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September 22, 2008 September 22, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Atlantic League Divisional Series Preview: More or less, this is what you’ll be reading in the Democrat on Thursday. The issue with that concept, of course, is that the playoffs start tomorrow and my paper comes out two days later.

So, I’d might as well just post it here so it’s at least somewhat timely. I was a little squeezed for space, so it’s not particularly good or in-depth…but feel free to add your predictions and so on.

The Atlantic League postseason recently got underway, with the Freedom and Liberty Division series kicking off on Tuesday.

The Freedom Division’s first-half winners, the Somerset Patriots, were set to take on the second-half winners, the York Revolution.

In the Liberty Division, Camden and Long Island won the first and second halves, respectively, and they’d be playing in the other series.

Freedom Division

At The Plate: Somerset is led by the dynamic duo of designated hitter Josh Pressley and third baseman Brandon Larson. Pressley is likely to win league MVP honors after winning the batting title and establishing a new single-season team record with 30 home runs, a record he shares with Larson.

For York, the old saying goes that if you can’t beat em’, join em’. Well, six former Patriots were no longer welcome to join em’, so now they’re trying to beat em’. Matt Dryer, George Sandel, Saul Solveson, Edgard Clemente, Byron Batson and Jason Olson played in a combined 616 games and won 4 championship rings while wearing the red, white and blue of Somerset. They now find themselves playing for York and trying to prevent the Patriots from become the league’s first four-time champions.

But the player to watch will be first baseman Chris Ashby, who came out of nowhere to shatter the league’s hitting streak record.

On The Mound: Somerset has a problem with their pitching, but it’s a good problem to have. Too many quality pitchers and not enough spots in a shortened playoff rotation. Kip Bouknight and Brian Adams appear to be locks to pitch in the postseason, but the last spot could go to a number of deserving candidates.

York will likely counter with former big leaguers Corey Thurman and Aaron Rakers, but they’re not too deep beyond those two.

Regular Season: Somerset won the regular season series between the two clubs, 11 games to nine.

Prediction: Somerset in 3. The Revolution are better than a lot of people think, but my preseason pick to win the championship won’t be able to get it done in Commerce Bank Ballpark.

Liberty Division

At The Plate: Long Island’s lineup is as loaded as it gets in independent baseball, with former Major League All-Star Carl Everett and all-around solid players like Ray Navarrete and Pete Rose, Jr. in the mix.

Defensively, the Ducks have also been spoiled by the play of Nook Logan, another former big leaguer.

Camden’s lineup has been decimated by affiliated teams picking players up and injuries. There’s not a whole lot left for the Riversharks, but L.J. Biernbaum could be a sleeper candidate to carry the team on his back this September.

On The Mound: Long Island hopes to get another quality start out of Randy Leek to give them an edge in the series, and also made a key pickup late in the season by signing ex-Major Leaguer Julio Manon, who had just finished pitching for the Baltimore Orioles Double-A affiliate.

Does Jose Lima have one more good start left in him? The charismatic former 20-game winner in the big leagues was a key addition to a depleted pitching staff late in the season, and could make this series interesting.

Regular Season: The teams split the regular season series, with each club winning 10 games a piece.

Prediction: Long Island in 2. Camden just doesn’t have anything left to compete with the Ducks lineup. The team the Riversharks put out when they clinched their playoff berth compared to what they have out there now is completely different. Considering the team with the best overall record didn’t earn a playoff berth, perhaps it’s time for the league to take a look at the playoff format. – MA



1. SharkGirl - September 22, 2008

Jose Lima left a couple of weeks ago to be with his father, who is ill. As of right now, it is unlikely he will return in time for the playoffs. Thinking of you & your family, Jose. Go Sharks!

2. mnlem - September 22, 2008

Good analysis. However, as ith any short series, game one is critical. If Camden can sneak a win, who knows. York vs Somerset is a great matchup. Patriots finally righted things in the last two weeks.

3. Jeff - September 22, 2008

Nook LOgan has not been with the Ducks for weeks

4. Paul Braverman - September 22, 2008

Man…preseason pick to win the league and you oust us in the first round of the playoffs…ouch! Haha. Good luck to everyone in the playoffs.

