7/8 7/12 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/27 7/27 7/27 7/27 7/27 8/2 8/3 8/3 8/9 8/9 8/16 8/23
FS 3|3 FS 0|0 HB 0|2 BW 0|4 EL 1|1 ON 0|0 IS 0|13 EL 1|1 IS 0|0 WW 0|0 ON 3|0 KF 6|3 KF 0|1|0 FS 0 BW 1|2 EL 1|2 R★ 2 BW 0 The
WW 0|0 WA 1|1 KF 1|3 KF 1|10 HB 0|0 WA 3|3 WO 11|8 WA 0|2 WA 3|3 ON 3|3 WW 1|1 WO 0|0 EL 4|0|1 BW 2 WA 0|1 BW 0|0 G★ 0 EL 2 Thrill

Wiffle Vicariously: Hallo-Wiffle II

Oakland County Onanism Bursts onto the Scene

Novi, MI
#Expansion   #2014   #Onanism
#Haffey   Rookies
October 1st was one of the most exciting days in WSEM history. Dozens of players changed teams, the Squirrels were reborn, and the Wolfpack assembled. We thought we had a tenth team lined up, but later discovered they had to drop out.

We made some Kiefer Sutherland references during the October podcast trying to tease who would captain the new tenth team, but no one caught on.

In all of the craziness in early October, Kiefer Haffey was left out in the dust despite quietly having a very nice rookie season in 2013. He was third in the league in ERA, and had a perfect game in his first start. He helped keep the Warriors afloat before Sam Hatt was able to return from injury, and kept them in the playoff picture.

Everyone knows what Alex Shore and Westside did this offseason, but it was news to Kiefer when he was left off the roster. The Belgian Wiffles, Islanders and Holy Balls showed some interest in signing the 3-star free agent, but when Kiefer heard the tenth franchise slot was available, he jumped at the opportunity. After two weeks of talks with the front office about all that captaining a team entails, he never got turned off. Instead he only got more excited.

Kiefer tried out two names before setting on one. 1) Oakland County Centaurs. 2) Oakland County Cannons. Finally, the third and official team name - Oakland County Onanism.

The rest of the eight-man Onanism roster will consist of all rookies:

#2 Chris Park OF
#4 Nick Hool P/SS
#8 Kiefer Haffey P/SS
#10 Trey Jardine P/OF
#13 Nate Motta OF
#34 Dan Sims P/UT
#44 Matt Brasil P/SS
#58 Joe Foley OF

The home field of Onanism will be at Novi Meadows in Novi, which is located at 11 Mile and Taft Road. After granting Kiefer the expansion franchise, Commissioner Coffee took the chance to ask him a few questions about bringing the new squad into the league. Keep it stiff and check out Haffey's responses below.

Carl: What are you most excited about now that you are captain of an NWLA team?
Kiefer: think more than anything I'm just excited to see how a team full of baseball players transitions into a wiffleball team. Last year I personally underestimated how different the two games are - especially from a hitting and pitching standpoint.

Carl: Do you think you guys can compete with 7/8 on your team being rookies?
Kiefer: I definitely think it's a possibility. I've never seen these guys play wiffleball really - we're all guys who played baseball throughout high school but as stated before - they're two different games. My prediciton for a best case scenario as of now would be squeaking in as the 5 seed.

Carl: Do you have any bitterness towards Alex and the Warriors?
Kiefer: No, not at all. As soon as I read about the new "Star Cap" rule I knew that teams would be making huge roster changes and I didn't play nearly well enough last year to be a "must-have" player. I also think that because of this new cap rule this league is going to expand to way more teams.

Carl: What are your team colors?
Kiefer: Grey and Green

[Free Agency] Ducks on (New) Ponds

It has been a week since the whiplash inducing start to free agency, but now we see our next big signings of the offseason. It was nice to be able to catch our breath and decompress after the frenetic first day, but it is good to see the roster moves continue.

Captain/Commissioner/Carl Coffee never stops recruiting - that is likely the itch that made him take control of a team again. He is rumored to have put offers on the table with many players around the league, both veterans and rookies. Details of the deal for Belgian to acquire Josh Nagorski and Nick Braden, who Coffee refers to as the N & N boys, did not start to leak out until late Tuesday afternoon (10/8). And the deal came together fast. By 7 PM the terms had been finalized and approved by league HQ.

