Sunday, January 17, 2016

Saturday’s Games – Full Recaps and Banquet/Award Night

Ok – on the plane back to Minnesota – I should only experience about an 80 degree difference once we land – don’t feel bad for me – another great week of fantasy camp.
The two championship games did not disappoint – they were definitely fan pleasers (maybe not pitcher pleasing,…) – the Red Division game was off and going at 10am and I walked out to the mound with the idea of throwing strikes and keeping them off balance.  The HrSamSki’s vs Walking Dead – the top of the 1st started with a leadoff double – the lefty hitter took an outside pitch and found a spot just inside the line – so great, gotta work out of this jam – ended up getting the next guy out followed by a base hit – 1st and 3rd with 1 out – got a strike out and a grounder to end the inning – whew, early trouble alluded.
Bottom of the 1st (and 2nd) the HrSamski’s get single run across the board and we feel good going to the top of the 3rd with a 2-0 lead – just as we were feeling good (and not FIELDING good) the Walking Dead put together some hits (yes they got some good hits off of me) and used the extra opportunities we were giving them to scrape together a 3 run rally and they have the lead 3-2 after 3 innings.  I shut them down in the 4th inning and hoping we can put together some runs to get the lead back – in the bottom of the 4th that is what happened – a similar story – a few hits….a few errors and HrSamSki’s scored 4 runs to get a 6-3 lead.  Breathing room….how nice.  I headed out to the 5th inning feeling real good now – Walking Dead have a nice lineup but it is not Murderer’s Row by any stretch – I get the first two guys out (no problem….) but then I gave up 2 more hits and was able to get the 3rd out – but I was real frustrated as one thing you don’t want to do is to keep rolling that lineup and let guys see you the 3rd time (and the top hitters getting to the plate again) – so I was not happy with being able to shut down some of their hitters – the bottom of the 5th they got us to go quietly as well – we head to the 6th inning and they are bringing the top of the order up – and in fan friendly fashion – the Walking Dead put together another rally inning and score 4 runs to take the lead 7-6 – no doubt my pitching performance was not “top notch” but between the fielding being very below average (for our team) and the umpire not giving me a pitch or two on the inside corner – it was a rough one. I usually try not to be too upset with the umpires but this guy was giving me the outside (thank you….yes thank you) but these inside pitches are over the plate – but I digress.
We head to the bottom of the inning and we are in the same situation – top of the lineup coming up and hopefully able to scrape up some runs – since my memory is not so great – let’s fast forward – we have 1st and 2nd – 2 outs and our big stick Matt comes up to the plate – Matt hit .727 for us this week, so that was great to have him up – the pitcher uncorks a wild pitch – yay!!!  Runners move up a base – but…..they pitcher is going to walk our big bopper to load up the bases.  This will bring Randy to the dish – Randy has been sticking the ball all week – so just one more hit and should score 2 runs – Randy swings and lofts a high fly ball to the left field – the left fielder stumbled a bit and was not able to get the ball (one thing tough here in Florida is the sky is a very light blue – easy to miss a ball – plus the sun was out) so not sure if he didn’t track the ball – but we scored two runs on the misplay and now lead 8-7.
Top of the 7th inning was my inning to close it out – got the first out, next guy got on base, the next guy popped out (to me) – I made a running catch at the foul line by home plate – that just about killed me – my quads were to say the least – done, sore, tired…everything – I walked back to the mound, legs are feeling like jello, trying to catch my breath and get out there to finish off the last batter.  The next batter laces a hit and now the tying run is on 2nd.  