Gameday 9: Ducks at Oilers

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (4-4)

at

Hebrew Oilers (3-1)

7:30pm

Moore Park

Probable Starters:

BIG OIL: Pearson

Ducks: Welsh

South Oakland travels to historic Moore Park to play the Hebrew Oilers tonight. This is our first game played under “yellow” conditions. If I did anything right as manager, it was quitting before this season. What a mess. The last game between these two teams played at Moore Park ended in a 6-6 tie. It was so long ago, I still had enough of an arm to throw out a runner. Those were the days. Outfield assists and no pandemic.

BIG OIL lost to Cranberry 13-3 on Sunday, but they only had eight guys. We’ve had a good rotating cast of villains in this league (including the Ducks) and our share of rivalries. The Oilers are right up there in both categories.

They have always beaten us when it matters, though, and as evenly matched as we’ve been over the years, they have a title and another finals appearance under their belt. Both years they beat us in the playoffs after we beat them in the regular season. This is kind of how it was with us and the Black Sox for years. We could never get passed them until we brought in Fago the first time. Since 2010, we’ve made most of our personnel additions from within the league. Usually when teams fold (Hurricanes, Owlz, Militia, Bulldogs and most recently the Black Sox) or their manager pisses off a bunch of players like the Bulldogs. Longevity has benefitted us in this regard. The Oilers don’t add many guys from within the league.

This is a big series for both teams.

We have a few former Black Sox who will feel at home in Brookline tonight. Hopefully that gives us the edge we need.

Bad News for the Oilers

Ducks Win: South Oakland 6, South Hills 1

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Box Score

The South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (4-4) took advantage of a six-run fourth inning and a solid start from Randy Patton (W, 2-0) to beat the Devils (4-3) last night in Spring Hill. Matt Schmidt pitched 2/3 inning for the save (1) in his first appearance as a Duck.

TJ Morgan had 2RBI for South Oakland to put the game out of reach.

The Devils and Ducks split their two game series. Each team won 6-1 at home.

Early season scoreboard anomalies in AA

We’ve won two extra inning games by three runs, beating the Eagles 7-4 (9 inn.) and the Bandidos 6-3 (8 inn.).

The Eagles have lost 2 extra inning games this season. Losing in 9 to the Ducks and the Oilers.

The Oilers (3-0) won their first two games on their last at bat. Walk-off wins against the Devils and the Eagles. They beat Cranberry by 6.

South Oakland opens a two game series with undefeated BIG OIL next Tuesday. Time and location tbd. We might play at historic Moore Park. That would be fun.

quack

Ducks Win: South Oakland 6, Bakery Square 3 (8 inn.)

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Box Score

The South Oakland Ducks of the Northside won their third straight game Sunday in Spring Hill. Billy Welsh (W, 1-0) threw 7 innings for his first win as a Duck, and James Fago struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth for his first save of the season.

The Ducks held a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, then Bakery Square tied the game on an Eric Friend, two-out, two-run double to left. John Friend led off the inning with a bunt single.

Matt Mullen led off the eighth with a single and stole second. Tom Pulice drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with a double to the right-center gap. Gwin and Brandt also drove in insurance runs in the inning.

Big missed opportunity by the Bandidos to not rebrand as the Toros, and go with these unis.

The win brings the Ducks record to 3-3. The Bandidos fall to 2-2.

South Oakland plays next against the Devils, Monday night, 8pm at Volunteers Field in Carrick.

Quack.

Gameday 5: Ducks vs Bandidos

2020 South Oakland Ducks, Gameday, NABA, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (1-3)

vs

Bakery Square Bandidos (2-0)

9pm

Spring View Field

Projected starters:

Ducks: Patton

Bandidos: Friend

South Oakland looks to start a winning streak tonight against the resurgent Bandidos. After a thrilling extra inning win against South Side last weekend the Ducks are back in the win column and feeling confident. Tom Pulice earned his first win as Ducks manager. He’s the fifth coach to win a game for South Oakland.

Ducks managers by year:

  • Gwin: 2003-07
  • Jones: 2008-09
  • Gwin: 2010-11
  • Fago: 2012
  • Morgan: 2013
  • Gwin: 2014-19
  • Pulice: 2020

Based on this pattern, I’ll be back in 2022. The Billy Martin of the Pittsburgh NABA.

