We are finally there. The last playoff series of the 2014 KFL season will feature the Selects vs. The Diamond Jaxx. I don’t know how many KFL fans, back in May, would have predicted that particular matchup, but it was never out of the realm of possibility. Both teams were big-time winners all season, and had similar win loss records. This is going to be a great match-up.
Before we look at how it all came about, however, let’s take a moment to congratulate the winner of the B-side playoffs, The Moonshiners. Congratulations, Moonshiners. After losing the last five games of the season, the Moonshiners went undefeated in their playoff run, winning four straight games to end the season and take home the trophy. That’s gotta feel good.
The Predators were a tough opponent for them, and, most likely, were almost everyone’s pick to take home the B-side this year, but for the second year in a row the Predators just missed out on glory. (I know, I know: Don’t rub it in.) It was still a great season for the Preds, and they seem to improve every year. I don’t doubt that it will be very long before they start contending for the A-side finals.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town …
I was certain that in this year’s KFL finals we would see a rematch of last year’s championship, The Diamond Jaxx vs Bell Cartage. It seemed, to me, like a foregone conclusion, with two trains heading northbound and southbound on the same track, a collision being eminent.
But, I was wrong.
The Selects (7 -1 underdogs) upset Bell Cartage, taking a close fought series, and winning the two games they needed to continue on by a total of 2 runs (2 to 1 and 1 - 0). And that, fans, is Selects baseball. Good pitching, solid defense, and a ‘get em on get em in’ mentality that they rode all year long and has brought The Selects to the veritable edge of greatness… they are on the cusp of making KFL history!
(And as an aside: GIven the storied timeline of this Selects organization, I am quite surprised to look at the annals of the KFL and see that the Selects have never won the A-side finals. I know, if my memory serves me correctly, that they have been there before. Always a bridesmaid; never a bride? humph … who knew. This might just be their year, though.)
But first, they have to take down the mighty Diamond Jaxx who are simply, “bringing it.” Thus far, The Jaxx are undefeated in their playoff run, trampling The Classics and The Jays. There isn’t much to say about The Diamond Jaxx that hasn’t already been said. They are a good ball team who play all facets of the game very well; however, if I had to point to one thing, I would say their real strength is knocking the snot out of the baseball. Collectively, this team can hit -- top to bottom. If the Selects pitchers can’t hold those bats down, it could be a quick series. I don’t think that The Selects will be able to play catch up if they get down runs.
Mind you, if the Selects can hold Bell Cartage to six runs over three games you gotta ask yourself: Why can’t they do it to the Jaxx?
It is going to be a great series and I am planning on getting out to watch as many of the games as I am able to. If you care to join me, the series starts this Thursday at 8:00 pm, Budd 1. Come on out and support the league, bring your teammates, maybe see a few familiar faces, have a good time, and embrace what is truly the spirit of the KFL.
I think this is probably going to be my last article this year. I enjoyed writing this column, and I hope everyone enjoyed reading it. Thanks for reading.
- Matthew Fries
After a brief hiatus for the World’s, the KFL is back in business. All the regular season games are finished, vacation time is over (for me anyway), and it is time to get ready for the playoffs. That means it is time for the ...
2014 KFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW (add some echo for dramatic effect … view view view view.)
Before I get started, however, I want to take a moment (on behalf of the KFL President, Bryan Reeve) to mention that The KFL wishes a speedy recovery to Curtis Hurlburt of The Thunder who broke his leg in a game against the Diamond Jaxx back on July 22. Curtis, I’m sure your teammates will be dedicating some playoff games to you.
The A Side.
In 2014, the battle for the A-side trophy will be fought out by the following teams:
Bell Cartage (finishing with a record of 15-2-2)
The Diamond Jaxx (finishing with a record of 13-5-1)
The 37s (finishing with a record of 11-7-1)
The Kings (finishing with a record of 12-7-0)
The Classics (finishing with a record of 11-7-1)
The Selects (finishing with a record of 12-7-0)
The Smoke (finishing with a record of 11-8-0)
The Jays (finishing with a record of 13-3-3)
Let’s take a look at the first round matchups.
