year has come and gone. It seems like just yesterday we were all
wondering who would be crazy enough to spend upwards of $20 million on a
40-year-old outfielder. A lot has happened since then. This
is my attempt to summarize it all in one (relatively) brief article.
Before I do so, of course, I have to
hand out one "congratulations" and a bunch of "thank-you's." The
congrats goes once again to Tom DiStefano for kicking my ass (once
again) in the World Series and earning his second BDBL championship
trophy in the past four seasons. The Allentown Ridgebacks have
become a true dynasty, and I'm sure I'll be sending a few more trophies
Tom's way before that dynasty is through.
I'll start off by thanking all of you
for another terrific season. Sure, we had our ups and downs, and
more than our fair share of controversy, but some say that level of
passion is what makes this league so great. Continued thanks to
our Transactions AND Contracts Secretary, Tom, for helping me out a
great deal this season. Continued thanks to D.J. Shepard for
keeping on top of player usage throughout the season. Many thanks
to our "Secretary of VORP" (I love that title!) Tony Badger for his work
on the fantastic "VORP Central" page.
As always, thanks to Tony Chamra for
providing us all with timely MLB stats (despite the fact that his
priorities were completely out of whack this year, and the stats were
delivered later than usual, just because he was getting married.) Thanks to all of you
who attended BDBL Weekend this season -- a record turnout. I think
the highlight of my "BDBL career" was sitting around a breakfast table
surrounded by more than half the league. That was cool beyond
Many thanks to Matt Clemm for giving us
all free access to our BDBL fantasy football league (where I might point out the
Salem Steers have clinched a playoff berth.) Thanks to all who
have contributed to the BDBL forum this season (which includes almost
everyone this year.) Thanks to Johnny Bo for running the highly
popular "Las Vegas Hilton Supercontest." And thanks to the person
or people (I'm sorry I don't remember) who helped me put together the
stats disk this year.
And, as is tradition, many thanks to my
wife, Karen, for putting up with all this crap and listening to me whine
like a baby every November after I've failed once again to win a stupid
trophy that I know she wouldn't want me to display in her house anyway.
(And yes, I said her house.)
As with every other pre-season in BDBL
history, the winter trading season began with a flurry of trades
involving big-name, high-impact players and prospects. Among the
many, many names switching uniforms last winter were Roger Clemens (who
was traded twice before the month of December), Brian Giles, Carlos
Delgado, Mark Mulder, Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciaparra, Bobby Crosby,
Tim Hudson, Brandon Webb, Magglio Ordonez, Derek Jeter, Armando Benitez,
Mark Loretta, Mike Lowell, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Dontrelle Willis.
Early in the trading season, the Sylmar
Padawans placed their low-cost ace Jake Westbrook, on the trading block.
After a number of weeks of negotiations involving a number of teams, the
Wapakoneta Hippos shockingly emerged as the winners. At the time,
the Hippos were considered to be anything but potential contenders in
2005, but the Westbrook trade was just the first in a series of moves by
eventual EL GM of the Year Bobby Sylvester that turned his team into a
history is filled with 18-year-old phenoms who burned out
long before they became useful. They call these types of
trades 'high risk/high reward' for a reason. For some
reason, you focus only on the 'high reward' part and ignore
the 'high risk.'"
Trading season ended on December 22nd,
with 37 trades made in all -- just one short of the BDBL winter record.
Of course, no BDBL off-season is complete without a major controversial
trade. Last winter, that trade was made between the Salem
Cowtippers and Los Angeles Diablos. In exchange for "#3 starter"
Odalis Perez and prospects Abe Alvarez and Jeff Baker, the Cowtippers
received platoon player Jose Hernandez and a pair of 18-year-old
Immediately, loud howls of protests
emerged from the teenage-boy-lovers in the league, who insisted that Salem
had pulled one over on rookie GM Andy Lurie. Things were said in
the heat of the moment, and the dead carcass of Rule 9.3 was hauled out
of its grave and paraded around the village square. The initial
trade was rescinded, and a challenge was issued to beat Salem's revised
offer for Hernandez and the two pimply-faced prospects. When no
team stepped up with a better offer, the trade was once again
consummated between Salem and Los Angeles, Rule 9.3 was put back in its coffin,
and everyone lived happily ever after.
