— Official ULB (@ULB_Commish) September 17, 2014
The Trade Deadline approaches in the ULB, and several big names are potentially on the move.
Portland continues to shop SP Roy Halladay, and have had discussions with at least one team has proposed a deal that Portland is considering.
Phoenix has not had any bites on either 1B/SH Kenneth Payne who has recently returned from the Disabled List, or for CL Brad Lidge who has 17 Saves and a 1.66 ERA.
The St. Paul Saints have been very active in Ace Cooan’s early days as General Manager. They are shopping SS Abraham Nunez and have reportedly proposed a swap of home town prospect C Joe Busch Jr for a home town star in New Mexico’s C Joe Mauer.
When asked about it, Busch was non committal, saying “”I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The Saints also reportedly covet Buffalo prospect SS Tim Beckham and have made inquires about his availability.
New Orleans’ C Tom Brady also remains on the block, but teams are concerned about his lack of production this season, despite his making the FL All Star Team.
Teams have until Midnight EST on Sunday, August 9th, 2009 to make non waiver trades. (Wendesday September 17th, 7:30PM EST)
Portland Mavericks starter Roy Halladay made his 3rd start last night, and by all accounts, improved his trade value with a solid effort that showed that he is still capable of dominating the league. Halladay improved to 1-1 on the season and went 8 innings with 7 strike outs while allowing the Buffalo Blizzard just 6 hits in a 3-0 shutout.
Halladay missed time in 2008 with a sprained ankle, but seemed to be be poised to resume his domination of the ULB in 2009 before he was shut down in spring training with shoulder inflammation. Halladay missed nearly 3 months, and made 2 minor league rehab assignment starts before rejoining the big league club. He showed rust in his first two starts of the season allowing 6 runs and 9 hits against Columbus on June 25th. His next start came against the San Juan Storm, and Halladay again struggled, allowing 8 hits and 7 earned runs (plus one unearned) while walking 3.
Halladay will have at least 4 more starts before the Trade Deadline to continue to improve his trade value. He is owed roughly 11 Million for the rest of the season at this point, and will become a free agent at the end of the year. Halladay had a vesting option for 2010, but will not be able to meet the requirements for it to vest. The three time Nolan Ryan Award winner will most likely end up playing for another contender before the Trade Deadline, as the Mavs continue to shop their veteran players despite being 48-42 where they currently hold the 2nd Wild Card Federal League Playoff slot.
The 2006 ULB Divisional Cup is now finished, and the ULB League Championship Cup match ups are now set. Four teams remain to challenge for the right to hold the Union Cup high.
The Portland Mavericks swept the San Juan Storm in 4 games, sending one former champion packing. The Mavericks weathered the Storm easily, but Portland remains concerned about the poor performance of Ace pitcher Roy Halladay, who allowed 11 hits and 6 runs in 6 innings of work in Game 1 of the Division Cup. Thankfully for the Mavs, the offense picked up the slack and was able to help Portland squeak out a 7-6 victory. Game 2 went 11 innings, with Portland coming out on top thanks to a Mark Teahen walk out solo home run.
The Boston Colonials defeated the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 4 games to 1, and were the only Wild Card to advance to the League Championship Cup. Oklahoma City took Game 1 by a score of 6-5, but the Colonials then dominated the rest of the series. Kevin Forbes and Dernell Stenson both homered in Game 2 and led the way to a 7-5 victory. Dan Mozingo gave up just 1 run in 6.2 innings of work in Game 3 to help the Colonials to a 4-1 win in Boston. Ben Sheets went 8 innings and allowed just 3 hits in Game 5 as Boston won the series in 5 games with a score of 5-2.
The Columbus Crickets put out the Phoenix Fire in 5 games to eliminate another former Union Cup Champion. The Fire won game one by a score of 5-4 behind Tim Lemon. The rest of the series was not as kind to the fire. A.J. Pierzynski provided a home run to tie Game 2 in the 3rd inning, and Jeff Baker scored on a Pat Osborn double to give the Crickets all the lead they would need in a 2-1 victory in Game 2. Matt White kept the Fire at bay in Game 3, allowing just 2 runs and 4 hits in 8 innings of work in a 5-2 victory for the Crickets. Kerry Wood went 7 innings and allowed just 2 runs in an 8-4 victory in Game 4. The final nail in the Fire’s coffin was Dan Denham who allowed just 2 unearned runs in Game 5. Eric Junge would allow a Jody Gerut solo homer in the 9th to briefly bolster the Fire’s hopes, but he then got Tagg Bozied to ground out and struck out Michael Sirois to send the Crickets to the League Championship Cup with a 4-3 victory.
