The Nation's Pastime ...
Doug Galullo gets scalped by Bill
So many teams to choose from ... Mark
Love can't decide.
Once again, Superstar Baseball held steady with 39
managers, although the total number of games played dipped slightly.
This was a disappointing result, considering - for the first
time ever - all teams from history were available to be selected.
The tournament continued with the new format change from two
years prior - rather than a week-long free-form tournament, each
'day,' beginning with Tuesday evening, was its own heat. Each
heat was still free-form; but each day reset, and each day's
heat would advance its own winner and runner-up, to round the
playoff field to eight.
With such a wide range of teams, some powerhouse squads were,
unfortunately, underachievers. The 1924 Washington Senators,
for example, struggled to score 40 runs in 20 games. They were
shut out six times and scored 1 run in three other games. They
had some highs - stealing 11 bases in a 3-1 victory - but also
some lows - against the 1937 Yankees, the two pitchers engaged
in a duel for the ages, with both ending the game with a 1-hitter.
Unfortunately, for the Senators, the one hit came after a walk,
and it was a 2-run blast by Joe DiMaggio (followed by four consecutive
walks, to add insult to injury, in a 3-0 loss).
The eight teams making the playoffs (sorted by winning percentage)
were: 1) Rich Moyer (1902 Pittsburgh Pirates); 2) Bill Beckman
(1997 Cleveland Indians); 3) Harry Flawd (2004 Boston Red Sox),
4) Jacob Hebner (2007 Colorado Rockies); 5) Francis Beaudet (1981
Montreal Expos); 6) James Terry (1969 Seattle Pilots); 7) Johnny
Wilson (1963 Los Angeles Dodgers); 8) Roderick Lee (2009 Los
Rich Moyer continued his run as the team to beat - even with
a new team he still had a perfect 13-0 record in the two heats
he played. Perennial contender Bill Beckman was edged out in
the first heat, when Jacob Hebner's Rockies scored more points
than Beckman's Indians, forcing Beckman to play in Saturday's
heat just to qualify for the playoffs.
Unlike previous years, where Moyer's teams were unique for
their amazing offensive displays, this year, Moyer's teams were
less spectacular in their stats - possibly a foreboding sign
for the three-time defending champion.
In the first round of the playoffs, Beaudet's Expos and Lee's
Dodgers emerged triumphant. In the second round, Beaudet was
dispatched by Hebner's Rockies, while Lee's Dodgers ran into
the Harry Flawd Buzzsaw, as Pedro Martinez held the Dodgers at
bay (with a masterful 8-hit, 1-walk, 12-strikeout performance)
and Flawd emerged triumphant 5-3.
Hebner's luck would expire in the next round against the top
flight contenders, as Moyer flexed his muscles and started his
trek towards a fourth straight title. Moyer had a predictable
5-0 lead going into the seventh inning, when Hebner's Rockies
put together four runs in two innings, to raise a rare sweat
in Moyer-ville. Yet, for the fifth time in six years, Rich would
be in the Final.
On the other side of the bracket, Flawd's Red Sox (behind
Curt Schilling's not-quite-as-good-as Pedro's performance (nine
hits, two walks, 11 strikeouts) were taking down Beckman's Indians.
In an interesting twist, the '04 Manny Ramirez's first inning
two-run blast was the difference maker over the '97 Manny Ramirez's
2-3 with a walk performance. Flawd headed back to the Finals
with a 5-4 win over the Indians.
Of course, this meant Flawd had neither ace for the Final.
Instead, Bronson Arroyo took the hill for the Sox, versus Jack
Chesbro (a 28-6 pitcher for the '02 Pirates). With one out in
the first inning, Nomar Garciaparra blasted a solo shot, and
two batters later, with Ramirez on first, David Ortiz added to
the lead, making the score 3-0. In the bottom of the third, the
Pirates chipped away with a run. The teams then traded runs in
the fifth, making the score 4-2. Finally, in the top of the eighth
, the Sox tacked on three more runs, to give them a 7-2 lead,
before adding another pair of runs in the ninth. All the Pirates
could muster was an infield single in response.
Moyer's quest for a fourth straight title came up abruptly
short, while Flawd earned his fourth overall title (and first
Mike Lam and James Bell enjoy the
nation's pastime a lot more than real Oriole fans have of late.
Bird fans need to remember the Palmer-Robinson era for their
Harry proved this was indeed "fantasy"
baseball by leading his Red Sox to an upset of the Moyer dynasty
in the year of the actual Sox collapse for the ages.