Fun fact: this series featured fantasy Brewer Mike Trout against fantasy Met Shohei Ohtani…After an 11-2 blowout in the opening game of the playoffs, the Mets took game 2 before losing both of the next two. Scoring only 7 runs in their 3 losses, the bats — which weren’t expected to be all that hot — couldn’t muster enough to overcome decent but far from dominant pitching on the New York side. My perfect record of never having won a game I created remains in tact, and just like the actual Mets putting all my eggs in a basket named deGrom wasn’t a formula for winning a playoff series. Hunter Renfroe’s 6 RBI in game 1 was the most of any player in the wildcard round. Congrats to Chris Zewiske, and good luck in the NL final four!
The teams traded wins in the first four games to force a final-game, winner-take-all showdown in game 5, which of course went to extra-innings. Ryan Helsley entered a 10th-inning jam but after a strikeout allowed a single to Trey Mancini and Colin McHugh pitched a perfect bottom of the 10th to seal the series. It doesn’t get any closer than the final game going to extra innings, and this series was about as exciting as they get.
Josh Clark literally saved the league when he took over lineup duties in the days when they were phoned in, entered manually, and mailed via hard copy. This is his 13th season, and his 97 wins tops the 2015 season he had with KC where he was the AL runner-up. The Cardinals are his 6th team and 2022 also marks his best WOR finish. You will never meet a better human being than Josh Clark — Mohandras Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Josh Clark are synonyms. He is an amazing friend, a terrific spouse, and an incredible Dad, and he brings passion, commitment and fun to everything he does. We aren’t as close as we once were what with the 2,300 miles that separate our mailing addresses, but the ASFBL is one of the ways we get to check in a couple of times a year, and I’m really glad you’re in the league, Josh!
After the Yankees shut out the Rangers 5-0 in the first game the Texas bats scored 19 runs over the next 18 inning, including a narrowly-won 10-7 slugfest in game 3. The bats slowed down in game 4 and it took some pitching to close out the series, but Texas got 4 shutout innings between Andre Jackson and Brock Burke to win the series in 4. Mark Yee has managed over 4,300 ASFL games and has a winning lifetime record; he’s been in the league continuously since 1992 making him one of only 2-3 original owners to still stick around. He won his first league championship in 1996 with the Yankees, bounced around, and has been at the helm of the AL New York club since 2014, where he’s been in the playoffs 5 of the past 8 years…his best season was 1993 where he won 110 games with Texas and won two different divisions in consecutive years in 2001 and 2002 with St. Louis and then Arizona…he’s an avid bowler, a terrific uncle, and a sports card collector…I’ve never had an ASFBL season without Mark, and this marks 30 of them…I still have a vivid memory of the paper envelope sitting on the counter of my Salt Lake apartment with Marks’ return address on it…great having you in the league Mark, and looking forward to having you back next spring!
The teams scored a total of 5 runs bewteen them in the first 2 games before Minnesota got a 4-0 shutout in game 3. Konnor Plikington turned in 5 innings of 1-run ball in game 4, and Nick Snadlin and Trevor Stephan allowed only 1 hit and no runs over the final 4 innings making the homers from Naylor, Gimenez, and Bregman more than enough. Steve Skrovan advances in the playoffs for the 3rd time in the last 5 years and this is a big bounce-back season from the 70-win 2021 campaign. Tim Walsh has been in the league since 1998 and has managed the home-team Twins since 2000…he’s made the playoffs 3 of the past 4 years and made it to the LCS twice…the one time he missed the playoffs he finished in the top-10 in WOR…his best season was 2019 where he made it to the LCS and won 96 games…his +12 WOR this year is a career-high he set back in 1998, 24 years ago…he’s turning the AL Central into a powerhouse where he and Steve Skrovan trade punches all year and then race each other in the playoffs…Tim is a truly wonderful man and the quintessential Minnesotan — loyal to the region, clever and kind, polite and professional…great having you around for another season, Tim, and congrats on taking your ASFBL Twins farther than the actual club this year!
As you have no doubt seen on email, this is Andy’s final season…life has its share of challenges it will dish out to all of us but Andy has had more than his share over the last spell…what I can say for sure is that he has an active imagination and a willingness to dwell in the nonreal that is what makes fantasy sports fun in the first place, and if it doesn’t sound too grandiose is a uniquely human way of looking at the world that makes us all more than just flesh and bone…I really like the way Andy thinks…he was always pushing the way the numbers make the game work, calculating magic numbers and sharing them when he could, cancelling his own trades when injuries worked out in his favor, and has never been anything but a positive burst of fun energy in every interaction…this ends season #12 for Andy and he saw the playoffs 10 times, including 3 championships…its been a great run, Andy, and you’ve been a great guy to get to know. Best of luck with all things in the future!
COMING UP NEXT…
NL: Brewers at Dodgers, Cubs at Braves. AL: Texas at Houston, Cleveland at Toronto. I’ll have the schedule set up by noon California time today and I’ll ask for you to submit your lineups by Monday at noon. That should let us complete our DCS on Monday, our LCS on Wednesday, and our first game will start on 10-15…per league rules, all series are 7 games from here on out…