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Tuesday, 23 July 2013
2012 World Series recap
Bandits 4, Imperials 2 Edit Text


Game 1: The Bandits scratch out 5 runs on 6 hits including home runs by Holliday, Beltran, and Granderson. Lincecum struck out 10 through 4 2/3 innings and the Bandits bullpen allowed only 2 base runners over the remaining 4 1/3. Bandits win 5-0.


Game 2: The Imperials had several opportunities to put a big inning together facing Ian Kennedy but failed to put the Bandits away scoring all 3 of their runs on sacrifice flies. The Bandits responded with a 4 run 5th inning and turned the game over to the bullpen who didn’t give up a run for the second game in a row. Bandits win 5-3.

Game 3: Dan Haren looked lost on the mound in front of the screaming Imperial fans giving up 6 runs before getting the hook in the 3rd inning. Despite never beating Ricky Romero, the Bandits potent lefty line-up managed to hang in there and the game went to extra innings. Ryan Braun scorched a leadoff Mike Adams fastball into the upper deck and the crowd went wild. Imperials win 8-7 (10 innings).

Game 4: This game will go down as one of the greatest games in NYLISL history. If the Imperials win, it’s a new series with momentum in their favor. If the Bandits win, the Imperials need to win 3 in a row. Lincecum did not look comfortable pitching on short rest and coughed up 5 runs in the bottom of the second to give the Imperials a 5-2 lead. Jered Weaver and the Imperial bullpen couldn’t counter some very lucky dice rolls and the Walsh backspin and the Bandits pulled ahead 6-5 in the top of the 6th. The Bandits bullpen set the game in cruise control until David Ortiz homered off of Scott Downs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 6. Both teams used up all their position players and were on their last pitchers when Carlos Beltran hit a ballpark home run (1-6) off Cole Hamels to take a 3 run lead into the bottom of the 13th. Craig Kimbrel walked 3 of the first 5 batters he faced and up to the plate steps David Ortiz with the bases loaded and two outs. The only pitching options the Bandits had were to leave a tired Kimbrel in the game to face Ortiz or bring in a tired Adams (he had pitched in games 2 and 3) to get the job done. Tom Seaver went with his gut, stuck with Kimbrel, and Ortiz hit a meaningless groundball to end the game. Bandits win 9-6 (13 innings).

Game 5: the Imperials jumped out to 7-1 lead after putting up 6 runs in the third. The Bandits managed to scratch out a few more runs to make it close but they ran out of outs and the Imperials take an easy win from the Bandits. Imperials win 8-6.

Game 6: With the bullpen rested, the Bandits were able to turn the game over to the bullpen in the 5th only trailing by a run. Corey Hart hit a 2 run home run in the bottom of the 5th and now the Bandits were up by one. The Imperials tied it up in the top of the 7th with a solo home run (I can’t remember who hit it). With a taxed bullpen, the Imperials left in Brandon League to face the Bandits in the bottom of the 9th. Jose Reyes led off with a single and advanced to third on a Berkman single (gbA+). Granderson comes in to pinch run and steals second. The Imperials bring the infield and outfield in and the Bandits let the pesky Shane Victorino swing away. He drives the ball past Adrian Gonzalez and the Bandits win. Bandits win 5-3.

It was an emotional clubhouse knowing that this was Tom Seaver’s last game as skipper of the Bandits. Seaver has led the Bandits to 8 World Series titles since the league started in 2013. Seaver announced his decision to step down at season end earlier in the season citing personal reasons and a desire to spend more time with his family. The Bandits have not interviewed any replacements but said they have a few names in mind.

The Bandits named unlikely star Shane Victorino the series MVP. Victorino made the team out of spring training as the 4th outfielder but saw his role increase throughout the season as the team become increasingly frustrated with underperforming Curtis Granderson. Shane provided gold glove defense in the field, produced runs with his speed on the basepaths, and had a knack for playing above his level throughout the season and into the series. Victorino was 3-11 with 5 walks (two intentional), 3 stolen bases, 2 rbis, and 4 runs scored.

Posted by nylistratleague at 11:27 AM EDT
Friday, 15 October 2010
Baumbach Coming Back! Scribes Owner Has Change of Heart After Making Difficult Decision to Leave NYLISL for Rival League

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."

