Welcome to September Everyone

September 1, 2012

September. The month where some dreams are made and others are destoyed. Unlike any other month, there's nothing to fall back on. When September is over, that's it. For a select few teams, eternal glory is still a possibility, and for others it's really just time to give a last effort to protect what reputation you still have. 2012 promises all this, and in these last few weeks we will see which teams will prevail and which teams will falter. Until then, here is an overview of the 2012 Cold Zipper teams and some of the challanges and successes they have faced:

Flying Buttresses:
The former 2010 champions are at it again, looking to secure their second title in as little as three years. Hanging around the 250 point mark, the Flying Buttresses are looking to set a franchise record for points which is currently 231.5. The Flying Buttresses have remained one of the most active teams in the trading market, completing 20 trades for the second consecutive season! FB has more trades than the Attack Chickens has moves (15), more than Bongo'sRedBlanky has Holds (17), or more than teams outperforming Thunder Muscles (19). Certainly a top 3 finisher this year, no doubt in my mind, but at this point anything but first place will be a huge disappointment for fans who have watched FB's lead shrink to nothing over the last month. FB has the means and the team to take the cake as the first two time CZ championship and a good shot at both Cy Young and Mariano Rivera awards to frost it with. Can the team make a push when it matters most, as the final weeks of the season are upon us? 

If you weren't in the league during the first five years, then the Walapin' [Walapin' Walapin' Walapin'] Walabees being a contending team doesn't seem like the norm. In 2010, the Walabees barely escaped 8th place by 1 point, finishing by tying for sixth place, perhaps only to the luck of acquiring Roy Halladay in a very unbalanced trade. But 2011 was not a year of reemergence, rather to the delight of 19 other managers and baseball fans around the globe, the Walapin' Walabees suffered a 16th place tragedy, and a team that once the unquestionable best was looking to be outpaced by teams of old and new. But 2012 has breathed new life, and once again the Walapin' Walabees has fielded a dominate team, powered by an offense that is set to bring WW a third Silver Slugger award, looking to fight to the end for a second CZ championship. 

The Burro is back and ready for another September to remember!!! Looking for the team's third top three appearance, and maybe more, the BurroMegaGigantica has netted third place overall after a steady June/July/August climb from the 170-point cluster. Among fans pulling for a new champion, a buzz has started to form around the potential success and hopeful overtaking in the standings by the Burro. In fact, a significant amount of disgruntled Peehands fans took to buying BurroMegagicatica merchandise and were cheering for the away team, drowning out the rest of the crowd while Billy Butler hung his head in shame, red from embarrassment!!! Supporting a strong offense, there's a lot of room to catch up in the pitching stats, and with Weaver, Strasburg, and Hamels leading the rotation things could get interesting in the final days of the season! As said by millions of Canadian fans, American fans, and Peehand fans alike, "HHEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAAWWWWWW!!!!!"

Any writeup about Bongo'sRedBlanky is bound to contain the following; a comment about how inappropriate the team names have been through the years, a recap of Cold Zipper's most consistently bad early career, and how a contribution to those poor seasons seemed hinged on freak injures of the pool slipping or sneezing type. But alas, perhaps it is time to turn the page of this team's story and begin a new chapter. Because it's been here a while and we're finally catching on. Bongo'sRedBlanky is making another successful year out of 2012 hanging out in the 220 point range, only a few weeks out from being a 240 team. The suspension of Melky Cabrera hurts, but could easily be aided by the July/August trades that brought in the likes of Jennings, Kershaw, and Cueto while sending A-Rod and Santana who are now injured for their new owners. 

Brew Crew:
After a second place finish in 2010, two points behind the victor mind you, Brew Crew punched in an 18th place finish the following year, barely averting a Free Lesson from the adjacent team below in the standings. The finish was devastating, and there was nothing to be done other than soul searching during the offseason. Who am I? How did this happen? Have I completely lost my ability to manage a team? The flop from 2nd to 18th tied for the worst turnaround from season to season in Cold Zipper history, and no one had a clue what 2012 would hold for the Brew Crew.
Rather than playing it safe for a 13th or 12th place finish, the Brew Crew went aggressive out of the gates, wheeling and dealing draft picks to stock up for the 2-6 rounds. Brew Crew also made some nice trades, the highlight sending CC Sabathia and change to FB before Sabathia took a DL stint (Brew Crew received HanRam and Gio Gonzalez)!!! Brew Crew currently leads a cluster fighting for that 5th spot. A top 5 finish for the Brew Crew is more than enough to restore any lost confidence from the previous year, however there's a quick drop to 8th and 9th place at the moment (only 2 points away from 8th place!!!). 