Last year the Ducks swept the Bandidos. In 2019, Bakery Square had a statistical anomaly of a season, winning like five games and suffering a bizarre defeat to a short handed Eagles team in the playoffs. But it looks like the odds may have swung back in their favor this season as the Bandidos are off to the best start in team history.

These teams have been rivals since the days of Zack King and the Mon Valley Dirty Birds, when the aforementioned King tried to fight our whole team for some reason. 2014 was a great year. That season, the Dirty Birds played at West Field before the renovation.

After a two year hiatus, the South Oakland Ducks of the North Side are returning to the North Side. We will play our home games at Spring View Field.

West Field was nice, I guess, but the borough was impossible to deal with, and the seeds/maintenance situation was ridiculous. The big dugouts were a nice change of pace, but the lights were impossible there. We tried to get a couple early season dates there this year, and after they charged me for them, they said they were cancelling the whole summer, and turned around and gave a DNL team a permit. I’m still waiting on my refund.

Tonight is a homecoming for the Ducks.

Bad News for the Bandidos

 

 

 

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 7, Bauerstown 3

2019 South Oakland Ducks, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Box Score

Tony Casale lead the way with four hits, and the back end of the Ducks rotation pitched five solid innings to help South Oakland to its fourth straight win yesterday in Shaler. Cody Quinn started and went two innings, pitching around a couple fly balls that could have been caught, and allowing one run. Ben Sorosky (W, 1-0) pitched three solid innings before James Fago converted the six-out save (7).

The Ducks took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Lombardi doubled in Casale, and Clark singled home Lombardi. Bauerstown scored in the bottom half of the inning off a double, HBP and a single.

South Oakland added two in the fifth on a walk, fielders choice and two singles. Then they added three more in the seventh on four straight hits, and an RBI double by Fago to put the game out of reach. Cody just missed going yard.

Fago’s seven saves is a single season Pittsburgh NABA record until someone tells me otherwise.

Casale for MVP.

 

The Ducks finish up the season on the road against D2, Tuesday night, 6:15 at Herschel Park.

Quack.

 

 

 

Gameday 17: Ducks vs Bandidos

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (9-7)

vs

Bakery Square Bandidos (3-13)

8pm

West Field

After a forfeit win over West View on Sunday, the Ducks looks to extend their winning streak to four tonight against the better-than-their-record-indicates Bandidos.

In a celebration of South Oakland’s seventeenth season in the Pittsburgh NABA, and the rich history of our league, the Ducks will host throwback night tonight in Munhall. Players will wear their oldest NABA jerseys in what will be a collage of awesomeness out on the turf.

The 2019 Ducks feature players who have played for the Hurricanes, Black Sox, Owlz, Knights, Orioles, Rakers, Gray Bats, Militia, Bulldogs, Bombers, (Steel City when they were still a fed league team), Maulers, Oilers and the Express. Possibly more. Also, many of the Bandidos have played on the Ducks in recent tournaments in Columbus, and made solid contributions to the franchise on and off the field.

Nine of the teams mentioned earlier are defunct. Only the Bulldogs and Oilers remain. I think TJ Morgan might be the last Hurricane in the league. A franchise that burned so brightly for a few years it was destined to destroy itself with its own power.

Running a team is hard. Keeping a men’s league team going for the better part of two decades is probably a symptom of a mild psychological disorder. Last year the Black Sox folded and this year the Express dropped out, and I think that’s all the Brookline off-shoots in the league. The Black Sox spawned like five different teams.

I repeat a lot of these stories on the blog, but I think it’s important to have a perspective on the league’s history, and now with the old website dying, we’ve lost most of the stats from the last 16+ years. Baseball more than any other sport, for better and worse, is about numbers and nostalgia and tradition. Our stats don’t really matter in real life, but they are part of the story of the league and a record of a past summer. Stories of ringers and sandbaggers and fist fights and cheaters. For the Ducks, aside from maybe four seasons, it’s a story of being one piece away from a championship. As we added that missing piece, others left, or the rest of the league took a bigger step forward then we did. Hopefully we cam put it together and make a run in the playoffs this year before I hand over the managerial reigns.

Sorry for the digression.

We can’t overlook the Bandidos. They are clearly reeling, but it’s hard to sweep anyone in double A. Bakery Square is bound to snap out of it and start winning at some point. Let’s make sure it’s not tonight.

