Riptorns’ 1997 USML Projections

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      Brad Jansen

      Pippin, the Oracle Bitch of the USML, shares her name with a Broadway musical starring Ben Vereen, an unfortunate jogger who was struck by a car driven by David Foster, a record producer who was married to Linda Thompson, a former beauty queen who dated Elvis Presley, who starred in many memorable films including “Viva Las Vegas”, which featured Ann-Margret, who appeared in “Carnal Knowledge” with Jack Nicholson, who co-starred in “Heartburn” with Meryl Streep, who starred in “The River Wild” with Kevin Bacon.

      It is exciting to contemplate how Pippin links us to Elvis, and through Elvis, Kevin Bacon. It is disturbing, however, to contemplate how Pippin links us to Andy Klein. For some in the USML it is even more disturbing to contemplate that, although we share a common bond to Pippin, we do not share a common fate in this year’s pennant race. It is the fate of some to succeed, it is the fate of others to fail. To know your fate, do not commune with DUMB BEASTS, just read on…

      In reverse order, the final USML standings shall be as follows:

      NUKES: This is a truly awful team. Ineffective nobodies like Shawn Green and Chris Snopek compete for playing time with injured studs like Randy Velarde and Orlando Miller. Those who were captivated by the Yankees’ post-season heroics last year are saddened to see Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and David Cone exposed to the deadly radiation emanating from the USML’s very own Chernobyl.

      JOSEPH’S MIGHTY RED HOTS: The entire USML is indebted to Red Hots owner Rich Robbins. Under the burden of a crushing work load which would have driven a lesser man from the league, Rich selflessly took on the task of drafting our Constitution and tirelessly worked to put in place our league’s state of the art reporting and communications systems. More importantly, Rich sat on his money for the entire draft, taking out his wallet only long enough to make worthless investments in the likes of Ruben Rivera. This troubled franchise will probably beat out the Nukes, but then again, so will everyone else.

      WINICK’S BERLINERS: Unlike most USML owners, the owners of the Riptorns refuse to work in the service of the corporate greed which enslaves the world. We know better than to think of ourselves as “citizens of the Free World”, accordingly, we join almost all of the good players in the American League in proclaimng “Ich nich bin ein Berliner!”. With a team so bereft of first-rate talent, Jeff Winick is no doubt burning up the phone lines imploring his fellow owners to “Ask not what I can do for your team, ask what you can do for my team.” It will be fascinating to watch as Jeff franticly tries to repair his team, then franticly plays for next year.

      BLOCK’S BOMBERS: Talented corners and Randy Myers provide the solid foundation for a winning team. But like a solid foundation, the Bombers are set in concrete. The trades which might make the Bombers a legitimate contender will go unmade as the Bomber’s owner narcissisticly falls in love with the team he has drafted.

      ANGRY YOUNG MEN: The men who should be angry are superstars like Mo Vaughn and Randy Johnson who must try to compensate for the likes of Izzy Molina and Scott Karl. With a rejuvenated Roger Clemens and Juan Gonzalez set to come off the DL, the Men can crack the upper division if they make the right trades. Will the affable owner of the Angry Young Men demonstrate the people skills so sorely lacking with the Bombers? Only time will tell.

      GIMPS/FLAMING BRATS: These two newcomers have settled in at the top of the USML leader board. Can they remain there? Not likely. In the end, their anemic offenses will drag down their strong pitching. The Gimps, of course, have fallen under the sinister spell of Jeff Winick. The Brats, unfortunately, are afflicted with the malady that is Milwaukee Brewers baseball, a malady which manifests itself in the form of injured infielders (Fernando Vina), incendiary starters (Jamie McAndrew) and absentee closers (Mike Fetters).

      KLEIN NINE: This where the pennant race gets serious. The Nine feature a staggering array of offensive firepower, notwithstanding their idiotic retention of the worthless Robin Ventura for the outrageous sum of $21 (see Pippin’s comments concerning Shannon Stewart wherein unanticipated injuries are established as a benchmark of stupidity). On draft day, Andy Klein proved that you can put together a pitching staff without spending any money. He also proved that you get what you pay for. The Nine will be fun to watch, but they will go down in flames when Mssrs. Martinez, Pavlik and Oliver reveal their true natures. NOTE TO PIPPEN: Owners who scoff at the name Glendon should not make trades for pitchers named Heathcliff.

      HOOSIER DADDIES: What more can you say about Rick Gammons? He’s a Hoosier, he’s a daddy and he’s put together a terrific squad. A squad which in a WWR (world without Riptorns) would have a good chance to win it all. There are a few too many dead spots on this roster (although Junior makes up for alot) and Tino Martinez can’t possibly stay this hot, but if he does and if the Daddies find some saves, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

      MARKED TO MARKET: One has to feel for Mark Winick. It is, no doubt, a hard thing to grow up in the shadow of self-proclaimed genius. All the same, year after year, without much fanfare and without resorting to dump trades, Mark Winick comes to the draft and quietly builds a contending team. This year’s Market is no exception. Jamie Navarro for $8 is indicative of the kind of bargain which finds its way onto the Market’s roster. Unfortunately, however, Mark once again finds himself in the shadow of self-proclaimed genius. We refer, of course, to ..

      RIPTORNS: This is a truly awesome team whose reach is exceeded only by its grasp. After some early setbacks (the unfortunate injury to Jacob Brumfield which prematurely landed future superstar Shannon Stewart on the draft day roster, Troy Percival’s courageous battle with chemical imbalance, Mussina’s elbow and the government’s continuing persecution of Darryl Strawberry) and in the face of a jealous and spiteful “curse”, the Riptorns have boldly seized the mantle of eternal greatness. On draft day the ‘Torns bolstered their already formidable retention roster with solid-value star power (Edgar Martinez and Darin Erstad) and savvy reserve picks (Ron Coomer and Tim Raines). Mike Mussina and Wilson Alvarez lead a strong pitching staff that features steady veterans (Mark Langston and Steve Avery) and gifted youngsters (Robert Person, Jim Pittsley and Glendon Rusch). When Troy Percival comes off the DL to join Mariano Rivera in the bullpen … well you get the idea. Please don’t forget that, with an active roster full of astonishingly young superstars (Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra
      and Carlos Delgado) and a reserve roster including the likes of Donnie Sadler, Shannon Stewart and Ben Grieve (not to mention future closers Bill Simas and Brian Bevil) the best is yet to come for the Riptorns. If dynasties are good for sports, then the Riptorns are the best thing to ever happen to the USML.

      As if all of this weren’t enough, Riptorns icon, Rip Torn, appeared in “Defending Your Life” with Meryl Streep, who starred in “The River Wild” with Kevin BaconElvis … Pippin. We have come full circle.

      That is all.

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