Well, we made it! I made it on Weekly and it's all because my fans liked it. This week we have an article entitled, "Expansion...Again???" It will discuss the reasons supporting another expansion. We also have an interview with Frankfurt shortstop, Josh Andrews, and as always, we have some Junk Mail.
I dont think many would disagree if I said that expansion worked pretty well. The expansion teams are playing great-all except Antarctica. The talent level has been leveled off a bit, and things are starting to get more even. There were some bad things that were brought about because of expansions (i.e. Antarctica), but overall there was more good than bad. So, since it worked so well, why not do it again? The league has had some problems recent as far as playing quality is concerned, and I think adding a few more teams would help.
There have been a lot of good things that have resulted from the expansion. The teams have matured and grown into winners much faster than expected, and the talent has been spread out more, thus making everything more even.
South Africa, Caracas, and Seoul all have winning or close to .500 records. They are also all expansion team… No one would have expected this from the expansion teams, but they are among the best teams in the league. South Africa, after a bad start, has redeemed themselves and has a record of 19-26. Not too shabby for a team no one thought would break 20 wins this year. Then you have Caracas. They are leading the Wild West in wins, and they show no sign of slowing down with a record of 31-14. Finally, Seoul has been another of the surprises this year, going 31-14 in the first 45 games, which is good enough to land them a tie for the second playoff spot in the east. Expansion was also good because it spread out the talent.
Once we expanded, the leagues talent was more widely distributed. Expansion stole a lot of good players from the big name teams such as Great Britain, Montreal, Santo Domingo, etc. This is good because now there arent juggernauts in the league that win it every year. Overall, one could say that much like the NFL the combination of expansion and the salary cap have caused a certain amount of parity-much like the NFL. You dont really know whos going to be great next year or the year after that, because anything can happen. However, I think the talent level can still be distributed even more, which I will explain more about later in the article. Also, it would be unfair for me not to list the bad things about expansion, so Ill list them so you can formulate your own opinions.
Yes, there are SOME bad things about expansion. I suppose the biggest is the God-awful Antarctica Chill. Then, there is the fact that because of expansion, a lot of teams lost guys whom either owned or wanted to see what an expansion team would be like. Finally, we have only seen how well expansion has worked for a week, and things could change after a season or two.
When anyone utters the words, Antarctica Chill, I shudder. They are so bad…its scary… There hasnt been a team this bad in the recent history of the WBL. They got off to a horrible start, losing their first twenty games in a row! They are dead last in every pitching category except one-walks allowed. Jason Rhiner has ¾s of the teams total homerun count, and close to half of the teams RBI, which is great and shows Rhiners skill, but it also shows his teams horridness. This is one of the few negative results of expansion; another is big teams losing guys to the expansion teams.
For the most part, many of the teams in the league lost some great teammates to expansion teams, whether it be because they were GMs/Co-GMs or players who wanted to build a team from the ground up. Therefore, some teams will tell you its a bad thing, but overall it is probably the best thing for the league. Players should be moved around to spread out the talent more evenly. There is one worse thing concerning expansion: only time will tell if it really is good.
We can never truly be sure that expansion has worked until its been in place for a few more years. Even though it looks like its a great thing now, it MAY turn out to be a bad thing in the future. In any situation in life, you can never truly be sure of something until time has told you if your assumptions are true or not. Take the 2003 Kansas City Royal of the MLB for example. No one believed that they would have a record over .500 at the onset of the season, but after some time passed, it became clear that they were a good team. In the end, though, I firmly believe that expansion was a good idea, and that the good outweighs the bad.
Ok, ok, so Antarctica has sucked. Oh well, there are three teams who have played pretty well, two of which have a great shot at making the playoffs. Many teams have lost some of their key players, but this has spread out the talent level. And yes, its still early, but the standings now are very evened out, and its very likely that they will stay that way.
Antarctica has been horrible; this is true. But, I believe the success of the other three expansion teams-South Africa, Caracas, and Seoul-far outweighs the inferiority of the Chill. We now have three teams that have been added to the league that can play with the big boys and that can compete for a playoff spot. You arent just handed the second playoff spot in the East anymore, now you have to earn it by going through Seoul, and even Frankfurt is putting up some fight in the East. Lets take a look at some of the other bad things and how the good outweighs it.
