Bandits 4, Imperials 2
Bandits 4, Imperials 2
APRIL 30 - One of the titans of the New York Long Island Strat League has returned.
Jim Baumbach, owner of the Wellwood Scribes of Lindenhurst and one of only five people to field a team in all 11 seasons of the NYLISL's history, announced that he was rejoining the league today in a press conference at St. John's University. It is a shocking change of heart from his decision in January to join a newly-forming league that planned to rival the NYLISL.
"Happy to be home!" Baumbach posted on his Twitter page earlier this week.
The NYLISL is happy to have him back. Replacement owners were being considered for his franchise, but the league's front office admitted that things wouldn't have been the same without Baumbach.
"Once we thought we had a chance to lure Jim back, there was no reason to keep the Replacement Committee in place," NYLISL co-commissioner Jack Flynn said. "I looked forward to visiting him this summer and watching his new team play, but I'm much happier to be competing with him again!"
The unnamed fledgling circuit is planning a longer season and a stricter scheduling format than the NYLISL, which would've impacted Baumbach's appreciation of the game. It also became clear that the new league lacked the strong and dynamic vision of co-commissioners Flynn and Chris Forster - a luxury that Baumbach has been spoiled by.
"Look, when you've had the opportunity to play in a league run by people like Jack and Chris, it's really hard to adjust your expectations downward," Baumbach said. "The NYLISL is the best and most player-friendly league on the East Coast. Maybe I just needed some time away to see that."
FEBRUARY 13 - Just hours after the 2010 NYLISL Draft ended, the New Jersey Bandits officially locked up catcher Joe Mauer by signing him to the longest contract in league history. Mauer has put his signature on a 10-year deal that includes club options which will ensure he will finish his career in the Garden State.
"The rumors are true," Bandits Owner/GM Chris Forster said at a makeshift press conference in the same room where the draft was held earlier that day. "Joe Mauer will always have a home in New Jersey."
Word of Mauer's deal, which was first reported on the popular baseball blog Productive Outs and Crackerjack, was hotly debated when it was first leaked. However, Mauer's agent Ron Shapiro confirmed the deal directly to the site's author days before Forster confirmed the signing.
The 10-year deal is the longest in NYLISL history, even longer than the 9-year deal signed by fellow Bandit Evan Longoria in 2009. The contract also comes with a full no-trade clause, at the insistence of club management.
In the end, Mauer said that money was never a stumbling block.
"There were only two things I cared about - playing for a winner and long-term security," Mauer said. "No team has been more successful then my Bandits, but I told Mr. Forster that I wouldn't sign a contract for anything shorter than 10 years."
Now that Mauer's 10-year contract is official, Forster said that his franchise is ready to defend its seventh league title. He has no plans to deviate from the blueprint that has brought New Jersey so much success - outrageous dice magic that has been known to reduce rival managers into a quivering heap of tears and frustration.
"How many times will I roll a 1-4 with Joe Mauer this season? As many times as I feel like it!" Forster quipped.
NOVEMBER 19 - There was a crisis of faith in Forest Hills at the end of October.
The St. Jack’s Crusaders had just dropped five of nine games in stunning fashion to the New Jersey Bandits, a franchise that had just gutted itself after realizing the string of five straight league championships was coming to an end in 2008. The Crusaders’ record was now 31-30 and their lead for the final playoff spot had been shaved down to a half-game.
Owner/GM Jack Flynn made the proclamation then and there – after 61 games of playing over their heads, it was time for some changes.
A flurry of activity followed – four trades in two weeks ended with seven new players joining what Flynn hopes will be a rejuvenated St. Jack’s squad. Four new starting pitchers were imported, three of whom will take regular turns in what will become a five-man rotation over the season’s final 23 games.
Rich Hill and Kevin Correia were the first new arrivals, rescued from the Gramercy Riffs’ minor-league affiliate along with catcher Brian Schneider in exchange for Victor Martinez. Hill had spent the entire season with the Turnbull ACs and Correia had just recently reported there after the parent club acquired him from New Jersey a month before.
