Stay tuned for some new and exciting (not exciting) things upcoming. By the weekend.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2016 BACKYARD CHAMPIONS, THE OCEANGATE TROUT FISHING CLUB
Ugh that kinda stung just typing that out. So now let’s figure out how in the fuck we got here.
BCS BCR REVIEW
MVP: Trea Turner – Before I get to Trea Turner’s numbers from the “BCR” I figure I will just list his numbers from his last 30 days, which should serve as a better writeup for Greg’s title run than anything I will write below. LAST 30: 47/120, 22Rs, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 8HRs, 17RBIs, 14SBs, .416OBP. And now for the “BCR” numbers. 12/26, 8Rs, 1 double, 1 triple, 3HRs, 4RBIs, 4SBs, .481OBP
LVP: Bryce Harper – The man most responsible for the Cuban Missiles 2015 title (think Chris Johnson the year I won the football league) becomes the man most responsible for the Cuban Missiles 2016 title game defeat. POETIC. 1/17, 4Rs, 2RBIs, 1SB, .333OBP
WELL IT IS ABOUT…..TIME. Gregory Heroy and his mighty “OceanGate” Trout Fishing Club are finally champeens, perhaps slightly atoning for all of those other times where they weren’t champeens when logic dictated they maybe should have been. And with their victory, dreams of a back-to-back for the River City Cuban Missiles fade away. The Cuban Missiles deserve a ton of credit for dragging their team, seemingly mired in a post-championship haze for the entire season (and seemingly undone at several turns by their own weird trades), all the way back to the BCS as the 6th seed. Alas they ran out of gas there, and now Heroy has his first championship AND THERE REMAINS BUT ONE INSTANCE OF A BACK TO BACK [TO BACK] IN THE BACKYARD. Perhaps the most impressive part about le Heroy finally getting over le Hump is just how AWFUL his team looked a few days into this matchup. Many a league member bemoaned and bitched and moaned that the matchup may already be over two days in, when the OGTFC ran a team OBP in the mid to low .200s and a team ERA in the mid 20s. The OGTFC’s first three starts in particular deserve to be highlighted here: 2IP 5ER 3Ks from Gerrit Cole, 2IP 7ER 0Ks from Andrew Cashner, and 3.2IP 7ER 2Ks from Matt Boyd. A 5 start Wednesday from the Fishing Club didn’t fare much better (5.83 team ERA on the day), although it would be hard to consistently be as bad as those first 3 starts, and just like that Heroy had already basically conceded losses in ERA, Ks, and QS (1QS in their first 8 starts). With the offense also sputtering and an unkind championship history on their side it was easy to see why people were down on Greg and the gang, but to their credit they battled back to life after that TRULY horrid start. All of the attention paid to the struggles of the OGTFC obscured some struggles of their own for the Cuban Missiles, who put up a .200OBP on Wednesday in what would be the first signs of a Fishing Club comeback. By the weekend the Fishing Club’s offense would be humming once again and the offense of the Missiles, while not terrible, would simply fail to keep up down the stretch. ALSO somehow the Missiles pitching staff failed to garner more Ws than the terrible OGTFC staff and couldn’t grab the relief cats, so that….. was that. Where the OBP category had once leaned heavily in the Missiles favor, it would wind up going to the OGTFC due to a .481 team OBP on Friday (to go along with 16 runs) and a .390 team OBP on Saturday (10 runs). Despite the Missiles posting solid OBPs of their own during this stretch (.411 on Friday, .340 on Saturday) they saw their offensive leads mostly vanish, as they were outscored by 11 over the course of those two crucial days and out-tripled and out-SB’d pretty much all week once the OGTFC got it going. By Sunday night, it was clear that even a gargantuan effort by the Missiles Sawks contingent (Hanley tried his best) wouldn’t be enough to get Lobman his second championship in as many years (and third overall). So for one last time in the 2016 season, who cares fuck Mike #WCFM.
And Greg Heroy is our 2016 champion. Special shout out to everyone protesting the entire affair by not showing up to Heroy’s house at all on Sunday (except that CONSUMMATE GENTLEMAN ROJO). Props on that.
OGTFC hitter of note: For old time’s sake Andrew McCutchen had himself a week in the BCS, a beautiful performance for (one of ?) the (possibly?) longest-tenured player(s?) on Greg’s roster (11/33, 7Rs, 2 doubles, 3HRs, 10RBIs, .410OBP).
OGTFC pitcher of note: Ervin Santana hasn’t pitched this well since like 2008 and who knows what the fuck to make of it in terms of what it means for 2017, although I say he’s still bad (7IP, 0ER, 9Ks, 1QS, 0.00ERA).
Missiles hitter of note: To his credit that LAZY AND LOW ENERGY Hanley Ramirez did his damnedest to try and bring this one home for the Cuban Missiles (12/26, 5Rs, 1 double, 5HRs, 12RBIs, .517OBP).
Missiles pitcher of note: Ivan Nova is perhaps the most interesting pitcher on Lobman’s roster, he shockingly shined throughout the playoffs and now it’s a matter of whether or not he remains with the Pirates and whether or not he needs to in order to keep up this “Ivan Nova is all of a sudden pretty good” voodoo that he do (6IP, 1ER, 11Ks, 1QS, 1.50ERA).
Next Week aka OFFSEASON: Heroy and his Fishing Club begin a year-long campaign of attempting to be our most annoying champion ever, NO SMALL FEAT as I do believe Odom and I got pretty bad there at certain points. Lobman attempts to find joy in fatherhood or some shit. The league as a whole attempts to find reasons to talk to one another now that the season is over, and this will probably involve entirely too much politics and I hate it already.
