The Clarions experienced another season of flux, as has come to be the “norm” for this nascent squad. After the franchise-best season in 2014, the Clarions started the season without two of their biggest run producers and their star center fielder, who traded himself to the Pacs. Yet the Fall Ball recruits once again proved invaluable. Joe "Conquistador" McDermott filled the outfield leadership position with a flair commensurate of his nickname and led the team in just about every offensive stat. Matt "Squeeze" Collins proved an invaluable utility player in the infield and in the squat, and produced solid offensive numbers as well. Dan "Apollo" Stevens (so named because he ran a 50K the day before his first game and a half-marathon two weeks later on the day of his second) proved a versatile player in the infield and outfield. With the mid-season loss of Berkeley founding member and excellent striker and outfielder, Barry "Brick" Chubrik, who moved his family to the Jersey Shore and the land of Bruce Springsteen, the Clarions once again went into recruiting mode, adding three new "A's" to the roster: Andy Goff, Arthur Corpuz, and Alex Parker-Guerrero, all of whom had impressive initial appearances.
As for the veterans, Brad “Frenchy” Gallien ran the show; and the battery of Eric “Shadow” Longeville and Dave “Commander” Garibaldi proved to be one of the most fearsome in the league. “Shadow” led the league in K’s, and nobody steals on “Commander.” With Dave “Driver” Phillips hurling as well, and “Frenchy” playing the second Behind, the Clarions cannot be taken lightly. The Clarions rallied late season with victories over the Barbary Coast and a sweep of the New Alamden Cinnabars.
The New Almaden Cinnabars are no strangers to success in the BAVBB. Three times they have won the title, and while it’s not on for 2015, they made a good run late season to remind Cranks that the ‘Bars are here to stay. The Cinnabars are captained by eminent ballist Scott “Fly” Epperson, and led from the hurler’s box by younger brother, Eric "Tumbleweed" Epperson. It remains impossible to obtain hits to the left side of the infield because of the soft hands and easy, accurate toss of shortstop Ryan "Husker" Svrdlin. “Husker” made innumerable phenomenal plays this season; and if that weren’t enough, he has been lethal with his bat. "Tumbleweed" hurled most of the innings for the ‘Bars this year; hats off to him for enduring the abuse to his arm for five months. First year rookies Mark "Chester" Tellez, Vincent "Pops" Pellegrini, and Abel "Florida" Leon played excellently in their first year and helped to shore up the lineup with clutch hitting and good catches in the garden. “Florida” stepped up big by taking the ball and giving “Tumbleweed” much needed breaks from the hurler's box. Centerfielder Rudy "Holiday" Pitts ran the show in the garden, as he does. Jason "The Kid" Svrdlin came back from a health scare during the ‘Bars absent season in 2014 and contributed in right field and in the striker's box. Captain “Fly” handled second base like he lives there and had his best ever season in the field. Special mention goes out to Vinny "Uno" Pellegrini for donning the gear of the Behind after only one season and willfully allowing his body to become “Tumbleweed's” personal punching bag. “Uno” did a great job behind the plate and his bat was equally impressive. “Uno” hit two homeruns this season, one being an absolute bomb over the left field trees and into the playground at Mosswood Park. “Uno’s” speed on the ‘paths and consistency at the plate earned him the coveted lead-off role in the lineup, and he embraced the challenge with both arms and a ton of ginger.
Overall, the Cinnabars came up a little short this year, by their own high standards; but it was nevertheless a great season and much fun was had by all. The ‘Bars can't wait for next year, and have warned the league that they are coming back with a vengeance. The ‘Bars have three league titles and make no mistake, they intend to make it four in 2016!
The baby flock of Pelicans, under their Captain Matt “Boxcar” Rheinschild and grizzled veterans, Scott “Friendly Fire” Endberg and Joe “Smokey” Menard, spent the first half of the season learning the finer points of vintage base ball. Rookie Donnie Oliveira has looked impressive, hurling great innings for a large part of the season; but the Pelicans have been haunted by the crooked number innings where dropped balls and muffs pile up. The Pelicans have suffered the bane of every vintage game- the long inning in the field. Nevertheless, Nate “Bean” Underwood made your amount of capital plays in the center of the garden despite not having gone a game without being struck by a hurler. Welcome to the league, “Bean!” Kenny “The Groundhog” Wu and Ryan “Sticky” Akerberg bring the ginger to every game and show the heart and determination that keeps the flock of Pelicans together. With the arrival of Stephen “Duce” Nemy and Steven “Starfish” Starfas, combined with a few wins in the latter half of the season, including a dominant performance over the Barbary Coast, the Pelicans are poised to impress in 2016 and demonstrate that they are a team to be feared.
The Barbary Coast are the new boys of the league but most of the Coast are not new to the league. Many are veterans of the BAVBB; notably, Captain and ace hurler, Brody “Reverend” Romsey, who hurled a handful of complete game victories before inevitably wearing out his wing. Invaluable and indefatigable Behind and infielder, Jessie “Juice” Mallory led from the back while Dan-O “Small Plates” Owens ran the garden. In addition to absorbing fly balls, “Small Plates” informed Cranks all year with his sweet lefty swing, lovely as a morning sunrise. Rookies Sam “Badger” Hoffman, Scott “Honey Bear” Denny, Dave Winslow “Doc Spinner” Neale and Mike “Cockroach” Grafton adapted quickly to the vintage game and locked down the outfield for the Coast. “Doc” made the play of the year, chasing down a long fly and securing it backhanded over his head, while “HoneyBear” had a six-for-six day in Hayward. The antonymously named “Badger” burned up the basepaths all year. Veterans Peter “Colonel” Banks and Wes “Dread Pirate Roberts” Goodman-Levy made up the other battery and led the Coast from the strikers’ box. New boys Curtis “Dirtus” Hilger and Brian “Drillbit” Malefant locked down the left side of the infield, while Matt “Achilles Milkman” Peterson and Ferdinand “Toro” Drane rotated on the right side between various and multiple injuries. Once again “Toro” led the team in getting thrown out at the plate and elsewhere on the bases; yet he is sure to run next year, so teams be warned!
The Coast made a midseason run at a playoff spot but hit hurdles hailing from New Almaden and Berkeley. Nevertheless they performed admirably in their first season and it is unlikely any team will make the mistake of writing them off for 2016. All to play for!
The BAVBB wishes a speedy recovery to Nick “Heels” Jeffrey and thanks the many ballists who pitched in.