2017 AUGUST POWER RANKINGS: PLAYOFFS LOOMING EDITION

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August 1st. One day into Week 17, the week before the final week of the regular season. SEVERAL teams all bunched all over the fucking place, which gives me a bit of creative licensing with the rankings here. And everyone recovering from the dust that hath settled following the trade deadline. We will acknowledge any deadline deals made and acknowledge what I think the current Power Rankings are and they will realllly skew from the current standings cuz fuck y’all and we can just get that started right now let’s do that…….

 

(All seasonal rankings from press time here, games through July 31st)

 

 

1- Manchester MooniniteZ (10-3-3)

YEA IT IS ME, I HAVE LOCKED UP A BYE WHILE MOST OF YOU FUCKERS HAVEN’T EVEN LOCKED UP A PLAYOFF SPOT SO DEAL WITH IT. The MooniniteZ maintain a grip on the top spot because they maintain a grip on the #1 seed and have lost a precious few games to a precious few opponents (and only one current owner, DAMN YOU TURTORAAAAAAAA), an 8 week stretch of uhhh not losing helping them wrap up the aforementioned bye. And let’s see how they did it, usually I just highlight a few cats here but fuck it this is the grand finale let’s get ’em all in there (NOW WITH MOVES!):  Runs 2nd, Doubles t-6th, Triples 6th, HRs 4th, RBIs 3rd, SBs 4th, OBP 3rd, Strikeouts 1st, QS t-10th, CG t-8th, Wins 1st, Saves t-5th, Holds 5th, ERA 6th, MOVES 4th. So a bit of a balanced attack although we have CERTAINLY lost some ground in some cats relative to last month, which may explain that ugly run of Ties is what that may explain. But still competitive through and through. Except for those FUCKING Quality Starts, something we have been cursed to never be even competent at. Joey Votto has been masterful and Justin Smoak has been a SURPRISE REVELATION and Nolan Arenado leads the league in both RBIs and handsomeness by a healthy margin and even Andrew McCutchen is back to basically being Andrew McCutchen, minus the steals pace that is gone forever (9 AIN’T BAD). This team has been in command of a bid for a bye for many weeks now and CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF their owner is aware of how one wins a playoffs matchup without having to consult the owner of the Point Loma X-Rayz. ALTHOUGH I MAY DO JUST THAT IN ANY MATCHUP THAT DOESN’T PIT ME AGAINST HIM.

DEADLINE DEALS:   ONE if you count the earlier int he week flipping of Alex Reyes for Felipe Rivero. Much maligned by people that wanted me to add more future pieces but WE ARE TRYING TO GET THIS DONE NOW and Reyes is useless til like 2019. I promise there will be less caps lock going forward.

 

2-  Barnegat Banana Slugs (10-5-1)

Can’t. Deny. A current five week win streak. As much as I would like to and work in some Trevor Story digs (he’s been bad though), the Slugs have overcome all challenges and now have tied the season high win streak achieved separately by each half of the former dynamic dynastic duo (with a chance at setting a new season high win streak should they get past one of them in Week 17 SEE ABOVE). The Slugs might be masters in doing just enough to get past their opponent, for here are the ranks:  Runs 7th, Doubles 8th, Triples 7th, HRs 9th, RBIs 9th, SBs 7th, OBP 6th, Strikeouts 3rd, QS 4th, CGs t-2nd, Wins 7th, Saves 3rd, Holds 3rd, ERA 5th, MOVES 9th. So A LOT of poor production on offense, perhaps propped up by prettier pitching numbers which are perhaps propped up by their bullpen optimization and uhhh Max Scherzer. The Slugs have to hope Josh Donaldson gets back on track towards the end of the season here, which would help the O a lot, and they’ve gotten quietly excellent seasons out of Jonathon Schoop, Jake Lamb, and Brett Gardner (this one got less quiet for a second there)….and also Starling Marte is back and maybe he is really good even without the cheating. But I mean fuck the point is this team has won 5 straight and who am I to criticize that. I am merely the guy scheming to stop it at 5, is who I am.

DEADLINE DEALS:   NONE

 

3-  Astoria Isotopes (8-7-1)

And we first break from standings here, as the ‘Topes are technically seeded 6th but somebody forgot to tell their offense that. It’s all built on the backs of Aaron Judge and Charlie Blackmon and Cody Bellinger and let’s see those numbers and all the rest of the numbers:   Runs 5th, Doubles 10th, Triples 3rd, HRs 1st, RBIs 1st, SBs 8th, OBP 4th, Strikeouts 8th, QS 8th, CGs 7th, Wins 4th, Saves 2nd, Holds 6th, ERA 8th, MOVES 5th. FACKIN POWAH NAWMBAHS is what people from Boston would exclaim upon seeing that. The ‘Topes have reached double digit HRs in 16 of 18 weeks and have 20 more HRs than any other team and THAT is what can make them rather dangerous come playoff time. HRs are the only guaranteed uhhh 4 cat contributions (if you count OBP) and the Astoria Isotopes have em in spaaaaaaades. Also they’re the only team to beat the MooniniteZ twice and the only current owner to beat them at all and WHAT A FEAT THAT MUST BE. Perhaps for the first time in ages I am not 100% confident the Isotopes will bow out in the first round, is what I am saying here.

DEADLINE DEALS:   NONE

 

4- River City Bad Dudes (9-6-1)

The Bad Dudes have themselves in position to once again make the playoffs and potentially make some noise in said playoffs, as they will tell you about at length if you ask “hey have you guys ever missed the playoffs and do you want to also talk about whether or not you’ve always made the 2nd round or whatfuckingever mehhhhh”. Anywho, the numbers:  Runs 6th, Doubles 2nd, Triples t-4th, HRs 3rd, RBIs 4th, SBs t-10th, OBP 8th, Strikeouts 2nd, QS t-4th, CGs 5th, Wins 3rd, Saves 1st, Holds 8th, ERA 6th, MOVES 1st. TYPICAL RIVER CITY (I really haven’t tamped down on the caps lock much) with their typically solid offense, as usual not much of a threat to steal a base but a threat in most other spots. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are no longer flirting with SBs that can be part of it, in Machado’s case he is flirting with no longer being a top talent. But he has still been okay, and Harper has been very good, and Giancarlo Stanton has been very good, and even the long-yearned-for AJ Pollock is doing enough to maintain Mike’s chub for him I am sure. So that is good. And the Bad Dudes are always a threat to get to the BCS once they reach the playoffs, so that is bad for other playoff teams. Let’s hope they fail in Round 1, because we don’t need teams reaching the BCS 3 seasons in a row ever ever ever again. Unless it is one of my teams.

DEADLINE DEALS:   NONE

 

5-  Point Loma X-Rayz (8-6-2) 

Business as usual out in Point Loma, as the X-Rayz close in on yet another playoff berth using the same tried and true speed kills approach. THE NUMBERS PLEASE:  Runs 4th, Doubles 5th, Triples 1st, HRs 10th, RBIs 10th, SBs 1st, OBP 9th, Strikeouts t-4th, QS 3rd, CGs 6th, Wins 5th, Saves 4th, Holds 7th, ERA 2nd, MOVES 3rd. An interesting new wrinkle here with the X-Rayz pairing elite speed with PRETTY ELITE pitching, shout out to Chris Archer and David Price and Robbie Ray. And now here is the bad news, the last two just hit the DL and who can really say for how long. And now here is the good news, Brad Peacock should slot back into the rotation following some Astros injuries I don’t want to discuss. And the other good news is uhhh that Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton still steal a lot of bases, and the X-Rayz actually have some guys that can put up good HR/RBI numbers in any given 7 week stretch, and if the pitching holds up the speed kills strategy could propel the X-Rayz to their first playoff victory (ASIDE FROM YANNO THE MANY PLAYOFF VICTORIES WE ALREADY ACHIEVED BEFORE BEING FORCED TO DISSOLVE).

DEADLINE DEALS:   NONE

 

6-  Rojo’s Renegade Force (7-8-1) 

Rojo’s Renegade Force have some eye-popping offensive numbers, and prior to their recent run-in with yours truly they had not lost in their last 4 weeks (3-1-1 in their last 5). Which ain’t bad. So yea…..those numbers: Runs 1st, Doubles 3rd, Triples 2nd, HRs 2nd, RBIs 2nd, SBs 5th, OBP 2nd, Strikeouts 6th, QS 1st, CGs t-2nd, Wins 6th, Saves 10th (eye roll emoji, Holds 1st (eye roll emoji), ERA 2nd, MOVES 2nd (WHOAAA). So the Renegade Force didn’t take my advice at picking up a closer to keep other teams honest (lost Saves last week 3-0, tied in Holds 4-4 AHEM) but they do have a SUPAH FACKIN STRAWNG AWFENSE and are even currently employing a bit of an island of misfit toys vibe ONCE AGAIN, utilizing guys like Chris Taylor and Scooter Gennett and Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Gallo and Nelson Cruz and George Springer (some of these guys aren’t misfit toys, Springers DL’d though so CLOSE). They also have Corey Kluber and an improving-of-late Masahiro Tanaka and a newly-acquired top 5 pitcher (MadBum). WIN AND THEY ARE IN, and if they get in perhaps they can once and for all go on a run and get me to shut up about the closer thing (very very unlikely that I would).

DEADLINE DEALS:   ONE, acquiring Bumgarner and CarGo for Puig, Schwarber, David Phelps, and Michael Fulmer. Gotta give talent to get talent friends.

 

7-  Lacey Township BackdoorSliderz (8-7-1) 

The non-struggling new guy impressed out the gate, then dropped a bunch in a row, but has now rebounded to go 3-1 in his last 4 and find himself firmly in the playoff conversation. The numbers for Lacey for the year (and I am not referring to meth busts or home abortions or anything of that sort):  Runs 3rd, Doubles 1st, Triples t-4th, HRs 5th, RBIs 5th, SBs 3rd, OBP 5th, Strikeouts 9th, QS t-10th, CGs t-8th, Wins 8th, Saves 7th, Holds 9th, ERA 7th, MOVES 10th (but NO WORRIES here this isn’t another Cliff situation, very active owner both in trade negotiations and farm stocking).  LOOKIN’ PRETTY GOOD with the bats, competitive in absolutely every category. Jose Altuve remains himself and Freddie Freeman has gotten back on track after the wrist injury and Marcel Ozuna and Travis Shaw have been great. LOOKIN’ PRETTY BAD on the pitching side of things. Which is strange because Jacob DeGrom has been good and Rich Hill tends to be good when he pitches and Aaron Nola was a really smart pickup. STREAM BETTER, I guess. The reality is the BackdoorSliderz are precariously clinging to a playoff spot and should they get in I don’t even KNOW what kinda managerial style they’ll employ, inaugural season and all. We have seen first year teams go on a playoff run that takes them all the way to the BCS before, and this team certainly has the talent to do that. First they gotta get in.

DEADLINE DEALS:   ONE, trading Brian Dozier for Justin Turner and Brendan Rodgers. Which I think was a nice little deal.

 

8- OceanGate Trout Fishing Club (4-6-6)

Ohhhh this sad sad title defense. Mercifully we seem pretty close to it being all over and done with, because WHAT IN THE FUCK KINDA RECORD IS THAT?! Let us gaze with horror upon whatever numbers might birth such an atrocity:  Runs 8th, Doubles 4th, Triples 8th, HRs 6th, RBIs 7th (WITH 666 RBIs WHICH MAKES PERFECT SENSE), SBs 2nd, OBP 1st (interesting), Strikeouts 10th, QS 7th, CGs 10th (only team in the league without a CG this season), Wins 9th, Saves 8th, Holds 4th, ERA 9th, MOVES 6th. I mean you look at a lot of the numbers, and at THE MARK OF THE BEAST RBI total, and you can kinda see how the OGTFC found themselves in this predicament. Just the classic championship hangover coupled with the occasional extended injuries to Mike Trout, Trea Turner, Jason Kipnis, Gregory Polanco coupled with the trading of the heart of the team, Buster Posey. I MEAN THEY CURRENTLY DON’T EVEN HAVE A CATCHER. Somebody tell them that Mejia is not coming up this week please. Also their pitching hasn’t been all that great outside of like Andrew Miller, and sometimes Gerrit Cole. I could waste a bunch of time writing extra words about how they could be dangerous if they make the playoffs but WHATS THE POINT, I don’t see it happening. Officially calling it a 7 teams for 6 spots race. And really its like 4 teams for 3 spots or something. #MATH

DEADLINE DEALS:   FOUR, in a desperate attempt to reach the playoffs that probably falls short 😦  the four are the two I already discussed with other teams PLUS trading away their heart earlier in the week for Josh Bell and Clint Frazier PLUS picking up Verlander for Ian Happ. The first two deals were mostly pretty justifiable, the last two here a bit less so but still…. meh.

 

9-  Toms River Titans (5-10-1) 

Ohhh this franchise, coming up on 3 years removed from one of the most impressive championship seasons I think this league has ever seen that wasn’t one of mine. Back in a time when pitching did indeed win championships….this year that will not be the case for the Titans. Remember the Numbers: Runs 9th, Doubles 9th, Triples 9th, HRs 7th, RBIs 6th, SBs 6th, OBP 7th, Strikeouts t-4th, QS 2nd, CGs t-2nd, Wins 2nd, Saves 9th, Holds 2nd, ERA 1st, MOVES 7th.  The pitching staff has done mostly what it was asked to do, even as it has endured injuries off and on to Kershaw and Syndergaard and Strasburg (AND EVEN….Pineda). However the pitching has not been enough to overcome a lower tier offense that has struggled outside of Carlos Correa (now also injured) and Lindor and Sano and Rendon. There is still a strong core within this team, they’ve traded away George Springer but have also added Buster Posey and Yu Darvish. And they will be closely watching Yoan Moncada throughout the rest of the season, and probably hoping he amasses as few ABs as possible in a lost year. THE TITANS WILL RISE AGAIN is what I am saying. But for now they toast so fuck em.

DEADLINE DEALS:   ONE, astutely trading Josh Bell and Clint Frazier for (perennial top catcher that isn’t nearly as close to being done catching as people seem to believe) Buster Posey.

 

10-  Q-Tip City Morning Wood (2-13-1) 

And last but not least, the struggling new guy. Who is nevertheless an active and valuable member of the league and one should be allowed to shape his roster however he pleases in his inaugural season, even if that shape ends up resembling a turd sandwich. Let’s check out the numbers for that sandwich:  Runs 9th, Doubles t-6th, Triples 10th, HRs 8th, RBIs 8th, SBs t-10th, OBP 10th, Strikeouts 7th, QS 6th, CGs FIRST (THANKS Ervin Santana, whom has since been traded), Wins 10th, Saves t-5th, Holds 10th, ERA 10th, MOVES 8th. As is well known by now, this team ain’t won a single game since starting out 2-0 and you can certainly sorta see why here; important to note they are last in Runs by FIFTY ONE currently. Perhaps they can recapture some magic out of the gate next year, but MIGHT BE TOUGH considering all the talent they shipped outta Q-Tip City. Pretty much all that remains is like, JD Martinez and Justin Upton and to a lesser extent Brandon Belt and to even less of an extent you can hope the gains are for real with Logan Morrison and Corey Dickerson and even perhaps Aaron Altherr but YEA. Not too pretty of a sight on offense, and with pitchers it is Carlos Martinez and hoping that Zack Greinke ages gracefully and hoping that Alex Reyes eventually returns from TJ and reaches his full potential. LIVIN’ ON HOPES AND PRAYERS IN  AM BONERTOWN.  

DEADLINE DEALS:   ONE, for we are counting the early week flipping of   Felipe Rivero for Alex Reyes that helped boost up their farm system.

 

 

 

So there you have it ladies, one man’s correct interpretation of the Backyard Championship League’s current Power Rankings. EXCITINGLY ENOUGH the new wrinkle of the 18 game schedule means the champion will be decided in the first few days of September, meaning this will also serve as your Power Rankings finale for this season. If you are itching for a Power Rankings in September just do as I stated last year:  1- Wait for the champion to be crowned ’round Labor Day.  2- That team is #1 in the Power Rankings.  3- Every other team is #10 because they FAILED. Best of luck for all of you trying to not fail and best of luck in 2018 for all of you that have failed already, maybe you will grab a decent spot in the 2018 preseason Power Rankings if you play your offseason cards right or something.

 

 

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2017 AUGUST POWER RANKINGS: PLAYOFFS LOOMING EDITION

2017 JULY POWER RANKINGS: RIP PRODIGY EDITION

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Prodigy is dead. Both the man and the band that did that “smack my bitch up” song, when you really think about it. But SPECIFICALLY we are going to focus on the death of Prodigy the man, as I still ain’t over that shit. And also WHAT CAN I DO, influential musical people keep dying…..yanno people that are in music….. so I am forced to keep cranking out these Power Rankings interspersed with Youtube videos that will slowly get taken down over the coming months. Mobb Deep was a large influence on my entire high school persona, and Prodigy’s H.N.I.C. solo album was pretty fucking solid in itself. Can’t say I copped parts 2 or 3 but STILL. Let’s discuss the top teams in descending order while also shouting out some of my favorite Mobb Deep/Prodigy songs. Not sure I have it in me to rank Mobb Deep songs for I am a fan of them all so whatever we are just gonna throw them in here in somewhat of an order but maybe in no particular order. I can pretty definitively rank the teams in order right now but Mobb Deep songs I just don’t know, so this list will just be a random list. WE ARE DOING IT. Here we go…..

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1- Manchester MooniniteZ (8-2-3) – MY WOULD YOU LOOK AT THIS, the Manchester MooniniteZ are sitting here holding onto the #1 seed with 5 weeks to go. I cannot say I am surprised but I can say fuck all y’all, is what I can say. The MooniniteZ got here on the back of a 6-1-1 division record that has already clinched itself as the best division record in the league in 2017, and by being the only team that hasn’t lost in the past 7 weeks (although the ties of late have been bothersome), and also by just some solid across the board production:  Runs 2nd, Triples 3rd, HRs t-2nd, RBIs 3rd, SBs 4th, OBP 2nd, Strikeouts 1st, Wins 2nd, Saves 3rd. HRs have primarily been supplied by the likes of Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, and Nolan Arenado while Keon Broxton has been a nice source of both power and speed (14 HRs, 15 SBs), albeit at the expense of OBP to an extent (.312 OBP). The biggest buggaboo for this squad REMAINS THE SAME for like the third fucking year running:  Quality Starts, LAST. I don’t even get it anymore, as this year we are first in Ws but still can’t get a week of like 5+ QS to save our lives. If I were to turn this into some sort of Trade Deadline Preview I might suggest this as an area the MooniniteZ might look to improve HOWEVER there will be an entire goddamned Trade Deadline Preview article, so that kind of talk will be kept to a minimum here. The MooniniteZ will face their former collaborator and the current #2 seed Point Loma X-Rayz in Week 14, SURE TO BE A GOOD ONE and PROBABLY CONTAINING LOTS OF SPOT STARTS THAT WILL FUCK UP THESE PITCHING RANKING FOREVER FORWARD. Also there’s a decent chance the #1 seed is on the line here.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #1:  “Shook Ones Pt. II” 

Probably the perfect Mobb Deep song, and the first installment in a series of PERFECT beats used by the Mobb.  Goddamned if they don’t have good beats. You can see why Eminem used it in his dumb movie’s climactic scene. I am already realizing I should have had Brian guest spot here to analyze lyrical content but he is off blowing Mickey Mouse or whatever so we are just going to get scant analysis of songs and beats from me and we are going to like it. But yea Shook Ones Pt. II is way better than Part I when usually you should aim for the other way around.

UPDATE:  TURNS OUT after I made this list and returned to it I found this shit online where they talk about alotta these songs as part of some “Prodigy’s 25 most essential songs” thing (http://www.complex.com/music/2011/05/prodigy-25-essentials/temperatures-rising) from 2011, and this article is pretty sick, so I am going to just copy paste their shit whenever possible. This post just got a lot longer folks….

Prodigy: “I remember that clearly. We wrote that in the crib high on drugs. [Laughs.] Probably weed, probably was some dust in there, mad 40s, getting twisted. That was one of the first ones where we were like, ‘Whoa. This shit is ill. This shit sounds crazy right here. This is some other shit right here son. This ain’t normal.’ So we knew we was making some shit with that song. We were in the crib and we were spitting it to each other like, ‘Yo, this shit is some other shit right here son.’

“It was just a remix of the first [‘Shook Ones’]. The first song we had made was cool. Then we made this new beat and I think the chorus was similar. We probably didn’t even intend for it to be a remix, but the chorus was probably similar. It was probably like Matty C and them niggas that was like, ‘Y’all should call this ‘Shook Ones Pt. II.’ So that’s why we did that shit.

