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Steve Paltiel
 5/27/2003 12:38:00 PM
Playoff Information!!!
Please note:

NOLL and SOLL champions will not play each other as part of this bracket.

The NOLL and SOLL TOC bids will each be determined by a 3 game series between the regular season champion and the post season champion.

If in either division the regular season champion is in the post season championship game (6/7), that game will become the first game of the 3 game series.

The 3 game series for each division will take place (6/4, 6/9 and 6/11 if nec) or (6/9, 6/11 and 6/14 if nec) if the regular season champion does not advance to the post season championship.
Bill Waite
 5/19/2003 10:16:00 AM
FYI, I couldn't figure out how to amend the schedule on the website, but please note that the Twins vs D'backs make-up game is now scheduled for Wednesday May 28, 6 pm @ Willard.

Also wondering what tie-breaker criteria are in effect regarding playoff seating. Anybody know? Or is it as big a mystery as the strike zone and balk rules?
Jeff Wood
 5/7/2003 9:07:00 AM
Hi Folks…

So, have you mowed the moss in your back yard? Is the return address on your outgoing mail listing Seattle as your residence? Are you sick of the rain? Who can we write?

Well, the wet weather sent a few games to make-up status….but some games got off ok, a tribute as always to field crews and volunteers on every team. Though Caldecott was essentially classified as a Federal Wetland, the other fields became serviceable in short order, and away we go….

Willard seemed particularly well suited to quick recovery, and the Rockies and Padres did not let the wet weather dampen their plans. Both teams needed a win badly to stay in the hunt, but it was the Padres who prevailed, and broke their losing streak….The Astros, fresh off loss #1, found the magic again, and kept the potent PawSox bats at bay, in a game that both teams can call well played. Solid defense was the order of the day in this evening contest…

Sunday morning was too cloudy to get Caldecott up and running (it really needs 3 hours of sunshine to really start drying out), so games were moved to Bushrod which came together pretty well….The Twins roughed up the Marlins, and don’t look know, but those Twins have won 3 in a row…4th place with a bullet in the North…concurrently at Bushrod, the Rockies got well at the expense of the Cubbies…. The Reds are streaking as well, and though they were rained out on Saturday, they made the most of their Sunday, clubbing the Diamondbacks who took up possession of the cellar in the South….The Reds, of course, are giving chase to the Mariners, who bolstered their own position while further damaging the pennant race in the South, as they turned back the feisty Pelicans….In the Friday preview I wrote that the Mets and Astros was the game of the week….was it ever!…though not what anyone had predicted….a tense pitching duel?...NOT….no, this was more like a 15 round prizefight with both fighters punch drunk near the end, swinging for the fences (and finding them!) and though some one had to win, it was a shame that anyone had to go home sad (though some fans dinner plans were no doubt set back a bit)…Astros won (17-15)…and this game is the first salvo in the argument that all teams need to play one another twice each season….this left everyone wanting more (though not necessarily tonight!)….The Padres toppled the PawSox and completed the coveted weekend sweep, and in so doing grabbed 2nd place in the South….

The Rainout list (games to be rescheduled from THIS weekend) is: Mariners v Cubbies, Reds v Pelicans, Marlins v Mets, Twins v. Diamondbacks…should be a real interesting stretch run!

So, we are essentially at midseason….a bit of a recap and maybe a prod or two…..


1) Mariners (6-1)….Hitting, defense and pitching…a good combination for success…throw in a dash of bravado, and a willingness to improvise (hit and run, bunting, etc), and you have a dangerous combination. A team unlikely to be upset…maybe only 3 or 4 teams in the league that can push them a bit. Hard to see them yielding the bye, though they have not sewn up the division title by any stretch.

