Calgary Caps Quiet Offseason With Star-Studded Trade

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Calgary ~ Wednesday, May 7, 2036

Author: Brendan Dames

When Gavin Arrington picked up his buzzing cell phone on Sunday, he expected a phone call from his friend, and current Flames designated hitter, Shawn Williams. He and his former teammate had planned to meet at the local Paunch Burger for an afternoon lunch. Instead, Arrington received a call that would change the course of his career – again.

Exactly one year and one month ago – to the day – Arrington was traded from the Anaheim Ducks to the Calgary Flames, in exchange for veteran starting pitcher Bill Blanchard. Eleven days later, the upstart Flames signed Arrington to a monster 5 year, $6,150,000 contract. He was a member of the Calgary “Core Four” (Brian Gaines, Jamal Gaines, Williams, and Arrington), a name dubbed for the four stars by the Calgary fan-base once Williams signed a five year extension of his own in August. “I thought I would be in Calgary for many years to come,” remembered Arrington. Just 395 days later, however, the “Core Four” is no more.

Despite rumors suggesting he was being shopped around by the ballclub, Arrington was “rather surprised” by the trade. "In this industry you have to ignore the rumors. They were with me in Anaheim, followed me to Canada, and I’m sure they’ll follow me to New York,” smirked Arrington. “But every once in a while a rumor becomes reality, and you can’t ignore reality.”

The baseball world can be a cruel business. “I was actually in the middle of signing 500 Calgary ballcaps when I got the news,” joked Arrington, “So yeah, I didn’t expect it.” Next week, Arrington and his family will be moving into their third new home in just 14 months. Although a third move is not ideal, the Arrington’s are excited to be headed to New York. “My wife and I were actually born in New Jersey, and the Islanders' ballpark is only 90 minutes from my parents’ house. [My parents] are probably happier than anyone. But I really do love that area, and the people. I’m just excited to join a winning organization and get started,” said Arrington.

Arrington will look to find greater success with New York than he had with Calgary in 2035, where he hit .248/.318/.710 with 11 HRs in his first Gold season. “It was a tough season for me, but while it was certainly an adjustment [playing in Gold], I never felt outmatched. I’ll work on a few things and make sure I get back to the production the league saw from me in Anaheim.”

In the Arrington trade, the Flames also sent their two top pitching prospects, Dan Thompson and Tony Keller, along with $840,000 cash to the Islanders. In return, the Flames received SP Eric Garcia and 1B/OF Jean-Paul Roy from New York.

Flames GM/Manager Brendan Dames was enthused with the trade, despite an initial negative reaction from the Calgary fan-base. “The energy in the building on Sunday was one you’d expect after winning a league crown – we couldn’t be more excited."

Garcia, soon to be 26 years old, was 10-9 with a 3.64 ERA in 22 starts for New York a season ago. Garcia throws his fastball in the mid to high 90s, while relying on his splitter, forkball, and curveball to keep hitters off-balance. “I am looking forward to playing on a team that has shown its commitment to winning over the past few seasons,” said Garcia at the Wednesday afternoon press conference. “I’m excited to join a pitching staff with Clark [Wood], a guy I entered this league with, and Jamal Gaines, a pitcher who I know is respected by pitchers everywhere. I’ve already talked to those guys and [pitching] coach [Andre] Jones and I’m ready to get to work,” said Garcia.

The former first round pick from Tulane also noted his excitement to play with three-time Supreme Slugger Brian Gaines. “Man, there are not many tougher outs in the PBDL than [Gaines]. Honestly, I know last year in New York we always had to be on top of our game against the entire Calgary lineup. I’m glad they are on my side now.”

Garcia will don #35 with the Flames, a tribute to former Flames SP Jorge Zuniga (2013-2021). “I’m sure you all weren’t expecting a Jorge Zuniga mention today,” laughed Garcia, “but Jorge has been a mentor – of sorts – for me throughout my playing career. I thought it’d be a nice opportunity to honor and thank him for everything he’s done for me, and it even adds an additional sense of motivation to live up to his success with this number and team.”

