Did you know?: During a game that carried into the dusk hours, Clarkson once pitched a lemon to the plate to persuade the umpire, Jack Kerins to call the game due to darkness. Kerins called the lemon a strike, and when shown by Boston’s catcher that he had called a lemon a strike, Kerins finally called the game.

Friday, August 26, 2011

'Black Bart' Strikes Again!

Once again, The Clarkson Gazette brings you some hard hitting news from the world of Baseball. Our investigative reporter, known only as Night Hawk, brings us some explosive news regarding the renegade owner of the Timebombs:
Late on the evening of Aug 18th, just hours after the Boston Brown Sox defeated the Tacoma Timebombs for the Clarkson World Series, Boston PD was called to the scene of a disturbance outside Fenway Park.

In a scene straight out of a teenage rebellion flick, the front doors of the celebrated baseball park had been smashed in. After investigating the scene a man was arrested and it was discovered that the man was none other than Tacoma Timebombs owner Bart Barton!

Barton is no stranger to the spotlight, as after he moved the team from Scranton to Tacoma, a story surfaced that reported the flamboyant owner had struck and broke the jaw of a Scranton city counselor as he accompanied the counselor`s 22 year old daughter to a concert.

As of press time no details have been released by Boston PD but my source in the department tells me Barton had thrown his drink and a sizable rock through the front doors of Fenway. When he was arrested he was allegedly relieving himself on the side of a building on Yawkey Way.
My source tells me that after some questioning it was revealed by Barton, who is also known by the moniker Black Bart, that he had been drinking quite heavily in his limo which was parked in the parking lot just off Lansdowne Street. My source also revealed that Boston PD will be seeking charges and fully expect Barton to spend some time in county jail.

One must wonder just how long the league will continue to tolerate the behavior of this wealthy Texas oilman who has a seemingly very big drinking problem.

No one in the Brown Sox organization would comment on the story and no one in the Tacoma Timebombs could be reached. I guess the legacy that is Bart`Black Bart` Barton just continues to grow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brown Sox Capture Title #4


The Boston Brown Sox bolted from the dugout even before the last grounder was scooped up. After waiting nine seasons for championship No. 4, no one would dare hold them back.

"It feels better than I imagined it, man," pitcher Mariano Pena said. "It's been a long time."

Pena is one of the elder statesman for the Brown Sox. Boston, known for reloading with top of the line players year in and year out, made the most of their talent this year to win 4-1 over the Tacoma Timebombs.

The Brown Sox won with dominating pitching, led by Cy Young winner Vinny O'Connor. While their monster bats hit decently, it was their pitching which led them to the 4-1 series win.

“It’s just what we’ve been doing all year.” Said O’Connor after he was doused in champagne, “We take pride in shutting the other teams bats down, and all I can say is let’s do it again next year!!!”

"The Brown Sox won. The world is right again," team president Jackson Richards said.

While that sentiment may not be felt by all of Clarkson, no one can say the Brown Sox haven’t won a ton of games over the years. But recent playoff woes had taken their toll on Sox fans.

“Our fans stood by us through thick and thin and now we stand here as world champions," said catcher Ivan Cairo, "We're going to enjoy it, and we're going to party!"

For the Timebombs, it was a frustrating end to another quality season. After experiencing their own recent playoff woes, they had finally broke through with a 112 win season and their first World Series Trip since season 4. But it wasn’t meant to be.

"I told them that I loved the way they played. We're fighters and never quit," Tacoma manager Pedro Cedeno said. "We want to keep what we got as far as attitude and chemistry."

For second-year manager Nick Randall, it was the fulfillment of a mission. When he took over the Brown Sox in Season 19, he chose uniform No. 4, putting his quest on his back for all to see.His tenure didn't start out so well, with Boston falling flat in the playoffs in season 19.

"To be able to deliver this championship to all our fans out there, it really is special." Randall said, “Maybe I should change my number to five next year huh?”

Moments after second baseman Shea Sorrento fielded Richie Parkers grounder and threw to first for the final out, Iago Cole and Hector Guerrero led a victory lap around the warning track, carrying flags that read " World Series champions." Players high-fived fans, then sprayed bubby behind the mound.

It was a long wait for many fans of the Brown Sox, but from the way fans celebrated outside the stadium, it was well worth the wait.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Playoff Predictions

NL North

Detroit Ducks

The Ducks have captured the NL North each of the last two years, but got bounced out of the playoffs in the first round both times. Is this the year that the Ducks fly high? It remains to be seen, but they have been one of the best teams in the NL North, and we see nothing to change the fact this year. Make it a third year in a row, but watch out for the always dangerous Scallywags.