The Classics vs. The Diamond Jaxx
At the beginning of the season The Diamond Jaxx seemed to be unshakable, holding down top spot in the Black Division most of the year. A late season loss to the Jays, however, sees them dipping down to second place. With the highest run differential in the entire league, the Jaxx are a team that you don’t want to mess with. They can put up runs quickly and when those bats are smacking balls around they are tough to hold down. The KFL numbers makers have the Diamond Jaxx at 2 to 1 odds to take home the trophy in 2014.
But first they have to get past The Classics.
It’s not a bad draw for the Classics. In their one and only meeting in 2014, the Classics tied the Diamond Jaxx 2-2. Year after year, the Classics threaten to take it all, and this year is no exception. Their veteran lineup has no quit in it, and they are used to winning. With 94 runs batted in this year and 67 runs against, they expect to score every night and they expect to get good pitching every night. The model for the Classics is consistency. The oddsmakers have the Classics sitting at 9 to 1 dogs to take it all.
The Jays vs The Smoke
The Jays were good enough to take top spot in the Black Division this year, but are they good enough to take it all? Only time will tell. With some quick young talent and top-notch pitching they are right where they need to be to win. Taking the last game of the season 2-1 to take top spot from the Diamond Jaxx, they put themselves into a solid draw against the Smoke. Many of the experts that I have spoken to believe The Jays will be there at the bitter end. Will they be the last team standing though? The Oddsmakers have them at 3 to 1, edged by the Diamond Jaxx by a miniscule margin.
The Smoke were in every game this year, and finished the season with a very respectable record of 11-8-0. The Jays would be foolish to take this series lightly. There was a time in the season where it seemed that The Smoke were winning every game they played. With season wins against Bell Cartage, The Selects, and The Kings, The Smoke can compete against any team in the KFL, and I expect this series to be a well-contested match up. Despite the fact that the Smoke are 11-1 dogs in the playoff race, they could easily be undervalued, and if they knock off one of the top teams in the league straight off the hop, their value will increase exponentially.
The Smoke lost to the Jays 8 - 2 in an early season matchup.
The Kings vs. The Selects
The Kings might be a good sleeper pick this year. Coming on strong at the end of the season, they are peaking at just the right time. Nick Laurette has five MVP nods this year, and is tough to hit against. The problem that I can see right now is that six players on their original roster do not have enough games to make the playoffs. I don’t think it will make a big difference because the core of their lineup will be there, but it raises the question: Who are the Kings, really? The oddsmakers have the Kings at 5 to 1, and those are the kind of odds that speak to degenerate gamblers.
What can you say about the Selects? They are always in the thick of it. Always fielding a good team. Always contending. This year might be one of the best Select teams we have seen in a while too. Behind the arm of Shayne Riepert (with 6 MVP nods this season), the Selects just come right at you. Their brand of quick, disciplined, error-free, play landed them in third place in the Black Division, and 7 - 1 favourites to take home the trophy. (Valued below the Kings only because of their runs against; otherwise, the two teams are in a dead heat.)
This series might be too close to call.
Bell Cartage vs the 37s
I don’t think it is too bold of a statement to say that Bell Cartage is the best team in the KFL this year. This is what the numbers tell me. Their runs for are in the top three in the league and their runs against are only 41, the best in the league, - the best in the league by 18 runs. Three names that are very familiar to everyone in the KFL are Doug Hoffman, Mel Ross, and Dan Martin. All three pitchers for Bell Cartage have the stuff to make nearly any hitter they face feel very uncomfortable. SImply, if anyone is going to beat this team they need to outpitch them. That’s why Bell Cartage is even money to win the A side playoffs this year.
In round one they will face the 37s.
It’s a David vs. Goliath scenario. Their first year in the league, the young upstarts (the 37s) have played with tremendous heart and spunk all season long. They took to the KFL like a fish takes to water, and won some great games against some good teams. Their spot in the A-side playoffs was earned. Are they overachievers? I don’t think so. I love the way this team plays, and I expect great things from them in the future. But do they have enough in them to beat Bell Cartage? At 14 to 1 to take the A-side trophy this year … let’s just wait and see. It might be asking too much of them. But I am really excited to see if they can pull it off.