Although the team had to part with two top prospects, Calgary felt that they better situated themselves for future success with the acquisition of Garcia. “When we discovered that we had the opportunity to bring Eric into the fold, we couldn’t let that opportunity slip through our grasp,” exclaimed Dames. “With Eric joining Clark and Jamal in our rotation, we have three stud starting pitchers under the age of 30, under our control for at least the next four seasons, and we’d hope even longer.”

The lesser-known name coming to Calgary via the trade, Jean-Paul Roy, is 27 year old outfielder from Terrebonne, Quebec. With the Islanders a season ago, Roy hit .250/.308/.762 with 6 HRs in 143 plate appearances. “We are really fortunate to add a player like JP [Jean-Paul] to our roster,” said Dames. “He plays a great corner outfield and a nice first base, he’s a quick, smart baserunner, and he’s proven to be a real offensive force against left hand pitchers – against the best of the best in the Gold League. We’re talking about a guy who had an OPS well above 1.000 a season ago against southpaws, with six home runs in under 80 plate appearances. We think he’s somewhat of a hidden gem. I think we’ll see him play a lot of first base for us when there is a southpaw on the mound.”

When asked about rumors suggesting the team has been shopping Brian Gaines and other prominent players, Dames laughed. “Unfortunately, this trade has proved one rumor true, so know ya’ll will want to believe every rumor you here from now on,” he joked. “I don’t think I need to answer that question, but I will say this; when the phone rings, I will always pick it up. I think you can learn a lot about your own players, as well as players around the league, and the value those players hold, by talking with smart baseball minds around the league.” While Dames wouldn’t say it was “impossible” to see Calgary involved in another star-studded trade in the near future, he suggested it was not likely. “I strongly value consistency and team unity, and too many trades would definitely restrict both things from happening.” Fans of Brian Gaines throughout Calgary can now all breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 May 2016 15:02
 

NY Rangers Star Retires

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September 28, 2035

Author: Ed Thomas

NEW YORK – Star pitcher Brian Arnold has called it a career. The 38-year-old Rangers player announced his retirement at a news conference inside Rangers Ballpark this afternoon.

“It’s just time,” Arnold said. “I’d love to pitch forever, but I’m getting older, and the last couple of seasons, this past season especially, were very disappointing for me. I’d rather not continue if I can’t give the team and the fans my best anymore. I’m really looking forward to spending a lot of quality time with my family.”

His wife Janet, seated next to him, took this opportunity to declare, “The kids made him promise to take us to Hawaii this winter, and I’m determined to make sure he learns how to relax during the off-season, which is going to last much longer this year!”

When asked if he’d consider coaching or managing, Arnold said, “I haven’t really thought about it yet. I’m just trying to get into the mindset of retirement. I’ll think about that somewhere down the road.”

Drafted second overall in 2016 by the Chicago Blackhawks, Arnold achieved a record of 193-93 (.675) in his 20-year career for the Blackhawks, Rangers and Penguins. He won at least one championship at each level of the PBDL: Bronze in 2021 with the Rangers, Silver in 2033 with the Rangers, and Gold in 2030 and 2032 with the Penguins.

Other career stats and highlights:

6 Dynamic Hurler Awards
2 Gold Gloves
2.82 career ERA
2,601 career strikeouts
1.09 career WHIP
90.3 career WAR (2035 was his only negative WAR year, at -0.1)
He holds several single-season and career records in both the Bronze and Silver Leagues and the single-season WHIP record in the Gold League (0.858 in 2028)

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 April 2016 08:27
 

Marin Retirement

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Kings Star Claudio Marin Retires

Author: David Krause

Los Angeles -- Superstar LA Kings pitcher Claudio Marín has called it a career at the age of 35. During the quiet part of the off-season, Marín decided he'd played enough professional baseball, and wanted to spend more time with his kids, and released a statement through his agent announcing he would not returning for the coming season.

