By Dr. Rug
Hello my loyal readers and welcome to this year’s first mailbag column. All of the questions below were submitted by my great fans (although some of the names have been changed to protect their anonymity) and hopefully they provide a little insight into the thoughts and ponderings of a YK Fastball player or fan. Without further ado, I shall now let you take over the questioning…
Who would take home the Brian Couvrette worst chirping award (other than Brian Couvrette)?
– Annoyed Beer Garden Ladies
Although he wasn’t at the last tournament, the only person who could possibly compete with the Vette for this award is Mr. Andrew Hunter. Hopefully he makes the trip to Hay River.
If you were stranded on a desert island with 5 YK Fastball players, who would you pick?
– Daniel Defoe
I like the question and obviously it requires some thought. There were a lot of worthy contenders for the list and you could make great arguments for several others, but here are my choices with explanations:
- Mitchell Madsen. If there was food to be found anywhere on this remote island, Mitch would be the man to sniff it out. And if worst came to worst and we had to resort to the survival tactics that the guys in the movie ‘Alive’ did, Mitchy’s carcass would sustain the rest of us for months on end.
- Andy Stewart. I never would have thought that Andy’s annual play-off time vacation to the sailing regatta would ever pay off in a Dr. Rug column but here we are. Andy’s sailing skills are likely without equal amongst fastball players (or at least they should be given the hours he’s spent away from the field working on them) and on the off chance that we could build ourselves a boat, they would be essential to making it home.
- Vince Barter. Chances are he would be carrying around a couple of his pretty little wooden bats with him and this would provide just the kindling needed to start a fire… and besides, when his beard gets going he certainly looks like he’s been there before.
- Darin Strain. After watching years of Survivor, I’ve learned that fire is essential and that starting a fire from scratch is a lot more difficult than one would think. That’s where Darin comes in. If he were on the island, guaranteed he’d have at least 4 cartons of smokes, 6 lighters, and a large bottle of Tums.
- While this pick is not technically a ball player, they are close enough. For my 5th choice I’d have to take one of the Dirty Mitts. You know, just on the off chance that we were stranded on the island because of some apocalypse and it was up to us to re-populate the world. And given the other 4 options I’ve chosen, I feel like my odds would be pretty good.
It seems that everyone hated the Pirates when they were winning and loves to hate on the Orioles now (even though they’re not really winning) but you never hear anyone call out Slades? Are they really a classy champion or do they just hide their hate-ability well?
– G. Popovich
Much like the Spurs of NBA fame, the Slades Expos seem to constantly slide under the radar as far as hate goes. You don’t often hear fans calling them out for their flaws. Part of this is obviously the great system that is in place that stems back to the formative days of the team when they had a great management system in place. For the most part, that atmosphere of respect and humility has stuck around to today’s team despite the loss of the key individuals who instituted it, and they still manage to carry themselves with class… for the most part.
However, don’t be completely fooled by the façade that they put up; this team can be just as petty, spiteful, and hate-able as any other team in the league.
Case in Point #1: This is the team that while celebrating their victory on Sunday in the beer gardens was simultaneously praising Kevin Vallillee for his ability to draw walks while ridiculing Brandyn MacNeil for “not swinging the bat” and walking against them. Although after watching Healy ridicule slopitch players merciless for years for walking and then taking a walk in the bottom of 7 of a meaningless slopitch game with the bases juiced last week, I suppose it wasn’t totally unexpected.
Double Standards? Apparently they don’t matter when you win.
Case in Point #2: This is the team that was willing to pick up the Traitorous Thiel.
Case in Point #3: Who can forget last year’s Pirates Invitational when the Expos were eliminated early and instead of sticking around, socializing, supporting the other players and teams in the league, and enjoying the $200 bar tab that they had at their disposal in the beer gardens. They chose to pout like a bunch of 5 year olds who had just had their favourite toy taken away and got drunk on their own away from the field and the rest of the action.
Stay classy Slades.
Who would be the allstar sister team of current fastball players?
I think this question is asking which current fastball players have the best sisters. For that question there is no sense in coming up with a complete team, there’s only one acceptable answer…
Why can’t Scrub-Arctic shake off the “scrub”?
– Mike A.
Please refer to the next question…
Compose an allstar team of the best beer drinkers/beer gardeners in the league. Who would play where? What would the batting order be?
– Scrub-Arctic Management
My first instinct was to just grab the line-up card from the last Sub-Arctic game and jot that down as my answer. And although that might be right, I’m all about equal representation in my columns so let’s try to get a few other teams represented here. For the record, this question could be interpreted a number of different ways… who are the best drinkers? Who are the funnest people in the gardens? Who spends the most time in the gardens? Etc. The criteria I’m using to pick my team is the players I would want on my ball team who would tear up the gardens with me and still be somewhat capable on the field as ball players the next morning.
