The Traverse City Bears were the last team standing in 2040, doing it the hard way as the Wild Card. A team that was good enough to take down the favorite Chicago Architects was not going to be stopped by the Canadian Wild Card entry, the Hamilton Mounties (79-65). Just 74-70 in the regular season the Bears found a way to bring it all together come playoff time.
Who other than Pedro Morales could lead the Bears to the championship? His 4.7 WAR, .832 OPS, and 61 stolen bags all contributed to the success of the team. The durable 28 year old played in 140 of 144 games. If 80% of it is just showing up, Pedro showed up, big time.
Pedro is a 10 time All Star, winner of 9 Silver Slugger Awards, and one time MVP.
On the hill Craig Johns (15-5) and Steve Klassen (11-8) combined to give TC 376 innings of starting pitching and collectively netted 7.4 WAR.
The Dynamic Duo (Klassen on the left and Johns on the right)
The Bears entered 2041 with the #9 payroll in the league a testament to the adage that small market teams can still win without running up deficits. It was bullpen by committee in Traverse City but Mike Auger captured 22 of the 41 saves.
The Bears have made just five post season appearances but have come away with a pair of titles. Congrats to J. Burns and his TC Bears!
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’?
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.
#1 Punch SP Patrick Gerard 9 IP 0 Runs 0 BB 12 K’s
#2 Punch SP Willis Lewis 8 IP 1 Run 1 BB 10 K’s
Traverse City lost their home opener to the Thunderbirds but sent a message to the rest of the league in games two and three that they armed and dangerous. The Bears lead the GLBL in STRIKEOUTS with 40 in 3 games.