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"First Step's a Doozy!"

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All Time League

by Cy Kosis
Freelance Sports Reporter At-Large

The Standings

Legends League

  Team                         W   L   Pct  GB   RF  RA
  Brooklyn Dodgers             5   3  .625   -   33  32
  Boston Red Sox               5   3  .625   -   51  53
  Baltimore Orioles            4   4  .500   1   35  35
  New York Giants              3   5  .375   2   43  55
  Team                         W   L   Pct  GB   RF  RA
  Pittsburgh Pirates           7   1  .875   -   51  32
  Chicago Cubs                 6   2  .750   1   37  34
  Toronto Blue Jays            1   7  .125   6   24  35
  Cincinnati Reds              1   7  .125   6   39  52
  Team                         W   L   Pct  GB   RF  RA
  Houston Colt .45's           5   3  .625   -   58  36
  Saint Louis Stars            5   3  .625   -   44  42
  Oakland A's                  4   4  .500   1   42  39
  Mudville Nine                2   6  .250   3   37  49
Union League

  Team                         W   L   Pct  GB   RF  RA
  Boston Red Caps              4   4  .500   -   25  28
  Newark Eagles                4   4  .500   -   43  38
  New York Yankees             4   4  .500   -   34  32
  Washington Nationals         3   5  .375   1   45  71
  Team                         W   L   Pct  GB   RF  RA
  Detroit Tigers               6   2  .750   -   38  26
  Cleveland Spiders            5   3  .625   1   41  31
  Saint Louis Cardinals        4   4  .500   2   38  38
  Chicago White Stockings      3   5  .375   3   26  31
  Team                         W   L   Pct  GB   RF  RA
  Tokyo Giants*                5   3  .625   -   42  38
  Kansas City Monarchs         5   3  .625   -   57  41
  Orix Blue Wave               3   5  .375   2   29  29
  San Francisco Seals          2   6  .250   3   29  44

Cincinnati RedsAt 1-7 and 6.5 Opponent Runs per Game the faithful followers of Base Ball's oldest professional franchise are starting to grumble. This is not the team Cincinnati had last year . . . they're in Boston now . . . I thought I should point that out, but I am not sure how that is relevent. In much the same way it seems Monte Ward knows an actual baseball is important to the game, but he doesn't quite know what to do with it . . . yet. John Montgomery Ward was the 10th overall pick in the 2006 Annual Draft but he has stumbled into the regular season with an 0-2, 4.91 mark with 3 HR & 15 Hits Allowed in 11 innings. At the plate he is hitless in 6 AB -- but has 2 Walks, from which vantage point he was able to be caught stealing twice. In the field he is perfect on the mound so far, but made an error filling in at second base. However, it would be unfair to pin all of Cincinnati's problems on Monte Ward. There is plenty of stumbling going on here: John Beckwith .217, 23 AB, 11 K's, 4 Errors, .840 Fldg Pct at SS, 1 Passed Ball; Pete Rose .200/.250/.200; Steve Farr 0-2, 20.25 ERA, 2 Blown Saves; Ted Lyons 0-1, 7.71; Willie Wells 4 Errors, .875 Fldg Pct. at 2B; Johnny Bassler & Kenji Jojima combined .214 Opponent Caught Stealing Pct. No, not Monte's fault alone.

Toronto Blue JaysKeeping pace in the stumbling department with Cincinnati is the Toronto Blue Jays team. Also 1-7, and also in the same Legends League Central Division, the Blue Jays and the Reds are making fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates (7-1) and the Chicago Cubs (6-2) very happy. The early money is now on a two-team race for the division crown. That is unless some of these Toronto players can get untracked, or have the chance to before being traded away. Ricky Henderson is chief among disapointments with his .156/.250/.188 stat line. He has 1 Stolen Base and has scored 2 Runs while hitting into 2 Double Plays . . . and not knocking in any runs. He's not alone, and in fact Kirby Puckett, .161/.161/.258, 2 DPs, 3 Runs, 1 RBI, seems to be pacing both Rickey and Tony Fernandez, .172/.226/.241, 1 RBI, 2 Runs, 1 DP. Lest we heap all blame on these three, let us also consider that Mike Mussina has been horrible: 1-2, 6.75, 3 GS, 16 IP, 25 Hits, 3 HR. He has, however, struck out 16 as well, and he does have the only win . . .

