board thanks to a Todd Helton double and a Vinny Castilla single.  Cleveland then regained their two-run lead in the bottom of the inning on a Matt Lawton single.

With the Indians and Rockies having played ten innings the night before, both bullpens were apparently tapped out, as the Indians turned to Rick White to close it out for them in the eighth.  Colorado scored a run by hitting three straight ground balls to second baseman Ronnie Belliard (one of which was an error, the other two were infield singles, caused by the fact that Belliard likes to position himself in short right field.)  They then tied the score on a sac fly by Helton.

Tribe Wins
Tribe Wins!

The two teams then wasted scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity until the bottom of the 12th, when Ben Broussard's double scored Jody Gerut from second to win the game for the home team.

Following the game, the seven BDBL members stayed for an impressive post-game fireworks show, then went for a night-cap at the Cooperstown bar and grill across the street from the stadium.


With yet another successful BDBL Weekend in the books, plans are already underway for next season.  The general consensus seems to be in favor of a trip to the new stadium in Philadelphia.

In closing, a special jeer goes out to D.J. Shepard, who failed to attend another BDBL Weekend, despite the fact that this one was held in his own backyard.  Boooooooo!!!

Links to past BDBL Weekends:

2000: Yankee Stadium
2001: Fenway
2002: Pittsburgh
2003: Baltimore