A League Taken by Surprise

No one saw it coming.  Nine seasons in the league, and exactly ONE winning record, and that was eight years ago.  The beleaguered baseball team from Kingston Ontario, with the 516-616 record was a team off everyone’s radar.  With not a single playoff appearance in the history of the franchise, Kurt Peterson, a.k.a. KP, was seven years into trying to solve the puzzle.  Coming off a year where the team batting average was a paltry .235, where was the offense going to come from?  Journeyman Jim (Copeland), a Comet career leader in RBI’s with 510,  smashed 34 dingers in 2021, but tailed off to just 22 in 2022.  He ended up hitting .221 (his highest batting average in the last 3 years), but he also stroked 46 home runs and batted in 102 runs.


SSecond year SS, Jordan Cannell, upped his game ripping 27 big flies while matching Copeland’s 102 runs batted in total.  Just 11 miscues all year long and an impressive +5.9 ZR, Jordan was the pitchers ‘best friend’.

Five time All Star, and the spark plug of the team, Nabhan ‘Wacky’ Ubadah hit .329 for the season and .340 in the post-season, before becoming injured in the clinching 6th game of the Championship Series.  Nabhan is one of those rare players who walks more than strikes out, 63/60.  He was the Canadian League Championship MVP and a Silver Slugger award winner.

 Credit the gutsy move at deadline time by KP, who did not flinch when handing over the goods to acquire Adrian Eacott from the Maples.  He was 3-2 during the last month of the season for the Comets, but more importantly 3-2/ 1.61 ERA in the post-season.  In another starring role, it was Ross Singleton who really saved his best for last.  The 34 year old pitcher, in his first post-season, put together a masterful 2-0/ 1.21 ERA, line, leading the team at crunch time.

  It’s worth mentioning Closer, Ken Lau, was tattooed in the post-season (1-2/ 2 BS) but it was this guy who saved 44 games during the regular season while posting a 1.27 ERA.  Toss in 7 wins and he played a part in 51 of the 85 Kingston wins.  And, while erratic, he still saved 5 games in the playoffs.

Congratulations to the 2023 Great Lakes Baseball League Champion Kingston Comets!  Man, what a year.

Waveriders over the top


The Owen Sound Waveriders have won their first GLBL Championship as they defeated the Toledo Neptunes in a very spirited and competitive six game set.  The 85 wins in the regular season were a franchise high for Owen Sound.  One of the stars now, and looking into the future, is Wilbert ‘Sleepy’ LeGrow.  He plays all the outfield positions and first base and mashed his way to an impressive .844 OPS over the course of the season.  The recipient of the Silver Slugger Award is now a two time all star, at the young age of 25.

On the mound the trio of Bonnefoy, O’Brien, and Wilson amassed a total of 38 wins.  Randy Costello notched 41 saves his lowest total in the last three years.  Up and coming 23 year old Nathan Yeo went 2-4 but gave us a glimpse of his upside with 0.98 WHIP.

Really, no weaknesses on this club as they were first in runs, second in runs against, and second in Team D in the Canadian League.

Martin’s Metrics

A fun little tale of three players as originally posted by GM Martin Abresch on 9-26-17 on the GLBL SLACK thread.

Here is something that I’ve meant to do for a while. Three players, same position. Here they are in 2017:

A 2017 31 523 134 18 1 33 61 .256 .334 .484 7.7
B 2017 31 479 145 33 4 0 76 .303 .401 .388 6.0
C 2017 27 551 159 38 4 24 44 .289 .343 .503 8.7“`

Two power hitters. Player A slugs homers; player C hits fewer home runs but scatters more doubles. Player C also wins the Lake Superior Player Award. Player B is an on-base machine. All three are clearly All-Star caliber players. (edited)

Same three players, now in 2018:

“` year age AB H D T HR BB BA OBP SLG WAR
A 2018 32 444 108 19 0 24 72 .243 .349 .448 6.8
B 2018 32 504 177 24 6 2 82 .351 .442 .435 9.1
C 2018 28 475 144 31 0 21 43 .303 .364 .501 8.9“`

Player C has another outstanding season. Player B has a career season and wins the Lake Superior Player Award. Player A puts together another strong season, slugging home runs and drawing walks.

And once more, the players in 2019:

“` year age AB H D T HR BB BA OBP SLG WAR
A 2019 33 526 138 22 2 17 65 .262 .344 .409 6.7
B 2019 33 532 155 14 6 3 74 .291 .379 .357 5.5
C 2019 29 417 117 28 0 12 34 .281 .335 .434 5.2“`

Player A holds steady in terms of WAR, homering less but doubling more. Players B and C come down from their 2018 highs, but they both post 5+ WAR seasons, nothing to scoff at. For the fun of it, lets look at their total WAR over these three seasons:

A 21.2
B 20.6
C 22.8

So here is the big question: which player do you want on your team going forward? All three of these players became free agents after the 2019 season. There wouldn’t seem to be a bad choice among them: all three are clearly All-Star quality, even in their worse seasons. Perhaps you prefer Player A’s power or Player B’s on-base skills or the fact that Player C is four years younger than the other two.