2) Reds (6-2)….Defense Defense Defense…oh and some pitching and hitting as well….Quick on the bases, and a lot of confidence. A very tough team, and it is certain that the Mariners are keeping an eye on them in the rear view mirror. Might be the team that maximizes production out of every player best of all. Almost great, and getting better…

3) Mets (5-3)….One of the top scoring teams, this squad can put up some runs, and they have enough pitching to give most teams fits. Have to beat the Reds when they play their make up…if for no other reason than to get a win over a top team under the belt…this team has good chemistry, they have a lot of fun, and they will challenge for a bye up to the last week. No one wants to play this team in the playoffs…

4) Twins (4-3)…the Wild card…a slow start seemed to mean they would not be a factor, but they are starting to make some noise…..There may not be enough games to overtake the leaders, but the next week will tell us a lot…with the South division Astros figuring prominently in the mix…a week from now, this team could be pushing for a bye…

5) Rockies (4-5)…a good hitting team that needs to come together as a team…if they can channel some of the internal dialogue into on the field spirit, they could be a contender….look for them to spoil someone’s season in the playoffs…

6) PawSox (2-5)…have not played their best game yet, but when they do, might beat anyone in the league….they can score runs, they have some pitching, and their defense seems solid enough…maybe the breaks have not gone their way the first half? Anyway, they hardly seem like a last place team…look for some upward movement here….


1) Astros (7-1)…at the halfway point, best record in the league. Still have not put it together for their best game, but always find a way to get something working right. Have one of the top rotations in the league, and can play great defense when the spirit moves them, and also can swing the bat (their league leading 78 runs can attest to that) from time to time, but it would be nice to see what could happen if they did all three in the same game, instead of picking to do just 2 at a time…eight 13 year olds on this team…can they handle the pressure of front- runner status?

2) Padres (4-5)…A team with a lot of talented players (I picked them to contend for the title in this division)…seem to have a little trouble scoring runs, but play good defense and have a nice deep pitching staff….a good second half is possible, and though it would take a lot to make up 4 games on the Astros, they might be pretty happy with the Bye. If they start swinging the bat like they should, they could be tough.

3) Pelicans (3-5) ….a team that should simply get better all season…they feature a mix of talented 13 year olds and veterans….seem to have a good positive vibe about them, and that looseness will help them as they head down the stretch. Need to beat one of the Big 3 (Mariners, Reds, Astros) to really get things rolling….2 chances left to get that done. Must beat the Padres in their next meeting, or they may not be able to grab the bye.

4) Marlins (2-5)…on paper, some considerable talent here, but they have not found the stride…YET…coaching philosophy takes the long view, and look for this team to come together after game 10 or 12…if the plan works, they will be a nightmare in the playoffs…Pitchers need to throw strikes, because they have had some trouble scoring runs so far…a team to watch in the second half…

5) Cubbies (2-6)…clearly, a better team than the record would indicate. Hung the only loss (to date) on the Astros, in a game where they soundly outplayed the division leaders…as middle school season winds down, this team will mount a late charge, and could very easily skip over a couple of spots in the standings….

6) Diamondbacks (2-6)…my other preseason pick for challenger for the title…showing how little I know…or perhaps this team is underachieving a bit?…..there is talent at many spots on this team…they might be a little thin in the pitching department, but they have some guys who can flat out get it done….but somehow, between defense and pitching, they have allowed the most runs in the league…need to tighten that up, win a few close games, and make the run in the playoffs.

Tidbits….in a non scientific analysis…the North is better than the South, winning 15 of 21 interdivisional games so far, but there are still 15 games to play….the top defensive teams are the Mariners (27 runs allowed), the Reds, (30 Runs allowed, and The Twins who have allowed only 31 runs…all those teams, by the way, are in the North….and in an interesting sidebar, only 4 teams have a positive run differential (Reds [44], Mariners [39], Astros [36], and Twins [4]….)….Who’s Hot?...The Mariners top the list with a 6 game win streak, followed closely by the Reds who have 5 wins in a row…the Twins have won 3 in a row, and the Padres and Astros both had a nice weekend sweep on a weekend when most teams were only able to play one…

Make-up Games…there are probably several that we don’t know about….when you have a confirmed game, let Steve Paltiel know so we can put it on the website (Teams, location and time)…and remember, make up games take precedence over practices, so long as one of the teams is using the field they are assigned to…and as I learned this week past…nice idea to let the other teams on the field on that day know what is up…(Sorry Mike!)