The defending Union Cup Champion Buffalo Blizzard survived the hardest fought series as they sent the New Orleans/Kansas City Gold Sox back to their adopted home for the rest of the playoffs. Buffalo won Game 1 on a 3 run walkoff home run by Corey Smith in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Blizzard an 11-10 victory. The Gold Sox won Game 2 in the 10th inning on a Tom Brady RBI single in a 4-3 Gold Sox victory. The Gold Sox took a 2-1 lead in the series behind Gen Sueyoshi’s 8 inning, 2 run masterpiece in a 5-2 loss for Buffalo. The Blizzard tied the series in a 15-11 scorefest in which every starter for both teams had a hit. Darren Holt had 5 hits in 5 at bats, with 3 runs scored to lead Buffalo to a hard fought victory. Jeff Flaig added 4 hits and 2 home runs and 4 RBIs as well. Lloyd Peever went the complete game in Game 5 and allowed just 1 run, while Roy Oswalt fell apart early and lasted just 1 inning and allowed 5 runs. The Gold Sox would win 11-1 and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Antonio McDowell, Bryan Bass and Gene Smith all homered for the Gold Sox. With the series on the line, Gerik Baxter turned in a dominant performance and held the Gold Sox to 2 runs on 6 hits in 8 innings of work. Corey Smith and Brent Abernathy both homered for the Blizzard as they went on to win 6-2 and send the series to a decisive Game 7. Kris Benson went 7.1 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits. But Gen Sueyoshi lasted just 1.2 innings and allowed 5 runs, 2 of them unearned. Bryan Bass had the unfortunately costly error in the second which led to the unearned runs by Ben Cordova and Brent Abernathy and ultimately drove Sueyoshi from the game. Bass was also caught stealing in the top of the 2nd to end the inning. Darren Holt added another 3 hits to bring his Division Cup average to .433 with 13 hits, as well as 11 RBI’s. The Blizzard would secure a 8-4 victory, with Stan Green striking out Auturo McDowell to end the game and send the Blizzard to the League Championship Cup as they continue to attempt to become 3 team to win back to back Union Cups.
In the League Championship Cup it will be the Boston Colonials hosting the Columbus Crickets and the Portland Mavericks hosting the defending champs in the Buffalo Blizzard.
The Union Cup Playoffs kick off tonight, and we have some interesting matchups in the first round of the Playoffs.
Boston Colonials (85-77) vs Oklahoma City Red Hawks (100-62)
The RedHawks took the season series, going 8-6 against the Colonials. However in their last meeting in September, the Colonials took 3 of 4 from Oklahoma City. In that series, they outscored the RedHawks 26-19. Josh Lyons was 2-0 against Boston, and Dan Mozingo played the RedHawks hard, beating them twice this season. Boston will look to keep the momentum of that recent series alive as they head to Oklahoma City tonight.
Phoenix Fire (91-71) vs Columbus Crickets (95-67)
The Fire and Crickets split their season series 7-7. The Crickets won the last series in September 2 games to 1. The Fire will be without ace Andy Yount, and they will have to hope that Tim Lemon can win a couple of games for them. He went 3-0 against the Crickets this season with a 1.59 ERA. If the Crickets’s bats stay hot and can get to the Fire’s bullpen, the series could end badly for Phoenix.
New Orleans/Kansas City Gold Sox (91-71) vs Buffalo Blizzard (94-68)
The Blizzard are the defending champs, but lost the season series against their divisional rivals 12 games to 11. The Gold Sox swept the Blizzard in their last meeting, which ended yesterday. If the Blizzard hope to repeat as Union Cup Champions, they will have to go through the Gold Sox, and a rabid fan base that has enjoyed being the temporary home of the New Orleans franchise. Luckily, the Blizzard will have home field advantage for the first two games before heading to Kansas City. Roy Oswalt could be the key to victory for Buffalo.
San Juan Storm (85-77) vs Portland Mavericks (96-66)
The Mavericks won the season series 10 games to 4, and though the two franchises haven’t seen each other since August, you have to give the Mavericks rotation a slight edge in the series. Andy Pettitte dominated the Storm when he faced them, and Roy Halladay and Mike V. Gonzalez all have good numbers against the Storm. The Storm won the first three games against the Mavs and went 1-10 the rest of the way, including the last 8 meetings. Clearly things look bad for the Storm right now, but the Mavericks also have a long history of losing in the Playoffs. (Most Appearances, Most Losses in ULB Playoff history…) We’ll find out if the Mavericks can finally crack the code soon enough or if the Storm will once again send Portland home early.
The Portland Pioneers are once again heading to the Union Cup Playoffs, having secured the Federal League Western Division crown. Portland’s dominance this season has been evident from the very beginning of the season, as they started out 20-3 to kick things off.
