The Northern States League

Newsletter #450- January 31st, 2016

 

MUNCIE SLIDES IN TO SCHMIDT WILD CARD WHILE GLENVILLE HOLDS OFF KALAMAZOO TO WIN THE RICE.  LONGSTOWN HANGS ON TO FINISH OFF MAGIC CITY BY 4 GAMES IN THE MURPHY.  PLAYOFFS ARE WELL UNDERWAY.  DRAFT LOTTERY TAKES PLACE & MAGIC CITY PULLS #1 PICK.   ALL LEAGE BALLOT POSTED AND READY FOR YOU!

 

Dear Members,

 

It’s always and exiting time as we wind down one season and plunge right in to the next.  The season is complete, the playoffs are set (and even 2 series completed), and the web site is up to date with stats and other updated charts and information.  At the same time, we’ve plunged in to 2016 with the lottery from yesterday and hopefully very soon the opening of trading.  But for right now, first let’s concentrate on 2015.

 

Series #20 results:

VT 3 at NE 1, NE 2 at VT 2                                       Lon 1 at MC 3, MC 2 at Lon 2

NY 2 at Cle 2, Cle 3 at NY 1                                     GM 2 at GB 2, GB 2 at GM 2           

Cre 2 at Key 2, Key 1 at Cre 3                                   NH 2 at Gle 2, Gle 2 at NH 2

Fra 1 at Kal 3, Kal 2 at Fra 2                                      Yk 3 at EY 1, EY 1 at Yk 3

Coa 2 at IN 2, IN 3 at Coa 1                                      SL 4 at Mar 0, Mar 2 at SL 2

Dun 3 at Cro 1, Cro 2 at Dun 3 (1 makeup)               Alb 3 at Mub 1, Mun 2 at Alb 2

 

Series #21 results:

NE 0 at GM 4, GM 3 at NE 1                                                MC 3 at Cro 1, Cro 0 at MC 4

Key 3 at Yk 1, Yk 3 at Key 1                                     Alb 1 at Coa 3, Coa 1 at Alb 3

Lon 2 at Dun 2, Dun 2 at Lon 2                                 Cre 3 at EY 1, EY 0 at Cre 4

Mar 2 at NY 2, NY 2 at Mar 2                                   Cle 2 at SL 2, SL 4 at Cle 0

Fra 1 at NH 3, NH 0 at Fra 4                                      Mun 2 at IN 2, IN 2 at Mun 2

Kal 3 at Gle 1, Gle 1 at Kal 3                                     GM 3 at VT 1, VT 2 at GB 2

 

Makeup:

GM 0 at Alb 1

 

Four of our division races were over before January began, but the two wild cards, the Murphy, and the Rice were still competitive down the stretch.  We’ll highlight those, and then the playoff match ups.

 

Glenville hung on to win the Rice in yet another tight battle to the wire.  They split with New Hudson, then dropped 6 of 8 to Kalamazoo to make it tight, but the ‘zoo could manage just 5 of 8 vs Frankfort and were really on the outside looking in anyway.  The challenge came or sort of came, from New Hudson- a team that had been on the skids until winter began, but the 8 game split in series #20 with Glenville ended their hopes and a flat sweep at Frankfort dashed any thoughts.  Frankfort played competitively in the month and that big sweep against New Hudson was large, and the club finished just a game back of the Nutjobs.

 

The Murphy was as it was since day one- Longstown ahead with Magic City close on their tails.  The City won the series #20 match up with a 5-3 dusting of the P’s, then the Maulers blitzed Crosstown 7-1 to keep alive.  But a split with Duneland was enough for Becker and the Longstown club won the division by just 4 games. 

 

The Schmidt wild card came down to the final weekend.  Muncie and Vermont were the battle contestants and the Black Wolf dropped 5 to Albany then split with Indiana.  Thinking it wouldn’t be enough- Bob started to prep for the drafts.  But Vermont ran in to a surprise, going just .500 for the month and watching Muncie take the wild card by 2 games. 

 

The Cooper wild card wasn’t as close, but was still competitive at the end.  Keystone won 98 times and grabbed the wild card by 6 over the defending champion Maulers.  A 3-5 with Creekside and split with everyone’s hero was more than enough despite a strong MC finish. 

