On Sunday, the #1 ranked team in the country is going to play the #11 ranked team in the country. Despite these two top national teams hailing from within miles of each other, and both playing all of their seasons on fields within feet of each other, this matchup will settle the World Series. This is the one the fans wanted, this is the one the television guys wanted, this is the contest we’d like to see every week of the season if we could. The #1 seeded Blandsford Barnburners will host the #2 seeded Superman’s Wheelchair with the winners claiming the title of World Champion.
The Blandsford Barnburners have won four World Championships, one for each of the four Spring seasons they’ve played to date. One more will tie them for the all-time franchise record at five with the Canvassers. They cruised past the Moose Knuckles in the DCS, similar to how they cruised past all competition this season. Their Cy Young nominated pitcher didn’t even toss on Saturday, their third best pitcher threw a perfect game to send them to the Series. Their offense continues to be unmatched, and if Jack Shannon doesn’t win the season MVP Sunday afternoon then we’ll probably stop letting the players vote on awards. There is a reason this team is ranked #1 in the country, and they are on a mission this season to live up to it. After tallying their first perfect season at 14-0, they are now in a position to do something no other team has ever done. Not only go undefeated during the regular season, but not have a loss during the post-season either. It’s hard to imagine that if they play the way they have been that we won’t see that record setting feat.
Superman’s Wheelchair is no stranger to World Championships, holding onto three of their own, ranking third all-time on the franchise list. They have gobbled up their titles during the Summer seasons, in the absence of the Barnburners. A win would put them at parity, in total titles, and in head-to-head World Series, with the kids from Manassas. Joseph Thaman remains the heart and soul of this team, both on offense and pitching. As goes Joe, so goes Wheelchair. They batted a tight three man line up in their DCS Round 2 victory over Suns Out Guns Out that will serve them well in the World Series if they continue it. Their bench players are both above league average, but when you’re in the World Series against the #1 team in the country, you have to fire all the bullets, and sticking with the big three, Thaman, Ogg and Keeven are their best bullets. They survived a scare in Game 1 of the DCS, with Suns Out forcing extra innings. Wheelchair never dominates their opponents, but they find a way to win. If they get in a position to win on Sunday, they have to complete the kill shot.
In regular season games, these teams are 1-1 from the Spring 2010 season, with Wheelchair beating the Barnburners 2-1 Week 4, but forfeiting to them Week 2. That was Wheelchair’s rookie season, and six seasons ago is practically irrelevant.
Their first epic World Series battle should have been Spring 2011, but Wheelchair was eliminated early in the playoffs that season after Joe Thaman’s daughter was conveniently born the day of the first round of the playoffs.
Destiny for these two iconic franchises was pushed to the Spring 2012 World Series, and it lived up to expectations. Superman’s Wheelchair drew first blood, winning Game 1 2-1, as Christopher Keeven launched two solo bombs, and Joe Thaman held the Barnburners to just a solo Jack Shannon shot.
The Barnburners knotted up the series winning Game 2 in a lopsided 6-2 contest. The Barnburners out-homered Wheelchair 3-2, and benefitted from two critical Mark Nicholson errors to control the game almost from wire to wire.
That set up a final decisive game to settle the affair. It did not start well for the Barnburners. Colin Gannon gave up four runs in the top of the first inning on three doubles and a three run homer to Christopher Keeven, and left the game without recording a single out. Wheelchair added on another run, on a Nicholson home run, putting them up 5-0 in the top of the 3rd. The Barnburners got two back in the bottom of the frame though when Thaman struggled, on Gannon and Jim Shannon solo shots before Keeven came on in relief. Thaman added an insurance run in the top of the 5th, putting Wheelchair up 6-2. That score stood heading into the bottom of the final inning. In the scorer’s tent, the Commissioner had screwed Wheelchair’s name onto the Commissioner’s Trophy for its inevitable trip to their clubhouse. Keeven needed just two outs to claim the game and the series, but neither him, nor Mark Nicholson, who would come in to try and save the game could record an out. A double, single, double, double and two run home run later, the Barnburners won 7-6. The plaque with Wheelchair’s name was pulled off, and the Barnburners were put on for the fourth time.
Regardless of the outcome Sunday, this is the right series, these are the right teams, and expect this one to be worth the wait. It’s a re-match of all re-matches.
Barnburner Manager Colin Gannon was confident in the clubhouse after the DCS, “This is god given, only thing we gotta do is show up.”
Wheelchair skipper Christopher Keeven had only one word for reporters, “revenge”.
|Sunday, June 1610:30 AM – Game 1 (Blue)|
Superman’s Wheelchair at Blandsford Barnburners
11:30 AM – Game 2 (Green)
| || || |
|Joseph Thaman||Jim Shannon|| |
|(12-0) 0.93 ERA||(3-0) 0.48 ERA|| |
Blandsford Barnburners at Superman’s Wheelchair
12:30 PM – Game 3 (Blue)
| || || |
|Colin Gannon||Christopher Keeven|| |
|(1-0) 0.00 ERA||(1-0) 0.00 ERA|| |
Superman’s Wheelchair at Blandsford Barnburners
Umpires will be Jim Kroll and Bob Angeli. Tony Ragano will be the official scorekeeper. Craig Fifer will have public address responsibilities and Nicholas Dicrosta will do color commentary.