Monthly Archives: October 2017

Chuck Ballingall and Sports Illustrated

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World Series Wrapup

GAMES: The upstart Baltimore Orioles were facing a Washington team that had run the NL playoffs rolling off 8 wins without a loss…and utterly unintimidated, they took the first two games, in Washington, allowing only 5 runs in 18 innings….the Nationals got the wake-up call and won 3 straight, ending with a 2-0, 4-hit shutout that Alberts closed with 2 strikeouts in 2 perfect innings of work…Baltimore took game 6, with Chen beating Scherzer in a 4-HR efforts (and with fantasy imitating reality a little bit)…that set up a decisive game 7, where the Nats got a complete game shutout from Strasberg and homers from Zimmerman and Murphy to claim the championship.  With Strasberg, Murphy, and Zimmerman carrying the load in the final week, it was a clear reminder that sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make 🙂

Mark Chen has been in the league since 2002 and managed the Orioles every year, making the playoffs each of the last 5….he put up a +20 WOR his 4th year in the league, and took his first World Series appearance to 7 games to close off a mad, dark horse run.  He’s always got a good word to share on email and seems to genuinely have fun every year.  Congrats on another fine season, Mark!

Andy Somers joined on in 2010 and has made the playoffs in every season he’s been in the league…in Nuke LaLouche fashion he has announced his presence with authority, winning his 3rd League Championship since he’s been here and his 3rd in 5 years…he’s never had a season with fewer than 89 wins…and he’s a guy who always seems genuinely interested in trades that make both teams better.  Someday, Andy, you’ll have to explain to me how my game works so that I can give you a little competition in the division 🙂

That’s a wrap on a great season…THANK YOU to all of you for helping to share my crazy idea, and a special thanks to Leo for keeping all the gears run and the wheels from falling off.  Couldn’t do it without it, friend.

Enjoy the rest of the actual playoffs, and we’ll see you next spring!



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2017 LCS results

WASHINGTON DOES IT WITH PITCHING: The National pitching held the mighty DBack offense at or under 3 runs in 3 games….game one took 10 innings, but Strasberg pitched the bookends…Scherzer gave up 6 runs in game three but the Nationals tagged Greinke for 8 runs, with Castellanos hitting a triple and a homer…don’t want to jinx anything, but Andy is 8-0 in the playoffs, and I’m pretty sure nobody has ever finished 12-0…

I could burn all the internet bandwidth talking about Rick Wynne, his accomplishments, and what he’s meant to the league…won his first World Series championship in 1994….made the playoffs 16 of the last 17 years….never; I’ll repeat that; NEVER had a negative WOR finish and he’s been in the league since 1993…leads the ASFBL all-time in wins and WOR…best lifetime winning percentage for anyone who’s played more than a single season (Michael Gortenburg and he are the top 2 all-time in that category)…but most of all, he always makes you feel good, generally has something uplifting to say, and keeps an engaging hobby fun.  Another great season, Rick!

ORIOLES ARE THE DARK HORSE: As of this writing, the actual Astros face an upstart team from the AL East…which bodes well for the Yankees if the ASFBL playoffs are an indication…Houston took game 1 and was generally able to score, but the Orioles just never stopped scoring runs, putting up 12 in game two and 12 in the decisive game five…they averaged 7.6 runs over 5 games…with JJ Hardy batting 9th and Adam Jones batting first the duo combined to go 7-8 in the final game.

Jim Casey is one of only 11 owners to win 1,500 games or more lifetime…his lifetime 72.5 WOR puts him fourth….he had back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, winning the latter, and he’s managed Houston through the last 2 years of their rebuilding…he won the 2000 WOR title with the Cubs….he started the year making trades on the first possible day on April 17 and made trades on the last possible day on August 1…another great year for you, Jim, and I can’t believe that it’s been 22 years…

WORLD SERIES TIMELINE: We’ll ask Mark and Andy to get us their lineups in by tomorrow and send me an email when they’re done….we’ll wrap it up this weekend.  Good luck, guys!

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DCS results

ARIZONA SWEEPS: The rest seemed to help the team from the desert, and after starting the series with a 10-0 victory they never really lost their stride…the Brew Crew made a run of it in game 3, and took a 3-2 game into the 7th, but nobody scored after that point as 3 relievers pitched 2 innings of perfect ball, and Arizona rolled out their bats with an 8-1 season clincher the next day.  Chris Zewiske has been calling the shots for the Brewers since 2002, and has finished in positive WOR territory each of the past 3 years…four times he’s been in the leaders in the WOR category…his lifetime record is +48.5 WOR, which tells me the Brewers would do better if they just hired him to make personnel decisions….your wildcard run this year was a bunch of fun, Chris, and it’s great having you in the league!