San Francisco SealsThe powerhouse team of the Union League's Pacific Division was supposed to be the San Francisco Seals: 2-6. Even with the advent of the Kansas City Monarchs joining the division, the Seals were still the pick to win by many observers. But pitiful performances so far by Hughie Jennings (.067/.167/.067), Joe Medwick (.083/.267/.083), Alejandro Oms (.190/.292/.190), Joe Adcock (.200/.250/.400) and Barry Larkin (.200/.200/.360) have dampened any possible pitching prowess from flourishing. Still, a pleasant surprise from the bullpen has been Cocaina Garcia (2.45, 3 G, 11 IP, 12 K, .517 OPS), the 76th overall pick in the 2006 Annual Draft. It is asking a lot, however, for relievers to come in and put out the fire from a Team whose Starters have an ERA of 6.19. But with pitchers like Smokey Joe Williams, Christy Mathewson and Minoru Murayama the Seals expect a turnaround from the rotation toot sweet. With 7 games against division rivals Orix Blue Wave and Kansas City, before taking a trip to the nightmarish American League Park I, the Seals could find themselves alone in the deep end of the pool.

Mudville NineThis is the old Toronto Blue Jays team . . .  wait . . . is there some kind of malicious curse in the works here in the ATL that haunts Toronto franchises no matter where they move? Even to the hallowed, sacred ground of Mudville? At 2-6 they are starting out trying to catch up with two of the most talked about power-teams of pre-season: the Saint Louis Stars (5-3) and the Houston Colt .45's (5-3). Again, it's some very poor plate performances that seem to be at the heart of this falling out of the starting blocks. Chief culprits are: Larry Walker (.120/.313/.120), Derek Jeter (.138/.219/.138), Frank Baker (.200/.333/.333), and Bill Monroe (.222/.263/.250). However, upon closer inspection one sees that the moundsmen of Mudville seem to have forgotten their craft -- and perhaps the manager as well say some fans. With a team ERA of 5.97 the Nine have only 3 pitchers under 5.40, two of the three are relief pitchers with a 0.00 ERA: Larry Jansen (4G, 8 IP) and Takehiko Bessho (3G, 1 Sv, 4.1 IP). Lon Warneke is the other one, and he had to be pulled after a rain delay because of a stiffening arm. He threw 5 innings, struck out 6, and allowed a single hit. But the question the fans have for the Mudville manager is why Larry Jansen  (12-9, 3.61, 2 Sv, 4 CG, 1 Shu, May 2005 Pitcher of the Month and 1 First Place Vote for the 2005 Cy Young Award) has been relegated to the bullpen.

Washington NationalsWashington has been at the center of a ton of controversy during the off-season, but with the opening home stand it has become quite clear that the most controversial aspect of this team, and the hardest obstacle for them to overcome, is their ballpark. No team wants the home park to be an 'enemy within,' but that is exactly what the Nationals have got. Over the first 8 games at home Washington has been outscored by 3.25 runs per game (45-71). The pitching staff is reeling with a 8.03 ERA, having allowed 26 Home Runs, 112 Hits and 28 Walks in 74 Innings. Rumour has it that everybody on the staff has asked to be traded . . . to the Legends League so they never have to see American League Park I ever again. On the offensive side the Nationals have only managed 16 Home Runs, 80 Hits and 26 Walks. With a 10-HR/42-Hit/2-Walk deficit every 8 games it will be a very loooong season for Washington . . . place your bets now on which pitchers will still be here by the mid-point, and which will have disapeared on a tramp freighter to parts unknown. Get all the lowdown on Capitol Hill's moundsmen at the Washington Nationals home on the web.

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