Steelman

Torland Star League - A Fictional Baseball History: 1961 Star Series

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And We're Off!

Just like that, the TSL is ready to begin their first season. First pitch will be at Union Park in Waterdee with the Cabriga Blackbirds visiting the Ducks. In Opening Day action, the Ducks were dominate, with Callender and gang holding the 'Birds to a goose egg. The Bears visited San Ferrio and put up a good fight until a 5-run 8th inning by the Tars put it out of reach. The Seals hosted the Tigers and produced a classic opening day game.

 

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The Seals took the lead on a sac-fly in the 4th inning by SS Jim Fletcher to score Pat McGuire. The Tigers answered back in the 5th with CF Joe Cannon scoring on a close slide at home plate and in 6th with an RBI double by C Gino Spivey to bring in shortstop Dexter Cross. The Seals tied it back up on a home run by McGuire in the 7th to make it 2-2. In the top of the 9th, the Tigers pushed two runs across on back-to-back RBI hits by Spivey and left fielder Adam Bates. In the bottom of the 9th, young phenom closer Rod Ramos showed nerves and the Seals hopped on him to push a run across and load the bases with only one out. With the fans of both teams holding their breath, Ramos struck out Henry Page and Pat McGuire to capture the win.

 

The Malvaton Maroons visited Perna and never looked back from a 1st-inning two-run double by Oscar Houston. The Whitecaps plated a run in the 7th on a solo home run by Randy Hart but their lineup was held in check and the Maroons won 4-1.

 

Who's Lucky?

Midseason checkup time on our combatants! As expected, San Ferrio leads the way but a surging Tigers squad is right on their heels. Malvaton and Perna have surprised as they are both ahead of San Estas and Waterdee in the standings. The Bears have been decidedly unlucky, losing too many close games. The Blackbirds' offense is putrid as predicted but they've been competitive.

 

And Rounding Toward Home Plate...

Baseball is magical. And sometimes the most frustrating thing ever attempted. The Ducks were a pre-season favorite but despite a +17 run differential, slid all the way to 7th-place. The top-ranked Tars batted the ball all over the park but their pitching staff battled injuries that gave way to the Maroons to leapfrog them in the standings. Cobantle and San Estas both finshed 60-60 but the Bears owned a better run differential to squeak ahead of the Seals for the final playoff berth.

 

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To nobody's surprise, first baseman George Howard ran away with the MVP hardware and threw in a batting title to boot. Engor's braintrust was rewarded for their ingenuity in constructing their roster and giving a small-market club a big time opportunity out of the gate. Charley McLaurin was every bit as advertised, carrying the Maroons on his ample shoulders to a POTY and a first place Bronze Arm selection.

 

Editor's Take: Postseason Series Matchup Analysis

 

1 Engor Flying Tigers vs 4 Cobantle Bears

The Flying Tigers have been flying high since midseason when they overtook the league with an inspired us-against-the-world mentality. The Bears rode a roller coaster of self-sabotage combined with moments of blazing win and stat streaks. The Tigers are hot but if the Good Bears show up, they'd better watch out. Tigers in 7.

 

2 Malvaton Maroons vs 3 San Ferrio Tars

Charley McLaurin essentially willed the Maroons into second place through sheer determination and an ungodly amount of workhorse innings. The Tars scored runs in bunches but lost their identity toward the end of the regular season. George Howard is the best player in baseball but he needs help from the other guys. We like the Tars to win in 6.

 

 

 

Notes: I'm still working on a good balance for the season recaps as I want to get more in-depth for the Star Series. Semi-Finals will get moderate recaps and then I will do game-by-game recaps of the Star Series. C&C appreciated on my scoreboard and standings graphics. The sponsors on the scoreboard are original designs, based on Torland companies. Kulu is the Torland version of Coke. Twesso Light Lager and Straken Lifelong Beer are the top brewers in Torland. As always, feel free to ask questions!

 

The Points column is superfluous for now, but I have a purpose for it later as the league develops. Since I don't use OOTP I wanted to keep as much data as possible. Runs For, Runs Against + the Differential will be significant metrics for this league for roster and rating decisions. It's all randomly simulated based on a yearly overall team rating from a variety of factors. I just screenshot the awards/all-star teams as that's too much to input into Photoshop.

