April 1, 1994 at 2:56 pm #2562Andy KleinParticipant
In 1991, the legendary Candyass splashed onto the USML projection scene by responding to Jeff Winick’s annual post-draft self-coronation. That year, Mr. Winick declared his then-‘Berliners a certain champion just minutes after the USML concluded its traditional April auction. Mr. Winick picked the Klein Nine to finish ninth.
Despite derisive cackles from Mr. Winick’s evil sidekick (Mark “Why Me? Why Me?” Blocker), Candyass boldly predicted the Klein Nine to win the USML crown. The rest, of course, is glorious history. The Klein Nine went “wire to wire” in winning the coveted World Championship. The Win-Ick-Ben-Ein-Berliners finished a distant fourth.
For the next two seasons, Candyass weighed in with projections after the annual USML auction. Unlike other prognosticators (such as Rich “I fill John Benson’s wallet” Robbins), Candyass never relied on publications, algebraic equations, or computer programs that eat available RAM like Alex Liberman devours red meat. Instead, Candyass relied on instinct and guile, much the way the owner of the Klein Nine plays the game.
Last year, Candyass added a commentator to his staff: Pippin the Dog. At the time, no one could have foreseen Pippin’s incredible gift for Rotisserie clairvoyance. For example, recall Pippin’s predictions of 1993 …
- Pippin the Dog on the Winickohns’ chances of repeating: “[Here are] three reasons that 1993 will not be like 1992: (1) Mark McGwire; (2) Charles Nagy; and (3) Matt Nokes.” The numbers peak for themselves: McGwire 1992 (42 HR, 104 RBI); McGwire 1993 (9 HR, 24 RBI). Nagy 1992 (17 W, 2.96 ERA); Nagy 1993 (2 W, 6.29 ERA). Nokes 1992 (22 HR, 59 RBI); Nokes 1993 (10 HR, 35 RBI).
- Pippin the Dog on the Rothmanic Depressive’s starting pitching: “This [staff] could make the Depressive’s ratio look like the national debt.” Emily’s ratio looked worse.
- Pippin the Dog on the Nuke’s pitching staff: “After Roger Clemens, this team has no starting pitching. … [Z]ero, zilch, nothing, nada.” Actually, the Nukes had no starting pitching even with Clemens.
- Pippin the Dog on Mark Blocker’s Four Leaf Clovers: “The Clovers will have no significant injuries.” Once again, the Clovers went through an
entire baseball season without having to even glance at the disabled list.
- Pippin the Dog on the Klein Nine: “[T]he Nine will continue to fight the Empire at every turn.” ‘Nuff said.
Recognizing Pippin’s brilliance, Candyass has retired. Forevermore, the Candyass projections shall be known as “Pippin the Dog’s Projections.” Said Alex Liberman: “Pippin is truly the Nostradamus of Rotisserie Baseball.” Without further ado, Pippin’s picks follow.
B. The Projections
- ANGRY YOUNG MEN: After holding home court advantage on draft day, Linton enters the season loaded. The Men boast a solid roster, including the league’s best power hitter
(Juan Gonzales), the league’s best closer (Roberto Hernandez), and the league’s best starter (Mike Mussina). Pippin the Dog says: “Linton’s team is so talented, even Kerber couldn’t mismanage it out of a title.” Pippin’s only concern is the ex-Cub factor: A league-high four Men (Berryhill, Fletcher, Sanderson, and Scanlan) once called Wrigley Field home.
- JOSEPH’S RED HOTS: Rich heeded the advice of every league member and left the laptop at home on draft day. Instead, Rich furiously studied a sheet of paper with print so small that he could barely read it without a microscope. The secret sheet apparently told Rich to continue drafting ancient hitters, a strategy that helped the Red Hots wheeze their way to a fourth place finish in 1993. This year, Dave Winfield (42), Wade Boggs (36), and Joe Carter (34) join the USML’s “Team of the ’80s. Pippin the Dog understands that Rich’s only regret was his failure to buy Hal McRae instead of Brian McRae.
- THE KLEIN NINE: The Klein Nine continues to define the USML’s cutting edge. After last year’s unprecedented “play for next year” approach, the Nine filled out its roster with a reathtaking “pitchers be damned” draft strategy. The Nine’s staff contains no less than five $1 pitchers, and the starting rotation cost a mere $25. Pippin the Dog, however, fears that injuries and NL defection will eventually cost the Nine its rightful place at the top of the standings. Indeed, by the end of this season’s first week, four Nine hitters (Vaughn, Hamilton, Gates, and Clark) had missed games due to injury. In any event, Pippin the Dog predicts that the Nine will continue to operate by its primary maxim: “Annoy Mark Blocker at all costs.”