The last guy in the lineup comes up – this means if he gets a hit, the leadoff batter (who had two good hits off of me) was going to come up – I induced a fly ball to right center and my only thought was “Please catch this ball…..please….” well Randy put the squeeze on the glove and the ball settled for the final out – oh my what a stressful game – I am not sure what the earned runs / unearned runs was – but I am thinking it was 3-4 runs unearned on our end (I think we plated 1-2 earned runs) – so the pitching matchup that was billed to be a good one didn’t happen.  Another championship in the books – this was my 5th one in 7 years – wow, that is pretty amazing – let alone a 5-0 record on Saturdays – still pinching myself.  This year was a strange one – with the rainout on Friday allowing us to move into the Championship without having to play in – not sure how we would have fared as our pitching was very thin – so a back to back playoff scenario would have real difficult for us to manage – so the formula for us to win this year worked out rather ‘perfectly’ – in the end it was a great week – just not in the normal fantasy camp format.
The Blue Division Championship faced off two very good teams Hello Newman and the WIldcats – I am not sure I have ever seen teams with lineups like both of these squads – of the 28 batters I would rate 20 of the hitters good to very good – normally a team has at least 2-4 batters that if you pitch them correctly it will be a strikeout or a weak ground ball (or just a slow runner – which helps out the chance of getting them out) – but I think I could really locate only 2-3 guys combined that might qualify for that – the other item is the superior pitching options both teams had which would normally neutralize many of the “good” hitters – well this game became a slugfest right from the beginning.
Newman scored 3 in the bot of the 1st – 3-0.  Wildcats came back with 3 to tie it up in the top of the 2nd – 3-3.  Wildcats then scored 3 in the top of the 3rd and it was 6-3 (which to be honest, was a shock – Newman brought in their ace and Wildcats were able to hit him).  Newman came back with 2 in the 4th to make it 6-5 – they added 3 more in the 5th inning and they are back up 8-6.  Of course I thought the game over – but the Wildcats get 2 runs in the 7th to tie it up and they hold Newman in the bottom to take the game into extras.  We get to the 9th inning – the Wildcats scratch 2 runs on the board and now lead 10-8.  Newman comes back and with the bases loaded – a 10-9 score – 2 strike count on the batter – the Wildcats pitcher throws (from our angle behind the plate) and it should have been strike 3….just sayin’ – but the batter gets one more pitch and takes one to right field for a hit and tying run scores and now it is 10-10.  We head to the 10th inning – we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 1991 Twins World Series championship this year at camp, so fitting the game goes into the extra innings – just adjust the score slightly.  The top of the 10th was quiet and the bottom of the 10th looked like a quick inning with the first 2 batters getting out – but the next two batters got on base – 1st and 2nd now with two outs – the next hitter hits one between 3rd and SS and runner on 2nd races around to score and the game is over in walk off fashion (a lot like 25 years ago) the Hello Newman! team wins the Blue Division championship.
The camp ends with the live and silent auction, dinner, and awards. The week is long, but it goes by quick – it is a bittersweet night as you have to say your goodbyes to many people who have enjoyed spending the week with.  The awards are fun – so many good players at the camp now that I really never know who should get what award – a few years ago you pretty much know who should win certain awards – I was nominated for the under 50 Cy Young award – which is an honor but it went to a more deserving “pitcher” so happy to be a part of that group.
Catch me on twitter – @fantasycamper – or drop me an email at:  bennep@hotmail.com
Thanks to those who reached out to me by thanking me by writing the blog – one of these years I may not do the blog but I know I have some guys out there who enjoy hearing the stories and keeping up with the standings so appreciate those shout outs and those ‘loyal’ readers out there.
I went ahead and did the early bird sign up for 2017 camp – so just need to heal up but 51 weeks to do so should be ok – I will be at TwinsFest for a few hours manning the booth so hopefully we see a few folks down there for a fun weekend.

