Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Odd Occurrences Department

In today's PM cycle, SP Fred West hit his first career HR at age 34 (a grand slam, at that).

The blast came in the 5th inning of the New Orleans Privateers' 12-2 romp over the New York Necromancers. Ironically, NY starter Ben Cox had intentionally walked Cookie Corder with 2 outs to get to West. Freddie then responded with HR #1 in his 194th career AB. With one swing, West also increased his career RBI total by 27%.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hall Of Fame - Make Sure To Vote! PART 2

OK, with the big 4 of Matty, Seanez, Romano and West covered, here's how I see the other top candidates.

Alex Ramirez gets consideration because he was the rare power-hitting 2B/CF. He's certainly a little short in the awards department - just 3 All-Stars and 2 Silver Sluggers. But he did top 60 homers twice and 50 another 4 times (and 480 total). I think he's just good enough on the strength his power game.

I put Rico Nunez right about on par with Ramirez. He wasn't quite the hitter Ramirez was (.894 career OPS vs. Ramirez' .964), but he was a pure SS for most of his career, and those 417 dingers are pretty impressive. Add in the 3 GG's at SS (doesn't sound like much, but the way fielding stats go it's really hard to do) and he may have a little bit better case.

Steven Vaughn's claim rests on his 3 Cy Young's (in fact, he won the first 3 AL CY's), which in turn rest on his win totals. He was a game-winner, for sure - almost 18 a season for his career. Here's my big problem with Vaughn: his contemporary (and teammate for 5 seasons in OAK) Thomas Sparks was a better pitcher by every qualitative measure (ERA, Whip, OAV, OBP against, and Slugging % against) over their entire careers, and I just can't see Sparks as a Hall-Of-Famer.

I'm going to go with Nunez with my 5th vote.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hall Of Fame - Make Sure To Vote! PART 1

Hall of Fame voting ends at the close of Spring Training - make sure to get your votes in!

Here's how I see the potential inductees:


Rob Romano, Matty Vaughn, and Luis Seanez. Vaughn and Johnny Collier have been the best pitchers so far in Belle's history, although on most measures, Seanez compares very favorably to Vaughn. If Seanez had spent his whole career with Charleston, Jackson or Cleveland, he would've topped 200 wins as well. The objections to Romano have been his short career...would you kick Sandy Koufax out of the rl Hall for that?


Dick West. Not quite the category of the Big Three, but solid. Wasn't the greatest power hitter around, but his .334 lifetime average is second only to Romano. And he had a fairly long career despite turning 27 in Season 1.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One-On-One With Fans-only

Fans_only took over the Ottawa franchise, which hadn't had a winning season in 8 years, in Season 12. That season produced a 12-win improvement, to 77, and the team has improved every year, posting win totals the last 4 years of 86, 87, 98, and 102. Last season, of course, saw the Ice take the Belle World Series, the first for fans_only.

The JBT recently had a chance to sit down with fans_only and get his views on various things HBD, plus a couple of others.

Who is fans_only in real life?

My name is Darrell, I am 29 and I live about an hour outside Toronto with my wife and 2 kids. I work as a Quality Assurance Specialist for one of the largest grocery chains in Canada.

Favorite real-life sports team?

The two teams that I follow the most are the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Bruins.

You've improved the Ice every year since you took over the team, culminating in a WS title last year. Was there a key move or development that got you over the top?

When I took over this franchise they had a lot of young talent, but they were lacking power. I think trading for Ray Henley in season 14 and Tomas Cruz in season 16 really helped put my team over the top.

What will you have to do to repeat this year?

I am planning on keeping most of my team together with a couple changes. The biggest key will be keeping my starting pitchers healthy. There are a number of good teams in the NL and if my team falters due to injuries I could easily not even be in the playoffs.

The world is still talking about it so I have to ask you. What do you think about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joining forces in Miami?

Being from the Toronto area everybody knew that Bosh was leaving well before the season was over. As soon as all 3 of them announced they were going to play together I hoped they would somehow lose in the playoffs. Now I’m just interested to see how the 3 of them will co-exist and be happy with the amount they each get the ball in the long term.

In your opinion, which ratings are the most important when it comes to determining how successful a pitcher might be?

The first rating I usually look at is the splits vs LHB and vs RHB. After the splits I look at the control ratings as well as the pitch ratings. Another rating that I find to be a good indicator is the makeup. I have found most successful pitchers have at least a decent makeup.