Both will get regular starts down the stretch with the Crusaders, reeling from Roy Oswalt’s injury and desperate for pitching help. Hill will be especially important – 10 of the Crusaders’ final 23 games are against the Massapequa Hitmen and the Floral Park Flesheaters. The Hitmen and the Flesheaters are universally acknowledged as the two best teams in the league, but both are susceptible to left-handed pitching.
Martinez has spent several years with the Crusaders and has the highest batting average among qualified players in franchise history (a .312 average in 150 career games). However, with the emergence of Geovany Soto and Dioner Navarro – who split catching duties in 2009 – along with Soto’s highly anticipated debut with the team looming after Game 65, Martinez finally became expendable.
Any sadness that Crusader fans were feeling about the loss of fan favorite Martinez were quickly alleviated when news of a second deal with Gramercy came across the wire – franchise icon Curt Schilling was coming back to town, in a deal that sent Scott Rolen to Gramercy.
Schilling is unlikely to make a start between now and the end of the season, but Flynn jumped at the opportunity to bring back the man who owns virtually every single franchise pitching record. Getting Rolen’s contract off the books – he’s signed through 2009 despite having three men ahead of him on the depth chart – was an added bonus. The Riffs will use Rolen primarily as a defensive replacement for the rest of the season.
Last Saturday, Flynn worked the phones to pull off two more deals before the trading deadline. The first trading partner was the Flesheaters, who parted with Ted Lilly and Brad Hawpe in exchange for Adan Dunn, Chien Ming Wang and Mike Mussina.
Lilly adds a second left-hander to the mix and sets up a potential post-season rotation that would include him, Oswalt and Hill. Hawpe will play right field for the rest of 2008 and has the inside track on the DH job for next season.
Dunn will add even more power to an already dangerous Flesheaters lineup and could see time at first base or one of the corner outfield positions in 2009. Mussina may find himself at the back end of Floral Park’s rotation next year; the only surefire candidate to start for the Flesheaters is Josh Beckett.
Less than an hour after that deal was complete, St. Jack’s addressed its offensive issues at third base for the second time this season, acquiring Mike Lowell from the West Side Stories and shipping away Adrian Beltre and Dan Uggla.
Lowell will bat fifth behind Hawpe in the new-look Crusaders lineup, at least until Soto joins the team beginning in Game 66. Beltre and Lowell profile similarly for 2009 – both are right-handed glovemen who can platoon against lefties.
Uggla brings a lot of power from a middle-infield position, although Stories Owner/GM Ed Price will be reluctant to start him next to real-life keystone mate Hanley Ramirez. No NYLISL team has had success with two 4s starting in the middle infield – could this be a prelude to a trade for Ramirez?
The New Jersey Bandits Owner/GM is certainly asking himself that question today, after a 3-11 stretch over the weekend that saw his team drop 5.5 games out of first place. For only the second time in the franchise's nine-year history, the Bandits are suddenly in danger of not making the playoffs.
Forster has been confounding NYLISL followers for years, riding waves of almost inhuman luck to five straight league championships. But the bill may finally be coming due on years of unparallelled success. Sources say that Forster is considering the possibility of setting the wheels in motion for a rebuilding plan to immediately place his franchise back into contention in 2009.
The problems began on Saturday morning, when the Bandits were swept by the Gramercy Riffs in a five-game series. New Jersey's offense was non-existent, at one point going 29 innings without scoring a run. The shocking sweep briefly vaulted Tim Walsh's Riffs into first place, but several hours later Gramercy lost two of three games to the West Side Stories to settle into a first-place tie with the Massapequa Hitmen.
The Bandits got healthy somewhat by taking 2 of 3 from West Side later that day, but the doors really came off on Sunday against the Floral Park Flesheaters.