“We had a lot of songs. When we first signed to Loud we had a 20-song demo. So all of those songs we wanted to put on the album. But we started making new ones, and through process of elimination, we wanted all the new ones. We didn’t like the old ones no more. [Laughs.]

“We made that beat at my crib in Long Island. Hav found the sample. Hav was down there fucking with the records, he was like, ‘Listen to this.’ I was like, ‘That shit sounds ill right there.’ He did that and then we were fucking with the bass and the drums together. I seen that whole shit where they found the Herbie Hancock shit. That’s crazy. I didn’t know it was a mystery or that it was that serious to people. They were really trying to figure out where that came from.”

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2- Point Loma X-Rayz (7-5-1) – MY GUYYYYY coming in at #2, in my humble opinion, despite just having a 5 week win streak snapped at the hands of a lower-ranked team yet to be discussed. Helping to push back at the notion that either of us needs the other to win. We can win just fine on our own, and the fact is winning the chip in this league remains very difficult, and until one of you can sniff winning even TWO in a row (Lobman gave it a solid try last year I will give him that) you haters can just keep hatin’/get fucked. BUT WHERE WAS I? The X-Rayz are once again just getting it done, with their sights set on a 3rd straight year of a top 3 regular season finish, and they are once again doing it in their own unique speed-centric way:  Stolen Bases 1st, Triples 1st….. BUT ALSO Runs 3rd, QS t-2nd, ERA 2nd. The unexplainable Jason Vargas and the PUTTIN’ IT ALL TOGETHER Robbie Ray deserve some recognition for their pitching exploits and so uhhh, here it is. Probably the biggest surprise here is that for perhaps the first time in many moons we are this deep into the season and the Odom squad is not last in HRs, they are in fact NINTH (however 10th RBIs, 9th OBP).  As for the causes of this (relative to previous seasons) HR EXPLOSION outta Point Loma, credit due to Eric Thames and Daniel Murphy and Chris Davis. Let’s also just give credit to Jose Ramirez for being an all-around stud, he’s got a few dongs of his own cuz he’s got a few everything of his own. The speed kills strategy has brought success to this franchise in the past and they are once again utilizing it this year, however they have also managed to string together some impressive pitching weeks which might end up giving them jusstttt enough team balance to overcome the power (by design) and OBP (probably not by design) flaws. They’ll face their TOUGHEST TEST YET when they battle the #1 seed (me) in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #2:  “Survival Of The Fittest”

“Survival Of The Fittest” AGAIN just a fantastic goddamned beat. It is becoming clear to me that I may just like their use of the piano more than their actual beats per se BUT whatfuckingever, excellent piano work and excellent intro.  “No doubt indeed, without weed” INDEED. RIP Prodigy.

Prodigy: “We made that in Hav’s crib, in Queensbridge. We’d make the beats in Hav’s crib [but lay vocals in the studio]. Or sometimes, we’d make the beat in the crib, write half of the song in the crib, then go to the studio and finish it. That was one of the ones where Hav ain’t really like the beat. He was about to erase that shit. There’s a lot of joints like that, where he was about to trash them and we had to change his mind. I was out somewhere on the block chilling probably, I came in the crib, and Hav had the beat playing.

“I was like, ‘Damn. What the fuck is this?’ He’s like, ‘It’s some bullshit, I’m about to fucking scratch this shit and do another one.’ I was like, ‘Nah, don’t scratch that nigga, hold up. Let niggas hear this.’ And I called niggas over like, ‘Yo, listen to this fucking beat this nigga just made.’ And everybody was like, ‘Yo, that shit is crazy.’ Then we both just started writing rhymes to it and it came out good. We knocked that out all in one day. So, I had to save that one.

“Hav’s pops was a DJ, so Hav had a lot of records from the ‘70s and the ‘80s. We both had a good record collection. Hav was already listening to records before I met him. He was trying to sample on a cassette player, hit record, pause, record, and pause, and making the beats like that. When he met me, we bought the equipment. That’s when he started to really get into making beats. I actually showed him how to sample, how to do this, and how to sequence the shit. Once he got the hang of it he just went in and started going crazy.”

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3- River City Bad Dudes (7-5-1) – River City once again finds itself within striking distance of a bye, one year removed from scratching and clawing their way into yet another postseason as the #6 seed. Andddd they can be extremely dangerous when they get to the postseason as we have seen time and time again, and that is about the nicest thing I want to say about this franchise. I would also add that they have done a pretty good job of weathering some REALLY POOR PLAY by some guys that they expected to be studs in 2017 (Rougned Odor, Manny Machado), with the help of some other backup studs they just had laying around (Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton) but also through some pretty respectable pitching numbers. As I shall now demonstrate thusly:  Strikeouts 2nd, QS t-2nd, CGs t-3rd, Wins 3rd, Saves 1st, ERA 3rd. All solid numbers that have helped keep them in matchups even when their offense has sometimes disappointed, as I shall now demonstrate thusly:  Runs 7th, Triples t-7th, OBP 7th, SBs 9th. But I mean also Doubles 1st, HRs 5th, RBIs 4th. Basically this paints the picture of a team that has found their way to win even though it hasn’t received the strongest of performances from some of its cornerstones. If those slumping sluggers can turn things around in the 2nd half of the season this team can get scary in a hurry, but for now they haven’t so fuck them. These pieces of shit take on Rojo’s Renegade Force in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #3:  “Quiet Storm”

“Quiet Storm” perhaps Mobb Deep’s most well-known uhhh non-Shook Ones Pt. II song, IF I HAD TO GUESS. Murda Muzik was actually the first Mobb Deep CD I ever possessed, I believe I made my mother purchase it for me for Easter or some shit. So Quiet Storm stood out right away and then I had to go back catalog a bit to learn about The Infamous and Hell On Earth and whatnot. Rap sucks now, is my point.

Prodigy: “Hav was in the studio all day and I came late at night and these niggas was making a beat. Hav had the old Melly Mel song ‘White Lines’ sampled. After he laid the drum pattern, he added the piano—the piano is what puts that whole beat together—and then him and Noyd were like, ‘Yo, we going to pick up shorties.’ I was like, ‘Y’all niggas leaving? Let’s do this song, this shit is fire right here.’ They like, ‘Nah, we’ll be right back.’

“They bounced and I’m in the studio dolo. I’m like, ‘Fuck it. I’m going in on this beat right now.’ I sat there and wrote the whole song in like an hour and I recorded it. I was like, ‘I’m not leaving any room for anyone else to get on this shit, this is too ill.’ I was already working on my solo album so I was like, ‘Gimme this shit. I’m taking this beat. This is for my album nigga.’ [Laughs.] That was my whole mentality.

“I was coming clean like, ‘I spent too many nights, sniffing coke, getting right/Wasting my life, now I’m trying to make things right,’ because that’s how I was living. I felt like I had cleaned my life at that time. I wasn’t using anything, no drugs, no alcohol. I was living correctly and trying to make things right.

 

“I recorded that shit and these niggas never came back to the studio. I bounced and played it for niggas the next day and they were like, ‘That’s cool.’ They didn’t understand or see the power of that record. I called DJ Clue and was like, ‘Son, I got this song that I want you to put on a mixtape.’ Clue put it on every single mixtape that he put out that year. Usually a DJ will put it on one mixtape, but he kept putting it on all his mixtapes.

“Then, we were in the Tunnel—because that was our club, every Sunday we were there—and Clue is DJing. All of a sudden he threw on ‘Quiet Storm’—it was called ‘White Lines’ at the time because I didn’t even have a title for it. This shit ain’t mixed, it ain’t mastered, it sounds like shit, but he played it in the club and people were actually dancing to it. I guess they knew it from the mixtapes.

“I’m bugging off of this shit because I ain’t never seen some shit like that before. You don’t play a song in the club unless it’s a single, it’s getting radio play, unless people know that shit. This nigga played the song from a mixtape in the Tunnel nigga. The Tunnel holds like four thousand people. That’s not somewhere where you fuck around and play a song that niggas are probably not going to like.

“I’m looking at people’s reaction to it and they dancing and having a good time. We go back to the Tunnel, he plays it again. He starts playing it every Sunday or whoever is filling in, they’re playing it too. And from there the song just took off. After he started playing it in the Tunnel they started playing it on the radio and this is the unmixed version. This is for a year straight before we actually dropped it as a single.”

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4- Barnegat Banana Slugs (7-5-1) – The SCRAPPY Banana Slugs of Barnegat have carved out a nice position in the playoff race despite their fair share of injuries (and a suspension) and for that they deserve respect. I will now respectfully point out that some combination of those injuries and ineffectiveness has lead to some reallllly ugly numbers on offense:  Runs 8th, Doubles 8th, HRs 10th, RBIs 9th, SBs 8th. Tough positioning to find yourself in for the power cats when you don’t boast the speedsters to make up for it in other areas; the Slugs may be the only team in the league that fails to place in the top 5 in any offensive category (WHAT am I saying, they are probably one of two teams). Helping to mitigate that damage, however, is some success in some pitching cats: Strikeouts 4th, CGs t-3rd, Saves 2nd, Holds 3rd, although even those cats have not been without their warts. BEEN A GRIND is what  you might say, but even with the struggles and the injuries and the CHEATING of Starling Marte Barnegat has themselves squarely positioned for a playoff berth in 2017 and could even find their way into a bye IMPRESSIVE WORK. Credit Max Scherzer and Luis Severino for being the aces of the staff, credit Cody Allen and Whoever The Orioles Have At Closer At Any Given Time for helping out in the Saves and Strikeouts cats, credit Jake Lamb and Ryan Zimmerman and Jonathon Schoop and characters like that for helping keep the offense’s head above water. This is a team that is not without its imperfections but also a team that can round into form at the right time. Also credit Trevor Story for trying to DROWNED the entire offense. The Barnegat Banana Slugs take on last year’s champs, the OceanGate Trout Fishing Club, in a pivotal Week 14 battle.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #4: “Drop A Gem On Em”

Be sure to read below for the fun fact here, this was a diss track aimed at Tupac in retaliation for “Hit Em Up” and then they RESPECTFULLY pulled it off the radio cuz Pac got murked like a week or two after radio started playing it. How polite.

