Edition No. 9
April 19, 2017
UNDERDOG UNDERBELLY ON TOP;
DEFENDING CHAMPION WAHOOS IN LEAGUE BOWELS
After two weeks of play, everyone’s favorite underdog, Underbelly, finds his smoking-hot Tribe team in 1st place in the HSL standings, enjoying a narrow cushion over the 2nd place Des Moines Cubs. At the polar end of spectrum, finding themselves deeply ensconced in the bowels of the league, is PAwesome and his defending champion Yahoos, who trail the 12th place Chiefs by just under 10 points. In a reckoning of biblical proportion (. . . and the First shall be Last 1, 2), the Wahoos tacked on a meager 332.20 points for the second week of the campaign (37.30 points fewer than the second-worst Chiefs) to go along with their first week total of 430.70 points.
Adding insult to injury, the Wahoos have only a single hitter (Jake Lamb, No. 19 with 59.00 points) in the Top 25 list of hitters through two weeks, and only 3 (Brandon Belt, No. 34, and Chris Bryant, tied for No. 45) in the Top 50 list of hitters. Over on the pitching side of the equation, the Wahoos don’t have a single hurler in the Top 25 list of pitchers, and it isn’t until we get to Max Scherzer (No. 47 at 51.00 points) that PAwesome has a pitcher in the Top 50.
Conversely, Underbelly’s white-hot Tribe squadron has six hitters in the Top 25 (Marcell Ozuna, 77.10; Eugenia Suárez, 70.90; Nomar Mazara, 63.0; Yoenis Céspedes, 62.7; José Ramírez, 61.6; and Mark Reynolds, 57.20), and four pitchers (James Paxton, 106.00; Dylan Bundy, 77.00; Kendall Graveman, 68.00; and Carlos Carrasco, 67.00) in the Top 25, for a total of 10, count ’em--10, hitters and pitchers in the Top 50 players. Not to jinx him, but it looks like good old Bob may have caught lightning in a bottle in this the 2017 campaign. His second week total of 690.90 points (not a typo) may be an all-time HSL best. Can anyone remember a higher weekly point total?
Anyway, below are the league standings through two weeks:
WEEK 2 STANDINGS
WEEK 2 POINT TOTALS
And the Top 10 Hitters for the first two weeks:
And the Top 10 Pitchers for the first two weeks:
PAST TRIPS REMEMBERED:
As we move closer to our 33rd Annual HSL Trip--this year to suburban Atlanta and brand-spanking-new SunTrust Park--we look back at our 1990 junket to Arlington, Texas, and the Trip that was so cruelly and unfairly redubbed as the Ernst Family Reunion Trip. Okay, okay, so I had a momentary lapse of judgment and invited my then-new but now ex-spouse to tag along on the Trip (bad idea, I admit, and fortunately, not a precedent for future Trips) as well as my brother Dan, who lives in the Dallas area, who joined us for at least one of the games and a meal or two. But let’s change our focus a bit and talk about the games that we saw.
GAME 1: Thursday, July 5, 1990
Rangers v. Orioles
On our first visit to the Ballpark at Arlington, we saw the Rangers knock off the Orioles by the score of 3-2. For the Orioles, Cal Ripken went 1-for-4 with a double, and Mike Devereaux hit a solo home run in the 3rd inning off Mike Jeffcoat. The HSL-infamous Mickey Tettleton entered the game as a pinch hitter in the top of the 8th and knocked in a run with a single.
For the Rangers, Raphael Palmeiro hit a solo home run in the 6th inning off losing pitcher Bob Milacki, and Julio Franco and Pete Incaviglia drove in the other Ranger runs. Jeffcoat got the win for the Rangers, and Rogers the save.
GAME 2: Friday, July 6, 1990
Rangers v. Red Sox
The second game that we saw on our trip pitted the Rangers against the Boston Red Sox, with Kevin Brown on the hill for the Rangers and Wes Gardner pitching for the Red Sox. Kevin Brown twirled a shutout for the home team, giving up 7 hits, walking 3, and striking out 2. Gardner gave up 6 hits and 3 earned runs in 5-1/3 to take the loss for the Red Sox. Julio Franco had 2 hits, a run scored and an RBI for the Rangers, and Palmeiro hit a double and knocked in 2 for the home team.
GAME 3: Saturday, July 7, 1990
Rangers v. Red Sox
In the final game of our HSL visit to the Ballpark at Arlington, we were privileged to see the great Nolan Ryan take the hill for the Rangers. Unfortunately, because of Ryan’s popularity and some poor planning by the Trip Committee, we arrived at the game with seats in the no-alcohol, family section of the Ballpark, which was not popular with the HSL Trip attendees as a whole. Some may even have suggested that baseball is a bit less entertaining sans alcohol, but then to that we say: Duh!
In any event, we were treated to an exemplary pitching performance by the Ryan Express, who tossed seven innings of six-hit ball, yielding 3 earned runs, walking 2, and striking out a dozen Red Sox. He fanned Wade Boggs once, Jody Reed thrice, Tom Brunansky once, Dewey Evans twice, Quintana once, Romine twice and Rivera twice.
Boggs did manage to knock both a double and a triple off Ryan, and Quintana went Yard against Nolan in the 4th inning, briefly putting the Red Sox ahead by the score of 3-1.
In the bottom of the 4th, Rubén Sierra hit a solo blast to narrow the Red Sox’ lead to 3-2, and after left fielder Jack Daugherty singled off Mike Boddicker to follow, Pete Inky Dinky Do Incaviglia launched a 2-run blast to put the Rangers ahead for good. He also added a second jack in the 8th inning off reliever Dennis Lamp, for good measure.
Ryan got the win, No. 8 on the season against 4 losses, while Boddicker took the loss, his 4th against 11 wins. Rogers notched his 7th save in relief of Ryan.
And that was the so-called Ernst Family Reunion Trip, which wasn’t so bad after all, was it!
Next issue: 1992 (Toronto, Cleveland!, Detroit).
Weekend before last, while in the area for KU sorority business, I met up with Stretch for a visit to the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. With the average age of the visitors that Saturday pushing 75, Stretch and I felt like a couple of spring chickens.
Although Independence itself is certainly nothing to write home about, the Truman Library is a beautiful facility, with lots of wonderful, informative exhibits, including an exact replica of the Oval Office as it was during Truman’s tenure there, including his well-known desk placard with the inscription, The Buck Stops Here. Outside the museum, in a courtyard area, Give-’em-hell Harry and his wife Bess and daughter Margaret are all buried on the grounds.
The thing that struck me most about the Truman presidency is just how many crises he faced and handled during his seven years in the office of the presidency. These included:
1. The War Campaign against the Japanese, and the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
2. The Cold War with Russia.
3. The Berlin Airlift.
4. The establishment of the Truman Doctrine to provide aid to Greece and Turkey (which Britain could no longer afford), to prevent them from falling into communism.
5. The establishment of an independent Israel.
6. The housing shortage in the States because of the return of our fighting men from overseas and the Baby Boom.
7. The Korean conflict.
At the end of his presidency, Truman’s approval rating was in the 30% neighborhood, in large part because our citizenry was tired of war and unhappy about the commitment of forces and resources to Korea, a decision which Truman felt was unavoidable in light of the Communist presence in the Korean peninsula. One can imagine that Truman was relieved to turn over the reins of the country to General Eisenhower.
If you are ever in the neighborhood, a trip to the Truman museum is well worth your time and the $8 entry fee.
1 Matthew 20:16. I guess Linda was wrong about the demise of the footnote.