EAST MEADOW–The 2014 BEML All-Stars have been announced by the BEML Writers’ Association.
First, the batters:
…and the pitchers:
At the midway point (13 weeks), the BEML is a logjam at the top; an unprecedented five teams sit within two points of the lead:
Mayhem dropped 2.5 points and out of first on a horrible pitching performance in Week 13 (5.21 ERA); Scott Kazmir (21.00 ERA), C.J. Wilson (10.39 ERA) and Sonny Gray (9.00 ERA) all got lit up… Team Phil Chu and the Barracudas remained deadlocked and are now tied for first…
The Craydawgs catapulted three points in BA by hitting .332 for the week; Adrian Beltre (.332/9/42/1) hit .600 (12-for-20), and streaky Jay Bruce (.393 in Week 13) might be finally warming up… Dirty Dogs led the league in RBI (60) as Ian Kinsler (.307/10/42/8) hit .478 with 2 HR and 7 BI… Team Dave clawed out of last place with a dominant 1.54 ERA/0.82 WHIP performance in Week 13, led by Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter… Did you know? Jose Altuve is hitting an incredible .510 (26-for-51) with 12 steals since being acquired from the Villagers; Altuve had 10 steals in Week 13 alone.
EAST MEADOW – The BEML said a sad goodbye this week to one of the BEML’s all-time greatest hitters, Tony Gwynn. Gwynn passed away while surrounded by family and by the owners of several BEML teams, including Legion of Doom and the Craydawgs, with whom he spent the bulk of his BEML career (1993-2001).
Craydawgs’ ownership would not confirm the rumor that Gwynn’s last words were to the Craydawgs’ owner and involved a plea to “win it for Gwynnie.”
Gwynn spent several years toiling in Major League Baseball before joining the BEML for its inaugural 1993 season. He quickly established himself as the league’s dominant hitter for average and featured prominently in the 1994 championship run by Team Bill (Legion of Doom), hitting for an all-time BEML record .394 batting average that year. After spending the formative years of his BEML career with Legion of Doom, Gwynn was traded during the 1996 season to the Craydawgs. Gwynn stayed with the Dawgs through the 1998 season, and enjoyed his finest year in ’97, hitting .372 with 17 homers, 119 RBI and 12 steals. Gwynn’s production tapered off after ’99, and he spent his final year (2001) riding the pine for the Craydawgs.
Gwynn led the BEML in hitting in ’94, ’95 and ’97 and will likely forever hold the BEML career batting average record – an incredible .359 over 3,277 career at-bats.
At Gwynn’s request, his cremated remains will be spread around the home plates of every BEML ballpark this week in special memorial ceremonies.
FARMINGDALE–The Barracudas beat first place Team Phil Chu’s waiver claim on rookie Gregory Polanco this week, and it paid off handsomely last night. Polanco went 5-for-7 in his debut performance, with a home run and two RBI. The Cudas will need the rookie’s help to rise to the top of what has become a very tight race in the BEML. Five teams are separated by just seven points here in Week 11:
The Week 8 results:
…and the overall standings through eight weeks:
Team Phil Chu continues to get it done and is well en route to a wire-to-wire smackdown of the BEML, though Mayhem, the Barracudas and Craydawgs continue to seek a path to the top. The key to Chu’s success to date has been the pitching, where they lead the league in ERA, WHIP and Ks. King Felix has been his reliable self (6 Wins, 2.60 ERA) but Jeff Samardzija has surprised with a 1.45 ERA. Justin Upton (.291/13/30/4) has led the Chu offense. May free agent pickup Devin Mesoraco has hit just 2-for-23 in his first action for TPC.
Mayhem remains just two points back and leads the league in HR, RBI, Runs and BA. However, in Week 8, Mayhem pitching led the way with a 1.66 ERA despite only 22 Ks in 43 innings. Jered Weaver picked up a complete game victory in Week 8, but Sonny Gray has been the story so far with a 1.74 ERA on the year.
The Barracudas were the big gainers (5.5 points) and now sit just four points back. Edwin Encarnacion (.254/14/40/2) surged in Week 8 with five homers and nine RBI. May free agent acquisition Charlie Blackmon went 1-for-13 and has hit .253/4/15/2 for the Fish this month. The Fish just picked up closers Sergio Romo (via trade from the Dirty Dogs for Stephen Strasburg) and Sean Doolittle (free agent pickup via trade from the DDs) to bolster the back of the ‘pen. Julio Teheran dominated over 15 scoreless innings in Week 8 and carries a 1.77 ERA for the season. The Fish stole no bases in Week 8.
The Craydawgs led the league in BA (.343) but trailed in HRs (8) in Week 8. The Dawgs have to hope Adrian Beltre (12-for-23, 2 HR, 6 BI this week) and Ian Desmond (.320/2/4/2) are finally heating up. Adam Wainwright ripped off 17 scoreless innings with 21 Ks for two wins this week. He now has eight wins and a 1.67 ERA on the year.