 

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1 hour ago, TargetToad said:

I kinda wish the gap between the best and the worst was more than 10 games for a 120 game season (13.5 games for 162 fyi) 

And I thought the results for my simulations were closely contested. But it goes to show that there are minimal differences in team skill levels for the league. Makes it really interesting.

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11 hours ago, bernie57 said:

How do you get the results? Is it OOTP 19?

 

I use a little program called Xkoranate to simulate the season standings. It's not the best but it serves my purposes well enough. I base my story lines and team/player ratings on each season's results. League awards and All-Star selections are directly based on each team's run differentials combined with consideration given to the highest rated players who may have performed well outside of team success.

 

8 hours ago, TargetToad said:

I kinda wish the gap between the best and the worst was more than 10 games for a 120 game season (13.5 games for 162 fyi) 

 

6 hours ago, Goran The Man said:

And I thought the results for my simulations were closely contested. But it goes to show that there are minimal differences in team skill levels for the league. Makes it really interesting.

 

Yeah, I had hoped for a wider margin as well but the whole point of the short developmental season and the drafting process was a fair shake for each team in the opening stages of league play. Commissioner Bo Gossett was desirous to avoid a Yankees-type situation where one team couldn't run all over the league with a big budget. The Yankees appeared in the Word Series 19 times in a 30-year span from 1930-1960. Without penalizing good teams, it is hoped that maintaining league parity in these beginning stages will help set a competitive course for the league.

 

I can say, however, that the margin gets wider later on, though I'm purposely not too far ahead on simulation yet to keep the stories and reaction fresh.

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Go Tigers! I loved Engor from the beginning of the series and woah, actually had luck with my team! Fly High!!

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Hey guys, I'm not dead, just have been traveling overseas so it was tough to find the time for this project. I'm back home now so expect the series to continue very soon! Thanks for supporting this series!

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Annnnnnndddddd Playoffs!

 

1960 TORLAND STAR LEAGUE SEMI-FINALS

 

1 Engor Tigers vs 4 Cobantle Bears [1-4 Bears]

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In a thrilling Game 1, both team's aces allowed big home runs and worked out of big jams in a seesaw affair that ultimately saw the Bears prevail on a late sac-fly by Scott Salvatore. Game 2 was an intense marathon and a Pyrrhic victory for the Tigers as they burned through almost the entire bullpen to complete the game and lost 3-hole hitter Adam Bates to a lower leg injury. The series wasn't close afterward, the Bears easily taking the next three games to win 4-1 and advance to the 1960 Star Series.

 

The Vertex Exclusive: Flying Tigers

Make no mistake, the Flying Tigers were humbled by a suddenly dominate Bears squad. Other than a low-scoring Game 2, the Tigers pitching staff allowed a horrific 46 runs in four games. We talked to Engor manager Warren Miller after the final game, who said, "No way to sugarcoat it. We were bad. We have to regroup and recollect our mindset. I think we have the talent to compete at a high level." Later we caught up with the young rising ace starter Mike Pollack who was more succinct. "I sucked. Proud of our year and we'll get better." Perhaps lost in the fervor of the pitching staff was a lineup that struggled after a long and exhausting Game 2. Catcher Gino Spivey offered a positive outlook. "We still had good at-bats even with Adam [Bates] out."

 

The Oracle Post-Game Report: Bears

It's difficult to pinpoint a true identity for these Bears, even after a fairly straightforward series win against Engor. Starter Gilbert Shultz allowed 6 runs in a Game 1 win and then only allowed one run over 8 innings in another win in Game 4. Two big positives: Outfielder Scott Salvatore has been nearly unstoppable at the plate and reliever Sherman Lane has been nearly untouchable. Two big negatives: Number Three Starter Bruce Richardson dinged up his thumb on his throwing hand toward the end of his Game 3 start, which could limit his effectiveness in the Star Series. Catcher Randal Phillips has showed his youth and inexperience behind the dish with too many moments of confusion with the mound during the series, something he'll need to work on and mature quickly.

