>(Chicago – Associated Press) With Sacramento and Jacksonville securing long awaited titles in the past two NABCL seasons, the dubious distinction of best franchise to never win a NABCL title has been squarely passed to the Chicago Beast. The proud Second City franchise has been the NL North’s best club, winning the divison crown four of the last five seasons, notching six post-season visits in eight years, and one trip to the World Series.
Yet the all important league title has eluded Chicago and last season’s early exit at the hands of NL Champ, San Antonio, clearly demonstrated that the pressure to win in Chicago is ever-present. Recognizing this, management has focused its Season Nine efforts on a powerful collection of young and old baseball minds on the coaching staff to help counsel the vast array of talent on the big league roster.
And make no mistake, the Beast are loaded with top talent all across the roster. Face of the franchise, B.C. Parent
enjoyed a breakout season eight campaign with batting .325 with 45 home runs and 132rbi. Parent is literally a “triple crown” waiting to happen and as he goes, so go the Beast.
But the Beast are no one trick pony. Joining Parent with a breakout campaign last year was James Suzuki, an NL All-Star, gold glove first basemen, and runner-up in the MVP voting. Rounding out Chicago’s Murder’s Row is season 8 acquistion Virgil Wilkerson. Wilkerson will move back to his original position, shortstop, for season Nine.
The rest of the offense features a steady collection of bombers and slashers that can take over a game at any momemnt including: Dale Hinske, Bruce Dawkins, Johnnie Root, Lou ” Velvet Underground” Reed.
On the bump, the Beast feed off the veteran stylings of Felipe Matos, a spectacular 64-24 in his 3 ½ seasons with Chicago. Randy Corey was terrific last year and starts his second season in Chicago as the team’s #2 in the rotation. Geriatric, Kevin Martin, signed a lucrative deal in the off-season to return to his orginal franchise. Youngsters, Ugueth Neruda and Vic Robertson, will fight for the four slot.
Beast GM Bullet6464 has always relied heavily on a strong pen for the team’s success and this is no different. Despite the departure of NABCL all-time save leader Jeremy Damon, the Beast feature last season’s NL Fireman of the Year Greg Hamilton, and two terrific set-up men in Adrian Shave and Dan Redding.
Season Nine will also feature the long awaited rookie campaign of Right Fielder, D’Angelo Lee. Lee takes over for the departed Cookie Prince, a longtime stalwart in Chicago.
Without further adieu, your season 9 Beast
1. Bruce Dawkins – CF: Excellent eye and contact numbers should score 100+ runs.
2. Johnny Root – 2b: Avg dropped in 7.0 but production numbers went up; still a good young, stick
3. James Suzuki – 1b: Should love the hitter friendly park at home and protection of Parent behind him.
4. BC Parent – LF: Tremendous sophomore campaign has some pundits talking triple crown.
5. Virgil Wilkerson – Has found a home in Chicago and should post terrific numbers in his first full season in the Windy City. Takes over at SS this season
6. D’Angelo Lee – RF: Young bomber takes over for Cookie Prince in right field.
7. Bernie Tatis – 3b:
8. Lou Reed – C:
SP Felipe Matos
SP Randy Corey
SP Kevin Martin
SP Torey Alvardo/Vic Robertson
SP Roberto Fernandez
Long Uegeth Neruda
Long John Lee
Set-up Craig Parker
Set-up Greg Hamilton
Set-up Dan Redding
Close Adrian Shave
Can the offense carry the day, yet again?
Will the improved coaching staff and its focus on pitching bear fruit on and off the field?
Can the Beast maintain its stranglehold on the NL North crown?
Will the draft bear some future prospects for the big league club?