The Defensive Specialist isn’t going to lie to you; he’s had his feet up for the past couple of days taking a well earned break before the second half of the ABL season cranks up. It’s easy to get fat off the land when Christmas roles around but a series of emails from loyal readers bemoaning the lack of Christmas cheer from their favourite baseball blogger has spurred the Defensive Specialist into action –after all, tis the season of giving! Every team has specific needs heading into the second half so the Defensive Specialist negotiated with Australia Post to intercept each managers shopping list to Santa – what better time than Christmas Eve to evaluate the wish lists of each skipper to see what they need to succeed in 2011.
Manager Brooke Knight’s list to Santa:
4. And grey uniforms for when we play away
Although the grey uniforms are a no brainer they’ve been covered ad infinitum in this forum and in reality, it doesn’t matter what uniform you’re wearing if you don’t have anyone to pitch. The Heat is set to lose number 1 & 2 arms Liam Hendriks and Cole McCurry to inning restrictions while import reliever Brett Jacobsen was traded to the Minnesota Twins and recalled back to the states. On top of that, leading bullpen arm Tyler Anderson is set to head back to the US to work on completing his college degree. That’s 4 fairly key appendages that will be tough to replace. While there’s word that Brendan Wise may be available in the coming weeks (making up for the loss of Jacobsen) Knight will be scouring his little black book searching for live arms to fill the void in his rotation with only Liam Baron a local option. With the Heat regaining the services of Luke Hughes and apparently an import second baseman, the addition of front line arms would almost assure the Heat of a finals berth.
Manager Phil Dale’s list to Santa:
1) Better foreign relations
2) Smaller coaching staff
It would surprise some that Dale would request a smaller coaching staff, but do you realise how hard it must be to remember that many names? The first point about foreign relations relates to the fact that the Aces’ Japanese contingent are said to be shipping back to their motherland in preparation for their spring training / season. Just as the Aces started to hit their straps (winning 9 of their last 11), word comes that their imports need to pack up shop and leave. These departures leave quite the void:
Yoshiyuki Kamei has been an offensive monster hitting .438 with 7 bombs, 25 RBI’s, 20 runs and an OPS of 1300. Sick numbers! Dale should find some way to hide his passport. While Dale is being devious, perhaps he should think about hiding a sizeable quantity of marijuana in the boogie board bags of Norihito Kaneto (2-2 with an ERA of 4.35 over 30 innings), Jumpei Ono (awesome name, 1-1 and 2.12 ERA), Masumi Hoshino (1-0 3.38 ERA) and Tetsu Nishikawa (1-0, 4.85 ERA) in order to keep them in our fair land.
On the upside, the Aces are dropping bombs and scoring runs at an alarming rate of late, lead by Andrew Russell who has vaulted into contention for Deep in the Hole “Dude of the Month”. The beat down has continued recently as the Aces man handled the Bandits in their latest series.
Manager Tony Harris’ list to Santa:
1) A Stud
Harris has always been known as a simple man and his wish list reflects just that, yearning for only one thing. Unfortunately the one thing he desperately desires is the one thing that Santa doesn’t dish out willy nilly –staff aces. The Bite have an offensive line up that bangs with anyone in the league, meaning they’re always going to be able to put up numbers. What they lack is a guy who takes the ball and almost always guarantees a win. While they do have a group of steady pitchers, none has stepped forward and demonstrated the ability to be the guy. Paul Mildren doesn’t have the over powering stuff, Darren Fidge is almost a pensioner and their import Brandon Maurer has been inconsistent. Dushan Ruzic has had some exceptional outings but Harris will be imploring his GM to reach out into the baseball universe to find a staff leader that would completely reshape his pitching staff by providing stability at the front and allowing an arm like Fidge to become a go-to bullpen guy.
Manager Steve Schrenk’s list to Santa:
1) The ABL to only schedule home games
Being a new parent himself, the Defensive Specialist is keenly aware of the developmental cycles of young children. Right now, the Defensive Specialist’s young child is in the phase where kids tend to experience separation anxiety (time away from parents upsetingt them). The more the Defensive Specialist observes the Multiculturalists, the more he sees the signs of separation anxiety. The team plays with confidence and joy at home but goes to water whenever they leave the friendly confines of the nation’s capital. The solution? Perhaps take their parents along for the road trip while loading up on the porn and fireworks to make the lads feel as at home as possible.
Sydney Blue Sox
Manager Glenn William’s list to Santa:
1) A Banger
No Williams isn’t looking for a new relationship! What he’s after is a middle of the order thumper who can put fear into opposing pitching staffs and drive in a plethora of runs. Prior to the season commencing there were a number of guys ear marked to fill this role locally but to this point no one has stepped forward to be the MAN. We keep hearing that Trent Oeltjen will eventually strap on the powder blue uni and while he may not be your prototype banger, he definitely provides a premium bat that should be able to carry a large proportion of the load in the middle of the order
Manager Dave Nilsson’s list to Santa:
1) Snowstorms in Japan
The lube is more of a stocking gift but definitely well needed as the Aces have been legitimately sticking it to the Bandits in their pre Christmas series. The Bandits were pumped 18-8, 12-10, 10-0 and 16-3. That’s some serious friction!
Much like Melbourne, the Bandits are rumoured to be losing their Japanese imports in the coming weeks. The two keys losses will be Shuhei Fukuda who joint leads the team with 4 homeruns, while driving in 6 and scoring 11. He has also proved to be a reliable and versatile defender. From a pitching perspective, the big loss is Hiroki Yamada who has started in every series and struck out almost a hitter per inning while compiling a record of 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA. Neither import has put up “stop the press” numbers but having been steady contributors that Nilsson has relied upon as the season has progressed.
Unfortunately the Defensive Specialist has to cut this post short as he still has 2438 baseballs to autograph as Christmas presents. Thank you very much for reading Deep in the Hole and have a great and safe Christmas. The Defensive Specialist will next check in from the Heat VS. Blue Sox series on December 30th.