Author Topic: Blazeball '59: Rebound Year?  (Read 968 times)

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Offline benjem

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Blazeball '59: Rebound Year?
« on: September 21, 2014, 02:14:40 PM »
BLAZE HEAD INTO SEASON WITH PLAYOFF HOPES
DRAFT YIELDS PITCHING, PITCHING, PITCHING, AND MORE PITCHING



The Louisiana Blaze have returned to the friendly confines of Pelican Park after an adventuresome and hopeful spring training. Both Unethical Chad McCall and Ruben Chaix have finally come off the injured reserve list, and head to Baton Rouge to begin the season with some get-in-shape games at AAA. Blaze hopes took a hit, though, when closer Mark Bradley was lost for the season with an arm injury; some thought that this might create an opening for future Hall of Famer Ben Stewart to return, and the coaches struggled with this at the end of camp. In the end they decided to send Stewart down to Baton Rouge as well, and it looks like Brad Elkins, who has had a good deal of success as a closer in minor league ball will fill the closer spot. Elkins had a solid season last year. He was 3-1 with 2 saves and a 1.86 ERA in 47 games with Baton Rouge, then came up to the big club, pitched in 23 games, going 0-1 with 2 saves and a 0.89 ERA. Blaze management is not expecting those sorts of numbers, but would be happy with a near approximation. Jim Roberts, who was closer last season at Baton Rouge, is also sticking with the big club out of spring training. He was up in the majors for a cup of coffee at the tail end of last season, and had a fine year at AAA, going 5-5 with 29 saves and a 1.88 ERA. Roberts has never gotten much notice, but he’s succeeded at every level and the club would love for him to make the jump to major league ball.

The rotation to start the season is Ledford, Wright, Cakedy, Babe Glunak, and Gore. Elvis Cakedy was put into the rotation late last season and did well; management was viewing him as a stalwart of the pen, but they are not going to argue with success. Babe Glumak had a lost season last year, beset by “personal issues.” The Bick Horizon winner struggled last year to a 2-12 mark, with a 7.60 ERA, as the knuckle-curve neither knuckled nor curved. Glumak finished the season in Baton Rouge, where he made adjustments, and hopes for a fresh start in ‘59. McCall and Chaix don’t figure to be in Baton Rouge long, and Bucky Glumak impressed in spring training, so the Blaze have high hopes for good pitching this season.

There are two big changes this season in the field; management hope to see catcher Rambo Jones bat in the lineup more, but they don’t want to see any less of Tomas Valadez behind the plate. So the enigmatic Masuhiro Yoshida has been working out in left field, while Rambo Jones has been playing first. If the fielding doesn’t collapse, this could boost the Blaze’s legendary anemic offense. Yoshida’s average came around last year, but his power has never developed, while Jones looks like a power hitter, if he can manage to hit the ball. There’s a lot of potential upside to this move, and we’ll have to see how it plays out. With Jones at first, the club needed another back up catcher, so the slick-fielding Bat Quinn has been brought up to spell Valadez. Odd man out in this scenario is Franklin Amp, who’s batting average slipped last season. He figures to be a late inning replacement for the plodding Yoshida in left, and with luck he’ll be a good bat off the bench.

Minor League hopefuls down at Baton Rouge include first baseman Danton Samba (.319-8-82 at Baton Rouge last season), shortstops Scott Zacker (.308-4-39), Jacob Book (.274-1-25), Rick Henricks (.328-0-6), and Ernie Seppi (.226-7-39),  and outfielders Tru Walker (.330-4-44) and George Mullins (.299-1-39). For a team that seems to only know how to draft pitching, the Blaze don’t have a lot of help at Baton Rouge this season. Adam “the Economizer” Smith is breaking into AAA ball this season, after going 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA last year at AA Shreveport. Closer Mauro “El Cirujano” Cortez also will try to establish himself as a solid prospect, taking Jim Roberts place as closer, under the tutelage of Ben Stewart. Cortez went 5-6 with 23 saves and a 2.68 ERA with Shreveport, and he’s playing with a lot of confidence. Wesley Starks is also hoping to regain his status as a prospect in Baton Rouge this season. Starks had a 2.88 ERA in class A ball, where he played most of the season, but staff injuries brought him up to Shreveport, where he had a 1.86 ERA, and then Baton Rouge, where he impressed the coaches with his control. At 30 years old, the coaches decided to give him his shot at AAA, and hope for the best. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

The Blaze again went for pitching in the draft, and all of the top prospects are starting off in rookie ball. Joe Koukalik, and Warren Law are in the starting rotation, while William T Battle, Wilburforce Kusser, and Rufus Stingerly will be throwing in relief. Sly Cano will open the season at closer for the Gulfport club.

