Franchise Ball News
League Playoffs Review May 23rd 2019

Do you have your breath back yet?

It was an absolutely wild day for Franchise Ball, as it usually is on the 22nd, also known as league playoff day. However, this season's playoffs were even more wacky than usual, as we saw an absolutely huge amount of upsets and comebacks, particularly in league championships.

In the Alpha Ruby, we had a David vs. Goliath matchup in the Sumner Scapegoats (44-16, #3 seed) vs the Columbus Average Joes (46-14, #1 seed). On paper, the Joes looked like healthy favorites, but the Scapegoats went crazy for 7 runs in the 4th inning, and this boosted them to a 10-2 win, giving them their 5th ever league title. Congratulations, Scapegoats!

In the Ocean Star, we saw two evenly matched teams play out a tense pitching duel, where the Baltimore Orioles narrowly defeated the Calgary Fire Birds, 1-0. Some incredible pitching was on display from both teams and the only run was scored at 7:02 PM, on a solo home run in the top of the first. If you arrived at the game just a few minutes late, you would have missed all the runs! Well, the run. Also, shout-out to the Orioles for their run-they knocked out my WS champion prediction, the New York Beatles (not that anyone thought there was any chance of my prediction being right) in the first round, and then the high-flying, #1 seed New Orleans Hot Rods in the second round! And then, of course, they held the Fire Birds to 0 runs in the championship. This Orioles team is something else.

The Alta Canyon this season was...interesting. We saw the Island Winds dominate Franchise Ball in the regular season, picking up 49 wins, and they shut out both their first and second-round opponents. They looked like the most convincing, dominant pitching team in Franchise Ball heading into the championship. Heck, you could even say they still looked like that heading into the 9th inning of the championship. But then, it happened. The game was tied 4-4, but the Winnipeg Frost somehow managed to score 8 runs in the 9th inning to take a commanding 12-4 lead, and despite their best efforts, there was never any real chance for the Winds to come back from that. The game finished 12-6, and it was yet another bitter playoff disappointment for the Shimakazes. How about the Frost though, going absolutely wild in that 9th inning and shocking the world by tearing apart arguably the best pitching staff in Franchise Ball at the moment.

The Theta Premier...finally, it happened. We always knew it would happen, but the Chicago WINNERS finally got their first, and certainly well deserved, league title. They beat two of the best, most well-known teams in the Theta Premier, the RED ONIONS and the Springfield Eagles (by the way, shout-out to the Eagles for beating the #1 seed Peoria Destroyers thanks to a 3-run 9th inning comeback!) to get to the championship game. Awaiting them were the Detroit Red Wings, who had given up a grand total of 1 run to their first two playoff opponents. It was a great matchup, and the game itself did not disappoint. It was a close, back-and-forth battle, but in the end, the WINNERS triumphed, 4-2, and they finally had their first ever league title! Congratulations WINNERS, you've earned it!

As for the Delta Premier...it looked like things were actually going to make sense, for the first time in a while. The #1 seed San Diego Bombers cruised into the league championship game and looked just as convincing and strong as they had all season long. The Buffalo Bisons were having a really good playoff run, and their offense was unbelievable against the Monarchs, scoring 17 runs, but most would have predicted that the Bombers' improved pitching would hold them, and that their offense would be too much for the Bisons' pitching. That could not have been more incorrect...by the end of the 2nd inning, the Bombers were down 4-0, and they made the bold decision of keeping their SP Arrendondo in. It turned out to be an awesome decision, but it was not enough. Arrendondo somehow held the Bisons to 0 runs the entire rest of the game, but the Bombers' offense went completely silent. Nobody will ever know what exactly happened, but we do know what will happen: airlines selling tickets to North Korea will be awfully busy tonight. Congratulations to the Bisons for their incredible pitching, and good luck representing the Delta Premier in the world playoffs!

