Team: Bismarck Phoenix [ID #639]
Bismarck, ND (Plains)
[since June 17th 2015 | last seen June 23rd 2017]
Rank: #32 - Rating: 230.66
Cardinal & Gold
May 29 2032: Luis Castellonas
Apr 18 2032: Oswaldo Torrez
was claimed off of waivers.
Mar 30 2032: Hugo Dupont
was claimed off of waivers.
Mar 25 2032: Francisco Quintero
was claimed off of waivers.
Mar 14 2032: Nick Clarke
Mar 10 2032: Gonzalo Trujillo
was claimed off of waivers.
Mar 06 2032: Kota Chikafuji
was claimed off of waivers.
Feb 05 2032: Garrett Thomas
was claimed off of waivers.
Jan 15 2032: Ignacio Estevez
was selected to the national team of Venezuela
Jan 15 2032: Aníbal Davila
was selected to the national team of Panama
Wins: 45 Losses: 40 Pct: .529 Last10: 4-6 Streak: L3
Ave: 5.6 - 5.4 RS: 478 RA: 458 DIFF: +20
[5 | Still Alive]
Jul 09 2028: Phoenix Use Painful Loss as Inspiration
- by Mig2015 on August 15th, 2016
In game number 160 last season, Bismark was playing for their lives and a chance to move up to Division IV for the fourth time in franchise history. (The first three were just one season cups of coffee) Shortstop Cesar Villa was batting desperately trying to keep hope alive, but it was not to be. Villa flew out to the warning track to end Bismark's season with a disappointing 4-0 loss, completing the collapse of a once 9 game division over rival Twin Falls.
Although record-wise Bismark had one of their most winningest seasons in team history (Which is not saying very much) with 97 wins, owner Mig2015 deemed the season a failure. His words just minutes after Bismark was eliminated were, "Yes, we are a young team. Yes, we do not have a ton of experience. But, did we have the best team in the league this season? My answer to that question is a resounding yes. We dominated Twin Falls from start to finish this season head to head, but we just couldn't take care of business against teams we had no business losing to. In addition, we were predicting this season to be the first one in eleven years where we advance to the cup single elimination stage. Again, we couldn't get it done when we had to. For these reasons, I think this season was a major disappointment and failure. Period. I don't think there are really any other questions to answer." Mig2015 then exited the stage in a defeated trudge. His feelings about the season were shared with fans, and even some players -- "We really expected to win the division this year, but sometimes things don't go your way, and they certainly didn't for us this year," said veteran Albert Berra.
The franchise is no stranger to disappointment and losing. Never has Bismark advanced past division IV and in the prior five seasons before Mig2015 took over, the then Lyndcrest City Yankees became a laughing stock of the game, winning just 28 games in one particularly horrible season. However, last season was a far different type of pain, one of tasting victory before having it snatched away.
The following day however, Mig2015's attitude was far different than the preceding day. He apologized for his immaturity for walking out during the press conference, and had a much more positive outlook on the season. "Look, I know that everyone is extremely disappointed that we couldn't pull it out this season, but look how far we have come in the past five seasons. Together, we have gone from a below-average division VI team to a young, highly competitive division V team. Also, speaking to the youth of this team, these guys will learn far more from this season now than if they had held on and won the division. You always learn more from losing than winning. And, the last time I checked, we still have a very young, improving team. We will come back stronger than this year and will believe, no, expect a division title in 2028."
And the players answered the bell. Sammy Davidson said, "Our ending to the season last year really stung. Me and my teammates want to do everything in our power to prevent that from happening again this season." So far, how have they done? First, early on they recorded the longest winning streak in franchise history -- 15 games. Then, more importantly, they ended the 12 year cup tournament drought by sweeping the final series. They are scoring at a historic pace, averaging a mind-blowing 7.4 runs scored per game while allowing the fewest runs against since 2014 in a ballpark that is considered one of the best hitters parks in all of broken bat. The result is a season where they are on pace for a franchise record 113 wins, which would almost surely win them the division and moving them up to division IV.