Nagorski and Nick will join Coffee, David Buhr, Jason Matt, Douglas Wesserling, and rookies Stephen Farkas and Travis Strojny on the now (for now) complete Belgian roster, which commands 17 stars. Josh Ratliff was dropped in order to make room in the eight-man clubhouse. Both N & N boys bring solid bats to the lineup, Nagorski provides a bit more power, while Nick adds a nice arm to a rotation in need of it. Coffee heralded the impact of the signings on facebook, "Josh and Nick have been apart of WSEM since the beginning, and both won a title with Git R' Done in 2011. They bring experience and offensive production the team desperately needs."
Ever since the signing of Dennis Pearson on October 1st, there has been scuttlebutt around the Holy Balls' camp involving both Braden names. Nick was a key part of the clubhouse in 2013 and came through in the clutch on a few occasions. However, the lure of Dylan's bat in the lineup is hard to look past. Also, some degree of discretion and tact is called for when dealing with brothers. Captain Paquin and his team appeared to be taking a patient, "wait and see" approach to the matter - not ready to make a hasty decision one way or the other that would effect the franchise's future.

Well, Belgian's quick action on Tuesday afternoon took care of the "see" part, making the "wait" pretty much unnecessary. Just 36 minutes after the Belgian announcement, the Balls made one of their own: "This just in.... Balls announce the signing of stud hitter...wait for it... Dylan Braden!" The reunion of the fabled D & D boys along with Paquin, Chris Lewis, and Brandon Corbett puts the Balls at 17 stars in 5 players. With 4 stars to play with and a second big bat now added to the lineup, rumors seem to indicate the Balls are looking at both rookie and veteran arms to fill their sixth and final roster spot.

[Free Agency] Day One: A Sprint out of the Gates

In the race to be the first to break the news, eight teams made announcements about their rosters on Tuesday, October 1st. At the end of the day, 26 players (including 6 rookies) were involved in the moves made public on Facebook from midnight through the early afternoon. Many teams also included mention of continuing talks with players, although none named names, to fill their final roster slots.

In case you blinked, here's a recap of what you missed.

12.5 New Captain: Carl Coffee
Rookie Signings:   Stephen Farkas, Travis Strojny, Josh Ratliff
Returning: David Buhr, Jason Matt, Douglas Wesserling
The Belgian Wiffles didn't make any moves on the free agency market. Rather, they capitalized on the trademarked expertise of their newly named captain, Carl Coffee, in signing rookie Wiffleball talent. Carl has been doing it for years, though this time he used Facebook and Twitter instead of Craigslist, and it fits in well with the culture of new blood that David Buhr had created for the franchise. In his Facebook statement, Coffee revealed, "in a rebuilding year it is important to sign young talent, and we are excited about what (they) can offer to the team." He also provided insight via hashtag: #stillnotdone, #newCJandSkinner, #wehaveouronetwopunch. If this Belgian rookie class - Stephen Farkas, Travis Strojny, and Josh Ratliff - come in anything like that alluded-to-by-hashtag 2012 Belgian class, then this franchise could be poised for a nice bounce back season.

7 Call-Ups: Tristan Birotte, Arvie Coffman, Ryan Hurd, Ryan Hurd Jr., Eric Sizemore, Joe Shinn
Rookie Signings:   N/A
Returning: Rich Hurd
Like Belgian, King Friday did not make any real free agent moves. Their signings were all about "bringing the band back together." Rich Hurd is bringing 6 players from his 2012 Dangerfield runner-up roster back into WSEM for a remarkably efficient total of 7 stars in 7 players. The sense here seems to be both "let's have fun," and "Dangerfield Championship or bust!" That said, Tristan Birotte did show some good potential on the mound in 2012, and who knows what using the black bats could do for all of their offensive production.

20 FA Signings: N/A
Rookie Signings:   N/A
Returning: Dakota LaDouceur, Chandler Phillips, Mark Phillips, Craig Skinner, Kyle Tomlinson
El Diablos had the most daunting task of the offseason: having to release players to get under the cap. Chandler Phillips handled the tough decisions well in his first duty as captain, and explains his re-signings and releases with this quote, "although I took in many opinions, I ultimately made the decision that I feel will give the team the best chance to not only win, but win at a lower cost as well." He referenced keeping reigning Clown Shu, Craig Skinner, as, "the easiest decision,." For Kyle Tomlinson, the reigning MVP, Chandler said simply, "I need Kyle on this team," citing his crucial role in both offensive production and groundskeeping. Dakota LaDouceur was the first player to announce his signing, doing so right at 12:00am. Chandler praised Dakota as, "your ideal 3 hitter," and everything you can ask for in a team player. El Diablos still have one roster spot to fill and are "scouting some rookies to fill the void." Read the full press release from El Diablos HQ here.

