Atlantic Coast Baseball Association © 2016
MACDONALD CLEARS FIRST HURDLE; GETS NOMINATION
Gentlemen, start preparing for the 2018 Live Draft in Kansas City. League wide approval for a live draft will bring the ACBA together for the first time since 2001. Plans will be solidified sometime late next summer / early fall, but tentatively we are planning the first or second Saturday in March 2018 for our draft weekend. You may want to plan to stay Friday night and Saturday night as the draft will take place all day Saturday, beginning early in the day. Please advise league officials of your availability to make this event.
The 2016 Awards are safely tucked away in various trophy cases. But we would like to give one more round of applause to the worthy winners before we move on and let the names take their final resting place on the lists.
Warriors shortstop Corey Seager got more than just the Rod Carew Award when Rod Carew himself made an appearance in Warren to present the first ever Rookie of the Year Award. The category saw 8 names make the list but it was Seager who topped out the voting and met the award's namesake in a memorable moment back in September.
Out of nowhere, Tucson's Rick Porcello stormed back into baseball relevance and swiped the Alan Trammell from several worthy opponents. Porcello was so solid in 2016, he threatened to capture the Cy Young as well. Porcello's victory put the Silos on the map in the awards arena.
Zach Britton, of the AL Divison winning Mud Hens battled hard for the Rollie Fingers Award. It was the tightest race in awards voting history, beating out Warren's Jeurys Familia by a lone third place vote. Britton went on to help lead the Mud Hens to their first Pennant.
The Washington Wolves have finally completed the Grand Slam of awards as Max Scherzer won the Cy Young in a runaway.
Jack Cahoon's club had such a great year in 2009, they came away with winners in the MVP, Connie Mack and Rollie Fingers. Since then however, the Wolves were in an awards drought, failing to win anything over the next 6 years. This year they round out the 4 major awards with their ace winning his second Cy Young.
MVP voting turned out to be a barn burner as the lead vote getter changed hands at several points throughout the tallying. But in the end it was Senhollow notching their third Most Valuable Player in the last 5 years, this time with Kris Bryant. Senhollow's GM has been on fire, signing blue chip players, as the club has reeled in 3 other awards during that span. Bryant edged out Josh Donaldson and Mookie Betts.
And in record setting fashion, Brent Ford, who nearly amassed an 80 win season, has grabbed the Connie Mack Award for the third time in four years. No other active owner has more than 1 to his credit and only retired owner Randy MacDonald has two. Leroy Esteps and John Warren challenged Ford, but it was one man race at the end with the Michigan manager winning by 8 points.
In a true spirit of sportsmanship, the owners that submitted votes this year really did cast objectively. Very few votes, especially in the top spot, went towards themselves or a player of theirs. It was refreshing to see the voters stand back and truly look at who deserved the awards and vote that way. Congratulations to all the winners and a huge thank you to all the voters that invested the time to cast a ballot!
WINTER MEETINGS RECAP
Occasionally, the ACBA Times will get letters sent in from loyal readers. Most of them are not worth the paper they're chicken scratched out on. Some, however, are worth taking into consideration as legitimate feeback. And the few others that don't fit into either category? They're worthy of sharing with the rest of you out there that enjoy reading the Times but don't take it a step further and bother us with the mundane noise you think is actually going to make a difference. So for you who just want to sit back and read drivvel, enjoy!
I think it is just terrible the way people are treating the baseball players around the ACBA who have been caught using PEDs. These guys perform at amazing levels! When I was on drugs I couldn’t even walk straight.
Dear Tipsy..... Ohhh-Kay. That’s a different view on a topic with several angles to it. But we appreciate your (double) vision. Taxi!!!
I’m getting really tired of hearing sportscasters say, “You couldn’t write a script like this!” I mean, if people can come up with crazy stuff like Being John Malkovich or Waterworld, I’m sure a walk off home run in Game 7 is not that hard to write.
Dear Belabored, we were thinking the same thing. When Robert Redford smashed out the stadium lights in The Natural, it should’ve put the kibosh on any real life sports announcer making a comment like "you couldn't write a script like that" when he witnesses something special unfolding. That said, when is your screenplay due out? They can't be that hard to write, right?
The last 2 games I’ve gone to, I’ve missed half the action thanks to some women wearing extremely high decorative hats. I had to tilt my head left and right all game to see around them and then needed assistance being walked out at the end with a sore neck. How about giving a guy break ladies and let the people in the back get something for their money besides a close up of wild fruit and dishware.
Dear Half-Pint, first of all, is this Laura Ingalls? I digress. But to your point, I think that’s why front row seats cost the most. Instead of being a tight wad, maybe spring for an upgrade and get yourself out of Coach. (Pun intended).
2016 ACBA Year In Review
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40 year-old David Ortiz ended his storied career with a bang while playing for the Warren Warriors, joining Edwin Encarnacion and the Seager brothers in dominating the National League for the bulk of the regular season. For most of the summer, John Sheets’ squad looked unbeatable, a near lock for an elusive 80-win season. But the pitching staff lacked a clear leader and the team started to slip in August, crash landing at season’s end with a worrisome 6 game losing streak going into the playoffs. A surging Green Bay team took them out of the post-season, but you have to wonder what this team might have accomplished with a few more options on the mound. Look for Warren’s continued success in 2017.