Prodigy: “We recorded that song at Access Studios. We just went in and made that song after we heard Tupac saying some things about us because of our ‘L.A., L.A.’ song. We heard somebody playing ‘Hit Em Up’ on the block and we were like, ‘Oh word? Niggas wanna make songs about us? Aight, cool.’ As soon as we heard Tupac saying anything about Mobb Deep, we went in and made that shit about him. We were like, ‘Fuck this nigga, we going right at this nigga and whoever the fuck he’s down with.’

“‘Drop a Gem on ‘Em’ was unique and it was different. Pac just took a beat that everybody knew of already and just tried to flip the lyrics or whatever. That’s why I think with ‘Drop a Gem On Em’ people were like, ‘Yo, that shit is fire. Y’all killed the nigga,’ because it was like a new beat. Nobody had ever heard a beat like that before. The lyrics were crazy.

“We had actually pulled the song because it was the first single off of Hell On Earth. We submitted it to radio and radio put it in rotation, even in Cali. But when Pac died, we pulled the song off radio and told them to stop playing it out of respect for his family and out of respect for the dead. We were like, ‘Nah, stop pushing that.’ We still put it on the album.

“We were about to shoot a video for that. We were about to go in on that nigga, but we were like, ‘Yo, pull it.’ We were just going to go in on this nigga in the video. I mean, it was so new when Pac died that I think it was only on the radio for about a week or two. So, we didn’t really have plans for the video, but we were about to shoot a video for it. When Pac died, we switched the single to ‘Hell On Earth’ instead.”

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5- OceanGate Trout Fishing Club (4-4-5) – STRANGEST TITLE DEFENSE EVER, as OceanGate has shattered our league’s ties record (there were no ties prior to 2013 to my knowledge) and we are only 2/3 through this newly SHORTENED season. So they have a lot of fucking ties, is what the data tells us. But ALSO, in part thanks to a few lucky ties, they have only lost like once since Week 6 and their talent (WHEN HEALTHY 🙂 ) has to be respected. Back to that when healthy part in a sec, first the raw #s. Where you will find the OGTFC in decent shape, but still #s that are likely down from a season ago when it all came together for OceanGate:  Runs 5th, Doubles 3rd, HRs 4th, SBs 2nd, OBP 1st, so the offense has been holding up fairly well. Also they are 4th in Holds so good on them there, but there is a reason that is the only pitching category discussed and that reason is that the OGTFC are in the bottom half of the league in every other category (8th Strikeouts, 8th QS, 8th Ws, and the only team in the league without a CG). NOT IDEAL. Equally NOT IDEAL is the injuries that have plagued this team of late, with Mike Trout, Trea Turner, Dexter Fowler, and Danny Duffy all currently out (and MadBum but you traded for him so boo hoo) with injuries and various other players missing various other time. NOT IDEAL, and it will be interesting to see which players return soon (allegedly some are due back week) and if those players can return to form quickly enough to give this team a shot at pulling off a playoff run similar to last year, where they flew under the radar as a 5th seed and then stormed through the field on their way to their first ever championship. THE ROAD IS MUCH HARDER THE SECOND TIME, take it from a former dynasty. The OGTFC’s road continues when they take on a scrappy Barnegat team in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #5:  “Eye For An Eye”

One of like A COUPLE different times they sampled Scarface for a beat, we get it you liked Scarface we alllll liked Scarface. At least as teenagers.

Prodigy: “Right after we did the ‘G.O.D. Pt. III’ beat with the Scarface sample, there was another part of Scarface that we sampled for ‘It’s Mine.’ I’m sitting in the crib watching the movie again and I hear that part in the beginning where the boats are coming in from Cuba to Florida and I’m like, ‘Holy shit! Why nobody ever took this part right here? These niggas is stupid out here.’

”I ran to the studio again and said, ‘Hurry up son.’ [Havoc] sampled it and niggas was like, ‘Oh my God, these niggas did it again. They took something else out of Scarface that niggas could’ve used.’ We sampled Scarface a third time too when we did ‘When You Hear That,’ which Alchemist produced. We took three joints from Scarface that nobody was thinking about using.

“We had made the beat first and I was like, ‘Yo man, Nas gotta get on this shit because the shit is too ill. This is one for Nas.’ We called him up and the nigga said, ‘Hell yeah.’ Nigga heard the beat and went crazy. He was like, ‘Yo, this shit is ill right here.’ He just killed that talking about Barbara Streisand and Halle Berry and all this other shit on the song. The nigga went in on that shit. [Laughs.]

“He did that hook because we didn’t have a chorus for it. We just wrote our verses and then Nas came in and was like, ‘Yo, I’ve got an idea for the chorus.’ That Brandy and Monica song just came out, it was the brand new hot shit, and Nas was like, ‘Yo, we taking that chorus and we gonna flip it.’”

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6- Astoria Isotopes (6-6-1) – THE NEW YOUTH MOVEMENT, one might call this bunch, as the Isotopes boast the two hottest hitters of dong on the planet in rooks Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, as well as a young hurler who might have finally put it alllll together in Jose Berrios. They also have Khris Davis dinging dingers, Charlie Blackmon racking up every kind of extra base hit possible, and Will Myers slowly rounding into the form that made him a stud last year. Also Mike Moustakas has 20 HRs so maybe he isn’t as Mostsuckass as I previously presumed. All of this shit leads to this shit:  4th Runs, 2nd Triples (weirdly 10th Doubles), FIRST HRs (by a whopping 20 currently), FIRST RBIs, 3rd OBP. Make no mistake the ‘Topes are crushing the ball lately, with only the Doubles thing and the 8th in SBs thing as possible knocks to their offensive profile. On the pitching side more of a mixed bag, and by that I mean they really aren’t excelling in tooooo much of anything (Wins 5th Saves t-3rd ERA 4th, but also Ks 10th, QS 7th). Jose Quintana has been a FRAUD, and Dallas Keuchel was excellent prior to an injury but I deem that FRAUDULENT as well. All that being said the ‘Topes currently have some of the most dynamic young bats in baseball, which is something we probably haven’t ever been able to say about this franchise. If they can make their way back into the playoffs they will be feared a bit, AGAIN something we probably haven’t ever been able to say about this franchise. Fuck these guys in the face, and they face the (spoiler alert) bottom-dwelling Q-Tip City Morning Wood in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #6: “Hell On Earth (Front Lines)”

The titular track off Hell On Earth and IF YOU READ ABOVE the track they chose as the first single after they had to switch off “Drop A Gem On Em” due to Tupac dying and all. Love this goddamned beat, love most of their goddamned beats. This has been established.

Prodigy: “We had a lot of people who died during the making of that album, we had at least five of our friends and family members die. It took us two years to make that album because of all the death that was happening around us. The shit was really devastating to our lives and we kept pushing on. We continued to make the album and we continued to record songs, but our minds were fucked up. We were in our zone from all those losses that we took those past two years. That’s what ‘Hell On Earth’ was about, we felt that we were living in hell.

“If you listen to that album, it’s crazy dark. You could tell that we were angry and upset making that album. When we made ‘Hell On Earth’ that was just one of those songs, but that was a single. Since we pulled ‘Drop a Gem on ‘Em,’ we put ‘Hell On Earth’ out. If you listen to that song you’ll be like, ‘This ain’t no single. Why would you use this for a single?’ It sounds like some dark, hardcore, grimy shit.

“You could tell that we didn’t give a fuck at the time. We were doing whatever the fuck we wanted. We were going against the grain. We didn’t give a fuck if it was a party record or radio record. We said, ‘This is what we want for the single and this is what it’s gonna be.’ A lot of people respected that shit when it came out because nobody was putting out songs like that.

“We lost Havoc’s brother Killer Black, my man Twin’s brother, we lost one of our man’s Yammy from the projects, I lost my father, and there were other people that were around us. The people that we lost were the strongest people around us. You’re talking about people that would kill somebody for Mobb Deep, on some real shit.

“When something goes down and we in the club, these are going to be the niggas that are going to pop off, no questions asked, no hesitation, none of that shit. It doesn’t matter who it is. These niggas that died were the reason niggas were scared of Mobb Deep. Anybody from Queensbridge knew about Yammy, Killer Black, and Scarface Twin. When we lost these niggas we lost a lot of power and strength because it’s hard to find niggas like that.”

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7- Lacey Township BackdoorSliderz (6-6-1) – Lacey Township was actually SECOND in our last installment of the Power Rankings, but since then they have learned that the Backyard can be a cruel and unrelenting place. However, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. And so there is still time for the BDSliderz to turn this thing around and find themselves in the playoffs in their inaugural season (and they are one win or tie away from owning the H2H tiebreaker over the team currently in front of them). Let’s go to the numbers, Jim: Doubles 4th, SBs 3rd, and in that 5th-6th range in most other offensive categories so SMACK in the middle of the pack offensively. Pitching a bit of another story:  Strikeouts 9th, QS 9th, Wins 9th, Holds 8th, ERA FUCKIN 9th AGAIN. I hinted back when this team was riding high that pitching issues might threaten their success going forward, and sure enough pitching has been a bit of an issue and certainly has contributed to the current woes. INSERT A BUNCH OF OMITTED TRADE PREVIEW STUFF HERE. There’s signs of potential turnaround on the pitching staff with Rays rook Jacob Faria pitching excellently and JA Happ pitching pretty great himself upon his recent return, aside from those two the staff has been anchored by Jameson Taillon and Jacob DeGrom, with a little bit of Drew Pomeranz thrown in as well but fuck him. SOLID LOOKING STAFF on paper and yet, the numbers are the numbers right now. On offense the standouts are Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall, and Travis Shaw for some fucking reason. Not sure what to say there, the BDSliderz will likely welcome back Freddie Freeman with open arms and hope the wrist injury doesn’t sap his power for the rest of the year, I will say that. And Freeman very well MAY be back in Week 14, when Lacey Township hosts the Toms River Titans.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #7: “Keep It Thoro”

Made when Prodigy was living in BUSHWICK. Head Hipster In Charge (H.H.I.C.)

Prodigy: “I made that when I was living in Bushwick, Brooklyn at the time. Alchemist had given me a tape full of beats and that was one of my favorite beats on the tape. I just sat in the crib and wrote that song in a couple hours. As soon as I wrote it, I was like ‘Wow. This one is crazy.’ I had to call a couple of my mans to say it to them over the phone and everyone was like, ‘Record that. Go to the studio right now, and record that.’

“The reason I did [H.N.I.C.] was for another check. Mobb Deep was dropping albums every two years, so I figured why not get a check in between that? The difference is, it’s all P. It’s P’s ideas, P picks the beat, so it’s all my influence. It’s all my choices on there. With Mobb Deep, we have to agree on things. We have to agree that we want to use that beat or agree on the type of song we want to do. That’s the only difference really.”

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8- Rojo’s Renegade Force (5-7-1) – RENEGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADES. Once left for dead and declared the odds-on favorite for 9th place, the Renegade Force has come storming back in recent week and now moves all the way up to…..8th, in both the rankings and in playoff standings. HOWEVER they are still right there in contention for a 2017 playoff spot (HOWEVER a SSS at the hands of Astoria may come back to haunt them here). And they’ve gotten to this puncher’s chance point with some good old fashioned POWER HITTING, peep the numbers:  Runs FIRST, Doubles 2nd, Triples 4th, HRs t-2nd, RBIs 2nd, OBP 3rd JUST LOOK AT THE FORCE BEING DISPLAYED HERE. Lotta force. Lot of it due to Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Gallo, and the somewhat-recently-acquired George Springer. RRF also find themselves t-2nd in QS, 2nd in CGs, and 1st in Holds cuz duh. Credit Corey Kluber, Michael Fulmer, and Johnny Cueto for the first two and a FLAWED STRATEGY for the last one. RRF continue to assert that they can freely punt a relief category (also the wrong relief category), and at this point it would kinda be hard to acquire enough closers to reverse the trend, so it will be another year of waiting to see if the strategy can get it done in the postseason. First it will have to get them into the postseason.  Rojo’s Renegade Force have a tough matchup against the River City Bad Dudes on tap for Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #8: “It’s Mine (Feat. Nas)”

Putting this one in here because they somehow got Nas to sing HORRIBLY on the hook for it, and I think it was a riff on that “The Boy Is Mine” song with Brandy and Monica. Also the beat is the theme from Scarface. GODDAMNED VISIONARIES I TELL YOU.

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9- Toms River Titans (4-8-1) – REMEMBER THE TITANS WHEN THEY WERE CLOSE TO .500? I do, they got pretty goddamn close. Things have since taken a turn for the worse, and Toms River now has an uphill climb in its bid to make the 2017 playoffs. But WHY? I’ll show ya why:  Runs 9th, Doubles 9th, HRs 8th, OBP 8th. Those would be your likely culprits, this team was built to be carried by pitching but stilllll probably requires a bit more from the offense in order to get through most matchups. And the pitching has mostly lived up to the billing:  Strikeouts 3rd, QS 1st, Wins 1st, ERA 1st (although SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE they got converted to Rojo’s cult, so they’re 9th in Saves and 2nd in Holds). Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw are really fucking good and Stephen Strasburg and Yu Darvish are pretty fucking good and even Michael Pineda was kinda fucking good for stretches there. On offense the pretty fucking goods are mostly just limited to Carlos Correa and Miguel Sano and ANTHONY RENDON somehow, while guys like Christian Yelich and Francisco Lindor have been kinda fucking good. Matt Kemp remains fucking okay. And these guys aren’t dead in the water quite yet, but they would need to realllllly maximize their returns outta their hitters (or yanno, trade a pitcher for more balance but shhhhhhhhhh) in order to make a late run at the last one or two playoff spots. That late run will have to start in Lacey in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #9:  “The Learning (Burn)

 

 

For some reason I feel like I remember this album being poorly received but I enjoyed several tracks off it. They also had a song with Ron Isley just going “OooOooOO’ in the background the whole goddamned time, you may know Ron Isley as the antagonist from R. Kelly’s “Downlow” video, and I nearly put THAT song on this countdown as well. I did not come close to putting the “Hey Luv” song with 112 on here cuz NO. Too mainstream.

Prodigy: “We were in Freeport at our crib. We were all living together at that time and Hav was making this beat in the basement of our studio, early in the morning. It had to be like seven in the morning, Hav always gets up early. I’m in my room sleeping and I hear this bassline thumping, it woke me up. I went downstairs and Hav had this ill beat playing. It sounded like something the Beach Boys would be playing, I don’t know why.

“We wrote the rhymes right there in the crib and recorded it and then we took it to the big studio to record over. At that time, we were on our female run. We were like, ‘Let’s add a female voice on the chorus. When it’s playing in the clubs, girls will be more into it if they hear a female in the club. But we already did Lil Kim. What female are we going to add without trying to do same thing we did before?’

“We called Vita because she had that song ‘Where Would I Be Without You’ with Ja Rule that was hot at that time. She came and did it and that shit was hot.

“Noyd killed it. We try to put Noyd on only fast party records because Noyd’s style is live performance. If you see Noyd live his energy alone is going to make you enjoy the show. So we always try put him on a song that fits his character.”

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10- Q-Tip City Morning Wood (2-10-1) – THIS FUCKING TEAM, continues to wonder and amaze with its ability to be last place in a bunch of categories, although sadly the Runs gap has closed. Whereas last time they came in last in Runs by a whopping FOURTY-EIGHT, this time they are LAST in Runs by a mere 31. Let’s check elsewhere:  Triples LAST, SBs LAST, OBP LAST, Wins LAST, ERA LAST. That’s actually it in terms of LAST but the rest of the picture is more bad than good. More bad:  Doubles 7th, HRs 7th, RBIs t-7th, Saves 8th, Holds 9th. Than good:  FIRST in CGs somehow, though it only translates to 5th in QS. For the Morning Wood, the playoffs are all but guaranteed to not be a thing they are gonna see this year. AND THEY HAVE SOME SUSPECT TRADES TO THANK FOR IT.  Best bats left:  Logan Morrison, the smartly recently signed Ryon HealyBrian Dozier, Justin Upton, JD Martinez, Jay Bruce weirdly. SO SOME PIECES HERE, but ahem some pieces that are probably performing over their head (the first two) and would be better suited on a 2017 playoff team. Ahem. Best arms left:  Carlos Martinez, a rapidly returning to Earth Ervin Santana, a performing way over his head a la early season Santana Gio Gonzalez. DON’T WANNA TALK TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS STUFF YET, but the point of the name dropping is to point out there’s still plenty of assets here and if they are smart about the next few weeks they can possibly pull off a few deals as a “seller” and set themselves up for a rebound in Year 2 of their Bulldogs rebuild. The Morning Wood will host the Astoria Isotopes in Week 14 and I DUNNO maybe they can use each future matchup to start a possible trades dialogue, do a bunch of disgusting in-matchup deals or something.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #10:  “Where Ya Heart At”

If you just look at the title of this song it may look like I put it here as some sort of diss at the Morning Wood but IT IS NOT, this is just the song I always bumped when people died and shit and THEREFORE I figured it would be a fitting closing to the rankings. Cuz Prodigy died. RIP to one of the real ones…..

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2017 JULY POWER RANKINGS: RIP PRODIGY EDITION

2017 June Power Rankings: RIP Chris Cornell Edition

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So Chris Cornell killed himself and that sucks in alotta ways, and the River City Bad Dudes are seemingly (THOUGH ARGUABLY NOT) atop the Power Rankings at right about the halfway point and that ALSO sucks in alotta ways. WHY NOT COMBINE THE TWO? Presented here are the June Power Rankings as well as my PERSONAL favorite Chris Cornell tracks, which will diverge from THE LAMESTREAM MEDIA a bit maybe. I dunno. These were kinda just thrown together somewhat at random but I’ll stand by it. And I probably will have to lead off with Black Hole Sun though just because…..

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1- River City Bad Dudes (5-2-1) – There is certainly room to debate this one, with 3 teams sharing identical records at the top and all sorts of “this one beat this one but lost to that one” type bullshit going on BUT…..until last week the Bad Dudes had not lost since Week 1 so I will give them their due. And there should be no shame in having your only two losses come at the hands of the former co-owners behind the greatest dynasty this league ever has seen or ever will see. There should be no shame in that at all. Plus the lone tie for River City came against last year’s champion. So YEA WHATEVER give em the 1 spot. The Bad Dudes have been getting it done with some “good enough” offensive numbers (Runs 3rd, Doubles 2nd, top 5 in pretty much everything else outside of SBs HILARIOUSLY that part was all true when I wrote it but now that the Bad Dudes have been so BAD thus far in Week 9 this is no longer the case, uhhh 4th in Doubles though?), put together on the backs of Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton and even Jose Abreu, and combining those with surprisingly strong across the board pitching stats (Ks 2nd, QS in a large tie for 2nd, CGs 1st, Ws 1st, Saves 1st, ERA 4th 6th nvm). Thanks due to Marcus Stroman and recently Eduardo Rodriguez for the successes there, blame due to them still rostering Kevin Gausman as to why they aren’t higher up on ERA (UPDATE: DROPPED). Also Danny Salazar, but OVERALL pitching has been pretty solid. In years past we have seen Lobman get aggressive with attempts to upgrade the pitching staff around the trade deadline, WILL BE INTERESTING to see what he will do if that is an area of strength for this team around that time. First the Bad Dudes need to get past the MooniniteZ in Week 9 here.

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #1:  “Black Hole Sun” just because….

This definitely isn’t my favorite Soundgarden song, HELL I probably like some Audioslave songs better than Black Hole Sun, but it is the first Soundgarden song I have ever heard and I have vague memories of watching the music video as like an 8 or 9 year old so here ya go.

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2- Lacey Township BackdoorSliderz (5-2-1) – Our guy the new guy has as strong a claim to a top spot as anyone in the league, as he took over a somewhat historically weak (CAN I SAY THAT WITHOUT BEING SUED?) franchise (outside that one run to the BCS that doomed their demise in this league) and until last week could make the claim that they never truly lost a matchup (with that whole coming in mid-week against the Bad Dudes caveat, also this sentence has had too many parentheses). That all changed last week, but this team has still been humming along. OFFENSE HEAVY has been the name of the game here (Runs 2nd, Doubles 1st, Triples 3rd, HRs 1st, RBIs 2nd, SBs 3rd, OBP 2nd) with just super strong numbers across the board through those 7 categories. Pitching however has been more of a struggle (Ks 9th, QS 10th, ERA 9th) as the team has struggled to find a balance between that side of the fantasy coin and the other. Don’t wanna turn these rankings into a big trade deadline commentary (ONE OF THOSE MIGHT BE FORTHCOMING IN TIME) but it isn’t that hard to look at this team and see a need to improve on one side and not much of a need on the other. HOWEVA some of those stats were no doubt put together by Freddie Freeman and AJ Pollock, both of whom went down with injuries in mid-May. In their absence Lacey Township will rely upon the likes of Michael Comforto, Marcel Ozuna, and Adam Duvall to pick up the power numbers. I haven’t done the historical research on what championship teams fared best by leaning on (outside of my own DYNASTY which leaned upon, like, bullpen) so we will all just have to watch and wait to see if this team can endure offensive cold streaks, if a move is made, if a move is made simply cuz I implied a move should eventually be made, etc. etc. etc.  The BackdoorSliderz are battling the wounded defending champeen OGTFC in Week 9.