Some teams are losing a lot of their free agents to the expansion teams, and this is bad. Some of the players (and a lot of owners) are saying that the expansion is bad because it steals players from them, whether it is because they are GMs or they just want to start anew on a brand new team. However, I believe that this is good, because it spreads the talent of the league out more, thus making things fairer and giving the league a certain amount of parity. Now, more teams are competing and the league is more fun for everyone-everyone except players on Dublin, Antarctica, and Iceland…
As I stated before, many say that it is still early and a lot can happen. I listen to them and then I take a look at the standings in the league and the amount of talent on the expansion teams, and I cant help but think that they are wrong and that expansion will end up being a great idea. Take Caracas as an example, they are pretty stacked. The Guzmans head one of the better offenses in the WBL, and Kyle Smith has been lights out as far as pitching goes. They also have studs like Smitty Springfield, Manny Martinez, and Tsao. Not only do they have great veterans, but they have some very solid prospects in Dan Wade and Da Bomb as well. So clearly, it can be seen that this team is going to be good, no matter how long you give them, because they have the talent, and its not just luck. So, you can see that expansion has been great, and that the good does, indeed, outweigh the bad, so wouldnt it be a good idea to expand even more?
So, youve heard the good, youve heard the bad, and youve heard that there is more good than bad. Therefore, why shouldnt we expand again? The talent level in the league is very high, and many teams have more superstars than what should be realistically expected. Adding more teams would also allow us to expand the playoffs format. Clearly, there are enough guys to expand again. In addition, there are some other options to spread out the talent more, but expanding again seems to be the paragon route.
The league has way too many good players. In the videogame, there arent guys even close to our level of play. A guy with a 60 rating in strikeouts in OOTP5 will strike out every batter he faces if everyone else is set to the default value. And teams nowadays have two or more pitchers like this. Then the hitting is insane as well. If you put a guy with a 64 rating in homeruns vs. the default players of OOTP5, he would hit a homerun almost every time he got a hit. Therefore, you can see that the players in this league are way better than what they should be, and the game is being put to an extreme. Adding more teams would help even this out and in turn players stats would get better because they would be spread out and not facing great pitchers/hitters one after another. Also, look at it this way: the MLB doesnt have as many superstars per team as the WBL does.
Ive done some research. The average number of superstars on a WBL team is 7.6 per team, and its going to get higher. I considered anyone with fifty or more attribute points to be a superstar, as they would definitely be considered one in the default OOTP5 game with MLB players. Now, I then found an average team in the MLB. I chose the Toronto Blue Jays. I counted how many superstars they have and I came up with 5-Roy Halladay, Josh Phelps, Eric Hinske, Vernon Wells, and Carlos Delgado. So, an average team in the MLB has about 5 great players, and the average team in the WBL has about 8. As you can see, this ratio is off by a great deal, especially considering we need a much smaller pitching staff and overall a smaller roster. Now, you could say, Yea, sure, the average teams dont have that many, but what about teams like the Yankees? I dont think our league should have a team like the Yankees with a great amount of superstars because in the WBL we operate with a cap and a minimum salary requirement. In the MLB it is much different and if there was a cap the Yankees would be well over it. Now, why is more superstars on a team a problem? Its a problem because its not realistic, and therefore many players who deserve to have better stats dont because everyone is just too good. Also, not only will it spread out the talent, but it would also allow us to expand the playoffs as well.
Everyone wants to have the playoff format expanded, and unless we add a few more teams, this will never be possible. Say we add four more teams to the league. Then we could make four divisions of four teams each, which would allow us to have two playoff spots for each division, and thus half of the league would make the playoffs, just as it was before the expansion. As of now, only four out of 12-or one-third-of the league makes the playoffs. Half of the league should make the playoffs, its only right. Thats pretty much how it is in football (roughly 40% make the playoffs), and guess what, the NFL is the most popular sport in America. Adding more teams to the playoffs would also increase suspense and it would get more people interested in the league because everyone wants to make the playoffs. Between the parity that more expansion would bring and the increase in playoff spots, the WBL would be a rocking league in which almost anyone could win it all! In addition, expansion is feasible because we definitely have enough good players.
