Edition No. 23
August 10, 2016
THE FUDD REPORT:
WHINING WAHOOS WEGAIN WEAD
Only by enlisting the aid of Elmer Fudd does the above headline work as the lead story in this week’s edition of From the Bullpen. Apparently fueled by the bitter invective and incessant whining of their Owner/Manager Possum, the heretofore tailspinning Wahoos reversed course and put together a whopping point total of 562.3 points for the week ending August 7, 2016, to leapfrog the Cubs and resume 1st place in the Hot Stove League standings through 18 weeks.
Whether coincidental or causal is a matter of opinion and for future debate, but it is hard to believe that Possum’s shrill Message Board caterwauling had nothing to do with five of his Wahoo hitters (Miller, Canó, Myers, Lamb and Fowler) making the Top 25 Who’s Hot list for last week. Evidently the primary recipient of these disturbing diatribes--Bryce Harper--was employing noise-reduction headphones or some similar strategy to escape Possum’s vituperative tongue-lashings.
CRY ME A RIVER
As I ponder the legitimacy of the grievances of the founder and foremost advocate of the HSL Whine Club, I feel compelled to provide a comparison between the 2016 To Date performances of fellow first-round draftees Bryce Harper (Wahoos) and Andrew McCutchen (Senators):
Conclusion: Either Possum needs to curtail the carping and whimpering about Harper and Company, or the Old Skipper needs to ramp up the whining and gnashing of teeth just a tad.
STANDINGS THROUGH 18 WEEKS
POINT TOTALS FOR WEEK 18
The Tigers put together another solid week with 530.5 points, maintaining their 3rd place position just 141.1 points behind the league-leading Wahoos. With the bengals’ mastodonic second-half performance to date, it looks like a three team race for the rest of the campaign, and the 2016 HSL contest is shaping up to be tighter than Greta Van Susteren’s facial skin. If things fall the right way for the La Tigres, Big Guy has a legitimate shot at etching his name on The Cup for the first time in the live ball era. I wouldn’t bet against it. The Tigers have 3 pitchers in the top 15 of the league (Chris Sale, Corey Kluber and J.A. Happ) and 3 hitters in the top 25 (Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, and Jonathan Villar), with Villar at 411.4 points, the No. 25 hitter overall, which would place him at No. 1 on the Senators’ roster, just for perspective.
Proving inarguably that every dog can have his day, the Skipper’s pack of mongrel hounds finally escaped the clutches of the local dogcatcher for at least one week, and somehow put together a season-best point total of 579.8 points, just ahead of the similarly-hot Skipjacks with 570.2 points. At the other end of the spectrum, the Bombers imploded during Week 18 and could muster up only 351.2 points, resulting in a 2-place drop in the standings to 8th. The Monarchs, who had the second lowest point total of the week with 372.6 points, can attribute their subpar showing to the beatings absorbed by “Small Game” James Shields (-30.0 points for the week), Trevor Bauer (-21.0), and Carlos Estévez (-8.0). If you are keeping score at home, that’s a total of -59.0 points for the week by these 3 Monarch pitchers. Tough sledding.
TOP 25 HITTERS
WHO’S HOT -- HITTERS
WHO’S NOT -- HITTERS
TOP 25 PITCHERS
WHO’S HOT -- PITCHERS
WHO’S NOT -- PITCHERS
CHARLES KURALT REPORT:
ON THE ROAD IN UTAH
A recent work trip to Salt Lake City to meet with one of the leading ophthalmologists in the country (his spacious sixth floor office would rival the chambers of a federal court judge, and afforded a spectacular view of the Wasatch Mountains) offered me a chance to make my way over to Orem, Utah, for a visit to Brent Brown Ballpark for a game between the Orem Owlz and the visiting Billings Mustangs. The Owlz, who play in the Pioneer Rookie League, are a farm club of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Some of their well-known alumnae are: Mike Morin, C.J. Cron, Kole Calhoun, Patrick Corbin, Garrett Richards, and Jean Segura.
The Owlz’s home park is also the home field of Utah Valley University. While a beautiful setting for a baseball game with mountain majesty in the background, I learned to my horror during my first trip to the concession stand that beer is not sold at Brent Brown Ballpark. Let me say that again: Beer is not sold at Brent Brown Ballpark. Clearly, Brigham Young still has something to say about how business is run in this community. Not a fan, B.Y. In any event, while my Polish dog and peanuts did not taste nearly the same without a frosty ale to wash them down, I suffered through the game sans ale for one of the few times in my adult life,* and am able to report that my memory of events is a bit clearer than usual. For example, I have a crisp memory of the Owlz’s young starting pitcher, Sam Pastrone, trying to soldier on even after the visiting Mustangs touched him up for 8 hits and 4 earned runs in 3 innings, elevating his ERA to the odious figure of 7.04. I remember admiring the Owlz’s stud center fielder, Jahmai Jones, sprinting to and fro in the Owlz’s outfield to snare frozen ropes off of the bats of the Mustangs, keeping Pastrone and his relievers from suffering even more damage to their ERAs. And I remember the elegantly-named Satchel McElroy, right fielder for the Mustangs, cracking a smoking double to right in the top of the 3rd to drive in the Mustangs’ first two runs, and then being hit by a pitch in the top of the 5th, and cockily dancing around the bag like Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) in Major League,
before attempting to steal second base and getting nailed by Owlz catcher Angel Genao, and not even making it close.
Although the Owlz scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th to bring them within 2, the Mustangs held on and won the contest by a final score of 7-5, with Andy Cox pitching 1-2/3 innings of relief to get the win (in spite of his 7.07 ERA) and the aforementioned Pastrone (1-3) taking the loss. The game featured home runs by the Billings shortstop, Hector Vargas, and the Owlz’s right fielder, Ryan Vega. The top fan feature of the game was a few muscle cars pulling out onto the field in between the 6th and 7th innings, with the drivers of the cars gunning their souped-up engines to the delight of the crowd. At the end of this brief exhibition, the driver of the Mustang was unable to figure out how to get the car to go in reverse, and embarrassingly slinked off the field after being assisted by someone who apparently had actually driven a stick shift vehicle before.
Later this month, I have to return to Salt Lake City for the deposition of my ophthalmology expert, and the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I plan to catch a game in Ogden at Lindquist Field. Forearmed by my experience in Orem, you can believe that I will be checking on the Raptors’ alcohol sales policy in advance of that game, and if necessary, there may be a pregame stop at the Sack ‘N’ Suds for some tailgate refreshments ahead of time.
THAT’S ALL, FOLKS
That’s it for this issue of From the Bullpen. Good luck in the final third of the campaign, all.
* The first such occasion was the HSL “Family Trip” to Arlington, where we somehow mistakenly found our way into the “Family” section of the ballpark. Although we were lucky enough to be able to watch Nolan Ryan pitch that game, somehow, sans suds, it just wasn’t the same.
The second such occasion was when I took Savannah with me on a work trip to New York City, and we saw the last game in old Yankee Stadium between the Red Sox and the Yankees, again, in the “Family” section. However, this time it was by design, because of my desire to protect Savannah’s virgin ears from the usual profanity of a Yankees game in New York.