Let's take a look at the Beta Compass. Sadly, this was yet another case of my predictions completely jinxing a team...the San Jose Panthers, who I had tipped to go all the way to the world series, were knocked out in the second round by the eventual champion Syracuse Salt. Nice name, by the way! The Salt defeated the Clearwater Prey, 10-9, in a very entertaining championship with no shortage of offense. It looked over after the 4th inning when the Prey led 9-3, but the Salt fought back and managed to come all the way back to pull off the thrilling 10-9 win. What a game! Despite the two relatively unknown teams involved, this game, in terms of the actual action, could very well be remembered as one of the most exciting league finals ever.

Epsilon Peak. I haven't heard of any of these teams before, but they treated us to some pretty entertaining baseball. The Baton Rouge Lightning defeated the Fort Wayne SuperGrunts in a tense 6-5 battle, and the Hartford Pinstripes defeated the EstherTeeta, 6-4, to reach the championship game. In the championship, the Pinstripes led 2-0 for most of it, but the Lightning scored twice in the 8th to tie it up at 2, and then a walk-off double won it for them in the bottom of the ninth. What a game that was, yet another thrilling comeback! These small market teams sure provide some entertaining baseball. Congrats, Lightning!

Silver Horizon. 5 words: What. Happened. To. The. Franchise? Easily the best team in the league, the #1 seed Chicago Franchise were knocked out in the first round by the #8 seed Kansas City pupbomb. The pupbomb (whatever a pupbomb even is) went on the win the league, defeating the maturemilfdiash. Whatever that means. I can't help but get distracted by the names and the fact that the league championship consisted of a 34-26 team and a 32-28 team. For comparison, both of those teams would have finished 5th in the Delta Premier North. Wow. Anyway...congrats, dead team. Good...I mean, bad luck, moving forward! Sorry Franchise, better luck next year.

Echo Prism. The #1 seed Royal Satan (holy cow, these names though!) played only 51 games this season but still put together quite a team, and this situation was very similar to that of the Franchise in the Silver Horizon. One decent active team in an otherwise dead league...and they got knocked out. They almost lost in the first round, only managing 1 run and getting out-hit 7 to 4, but they just did manage to win, 1-0. But, they did lose to the Brownsville Bombers in the second round, 7-4. The inactive Bombers went on to lose the championship to the Albuquerque Maddogs, 3-1. The Maddogs, fortunately, are an active team, so it's good to see them win over the dead team. Congrats, dogs!

Finally...the wildcard bracket. We've seen tons of upsets and dead teams making it much farther than expected in the playoffs this season, but fortunately, the wildcard bracket provided us with a brief return to sanity. The #1 seed Los Angeles Lions, with an incredible 46-14 record (only missing out on the league playoffs because the SD Bombers were 48-12) took care of the St. Louis Ricks, 8-3, and the Hartford Wolverines, 1-0. Meanwhile, the Madison Speed Demons upset the #2 seed Atlanta Caneros, 5-4, in 12 innings, in the first round. They also defeated the St. Louis Birds On A Bat, 3-2, in the second round, because of a 3-run 8th inning. They were down 2-0 but didn't give up, and their comeback landed them in the wildcard championship game against the Los Angeles Lions with a spot in the world playoffs on the line. Unfortunately for the Speed Demons, there was no upset this time. The Los Angeles Lions had yet another strong pitching performance to convincingly defeat the Speed Demons, 5-1, and although you wouldn't know it from the Lions' manager's heart rate during the game, it was a rather comfortable game for them. SP Taylor Shannon simply did not allow the Speed Demons to get any offense going.

So, there you have it...congratulations to all of the league champions in Season 73!! Here is the list of league champions, in full:

Sumner Scapegoats-Alpha Ruby

Baltimore Orioles-Ocean Star

Winnipeg Frost-Alta Canyon

Chicago WINNERS-Theta Premier

Buffalo Bisons-Delta Premier

Syracuse Salt-Beta Compass

Baton Rouge Lightning-Epsilon Peak

Kansas City pupbomb-Silver Horizon

Albuquerque Maddogs-Echo Prism

Los Angeles Lions-Wildcard

Good luck to everyone in the world playoffs, and may the best team win!!

Authored by the Los Angeles Lions