 

 

2 Malvaton Maroons vs 3 San Ferrio Tars [4-3 Maroons]

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The marquee matchup in the semi-finals did not disappoint. Pundits were split on the outcome and the series was certainly a war of attrition with both teams matching strike for strike and run for run. Star first baseman George Howard struggled through a hamstring injury in games two and three and it hampered his performance. The difference was the big ace Charley McLaurin, who won three starts in an ironman performance, including a brilliant Game 7 despite being visibly exhausted. The Maroons prevailed in an instant 7-game classic to set the first-ever Star Series.

 

The Vertex Exclusive: Tars

As fans, we love a good, closely-contested series and San Ferrio and Malvaton provided the drama. With so many twists and turns in the series, we applaud both skippers for navigating the games and we sat down with Tars manager Cliff Marshall to ask his thoughts on how it all ended. "Man, we fought. They fought. It's kind of like wrestling with your brother. You're both so evenly matched and know each other so well that it seems like the match will never end. We came up just short but I liked our intensity and ability to fight back." On a decision to start Billy Simms instead of ace Manny Herrera in Game 4, Marshall said, "Yeah, Manny was low on his velocity so we felt it best to let him rest longer. Billy pitched well even with the loss and obviously Manny was fantastic in Game 5." We also caught up with "General" George Howard and got his thoughts. "I think it's tough to lose back to back home games. I'm proud of our team to get back into it but you're behind the 8-ball when that happens. The hammy was unfortunate for me and I felt like I let the team down. Credit to those guys over there [Malvaton Maroons] for a heck of a series. Good luck to them."

 

The Oracle Post-Game Report: Maroons

An ace up their sleeve, Charley McLaurin wore his dominance on his sleeve and Malvaton proved their mettle against a resilient Tars team. The Maroons can go as far as Charley's arm can take them. Two big positives: It's too easy to go with Charley McLaurin, but enough cannot be said about how he has carried the team. Center fielder Alexander Adkins has been a vacuum in center and a force at the plate, with a soaring on-base percentage. Two big negatives: Starter Lawrence Moody has been mediocre, allowing an alarming number of walks and has seemingly lost his curveball. Second baseman Oscar Houston has been mired in a deep slump, notching only an infield bloop single in the Semis that didn't spring him. He needs to dial back the frustration and return to his strength as a contact hitter.

 

 

Up Next: 1960 Star Series featuring the Cobantle Bears versus the Malvaton Maroons!

 

 

I finally came up with a series graphic that I liked. Appreciate any C&C on it. I matched the color scheme to the scoreboard from the previous post, but will probably update them both to neutral colors in the future to better showcase team colors. I like how Veras and Hawkfan showcase uniform matchups in their series, so I want to try to add that in somehow.

 

I was originally going to just have the super short recaps but added these two differently styled reports as a fun way to highlight league details. What do you guys think? Hopefully it's a good balance of information and story. The Star Series will feature game-by-game recaps.

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1960 STAR SERIES

 

2 Malvaton Maroons vs 4 Cobantle Bears [4-2]

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Game 1: Bears 5, Maroons 0

The storyline heading into Game 1 of the 1960 Star Series was rest; the Bears being rested and the Maroons coming off a grueling 7-game series against San Ferrio. Despite insisting they were fine, Malvaton's bats fell completely silent and starter Cary Page couldn't keep the Bears at bay. Scott Salvatore had three hits including a 2-run homer in the 7th-inning. Gilbert Shultz was electric and the Bears haven't lost when he's pitched.

 

Game 2: Bears 9, Maroons 0

If the Maroons weren't feeling too good after their goose egg in Game 1, they didn't feel much better after getting steamrolled by the Bears in Game 2. Starter Lawrence Moody was good through 6 but fell apart in the 7th and the Bears capitalized with a 6-run inning. Once again, Malvaton's bats were non-existent as Cobantle starter Bruce Richardson had a brilliant outing despite the dinged up thumb. It's panic time for the Maroons now. Charismatic Bears outfielder Craig Edwards Jr. was quoted as saying, “They're toast. We've toasted 'em. We just gotta butter that toast and put some strawberry jam on it.”