Even now, looking back, I would say that it’s a virtual toss-up. And I recall being surprised at the time of how little competition there was for their services in the off-season.

The power-hitting Player A is third-baseman Fu-Chi Li, then of Milwaukee. The on-base machine Player B is third-baseman Kevin Thomas, then of Toronto. The younger Player C is third-baseman John Roberson, then of Owen Sound.

Let’s see what they did in 2020:

“` year age AB H D T HR BB BA OBP SLG WAR
Li 2020 34 491 111 27 0 20 76 .226 .336 .403 6.1
Thomas 2020 34 472 142 18 4 5 87 .301 .410 .388 7.0
Roberson 2020 30 323 69 8 0 9 25 .214 .272 .322 1.8“`

Li only has a .226 average but all those doubles, homers, and walks keep him productive. Thomas has another strong season and posts a .410 OBP. Roberson … umm … ouch. Well, maybe that was a fluke.

Next season:

“` year age AB H D T HR BB BA OBP SLG WAR
Li 2021: 35 478 131 28 0 24 72 .274 .370 .483 6.0
Thomas 2021: 35 521 172 25 6 3 80 .330 .424 .418 5.6
Roberson 2021: 31 353 74 13 1 8 31 .210 .279 .320 0.7

Thomas would have been paid $29 million in 2020, but he executed his player option and began the off-season asking well over $30 million per season. Toronto all of a sudden had a big hole at third base. I couldn’t afford Thomas’s request, so I looked at Li and Roberson. Chicago snapped Li up for 6 years/$111 million or $18.5 million per season. I offered Roberson 5 years/$110 million or an average of $22 million per season and was surprised that nobody else drove the bidding up further. Thomas waited most of the off-season to sign, then was scooped up by Owen Sound for a bargain: 3 years/$39 million.

The Series MVP

Twenty five year old Geoff Boyd was the GLBL’s MVP for the 2021 post-season.  Boyd collectively batted .319 with 15 hits and swiping 7 bases in as many attempts. But of the two series he saved his best for Chicago as the final 7 games he collected hits in each contest 3,1,2,1,2, and 1 for a total 10 hits.  He batted in 5 and scored 6.  An avid fisherman in his spare time he plans to just ‘chill out’ over the coming months.

Riding High

It took just 6 games to win their first Great Lakes Baseball League Championship but then, again, it took 7 years to finally achieve that goal.  Perpetually knocking on the door only to come up just short the Mounties finally negotiated the last hurdle by leaping over the Chicago Architects with their 5-4 win at Lakeside Park.

The Architects and Mounties had identical 82-62 records but Hamilton owned Chicago in the brief regular season by winning all four games by scores of 2-0, 10-4, 6-4, and 3-2.  And, on this first day of October, catcher Joe Kelley made sure the Mounties would take home the grand prize as his solo shot in the 3rd inning was the difference.  So, the life time record of 536-452 (second only to Chicago) now has a championship banner to secure the reputation as one of the top teams in the history of the league.

For the Canadian League it was sweet stuff indeed to see the string of USA titles arrested at five in a row as Hamilton joins Thunder Bay as the only Canadian teams to win a championship.  Geoff Boyd won the Most Valuable Player award as his relentless hitting down the stretch of the playoffs propelled Hamilton to the title.

For Chicago it was another great season that saw them win the USA championship and then compete in their fourth League Championship having won two titles to date.


Up Against it? Or, Right where they want them?

The Chicago Architects are trying to win their 3rd title but are down 0-2.  History tells us being down in the playoffs means very little to this team.  They have rallied from 0-3 deficits before so 0-2 probably seems inconsequential, or at least it does not evoke the feeling of doom that some GM’s might feel in this position.

Chi GM Al Borie had this to say this morning, “Oh, they’re off to a decent start. In their case they won’t have a chance to lose one at home until Game Six, and they may have wrapped it up by then. You gotta like their chances.
But I like mine too. I have no idea who the better team is, but mine has always had a tendency to fall behind and come back.”  The small sampling of 4-0 in the regular season points toward Hamilton as the favorite, especially up by two games.

But, the Hamilton Mounties are all too familiar with being the last minute bridesmaid and not the bride as they, more than any other ball club, have come the closest to winning a championship only to fall just short.  Witness last year as they took a 2 run lead into the bottom of the 9th only to see the game tied before losing in extra innings to the Duluth Sea Gulls.  Hamilton has never had a losing season and this is their 4th trip to the post-season with many wondering, if not speculating, that maybe it just might be their year.  The unlikely hero of game two was light hitting George Huffman batting .143 for the post season but it was the two singles in the 2nd and 4th that accounted for two runs batted in and the difference in the 3-2 win.  He was but 1 for 21 heading into yesterday’s contest.