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #2:  “The Day I Tried To Live”

THIS however might be my favorite Soundgarden song if I was in the business of picking a favorite Soundgarden song. Which I AM NOT. I like some of their songs, but mostly just always thought Cornell’s voice was the shit, so good fucking luck trying some sort of “Sublime With Rome” type stunt here down the line. Soundgarden with Rome would blow.

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3- Manchester MooniniteZ (5-2-1) – If anyone wants to bitch about the ultimate rankings here SHUT UP because I should be the one complaining, as I have beaten the “top team” once already and plan to be well on my way to doing it a 2nd time for the season series sweep by the time this hits the presses. And HOW have I beaten the Bad Dudes and a bunch of others you ask? EH tough to say. Ks (1st) and HRs (3rd) have been calling cards sameee as last year, haven’t been too shabby in SBs (4th), and we are currently 2nd in Wins and 3rd in ERA, but outside of that this team has survived and thrived by being middle of the pack in most other categories and BACK OF THE PACK in a few others (such as the all-too-familiar-for-my-franchise Quality Starts category, which I still suck at). If you are looking for a team that has won the most games while seemingly not deserving to win as many games my team might be your pick, tis true. Luck you say? WHAT IF I SAY DESTINY? Whatever it is destiny. Also we plan on hitting our stride and ripping off a win streak (a la 2016’s 8 gamer) any day now. IT MAY HAVE ALREADY STARTED IN FACT. The MooniniteZ have the Bad Dudes on tap in Week 9 but you already knew that.

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #3:  “Like A Stone”

So when Audioslave started up I hadn’t thought much about Soundgarden in a while cuz who the fuck would at that point, and this was the first song of theirs that I heard and it kinda reminded me “OH YEA that guy has a kickass voice.” Chris Cornell had a kickass voice. I feel very strongly about that being a fact.

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4- Barnegat Banana Slugs (4-3-1) – The Slugs of Barnegat have, TO THEIR CREDIT, performed admirably in 2017 given all the injuries and suspensions FOR CHEATING they have had to deal with. And I would imagine Brian has whined the absolute minimum possible whining for him throughout the matter, or something. Cuz there was definitely some whining. However the Slugs may now find themselves in a nice position as a team right near the top that is either getting injured folks back or very near the point where they will be getting injured folks back; the longer you can tread water through injuries the better you might be once those injuries pass (there will always be injuries). And the Slugs have done far more than tread water in some categories (3rd in Ks, 2nd in ERA, 2nd in Saves) and far less than tread water in other categories (Runs 9th, Doubles 8th, HRs 9th, RBIs 10th, 4th in OBP howeva). For the Slugs the determination going forward will be figuring out how many of their offensive woes are injury-related and how many point to possible issues with roster construction, as the overall numbers point to them being a little lucky in getting to 4 wins in the early going. However a returning Josh Donaldson and an emerging Jake Lamb just might do a lot to polish away some of the ugliness in those places. The Banana Slugs take on Rojo’s Renegade Force in Week 9 and will be annoyed that I failed to note they are like 3rd in Triples or what have you 🙂

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #4:  “Sunshower”

NOT GONNA LIE never heard this song until they played it on the radio the morning after he passed, but damned if I don’t find it kinda lovely. Have listened to it a few times since then.

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5- Astoria Isotopes (4-4) – Former commish and current guy helming a team that is more competitive than just about anyone expected them to be, LOOK AT T GO. And by T I mean the Astoria Isotopes and by the Astoria Isotopes I guess I largely mean Aaron Judge and Charlie Blackmon. But the Isotopes have been a tough out no doubt about it, combining strong and in some cases LEAGUE LEADING numbers on offense (Runs 4th, Triples 2nd, HRs 2nd [1 behind leader] , RBIs 1st, OBP 3rd)(weirdly last in Doubles) with uhhh a lot of Saves (4th, thank you Greg Holland). The cats I didn’t mention I didn’t mention because they’ve been unremarkable in them, with some blame for pitching woes likely due to the struggles of Jose Quintana and the injury to Cole Hamels and the fact that Jose Berrios is just getting started here. Will be interesting to see where this team is at in a month or two, whether or not the pitching can improve enough to at least compensate for the fact that Judge is (probably) not going to hit 60 HRs. The Astoria Isotopes are taking on the Toms River Titans in Week 9, so yea pitching pitching pitching.

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #5:  “Hunger Strike”

“Hunger Strike” had to get in here somewhere and so it goes in with our most musically-inclined league member, MIKEY T. Mikey T plays guitar left-handed like he is a less pretty Kurt Cobain or something. “Hunger Strike” would be nothing without Chris Cornell yelling “HunGRAAYYYYYYYYY” in the background after Eddie Vedder.

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6- OceanGate Trout Fishing Club (2-3-3) – THIS PAINS ME, but all of you teams that aren’t my team keep losing to this guy so technically he is in the playoffs right now. Shame on you all.  You know who you are. Interestingly enough that part comes from the review I wrote a year ago with the Prince songs and refers to a different team AND YET still relevant for the 6 seed today. You all had a chance to #KeepHeroyWinless and you failed. I know I did my part. And now the OGTFC are currently in the playoffs picture and have certain offensive counting stats to support their ability to rocket up the standings (Doubles 2nd, SBs 2nd, OBP FIRST FOR CRYING OUT LOUD) but maybe not on the defensive end? Can we call it the defensive end? Would be so much easier if I could call pitching “defense.” On the defensive end they are 5th in Saves and 2nd in Holds and that is about the nicest thing I can say. ANYWAYS the good news is Mike Trout just went down for possibly 8 weeks and so did Danny Duffy, although sadly the defending champs dodged a bullet when Gregory Polanco‘s ankle injury turned out to be mild. STILL for the first time in a longgggg time (ever? is it ever? i never know when the hell this league started) we will get to see Greg try and manage a team that DOESN’t have the world’s best baseball player stationed in CF. Will be exciting to see where they are in the July rankings. For now the OGTFC are taking on the Lacey Township BackdoorSliderz in Week 9.

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #6:  “Be Yourself”

Just a nice motivational song, tied in with the team that APPARENTLY needs some motivation given the way they’ve gone about their 2017 season. Now would be a good time to point out that a lot of Chris Cornell’s looks were kinda painful, particularly from the facial hair perspective, but WHO AMONGST US hasn’t had a bad goatee. I know I have.

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7- Point Loma X-Rayz (3-4-1) – TRUST THE PROCESS. The X-Rayz made some noise in spring training when they went out and acquired some power bats but looking at the first half numbers it has kinda been more of the same:  10th in HRs, 9th in RBIs but also 3rd Runs, 2nd Doubles (tied), 1st Triples, 1st SBs. Daniel Murphy has put up great numbers but Chris Davis has underwhelmed, as he currently has one more RBI (UPDATE: 4 MORE RBIS NOW) than Billy Hamilton. And so it is mostly same ole same ole in Odomland, which means relying upon the wheels of Hamilton and others to grab speed cats and runs. On the pitching side the Ks are down from what they were a year ago but this team has been without David Price this entire time; despite that they rank 4th in ERA (plus 3rd in Saves).  And SPEAKING of a year ago, at that time the X-Rayz were 4-3-1. Those that were actually in the league at that time know how that ended, with the X-Rayz surging all the way to the top seed in the second half. The formula is mostly the same BUT WILL THE RESULTS BE? Find out starting Week 9, when the X-Rayz host Q-Tip City.

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #7:  “Fell On Black Days”

“Fell On Black Days” is a good example of a song that I would think might possibly not be all that good if not for Chris Cornell’s voice. Which is kinda the overarching theme here, his voice was an instrument unto itself and it made some songs that might otherwise be shitty less shitty….or even not shitty at all!

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8- Toms River Titans (3-5) – And they AIN’T. DEAD. YET. After starting off 0-4, the Titans have responded by going 3-1 to get right back in the thick of things (everyone is in the thick of things). And I am sure they have been rewarded for their efforts with fewer and fewer annoying trade offers from people seeking pitching upgrades. So YES this team hitched their wagon and continues to hitch their wagon to starting pitching and that has mostly shown in the numbers (QS 1st, Wins 3rd, ERA 1st, a paltry 6th in Strikeouts possibly due to FAILING TO GET YOUR 12) on that side of the fantasy spectrum. Of note is the fact that the Titans are 9th in Saves (with no shot of catching the 8th team) and 3rd in Holds which I am JUST NOW NOTICING, a bit of a Rojo thing going on here and I need to yell about that in future Week Reviews. We can’t have misguided strategy catching on like this. But back to starting pitching uhhh the Noah Syndergaard injury stings a bit and Aaron Nola has missed time but THESE ARE PITCHERS THEY GET INJURED A LOT; speaking of which Carlos Rodon should theoretically make a goddamned start this year so they have that. On the offensive side the Titans have been a bit shakier, 5th in Dongs and SBs and 4th in RBIs but tend to find themselves in the bottom 4 or so in pretty much every other category. Offseason acquisitions Miguel Sano and Francisco Lindor have been great and Anthony Rendon and Carlos Correa have been very good, everyone else MEH. As one of the PRECIOUS FEW owners with multiple titles, Ryan has earned my respect and shall never be counted out by this particular blog provocateur. The Titans take on the ‘Topes in Week 9.

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #8:  “Nothing Compares 2 U” Prince Cover

I realized I almost have gotten through this whole list without throwing the Prince cover that everyone kept playing right after he died in here, which NEEDS TO BE DONE since I did a Power Rankings of all Prince songs about a year ago at this time. So that’s why this is in here….