Posted by nylistratleague at 9:45 AM EDT
Friday, 30 April 2010
Mauer Signs 10-Year Deal: Star Catcher Signs Decade-Long Pact To Stay in New Jersey; Agent Confirms His Client Staying Put
Topic: Front Page

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.

Posted by nylistratleague at 11:26 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 April 2010 11:28 AM EDT
Monday, 22 December 2008
Extreme Makeover, Part 3: Sensing Opportunity, St. Jack's Swaps Out Seven Players to Make Determined Run at a Playoff Spot
Topic: Front Page

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?

Posted by nylistratleague at 12:02 PM EST
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Bandits Cashing In Chips: New Jersey Overhauls Roster with Three Trades; Hitmen, Flesheaters, Riffs Emerge as Contenders
Topic: Front Page
SEPTEMBER 30 - The New Jersey Bandits already own a lion's share of the NYLISL records but GM Yoda set an unprecedented record by trading 21 players in three separate blockbuster trades in one night. The Bandits had not made a trade since before the winter draft back in early 2007 but knew something needed to be done. The Bandits were contenders in several trades during he season but always seemed to be the odd man out when it came to trade talks with the other teams in the league. Chris Forster, team owner, called an emergency meeting after a devastating 3-11 road trip and decided that it was time to throw in the towel and focus on 2009.
The first trade took over two weeks to finalize but the Bandits were able to add Jose Reyes from the Hitmen in exchange for Aaron Harang, Manny Corpas, Freddy Sanchez, Jhonny Peralta and the supplemental pick in next year's draft. Jason Boland gets an arm for the playoff run in Harang, adds a competent arm to the pen in Corpas, and fills out his bench with Sanchez with Peralta backing up Jeter next season. The trade also gives the Bandits some much needed breathing room on a team that went into the night facing the possibility of returning 35 players.
With the Reyes trade out of the way, Yoda turned to the Flesheaters who had previously expressed interest in several of the Bandits journeyman. The trade talks went on for over an hour and when the dust settled, Matt Holliday, Stephen Drew, Dennys Reyes, and Chad Billingsley were added to the team for Jason Bay, Russell Martin, Gary Sheffield, Justin Upton, Huston Street, and Yovanni Gallardo. Holliday was the key to the trade for the Bandits but have had their eyes on Stephen Drew for some time and Chad Billingsley will compete for the 4th spot in next years rotation.
Tim Walsh had asked to be included in any trade talks for Vlad Guererro so he received the next phone call. In one of the more open trade dialogues in team history, the Riffs and Bandits quickly got down to business and landed Ryan Doumit and Adam Wainwright for Vlad, Kevin Correia, Billy Wagner, and Bob Howry. Doumit was highly regarded and would likely start on most teams next year but will be delegated to backup catcher behind Joe Mauer. Wainwright has the been penned in to the starting rotation depending on what is available in next year's draft.

Posted by nylistratleague at 4:16 PM EST
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Disaster Strikes Bandits: New Jersey Drops 11 of 14; Team Considering Trade Options as Playoff Possibilities Cause For Concern
Topic: Front Page
SEPTEMBER 15 - Could Chris Forster's luck finally be running out?

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.

Posted by nylistratleague at 10:52 AM EDT
Monday, 15 September 2008
Baumbach Shakes It Up: Wellwood Honcho Breaks Up Vaunted Bullpen to Address Other Team Flaws; Ten New Players Added
Topic: Front Page
SEPTEMBER 4 - Unhappy with his team's performance over the first half of the season, Wellwood Ave GM Jim Baumbach has overhauled his team through four trades totaling 22 players and one draft pick coming and going.

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.

Posted by nylistratleague at 1:00 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 15 September 2008 1:01 PM EDT
Thursday, 4 September 2008
Seeing Some Separation: Massapequa Uses Five-Game Winning Streak To Take Over First Place; St. Jack's Re-Acquires Pujols
Topic: Front Page

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.

Posted by nylistratleague at 2:46 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 September 2008 2:51 PM EDT
Thursday, 26 June 2008
Hotshot Young Prospect Heading to Massapequa
Topic: Hitmen

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."