NL East

Augusta Lobsters

Many people may consider this pick insane considering the dreaded Boston Brown Sox have won the division title every year in Clarkson history except Season 2 (when it was owned by different management). However, we here at the Clarkson Gazette are calling for change in our great sport! The Lobsters (formerly the Wichita Werewolves) have put together an incredible team, and we think that the new home for this team will be the spark to crown a new NL East Champion. Good luck all you Lobster-Heads out there, you’re going to need it.

NL South

New Orleans Mob

The Mob have built up a solid team in the tough NL South, where all four teams nearly finished over .500 for the year. Finishing second in the division last year, the Mob were swept out of the playoffs by division rival Louisville. However, it was a step in the right direction, and we at the Gazette feel in may be the Mob’s year, although that is anyone’s guess in the tight NL South. Whoever takes it though, it will be a hard fought victory.

NL West

LA Trojans

Last season World Champs return looking at fearsome as ever, and we think they will keep on rolling towards another division crown. Many of our staff are picking the Trojans to repeat as World Champs this season, after dominating the NL West by a whopping 22 game lead to end the season. Look for Portland to improve, but in the end, LA will prove to be too much of a challenge, and will take the NL West Crown for the third straight year.

Wilcards:

Boston Brown Sox

The Brown Sox will find themselves in the unfamiliar position of the Wild Card, but don’t sleep on these monsters. Losing the division might the kick in the butt this team needs to propel them to their first World Title in 9 seasons.

Monterrey Banditos

The second wild-card spot is more difficult to predict, as this could easily be Louisville, Cincinnati or Portland. However we’re going with the lowly Banditos, whose franchise has never made the playoffs once in Clarkson history. If their young pitching holds up, they could make their first trip to the playoffs.

AL North


Tacoma Timebombs

The Timebombs finished just 1 game out in last years AL North Division race, losing the division title to the Toledo Holies, but still making one of the wild-card spots. Once in the playoffs, they were swept out by the Mountain View, three games to one. This year, we flipped a coin between Tacoma and Toledo, and it came up heads for Tacoma. Our prediction, Tacoma for the division by 1 game over Toledo.

AL East

New York Bombers

Last season was a tough pill to swallow for the Bombers, who captured their 6th straight AL East title. Rolling into the playoffs as the AL juggernaut, they were smacked in the mouth by the upstart Cornheads from Iowa City, getting bounced three games to 1 in the second round. Knowing that this probably didn’t sit well in the Big Apples, we predict a monster season out of the Bombers, and another division title win.

AL South

Richmond Rebels

We strongly considered putting the Texas Funerals here, simply because of the man-crush we have on Napoleon Duff, but we couldn’t ignore those Rebels from Richmond. Finishing 4 games back last season, the Rebels were unable to capture a Wild-Card berth either, and were sent packing early. However, they have won 3 out of the last 4 division titles, and we predict another added to the list this season. Whoever comes in second in the division though will be staying home, as we cannot see a Wild-Card coming out of this division.

AL West

Salt Lake City Mountain View

Winds of change are blowing in the often weak AL West, where the long national nightmare is finally over, and the Colorado Expos are no more. However at the top of the division, it looks like the view will be good once again for the Mountain View, winners of the last two division titles. In a division dominated by former World Champs Seattle Rain, the Mountain View have developed a strong hold on the division. The main question will be if they can push their way further into the playoffs this season, but it does appear to be a good year to try.

Wildcards:


Iowa City Cornheads

Can last years AL Champions do it again? If they can, it will have to be in the same manner as last year, from the wild-card spot. But we’re not sure they mind, the Cornheads are tough, and have been down that path before.

Toledo Holies

As mentioned above, the Holies lost out on our coin flip, so they get the Wild-Card berth. However, this is a team to watch out for in the playoffs this season. They could be a dark horse for AL Champs.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Triumph for the Trojans

They have gone from exorcism to coronation in record time. The Los Angeles Trojans, who fought against past Clarkson failures and disappointments, are the new World Champions.

The Trojans won their first World Series in their long and otherwise successful history, edging the Iowa City Cornheads, 1-0, in Game 7 of a thrilling World Series. It was a dominant pitching performance to clinch their first championship.

“Pitching will lead you all the way,” left-fielder Ron Sears said. “That was it: great pitching and timely hitting. What can you say? This team is the best team in baseball.”

While the pitching was great, the Trojan hitting could not be overlooked either. They were led by NL MVP Ron Sears, who batted .438 in the playoffs with a .672 Slugging and 14 RBI’s. Without question, the 6 time MVP is one of the all time greats.

