It’s final, my babies. Joe Pravato’s Team Phil Chu brought home their third Big East Meadow League title with an epic surge during the final week to turn what had been a neck-and-neck three team race into a laugher:
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Pravato’s squad played the best when it mattered most, bashing a league-high 21 homers to catapult three points in that category. Carlos Beltran (32), Lance Berkman (33) and Jim Thome (24) all came up big with three homers each. TPC also led the league in runs (59) for the second week in a row, and drove in a BEML-leading 65 runs to pass the Dawgs in that category. And that was all she wrote.
Pravato is the first owner/manager to suffer a heart attack and go on to win the BEML title in the same year.
The Ballbags could only sit back and watch as TPC claimed their third BEML title. The Bags hit a crisp .340 on the week, but could not overtake the TPC in that category. The Bags hit 100 wins on the year, but again, could not pick up any points this week in that category. Carlos Pena did his best this week (4 HRs, .438 avg.), but could not carry the Bags to the gold. The Ballbags have now finished in the top two for three years running (2005: 1st, 2006: 2nd, 2007: 2nd), a feat matched only by the 2001-03 Team Phil Chu squads (1st, 1st, 2nd).
The Craydawgs dropped four points in the last week from first to third place. They hit a season-low five homers to drop two points in that category, got passed in RBI by TPC, and wasted opportunities to pick up points in ERA (4.76 on the week), WHIP (1.39 on the week).
In some positive news for the Dawgs, their strong showing this year enabled them to finally pass the Barracudas as the winningest franchise in BEML history (.637 to .629).
Snowmen finished in 4th place, 26 points behind TPC, their best season since their 2000 bronze medal. The Snowmen will look to improve in 2008, with a core that includes Aaron Rowand (.25), Hanley Ramirez (.50), and Dan Uggla (1.75).
The Barracudas swam their way into 5th place in the final week of the season, salvaging somewhat a largely disappointing campaign for what had been the BEML’s all-time winningest franchise until the aforementioned Craydawgs stole that title this year. “Tragic,” said Cudas owner/manager Mike Markoski. Ending on a high note, the Cudas won three games this week to take the season Wins title (106), and led the league this week in strikeouts (54), ERA (1.79), and WHIP (0.85). The Feisty Fish will enter 2008 with a solid core of starting pitching that includes Pedro Martinez (.50), John Maine (.50), Cole Hamels (1.75), Josh Beckett (1.00), and likely franchisee Scot Kazmir (.25).
The SeaWolves started out strong in ’07, as catalogued in these pages, but ended the year with a sea-whimper in 6th place. Did you know? The SeaWolves had a league-high six players knock in at least 100 RBI this year, yet still finished 6th in the RBI category.
The Brawlers had a strong debut in 2007, finishing 10 points out of the cellar in 7th place after struggling to stay out of the basement for most of the year. It’s the best debut for an expansion team since Team 123-4567 finished 7th in 2000. The Brawl cranked a league-leading 37 homers and 124 RBI in the final two weeks and will bring back Ryan Howard (47 HRs, 134 BI) and Miguel Cabrera (34 HRs, 119 BI, .320) next year, along with pitchers Ollie Perez (.25), Ted Lilly (.25), Joe Blanton (.25) and Justin Verlander (.25).
The Dirty Dogs avoided the basement in ’07, which is not easy to do for an expansion squad. The DDs will look to ’08 with returning players Curtis Granderson (.50), Prince Fielder (50 HRs, 119 RBIs, 1.50), Jeff Francis (.25) and Brad Penny (.75).
The Bears went from 2nd last year to last in ’07, their third last place finish in the 10-season history of the franchise. Justin Morneau ($0.50) (31 HRs, 111 RBI) is threatening a holdout if the Bears franchise him in ’08.