Another season is in the books and so now we must IMMEDIATELY look forward in order to leave Greg no time to celebrate. Firstly and foremostly what is the future of this blog? WHOM knows #FuckYouMikeyTIWillUseWhomWheneverIPlease. Naturally content will dry up a bit with no hot Backyard League action to discuss, however there may be periodic updates as league business gets dealt with. Speaking of said league business, this offseason should be a somewhat busy one as we transition to our first “dynasty” offseason and head towards an election of sorts (?!) for a new commissioner. Mikey T’s reign of terror may very well be over, folks. In addition to the new commissioner I will be personally advocating for the need for a replacement owner for a one Clifford Bajor. IT’S BEEN FUN CLIFF AND IT HAS ALSO BEEN LONG OVERDUE CLIFF. It is probably time for him to turn in his Mets-based roster and ride off into the sunset and I will yell at anyone that tries to argue otherwise, maybe even on the internet. And as a last order of business, although this list isn’t necessarily meant to be exhaustive and I am probably leaving out other things, will be hammering out the updated minors system/rules/potential draft for next season’s new additions to the player pool. Expect all of that to be discussed likely into the Winter Meetings and finalized before or around the beginning of the 2017 season.
Lastly but for real this time, I don’t know what the current plan is for a league roster lock date (if there even should be such a thing) but I do know that the ESPN fantasy page will go dark at some point. And so I encourage each and every one of you to take a long hard look at your rosters right this instant and see if there’s any pickups that you can make to try and ensure we never have to witness a Lobman-Heroy BCS battle ever again. THIS IS DYNASTY MODE PEOPLE. Plenty of interesting names out there in the FA pool and PROBABLY plenty of trash still on rosters that maybe shouldn’t be held going into 2017. Not gonna name names.
Before we get started ALL OF US HERE at the Backyard Blog would like to congratulate Pine Lake Punchout’s owner Ryan McLaughlin and his lovely wife Joanna on the birth of their baby girl, Evelyn Rose AND HOLY SHIT DEJA VU. Please nobody else have any babies any time soon, this blog is no place for babies. But also YEA. Congrats to the crazy kids. Yet again.
AND NOW ONTO THE SAD NEWS. Round 2 saw the two top seeds go down, and with them the dreams of an Odom versus Sean Championship Round. IT COULDA BEEN SOMETHING. And now instead we are left with a Heroy vs. Lobman matchup that will force everyone to go through their own existential crisis when they think about whom they would rather see win. I for one have done some soul-searching and concluded that I don’t want Lobman winning back-to-back championships (duh), and I will outline why I think HE WON’T eventually. But first let’s get this out of the way…..Round 2 Review….
ROUND 2 REVIEW
MVP: Alex Bregman/Trea Turner – Before this matchup I alluded to the potentially important roles that Heroy’s youthful middle infielders might play and SURE ENOUGH they both torched the MooniniteZ in Round 2, so badly that I can’t decide whom was more impactful between the two. Bregman: 10/30, 5Rs, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 2HRs, 8RBIs, 1SB, .375OBP. Turner: 12/30, 5Rs, 3 doubles, 3HRs, 8RBIs, 3SBs, .438OBP
LVP: Nolan Arenado – HATE TO SAY IT, as this man hasn’t garnered an LVP from me all year but when we needed him most he simply did not deliver. 1 HR and 1 RBI ain’t what we pay you for, Nolan. FOR SHAME. 4/25, 2Rs, 1 double, 1HR, 1RBI, .222OBP
THE YOUTH MOVEMENT LIVES. In a week that harkened back to other badly named Heroy franchises, this year’s badly named Heroy franchise leaned heavily on the young fellas in a fairly convincing victory over the Main St. MooniniteZ. The OceanGate Trout Fishing Club flexed its youth muscle with an impressive trio of young middle infielders (one turned outfielder) in Trea Turner, Alex Bregman, and Corey Seager. That trio combined for 16Rs, 7 doubles, 7HRs, 22RBIs, and 4SBs with only Bregman failing to record a +.400OBP (.375). In a matchup where my “mediocre Trout week” prayers to Satan went answered (1RBI, no extra base hits for Trout), the OGTFC showed just how tough they can be as it didn’t much matter. Heroy’s hitters easily took the runs and RBIs cats by 7 a piece, won steals 10 to 5, won triples 3 to 1, won doubles 19 to 15, and won OBP .336 to .316. After that it hardly mattered what happened in the pitching cats, but they were able to win saves 6-5 for good measure (due in part to a Tyler Clippard save when Betances was unavailable) and win QS 8-6 despite a 5.27ERA. For the MooniniteZ, it was a matter of not getting enough out of their offense and not pitching well enough to make up the difference. A .316OBP and 38 RBI (on 16HRs no less) were a bit below expectations for the Moon men, and quality starts once again SUCKED as they only hit on a QS in half their starts (albeit with 99 total strikeouts). This was an upset from a seeding perspective that would be tough to notice on paper, and for that reason the #4 seed OGTFC were (and remain) dangerous. But also fuck em.
OGTFC hitter of note: Corey Seager was another pain in the ass middle infielder last week, in a week where truthfully most of the OGTFC hitters could have qualified as a “pain in the ass” to their opposition (11/25, 6Rs, 2 doubles, 2HRs, 6RBIs, .440OBP).
OGTFC pitcher of note: “Mr. Five Innings” Kenta Maeda managed to throw 2QS in Round 2 and maybe there’s not that much validity to that nickname but also maybe fuck him (12.1IP, 3ER, 11Ks, 2QS, 1W, 2.19ERA).