WASHINGTON IN FOUR: The Nats won the first game 6-5, which was actually their lowest offensive output of the series.  After that they scored 26 runs in 3 games and never looked back….in the 8-5 series clincher, the top 4 hitters had 11 hits and the bottom 5 had 1, so they looked like a team that knew how to bunch the hits….Gordon Leckie navigated the Cubs to a hugely successful season and took the division title while besting the very successful actual Cubbies by a game, and fended off some wildcard challengers to hold the title…he’s been in the league since 2004, most of the time with Detroit, and he’s been in positive WOR territory each of the last 4 years, and this is his 10th playoff appearance.  You’re an ASFBL fixture, Gordon.

HOUSTON IS A FOOTBALL TOWN: They never scored less than a touchdown with their lowest run output at 8 runs, and three times scores 14 points…Detroit did get shut out but scored 4, 6, and 8 runs, they just seemed gassed from the wildcard round…Ben Leckie (the youngest member of the Leckie family to see the playoffs this year) has the best birthright in the ASFBL…he’s been in the league since 2014 and never finished in WOR territory…this is his first year in the AL and he was +24 WOR and first in the league…and all that despite having made trades that added Mets to his team…here’s to many more ASFBL campaigns, Ben!

EPIC 7-GAME SERIES GOES TO BALTIMORE: Baltimore won the first 2 games, scoring 8 runs each time…Cleveland took the next 2, taking each game by at least 3 runs…Baltimore then went up 3-2 with a 9-4 victory…the big showdown was in game 6…with their backs to the wall, the Indians won a 4-3 contest that went into the 10th inning…Miller pitched the last 1 and 2/3rds…hitless, scoreless, 3 Ks…Baltimore sealed the deal with 3 homers and 11 runs in the 7th game, stealing the series on the road….the only 2 Orioles without a hit were Giancarlo Stanton and Chris Davis…Steve Skrovan is a lifetime Indians fan more than stathead, but he really knows the personnel well…he’s coming off of two 90+ win seasons and consecutive playoff appearances….and enjoys the blessing and curse of an actual team that is among the streakiest in recent memory…he is truly an A+ guy who works on a broad scale to make the world at large a better place, and it’s great to stay in touch with him through the league.

LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: Houston keeps holding it’s advantage in the AL as the Orioles see if they can pull off another upset…the Washington/Arizona locomotive collision that’s been building all year is about to impact, and the first result will produce the first post-season loss for either team…I’ll ask the owners to get in their lineups by Wednesday and confirm with Leo when they are ready to go….good luck to Mark, Jim, Andy, and Rick!


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Wild Card Results

Two series that each went 5 games!

NATIONAL LEAGUE: The teams started by splitting 2 games in Colorado…Milwaukee won their first home game…in the do-or-die second game in Milwaukee, the Rockies won 2-1 in the 10th inning behind a Corey Kluber start and with a Blevins strike-out-the-side save…the decisive game 5 was in Colorado, but the thin air favored the beermakers, who scored 3 off of Felix Hernandez and 2 more off of Greg Holland; Motte pitched a 3-inning save.

Congrats to Leo, who you almost can’t say enough about.  He’s a great guy, is really the most important factor in keeping the league functioning and fun, and it’s no accident he spends most of his time helping the public, the environment, and wild animals in his job as a Ranger.  He’s been in the since 1994, just finished his 4th consecutive double-digit-positive WOR season, and his 7th consecutive playoff appearance.  He’s finished with a positive WOR every year since 2004, and his lifetime WOR total of 235 is second only to Rick Wynne.  REALLY appreciate all that you do!

AMERICAN LEAGUE: After 4 straight slugfests where the winning team averaged 8.25 runs, the last game was tied at 2 in the 5th….Severino gave up a 3rd run in the bottom of the 6th, Verlander turned the ball over to Giles in the 8th, and the Tigers advanced 3-2.  All the scoring came on homers from Taylor and JD Martinez, who hit .458 for the series.

The Yanks were managed by Mark Yee, a fixture of the ASFBL since 1992, and his 1,762 ASFBL wins rank 5th all-time…this marks his 3rd tour with the Yankees, and he’s managed 8 teams over the years…mostly, he has a great sense of humor, is just a fan of the league, and always leaves me feeling better whenever we have an email exchange.  It’s been a GREAT 23 years, Mark, and I love having you in the league.

MATCH-UPS: Arizona hosts Milwaukee, Cubs are at Washington.  Detroit travels to Houston, and Baltimore is at Cleveland, who won the seasonal series 4-3 by sweeping the Orioles in September after having lost 3 of 4 in June.  Please submit your lineups as soon as you can, and we’re shooting for Sunday, but no later than Monday morning.  Email Leo and I when your lineup is done, and we’ll roll out the DCS next week!