At the end of the game though, it was the young second year pitcher, Eddie Oberholtzer taking the ball in what can easily be called his most stressful appearance of his young career. Entering the game with a 1-0 lead in Game 7 of the World Series is tough even for the greatest pitchers ever.

Oberholtzer, a spot starter in the regular season, was converted to a relief role for the playoffs, and despite some rough spots, it turned out to be a good gamble. Oberholtzer came through, converting all 8 of his save opportunities in the playoffs, including the most important one.

“I can’t tell you how nervous I was out there tonight,” Oberholtzer said in the middle of being drenched with champagne, “But I just trusted old Paulie Walnuts, and he saw me though. It feels great!”

Catcher Paul Suzuki (aka Paulie Walnuts apparently?) leaped into Oberholtzer’s arms and raised his index finger high: the Trojans were No. 1.

“I don’t know who he’s calling ‘old’ but right now I could care less. We’re World Champions!” Suzuki yelled from nearby, before being swept away by teammates.

Things looked bleak for the Trojans earlier in the season however, as the powerful Cornheads team gained a 3-2 lead in the series, giving them two chances to capture the title. However, upon coming home to LA, they were able to turn things around.

“I’m still in shock. I’m not even sure what to say.” Said Kirk Curtis after Game 7 in the losers locker-room, “These guys in this room poured their hearts out this season, and gave everything they had. I guess we just came up one run short.”

It has to be considered a wildly successful season for the Cornheads, who reached their first World Series in team history. After moving to Iowa City before the start of the season, many were unsure how the team would be received. However, the fans of the Cornheads fell in love with their new team, and flocked to the games to cheer their new team on.

They were rewarded with a magical run, and even though they didn’t win the World Series, there was a silver lining. Saul Moleski, of Iowa City Pizza, was not deported to Russia after all. After hearing about his free-pizza ordeal, community leaders held fund raisers to get him back on his feet.

“I am happy that I don’t have to move to Russia with sister and work with donkeys! But I am sad that Cornheads did not win the baseball. Like mama said, ‘Don’t make the Kodiak dizzy unless you have a good mustache!’.” Saul said in a local interview. We assume that loses something in the translation.

In the end though, it was a night of celebration for the Trojans, who have been the toast of Hollywood since their victory. Many have appeared on the talk show circuits and commercials. Catcher Ruben Alarconeven appeared on CSI: LA as a dead body.

So congratulations to the Trojans and their fans on a great victory, and a great World Series. Here’s to next year!

Friday, April 22, 2011

MVP Races

With the season drawing closer to the home stretch, we here at the Clarkson Gazette have decided to breakdown the MVP races in both leagues. Here’s a look at some of the best and brightest in the league:

AL MVP:

In the AL, it appears all the rage is revolving around the outstanding Rookie phenom, Napoleon Duff. The first year player for the Texas Funerals has put up absolutely ludicrous numbers in his rookie campaign. Rarely does a 22-year old have the talent Duff possesses, but to have it in such a refined form is incredible.

“It’s been an amazing run so far for him.” says former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Locke, “I’ve just been trying to mentor him as the season moves along, teaching him to avoid some of the mistakes I made as a rookie.”

Locke knows what he’s talking about, putting up numbers to rival Duffs own. In season 5, Locke batted .333 with 44 homers and 127 RBI.

The main competition against Duff is the perennial masher and former MVP Trey McMahon. Early on, it seemed like Duff was going to run away with the award, but McMahon has quietly put up monster numbers this season.

“Duff is new and fresh, so all of the media is talking about him, and you can’t blame them really.” said Mountain View manager Blaine Barrett, “But you can’t look past McMahon. He really is putting up career numbers, and deserves to be MVP.”

Putting their numbers up, we can see that they are very, very similar:



As you can see, the numbers are similar, with Duff winning out in the speed department (he also has 27 steals to go along with 9 triples). However, looking at the AB’s, we see that McMahon has done his damage with nearly 50 fewer AB’s, due in part to his higher walk rate.

It’s a close race, but right now, the Gazette is giving the close nod to McMahon, even though he is the “safe, boring” pick.

NL MVP:

In the NL, the race appears to be completely wide open, with many stars in the running for the prestigious award. With so many candidates on equal footing for the award, we have selected five front runners for this story:

Ron Sears (LA Trojans): Sears has put up great numbers for the LA Trojans in his first full year with the team. The multi-time MVP has one of the most feared hitters in the league for years, and this season is no different.

“All I know is that guy has made me look really stupid many times over the years.” Banditos veteran pitcher Mel Georgesaid, “He’s made my therapist a very rich man.”