In batting order with positions:
- Ricky Morrison, 3B – The first and last in the gardens most days.
- Brian Couvrette, SS – Especially for his great flirtation skills which he displayed on Wednesday night to the random lady in the blue & black dress in the post-game gardens.
- Mike Dove, CF – A seasoned vet.
- Lorne Gerwing, 1B – We will need someone to cook up post- beer garden sausages.
- Mardie Graham, P – He has more hungover/drunk innings under his belt than anyone alive.
- Skank, C – If you’re a veteran of the gardens then I don’t need to explain this choice at all.
- Roady, RF – Always has great stories to tell when in the gardens… and besides, being drunk couldn’t possibly hurt his skills in the field.
- Ryan Sheppard, LF – Every team needs someone to Ice.
- Rob Johnson, 2B – Ummmm… second base was a really weak position.
First bat off the bench: Bruce Waugh (or my DH in which case he’d bat for Sheppy and be placed in the 4-hole in the line-up with everyone else moving down a spot)
First man out of the bullpen: Skauge
Coach: None other than yours truly, Dr. Rug
Speaking of beer drinking/beer gardens, this is the perfect time to let everyone know that the best non-fastball beer gardens of the year will be happening down at Fritz Thiel this weekend during the Suds Cup Slo-Pitch tourney. And yes, the rumours you’ve heard are true, Roady “The Rally Killer” will be starring in right field throughout the tournament.
Dr. Rug, who wins in a race? Please break down each contestant:
- Borko chasing a single lady at the BK
- Mitch hearing a $9.99 buffet at Mike Mark’s was recently announced
- Primetime chasing a fly ball with the possibility he will be named game MVP if he catches it
- Skank chasing a drunk out of Harley’s
- Penton running home for a cooked dinner at his in-laws
- Mike Reddy
– Dave H. (aka the fastest man in golf)
Answer to the race question…
Let’s break it down from last place to first:
DQ’d: Penton running home for a cooked dinner at his in-laws – We all know Andy would strap on his helmet and bike over so that he’d get there as quickly as possible. Bikes are not allowed in this race, Penton gets disqualified.
5th: Borko chasing a single lady at the BK – From my talks with ladies around town, getting hit on by Borko involves a lot of weird comments accompanied by winks and creepy looks. I’m not sure if there’s any speed involved at all… other than the quick hands when he drops the roofie in her drink. Not a contender at all.
4th: Skank chasing a drunk out of Harley’s – From what I’ve heard, the level of inebriation required to enjoy the ladies at Harley’s is fairly high. It probably doesn’t take too much speed to chase them out of there.
3rd: Mike Reddy – This guy is middle of the pack in everything he does.
2nd: Mitch hearing a $9.99 buffet at Mike Mark’s was recently announced – The fastest racer from start to finish, Mitch unfortunately would fall to second place because he would undoubtedly have to take a few valuable seconds to finish off his double poutine with a side of fried pickles from the Tree before he actually started.
1st: Primetime chasing a flyball with the possibility that he will be named game MVP if he catches it – With an MVP on the line Primetime would fly down the line and capture the crown. Chances are very good that he’d overrun the finish line (i.e. the ball) by about 15 feet and miss not only the catch but also his chances at MVP… but nonetheless, he’d still be the first one to the line.
How did the Orioles tournament go? I was out enjoying the wilderness and missed all of the action. – Garrett Hinchey
Looking for some insight into what teams are planning to get to Hay River for Territorials and, of course, their chances of winning and tournament odds? – Glenn Smith, Hay River Heat
Let’s combine these two questions into one super question and take a look at the 6 teams in the league. Their past performance, they future needs, and their odds of being crowned champions in Hay River.
Due to the absence of their ace, Paul Gard, the Pokes didn’t play in the Orioles tournament but that didn’t stop one of their players from bringing home a little hardware. Ron Chaisson managed to talk his way onto the Slades line-up for the weekend and supplanted crowd favourite, Greg Skauge, as 1st base coach. His witty repartee with opposing first-basemen played an integral part in Slades winning the title. The biggest key to the Pokes winning at Territorials is that they need to enter the tournament. If Paul’s not around and they pull out of the tourney, they have no shot of winning it.
Chances of making it to Hay River: 40%
Odds of winning it if they do go: 12 – 1
The Surveyors had a weekend to forget, going 0-4 and getting shut out by the Red Sox in the one game they had to win to make the playoffs. Without their #1 chucker, Mardie Graham, in town, Sub-Arctic struggled to keep things together and stay competitive throughout the weekend. However, only a small portion of their troubles can be placed on the pitching as their biggest problem was a lack of bats. If they hope to turn things around in time for Hay River, my suggestion would be that they pull some Pedro Cerrano voodoo on their bats. Offer up some rum, set off some explosions and smoke bombs, sacrifice a live chicken, do whatever it takes to wake up those bats so that you can start putting some crooked numbers on the board. If the bats stay quiet, the Surveyors have no hope of winning at Territorials, with or without Mardie on the mound.