Yes, you read that right - Floral Park Owner/GM Jason Varvaro has finally emerged from a completely incommunicado four-month period to win 5 out of 6 games against a defeated Bandits squad. Varvaro was licking his wounds after a 4-7 start to the season that was apparently so distressing he took the entire summer off from league business to get his mind back together.
The early results were positive, as the Flesheaters are suddenly back over .500 and only 67 games away from completing their schedule. Forster was irate afterwards, especially after a game where Varvaro rolled on the batter's card 36 times in 50 plate appearances.
In the first deal, Baumbach dealt Ryan Howard, Aaron Rowand, Aramis Ramirez and Johan Santana to the Lakers in exchange for Ichiro Suzuki, Kevin Youkilis, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ben Sheets. Baumbach was sick of a lineup that was riddled with all-of-nothing hitters, which is why he was interested in Ichiro and Youkilis, especially.
In the second deal, Baumbach swapped Triple-A starter Brad Penny for Sean Marshall with the Stories.
In the third deal, Baumbach sent John Smoltz, Jonathan Papelbon and Marshall to Massapequa for James Shields, Jon Rauch and Salomon Torres. Baumbach realizes he gave up two big names, but he felt comfortable doing so for several reasons - With Joba Chamberlain's amazing card set to be eligible in 13 games, he felt he could afford hurting his pen to help his rotation. He also felt replacing Smoltz with Shields was a move that benefits his team both this year and next.
Finally, in a deal with Gramercy, Wellwood acquired Chipper Jones, Jason Schmidt and Francisco Rodriguez in exchange for J.J. Putz, Chone Figgins and a tenth round pick. Baumbach felt his lineup needed one more smasher, and identified Jones as the answer. Giving up Putz is tough, but he feels his bullpen has enough depth to handle it. And it also helped that Putz is going to awful next year and Figgins, a free agent at 30 years old, is in line for a multi-year deal.
The Scribes are 26-26 with 32 games remaining, more than enough to make a playoff push in a season dominated by parity. But he feels his deals also put him in position to contend for years to come, especially with a rotation next year that could consist of four of these five: Shields, Sheets, Roy Halladay, John Lackey and Chamberlain.
JUNE 8 - It took over four months to finally happen, but the NYLISL standings are finally starting to flesh out. With most teams muddling around the .500 mark before today's action, two long streaks put the Massapequa Hitmen and the Oswego Lakers on opposite ends of the table.
The Hitmen reeled off five straight wins to take over first place on Sunday, but came back to earth after two straight losses to the St. Jack's Crusaders at the conclusion of their day. Nevertheless, Masspequa sits atop the standings at 11-6 and for yet another season, the rumors of the Hitmen's demise continue to be greatly exaggerated.
For the Lakers, meanwhile, the good vibes from a surprising 12-10 start were swept away by a 10-game losing streak that brought Owner/GM Sean O'Leary to the brink of insanity. A blockbuster four-player trade with the Crusaders may be just what Oswego needs to jump-start the engines, however; they finally broke the duck with a thrilling 3-2 victory in 14 innings over St. Jack's in the final game of the afternoon.
The Lakers added a legitimate top of the rotation starter in Justin Verlander, packaging Albert Pujols and Chien Ming Wang to secure the services of the ace right-hander. Oswego also received Miguel Cabrera in the deal, so the potent Laker offense should be able to offset the loss of the dominating Pujols.
For St. Jack's, the deal culminated what had become a four-year quest to right one of the biggest wrongs in franchise history. Owner/GM Jack Flynn rashly traded Pujols away in a fit of pique at the 2004 All Star celebration, a decision he has regretted for years. His return means that the Crusaders' offense becomes more dangerous, but it will be at the expense of a legitimate starting rotation.
In other action, both Wellwood and Gramercy continued their winning ways, while Floral Park's 3-0 start was wiped out by a disastrous 1-7 afternoon. Flesheaters' GM Jason Varvaro was dumbstruck by his team's performance, the nadir of which was being the victim of a four-hit shutout by the Crusaders' Carlos Zambrano. Flynn added that, due to the two trades made in the last eight days, Nick Swisher and Chris Duncan were being made available on the trade market. St. Jack's is seeking pitching and/or a third baseman.
