Season Preview/Slade’s Team Run-Down

by Ryan Strain

The 2011 Yellowknife Fastball season is underway – with games starting on June 1. As league president and manager of Slade’s Fire Protection, I am serving two purposes this week. One is to let everyone know about the teams and sponsors of the league and to introduce you to the Slade’s team for the 2011 season.

The league has five teams vying for the title, which will be decided in an August playoff:

Home Building Centre Diamondbacks

The team that won it all last year was the Home Building Centre Diamondbacks. With pitcher Mike Auge having an off year, the Diamondback hitters picked up their game. The feared line drives of Roberto Andrews and the timely hitting of Bryan “Corvette” and the mid-season pickup of singles hitter Bruce Waugh mixed well with their middle defence of Darin Strain at catcher and Andy Penton in centerfield. Home Building Center will weather the storm of pitching issues until the return of Mike Auge in July.

Fed Tile/Fire Prevention Pirates

The 2010 runners-up were the Fed Tile/Fire Prevention Pirates. Led by middle infielder Curtis Gibeau and first baseman Adrian Lizotte, the Pirates survived their way to beat Slade’s in the semi-finals and lost a roller coaster one game final to Home Building Centre. The Pirates got a taste and now want to add to their bounty. Yaaaarrrrrr. Multi-faceted Garrett Hinchey and Andy Williams will be joined by some of Yellowknife’s premiere athletes in Kirk Sangris and Chad Hinchey. With Brad Mueller behind the plate and the young bucks taking their cuts, the Pirates should be ready to make their move.

Sub-Arctic Surveyors

This team always takes a bit of time to get their engines going. This group has moments of quality fielding, hitting and pitching, but putting it all together at the same time has eluded them. Despite the consistency issues dogging the boys, they are still a team to be reckoned with. Marty Graham has carried this team at times and with their best line-up they can compete with anyone. Can they get over the hump that has plagued them? Will they play a meaningful game on a Sunday this year? Time will tell. And by the way has anyone seen Rod Lowen? His stunt double looks like he’s on the Chris Robinson workout plan.

Nexum/Carl’s Carpet Cleaning Red Sox

During the May 28 field day cleanup it appeared that there was also a Northwest Tel Trapper reunion happening simultaneously. I believe I saw a moth fly out of Larry Fischer’s pants. The only absentee was Steve O’Hara chewing spits at first base. The Red Sox are a new team with young players coming from the minor ball ranks and into the men’s league for the first time. They will also have a crew of…older…fellas who are going to experiment with the youth and wisdom combination. Matt Whiteford will play a lot of innings as should Rob Johnson. Carl Bulger has been posted in right field for Sub-Arctic so long he will appreciate the new uniform as his old one is pasted with pigeon ****. This team is a wild card, which means you never know….

Slade’s Fire Protection

Slade’s Fastball has been sponsored by the Slade’s family business since 1998. Going into their 14th season, Slade’s are chomping at the bit to get back to the top of the heap, where they were perched for the majority of 2000 on. After finishing first in the league in 2010, Slade’s lost an epic, two-day-to-play semi final to the eventual runners-up Fed Tile/Fire Prevention Pirates. Entering 2011, the Slade’s team is hungry to prove that 2010 was an anomaly.

Here are your 2011 Slade’s Fire Protection players:

#4: Mike “Roady” Desjarlais – Right-field. I don’t throw the word “panther” around loosely. So when I say Roady is a “panther” in right field, it carries weight.

#5: Mitch Madsen “The Poutine Kid” – Pitcher. Shaking off some rust from last year. Needs to be the ace of the staff.

#6: Dave Colbourne “Yes Bye” – Third Base. The best infield arm in the league.

#7: Kevin Vallilee “Macaulay Culkin” – Shortstop. Looking to build off 2010 hitting streak to go with his improving fielding at shortstop.

#8: Andy Stewart “Chachi Arcola” – Centerfielder. Looks like he’s 25, runs like he’s 40. That noise you hear behind you is Joe Borkovic tying up his cleats…

#9: Ryan Strain “Franch”- Infield/Outfield. Here is a quote from Bruce Waugh, “Perennial MVP.”

#11: Matt Simms “No Cup” – Catcher. Has predicted he may hit a ball into right field this season. I believe a wager has begun.

#16: Joe Borkovic “Borko” – Left/Right field. Joe is building a solid case to put Andy Stewart to pasture; the left -field pasture. Borko is the most talented defensive outfielder in the league.

#18: Ryan Heslep “Hessy” – Outfield/Catcher. Fans have wandered to the field from all over the north to hopefully catch a glimpse of the guy that hit the “home run” a few years back. The story seems to have been meddled in translation, but the new story surfacing is that those who were there say the ball may have not actually gone over the fence?

#44: Mark Whitehead “Whitey” – Infielder/outfielder. Mark is returning from Saskatoon to reclaim his base on balls title.

#85: Greg “YeeeeHaaaawwww” Skauge – Pitcher. From the hills of Saskatchewan comes Greg Skauge, a runner up in the Jeff Foxworthy biggest fan contest. Greg plans on using that anger to fuel his fastball fire this summer.

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