Official Publication of the

Special Edition of

From the Bullpen

Official Publication of The Hot Stove League

Eastern Nebraska Division

2004 Season          Edition No. 17

June 22, 2004

Guest Editor:  Itchie



Greetings from Planet Itchie

Running Some Numbers

Roughly 1/3 into this, the 2004 season, we are seeing some astonishing numbers.

Iím not talking about Juniorís 500th dinger, which came roughly twenty years after his 400th and formally cemented his already assumed induction into the HOF. Iím not talking about Bonds 661st round tripper, dusting his godfather for third place on the all-time list. Iím not talking about the Devil Rays 12 game winning streak, a franchise record. Iím not even talking about Anneís Visa bill, which defines astonishing, or my weekly donations to Ameristar.

No, the astonishing numbers that Iím talking about resonate from Underbellyís pitching staff. These figures literally strain the eyes and scream out "Is this a misprint?" True to form, the Head Tribesman steadfastly snubs his nose at the notion that pitching may have some miniscule influence on where oneís team may end up in the final standings. He just doesnít care. Pitchers are boring, and given that they only participate every fifth day, itís just not worth fussing over. Take a gander at these numbers, and ponder the Lincoln Sageís place in the HSL record books if he can keep up the pace for the entire year:

bulletHis staff has racked up 743 points, placing him 911 points behind the rotation of the Senators
bulletThey boast a collective ERA of 4.89, more than a point and a half higher than the Wahoos 3.33
bulletTheyíve garnered 4 saves. Yes 4 saves, trailing the Bronx Bombers by a mere 53 saves
bulletTheir .424 winning percentage trails the Wahoos .667 by a nifty margin
bulletTheyíve logged 485 innings pitched, just shy of the Bombers 698
bulletThe Tribe boasts three pitchers that have cracked the 100 point mark. By contrast, there are 22 middle relievers now available in the free agent market that have broken the century barrier, led by Todd Jones 222.

Okay Stretch, I know youíre close on a lot of these categories, but this is U Bobís breakout year, so letís give him his day in the sun. Itís good to see a guy make a stand and stick with it, when all those about him are losing their heads. He said he wasnít taking pitching at the draft, and he held true to his word. After 29 pitchers had been plucked from the draft,(or put another way, after 7 teams had already completed their four man rotations), UBelly finally stepped up to the grease board, scrawled Anddie Petttittteeís name in his slot, and said " I better latch on to one of these fellas Ďfore we get too deep into this thing." Thus was born a season to remember.


Weíre all glad to hear our own Curby is none the worse for the wear, after experiencing a scary situation with his health recently. As a matter of fact, I saw the old Magpie at the ballyard recently, and he looked better than ever to me. He was trying to prey on my sympathy for his "scared straight" health experience, wanting to know if I could see my way to get rid of Helton or Clemens to make him feel a little bit better. My advice to you is this Curby: If being in the HSL pennant race is going to tax your ticker and elevate your BP, then letís play it safe. Trade me anyone of value on your team, sit back, relax, and watch your team finish in ninth place. Pull off the highway, get on the shoulder, hop in to UBellyís side car, and smell the roses.

Pig in a Poke

Each year, one player seems to crawl out of the woodwork and put up numbers that are totally out of whack with expectations. Last year it was Loaiza, before that Derek Lowe, and previously itís been Jeff Zimmerman, Brady Anderson, yada, yada, yada. If youíre fortunate enough to snag one of these one year phenoms on your roster, life is good for about six months. How does this happen? Itís spawned several monikers of itís own, including dumb-ass luck, the Blind Squirrel theory, the Moneyball model, a crap shoot, Itchie magic, and plain old baseball knowledge. This year, itís called the Senators roster. I guess we all should have known at the draft that Sean Casey would threaten to hit .400, Danny Graves would be on pace to break Bobby Thigpenís single season save record, and Michael Young would make Ranger fans forget A Rod after three weeks. For each of your teams, Iíve identified the best player you snagged out from under our collective beaks (What were we thinking?), the worst pick youíve made (What were you thinking?) and the lucky overachiever on your team (Pig in a Poke)

  What were we thinking What were you thinking Pig in a Poke
Wahoos Adam Dunn Adam Eaton Cliff Lee
Tigers Randy Johnson Sidney Ponson Mark Loretta
Reds Carl Pavano Bernie Williams A Benitez
Bombers Manny Ramirez Esteban Loaiza Vinny Castilla
Redbirds Frank Thomas Bret Boone Carlos Guillen
Chiefs Vlad Guerrero Juan Pierre Paul Wilson
Blues Scott Rolen Larry Walker Lyle Overbay
Irates Brad Penny Brandon Webb Jack Wilson
Senators Victor Martinez Preston Wilson Casey/Young
Cubs I Rod Juan Gone Pedro Feliz
Tribe Vernon Wells Erubiel Durazo Craig Wilson
Skipjax Ken Griffey,Jr. Troy Percival CC Sabathia

Random Thoughts

} Bartolo Colon is a fat pig.
} Bartolo Colon is an overpaid fat pig.
} Bartolo Colon is an overpaid fat pig now on Mouseís roster.
} Look out for the Redbirds in the second half of the season. Theyíre the team to watch, slowly and silently creeping up on the pack. I see you back there Tirebiter. Youíre not fooling anyone.
} The Irates have the most players on their team that Iíve never heard of. Nick Green, Reed Johnson, Jason Frasor and Laynce Nix are not exactly household names. But give SloPay his due. His team is in the hunt and theyíre gonna stick around. Heís set up for his highest finish in quite some time, and who knows, it just might be on top.
} Eric Gagneís save streak of 81 straight and counting is a phenomenal accomplishment. While we all know that there are some easy saves when you walk to the mound with a three run lead, to go that long without having a single bad night or being let down by some shoddy fielding is something else. This may end up being one of the "untouchable records", up there with Cy Youngís win total and Sam Crawfordís triples. Heís got some nasty stuff.
} Vlad Guerrero may be the best player in the game right now. Heís having a huge year, and just imagine his numbers if he had Erstad, Garret Anderson, and Glaus in the lineup with him. Heís basically done it by himself to this point.
} Top three "slackers" in the game: Mondesi, Juan Gone, and Man Ram. Injury and apathy are just a moment away.
} Top three "gamers" in the game: Biggio, Erstad, Trot Nixon. These boys will get dirty for you.
} By the way, how does Mondesi basically quit a team in the middle of the year, take a few weeks off, and then sign with a contender, with no ramifications whatsoever? Bad precedent.
} Did you know there are two pitchers in the Hall of Fame that actually have losing records? Who are they?
} Topic for discussion on the league trip: If you were Commissioner of Baseball for a day, what would you change? Aside from the obvious problems with the economics of the game, what are your priorities? The DH, the Wild Card, Interleague play, the All Star Game, the Strike Zone? Get ready to defend your positions. If I get a few cocktails in me, Iím told I can be downright boisterous. Iím gonna need some answers here.

Standings through June 20

  1.   Wahoos       4384  
2. Skipjacks 4122
3. Tigers 4078
4. Irates 3948
5. Redbirds 3924
6. Senators 3881
7. Reds 3813
8. Bombers 3748
9. Cubs 3657
10. Chiefs 3656
11. Blues 3462
12. Tribe 2885

Thatís all for now fellas. Look forward to the trip.




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