AUGUST 28 - It took approximately 37 weeks of intense negotiations, but the Massapequa Hitmen today announced that they had finally come to an agreement with super prospect Jack Thomas Boland on a lifetime deal that will make him the future face of the erstwhile franchise. He is believed to be the youngest prospect in NYLISL history.
As a condition of the agreement, the young Boland agreed to be born into the Hitmen family and will begin an apprenticeship with the franchise as soon as he is old enough to roll dice. Although speculation persists that Jack Thomas (who will also answer to "JT") was named after St. Jack's Demons Owner/GM Jack Flynn, the Massapequa franchise confirmed today that he was in fact named after his maternal grandfather.
JT Boland, speaking to reporters from the maternity ward of a Long Island hospital, chose to quote a line of poetry from his father to describe his feelings about the new contract.
"Baseball is fun to play," Boland said. "Third base is the best position to play. Outfield is the worst position."
FEBRUARY 4 - Four years ago, Gramercy Riffs uber-GM Tim Walsh left the comfort of the Ghetto to attempt a new start in the Sunshine State, where he thought the grass might be greener. It turns out that it was nothing than a snake-filled swamp.
"It was definitely a learning experience, but I'm glad to be back," said an elated Walsh in an exclusive interview with the NYLISL website. When asked what he learned from his experience, Walsh retorted, "stay out of Florida!"
Walsh left behind what was arguably his finest squad in 2004 in search of fool's gold. As a franchise with core talent like Todd Helton, Jim Edmonds and current Riff Tim Hudson, the Riffs seemed poised for a 50-win season and a strong playoff run.
"We had it all together that year. I thought there was no question we had a team that could compete with anyone," said Walsh favorite and current team co-captain Tim Hudson.
Walsh's hiatus was only supposed to last one year, but political issues kept him in Florida much longer than expected. Helton, Edmonds, Hudson and the rest of the stalwart Old School Brothers, as the franchise was previously known, were disbanded and sent off to other franchises. Only Hudson has made it back to the Ghetto.
"It was a rough go for me, especially since I was drafted first overall by him," Hudson said. "I was just a no-name kid and he took a big chance on me. It was a heartbreaking to watch him leave." The pain wasn't just felt by Hudson.
"I cried every night he was away," said fellow league GM John Flynn.
Walsh returned with a flourish, showing off the incredible gifts of talent evaluation that has made him a legend in this league by drafting young studs such as BJ Upton and Troy "Top Step Tommy" Tulowitzki in last year's expansion draft. Other notables remaining with the franchise from that draft are Chris Snyder, Rich Hill, and blogger/reliever Pat Neshek.
"The guy knows how to draft," Neshek said. "It's been the focus of my blog for the last year or so. My readers can't get enough insight from his genius."
Walsh also turned water into wine by turning worthless prospects into Cole Hamels and Adam Wainwright, then by picking up Troy Glaus in exchange for the team's third-string shortstop. He then used his considerable expertise in this year's expansion draft to pick the likes of Francisco (K-Rod) Rodriguez, Torii Hunter, Derrick Turnbow and Conor Jackson.
He also added slick-fielding former OS Brother Omar Vizquel and pitching prospect Rich Harden through a mid-January trade with the Riffs blood-rival, the St. Jack's Demons. Demons Owner/GM Jack Flynn blustered that Walsh was overly enamored with him and his team, going so far as to say that it was the reason for so many Demons becoming Riffs in the offseason. Walsh, like he does with most other ramblings by his rival GM, shook Flynn's latest salvo off as nonsense.
"It's funny, you leave a reliever like K-Rod out there, and you don't expect him to be picked?" Walsh asked rhetorically. "And Turnbow, I mean, I know he wanted to pull him back, but I had my eye on him since an in season deal we had fell apart.