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9- Rojo’s Renegade Force (3-5) – Rojo’s Renegade Force. Misguided in name and misguided in strategy, HERE THEY REMAIN. Mostly because I will try my best to keep them 9th in the Power Rankings all season, but also because their record allows me to. Rojo’s Renegade Force is LAST in Saves and FIRST in Holds and I didn’t even have to look those up. Let’s see where else they stand out:  an IMPRESSIVE 1st in Runs, HRs 3rd (tied), RBIs 2nd (tied), OBP 5th. RRF got some THUMP to em it would appear, props to Joey Gallo and Nelson Cruz and Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Kemp while he was in Rojoville (since been traded) and now George Springer (was in aforementioned trade). The pitching portion has been a mixed bag (QS 2nd in that 4way tie , CGs 3rd (tied), Ws 4th  but also 10th in ERA 8th in Ks). Michael Fulmer has been pretty good but Johnny Cueto has been okay at best and Corey Kluber has been bad and then injured and now returning from injury. So that covers your pitching staff for the most part. And as usual I FORMALLY DENOUNCE the punting Saves strategy and until I see Rojo grab a bye or something that will continue. NOW HE IS CORRUPTING THE TITANS. Rojo’s Renegade Force take on the Barnegat Banana Slugs in Week 9 and will DEFINITELY lose Saves and will POSSIBLY lose Holds if they ain’t careful and/or if Brian gets smart and grabs a few holds guys. Cuz yanno they are always readily available and can be picked up like for the weekend.

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #9:  “Cochise”

I am partly trying to annoy the group by putting THREE Audioslave songs on here but also I kinda liked Audioslave and I shall not apologize for it. Soundgarden purists like to put ’em down but I think they had some solid songs. Is what I think.

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10- Q-Tip City Morning Wood (2-6) – Oh Shane, our guy the original new guy…. BLAZED into the league with a 2-0 start and it has been depressing to follow along ever since. Six straight losses have hurt the spirits in Q-Tip City but again this is where I need to remind folks, even this SORRY ORGANIZATION is only like a game and a half out of that last playoff spot. Miracles happen every day, Heroy convinced a girl to marry him for example. BACK TO THE MORNING WOOD:  LAST in Runs (by FOURTY EIGHT RUNS which is actually kinda fucking impressive), OBP, SBs, Ws. Last in enough things to where you can see why they are currently in last, is what I am saying here. Also 3rd to LAST in ERA. On the positive sides of things uhhh Ks 4th, QS tied for 2nd, FIRST in CGs.  So fine pitching AT TIMES at least, lead by a surprisingly effective Zack Greinke and an even MORE surprisingly effective and recently acquired Ervin Santana and an expected to be effective yet also recently acquired Carlos Martinez. As far as hitting goes, a lot of guys have been solid but nobody has been all that great is how I would term it. I like Brandon Belt and Yasmani Grandal a whole bunch and would try to acquire them if I had the spots for them. I will say that. Q-Tip City tries to avoid a 7th straight loss when they head to Point Loma to take on the X-Rayz in Week 9. 

TOP CHRIS CORNELL SONG #10:  “Ty Cobb”

Not that into this song at all but IT IS NAMED AFTER A BASEBALL PLAYER. And Shane’s team has baseball players on it. So it works.

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chrisrip

2017 June Power Rankings: RIP Chris Cornell Edition

2017 POWER RANKINGS – MAY EDITION

HERE ARE YOUR POWER RANKINGS FOR MAY. Rankings will focus on observations as well as a perusing of the season stats up to this point, even if I don’t necessarily discuss them for every team because SMALL SAMPLE SIZE. W-L is obviously a factor, H2H is a factor, but none of these are the SOLE FACTOR and if anyone disagrees with that then fucking make your own rankings what do I care. TO THE RANKINGS….

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1-  River City Bad Dudes (3-1)

I hate this because I beat this team but maybe this is just an excuse to point out that I beat this team? 4-D CHESS. The fact is that River City hasn’t lost since Week 1 and none of the matchups since then ended up very close. Couple that with their 2 straight BCS (Backyard Championship Series for you newbies) appearances and you have a deserving # 1 as we head into May. BUT FOR HOW LONG?????   And this is actually where I am going to cut out and Let LOBMAN HIMSELF cut in with his own versions of the rankings, cuz see it REALLY IS that easy to just write your own. (Scroll to the bottom for my 1-10)

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2-  Astoria Isotopes (WHAT) (3-1)

HEY GUYS, Lobman now manning the mic here. SO anyways, the Topes are good now, I guess. After losing the opening week, T’s boys took down 2 playoff teams (Brian & Odom), then edged out the RESURGENT resurgency resurger force in a close one. Really the only thing worth mentioning is the idea that Aaron Judge is A GUY, and Dallas Keuchel is quite a pitcher again. However far this team may go, these are the two guys who will cut the path. ALL IN ALL, a very solid start from a team who’s now added some youth along with the age and experience.

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3-  Manchester Mooninitez (3-1)

As the only team (so far) to beat the #BADDUDES, the Mooninitez really piss me off. That being said, they narrowly beat the defending champ OGFTC to keep him on pace with the top 2 in the 3-1 record crew. The Mooninitez boast potentially the best balance in the league, production wise, so its really no surprise that they’re in the running for best record at this point. Its still early, and its LIKELY that Sean makes a boneheaded mistake to ruin this balance I was speaking on. Anyways, good start!

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4- Barnegat Banana Slugs (2-1-1)

I just wanted to be different from Sean’s power rankings (below), but MAN this guy deserves some plaudits for keeping the ship afloat while amassing some of the more devastating injuries this season. ALTHOUGH its clear that some of his DL guys could be dropped rather easily, the loss of Donaldson, Eaton, and I guess Jon Gray could potentially send many teams to the bottom of the standings. Big ups to Brian for making the moves to stay toward the top of the leaderboard.

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5- Lacey Twp Backdoor Sliders (2-1-1)

New guy Sean, who took over from an alleged pedophile (I just report the facts), has invigorated life into the formerly named 3 eyed fish or whatever. A quickfire trade to land Adam Jones and Jameson Taillon to start his career could bode well for his team’s roster construction, and a narrow victory over the TR Titans keeps the new guy in the middle of the standings for the time being. Things will get tougher in time, but early results have been overwhelmingly positive.

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6-  Point Loma X-Rays (2-2)

The X-Rays decided this year that they were going to add more power to compliment their major speed. So far? Last in homers/RBI, first in 2B/SB. While their .500 record wasn’t the intended target for our commish, adding more balance to your team is never a bad thing, assuming you’re still the best at the thing that made you great. You could only assume that as the season wears on, the X-Rays will continue to shape their team in an effort to get up to the top spot come playoff time.

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7-  Q-Tip City Morning Wood (2-2)

Our second new guy, Shane, started off very well with a beatdown of both the Topes and Fishing club to start the year. If we did a WAY TOO EARLY power rankings, he may of topped the whole DAMN thing. The problem: We don’t. Also, he played two of the tougher teams in consecutive weeks, after playing two equally tough teams the first two weeks. One WHOM does these sorts of things could argue that the Wood’ has had the toughest first 4 weeks in the league to date. I also did no research to back that up, so.. Anyways, the QTC are coming off getting beat up by the ‘Dudes, and will hope to right the ship and now fall behind the pack here as we start the summer months.

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8- Ocean Gate Trout Fishing Club (0-0)

I could’ve given the Renegade Force this spot here, but the truth is its only a matter of time before Heroy’s defending champions wake up and begin their ascent to the top of the standings. You know it, I know it, we all fuckin know it. May even begin this week in a “Re-Match” (Greg’s word), but whenever it is, the OGTFC hope it happens soon. We all know how things start to get crazy toward late July, when even the best of teams could miss out on a playoff birth, depending on how they start the season.

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9- Rojo’s Renegade Force (1-3) 

The former Resurgence will hope to actually be resurgent in the near future, especially in the pitching area. Their arsenal of “aces” are comprised of 4 ERA’s and higher, along with their innovative strategy of dominating holds landing them 3rd most holds this year. That is not quite the return you want if you’re punting a category to dominate another. I’m just saying. ANYWHO, Rojo’s pitching will improve probably, and his bats have not been bad. Better times are coming the Renegade Force.

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10-  Toms River Titans (0-4) 😦  

Ohhhh 2 time champion TR Titans, why do you run into such horrendous luck? Outside of the week 2 loss to the X-Rays, the remainder of the Titans’ losses have been narrow and painful. Injuries and ineffectiveness on the pitching end, followed by the insistence to roster Byron Buxton (who is awful) have led to a really painful start for a team that would rather not have another painful start. You can still make the argument that they’re one of the more talented teams in the league tho, so a comeback is not out of the question.

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MOONINITEZ MANAGEMENT’S MAY 1-10

1- River City Bad Dudes

2- Astoria Isotopes

3- US, Manchester MooniniteZ

4- Lacey Township BackdoorSliderz

5- Barnegat Banana Slugs

6- Point Loma X-Rayz

7- Q-Tip City Morning Wood

8- OceanGate Trout Fishing Club

9- Rojo’s Renegade Force

10- Toms River Titans

2017 POWER RANKINGS – MAY EDITION

2017 Power Rankings – April Edition/Preseason Predictions

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I just like this picture…..

APRIL.  EVERYONE HAS A CHANCE TO WIN BUT NOT REALLY.  Let’s look at a quick version of power rankings (these things will be monthly going forward) and get a few quick PRESEASON PREDICTIONS. Other blog contributors FEEL FREE to add your own rankings and predictions to this post throughout the week. After Week 1 predictions are considered cheating. Let’s bang these out right quick, THEY WILL BE BRIEF refer to the team previews for my true feelings on your soon to be mismanaged rosters.

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1-  OceanGate Trout Fishing Club (0-0)

The champ returns with a championship roster, made some tweaks but the core here can absolutely repeat and nobody denies this. FORTUNATELY repeating is really difficult. So we have that to hang our hopes on. That and the marriage curse. ALL HAIL THE MARRIAGE CURSE.

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2-  River City Bad Dudes (0-0)

The Bad Dudes limped into the playoffs last year and then righted the ship and damn near went back to back, so they deserve the second ranking here. They also on the sly upgraded their pitching rotation, which historically has given them cause for concern around the trade deadline and forced them into SHADY dealings. Perhaps shady dealings won’t be needed this year (he will do them anyways).

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3-  Toms River Titans (0-0)

LAST YEAR the Now Toms River Titans found themselves with a 1 seed in BSmith’s GOT-themed power rankings, and once can argue their team is even stronger this year (rotation certainly is), but I AM NOT FALLING FOR IT this time. Pitching is too fragile to rest thy laurels on excellent pitching, that being said this team has excellent pitching. Full health from the staff and they might not need much from the offense, and the offense has the pieces to deliver. SLEEPER CHAMP PICK here. But jk I plan on winning.