MooniniteZ hitter of note: As always Edwin Encarnacion tried to do his part, and I thank him for his efforts and I shudder to think of him possibly ending up on the Red Sawks next year (9/25, 5Rs, 3HRs, 7RBIs, .385OBP).
MooniniteZ pitcher of note: I picked up Justin Verlander to go out and get me 2QS and 2Ws each round of the playoffs and this wasn’t that so FAILURE (12IP, 5ER, 18Ks, 1QS, 3.75ERA).
Next Week aka BACKYARD CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND (officially underway): Heroy and his talented Trout Fishing Club (and their completely devoid of talent name) will take on the defending champion River City Cuban Missiles with the 2016 Backyard Championship on the line. Sean and the MooniniteZ head home to PLOT THEIR REVENGE and also cry into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream (chocolate fudge brownie) or some shit.
#6 River City Cuban Missiles Defeat #1 Point Loma X-Rayz And The World Is A Worse Place And This Is Unnatural And Flies In The Face Of God And Nature – 7-6-1
MVP: Ivan Nova – If there’s such a thing as a Thursday fatal blow Nova would be the man responsible for delivering that to the X-Rayz via a CRUCIAL complete game Wednesday against the hapless Cincinnati Reds. 9IP, 1ER, 4Ks, 1QS, 1W, 1CG, 1.00ERA
LVP: Jean Segura – Sureeee Yu threw a QS earlier in the week but the fact remains that when Rojo needed his PRIZED DRAFT PICK to toss a QS on Sunday, he failed him. And that failure ultimately lead to the Resurgence’s demise. YU DARVISH YU FAILED ROJO YU SONOFABITCH. 10.2IP, 8ER, 13Ks, 1QS, 1W, 6.75ERA
In a somewhat shocking/saddening turn of events BOTH 2016 top seeds, and former 3-peat champeens, ended up eliminated in Round 2 (*cue slow motion videos from September 11th attacks*). This one stings folks, as Lobman now puts himself in position to win back-to-back championships and (ALMOST) ruin every last bragging point Odom/Sean have had (WOULD STILL HAVE THAT 3-PEAT ASPECT). And how did he do it you ask? He did it with a fucking Ivan Nova complete game on a fucking Thursday, and back to back triples on Saturday and Sunday (Nomar Mazara Saturday, Manny Machado Sunday). These events helped conclude a fortuitous week for Lobman (get THIS his daughter even has all of her fingers and toes and shit) and send the X-Rayz to an unfortunate and unfortunately narrow Round 2 loss. This isn’t to say that the Missiles performed poorly: a .340OBP, 17HRs, 48RBIs, 7 Saves, and a 3.42ERA are nothing to sneeze at and that is why the Missiles one all of those cats. However with the X-Rayz handily winning Runs (47-35), Strikeouts (82-72), and Doubles (20-4) and narrowly winning Steals (5-4), Holds (3 to 2), and Quality Starts (8-6) it really came down to fucking Ivan Nova and those fucking weekend triples (not that there’s anything wrong with hitting triples on the weekend versus any other day). The lesser-acknowledged culprit would be a Friday night o’ games that saw the Missiles hit to the tune of a .389OBP while the X-Rayz scuffled to the tune of a .237OBP. That effort from the X-Rayz (combined with a .234 team OBP on Sunday) did ’em no favors, as not only did they ultimately lose an early OBP lead but ALSO when you aren’t getting on base that means you probably aren’t hitting triples. So yea. #Analysis. #WCFM
Missiles hitter of note: A Sunday triple from Manny Machado proved to be similarly fatal blow for the X-Rayz in Round 2, typical fuckin’ Machado (9/26, 4Rs, 1 triple, 1HR, 5RBIs, .393OBP).
Missiles pitcher of note: At least Lobman finally went to the Kendall Graveman well one too many times, I was getting tired of seeing that always work out for him (5IP, 8ER, 1K, 14.40ERA).
X-Rayz hitter of note: Chris Davis did his job, as a trade deadline acquisition designed to help the X-Rayz compete in the power cats (5/16, 5Rs, 3HRs, 6RBIs, .421OBP).
X-Rayz pitcher of note: Robbie Ray pitched impressively in both a real life and fantasy loss and has all the looks of a real asset for Odom in 2017 (6IP, 3ER, 12Ks, 1QS, 4.50ERA).
Next Week aka BACKYARD CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND (officially underway): The River City Cuban Missiles travel to Oceangate SO TO SPEAK to take on the Trout Fishing Club in the Backyard Championship Round SOME FUCKIN’ WORLD HUH? Odom and the X-Rayz head home to PLOT THEIR REVENGE and also self-medicate (marijuana) or some shit.
BACKYARD CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND PREVIEW
Now that we have looked at how we arrived at the #BCR, let’s take a look at the nightmarish matchup that will determine our 2016 champeen…..one that will surely be REALLY annoying for the entirety of the 2017 season. As is their right of course.
#4 OCEANGATE TROUT FISHING CLUB v. #6 RIVER CITY CUBAN MISSILES
Sidenote: I feel like maybe you are supposed to put the home team on the right side of the VS.? But OH FUCKIN WELL
The River City Cuban Missiles find themselves in the BCR (Backyard Championship Round) for the second year in the row and I SUPPOSE this is where I am supposed to make my apology. Previously I had referred to the way the Missiles needlessly gutted their team in the offseason and compared them unfavorably to the 1997 Florida Marlins. SINCE they dragged their 6th place team back to the BCR (god REMEMBER how fucking close they were to losing that playoff spot? SAD!) I can clearly no longer refer to them as the 1997 Marlins, and I mean clearly they didn’t “GUT” their team they just made a bunch of silly and unnecessary trades. So consider this a formal apology and they will now be compared to the 1996 Atlanta Braves UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE.