"Picking up Nick Johnson was doing a favor for that no-good Flynn," Walsh further explained. "Vizquel fits a hole and I think it's finally going to be Rich Harden's time.
"Seriously," Walsh continued, "no even likes the guy, we only keep him around because he maintains the website. His mother doesn't even like him -- I even heard that his fiancee only accepted his marriage proposal because she felt sorry for him. Either way, he should keep his mouth shut and keep his eyes on his own basement dweller of a squad."
As for the Riffs' fortunes, they should be on the way up. Along with the expansion draft haul, Walsh also had the opportunity to participate in a dispersal draft of the former Mop-ups franchise. There he selected Chase Utley, Chipper Jones, Javier Vazquez and his old friend Hudson. He acknowkedged the wisdom of the league as a whole for allowing the Riffs, along with its expansion partners the Oswego Lakers, to take the first dip into the pool of players from the former franchise. League sources have said that giving Walsh that kind of opportunity to grab first-class talent could make the Riffs more competetive than the rest of the league would like.
"Of course it's difficult to judge without playing a game yet," Walsh said, "but I think this could be a special team, one that could compete for a title this year."
Going into the free agent draft Walsh didn't miss a beat, filling holes in the bullpen and at first base with Rafael Perez, Heath Bell and James Loney. Walsh also chose Jeremy Hermida, Dimitri Young, Alex Rios and Joe Blanton for added depth. Once the bullpen was fully fortified with the first-round and third-round choice of Perez and Bell, Walsh spent a little more time touting his second-round pick Loney.
"I took James a little high, because I was worried that Flynn might grab him if I went for Matt Kemp," Walsh said. "I valued Loney more - the sky's the limit for him. He's got a great swing and a good glove. He's very similar to Todd [Helton], but probably with a little more power potential."
It's tough to dispute the level of talent Walsh has put together, but he is quick to note how even the field is.
"With the exception of 'Golden Hands' Forster (New Jersey Bandits Owner/GM Chris Forster) we've all felt the bite of Lady Luck gone bad," Walsh said, "so I'm a long way from annointing this team a title contender. But with the talent spread across the league the way it is this year, there's so much parity - it's crazy that finishing 4 or 5 games above .500 may get a team the bye and home field."
The enthusiasm could not have been more obvious than in the youngster Tulowitzki, who along with Utley, Hamels, Hill, Neshek and Upton are part of the young core of the squad. He was named Co-Captain by Walsh. But the shortstop they call "Top Step Tommy" is the first to correct a reporter by saying, "I'm a co-captain in training. Mr. Walsh is putting a lot of faith in me to help bridge the gap between Mr. Hudson and myself to bring this team together and be successful, and, by gosh, I'm going to do my best and make him proud!"
"I told him to call me Tim," Hudson mused, "but he's too good of a kid. We'll have loosen him up a bit so he's ready to play in the Ghetto."
In other news, Walsh has yet to name a manager for his ballclub. With deaths to former managers Cyrus and Masai, Walsh is hesitant to name a new skipper, possibly fearing a jinx. "No comment," Walsh said when pressed on the matter.
(Editors note: This article was NOT written by league webmaster Jack Flynn!)
The Floral Park Flesheaters were in the middle of all three deals, radically remaking their roster and putting themselves in a position to challenge for a playoff berth in 2008. Floral Park swapped nearly 25 percent of its roster in a five-day span and although the first two deals were clearly made with an eye for 2008, the third trade was made just in case the fifth-place Flesheaters make a last-minute playoff run.
The first of those trades was struck on October 21. Floral Park, sitting on a 30-29 record and staring at the very real possibility of missing the playoffs, decided to set its sights on 2008. At the same time, West Side Stories Owner/GM Ed Price was coming to the conclusion that an unreliable bullpen which had already blown 14 saves to date was putting his franchise in danger of missing the playoffs as well.
