Team Previews: William S. Burroughs division

William S. Burroughs Division
Record: Overall (Div.) (Rank)

Author’s note. I attempted to be as stylistically consistent as possible, but I can tell you now there are occasional deviations, notably in referring to players’ positions and direct quotes in paragraph form. Yes, I can change it, and I undoubtedly will. For now, though, it seems most prudent to just hit Publish, because, you know—the season starts in five days.

– Thomas


Bad News Bagels, or: Dirty Mike and the Boyzzzzzzzzzz
2013 Record: 6-4 (3-4) (3-0)
Captain: Ben Wright

As is the case with many teams this year, team owner Ross put it bluntly: “There are a lot of changes with our team this season.” To start, these Bad News Bagel have a new captain—though certainly not a new face—in Ben Wright (outfielder and Beefeater drinker). Is that enough to get this team replete with rookies on track? It’s hard to tell—maybe more so than with any other team in the league. After defeating reigning champions Los Luchadores in the Game of the Week (10-9) in 2010 in what Dick Vitale called “the biggest upset in KVKL history,” the Bagels haven’t had much in the way of success. Small victories, certainly—it hung with Happy Shirt for seven innings last season, with a massive triple by resident wildcard Cody Larrick early on—but it hasn’t made much noise in the post-season.

Ex-captain Ross speculates the team has the “ability to go up quite a bit this year, but with so many new players it’s probably more of a rebuilding/learning how to play the game/play as a team kind of year.” The William Burroughs division has a well-rounded group of teams, but the possibility for an upset is never out of question—and with the Bad News Bagels in the division, it feels even more likely.

First Seven Games Prediction: 2-5

Brew Ballers, or: . . . I’ve never known them as any other name, actually.
2013 Record: 2-8 (2-5) (0-3)
Captain: Adrian Meneses

Over the years, Brew Ballers has built up quite a reputation for . . . playing kickball. Expect nothing different this season as a new captain, Adrian M., brings in new players, some of whom are looking to “have a lot of some of that ‘fun’” that’s allegedly been going around, according to former captain Michael Auchard. It has lost its speedy CF Colin; however, its new recruits are expecting nothing worse than last year, presumably because they haven’t played. Going 0-3 in Rank Pool 6 last year is certainly tough, but there is something to learn from it, and it looks as though this 2014 squad is anticipating just that. A tough two games to start the season (After Party and Wildman Attack Force) may not be advantageous for a slew of rookies, but, ultimately, it could prove beneficial from a learning standpoint.

First Seven Games Prediction: 2-5

Prof. Ruggles' preferred game is string-batting.

Prof. Ruggles’ preferred game is string-batting.

Bulletproof Tigers, or: Todd Tractor, Gang Greene
2013 Record: 2-8 (1-6) (1-2)
Captain: Jason “Cougar” Hwang

In typical Jason “Cougar” Hwang-to-be-with-you fashion, there were few positives to report on the fourth-year Bulletproof Tigers. After having a relatively successful first season in the league, it has made little noise since its 2010 debut, in part due to a steadily changing roster and lack of a defining identity. With the return of KVKL’s lovable teddy cougar, perhaps that will change; however, his painfully consistent self-deprecation cannot instill consistency among his own team. The return of last season’s 2-8 team could certainly mean improvement, but a team named after MLB-icon Kenny Powers—whose rise and fall is well documented—could prove to be too fortuitous for a team still struggling to make a name for itself. In a division that’s both top- and middle-heavy, it’s difficult to say the Bulletproof Tigers will have a more successful season than in the past.

First Seven Games Prediction: 0-7

Hotel Lobby, or: After Party, or Party
2013 Record: 7-3 (4-3) (3-0)
Captain: Alex Fox

Arguably the most athletic team player-by-player in KVKL, Party, After Party, Hotel Lobby returns almost the entirety of last season’s 7-3 . . . party. The only major change is its ladies and defensive assignments. Local bartender-with-a-giant-beard Alex Fox says, “[We’ve added] two badass softball ladies from Central Kansas,” in addition to Clare P, formerly of Bad News Bagels. Defensively, as many teams have since 2012, a male will be taking the pitching mound—in the form of ex-Ghost, and underrated, Travis Lower.

This team, with an experienced core and a somehow overlooked roster, has the potential to earn a 1-seed out of the William Burroughs division. Getting past the projected top seeds Wildman Attack Force and Los Matadores will be no easy task, but this squad has no qualms gettin’ all up in yo’ grill, and tryin’ to get ya to a hotel. . . .

