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Tidying up a few loose ends

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Today: So long, and thanks for all the hits...

Heroes and Zeroes
Series 51: vs Padres, at home

Luis Gonzalez
Craig Counsell
Miguel Batista

I trust that the heroes this series do not require any explanation. Batista is the only one who might be back next year, but the farewell sendoff he got on Sunday suggests the organization is not optimistic. He'll likely get longer, better offers from elsewhere, given the pitching market again looks to be shovelling wads of cash at anyone with a pulse, and whose count of marginally-functioning limbs is two or more. Three lynchpins of a World Series winning team leaving in one year? Part of me looks at that and wonders, will we ever win again?

Which, of course, makes the rest of me snort derisively, and reach for the rolled-up newspaper in order to deliver a good swatting to said part. Because I'm not sure I've ever ended a season, looking forward so much to the start of the next one. It's quite likely that seven of our Opening Day line-up will have made their major-league debut as Arizona Diamondbacks, and the average age of those nine players will be just 26, with Byrnes the "grand-daddy" of the side at 31. This is a home-grown team which could be together for a very long time - and I don't think it will take long before the crowds have new heroes to cheer and adore.

Batista and Webb both allowed seven earned runs on eight hits and two walks, in four innings or less. Normally, that would be fairly Zero-riffic, but I'm skipping the Zeroes for this series: it would be too much like assigning homework on the last day of school. ;-) You dodged a bullet there, Miggy, and Eric Byrnes (2-for-16) is probably also heaving a sigh of relief too...

AZ SnakePit Fantasy Baseball: Week 25
Final Round Results

Championship Tournament

BBTNG 6, Fighting Amish 4
Congratulation to BBTNG, and their manager William K, for their victory in the AZ SnakePit Fantasy Baseball Championship of 2006. In a phenomenally exciting climax to the season, the crucial category was batting average - and though both teams had splendid results, BBTNG prevailed by .001, .329 to .328. That point was sufficient to give them the title. However, many of the categories were incredibly tight: BBTNG only won ERA by .04, while Amish prevailed by a single run and one strikeout.

It is therefore fitting that the Man of the Match goes to Iba?ez, whose .404 average was crucial to BBTNG's success. However, six players batted .316 or better for them. Utley led Amish's offense, with 12 runs, 12 RBI, two stolen bases and matched Iba?ez in hitting above .400. Their "what if?" will center on Beltran, who batted .227 with just two RBI in the final two weeks. Rollins had 13 runs for them, while Hunter and Pujols drove in fourteen each for BBTNG.

If the hitting was impressive, the pitching was less so, with only five wins combined, and neither team posting an ERA better than 4.50. Bonderman picked up both Amish's wins, but couldn't get a crucial third on the last day of the season. Rodriguez had five saves and 12 K's, while Hill had 17 K's, both for Amish. For BBTNG, it was a collective effort: their three wins came from three different players, and they had six pitchers with eight or more K's, but Zito's 11 was their top figure.
Man of the Match: Iba?ez (BBTNG) - 14 R, 6 HR, 13 RBI, .404

JByrnesIsMyHomie 7, AZ SnakePit 3
Byrnes finished third, and are left to speculate on what might have been, save for a single sub-standard week. They dominated hitting, scoring 84 runs and 82 RBI. Beyond Holliday, Atkins scored 15 and drove in 16, and Drew added 14 RBIs. Ortiz had five homers for AZ, while Byrnes drove in 10 and had four stolen bases. Again, not a contest that will be remembered for great pitching: Byrnes' 4.61 ERA was enough to take that. They had three wins and 18 K's from Smoltz, while Burnett added 23 K's. Williams had three wins for AZ.
Man of the Match: Holliday (Byrnes) - 19 R, 6 HR, 19 RBI

Consolation Tournament

DFA'ders 6, ?Chalino Sanchez! 3
DFA'ders took seventh place, winning the consolation tournament with a well-balanced performance which saw them win three hitting and three pitching catagories. Cameron drove sixteen runs in for them, a total matched by Ramirez for Chalino, who also got 14, and six home-runs, from Teixeira. Sanchez (DFA) and Peavy (Chalino) won two games apiece, while Saito's five saves for DFA were enough to give them that category. Peavy also led all pitchers here with 23 K's.
Man of the Match: Berkman (DFA) - 14 R, 4 HR, 14 RBI, .360

BigLebowski 5, Random Fandom 3
Big Lebowski finished ninth with this victory, which came as a result of narrow wins in HR (17-15) and RBI (57-53); the two sides returned a trio of saves each, and had exactly the same ERA, a very respectable 3.15. This was a more defensive matchup than the others this round, with only one player on either team having more than ten runs or RBIs over the two-week period. Santana had two wins for Big, and an ERA of 0.60; Lackey matched the wins for Random, and struck out 16. Myers (Random) had 24 K's, while Clemens had 19 for Big.
Man of the Match: Hall (Big) - 14 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI, .395

Final Standings

  1. BBTNG
  2. The Fighting Amish
  3. JByrnesIsMyHomie
  4. AZ SnakePit
  5. GregSchulteOverdrive
  6. The Loose Seals
  7. DFA'ders
  8. ?Chalino Sanchez!
  9. BigLebowski
  10. Random Fandom
  11. Uk Dbacks
  12. 7-2 Offsuiters
  13. KarateMonkeyDeathCar
  14. Browncoats

Thanks to all those who took part; I hope it was as much fun for you as it was for me. We'll run something similar next season, with entries being accepted from around the start of Spring Training. I'll poll entrants before the draft as to whether to keep the head-to-head format, or move to straight rotisserie.