Twinkie Treats:
While it would be crazy to see a team climb 50 points to win it in a month, what is crazier is that this team has a shot at the Cy Young award. Check the team log and you'll see that the cornerstone of this pitching rotation has been....Hiroki Kuroda? Then its Matt Moore, the Aaron Harang, Leake, Saunders....still looking for legitimate Cy Young pitching. I suppose it helps that Aroldis Chapman has the third most Ks for TT pitching, not even 20 Ks away from first. Jake Westbrook and Mike Minor have been incredible add-ons, which still doesn't make any sense. Offense isn't as good, but it isn't the worst out there. Still, the 4 hitters worth mentioning are probably playing at their ceilings, so pending a miracle the 2012 Twinkie Treats are currently at their ceiling and should be thrilled if they finish 200 this year.

After some strong starting pitching in the first half, the 2011 champion is again on top of the leaderboards, but fighting amongst a thick group hovering around 200 points.  If Garlicion can pull free from the pack into the 210 range, they could very well be seeing the top 5 once again in 2012.  In risk of not reaching the 100 offensive point summit for the first time since 2007, Garlicion traded away major pitching pieces Josh Johnson and Jake Peavy for superstar outfielder, Matt Kemp.  After an injury plagued first half, Kemp will play a major role for Garlicion if he can stay healthy the rest of the season.

Red Krush:
Cooling down after a phenomenal start to the season, Red Krush is now in the middle of the pack, eyeing a top 10 finish.  Red Krush will need Jason Kipnis to remember how to play baseball like he did in the first half of the season.  In an attempt to fix an audaciously troublesome starting rotation, Red Krush moved Matt Kemp to Garlicion for both Jake Peavy and Josh Johnson.  Both players have the potential to lift this team, but also both have the potential to fatigue as they are well beyond their 2011 innings pitched.  Either way, barring a complete September collapse, Red Krush has turned a new leaf in 2012 and has climbed out of the gutter of 2011.  

Postmodern Pelagians:
The Pelagians problem in 2012 has been simple.  Superstar injuries.  Without any major pieces available for trade, the Pelagians remained silent at the trade deadline and have not swapped players with anyone since late May.  In addition to waiting for ailing stars to heal, the Pelagians have been waiting for Tim Lincecum to right the ship.  Lincecum was one of MLB’s worst pitchers before the all-star break, but has shown signs of significant improvement in the ladder half.  If Votto, Longoria, Tulowitzki, and Lincecum can all play healthily and to their potential for all of September, you can count on the Pelagians to be rising up the standings.  

The Bruisers are smelling the top 10 for the first time since 2008 and made some impact trades to try to secure a successful finish.  Matt Cain was traded to the Walapin’ Walabees in a 4 man deal that sent Brandon Phillips, Darren Oliver, and starting pitcher, Jaime Garcia, to the Bruisers.  The Bruisers also tried to build up their starting pitching by moving outfielder, Josh Reddick, to I AM THE WALRUS for Bartolo Colon.  The trade immediately was determined as a win for Walrus as within less than 24 hours of the trade reaching completion did Bartolo Colon test positive for performance enhancing drugs by MLB.  Look for the Bruisers to take their frustrations out on free agent starting pitchers in September.

Prestige Worldwide:
Not only was Prestige Worldwide quiet at the trade deadline, but the team has gone completely tradeless in the 2012 season.  Despite the lack of trade activity, Prestige has remained an active team in 2012 and may see a higher rank in 2012 than in their rookie season.  Prestige has benefited on the monster numbers by Josh Hamilton and the man who calls himself Chris Capuano (Chris Capuano clearly is not good enough to be pitching as well as he is, so clearly this is not Chris Capuano).  Although Prestige’s offense has significantly improved from 2012, a healthy diet of streamed starting pitchers would do this team so good to round out 2012.