However, what I do know…

Tuesday (5/6) Twins vs Astros (6pm at Willard)….might be worth checking this one out…

Jeff Wood
Srs. Beat Writer
Jeff Wood
 4/7/2003 11:53:00 AM
Hey Baseball Fans…

Though the weather was not quite as warm as last weekend, Mother Nature still provided us with some great conditions as we reached the 25% point of the season (hard to believe!)…we entered daylight savings, and with that, the promise of warmer weather, longer practices, and post game barbecues…..

My radar detected some very good baseball games out there, as we put the early season jitters to rest and began to play ball the way it is supposed to be played…the 2 teams that were looking for their first win got it done, and we wound up with only one team looking for (hiding from?) their first loss, and nearly half (5 of 12) of the teams are even at 2-2….to wit:


The Mariners staked their claim as one of the teams to watch in the early going. They held the potent PawSox bats in check and raced to an 8-2 victory. The Mets did their part to set up the great Sunday duel in the North as they sent the Rockies home unhappy and became the first team to reach 3 victories….and at last check, the Reds and Twins were still battling in the 33rd inning, with the temperatures hovering near zero…more on this later….

In the South, the Diamondbacks found the bats they had left behind last weekend, and it turns out they knew how to use them. The D’backs rolled the Cubbies in a real slugfest, 18-9…..just a guess, but I doubt complete games were an issue here….The Padres took a stride into the upper part of the division, as they shut the Marlins down, who seem to have trouble hitting on Saturday. The Padres ambled to a 4-1 win and with it came a shot at 1st place on Sunday….This just in!....Reds and Twins have entered the 42nd inning…still even at 3!....ok, back to the beautiful south…a baseball game broke out at Witter! The Pelicans and Astros punched and counterpunched with each team taking and then giving up 2 run leads and it took a couple of big Astro hits in the bottom of the 7th to keep this game in regulation time…watch for this rematch!....Astros 5, Pels 4…

OK, OK, really, the deal on the Twins and Reds…..9 innings, and didn’t it seem like the go ahead/winning run was ALWAYS on 3rd?…I mean, did they just send the guy out there to start each inning? Anyway, neither team yielded…the fans checked their watches….rumor of automatic lights out at 10pm….and then there was the temperature….my oh my it was chilly…but play they did, and the Twins finally delivered their first two hits of the game (I wrote that correctly!) in the bottom of the 9th ( I swear it was the 10th…someone get me a scorebook!)…back to back shots into the recesses of right center, and just like that…the Twins have their first win…4-3….a classic! Next time, I bring a thermos of hot coffee…blankets were selling for $50 each…spectators looking for matches to build trashcan bonfires….but it was good entertainment and the fans got far more than their money’s worth….

Sunday….rubbing sleep from our eyes, checking our watches for proper time, and finally getting on with the games at hand….

The Game of the Week simply wasn’t…the Mets brought the 3-0 record to Bushrod, and the Mariners brought their special mix of bash and brash…and the Mariners simply took the suspense out of this one, racing to a double digit lead and in the process, pulling themselves even in the North in the battle for the title….The Reds will simply not go away, and don’t you know they will find a way to be a factor as the season moves on…despite a potentially disheartening loss the evening before, they got the laundry done, dusted off the mitts and caps, and did it all over again, this time thumping the PawSox, who endured “one of those weekends”….it will get better!...the Rockies came from behind in the late going to bounce back from the Saturday loss to knock off the Twins…have you noticed the Rockies are tough on Sundays?...and how about the Twins, who despite 3 losses, have one of the stingiest defenses in the league…when those bats get rolling, watch out!

