A Day with the Calgary Flames

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*BNN visited the Calgary Flames for the first game of a 9 game road trip.*

After winning 15 of their first 21 games, the Calgary Flames seemed destined for a quick return to the Silver League. However, the Flames have struggled of late, capturing victory in just 10 of their last 24 matchups and sporting an unimpressive pythagorean record of 21-24. “[Our record of] 25-20 is right where we want to be,” suggests Calgary GM/Manager Brendan Dames, “pythagorean is just another word for ‘hypothetical.’ We haven’t been playing fantastic baseball recently but there is always a game to be won tomorrow.”

The Flames are preparing for the first game of a nine-game, ten-day road trip, in which they will visit Nashville, Philadelphia and Boston. The Flames have not only battled the demands of a tough schedule, but have battled a bill of poor health. On a recent homestand, Calgary saw six players succumb to injuries, five of which placed “everyday” players on the disabled list. “I’ve given up on the idea of ‘fair’ in baseball,” says Dames. “It is what it is. But seeing guys like David [Robinson] and Mel [Boone] have a chance to play in the big leagues is what keeps me coming back every day.”

It hasn’t been an easy few years for the Calgary skipper, watching his team fall from Gold to Bronze in four short seasons. Once a team considered “on the rise,” the Flames have missed the playoffs four of the past five seasons. “It’s been a rather quick fall if that’s what we are going to call it, and it’s been especially hard to see our failures on the field when I see the amount of effort my players and staff put into this whole process. But I’ll tell you it’s not nearly as hard as making the playoffs five straight seasons, twice as a top seed mind you, and not winning [a championship].”

From 2032-2036, the Flames managed to only win one postseason series in six attempts. No postseason loss hurt nearly as bad as the 2034 Silver Semifinals, however. “In 2034 we were the class of Silver - 59 wins and no real competition in sight. We were at full strength, confidence high…and we lost in six games [in a best of nine] to a team that barely managed a winning record. The first round…we were being promoted to Gold but that disappointment washed away any sense of accomplishment we should have felt.”

After an impressive 46-38 record in the team’s first season in Gold, which saw yet another first round postseason exit, the Flames began the slide which has brought them back to Bronze. “Going from an upstart, winning organization to one in which people began to question wasn’t hard for me, but it began to take a toll on the players I believe. It’s always fun being the underdog because nobody truly expects David to beat Goliath; it’s OK to lose. But when you’re no longer the underdog, losing isn’t acceptable anymore and the fans and media will let you know that.”

In an effort to remain competitive, Dames and Flames have made several "big-name trades," as well as relied heavily on veterans via free agency. "We always explore every option, whether that be via trade, free agency, waivers, and year after year we have made the executive decision that it is better for our team not only short term, but also long term, to hold on to valuable assets such as Dre [Girard] and Juan [de los Santos]. The value we would receive in return for these young, superstar players was simply too low." Instead of trading away their major league pieces, the Flames shocked PBDL executives and media members by trading several prospects for two-time Gold Dynamic Hurler Award Winner SP Kiyoshi Saikawa. "I know people on the outside chastised us for the move, but the value was too good to pass up and we unquestionably made our team better in the short term, and in my humble opinion most likely better in a long term view as well." While the perception of the Flames' recent moves are split, Flames owner Justin Clay has still been both patient and loyal to his staff. “For that I am extremely thankful,” says the Flames skipper. “I want to win a ring for him and this city.”

Although the team is back in Bronze for the first time in 10 seasons, Dames does not believe he nor his players are “embarrassed” by the Bronze label. “There is no reason to be embarrassed to be in this league, absolutely not. The competition down here is legitimate and if we sat around feeling sorry about ourselves we would finish 8th in this league too. The talent down here is much stronger than it was when we were here a decade ago. I mean look at Dallas' incredible staff and then look at their record. It shows how hard it is to win down here, and I’m happy for that because it’s only going to make us stronger when we get back [to Silver and Gold].”

July 24th, 2042
Calgary (25-20) at Nashville (35-10)


“These guys are the real deal,” Dames tells the media during his pregame press conference. “I’ve seen the best of the best and the Predators have it all. I look at their rotation and it doesn’t have a weak spot. The lineup may not have the big names, but it can really produce.” The Predators are currently sitting pretty at the top of the Bronze standings, winning 35 of the team’s 45 games thus far, including four of six against the Flames.

Tonight, the Flames will face right-hander Henry Peterson, who is making his second big-league start of the season. “Not much tape on him this year,” says Calgary 2B Frank Case, “but he’s made a lot of starts in the past few seasons that we’ve looked at.” Case and the Flames have not been a member of the Bronze League for ten seasons, so many players have never previously faced the Bronze starters they see each night. “Such as life in a pro/reg league, I guess,” says Case, who is always “the first and last one in the film room,” according to his skipper.

