Savannah, Detroit go to Game Seven

The Savannah Scorpions showed they still had a lot “lefty” in their tank in the Southbound Division championship, riding strong outings by CC Sabathia and Cole Hamels to victories in Games 5 and 6 to force a decisive seventh game against Detroit.

Sabathia’s complete game outing and five Savannah homers helped pave the way to the 9-3 Game Five win. Then Hamels pitched 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball, and Joe Nathan survived a scary ninth inning in the Scorpions’ 2-1 Game Six victory.

Game Seven is slated for 9 a.m. Tuesday. Read on for more game details as provided by Steve Hart. Continue reading

Congratulations are in order…

… To Ken Kuzdak and Christian Kuzdak. Ken’s alma mater and Christian’s current school, Novi Detroit Catholic Central, won its 10th state football championship Saturday at Ford Field, defeating Sterling Heights Stevenson 31-21. Stevenson was ranked No. 24 in the USA TODAY Super 25. Made for a nice one-day early birthday present for Ken, who turns 53, we believe, Sunday…UPDATE: Ken turned 52, and Catholic Central is No. 24 in this week’s USA TODAY Super 25 rankings…

… to Dave LaMont, for another great showing while broadcasting Saturday’s Missouri-Kansas 41-39 thriller. While usually relegated to ESPN and its family of networks, Dave’s showed up on ABC for some parts of the country, and in other parts (like the Northern Virginia/D.C. area), ABC switched to the game at the conclusion of the locally-broadcast rivalry.

… to Rick Lackey, the other half of the South Grand Prairie braintrust, who piloted his NASOMA team, the WarPigs, to an unheard-of 126-36 (.778) record in winning their league championship. Garth Lewis’ Wahoos went 89-73 and lost in the league semifinals.

… to Dan Wilson, who announced on Facebook Thursday that he and his wife are expecting a baby boy…

Titans put Gophers on brink of elimination

Superior is one game away from the I-75 Strat-O-Matic League World Series after winning a pair of tight, low-scoring games over the Bushwood Gophers.

With a 2-1 win in Game Three and a 3-2, 11-inning win in Game Four, the Titans now own a 3-1 lead over the Northbound Division regular-season champs. Read on for more details.

Continue reading

Pat Burrell, the GM wants to see you in his office

File this fact away if the Superior Titans manage to take down the Bushwood Gophers in the Northbound Division finals:

There are grumblings in the Gophers’ clubhouse that general manager Dave Renbarger might not be giving complete focus to the playoffs, as a member of the front office leaked the Gophers’ tentative retention list plans to this Website.

If Bushwood goes on to win the championship, it may prove quickly forgotten, but if the Gophers go down, questions will be raised about why they were paying any attention at all to 2010 plans with ballgames still to be played in 2009.

Got your team’s retention thoughts ready? Send ’em in and we’ll post.

I-75 acknowledged as ‘another league for the ages’

That’s “ages,” not “aged.”

Remember about a year ago when Glenn Guzzo featured that GUSSOMO league that had been in operation for 37 years?

I sent him an e-mail after that article appeared, telling him about our league as it was about to launch its 30th year, and until today was unaware he had ever acknowledged it. Turns out he had, in January, in his monthly feature, “The Talk Show,” originally linked here and now also on the new Strat Web site here (last item). 

Guzzo published my letter and responded in part:  “This is wonderful testimony to the enduring value of Strat-O-Matic and the way the hobby binds us happily.” Read on for the letter and his response, or click the links in the previous paragraph. Continue reading

Today’s chuckle

Nothing to do with Strat, but thought you’d get a kick of of the licks that this pint-sized linebacker lays on the ballcarriers in this youth football game.

 

Whose card are you excited about?

One of the threads in the Strat-O-Matic forum asks, “Whose card are you excited about?” Among the early responses are Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, Mariano Rivera, Hanley Ramirez, Joey Votto, Chone Figgins, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainright.

What about you? Whose card are you excited to see?

(This blog post is a test of the “Blog post via e-mail” function…)

Gophers, Titans split first two games

(Courtesy of Dave Renbarger)

As founding members of the I-75 Mail League in 1980, Mike and Dave Renbarger have faced off against each other at the Strat table or computer hundreds of times over the past 30 years.  The rivalry has ebbed and flowed as the fortunes of the Drifters/Titans and Pickles/Gophers fluctuated accordingly. 

In 2008, things heated up during a tense playoff series.  The Gophers had a powerhouse team, won 103 games and finished 16 games ahead of the runner-up Titans in the standings.  Gopher Dave’s optimism was unbridled entering that series, but Titan Mike turned the tables on his brother, winning the series in six games to advance to the World Series, leaving Dave with an empty feeling after fielding the winningest team in franchise history.

Fast forward to 2009, and we find the teams in similar situations.  The Gophers remain a division-winning powerhouse, winning 100 regular-season games to earn a first-round playoff bye.  But the Titans improved their win total to 92, finishing eight games off the pace. More importantly, Superior won the season series between the teams, 11-9.

This playoff series had all the elements of a classic in the making as the Renbarger boys squared off for the first two games on Saturday night. Read on for a more detailed account as the teams split the first pair.

Continue reading

Scorpions’ backs to the wall, down 3-1 vs. Detroit

After spotting Savannah an opening-game victory, the Detroit Demolition Dogs have reeled off three wins in a row in the Southbound Division finals and stand one game away from advancing to the I-75 League World Series.

Savannah won Game One, 6-5, on Melvin Mora’s two-out, two-run pinch-hit double in the ninth.

