Author Topic: BlazeBall '64!  (Read 1228 times)

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Offline benjem

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BlazeBall '64!
« on: January 01, 2016, 04:46:25 PM »
Worst Number-One Draft Choices by Louisiana Blaze in the CB Jemmerson Era

With the Blaze treading water this season, we might well take a moment to look back at some of the low-lights of the Blaze drafts in the CB Jemmerson era. Perhaps this will shed some light on their sad plight.

2055: Ty Pharoh. The third overall pick that year.
Ty Pharoh was a guy with all the tools. Or so it seemed, till soon after the draft. His best season with the Blaze was 2060 -- not so long ago -- when he hit .288, with 13 hr, 57 rbi, and an ops of .790. In 2061, though, he hit a futile .235, with 2 hr, 14 rbi, and a .641 OPS. At 32 years old, and hitting a lackluster .267 in AAA ball, Ty was released this year.
He is now working as a extrusion processor at his father-in-law’s rendering plant in Ohoopee, GA.

2057: Wince Thugly. The tenth overall pick that year.
 A lot of people said, “Don’t draft Wince Thugly.” The Louisiana brain-trust thought differently. Sure he had a few run-ins with the law. Sure there was a questionable work ethic and the cheating scandal at Vanderbilt. Sure there were rumors of recreational vehicle abuse. Sure he had an attitude. “Thugly has an edge to him, and we could use that,” said Floyd Chalmers, former Blaze scout.
The Blaze made Thugly the 10th pick in the draft in 2057. In 2060 he made it to the majors as the starting left fielder, and it looked perhaps like the Blaze may have been right. He finished 2060 with a .253 average, 20 hr, 67 rbi, and a layer of smug arrogance so thick that it left a stain wherever he sat.
2061 was a bit of a wake-up call, though, for Mr. Thugly. Wince hit .238 with 15 hr and 60 rbis. There were fights in parking lots. More recreational vehicle citations. Thugly’s teammates started to avoid him. He called in to late night radio sports talk shows to carry on long rambling arguments with the hosts. In 2062 he hit .172 in ten games in the majors, and the Blaze had had enough, sent him down. He hit .305 at AAA, but no one thought about calling him up for that second chance. Radio talk shows stopped taking his calls.
Thugly still plays, in the low minors. He keeps to himself now, speaking to neither teammates nor press. Perhaps he’s wondering what happened, where it all went wrong. He’s been working with Toshiro Ono, the Blaze Zen coach. They say he’s meditating. They say he’s through with recreational vehicles. They say he is just hoping for another chance, but is also making peace with his career, with himself. They say he’s talking to his brothers - he has several younger brothers who play ball with some talent - and he’s trying to steer them to the fair side of the foul line. He’s 28 now, and hit .254 at A level ball this year. Is the Thugly story over, or just beginning?

2062: Geronimo Poe. Eleventh overall pick.
Geronimo Poe was about 12 years old when he was drafted with the 11th pick in 2062. He was a young boy in the Dominican Republic who everyone agreed looked a heckuva lot older than 12. He had a sweet open friendly face, and he had an arm that people said was possessed by the devil. When he throws the ball, they said, it spins and shakes, stops and starts, moans and shrieks and swears and then drops down like a condemned soul. Down through another dimension and then the strike zone and then into the catcher’s mitt. They called him “Phenom,” for that’s what he was. He was a five star prospect when the Blaze signed him to his first contract and handed him a third-class ticket on El Pajaro airlines to New Orleans.
Two days later, no one knew where he was.
Boarding records were unclear. Did he get on the plane? Did he get off the plane? Did he get on the wrong plane? Did he get off too soon, one of the earlier stops? The plane made stops in Miami, Atlanta, Louisville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Denver, Oklahoma City, Mobile, Galveston, Houston, and Biloxi before stopping in New Orleans. No one knew. No one saw him, no one heard from him, no one knew where he was or what had happened. He had vanished into thin air. The Blaze scratched their heads, called the FBI, They searched an airport in Mexico, a sugarcane plantation in Cuba, and a swamp outside of Biloxi. Nothing.
Three days later he stepped off the bus from Jackson, Mississippi. Whether he got on in Jackson, or somewhere down the line, no one knows, not even Geronimo. It’s a big country for a young boy from the DR, and he couldn’t say where he’d been those missing days. He must have been someplace, everyone felt sure of that. And there was something odd about everything, something wrong. Somehow he didn’t seem like the same sweet kid that the Blaze had drafted just a week ago.
Maybe something happened, it’s thought. He must have been someplace. Maybe he ran into some trouble. Maybe he did something, or maybe he saw something that he shouldn’t have. His shirt was torn when he got off the bus. He was missing a shoe. There was a new tattoo on his neck, a winged chihuahua, flying upside down, breathing fire. There was sand in his hair and a distracted look in his eyes. He couldn’t say -- or wouldn’t say -- where he’d been, what had happened.  He was here now. He just wanted to play baseball again.
Where ever he was, whatever happened to him, whatever he saw or experienced,  he hasn’t been the same since. They say he’s 18 now. More or less. He’s spent three seasons in rookie ball being unremarkable and quiet, and this year he’s got a 1-5 record in Lafayette, with a 6.81 era. The Blaze say he’s still young. They are still waiting for the real Geronimo Poe to show up. That kid with the angelic face, throwing the demonic pitches.