There are well over 400 players in the WBL, and more and more are coming with each passing day. So, we definitely have enough guys to expand. You figure each team has to have around 20 players, so subtract 240 (twelve teams multiplied by twenty players on a team) from the 400 and there are still 160 free agents that can be had. There is easily enough here to add another four teams of twenty guys, and even more teams if you wanted, although I do think more than four at this point would be stretching it. Some say that I am wrong because these free agents arent good enough. But the fact of the matter is, they really are! In the default game (when I say default game, I mean if you bought OOTP5 and started a real season), there are tons of guys at this playing level. Not every guy has to be good, only a few per team, and the rest are just decent. And I think that because everyone started out with twenty points, everyone in this league is decent. Remember, not everyone on your team has to be good, all you need is five superstars, just like the MLB! Now, there are some other ways to even out the talent, but I dont think they are as good as expansion, but in an effort to show you every point of view so you can make your own decision, Ill talk about them anyways…
Yea, there are other ways to even out talent. Some suggest that we could change the salary cap. This, they say, would even out talent, and yes, I agree that it would, indeed, even out the talent. That being said, even though it evens out the talent, it still makes it so there are too many good players on one team. And once again, this hurts your attributes, as you have to face great pitchers and batter over and over again throughout the lineup/rotation. Another suggestion has been to change the minimum salary requirements for players (i.e. instead of paying a guy with fifty attribute points five million, you would have to pay them more/less). In theory, this would work. Its similar to the salary cap because it will make some of the better players salary higher, which thus makes them harder to keep because of the cap, which means the talent will be evened out, but once again, even though it will even out the talent, the ratio of superstars to a team will still be off, thus bringing the stats of great players down, thus making the league less fun…
Ok, so what was the point of all this? The point is: expansion has been great. So far, basically nothing but good has come from it. Still, there can be even more good to come from it and we should milk it for all its worth! If we expand again, we can fix the playoff format and more teams would have a chance to win it all. The parity would increase and everyone would have a shot to win it all in any given year. Also, the number of superstars in this league to a team is not correct. It hurts the players with better attributes stats because if you are a pitcher you are forced to face a power packed lineup and if youre a batter you have to face amazing pitchers day after day. Adding more teams would make it so the big guns are spread out more, which means the guys that put more work into the game in order to get their attributes higher will have the stats that they deserve! And who doesnt want to have better stats?
A Few Words With…
Dawgs Take: Ladies and Gentleman, you are in for a treat this week as we talk to Frankfurt Force Shortstop, Josh Andrews! Thanks for giving us some of your time, Josh.
Josh Andrews: No problem. Anything for my main man!
Dawgs Take: Do you think you will make the all-star game, and if you do, how do you think you'll do and how would you feel?
Josh Andrews: I dont want to sound too cocky, but I think I am a lock to make the all-star team this year. I have had a very good season, and I think its only right that I get the spot that I deserve on the team. I might not start, but as I said, I should definitely be on the squad. I think Ill do ok in the all-star game considering I have faced the greats like Max Powers and have gotten quite a few home runs off of them. I would love to go there because I could learn a lot and gain quite a bit of experience from the WBL veterans and legends that will be there with me, players like Jeremy Shirley, Max Powers, and Joe Slugga.
Dawgs Take: What has been the main factor in your drastic improvement?
Josh Andrews: Work, work, and more work (laughs)! But seriously, Ive worked my butt off this last off-season, and you are just now seeing the effects. Im going to continue to try to improve so I can help my team become a winner. I want the city of Frankfurt and the country of Germany to have a winner too, because they have been so good to me. I would also say a major reason I have improved is because of the advice of the veterans on my team. Great players like Tony Kobbs are always giving me tips for batting and what not and its a lot of help.
Dawgs Take: Will Frankfurt make the playoffs this year? If so, why?
Josh Andrews: I think its going to be a very close race, but in the end, yes, Frankfurt will end up with a playoff berth. Our hitting is just great right now with guys like Montgomery, Schultz, Kobbs, and I. We have a lot of power and Ill make sure our great pitching staff headed by Quigly and Southworth has all the run support they need. And trust me, they dont need much because they are such great pitchers. And yes, I know weve been in a slump lately, but I expect that we will bust out of it soon enough.
Dawgs Take: Who is the pitcher you fear most and why?
Josh Andrews: This may be surprising to some people, but the pitcher I most fear is Ernest P. Worrel. He is a guy that doesnt have the best skills in the world, but he is one hell of a pitcher. It seems like he reads me like a book. Hes a really smart, cerebral player. Its hard to describe. Whenever I face him, it seems like he knows what he needs to do to strike me out. Like, he knows all of my weaknesses. I dont know, its weird; all I know is that hes a great pitcher and if he moved to the other division I would be a happy man (laughs).
Dawgs Take: If you had to choose a team MVP, who would it be?
Josh Andrews: This is really a tough question. There are so many great players on our team that make winning possible; its very hard to narrow it down to just one guy. If I had to choose one, though, I guess I would choose Southworth II. He has brought some great leadership to this team and when hes in the locker room giving speeches everyone listens. He is just a winner and he brings a winning attitude with him, which kind of rubs off on everyone else. I like what he has done in helping our team.
Dawgs Take: What MLB team would you compare Frankfurt to?
Josh Andrews: The Anaheim Angels. We are those underdogs who are going to go all the way to the top because we are a team and play good baseball. I guess you could compare me to David Eckstein. I am a hard worker and I will run my butt off for every play. I also think Wesson is comparable to Troy Percival. He is an amazing closer and we would lose a lot more game if it were not for him. Finally, Southworth II is our Jared Washburn. He is the ace of the staff and hell lead us all the way to a World Series.
Dawgs Take: What hitter do you look up to and try to mold your game after?
