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2010 Season

Edition No. 16

May 12, 2010

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OH, PERFECT!

 

Riding on the arm of his unlikely hero, Dallas Braden, he of the unlikely perfect game, Possumís Wahoos have surged to the lead in the Hot Stove League after 5 weeks of play.  Showing the red-hot Highlanders what it means to be white-hot, the Wahoos muscled their way to a 633-point week and overtook the Highlanders as if they were doing a Michael Jackson moonwalk. 

 

Here are the standings through 5 weeks of play:

 

Week 5

thru 5/09/10

Upper Division

1.

Wahoos

2662.80

 

2.

Highlanders

2533.80

 

3.

Monarchs

2462.60

 

4.

Cubs

2459.00

 

5.

Chiefs

2366.80

 

6.

Bombers

2268.90

 

Lower Division

7.

Skipjacks

2258.90

 

8.

Redbirds

2160.80

 

9.

Tribe

2111.00

 

10.

Senators

1945.80

 

11.

Blues

1935.40

 

12.

Bears

1927.10

 

13.

Missiles

1894.20

 

 

Here are the point totals for the 5th week of play:

 

Week 5

Thru 5/9/10

1.

Wahoos

633.4

2.

Chiefs

558.6

3.

Redbirds

491.2

4.

Monarchs

483.2

5.

Highlanders

481.4

6.

Cubs

474.8

7.

Skipjacks

406.5

8.

Bombers

381.5

9.

Blues

381.4

10.

Senators

379.7

11.

Bears

358.7

12.

Tribe

340.1

13.

Missiles

339.3

 

As horrible as my Senatros have played these past couple of weeks, it is unfathomable to me that my team is not in last place.  I suppose that underscores just how bad Big Guyís Heat-Seeking Missiles have been performing during the same period of time. 

 

I swear to the Baseball Gods that a curse has been placed upon my head and on my entire Senators team this season.  There isnít a move that I make that doesnít cost me, and my shell game between Ivan Rodriguez and Matt Wieters has been epic.  I supposedly picked two of the best closers in the game with Brian Fuentes and Trevor Hoffman, but I think that they have a total of two saves between them, and of course when Hoffman isnít saving games, heís doing his best impression of a suicide bomber and splashing his guts all over the pitching mound. 

 

One other thing Iíve noticed about my pitchers this year.  If I make the mistake of listening to a game on the radio featuring one of my pitchers, watching one of my pitchers pitch on TV in a televised game, or ďwatchĒ a game of one of my pitchers on the internet, it is a sure thing, a lock, a lead pipe cinch, that once my scrutinizing eyes are upon him, he will begin coming apart at the seams and giving up earned run after earned run.  Itís more than uncanny.  Itís more like predestined, as if the Baseball Gods are zeroing in on me and my pitching staff, just waiting for me to check in with them to see how they are doing before unleashing a torrent of misfortune.  I could cite plenty of examples, but I only wish I had been keeping track of all of the times that I jumped in the car, turned on my radio, and smiled as I heard that Joel Pineiro was throwing a shutout in the 5th inning, his team with a 3-0 lead Ė only to hear his instant reversal of fortune, giving up a single, a double, an earned run here, an error there, until he has lost the shutout, lost the game, and lost all of the points that I had in the bank. 

 

Maybe somebody somewhere is telling me that I just donít have time to listen to or watch baseball games, and that I should be devoting my attention elsewhere, such as to one of my clientís cases, or to feeding the kids, cutting the grass, or some other far-less-important chore.  But one thingís for sure, there is in fact a Baseball God, and I am clearly out of favor with him at present.  Clearly. 

 

TOP TEN HITTERS

 

1.

Braun

Tribe

183.7

2.

Wells

Cubs

167.1

3.

Cabrera

Highlanders

165.8

4.

Ethier

Highlanders

164.6

5.

Cano

Redbirds

161.9

6.

Morneau

Missiles

161.6

7.

Utley

Wahoos

160.8

8.

Werth

Highlanders

158.3

9.

Konerko

Highlanders

153.3

10.

Longoria

Senators

148.7

 

 

TOP TEN PITCHERS

 

1.

Halladay

Bombers

219.0

2.

Lincecum

Cubs

218.0

3.

Ubaldo

Redbirds

217.0

4.

Wainwright

Senators

202.0

5.

Zito

Cubs

174.0

6.

Carpenter

Bears

171.0

7.

Weaver

Wahoos

171.0

8.

Garza

Highlanders

164.0

9.

Price

Skipjacks

156.0

10.

Oswalt

Monarchs

152.0

 

I am fascinated by the fact that the Skipjacks donít have a single hitter in the Top 25, and yet his team isnít in dead last.  Smoke and mirrors, Bender, smoke and mirrors. 

