Oct 11 2046: Infestation Complete! Rats Clinch! - by AssumedPseudonym on August 21st, 2020
After clinching the IV.2 East division last season, the Rats announced that their slogan for the 2046 campaign in III.1 would be, “The Infestation Cometh!” It’s safe to say that nobody in their new league — including Deerfield Beach — had any idea just what that would entail. They came into III.1, won their first three game series in a sweep, and proceeded to lead the division from wire to wire. By all rights, the season was decided before interdivisional games even started. The Rats laid waste to nearly every team that stood between them and the Pennant. They devastated the East before preparing to move on to II.1, leaving the rest of the league wondering what in the world just happened.
This was not an infestation. This was a blitzkrieg.
“Realistically this season is… well… unreal,” All-Star second baseman and face of the franchise Denny Hewitt said after the celebration had mostly quieted down. ”We’re good, but I don’t think any of us would say we’re that good. We just had everything go right this season.” When asked if he meant that the Rats shouldn’t have won the East, he said, “We played our [tails] off this season. We absolutely earned it. Winning it by as much as we did, though? It’s just, and I hate to keep going back to the same word, but it’s just unreal.”
Manager Pete McAndrews echoed that sentiment. “If you’d told me when I was hired back in ’32 that we’d clinch III.1 East with a dozen games left in our first season out of IV.2, I’d’ve had someone cart you off in a straightjacket,” he laughed. “It’s incredible, and I mean that in the most literal sense of the word. There is nothing credible about me being soaked in champagne in the visitor’s locker room in Haverhill right now.” When asked the same question as Hewitt about whether he felt the Rats shouldn’t have won the East, he snorted. “I mean, one of our goals this season was to not demote, and I guess that’s one way to do it,” he said.
The Western Division is still up for grabs, and it’s been a tight race all season. “We wreaked havoc on the top of the West in interdivisional,” Cy Young candidate Larry Parr said about the race. “I don’t think we’re really pulling for one team versus another. The Raiders have been more susceptible to lefties, and we’ve got plenty of those,” he said, referring to the team’s very lefty-heavy pitching staff. “We’ll take our chances with anybody. Redding, Butte, Santa Monica… as long as Texarkana doesn’t make a push in the last few series,” he added with a rueful chuckle. The Twisters were the only team in the West with a winning record against the Rats.
Oct 20 2045: Rats Clinch IV.2 East Pennant! - by AssumedPseudonym on June 8th, 2020
For all intents and purposes, the Rats clinched the IV.2 Eastern Division Pennant on October 17. Their Magic Number was 1; the worst they could do would be to tie the Memphis Redbirds. With run differential overwhelmingly in their favor, there was no realistic way the Rats would not win the East.
On October 18, they made it official.
“We wanted to get it over and done with before Coral Springs came to town,” manager Pete McAndrews said in the clubhouse interview after most of the champagne had already been sprayed. “A lot of us still remember the wild finish back in ’42, and we wanted to make sure they couldn’t return the favor,” he said with a wry smile, referencing the improbable string of seven wins to close out the ’42 campaign and take the Pennant. “We liked our odds coming into the last cycle, but you can’t take the Redbirds or Dolphins lightly. They played hard all season. Until you’ve got that little ‘x’ next to your team in the standings, you can’t relax.”
The game got off to an iffy start, with the Rats down 4-0 after 3½ innings. After scratching single tallies across in the 4th and 5th, the Rats loaded up the bases for Guus Kroes. Goose didn’t disappoint, delivering a 401 foot blast deep into the left field bleachers that effectively nailed down the Pennant for Deerfield Beach.
“It felt good,” Kroes said in the clubhouse after the game, still wearing his goggles. “I was expecting the fastball on a full count, and I just wanted to put it in play. Turned out alright I guess,” he said with a laugh.
“Yeah, we didn’t to have to break out the champagne after losing a game. It would have felt tacky on our part,” added veteran backup catcher Adam Crocker from nearby, referencing the fact that a Dolphins loss to the Redbirds — which happened about twenty minutes later — would have rendered the victory unnecessary to clinch the division.
The Rats still have one series to play against Coral Springs before facing off against the Texarkana Twisters in the League Championship Series, the schedule for which has yet to be announced.
Oct 24 2042: Lucky Seven: Rats Ride Winning Streak to Division Title! - by AssumedPseudonym on October 21st, 2019
The Deerfield Beach Rats, following a late season skid that had them in third place with less than a month left in the regular season, needed wins desperately. Even after a sweep of the North Bergen Polar Bears, they were barely clinging to their last shred of hope as the first place Coral Springs Dolphins swept the Stillwater Stallions.
They needed a second series sweep — seven consecutive wins — to clinch the V.4 East Pennant.
And they got that sweep.
“I’m not going to say I wasn’t sweating bullets, but I knew they had it in them,” manager Pete McAndrews said. “These guys have put together strings of wins at the damnedest times, so I’m not that surprised that they pulled off another one.”