Offline benjem

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Re: BlazeBall '64!
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2016, 03:24:48 PM »
Top Three Reasons why the Blaze Sucked Eggs Through a Straw in 2064
Blame-laying and goat-scaping
Which was worse, the hitting or the pitching?

Reason number one: Thornton Lackhammer.
It’s not fair to lay too much blame at the sizeable feet of this youngster, but, facing facts, it took Mr. Swackhammer roughly half a season to get untracked, and then he jumped the rails. After batting .200 in April and .210 in May, Swackhammer started to come around in June, hitting .309 with 8 homers. And then he got hurt, and missed a lot of July and August. Basically we only had about a month, perhaps two, of the Swackhammer we were expecting. The Blaze were hoping that Franzwah Thibideaux would be a  capable back-up for Mr. Swackhammer. Instead, serious questions were raised about Mr. Thibideaux’s future in major league ball. (.205 - 3 - 14 in ‘64 campaign.)

Reason number two: The Disappearance of Unethical Chad McCall.
McCall had a great start to the ‘64 campaign, 5-0 in April. Back problems laid him up for a month, and then a strained rotator cuff ended his season in late July.

Reason number three: The Blaze are unKempt.
Nicholas Kemp had a break-out season in ‘63, going 19-10 with a 3.21 era.
He had a break-back-in season in ‘64, unfortunately, going 3-17 with a 5.11 era before ending the season in the Baton Rouge, where he went 1-1 with a 6.86 era. While perhaps Kemp is not as good as his ‘63 campaign, he also can’t be as bad as his ‘64 marks. And his ‘64 marks were pretty terrible.

Other factors certainly came into play in the Blaze’s unseemly and demoralizing demise. Top pitching prospect Warren Law would certainly have come in handy this season, had he not run into that career-ending injury. Mark Thompson, who hit a capable .271 in ‘63 as he shared the catching duties, hit an inept .176 this season. Dale Smokervich struggled as closer; while gaining 19 saves he also lost 8 games, as well as the closer role. Will he get another chance next season?

While pitching was the “strength” of the club in ‘64, it seemed as though most of the young prospects that were brought up struggled mightily. Tinker Flah was 0-1 with a 6 run era in 22 games. Tim Littlewolf was 3-3 with a 4. 55 era. Bernardo Mendoza, 3-5, 4.70. Markannon Loux, 0-2, 20.25. Wilburforce Kusser, 0-1, 10.03. Connor Lopez, 0-1, 8.56. These are numbers that do not sell season tickets for the ‘65 season.

Still, as much as the pitching struggled the hitting was much much much worse. Sophomore third baseman Jonathan Darby was perhaps the next-biggest disappointment after Mr. Swackhammer. Darby was supposed to be the future of the Blaze at third base, but instead he forgot how to take a pitch, and he did not connect with his mighty swings. His on-base percentage fell from .377 to .242, and his batting average from .259 to .120. Sent down to Baton Rouge, he seemed to find his game again, with a .449 on base percentage in 86 games. The ‘65 season may be Mr. Darby’s last chance to stick with the club.

So the Blaze will enter the off-season with serious questions about the 2065 season. Can the starting pitching stay healthy? Is Smokervich a closer? Can Babe Glumak be a starter? Will Thornton Swackhammer redeem himself? Can Jonathon Darby make it in the majors? Will any of the crop of young pitching talent be able to survive in big league ball? Can Nicholas Kemp come back? Are prospects Babadia, Boone, Chisholm, and Holt, actually real prospects? Will there be any luck in the draft?