Champions IAL Playoffs & Draft Weekend
Left Orlando on a big jet airliner at 8:00 AM, flying SWA to Midway, arrived at the Naperville Best Western after a couple of stops at 1:00 PM. Unpacked my APBA stuff & unwound, laid back & relaxed, and waited for my playoff foe to arrive. After driving up from Champaign John Brandeberry unpacked his team bus, the playoff series between the Rising Bamm Beano’s & the Chicago Champions was ready to roll.
The series was a rematch of last year’s World Series, in which the Champions swept to capture their 11th title. Even though the Champions won 102 games and the Bamm Beano’s got in the last day of the season & the Champs owned Brando, John’s team was built for the playoffs. With Adam Wainwright & Jair Jurrjens in the rotation and Mariano Rivera & Jonathan Papelbon in the bullpen, anything could happen in a five game series.
It looked like the Champions were on their way after winning game #1 behind Tim Lincecum, only two more wins to go, and then it would be on to the World Series, where either Chuck Lucas’s Northside Hitmen or Keith Smith’s Kentucky Kernels awaited my arrival. But then, John got off the mat to take games #2 & #3. Russell Martin hit three homers in the first three games. Game #4, with the Champs back to the wall, Jose Valverde emerged as a monster out of the pen, going four innings for the victory, to knot the series at two.
It would all come down to one game, mano y mano, Wainwright vs Lincecum, for all the marbles, the whole ball of wax. Juan Uribe launched two three run bombs in the series, both after lengthy delays, after momentum changing timeouts. Both times Brando collected himself, called upon a higher power, maybe he was selling his soul for a quality roll of the bones, whatever it was, it worked. Bamm, it was over & Uribe was series MVP! My season was over, “Nice season Tedd”, provided little consolation.
Meanwhile the Kentucky Kernels were showing no mercy in sweeping the Northside Hitmen in three straight. Before long, Keith Smith was being fitted for his crown, after making quick work of the Bamm Beano’s. Alfonso Soriano was World Series MVP. CONGRATS KEITH SMITH!!!
The next morning it was time to draft, very strange that no trades were consummated over the weekend. Before the draft, I was thinking I’d have to make a tough choice of whether to take Jhoulys Chacin, Neftali Feliz, or Mike Stanton. Only Chacin was still there when it was my turn to pick, but Madison Bumgarner was still on the board, so it was a no brainer. Bumgarner would join fellow Giants hurlers Tim Lincecum & Matt Cain in the Champions rotation. Then we had to wait until the last pick of the extra round before taking Chris Sale over Kenley Jansen.
I was like a deer in the headlights with my new Champs squad, nothing looked right, how would this team fit together? While we were figuring it out, Marcus Bunch had his Upperdeckers rolling, taking five of six. Next it was time for some revenge against the now rebuilding Bamm Beano’s, the Champs record was above .500 after a 6-0 sweep.
Next up was Papa Bunch & retooled Green Rock Bombers. After Mike couldn’t roll any friggin dice & David Price was reduced in both of his starts, it was time for Price to fly, literally! Price was crumpled into a ball, told he wouldn’t start another game this year, and discarded onto the table. The Bombers dog house was growing as the series went on, thought the ASPCA would be called in to investigate. 4-2 Champs! The Thunderchickens bested the Champs in a late night series 4-2.
The weekend finale took place Sunday morning against the ever dangerous Molly Putts Marauders. The Marauders jumped out, taking the first two games, before the Champs woke up in time to win the last four contests. 17-13 on the weekend, after a 1-5 start, I’ll take it.
Next up, the Three Rivers Gamblers. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to check on flight schedules to Pittsburgh.