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Aug 13 2018, 07:46 AM
For any of you who are fans of Deadspin, occasionally they do a video series called "Remember Some Guys" which is basically a bunch of baseball nerds opening up packs of old cards and trying to see what they remember from their (often middling and unremarkable) careers. I really like the concept and it's always fun to remember some guys and so I decided I'd go through the index and write about three players who may be forgotten to history -- but not to 4D Chess!
First up I'm going to selfishly start with a Crabs pick -- Clark Canuck. Canuck wasn't even picked until the 13th round of the draft and, well, let's just say he lived up to those expectations. Canuck was in and out of the league, only lasting two seasons with the Crabs and only seeing the field in twenty-three games! And of those twenty-three he actually only saw action in FIVE games during his second season. Fittingly, he had four at bats and got one hit, and notched one K. Good enough I guess? Top moment of his career: He did, however, knock one dinger out of the park at some point during Season 1 -- what an absolute legend. And while he never updated (not even a single time) he did make a name for himself in the Crabs locker room as somewhat of a memelord. Consider Clark Canuck: briefly remembered!
Up next: Clint Eastwood Also a shortstop, Eastwood does have the distinction of being a PBE Champion -- something a great number of players, including my own, have never accomplished. However, outside of that his career would require a true PBE historian to remember. Luckily, the user came back to create another (somewhat more active) player in later seasons -- but Eastwood's career started and ended with the Season 1 Voyagers. A 10th round pick, and a pretty active user before the first draft Eastwood definitely had people believing the hype a bit. What happened on the field? Well, a lot less exciting than expected. His average was a meager but not disgusting .228 and knocked in four RBIs. One thing of positive note in this player's career is that he served as a true utility man for the Voyagers. He played innings at a bunch of different positions and was an above-average fielder. Also, hilariously enough, his TWO stolen bases were good for the team lead. For one reason or another, he wasn't brought back to the Voyagers the next season and was lost to the depths of PBE history hell -- until now!
Finally, sticking in New York, let's remember somebody from the worst team in PBE history (record-wise) the 2020 Voyagers. Backup catcher Dustin Evans . Evans strung together a relatively solid career, much longer than the first two players highlighted in this article. Sadly, his career fizzled out after last season and barring an unforeseen return of his talent it looks like Evans can pretty much consider his playing days over. The 2020 Voyagers are absolutely filled to the brim with "Remember Some Guys" material, and Evans is pretty emblematic of that whole roster. Good? Certainly not. Bad? Not really. A passable backup catcher? Uhh -- I guess? Evans actually started nine games over the 2020 campaign and performed at a decent level, and even hung around another entire season, but didn't really show the Voyagers much of a reason to bring him back into the fold. Dustin Evans was selected in the 10th round, and played a career so mediocre that it would've been easily forgotten -- if not for me!
I really hope you guys enjoy this series, I've had a great deal of fun writing this up. It's fun to comb through the statistics and find players that never really made a huge impact but were just kinda... there. Expect more of this series going forward!
Aug 12 2018, 07:10 AM
Jackson Jackson may have finally found a way to stop striking out. Although the Providence fans should probably knock on wood after even hearing that sentence, for the first time all season Jackson Jackson has been able to string together three games in a row where he didn't have to perform a walk of shame back to the dugout after swinging and missing on three straight pitches. Indeed, in the very last game of yesterday's sim Jackson was in rare form slapping three hits (one of which was an aptly timed triple in the 4th inning) and knocking a few RBIs. However it was the absence of a strikeout that was truly heartening for the veteran catcher, who now at the closing crest of his career must be thinking of ways to maximize his Hall of Fame potential.
Strikeouts have plagued the catcher all year long, his twenty five strikeouts in just eighty five at bats is simply unsustainable and frankly catastrophic to a team that needs all of their hitters to perform. He is certainly no longer the feared hitter at the plate that he once was, but reports are that he's been working very hard on upping his contact to avoid more strikeouts as the season winds on. "Truthfully, I think part of the issue is I spent so much of my early spring training and training camp working on my fielding abilities that I was sort of neglecting my skills at the plate," Jackson Jackson mused, "but that's not to criticize the training program in place for me. If you look back at last season I had way too many errors (#0 had a career high 10 errors) and that was something I needed to correct as soon as possible so that my pitchers weren't left out to dry. Now, this season so far, I know it is early, but I have not even had a single error -- so it is probably time to start re-correcting a little bit and get my mind right up their at the plate."