The 1996 Atlanta Braves will take on an OGTFC team that has looked like the best ON PAPER team all season long quite frankly (I don’t feel like looking up the exact number now but they had A LOT more runs than anyone else, for starters). But as we all know THIS GAME AIN’T PLAYED ON PAPER, it is played on the interwebs. And it would be silly not to mention that Lobman has fared far better in the BCR than Heroy ever has and HEY maybe that points to something here. But in the meantime let’s point to the season totals (and by point I mean copy and paste them from the last round when I wrote this shit up): The OGTFC were first overall in Runs, HRs, and RBIs in the regular season; the Cuban Missiles were third in HRs and RBIs (and I dunno MIDDLE OF THE PACK-ISH in Runs). On the pitching end, the OGTFC were third in saves and ERA; the Cuban Missiles were 9th in both those categories, but third in Strikeouts (OGTFC were 8th in Ks). Throw all these numbers together and you have one team that seems to have CLEARLY fared far better in the regular season, and that team has also benefited from a late season injection of youth. But I am sure Lobman is more than happy to play the underdog card (and PARTICULARLY PLEASED with those two awful starts from the OGTFC last night).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: YOUTH MOVEMENT(S) VERSUS TRADE CRAFT. Be honest you like how I slapped the two WTWFs from last round together here, BE HONEST. But really that is just it. Heroy’s riding a wave of young talent that can mask slow weeks from his established stars, and there’s always a very good chance his established stars have very good weeks (with the exception of maybe McCutchen). But Lobman knows how to get the most out of a roster and will attempt to do that for JUST ONE MORE WEEK, before dismantling it out of boredom next offseason. As always it should come down to a bit of luck a bit of skill and a bit of MAYBE NOT TRUSTING ANDREW CASHNER EVEN AGAINST THE BRAVES. And for the rest of the league, it’s a week of trying to decide your own personal lesser of two evils (#TeamHeroy) and pondering what can be done to make sure this BCR matchup never happens again. Because DAMMIT ALL TO HELL.
SEE YOU ALL ON THE OTHER SIDE WHERE WE WILL CROWN OUR 2016 CHAMPEEN WHOM UNFORTUNATELY WILL NOT BE ME OR ODOM….
Before we get started ALL OF US HERE at the Backyard Blog would like to congratulate River City Cuban Missile’s owner Mike Lobman and his lovely wife Jamie on the birth of their baby girl, Emilie Grace. She’s beautiful, and I only see four (FREAKISHLY LONG) fingers there but I assume the 5th one is on there as well. And that is just great. Congrats to the crazy kids.
Also before we get started here uhhhh, this whole “Backyard” thing…. are we all really committed to this being the “Backyard” league or whatever? I mean I guess we may be committed….it may be on the trophy for all I know. I just feel like we don’t spend THAT much time in backyards these days but maybe that’s just me.
ANYWHOM, Round 1 saw two excellent matchups and four teams that played pretty well all things considered. But alas, life is cruel and two of those teams had to go home anyways. The winners move on, and now ODOM AND SEAN GET TO ARRIVE AT THE DANCE. We will get to that in a bit. But first, let’s get to that whole Round 1 Review thing….
ROUND 1 REVIEW
MVP: Rougned Odor – Rougned essentially punched Jose Bautista square in the face again, and by that I mean he outperformed him in this Round 1 matchup and that in some way figured into the equation of the Missiles defeating the Slugs. Is what I meant. By that. 12/27, 6Rs, 2 doubles, 5HRs, 15RBIs, 1SB, .448OBP
LVP: Jose Bautista – I mean Jonathon Schoop was also bad (4/26, 1HR) but FUCK IT lets pin this on Jose Bautista, because NARRATIVE is important and also because you are supposed to score more runs and shit as the Blue Jays “leadoff hitter”. So yea, Jose Bautista. 5/26, 2Rs, 2HRs, 3RBIs, .250OBP
Proving once again that it really doesn’t matter how you get into the BCS (working title) so long as you get in there, the #6 seed River City Cuban Missiles put together an impressive Round 1 and illicited some deja vu in their defeat of the #3 seed Barnegat Banana Slugs. For Mike this also caps off an impressive week where he CREATED A HUMAN (because life begins at birth, get fucked pro-lifers). The Missiles found their power stroke just in time, belting 20HRs and racking up 68RBIs and generally finding themselves with some vintage performances from long-forgotten sluggers such as Jose Abreu (4HRs, 13 RBIs in Round 1). The Cuban Missiles were able to balance that with an impressive pitching performance that saw them rack up 91Ks and 9QS despite a mediocre 4.29ERA. For the home team Slugs, it was a solid performance that just fell a bit short. Their .363 OBP easily outpaced the Missiles (.315) and their 11Ws and 3.26ERA showed the makings of a strong pitching performance, but coming up one QS short and losing both relief categories hurt a team that was looking to return to the Backyard Championship Round (working title) for the second time in as many seasons. Congratulations are due to Brian for an impressive season that saw the slaying of the curse that has plagued the BCR runner-up for all of these years, and congratulations are due to Lobman as he continues on in a quest to defend his championship and become the second franchise ever to win back-to-back titles. Also congratulations on that whole baby thing.
Cuban Missiles hitter of note: Hanley Ramirez is no stranger to Backyard postseason action and he’s off to a strong start this year (9/23, 8Rs, 2 doubles, 3HRs, 10RBI, .462OBP).
Cuban Missiles pitcher of note: Carlos Martinez is possibly the de facto ace for this ragtag group of Missiles SPs, and at least in Round 1 he acted like it (12IP, 3ER, 19Ks, 2QS, 1W, 2.25ERA).