Bad News for the Bandidos

 

Ducks Win: South Oakland 4, South Hills 3

2019 South Oakland Ducks, Ducks WIn, pittsburgh NABA, Recap, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

South Oakland swept the season series with the Devils behind Mullen’s two-run triple last night in Munhall.

The Ducks scored in the first on Derek Clark’s RBI single, and then Matt Mullen followed singles by Sorosky and Morgan with a triple to right. Matt Muslin singled home Mullen two batters later to give the Ducks a four run lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Randy Patton (W,4-2) scattered six hits through five innings, allowing one run before the bullpen took over and held off a late Devils rally. Patton also picked off a runner at first.

  • The Ducks made two errors in the game, but both were followed by inning ending double plays
  • South Oakland turned a 5-2-3 double play to get out of a jam, and then in the third, a 6-3 double play to get out of a first and third situation
  • Tom Pulice picked off a runner at third
  • Several good plays by Maldonado at second who left with a lower body injury in the sixth
  • Sorosky is five for his last five, and probably leads the team in avg. now
  • Big win to get the tie breaker with South Hills

South Oakland’s next game is Sunday 8pm vs West View until we hear otherwise.

Quack.

 

Gameday 15: Ducks vs Devils

2019 South Oakland Ducks

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (7-7)

vs

South Hills Devils (9-8)

8pm

West Field

The Ducks and the Devils will try to separate from the middle of the pack in a matchup full of playoff implications, tonight in Munhall. South Hills looks to avenge an early season 8-1 loss to the Ducks. Tonight’s game figures to be a much closer contest.

A win tonight, and our upcoming forfeit victory against West View and suddenly we could find ourselves on a three game winning streak. So it’d be a 2-for-1 tonight if we can beat the Devils at home.

Bad news for South Hills

 

Gameday 9: Ducks vs BIG OIL

Uncategorized

South Oakland Ducks of the North Side (4-4)

at

Hebrew Oilers (7-3)

7:30pm

Mellon Park

South Oakland starts off a week of playing the two most likable teams in AA in East Liberty tonight when they take on the defending champs who have no ringers at all and are a completely legit AA team that in no way is good enough to move up.

Tomorrow the Ducks play Sheraden at West Field. The commissioner will be in uniform for South Oakland, and I wonder if the Jays will be stupid enough to start another fight. I think I’ll have a brief history of NABA fights next week. My two readers can look forward to that one.

Anyway, let’s take care of tonight first. We need a win to stay above .500 and keep the Oilers within striking distance.

Bad News for Big Oil

A history of Illegal players and team forfeitures

2019 South Oakland Ducks

Things were more relaxed in the early to mid 2000s. We all filled out paper forms, ideally, and we played. There wasn’t much to do about ringers. The only rule was that a guy was on the roster before the playoff deadline, but no one checked and no one cared.

Our first championship, in 2003, was against a stacked lineup of Fed League players and guys from the Warriors franchise who filled in on the team that was supposed to be the Maulers. It was either play against the players who showed up or don’t play.

We were rained out in our first attempt to play the game, and we didn’t find out about it until game time when no one showed up. I think John Herb had a grass infield then, or maybe it just does in my memories of it. We got there early, took infield/outfield, and then we waited until half an hour after game time and no one showed up. I didn’t have a cell phone then so I borrowed a teammates, called the commissioner, and got the message of the somewhat suspect cancellation. We rescheduled, beat that team full of ringers, and got kicked out of Hemingways.

There weren’t a ton of controversies early on because no one cared much. Most of us were just happy to play. However, there were a couple instances where teams were kicked out of the league. Two that come to mind are Insulright in 2005, and the Yankees in 2004.

The Yankees were a team full of CCAC players and other local DIII guys who went undefeated but never paid. I think the core of the early Black Sox teams were Yankees. Only Craig Boley knows who I’m talking about. They no-hit us that season before they disappeared.

Insulright was sponsored by the insulation company of the same name, and they played in shorts out in Monroeville at Gateway. The back of that infield fell off like a cliff into a deep outfield surrounded by a rusted chain link fence. Moore Park without the charm. Gateway was somehow hard to find for those of us coming from the city, our early GPS systems sent us in an awkward U-turn around 376, near rt. 48, and it was easy to wind up in Trafford accidentally. Insulright was always ready to fight, and their shorts made them that much worse. They had this guy Hoover who could throw hard, and a few decent players, but their Umbros made the young Pittsburgh NABA look even more bush league than it was. Thankfully they were kicked out of the league, and lead to the rule that states we must wear pants as part of our uniforms, otherwise known as the Insulright Rule.

