Franchise Ball News
Congratulations, River Rats! Jan 29th 2020

The Yonkers River Rats are Season 81 World Champions!!

In a very competitive World Series, the Rats defeated the Hartford HTFD_Yankees 2-0, 4-2 to claim their second world title, and the third for their owner! All of these wins have come in the past 10 seasons, and the River Rats and Destroyers are building quite the resume for their dynasty.

The River Rats’ road to the World Series was anything but straightforward; they were almost sent packing in the first round by the New York Cartagena Yankee, but managed to hold on for an 11-10 win. Things didn’t get any easier when they had to face the Spokane Warriors in the league semifinals, but they won that one much more convincingly, 9-4. Then, they defeated the Wichita Studs, 11-3, to claim their 4th league title.

Things seemed to be lining up for the River Rats. They had scored 31 runs in 3 games, all against good opposition, and looked set for another World Series run. Here’s an interesting fact: They played the Spokane Warriors in the league semifinals in Season 75, their other World Series championship season. The fact that they played them again (and held them to 4 runs again) seemed to inspire confidence in the team. The Rats were ready for another deep run.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, another team was growing in confidence: the Hartford HTFD_Yankees. The Yankees were taking care of business in the Alta Canyon, defeating the Charleston Battery 3-2, the Buffalo Bisons 10-5, and the previously unstoppable Cleveland Indians 9-5. This gave the Yankees their 20th league title, making them the first (and only) team in FB to achieve this milestone. It looked like it was the Yankees’ year.

In the world playoffs, the Yankees survived a first-round scare from the Pueblo Peons, needing a three-run 8th inning to win 11-9. Meanwhile, the River Rats defeated the Louisville Screaming Eagles, 12-6.

The Yankees got a bye in the world quarterfinals, putting them one game away from the World Series. They watched as the Yonkers River Rats smashed the Springfield Eagles, 16-9, and the Saskatoon Saskatchewan Ice defeated the New Orleans Hot Rods, 5-3.

The River Rats, who were averaging 11.8 runs per game, earned a bye in the world semifinals and a place in the World Series. It was their turn to watch, as the HTFD_Yankees played an absolute classic against the Saskatchewan Ice, winning 9-8 thanks to a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th from Gualterio Navarrete. The stage was set. Rats vs. Yankees. The Big Show. Two of the best offenses and most shaky pitching teams in the playoffs, to battle it out. The Yankees looking for their third world title, the Rats looking for their second.

The Rats averaged scoring 11.8 runs per game and allowing 6.4 so far in the playoffs, and the HTFD_Yankees averaged scoring 8.4 and allowing 5.8. So, you probably would expect a high-scoring World Series, like they usually are.

But the Rats and Yankees surprised us all, playing out what was tied for the 3rd lowest-scoring World Series ever, along with season 26, averaging 4 runs per game. Only Season 16 and Season 4’s World Series averaged less runs per game.

The Rats won game 1, 2-0, with both pitchers holding the opponents to very minimal runs. It was a very different game than what everyone expected, but it kept us on the edge of our seats. It was a close game, and both of these teams were known for their offense, so everyone was waiting for the game to be completely broken open. It simply never happened, and the Rats had a hard-fought 2-0 win.

In game 2, the script was similar: both pitchers held the opponents in check. It was 2-2 heading into the 8th inning, and it looked like anyone’s game. The Rats struck in the top of the 8th with a solo homer to make it 3-2. They managed to add one more in the 9th with another solo homer, and it was 4-2. The Yankees had one inning to try to score 2 runs to keep their season alive. The Yankees were used to winning games with many runs to spare, so this was very unusual. The number 1 offense in the Alta Canyon had scored 2 runs in 2 games so far in this world series. They needed 2 more, and they had just one inning.

They couldn’t do it, and the River Rats pulled off an incredible World Series win. Close, low-scoring games are such a rarity in this age of Franchise Ball, so when we were treated to two of them in the World Series, it was special. Two of the best offenses met in the Series, but it was the pitching that was the story, as the Rats took the victory. Very well deserved. Congratulations to both teams on great seasons, and congrats to the Rats on their second world title. Could the River Rats become the next Dolphins or Warriors? Only time will tell.

Good luck to everyone in Season 82!