Posted by nylistratleague at 3:29 PM EDT
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Back in the Saddle Again: Walsh's Return to the Ghetto Sparks Hopes of a Riffs Playoff Run; Tulowitski Named Co-Captain

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!)

Posted by nylistratleague at 12:14 PM EDT
Monday, 4 February 2008
Sixth Time Is the Charm: New Jersey Does it Again; Wins Championship in Seven Games to Extend NYLISL's Greatest Dynasty
Topic: Front Page
JANUARY 20 - The NBA had the Celtics. The NHL had the Canadiens. The Chinese had the Ming. And today, the NYLISL has a dynasty that rivals any in known history - the New Jersey Bandits.
It was already 1:00 pm the next day before fans of the Bandits began arriving home from the championship celebration that was held at the Fudd Dome the night before. Bandits fans were more enthusiastic than usual this year, as their team clinched their sixth Marillac Cup championship in eight years with a 4-3 series victory over the Massapequa Hitmen.
The first game set the stage for the entire series – a 9-8 rollercoaster ride that ended with the unlikeliest of heroes delivering the final blow. Roger Clemens successfully put down a sacrifice bunt to win the game, causing Hitmen Owner/GM Jason Boland to spontaneously combust at the injustice of it all. He was later heard ranting about the rule proposal that had been shot down weeks before at the 2007 Winter Meetings, where he unsuccessfully argued against a rule that would prohibit pitchers from pinch-hitting.
The Hitmen jumped ahead in the top of the first, only to have the Bandits tie it at 1-1 in the bottom of the frame. Both pitchers settled down until the 7th inning, when the Hitmen scored twice and once again jumped in front. The Bandits cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning, but a solo shot in the eighth gave Massapequa a 4-2 lead.
True to form, the Bandits worked their magic against the heart of the Hitmen bullpen and rallied to tie it up in the bottom of the 9th. The Hitmen managed to tack on the go-aheadd run in the 10th, only to have the Bandits tie it again in the bottom of the inning. Fast forward to the 13th inning, where Huston Street was seen making his first ever playoff appearance. The Bandit faithful could only watch in disbelief as the Hitmen brought three runs in on three straight doubles. But they were not home free, as Massapequa had completely depleted their bullpen. The only pitcher left to take the mound for the Hitmen was Tim Wakefield.
This was bad news for the Hitmen, as Wakefield has one of the slowest deliveries in the league and the Bandits had successfully tested Pudge Rodriguez's arm all day. New Jersey took advantage and won the game in stunning fashion, scoring four runs in the bottom of the 13th inning. Overall, the Bandits stole nine bases and were not caught stealing once, a statistic that would be considered utterly incredible if you had never met Chris Forster.
Signs of fatigue were everywhere as the second game started just 12 hours later. Roger Clemens and Ben Sheets pitched great games and the Hitmen rallied in the 9th, but Billy Wagner shut the door and the Bandits won 6-3 to take a 2-0 series lead. With talk of a sweep everywhere, Jake Peavy and the Hitmen were determined to prove that they were not just another Bandits victim.
Instead, the first victim was Carlos Guillen, who left the game in the top of the first inning after colliding with Jim Thome at first base on a routine grounder. The Bandits protested, claiming that Thome blocked the bag, but the decision went the home team's way. The Bandits later lost red-hot Jason Bay on a pitch that got away from Jake Peavy. New Jersey couldn't muster up a run with two of their biggest weapons out of the lineup and the Hitmen cruised to an easy 6-0 victory.
With the possibility of a sweep no longer hanging over their heads, the Hitmen started off Game 4 the same way they finished Game 3 – hitting the ball hard. They crushed Aaron Harang for 7 runs on 10 hits in just the first four innings. The Bandits refused to die, however, and clawed their way back into the game with multi-hit games from Freddy Sanchez, Garrett Atkins, Joe Mauer and Paul Konerko. The Hitmen were suddenly in trouble, with the heart of the Bandits bullpen available and most of their big sluggers already replaced by defensive backups. But little Jamey Carroll proved his might when he took Mariano Rivera deep in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game and tie the series.
Game 5 was a repeat of the previous game. The Hitmen rocked Jeremy Bonderman for 6 runs in the first 4 innings. The Bandits then chipped away and managed to tie the game at 6 in the 6th inning. The game remained deadlocked until Torii Hunter hit a 2 run walk-off blast off of Billy Wagner in the bottom of the 11th. For the first time in almost five years, the Bandits were going home trailing in a championship series.
Roger Clemens won the first game with his bat and the second game with his arm. (No truth to the rumor that there had been a steroid needle in that arm the night before.) It was no surprise when the Marillac Cup Championship Series MVP declared before the game that the Bandits would not lose this game and that we were destined to play a Game 7. He delivered on his promise, driving in the eventual winning run and combining with Nathan and Street to allow just one run on four hits. A tearful Clemens announced after the game that he had pitched his last game as a Bandit and he was officially retiring after the series. He then threw a bat at Hitmen backup catcher Mike Piazza and left the podium, never to be seen again.
Fans streaming into the stadium before Game 7 reported that stores across New Jersey had run out of Roger Clemens jerseys, as both the casual and the die-hard fan scooped them up before the game. The Bandits set the tone in the first inning with a pair of two-run blasts by Vlad Guerrero and Jason Bay. New Jersey's pitchers paid tribute to Clemens by matching his performance the night before and allowed only five Hitmen to reach base. The Bandits took a 6-run lead in the 6th inning when Vernon Wells stole 2nd and 3rd before advanced home on a bad throw by catcher Mike Napoli (sound familiar, Tim?). The Hitmen added a run in the 8th, but Joe Nathan proved to be too much for the struggling Hitmen bats. The Bandits walked away with an 8-3 win, a six pack of championships and the eternal damnation of the league's sorest loser, Jack Flynn.
Afterwards, there was also a somber undercurrent to the celebration, as most of the fans are beginning to accept their fate and admit that this amazing run is most likely over. They said goodbye to fan favorites Clemens and Marlon Anderson (both retiring). Saying goodbye to some of the other players who may not be back next year, such as Wells, Bay, Guillen, Carlos Delgado and Luis Castillo, also helped to extend the party late into the next morning.
Bandits owner Chris Forster even climbed into the stands to thank and greet the loyal fans of his team. No one was seriously injured. When asked if 2008 would be a rebuilding year, he replied, "Absolutely not. Rebuilding implies that we are not playing for next year. We have every intention to make this team a playoff contender, but we will need to do it with a lot of new faces. Expect us to be very aggressive before and after the draft this year, as we have a lot of big shoes to fill."