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4- Manchester MooniniteZ (0-0)

I plan on winning. GIMME A FEW MONTHS though to get to the top of the Power Rankings, for now I think we slot in about here.

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5- Point Loma X-Rayz (0-0)

And my former partner in crime slots in about here. Again NOT GONNA MAKE BRIAN’S MISTAKE and place them 10th based on some underwhelming aspects of the roster, because the roster should look vastly different by the end of the year and Odom shall manage to optimum performance.

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6-  Barnegat Banana Slugs (0-0)

The Banana Slugs are just full of potential regression. Just. Full of it. HENCE SIXTH. But also they have enough know-how and enough Josh Donaldson and I ADMIT IT enough Trevor Story to get back to the big dance that is the Backyard League playoffs.

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7-  Astoria Isotopes (0-0)

It PAINS ME to say this but I think I like the Isotopes offseason maneuvers as much as just about any team in the league that isn’t Ryan’s team. Not sure why everyone feels the need to always trade Freddie Freeman but at least the ‘Topes got a non-horrifying return, in their return. And I like most of their other offseason moves. STILL RANKED SEVENTH.

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8- Forked River Three-Eyed Fish (0-0)

It also pains me to not rank the 3EF 10th, because they CLEARLY picked up Francisco Liriano as a personal attack towards me and I will not allow Mikey T to tell me differently. This is a call to arms for all of the 3EFs opponents to drop them to 0-4 so I can drop them to 10th on the May Power Rankings.

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9- Rojo’s Renegade Force (0-0) 

ROJO’S RENEGADE FORCE.  I am a fan of the name change, he recognized he had one year to make a Resurgence happen and it didn’t happen and now we move on. It appears the Renegade Force has a very tight knit group, that is the only possible explanation for the QUIET offseason over there in Rojo land. April Power Rankings will forever be unkind to the quiet offseason.

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10-  Q-Tip City Morning Wood (0-0) 

Shane embarks on his maiden voyage following a MAJOR overhaul to the roster, and only Brian (and possibly Lobman) can speak to his weekly management style so TIME SHALL TELL. I think he is a nice fella and I wish him the best but I also disapproved with just about every one of his trades, SUCH IS LIFE.

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PRESEASON PREDICTIONS

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AMERICAN DIVISION CHAMP:  Toms River Titans

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NATIONAL DIVISION CHAMP:  OceanGate Trout Fishing Club

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CHAMP CHAMP:  ME MOTHERFUCKERS

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BACKYARD MVP:  Nolan Arenado 😉

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BACKYARD CY YOUNG:  Clayton Kershaw boringly enough

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BACKYARD ROY:  Andrew Benintendi

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BACKYARD BIGGEST BUST:  YULI GURRIEL FUCK YOU MIKE

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BACKYARD BIGGEST SLEEPER:  Kevin Kiermaier

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Best of luck to all and thank fucking god baseball is back…….

2017 Power Rankings – April Edition/Preseason Predictions

2017 Troll Series, Vol. 1: Power Rankings – Tying Up Political Loose Ends Edition

Well, my friends, its 2017. 2016 has left us, as has our dignity, sense of American pride, and inevitably certain inalienable rights that are SURE to be taken from us when our fascist neo-con piece of garbage PEOTUS comes to power in mere days. But fear not. 2017 is a better year for this group, as another season is upon us. I do need to exercise some of the demons that the last half of 2016 presented to me, which left me a sad and broken man on New Years Eve this year. These power rankings to begin 2017 will make us all think, and therefore possibly better. Or maybe even worse. Whatever, here are your rankings:

(Note: Just jokes guys…)

  1 . OceanGate Trout Fishing Club

The Candidate: Donald Trump

Yes, yes, we have to start with the champ. Greg Heroy’s horrendously named club withstood all comers to win his FIRST championship in the league, and I guess the league is better for it. The parallels are basically perfect with our newly elected president and current champ: Both horrendous racists, both completely winging it in policy, both likely to have important members of their teams killed during their reign (RIP JOSE). No matter what we think of these guys, they won 2016.

As for the FC, they had a pretty excellent season. Offensively, they were clearly the best offensive team in the league, while having JUST ENOUGH pitching to win close matchups. There’s no question that Heroy still boasts a very young and talented offensive core, but will no doubt need to shore up the pitching staff if he wants to repeat as champ in 2017.

  1. River City Cuban Missiles

The Candidate: Hillary Clinton

Both historically successful and wildly unlikable, there are again some pretty decent comparisons with the runners up in both the league and the election. The Missiles had an incredibly uneven campaign, marred by slight missteps and scandals, but still somehow continued to barrel through the competition to face the OGFC in our championship game. Hillary (although more of a favorite) had much of the same situation. The league and the country supported change, and that’s what they got.

The Missiles had what many would call a down year by any standards, so the sheer fact that they made the title game should be considered a huge success in hindsight. Still relying on power numbers and strikeouts, the Missiles made some trades to get younger in areas, which can certainly help them address some questions and become more well-rounded as we head into 2017.

FROM THIS POINT, YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO ALL GO WITH ME ON THESE COMPARISONS

Image result for Marco Rubio Funny Face

  1. Point Loma X-Rays

The Candidate: Marco Rubio

Despite the fact that he was a part of the 3 time championship run, I consider Odom’s X-Rays to be somewhat of an upstart in this league. In terms of ideas and strategy, they quickly established themselves as a key player during the stretch run, much like our boy Rubio. When it really mattered (the playoffs), both Odom and Rubio showed to be slightly out of their depth, as they were quietly silenced in short order. FRET NOT, Point Loma fans, this team is for real. As Rubio is establishing himself to be a strong Republican influencer and potential opposition to Trump in 2020, Odom will continue to wheel and deal his way into relevance in 2017.

  1. Main Street Mooninitez

The Candidate: Bernie Sanders

I mean, I gotta give a little love to Sean here for basically mirroring the man he supported this year. The Mooninitez certainly felt the BERN in the regular season, working their way to the 2 seed and becoming a very much feared opponent for any team competing for the title. The problem with both Bernie and Sean was while their messages were strong and they had a nice following, they both fell to much stronger opposition when it mattered most. Maybe they were both too stubborn and one-note in their strategies, or maybe what they were doing grew stale over the course of the season. Maybe they just choked. Either way, Bernie created a movement, something which the Mooninitez would love to carry on into 2017 for some playoff success.

  1. Barnegat Banana Slugs

The Candidate: Ted Cruz

Despite the fact that they do NOT share one consistent political ideology or belief, there’s probably no better match in 2016 than the Slugs and the human representation of slug, Ted Cruz. Both Smitty and Cruz could be considered by some to be pretty pompous or sometimes a bit smug, but there’s definite genius there. Up and comers from a few years ago, the Slugs have really become a team to be taken seriously, most recently reaching championship game status in 2015 and debunking the vaunted RUNNER UP Curse ©. Ted Cruz shares a similar path, going from freshman senator to legitimate presidential candidate in relatively short order. Both took the L pretty hard to end their respective seasons, but neither are going away anytime soon.

Image result for ben carson

  1. Rojo’s Resurgence

The Candidate: Ben Carson

Look, we can’t all be winners. The Resurgence had a few years of some really forgettable seasons, so the beginning of 2016 showed signs of a … resurgence … of sorts. Our favorite village idiot neurosurgeon/HUD secretary (?) also shared a very strong start to 2016. Both showed to be players in their respective races, but somehow in the middle of their competition, things sort of fell apart. For the Resurgence, it may have been the apprehension to make the big deal or take a risk. For Carson? I would say it was basically the words that came out of his mouth. Or the fact that he thought the pyramids were for grain storage. Or the idea that cavemen and dinosaurs were friends or whatever. Either way, neither the Resurgence or Benny Boy were much of a factor come crunch time. The hope is that Rojo will find a way to take his team to the next level in 2017, while Carson will begin his 2017 by doing something he’s woefully unqualified to do. I’m not going to say there’s a comparison there.

  1. Pine Lake Punchouts

The Candidate: Jeb Bush

If winning is in the blood, then the McLaughlins are this league’s answer to the Bush family. Sometimes you’re a GHW Bush (Ryan’s first title, followed by a big drop), sometimes your G dubs (Sean’s part in a 3 peat that we all know he had no part in). Sometimes you’re just JEB. Jeb was a candidate who at the beginning looked to be the frontrunner, with the pedigree and history to think that he’d be a lock for the nomination. Drawing parallels, the Punchouts had the league’s best collection of pitching coupled with strong offensive pieces. The issue with both was unclear, but both Jeb and the Punchouts went down without so much as a whimper in the end. Please Clap.

  1. Springfield Isotopes

The Candidate: Chris Christie

Basically the physical opposite of Chris Christie, Topes owner Mikey T talks a very hard game and tried all season to flex his muscle as commish. Both Christie and the Topes came off as hard-talking authoritarian types, only to end up failing large and looking small at the end. While Christie is used to losing before the playoffs (politically speaking), the Isotopes missed the playoffs for the first time in their league history, which means River City are now the ONLY team to never miss the playoffs. Just thought I’d throw that in there. ANYWHO, the futures for both are up in the air. Christie will most likely become Emperor Cheeto’s coffee maker, but what can we expect from Mikey T and his Isotopes in 2017?

  1. Club Going Up on Altuve

The Candidate: Rand Paul

Rand Paul is a totally irrelevant politician, which exactly how I view Connor’s team naming and roster construction. Other than that? I mean, neither were all that successful with anything in 2016. Moving on.

  1. Whitestone Bulldogs (NOW MORNING WOOD)

The Candidate: Carly Fiorina

In the spirit of the effort Cliff put into his 2016 season, I have put that much effort into picking Carly Fiorina as his candidate. None of it matters, because he’s gone now. But our new friend SHANE is here to get this team out of the doldrums. And hey, regardless of whether you liked his 2 trades shortly after taking over the team you gotta love the fact that he’s actually making moves. I’ll miss Cliff, but the time was right to let him go, as was the time that Ms. Fiorina left the presidential race. There.

-Mike

2017 Troll Series, Vol. 1: Power Rankings – Tying Up Political Loose Ends Edition

Postseason Power Rankings — aka September Edition

Oh if you insist Brian.  IF YOU INSIST.  Although I have a lot of issues with that ‘shopped hair situation you set me up with there.

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) 

Ohhh, 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.

Thanks, me ❤
Postseason Power Rankings — aka September Edition