Banana Slugs hitter of note: The MooniniteZ would like to issue a big fuck you to David Ortiz on his final Backyard playoffs performance, which also wasn’t that good so lets highlight DJ LeMahieu for his solid performance in defeat (9/26, 7Rs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 4RBIs, 1SB, .414OBP).
Banana Slugs pitcher of note: Also solid in defeat was Rick Porcello, who gave it his best shot across 2 starts but also fuck him he’s a Sawk (14IP, 5ER, 9Ks, 2QS, 2Ws, 3.21ERA).
Next Week aka PLAYOFFS SECOND ROUND: The River City Cuban Missiles travel to Point Loma (But not really, Lobman just had a child that would be CRAZY) to take on the top-seeded X-Rayz. Brian and the Banana Slugs head home to prepare history lesson plans or some shit.
#4 OceanGate Trout Fishing Club Escape With Win VIA TIE, Sadly End #5 Rojo’s Resurgence – 6-6-2
MVP: Mike Trout – BIG TIME PLAYERS play BIG TIME in the BACKYARD CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (working title). And Mike Trout is the biggest time player in baseball and that is precisely what he did in Round 1. 9/23, 9Rs, 5HRs, 10RBIs, .517OBP
LVP: Yu Darvish – Sureeee Yu threw a QS earlier in the week but the fact remains that when Rojo needed his PRIZED DRAFT PICK to toss a QS on Sunday, he failed him. And that failure ultimately lead to the Resurgence’s demise. YU DARVISH YU FAILED ROJO YU SONOFABITCH. 10.2IP, 8ER, 13Ks, 1QS, 1W, 6.75ERA
In a positively thrilling 4 v. 5 matchup, the OGTFC used a late-Sunday triple and an early-Sunday impressive 2nd start to hold on to a tie with Rojo’s Resurgence and advance to Round 2 (*cue sad montage of crying Resurgence fans*). This one absolutely came down to late afternoon Sunday, as the Resurgence used an all-in Thursday lineup strategy to narrow some gaps and seem poised to sneak out of Round 1 with a win right until the bitter end. That bitter end came mostly as a result of bottom of the 9th triple from Ian Desmond that grabbed the triples cat back for the OGTFC, after Jarrod Dyson had tied said cat for Rojo’s Resurgence with a triple of his own. In addition to triples, doubles OBP Wins Saves (duh) and ERA all went to the OGTFC. In addition to Holds (duh but BARELY), Strikeouts Runs HRs RBIs and Steals all went to Rojo’s Resurgence. In the end THE FAILURES OF YU DARVISH loomed large, as his 4IP 5ER performance on Sunday failed to give Rojo the ultimate lead in QS and set him back mightily in his quest to overtake Heroy’s ERA lead (the OGTFC would win ERA 3.99 to 4.12). The Resurgence can leave with their head held high, as their 23HR 63RBI performance redeemed a mostly disappointing second half (however I kinda have to point out said second half cost them the tiebreaker here). For the Fishing Club, they escape with a win via tie in a bit of redemption for a team that lost the 2013 Backyard Championship in the same fashion. Now they head to Round 2 to take on one of the co-owners for that team, in search of uhhh additional redemption? I guess? Or just in search of a win so they can get back to the Backyard Championship Round (working title) and such.
OGTFC hitter of note: Not only did Ian Desmond have a nice week just in the overall sense, but his lat Sunday triple basically won Heroy the week….so there’s that (7/24, 7Rs, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 4RBIs, 1SB, .370OBP).
OGTFC pitcher of note: Julio Teheran also kinda won Heroy the week, as his Sunday QS against the Phightin Phils helped the OGTFC preserve a tie in teh QS category which helped them tie overall which won them the week…..so there’s that (13IP, 2ER, 15Ks, 2QS, 2Ws, 1.38ERA).
Resurgence hitter of note: Rojo’s Resurgence end up losing via tiebreaker in a week where they hit 23HRs and scoring 60 runs, and THE AGELESS Adrian Beltre played the largest part in that (9/24, 11Rs, 1 double, 3HRs, 7RBIs, .464OBP).
Resurgence pitcher of note: Gonna highlight Corey Kluber here because I am a fan but really the pitcher of note is Yu and his failures DAMN YUUUUUUU (8IP, 3ER, 11Ks, 1QS, 1W, 3.38ERA).
Next Week aka PLAYOFFS SECOND ROUND: The OceanGate Trout Fishing Club take a short trip up the road to Main Street to take on the second-seeded MooniniteZ. Rojo and his Resurgence head home to look up open houses or some shit.
ROUND 2 PREVIEW
Now that we have looked at how we arrived at this #FieldOfFour, let’s take a look at the matchups that will determine which two teams meet in THE BACKYARD CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND WHICH IS MAYBE A WORKING TITLE BUT PROBABLY NOT.
#2 Main Street MooniniteZ v. #4 OceanGate Trout Fishing Club
The OceanGate Trout Fishing Club comes into this matchup as the lower seed, but make no mistake this team is DANGEROUS (check the depressing number of players they have on the “All-Pro” team if you don’t believe me). The last time these two owners met in a playoff situation was in 2013, when Heroy was on the losing end of a championship game tie and Sean was on his way to a third straight championship. Now Heroy returns thanks to a victory-via-tie of his own in Round 1, and he no doubt remembers 2013 just as the MooniniteZ no doubt have noted that the OGTFC are the only team they failed to beat in the 2016 regular season (0-1-1).