Posted by nylistratleague at 11:45 AM EST
Thursday, 24 January 2008
Laker Links to Golden State a Potential Sign of California Dreamin'?
Topic: Lakers
Oswego Lakers Owner/GM Sean O'Leary annouced on April 23 that the expansion franchise will be playing their home games in Petco Park in 2007, which will be modeled directly after the park of the same name in San Diego. O'Leary noted the spacious dimensions will benefit his rag-tag pitching staff, which had been patched together during the 2007 Expansion Draft one day before.
O'Leary also confirmed that the franchise's minor league affiliate will be known as the UCSB Banana Slugs, in honor of the athletic teams at California-Santa Barbara. These two announcements, coupled with the new team nickname that was announced the day of the expansion draft, has caused Oswego fans to winder if O'Leary has himself a serious case of California Love.
Originally slated to be named the Fat Bastards - the landslide winner of a Western New York fan poll conducted earlier this year - O'Leary surprised NYLISL observers when announing the name change at the expansion draft. Admitting only that it was "kind of inappropriate," O'Leary said the team would instead be named the Lakers to honor the Great Lakes region that Oswego inhabits. However, cynics have noted that the Lakers may also be an homage to the NBA franchise in Los Angeles and, when coupled with the stadium name and the new AAA affiliate, have caused concern that O'Leary may fixing to pull a Walter O'Malley as early as next season.
For his part, the new owner/GM refused additional comment, saying only that he was committed to building a championship ballclub for Oswego and its fans.