Currently, with a record of 53-22 the Phoenix sits 13 games above the next best team. However, if last season is any indication, no lead at this point is safe. "We must keep the pedal to the metal and not let up. We learned our lesson from last season and will not make that mistake again," said Oscar "Ozzy" Virgil. "If anything, last season stands only as inspiration for us. We were definitely good enough to move up last season. But this season, nothing will stand in our way. We will not be denied."
Sep 04 2027: Bismark Reclaims Division Lead, Take 3 of 4 from Twin Falls
- by Mig2015 on June 7th, 2016
Just a few days ago, Bismark relinquished the division lead for the first time since May to a scorching hot Twin Falls team. In Bismark's prior series versus a Santa Clemente that has also been surging of late, the Bengals took two of three -- yet they still lost ground on Twin Falls, who entered the Bismark series with a 1/2 game lead. "We knew that this was the biggest series of the season, and to the guys' credit, they were all extremely focused," says game 1 hero Jimmy Van Houten
. Joaquin Sanchez, who twirled a gem in game 4, added that "In a series we simply had to have, we got it done. A four game set against a white-hot team who just passed us in the standings was a gigantic opportunity for us to show our talent and poise. Simply put, we came through." Indeed, they did. However, it did not start very pretty.
Game 1 starter was recently added Carlos Fossas
, who manager Augusto Alonzo
put a tremendous amount of faith to start the opener of the biggest series of the season. Unfortunately, Fossas' normally filthy off-speed stuff simply wasn't there, and after recording just one out, gave up a three-run home run. He exited the game due to elbow tightness. Team doctors say he should be able to make his next start as he was removed as a precaution. Then, Bismark brought in Tommy Sphann
, who has pitched remarkably well of late. Sphann would shut down Twin Falls for the next 5 2/3 innings, only allowing 3 hits to the normally potent offense. And while Sphann did his part, Bismark's own potent offense was chipping away at the three run deficit. In the bottom of the first, right after the Twin Falls home run, player of the game Van Houten came through with an RBI single to cut the lead to two. Then, despite loading the bases with one out, the Bengals could not get anyone else across that inning. Then, in the bottom of the third, power-hitting Ramiro Carmona
came through with a solo home run to cut the lead to one. Two innings later, the Bengals would break through once again, this time for two runs on RBI singles from Ron Stratton
and Anibal Rodriguez
, although Stratton was thrown out at the plate on Rodriguez's single to end the inning, prevented further damage. Yet, Bismark took its first lead of the day.
Bismark would hold this lead through the seventh inning. The crowd was really into it, then in the 8th shutdown closer Ben Brett
entered to his signature Master of Puppets
by Metallica. The scene could only be described as pandemonium. "It was deafening. That was the loudest it has been all season tonight. I guess with the season winding down and playing our rivals really got the fans going. But man, it was quite an experience," said Brett. However, things would quickly go quiet. On the first pitch of the evening, Brett surrendered a home run to Martin Rivas, tying the game. "...Then you could hear a pin drop," laughs Brett. Alonzo stuck with Brett even after escaping a jam later in the inning to preserve the tie score. The teams would trade 1-2-3 innings for their next two at bats. Then, in the bottom of the 10th, free agent pickup Jimmy Van Houten stepped into the batter's box.