That’s it for the A-side. An update on the B-side will come when the two final teams are decided.
This is a great time of year for fastball fans, and I hope to see people out watching the games. I love the first-round match ups, and I can’t imagine it could get any better.
Here’s hoping to see you at the ballpark.
- Matthew Fries
Well, we're getting into the dog days of summer now. The time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when the weather is (supposed to, anyway) heat up, and the sultry, steamy nights in the city send hordes of Canadians off on vacation to northern cottages and campsites where they can take nighttime dips in dark lakes, and the sound of loons and crackling campfires replace the city's wailing sirens and the constant chirp of the television.
In fact, as I write this I am sitting, not at a desk, but on a bed at the cottage with the board-game, PAYDAY, precariously close to the edge of the mattress; for certain, it will soon fall off and I will have to pick up all the pieces. I will not move it though. I'll leave it to fate.
It's the time of year when you see some odd formations of teams in the KFL. You see some guys playing positions you did not realize they could play. You see seven familiar faces on the bench, and two call-ups with mismatched uniforms. It's vacation time and its the time of year for short benches and, “Don't you get hurt. We've got six regulars out tonight.” Or, “Whatta ya mean ya gotta work late?” It's vacation time!
It's the time of year when teams with deep benches really take hold in the standings. Let's take a look.
On Monday night Nick Laurette took player of the game honours as the Kings trumped the Predators 9 – 0. And that wasn't the Kings' only move this past week. They also checked the Classics 11 – 6, and moved up to third place in the Red division. Might be checkmate as far as their bid for the A-side playoffs go – their closest division rivals, the Bulldogs and the Predators both went 0 for 2 in their games in week 9.
In the other Monday night game, the 37s tied the Jays. (Jays are still undefeated!) This after beating the Diamond Jaxx in week 7. Another good game for a team that just keeps on getting positive results.
Unfortunately, for the 37s, they are chasing the Selects, and the Selects are one of those teams that just keep on winning. They are quietly putting together a really good season with two more wins in week 9. With a record of 9 and 3, the Selects hold onto third place in the Black division. It seems like they are patiently waiting for the Jays to falter.
Another team that is putting together a really good season is the Smoke. Two more wins this week puts them solidly in second place in the Red division. With a record of 9 and 6, they have to be thinking A-side finals all the way.
And the PAYDAY just fell off the bed. I knew it would. I'll have to hunt under the bed for dice and gather all the mail cards before I pack up my stuff to head home, back to the city, back to ball next week.
See you at the ballpark in week 11.
The KFL - Week Eight in Review
Holy cow am I a little behind here. It’s been a busy week and a busy weekend and it looks like a busy week ahead. I might have to keep this short and very matter-of-fact. I haven’t even checked the scores or the standing since last Sunday. Let me take a minute to pull up the KFL website and look back and …. Well, what do you know - rainouts. I guess it’s official. It’s one of THOSE summers, and there’s not much we can do about it.
O well. Let’s check out the games that were played last week.
On Monday the Kings crowned the Moonshiners 6 - 1. Then the Smoke burned the Thunder 8 -4.
Tuesday was a washout.
On Wednesday the 37s pulled off a big win against the Diamond Jaxx, taking the game 6 - 5. (I am not just talking out my ear when I say the 37s are a good team.)
In the late game, the Bulldogs stepped in a pile of it when they took on the Mustangs. The Mustangs brought out some big bats and exploded in a 11 - 8 runfest getting the well-deserved win.
Watch out KFL, because on Thursday the Smoke were, once again, on fire, white hot, burning up the league (plus they have the best name for lame sports puns), roasting the Kings 8 - 0 for their second win of the week.
In the other three Thursday games: Bell Cartage kept themselves in the win column with a victory over the Classics, the Moonshiners lost to the Predators 6 -7, and the Razorbacks lowered the boom on the Thunder.
Well, family, friends, fans … that’s the best effort I can put in this week. I have a lawn that needs mowed and an ornery neighbour, so see you around the park in week 9.
And goodnight Austin Texas wherever you are you.
- Matthew Fries
|Chad MacQueen||Diamond Jaxx||5|
|Vice President||Grant Mitchell|