Tony Guapo(Detroit Ducks): The far-ranging CF of the Ducks has had a career year this season, and has done it both on defense and at the plate. We hear at Clarkson value defensive play as well as offensive, but it remains to be see if MVP voters will too.

“I’m thinking about putting in some potholes in the outfield to slow that guy down. I’m sick of him robbing me of extra-bases constantly.” New Orleans all-star Dave Price said.

Quilvio Ramirez (Louisville Bats): One of the best 3B in the league, he is looking for only his second MVP award, and first in the NL since moving from the AL some time ago. The Bats superstar has put up another year of stellar numbers, and has even hit for the Cycle earlier this season.

“It’s a crime that he only has one MVP to his name so far.” Says Bats website manager Seth Magadan, “If he doesn’t get it this year, then I don’t know what to say.”

David Castillo (Charlotte Stone Crabs): Perhaps the sentimental favorite on this list, Castillo has never won the MVP award in his career. While he has put up some solid numbers in previous years, none have ever been enough to get him serious MVP consideration. This year however, he has had a great year for a team that is at the bottom of the NL South.

“It’s hard to imagine him winning given where his team is, but we all are pulling for him.” Said Charlotte columnist Dave Ragu, “He certainly deserves it for his entire career, but it will be hard to overcome the other guys having great years out there.”

Norman Nagy (LA Trojans): The youngest guy on our list has put up some of the best numbers. Now in his 5th full season at the young age of 25, Nagy has finally put together his tremendous raw talent to turn into one of the leagues great young hitters.

“If not for being on the same team as Ron Sears, I think he would be much higher up on the list.” Said Head Coach Carlos Olivares, “I’m a little nervous that the two will split the votes and another player will sneak in to win the award.”



For our money, our vote at this point in the season goes to Sears in part because his team has one of the best records in the league.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Best #1's

With Season 19’s draft now in the records book, we here at the Clarkson Gazette thought that it would be fun to look back and rank all of the #1 overall picks in Clarkson’s history. There have been some great players over the years drafted #1 over the years, but also some not so great ones (see John Chang). Overall it looks like it’s a mixed bag, with surprisingly only three Rookie of the Year winners overall. Without further ado, here are the top ten #1 draft picks in Clarkson history, as compiled by Gazette staff:

Honorable Mentions:

All of these players will undoubtedly be stars in the future, but have not gained enough playing time to make our list yet.

Raymond Stokes
Bill Tomberlin
Peter Perez
Bill Fordyce
Vin Iglesias


10.) Paul Suzuki – Coming in at #10 is the sweet hitting catcher, Paul Suzuki. The player on our list with the least amount of big-league time, he none the less deserves a spot on our top ten list. Already he has made the All-Star team once, and it one of the best offensive catchers in the game. With more time under his belt, he has nowhere to go but up.


9.) Dave Bell – A journeyman starter in Clarkson, his claim to fame is throwing a no-hitter in Season 17. The longtime pitcher has 171 wins and 1 All-Star appearance in his career. However, with some of the recent #1 draft picks, it’s likely that he would drop off our top ten list in the next few years. For now though, he makes our list.


8.) Junior Gonzales – One of the quality young pitchers in Clarkson, he’s been a solid workhorse since making it to the Majors. A solid 3.36 career ERA and 80 wins, he looks like he will be around for a while, and may make a run and some big milestones. Now with Wichita, it looks like he will continue to rack up the wins.


7.) Luther Bland – The wide ranging CF of the New York Bombers comes in at number 7 on our list. Bland makes our list as an all-around athlete, who combines speed and his physical tools to be one of the best centerfields in Clarkson. Already with 2 Rings, All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves, he has made an impact on one of the most dominant teams in Clarkson.


6.) Mariano Pena – The closer extraordinaire, Pena also faced the daunting task of working his way through Boston’s deep farm system. After spending several years in the minors, he got the call to be Boston’s new closer, and did not disappoint. Slamming the door shut over 200 times now, Pena appears on track to be one of Clarkson’s great closers. As with O’Connor, Pena’s short time in the Majors hurts him on this list, but he is sure to move up as well.


5.) Vinny O'Connor – O’Connor joins our list at #5. Drafted right after the top four on our list, in Season 8, O’Connor was traded to the juggernaut Brown Sox and struggled to work his way through Boston’s super-deep farm system, despite his talent. However, once he made it to the Bigs, he shined, winning the Rookie of the Year and being named to two All-Star teams. If not for his short time in the Majors, he would probably be higher on our list.