"In the last two years I knocked off the last two things I wanted to do in baseball - bring a championship to LA, and pitch in the pinnacle of the PBDL, the Gold League", Marín said in a short phone interview, "I'm walking away from the game with no regrets, and looking forward to the next chapter of my life with my family."

Marín had been with the Kings organization since the PBDL was formed back in the 2013 season, starting at the A level, and progressing up to the major leagues in the 2016 season. Over the last 14 seasons, Marín has been a rock in the Kings starting rotation, never once landing on the disabled list. Every year since 2017, Marín has started at least 20 games in a season, finishing with 292 starts, a career W-L record of 107-90, an ERA of 4.15, and 1792 K's and 442 walks in 1832 IP. He won the 2027 Silver League Dynamic Hurler award, finished 2nd in the voting for the same in 2028, and won 2 Gold Gloves as well.

He was a key part of the Kings run from Bronze to Gold over the last 8 seasons, and it seems unlikely the Kings will ever see a starting pitcher make such a significant contribution to the franchise. The Kings have already announced they plan to retire Marín's #14 jersey number.

Marín is in the top 15 all-time in the PBDL in a number of pitching statistical categories, including:

- 292 starts (6th)
- 107 wins (10th)
- 1832 IP (9th)
- 1792 K's (5th)
- 266.9 VORP (14th)
- 34.9 WAR (14th)

 

Flames GM

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Calgary: New Flames GM

Author: Brendan Dames

 

The Calgary Flames have announced that they have reached an agreement with Brendan Dames to become the franchise’s next General Manager. Dames was last seen in the PBDL in 2020, then acting as the GM of the Chicago Blackhawks. In three seasons with the Blackhawks, Dames helped lead the team to a 135-118 mark, most notably winning the 2018 Bronze League Regular Season Championship.

However, Dames’ stint in Chicago may most be remembered for back-to-back late season collapses in the Silver League. With just seven games remaining in the 2019 season, Chicago held a comfortable 5 game cushion in the playoff race. However, the Blackhawks would go on to lose 7 straight games to miss the postseason in heart-breaking fashion.

Things did not get any better in the 2020 campaign, as the Blackhawks went from first place to out of the postseason in its entirety by losing the final six games of the season. After these two embarrassing endings to the regular season, Dames was ousted from his post in Chicago. When asked about his stint in Chicago, Dames remarked, “The fans were great. I only lasted a few years, but finally displacing Chicago from the Bronze League was big for that city and that franchise, and I felt that I left the team better than when I found it. They've done some great things [in Chicago] over the past few years and I wish them continued success.”

Dames was also the GM of the Blackhawks when they shockingly traded star SP Brian Arnold for OF Will Mason (126 HRs, .295 career hitter in 10 seasons with Chicago), OF Jim Blake (.310 career hitter, 41 HRS in 5 seasons with Chicago) and SP Jacques Ferre (48-57, 4.54 career ERA). While Chicago landed the talented Mason and Blake, Arnold has unquestionably been the most productive player from that blockbuster trade. When asked about that infamous trade today, Dames said, “At the time we liked the deal that was on the table - so we took it. Arnold is obviously a phenomenal talent and he still dominates this league. But I think a couple of those players worked out pretty well for Chicago; Will Mason and Jim Blake are real good players. I’m not here to talk about the past, though. I’m here to talk about how we’re going to make the Flames better moving forward.”

Outside of budding star OF Brian Gaines, 2B Ray Allen and veteran OF Nick Cox, the team lacks major talent. Calgary’s current #1 starter, Dave Braine, has a career 10-23 record with a 5.21 ERA in three Bronze seasons.

When asked about Calgary’s current roster, Dames refused to get into the specifics. “I know that this is a team that won 40% of its games last year. I know that this is a franchise that has never finished higher than 3rd in a single season in its history, and I believe this franchise has finished 6th place or worse in 12 of its 16 seasons. I’m not going to sit here and promise a championship in Year 1, but the rebuilding process starts today.”