First Seven Games Prediction: 6-1

Kunt Punts, or: Corksuckers, or Gross
2013 Record: 4-6 (4-3) (0-3)
Captain: Jana Curtiss

The recurring theme of 2014 is as simple as the word loss. Maybe this happens every season. However, every team has that commonality: loss. Sure, players often come and go in an attempt to achieve more playing time, a better record, more beer—whatever the reason may be, it has invariably affected several teams in major ways. And the, excuse me, [expletive deleted] Punts weren’t immune, the top of the lineup being hit the hardest. As mentioned, former captain Ariel L. has moved to the Hurtz Donut D-Holes to take less of a leadership role; Mike H. went to Das Boot, presumably to drink more; and CF Ben G. is taking a break due to persistent injuries, presumably from being too good at dodgeball. However, “We have several new additions, some have played before and are as talented as those who left, [while] others are new and will require some coaching,” 3B Clint C. says. The majority of this team from the past three seasons are still playing, although the first several weeks will undoubtedly be a struggle as the new players adapt to the league.

First Seven Games Prediction: 3-4

Los Matadores, or: Los Lunchables
2013 Record: 8-2 (6-1) (2-1)
Captain: Heath Schechinger

As one might expect, Los Matadores have been busy this offseason. Ever the recruitment machine, it’s hard to imagine this team without a handful of new faces. A returning core group includes a healthy Shane B., Austin F., Paul S., and new team captain Heath S. offer plenty of veteran players. However, the loss of former captain and home-run machine Adam F. (1B) and pitcher Carrie F. leave a couple of gaps. But, as it has been practically every season, some team in the league is the biggest loser. And as has invariably been the case for four years now, that loser is Taco Tuesday (formerly Balls Deep).

While pilfering Taco Tuesday’s 3B Derek D. and CF Josh R. was a bold move, replacing Adam is no small task. But every season Los Matadores improve game after game, as its veterans coach its new players. Expect some growing pains to start, but a Final Four run is never of the equation with speed and experience as the two primary factors, not to mention a solid and speedy four-man outfield. When it’s difficult to find a gap, it’s difficult to get on base.

First Seven Games Prediction: 5-2

Screamers, or: That Team
2013 Record: 4-6 (4-3) (0-3)
Captain: Jason Freed

While the team struggled last season, due mostly to injuries and absences, new captain Jason Freed has “recruited some promising new players with the hopes of becoming a force to be reckoned with,” as well as implemented an elementary happy-face/frowny-face sticker system for players who are either tardy or absent. And so help you if you get a stormy cloud! Although the Screamers are one of many teams rebuilding, its plan is to primarily focus on playing well together, something it has noticeably lacked in the past, as well as drinking and having fun, something else it has noticeably lacked.

As always, winning is important to it, and after dropping off over the past couple years—since former captain Aaron Swaggerty retired—it hasn’t quite returned to its characteristically aggressive self, going 4-6 in 2013 and 9-2 in 2012. “A season geared toward a winning record,” Jason says, is ideal, but its schedule isn’t exactly conducive to starting off hot, opening against Los Matadores, followed by a feisty Bad News Bagels, then #mericasteam Wildman Attack Force. Should the Screamers pull off an early upset, the William S. Burroughs division could legitimately argue its case for toughest division.

First Seven Games Prediction: 3-4

Wildman Attack Force, or: #mericasteam
2013 Record: 9-1 (7-0) (2-1)
Captain: Ryan Ward

After finishing 11-2 last season on a disappointing loss in the Elite 8, Wildman Attack Force had one thing on its mind: new jerseys. Making the drastic switch from highlighter green to a more subdued all-American Americana wasn’t easy, considering the cumulative thousands of dollars spent on highlighter shorts, socks, and accessories by the collective team. But Wildman did it for the economy. And America. Because Wildman is #mericasteam.

Shortly after the season ended, its CF Chris A. skipped town, and more recently its other CF Brandon M. left for the Red Lyon, so a gaping CF-shaped hole was left. Additionally, SSs Cathe D. and Emma L. left for other teams, and alternate singles-machine Rob G. moved out of town with his wife and former Wildman pitcher, Haley T. However, the core group that won the 2012 KVKL Championship returns with several additions, including the Goats’ former left-handed LF Laith H., as well as several rookies. Stuck in arguably the most top-heavy division in the league, Wildman has its hand full of new players, but last time that was a thing, good things happened. Perhaps foot-for-foot the tallest team in the league, it looks to avenge last year’s early exit and obnoxiously bright jerseys.

First Seven Games Prediction: 0-7