2012 Season

Edition No. 30

October 12, 2012







Let’s start off this 500th issue of From the Bullpen by congratulating the winner of the 2012 Hot Stove League Campaign, Mitch a/k/a Magpie a/k/a Curby f/k/a Tricko Pirnie, the owner, manager and Boy Friday of the Bums.  Never doubting his team’s chances despite the white hot start of the Wahoos, Magpie piloted his 2012 team through the rocky shoals of the Hot Stove League mid-season, finding calm water during the final third of the campaign and sailing to a smooth and seemingly effortless victory. 


Here are the final standings for the 2012 Campaign: 












Lincoln Chiefs








Millard Monarchs




West Des Moines Cubs








Kansas City Blues








Bronx Bombers








Omaha Senators







The 2012 season was remarkable for several reasons, not the least of which was Magpie achieving his fourth Hot Stove League crown, joining other Magpie-owned teams that won the league championships in 1991, 1993, and 2003 (when known as the Reds). 


The 2012 season was also notable for yet another bridesmaid finish for Possum, his 5th also-ran season (although by his lights, Possum actually should have won championships each of those seasons, and therefore, did win championships in each of those seasons).  Baby Trumpetfish’s Chiefs did a remarkable job of defending their 2011 title, utilizing a Bum’s Rush finish in the final months of the campaign to catch and pass Jim Ed for the third and final money finish, after spending the first three months of the season slavishly devoted to converting his homestead to a wedding site of which the Queen Mother would have been proud.  This is the fourth straight year that the Chiefs have finished in the top 3, following their second place finishes in 2009 and 2010, and their championship season in 2011. 


At the other end of the spectrum, the Senators finally shook off three years of the shame and ignominy of finishing in the cellar, using a clever late season strategy of actual hands-on management to vault past the Bears for the penultimate spot in the standings.  While my hopes and dreams were of catching the Tribe and finishing at the top of the Lincoln Northeast triumvirate, the wily Underbelly remained just conscious enough in the stretch to keep a competitive team on the field and crush my dreams.  Oh, well, baby steps. 




How about Saturday, January 5, for Tricko’s Trunk Show?  You know, the one where he breaks out the line of new Bums merchandise for all of us in celebration of the magical 2012 Championship Season?  I haven’t checked to see if there’s Maverick hockey that night, but if there is, it would be the perfect night for a celebration. 




Although not every MLB team has their 2013 calendar posted on their website, it looks like Opening Day for the 2013 season will be on or about Monday, April 1.  As such, I suggest that we pen in Saturday, March 30, for the 2013 Draft Day.  If anyone has a conflict with this date right now, please let me know right away.  Otherwise, be sure to get this date on your calendar. 




I was at the bookstore the other day to get a textbook for Will, and as often happens to me in such places, an unseen force propelled me over to the baseball books section.  In spite of the fact that I have 13 books on my nightstand in various measures of completion, I found myself picking up, leafing through and purchasing a sumptuous new morsel entitled The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond, edited by Jeff Silverman, The Lyons Press, 2001.  Although I’m only about a fifth or a sixth of the way through it, I have already more than gotten my money’s worth from reading a couple of marvelous pieces, including a riveting tale about the last ten months of the Georgia Peach’s life (which I will share in more detail in a future issue); and a beautiful recount of the last major league game and final at-bat of The Splendid Splinter, Ted Williams, written by the prolific American novelist, poet, critic and essayist John Updike.  Published posthumously in 2010, entitled Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu, this delicious little piece is worth sharing with you in its entirely, and so I provide you with a link to this wonderful Updike story, apparently written in 1960.  I love the fact that the article refers to Williams being on third base and having a chat with the Orioles third baseman, who by 1960 standards evidently wasn’t famous enough to be mentioned by name, but it was Brooks Robinson.  Anyway, I highly encourage you to read this beautiful little story. 





As discussed in the last issue of From the Bullpen, Miguel Cabrera did in fact capture the American League Triple Crown this season, the first such feat in either league since 1967.  Cabrera finished with a .330 average, 139 RBIs, and 44 home runs, one more than Josh Hamilton and Curtis Granderson.  What you may not know is that both Big Guy and I were present at Kaufmann Stadium on Monday, October 1, when Mig Cab hit his homer No. 44, which turned out to be just enough to allow him to hold off Hammie and Grandie for an undisputed, unshared Triple Crown.  So at least we got that going off for us. 



A few of you already know this, but Joe Jackson Ernst decided to end his baseball career at Doane and is planning on transferring to Lincoln to further pursue his college career, sans baseball.  After his splendid start in Fall Baseball and what I mistook to be satisfaction if not giddiness over the way his college career had started, my jaw dropped a bit when Joe announced a couple of weeks ago that he did not want to continue playing baseball at Doane. 


After getting used to the idea, I understood and obviously accepted it, but I can’t help wondering whether he will regret this decision down the road.  In any event, as I told him, he gave me more than enough proud parent moments as a high school and Legion baseball player to last a lifetime.  But he is out of the will. 






Whether you like the new wild-card play-off format or not, one has to admit that we have already seen some phenomenal baseball playoff games this season, and we’re not even half-way through.  The Yankees-Orioles game the other night in which Raul Ibanez hit a tying home run in the bottom of the 9th and a walk-off winning home run in the bottom of the 12th was pure storybook stuff.  Last night’s 13-inning rematch resulting in an Orioles win was more of the same.  It just doesn’t get any better than October baseball. 


This edition marks the 500th issue of From the Bullpen.  This does not include all of the guest articles that have been written over the past four or five years, which I have not counted recently.  B.T. recently shared with me his concern that his Off the Reservation guest article might not be worthy of the 500th edition of FTB, but I assured him that this would not be a problem since I have tallied the regular editions of FTB separately from all of your guest editions. 


Anyway, I don’t know that we’ll make it to a thousand, or even 750, but we’ll keep plugging away.  Hope you enjoy this one. 





 Our 500th Issue