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Very brief update....more tomorrow

I am exhausted so no details - just facts.

HrSamSki's beat Walking Dead 8-7 -- we scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 6th to take the lead and I pitched all 7 innings for the victory -- not a crisp game -- but nevertheless it goes down as a Red Division championship.  A great week.

Blue Division -- Hello Newman wins 11-10 in 10 innings over the Wildcats -- we only play 7 inning games and this one was back and forth all day -- both lineups had great hitting thus the high score.

I told the catcher in the 6th inning when I got up to bat -- "Defense wins championships" -- well my right fielder caught the final out of the game so that's why we won -- better defense.....barely.

The game will be on 'tape delay' -- due to changing the fields and a lack of bandwidth via Wifi they were unable to live stream the games - but you can still watch them on:

http://www.msbnsports.net/

They said the games should be uploaded by tomorrow (sunday) -- so check it out -- but 2 hour + game for ours and the other game was 3 hours +

Going home tomorrow - I will type up a final blog post and game recaps while on the plane - thanks for reading this week - nearly 1500 page views this week....WOW.

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Friday, January 15, 2016

Saturday's Schedule (update....) - Watch the Games online (live streaming)

So a quick update on the schedule tomorrow -- with the 6 (yes 6) inches of rain in Fort Myers they have pushed the games to a 10am EST start time (so for many of you that is 9am Central Standard Time)

Pro Staff vs Rookie Camper game follows our game -- followed by the Red Division Championship game

Watch live via: http://www.msbnsports.net/

Good times had by all.

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Rained Out Today -- and in life you can't make everyone happy

Well climate change is upon us today and evidently since I drive a car I must be the problem -- nevertheless El Nino showed up in fine fashion and dumped at least 3-4 inches of rain today in Fort Myers -- we even had a Tornado Warning at around 11am -- (2nd one this week) -- so to say the least the 3rd rain out day in my 7 year fantasy camp career came to be -- it's really a bummer as today was slated to be the semi-finals for the 2 divisions of play and this afternoon the rookies vs. Pro Staff -- I was fully prepared to pack my things today with the idea that the top 4 teams would square off for each championship for Saturday but instead this is how Saturday's lineup is going to go --

Blue Division -- Seeding as follows 1) Hello Newman  2) Wildcats  3) SQL's  4) Gotcha's

Red Division - Seeds  5) HrSamSki's  6) Walking Dead 7) 3 Amigos  8) All Niters

The top 2 seeds in each division face each other -- not the top 4 seeds in the camp.

9:00 AM Red Division game - HrSamSki's vs Walking Dead
1:30 PM Blue Division game - Hello Newman vs Wildcats

So we basically backed into the playoffs - which I am very grateful we get one more game - but I do realize the #3/#4 seeds both won 2 games on Thursday -- which is great as they moved up to the upper division and then not able to play into the championship - but in life it is hard to make everyone happy - I was hoping the camp would consider doing a shortened 5 inning (90 time limit game) "play in" game in the morning and then have concurrent championship games in the afternoon -- not a great option but one everyone would have been somewhat happy -- but I don't do logistics here or camp nor deem myself an expert -- the weather Gods decided to play tricks on the camp schedule and have to take the hand we are dealt with.

I will get the call on the mound tomorrow, I will be facing a studly 30 year Ben Kepple - so it should be a real good matchup - we beat this team 9-2 earlier in the week, but that game was basically given to us on a platter - we will hope for another buffet platter from them, but thinking it will be a much lower scoring game - the other question to be answered -- will the game be played in Hammond Stadium or just one of the other fields?   We shall find out.

The game will be a 9AM EST start (8AM Central time) and be streaming live on http://www.msbnsports.net/ as well as the 1:30 PM Blue Championship game.

Time to get the hot tub - need to get loose for tomorrow.  Kangaroo Court this evening -- I will apologize for the lack of photos this year on the blog - I somehow forgot my digital camera (must be on my desk) and thus have not taken any photos and since I dislike my phone to take a lot of photos I have not gotten that going much - most of the pictures have been posted on my twitter feed -- twitter.com/fantasycamper -- so visit that for some pictures (not many).

We will see you tomorrow night!