4.) Curt Brock – The first pitcher on our list is one of the best. Brock, who is having a career year, has struck out nearly 2000 batters, and compiled over 150 wins. His 3.82 lifetime ERA may not be on the level of Sutton or Wakeland, but considering his time spent in what many believed was a “juiced” era of baseball, that number becomes more impressive. Like Castillo and Ramirez, Brock is beginning to get up there in years, but is still pitching amazingly.


3.) David Castillo – Drafted two years after Ramirez, Castillo came into the league out of college and has set Clarkson on fire. The 6 time All-star has put up impressive numbers over the years, but it’s all-around offensive skills that move him up our list. Hitting for contact, power and speed, Castillo has amassed over 300 homeruns, scored over 1400 runs and swiped nearly 600 bases in his great career. Now past his 34th birthday, he is still playing at a high level, so we expect those numbers to continue to rise.


2.) Eugene Mills – Our oldest member on the list is one of the bats of early Clarkson history. Mills, a fixture on 4 World Series winning teams, boasts a solid .294 average to go along with 552 homers and a slew of awards. After winning Rookie of the Year honors, he was named to 5 All-Star teams, won 3 Gold Gloves and 4 Silver Sluggers. Now retired, Mills is on the short list to get into the HOF, but has not heard his number called yet.


1.) Quilvio Ramirez – Drafted way back in Season 5, Ramirez is without question our #1 choice for this list. Already in his 12th season and still only 32 years old, Ramirez has put up some HOF worthy numbers. A liftetime .315 average, Ramirez is one of Clarkson’s great hitters, but adds some pop to go along with that. Currently sitting at 458 homeruns as of press time, he will undoubtedly join the 500 homers club shortly. Throw in an MVP, 7 All-Star nods, 9 Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove to boot, he makes the debate for #1 moot.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We Come From France

Iowa City – The Cornheads are off to a fantastic start in the AL East, but it appears not everything is peaceful in the small Iowa town. Cornhead fans have taken to the airwaves, message boards and blogs in anger at the perceived lack of respect from MLB and the national media, including the Clarkson Gazette.

“Spring is here and the corn is planted but so are the Cornheads, who have planted themselves above the world champs in a very tough division. When visiting the Clarkson [Gazette] Blog you won’t see the Cornheads being mentioned.” One poster on the Cornheads fan page writes.

“We don’t live in New York, we live in Iowa and last time I checked they own two Clarkson titles to our none.” team president Douglas “Doogie” Bader said, “We will have to earn those stripes the hard way, or if we just want to see our name in lights we can always move to New York."

Fans of the newly minted Iowa City team are riding high after a sweep of last years champs and an early season four game lead over their division rivals. In addition, the fever pitch is reaching a crescendo with their recent, and ongoing at time of press, 12 game winning streak. A streak they look to extend to lucky 13 behind their ace, Curt Brock.

Brock, who has struggled the previous two years with the team, has had a career revival since moving to Iowa City. Fans in the notorious tough Philadelphia were constantly on one of the highest paid pitchers in the game for not living up to his contract. In fact, ownership even put the lefty hurler on the trading block earlier this year, but ultimately could not work out a deal. Lucky them.

“It was tough the last couple of years, and I really struggled for the first time in my career. At least a prolonged struggle.” Brock said recently in an interview, “I kind of lost my mojo, but since moving to Iowa City, things have really turned around. The fans here are great, and really make me feel at home. A total 180 from Philly.”

Brock, who grew up just outside of Atlanta, GA in Woodstock, has found peace after purchasing a farm near Iowa City, where he has said he goes to relax after home games. The fresh air has worked wonders for the former number 1 overall pick, as he has posted a league leading 1.31 ERA.

After finishing in second place to the New York Bombers for the last five years, and early playoff exits in each season, many national pundits are taking a wait and see approach with the Cornheads.

“Look, it’s great what’s being done in Iowa City right now, but it’s still very early, and a four game lead is not insurmountable for the Bombers” PSEN analyst Duncan McDougal said, “They’ve been on fire, and Brock is pitching out of his mind right now, but I don’t think they can keep it up. Especially with Julio Saenz back for the Bombers. Besides, the entire population of Iowa City can fit most stadiums, I don’t think they have a chance this year.”

Enraged by McDougals comments, the rabid Cornhead fans took to the streets outside of Principal Park to protest his, and other national columnists, comments. One fanatic even went so far as to burn dolls of Willie the Janitor from the Simpsons in effigy. McDougal, who is of Scottish decent, commented that “when you are surrounded by corn and nothing but corn, you’re going to be a little off kilter”.

McDougal has since issued an apology to Cornhead fans after pressure from the PSEN network, and has been suspended one week.