Both of these teams put up impressive regular season totals, with the numbers indicating this could be a high-scoring affair: The OGTFC were first overall in Runs, HRs, and RBIs in the regular season; The MooniniteZ were second. On the pitching end, the MooniniteZ were first in saves and 2nd in ERA; the OGTFC were third in both. Both rosters have obviously undergone a few transformations over the course of the season, with rookies and late season additions (both via trade and waiver) providing life to both teams. Ultimately this matchup may come down to the slimmest of margins if both offenses play to their capabilities, which makes each spot start and roster move all the more important.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: YOUTH MOVEMENT(S). Heroy’s former moniker will play an important role in this matchup, as the OGTFC continue to boast some of the better young players in the league with 2016 Backyard rookies Trea Turner and Alex Bregman. The MooniniteZ will be relying on some youthful contributions themselves with Gary Sanchez at catcher, two starts schedules for Luke Weaver, and THE HOPE WAS a start or two from Alex Reyes and/or Jose De Leon. Now that seems unlikely, but Reyes still can play a role in this matchup as an SP-eligible reliever.
#1 Point Loma X-Rayz v. #6 River City Cuban Missiles
IT HAS BEEN A WHIRLWIND WEEK FOR MIKE LOBMAN, as his team achieved a bit of redemption in an up-and-down season and his existence achieved a bit of redemption in an up-and-down life. Mike welcomed a baby girl to this world, which I guess counts for something, and also advanced to Round 2 of the Backyard Championship Series WHICH COUNTS FOR EVERYTHING. For the home team X-Rayz and owner Mike Odom, they are hoping that Lobman’s brain is preoccupied with proper diaper changing techniques which might allow them to gain an extra advantage in a matchup the standings say they are already favored in. But who the hell knows with the standings, people. The X-Rayz can look at their 1-0-1 record against the Cuban Missiles this season and Odom’s long history of DOMINANCE over Lobman in the playoffs of years past (see: “the history of the league 2011-2013 editions”) as points of confidence. The Cuban Missiles can look to an impressive victory in Round 1 that saw them rack up 20HRs and 68RBIs for their own source of confidence. Free country, man.
In the regular season, the X-Rayz rode an unorthodox style that saw them put up league-worst numbers in OBP HRs and RBIs and league-best numbers in Triples and Steals. The Cuban Missiles were no OBP darlings themselves (8th) but did manage solid power numbers (3rd in HRs and RBIs) despite somewhat down years from a few sluggers. How those sluggers look this week plus how the X-Rayz power additions stack up in small sample size plus how Lobman adapts to any chess games the top-seeded X-Rayz may have in store equals who will win this matchup. Solve for X.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: FANTASY BASEBALL TRADECRAFT. No not actual trading, fortunately there is a deadline and that passed weeks ago (Odom would have made 5 trades during his bye week). What I am referring to are the extra techniques that Odom and Lobman may pull out of their bags of tricks as we get closer to the end of the week. Both of these owners are no strangers to playoff chicanery and will use whatever moves available to them to advance towards their goal. I would list some but I MAY NEED THEM MYSELF. So you’ll just have to tune in folks.
SEE YOU ALL ON THE OTHER SIDE….
September 1st. SEVERAL games into the First Round of the Backyard League Playoffs and the perfect time to throw up a Power Rankings that spits in the face of the playoff standings and such. This will be the last Power Rankings of the 2016 Backyard League season, as the next top spot will be decided once someone wins that coveted cup currently collecting dust in Lobman’s River City armoire thingie (feels more like you guys are in Manchester to me but the post office disagrees and who am I to pick a fight with them). Each Power Ranking ends with its own custom all caps sentence, since I tend to use all caps too much as is. Getting it all out of my system and such. ANYWAYS, yea the next Power Rankings will be the 2016 Champion as #1 and everyone else as #10. Nature of the beast. On to the rankings……
1- Point Loma X-Rayz (12-6-2)
A cinderella story if I have ever seen one, Odom’s much-derided-in-the-preseason storms all the way back to take the top spot in the final 2016 Power Rankings. Truly a heartwarming tale. As mentioned within other places within this blog, the X-Rayz ended up here by ripping off a 7-2-1 record over their final 10. Which would be the second best mark in the league over that stretch (I assume). What’s most impressive about Odom’s rise to the top is, as always, the embrace of an unconventional style: in terms of overall season numbers this team is DEAD LAST BY A LONGSHOT in HRs, RBIs, and OBP but manages to still end up 5th in the league in Runs. They then further negate some of those negatives with Doubles (3rd), Triples (1st), Steals (1st), Strikeouts (2nd), and Wins (4th). Intriguingly, they also manage to 5th in Quality Starts despite having the 3rd Worst Team ERA. Some of this points to some heavy revisions to the roster that righted the pitching staff a bit, but most of this TO ME just points to Odom’s ability to adapt to what is needed to win a matchup. This makes them a dangerous team despite sometimes appearing to be less than that on paper, and this is why they are the #1 seed both in the Playoffs and the Power Rankings. HOPE TO REUNITE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP MY GOOD FRIEND.