 

Buffalo Relocation

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Breaking News: Buffalo to Relocate to Montreal
Author: Matthew Fox

Shocking news by Lake Erie this morning, as it is reported that team president and owner Neal Daniel Jr. has agreed with city officials in Montreal to move the Sabres north of the border to Canada. The news comes as a major shock to area fans, who have had a tenuous relationship with the franchise.

Over 50 trucks were seen on site in the parking lot of the stadium, along with a hoard of professional movers working feverishly to empty the contents of the office’s and the clubhouse. Speculation is that the team will be playing in the Bell Centre, which had been sitting vacant since 2013 when construction on the facility had been completed. It had been rumored that Montreal was a destination city for a PBDL team upon the inception of the league, but league minimum requirement could not be met. The league office refuses to comment on why Montreal was denied a team in the infancy of the league.

It is also rumored that there was talk of moving the team to Montreal for some time now. One team official who wished to remain anonymous stated that team GM Matthew Fox had made an inquiry sometime in the past as to what the league would require to move the team elsewhere. With ticket sales plummeting, and interest in the team at a record low, the Sabres seem to be pinning their hopes on the Canadian city 400 miles to the North. Perhaps moving the team to a much larger city(Buffalo, 400k Montreal, 2M) will aid the franchise in keeping the stadium packed with fans.

Fans around the area are outraged that this has seemingly been done in secret, behind closed doors and in the shadows. Longtime season ticket holder Pat LaFontaine had this to say, “Not in my wildest nightmares would I thought this would happen. I’ve been a season ticket holder since the teams berth. This is devastating news, just devastating. My kids are going to be even more upset. My son Dan is a big fan of Horiuchi, and little Brianna was really fond of Jones. I can’t believe they would just uproot the team in the middle of the night and leave town like a thief in the night”. The mayor of Buffalo, Dominick Hasek(who won election on the now famous “The buck stops here” campaign) stated “Dis is obviously a tremendous loss for the city and the rezidents of the city. The Sabres brought in much revenue and tourists to the area. Dere will be many businesses impacted by this. We will be searching for a team to move to Buffalo, and bring PBDL baseball back to the city.” Rob Ray, who owns the popular bar “Sucker Punch” stated “I don’t know how I’m going to cope with this. Last year my sales were down 15%, and that was with the team here, and playing in Gold. Why will people show up now? My bar was tied in directly to the Sabres. The Sabres games are what attracted over 65% of my business. I guess it’s time to give John Taffer a call.”

The team has been rumored to be calling themselves “Canadians”. This seems like a rather unimaginative and mundane nickname for a baseball team hailing from Canada. “Canadians...Canadians? I cant STAND Canadians!” voiced LaFontaine, who was still irate. Evidently LaFontaine isn’t fond of the new nickname the franchise has selected while playing in the city of Montreal. Rob Ray had this to say, “I’ll tell you guys what. I’ve got a few haymakers for those Canadians. They’ll have trouble standing after one or two of those...”. It’s unknown if Ray was talking about his famous drink, which contains Bacardi 151, Everclear, Vodka, and Jose Cuervo, or his infamous right hook which has landed him in trouble with local police.

The unfortunate move brings fifteen years of PBDL baseball in Buffalo to a close. The team had a record over that stretch of 676-671. According to the popular Pythagorean Theorem, the clubs record should have been 710-637, a difference of 34 games. They are the only franchise in PBDL to have an ERA under 4 over those 15 years. But that benchmark hasn’t been much of a help to the club for winning games, as the near .500 record, and -34 pyth. Record suggests. The Sabres don’t have any retired numbers, but it would appear as a virtual certainty that Lurte will be the first to be honored. His #11 will be retired in Montreal blue and red, instead of Buffalo blue and yellow. Fan favorite Lurte commented, “Of course this is shocking and upsetting. I loved my time here in the city of Buffalo and I loved the fans. They have always treated me and my family well. Buffalo has been very, very good to me.”

The final tally in Buffalo reads like this. 15 years in PBDL, 4 Championships won (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze), 9 times a playoff qualifier, and zero first place finishes. Only time will tell if in another 15 years, the franchise will fare as well in Montreal as they had in Buffalo.

 
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