On December 18th, Lurie was given his
pink slip after it became clear that he would not be able to fulfill his
duties as owner. More ugliness ensued when Lurie protested that he
had not been given his day in court, but the testimony of character
witnesses close to Lurie was convincing enough to make me uncomfortable, so I stuck
with my decision. A little over a week later (after an abbreviated
interim management period by former BDBL member Brian Hicks), Ed McGowan was
welcomed into the league. In retrospect, although I feel badly for
the way Andy left, Ed has become such an asset to the league that I
couldn't be happier with my decision.
The free agent class of 2005 included
the greatest, highest-impact player ever to become a BDBL free agent.
In fact, it would be hard for any free agent in the past or present to
top Barry Bonds in terms of pure impact value. It was the third
time in his BDBL career that Bonds became a free agent, and the second
time since the introduction of the d-Day auction system. In 2003,
Bonds was coming off a season in which he hit .370/.582/.799 at the MLB
level. He commanded a then-record $16.5 million salary. In
the winter of 2005, Bonds was coming off an even better season:
.362/.609/.812. In just 373 MLB at-bats, Bonds hit 45 homers and
walked an astounding 232 times (an all-time MLB single-season record for
both walks and OBP.)
poor Bobby, he either bought the best one-year player in
BDBL history, or is stuck with a 100 AB $22m player for next
What is the market value for such a
player? What is a hitter worth who can change a team's entire
season and carry a team's entire offense all by himself? According
to the world-famous Doyle Formula™,
Bonds was assessed with a market value of $22.8 million -- a figure that
would represent nearly 36% of a team's total salary.
Speculation was rampant, both over how
much Bonds would fetch on the open market, and which team would be
crazy enough to pay that price. Bidding on Lot #1 began on New
and when it ended on the 3rd, the winning bid of $20.5 million -- a new BDBL record -- was announced. The winner: Bobby Sylvester of the
Wapakoneta Hippos. The winning bid surpassed the Marlboro
Hammerheads' highest bid by just $500,000. Only six other teams
bothered to submit a serious bid.
At the time, the Hippos were considered
to be among the least-likely candidates for entry into the Bonds
Sweepstakes. But by adding Bonds to an offensive core that already
included the great Albert Pujols (.331/.415/.657 in MLB '05), the Hippos
immediately launched themselves out of the Eck League cellar and into
Of course, the signing did not come
without risk. Bonds underwent knee surgery in the off-season
and was still recovering slowly from the injury when he arrived at
MLB spring training. Late in March, Bonds announced that he could be
sidelined for the entire 2005 season, but the speculation was that he
would return by the all-star break. Spending $20.5 million for
a season suddenly seemed like it would be a strong possibility for the 2006
Hippos. But instead, they lucked out big-time, and Bonds did not
return to the lineup until mid-September. He finished the MLB
season with just 42 at-bats -- well short of the minimum threshold
listed in Rule 18.11. In the end, not only did the Hippos pay
below market value for the greatest impact free agent in history, but
they were then able to free all that money the following season.
Other big-name free agent signings
included Vladimir Guerrero ($16m), Adrian Beltre ($15.5m), J.D. Drew
($13m), Freddy Garcia ($10.5m), Carlos Guillen ($9m) and Chris Carpenter
($9m), with the Silicon Valley CyberSox spending $24.5 million on two of
those players (Beltre and Carpenter.)