Van Houten was once a free agent aquiree that stumped most everyone in the organization, even though Bismark was in the middle of a heavy rebuilding project. He was a 26 year old wash-up who had never seen a major league field; that season, he started at first base for the division VI division champs. "He had the potential to be a real[ly] good hitter, and he has shown that," said Alonzo. Two years later, and Van Houten has transformed himself into a power-hitting, reliable first basemen who can hit for average too. "He was an experiment when I picked him up; I think it's fair to say that it was successful," says owner Mig2015. However, all that was in the past when Van Houten stared down Twin Falls flamethrower Walt Brandt. "I knew he had a devastating forkball, so I decided I was going to hit his 97 MPH fastball early in the count. Sure enough, the first pitch was a fastball over the heart of the plate." Van Houten yanked Brandt's fastball 430 ft from home plate, almost striking the roof of the dome. Brett mused, "If people thought that it was loud when I entered the game, then their eardrums probably exploded when Jimmy hit that tank." Indeed, decibel levels increased to 110 db as the home run horn (horn
) sounded and the crowd went wild. "It was a huge win for us. And it sparked our success in the following games as well," said Gene Waters
Bismark dropped game two by the score of 5-2. The Pioneers got to Ozzy Virgil
in the fifth inning for four runs and never looked back. The Bengals managed only four hits in the game. "It was just a well-played game by the opponent. We didn't play to our potential, but you still have to tip your cap to them; they played better," said the struggling Virgil.
After losing game 2 5-2, Bismark returned the favor winning game 3 5-2 as well... and by four hitting the Pioneers. Up and coming star Ji Hu Kim
(12-3) pitched his best game in quite some time, going 6 2/3 and allowing only two runs on three hits. "It was nice to get that confident feeling back today against a good lineup. Hopefully I can keep that going moving forward," said Kim after the game. Ramiro Carmona homered in his third straight game, blasting a solo shot over the wall in left to give Bismark a lead in the second inning. "Well, we executed today and they didn't. Our bottom of the lineup really came through for us on a day when our top struggled. That is a sign of a really good team. For us to go out and beat a very good baseball team without our top three guys in the order not getting a hit, that is pretty impressive," stated Carmona. In the 9th inning, Brett completed a shut-out, two inning save (#38 on the season) to seal the deal, putting Bismark back on top of the division by 1/2 a game.
, considered Bismark's ace, took the mound for the rubber match, a game that both teams desperately needed. Either Twin Falls would escape Bismark with their 1/2 game lead intact, or Bismark would extend their lead to 1 1/2 game lead with under 30 games remaining. "All the games in the series were huge, but if we had only split after playing very well in the first three games, it would have been a bit disheartening. My goal was to prevent that from happening," says Sanchez. He did.
However, for the third time in the series, Twin Falls collected the first run in the third inning off of a Tillman home run. However, from there, Sanchez was lights out, allowing just three hits in his final five innings. He ended the day with 8 1/3 innings, allowing two earned run on 7 hits and 6 Ks.
While Sanchez dominated, Bismark's offense could only muster runs in one inning during the course of the game, but it was enough. In the fourth inning, trailing 1-0, the offense came through with three clutch two out hits. Van Houten, Waters, and Luis Castellonas
all came through with 2 out RBI singles, scoring four runs in the process. Five of Bismark's ten hits came in the inning.
After that, both offenses would go quiet until a very nerve-wracking ninth inning. With Ben Brett unavailable after throwing four innings over the last three games, Bismark brought on Julio Reynoso to finish the job. With the score at 4-1, many people were walking to their cars when the blast was heard. CRACK!!! With one out in the ninth, Bernal had blasted a two-run home run to cut the lead to 4-3. However, Alonzo elected to stick with the lefty, "He has been pitching better of late, so I decided to give him a chance." His move paid off, but by only 10 feet. Reynoso got the second out of the inning with a weakly hit fly-ball to left field, which brought up a pinch hitter for Twin Falls -- Jose Bustamante. With a 1-1 count, Bastamente hit a low, hard liner to deep right field. However, with the defense playing "no doubles," right fielder Leo Berra
had no trouble ranging back to the edge of the warning track to make the catch and end the game. "I think my heart stopped beating when he hit that ball...," says Reynoso. "I left it up and he just
missed it. A win is a win."
With that win, Bismark pulled into a 1 1/2 game lead in the West with exactly 40 games remaining. "We just need to keep winning, we are almost there!" says the always optimistic Albert Berra. Bismark will head to Kansas City for another four game set tomorrow, looking for another series win.