However, not all Iowa City residents have been happy with the teams success. Saul Moleski, former owner of Iowa City Pizza, has fallen on hard times after a disastrous game promotion early in the season. The promotion promised a free large one-topping pizza for anyone with a ticket from final game of the series with the Bombers, provided that the team swept the World Champs.

Unfortunately for Moleski, the home team prevailed, and the next day, many of the fans from the sold out game appeared to get their free pizza. Of course, there was not enough pizza to go around, and eventually, Saul had to file for bankruptcy after honorably trying to fill all orders.

“I know nothing about the base-ball! I come from Russia, where we hear of mighty New York Bombers. I thought Bombers would win!” Saul said when reached for comment.

When asked about his future plans, he replied, “Now I have to move to Moscow with sister! Is sad because Saul will work with donkeys or be sent to Siberia!”

“It’s sad, because everyone around here loved Saul. He is always very friendly, but we’ll get him back on his feet, this is a good community.” said local resident, Mack Johnson.

Fans have created a website, freesaulmoleski.com, and hope to raise enough money to help Saul get back on his feet in America.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring is in the Air

The sun shines brightly, sometimes with a bit of leftover chill. There are flyovers, big crowds, hot dogs, popcorn, the Star-Spangled Banner and "God Bless America."

But to Major League Baseball players, managers and coaches, Opening Day is about a lot more than fanfare.

The beginning of the season means a fresh start, with teams that finished in last place now in the same position as teams that finished in first. Everybody's record? 0-0.

Teams that had their hearts broken in pennant races and seven-game postseason series have a chance to one-up their rivals.

"Opening Day is exciting," Boise Potato Farmers manager Dave Davis said. "You should be able to get excited about Opening Day. If not, you don't really belong in a uniform. It's the start of a long baseball season and hope springs eternal in the spring. Everybody feels they have a chance and you should get some goose bumps. If you don't, something's wrong."

Davis, who is in his first year as the Farmers’ manager, takes over a team that has finished 4th in their division four years in a row. Despite a 3-8 start to their season, fans are excited to have Davis on the team, who is known to work well with players and is widely considered a great strategist.

"You look at it as this: You have a chance to have a good season," Davis said. "You should feel like you have a chance to make the playoffs. That's the way you should feel as a team. The least is you should feel like you're going to have a good ballclub."

The Bombers and Brown Sox don't just feel they have good ballclubs. They know it. But the Brown Sox have something to prove, especially after getting hammered in the World Series by the Bombers, four game to one.

"It's the best part of the year, where everybody is enthused," Sox slugger C.J. Little said. "It's all about the fans, who are coming out to see the product that's going to be on the field all season. They bring that enthusiasm no matter who we’re playing, which really helps motivate us."

Brown Sox shortstop Yuuta Pan agreed.

"A new beginning," Pan said. "There's a lot of optimism for every team on Opening Day. Everyone gets excited for it. By the end of Spring Training, you're ready to get going. Fans are waiting for it, players are waiting for it. It's always special."

But those are the obvious reasons to cherish Opening Day. There are many more little reasons to love it just as much.

J.T. Barrett, for example, is loving it because he's back on the field after winning his first AL MVP and batting a robust .363 with 157 RBI’s.

"I've been looking forward to Opening Day ever since right after Game 7 of the ALCS last year," Barrett said. "It leaves a bad taste in your mouth getting that close to the World Series, but something about the spring air cleanses the pallet a little bit."

And what about the Santa Cruz Scum Bags? They're playing on Opening Day for the first time. And their skipper, Lenny Peterson, is heading into his first Opening Day as well.

"A new era is born," Peterson said. "It's going to be a very special Opening Day for these players. I never thought I would be involved in an Opening Day as Head Coach. After never having been in one as a player, it feels great to experience it as a coach."

"It's very special, not only for ourselves, but for the city of Santa Cruz," Scum Bags catcher Steven Corey said. "They finally get a team in their city. It's the start to a franchise. There are a lot more things involved than just playing."

That's how a lot of players feel about Opening Day.

Take, for example, rookies who've never experienced the largesse and grandeur of the moment.

Seattle Rain pitcher Dizzy Bartlett, who went through his first opener this year after being obtained from the Bombers two seasons ago, is expecting some serious butterflies.

"You hear people talk about how they live for it," Dizzy said. "So I'm excited. I'm sure I'll be pretty pumped up. I'll be flowing. It's a game where I'll be excited, but control it. ... I don't know if it'll match the nervousness of getting drafted, but I got through that, so I'm sure I'll get through this one."

It's OK, Dizzy. Even the veterans sometimes have a tough time getting through it.

"I love it, and sometimes it stresses me out," said Detroit Ducks former Rookie of the Year Jerome McNally. "And tickets ... everybody wants to come into town for Opening Day. It's crazy."