Chances of making it to Hay River: 50%
Odds of winning if they do go: 65 – 1
Carl’s/Nexum Red Sox
The Red Sox continued their steady climb to relevance at the Orioles tourney by not only making the playoffs but then putting a major scare into the Diamondbacks in front of a boisterous home crowd once they reached the semi-finals before eventually losing. The next step for these up-and-comers is to get a win on a Sunday. For that to happen, they will need their pitching to be A+ for a full 7 innings. Both Jen Lukas and Mike Dove have shown flashes of brilliance (and beautiful change-ups) on the mound this year but outside of games against the Surveyors, neither has been able to maintain that excellence for a complete game. The inevitable “one bad inning” has turned several of their close games this season into blow-outs. The bats are improving but they just don’t have the firepower 1 through 9 to slug with the top dogs in the league. For them to have a shot at winning the Territorials, they’ll either need a complete game out of one of their co-aces, or their manager will need a quicker hook on pulling the starter.
Chances of making it to Hay River: 30%
Odds of winning if they do go: 60 – 1
The Orioles were gracious hosts in their inaugural tournament, losing out in the semi-finals so that they could keep the crowds well hydrated on a scorching Sunday afternoon. Despite a round-robin victory over the champion Slades Expos, the Orioles showed that they still have a lot to learn if they want to compete for titles in this league. The new guys in their flashy uniforms got mercied by the Diamondbacks in the round robin which dropped them to third in the standings and then they also no-showed in the semi-finals against Slades when they were blown out 11-4 in 5 innings. With their matching cleats and bats, the Orioles hitters looked very pretty out there on Sunday, but just putting on the make-up doesn’t necessarily make you ready for the ball. The O’s need to maintain their focus for the full weekend if they want to medal in Hay River. Taking the occasional game off is fine over the long course of the regular season, but in a short tournament, it will lead to defeat every time.
Chances of making it to Hay River: 90%
Odds of winning if they do go: 8-1
Home Building Centre Diamondbacks
For the 4th consecutive tournament the D-Backs finished in second place despite entering the play-offs as the top seed. A lackluster finals performance once again put a damper on a fine weekend of ball. After getting break-out performances from rookies Ryan Nichols, Chris Cahoon, and Jared Ooms throughout the round robin, the HBC bats once again fell silent in the finals. Despite the occasional hard hit ball, the Diamondbacks were only able to put 2 runs on the board thanks to a little bit of bad luck combined with some stellar defense by the Expos. For HBC to win in Hay River, the key is to not wilt under the pressure of being in the finals. If they can find a way to play in the finals the way they do the rest of the time, the Diamondbacks are a good bet to repeat their 2011 performance and bring home a territorial title.
Chances of making it to Hay River: 75%
Odds of winning if they do go: 9-2
The Expos continue to sit on their lofty throne as kings of the league and now have all three tournament trophies in their possession having won the Territorials, League playoffs, and now the Orioles tournament in succession. Despite being thoroughly outcoached all weekend long, the Expos bats were more than able to compensate for this one deficiency. They hit the ball hard all weekend and consistently put double-digit scores on the board. For them to continue their reign in Hay River, Slades will need to keep doing what they’re doing and not get too cocky. It was a mere 12 months ago that the team was in total disarray and the Expos would do well to remember those down times and not be too satisfied that everything will remain status quo without any effort on their part. As any Pirates alumni can tell you, the journey from Top Dog to complete annihilation is painfully short.
Chances of making it to Hay River: 95%
Odds of winning if they do go: 3-1
That’s all we’ve got time for today. If you’ve got any questions that you’d like answered in the next mailbag, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you all next time.
 Ok, he’s not the only person. When they get going, the Sub-Arctic moms could give Couvrette a run for his money too.
 And I’m sure that Buddy would be wandering around somewhere too.
 I’ll keep the choice of which one is my top pick a secret so as not to hurt the others’ feelings… but really, any of them would do.
 Seriously, Kelln? Healy? Reddy? Blewett? There’s not a lot of great options at 2B.
 Alternative reasoning: The ladies in town have told me that Borko is considerate and always comes last.
 For the sake of this question, I’ll assume that there is some miniscule possibility that Primetime would ever be in the running for game MVP.
 Insightful analysis like this is why I make the big bucks.
 They’ve already committed to going but it’s a long drive and a lot of in-team fighting can happen in those 5 hours.