Dumpster Donkeys: 
Things have not worked out quite as smoothly for the first year phenom, Dumpster Donkeys, in 2012.  After an active year on the trade market, Dumpster Donkeys remained silent at the deadline.  The Donkeys will be crossing their fingers for Jon Lester and Chris Young to return to their former selve for a September surge.  With career rankings eligibility after the season, the Dumpster Donkeys are hoping for a strong finish.  This is another team that may benefit from some September streaming.  A-Rod’s health at the end of the season will be a factor as well.  Madonna may be brought in to get the juices flowing.

Killer Dawgs: 
After a 13th place rookie season finish, the Killer Dawgs are at it again in what looks like could be another unlucky 13. Granted, the team is currently holding 12th place, but not by much. Continued injures for Jose Bautista are not good news if moving up the standings is a desired outcome.

Here's a Free Lesson:
What is left to say about this team that hasn't already been said? Many have joked in years past that the "free lesson" is a lesson of what not to do, and 2012 is looking to finish in similar fashion. Some analysts think this small market team is within a year of finding the top 10 for the first time. I on the other hand think we have a lot more free lessons (of what not to do) to go!!!

Attack Chickens:
How do I say this nicely? Looking back over the years....no. Um, between the draft and the trading of players, this team's strength is....uhhhh. There was this one day in April the team was in the top...duh! Fun fact: the Attack Chickens used to be named the Buckwheat Pancakes. Yeah, lets go with that...

Despite a quiet trade deadline, Peehands has certainly done some juggling this season, completing 11 trades in an attempt to find the right fit for the team to end the season.  The team is very offense heavy sporting stars like Billy Butler, Andrew McCutchen, and Nelson Cruz.  Never ranking below 10th place or under 200 points in 7 seasons of Cold Zipper, this team will be fighting for a miracle to sneak their way back into the top ten.  Due to the poor pitching, Peehands will need Roy Halladay to put the team on his back in September to escape the franchise’s worst season since Cold Zipper’s inception.

Thunder Muscles:
Performing at any level outside of perfection feels almost unacceptable when you are the league’s number two team in the career standings. 2012 has been far from the norm that Thunder Muscles built in their two previous seasons. The team struggled mightily right out of the gate after drafting an astonishing 5 relief pitchers in their first 10 picks. Combine that with draft picks of Ryan Howard and Jacoby Ellsbury who did not play before the all-star break, and you have yourself a long season. Thunder Muscles’ was not active at the trade deadline, but has been a part of several massive trades on May 14 when Thunder Muscles traded away a total of nine players on the same day. This team is doing everything it can to finish outside of the bottom 5, but likely will not finish higher than 16th. 

Dead Motherboards:
After appearing to come alive in the 2011 seasons, the Dead Motherboards organization has got to be disappointed with how 2012 has gone. A major part of this can be blamed on the head scratching lack of wins by Cliff Lee, who by all accounts has had a decent season, but can’t seem to squeeze out a “W” for the Motherboards. In need of an offensive presence, the Motherboards moved Justin Verlander and Angel Pagan for Matt Holliday and Jim Johnson at the deadline. With a stronger offense, this team could really take off if Lee, Drew, and Hosmer make big time September contributions.

As predicted, this was another rollercoaster ride of a season for Walrus, who this time dropped down to nearly last place. Walrus has been involved with several high profile trades this year that have included players like King Felix, Buster Posey, and Ian Kinsler. At this season’s deadline, Walrus had the foresight to trade away Bartolo Colon for Josh Reddick literally a day before Colon tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. After waiting the whole season for Ricky Romero to remember how to play baseball, Walrus finally lost their organization patience and dropped the head-scratching starting pitcher. If this team can get a pitching burst in the last month, we could see some movement.

Twin City Cubbies:
In an attempt to capitalize on the surprise suspension of Melky Cabrera, TCC acquired the lights out Paul Maholm for Jaysen Werth and Andrew Bailey from Bongo’s Red Blanky. This team has the offense to succeed, but it will take some good streaming choices for the pitching stats to move this team out of the league gutter.