2- Main Street MooniniteZ (12-7-1)
And the single best record over the 2nd half of the season goes to this particular franchise, I PRESUME. The MooniniteZ went 8-2 over their final 10 games, however those 2 losses came in their last 3 whereas the X-Rayz won their last 3 and BOOM that’s the difference and thats why the MooniniteZ are home right now…….AS THE SECOND BYE (instead of the first). You don’t win 8 in a row in this volatile league without solid overall season numbers backing you and the MooniniteZ certainly have some of those: Runs (2nd), Triples (3rd), HRs (2nd), RBIs (2nd), Steals (4th), OBP (4th), Strikeouts (1st), Wins (3rd), Saves (1st), Holds (4th), ERA (2nd). You also don’t win that many in a row without a bit of luck, which is why the MooniniteZ were lucky to survive a few matchups despite ONCE AGAIN really pacing the league in fewest Quality Starts (9th but very much started a lot more pitchers throughout the year than the 10th place Punchouts). If there’s one thing that concerns the MooniniteZ heading into the playoffs it has to be that QS stat, which can have a cascading effect on the rest of the starting pitching cats in a given week. That being said Sean (THAT’S ME) will be looking to make some noise in his first go-round of the playoffs post-dynasty, and one has to admit the team has seemingly demonstrated the ability to win TWO MEASLY GAMES IN A ROW in order to take the Cup home to Main Street. BEST OF LUCK TO THIS TEAM IN THEIR PLAYOFF ENDEAVORS.
3- Ocean Gate Trout Fishing Club (11-7-2)
The raw numbers for the OGTFC this year are impressive, so impressive in fact that one has to wonder why Heroy couldn’t stumble his way into anything higher than the #4 seed in the playoffs. Let’s have a look shall we: FIRST in Runs, Doubles, HRs, RBIs, OBP. So basically that’s like all of the offensive cats. THIRD in Saves and ERA. So basically that’s two of the pitching cats (1+1=2). And yet the OGTFC finished 4th overall and never put together a win streak as impressive as the MooniniteZ and HEY THAT MATTERS. Winning the championship does in fact require a win “streak” of at least two games, and because of the OGTFC’s early season hiccups it will require 3 games for them. Strikeouts (8th) and QS (7th) were two categories that the Fishing Club struggled with this year, but with the rest of the numbers being what they were these two cats should have been easily overcome and yet they were not. That being said this team is obviously quite dangerous, as equipped as anybody else to make a run and grab themselves a championship. SO LONG AS TEAM OWNER GREGORY HEROY CAN STAY OUT OF HIS OWN WAY FOR A FUCKIN’ CHANGE.
4- Barnegat Banana Slugs (12-8)
Such a ranking no doubt chaps the ass of the Banana Slugs (if slugs even have asses), but life is a series of small sleights and I don’t even consider this to be one of those. The Banana Slugs had a shot at a bye down to the very last week of the regular season, but they needed a bit of help (an X-Rayz loss) and clearly they didn’t get it and so here they are. In spite of that, Barnegat should already consider this season a bit of a success of sorts as they have LIFTED the The Runner Up Curse ™ and ended the year tied for the most wins with 12. Knowing Brian he won’t be content with this, making his way to the championship game last season and coming up short means he wants to make it there again that much more. And he’s got a chance! Which is something no other previous year runner up could ever really say! And the numbers back it up! Runs (3rd), Doubles (4th), Triples (2nd), OBP (2nd), QS (3rd), and Wins (2nd) are all categories where the Slugs have shown they can hang with pretty much anyone and the Cuban Missiles will be wise not to take the Slugs lightly in Round 1. Not that they ever do, because it’s a blood feud and all. IT’S JUST A SHAME ABOUT TREVOR STORY’S THUMB AND ABOUT WHATEVER THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH RICH HILL’S PHALANGES.
5- Rojo’s Resurgence (11-8-1)
Ohhhh Rojo. Rojo you and your Resurgence. After jumping out into first place and delighting Backyard League fans with their feel-good story, the Resurgence started to collectively feel bad and also hit bad and pitch bad or SOMETHING. And it has been a slow crawl back to the middle ever since then. The Resurgence opened the year 8-2, only to end the season on a 3-6-1 run. So sort of a REVERSE MOONINITEZ if you will, and it’s far better for your fantasy team’s performance to peak later rather than earlier. Lil somethin’ I learned in the midst of winning back-to-back-t0-back championships from 2011-2013. Good times. Good……times. Uhh anyways, lost my place here but ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST for the Resurgence. They still have enough skills to make some noise in the playoffs, in spite of their dumb saves punting strategy (if you are gonna punt something punt holds man). Some positive looking season ranks for the Resurgence: Runs (4th), RBIs (4th), Strikeouts (4th), QS (2nd), CG (1st with an IMPRESSIVE 12), Wins (1st), Holds (1st WHOOP DE FUCKING DOO). And now a look at some negative numbers that might help explain the 2nd half record regression: Doubles (8th), Triples (8th or 9th depending on how I’m supposed to view Lobman/T being tied in 10th), OBP (9th), and also Saves LAST because duh. On the positive side, the Resurgence was third in Moves this year (Odom and Lobman in 1st and 2nd respectively) which shows a willingness to shake things up if needed. This may come in handy in the Backyard League Playoffs, when shakeups are quite often needed. I STILL BELIEVE IN THE RESURGENCE AND WISH THEM THE BEST OF LUCK IN ANY MATCHUPS THAT DON’T INVOLVE ME.
6- River City Cuban Missiles (9-8-3)
Livan Hernandez. I mean Lobman. For some reason I had the 1998 Marlins on the mind and that is just the strangest thing. But anyways and in fairness, the Cuban Missiles have put to bed the ’98 Marlins talk by ALMOST RELUCTANTLY deciding to join the rest of us in the 2016 Backyard League Playoffs. This TECHNICALLY gives the Missiles the chance to defend their crown and become only the second franchise ever to win back-to-back championships, which would be a far greater accomplishment than creating life. Just about everyone can do that shit. Regular season numbers in Mike’s favor as he attempts to retain the cup: HRs (3rd), RBIs (3rd), Strikeouts (3rd, now seems like a good time to mention Mike and I may have skewed our numbers a bit here by starting a LOT of starters that one week BUT HEY I WAS IN FIRST ALL YEAR), QS (4th), Holds (3rd, but Edwin Diaz ain’t walking back through that door). Numbers that would seemingly oppose Lobman repeating as champion: Doubles (10th), Triples (t-10th), Steals (8th), OBP (8th), Saves (9th only because it would be impossible to be worse than Rojo), ERA (9th). So MY POINT HERE IS, the Cuban Missiles are a bit unpredictable. They had a few things going right for them in the regular season, and they are the defending champeens and all, but they also had PLENTY of things going plenty wrong all year. Lobman knows how to work a roster in the playoffs so I can’t put a repeat past them, but I also can’t promise they don’t just end up losing to the Banana Slugs in Round 1. THIS WAS MY BEST #ANALYSIS BLURB THUS FAR BUT ALSO IT WON’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS FOR THE LAST THREE TEAMS SO YEAH THIS WILL BE MY BEST SAD ISN’T IT.