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Wild Card Series, 2017

Match-ups: Colorado has home field against the Brewers.  The Yankees and Tigers played 2 series, both in August, and Detroit won 4 of the 6 (the closest possible advantage, I note), so they get the home field in the AL.

I notice that, in both leagues, the player who’s name is alphabetically most advanced (Yee and Zewiske) are playing in the wildcard round.  Maybe if I changed my name to Zzruschke….

Rules Review:

  • The wildcard round will be 5 games and follow a 2-2-1 format with off days in between.
  • Regular season statistics will NOT be cleared and will continue to accumulate, with the exception of the over-use factors, which will be frozen at their final regular season figures.
  • A three man rotation may be used in the playoffs. There will be a fatigue adjustment for playing on three days’ rest.
  • A full list of rules is available on the link at the top of the page


The site is set up to accept the wildcard lineups; we’ll ask the 4 participants (Leo, Chris, Mark, and Ben) to enter their lineups by tomorrow and email Leo and I when they do…as soon as all lineups are in but no later than Saturday we’ll run the games and post the results.  We anticipate that DCS lineups will be due on Sunday.  As always, we start a little later than the MLB but also end a little sooner.

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Newsletter though 10-1-17


National League: DBacks finished a modest 3-3 but still led the ASFBL in wins and earned the top seed and homefield advantage for the playoffs…Washington was second in the best NL-and-ASFBL record…The Cubs needed all of their 5-2 finish to grab the NL central crown, finishing 2 games ahead of the Brewers…the Wildcard race was fast and furious…the Brewers finished 4-2 and nudged the Dodgers out of the last wildcard spot by all of 1 game…because….

I have added white space here in the hopes of adding a dramatic pause: in the next few lines, my friends, we will collectively witness the glory of baseball.  The difference in the wildcard race, the coveted last wildcard spot, the culmination of 162 games of effort, came down to….the San Diego Padres.  With a tough series coming up against the Rockies, the Dodgers had to beat the Padres to gain ground against Milwukee…they managed to do so in the first two games, winning both while scoring only 3 runs behind back-to-back shutouts (with Rich Hill and Alex Wood winning as the starters, and consecutive 2-inning saves by Kenley Jansen)…but in the 3rd game, the Padres — with 111 losses, -20 WOR, and struggling to be competitive — got 6 runs (homers by Myers and Margot), turned in 3 hit-saving plays, and shut out the Dodgers to salvage the last game in the series….and become the spoiler that determined the last spot in the NL wildcard race.

Congrats to John Kephart on his first campaign in the ASFBL, and a special thanks to him for filling in for Chuck Ballingall, who I still miss.  And a hearty congrats to Chris Zewiske for a furious run to grab the last playoff spot.  Chris, the tabs on you should and Padre owner Joel Rollins ever find yourself in the same bar together.

American League: Houston cruised to the top spot in the AL West by 12 games and also carried the best record in the league….after a see-saw battle with Detroit over the last 2 months of the season, Steve Skrovan’s Cleveland club got into the playoffs for the second year in a row and finished a comfortable — if close — 4 games up in the AL central…the Orioles finished at 2-3 as the Yankees surged at 4-2, but they had a big enough cushion to absorb the slowdown and take the AL east title…although Boston, the Chisox, and the Mariners all had solid seasons and came down the stretch with a plausible shot in the closing weeks, the necessary miracles weren’t in the cards.   The Tigers and Yankees finished in a dead tie at 88-74, and honestly I haven’t even managed to get around to figuring out the tiebreaker yet.


Detroit managed a truly impressive +24, fueled by Ben’s wise maneuvers and constant attention to detail and the collapse of the actual club…Cincy finished +17, tied for second, and with the highest WOR of any non-playoff team…Baltimore was the other 2d-place finisher…Philly and the Chisox finished strong at +14, and Johnny Mac and Rob Perkins have much to be proud of…it really takes some skill and deep baseball knowledge to take the really bad actual teams and make the more competitive…and hats off to Arizona and Colorado, both playoff teams, both big winners, and both good teams that Rick and Leo made much better…


I’m facing my usual Wednesday crunch, so I’ll set up the wildcard round tomorrow and we’ll look to finish it up by Saturday, and start the LDS series by Sunday/Monday.  I’ll have all the details out then; in the meantime, you might check out the rules link above for a playoff review.

Thanks to all for a great regular season, appreciate all our owners who stuck out all 6 months, and good luck to our remaining 10 owners as they march to the championship.

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