Remember back in July how we wrote about the Lake County Fielders? That independent team that had the announcer quite on the air after ripping the organization a new one? And had a player boycott when the team didn’t pay them, leading to crazy stuff like Jose Canseco pitching?
Well, today Don Babwin of the Associated Press has a report about them, talking about all of that stuff, plus more, plus where it went wrong for the Fielders and for independent ball in general:
The players discovered the problem out on a road when team-issued debit cards suddenly didn’t work. “Guys were skipping meals (and) they’d wait till they got to the clubhouse and eat the peanut butter and jelly,” said Qumar Zaman, the announcer who told listeners that he was quitting because the team didn’t pay him. The players’ mothers were calling to complain.
Ugly but fascinating stuff.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: