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2015

2015 NBBA All Rookie Teams

Story by Rob Weissman

Every year the NBBA names players to the all-offense and all-defense all star teams.  This year, the Renegades placed a player on these teams for the eighth time in the past 14 years. I have always wondered about what else the league could do.

Major League Baseball has a rookie of the year award.  This got me thinking about the importance of rookies to the game.  They add excitement to the league.  Heck, they add excitement to any team.  I know on our squad, the coaches and the veteran players love seeing new players succeed.  We love to celebrate their first run and their first stop on defense.  It’s a huge accomplishment for everyone involved because we all play a part in their development as a player.

In my 14 year tenure of coach of the renegades, I have witnessed plenty of rookies on our team and in the league.  One thing is for certain; being a rookie in beep baseball is unlike being a rookie in most leagues.  Why?  Most players have never even seen or witnessed beepball before they play for the first time.  A rookie in the NBBA is truly new to everything from wearing a blindfold to knowing the defensive schemes and strategies to understanding the basic rules.  Some rookies have never run full speed before and have no concept of what a baseball swing should look like.  This is much harder than even little league.  At least little leaguers have seen the game played.  They know what to expect to an extent. In the NBBA, many rookies are even dealing with the newness of losing their sight and learning how to cope with that significant loss.  Lets face it… Being a rookie in the NBBA is no easy task.

In my 14 years as coach, it has taken a lot of work to get rookies ready to compete.  Many rookies pick up one side of the game quicker than the other.  A general rule of thumb I discuss is a partial sighted player normally picks up the offensive side of the game quicker while a total picks up the defensive side.  The simple reason is most totals have more tuned hearing while many partials can use their limited sight to see what a swing should look like.  Of course this does not apply to everyone.

I do a lot of scouting of the league and I like to believe I have a strong feeling for who many of the players are.  I also pay attention to rosters and can recognize many of the names.  For the 2nd year I decided to try to put together an all rookie team on both sides of the ball and see which teams were making progress developing their young talent. (for the 2014 Rookies of the year see this article)   With 8 teams coming to the 2015 World Series that were not at the previous years series it was a bit harder to know who a true rookie was.

My definition of a rookie is simple.  I picked names of players whom I have not seen on a World Series roster in the past.  Some of these players may have been playing locally for a while.  It’s hard for anyone to know for sure what their experience is without asking.  I know for example that Scott Hogwood has played for years locally against us as a member of the PA Wolfpack.  Since the wolfpack have not been to the World Series since 2007, Scott has not been introduced to the league.  But, I can’t pick on Scott as I’m sure many of the players from the Taiwan Lightning have played for years as well.  Since there is no way of knowing I’m going to treat these awards like MLB does.  Many players come from other countries where they star in their leagues such as Ichiro Suzuki, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Jose Abreu, and Hideo Nomo.  But they have all won Rookie of the year awards even though they had played at the highest level of competition in theier respective countries.  Its funny to make this comparison because almost half of the names on the lists below are from other countries.

I will also mention that I’m a “homer”. I love teams that are 100% home grown and work to build their team year round.  This is no easy task and requires a pipeline of new players to be successful as well as a dedicated group of sighted volunteers and the all important “green stuff” to pay the bills.  Though some of the “all-star teams” or combination teams (when two teams combine players because neither has enough to attend a World Series) may have rookies, they usually don’t see a ton of playing time.  When I looked at what I felt were the top rooks in this years series, one theme popped out…most of them were on teams that were not in the World Series in 2014.  Also, I did not see many of these players play…but I had a front row seat for the player who was the most impactful rookie of the league

Lets check it out:

All Rookie Defense Team

Defensivley all we can use to rank the players is defensive stops…and compare their stops to how many their team made

Name Team Games played Stops Avg
Shih Hsiung Yen Taiwan Lightning 10 36 3.6
Aaron Prevost Canada 8 26 3.3
Jamie Sibson BCS Outlaws 8 19 2.4
Miguel Telo Indy Thunder 10 20 2.0
Mark Demontis Canada 8 14 1.8
Cesar Lezcano AZ Phenom 8 11 1.4
Crystal Stark BCS Outlaws 8 11 1.4

Kudos to all of these Players.

  • Shih Hsung Yen just missed making the actual Defensive all-star team for the whole series at 3.6 stops…as the #6 player was Richie Schultz at 3.625.  He made 49% of the stops for the Taiwan Lightning team stopping 8 balls against the Indy Thunder, 7 against the Arizona Phenom and 6 against the Athens Timberwolves.  He struggled against the bigger hitting teams as he had goose eggs against Colorado and RHI.  He did manage a pair against the Taiwan Home Run.
  • Aaron Prevost is one of two Canadians on this list.  He made 44% of the stops for team Canada and set team highs for Canada against BCS Outlaws and the NJ Lightning making 6 stops in each of those two games.  A true rookie and someone who was not originally on the Canada roster till their captain got knocked out with a concussion the week before World Series.
  • Jamie Sibson paced the BCS Outlaws with 19 stops.  This was 30% of the team’s totals.  Jamie had back-to-back big games against Lodestar and Athens with 6 stops a piece in those games.  BCS was appearing in their first World Series but the team had been playing in Texas for a few years.
  • Miguel Telo is one of two players on this list we saw play.  Indy moved him all over the field as he is a very good fielder (and very young as well)  Telo made 6 stops against the Renegades for his best game of the week and his 20 stops were 2nd on the team for the Thunder for almost 27% of the team’s stops.
  • Mark Demontis – The second Canadian on this rookie team.  Like the rest of the team, he was brand new to the sport.  Until Arron Prevost turned it on late in the Dance, Demontis was leading the team in stops.  He made 24% of the stops for the team and he and Arron combined for 68% of the stops
  • Cesar Lezcano was a new player on the Arizona Phenom.  Despite the team being new, much of the roster had experience playing for the Southwest Slammers or the Stockton Stingrays.  Not Cesar.  He was tied for 2nd on the team in stops with 11 but he had a huge game against Long Island making 4 stops to lead his team to victory in that contest.
  • Crystal Stark – Another player from BCS is on the list.  Crystal and Jamie represented 48% of the team’s stops.  Crystal led the team in stops in 2 of their 8 contests with a high of 4 against the Indy Thunder.

All Rookie Offense Team

Offensively, we can look at batting average and strike outs to get a feel of how well the rooks are doing

Name Team Runs At bats Strike outs Average
Christian Thaxton Boston 23 32 2 .719
Scott Hogwood Southwest 25 43 10 .581
Ho Cheng Chi Taiwan Lightning 15 32 16 .469
Shao Hao Huang Taiwan Home Run 17 37 6 .459
Martin Dufour Canada 12 29 5 .414
Jun Qin Chen Taiwan Lightning 11 28 7 .393
  • Our own Christian Thaxton is on top of the list.  This makes sense as he placed 4th in the league with this average.  More on him later
  • Scott Hogwood finished second.  Again, I use him as the Ichiro example.  He has been leading the Philly attack for years with a mighty swing.  We knew what he was capable of and the rest of the league found out who he was on the field.  Though not a rookie for sure, this was his first World Series and he did it playing for a team he had never played with before (a team from Arizona).
  • Ho Cheng Chi is one of two players from the Taiwan Lightning.  Its unclear how experienced he was but this was the team’s first appearance at the World Series.  He may not have made this list if not for a huge performance in his last game of the series against the Indy Knights where he went 5-5.  Scoring 5 runs in a game is a pretty big feat and is not a common occurrence.  Its important to note he also struck out 50% of the time…or you could say when he put the ball in play he scored 94% of the time!
  • Shao Hao Huang helped get the Taiwan Home Run to the Championship game.  This batting average would have led many teams but for Taiwan five of his teammates had higher batting averages.  He was part of a platoon as the Home Run gave the bulk of their at-bats to 7 players.  He started both games of the Championship games vs Austin.  Though he was new to the World Series, we think he played a lot of ball in Taiwan locally
  • Martin Dufour helped Team Canada make the chart and this was his first year playing.  He actually represented 38% of the Canada runs scored and had the lowest strike out percentage on the team.
  • Jun Qin Chen is the third player from Taiwan and the 2nd Lightning player on this list.  He was 2nd on his team in average

For the 2nd year in a row, a Boston Renegade rookie has led all Rookies in hitting.  in 2014, our very own Rob Dias led the rookies in hitting

The Renegades started off the season with two rookies in 2015 but come June they had both left the team for great reasons (an internship out of state and health reasons).  Both of these players plan to play for us in the future and will be back.  We caught lightning in a bottle in May when we met Christian Thaxton.  In Late May, Joe Quintanilla came to us and wanted to put a booth at the Carroll Center of the Blind which was having an event while we were practcing.  At that event, he was talking to people about the game and getting people excited about it.  One of the people he met there was Christian.  When the event was over, Q had about 5 people interested in trying the game out,  I joked with him that we did not want anyone from Oklahoma because we had arranged for try outs in the past for people who lived out of state.  How funny was it that Joe Quniatnilla came back with…”well one of them is from Oklahoma!”

IMG_9302When we found out Thaxton played Junior College baseball and that he was excited to be able to play ball again it was a match made in heaven.  He quickly committed to the team which was already 10 practices into the season.  Though he had this experience in baseball he still had a lot to learn about beep baseball and adjustments to make.  Some of those adjustments included running to third base but most importantly hitting without his sight.  He also had a giant team of people to get to know to make sure living them for a week would be something he would want to do.  It was not all cake and ice cream for him at first.  In his first tournament in New Jersey, Thaxton hit just .300 scoring three times against 4 strike outs.  His potential was so high but he had to learn how to track the ball and stop thinking so much.  At our 2nd tournament of the year you could see him stop thinking and start to really swing hard as he improved to .455 going 5-11 with just 2 strike outs.  He credits coach Mike Marciello with helping him get comfortable tracking the ball with his blind fold off in practice before putting it back on and taking more reps.  We were poised to surprise the league with this weapon at the series when the day before we were to leave he was limping badly with a hip injury.

With the help of our amazing medical team and the fact we sat him out for the first three games of the series, Thaxton was able to perform and perform at the highest of levels.  He did not see action until our 4th game of the dance against Tyler.  At that point Boston was up 8-2 in the bottom of the first and he entered as a pinch hitter to replace injured Rob Dias.  With three strikes on him, he mauled a shot into deep left that may have come inches to the 170 foot line.  Welcome to the World Series, Mr. Thaxton!  From there he caught fire and for just the 6th time in team history he scored 5 runs in a game (against the Indy Thunder).

Without out truly knowing all of the players we list above and their beep baseball experience prior to this event..we know for sure that Christuian Thaxton was the true rookie of the year in the NBBA.  Though the Renegades did not teach him that sweet swing, we did teach him a lot about the game and we got him ready to play in a half of a season despite an injury that had him playing hurt the whole week.

Introducing rookies to the game is one of the most exciting parts of being a coach.  Each year some of the most memorable moments for the Renegade coaching staff involves watching a new player succeed at the game.  We celebrate their first runs and first defensive outs.  Developing new talent is hard.  Its not only hard to teach them, its even harder to recruit players because the blind community is a small population.

Rookies are imperative to the long term success of the team.  As we write this in early 2016, the Renegade roster is starting to take shape.  At this post we have 18 players on our roster.  What is critical to understand is that eight (or 44%) of that figure are players we have brought on to our team in the past three seasons.  Three of those players played a ton of innings for us last season (Christian Thaxton, Rob Dias an Joe Yee).  Who will be the impact rookies in the league in 2016?  We will find out soon…and there is a chance some new names from the Renegades will pop up as the team has three new 20 – somethings eager to get their first hit!

2015 World Series Statistical breakdown – Strength of Schedule

SABR CartoonMany baseball fans love the game for so many reasons.  Some people like the drama, some people like the strategy.  Some people like the history or the action.  Some people love it for the statistical side of the game.  For me, I grew up playing Strat-O-Matic baseball.  I used to love to make out line-ups, draft teams, play head to head against others and track my progress.  I was 13 years old and I knew how to calculate On base percentage, Slugging percentage, ERA.  I could score a game and determine how many unearned runs a pitcher gave up or figure out a quality start from how to determine a save.  No, we did not have WAR or UZR in those days.  But for me, I just love the analytical side of the game and we bring this into the way we coach and run the Renegades.  For now, Let’s have some fun looking at a stat we first introduced last year to the league….Strength of Schedule.

