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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Louisville Sluggers: 2018A champions

I periodically blog about  my fantasy baseball teams -- mostly when they win a championship or make it to the World Series.

My Louisville Sluggers recently won the 2018 A season of the Original Bitnet Fantasy Baseball League. The league members play a long half season before the All Star break and a shorter half season afterwards. During the break, we make cuts and redraft teams to keep it interesting. This post will not cover my mid-season keepers or draft.

Here's the winning 28 man roster from 2018A (with retained players from 2017 in red):

C:   LuCroy OAK
1B: Votto     CIN
2B: Merrifield KC
3B: Arenado COL
SS: Russell CHC
OF: Benintendi BOS
OF: Peralta ARI
OF: Almora CHC
DH: Muncy LAD

SP: Greinke ARI
SP: Stripling LAD
SP: Bauer CLE
SP: Skaggs LAA
SP: E Rodriguez BOS
RP: Rondon HOU
RP: Bradley ARI
RP: Trivino OAK
RP: Williams MIL

We used daily transactions this season for the first time, so I had a number of substitutes that contributed during the week. Plus, I had a couple of good players who were injured during the playoffs. This was my bench:

C:   Flowers ATL
1B: Pearce BOS
2B: Wong STL
IF: Blandino CIN
OF: Buxton MIN
OF: Acuna ATL
SP: Archer TB
SP: Duffy KC
SP: Romano CIN
RP: Brault PIT

Pre-season, I had also retained OF Kevin Keirmaier TB, but I traded him as part of a deal for LuCroy and Stripling on June 4.

The team went 142-76-22 in the regular season. Remember, this is a 24 team head-to-head league with 2 points possible per category. We use 10 categories including these 5 for hitting: HR, SBs, batting average, plate appearances, and runs produced ((R+RBI-HR)/at bats). For pitching, we use these 5 categories: innings pitched, wins, saves, ERA and WHIP. For ties, each team gets one points.

For winning percentage, figure the Sluggers went 153-87, or 0.637. Or the equivalent of 77-44 if that makes it easier.

In the first round of the playoffs, my team beat the Loaded Basses, a young and talented team that was 146-80-14 in the regular season, or 153-87. The Basses roster included stars Mookie Betts, Javy Baez, Alex Bregman, Christian Yelich, Yoan Moncada, Juan Soto, and Garrett Cole. The Sluggers and Basses were the 2nd and 3rd seeded teams in the playoffs with identical records.

Sluggers won that matchup 14-6.

In the World Series, the Sluggers beat the top-seeded Tennessee Valley Authority, a very strong pitching-rich team featuring Trea Turner, Justin Upton, Carlos Carrasco, Chris Sale, Luis Severino, and Craig Kimbrel. TVA was 150-76-14 during the regular season, or 157-83 (0.654). 

This was the Sluggers 9th World Series championship in 12 appearances in the final. TVA fell to 6-2 in the Series. The league has now had 55 seasons of history.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Oh Canada

If you've been following the news the past month, you know that Canada hosted the annual G7 meeting and it ended with President Donald Trump bashing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after watching a speech on Air Force One. Trump called Trudeau "dishonest and weak."

Going into the meeting, Trump had already levied new tariffs against Canadian steel and aluminum. In order to justify the use of presidential power to apply the tariffs, Trump had to label Canada a threat to national security.  Remember, the US Constitution gives Congress the power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations."

Canadians were surprised, puzzled, and perhaps even angered by the justification for these tariffs, so the meeting was bound to be somewhat tense. Canadian Foreign Minister Chyrstia Freeland called the tariffs "absurd," "unjustified" and "illegal." Canada has imposed retaliatory tariffs that went into effect on July 1. Items now facing higher import taxes include beer kegs, whisky, orange juice, and various metals. 

Last week, I flew to DC to attend a workshop at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) on Canada-US relations. Scholars at Carleton University in Canada annually produce a volume for a series called "Canada Among Nations."  The theme for the newest volume is Canada-US relations and I've been asked to contribute a chapter. Many Canadian scholars were there, including a number of faculty from Carleton, and a few other Americans.

My presentation was on the morning's initial panel: "'America First' and US-Canadian Relations." As you might suspect given my past research and writing on Trump's foreign policies, I argue that the Trump agenda is a threat to multilateralism, alliances (including NATO), and the liberal world order. Canada values all of those institutions, as has the US most of the time since World War II.

Indeed, last September, I proposed this precise research topic for a Fulbright position in Canada...and I got it! This fall, I will be Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Canada-US Relations at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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