Edition No. 29
December 31, 2013
I have been remiss in following up on the end of the season by updating you all with a revised Record of Final Finishes and a bit of attendant commentary. So here goes:
Chiefs: B.T.s 2013 title is the third in the Chiefs storied 29-year career as an owner in the Hot Stove League, but the second in the last 3 years. It took B.T. 12 years to record his first title, and then another 15 years to etch his name on the Cup for a second time, but now the championships appear to be coming in bunches. Is he the Tom Osborne of the Hot Stove League? If so, how many more years of league participation can we expect from him before he hands it over to his own Frank Solich (Jesse? Or is it Eli? And lets not rule Anna out of the running.)? Lets hope that our beloved B.T. plans to manage for at least another decade or two before giving one of his offspring the keys to the Lexus. Note that B.T. has had five consecutive money finishes, and has finished in the top five for 7 years running, ever since unhitching his wagon from his former co-manager, Screech. Good call on that one, B.T.
Redbirds: Tirebiters Redbirds made it interesting in the end, actually taking the lead in real time one night during the final week of the campaign, before pulling the flaps back in and ceding the race to the Chiefs. This was the sixth 2nd-place finish for Jim Ed in 21 years of Hot Stove League competition, and shows that he is ready to again compete for his first Hot Stove League crown.
Tribe: Underbelly finished in the money in 2013 for the first time since 1996 (17 years), and his third time overall in 28 years of Hot Stove League competition. This years 3rd-place finish joins his teams 3rd-place finishes in 1998 (won by the Tigers that year in the dead-ball era) and 1996 (also won that year by B.T.). Your time is coming, Bob!
Wahoos: This was the sixth 4th-place finish for the Wahoos in 29 years of Hot Stove League competition, and their eighth straight Upper Division finish, their thirteenth Upper Division finish in the last 14 years. It is notable that in the past 6 years, the Wahoos have finished 6 3 1 5 2 4, so if we were playing Yahtzee!, Possum would have won the Long Straight. Well done, Possum.
Cubs: The Cubs finished the 2013 Campaign in 5th place, their third 5th-place finish in 29 years of play, and their eighth straight Upper Division finish. Once again, Shamu has proved that the more you put into this league, the more you get out of it.
Blues: In spite of it being the summer of Stretchs nuptials, his team was able to finish a respectable 6th, their fourth 6th-place finish in 27 years of competition. It was also the Blues fourth Upper Division finish in the last 7 years, after a string of six straight Lower Division finishes. Now thats a warrior!
Chelsea Warriors: Itchies team finished in 7th place, about as boring a season as one can have. Notably, this was our five-time champions fourth consecutive Lower Division finish, and their eighth Lower Division finish in the last 9 years, since winning the crown for the fifth time in 2005. This teams finishes for the last eight years, 8 8 8 6 9 8 9 7, look a lot like Itchies high school report card.
Da Bums: The Bums finished in 8th place this season, their first 8th-place finish in 26 years of play. It was also the Bums first finish out of the money in 4 years, and only their third Lower Division placement in 26 years of competition. Aberration, or new trend in the making?
Monarchs: The Monarchs finished in 9th place for the first time in their 7-year history, only their second Lower Division finish in those 7 years. Perhaps Screech will blame it on the extra commute time to Blair, but the bottom line is that it is time for this shaky franchise to get their act together or risk contraction.
Bears: The Bears finished the 2013 season in 10th place, their second finish in the ten-hole in 27 years of HSL competition. This was the sixth consecutive Lower Division finish for the Bears after their championship season of 2006 followed by a 3rd-place finish in 2007. Can you say peaked?
Tigers: The Tigers 11th-place finish was especially disappointing given that they were seemingly in contention for a money spot throughout a significant portion of the season, before collapsing and freefalling to their ending position. Unfortunately, this collapse cost the Tigers the chance to snap their 6-year skein of Lower Division finishes, and added a seventh to the scorecard. It also cost Big Guy his chance for his teams first money finish since 2004 when the Tigers finished in 3rd place, behind the champion Senators.
Bronx Bombers: The Bombers 12th-place finish was their fourth such finish and their fourth straight double digit finish. Unfortunately, after working diligently to improve the franchise all the way up to their 5th-place finish in 2005 after years of sheer misery, the Bombers have gone the other direction and are in need of some serious new mojo to put them back on track toward a championship-contending team.
Senators: The Senators finish in the basement was their fourth cellar finish in the past 5 years and sixth out of the last 7, and their eighth consecutive finish at 10th place or worse. As such, some major changes have been made within and without the organization, and the new computer chip that I had inserted together with my new hip is designed to make sure that I receive an electric impulse at exactly 5 p.m. each day during the baseball season, reminding me to get to the computer and set my lineup. This change alone should be worth five or six positions up the ladder.
Our annual Winter Meeting is now set for Friday, January 10, 2014, at Skippers place at 4224 South 180th Street. Cocktails will be served beginning at 6:00, and dinner at 7:00. I look forward to seeing each and every one of you there, together with B.T.s bag of goodies for each and every one of us.
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As this will be the final Bullpen of the 2013 calendar year, let me take a moment now to thank all of you for your uncommon commitment to the cause and your ceaseless good cheer as we close out another great season of competition and embark on a new one, our 30th. Happy New Year to each and every one of you.
Our 518th edition