 

Game 3: Maroons 2, Bears 1

Charley McLaurin showed why he won POTY with a lights-out performance of 7 dominant shutout innings giving up only 2 hits. The 'Roons offense showed signs of life with RBI's by 3B Todd Wilfred and a home run by first baseman Mack Howell. The Bears struggled to get anything going until after McLaurin had exited, posting a solo homer by outfielder Alex Peters, but that was all they could muster. There was extra security during the game after fans of both teams were getting testy, stemming from Edwards' previous declaration.

 

Game 4: Maroons 8, Bears 3

A close game turned on its head in the 7th inning when Maroons 2B Oscar Houston finally broke out of a slump and blasted a grand slam over the centerfield wall. The Bears bullpen faltered mightily and wasted a solid performance from Shultz. They poked in a pair of late runs, one a long moon shot by catcher Randall Philips, but it wasn't enough to rally. The two teams have traded both sets of home games so both teams hope to rediscover home field advantage in order to win this series. Malvaton skipper Ron Woolridge dryly noted the series was “a real gully washer.”

 

Game 5: Bears 3, Maroons 9

In an essential Game 5, the Maroons back at home struck quickly as Alexander Adkins squeaked a leadoff home run just barely past the leaping glove of Craig Edwards Jr. at the centerfield wall. The Maroons fans at Rhymorkin Park jeered Edwards relentlessly for the rest of the game. It was the Bears turn to have their bats fall silent as Cary Page pitched 7 scoreless innings while the Malvaton hitters scored often, every player notching a hit. Cobantle mounted a rally in the 8th and 9th but it was too late. Undaunted after the game, the Bears' Scott Salvatore quietly assured reporters that they were “making every effort to right the ship” and get back into the series. Skipper Wilson Gibbs will have to make a tough decision on who to start in a must-win Game 6.

 

Game 6: Maroons 7, Bears 2

The Bears showed confidence before the game, liking their chances to lengthen the series being back at The Cavern. But just like the previous game, the Maroons struck quickly. After Adkins doubled to lead off, Oscar Houston smashed another home run to open the scoring barrage as the Maroons roughed up Cobantle starter Griffin and continued it against Shultz who appeared in relief. Charley McLaurin started and held the Bears in check, allowing only 2 runs on a two-run double by Scott Salvatore. As closer Jonathan Quinn recorded the final out, Rhymorkin Park was shaking as the fans celebrated an incredible comeback series victory to underscore the first Star Series. McLaurin was named series MVP for his postseason domination on the mound.

 

The Vertex Exclusive: Bears

In what is becoming an all-too-familiar tale, it was the Good Bears versus the Bad Bears. Cobantle dominate in the first two games, stealing two road games to set up an easy series but the Bad Bears showed up and derailed those plans. Only All-Star Scott Salvatore has been consistent and we chatted with him after a Game 6 loss. "It stings man. We felt good and couldn't seem to get out of our own way after that. I think our burning goal is pretty clear now. Get back here. I feel confident we can do that. We have a good team. The Maroons were better than us for this series though and they get to hoist the hardware. So yeah, it stings."

 

The Oracle Post-Game Report: Maroons

The Maroons rode the hot hand who saved them from hot water. Perhaps just short of miraculous, Charley McLaurin has accomplished more for a new league in a short time than the owners could have dreamed. His sheer dominance and postseason magic hit news outlets all across the world, particularly in the USA and Japan where the other great baseball leagues play. It created a tangible international buzz leading into the inaugural TSL Star Series and his stellar Game 3 performance to wrestle the Maroons out of hot water earned him and the new league a place on the shelf of firmly established leagues to follow. The Maroons were all in on sacrificing longevity for a first trophy and it may have long-ranging consequences. Lost in the hubbub of McLaurin's magic was a grouchy pitching elbow, no doubt inflamed from a sudden full season and long postseason of abuse. One unnamed source in the Maroons clubhouse expressed concern that McLaurin heroics might cost the first half of the next season. We will continue to monitor the situation while congratulating the Malvaton Maroons on a brilliant season to capture the 1960 Star Series.

 

Up Next: An offseason of big dreams

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Damn, Tigers! Well, I'm still rooting for them. Let's fly high next season!

Also, congratulations to Malvaton! Well deserved win!