The series heads to the Windy City where Arvin Northeast will take the hill while being opposed by Roosevelt Gilbert, coming off a stunning 8.1 IP shutout of Toronto.  At the same time it was Arvin Northeast who slammed the door on Toledo with his 8.0 IP/ 0 Runs effort that punched the Architects ticket to the Championship Round.

“Read the highlights and thought HAM was off to a decent start, but you’re never in trouble til you lose at home – so they say!”, were the comments of Owen Sound GM David Jones, but in the case of Chicago they not only can’t risk a loss at home but they have to win on the road.  Using the above logic the Mounties simply need to take care of business in Hamilton to earn the status GLBL Champions for the first time in their history.  The roadblock?  Chicago loves to come from behind and is famous for crushing the dreams of their opponents.


Extra Innings…and then some.

Written by Martin Abresch

Toronto tied the game, 4-4, in the bottom of the 7th. With runners on second and third, Jesse Stannard singled to left. The runner on third scored, tying the game, while the runner on second tried for home … but was thrown out. After that, there were some singles and walks, but a runner didn’t reach scoring position until the 10th (when Toronto’s Michael Howard got stranded at third) and then the 18th (when Windsor’s Harry O’Connell hit a lead-off doubled but was stranded at third). Runners reached second in the 20th (single and sac bunt) and 21st innings (walk and ground out that advanced the runner). In the top of the 26th, Windsor’s Christophe Sarrazin doubled with two outs and got stranded. In the bottom of that inning, Michael Howard led off with a triple and was driven in by Jesse Stannard to win the game.

Of Windsor’s 287 pitches, 180 came after the game got tied, 4-4, in the seventh. Of Toronto’s 371 pitches, 238 came after the game was tied.

Think of it this way: if the game had started in the 8th inning, it would have gone 19 innings, Toronto would have won 1-0, and the teams would have combined for 418 pitches.

Windsor’s Larry Brown came on to pitch in the 13th inning. He pitched 7.2 shutout innings in relief, striking out 6 and walking none.

Toronto pitchers struck out 29 Vigilantes.

Jesse Stannard was the last batter, singling in the winning run. He led off the bottom of the first, doubled, and scored the games first run. On the day he went 3-for-11, with a run and two RBIs.


Jesse Stannard, the hero, sending what few fans remaining home for an abbreviated sleep.

The Batting Crown Race

 Godzilla Garcia  is not only threatening to hit .400 but he is actually raising his average as this past week saw his batting line go from .420 to .423.  In last evenings contest he went 3 for 4 against the Neptune’s with a double.  Toledo managed to win 6-1 as their challenger for the batting title, Carl MacNiven went 2 for 4 with his own double to ease his average back up to .389, yet at the same time quieting conversation about whether he might hit .400.

Sourface MacNiven is hitting .107 points above his average for last season and still has a shot at .400.



If this were a horse race you might hear the announcer using the classic vernacular of the sport  something akin to ‘they are around the far turn’ and you would know that these two batting giants are about to head to the stretch.  But, if you were not paying attention you might miss some activity, say, ‘coming up from the rear’.

Not to be out done,  the face of the GLBL is making his own bid for another batting crown as the two time Lake Superior Award winner and two time Lake Erie Award winner, and seven time all star (aka every year) is preparing for the stretch run with a vengeance.

Shotgun Time!  He was hitting .256 near the end of April but he’s been classic Silas since then and is now batting .375.  So the question is as we head to the stretch, ‘who can go the distance’?

Godzilla at the Plate

When you are 23 years old and playing at the GLBL level you are usually riding the bench hoping for an opportunity for a spot start here and there always with the hope that you impress the manager enough to give you another opportunity, hopefully in the form of a start.  Less likely, but still possible, you might be the benefactor of a long term injury to a player that moves you up the depth chart (Google Wally Pipp).

In the case of Guillermo ‘Godzilla’ Garcia he has already eclipsed the status described above as he is now the starting RF while spending some time in CF.  He’s 4.8 ZR combined.  But, we are not here to talk about his glove, or his arm (7 assists).

It’s the bat that carries his .416 batting average.  89 hits in 214 at bats qualifies him as a legitimate challenger to ‘Sourface’ McNiven of Toledo for the leagues highest batting average in 2021.  And, you don’t want to face this guy in a matinee contest as he hits .445 during the day hours.  In 316 AB’s he hit .341 in 2020.  In the current season he has posted 0 HR’s and 1 triple  and appears to be the classic slap and hit batter who uses his speed to beat out infield hits.  No question, Godzilla is a legit candidate to lead the league in batting for quite some time.

McNiven presses on

After 59 games he was hitting .395.  Having played 106 games Carl is now at .396 and definitely capturing the attention of stat freaks all over the Great Lakes area.  Is the 36 year old second sacker distracted with all the media attention?

Carl had this to say. ” Are you serious?  We’ve got a pennant to win.  Anything else is back seat stuff, mister.”