It would indeed be a pleasant surprise if Jackson Jackson can return to rare form for the Crabs, while never a serious contender for the MVP award he has put together some of the better slash lines in previous seasons. Another huge factor for the Crabs catcher (hehe) is that he has once again become active in the front office decisions of the team -- leading many to believe he is once again serious about his goal of bringing a championship to Providence. Could this three game no strikeout streak merely be a fluke? Well, the possibility does exist especially when you consider that before that run he had a six game streak where he struck out at least once in each game. But his training shift to work on avoiding strikeouts may be a huge improvement going forward into the season.
One thing is for certain, the Crabs will need all hands on deck to pull ahead in a crowded Eastern Conference race. Right now only two games separate the conference leading Crabs and the last place Outer Banks Avaitors, and at 12-13 Providence could desperately benefit from a quick five or six game win streak to give them some breathing room. Also of particular note, Starting Pitcher Tyler Oles seems to be benefiting from Jackson Jackson's improved catching ability -- as he is posting supremely good numbers so far this season -- and as a whole it seems the entire Crabs infield can breathe a little easier knowing their catcher isn't primed to let a past ball slide by or to have an errant throw. To summarize: with the fielding ability all settled now, Jackson Jackson must get his head on straight at the plate and continue to avoid strikeouts.
Aug 11 2018, 04:01 PM
It was a tense area in the Providence clubhouse. Closer Pete Rose was sitting at his locker, alone, and visibly nervous. Jackson Jackson was up and pacing not an unusual behavior except when you factor in he hadn't even had his morning lines of coke. The tension in the air could be cut apart by a knife, the only person who seemed not to notice was the one and only Eduardo Dinero who was busy tallying the stacks of cash loaded into his locker in suitcases by a topless General Manager Koufax (a clause in the contract that left many agents wondering if it was even allowed.
The door opened up and there was the newest outbreak of Crab, Austin Dye. For Pro Baseball Experience fans Dye is remembered primarily as a passing, if also unremarkable, Shortstop who helped usher the Death Valley Scorpions into the league -- even lending his talents as a general manager. After a few less than inspiring seasons, Dye was sent down to the minors where he won the inaugural minor league ring but was also informed that he would not be brought back to the team. A free agent, cut loose from the PBE entirely many insiders thought that Dye's career was over. But Jackson Jackson and Dye have a longstanding relationship as lovers-----I mean uhhh--- as friends, and so Jackson Jackson jumped at the opportunity to be the one to restart Dye's once promising career. Dye, up for the challenge as always, was eager to join and even committed to a position swap to Third Base -- a position of desperate need for the Crabs who, up until the signing of Dye, throwing out a completely forgettable player named Rapinski who, while a great guy, simply seemed overwhelmed by the speed of major league ball.
For all intents and purposes it seems that the marriage of Dye and Jackson----I mean uhhhh---- Dye and the Crabs is a match made in heaven. The Crabs offer Dye a chance to get significant playing time as he eases himself back into the routine of professional baseball, and Dye offers the Crabs a chance to upgrade immediately at the hot corner. Certainly, this is not a world-bending move, but it is the type of move that successful teams must make routinely in order to compete at the championship level. All things considered, the move is one that shouldn't raise eyebrows -- and yet it does. And it all starts with a band known as the Arizona Outlaws.
Years and years ago, long before the formation of the Pro Baseball Experience: Jackson Jackson, Pete Rose, and Austin Dye were all in a highly successful band known as the Arizona Outlaws. This rock-and-roll joint was selling out arenas and stadiums around the country, collecting awards left and right. Their time at the top was quite lengthy, as far as bands go, and the three seemed to be a completely and totally indivisible trio -- until they weren't. The details, even all of these years later, are a bit murky. Sources close to the band seem to attribute blame to people around the band: Manager Tim Pest, roadie Luke Luechly, and even Accountant Pat Pancake have been accused of dividing the three against one another. Within a matter of just days the Arizona Outlaws went from being the cream of the crop in the world of music, to having Rose walk away from music all together. It was a tragic end to what before that point was a successful group.
As crazy as the dynamic has the potential to be, Jackson Jackson seems to think that the bygones will be bygones and the three will be able to co-exist with relative ease. "Listen," he began, "all of that shit is really far in the past. The people who were causing issues: Pest and Luechly and all of them, are all gone and what we're focused on here is baseball and baseball only. I mean that." But Jackson Jackson didn't just leave this issue up to chance, he spoke with both of them before even approaching Dye with a contract offer -- but Austin Dye assured the Crabs management that he was simply there to help deliver a championship to Providence. Pete Rose, meanwhile, expressed caution that he was worried Dye may (rightfully) hold some resentment, but was otherwise quite welcoming to his new teammate. Jackson added a final statement saying: "I think this gives us a chance to win something with no asterisk, no ego. The three of us accomplished a lot together many, many years ago -- and I expect that everyone will truly be on their best behavior this season."
