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.

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.”