McNally's teammate, Tony Guapo helped explain what McNally was referring to.

"It's a big deal in Detroit, when the businesses close down and 40,000 or 50,000 people are at the ballpark," Guapo said. "There's nothing like Opening Day. It's the beginning of a long haul."

And that's pretty much the sentiment everyone can agree on.

"Spring Training is a time to get ready," said Texas RF Malcolm Locke. "We all know that it's a long season, and that's what you prepare for. Opening Day is the day you start the marathon."

"You don't even need your coffee that day," New Orleans outfielder Arthur Carroll added. "If you can't get pumped up for Opening Day, you'll never get pumped up for a game."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

HOF Debate

Al Roberts said he was not shocked upon learning last season that he fell one vote short for election into the Clarkson Baseball Hall of Fame.

"I'm just thank thankful I'm even on the ballot, and we'll go on from here," the former 8 time MVP slugger told reporters by telephone.

Roberts, who went onto the ballot last offseason, hit 880 home runs, reached the 3000 hit club, and won a World Series ring with the Boston Brown Sox in Season 11.

He also played in what has become known as the Hard Ball Dynasty Steroid Era, and his candidacy has inspired an unusually heated and public debate among voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

"People are going to have suspicions when you play in the era I played in," Roberts said.

Roberts reiterated over the weekend that suspicions of steroid use directed at him are ill-founded. In fact, he called them "ridiculous" and added: “I can’t control what other people did around me. All of my accomplishments are legit."

Roberts candidacy inspired pointed commentaries by voters, including two leading lights at The National Sports Journal Doug Krizechi and Michael Popadapolous.

“I would say this to the people who didn’t vote for Al Roberts because they simply believed he used steroids, based on how he looked or some whispers they hear: Why don’t you just toss him in the lake and see if he floats. If he does, you know he did it, and you can burn him at the stake.”

Krizechi said the claim by baseball writers that steroids-related suspicion of Roberts is enough to not vote for him "makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. This is PRECISELY what I was talking about when I said how much I hate the character clause in the Hall of Fame voting."

Here is Popadapolous:

"The fact remains that there was no stringent testing for these drugs back in the early days of Hard Ball Dynasty. Look at how far the home run totals have dropped compared to back then. Is that just better pitching and bigger ball parks? I’m sure that’s part of it, but we can’t be na├»ve about this stuff anymore"

For the record, Roberts name has never came up in any steroid talks in the past, and he has been cleared by a number of independent councils.

Roberts told reporters that he didn't expect to get the 17 votes he needed. He fell short by one vote last year.

"I wasn't really worried about it," he said. "Guys are going to vote that way. It's just the way it is. But I’m only one vote away, and I hope voters out there realize that I did it the right way.

"I've done everything that I can on the baseball field. I can't change people's opinions and how they see my career. I'm OK with that. There are other guys who are lumped into the same boat with me, who I would bet my career earnings were clean too. Guys like Al Belliard and Artie Matthews, great sluggers, couldn’t even break the 50% mark.”

It should be noted that neither Belliard and Matthews both have never been linked to any steroid scandal either. In fact, numerous stat guru’s have pointed out that during that time frame, home runs and power numbers were up substantially across the board. This has led many conspiracy theorists to say that HBD was “juicing” the baseballs to increase ticket sales.

At the time of press, no comments were given from the league office in response to our calls.

Roberts said induction into the Hall of Fame would be the "pinnacle" of his personal career.

"You can't ask for anything more than to get inducted into the Hall of Fame," he said.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Let's Make a Deal

Season 19 in Clarkson has begun, and it things are already very busy as a number of teams are looking to move some big name players. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the big names:

In Boise, the big news is management has decided to attempt to move last years #1 overall pick, Bill Tomberlin, in a move that has sent ripples throughout the league. Sources say that the Potato Farmers are trying to capitalize on Tomberlin’s immense value as a young phenom in order to score Cy Young quality pitching. Without question, Tomberlin will be a star on anyone’s team, but some league general managers speculate that with the move from the hitters in Tucson to the slightly more pitcher friendly Memorial Stadium in Boise, the Yonkers, NY native may have become moveable for the right price. It will remain to be seen if any team is willing to pony up what will undoubtedly be a hefty price.

In Cincinnati, big changes are afoot as team owner and president, Dr. James Graybeard, (affectionately known to many fans as “The Scurvy Pirate” for his thick beard and cutthroat, swashbuckling ways on the trade market) has made it known that it might be time for his team to make a youth movement. In recent weeks, sources say the team has sent feelers out regarding interest in proven veteran Peaches McRae, All-Star SS Mike Campbell, and the biggest name, two time reigning MVP Dale Ensberg. Many fans in Cincinnati were stunned at the news, as Ensberg and McRae are fan favorites. It remains to be seen if these rumors turn out to be true, but without question that level of talent should bring in a good haul of young prospects for the future if so.