Rev It Up!

5. Johnnie Papa - September 22, 2008

The Atlantic League post season looks to be very compeitive and exciting. But before we turn the page entirely on the season that ended yesterday, can we pay tribute to those who played hard day in and day out but came up short.
The Lancaster Barnstormers, Southern Maryland BlueCrabs, and the Bridgeport Bluefish gave their fans a great deal to cheer about and should be applauded for their efforts. It was a long summer and they fought the battle well.

As for our own beloved Bears of Newark we are all very proud of our guys. They gave us a 2007 that we will long remember and they fought hard and courageously in 2008 to the very end. They never gave up despite some major injuries and departures. Can’t wait til the spring when we start it up again.

On another note, there has been a great deal written in recent weeks and months in the comments on this page about autograph sessions. I think it is fitting therefore to recognize the Bears players for their generousity yesterday in coming out for the final Sunday to greet and say goodbye to their faithful. Every Bear still on the roster, injured or otherwise came out and we greatly appreciate it.

My compliments also to the Somerset Patriots players who over the last four days came out before each game and worked the wall along the left field line, signing autographs, greeting their fans, and interacting with the young children. This is what makes this league worthwhile.

The only exception of course, as always, was Sparky Lyle, the manager of the Patriots and self-proclaimed Yankee legend. Mr. Lyle was not in attendance yesterday at all, something which caught most fans and the stadium announcer by surprise. Not that this was a bad thing given his response to fans over the three previous days. Each of those days, Mr. Lyle managed to ignore completely the throngs of Patriots fans and Yankees fans lining the left field stands. Most were Fathers with their sons but their were also elderly fans in Yankee hats, all waiting to catch a glimpse and hopefully an autograph from him. Most of the time he just ignored them, choosing to stare at an empty outfield. We call it the DEAF MAN WALKING routine whenever he comes to Newark and we have grown used to it. Perhaps he was checking the height of the outfield grass.
In either case don’t expect any change in this behavior in 2009 as his personality clearly mirrors that of the organization he works for.
As I took my grandsons through the line of Bears players yesterday, I observed a young Father with his son in tow talking to the Bears coaches and players about having been turned down for an autograph by Sparky Lyle. The expression on the face of that young boy spoke volumes and told the story far better than I could. YOU MUST BE VERY PROUD OF YOURSELF MR. LYLE.


6. Dugout Boy - September 22, 2008

If I’ve done my research right, Long Island Duck, Ray Navarrete, was the only player in the league to reach over 100 Runs (105) and 100 RBI’s (103) this season.
Lancaster’s Michael Woods led the league in Runs with 119 but also with K’ (136). Bridgeport’s Jesse Hoorelbeke and S. Maryland’s Pat Osborn tied for the league lead in RBI’s with 106.
All info was taken from the team’s websites.
Best of luck to the playoff teams and the hope of good weather throughout.

7. jake - September 22, 2008

Scott and Mike very nice analysis. Let the games begin–cannot wait. Promises to be very exciting. I do hope after the season concludes as you noted that we can have an open forum about the playoff format and tiebreakers. Something just doesn’t sit right about it. In either case–GO Pats.

To Johnnie Papa–I understand your frustration and as as long time Patriots fan it isn’t something I haven’t heard before. But you have to understand that’s Sparky being Sparky. He is gruff, rough around the edges, and yes sometimes pretty damn rude. As I always tell people with these complaints, come to Commerce Bank Ballpark on a Sunday during the regular season and Sparky most always signs during the teams scheduled autograph session. I know that this is little comfort to those who don’t live close or who travelled to a specific park to see him but thats just how it is.
And you are correct it will never change because at the end of the day he does exactly what he was hired to do–put bodies in the seats. Whether or not at the end of the day the people in those seats are happy would appear I grant you to be irrelevent.

8. Mike - September 23, 2008

Had heard Lima might come back…knew about Logan, but didn’t really have any other position player to write about, so I just mentioned how he’d been good for them.

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