 

So, as many of you already know, several playoff series have begun, and indeed, ended.

 

We’ll start in the Schmidt.  The wild card Muncie Black Wolf were paired with the Carter champion Green mountain Canucks.  The two clubs had split their season series 4-4 in Series #7, yet Burnie’s boys slapped Muncie silly and prevailed 4 games to none.  I have not seen the write up on the web page yet, but I’m sure it will be there shortly.  The other match is with Albany (113 wins) against Glenville (84 wins).  These two teams also met in series #7 with Albany winning 5 of the 8 tilts.  At press time, Glenville was up 2 games to none after taking the first two at Albany (which had been 58-23 at home this year).  There is still much more to that story in the future days- stay tuned to the web page.

 

In the Cooper, wild card Keystone had to battle Longstown, yet in this rare case, the wild card had a better record and had the home field advantage.  These two teams split their 8 games in series #6.  After splitting the first two in Keystone, the games went to the computer and Denny swept JB, to win the series 4 games to 1.  The excitement continues for Longstown as they prep for the winner of Creekside and Sparrow Lake.  In the regular season battle between these two teams, Creekside won 6 of the 8 games.  Mark and Scoop have been playing a battle for the ages, and today it is tied at 3 games each, with game #7 to be played at Creekside tomorrow night. 

 

Write ups will be on the web page for each series and should be updated just as quickly as possible after the series are over.

 

The season final stats are on the way to the web site and the usual leader boards will also be presented.  We’ll have a blank All League ballot for you to use, or simply e-mail your All League selections here to the league office.  As we are all aware, we are roughly 2 weeks behind optimal NSL time, but we should hope that there will be no issues getting these in on time.  As always, the “standings” page on the web site will be updated as often as needed and a column for whether or not I’ve received your ballot will be right there.  Obviously for time issues, the quicker you can get in it would be the best for me.

 

In addition to the team stats on the individual team pages, you’ll find the team rankings and individual leader pages.  These might be a day or two until seen as I’ve filled up Bob’s mailbox pretty well over the last 24 hours.  I added a column for unearned runs allowed (on the pitcher team rankings sheet) which I thought was cool.

 

From the stats, I did notice some alarming trends.  We dropped 4 points in overall batting average (.243-.239) from last year and runs scored dropped by nearly 1000 runs.  Hits were down 600, yet not as much as runs.  HR were down nearly 14% (4100-3525) and walks were down 400 (11588-11176).  Of course that would mean ERAs are down (3.81 to 3.61) and shutouts were up to an all-time high of 310 (288 last year).  Interestingly, saves were down by just 2 (954-952).

 

In an off year such as this past one, we still broke an awful lot of NSL records, some of them very old.  Here are the changes to the Record Book- which will also be on the web page shortly:

   

--- 1496.1 IP new record (NE) breaks old GM record of 1494.1 (1985)

--- 1460 offensive Ks (NH) breaks the old record of 1442 by Lon (2013)

--- 25 Shutouts (Alb) breaks the record of 22 held by 2 teams (2014)

--- 2.65 team ERA (Alb) breaks the 2.75 mark of GB (1990)

--- 67 team saves (Cre and Key) breaks the record of 66 by South Amherst (1990)

 

Then individual record breakers:

--- B.Hamilton of NE C/S of 33, beats Curtis (NE) record of 30 (1994)

--- Melancon of Cre 63 saves breaks M.Rivera’s mark of 58 (VT0 in 2012

     Interesting to note here that O’Day of Key (59) also broke the record

--- Price of GM 319 strike outs shattered the strike out record of R,Johnson (Yk) 2003

 

So it was a great year for breaking records.  Not a great year for scoring runs.

 

The 37 year manager W/L records sheet has been sent to Bob for the web page- again it may be a few days before you see it.  Denny still leads Mick (.567-.543).  Interestingly, and with little fanfare, 2 more league members won their 3000th game- Si now has 3076 and Burnie checks in with 3023.  They join Al with his 3136 victories.  Congratulations guys!  Dave and I are in line to perhaps get to 3000 next year- yes, Dave has one less year in the league than I….