Wichita has placed sweet hitting 1B, Jaime Darnell on the market in an effort to gather more pieces to break the Boston Brown Sox strangle hold on the NL East. For the past 16 seasons, the Brown Sox have won the division, and have finished second only once in Clarkson history. But last year the Werewolves had a great season, coming within a few games of bringing down the Brown Sox juggernaut. Will Darnell be enough to push them over the edge? Without question Werewolves fans are ready to howl their way to the World Series.

Moving up north to Detroit, the Ducks have placed a number of solid players on the block including Mateo Gonzalez , Tony Bonilla, Douglas Wardand offensive catcher Pasqual Izturis, who shined in limited playing time last year. The Ducks appear to be another team looking to shore-up their team after finishing 1st in the division, but failing to make it far in the playoffs.

Finally we stop in New Orleans, where sources say the Mob brass, including owner James Yoi, of Yoi Brand Fishing and Cannery Inc, are looking to rebound from a disappointing 4th place finish from last year. After some financial issues from the tragic BP Oil Spill in the Gulf, things appear to be turning around in the area for the better. The team has placed a number of young players on the block, and sources say they are looking for help at SS, RP and SP.

That’s all for this week, we’ll be back soon with more news and notes!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bombs Away!

There is a 2nd jewel in the Bombers’ crown and a peaceful, easy feeling across their empire. The Bombers captured their second title in five years, humbling perennial powerhouse Boston four games to one in a dominating performance.

The Bombers’ offensive explosiveness proved to be too much for any pitching staff to handle, and was led by Joaquin James, Gustavo Escobar and Clarkson legend Raul Urbina.

Urbina, in his 18th season overall, was a free agent steal for the Bombers, who signed the sure-fire Hall of Famer for a paltry 2-year 8.8 million dollar deal. The gamble paid off on the aging superstar, as Urbina made his 12th All-Star team and passed the 800 milestone mark for homeruns.

“I’m just blessed to have been able to play with so many great players and teams through the years. It feels great to finally get that monkey off my back and get to the top of the mountain for the first time.” Urbina said regarding his first World Series Ring of his career. Overcome with emotion as his teammates chanted “Urby! Urby! Urby!”, he was quickly rescued from tears as he was showered in champagne by catcher Pablo Samuel.

It wasn’t easy for the Bombers this season however, as the team was devastated early on by a career-threatening injury to one of their top pitchers, Julio Saenz. The multiple time all-star and Cy Young award winner was happy for his teammates, but frustrated at not being able to play in the World Series.

“It’s tough not being out there with the guys. These guys are like brothers, and they’ve supported me throughout my injury. Hopefully my rehab goes well this season, and I can make it back early next season.” Saenz said from just outside the locker room. Team officials speculate that he could return just after spring training next year, but said that he will receive a World Series ring for his contributions to the team throughout his career.

On the other side of stadium, the losing Boston Brown Sox exit the postseason with disappointment for yet another year. After back-to-back seasons of early round upsets, the Brown Sox finally made it back to the World Series for the first time since they won it all in Season 11. However, the Bombers proved to be too much for the Boston powerhouse, leaving them disappointed again.

“I give credit to some of the Bombers’ pitching, but it seemed like our offense, when we had a chance to really get down and get the big hits, or we had to do things to kind of take them out of the game, it seemed like we couldn’t do it,” Head Coach Lee Clark said. “We kind of sputtered a little bit.”

The loss leaves many question the security of Clark and his coaching staff, as fans are rumbling that the Brown Sox have turned into a regular season powerhouse, and are frustrated at the lack of postseason success. Angry callers in Beantown had already begun calling into local radio shows in frustration by the 8th inning of Game 5.

“They should change the name of the team to the Brown Sheets, because they just crapped the bed, again! Clark has no business coaching this team!” one angry caller said.

Despite the disappointing postseason, the Brown Sox had another stellar year, and with a wealth of talent in the ML and Minors, will undoubtedly break through for another championship in the near future.

But the story of the night was the World Series win by the NY Bombers. Many speculate that this could start a lengthy title run for New York, as they expect to get Saenz back next year for the second half of the season at least.

When asked about how he felt about the win, LF Joaquin James said, “It feels great. Going to have a few beers tonight, enjoy this victory for the next week or so, and then start thinking about how to get the next ring. But it feels pretty damn good right now.”