7- Springfield Isotopes (8-9-3)
THE HOTTEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE, however I still can’t justify putting a non-playoff team over a playoff team in the September Power Rankings. Would feel dirty. If I COULD however, who knows the Springfield Isotopes might have shot all the way to 2nd. The ‘Topes went from having an embarrassing 4-9-3 record to ripping off 4 straight wins, putting a scare in the #6 seed Cuban Missiles and defeating the then-number-one-seed MooniniteZ in Week 20. These wins weren’t cheapies either, as the ‘Topes offense looked legitimately improved over the last month or so of the season. A few of the overall numbers still point to a team that struggled for much of the year, however: Runs (7th), Triples (t-10th), HRs (9th), Steals (10th), Wins (9th), ERA (10th). 2nd in saves and holds though! And yes I am cherry-picking data a bit throughout all of these but in my defense I DON’T WANNA FUCKING LIST THEM ALL OUT. Check em for yourselves people, and let it be said that none of this cherry-picked data can take away from the fact that the Isotopes put together an exciting run at the end of 2017 and nearly forced the league into some dystopian 5th tiebreaker for the #6 seed scenarios. No doubt Mikey T will randomly bring this up a few times during this his saddest fantasy baseball winter, when he confronts missing the playoffs for the first time and being ousted as commissioner all at once. PRAYERS UP FOR MIKEY T.
8- Pine Lake Punchouts (7-13)
Record schmecord, despite having the 9th worst record in the league in 2016 I can put Ryan’s Punchouts no lower than eighth. FOR I AM THE KING OF CONTROVERSY. The other more legitimate reason here is that Ryan absolutely conceded the final two weeks of the season, and accidentally conceded the week before by failing to start 12 against the Resurgence and then being punished for his insolence by narrowly losing the strikeouts cat. The other even more legitimate reason is track record: simply put Ryan has one and the others below him do not. There’s a well-documented history of Ryan’s team either performing horribly and missing the playoffs or winning the championship (like a more sporadic San Francisco Giants), and with so much bad luck involved with his pitching staff I wouldn’t bet against Ryan being right back in the thick of the championship hunt in 2017. In spite of the pitching woes,the Punchouts finished 2nd in CGs with a slightly less impressive than Rojo’s total but still impressive 9 CGs on the season. They also finished 2nd in doubles, but the rest of the numbers paint a less rosy picture for Ryan’s 2016 team: Runs (8th), HRs (9th), RBIs (8th), *Strikeouts (9th), *QS (10th), *Wins (8th), Holds (9th). BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PICK A FEW OUTFIELDERS AND MOVE ON FROM THE REST.
*(would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a refusal to start very many pitchers over the final 2 weeks likely played into this. Particularly QS, the MooniniteZ are still the kings of the bad QS numbers and don’t you people forget it.)
9- Bad Drake Puns (7-11-2)
The Bad Drake Puns continued on a two year path of ineptitude following their SURPRISE rookie season run to the championship game, a run that sadly ended the Backyard League’s first and only dynasty SEE ARTICLE BELOW FOR A FOND LOOK BACK 🙂 . Anyways, and although not quite as bad as their name sake, the BDP never really threatened as a legit playoff contender despite keeping themselves closed in the race until about Week 18. Those looking for the WHY that don’t just stop at blaming Connor’s face can look no further than the season standings sorted by Runs, in which the BDP come in 9th ahead of Cliff’s Bulldogs and Cliff’s Bulldogs alone. Similar struggles in Doubles (9th), HRs (8th), and RBIs (9th) paint the picture of a team that just wasn’t quite built strongly enough to compete over the painstakingly fucking long fantasy baseball season. It wasn’t all bad news for the BDP, as the team lead the league in QS and ERA and trailed only the X-Rayz in steals (by A LOT). Going forward one has to wonder what the future of this team is in this league, and if they dare return with the same team name. AND STOP RUNNING SOME SHITTY OTHER LEAGUE CONNOR THAT’S FORBIDDEN IT’S SOMEWHERE IN THE LEAGUE BYLAWS BSMITTY FELL IN LINE SO YOU FUCKING FALL IN LINE.
10- Whitestone Bulldogs (4-16)
Last time I did these rankings I shit you not Cliff was coming off a victory. Since those last rankings Cliff lost 4 straight matchups through various degrees of don’t-give-a-shit and now he will absolutely be replaced heading into 2017. So at least FOR ONE GLORIOUS SEASON Mikey T gets his wish to have the worst team kicked out of the league each year. A fitting farewell present for a highly decorated but also disgraced commissioner. BUT ANYWAYS YEA THANK YOU FOR NOTHING CLIFFORD.
And that, my friends, is the finale installment of the 2016 Power Rankings. I thank my loyal reader for following along with us all season long, and that loyal reader is me. THANK YOU TO ME.