But Detroit rebounded vigorously. The Demo Dogs rocked CC Sabathia for six runs in 4+ innings of work en route to a 6-4 Game Two win.  Carlos Pena’s pinch-hit grand slam paved the way for a 10-7 Game Three win, and Detroit used seven pitchers to outduel Tim Lincecum 4-3 in a Game Four victory.

Needing three wins in a row, Savannah will send Sabathia back to the mound for Game Five, while Detroit will counter with Dave Bush. Read on for more details as provided by Ken Kuzdak.

Continue reading

To retain or not to retain? That is the question

Attention South Grand Prairie, Springfield, Superior, Wisconsin and Margaritaville:

Can’t decide whether to protect or reject Dioner Navarro, outfielder Chris Young, J.J. Hardy, Russell Martin and Grady Sizemore?

All five had subpar years, and they have one other thing in common. They’re the top five on a Bill James list  (click for a sneak peek) featured in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 that might give you some insight into making your decision.

MLB award voters dig deeper into stats

A couple of articles published recently seem to indicate that voters for baseball awards have become more savvy when it comes to considering more esoteric statistical categories when making their selections.

Tyler Kepner, in The New York Times, talks about Zack Greinke’s awareness of his WAR value  (Wins Above Replacement), and about voters bestowing Cy Young honors to Greinke and Tim Lincecum with just 16 and 15 wins, respectively. The Times draws an interesting analogy to the 1990 AL Cy Young voting, when Bob Welch (27 wins) beat out Roger Clemens (21 wins), noting that in this day and age, Clemens’ superiority in categories like WHIP and OPS might have swung the balloting in his favor.

USA TODAY’s Paul White has a similar take, casting out categories like FIP (fielding independent pitching) and VORP (value over replacement player), and noting that members of Baseball Prospectus — our constant companion at Grapefruit League games — have earned berths as voting members for awards.

Divisional championships set

Third-place Detroit upset the favored Margaritaville Volcanoes in the Southbound Division semifinals to advance to the championship match with Savannah, while the brothers Renbarger will square off for the Northbound crown following the Titans’ seven-game victory over Hickory.

Detroit won four out of five to advance past Margaritaville, while Cody Ransom’s seventh-inning pinch-hit grand slam accounted for all of the runs in Superior’s 4-0 Game Seven clincher to eliminate the Nuts. Details in the “Read More” section.

Continue reading

New mock draft posted

Four candidates for National League Rookie of the Year are among our top 12 players in the latest 2010 mock draft, now available at The Clip Joint.

Two players have fallen out since the last rankings and two new ones have emerged. Plus we’ve added a new feature, breaking down players’ value both by their card for 2010 and by their future value relative to their position, age, etc.

Gophers boast most Silver Sluggers

Those Bushwood Gophers don’t appear to be heading for a decline anytime soon, as their continued offensive prowess is reflected in the recent release of 2009 Silver Slugger honors.

The Gophers had three players bring home hardware, most of any team in the I-75 league. Infielders Albert Pujols, Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez scored the honors at their National League positions.

Three teams — Superior, Applegate and Bismarck — had two Silver Sluggers apiece.

Breaking them down by position:
C — Joe Mauer (SUT), Brian McCann (APP)
1B — Mark Teixeira (HIN), Albert Pujols (BUG)
2B — Aaron Hill (FA), Chase Utley (BUG)
SS — Derek Jeter (BIB), Hanley Ramirez (BUG)
3B — Evan Longoria (TRH), Ryan Zimmerman (SAS)
OF — Jason Bay (SGP), Torii Hunter (BIB), Ichiro Suzuki (DED)
OF — Andre Either (SUT), Matt Kemp (SPI), Ryan Braun (WIW)
DH — Adam Lind (APP)

Since we’re a DH league, no points given for Carlos Zambrano. Sorry, Steve Bizek.

Bombers can expect five ‘1’ fielders

The Bismarck Bombers lead the way with returning Gold Glove (and likely 1 fielders) for the 2010 season. Gold Glove winners for 2009 were announced by Rawlings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Springfield can boast three Gold Glovers, while three teams teams — Detroit, Savannah and Hickory — proudly own Gold Glovers apiece. (UPDATED FROM AN EARLIER INCORRECT COUNT.)

Michael Bourn is the only player awarded a Gold Glove who isn’t presently on a roster. Springfield’s Matt Kemp would be making the leap from a 3 to a 1 if Strat stays true to form.

Here’s the position-by-position recap and who presently owns the Gold Glovers:

P — Adam Wainwright (BIB) and Mark Buehrle (BIB)
C — Yadier Molina (DED) and Joe Mauer (SUT)
1B — Adrian Gonzalez (BIB) and Mark Teixeira (HIN)
2B — Orlando Hudson (SPI) and Placido Polanco (SAS)
SS — Jimmie Rollins (WIW) and Derek Jeter (BIB)
3B — Ryan Zimmerman (SAS) and Evan Longoria (TRH)
OF — Michael Bourn (FA), Matt Kemp (SPI), Shane Victorino (HIN)
OF — Torii Hunter (BIB), Ichiro Suzuki (DED), Adam Jones (SPI)

Playoffs underway: Superior takes 2 of first 3 from Hickory

The 2009 playoffs are underway in the Northbound Division, and Superior has jumped on top of Hickory. Hickory won Game One 8-0, but Superior bounce back with 5-4 and 3-1 wins. Read on for details as provided by Mike Renbarger. Continue reading

Welcome to our new Web site

Welcome to the new Web site for the I-75 Strat-O-Matic league. Let’s get this party started by finding out your thoughts on this year’s postseason action.