In the free agent draft, Roy Halladay,
Bartolo Colon, Milton Bradley, Corey Koskie and Randy Wolf were the
first five picks -- all in the second round. Some bargain picks
included Jorge Cantu (11th round, Nashville), Reggie Sanders (17th
round, Villanova), Chad Qualls (23rd round, Kansas), Kyle Farnsworth
(26th round, Wapakoneta), Gustavo Chacin (26th round, New Milford), Bob
Wickman (27th round, Kansas), Arthur Rhodes (27th round, Marlboro),
Shawn Chacon (29th round, Southern Cal) and Derrick Turnbow (30th round,
The first five picks in the farm draft
were Brendan McCarthy, Tadahito Iguchi, Mitch Einertson, Matt
Tuiasosopo and Javy Herrera. Some good bargain picks included
Francisco Liriano (10th overall, Bear Country), Chad Orvella (12th
overall, New Milford), Robinson Cano (2nd round, Ravenswood), Chien-Ming
Wang (2nd round, Las Vegas), Kenji Jojima (2nd round, Salem), Jonathan
Papelbon (3rd round, Wapakoneta), Adam Jones (3rd round, Chicago) and
Luke Hochevar (10th round, Salem.)
Between Cutdown Day and Opening Day,
the league saw an unusually large number of trades. Among them,
the Ridgebacks were able to off-load one of their two high-paid free
agent shortstop acquisitions, trading Nomar Garciaparra to the
Manchester Irish Rebels in exchange for Billy Wagner.
Unfortunately for Manchester, Garciaparra would become a $7 million
liability the following season.
Chicago unloaded some salary as well,
dumping Chipper Jones on the Bear Country Jamboree in exchange for Jose
Vidro. And after experiencing the quickest case of buyer's remorse
on record, the Jamboree unloaded the freshly-signed Brad Penny to the
Cowtippers in exchange for controversial Cuban refugee Kendry Morales.
Salem then turned around and sent Penny to Ravenswood in order to
reacquire the first-ever player to don a Cowtippers uniform, Greg Maddux.
For Bear Country, it was the beginning
of a long, ignominious season. Their #1 goal throughout the season
was to avoid the embarrassing infamy of surpassing the 1999 Blazers
record for losses in a single season. In the end, they finished
with a record of 52-108 -- six losses short of the record.
"I think Tony
B. has joined Mike Stein as the most optimistic owner in the
But the biggest trade of the off-season
occurred just after to the deadline when the Los Altos Undertakers
traded reigning league MVP and Cy Young Eric Gagne to the New Hope
Badgers in exchange for prospect Jeremy Hermida. At the time, the
trade seemed to make little sense for either team. With New Hope
inheriting a lame-duck Litchfield Lightning roster less than six months
before, they weren't expected to contend in the hotly-contested Butler
Division. And Hermida had never played higher than A-ball, and
carried a minor league career slugging percentage below .400. Yet
the trade couldn't have worked out better for both sides, as Gagne
nearly carried the Badgers to a wild card berth all by himself, while
Hermida developed overnight into a top-ten prospect.
"Blazers fans are doing cartwheels in the streets of New
Milford. Traffic was tied up for over an hour. Five arrests
were made. Billy baseball spent the afternoon collecting
bail money for his entire family. Go Blazers!"
The traditional Opening Day series
between the Cowtippers and Blazers took place on January 28th, resulting
in a split of the four game series. This season's series took on
added importance, given the high expectations of the Blazers franchise
heading into the season. After losing more than 600 games over the
previous six seasons and never winning more than 78 games in a season,
New Milford was expected to not only contend, but win a spot in the BDBL
post-season. In pre-season polling, New Milford earned three votes to
win the Butler Division and four votes to win the OL championship.
The Blazers then got off to a "blazing" start, going 18-10 in Chapter
One while owning sole possession of first
place in the division.
Meanwhile, the Manchester Irish Rebels
were equally red-hot in the early going. Manchester began the
season with a 10-2 record, during which they outscored their opponents
by a whopping 52 runs (an average of over four runs per game.) The
Irish Rebels offense scored an average of 8.3 runs per game during that
stretch, while their pitching staff posted a team ERA of 3.76.
Like New Milford, Manchester finished the first chapter with an 18-10
record, then stumbled hard down the mountain the rest of the year.
