Architects Build Upon Last Year’s Success
With just four outs remaining in their season, the Architects were down 0-1 with the bases loaded. What looked like their best chance for scoring some runs had passed when the eventual series and USA MVP, Daniel Huffman, had struck out as the second batter sent down that inning. It came down to David Mowry. If the Mounties could get him out, they would stand a very good chance of demolishing the Architects’ plans to cap off their historic regular season with a championship.
As they had become known for throughout the season, they would deliver with two outs. Mowry smashed a hard single up the middle that scored two runs after Truman Dares beat the throw home. Chicago held onto and expanded that lead, winning the series and taking back-to-back championships, their fifth overall and third since winning in 2030.
It’s hard to imagine now, but the road to the 2034 championship really began the previous year. Much the same roster found themselves in fifth place in the USA on May 25 , 2033. Playoff odds at the time were 1.7% chance, the longest odds a team in the GLBL has overcome to make the playoffs. That team came back to make the wildcard and win it all. This year they wanted to prove that wasn’t a fluke did more than that.
By April 18 of this season, Chicago had claimed first and never looked back. A month later, they would have a 98% chance to make the playoffs which, oddly enough, was around the same time last season they held less than a 2% chance in 2033.
They held on to first the entire time, consistently flirting with a .700 win percentage during the first few months of the season. That consistency was key because it was enough to weather Milwaukee’s hot 18 game streak and still maintain a lead of 8 games. Shortly thereafter and for the rest of the season, the lead would remain in double digits and expand. In the last 37 games of the season, Chicago lost just 5 games and went on an 18 game winning streak themselves. The Architects set a new record of 107 wins in a single season, besting their own previous mark by 7 and finishing at 107-37.
While the team had several players who had career seasons, Alfredo Gutierrez won the Pitcher of the Year award and Daniel Huffman won the USA Lake Superior Best Player award. Gutierrez finished the season 15-2 with a 2.89 ERA. He gave up just 12 HR, walked 28 and struck out 109, earning a 4.5 WAR. Huffman had a triple slash of .328/417/.579. The SS had a ZR of +7.0 and led the team with 29 HR and 108 RBI. He also posted a 8.25 WAR, the 7th best in the last decade and 22nd ever in the GLBL.
Huffman remained the team leader in the postseason, hitting .451/.519/.683. Gutierrez struggled a bit, going 1-0 in 3 games with a 4 ERA. It would be a theme for Chicago’s struggling pitching and defense that showed some cracks against a hot Milwaukee offense in the first round. The more dominant Chicago offense was up to the task, though, and outpaced the Eagle’s scoring in five games to take the series.
Not unexpectedly, Hamilton proved a bit more defensive minded, but what may have been a surprise is that the Mounties took the seesaw series to 7, in one of the most riveting series ever in the GLBL. It went Chicago’s way, but Hamilton was within just a few outs of toppling the odds on favorites.
As we head into 2035, the Chicago Architects return with a mostly intact roster facing the challenge of becoming the first GLBL team to win three titles in a row.