Josh Andrews: This is another tough question. There are just so many great batters in this league. But, I have to say WBL legend, Joe Slugga. He is one of the premiere power hitters in the game, and if I want to be the best, then I have to play like this guy. He has led the league in homeruns what seems like every season. He has won numerous MVPs and ROY. He, overall, is considered the best hitter in the game. And, like I said, I want to be the best one-day, so if you want to be the best, you got to beat the best!
Dawgs Take: Why is the rivalry between St. Louis and Frankfurt so great? How did it start? Who do you consider your rival on that team?
Josh Andrews: Well the rivalry died. We both sucked at one point, and I guess it started when I got traded. I had some bitter feelings toward the management, but its all good now. My rival on the team would probably be Imagonna. He tried to lure me back in and I resigned with Frankfurt so he got angry and we have hated each other ever since than. Also, I am a rival of shortstop Jerek Deter. We are both great, young shortstops and naturally we are rivals. He being a relative of Imagonna doesnt hurt either, though…
Dawgs Take: Who will win ROY, MVP, and Cy Young in the Wild West?
Josh Andrews: For rookie of the year, I would have to say Corey Whitney. Ive seen game film of this guy, and I must say, he is lights out. He has improved so dramatically since he first came into the league, its really amazing. A NX will win the MVP for sure. He was great last year when he won it, and he is just as good this year. Hes another one of those guys who I try to model my game after. Finally, who else but Jeremy Shirley should win the Cy Young? He is clearly the best pitcher in the league and if you even utter his name he strikes fear into the hearts of batters. Those are my choices, but its not up to me.
Dawgs Take: In the East?
Josh Andrews: Vin Distacio will definitely win the ROY. He will probably be an all-star as a rookie, and he would deserve the ROY. Shawn Baig should be MVP. He has led a solid Seoul team to second place in the division. He has been a major part of their success, and I dont think they could be where they are today without him. My man Southworth II will win the Cy Young. He really deserves it as he has lead us to being a contender.
Dawgs Take: Well, thats it for our interview with Josh Andrews. Thanks a lot, Josh!
Josh Andrews: Not a problem. I love the article. Keep up the good work!
I need a bit of advice for my love life… Yea, I know its a WBL article, but I really need some help and I hear you are great with the ladies! Anyways, theres this girl who I used to like a long time ago, and I told her that I liked her, and I think I came on too strong, which turned her off and hurt our friendship. We slowly became friends again, though, and I got over my crush on her. She moved on with her life, and I moved on with mine. She eventually got a boyfriend, and at first I was happy for her, but I began to see that this guy was bad news. I tried to warn her, but again she took it like I came on too strong. I havent really talked to her recently, and its killing me. I thought that we were pretty good friends, but I just dont know if she feels the same way. Is she ignoring me, or waiting for me to make the first move and call? I dont know what to do, I want to be friends with her again, but I just dont know if she wants that. Please help.
This seems like a very tough situation. I had a similar situation, not with a girl, but with a buddy of mine. We were great friends and for some reason we stopped talking to one another. I was unsure if he wanted to still be friends with me. But, I decided to give him a call just for the hell of it. It turned out that he had thought I was angry with him and he was afraid to call me! So, you see, sometimes its just a simple misunderstanding. Maybe she is too scared to make the first move, so why dont you make it? You might as well give her a call. If she sounds disinterested in what you have to say on the phone or if she doesnt sound like its good to hear from you, then you know where you stand. Worst that can happen is you find out for sure that she doesnt like you. And the best thing that can happen is you get back a great friend! I hope I helped somewhat.
Hey man, hows it going? I love the article, great stuff. My question is a fantasy one. I was offered Ace Hurley for Chris Prior. I was looking and Hurley seems to have better stats. So, is this a good trade, or what?
I would have to say hold on to Chris Prior. Ace has been slowing down lately. In his past two starts he has given up a total of ten runs in twelve innings. On the other hand, Chris Prior just threw a no-no versus Antarctica. Clearly, you can see that Chris Prior is the prize of this trade, so hold on to him!
How do you feel about the expansion teams great start?
I must say, I am pleasantly surprised with almost all of the expansion teams starts. Caracas and Seoul are simply great teams and they have proven that you can win even if its your first year. Antarctica has surprised me too. I didnt realize that a team can play that bad and be that atrocious. South Africa has been somewhere in the middle, and I am impressed that they are as good as they are too. Overall, I like how the teams have panned out. It adds more competition to the league, which makes it more fun.
Want Tidiggity to answer your question? Drop him a line at CleDawgPound86@sbcglobal.net
Well, once again, we have come to the end of another edition of The Dawgs Take. Id like to thank everyone who supported me and thought my article was good enough for Weekly. I wont let you down.