HICKSVILLE — Three years removed from their last BEML championship in 2007, and after two straight disappointing fifth place finishes, the franchise currently known as Seymour Gardens at Schwab Park dominated after the All-Star Break to collect their fourth title.
Hicksville takes its championship celebrations very seriously.
The final 2010 BEML standings:
Down by 10 points at the midway break, the Gardeners picked up 18 points over the second half of the season and 17 points in the batting categories alone. Free agent pickup Jose Bautista blasted 33 HRs with 72 RBIs over the second half (.266/36/79/6 on the season), and Troy Tulowitski hammered 17 HRs with 50 RBI in just 192 at bats for the Gardens after a late-season trade from the George Kents. Hicksville’s pride picked up eight points in the home runs category alone in the second half by racking up 172 HRs (outpacing the next best team–the Barracudas–by 28).
But the Gardens did it with their arms as well as their bats. In addition to leading the league in HRs and RBI, the four-time champs won the ERA and Saves categories. Adam Wainwright racked up 20 wins with a 2.42 ERA, and Heath Bell (47 saves) and Rafael Soriano (33 saves) posted 80 saves between them with a sub-2.00 ERA. The Gardens ultimately put on a clinic by making key free agent moves and trades (including all eight 2011 protected slots), maxing out the $65 salary cap, and avoiding significant injuries.
The Barracudas finished strong to land in second place. It is their sixth silver medal in their 18 season history (to go with three championships). The Fish led the league in Strikeouts for the second season in a row and also led the league in Runs. Their vaunted pitching staff disappointed (7th in ERA) as aces Zack Greinke (9 wins, 4.22 ERA) and Dan Haren (10 wins, 3.83 ERA) were solid but not as spectacular as was anticipated. Josh Hamilton had a phenomenal comeback season (.359/32/100/8). Hanley Ramirez had a fine season (.300/21/76/32), though some will wonder whether he earned his league-high salary.
Markoski accepts the BEML silver for the sixth time.
The third-place Snowmen matched their best finish for the second year straight, but they hoped for so much more after leading the league for much of the season. The Freeze led the standings in Weeks 7-10 and 12-19, but froze up in the stretch run as other teams secured talent upgrades leading up to the August 15 trade deadline. On the offensive side, the Snowmen used the “Thunder and Lightning” combo of Miguel Cabrera (.329/38/126/3) and Carl Crawford (.307/19/90/47), while Paul Konerko (.314/37/106) and Vernon Wells (.273/31a/88/6) provided cheap power at the salary minimum. A solid trio of arms–Cliff Lee (12 Wins, 3.17 ERA, 185 Ks), Justin Verlander (18 Ws, 3.37 ERA, 219 Ks), and Cole Hamels (12 Wins, 3.06 ERA, 211 Ks)–helped the Snowmen remain competitive throughout the year. But as the walls closed in on the Frost, they failed to make the trades needed to counter the Gardens’ surge. Frost ownership lost its cool, threatened a boycott of the league, and impugned the integrity of the other BEML owners for making trades with the Gardens.
Sucharski found himself frozen out of the championship…
The George Kents cashed it in before the trade deadline but still managed to finish a respectable fourth. The GKs led the league in speed (221 steals) and Wins (106) but did not have a single batter with 500 at-bats or 100 RBI, and just three hitters had 20+ HRs. The Kents’ fire sale landed them 15 protected slots to utilize heading into 2011, and the squad will likely protect pitchers Tommy Hanson, Jonathan Sanchez and Shaun Marcum.
The 2009 defending champion Craydawgs disappointed with a fifth-place finish, their worst since a disastrous 2004 last-place showing, and the first time since then that they have failed to finish in the money. Moreover, the Dawgs are in a pinch going into 2011 having dealt all but one of their protected slots in a quixotic effort to grab the gold this year. Speedster Jacoby Ellsbury was injured on and off the whole year, posting only a .192 average with seven steals. Though BEML 2010 MVP Joey Votto delivered the goods (.324/106/37/113/16), the Dawgs’ other key hitters–Matt Kemp (.249), Aramis Ramirez (.243), Jimmy Rollins (.243/8 HRs), and Carlos Pena (.196)–all faltered. The Dawgs churned through 23 pitchers trying to find the winning formula from ’09, but for naught.
Fifth place is the new First, say the Craydawgs.
After finishing third (’08) and fourth (’09) the past two seasons, the Dirty Dogs took a step back with their canine brethren (the Craydawgs, natch), finishing sixth. The Dogs found solid production from franchise player Evan Longoria (.294/96/22/104/15), but E-Long did not get much support from the rest of the lineup. Ubaldo Jimenez (19 wins, 2.88 ERA, 214 Ks) and Jered Weaver (3.01/233 Ks) went off.
Dirty Dogs Nation is optimistic for 2011.
The 7th place Wolfpack crawled into their den starting in about…April. They never came out. Grady Sizemore took a powder (.211/0 HRs), Nate McLouth went 6-for-50 (.120), Lance Berkman went AWOL (.229/6 HRs), and the high-priced ($4.75) Prince Fielder flirted with mediocrity (.272/24/58 in 412 ABs) before being traded away (along with 12 other Wolves) during the annual July/August BEML trade wars. The Pack maintained a fairly strong pitching staff (#1 in WHIP, #2 in Saves), but it was not nearly enough to make up for a gimpy, anemic, base-clogging (last in steals) offense.
The expansion Project Mayhem acquitted themselves well in their first year, spinning a 3.52 ERA to finish well out of the cellar. Mayhem is poised to move up in 2011 with a dirt cheap ($0.25) starter–David Price (17 Wins, 2.73 ERA)–and catching phenom Buster Posey (.305/18/67).
The last place Bears struck gold with 3B Adrian Beltre (.321/28/102) and 2010 BEML Maddux Award winner Roy Halladay (21 Wins, 2.44 ERA between the Bears, Kents and Cudas), but otherwise struggled all around, finishing last in both BA (.267) and ERA (3.89). It was their fourth last place finish. The ursines from North Woodmere, Long Island will return for their 14th season in 2011 with 13 protected slots and a desire–nay, a hunger–for revenge.
Rumor has it the floundering Bears will consult with proven champion Bear Kelly Leak in 2011.