 

Strength of Schedule

As we did last year, we have tried to come up with a method to measure the strength of each team’s schedule.  This can be a telling story on how hard a World Series schedule each team has.  The way the league seeds teams is by looking at their finish in the prior year’s world series.  Keep in mind, this is all that is done to seed.  If a roster is completely overhauled – the team does not move up or down the rankings.  Here is where it gets ugly.  If a team did not attend the previous year’s series, they are seeded in the order that they got their registration fee into the league.  All of these teams are placed at the bottom of the brackets with no insight into who is on those teams.  This can produce a ton of problems for teams trying to play for a seed.  In 2015 there was 24 teams BUT only 16 teams returned from the 2014 World Series.  This meant we had 8 teams playing in the World Series that were not seeded.  Let’s name those teams in the order they were seeded by their registration fees

  • #17 New Jersey Titans – A team made up of players who left the NJ Lightning to start their own team
  • #18 Arizona Phenom – a team made up mostly from players who left the Southwest Slammers including players from the Stockton Stingrays
  • #19 Indy Knights – a team made up of players from the Indy Thunder, Wichita Sonics and Cleveland Scrappers
  • #20 Canada – a brand new team making their first ever World Series appearance without a single player having NBBA World Series experience on their roster.  Their only NBBA game experience came against the Seattle South Kings Sluggers (a team who had never made a World Series)
  • #21 Rochester –  A brand new team formed because Rochester was the host city.  Not one player had any NBBA experience and they had never played a game against an NBBA opponent
  • #22 Taiwan Lightning – Their first time playing in the World Series – at least one player had played with the Taiwan Home run in the 2013 World Series – Poe Huang.  They had experience playing against the Taiwan Homerun
  • #23 Taiwan Homerun – The 2013 World Series champions were unable to come in 2014 due to finances.  They also won the Series in 2012
  • #24 BCS Outlaws – Making their first ever NBBA World Series, though they had experience playing locally against other Texas teams.  Three of their players were former players of the Austin Blackhawks

With all of this movement, many of the teams that were seeded lost many of their starters.  This list is extensive and includes

  • #8 Southwest Slammers – Lost two starters in Pete Trejo  (tied for 2nd on their team in runs scored in 2014) and Chris Padilla as well as 4 of their bench players.  Keep in mind, The Slammers only had 10 people play in a game for them in the 2014 World Series- so 60% of their roster was gone..and they maintained an 8 seed
  • #9 Indy thunder – They gained 3 players from the Chicago Comets in Eric and Tyler Rodriguez as well as Corey White.  Three guys who would end up starting for them in 2015.  When you looked at their 2014 roster only 3 of their 11 players returned for the 2015 season.  They lost their two best defensive players (Dave Benney and Stanley Griffin) and top run scorer (Ed Brown)
  • #12 NJ Lightning – 7 of the 9 players on their roster left the team to start the NJ Titans (who by the way were ranked 17th).  They rebuilt their entire team with rookies surrounded by only 3 players with experience
  • #14 Lonestar – They picked up Richie Flores from Austin and Marlon Stover from NC – and both of these guys started for them

As you can clearly see the way the teams are seeded really makes no sense and because of this…Teams have a hard time playing to improve their seed.  For example a Team trying to play for a seed can run into issues.  An easy example is the Indy Thunder.  Who was their first opponent on day one of the brackets – The Taiwan Homerun.  What did this do to the Thunder – it forced them to play Long Island in their second game…And most importantly it put them on a track to have to play 3 games a day every day of the World Series.  These things are not right and ruin the spirit of the World Series.  Let’s face it…going into the World Series there were really on three teams who had a true legitimate chance to win,  Austin, Taiwan and RHI.  The Bayou City Heat were a long shot….and everyone else had almost no chance based on these rosters.  This means the other teams are pretty much just playing for a seed.  A seed they may not have any control over if their bracket has a team mis-seeded in it.

With all of this in mind, Let’s look at the Strength of Schedule of the teams that played in the 2015 World Series.  The math is simple.  What we do is look at the final ranking of each team and add those rankings up.  Then we divide that sum by the total amount of games played.  This comes up with a figure that represents the average seed of the team they faced.  So for example, The Boston Renegades played 9 games against the following teams Indy Knights (12) + Arizona Phenom (20) + NJ Lightning (17) + Tyler (15) + Colorado (6) + Indy Knights (12) + Indy Thunder (8) + Bayou City Heat (4) + Colorado (6).  This equates to a score of 100 and we divide that by 9 games to get 11.11.  This means the average seed of a Renegade Opponent would be ranked 11th in the league

Please note this Strength of schedule score does not take into account the amount of games played.  A team playing 9-10 games is forced to play 3 games on multiple days of the World Series- and this can take a huge toll on a team.  This year, the Taiwan Home Run were forced to play 12 games…which is likely an NBBA record (though that is unofficial).  Only one team played 12 games while four teams played 10 games, six teams played 9 games and 13 teams played 8 games.  This is a wide variance of games played.  With teams all carrying different size rosters, that can have an impact on teams staying healthy through the week

SOS Rank WS finish Team Games Record SOS
1 2 Taiwan HR 12 9-3 5.58
2 3 RHI 8 6-2 6.75
3 1 Austin 9 8-1 8.00
4 6 Colorado 8 5-3 8.25
5 10 Minnesota 8 4-4 9.88
6 9 Southwest 10 6-4 10.20
7 7 Chicago 8 6-2 10.50
8 5 Boston 9 7-2 11.11
9 13 Lonestar 9 4-5 11.56
10 11 Taiwan Light 10 5-5 11.80
11 8 Indy Thunder 10 6-4 12.00
12 4 Bayou City 8 6-2 12.00
13 14 Atlanta 9 4-5 12.22
14 16 NJ Titans 9 3-6 13.11
15 19 BCS 8 2-6 13.25
16 12 Indy Knights 10 5-5 13.60
17 23 Columbus 8 1-7 14.25
18 15 Tyler 9 5-4 14.56
19 20 Arizona 8 2-6 14.75
T-20 18 Canada 8 2-6 15.13
T-20 17 NJ Lightning 8 3-5 15.13
22 21 Long Island 8 4-4 17.00
23 24 Rochester 8 0-8 17.13
24 22 Athens 8 2-6 17.50

In 2014 using this algorithm, the Renegades played the toughest schedule…This year we played just the 8th toughest schedule…as we did not play a top team till the 3rd day of the World Series,  The seven wins the Renegades had in a World Series were the best in team history and the 3rd highest total of all team at the series.  The Renegades did not play any of the top 3 teams in 2015.

One important thing to keep in mind is the discrepancy in the amount of games played.  The Taiwan Home Run played 12 games in 5 days and had the toughest average opponent with a 5.58.  This means their average opponent was ranked between 5th and 6th in the league.  They played the #1 Austin Blackhawks three times and also played the #3 RHI Extreme twice and #4 Bayou City Heat.  They were also forced to play 3 games on the day of the Championship game because they had to play RHI on Saturday morning for the right to be in the championship game. (that game was schedule to be played on Friday – but due to the length of the game vs Bayou City was moved to Saturday morning.)  Some key findings from looking at SOS (Strength of Schedule) include

  • The Taiwan Home run were the only team to play 12 games and they almost won the title
  • Austin went 8-1 and had a very tough schedule as they played the 3rd toughest schedule at the Series – Earning this title
  • This year the surprise team was the Minnesota Millers.  The Millers placed 10th but had the 5th hardest schedule as they had to face both Austin and RHI.  SOS may be misleading a little here as they only played 8 games and just two of them were against top 6 teams.  The key was they played a lot of middle seeded teams to keep the average low such as Atlanta (14), Lonestar (13) Indy Knights (12) and two upper level squads in the Indy Thunder (8) and the Southwest Slammers (9)
  • The Bayou City Heat who finished 4th had a somewhat cupcake schedule – the 12th hardest in the league.  Their first three games were against three teams that finished at the very bottom of the league, 24 (Rochester), 22 (Athens) and 21 (Long Island).  These games provided no competition for them and made up 38% of their schedule
  • The Columbus Midnight Stars won just one game and finished 23rd but their strength of schedule was 17th in the league.  They were forced to play the #8 (Indy Thunder) and the #6 (Colorado Storm) teams on the first day of the World Series
  • The Long Island Bombers imploded.  They are a veteran team who plays many games within the East Coast.  They entered the tournament as the 10 seed and finished as the 21 seed.  What is more surprising is they had one of the easiest schedules and still finished 21st.  They started off by beating the 22 and 24 seeds (Athens and Rochester ) then had to play the #4 Bayou City Heat..the toughest opponent they would face all week.  Things got worse for them as they lost on day 1 of double elimination in their first game to the 13 seed Lone Star Roadrunners – and then because of all of the mis -seeding, they were forced to play the Indy Thunder (#8) and lost to them to be eliminated on day 1 of the World Series.  This forced them to play for the 21st place.  Let’s be clear, Long Island IS NOT the 3rd worst team in the league.  They got hosed by the lack of proper seeding for the brackets.  Even though they never played Taiwan, they were impacted by that mis-seed more than any other team in the league.
  • The Colorado Storm had a tough schedule – as they were forced to play only one team ranked higher than 11th and played 50% of their games against top 5 teams
  • The Southwest Slammers  finished 9th but had the 6th hardest schedule…Possibly the 2nd hardest schedule if you account for the fact they were one of 5 teams to play more than 9 games.  The Slammers had to play the #2 Taiwan Home Run and #3 RHI Extreme on day 1 of the Series and later got to play the #6 Colorado Storm and #7 Chicago Comets in double elimination

What makes the NBBA unique is that many games are played throughout the year.  Sadly, there is not an easy way (and cost effective way) for the league to track the progress of the teams.  Maybe with experience and finances this could change in the future.  For now, we have to play with the World Series stats.  Its the only thing we have for the Beep baseball Seam heads who like stats.  We come together for one glorious week to play ball.  From this week, we get some data to play with.  In 2015, we walked away with Austin winning the title.  We saw amazing guts and strength from a Taiwan Home Run team that was forced to play 12 games in 5 days.  We saw a few teams have their hopes dashed by the way the dance was seeded (Indy Thunder and Long Island).  We saw the largest NBBA World Series in league history.  And we witnessed a banner year from the Boston Renegades!

2015 World Series Statistical breakdown – Batting Average

SABR CartoonYes, its been a long time since the World Series ended…but don’t we need a league hot stove?  Besides, it takes a while to look at the stats for 24 teams and compile them, since they are not in the easiest format to consume.  There are a few key things we all know by now.  Austin won…again.  Rochester joined the league for the first time and did not win a game.   Batting Averages were insanely high this year.  Games were taking a very long time because the offense was up across the board.  Sometimes scores felt more like an NFL game than an NBBA game.  Let’s dive into the sexy part of the game….offense!

Batting Average

This year, the league batting average was .373.  For comparison, this was almost 100 points higher than the 2014 World Series when the league hit .276.  Did the offense suddenly improve?  Likely not, it was due to the fields we played on.  Some of the fields in New York played hard and the grass was not thick enough to slow the balls down.  A weak hit could roll long distances on some fields.  The fields were the reason for some of the high scores.  Good fields with thick grass not only feature the defense more but they are actually safer for our athletes.  Hard fields can result in four hour games in 90 degree heat which can take its toll.  Especially playing 3 games per day.  The most extreme of games was played this season between the Taiwan Home Run and the Bayou City Heat with Taiwan winning 43-37.  These two teams average…AVERAGED more than 20 runs a game on offense for the week.  In the 2015 World Series, only 9 of the 24 teams hit over the league average of .373 (defined as a weighted average by adding all of the at bats and all of the hits together and doing the proper math.  The simple average of averaging that team batting averages and dividing by the 24 teams was a less impressive .347). In fact, 10 teams hit under .300 for the week.  It is not an offensive league right now, but the higher seeded teams scored many more runs and therefor had many more at bats. For example, The Taiwan Home Run had 416 at bats in the 12 games they played while the Rochester Red Wings (in their first year) played 8 games and only had 150 at bats.  In fact, the Home Run scored more runs than 13 teams had at-bats, think about that for a moment.  This is a tribute to how good the Home Run really are.  Playing that many games may be a league record in a week.  There is no way they deserved to play that schedule.  This is a problem with the way the league seeds the tournament that needs to be addressed (more to come on this is in a future post).  The league batting average is being skewed toward the upper teams as the top 8 teams accounted for 40% of the at-bats in the World Series.  What does this mean?  It means the top 8 teams (which also had the top 8 batting averages) separated themselves from the rest of the league.  The Boston Renegades were among these teams.  The following chart ranks the teams by batting average (and shows where they finished in the World Series.