In the South, the real game of the week (that really was) pitted the 2-1 Padres and the 3-0 Astros for the honors of top dog in the division….the game started with an appearance by his eminence, Ricky Henderson, filming a stomping grounds feature for HBO, and shaking hands with the kids, signing baseballs (and I wonder why oh why we didn’t get him to throw out the first pitch?...we were not thinking, I fear)…this was a near classic, as pitchers on both sides spread out base runners…allowing few hits, and fewer walks, and at 2-2 in the 6th, the Astros shortened up the swings and dinked a couple of hits that scored a couple of runs, and the Padres, unable to answer in the 7th, knew they nearly had the measure of the ‘Stros, who can enjoy the view from the top, for at least this week….The Pelicans gave chase and remain in the hunt, besting the Cubbies 7-4, and created a 3 way logjam at 2-2 (2nd place) in the South….The Marlins and Diamondbacks met to decide who would join that logjam, and it was the D’backs getting it done in the late innings to complete a perfect undefeated weekend….

Who’s Hot? ….(the teams that went 2-0 this weekend)….the D’backs have won 2 straight, the Mariners have won 3 straight, and the Astros have won all 4 games they have played….

Have a great week…enjoy the longer practices!

Jeff Wood
Srs. Beat
Jeff Wood
 4/1/2003 8:57:00 AM
Week One…

Felt like summer didn’t it?, (except that it was warm and there was no fog.) Shirt sleeves and sunblock was the attire for proper enjoyment of the first round of games. Hard to imagine better conditions for the opening weekend…hope you got out there to watch some of the great early season action….

We started with 12 undefeated teams, and just like that we whittled it down to just a couple….Just as important, most teams picked up at least one win, so parity seems to be in place.

The North

Saturday morning arrived with cloudless skies and a light breeze blowing out toward the bay…the warm westerly winds that bring the warmth of spring….The Reds took the field as defending DISTRICT Champions, and the Mariners could do nothing to dispel that status. Despite my predictions that it would be a close low scoring affair, it was a slugfest, with the Reds getting over on the Mariners 12-6…..The Rockies and PawSox held a real barnburner in which it appears that numerous bats were dented or destroyed, along with the pitcher’s confidence….23 runs score between the two squads, with 12 of them going to the Sox…The night game…played in absolutely ideal conditions under the Berkeley (Willard) lights, was a tense pitcher’s battle with the surprising Mets grabbing the early lead over the preseason favorite Twins and then hanging on for a 6-3 win….no parkas necessary! A great night time opener….

Sunday was even a tad warmer than Saturday, and the Rockies and Reds gathered at Caldecott for the early game. The Reds were looking for a solid share of 1st place, while the Rockies were looking for their first win despite scoring 11 runs in the opener. Maybe the early morning start kept the bats asleep, but a 4-3 Rockies win brought the 2 teams even with a 1-1 record…..The Mets grabbed early 1st place honors with a 12-11 win over the PawSox, who had the tables turned and found out how it feels to plate 11 runners and still lose. The PawSox appear to be willing to entertain their fan base…both of their games were decided in the final frame! The Sox fall to 1-1 as the Mets moved to 2-0….Finally, the Mariners and Twins tangled with both teams surprised (I think) to find themselves 0-1 and fully aware that someone was going to stumble to 0-2 as the season begins. The Mariners have some lofty ambitions for the season, but for now, their most important goal was to win this game (and play some defense….), which they did, creating a logjam at 1-1, with the Twins surprisingly still looking for the first ‘W’.

The South

The season opened Saturday with the Pelicans squaring off with the Diamondbacks…both teams had sub-par seasons last year, and are looking to compete for the title this year…and the Pelicans served notice they will not be pushed around this year, as they outslugged the Snakes 9-3…The Marlins also have high hopes for the new campaign, but the Astros didn’t get that memo, and so the ‘Stros slugged and hustled their way to a 12-1 win over the Fish….The Cubbies and Padres opened the Witter season with a 7-2 Cubbies win over the retooled Padres…

The Sunday slate found the Marlins seeking redemption and reversal of their slow start, and so they thumped the Cubbies, bringing both teams to 1-1. The Astros and D’Backs played it close for several innings before the Diamondbacks finally succumbed to the Astro high pressure offense. The Astros held off the D’backs 13-4, and took sole possession of 1st place in the South….the Pelicans were looking to keep pace, but ran into the Padres with different ideas…the 9-2 Padre win evened both teams’ records at 1-1….