If you could change one thing about HBD, what would it be and why?

I would like to see more players that get drafted outside the first few rounds make it to the majors. I know it would be difficult to create something more like real life where players that get drafted late can still become legitimate players but it would add another element to the game.

Monday, September 13, 2010

One-On-One With Crump123

The JBT recently sat down with long-time Katanas GM Crump123 to find out who he is in real-life and get his thoughts on various HBD questions.

For the newer Belle owners, crump has put together one of the true enduring dynasties in all of HBD. Taking over in Season 2, he took a 48-win team and improved it to 103 wins and a WS title. Since then, the Katanas have only won under 100 games once, have 108 or more the last 9 seasons, and posted another WS title in Season 4.

Who is Crump123 in real life?

Jon, 31, Programmer for a Clinical Research Organisation in the UK. (And we were all positive you were some kind of die-hard Clevelander).

Favorite real-life sports team?

Manchester United.

You've put together an incredible run here...15 seasons and the fewest wins was 98...9 straight seasons of 108+ wins. But just 2 WS titles. What's up with that?

Tell me about it. I've felt i've had the best overall team in a lot of those seasons. I either got shut down by Jackson's pitching in the ALCS, or got swept by Zack in the WS (0-8 in back to back WS). I put it down to bad luck, and that quality pitching in the playoffs is a necessity, but it's impossible to get when you draft 30-32 every season.

The world is talking about it so I feel as though I have to ask you. What do you think about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joining forces in Miami?

Very little. :) Being European i'm not so hot the baseketball, i paid attention when Jordan played, since he played for my team... Beyond that a passing interest in knowing who is up and down. What i would say, is that clearly they are all big name players given the hype; but very rarely in any sport, do the big name players playing together get it done. If they can play without ego getting in the way then they have a shot, beyond that it'll be a huge disappointment.

In your opinion, which ratings are the most important when it comes to determining how successful a pitcher might be?

VsL, VsR, Control, P1 and P2 They're all important, VsL, VsR are the most, but even then the others still need to be usable.

If you could change one thing about HBD, what would it be and why?

Prospect development. Too linear, too obvious.

Favorite HBD team and why?

This one, we keep winning and they have Katana in the name. :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Belle Welcomes New Owners

Now that budgets are set, it's time to officially welcome our 3 new owners (all in the NL this year).

First, we have dabidbutler9, who is a veteran of 32 HBD seasons, most (and most recently) as an owner in Let's Play Two and Addicted Users. He takes over the prospect-laden New York Necromancers.

Next, we have elgman, new chief of the Helena Associates, home to 2 of the last 4 NL ROY's. He brings 31 seasons of HBD experience.

Finally, we welcome carlie1998, a relative newbie with 5 HBD seasons, but 4 playoff appearances and a WS championship already. He steps into a ready-to-win-now squad with the New Orleans Privateers.

The fortunes of our 3 new owners may be among the most interesting story lines of Belle Season on it in the new poll!

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Management In Detroit

Well, new management has taken over the Buffalo franchise, moved it to Detroit, and started evaluating the organization.

What it's finding isn't a pretty site.

The Major League roster is kind of a mix of Bad News Bears, Beer League, and The Benchwarmers. There are a couple of legit major leaguers (Cookie Martin and Hack Bush). We'll probably give Bonk Liniak (Season 14's #17 overall) and Pedro Sierra (Season 11 IFA) every chance to win jobs. That's about it...the bulk of our pitching staff understandably declared free agency, along with 7 position players. I don't know if it makes sense to bring any of those guys back; Dan Cirillo's looking for a 4-year deal at age 34. I don't of our best (and few) assets may be the couple of sandwich picks we could get from Type B's.

We've set a goal of 70 wins while investing as heavily as we can in scouting and the international market. If we think we can get a Type A free agent or 2 (at the cost of 2nd and 3rd rounders) who are easily tradeable, we might be able to turn them into 1st round prospects at the deadline. We're definitely going to have to innovate. We might have to petition the league to let a lucky fan pitch the 5th inning of every home game (if we have any fans show up)...we're not likely to have starters last that long.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Records and Milestones Of Season 16

We had a couple of significant single-season pitching records set last year, plus a slew of new career marks:

New Single-Season Records:

Richmond's Charlie Cosby tied the record for shutouts in a season with 5 (originally set by Midre Jose of El Paso/now San Juan in Season 14).