Posted by nylistratleague at 11:43 AM EST
Ward Out, Cabrera In As Riffs Honcho Backs Off
Topic: Riffs
The first major controversy of the 2007 NYLISL season came to a swift end on April 29, when Riffs Owner/GM Timothy Christopher Walsh backed down on a threat to play an ineligible player and instead made a roster move to get his team back in order.
"(Daryle) Ward will be dropped. I'll take Orlando Cabrera, damn it," Walsh said in a prepared statement, bringing the curtain down on what is sure to be his first of many challenges to NYLISL leadership.
Problems arose in mid-April, when Walsh vowed to play Ward in NYLISL league games this season, despite the fact that he was ineligble to appear before Game 65. Ward had just 145 plate appearances last season, five short of the required number for expansion team players. Nevertheless, Walsh had a simple message for NYLISL co-commissioner Jack Flynn when informed of the decision.
"Told ya', I'm playing him anyway," Walsh was quoted as saying in a prepared statement on April 23.
A further investigation into the Riffs 40-man roster revealed that, in addition to Ward (145 plate appearances), both shortstop JJ Hardy (138 PA) and center fielder Jason Repko (145 PA) fell short of the minimum requirements for league play. The Hardy dilemma was especially problematic, as it left the Riffs with just one eligible shortstop on the entire 40-man roster.
Walsh initially requested, in a passionate entreaty to the rest of the NYLISL owners, a waiver granting him permission to use Hardy in league play. "I'm just looking to have a decent back up to Julio Lugo," Walsh said. "If Hardy isn't on the 25-man roster I would be forced to use either Ryan Theriot (a 4e84) or Jeff Cirillo (a 5e48) as a backup. Given the constraints already placed upon me as an expansion team and given that this team could end up averaging four errors per game, I don't think its such a big deal to throw old T-Bone a bone."
League braintrust suggested an alternative - releasing Ward and signing an eligible shortstop. After some deliberation, Walsh accepted the suggestion and brought back NYLISL veteran Cabrera, who may attract trade interest as the season wears on.

Posted by nylistratleague at 11:42 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008 11:43 AM EST
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
M Train Keeps On Rollin': Massapequa Sweeps West Side; Hottest Team in League Faces New Jersey in Championship Series
Topic: Front Page
JANUARY 12 - It has been the most incredible run in the eight-year history of the NYLISL. Left for dead in July, the Massapequa Hitmen will be playing for its second NYLISL championship in January.
The Hitmen swept the best-of-seven series from the West Side Stories today, by scores of 7-4, 5-4 (10 innings), 8-7 and 8-1. They will advance to meet the New Jersey Bandits in the Marillac Cup Finals, the final step in completing one of the most improbable runs the game has ever seen.
Massapequa hit rock-bottom at the All-Star Celebration six months ago in Lindenhurst, finishing the night with a 12-19 record and mired in sixth place. Despite then trading starter Jered Weaver and doing very little to improve their team otherwise, the Hitmen have gone on an inexplicable tear, finishing the season with a 39-14 run before sweeping the upstart Stories right out of the playoffs.
Game 1 set the tone for the series, as the Hitmen jumped out to a 7-0 lead after scoring five second-inning runs off Anibal Sanchez, three on a David Wright homer. The Stories rallied briefly, but ultimately lost 7-4. Stories catcher Brian McCann tweaked his oblique on a first-inning strikeout, and with backup Gerald Laird still nursing a sore groin from an injury suffered in Game 76 of the regular season, Eric Byrnes finished out the game at catcher.
In the next game, the Stories got the early jump and scored three runs off Jeff Francis in the first inning. The Hitmen tied the game in the bottom of the fifth to make it 4-4. The Stories threatened in the sixth, seventh and tenth inning, but failed to score the go-ahead run. Fernando Rodney got out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the bottom of the ninth, but in the bottom of the tenth pinch hitter Torii Hunter started the final rally by singling off lefty Matt Thornton. Hunter went to second on a Barry Bonds groundout. Joel Zumaya came in to face Wright, who smacked an RBI single to win the game 5-4. The Stories had been 7-2 in extra-innings in the regular season, but that magic was nowhere to be found during the series.
In Game 3, the Hitmen mustered up three runs in six innings against Stories ace Francisco Liriano, wiping out a 2-0 deficit that came from Brian McCann's two-run homer in the first. McCann added a three-run shot in the sixth to give the Stories a 7-3 lead, but the Hitmen rallied again, scoring three runs in the eighth off Joaquin Benoit and Zumaya. In the top of the ninth, Derek Jeter drew a one-out walk and Alou homered off Zumaya, who blew three of his six regular season save chances after being acquired from the Flesheaters. Cla Meredith worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the save in an 8-7 victory. The Hitmen pounded C.C. Sabathia in Game 4, scoring five runs in the third inning (four on Alou's grand slam) and coasted to an 8-1 victory that allowed them to pop the champagne and prepare for the five-time league champions.
The Stories managed just 31 hits in the four games and saw their relievers allow eight runs in 13 innings (a 5.44 ERA). The starters weren't any better, going 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA. Alou went 4-for-10 with three homers - including a grand slam - and eight RBI during the series. Wright was 4-for-12 with five RBI.
It wouldn't be the NYLISL if there weren't some sort of shenanigans involving the Hitmen, as Massapequa originally named three just starters to its 25-man roster to start the series. A new rule adopted during the 2007 Winter Meetings mandated that only starters with a (*) in their endurance rating were allowed to pitch on two days' rest during a playoff series. Co-Commissioner Jack Flynn reminded the playoff participants about this rule shortly before the playoffs began, but shockingly enough the memo somehow went unnnoticed by Hitmen Owner/GM Jason Boland.
Since only Jake Peavy was eligible to pitch on short rest, this posed the obvious problem of deciding who should've started Games 5 and 6 for Massapequa had the series gone that far. The crisis was averted before Game 4 when Boland, with the blessing of both Flynn and Stories Owner/GM Ed Price, was allowed to make an emergency roster move to add a fourth starter.