Both sides talked and Price was able to wrangle Joel Zumaya from the Flesheaters in exchange for Bobby Jenks. The Stories also received a fourth-round draft pick in 2008. Floral Park gets a top-flight reliever for 2008 in Jenks, but surrendered a lot to do so. The draft pick in particular seems a high price to play, but with Zumaya ineligible for 2008 and Jenks expected to be among the elite relievers in the NYLISL, it was a fair price to pay.
Although Dennys Reyes (9/22) or Rafael Betancourt (4/23) might’ve been better options in 2007 for the Stories, Zumaya (23/20) certainly has a higher upside for the future. He replaced David Aardsma on the 25-man roster. Unfortunately for the Stories, Zumaya’s arrival did not immediately stem the Stories’ bullpen woes. In a five-game series against the Flesheaters immediately following the deal, Zumaya was lit up in two appearances and even blew a save.
As Floral Park was consummating its deal with the West Siders, Owner/GM Jason Varvaro was in extended negotiations with St. Jack’s over what was turning into a blockbuster deal. The Demons, staring down the barrel of its first NYLISL rebuilding season in 2008, were willing to make a big splash in order to make a furious run at the 2007 championship.
The initial list of players Owner/GM Jack Flynn requested was breathtaking – Manny Ramirez and Mike Mussina (both recently acquired from the Wellwood Scribes of Lindenhurst when they threw in the towel last month), as well as Esteban German and Frank Thomas. A match seemed extremely unlikely, until Flynn told Varvaro he would be willing to include Miguel Cabrera in any deal.
Varvaro later said that the only player that could get him to part with Ramirez was the 24-year-old slugging third baseman from Venezuela. With a key part of the deal in place, negotiations began to take shape. After four days of haggling, both sides agreed on a deal that would include the four players on Flynn’s initial wish list, as well as budding superstar Delmon Young, in exchange for Cabrera, Placido Polanco, Mark Teixeira and Pat Burrell.
For the Demons, adding a #1 starter as well as three significant offensive weapons was worth mortgaging the future for. Mussina will anchor the rotation down the stretch and will allow the Demons to employ a three-man rotation if they make it to the playoffs. Ramirez will bat cleanup in Cabrera’s spot and, along with German, significantly strengthens the Demons’ pop-gun attack against lefties. German, meanwhile, will replace Orlando Hudson at second base. Thomas will platoon with Chris Duncan at the DH slot and adds huge right-handed power to a lineup that was lacking in such.
The Demons may have the most talent in the NYLISL now, but it was achieved at a tremendous price. If St. Jack’s doesn’t make the playoffs in 2007, they will regret the deleterious effect this trade will have on its 2008 prospects. The Flesheaters not only add Cabrera, but also add a .340-hitting 2B who went an entire season without an error in Polanco. Teixeira will likely platoon with David Ortiz at first and Pat Burrell will challenge Matt Holliday with time in left field. Floral Park now has six star players at four positions (1B, 3B, LF and DH), so you can bet that Varvaro will be soliciting offers to fill other needs in the offseason.
Just when it seemed that the trading was over, Varvaro made one last deal just in case the Flesheaters had a little life left in 2007. With their trade deadline looming, the Flesheaters added Luke Scott, Brandon League, Chris Sampson and Ian Kinsler from the Gramercy Riffs in exchange for Cole Hamels and Adam Wainwright.
Scott will add another big bat to the Flesheaters’ offense and both League and Sampson can make great contributions to the bullpen, but none of them will be eligible for a playoff roster if Floral Park somehow makes it there. None are appreciably useful for 2008, although Scott could conceivably make the team as a backup outfielder in 2008.
It was a no-lose deal for the Riffs, although one could debate the wisdom of trading a budding star in Kinsler as part of a deal to import two more starting pitchers, an area where Gramercy already has a lot of options. However, Hamels will be ready to step into the Riffs’ rotation next season and should be one of the better left-handed starters in the NYLISL. Wainwright started slowly but was terrific after June 1 in MLB – he’s a guy more likely to make an impact in 2009.