Of particular interest is the fact that the Crabs already claim one of the more--how should I put this nicely-- charismatic locker rooms in the league. It's not uncommon to walk into Dunkin Donuts Park to find Dinero cleaning his old revolvers, or to see Jackson Jackson applying oil to himself in the mirror wearing only a fur coat and some of the cheaper ladies of the night in Providence, or to see Marcus Strikeout staring deeply out into space wondering what decisions in life led him to this nadir. In fact, Jackson Jackson has even invited Gilbert Arenas (who famously brought guns into the Wizards locker room and got into a standoff with a teammate) to join the team as a special advisor despite the fact that Arenas admittedly has never played baseball. Jackson would say only, "Hell, Gilbert a wild fuckin' dude and his name is Gilbert. What more could you ask for?"
To summarize: yes music fans, the architects of the Arizona Outlaws are getting back together -- but this time under the Providence Crabs banner. And while many questions remain there is reason for optimism at third base in Providence for once, and Rose and Dye seem to be ready to commit to an amicable relationship, if nothing else. It is, admittedly, a risk for a front office in Providence that, since the very first Pro Baseball Experience draft, has put the utmost importance on team chemistry. But the prognosticators in Providence have detremined that the very small risk that the volatile locker room suddenly devolves into an old Western shoot-em-up style stand off is worth the reward of having a capable and handsome young lad at third base. Media outlets across the PBE will be watching with an eagle eye to see how this move pans out.
Aug 1 2018, 12:51 PM
Jackson Jackson disappeared, as if into dust, after the Crabs lost in the PBE World Series once again. One minute he was there in the locker room consoling his younger teammates, the next? He was gone.
For weeks, he was nowhere to be found. Phone calls would go unanswered. Even his closest confidants had no clue where he was. When he re-emerged on the radar he was in the most unthinkable of places: deep in the Alaskan wilderness. And with who? Rookie catcher Kevin Winters.
If you consider Alaska an unthinkable spot to be scouting baseball talent, well, you would by all accounts not be alone. But Jackson Jackson is no fool. Amidst rumors that Jackson may be returning to the Providence Front Office, it only makes sense that he'd be looking for new blood for the Crabs roster. But scouting a catcher? His own position? Perhaps that is just Jackson acknowledging the grasp of Father Time. Catching at a professional level is hell on the body, and Jackson must know he can't do it forever. And that's where Winters comes in.
If rumors are to be believed, Jackson was tipped off by a business partner (read: drug dealer) to an energetic but unrefined Alaskan baseball talent by the name of Kevin Winters. He harnessed his skills day in and day out, making the most of the very short period where people in Alaska can even play baseball. During the cold, dark winters the ballplayer would wade into frigid ice water and wait ever so patiently to catch fish with his bare hands. That type of reaction is already on part with many of the catchers in the PBE today -- and his passion simply can't be taught. What remains to be seen is how Winters will be able to catch up to major league pitching, but for now his raw skillset has many scouts around the league buzzing with excitement. One General Manager, who asked to remain anonymous, said "Winters is represented by a good agent, and if he keeps working hard then he could very easily find himself as a major player in the major leagues within just a few seasons."
What is no big secret is that the position of Catcher is one of relative scarcity in the Pro Baseball Experience league, and Winters will be a natural advantage over a lot of rookies merely because of a lack of competition. What will be more difficult is that he, like so many other prospects, will have to be patient and remain active while playing in the minor leagues. If he can stay on top of his training then, as cliche as it may sound, the sky is the limit.
The list of professional ballplayers from Alaska is slim -- to say the least -- but Winters has a defensive skillset that is already major league ready, and as his eye grows more accustomed to the tricks of pro pitchers he could very easily etch his name into Alaskan lore as the most successful baseball player to ever reign from the state. It certainly won't be easy holding on to the hopes of an entire state, while also working to become a pro player, but Winters seems uniquely poised to remain focused both on and off the field. One thing that's for certain? Missouri boy Jackson Jackson wouldn't head out into the cold frontier of Alaska for just any prospect -- and his journey out there proves that teams will be jockeying to impress the young catcher. Winters has a long way to go, but it will be one of many exciting plot points in this season, as he seeks to show the world he can hang with the best players in the world.