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looking good so far, really like the playoff series graphic. go ducks

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This will be an addition to the previous championship post, as I wasn't finished creating this. I designed a simple championship trophy. It's not meant to be particularly ornate, though I did have much more embossing that doesn't seem to translate beyond a PSD. Anyone know the cause of this?

 

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Congratulations again to the Malvaton Maroons!

 

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1960-61 Offseason: A Time to Dream

 

The Commish Report

Commisioner Bo Gossett made a few announcements about the league following an incredible inaugural season. First, the league will begin holding yearly amateur player drafts starting before the 1963 season. Divisions will also be instituted in 1963, tentatively named the Metro Division and the Federal Division, four teams each. The division winner is guaranteed a playoff berth and will have hosting rights in the first round. It hasn't been decided which teams will populate the divisions but it is assumed that efforts will be made to preserve natural city rivals such as Waterdee-Cobantle and Malvaton-Moriga. A moratorium on player signing and trading will be lifted after the 1961 season concludes. Players released from team rosters will be free to sign with any team. All trades must be approved by the commissioner's office.

 

Kip Christy On The Loose?

Gossett declined to comment on a vicious rumor that Blackbirds owner Kip Christy had attempted a coup in the league office and ownership council over frustrations with lack of cooperation in support for building a new stadium in Moriga. Their usage of the decrepit Alliance Center is year-to-year and the fans, while excited about the new team, were equally disgusted with the condition of the property. Christy denied the allegations and instead proudly announced a new home uniform to be worn for the 1961 season. It was seen as cheap way to gain appreciation but the fans also were happy to see a more unique uniform.

 

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Tilly Kasera and Vertex Report Make Waves

The Christy rumor also prompted a series of other rumors regarding potential expansion opportunities for the new league. Gossett was adamant that it was too soon to discuss expansion and reinforced his commitment to fostering and growing the new league with the inaugural eight teams into a stable and profitable enterprise. An aspiring young female sports reporter named Tilly Kasera broke a vague story about 7 potential new club locations which promised detailed information on potential ownership groups and stadiums. Gossett denied knowledge of any of it, though he admitted that he had also heard rumors but stressed that the Star League was a hot new commodity and of course people would be interested in investing and participating in it. The TSL ownership group threatened to shut Kasera down but Vertex Sports stood behind her and the owners had to bite their tongues.

 

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Among the cities named by Tilly Kasera, were several intriguing options, including Dosa City, Chasonne, Prestonburg and Port Alrene. Among the smaller city options were Guilden, Narva, and Lecayne. Despite being lax on details, league ownership's instant public beef with Kasera created waves among new fans and interested fans, who noted a rising public voice that could keep an empire in check and give the fans real talk. These waves also provided momentum for the growing sports network coverage around Torland and even internationally. After a successful first season, baseball league delegates from Japan and the USA announced they would visit soon.

 

Who's Got Power?

With an exciting first season in the books, we've gathered back our reporters to analyze all the data we could find about each team and rank them accordingly.

 

1960 Power Rankings

  1. San Ferrio Tars – The Tars lost a close 7-game series to the eventual champs and feel the best player in the league, George Howard is only getting better. What must get better though is the pitching staff for this team to go anywhere. Starter Zack Chestnut and reliever Eugene Pearson must be rock solid for it to work.

  2. Engor Flying Tigers – The Tigers were something of a surprise and proved they can win a lot of regular season games but got blasted in the first round against Cobantle. The young pitching staff is maturing but the bats will need to gain rhythm. Outfielder Adam Bates and catcher Gino Spivey have to improve.

  3. Malvaton Maroons – Charley McLaurin can almost single-handedly win a series but questions remain if the 'Roons championship run last season was luck or skill. The bat of 3B Todd Wilfred will be the key in keeping Malvaton in the hunt for a playoff spot. Once in, they're confident they can repeat.

  4. Waterdee Ducks – Luck or lack of it seemed to be the Ducks main enemy. They were solid all around, even posting a +17 run differential on the previous season but came up short in the win column. If noted disciplinarian Lenny Knox can't tweak his coaching style, it may be an early hot seat for him.