Meanwhile out west, the Utah Golden Spikes were making some noise of their own on their way to scoring an ACBA best 5438 total points. With MVP hopeful Josh Donaldson slugging away at the dish and the two-headed monster of Johnny Cueto and Corey Kluber in the rotation, the Spikes rallied to win a franchise best 77 games in 2016, eventually losing a closely contested divisional race to the Mud Hens. Team owner Leroy Estep has assured fans that the Spikes winning ways will continue in 2017 and that regardless of whatever measures state and county officials may take to prevent it, unlimited free beer will continue to be served until the bottom of the 5th inning at all Sunday home games.
Take a good look at the Senhollow Abory on paper and you might assume nobody else would even stand a chance, but somehow the returning champs only managed to win 67 games in 2016. And while disappointing 2016 campaigns from big-time sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper contributed to the reigning champions’ decline, it was the late season injuries to star pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg that really hurt the team down the stretch. Nevertheless, this team is built to win championships and should enter 2017 as the early odds-on favorite to win another title.
The Washington Wolves may not have the most star-studded roster, but Jack Cahoon keeps finding a way to consistently win. This team racked up 69 victories and made the playoffs again with a rag-tag collection of year to year players led by perennial Cy Young competitor Max Scherzer. The Wolves won’t have many returning starters coming back in 2017, so it will be interesting to see how Cahoon retools this roster over the offseason. One way or another, next year’s team will surely have its sights on taking it to the next level.
The only thing worse than getting outright swept in the playoffs is being up 3 games to 1 and blowing the series. Such was the fate of the fabled Flint Failures, who ironically lived up to their team nickname while choking in epic fashion against the Michigan Mud Hens during the first round of the playoffs. But with a stable of quality players and plenty of young talent for the future, expect team owner Tim Aspin to make a title run in 2017. His luck has got to get better going forward.
For the second year in a row, the Springfield Sons of Pitches backed their way into a National League playoff spot with a losing record, only to be savaged by Warren in the first round of playoffs. But Stephen Callis has 2 first round picks in 2017 and is looking to make the most of them. It’s hard to know for sure if Springfield’s favorite sons are on the ascent or the decline, but a good draft is exactly what this team needs to get past the .500 mark and deeper into the playoffs.
The Detroit Blue Devils managed to win 59 games as an expansion franchise, a feat which garnered owner Doug Robinson 2 third place votes for Manager of the Year. He’ll be hoping for another great season from a revitalized Justin Verlander and a return to top form for team leader Andrew McCutcheon. Can the Blue Devils avoid the dreaded sophomore slump?
The Sacramento Solons couldn’t.
After shocking the ACBA with a deep playoff run in 2015 postseason, the injury bug bit the Solons so hard that Sacto Mike’s team was in absolute tatters before the all-star break. Coupled with a league worst 4906 total points scored against and you have the hard-luck-makings of a season to forget. But don’t give up on this team just yet. Sacramento has a plan for the future which includes the #1 overall pick in the upcoming 2017 draft and a young rising star by the name of Yoan Moncada. The Solons will also be welcoming back their owner after a year of deployment. That will surely boost the morale!
The Florida Solomon’s Dominion are only two seasons removed from an ACBA championship, but that feels like ages ago doesn’t it? After finishing 20 games under .500 for the second year in a row it appears that the once mighty Dominion seems to be entering a rebuilding stage. But if any of you Florida fans need some reassurance, I would encourage you to have a look at veteran owner Mitch Smith’s trophy case. Oh yeah, and he's in the ACBA Hall of Fame. How long do you seriously think the losing ways will continue in Florida? Count on the Dominion to right the ship sometime soon.
The Austin Bat Crazies will be returning in 2017 with some exciting players. Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, Yu Darvish, and David Price will all be suiting up for skipper Bart Klett and hoping to change the losing narrative in Austin. And now that the Bat Crazies are free from the heavy contract of the perennially underwhelming Matt Kemp, watch for the team to make some interesting moves leading into 2017. Now, if only this team played in the National League.
Trevor Story was the only story in Louisville. The exciting young shortstop was the talk of the baseball world and seemed like a potential MVP candidate until he lost to injury in late July. And although this franchise had a hard time fielding an entire team on some days, the River Bats have Story locked up for several years on a dirt cheap contract and will be looking to build around this rising star at the upcoming 2017 draft. Nevertheless, team owner Gary Megidden has quite a team building project ahead of him.
The 2016 season was a nightmare from which the Tuscon Silos could not wake. At a glance, the team has two things going for it: a cool logo and nowhere to go but up. Team GM Jack Frazier inherited this failed expansion franchise mid-season and has been charged with the unenviable task of deconstructing a squad that the previous owner had bungled up worse than a Mister Potato Head with three sets of lips and no legs. But can you imagine how gloriously sweet it would be to turn this crippled franchise around and win a championship? Keep an eye on Tucson. We have a feeling they will turn some heads next year.
That’s a review of 2016. Have a great holiday season and a wonderful 2017.
See you at the draft!
This space is usually set aside for a cartoon or something light. But today I want to just say a few words to the league.
As we approach our 17th season, the ACBA has had, like anything, good times and tumultuous times. We've always weathered those hard times and come out stronger. I want to thank the owners who have hung tough. We don't -- we won't -- all agree on the evolving of the league. But I want you all to know wherever we go, in whatever direction, I'm always attempting to make it a more enjoyable experience for each owner. I've put my heart and soul into this league because I love doing this. I want it to be a great league that thrives with great ownership. And I'm glad to have all of you be a part of it.