 

It is also remarkable that Magpie has four hitters in the Top 10, with Cabrera, Ethier, Werth and Konerko, and Richie Weeks at No. 15, and that he isnít in first place at this time.  I guess itís true:  Pitching is everything. 

 

One canít overestimate the value of depth on a roster, either.  Screech doesnít have a single hitter in the Top 20, but he has Austin Jackson at 21, Matt Kemp at No. 24, and four players (Jeter, A-Rod, Soriano and Franklin Gutierrez) between 39th and 46th. 

 

Remarkable also that the Tribe has the top hitter, Ryan Braun, with 183.7, as well as the No. 12 hitter, Kevin Youkilis with 145.3, and yet is not in contention, at least at this point in time. 

 

Remarkable also that the Senators have a hitter in the Top 10, Evan Longoria at 148.7, and a pitcher in the Top 4, Adam Wainwright at 202.0, and yet are vying with the Heat-Seeking Missiles for the  basement apartment. 

 

Note that the Cubs have the No. 2 (Lincecum), No. 5 (Zito), No. 13 (Haren), No. 19 (Johnson), and No. 21 (Dempster) ranked pitchers, fully one-fifth of the Top 25.  In spite of this, they are trailing the Wahoos and the Highlanders in the standings.  Go figure. 

 

 

A MILESTONE DAY

 

Monday, May 10, was a noteworthy day for me for a number of reasons.  First, and foremost, Monday, May 10, was the 84th anniversary of my father Jack Ernstís birth in the rural hamlet of Holton, Kansas.  May 10 also is the date on which Scott and Kathi were married thirty years ago, and the birth date of their eldest son, Jesse.  So, lots to be thankful for on May 10. 

 

I was also just reminded on Monday that May 10 was my first day of work at the law firm, then known as Gaines, Otis, Haggart, Mullen and Carta, some 27 years ago.  Itís hard to believe that that many years have gone by, and harder still to think that I will probably be here for another 27 years in order to pay off all of my kidsí college tuition. 

 

Another May 10 milestone is that I received a verdict on Monday in my 80th jury trial, a number that I most assuredly never thought that I would reach as a young litigator.  I remember when I went to a trial school at KU back in 1985, when people were asked to raise their hands if they had tried a jury trial, I proudly thrust my right arm up to signify my inclusion in this select group.  Nobody needed to know that I had only tried one jury trial at that point in time, involving approximately $3,000 at risk.  I also remember when the instructor asked if anyone had tried more than 10 jury trials, several hands went up, and I was in awe of these seasoned trial lawyers.  I wasnít sure that I would ever make it to double digits.

 

Probably about a decade ago, BT asked me how long I thought I would continue on as a trial lawyer.  I remember telling him that I wanted to try 50 jury trials, and to have at least a couple of them involve some very significant issues.  Not in my wildest imagination did I think that I would ever try as many as 80 cases. 

 

Now, for those of you who are not trial lawyers, 80 jury trials in 27 years probably doesnít seem like all that big of a deal, roughly three jury trials a year.  And I suppose itís not.  But for those who try jury trial cases, and endure the stress and wear and tear that we all experience the week before trial, 50 jury trials is a pretty big number, and so I feel pretty good about being well past that number.  My new target is the century mark, after which I plan to hang it up and move to Arizona to sell beer at spring training baseball games. 

 

The best part about my most recent jury trial is that Joe and Will got to come down and see my closing argument.  They are at the age now when they need to start thinking about their career choices, and seeing the Old Man in action will hopefully spur them on to consider trial law as a potential future career choice of their own.  At ages 16 and 14, they should have memories of my closing argument for many years to come.  Hopefully, with the passage of time and the fading of memory, they will remember my closing argument in a fashion that would make Clarence Darrow proud.  Right.  Anyway, I was glad to have them there to see the Old Man in action. 

 

STEINWAY UPDATE

 

 

 

Will the Closer took one on the chin last week when he came in to close out a game with a generous five-run lead, albeit with the bases loaded and nobody out.  An error here, a greasy hit there, followed by a couple of legitimate hits, and next thing you know, Will had given up the lead to our opponents and took the loss.  After the game, I told him that when a player pitches on the gameís biggest stage, there are bound to be some low moments to go with the high moments.  He seemed to understand and shrugged off the beating. 

 

Fortunately, our pitching coach gave him a chance to get right back up on the horse in our next game, putting him in the bottom of the final frame with a 1 run lead, runners on 2nd and 3rd, no outs, and the other teamís best hitter up at the plate.  Good old Steinway mowed down the first hitter with a strikeout, got the second batter to pop up to the catcher, and then rung up the third batter for the final out of the game, stranding both runners and preserving the win.  A great follow-up to the earlier blown save.  A good reminder that a closer has to have a short memory.

 

EPILOGUE

 

That will close out this issue of FTB.  Enjoy this issue and have a great weekend. 

 

 

                                                                              Skipper