And so…we have 2 teams that remain undefeated, and 2 teams still looking for the first win, and a whopping 8 teams even at 1-1…We’ll do it again next weekend….

Jeff Wood
Srs. Beat Writer
Jeff Wood
 3/28/2003 3:59:00 PM
Week One....
Time to break out the sunflower seeds, bubble gum and Gatorade. Spring is here, and along with the smell of fresh cut grass, we once a gain get to hear the crack (ping?) of the bat and the cry of the umpire of "Play Ball!", (better that than "where are my glasses?"). SO we made it through winter, and even though all is not quite well with the world, we are all priveliged to spend a few hours of or weekends in pursuit of a most noble objective, and that is, well played baseball. The players are ready, the arms are well rested, the fields are groomed, and away we go....

Of course, everyone is in first place, so no real trends to report, but at least we can prognosticate a bit (may these observations be a bit better than my March Madness picks, which were in a word, pathetic.....)

The first wave of games gets underway on Saturday morning. The Pelicans and Diamondbacks get things rolling at Willard...and like every game, this will feature a lot of new faces in important roles, and the Diamondbacks will be sporting a brand new name (they are formerly the Firebirds).....Both teams feature a load of veterans as well, and both need to be considered favorites to win the South as we head into the new season....meanwhile, over at Caldecott, the new look Astros (formerly Mission), features a whopping 9 new players as they try to find their way among the big boys...waiting for them on the other sideline will be the Marlins, bristling from a less than stellar 2002 season, this veteran team will be ready to reverse their fortune. Look for a lot of baserunners in this opener...

The Mariners and Reds will open up the North slate at Willard. The Reds are no less than DEFENDING DISTRICT CHAMPIONS! If that doesn't get the opponent fired up, nothing will. On the other hand, the Mariners have every intention of trying to follow the Reds footsteps into district play...this game will tell us a lot about how each squad is coming together...I look for a defensive battle, perhaps a 3-2 outcome....maybe game of the week in the early going! Over at Caldecott...another North battle as the Rockies and PawSox go at it...The Rocks reputation is that they swing the bat well, the Sox have a lot of athletes and are veteran laden....prepared to make their run at the title this year!...the Witter game on Saturday afternoon pits the Cubbies and the Padres on the green grass and quick outfield of the Piedmont field...lots of runs if the hitters can find the gaps....and evening baseball closes out the day as the Mets take on the newest entry in the North, the Twins who hope to bypass traditional expansion woes and go straight for the title. The Mets aim to put that notion to rest as they welcome the 12th team to the division.

Sunday baseball will no doubt feature teams looking for their first win while other teams will be looking to go 2-0...I suspect we will have a lot of teams wind up 1-1 by the end of the day which gets rolling as the Reds and Rockies square off at Caldecott. Over at Willard, the Mariners will see if their ambitions match their abilities as they take on the possibly formidable Twins...this should be a great game. The Marlins take on the Cubbies at high noon at Caldecott...a sort of intra family squabble as former co-coaches square off. Bushrod will host the Astros and Diamondbacks in the battle of teams with new names...The Mets and PawSox take over Willard in the afternoon game there as both teams try to end the weekend on a high note. The Padres and Pelicans will try to figure out who gets off to a good start as the weekend comes to a close....

Not sure if it is gut feel or simply wishful thinking, but it seems like a
pretty well balanced league. As the season unfolds, I am sure we will see
some teams pull away, while others lag behind. For now, though, let's enjoy our equal (first place!) status and look for some good early season baseball. The weather promises to be perfect ( I heard we might nudge 80!), and don't those new uniforms look sharp! See you at the yard this weekend! Have fun out there!

Send me those scores, summaries, and if you want, some flavor of the games...I will try to include it in this writeup....don't worry, I'll be gentle...

Jeff Wood

Srs. Beat Writer