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday - last day of pool play - standings update - Rain in the forecast

The HrSamski's entered play today with a 4-1 record - tied for the best record in camp - one win secures a spot in the elite club of top 4 teams. We were slated to play Gotcha by the Balls and Hello Newman -- my predictions had Hello Newman one of the top teams in camp -- well indeed they are good, but actually better than advertised - a couple rookies are easy MVP candidates - so should be interesting where those individual awards go to.  Gotcha's have been hit by injuries -- their rookies (who are excellent) didn't stay healthy this week so they were sitting at 2-3 entering the game this week.

The weather was overcast, cloudy, gray -- and a bit chilly - game temp was low 60's - we gave up a run early and were down 1-0 - the Gotcha's had Johnny Moore on the bump and he ended up throwing 3 innings of no-hit ball and going into the 4th inning we were down 6-0 -- this field has been good to us as we have won two games in come from behind fashion -- well we found our bats quickly in the bottom of the 4th by getting 5 runs - including a base hit RBI by the blogger, I came around and scored a run as well.  We are down 6-5 and back into the game.  We gave up 2 more runs in the next inning and they were staked to an 8-5 game -- we were unable to get our bats going in the 5th or the 6th -- gave up one more run and now the game is 9-5.  We head into the bottom of the 7th and we get a nice rally going -- fast forward and we have scored 2 runs and with runners at 1st and 2nd (2 outs) we had our wounded warrior at the plate -- Richard Martinson, a couple of purple hearts to his credit, attended camp as a part of a 'fund raising' effort by a few campers -- him and his wife joined the camp for "free" along with another wounded warrior -- ok so back to the game -- Richard is up in a key spot -- Johnny Moore locks in and decides to show no mercy on the warrior and strikes him out to end the inning and the game -- Gotcha's win.  We (including myself) could have played a bit better defense and the game would have been a little different - a couple more hits would have been good too!

Well now we are ready to play our 2nd game against the camp juggernaut Hello Newman - they won their morning game and locked up the #1 seed in the camp - we were analyzing the standings and suddenly realized that with a loss this afternoon - the HrSamski's could fall to the #6 seed in the standing -- really?  Tied for 1st in the morning and falling to the 6 seed by the afternoon -- what?
The game started rough -- but we escaped disaster by only giving up 3 runs in the first inning (they had bases loaded and nobody out) - we struck back in the 2nd with one run and the game is 3-1 - they score another 2 and we get 2 more runs and now it's 5-3.  We head into the 6th inning when Jay launches a moon shot into left field -- he gets an RBI double and now we have the game at 5-4 and guys on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out -- the call was made to get me warmed up in the bullpen - if we get the lead, I will come in next inning to close out the game.  Hello Newman makes a call to their bullpen - stud rookie "Lott" comes in -- the first batter puts on a good battle but after fouling off 2 tough pitches -- pops out to the pitcher.  1 out.  Next batter -- 3 pitches...strike out.  One more batter -- again same result - Out.  HrSamski's failed to cash in on a big spot there.  The top of the 7th we wanted to get in out quick -- that didn't happen -- 6 runs later the game is 11-4 -- we go 1-2-3 in the 7th game over -- I ended up popping up twice in a futile effort at the plate for me today.  Ugh.

In the meantime -- all the games went the opposite of we needed and we fell to the 5 seed, double Ugh.

Unofficial Final Standings:
1) Hello Newman 6-1
2) Wildcats       5-2
3) SQL's    4-3
4) Gotcha   4-3

5) HrSamski's  4-3
6) Walking Dead 3-4
7) All Niters 1-6
8) 3 Amigos  1-6

Tomorrow's forecast looks really bad -- like, rain, a lot of rain....and games might not be played -- if that happens then we might play a doubleheader on saturday but nobody is real sure of what is going to happen -- so fun times at camp - I do not envy the camp director on this call at all -- tomorrow's schedule would normally be Semi-Final games and the Pro Staff vs. Rookie Camper game - which is a lot of fun, but really need the chance to play one more game and move on to the championship.....we will see.

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~