WS Finish Team AB Runs Runs per game Avg
4 Bayou City 279 177 22.1 .634
2 Taiwan HR 416 241 20.1 .579
1 Austin 275 149 16.6 .542
5 BOSTON 271 145 16.1 .535
3 RHI 221 118 14.8 .534
7 Chicago 236 110 13.8 .466
6 Colorado 211 91 11.4 .431
8 Indy thunder 286 118 11.8 .413
12 Indy Knights 264 99 9.9 .375
9 Southwest 247 86 8.6 .348
10 Minnesota 193 67 8.4 .347
21 Long Island 200 68 8.5 .340
11 Taiwan Light 253 81 8.1 .320
15 Tyler 223 67 7.4 .300
20 Arizona 202 60 7.5 .297
13 Lonestar 222 63 7.0 .284
14 Atlanta 210 54 6.0 .257
17 NJ Lightning 197 50 6.3 .254
16 NJ Titans 212 53 5.9 .250
22 Athens 175 37 4.6 .211
23 Columbus 180 36 4.5 .200
18 Canada 170 32 4.0 .188
19 BCS 170 31 3.9 .182
24 Rochester 150 6 0.8 .040

The hard work that Boston has put in made a huge difference to it’s stats.  The inflated batting average was not just due to the fields we played on, it was due to the hard work.  We tried some new coaching techniques.  Our players worked to make changes and looked to improve their skills and knowledge of their swing.  We added a third pitcher to the team in Jamie Dickerson.  Ron Cochran worked on things to make him a better pitcher in the league.   All of these things paid off.

While many rosters changed in the league from one year to the next, the Renegades did not witness much turnover.  Each and every Renegade player saw major increases in their numbers.  In fact, the renegades had the largest increase in batting average in the league from 2014 to 2015.  Yes, adding Christian Thaxton and his .719 average helped…But seeing major increases from most everyone also played a role.  Rob Dias entered his second season and his average rose .157 points.  Larry Haile saw an increase of .189 points.  Joe Quintanilla saw a .500 point swing in his stats as he hit .500 following a .000 performance in 2014.  The real surprise for the Renegades was Guy Zuccarello.  Guy increased his average by .400 points from .143 to .543.  So, yes, Thaxton’s .719 average helped but there were so many others on this team who had major improvements in their average from year to year.  Let’s take a look at the 16 teams who played in the past two World Series.  The following chart shows their averages for each season.  It also shows the change in batting average between the two seasons and ranks the teams in descending order of this delta.

Rank Team 2014 2015 Delta
1 Boston .306 .535 .229
2 Bayou City .408 .634 .226
3 Athens .021 .211 .190
4 Indy Thunder .253 .413 .160
5 Lonestar .143 .284 .141
6 Atlanta .124 .257 .133
7 Minnesota .232 .347 .115
8 Long Island .233 .340 .107
9 Chicago .366 .466 .100
10 Southwest .258 .348 .090
11 Tyler .217 .300 .083
12 RHI .459 .534 .075
13 Columbus .127 .200 .073
14 NJ Lightning .200 .254 .054
15 Colorado .391 .431 .040
16 Austin .582 .542 -.040
16 team avg .284 .373 .089

Look who is at the top….the Boston Renegades!  Let’s hear it for the coaches!  Let’s hear it for the hard work the players put in!  We had a great year and we did it our way.  We did it in a somewhat unique way for this league.  The Boston way is growing it’s own talent and working on continuous improvement with the players and coaches.  This chart shows some amazing things for the Boston Renegades.  Boston was one of two teams that witnessed a .200 point increase in the team average.  The other team was the Bayou City Heat , owners of the highest 2015 World Series average at .634 (the only team to hit greater than .600).

Both the Bayou City Heat and Boston Renegades got contributions from players who came back to the team who had not played in 2014.  Boston returned Shayne Cantan (who hit .375) and Bayou City returned John Kibodeaux (who hit .500).  Boston also recruited a new rookie that made the all-star team in Christian Thaxton (.719).   Newer players like Rob Dias for Boston and Joseph Fleeks for Bayou City saw big jumps in their average (Fleeks went from .091 to .690). Both these teams topped the league in improvements.  Both these teams did it without adding offensive players from other rosters in this time period (Bayou City did recruit Greg Gontaryk to play defense for them)

Let’s look at all the other teams who played in both the 2014 and 2015 World Series.  The rank next to the team name below relates to the rank in the delta of their batting average year over year where 16 had the least improvement (Boston was tops and Bayou was 2nd).

In a way to have some fun, Let’s bucket all of the other teams into categories.  This is in no way meant to be disrespectful.  Its just me having some fun.  Running a team in this league is hard work.  It’s so hard to coach, fundraise, recruit and make everyone happy.  Keep this in mind, the visual impaired community is small enough that its hard to field a roster at times…especially a home grown roster.  That said, it’s more impressive that some teams have had some success doing this.

Building a program from within – These guys join Boston as Home grown teams whom are improving

  • #6 Atlanta who witnessed a .124 point increase.  – Greg Hoggle, their pitcher decreased his K rate from 57% to 49% which always helps the average.  They saw some steady improvement from most players but got a big lift from the emergence of their rookie, Dontrey Hunt who hit .393
  • #7 Minnesota whom witnessed a .115 point increase – Their improvement in batting average can be tied to the improvement of Evan Van Duyne whose average jumped from .276 to .645 and Josh Xiong who moved from .259 to .406.  Both these guys are home grown and the Millers have a 100% home grown roster.

Going further into the league, things are not as impressive.  In fact, teams are not at the same level as Bayou City and Boston at improving.  We are grouping these teams into a few buckets.  These labels are just to have some fun…They are in no way meant to be disrespectful

One Direction – Not talking about the boy band…but the direction you can go when you struggle in a season….The only way you can go is up

  • #3 Athens ranked third in improvement by raising their Average .190 points…but they only had one way to go – up.  They scored just 3 runs in the 2014 World Series.

Free Agent impact – Team’s improvement is related to the impact of signing players from other teams

  • #4 The Indy Thunder were impressive in their own part, ranking 4th in improvement….but they did things different than Boston and Bayou City.  They improved as a team..but 5 of their 6 starters changed from 2014 to 2105..as three of those players moved to the Thunder from the Chicago Comets, where they learned to play ball – (the Rodriguez brothers and Corey White).  Even though the Thunder improved, they did so by picking up players from another team’s system.  In sum, their line up was not home grown and their improvement was the result of recruiting players from another team…as many of the Indy Thunder starters left to start the Indy Knights
  • #5 Lonestar ranked 5th in improvement – They saw some of their home grown players improve dramatically such as PJ Navarro (.378), Pedro Garcia (.324), Drew Bennet (.286) – But they also picked up two players from other teams.  Joining them were Richie Flores (from Austin who hit .333) and Marlon stover from NC (who hit .500).  Their rise in batting average was weighted toward the addition of Flores and Stover.

Roster trouble – It’s not easy to keep a team together.  Some teams get old and struggle to recruit new talent.  Other teams just struggle to get along and find a common goal.  These teams had too much turnover forcing their teams to rebuild in any way they could

  • #9 Chicago had a major roster overhaul as they lost three players to the Indy Thunder and they struggled a bit to field a roster of their own and had to pull in Jeff Dell from Cleveland.  Their increase was barely over the average increase of the league (.100 point increase for Chicago..and a .089 increase for the league)
  • #10 Southwest witnessed an increase of .090 points (just over the league average) but some of their players left to start the Arizona Phenom in 2015.  Their increase was attributed to bringing in players such as Scott Hogwood who led their team in hitting at .581
  • #14 NJ Lightning – Their improvement was 100% attributed to bringing in Kevin Barrett who pitches for Cleveland.  Regardless, they also did this with 4 of the 6 starters gone to the NJ Titans.  To even field a team after the rift that fractioned off another team considers a lot of praise

Don’t let the stats fool you – These teams saw increases, but it was likely due to the fast fields

  • #8 Long Island – Yes they saw a great improvement in their team average by .107 points but they played a weak schedule.  They played poorly and were impacted by the mis-seeding of the Taiwan Home Run and finished 21st in the league.  This weak schedule (which will be discussed in a different post had them face weaker defensive teams)  Also stars like Joe Dejesus saw his average drop from .355 in 2014 to .280 in 2015
  • #11 Tyler – though they saw an increase in their average and brought on rookie sensation, Derrick Floyd, their batting average increased slightly less than the league average – so their stats could be more of a result of the fast fields…though its important to note Ron Jordan moved from .345 to .649 for the Tigers
  • #13 Columbus – Like Athens, not much direction to go but up when the team hit .127 in 2014.  Its important to note their average increase was below the 16 team average

Studs – but not improving – Year over year the change they had was not there.  Maybe when your great, its hard to get better?

  • #12 RHI – A top team in both seasons, they picked up Dave Benney from the Indy Thunder (who hit .520).  Nick Silver saw his average jump .200 points to .686 as did Demile Wright (who hit .708).  Their stats may not look like they improved much but they had one of the toughest defensive schedules in the league
  • #15 Colorado – Colorado is doing some good stuff as they are working in a new pitcher and have two new rookies that are exciting in Mike Jackson (.300) and Mike Malloy (.286).  Their youth movement extends beyond their players as they are trying to bring a long a new pitcher (Cory Buckingham) who threw a bunch of innings  and is learning on the job.  They did not see the increase they would have if they let Johnny Walker pitch every game. Overall, their team is still too heavy on out of towners as roughly half of their starting line up resides outside of Colorado.
  • #16 Austin – The only team which saw a decline in their batting average from 2014.  How could that be?  They played a tougher schedule in 2015…having to play Taiwan twice.  Also some of their starters saw a decline in their godly stats – Lupe Perez battled injuries and saw his average drop from .778 to .588, Axel Cox dropped from .519 to .487.

So there you have it.  A look at Batting averages across the league.  Come on back to our web site to check on future articles about the Strength of schedule each team had as well as a look at who the NBBA Rookie All-stars were in 2015!

Top 10 moments of the 2015 season

the 2015 season had many ups and downs for the Boston Renegades.  We were coming off our best season ever in 2014 and we entered the season with a roster of more than 20 players.  As the season progressed, many of these players dropped off the roster…mostly due to health issues of their own or their family.  It was a constant change and it questioned the commitments of many.  Mid summer we changed the culture and started holding all players accountable and the roster started to take form.  With a roster as big as ours, it makes it hard to pick just ten moments…but the following are the top ten moments of the 2015 season as told by me, Rob Weissman

As the week progresses – we will add new moments..but let’s start the count down

#10 McCormick loses his groove and we have an ubersense moment

Joe McCormick on UbersenseJoe McCormick made the all star team last year hitting .600 at the World Series in Minnesota.  We all talked about how well he hit, but how the quality of his hits were not what they have been in the past.  Joe Committed to improving and working on his swing during the season.  We taught him about rolling wrists, he focused on keeping his head down and he worked hard.  He was having an amazing season.  Entering the game vs Colorado he was hitting .632 on the season….when the problem began.  It was the biggest game of the year and We had fallen down 8-0 to the Colorado Storm after one inning.  We started to claw back and were down 9-4 in the top of the 3rd inning when Mac came to the plate. All of a sudden, his swing changed.  His sweet spot went from around his belly button north by almost a foot.  Instead of hitting deep fly balls, he was now swinging and missing.  He had made contact on 64% of the pitches we had thrown him up to this point…and for the next three at bats he would make contact just once in 1 swings which resulted in three key strike outs.   Through this game, Ron and I struggled to adjust to his new swing, as we didn’t know which swing we would get on any given pitch.  Late in the game, I grabbed some video of him and compared it to what he looked like the day before and saw something.  the placement of his arms had changed in his stance.  I conferred with our hitting coach, Mike Marciello and our pitcher, Ron Cochran….We would make a change.  In the bottom of the 6th inning we had a long delay because we were disputing an illegal substitution by the Colorado Storm.  This down time allowed us to work with Mac to make sure he knew what he was doing.  On the first pitch of the at-bat McCormick blasted a shot which tied the game at 15-15 and the team erupted.  As soon as he scored, I was so excited that I was screaming at the top of my lungs with excitement for Joe and for the fact, we made a quick adjustment to fix things.  This flaw haunted Joe for the rest of the week but with this new information, we were able to make tweaks and keep him going. He finished the World Series hitting .628.  This was a big moment of the Renegades 2015 World Series.

#9 Zuccarello may be tested for enhancement drugs

Guy blast a ball up the middle against NJ to start his torrid batting Average in 2015

Guy blast a ball up the middle against NJ to start his torrid batting Average in 2015

We started in the cages in 2015 and decided we needed to go back to basics with our hitters.  The goal was to make sure players knew their mechanics and how their body motion impacts the ball off their bat.  Guy finished the 2014 season hitting .214 but he only had power to left field.  There was too much wrist roll in his swing.  He started to experiment with a new stance.  In fact, he was experimenting all season long and was not having a ton of success.  He even went the entire NJ tournament without an at bat. In the Last game of our home tournament, it was time for Guy to see some action at the plate.  After no at bats in 5 straight games, the calm, cool, collective Zucarello strode to the plate.  The results were amazing.  He was hitting line drives up the middle of the field.  In fact, he was 3-3 in his first three at bats against the New Jersey lightning on three quality hits.  This game gave us all confidence he had made huge strides with his swing.  He would go on to have an amazing World Series hitting .543, his best World Series batting average.  On the season guy hit more than .250 points over his career average.  It was a tremendous moment to see things click for him.  Guy never complains when he is left out of the batting line up…he is the ultimate teammate….To see him become an integral part of the offense was a lot of fun for us all.