While Enrique Madrigal helped carry the team with his 3-for-4 performance that included a double, a home run, and two RBIs, his Player of the Game award was in name only after veteran right fielder Mateo Sepúlveda cut down speedster Eddie Dotsun at the plate for the second out in the bottom of the ninth inning. One out later and the rest of the team carried him back to the dugout following a jubilant celebration at the edge of the outfield grass.
“The guy can run, no question about it,” Sepúlveda said in a champaign-soaked postgame interview in the clubhouse. “I knew it was going to take a perfect throw, so I just did my best not to panic and threw it in there, and I got him.” When asked if he panicked anyway, he laughed and said, “Maybe a little!”
The team will be facing their longtime West rival, the Butte Pirates, in the postseason.
“Absolutely looking forward to it,” said the owner of the Rats after the celebration had died down somewhat. “That guy’s a class act from one end to the other, and regardless of my preseason predictions, I honestly can’t think of a single team I’d rather be playing for the V.4 Championship than the Butte Pirates.”
In his preseason analyses, the team’s owner had predicted that the Rats and Pirates would both finish second to the Coral Springs Dolphins and Surprise Desert Foxes, respectively, but both of those teams instead wound up finishing second and third to their respective division winners.
When asked about thoughts for the 2043 season in IV.2, the owner said, “I’m disappointed that Atlanta couldn’t hold on and promote to III for next season, but they’re going to be a fun divisional rival. I can’t wait to face off against the owner who’s responsible for getting me into the game to begin with.”
Aug 28 2036: Isaacs Says No! - by AssumedPseudonym on July 1st, 2018
Early in the 2036 season, a technical snafu caused pitcher Mario Isaacs to be left in a game from start to finish. He wound up throwing a shutout against the Altoona Blue Jays, and manager Pete McAndrews claimed no harm, no foul.
“The phone in the ’pen wasn’t ringing for some reason,” he said at the time, “but with the way Mario was pitching, I didn’t see any reason to bother the umps about it. It’s probably the only shutout he’ll have in his career,” he added with a laugh, alluding to the fact that the young starter isn’t known for his staying power on the mound.
Isaacs proved him wrong on August 28, barely three months later, against those same Altoona Blue Jays.
Nine innings. Zero hits.
“May not be a perfecto, but I’ll take it,” Isaacs said in the post-game interview, shortly before being doused in Gatorade by his exuberant teammates. When the reporter caught back up with him and asked him how he felt, he laughed and said, “Right now? Very cold!”
“We knew he could stretch his pitch count a bit after the game back in May,“ McAndrews said, “so there wasn’t really thought of pulling him.” When asked whether he would consider a five man rotation long enough to give Isaacs an extra day’s rest, McAndrews said, “I doubt it; I mean, there’s the Cup Final between today and his next scheduled start. I think he should be good to go.”
The win dropped the Rats’ Magic Number to 18 to clinch the VI.8 East division title.
Nov 04 2034: DFB Wins VI.7 Championship! - by AssumedPseudonym on December 21st, 2017
After putting together the best season in team history in 2033 and still winding up finishing in second place in VI.7 East, the Rats got into a staring contest with the Powers That Be dared them to deny DFB again.
The Powers That Be blinked first. The Rats put together an even better season in 2034, including — for all of Broken Bat — being the last team with single-digit losses, the best overall fan morale for most of the first half, and wrapping up the 2034 season with the fifth best overall record.
“No, not happening, nuh-uh,” said veteran pitcher and perennial All Star Caesar Rodriguez when asked his thoughts earlier in the season about the prospect of another second place finish, wearing his trademark scowl usually reserved for the twenty-seventh out in a complete game. “Not this time.”
Not that finishing second was ever a probability in the 2034 campaign, mind you. The Deerfield Beach Rats led the East from wire to wire and finished out the season winning three-out-of-four against the Nashville Pirates, the only team who ever had a chance of catching them after the starting gun fired.
“The boys played mad all season,” manager Pete McAndrews said of the team’s effort. “There’s not one guy who didn’t go out there with the intention of winning every game this season. Hell, some of ’em are still mad that we didn’t. …I’m lookin’ at you, Tallstop,” he added with a grin.
The 6’5” shortstop, Russell “Tallstop” Jonsson, laughed but declined to comment on the remark.
After losing the first game of the playoffs against Butte, they only seemed to get madder. While the West’s Pirates arguably only had one bad game in the series, the Rats refused to let the series go back to Montana and won the Championship four games to one.
“It’s almost hard not to feel bad for them,” said late-season call-up Adam Crocker. “They played their hearts out all season, and that funky bullpen of theirs gave everyone fits. They’re a great bunch over there, and I’ll take my hat off to them, dripping champagne and all,” he said, doing just that.
Word has it that several players on the Rats are planning a “twenty-one bat salute” promotional spot to the Pirates.
One of the traditions of the team’s owner is to grade his players efforts at the end of the season, but he’s declining to do so this season. “What’s the point to it after a season like this?” he asked, spreading his hands. “We all know how we did this season. Everyone knows how we did this season. There’s no need for me to spout off a string of A’s and A+’s and either rub it in or lord it over everyone else. We won. We’re the Champs. Now we need to worry about sticking around in V.4 in 2035.”