Posted by nylistratleague at 11:36 AM EST
Monday, 14 January 2008
No Christmas Miracles: Furious Comeback Falls Short; Dejected Demons Drop Two and are Virtually Eliminated from Playoffs
Topic: Front Page
DECEMBER 26 - The playoff picture is almost entirely in focus today, after the Floral Park Flesheaters exploded for 29 runs in two games and won the final two games of a three-game series with the St. Jack's Demons.
The losses leave St. Jack's on the verge of elimination and the Flesheaters needing to win at least seven of their last eight games just to force a one-game playoff with the Massapequa Hitmen. The West Side Stories are officially in the playoffs and will be the #2 or #3 seed in January, an incredible accomplishment for a team in only its second year of existence.
The first and the third game of this short series were blowouts. Carlos Zambrano pitched a complete game for the Demons in the opener, which used the strength of a six-run first inning to cruise to a 9-2 win. It was the fourth straight win for St. Jack's, which neded to sweep the series and win a makeup game against the Gramercy Riffs to force a one-game playoff with the Stories.
The bottom fell out in Game 2, as the Flesheaters chased Rich Harden from the home mound after just 1.1 innings. By that point the score was 5-0 and it would only get worse from there. Carlos Villanueva and Takashi Saito couldn't stop the bleeding and the Flesheaters took a 13-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
It was there that the Demons made a valiant last stand. They scored four runs in the seventh and one in the eighth, trying desperately to claw their way back into this one. Hector Carrasco, was entrusted with the final two innings, but he could not stop the Flesheaters' attack, which pounded out 21 hits on the day and took a 16-8 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
With the game seemingly salted away, Floral Park Owner/GM Jason Varvaro left Scot Shields in to finish things off, even though he was tired at that point. Two straight singles off Shields's card, at spots where a rested pitcher would've gotten the first two outs on the inning, forced Varvaro to change his strategy.
The Demons faithful begged their team for more and got it when a walk to Josh Bard made the score 16-9 and loaded the bases with no one out. The eternally infuriating Grady Sizemore followed with yet another 2-7 in what has been a lost season for him, striking out right between a WALK and a SINGLE**. Manny Ramirez, fresh off a 3 for 40 slump, then hit a shocking grand slam to make the score 16-13 and to keep the Demons' flickering hopes alive.
Nick Johnson, who went 0 for 10 in the three game series, made the second out, but Frank Thomas kept the game alive with a double. The Demons bench was depleted, so Marco Scutaro was forced to bat against Dennys Reyes, the third pitcher of the inning for the Flesheaters. Scutaro rolled a 4-5 on Reyes's card - HR 1-3, Flyball-(B) 4-20.
Demons Owner/GM Jack Flynn tossed the 20-sided die high into the air and let it bounce along the floor of Marillac Cafeteria, leaving his fate in the hands of the Strat gods. The die smashed around, came to a stop near a table and spun around, further prolonging the agony. When the die finally stopped, it showed the unlucky number 13. Just one side away was the number 1, robbing the Demons of another shocking home run and the chance to continue what might've turned out to be the all-time great comebacks in league history.
Once that game finally ended, the Stories had clinched their playoff berth and St. Jack's found itself in what was basically an elimination game. The 11-game winner Roy Oswalt took the ball and tried to put the franchise on his back one more time in 2007. Again it was not to be. The Flesheaters scored six runs in the first, three of them unearned thanks to a Sizemore three-base error, and Oswalt could only get through 3 innings before departing. There were no more comebacks left in the Demons and they started emptying the bench in the seventh inning, on the way to a disheartening 12-4 loss.
St. Jack's is still alive, although Massapequa could clinch the third and final playoff spot by simply winning one of its final three games against the Flesheaters next week. The Demons need the Flesheaters to sweep that series from the Hitmen and then lose at least two of their five remaining games with the Riffs.
This would trigger a scenario where three disputed games would have to be replayed - two between the Hitmen and the New Jersey Bandits and one between the Demons and the Riffs. A Demons win there, coupled with two Hitmen losses, would leave both teams at 48-36 and force a one-game playoff. Even if the Hitmen win one game and eliminate both the Demons and the Flesheaters in one fell swoop, those games may need to be replayed for playoff and draft seeding purposes.
Floral Park is barely breathing as well, needing to sweep the Hitmen just to keep their season alive. Doing so would put the Flesheaters at 44-35 and in need of at least four more wins against the Riffs to force even the possibility of a one-game playoff with the Hitmen. Even if Floral Park wins out, they'd only finish at 49-35 - the Hitmen would only need to split the final two disputed games against the Bandits to force the one-game playoff and could eliminate the Flesheaters outright by winning both games.
In the meantime, big changes are coming for the Demons. A rumored Curt Schilling for John Maine deal with the Riffs is all but done, with the teams expecting to make it official sometime next month. At least two teams have already inquired about Saito, who set a St. Jack's club record for saves this season with 16. The minor-league franchise is moving from Pearl River to Wilmington, NC, where cellular phone titan Brian Mackle will run the franchise.