They have compiled a win loss record of 103-38, and should easily break the Jersey City Giants record of 106 wins, set way back in 1996. Of the potential playoff match ups, they look good against all three of the teams that could stand in their way to a Union Cup appearance. They will most likely end up facing the Salt Lake City Bees, who they have gone 11-6 against this season.
The San Juan Storm are the likely Eastern Division Champs and also the reigning Union Cup Champs are 3-11 against the Pioneers. Last year when they met up in the Federal League Championship Cup, the Storm took the series 4 games to 1. One can bet that the Pioneers have not forgotten the sting on that defeat and would love nothing more than to send the Storm packing in the Playoffs.
The New Orleans Gold Sox have gone 5-9 , and the Buffalo Blizzard have gone 3-7 against them. They have a 4 game series in Buffalo from September 16th to the 20th, and they face the Bees in Salt Lake City 6 more times, a 3 game series from the 13th to 15th, and again the following week from the 28th to the 30th. They will not face the Gold Sox again during the Regular season. They last met up in Portland, and the Pioneers swept the last 3 games series back in August.
Whoever ends up facing the Pioneers in the playoffs will have a tough series, but as history has shown in the ULB, the best team in the regular season does not always win. The Pioneers might have the Federal League MVP in Daniel Fornes, the Nolan Ryan Award winner in Roy Halladay, but success in the playoffs will depend on the entire team staying hot. We will have to wait and see if the Pioneers decide to give their starters extra time off before the Playoffs start in just under a month, but GM Scott Jeffries will have to walk a fine line between letting rust build up, and keeping his players well rested.
I told them I don’t need a lot of run support, but I do need at least one.
-Roy Halladay on his upcoming matchup with fellow Nolan Ryan Award Winner Gen Sueyoshi
The Phoenix Fire and San Juan Storm are heading back to the Union Cup. The stage is set for a rematch between these two clubs who had a truely epic Union Cup showdown last season. The Phoenix Fire came out on top last year, but the Storm will be looking for a different result in 2004.
The Storm knocked off the Portland Pioneers in the Federal League Championship Cup, including two victories against the most likely FL Nolan Ryan Award winner Roy Halladay, who they beat twice. While San Juan didn’t hit well in the series (no small surprise considering Portland’s Halladay pitched twice in the Series) they did manage to outscore the Pioneers 17-6 in their 4 victories. The Pioneer’ 10-5 victory in Game 2 evens things up a bit, but San Juan’s success in the Union Cup will come down to their pitching staff. Derek Baker did his best to provide needed offense for the Storm, hitting .417 with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 6 RS.
The Fire knocked off the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 4 games to 2 in the Players League Championship Cup, despite falling down to 0-2 in the series. They would go on to win the next four games. While Potential MVP Kenneth Payne showed no signs of slowing down, hitting .524 with HR and 12 RBI, a lot of credit must go to Pedro Luiz Lazo, who pitched in 3 games in the series, though he was credited with only 1 win.
So, are you ready for Fire/Storm II: Fire Stormer?
Here are your starters for the 2004 Union League Baseball All Star Game, which will be held in Sunny San Jose, home of the Jedi. Skywalker Stadium will host the All Star Game for the 2nd time. Last time the ASG was in San Jose, the Crickets Hall of Famer Michael Jordan won that game for the Players League with a Walk off Home Run. Who will provide the fireworks in 2004?
LIGHT SIDE (Players League)
- C Brian Horner, BRO
- 1B Stefan Bailie, COL
- 2b Jose Vidro, OKC
- 3b Gary Sapp, BOS
- SS Brett King, BRO
- OF Shannon Carter, STP
- OF Kevin Forbes, BOS
- OF Ichiro Suzuki, LV
- OF Juan Morales, OKC (Won FL Vote)
- DH Kenneth Payne, PHO
- SP Andy Yount, PHO
- RP Scott Williamson, BOS
DARK SIDE (Federal League)
- C Eric Christopherson, SJS
- 1B Derek Baker, SJS
- 2B Jason Moore, LAS
- 3B Brian Sutter, HOU
- SS Alex Rodriguez, JC
- OF Daylan Holt, BUF
- OF Anduw Jones, WAS
- OF Albert Pujols, HOU
- DH Adam Dunn, HOU
- SP Roy Halladay, POR
- RP Rhett Parrott, SLC
Reserves will be announced later today once the Jedi Council decides who will oppose the forces of Darth Timms and the Federal League. May the Force be with you and don’t forget to go see Star Wars, Episode II Attack of the Clones back in theaters nationwide for a limited time.