The only two teams left with trading privileges still intact are the Demons and the Riffs. Will there be one final deal before the clock strikes 12 on both teams? Sources say that Demons scouts have been at The Big Coney for each of the Riffs’ last two series and are preparing a dossier for Flynn’s consideration.
OCTOBER 12 - Carl Crawford has recently been the subject of trade rumors, but his performance today will make West Side Stories Owner/GM Ed Price think long and hard about parting ways with the speedy outfielder. Crawford hit for the first cycle in Stories' history, paving the way for a 15-7 demolition of the Floral Park Flesheaters in the first game of their seven-game series.
The Stories wound up taking six of seven from the Flesheaters, including a four-game sweep at Cannibal Memorial Stadium, to improve their record to 32-23. The West Siders mashed their way to 49 runs in the seven games and Crawford was nearly impossible to get out, going 12-for-27 (.444) with eight runs scored and three triples. That puts him in the league lead for triples with 10 in 55 games this season, one more than St. Jack's shortstop Omar Vizquel.
Crawford has been highly sought after in recent days, with the Wellwood Scribes of Lindenhurst trying especially hard to pry him loose from the Stories. However, after his magical performance this series, it seems unthinkable that West Side could go ahead and trade him to fortify the franchise's first-ever playoff run. Stranger things have happened, however, and this expansion draft pick could find his way heading east before the trade deadline.
In the final game of the series, the Stories lost starter Josh Johnson in the second inning and found themselves down 4-0 to Floral Park ace Johan Santana. But they came back to batter Santana for 16 hits in 8 2/3 innings and won the game 8-5. An MRI on Johnson was negative and he will likely make his next start.
Two games earlier, an Alex Rodriguez error helped the Stories score three seventh-inning runs off Joel Zumaya, resulting in a 7-5 win. Anibal Sanchez won twice in the series, allowing three earned runs in 12 2/3 innings.
One day later, the Stories took two out of three games from the New Jersey Bandits to move into a tie for the third and final playoff spot. The highlight of the series was a 12-11, 10 inning thriller that saw six lead changes and a game-winning single from emergency right fielder Gerald Laird.
Bandits Owner/GM Chris Forster was unusually downcast afterwards, telling reporters that the second game of the series would go down as one of the most memorable games in NYLISL history. He noted the many lead changes, runners stranded, missed rolls and three blown saves from a team with arguably the best bullpen in the league.
JULY 13 - New Jersey Bandits Owner/GM Chris Forster was steaming mad today, and not just because he was banned from his fourth Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet this week. The source of his ire was a report on the NYLISL website claiming that Jonathan Papelbon and JJ Putz were now the best reliever tandem in the league, a claim he strongly contests.
"The Bandits as a whole have nothing but respect for the numbers that Putz and Papelbon have put up this year, and our issue is not with them, nor should it deter or distract from the season they are having," Forster said, while smoking his 14th cigarette of the morning.
"Our issue is with that human Q-Tip with inverted nipples (St. Jack's Demons Owner/GM Jack Flynn), whose inability in journalism is only surpassed by his inability to win a playoff series," he raged. "In his latest article, he referred to them as 'the most devastating 1-2 punch in the league.' We feel that any rational observer would argue that Mariano Rivera and Joe Nathan are at least comparable to the new duo in Wellwood and should be given the level of respect that they have earned."
When reached for comment, Flynn reacted with surprise. "I never had inverted nipples and I'm tired of defending my body parts to other people," he screamed, a statement that was immediately followed by convulsions of laughter from his longtime girlfriend Christine Curcio. As she fell to the floor in hysterics over what was apparently a private joke, Flynn's face reddened as he continued.
"Look, Nathan and Papelbon are just about dead even, but Putz is better than Rivera, in my opinion. More strikeouts on the card, a more even lefty-righty balance and certainly a brighter future. You'd have to be a putz not to like Putz better!"
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