 

#8 The Comeback of Tim Syphers

Tim Syphers working the on deck circle during our game against the Bayou City Heat as he helps Joe McCormick get his bat

Tim Syphers working the on deck circle during our game against the Bayou City Heat as he helps Joe McCormick get his bat

Tim Syphers joined the team for the 2013 season and spent the entire year hurt as he battled shin splints.  Overall, that season was hard on him in many ways.  A former high school baseball player who had loved the game had a chance to play ball again.  He had a strong swing and early success.  What started out as promise turned into pain that put him in the emergency room.  The whole season he battled injuries and demons.  Things escalated for him at the World Series where he was verbal about his lack of playing time.  The 2014 season saw Tim quit the team mid-season as he walked away angry at the world.  The demons he was fighting were mostly off the field as he struggled with his recent vision loss and some health problems.  Coming into the 2015 season, he wanted to return to the squad but we laid out conditions for him to meet.  He had to put these demons behind him.  He had to apologize to the team.  He had to tell the team about his demons.  He accepted this burden with open arms.  Then in the spring, he was suddenly absent again from practice.  We thought that he had left the team again.  The demons were back.  After a long talk and a long apology and explanation, we let Tim back on to the squad but he faced a suspension for his behavior.  A suspension that would have him sit for the entire home tournament.  Tim changed his attitude.  He was suddenly very grateful for a new chance.  He saw opportunity and a group of people willing to support him.  We put him to work on our on deck circle.  A role he disliked in the past was one he embraced in 2015.  He just wanted to be part of the team.  As the World Series progressed Tim saw action.  He got 11 at bats and a start against the Tyler Tigers.  He hit very well, scoring six times.  He was the ultimate team player and was excited for every player on the team despite playing a part time role.  One of the ultimate teammates.  The real treat and special moment came after the series.  Tim’s excitement has him so excited about playing beep baseball.  He may still be fighting the demons, but he is winning that battle more often now.  His excitement has spawned a new project for the Renegades, the Renegade Report.  This is a podcast Tim is working on to tell the many stories of the Boston Renegades players and coaches.  It has been a thrill to see Tim turn from a disgruntled player to someone who can see how this podcast can be fun to do, great for the team and great for his radio career.  The demons are losing.  Combined with his accountability and acceptance of this trouble from his fellow Renegades, Tim has turned negatives into big positives.  We are all proud of him for this change…a change that has had a positive impact on his life.  A life which is far greater than the ball we play between the lines.  We like to think the opportunity we gave him has helped him have something to look forward to and has helped him forge new friendships.  Its been so rewarding to help him defeat some of those demons in our own way. We are so proud of him and the culture of our team.

#7 YEE HAW

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Joe Yee makes a stop against Long Island. He is pictured on his back holding the ball up for the ump to see. This game helped his confidence in the field which led him to being one of the top defenders for the games at the 2015 World Series

I love it when you get to see it click for a player.  This year defense started to click for 2nd year player, Joe Yee.  Being aggressive was something we discussed with Joe this season.  Joe’s rookie season was a good year but his contribution was mostly on the offensive side of the ball.  He was a bit slower to pick up the defensive side of the game.  In practice in 2015, we moved Joe around a lot in the defense.  Things started to click for him and at the home tournament, he made two nice plays against the Long Island Bombers and you could see his confidence grow.  Sadly, Joe was battling shin splints this spring and summer.  While the team struggled to play defense on the fields in Rochester, during the World Series,  Joe was strutting his stuff.  A ball would ricochet off the player in front of him and Joe would change directions and make the play.  He did this twice!  He started to earn more and more playing time as the week progressed and earned his way Into the starting lineup as our starting third baseman, one of the most active spots on the field. Joe was making text book stops while his teammates were struggling with the fields.  When the World Series was over, he would make the third most stops of anyone on the Renegades…and the most stops of anyone playing in the 2nd layer of the defense (15 stops at the Series).  All of this came from someone who made just two stops on defense in 2014.  It was great to see him emerge as a two-way player.

 

#6 Next man up…do your job

Jamie Dickerson and Dan Cotter

Jamie Dickerson and Dan Cotter led the Renegades to three victories in NJ in 2015. Jamie was pitching in his first tournament ever and was also calling. Danny came up big for us on the mound as well as the Renegades showed depth by winning with their #2 and #3 pitchers. Not many teams have three guys who can pitch and win games for them!

Pitching is a huge part of beep baseball.  Most successful teams in the league have had the same guys pitching for them for more than 10 years.  Guys Like Kevin Sibson for Austin, Fonzi for Bayou City, James from Long Island, Booker for the Indy Thunder, Jarred Woodard for RHI, Johnny Walker for Colorado.  Only Chicago has two pitchers, Nick Lopez and Chad Perry.  When it comes time to travel and you don’t have your number one pitcher…it normally spells doom.  Not for the Renegades.  Ron Cochran has become one of the better pitchers in the League, but he was unavailable for the first trip to the year to NJ.  On top of this, our number two Pitcher, Danny Cotter had missed a lot of practices in 2015.  Jamie Dickerson was asked at the start of the year to work as a third pitcher to build depth.  He sunk his heart into it every practice.  Each practice he would get a little better.  Heading to NJ, we had to rely on the arms of Danny and Jamie…two guys whom had a lot of swings and misses leading up to this tournament.  Teaming with the Renegades long time catcher (me), I helped them locate the sweet spot and their confidence grew as the day went on.  We rotated the both of them depending on who was at the plate.  Players told us whom they felt more confident with and we adjusted the lineups so they could each face multiple guys in a row in the lineup.  The result was three victories.  They pitched their hearts out.  On top of this, Jamie also called the right side of our defense.  He became the first volunteer in team history to call an entire tournament and pitch in every game.  These two guys were the MVPs of the first tournament of the year for the Renegades and helped us get off to a 3-0 start.

 

 

#5 Woburn Host Lions Donate to all teams of the Beast of the East!

We had not hosted a tournament in the Boston area since 2010 or a game since 2013.  This year the Woburn Host lions wanted to help us and they were amazing.  They did it all.

Three members of the Woburn Host Lions man  the food truck at the Beast of the East

Three members of the Woburn Host Lions man the food truck at the Beast of the East

They got hotels for the teams. They secured the fields. They got sponsors to raise money.  When the games came, they manned the food trucks. They donated food to all of the teams.  They lined the fields. They supplied the fields with all the base umps and field umps and base switch operators.  They helped bring equipment across the field on golf carts.  They did it all with a smile and an “Atta-boy”.  These guys were incredible and took care of most everything to the point where we could put all of our focus on playing the games.  But here is the memorable part.  When the tournament was over they had checks for all of the teams that competed including a larger check for the winner of the Beast of the East.  These guys are amazing and are one of our biggest supporters every year!

 

 

#4 Entering the Baseball Hall of Fame

The Renegades pose at the Baseball Hall of Fame

The Renegades pose at the Baseball Hall of Fame

After the World Series was over, on the way back home, the National Baseball Hall of Fame invited the Renegades to come talk about beep baseball to the patrons of the Hall.  Guy Zuccarello and Bryan Grillo represented the team very well as they spoke to the crowd in the bullpen theater.  Not many people get the chance to talk in the Hall of Fame.  It was a tremendous honor.  That honor expanded by having two articles written on us by the Hall of Fame.  All of this was kick started by the work I did with Kevin Barrett, John Lykowski Jr and Brandon Cheeser in getting some items donated to the Hall which are still on display today.  We wrote more about this entire experience in this blog.  there you can see Guy and Bryan speak in a video, see the exhibit the Hall had on display with the artifacts from our league as well as read the articles we had written on our great sport.

 

 

 

#3 Tyler blitz

After playing three games on day one of the World Series, we knew that if we beat Tyler, we would have rest and only play one game.  Tyler is an improved team the past few years

All of the players who plated a run in the record breaking 1st inning for the Renegades

All of the players who plated a run in the record breaking 1st inning for the Renegades

and we were not going to take them for granted.  After a less than stellar day on defense the day before, the team knew it had work to do.  The field we played on was hard and we had to contend with noise from a tractor bailing hay right next to the field…but after giving up 2 runs in the top of the frame, out team caught fire (with some incredible luck) and plated 16 runs in the first inning, a Team record for most runs scored in an inning.  This was the most runs the team had ever scored in a single inning in team history.  This was also the first time in team history we would 12 run a team in the 1st inning of play.  This would mark the 2nd game we had 12-runned an opponent on the year (we would do it 4 times in 2015) and the only year in team history we would accomplish this feat more than once – as we had only accomplished it 6 times prior to 2015 with the last time being in 2013 against the southwest Slammers.  What was incredible was we had a great deal of luck scoring the first 6 runs on balls that did not travel 100 feet but had crazy spin, speaker downs and defensive collisions to help the Gades.  But as the inning progressed, the bombs would start flying.  Seven players would plate runs in this inning including Joe McCormick (3), Larry Haile (3), Rob Dias (1), Christian Thaxton (2 – and his first two World Series runs ever), Shayne Cantan (2), Guy Zuccarello (3) and Tim Syphers (2).

 

#2 Thaxton Arrives

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Christian Thaxton takes off toward third base (not an easy thing for this converted baseball player)

In June of 2015, we held a try-out and an opportunity for some people to try the sport and meet the team.  We had 5 players and 1 volunteer come to the event.  One of those players had learned about the team at the Carroll Center and had just moved here from Oklahoma.  That player was Christian Thaxton.  Thaxton had played Junior College Baseball and never thought he would play baseball again till he stepped to the plate against me in a batting practice session.  The first pitch he swung on he blasted into left field.  I’m not sure who was more shocked, me or him…after all, I had not thrown a pitch all year and am buried as 4th on the pitching depth chart.  Thaxton was sold and we found a way to bring him on to the team in early June and he made the trip to New Jersey with us to get his feet wet.  Every practice you could see things begin to click for this new player.  We gave him shirt #2 (and the irony is he ranks #2 on this list)  Even though he had some big hits in New Jersey his confidence really clicked at the home tournament.  With our #1 pitcher, Ron Cochran, Thaxton settled down and once he did this, his bat speed picked up and he started to hit bombs like never before in any BP session.  You could see he stopped thinking and started swinging.  During the last practice of the year, Thaxton came up lame with a hip injury that concerned the coaches.  We rested him during the series but he was the break out rookie of the year hitting .719 at the World Series and making the all-star team.  But the big moment beyond these was in the Indy Thunder game when his teammates would sit quietly on the bench when he came to the plate to “hear the show”.  This phrase was coined by the players because as Guy Zuccarello would say “When Thaxton hits the ball it makes a noise unlike anyone else in the league”.  Yes, we have fun and adding Thaxton’s bat was a lot of fun for everyone on the team.

#1 Honoring my father

When I arrived at our home tournament in Woburn this year, I noticed all of the players and a few coaches were sporting white wrist bands…something I have never seen us do

The Renegades huddle before a game as many of the players wear a wrist band with the initials "BW" in honor of Coach Rob's father who was battling brain cancer

The Renegades huddle before a game as many of the players wear a wrist band with the initials “BW” in honor of Coach Rob’s father who was battling brain cancer

before.  For those that know me, I’m pretty focused on the game and don’t get distracted easily…but I noticed this.  As the day went on, I really noticed this.  On the wrist bands were the initials of “BW” – the initials of my father, Bill Weissman.  The team watched me struggle all year as my dad had brain surgery in the fall and we were caring for him the entire season.  He had come to two practices and met with some of the players.  My father told me how inspired he was by the players and this meant more to him while he was battling brain cancer than ever before.  I was deeply touched at this gesture from the team and even as I wrote this, I get goose bumps for the level of support I have gotten.  Sadly, my father passed on August 1st while I was at the World Series.  During his tribute, I made sure one of these wrist bands was on display and I will treasure it forever.  My father was a big reason why I fell in love with baseball and I learned my passion for running an organization from him.  This moment was very personal for me and I will never forget it.  Seeing a team rally behind my dad like that speaks volumes of the culture we have built on this team.

 

That’s it…the top 10 moments of the Renegades 2015 season as seen by me, Rob Weissman.  Yes, we had lots of moments…but these stood out for me as a coach.  Each and every player and coach on the team likely has a different top 10.  There are also some very touching stories that happened off the field…but to protect the privacy of people involved, I decided not to write about those.  Now, we turn the page to 2016 and we hope we have some more amazing stories to tell.

 

The Renegades make a visit to Cooperstown to represent the league at the Baseball Hall of Fame

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The Renegades pose in the baseball learning center while supporting their film at the baseball hall of fame in 2013

Story by Rob Weissman

As I child, baseball was my life.  Our summers were full of wiffleball, t-ball, sandlot games in our dead end circle of our street, baseball cards, strat-o-Matic and so much more.  I wanted to be a Major League Baseball player more than anything.

