2013 Season Preview (and Pirates’ Obituary)

By Dr. Rug

It is with a heavy heart that I bring news of the passing of the FED Tile/Fire Prevention Pirates fastball club.  The life of this prestigious team was cut short earlier this month after a too brief, but gloriously entertaining time in our league.  The final death blow occurred on May 19th when news that the Traitorous Ryan Thiel had jumped ship to join the egotistical bullies on Slades.  The strain of Thiel’s departure was too much for the struggling squad to absorb and death followed shortly thereafter.

Despite their limited time in this league, the Pirates certainly lived up to their swashbuckling nickname by riding the crests and valleys of the YK fastball ocean like seasoned sailors.  The Pirates exploded onto the fastball scene in 2006 with their bright uniforms and boastful persona and were immediately hated by the rest of the league[1].  Jealousy and envy abounded as the Pirates quickly rose through the ranks culminating with their 2011 Championship.  This wave of excellence continued into the 2012 season where the Pirates burst out of the gates beating everyone in sight and took home the trophy from their own Pirate Invitational Tournament.  However, as every sailor knows, the bigger the crest of the wave, the deeper the valley.  After the quick start to 2012 campaign, the Pirates crashed like the Titanic.  They struggled from the Pirate tournament onward and barely finished the season above .500 with a 9-8 record along with early exits in both the Territorials (5th place) and the League Championship (4th place).  The disintegration continued into the offseason as several long time veterans including Mueller and Darcy decided to hang up the cleats and their numbers dwindled until Traitorous Thiel delivered the death blow.

The passing of the Pirates leaves behind several descendants looking for a new start.  The brothers Hinchey will look to pick up the pieces of their lives by joining the HBC “Runner-Up” Diamondbacks[2] where they hope to find happiness… or at least a few silver medals.  The aforementioned Traitorous Thiel pulled his own version of “The Decision” and will be taking his “talents” to Slades[3].  Thiel will hope to duplicate the path to championship success that Chris Bosh found by joining players better than him.  Several of the other former Pirates, including Burger Bob 2.0 (AKA Gibeau), are currently taking offers from a multitude of suitors and hopefully they’ll all find worthy situations before opening day.

Although it truly is a sad day in YK Fastball history, it is also time to look towards the future and find a beacon of hope.  That beacon is the 2013 season.  Yes, my friends, fastball will soon be back in action at Tommy Forrest Ballpark and with it another season of joy, heart-break, and beer gardens[4].

Let’s take a quick look at where every team stands entering 2013 with a brief power poll:

6. Nexum/Carl’s Red Sox

The Red Sox may be at the bottom of the poll but the gap between them and the top squads in the league is quickly narrowing.  If the Red Sox hope to continue their improvement this season and make some noise in the tourneys it might be time for a change at the top.  Rumours are swirling that perhaps Steve O’Hara should just stick to the beer garden karaoke this season and avoid any day-to-day managing of the Red Sox.   As one disgruntled veteran player put it after another disappointing finish last season, “I blame Steve’s strategy.  It is possible to overthink a basic game.”  Discord such as this will do nothing to help the Sox’ improvement.

5. AlanCo Holdings Orioles

The new kids on the block have already created some controversy and started a Fastball Forum Feud with Robbie J. over the tactics they used in starting up the team[5].  Hopefully their intensity and feistiness will carry over onto the field and they’ll compete for titles.  However, a more likely scenario is that they’ll find themselves battling Scrub-Arctic for Sunday Beer Garden Supremecy.  Either way, at least they should provide us with someone to replace the Pirates as the most irrationally overconfident team in the league.

4. Sub-Arctic

Speaking of the boys of Sub-Arctic, despite some earlier rumours to the contrary, they are alive and well[6] and ready for another season of the Card’s change-ups, Ricky’s steals, and Vince’s unnatural, yet effective, style at SS.  Good luck, boys.

3. Slo-Pokes

With a full season now under their belts, the Slo-Pokes should be able to provide more on the offensive side of things to compliment Paul’s age-defying pitching skills.  With improved skills from top to bottom of the line-up, these guys will compete for top spot in the league – at least until Paul leaves town for the second half of the season.

2. Home Building Centre Diamondbacks

Things looked bleak for the Diamondbacks a couple of weeks ago when perennial all-star Mike Auge went down with a knee injury and all hopes were pinned to Bruce’s right arm.  However, management acted quickly upon hearing news of this potentially season threatening injury and the D-backs were able to scoop up the Hinchey trio to help replace Mike both on the mound and in the batter’s box.  The Diamondback farm system has also come through once again.  On the heels of last season’s outstanding rookie campaign by Marcus Watt, the D-Backs look to capture another R.O.Y. award with highly touted prospect Ryan Nichols.  His power should help fill the void left by last season’s decline of Bruce’s batting skills and the absence of Auge’s bat.

1. Slades Expos

The slump is over!!  After reaching rock bottom at last year’s Pirates tourney, the guys on Slades managed to turn things around in the second half of the year and finally returned to the top dog status of their glory days taking home both the Territorial and league titles.  They look to keep things rolling this season and there doesn’t seem to be much standing in their way.  Well, not much except Mitch’s poutine addiction[7], Borko’s offseason gallivanting, Andy Stewart’s annual sailing regatta, Hessie’s on-again, off-again retirement, Healy’s fatherhood, and questions of how newfound love will affect MVP Ryan Strain’s game?  So yeah, no worries at all for Slades.

The season kicks off June 5th with a rematch of last season’s final followed by the debut of the Orioles.

See you all at the diamond.

[1] Including the Dirty Mitts.  See last season’s article for details of how disliked the Pirates were.

[2] After finishing second in every tournament last season, the D-backs name is hereby officially changed to the HBC “Runner-Up” Diamondbacks until they finish somewhere other than second.

[3] Never has one barely above average player wreaked such havoc in so short a time.  Thiel not only caused the folding of the Pirates by jumping ship, he also pissed off HBC management by telling them that he’d play for them if the Pirates didn’t have a team but then sneaking off in the middle of the night when Borko came courting him (Borko is an expert on the whole “sneaking off in the middle of the night” maneuver, so it’s really no surprise he taught it to T-Bone).

[4] And sometimes, if your name is Andrew Hunter, all three of these at the same time.

[5] Their tactics of poaching players from other teams to create a new juggernaut may have been more effective if they’d poached the best players off of other teams instead of the worst players.  Good luck Tyler and Jared!!

[6] Or at least as well as this crew of guys can ever be.

[7] Not to mention how Mitch will be affected by the questions he has been facing about his lovely ear piercing since the Jason Collins announcement.


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