Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kelly Smith Reign of Terror Over

One cannot start to discuss the New Fairfield Neanderthals, one of the Original 12 teams in Benchwarmer Baseball, without first discussing its heritage. Originally known as the Estes Park Jigglypuffs in 2000 and 2001, the franchise won their division in 2001 and competed in the championship series (but lost to Springfield). The team was then taken over by Russ D in 2002 and renamed the Brewster Birdmen. Under Russ' skilled guidance, the franchise took the division title again in 2002, this time by a narrow margin of 1 game. After consecutive 2nd place finishes in 2005 and 2006, in a surprising event, Russ stepped away from Benchwarmer Baseball, leaving the team in the hands of two different owners in 2007 and 2008. (If I were to mention that Kelly Smith was at the helm in 2008 and left the team in utter disrepair, this would not send shock-waves through the greater Benchwarmer community. From 2000 to 2003, Kelly managed to turn the Norwalk franchise into also-rans, posting a .363 winning record in his last season. However, the league had a lot of fun times with Kelly in it, laughing with and at him as he wheeled-and-dealed in order to find that winning combination that could capture the league pennant... he never did.)

Fast forwarding to today, Russ D has returned to the Benchwarmer fold to bring this venerable franchise that went to the Hall of Fame League Championship Series in back-to-back years of 2001 and 2002 back to its previous glory. Assessing the Kelly-damage, the Neanderthals look as follows:

Strengths:

A few star positional players in Russell Martin and Carl Crawford; a strong bullpen featuring Huston Street, Hong-Chih Kuo, Manny Delcarmen, Octavio Dotel, and Joel Zumaya; a starting rotation anchored by Josh Beckett and Carlos Zambrano; and lots of cash: 12475 BW bucks

Weaknesses:

Not a single player in the minors leagues -- obviously scouting and player development was not a primary focus under the Smith administration; Russ has started to address this area already

It's great to have some of the old Benchwarmer Baseball veterans back in the Hall of Fame league (and in my division) and I look forward to some intense rivalries over the coming seasons.

1 comment:

Kelly Smith said...

I'm Mr. Reign of Terror and Isaiah Thomas ain't got nothing on me!!!