The Griffin Division race between the
Padawans and CyberSox was expected to be a tight one, so it was a bit of
a surprise when Sylmar swept Silicon Valley during the first week of the
season. The CyberSox recovered from that defeat immediately,
however, and fueled by a February 6th no-hitter by Nate Robertson, swept
the Bear Country Jamboree to pull them into a tie for first in the
On March 8th, just five weeks into the
BDBL season and just three weeks after pitchers and catchers reported to
MLB spring training, the league was faced with yet another trade
involving a high-impact player going to a heavily-favored team, which
resulted in weeks upon weeks of debate over which rule changes needed to
be made to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. By this
point in the league's existence, this had become a yearly tradition.
Is this a joke?
Seriously. Is it?"
This year, "The Trade" involved
top-five ace Jason Schmidt moving from the Cleveland Rocks to the
Wapakoneta Hippos in exchange for Cliff Lee and two veteran relievers.
At the time, Lee was a generic 27-year-old pitcher with no proven track
record of success in either the major or minor leagues. Lee was
coming off an MLB second half in which he posted a 7.91 ERA, while the
two relievers (Kyle Farnsworth and Ryan Dempster) had a combined 4.53
ERA in MLB '04.
Initially, this trade seemed too
lopsided to be real, and both teams involved were forced to fend off
accusations that this was nothing but an early April Fool's prank.
But the trade was no joke, and the Hippos had added an ace to a roster
that was already stacked with ringers. Oddly enough, however, this
acquisition seemed to have little impact on the Hippos' performance
throughout the regular season. After posting a .571 winning
percentage in Chapter One, Wapakoneta's winning percentage dropped to
.538 the rest of the way. By the end of March, the Hippos had
taken over the Person Division lead for good, and though they continued
to perform sporadically the rest of the season, they never came close to
losing that lead.
While the Irish Rebels were making a
lot of noise in the Benes Division, the defending-champion Ravenswood
Infidels stumbled hard out of the gate. Ravenswood was swept in a March
16th series against the Cowtippers, giving Salem sole possession of
first place in the Butler Division for the first time all season, and
dropping Ravenswood to a record of 22-26 -- seven games behind the Irish
Rebels. By the end of the season, however, both Salem and
Ravenswood would come face-to-face in the post-season once again.
I’m not a Star Wars geek. Will it help you follow if I use
some Star Wars terminology? Here, we can pretend we’re
characters. You be CMePOd and I’ll be R2FkU. Does that help
you follow my logic?"
No BDBL season would be complete
without a major, complex prank being pulled by one or more conspirators.
In 2005, the big prank was masterminded for the second year in a row by
Nashville owner Steve Osborne. Several weeks before April 1st,
Steve and I began arguing with each other over mundane topics on the
message board. The arguments escalated a little more each week
until, toward the end of March, Steve was kicked out of the league.
A day later, it was announced that Paul Marazita was rejoining the
league. Everyone in the league fell for the prank until Marazita's
humble "mea culpa" post on the message board. (Though I have a
hunch a few people even believed that one.) Finally, it was
revealed that it was all a hoax, from the arguments to Steve's
dismissal, to Marazita's return. A one-year suspension of all BDBL
hoaxes was then instituted, though time will tell if anyone will abide by
Prior to the Chapter Three deadline,
contending teams continued to load up on pitching. In an attempt
to answer Sylmar's acquisition of Mark Buehrle the previous chapter,
Silicon Valley acquired Odalis Perez. When the Great Lakes Sphinx
initiated a "Brad Lidge Sweepstakes," the New Milford Blazers (who had a
bullpen that already included two sure-fire stoppers in Tom Gordon and
Aki Otsuka) emerged as the surprising winners. The Cleveland Rocks
-- still in a midst of unloading every useful player on their roster --
sent ace Kelvim Escobar packing to the Infidels. And after losing
the bidding wars on Eric Gagne, John Smoltz and Brad Lidge, the
Cowtippers finally landed a closer by sending #1 prospect Delmon Young
to the Las Vegas Flamingos in exchange for B.J. Ryan and Brad Radke.