16 FA Signings: Dennis Pearson
Rookie Signings:   N/A
Returning: Nick Braden, Brandon Corbett, Chris Lewis, Chris Paquin
Holy Balls lost a 5-star player, David Castle, and a two-time Diamond Digit winner, Ryan Bullard, to free agency, but countered with the signing of 2013 Country Strong HR King Dennis Pearson. Having witnessed (on a few occasions) last season Pearson's ability to hit any pitch out of the park, Chris Paquin was locked on Pearson as the Balls' primary target this offseason. With Dennis now landed, they still have 5 stars to play with under the cap. That's a lot of room while only needing to fill one more roster slot. Likely targets for that spot seemingly include another productive bat to plug into the lineup.

21 FA Signings: Ryan Alexia, Ryan Bullard, Adam Cosby, Jason Hewlett, John Sharlow
Rookie Signings:   Mike D'Agnese, Kevin Doby
Expansion Captain: Michael Sessions
When Michael Sessions announced he'd be bringing back the Flying Squirrels franchise, you knew he'd really dig into the numbers when approaching his roster. So, it's no surprise that he's put together as close to a perfect cap era team can be done. Sessions targeted every need and spent economically without skimping. Two members of the 2012 Squirrels, Ryan Alexia and Ryan Bullard, return as the basis for a strong defense on the left-side of the field. While those two get on base at a good clip, John Sharlow will be a big bat in the lineup, able to hit to all fields with extra-base power. Jason Hewlett also comes off a big production year, but he and Adam Cosby were targeted for their capabilities on the mound. To round out his eight-man roster, Sessions identified and locked down two rookies: Mike D'Agnese and Kevin Doby. In their tryouts this weekend, D'Agnese impressed with a pair of home runs, while Doby put himself in the early RotY discussion with a great performance on the mound and 2 home runs of his own. Read the full press release from the Flying Squirrels here.

20 W FA Signings: Mark Brannan, Greg Brannan, Matt Dancza, Nicco Lollio, Andrew Piasecki
Rookie Signings:   N/A
Expansion Captain: Jason Hollister
Jason Hollister also assembled a damn near perfect cap era roster for the expansion Wolfpack franchise. Mark Brannan and Nicco Lollio may be an even more potent 1-2 lefty punch than Hatt/Shore for Westside. Greg Brannan, famous for his defensive exploits, and Andrew Piasecki also swing good sticks from the correct side of the plate. With deceptive pop in his bat, a great attitude and good eye Matt Dancza is a solid pick-up at 1 star, as well. If there is a hole in the Pack's roster, it may be on the pitching staff. "If" and "may" are key words here, though. Mark will be the ace of the staff, while Greg, Andrew, and Nicco will all have a shot to land the number-two job.

16 FA Signings: N/A
Rookie Signings:   N/A
Returning: Austin Bischoff, Evan Bischoff, Joel Crozier, RJ Fisher
The Wicked Aces didn't make any roster moves, but did announce in a Facebook post that the core four players will be returning, "RJ Fisher, Austin Bischoff, and Evan Bischoff will return to defend their 2013 WSEM championship... Also, Joel Crozier will be back in an Aces uniform." The Aces went on to mention that how they use their remaining 5 or 11 stars to fill the final two roster spots will be discussed, which leaves a whole lot open-ended. Will they play above or below the soft cap? Are they talking to rookies? Re-signing 2012 players? Maybe even eying a big name or two? We'll wait and see, because for now, the info's flowing out like a Detroit Lions press conference.

23 FA Signings: Evan Bortmas, David Castle
Rookie Signings:   N/A
Returning: Sam Hatt, Alex Shore, Greg Voutsos, Nick Woods
While most teams strategically added and dropped players to be at or under 21 stars, Alex Shore went all in for 2014 and will play at 23 stars. Westside went 16-12 in 2013 and got swept in the 1st round of the playoffs in both of their previous seasons. Tired of being slightly above average, Alex went after the most expensive free agents on the market. His biggest signing? 2012 MVP, Evan Bortmas. Bortmas chased and won a title with the Wicked Aces in 2013, and expressed he wanted to play with former Manchester Punchout teammate Sam Hatt this upcoming season. Not every team had the room for both of them, but Westside made it happen. Hatt will return to the team he helped take to the playoffs; Sam is slated as the Westside ace. Westside also signed All-Star OF/P, David Castle. Castle had an outstanding 2013 season with the Ducks and Holy Balls, which earned him a 5-star rating. Castle is a very committed wiffler and gives Westside deep pitching depth. Read Shore's take on each of his offseason signings in this Facebook album.