The Blaze struggled last season, as Babe Glumak disappointed and McCall and Chaix each missed the last half of the season. And yet they eked out a wild card spot in the playoffs. Here’s hoping that the boys stay healthy this season and contend for the division title. Much depends, of course, on offensive mainstay Dusty Thompson, who has carried this club on his back the last two season. Each morning the coaching staff gathers in the trainer's office and prays for Thompson's continued health. Hopefully Mr. Jones will prosper at first, taking some of the pressure off Mr. Thompson, and Yoshida will thrive in the garden, but, as Manager Andy Kegler likes to say, “Anything is possible.”
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 02:19:28 PM by benjem »

Offline benjem

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Re: Blazeball '59: Rebound Year?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2014, 08:15:24 PM »
KEGLER RECEIVES DREADED VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
DISTRAUGHT JEMMERSON BACKS MANAGER “110 PERCENT”
KEGLER “HEART AND SOUL OF BLAZE ORGANIZATION”
BLAZE SINK DEEPER INTO THE MIRE


With angry Blaze fans calling for manager Andy Kegler to be hauled out into the alley and beaten like a rug, Blaze owner CB Jemmerson said yesterday that he backs his manager “110 percent." Speaking to the press yesterday, the rotund and florid Blaze owner went on to say "There’s no one who I’d rather have as manager. Andy Kegler has been the heart and soul of this organization for more years than I can remember, and to even the suggestion of dismissing him is abhorrent to me. Andy Kegler isn’t the one with the .190 batting average or the 5 run ERA. And Andy Kegler knows more about baseball than anyone else in Louisiana. It would be foolish, disloyal, cowardly, and counterproductive to fire Andy now, and all those fans who are so down on Kegler better reconcile themselves to the fact that Andy Kegler will be the manager of this club, win or lose, till death do us part, so help me god, amen.”

In other news, the Blaze announced the signing of young free agent short stop Bill Lindsey today. Lindsey hit .455 as a senior at Burlington Central High School, and the Blaze expressed delight and surprise that a young man of his tools and abilities was still available as a free agent at this point in the season. Lindsey will report to rookie ball with the blaze club at Gulfport.

« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 08:21:13 PM by benjem »

Offline benjem

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Re: Blazeball '59: Rebound Year?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2014, 06:47:22 PM »
KEGLER KANNED!!
BLAZE MANAGER FIRED AS BLAZE STINK & SINK
BLAZE LEGEND BEN STEWART NAMED INTERIM PLAYER-MANAGER


1 September 2059 -- The Andy Kegler era is over.
The legendary Blaze manager was fired yesterday afternoon, following a 9-8 Blaze victory in Minnesota.
“Andy and I met and we mutually agreed that the time has come for new leadership on the field,” said Blaze owner CB Jemmerson this morning at Blaze offices in New Orleans. “Andy has done the best job anyone could have. It’s been a difficult season for us all, players, coaches, fans, and owners. We all want to thank Andy for his many years of service; and as I told him yesterday, there will always be a role for Andy Kegler in the Louisiana Blaze organization. This casts no aspersions on Andy, or Andy’s leadership and managing skills, which are, of course, top notch. It’s no reflection on Andy Kegler to say that it’s time to make a change, have a new point of view and a fresh perspective.”
Andy Kegler was unavailable for comment.
Ben Stewart, legendary Blaze closer, has been called up from Baton Rouge and named player-manager for the remainder of the season. Jemmerson had no comment on Stewart’s future as manager of the Blaze; it is expected that the Blaze will bring up a number of prospects from Baton Rouge following the conclusion of their season. While the Blaze have tumbled, the Fire in Baton Rouge have prospered this season, building up an 8 game lead in the Pioneer League.
“We have not decided on a manager for next year,” Jemmerson concluded. “All options are open. All of them.”