That dream died pretty quickly as I got left off a summer travel team and then failed to make the baseball team at my high school after trying for three years.  In fairness, our high school had a huge athletic program and I could not make the cut. In college, I discovered my skills were higher than most I knew who did play for their high schools.  Maybe if I went to a smaller school that dream would have flickered longer.  After college,  I decided to try to tweak my dream and started to work for Major League Baseball in the Arizona fall league in 1993.  It was one of the most exciting jobs I ever had.

Let’s fast forward to the fall of 2013 and the Renegades documentary from Best Dog Ever films was selected to play at the Baseball Hall of Fame film festival.  It was a complete honor to be part of that festival.  As the movie played, it was just emotional to see my team and our work recognized at this level.  We then had the opportunity to field questions from the audience.  In a small way, it felt like we had achieved my dream of playing ball and making it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Through this trip, we made some contacts who were interested in doing more with the team.  It started with Larry Moore who was willing to give us a great experience after our movie and give the team an opportunity to learn more about the history of baseball equipment and uniforms….by holding the equipment.  Larry even came to the Boston area and put on another show for the team this past spring.  We loved being a part of baseball history and seeing how heavy the uniforms were.  We took pleasure in trying on these crazy gloves and holding the lumber from  old days when they did not use toothpicks to hit with.

We also met one of the museum curators, Tom Schieber.  Tom and I talked about how the Hall likes to tell a story through the equipment when they make a display.  I took his lessons and worked with the league to secure memorabilia from the last out of the World Series.  Kevin Barrett helped us secure the ball from the final out and John Lykowski jr helped us get a photo of the final out as well.

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Brandon Cheeser’s shirt, gloves, blindfold with the ball he stopped for the final out of the 2014 World Series

The three of us worked together to send this to Tom at the Hall of Fame and the Hall accepted the ball, photo, an NBBA patch and a program from the 2014 World Series.  All of these items are archived there.  In some small way, all of the players and volunteers are in the Baseball Hall of Fame archives through that program.  How cool is that to think about?

At that time, I started to work with Brandon Cheeser, who was the player from Austin who fielded the final out.  Brandon donated his uniform top, his blindfold and the gloves he wore when he made the out…and all of these items were also accepted into the hall of fame.

In the early part of the summer, we found out the items were on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame.  It was an amazing feeling to see the league get recognized.  It was amazing to hear from Brandon about what it meant to him.  It was another baseball dream come true.

The story did not end there.  As we approached the 2015 World Series, we were invited to put on a program in the bullpen theater for the museum patrons to learn more about beep baseball.  With the help of Andrew Distler and Shirley Tyler we designed a program where we could show a clip of our documentary, talk about the rules of the game, what the game means to the athletes and demonstrate what the ball sounds like.   As we worked on that the Hall of Fame put together an article on the game. Gretyl Macalaster reached out to me and put together a very nice article that was published by the Hall of Fame in their newsletters.  That article can be read here: http://www.baseballhall.org/discover/short-stops/sounds-of-the-game

Once we got to the Hall of Fame we were taken right to the display to see what they were showing to the museum patrons to help educate people about our sport.  This was there busiest time of year – induction ceremonies!  While we looked at the display, we met up with Brandon who was so honored to have his name and equipment in the Hall of Fame.

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Rob dias, Rob Weissman, Christian Thaxton and Mike Marciello pose with the display about out great sport of beep baseball in the Baseball Hall of Fame

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Brandon Cheeser poses with his son as he was so proud to have his uniform an, blindfold and gloves in the hall of fame along with the ball he caught for the final out of the 2014 World Series

 

 

 

 

When Brandon found out about the display he wrote to me saying, “I had a coworker describe it to me and I told him as he was describing the photo to me that I was about to cry. This means a lot to me to be a part of a sport as great as this one to reach out to blind athletes and still let them follow the sport they love and try and live and reach the dreams that they had as a child.”

As we were entering the Hall that day, there was a program available at the front desk with the events the day..and we were on this program.  It was designed to help us promote a 30 minute talk we were going to do for the patrons of the Hall.

 

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Notice the Renegades are being promoted at the Hall of Fame – for the blind it reads – “1:00 Beep Ball Program (Bullpen Theater, 1st Floor) – Join us for a special presentation from the Beep Ball Players as they discuss this unique form of baseball played by those that are visually impaired”

 

When the crowd filled in to the bullpen theater we first showed a clip from our documentary and then Renegade Player, Guy Zuccarello, Coach Bryan Grillo and Austin Blackhawk, Brandon Cheeser talked about the game, the rules, how its played and what the game means to the players.  While we talked about the game we had a slide show of pictures showing many of the players and teams from around the league, courtesy of John Lykowski Jr.  Players in this video included: James Monza (Carolina), Frank Guerra (Iowa), Bill Landrum (Chicago), John Parker (Colorado), Doug Biggins (Colorado), Pat Lemke (Minnesota), Matthew Lassai (Wichita), Kilari Girtley (Chicago), Kevin Burton (Wichita), Graham Mathenia (Lonestar), Rich Koppenjan (NJ), Sherlock Washington (NJ), Jackson Schwoebel (Columbus), Frank Facio (Bayou City), Ron Jordan (Tyler), Axel Cox (Austin), Thanh Huynh & Ron Cochran (Boston), Lupe Perez (Austin), Jen Boylan (Southwest), Kevin Sibson (Austin), Marlon Stover (Carolina), Demitris Morrow (Colorado), Jason Walters (Bayou City), Tanner Gers (Bayou City),  Guy Zuccarello (Boston), Deshaun Widener (NJ), Adam Rodenbeck (RHI), Brandon Cheeser (Austin),  Joe McCormick (Boston), Jim Mastro (West Coast Dawgs), Evan Silver (Boston), Jason Gainey and Larry Reed (Tyler)

The goal of the video was to give the audience a feel of the athleticism of the game, the diversity of the players and the range of teams from around the country.  We wanted to make sure the Boston Renegades were representing the league…NOT just the Renegades.  Many thanks to John Lykowski Jr for providing this footage.  It was truly an honor to be part of this event and for the diehard baseball fans on our team, we felt like we were part of the Baseball Hall of Fame for the day.  When our talk was over the Baseball Hall of Fame released a second article about the game, its rules and more http://baseballhall.org/news/beep-baseball-a-hit-in-cooperstown

The Boston Renegades visit the Baseball hall of fame after the 2015 World Series

The Boston Renegades visit the Baseball hall of fame after the 2015 World Series

During this program, I must confess I was in tears.  I had tears for a few reasons.  First, I had found out that less than 24 hours prior to this event, my father had passed away losing a battle with Brain Cancer.  My family agreed with me that he would want me to be at the Hall as there was nothing I could do at home.  I had a heavy heart because my dad helped me grow my love of baseball by playing catch, playing baseball video games, teaching us about collecting baseball cards and taking us to Red Sox games including the 1986 World Series.  But some of these were tears of joy that maybe..just maybe my father was smiling down upon me and watching my team achieve a dream that many of us had.

Here is the full video of Bryan talking and most of what Guy had to say…but we ran out of space to record the whole thing and missed Brandon- sorry

 

This past fall, the annual exhibit showing the past years stories which housed Brandon’s equipment was taken down.  We got word a new exhibit about the game of baseball titled “Whole New Ballgame,” which focuses on baseball from 1970 to today has been created and our ball made that exhibit.  In that exhibit is the ball we used to make the final out and picture of the Austin Blackhawks celebrating their win.  The plaque reads “Since 1976, the visually impaired players of the National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA) have relied on sound-emitting baseballs.  The beep ball was used in the 2014 NBBA World Series.”  We are right next to the Pope.  This is a very cool honor and this exhibit should be there for years to come.  A dream come true has started.  Maybe one day the Baseball Hall of fame would do an exhibit on disability and baseball.  Tell stories of stars like Jim Abbott, Jim Eisenreich, Pete Gray and show how engrained baseball is in the American culture that people with all sorts of disabilities compete in this sport.  Until then, we can’t wait to get back there to see the ball on display!

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picture of the ball which was used for the final out of the 2014 World Series that is currently on disply at the hall of fame in Cooperstown

2015 World Series Highlights Day #4

Bayou City Brings the heat and knocks out the Renegades…AGAIN 27-15

After a very long Thursday, The team got back to the hotel after 8:00 and we had Pizza delivered and sat on the floor of the hotel.  Not a luxurious way to do things..but we needed to get rest as the Bayou City Heat awaited us on Friday Morning.  The Renegades wanted a chance at redemption from what the Heat did to us on 2014.  To recap that, the Gades held an 8-2 lead and ended  up losing by a run to get knocked out of the World Series.  Bayou City also accused Guy Zucarello of cheating and patched him.  So there was some anxiety about this issue as well. Redemption, Revenge and the chance to show them we had made some adjustments since they saw us last.  Well when the line-ups were turned in, The Renegades had two guys in the line-up whom were not there in 2014 in Christian Thaxton and Shayne Cantan.  Bayou it had two as well in Greg Gontaryk and John Kebedeaux,.  But in this match they also made sure to have all their big bats in the line up as Boudreux (did not start in 2014 and was injured) and Clark both started out of the line-up.  This was going to be a tough match for sure.  Bayou City had only one loss on the week, losing to Austin (the eventual champs 21-13).  The team that could play better defense was sure to win this match, at least thats is what we thought.  the Bayou City pitcher, Fonzi Medrano had other plans.  Bayou City started off fast scoring 5 times in the top of the first inning with Tanner Gers scoring a pair.  Boston would fight back and score three runs in the bottom of the inning to keep it close.  Excitement was in the air.  In the second, Rob Dias and Joe Yee made some stops and Bayou City only scored a pair..as Boston won the inning by  having the same exact three players score again- Thaxton, McCormick and Dias Plus Zucarello got on the board for the first time and the score was Bayou City 7 and Boston 7.  The third inning was big for Rob Dias as he made two more stops on defense and with the help of Joe McCormick, the Renegade defense held the Heat to only 2 runs again.  Only Joe McCormick would score in the Renegade 3rd and the score stood at 9-7.  But during this time Ron got into trouble with head umpire, Kemp.  The Renegades were arguing that on multiple plays the Bayou City heat did not have possession of the ball and that the player had it pinned to their body before they got it “up”.  Kemp disagreed and Ron had some choice words as he walked back to the bench and was officially warned for his conduct.  The Bayou City bats caught fire in the 4th inning and they plated 6 runs as Tanner Gers and John Kebedeux each scored a pair in the inning.  In the bottom of the Fourth, Larry Haile finally got started as he scored the third run of the inning and as he scored he jumped up and down yelling “Im back…I’m back” as the team never showed quit.  At this point in the game, many of the other teams were starting to find their way to watch this game and a huge amount of league support was breaking out for the Renegades as teams filled up the space behind the Renegades bench cheering.   In the 5th inning with just one run in, McCormick stopped a ball of the bat of Bam Bam Clark and Joe Yee made a nice play on Jason Walters.  The NBBA looked on and though…Could this be the Renegades time?  But  Boston could not get off the field and Bayou City scored another 5 runs with two outs.  That was the dagger for the Renegades and heading into the bottom of the 5th it was Heat 21 and Boston 11.  Fauns continued the pain in the 6th putting up three consecutive innings where his team scored 6 runs and the Renegades would end up losing 27-15.  The 27 runs was the 2nd largest output ever allowed by the Renegades (Chicago plated 31 runs in 2013).    For Bayou City, anger Gers scored 7 times in 8 trips to the plate and three different players (Kebedeaux, Boudreaux and Clark each scored 5 runs).  For Boston, Christain Thaxton and Joe McCormick would each score 4 runs to pace the Renegade offense.  Boston would strike out 8 times in 33 trips, while Bayou City only struck out 4 times in 45 trips.  this was part of the problem as well as Larry Haile (3) and Joe McCormick (2) had issues in this game with strike outs.  Boston would be eliminated.  Bayou City would then go to place the Taiwan Home Run.  Their game against Taiwan would end up going till the evening as Fonzi continued to keep his bats mashing the ball.