- MARK BLOCKER’S FOUR LEAF CLOVERS: You might not have noticed it through all the whining, carping, complaining, and belly-aching, but the Clovers won the title last year. Mark’s unmanly behavior, however, has led Pippin the Dog to declare his 1993 title as “The Least Impressive Of All Time.” Nevertheless, in honor of the Clover’s victory, Pippin the Dog brings you a list of the top three sports figures who most resembled Mark Blocker in 1993 …
- Lou Holtz, Notre Dame Head Football Coach: After pollsters failed to vote Notre Dame’s football team as national champs, Holtz quoted directly from Mark Blocker: “It’s just not fair! There’s a conspiracy! I’m taking my ball and going home!!”
- Nancy Kerrigan, Olympic Silver Medalist: After narrowly missing the gold medal, Kerrigan attacked the judges with another a direct Blocker quote: “It’s so unfair! Everyone was obviously against me!”
- John Chaney, Temple Head Basketball Coach: In a post-game tirade, Coach Chaney told U. Mass. Coach Calipari: “I’m gonna kill you!!” Sources say that Mark Blocker made similar comments to Mark Kerber after Kerber’s last trade with Winick.
This year, Pippin the Dog predicts that the Clover’s usual good fortune will lift Blocker’s mediocre squad into the money, but no higher than fourth place.
- DEMOCRATS FOR NIXON: Pippin the Dog was impressed with the Democrats’ bargains (Sorrento for $7, Grahe for $16, and Karsay for $2 (maybe)). Pippin the Dog was unimpressed, however, with the Democrats’ failure to spend its excess value in the draft. While the Democrats clearly enter the year with a talented team, Pippin the Dog gives you three reasons why Liberman will fail to fight his way into the money: (1) Can’t bill Tenneco for time spent conducting rotisserie trade negotiations; (2) the wrong Alomar (Sandy instead of Roberto), the wrong
Smith (Dwight instead of Lee), and the wrong Kirby (Wayne instead of Puckett); (3) no boxscores available in the Netherlands.
- HOOSIER DADDIES: After retaining every over-priced Oriole in sight, the Hoosier Daddies refrained from another Baltimore binge on draft day. Pippin the Dog thinks that the result is the USML’s most-improved franchise. The Hoosier Daddies have power (Tettleton and Fielder), speed (Polonia, Knoblauch, and Jose), and good (albeit expensive) prospects (Hammonds and Neel). Only shaky starting pitching and a sure mid-season trade with Blocker for Cal Ripken will keep the Daddies out of the money.
- WINICKOHNS: Pippin the Dog is fascinated by the USML’s Conventional Wisdom (CW) rule of thumb: If Winick does it, it’s savvy, if Liberman does it, it’s dumb. For example, what if Liberman had drafted Carlos Delgado for $17, Manny Ramirez for $17, Jim Thome for $18, and Danny Bautista for $7? Pippin the Dog thinks CW would be mocking Liberman for overvaluing rookies. Instead, CW praises Winick for a brilliant guarantee-the-future strategy. Pippin the Dog is not especially impressed with Winick’s roster. She thinks that the rookies with hot Aprils will fade. She also thinks that Winick’s offense has more “empty slots” than a bankrupt New Jersey casino (Snow, Gomez, Samuel, etc.) Like last year, Pippin the Dog warns the league to watch out for early Winick trade offers!
- ROTHMANIACS: With much fanfare, William Rothman of Detroit arrived at the USML draft, prepared to save the newly-named ‘Maniacs from another second division finish. Alas, even the fabled Mr. Rothman couldn’t save this storied franchise from its achilles’ heels: high-ratio pitching and idiosyncratic drafting. Pippin the Dog feels that no pitching staff can endure a year of outings from Pat Mahomes and John Doherty. Pippin the Dog also wonders about an outfield anchored by two second basemen (Phillips and McLemore). Pippin the Dog is impressed, however, by the ‘Maniacs’ ability to draft players with the first name “Pat” (Borders, Hentgen, and Mahomes). Look for the Maniacs to make Kerber an offer for Pat Kelly before the year is over.
- IOWA-NA-WINS: Pippin the Dog commends Sheila for her ability to care for Ezra and draft a rotisserie team at the same time. Pippin the Dog is worries, however, that Shiela prepared for the draft with a 1992 version of the Rotisserie League Baseball handbook (no doubt provided by her husband). What else could explain has-beens like Alex Cole and Dave Henderson and never-have-beens like Mike Blowers and Angel Miranda. With a wealth of saves (Aguilera, Eckersley, and maybe Mac Suzuki), however, the Iowa franchise could “trade up” in a hurry.
- NUKES: Pippin the Dog has trouble understanding what Kerber did on draft day. Then again, most people have trouble understanding what Kerber does on any given day. The Nukes left the draft with a pathetic collection of (1) underachieving young players (Bernie Williams, Mark Lewis, and Rod Bolton); (2) children of stars from the 1970s (Julian Javier’s son Stan and Tony Perez’s son Eduardo); and (3) pitchers in the American League’s worst bullpen (Milwaukee’s Graeme Lloyd, Jesse Orosco, and Mike Fetters). Perhaps Kerber spent his year’s worth of acumen when he convinced Karen to marry him. Pippin the Dog says: “Congratulations! But don’t plan on having any USML money to spend for your honeymoon.”
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