Jackson's Johnny Collier continued his assualt on the record book, lowering the mark for best Slugging % Allowed in a season to .278. The previous low was by Fred West (Columbus and Austin/now New Orleans in Season 14).

Career Records:

Career records change a lot every season, but we had some quite significant events last year.

The immortal Skip Leon barely squeaked past the 2000 RBI mark at 2001. He also pushed the hits record up to 2920, but that's probably as far as he'll take it. At age 40, he looks like he's ready for the rocker.

With a 38-HR campaign, Joe Rivera finally passed Leon for the career HR lead at 656. Rivera's still going strong - he's got a great shot at 700.

Johnny Collier improved several career standards he already held, but the real story was Cory Mitchell. With his excellent season for Jacksonville at age 37, he took over the career leadership in Complete Games with 64 (joined by Dan Cirillo), Quality Starts with 305, and Wins with 226. And for good measure, he pushed up his already career-best numbers for innings pitched (3466.3) and strikeouts (2836).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ottawa Wins it In 6

After the first 2 games split, the Ice came on strong to win 3 of the next 4 and take the 16th Belle WS in 6 games.

Ottawa hauled out the big lumber for Game 3, banging out 13 hits and 16 runs. They also capitalized on 3 Allegheny errors, collecting 6 unearned runs. Jorge DeJesus wasn't super-sharp, giving up 4 earned runs in his 6 innings, but it was good enough for his 3rd win of the playoffs. When the smoke cleared, Ottawa had a 16-5 win.

Pittsburgh returned the favor in Game 4, rapping 18 hits in a 14-5 win. Neifi Foster (3 hits, homer, 5 RBI), Bucky Daal (3 hits, homer, 3 RBI), and Steve Diaz (4 hits, 2 RBI) lead the Allegheny attack.

With the series tied at 2, Game 5 was crucial. The Ice opened by belting around Allegheny starter D'Angelo Cerda for 4 runs in the top of the 1st, but Pittsburgh answered with 3 in their half. Ottawa chased Cerda with 2 more in the second, but the Alleghenys stayed close with 3 in the 3rd. The Ice finally pulled away in the middle innings with 1 in the 4th (Chip Cromer solo HR), 1 in the 6th (Cesar Liriano single) and 2 in the 7th (Cromer and Liriano singles) to take a 10-5 lead to the bottom of the 9th. But the Alleghenys weren't going quietly. They got a couple of runners on with a double and an error, then Bucky Daal slammed a 3-run homer to give Pittsburgh life. But Ice closer Mike Simpson came in and slammed the door (getting the final out on a pick-off), and the Ice had a 10-8 win and a 3-2 series lead.

The Alleghenys had a real shot in Game 6 - they took a 3-1 lead into the 7th on the strength of starter Max Cruz's 6 innings. But Ottawa took advantage of the Pittsburgh bullpen: 4 in the 7th (O'Halloran, Vitiello HR's, Suarez single) and 2 in the 8th (Henley HR). Pittsburgh couldn't answer, and the Ice took a 7-3 win and the WS victory.

Ottawa's win makes it 3 straight for the NL; all-time the Senior Circuit now boasts an 11-5 advantage. This was the first WS win for the Ottawa franchise, and the first WS trip for the Pittsburgh franchise.

That wraps up another excellent season of Joey Belle action...see everyone on the other side of rollover.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ice, Alleghenys Split the First Two

Welcome to Joey Belle WS coverage!

Ottawa's Albert DeJean threw a strong 7 innings in Game 1, limiting Pittsburgh to 2 runs; meanwhile, the Ice batters stayed hot, knocking around Allegheny top gun (and Cy Young runnerup) Jung Wanatabe for 12 hits and 6 runs in 5 and 2/3. O'Halloran and Suarez homered for Ottawa in a convincing 8-2 win.

Pittsburgh evened things up with a convincing 7-4 win in Game 2. The second ining was the big frame, with the Allegheny's plating 5 runs - Bucky Daal's 3-run blast was the big blow. Rafael Brogna added a solo blast in the 5th. D'Angelo Cerda went 8, limiting the Ice to just 4 hits and 2 earned runs (Maximo Cota's 5th-inning boot lead to 2 unearned), and new FOY Johnnie Hernandez picked up his 9th save of the playoffs with a perfect 9th.