Radke was then sent to the Irish Rebels, who were still hanging onto
first place by the slightest of threads.
After closing the chapter with a
four-game sweep at the hands of Salem, Manchester finished Chapter Two
with a 10-18 record -- a complete reversal of their Chapter One record.
Despite the poor chapter, they still stood one game in front of the Infidels and Marlboro Hammerheads
in their division. Unfortunately for Rebels fans, the acquisition
of Radke made little impact, as the team went just 42-62 the rest of the
season, finishing in last place.
The Chapter Three trading deadline
didn't pass without controversy. Just one minute after the 10:00pm
deadline, the Hammerheads announced that they had once again traded
Carlos Zambrano to the Chicago Black Sox in exchange for Ben Sheets
(among others.) It was the second time in league history that
Zambrano and Sheets had been traded for each other by the same two
teams. But when the trade was not allowed to go into effect until
Chapter Four, the two teams changed their minds and reversed the trade
(making it the third time in league history the same two players were
traded for each other by the same two teams!)
Early in Chapter Three, the Atlanta
Fire Ants swept the Padawans in a four game interleague series, putting
them only one game behind in the EL wild card race. The Fire Ants
had finished in last place in each of the past five seasons, and their
ascension to contender status was one of the more inspirational stories
of the 2005 season. Atlanta took over a share of first place in
the wild card race (and just one game behind in the division race) on
June 3rd. They briefly lost the lead to the Akron Ryche, then
recaptured it for good on August 24th.
At the halfway point of the season, the
Ozzie League was embarrassed by the Eck League in the midsummer classic
by a score of 14-2. To the surprise of no one, the two Wapakoneta
teammates put on a clinic, with Pujols hitting two home runs and
driving home seven runs, while Bonds knocked in four runs and hit a
longball of his own. Worst of all, the Ozzie League couldn't even
blame Jim Doyle for this loss.
"Only one GM
had the balls to throw away a future star to win this year.
And he has had that attitude all season. Since the auction.
Every other offer involving these players were an absolute
joke, except for this one."
-- Tony Peburn,
During the last week of June, the
Badgers slipped by the Blazers into first place in the OL wild card
race. It would be the end of the road for the hapless Blazers and
the beginning of an amazing, season-long struggle for the Badgers.
Less than a week later, after a four-game sweep at the hands of the
CyberSox, the New Milford front office duo threw in the towel, putting
every high-impact player on the Blazers roster on the trading block.
After a two-week bidding war, the Hippos emerged once again with the
winning lottery ticket. In exchange for budding superstar Jason
Bay, Wapakoneta received Melvin Mora, Lidge and Juan Pierre as part of a
six-player deal. With Pierre, Mora, Bonds and Pujols at the top of
the lineup, Schmidt and Westbrook at the top of the rotation, and Lidge
heading the bullpen, the Hippos were declared to be the odd-on favorites
to win the BDBL championship. Oddly enough, however, Wapakoneta's
offense scored just 5.2 runs per game after the trade (compared to 5.5
Of course, New Milford's massive
rebuilding effort was just getting started. Three days after the
Hippos trade, New Milford managed to do what was once thought to be
impossible and traded Mike Hampton. Hampton's ugly contract ($20
million remaining through the next two seasons, or a $10 million buy-out
at the end of the season) was thought to be immovable when the Blazers
acquired him during the 2002 season, yet it was the second time that
"immovable" contract was moved.
can't even begin to imagine how these negotiations went. How
on earth do you even begin to talk to Tom about giving him
Todd Helton without asking for (Felipe Lopez, Billy Butler,
Edwin Encarnacion, Kelly Johnson or Jesse Foppert?)
Eight days later, New Milford capped
off their wild and reckless dumping spree by trading supernova first
baseman Todd Helton (with closer Aki Otsuka and ace Orlando Hernandez
throw in, just to make it even) to the Allentown Ridgebacks. In the end, the
Blazers finished with a record of 73-87, narrowly avoiding an additional
$1 million penalty. Heading forward, however, New Milford has just
$11.9 million in committed 2006 salary, and a foundation of cheap,
productive players that includes Bay, Alfonso Soriano, Danny Haren and
others. Once again, New Milford is considered to be a lock to
compete in that ever-elusive "next year."