It has not been a strong start for the Flames offense, ranking 6th of 8 in BRZ runs scored and 7th in team batting average (.234). Several hitters have are having career-worst years, such as veterans Greg Battle (.254/.290/.399) and Bill Anderson (.127/.312/.245). “Nothing short of frustrating,” exclaims Anderson. “I know I haven’t been down [in BRZ] for a while but I don’t think you’re supposed to hit worse here than in the upper leagues.” Anderson’s abysmal average is at least accompanied by a respectable on-base percentage due to the veteran’s great discipline. “A walk is a good as a single, sure, but I should be able to hit .127 blind-folded, so no, there is no positive to my performance this year,” Anderson says sarcastically as he walks off to receive his daily medical treatment. Sitting in his locker next to Anderson’s is designated hitter Greg Battle, who is currently sporting career lows in average, OBP, SLG and OPS. “Please don’t ask me about my year,” he jokes.

A member of the Flames’ dominant 2034, Battle has since won two championships in the PBDL; a Bronze title with Colorado in 2037, and a Gold one with Vancouver in 2041. He re-signed in Calgary to win the franchise’s first championship, but knows that the team has a long way to go to accomplish this task. “As a team we’re not quite where we need to be, but we’re winning games with an injured roster that is also underachieving in my opinion, so we’ll be alright.”

As Battle mentioned, the Flames have yet to win a title in their team’s history. While this fact may not seem noteworthy due to the franchise’s relative youth, it is frequently mentioned around the league as they are the only remaining PBDL franchise that has yet to win a postseason championship at any level. “To be honest, it does not bother me that we have that label as the ‘only team to never do it.’ I could care less that every other team has won, but I couldn’t care more that we’ve not been able to do it ourselves, for this city. That is the motivation for us every time we step on the field.”

Pitching for the Flames tonight is newly acquired RHP Kiyoshi Saikawa. Traded to Calgary via Detroit, Saikawa signed an eight year, $13,200,000 extension to potentially keep Saikawa in Calgary through 2050. The two-time Gold Dynamic Hurler Award Winner, as well as two-time Gold Champion, has had good success with his new team, sporting a 4-4 record with a 3.21 ERA. However, the Flames have lost five of Saikawa’s last six starts. “We need to find a way to score some runs for this guy,” remarks Dames.

The first pitch is thrown by Peterson at 7:05 on the nose, officially beginning the Flames road trip. The Flames score three runs off of Peterson in the first inning, with the big 2 out, 2 RBI double coming off the bat of rookie David Robinson, making his third ever major league appearance. The crooked number in the first inning sets the tone for the rest of the evening, as the Flames score ten runs on fourteen hits to defeat the first place Predators 10-2. In a winning effort, the ace Saikawa pitched seven strong innings, allowing just seven baserunners and one earned run while striking out seven. “Would you look at that? Ten runs for Sai[kawa] got it done. Imagine that,” jokes a smiling Dames.

As the team shuffles back into the visiting clubhouse, loud music begins to play out of the locker of backup catcher Jim Finch’s locker. “My man Jim over there can’t do anything on the field so he likes to celebrate our successes with us off the field,” jokes the veteran Anderson, whose 2 for 4 night rose his average to .140. Anderson, who also walked twice and drove in two runs, confessed, “even after doing this for as long as I have, tonight feels really good…let’s hope the blindfold is off for good.”

As the players joke, sing and clean up before the incoming onslaught of postgame media members, one player is noticeable quiet in the corner of the clubhouse: the Flames superstar 1B Andre Girard. “Dre is kind of a quiet guy,” says Flames SP Juan de los Santos, who has played with Girard for three seasons now. “Does his business on the field and takes care of it off the field. It’s not that he doesn’t get along with us, he just rather put in his earbuds then engage in small talk, if you know what I mean.” Girard, a career .305/.475/.528 hitter, has been the lone consistent figure in the Flames’ lineup for the past five seasons. Although Girard has made numerous comments to the media about his unhappiness with the constant change of personnel, the first baseman indicated last week that he would consider signing an extension with the Flames after the season concluded.

As media members begin to enter the clubhouse, Finch turns off the loud music and the players file back to their respective lockers. The celebration is over, at least for tonight. There is another game to be won tomorrow.

 

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
 

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.”

 

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)

 
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Poll 1

Who will win the 2026 Gold League Championship
 

Poll 2

Who will win the 2026 Silver League Championship
 

Poll 3

Who will win the 2026 Bronze League Championship