HIGHLAND PARK — October 1, 2013 — The Craydawgs, New Jersey’s favorite mutts, have fended off their archrivals the Barracudas for their eighth BEML title and their first championship in four years.
As chronicled on the BEMLBlog this year, the Dawgs were fueled in the first half of the season by Chris Davis (.286/53/138 on the season, 27 HRs in 285 ABs, .315 for the Dawgs) and Carlos Gomez (.284/24/73/40 on the season; .288/18/55/30 for the Dawgs) before the Pups traded them off for Justin Verlander, David Wright and Joey Votto. Despite losing their best player Ryan Braun to a doping scandal, the Dawgs got ample support at the plate from Evan Longoria (.269/32/88), Alex Rios (.278/18/81/42) and Matt Holliday (.300/22/94/6).
On the mound, the Crayhounds rifled through 23 pitchers led by a dominant year from Max Scherzer (21 Wins, 240 Ks, 2.90/0.97). Chris Sale (11 Wins, 226 Ks, 3.07/1.07), David Price (9 Wins, 147 Ks, 3.39/1.11) and Anibal Sanchez (12 Wins, 163 Ks, 2.68/1.14 for the Dawgs before trade) rounded out the saltiest rotation the Dawgs have featured since the ’09 championship.
After finishing second in 2011 and 2012 to the Barracudas and Snowmen, respectively, the Dawgs finished first in Runs (1127), RBI (1139) and Wins (106) to help salve the bitter psychic wounds of those prior defeats.
The Dawgs pulled out all the stops to secure precious victory, doling out most of their protected slots for 2014 and jettisoning top talent in Davis, Gomez, Sanchez, David Robertson and Shelby Miller in their quest. And why not? Vexilla in aeternum volant (“flags fly forever”).
For the Barracudas, who lost by the narrow margin of two points (67-65), Clayton Kershaw’s Maddux Award-winning, contract-year campaign (16 Wins, 232 Ks, 1.83/0.92) went for naught. Similarly, Paul Goldschmidt’s epic season at the dish (.302/36/125/15) and Edwin Encarnacion’s power-mad homer binge (.272/36/104/7) are lost to history, doomed by staggering injuries to Matt Kemp, Brett Lawrie, Jose Reyes and Andrew Bailey. The pitching-rich Fish led the league with a 3.17 ERA, a league record 1,474 strikeouts, and a 1.16 WHIP, but were hamstrung by an early inability to find closers and ended up with just two points in that category. Nevertheless, the Fish will return to contend in 2014 with the formidable Goldschmidt and Encarnacion in the infield, together with speed merchant Jacoby Ellsbury and flamethrower Kenley Jansen.
The defending champion Snowmen secured their fourth third-place finish in the past five years but never really sniffed a repeat title despite leading the league in HRs (299) and BA (.284). Mike Trout (.323/27/97/33), Carlos Gonzalez (.302/26/70/21 in just 391 ABs) and Adrian Beltre (.315/30/92) were forces at the plate, while Craig Kimbrel (50 saves, 1.21/0.88) put up vintage Eckersley numbers. Unfortunately, the high-priced Josh Hamilton fell off the
wagon map (.255/19/69), and the Snowmen once again stubbornly refused to play the trade game, perhaps shooting themselves in the proverbial snowfeet. The Snowmen will not return in 2014, so third place should be up for grabs.
The George Kents finished a respectable fourth in 2013, though their season was colored by management’s puzzling protest of the fact that Dirty Dogs decided–in June, too early for the Kents’ liking–to pack it in and build a roster for 2014. Though it is acknowledged by the BEML that the Kents have been treated completely unjustly throughout the years, the Kents managed to field a decent team in Andrew McCutchen (.317/21/84/27), Prince Fielder (.277/25/106/1), Mat Latos (14 Wins, 187 Ks, 3.16/1.21) and Mike Minor (13 Wins, 181 Ks, 3.21/1.09). Like the Snowmen, the Kents will leave the BEML in 2014.
The fifth-place Grove St. Villagers made a formidable showing in their first year, and even flirted with first place and a league-record ERA title during the early part of the season before things came undone. The Villagers employed 33 hitters and 19 pitchers, with only four players accumulating 500+ ABs, and only one with double digit victories (Hiroki Kuroda, 11). Did they tinker too much? That’s the question heading into 2014. Grove St. made a number of trades, even acquiring the eventual Bonds MVP Award winner Miguel Cabrera (.347/44/136/3), but it was not enough to compete in their first year. It takes a village to win the BEML crown, and in 2014 this village will include a core of Greg Holland (22 saves, 1.66/0.89), Homer Bailey, Addison Reed (38 saves, 3.67/1.09) and Anibal Sanchez (14 Wins, 202 Ks, 2.57/1.15).
Dirty Dogs came in sixth place in a calculated move to make things happen in 2014. Dirty Dirty struck deals to acquire Chris Davis, Carlos Gomez, David Robertson, Matt Moore, Zack Wheeler and others, and racked up 14 protected roster slots heading into ’14. The Dirties were filthy on the basepaths, leading the BEML in steals (212) with three players with over 30 steals: Elvis Andrus, Starling Marte and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Cause Mickey Loves Ya got knocked out. Seventh place. CMLY vied for the HR title (297) but could not balance out the power with strong enough pitching.
Arsenal missed the draft but did their best to roster some cheap players for ’14, picking up Jean Segura (.294/12/49/44), Michael Cuddyer (.335/13/56/8) and Bobby Parnell, among others. While the last place finish was not unexpected under the circumstances, it was the third such finish in a row for the storied BEML franchise of many monikers.