 

This certainly leads you to know and believe that I am far and away ahead in the all- important battle for most losses, as a 104 loss campaign for the Breeze in 2016 would give me the magical 3000- the first franchise to lose that many NSL games. 

 

So with the playoffs cooking along to polish off 2015, let’s plunge in to 2016!

 

As you are all aware, the draft lottery occurred yesterday.  We still have 2 franchises without dues being paid for 2016, but in the interest of time, both guys committed to me that their checks were in the mail.  That’s fine- we have to move along.  But the best part is that all 24 league members for 2015 have committed to 2016 and we look forward to continued and further development of friendships.

 

Cross and Bob Jones aided me yesterday as we picked the 6 lucky franchises.  The lottery was for all the clubs which did not get in to the playoffs, and we put the 16 teams in a hat.  I guess in this case it was a large pot.  Crossie drew the first team- and it was Magic City.  Yes- the best winning percentage team not in the playoffs grabbed the best pick.  But ha-ha on Bryan, he gets the #16 FA pick!  Ha-ha on me, Bryan already traded it last year.  Jones then pulled Cleveland, and I pulled Coastal (3rd pick).  Cross grabbed Vermont at #4, then Jones got East York at 5, and I ended the lottery by taking Frankfort for 6th.  Then we assured that all teams were accounted for with their name in the pot and declared it official.  The rest of the non-playoff clubs were then ranked by winning percentage and tie breakers, leading to this: 7th pick) NE, 8) Cro, 9) Mar, 10) Dun, 11) IN, 12) NY, 13) GB, 14) NH, 15) Kal, 16) Yk.  Si was happy with the #1 FA pick.

 

We’ll put the playoff teams in order as the playoffs continue.  You’ll be able to find the drafting order on the “draft changes” sheet that will be on the web page if it isn’t already- and this also has the changes from last year to the 2016 and 2017 FA draft.  The 2018 FA draft pick trading opens after the drafts this year. 

 

Trading is NOT open yet, but may well be before you even read this.  You will be notified by e-mail as soon as it is.  Trades must be reported here by both trading partners and will be on the trade sheet on the web page in yellow highlight for 3 days, allowing time for anyone to protest a trade to me.  There would be no reason to report a 2nd trade involving the same player until the first one is cleared.  Of course, the two clubs with dues outstanding better not be making a trade yet!

 

In to 2016 we’ll likely have some division changes.  I have not decided yet but will announce the changes as soon as I do and communicate with everyone so affected.   The schedule will shift back to 9 months instead of the 10 we used this year, ending in December around Christmas which is not ideal, but since it seems virtually impossible to change the winter meetings dates going forward, we’ll revert to the “old” way.  The schedule format will remain the same, and at this point t is not known which 2 months will be used for the “extra” series.

 

The beach house has been rented for the entire week of the meetings.  Feel free to come down or over early should you like and enjoy the area.  Today was 71 with just a few clouds.  When you’re here- it will be 40 with rain all the time.  As usual, the league will pick up a portion of the beach house rental, with roughly $20,000 out of you guys’ pockets who stay there.  Roughly that is.

 

So time frame wise, as mentioned, we’re almost back on track.  Yes, there will be just 4 weeks of trading before the drafts instead of the usual 6- but I’m assuming you can make a deal in that abbreviated time frame should you so choose.  The only casualty I see is the Hall of Fame ballot, which will likely have to be in mid-spring now.  I have to get the total stats loaded in to the data base, then write the monographs which is quite time consuming.  I guess it’s possible that we’ll be ready for the meetings, but highly doubtful.  So the class of 2015 might not be elected (if any) until May, with then the class of 2016 back on time for induction at the winter meetings of 2017. 

 

I will repeat one more time that trading IS NOT open, yet it will be just as soon as I can.  No- I am not trying to curb trading, but I do have to await one thing before we can press on in to 2016.  You will get an e-mail just as soon as we’re ready to trade.

 

That’s all I have for now.  Watch the web page for the playoff proceedings as well as constant updates to the trades (when opened) and the draft changes.   I hope everyone is well and we’ll talk soon!

 

                                                                        Best Wishes,

 

 

 

                                                                        Rich