Boston wins Rematch against the Colorado Storm 17-5

In 2014, when the Heat defeated the Renegades, it was an emotionally draining game.  When this game ended in 2015, the Renegades huddled and were not going to let the same thing happen.  The Colorado Storm awaited them and Boston wanted a chance to get back at them for the 17-16 loss they had on Thursday.  As the game time neared, the Storm Pitcher was not on the field.  Johnny Walker was actually at the hospital as one of their players, Steve Lyles was hospitalized.  Colorado Storm star, Doug Biggins was also not able to play due to injury and during warm-ups, they had a new pitcher on the mound in Cory Buckingham.  Boston wanted this game.  The Renegades had a feeling that Walker would enter the game at some point (as he did against the Indy thunder leading them to a come from behind victory 9-8) in pool play.  Boston had a Huge start to this game as Christian Thaxton, Joe McCormick and Larry Haile each plated a pair of runs and Rob Dias pitched a run to give the Renegades 7 runs in an inning (their second biggest output for an inning during the week).  Colorado was able to score to start off the game as Ethan Johnston and Rich Krussel plated runs on plays the Renegade defense should have made.  The luck stopped there for Buckingham as he caught the bottom of John Parker’s bat for an out to Joe McCormick and then Mike Malloy and Frank Facio struck out.  This game would be all Boston and nothing said this more than at one point during the game Boston it a ball into left field which was dead when it went by all of the Denver players.  Just as the umpire approached the ball to see if it was dead..it started to beep loudly and a run was awarded.  During this game the skies would turn purple and there were threats of a real storm.  By the 4th inning, Boston was working all of its players into the game and had built up put up 12 runs through some intermittent down pours that had the teams under their tents for about 5 minutes.  the highlight of the top of the 5th inning and web gem of this game would come by Aqil Sajjad.  With 2 outs, Frank Facio, an intimidating big left handed pul hitter lofted a fly ball to the right side of the field where Aqil Sajjad stood.  Jamie Dickerson, the field spotter made a call and the ball hit Aqil on the foot, where he was able to pounce on the ball quickly.  As they trotted off the field, Aqil mentioned that the wrong call was made by Jamie.  The Irony was Aqil was in perfect position to make the play based on the call. Shayne Cantan would come off the bench in the 5th inning to get Rob Dias rest.  Shayne plated the 13th run and then the game would be stopped by the league due to threats of lightning.  the teams decided it was important to finish this game as both teams wanted to get their players playing time. As both teams retreated to baseball dug outs for cover..the game was halted (and there was no lightning at this time).  Eventually the league let the game resume and the Renegade defense would pitch a shut out in the 5th and 6th innings as Buckingham and the Storm struck out 3 times while Joe McCormick, Guy Zuccarello and JJ Ward would make stops.  Boston would get all 12 players into the game and proudly finished with its best seed ever as the #5 seed in the 2015 World Series.  As the Boston team smiled and took pride in the performance word spread that the Taiwan Home Run and Bayou City Heat were still playing.  That game would end when the Renegades were back at the hotel with a football score of 45-37.  The Bayou City Heat were a very impressive offensive force.  For the Renegades, they found a force in Christian Thaxton.  Thaxton (who missed the first three games because of a coaches decision to rest him and a hip injury) set a Renegade World Series record hitting .719 and would place 4th on the World Series All-Star team.  Joe McCormick would also break the Renegade World Series record hitting .628.  Boston would finish the series with the 4th best Batting average in the league at .535.  Defensively, the highlight was the play of Joe Yee at third base.  Yee entered this tournament with just 4 defensive stops to his credit in his career.  He would finish the series with 15 stops and a ton of confidence in his play on the field.

2015 World Series Highlights – Day #3

Storm halt Renegades 13 game winning streak in walk off fashion 17-16

Christian Thaxton poses  after scoring his first 4 run game with the Renegade medical team of Yuki Ara and Mike Marciello who helped him get back on the field

Christian Thaxton poses after scoring his first 4 run game with the Renegade medical team of Yuki Ara and Mike Marciello who helped him get back on the field

The game the Renegades would be looking forward to.  They had beaten their first four opponents by the combined score of  56-18 including two 12-run rule wins.  The day would start with some question marks that started at the hotel.  Coach Weissman was running late for batting practice and in his haste of getting out of the parking garage would slam the front end of his rental van into the wall of the garage.  Thankfully, nobody was hurt and the Cochran family was in town to watch the games…so he hitched a ride and showed up late for batting practice.  Rob Dias was a question mark with his health and injury.  Dias was limping through warm-ups but it would take more than this to keep him out of this game.  Colorado was the three seed in this tourney and were also 4-0 on the week with wins over the Taiwan Lightning (17-5), Columbus Midnight stars (14-7), Indy Thunder (9-8) and the Southwest Slammer (14-5).  Boston would lose the coin toss and Joe McCormick, Larry Haile and Christian Thaxton would go down 1-2-3 to start the game.   All hell would soon break out as the bats from Colorado would do some serious damage.  Ethan Johnston would start the game blasting a line drive up the middle past the hands of Rob Dias.  Doug Biggins would hit a line drive into left field for the 2nd run.  Guy Zuccarello would make a stop on a weak hit ball down the 3rd base line for the first out and then Joe Yee would settle into make a nice play on a hit to 3rd base by Rich Krussell and things were looking up for the Renegades.  Steve Lyles would then step up and hit a lazy fly ball up the middle of the field that Rob Dias could not coral and then things just got bad as Rookie Mike Malloy would then score on a pop-up near Guy Zuccarello to turn over the order.  Johnston stepped to the plate and blasted a bomb by everyone into deep left field.  Biggins scored his 2nd run on a ball hit past Rob Dias on the right side of the field and then the back breaker of them all was Demetrius Morrow hitting a bomb into left field.  The kicker here was Larry Haile was in a shift and was playing right on the ball.  Both he and Joe Yee missed it for the 7th run of the inning.  Russell would score another run before Dias stopped the bleeding.  After one inning Colorado had put up 8 runs on the Boston defense.  Shayne Cantan got the Renegades on the board in the top of the second with a fly ball up the middle of the field.  Zuccarello also plated a run with a line drive to the right side to turn the order over as Joe McCormick and Christian Thaxton settled in and each scored. Guy Zuccarello looked good in the 2nd inning on defense as he made two stops against just one run from the bat of Ethan Johnston.  When the inning was over it was 9-4 and the Renegades had started to get back into the game.  The mojo stopped as Dias and Zuccarello would hit weak shots to Ethan Johnston and Joe McCormick struck out. Colorado’s bats would score three times in the 3rd but two of them were on junk that Guy and Rob Dias could not get in time.   The score was 12-4 after three frames.  The Renegades were waking up and Larry Haile would get on the board to lead off the 4th with a line shot into left field.  Thaxton followed this with a more impressive blast into left field, Shayne Cantan hit a towering pop fly into left and Rob Dias followed suit with a hard hit fly ball into left field.  Guy Zucarello changed the theme and then scored on a hard grounder to the right side for 5 consecutive runs and nobody out.  What became worrisome was that Joe McCormick started to see some changes to his swing and he struck out for a second time.  In frustration, McCormick threw his bat to the ground which was to close to the head umpire, John Lykowski and McCormick was warned for his conduct (he later apologized).   a Scarier moment would come next as Christian Thaxton came to the plate and hit a hard line drive to the left side and took off down third base.  The ball ricochet off Ethan Jonshton who chased after it into foul territory and these two speedsters collided in an ugly collision.  Since Thaxton was starting his first game of the World Series, there was concern about his hip.  He was fine.  Johnston, whom had scored three times took the worst of it as he was hit in the head and shoulder.  After a few minutes he rose to his feet and went back to the field.  Colorado would tack 2 more runs on in the 4th, but the Renegade defense was settling in as Rob Dias and Joe Yee made nice stops.   Boston had pulled the game within 4 runs and trailed 14-10.  In the top of the 5th Rob Dias scored on a grounder to left field.  Zuccarello plated a run on a line drive to 2nd base but then Joe McCormick came up and continued to struggle  as he had swung and missed on 10 straight pitches after tearing the cover off the ball in the previous 4 games.  Larry Haile and Christian Thaxton would then plate runs and tie the game at 14-14 as Boston had fought back from an 8 run deficit.   In the 5th, Colorado would score on two more chump runs as Rich Krussel and Stevie Lyles beat Joe McCormick and Larry Haile and pushed the score to 16-14.  During this time, Coach Weissman was looking hard at McCormicks swing on video and he found something that would help.  This was discussed with hitting coach, Mike Marciello.  Heading into the 6th inning, Guy Zuccarello hit a nice line drive into left field but Doug Biggins slid to make the stop.  As the play unfolded, Weissman looked to the bench and asked when Demtrious Morrow was put back into the game.  Play was stopped and the Renegades found out that Morrow was entered illegally by not notifying the score keeper.  Weissman urged the umpires to make that run count since Morrow was in the game illegally.  After a long delay it was decided that since Morrow was not involved in the play, the out would stand because the rule was not stated in the NBBA rule book.  After a long delay, up stepped Joe McCormick who had been taking pointers from Marciello.  On the first pitch, he blasted it into left field and the Renegades went crazy as Weissman was fired up and screaming “UBERSENSE!”  Larry Haile then drove a line drive up the middle to make it 16-16.  Christian Thaxton who had scored 4 straight runs in this game strode to the plate and on the 1st pitch hit a ball off the bottom of the bat which Ethan Johnston stopped and then Shayne Cantan struck out on 4 pitches…but the Renegades had come back 16-16.  Doug Biggins came to the plate and was 3-5 on the day and hit a grounder to the 1st base side.  Larry Haile moved to and it kicked off him as Biggins scored in walk off-fashion.  Boston had their first loss of the World Series and had a 13 game win streak stopped.  Boston had not let up this many runs in a game since 2012 when Colorado scored 22 and Chicago scored 31 times.  BUT this was the 2nd time they had scored 16 runs this week which was one of their biggest out-puts in team history (most was 21 against Chicago in 2012).  Since this game took a long time, the Indy Knights were awaiting the Renegades on a field far across the park. As the Storm would next face the RHI Extreme.

 Renegades 12-run third team of the World Series rolling over Knights 19-10

Christian Thaxton paced the offense with another 4 run performance and Ron Cochran pitched one of his best games of the week scoring 19 runs against just 3 strike outs

Christian Thaxton paced the offense with another 4 run performance and Ron Cochran pitched one of his best games of the week scoring 19 runs against just 3 strike outs

Following the loss to Colorado, the Renegades huddled and were reminded they were still alive for the championship as they only had one loss.  They were told to keep their heads up and forge forward.   As they packed up their equipment, they were forced to head to the other side of the complex where  the Renegades would face off against the Indy Knights for a 2nd time.  The Knights had played well since they played the Renegades as they had beaten NJ (4-3), Arizona (11-5), Columbus (15-14) and Atlanta (10-2).  They seemed cocky as we arrived at the field when Pitcher, Ron Cochran asked Lindsay Woodard, how they had done and she replied, “you will soon see what we can do”.  Ron chuckled and brought this banter to the bench as bulletin board material.   Joe McCormick would lead off this game and his struggles would continue as he would foul off just one pitch and go down swinging.  More work was to be done to his swing and he would soon become a project for Coach Rob and Mike to help him set up his arms consistently.  Christian Thaxton moved up to 2nd in the order and scored followed by run scoring hits by Larry Haile and Guy Zuccarello in the first  to give Boston a 3-0 cushion to start.  This line-up had some changes to it as Joe Quintanilla was making a start and batting 5th, Shayne Cantan was starting at 3rd base and batting 6th while Rob Dias was moved to a Designated fielder.  Dias was still limping and the overall feeling was we would need him to stay loose.  We feared if he tightened up he would be lost for the day.  The Renegade defense looked more relaxed to start this game as Rob Dias and Joe Quintanilla made stops to start off the game before John Lombardo put the Knights on the board.  After one inning Boston was up 3-1.  It would be over from here.  In the 2nd inning Boston would go off in record setting fashion.  Joe McCormick would lead off  and score on a line drive into left field (2 pitches), Christian Thaxton would score on a hard ground ball (1 pitch), Larry Haile would hit the 1st pitch in the air to 3rd base before Guy Zuccarello would battle (hitting the pitcher on one pitch) and strike out.  Joe Quintanilla would score on a grounder up the middle (1 pitch), Shayne Cantan would score on a high fly ball to the left side (1 pitch).  Joe McCormick then came to the plate and on the 3rd pitch hit a grounder to the left side for his 2nd run of the inning.  Thaxton would score on 1 pitch to the right side and Guy Zuccarello would hit a hard grounder to the right side.  When the inning was over Boston would send 11 batters to the plate and score 8 times.  Ron Cochran threw just 20 pitches which the Renegades offered swings at (there were 2 takes) and only 3 of them were swings and misses (all by Zuccarello).  One of the top run scoring innings in Renegade history (though they had scored 16 the prior day against Tyler and 9 against Arizona on day one of the World Series).  In the Bottom of the 2nd, the Knights would impress by putting the ball into play.  The Renegades defense struggled mightily as Joe Mccormick and Guy Zuccarello failed on 4 different hits and the Knights plated 5 runs to make the score 11-6.  The Boston bats did it again in the 3rd inning sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring another 8 runs.  For the 2nd consecutive inning every batter would score at least one run with Shayne Cantan plating a pair in this frame.  Another highlight of the inning was Tim Syphers coming off the bench and scoring a run.  When the dust settled, Christian Thaxton had his 2nd career 4-run game, Joe McCormick battled his swing and finished 3-5 with 2 strike outs.  Larry Haile, Guy Zuccarello and Shayne Cantan all plated 3 runs with Joe Quintanilla plating a pair of his own.  The 12-run rule was in effect with the Renegades leading 19-6.  Guy Zuccarello was taken out of the game at this point because he was having a hard time with his ears on this field as he had missed 5 chances in this game.  It’s funny to hear this as the former defensive MVP was more valuable with  his bat (hitting .619 at this point in the World Series) John Lombardo would score a run in the 3rd inning and then something happened unprecedented in Renegade history.  The official scorekeeper claimed it was the 5th inning.  Ron Cochran called time and tried to explain to the umpire that it was actually only the 4th inning and the Knights should not be penalized.  The Renegade coach was actually fighting for the Knights but to no avail.  The umpire and scorekeeper called it the 5th inning as the scorekeeper refused to count her outs on the score sheet.  Boston would get a lot of players into this game and the final out of the game was made by JJ ward as the Renegades rolled 19-10 and eliminated the Knights from double elimination.  After the game, the scorekeeper was baffled as to why the Knights only had 15 outs.