  5. Cobantle Bears – The Bears squeaked into the playoffs and made a great run but the overall roster must improve for them to have continued success. The team ran hot and cold too often to be reliable, as seen in the Star Series where they squandered a 2-game lead. Young catcher Randall Phillips must become a leader.

  6. San Estas Seals – The Seals have a balanced roster that has a chance to make noise if the pitching rotation can solidify behind aging starter Greg Watts. Coach John Dawson had to juggle the bullpen often due to injuries so the key for San Estas will be staying healthy.

  7. Perna Whitecaps – The 'Caps bats were emphatically bad in '60 but the roster is young and experiencing growing pains. The pitching staff has a chance to be electric and will have to figure out a way to carry the team even more. Coach Doyle Holloway will be tested to keep the team from stalling out.

  8. Cabriga Blackbirds – The disfunction in Moriga is already steaming and the club is barely a year old. The roster is young and lacks maturity and coach Van Buchanan has his hands full in steering the team away from the rocks. Catcher Elliott Byrnes and outfielder Jack Cohen can become the leaders the clubhouse needs.

Up Next: TSL Turns Two

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Opening Day 1961: All The Ribbons!

In Opening Day action the Waterdee Ducks won the Bird War and survived a shootout with the Blackbirds 13-8. San Ferrio topped Cobantle 4-1 while Perna walked off 3-2 against Malvaton. The Tigers were rocked by the Seals 11-5.

 

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In their new home duds, the Cabriga Blackbirds were a dud. It was a high-scoring affair but the Ducks proved their mettle by scoring early and often. Top starter Dillon Callender showed off a nasty splitter, a new addition to his repertoire. The pre-season concern for the Blackbirds pitching staff looked to be justified as they couldn't hold back the flood by the Ducks as 3B Douglas Davis totaled 6 RBI's and the stalwart defender against Father Time, SS Anderson Crouse smashed a pair of home runs. Cabriga's 2B "Mini" Maupin was strong at the plate, notching a 4-5 performance on the scorecard although his usual power seemed off.

 

The Monsters of Midway

In our midseason checkup of our favorite baseball squads, Year Two of TSL is proving to be topsy-turvy. The Bears have surged to the top of the leader board with the rival Ducks clawing with San Ferrio for second place. The Blackbirds have shocked the league with a respectable showing and currently sit in a playoff spot just ahead of Engor if the season ended today. The Maroons have disappointed, a balanced stat sheet but struggling with gaining wins. Perna brings up the rear, incapable of scoring runs and the pitching staff hasn't been able to keep up.

 

Survival of The Fittest?

The Blackbirds and Tigers had a tightly-locked battle for 4th place until the final game of the regular season but the Tigers won their last game to secure a berth. The Maroons battled injuries, most notably to Charley McLaurin and made a valiant team effort but came up short in their bid for a second playoff appearance. The Ducks broke away from the pack to score the #1 seed while the Tars and Bears finished with identical records for second and third places. The Seals bullpen carried a black eye all season while the 'Caps failed to discover any offense.

 

 

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George Howard lost his batting title to a transcendent performance by Malvaton's 3B Todd Wilfred but still squeaked past Bears' Scott Salvatore for the MVP hardware. With the injuries to Charley McLaurin, the path to the POTY was wide open and Ducks' Dillon Callender took advantage, with his new splitter befuddling batters. His coach Lenny Knox was rewarded for his efforts in corralling the Ducks to a postseason berth.

 

Editor's Take: Postseason Series Matchup Analysis

1 Waterdee Ducks vs 4 Engor Flying Tigers

The Ducks' luck seemingly reversed from the previous season, they appear primed and ready to make a championship run. The Flying Tigers are always game though and could surprise. We still like the Ducks in this series as we expect Dillon Callender to continue his hot streak. Ducks in 5.

 

2 San Ferrio Tars vs 3 Cobantle Bears

The Tars learned from their mistakes in 1960 and are ready to avenge their razor-thin Semi-Finals loss. The Bears' reputation as a roller coaster has been tempered but the proof is in the pudding, still if the Bears are up they're unbeatable. This series is a toss-up which could come down to a memorable Game 7. We think the Tars will advance but we won't bet on it.

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blackbirds unis are an upgrade, imo. the stl cardinals look fits the team well

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