Posted by nylistratleague at 11:34 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008 11:38 AM EST
Friday, 21 December 2007
Coming Down to the Wire: With Bandits Now Assured of a Playoff Berth, Three Teams Play Musical Chairs for the Last Two Spots
Topic: Front Page
NOVEMBER 26 - With just over a month to go in the 2007 season, we are being treated to one of the greatest playoff races in NYLISL history. With the defending champion New Jersey Bandits having clinched a spot in the postseason, the three teams trailing them are scrambling for the final two spots.
Someone is going to be left out of the postseason party - be it the Massapequa Hitmen, the West Side Stories or the St. Jack's Demons. It may take 50 wins to secure a spot in the playoffs, although that mark has only been reached seven times in the league's first seven seasons.
The Demons have the toughest road to the playoffs, after a 4-4 stretch directly following their audacious nine-player deadline deal with the Floral Park Flesheaters. The failure to take more than two wins away from four games with the Gramercy Riffs and the Oswego Lakers put them in a very difficult positon down the stretch. With 11 games to go in their season, all are against established teams - including four with the Floral Park Flesheaters and three with the Wellwood Scribes of Lindenhurst.
St. Jack's will need to take four of their remaining five games from the West Stories to keep themselves on the playoff map. If they can do that and also go 4-2 against the Stories and Flesheaters, both teams would finish with 49-35 records. The Demons would grab the playoff spot, however, because of the head-to-head advantage.
If the Demons falter against the Stories or can't take of business in the other games, then the West Siders would find themselves in either second or third place on the league table. It would be quite a coup for Owner/GM EdPrice's franchise to make the playoffs in only their second season in existence. The Hitmen's remaining games are with the Scribes and the Flesheaters. Massapequa will probably need only to tread water and play .500 ball to put themselves in position to chase their second league championship.