Renegades set team record for most runs scored in a game and defeat Indy Thunder 22-12

Thaxton scored 5 runs in this contest as McCormick and Dias each plated 4 runs to pace the offense

Thaxton scored 5 runs in this contest as McCormick and Dias each plated 4 runs to pace the offense

In NBBA form, the Renegades were forced to change fields for the third time that day while the lower ranked Indy Thunder camped on one field all day long.  The Indy Thunder were having an amazing season but they had a brutal schedule and this would be their 9th game in 3 days.  They had played 3 games on each of the first three days of the Series (compared to just the 7th for the Renegades).  They had gone 2-1 in pool play beating Columbus 9-0, the Taiwan Lightning 13-7 before losing in heart-break fashion to the Colorado Storm 9-8.    On day 2, Indy beat the BCS Outlaws 18-5 before losing to the Taiwan Home Run 18-15 and then defeated Long Island 10-4.  On this day they had won both their matches beating the NJ Titans 15-4 and the Minnesota Millers 11-10.  The winner of this game would advance and secure a top 6 seed.  The loser would play in the 7/8 game on Friday.  A lot would be on the line and both teams were tired.  The Boston injury front looked better than Indy as just Rob Dias had suffered a new injury this week.    The Renegades would have the most respect for the Indy Thunder as some of their scores were very close against top teams.    The line-up would go through another tweak and Christian Thaxton would be moved to the lead-off spot.  Boston would lose another coin toss and start off as the visiting team.  The bombs would start right out of the gate as the Renegades bats stayed on fire as Thaxton lined a shot up the middle, Larry Haile hit a fly ball up the middle and Joe McCormick hit a line drive up the middle on the 1st three pitches of the game where every ball rolled near or well past the 170 feet mark.  In fact, all 6 batters would put the ball in play for the Renegades on just 9 pitches for the inning.   To start off the game for the Thunder, Corey White would lead off for Indy and controversy would start on the very first at-bat as the umpire called a ball foul that had cleared the 40 foot line which Joe McCormick had picked up.  After the umpire refused to change her call, Darnell Booker, the Thunder pitcher, in a moment of great sportsmanship convinced the umpire the wrong call had been made and the out was awarded to the Renegades defense.  This would be a common theme for much of the early parts of the game where calls seemed to baffle the renegades.  In the bottom of the first,  the Thunder would score a pair of runs as the Rodriguez brothers (both teenagers) continued to haunt the Gades, each scoring in the first frame.    In the 2nd, Haile and McCormick hit more bombs and Rob Dias scored on a grounder to push the score to 6 runs.  In the bottom of the frame, Guy Zucarello and Joe Yee each made stops on defense and just Corey White scored as Boston led 6-3.  A comical moment happened in the 3rd inning as Joe McCormick popped up a ball to the right side and ran toward first base yelling “No base” as the base had gone out during his run to the base.  He was able to find the base without it beeping but had been put out as he struggled to locate the base.  He did receive a new count and scored on a bomb up the center of the field.  The Boston bats would remain hot with 5 of the 6 starters scoring runs in this game.  As the Boston bats banged hard, many of the Indy players were coming up limping as Tyler Rodriguez, Corey White, Jordy Stringer and Miguel Tello all needed time for injuries during the game.  The worst looking injury occurred to Miguel Tello who was playing third base in the 5th inning when Joe McCormick hit a smash to left field but the ball had stopped beeping.  On the very next pitch, he hammered a shot right at Tello and Tello put him out but in the process the ball hit him square in the nuts.  Tello could barely stand after this play as he was clearly not wearing a cup..but he did hold on for the out.  Coach Marciello joked that it was the first time he had seen three balls broken in an at-bat.  The inning would proceed with Rob Dias and Shayne Cantan striking out back-to-back and the Renegades put up a donut in the 5th inning.  For the first time since the 1st inning against Colorado they had not scored in an inning.  Indy would plate a pair in the 5th and pull within 5 runs at 14-9.  Boston was well aware of Booker’s capability to bring a team back.  The 6th inning would  put the nail in the coffin as the Renegades looked for insurance.  They got it in the form of 8 runs as Thaxton, Tim Syphers and Guy Zuccarello all plated a pair of runs with Rob Dias and Joe Quintanilla pitching in one run each.  Boston would have enough cushion 22-9 that they could afford to let up a few runs in the bottom of the 6th.  When this game ended both teams were exhausted and it was close to 8:00 at night.  Combine the high scoring affair with the fast fields and the fact Boston hit bombs all over the field that rolled over 170 feet caused major delays to the pace of this game.   These bombs were coming from everyone in the line-up including players like JJ Ward, Joe Quintanilla and Tim Syphers whom had come of the bench to contribute at the plate.   One highlight that many of the Renegades will recall was in the middle of the game, Christian Thaxton hit a laser over everyones heads and laughed as he ran down the third base line by his bench.  The laugh was not in any meant to be disrespectful to the Thunder..it was merely Thaxton having fun with his new sport that he had just started playing in June.  He had known that he had laid into the ball as well as he could.  Thaxton would become just the 5th Renegade to score 5 runs in a game as it was just the 6th time in history a Renegade had scored this many runs and the first time since Joe McCormick and Larry Haile did it against the Cleveland Scrappers in 2012.  Joe McCormick would work hard with his coaching staff to be consistent in his stance and would plate 4 runs while Rob Dias battled through injuries all day also plated 4 runs to pace the Renegade offense.  Defensively, the team continued to struggle but 5 different Renegades made stops led by Guy Zuccarello making three stops on the left side.  For the 2nd year in a row, the Renegades would still be alive on Friday of the World Series!

 

2015 World Series Highlights – Day #2

Renegades Trounce the Tigers and set team record winning 16-6

The night before this game, Coach Rob sat with the defensive team and asked why they were struggling so much.  We knew the harder competition was coming and we truly needed to sure the defense up.  The fields were hard, fast and often times not even.  The result of the meeting was if we beat Tyler, we would stay on the field afterwards to take defense practice to prepare for the next day.  Since Boston was the one seed, it got a bye while Tyler had to play Columbus in the morning game which they won by a low score of 6-1.

All of the players who plated a run in the record breaking 1st inning for the Renegades

All of the players who plated a run in the record breaking 1st inning for the Renegades and their pitcher and catc

In a rare moment, the Renegades actually won the coin toss and took the home field.  This would be the game that Chrsitain Thaxton would have the training wheels take off as we needed him to get some at bats before the tough opponents showed up on the schedule.  No knock on Tyler, as they have been an up and coming team and had won 3 of 4 games to this point with wins over the NJ Titans, Canada and Columbus.  Their lead off hitter, Derrick Floyd amazed the Renegades as he stood at 6 feet 8 inches tall and dwarfed every player on our roster.  He also scored on the first at bat of the game and Ron Jordan plated a run to go back-to-back for Tyler.  This was not the way, the Renegades needed to sure up their defense.  As the game was being played a tractor was cutting and bailing hay in a neighboring field which slowed the game down…though later in the match, the Renegades defense would choose to play through the noise.  The story of this game was the bottom of the first inning, which set many Renegade records.  Joe McCormick led off the match and hit the second pitch for a weak pop fly down the third base side that landed at about 70 feet for a score.  Larry Haile on a full count hit a weak grounder to the 3rd base line that barely rolled out past the 40 foot arc for a score.  Rob Dias then hit the best ball of the inning that may have traveled near 100 feet to the left side and scored.  If this weak start was not enough, Shayne Cantan then hit a ball off the end of his bat that spun like it was hit with side spin from a pool table.  Since the field was fast, the ball landed at about 40.1 feet for the 4th run of the inning.  Guy Zucarello strode to the plate and on the second pitch hit a weak grounder up the middle that looked like an out…but Jason Gainey overplayed his position and just as Larry Reed was going to make the play, Gainey crashed into him and Guy scored the 5th run of the inning.  Then Tim Syphers came up and hit a ball to the right side which the defense stood around looking for because Tim hit it hard enough that he hit most of the beep out of the ball…and the ball went speaker down into the grass..and nobody could hear it.  The first six batters scored on all junk.  So we turned the order over and McCormick scored on a pop up to the left side…this one struck better than the first.  Larry also scored on a nice drive to left to make the score 8-2.  Rob Dias strode to the plate and on a foul ball he came back limping to home plate with what looked to be the first serious injury of the week.  Rob is one tough character but with an 8-2 lead and no outs, there was no reason to force him to play.  Off the bench came rookie, Christian Thaxton with a 1 strike count.  He calmly worked it to a three strike count and then laced a shot to deep left field where he was instructed to not run 100% due to his hip flexor.  The team erupted and the score was 9-0. Shayne Cantan then hit a bomb down the third base line to make it 10-0.  Guy Zucarello plated a run on a grounder up the middle and Tim Syphers scored his second run of the game…his first ever multi run game and the score was 12-0 and nobody was out.  Mccormick and Haile would both plate their third runs of the inning.  Thaxton would hit a ball harder and longer than the first one he hit and we had scored 15 consecutive runs.  Joe Mccormick had a chance to score 4 runs in an inning but he struck out.  When the dust settled and after more than an hour…the Renegades invoked the 12 run rule and were up 16-2.  Coach Weissman decided this would be where the team got its defensive practice and left the starters on the field for the most part for the rest of the game.  The defense had some gems and some help.  Larry Haile made a nice play running toward the line and not giving up on a ball where a Tyler base runner missed the base.  The web gem of the game was in the 3rd inning when John Ingram lined a shot off Joe McCormick’s chest and Mac made every attempt to cradle and catch the ball…to no avail.  In the end, Boston won a big game which meant they were done for the day and could rest.  They set some team records in this game including, 16 runs in an inning (most ever in an inning), a team .842 batting average (surpassing .684 vs Stockton in 2007) and the fist time the Renegades had ever 12-runned a team three times in a season.  This win over Tyler was the 6th in a row in this rivalry.  Tyler was the first team the Renegades ever beat in 2002.  Boston would rest up as their morning opponent would be the Colorado Storm, a team that finished third in 2014 and a team whom the Renegades have not had a lot of success against.  The team would have to see how Rob Dias was feeling and if Christian’s hip would be good after playing today.

2015 World Series Highlights – Day #1

Boston tucks them in and says good knight beating the Indy Knights

Rob Dias, JJ Ward and Shayne Cantan pose after a victory against the Indy Knights,   For Dias, this would be his first career 4 run game.  For Shayne and JJ, this was their first runs of the season

Rob Dias, JJ Ward and Shayne Cantan pose after a victory against the Indy Knights, For Dias, this would be his first career 4 run game. For Shayne and JJ, this was their first runs of the season

The World Series started off for the Renegades against a new team that was a spin off from the Indy thunder.  This team was comprised of players from the Thunder and the Wichita Sonics, who were not at the series this year.  On the mound was first year pitcher, Lindsay Woodard.  Right from the start, things started well for the Renegades as Indy went down 1-2-3 with two weak grounders hit to Guy Zuccarello.  Boston batted around in the first highlighted by bombs off the bats of Rob Dias and Joe McCormick (in his 2nd at bat of the inning).  Boston had a milestone in this inning as Guy Zuccarello scored (after hitting Ron in the arm on the first pitch).  His grounder up the middle resulted in his 100th run of his career.  At this point in history he is one of just seven players with 100 Renegade runs.  Guy would not have much time to celebrate. In the second inning, Indy got on the board with runs by Eddie Brown and Cleo Stephens.  During this inning Guy made the final out on defense off the bat of Dan Lowery but he  took the ball off the face and came back to the bench bleeding from his nose and lip.  The bats of Boston would be too much as the Renegades batted around again in the 2nd inning with Dias, Zuccarello (with gauze shoved up his nose), McCormick and Larry Haile all plating runs on bombs hit into the outfield.  The booming bats for Boston gave trouble to Indy as both Eddie Brown and Cleo Stephens left the game with injuries in this inning.  Guy would exit the game as a precaution to get the bleeding to stop.  In the 4th inning, with a comfortable 12-4 lead, Joe Quintanilla and JJ ward would plate back to back runs.  Two veterans who have been with the team for years and had battled injuries all season (Quintanilla an elbow and Ward three broken toes) would score their first runs of the year.  Melissa Hoyt would also see action in this game as she got in for the 5th and 6th innings.  She became the first female player to play in a World Series game for the Renegades since Kae Rausch played in 2007.  Boston Would Roll as Rob Dias would score 4 runs in this match (his first career 4 run game).  This offensive game would rank 3rd in team history for runs score (19), batting average of .500 (ranking 13th) and the 10 run differential was the 5th biggest margin of victory in history.  Little did the league know…the Boston bats would be a force this week.