After Commissioner Graff took over for Boley, things shifted gears.  During the years that encompassed the Ducks short stop-less Red Scare Era, the league grew and thrived. The Black Sox brought in a former Blue Jays prospect, the Owlzzzz brought in a guy from the Wildthings, and the league added a ton of local small-college players. I consider 2006 to 2010 the golden age of the league. After the switch to wood bats, and before Elliot joined the league and beat everyone before moving on to the DNL.

During these years, the player rules became more strict, and there were more clashing personalities. Two of the most outrageous incidents occurred during these years. The first, and the most insane, was the Matador incident.

 

 

They tried to bribe teams to throw games so that the Bulldogs wouldn’t make the playoffs. Former Ducks manager, TC Jones told me he spent an hour on the phone with Ken Cool’s brother discussing the Owlz managers disgust that (Matador’s manager) Ron Tiedeman (sic) bribe him to lose on purpose. That’s an hour TC will never have back, one of the risks when you manage a men’s league team, I suppose.

There are always a few guys who are certain Joe favors his own team. (We haven’t won anything in the last five years, so he’s not very good at it, if that’s his plan.) So this guy tried to rig the playoffs to fuck over Joe. Perfectly rational. It didn’t work. The Matadors lost to the Bulldogs in the playoffs, and eventually became the Sharks then the Wolfpack. Teideman left years ago.

Back to player eligibility.

The worst incident probably in league history, was the result of poor administrative practices. In 2010, following their first league championship, members of the Hurricanes threatened the commissioner over a handful of Hurricane’s players being ruled ineligible. The issue being that they weren’t in the system by the deadline. The overreaction by the ‘canes to a decision that wasn’t open to interpretation is what makes this incident stand out in the league mythos.

I’ve personally filled out the online info for guys that had played but couldn’t register for some reason. It’s not fun, but it doesn’t take too long.

There was a vote on whether or not to allow them to forfeit their season like Insulright and the Yankees.

It was decided that games the had played in already wouldn’t be ruled forfeits, but they couldn’t play in the playoffs. That season, the Militia upset the short -handed Hurricanes in the second round before losing in the semifinals to the Ducks.

Since the split to three divisions, and the ruling on active college players playing in AAA pending approval from AA managers, there has been renewed debate about player eligibility. One such instance, and subsequent apology, was noted on this blog a couple seasons back. The incident involved the Oilers bringing in a former pro who hadn’t played in years and was thus, eligible to play in AA. The funny thing about the incident is the uproar was due to a different guy pitching for them who was accused of being said former pro, but was a JV player on Point Park, I think. Anyway, that season the Oilers lost in the first round to the Devils, but the next season their former pro delivered the championship-clinching hit against the Grizzlies.

Over the last few years, a few AAA teams have had questionable players in games and usually they don’t get called on it until after they’ve played. This is mostly with Steel City and Jefferson Hills. Both have been accused of playing guys in the playoffs with fewer than five games played.

I have nightmares about Beedle Park and driving all the way down 51 to roast in those dugouts.

There’s a pretty standard practice by teams to try to bring in ringers. First try to change the rules in the league meeting, second, try to break them, third, go out of your way to find other teams who are breaking the rules, and act indignant that anyone would harm the sanctity of our league and this great game of baseball that in no way has a history of cheating at the highest level.

In some cases, it’s a matter of just cooking the scorebook and online stats to make sure all pitchers and important players have enough games played. A smart manager will do this early when no one knows who anyone is, as to avoid going back and making changes in June when they might be noticeable. It’s also assumed that no one will ever really call a team out on it, because the sentiment is that you look scared if you do.

I’ve been hesitant to do it in the past because I think challenging a player who turns out to be eligible is a good way to fire up the opposing team. I’ve never been 100% and I don’t want to have to issue another public apology for accusing a team of cheating that isn’t. Maybe that makes me part of the problem. A problem that’s really not that big in the scheme of our league, and even smaller outside our adult baseball bubble.

This season with the website crashing, it might be more difficult to track stats and eligibility. In AA the biggest issue is active college players without waivers. In AAA, it’s getting five games in for playoffs or not. So cheat early and cheat often, but please don’t threaten the commissioner. 

South Oakland plays the Oilers tomorrow night, 9pm at Springview Field, weather permitting.