Posted by nylistratleague at 11:33 AM EST
Saturday, 10 November 2007
Another No-No Thrown By a Pearl River Pitcher
Topic: Crusaders
JUNE 13 - A little over a month after Mark Buerhle threw the first no-hitter of the 2007 MLB season, Justin Verlander matched his effort by throwing one of his own. Both were teammates for the 2007 Pearl River Pirates and Verlander is hoping there will be a spot in next year's rotation for the St. Jack's Demons.
"It's great to have that type of depth in the minor leagues, knowing that guys like Justin are making strides toward being a big part of our future," Owner/GM Jack Flynn said the day after Verlander's no-hitter.
The young right-hander looked like he had a very good shot at making the big club in the off-season, when he was acquired along with four other players from Floral Park as part of a deal for Alex Rodriguez. His numbers were high (33/27), but Verlander kept the ball in the park and had a -6 hold, important for a team that appeared likely to be starting Victor Martinez and his +3 arm behind the dish.
However, St. Jack's traded for staff ace Roy Oswalt a month later and drafted catcher Josh Bard in the second round of the 2007 NYLISL draft, eliminating the need to take a chance with the future star. He appears a good bet to earn a spot in the 2008 Demons rotation.
Buerhle, a left-hander approaching free agency, was highly unlikely to see any time with the big club this season, with Verlander, Jason Schmidt and Felix Hernandez all ahead of him on the depth chart. He was traded to Massapequa on August 3 as part of a package for Jered Weaver.

Posted by nylistratleague at 11:31 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008 11:33 AM EST
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
Trade Deadline Frenzy : Floral Park Flips Eight Players in Three Separate Deals; 17 Players Switch Teams Before Deadline
Topic: Front Page
OCTOBER 28 - It’s been a wild week in the NYLISL, with three big trades involving a total of 17 players that will have a big impact on the 2007 pennant race.

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.

Posted by nylistratleague at 9:19 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008 11:31 AM EST
Crawford Hits For Cycle: Stories Win Eight of Last Ten Games; Playoff Picture Turns Into Four-Team Race for Three Spots
Topic: Front Page

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.

The mood in the Bandits clubhouse before the game was not good either. The Bandits felt they were supposed to win the first game of the series, with their ace Roger Clemens on the mound. Everything was going according to plan until pitching coach John Franco pulled Clemens in the seventh for the Bandits' closer Joe Nathan.
Manager Tom Seaver and Franco were seen exchanging words after the call was made and sources suggest that Seaver wanted Mariano Rivera instead of Nathan. The manager might've made a different move, and Nathan proceeded to blow his sixth lead in seven appearances, leaving everyone in the dugout scratching their heads. It has to be asked - has Nathan lost his stuff?
When Franco went to the phone to start the bottom of the fifth in Game 2, Seaver appeared to snatch the phone from Franco's hand and Rivera was called into the game despite not having warmed up. He gave up hits to the next three batters, including a three-run home run to Mark Teahen that almost left the stadium. Nathan, now delegated to middle relief, cleaned up Rivera's mess and went a full inning without giving up a run. When Bob Howry blew yet another lead in the seventh, Franco and Seaver actually exchanged blows in the dugout. Second sacker Howie Kendrick sprained his hand trying to break up the scuffle and is listed as day to day.
Franco was escorted down the tunnel and had left the building before the game even finished. Bandit's GM Yoda confirmed after the game that Franco had resigned from the team. When asked for a comment, Seaver refused to go any further than "Good Riddance."
The Bandits have not decided whether they will replace Franco before the end of the season and have given full Tom Seaver full discretion over the team until a decision is made. John Franco, for the first time in his life, could not be reached for comment.

Posted by nylistratleague at 9:07 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008 11:41 AM EST
Bandit Boss Bashes Report, Insults Author
Topic: Bandits

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!"

Posted by nylistratleague at 9:05 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007 9:06 PM EST

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