And once again, the league spent
several weeks afterward debating new rule changes to prevent such a
thing from ever happening again. Eventually, the league decided to
toss out the old in-season salary cap rule and adopt an in-season
trading rule based on VORP. Only time will tell whether or not
this experiment will finally do the trick.
On July 24th, the VIth annual BDBL
Weekend was held in the City of Brotherly Love. More than half the
league attended the festivities, including every member of the Ozzie
League, save Matt Clemm. The fun-filled weekend included a trip to
Citizen's Bank Park and a game between the Padres and home-town Phillies,
lunch at world-famous Pat's Cheesesteaks and a night at Dave & Buster's.
The league barely had time to recover
from its collective hangover before the Kansas Law Dogs announced that
they, too, were throwing in the towel. Once again, the Chicago
Black Sox -- who were already ranked among the top run-scoring teams in
the Eck League -- loaded up even more on offense. Chicago
added big-time sluggers Gary Sheffield and Victor Martinez to a lineup
that already included Vlad Guerrero, Vernon Wells, Aramis Ramirez, Jose
Vidro, Aubrey Huff and Khalil Greene. Chicago easily walked away
with the Hrbek Division title, winning 102 games, but once again fell
short in the playoffs.
On July 30th, the Salem Cowtippers
surpassed the Corona Confederates franchise on the all-time wins list.
Later in the year, the Cowtippers won their 100th game for the fourth
time in franchise history (a BDBL record), won their 700th game in
franchise history (the only team to do so) and captured their sixth
division title (the only team to do so.) And yet, somehow, no one
attended Salem's gala celebration party.
A number of exciting pennant races
filled the front page throughout the months of August, September and
October. In the Benes Division race, the Hammerheads briefly
managed to pull into a tie for first place with the Infidels in
mid-August. Ravenswood took back the lead two days later, however,
while the Las Vegas Flamingos inserted themselves into the act in early
September, winning 17 games in Chapter Five to pull to within two games
of the division lead. The Benes Division race went down to the
wire, and was not decided until the final week of the season, in a
series between Ravenswood and Marlboro. Ravenswood eventually won
the division by five games.
In the Eck League wild card race, Akron
trailed Atlanta by just one game heading into Chapter Six. That
race, too, was not decided until the final week of the season. The
Fire Ants emerged victorious, winning the wild card by three games over
The OL wild card race was perhaps the
most thrilling race of all. On September 27th, the Badgers took
three of four from the Confederates, pulling them into a three-way tie
with the CyberSox and Padawans at the top of the OL wild card standings.
The Badgers wrapped up their season on October 12th, finishing with a
split of a four-game series against the Undertakers. They were
then forced to wait it out through the remaining two weeks of the
"Congratulations, Greg and John, on a wonderful season.
Fitting that with both of you neck and neck all year you
would split the final series, have the same record for the
year, and (probably) face each other in the first round. At
least I made a valiant attempt to crash the playoff party."
Meanwhile, both Sylmar and Silicon
Valley were fighting throughout the month of October for not only the
division title, but a spot in the post-season. A four-game sweep
of the Jamboree on October 12th gave the Padawans a two-game lead in
both the division and wild card races. A week later, the CyberSox
dropped three of four in a stunning upset by the Undertakers. But
four days later, they recovered in a major way, winning seven of eight
games against the Jamboree and Blazers to put them back into a tie with
the Padawans atop the division.
Then, on October 24th, the Padawans and
CyberSox played their final series of the season, head-to-head.
One win by either team ensured a spot in the playoffs. Two wins by
Sylmar ensured the division title, thanks to a tie-breaker. In the
end, it was the Padawans who emerged victorious, claiming the division
title after four straight last-place finishes.
Allentown captured their third division
title on October 1st -- the same day their lefty ace Glendon Rusch
became the eighth pitcher in BDBL history to pitch a no-hitter.