Arizona is pummeled by a phenomenal Renegade offense 15-5

Joe McCormick, Rob Dias, Shayne Cantan and Guy Zuccarello all scored three runs in this win over Arizona

Joe McCormick, Rob Dias, Shayne Cantan and Guy Zuccarello all scored three runs in this win over Arizona

Game 2 of the World Series pit the Renegades up against a second team that broke off from their parent organization.  This Arizona team had 6 of the 7 players who would play in this game appear against the Renegades with the Southwest Slammers in the 2014 season.  It was a new team, with familiar faces.  Boston would lose the coin toss and be the visiting team and this would start something big in Renegade history.  Joe McCormick would lead off the game with a blast Into left field.  Larry Haile would then be stopped on a grounder to  third.   Rob Dias would loft a weak fly ball up the middle and score.  Shayne Cantan would then lift a fly ball to the right side with spin to score the 3rd run.  Guy Zucarello would then score as would Joe Yee on a line drive up the middle. McCormick would plate his second run on a bomb up the middle.  Larry would strike out for his second out of the inning.  Dias and Cantan would plate runs on fly balls to the middle of the field and Guy Zuccarello would plate the final run of the inning on a laser up the middle.  When the dust settled, Boston had plated 9 runs.  An achievement they last did at home against New Jersey earlier in the year.  In the third inning, JJ Ward came off the bench to play and hit a hard shot to the left side.  Pete Trejo raced after the ball, dove and the ball landed square in his baseball glove as the Renegade coaches looked on with awe.  Not many players even play with a glove.  Without that glove, JJ likely would have scored…but this was one of two web gems of the day.  After three innings the Renegades invoked the 12 run rule with a commanding 15-2 lead.  This new team looked very bad on defense with huge holes left uncovered…but their swing were big and mighty.  In time, they could have a very good offensive team.  As we entered the 12 run rule part of the game, the Renegades would finish the game playing three straight innings of defense.  A few highlights happened here.  In the Zona 5th inning, Jen Boylan stepped to the plate 0 for 2 with 2 strike outs and she hit a ball weakly down the right side of the field and took off for first base.  At about 40 feet into her sprint she plowed into and over the umpire knocking the umpire on his ass.  That would not deter Jen as she may not have been officially ruled down by football standards and kept chugging.  Sadly she was stopped.  Since the umpire is part of the field of play, she was allowed a do over and she was stopped by JJ Ward.  To see her plow this umpire over and keep going showed grit, determination and power!  Later in this inning, Pete Trejo stepped to the plate 0-3 on the day and laced a low line drive to Guy Zuccarello.  As guy was shuffling to his left…the ball hit him on the fly and kicked to his right.  Joe Yee was playing third base and quickly stopped and pivoted to run in the opposite direction for an amazing web gem from the Renegades.  When this game was over, JJ Ward played a few solid innings for Boston at Right Shorty picking up 3 stops on defense, his first of the year and this would give him confidence to chip in for the rest of the series.

Renegades light up the Lightning and clinch team’s second one seed in World Series history, winning 10-2

From Left to right these volunteers were with the team for the 2015 world series:  Yuki Ara, Mike Marciello, Ace Lenicheck, Jamie Dickerson, Bryan Grillo, Ron Cochran and Rob Weissman

From Left to right these volunteers were with the team for the 2015 world series: Yuki Ara, Mike Marciello, Ace Lenicheck, Jamie Dickerson, Bryan Grillo, Ron Cochran and Rob Weissman

Boston would close out day one of the World Series against a known foe, the New Jersey Lightning.  The third consecutive team impacted by a mutiny…but this time, many of the players left the Lightning to form the New Jersey Titans.  Since Boston finished off Arizona quickly, we were left waiting for the NJ/ Knights game to end as that game went extra innings and the Knights eked out a 4-3 win.  Due to the length of this game and the distance to the concessions stand, we had an excruciating wait before our game could start.  When the teams finally began to get ready, the key difference was the Lightning pitcher was Kevin Barrett of the Cleveland Scrappers.  This would likely mean more offense from New Jersey than in the past two meetings.  We had also learned their defensive whiz kid, Casey Bahn had spent the night in the hospital due to hydration issues.  With the familiarity of the Lightning, Weissman trotted out a new line up with the goal to rest some bodies.  Joe Quintanilla, JJ Ward and Tim Syphers would all get their first starts of the season in the lineup.  This game would not start like the previous ones as the Renegades needed to shake off the long break and the rust that went with it.  McCormick was able to score to lead off the game but then the Renegades would have not one but two huge base running blunders by Joe Quintanilla who ran to the wrong base before correcting himself and was put out by a step.  The big boner of the World Series occurred with Joe Yee at the plate.  With three strikes he hit a weak ball up the middle and took a step to the wrong base as well…but the difference is he never ran to the right base.  Instead he stood at home plate.  The sad thing was the defense stopped pursuing the ball..as both teams sat in silence and the coaches agonized because they could not say anything.  In the end, Casey Bahn picked up the ball and Yee was out.  Weissman was livid because players are taught to run everything out.  Apparently Yee thought he heard “foul” from the Renegade bench.  So as the Renegades took the field in the bottom of the first, they should have had at least three runs.  Then something happened that had not happened all year…New Jersey took the lead with run scoring hits by Sherlock Washington and Doug Winthrop.  The Boston bats would put it away in the next inning as they were able to stop the mental mistakes and built a 5-2 lead. With one out in the bottom of the second, Joe Yee was involved in another crazy play.  This time, Sherlock Washington hit a shot that ricocheted off Joe McCormick who was playing in the left shorty spot…but the ball changed direction toward the middle of the field.  Again, Yee stopped on a dime and reversed direction to make the stop…for the web gem of the game!  In the third inning, Tim Syphers delivered the first run of his 2015 campaign with a fly ball up the middle as the team erupted for him.  Lastly, a highlight for the Renegades here was Aqil Sajjad had been struggling with his swing and some hard work during the break paid off as he was able to put two balls in play and score a run in the 6th inning to give the Renegades their tenth run of the game.  For just the second time in history, Boston would end day one as the number one seed.  The only other time that had happened was in 2011.  The team was stoked, well rested and the injuries were healing well.  Christian Thaxton had spent the day as the on deck circle man.  He was itching to get in the games..but was held back due to a hip flexor strain he suffered at practice just a few days ago.  His training wheels would come off soon.  For the Renegades, they would say goodbye to coach, Jason Lenicheck after this game.  He bailed us out and provided a driver for the World Series.  He also gave Bryan Grillo and Jamie Dickerson a game off from calling in the field on the first day.  His contribution was immense and he was missed the rest of the week.  We are just fortunate to have amazing volunteers like Ace who has been with the team since 2004.

Boston Prepares for 14th consecutive World Series on July 28th

The Boston Renegades will attend their 14th consecutive World Series this season in Rochester, NY.  This is a pretty amazing milestone as only 4 other teams in the league have been to every series since the Renegades joined the NBBA in 2002.  Those teams are Austin, Bayou City, Chicago and Tyler. This is a huge tribute to what the Renegades have been able to accomplish on and off the field.  Boston is also one of the only current teams  whom have made a steady descent through the rankings of the league from doormats to a number one seed in a pool play bracket this season.

What separates Boston from most of the teams ahead of them is they are 100% home grown.  Every player on the roster has grown up as a Renegade. Of the five teams ahead of the Renegades only Chicago can say they are similar as Austin, RHI, Colorado and RHI all host multiple players in their starting line up from other teams.

The format of the World Series starts with one day of pool play on Tuesday, July 28.  This year, there are six pools of four teams each.  2015 will be the largest World Series in The time the Renegades have been in the league.  The Seeding of the first 16 teams is based on the finish of these teams in the 2014 season.  Sadly, the league has an awful answer for how to seed the remaining 8 teams that are attending this year who could not attend in 2014.  They are seeded by when their registration fee was entered.  This is a terrible practice and ruins many brackets because teams are seeded incorrectly.  For example, the Taiwan Home Run who won the 2013 World Series are seeded 23rd and are in the same bracket as the RHI Extreme who finished 2nd in 2014.  This represents pure laziness on the leagues part to seed a tournament correctly.

The six pools look like this

A B C D E F
Austin Blackhawks RHI Extreme (IN) Colorado Storm Bayou City Heat(TX) Chicago Comets Boston Renegades
Minnesota Millers Southwest Slammers (AZ) Indy Thunder Long Island Bombers Tyler Tigers (TX) NJ Lightning
Atlanta Eclipse Lonetsar Roadrunners(TX) Columbus Midnight Stars (GA) Athens Timberwolves(GA) NJ Titans Arizona Phenom
BCS Outlaws (TX) Taiwan Homerun Taiwan Lightning Rochester Redwings (NY) Canada Indy Knights

After day one of pool play is over, double elimination starts.  These games will begin on Wednesday, July 29th and end with a Championship game on Saturday, August 1st for the two teams who don’t have 2 losses.  For the remaining 22 teams, one great thing the League does is hold placement games.  This allows teams to play others whom had similar paths.  For example, all of the teams whom lost two games straight will play in a small bracket against each other.

The Renegades play three games on Tuesday.  Here is a quick synopsis of who they play as the Six seed

Game 1 – Indianapolis Knights.  Indianapolis now hosts three beep baseball teams and this is their first year as a team.  the Knights have a few players whom played for the Indy Thunder over the years including Eddie Brown who hit .433 and led the Thunder in average in the 2014 season.  One thing the Knights lack is a home grown pitcher.  They have recruited a pitcher to pitch for them whom lives out of state and is a first year pitcher named Lyndsey Woodard.  The Thunder lost all four games they played in bolingbrook this year to Cleveland, Minnesota, Chicago (7-4) and the Indy Thunder.  Sadly, it’s hard to find scores of all their games.

Game 2 – Arizona Phenom.  The Phenom are another brand new team and the second team in Tucson, Arizona.  Four of these players broke off from the Soutwest Slammers to form the team.  Their most known player is Pete Trejo, who hit .281 in last years World Series.  Chris Padilla scored 7 runs for the Slammers as well and he is on this squad as a former starter of his cross town ex-team.  They will also be joined by at least two players from the California Rays team in Jen Boylan and Eric Scholz.  All in all, they have six players who played for the Slammers in 2014.

Game 3 – New Jersey Lightning.  finally a team we know and know well.  The Renegades have beaten the Lightning twice in the 2015 season by scores of 13-2 and 8-1.  They are led by Sherlock Washington who is still an offensive threat and one of the best deep defenders in the game.   They also have Casey Bahn up front to make stops on the junk.  Like the other two teams the Gades will play in this day…they to have been heavily impacted by players forming a new team.  The difference between New Jersey and the Knights/Phenom is most of these players left the Lightning to start their own team (The Titans).  The Lightning finished the Beast of the East tournament with a 1-5 record and averaged just 2 runs a game over the 6 contests.

From there….we have no idea what will happen,  butt we hope the seeds fall correct and that the beepball gods give us a chance to stay healthy and compete at our highest level.  Below is a list of the teams by seed with the Renegades career record against each team

Seed Team Boston’s record against
1 Austin Blackhawks 2-4
2 RHI Extreme 0-3
3 Colorado Storm 2-7
4 Bayou City Heat 0-4
5 Chicago Comets 0-10
6 Boston Renegades
7 Minnesota Millers 3-0
8 Southwest Slammers 3-0
9 Indy Thunder 3-9
10 Long Island Bombers 17-11
11 Tyler Tigers 6-1
12 New Jersey Lightning 10-2
13 Atlanta Eclipse 1-0
14 Lonestar Roadrunners 1-0
15 Columbus Midnight Stars 0-0
16 Athens Timberwolves 0-0
17 New Jersey Titans New Team in 2015
18 Arizona Phenoms New Team in 2015
19 Indy Knights New Team in 2015
20 Canada New Team in 2015
21 Rochester Redwings New Team in 2015
22 Taiwan Lightning 0-0
23 Taiwan Homerun 0-2
24 BCS Outlaws 0-0

Please note that  seeds 17-24 are not seeded with any consideration of their ability as the Homerun won the 203 World Series.  The league chooses to seed teams who did not compete at the prior years world Series based on the date of there registration fee being received.