Don’t count the Dirty Dogs out. The Filthy Ones led the BEML in HRs (14) and Steals (11) over the past week. Nelson Cruz did some damage (.500/3/6) and Carlos Gomez is looking like he might go 30/30 (.320/10/26/9). With Aroldis Chapman back from the DL, the Dogs parlayed their abundance of closers to attain ace Strasburg from the Fish.
Team Dave tumbled 8.5 points in Week 8 despite leading the league in Wins (6) and Ks (70). The wins and Ks came at the expense of some ugly innings as TD posted a league-worst 4.71 ERA. The erratic Francisco Liriano gave up 10 ER over 10 IP. Big Papi went 1-for-21 but David Wright (12-for-25) and Yasiel Puig (12-for-23) showed signs of life.
Despite Team Dave’s troubles in Week 8, Grove St. Villagers could not take full advantage, dropping two points in the standings. GSV racked up a league-leading 57 runs this week with a .307 BA, but were hobbled by the struggles of Justin Verlander (8.73 ERA over 11.3 IP in Week 8).
HOLBROOK — First-place Team Phil Chu just got back 2013 Maddux Award winner Clayton Kershaw, only to learn that young ace Jose Fernandez’s season is over due to elbow problems. “It’s shredded,” was the official diagnosis from the Chu’s medical staff.
Team Phil Chu leads the BEML with 50 points and has looked great so far, even with injuries to Michael Cuddyer and Josh Hamilton. Will the Fernandez injury break the Chu’s back? BEMLBlog will keep you updated.
Meanwhile, Mayhem is duking it out for first, five points back. With power to spare, they recently dealt slugger Big Papi Ortiz (.303/11/25) and Francisco Liriano (0 Wins, 41 Ks in 40 IP, 3.60/1.23) to Team Dave (6th place, 16 points back) for Carl Crawford (4-for-18, 0/1/1) and Scott Kazmir (5 Wins, 42 Ks in 51 IP, 2.28/0.97). Team Dave continues to have the least original name since 1993’s Team Bill.
BEML XXII is underway and Team Phil Chu is off to a strong start, with a league-leading 2.57 ERA, 12 wins, and 1.04 WHIP. Justin Upton has hit .375 with four HRs and King Felix has 30 Ks and three wins in 21 IP. All this with ace (and 2013 Maddux Award winner) Clayton Kershaw still on the mend.
Mayhem took a couple years off to strategize for 2014, and their efforts have paid off so far. The team leads in BA (.286), HRs (30), runs (111), RBI (97) and Ks (176) through two weeks. Giancarlo Stanton (.291/4/16/2) and Freddie Freeman (.442/4/10) have dominated BEML pitching, while Sonny Gray has shut it down (0.94 ERA, 19 Ks in 19 IP, 2 wins).
AROUND THE LEAGUE: The third-place Craydawgs have been led by Adrian Gonzalez (.377/5/14/1) and Chase Utley (.500/3/10)… Dirty Dogs figure to be in contention this year and are sitting in fourth place; they pulled off a Week 1 trade with Mayhem to acquire Bryce Harper for closer Grant Balfour… the BEMLBlog is picking the fifth-place Barracudas to vie for a fifth title in 2014, but a 4.09 ERA and .243 BA are holding them back so far… There’s been a power outage on Grove St., as the Villagers have just 14 HRs through the first two weeks… New addition Team Dave has also had an anemic beginning, with a .241 BA and just 60 RBI…
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.
The BEML All-Time Stats and Records have been updated through the 2013 season:
HIGHLAND PARK–Led by Maddux Award candidate Max Scherzer’s 10 Ks last night (21 Ws, 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 240 Ks), the Craydawgs totaled 22 strikeouts in 17 innings yesterday to take back the lead from the Fish in that category (1445-1439, + 2 points) and help bolster the Dawgs’ overall lead over the second-place Cudas at 4.5 points. Evan Longoria (.266/31/82/1) gave the Dawgs the edge over the Villagers in HRs with two fencemothers (+1/2 point). The Dawgs of Cray also saved three games–Cishek, Benoit, Romo–to pull even with the Kents there (+1/2 point).
Of course, the door still remains plenty open for the Cudas if things break their way, given that the Fish have a little under 30 IP left and the Dawgs have fewer than 20 IP left and are also struggling to maintain their standing in HR, Saves, Average and ERA. In addition, with a power surge in the last few days the Fish can gain two points in HR over the Snowmen and CMLY.
Did you know?: on this date in 2008, the Cudas and Dawgs were tied for the lead (https://bigeastmeadow.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/peavy-wins-dawgs-tie-cudas-for-beml-lead/); as bemoaned on this site ad infinitum, the Cudas went on to win BEML XVI three days later.