The 2005 post-season kicked off with a
rematch between the Cowtippers and Infidels in the OLDS. The last
time the two teams met in the playoffs, Ravenswood shocked the BDBL
establishment by taking the final three games of the OLCS, pummeling
Salem's three-headed ace in the first inning of each game. This
time, Salem got their revenge, taking the series in six hard-fought
In the other Ozzie League Division
Series, Sylmar and Silicon Valley carried over their season-long battle
into the playoffs. To the surprise of no one, it was a
closely-matched series featuring two extra-inning games and four games
decided by two or fewer runs. In the end, a two-out RBI single by
Juan Uribe off Trevor Hoffman in the 8th inning of Game Seven ended
Silicon Valley's season. Francisco Rodriguez and series MVP Orber
Moreno closed it out in the top of the ninth, leaving the tying run
stranded at second base.
Over in the Eck League, the
102-game-winning Black Sox took on the disappointing Hippos in the
Division Series. Hippos starter Jason Schmidt threw just 70
pitches in Game One, as he was rocked for seven runs in just 2 2/3
innings. He then came back on just one game's rest and pitched
seven shutout innings in Game Three, allowing just one run. Meanwhile, #2
starter Westbrook pitched Game Two, then returned just three games later
to shut out the Black Sox for seven innings in Game Five.
Remarkably, Wapakoneta made short work of Chicago, beating them in just
five games, while outscoring them 34-22.
But the biggest shock of all was
happening in the Division Series between Allentown and Atlanta.
Behind stellar pitching and timely offense, the underdog Fire Ants won
Games One, Two and Three. Then, with just one win needed in the
next four games, Atlanta's Cinderella season came to a shocking
Orlando Hernandez shut down the Atlanta
offense in Game Four, limiting them to just two runs. Randy
Johnson then dominated Atlanta in Game Five. In Game Six, Atlanta
loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth inning, down by a score of
3-2, but failed to score a single run. They lost, 6-3, forcing a
Game Seven. By then, the conclusion was inevitable. 6 2/3
shutout innings from Roy Oswalt later, the Ridgebacks had achieved the
impossible, winning four in a row to come from behind.
In the OL Championship Series, the
Cowtippers pitching stepped up big-time against the Padawans offense.
The Padawans scored one run or less in three games in the series, while
the Salem offense had a field day against Sylmar pitching, scoring 11
runs in Game Two and 17 runs in Game Four. Salem cruised to a
five-game series victory, setting the stage for yet another World Series
Allentown also won their League
Championship Series in five games, though it was a bit closer in nature,
as four of the five games were decided by two runs or fewer. The
Hippos dynamic duo of Bonds and Pujols were nearly invisible in the
series, as Pujols hit just .222 with 0 RBI's and Bonds hit just .071
with 2 RBI's.
Finally, in the final series of the
season, the Cowtippers came from behind in dramatic fashion to win Game
One of the World Series against the Ridgebacks, but it was all downhill
from there. Juan Cruz and Mariano Rivera blew a two-run lead in
Game Two, leading to an extra-innings loss (the second consecutive
extra-innings game of the series.) Oswalt completely out-matched
Curt Schilling in Game Three, and held the vaunted Salem offense to just
one run on four hits and no walks through eight innings. Cruz then
blew another save in Game Four, costing Salem another game. And
Randy Johnson (who else?) then drove the final nail into Salem's coffin
in Game Five, twirling an effortless complete game six-hit shutout to
clinch Allentown's second BDBL championship.
Again, I'd like to thank you all for a
thrilling and...well, sometimes...fun season. I get extremely
aggravated with this hobby sometimes, to the point where I wonder why I
continue to put myself through this every year. But in the end, I
do it because it is something I enjoy, and I am thankful for the
opportunity to share this hobby with all of you.
At BDBL Weekend, I made a promise that
I would continue to operate this league for as long as I am alive and
semi-coherent, and I
will stick to that promise, no matter how many times Tom beats me in the