Winnipeg, in the postseason seven of the last 10 seasons, will have to watch from the sidelines this time although the Goldeyes got a decent consolation prize this week when Ian Thomas was called back up by the parent Los Angeles Dodgers for their stretch run in the National League West.
Thomas was a productive part of Rick Forney’s bullpen in the ’09, ’10 and ’11 seasons. The southpaw is up with the Dodgers for the fifth time this season. Thomas, 28, started the season with Atlanta and he has appeared in eight games between the Braves and Dodgers with a 4.11 earned run average.
The American Association has six players on active major league rosters at present with two others on disabled lists.
Sioux City and St. Paul an Incredible 142-48, Although Only One Will Advance to Championship Series
Sioux City seems virtually certain to establish a new American Association record for stolen bases. St. Paul is only the second team in history to have four pitchers with at least 10 victories. The Explorers need only two more wins to break the record for one season. The Saints have won 70 games for the first time in their storied history.
On and on it goes for these two record-smashing super powers of 2015 although only one of them–at best–is going to finish the season totally happy despite the combined 142-48 (.747) they took into play Thursday. They will meet head-on in a best-of-five semifinal playoff series starting next Wednesday (September 9), with the victor moving on to the Championship Series.
The losing team–it seems unfair to even think of calling either a ‘loser’–won’t be able to think about all that was accomplished this season until Thanksgiving. It may even be Christmas.
Whoever wins that initial series cannot take it for granted a postseason title awaits because the next round will see a clash with defending champion Wichita or the wild card team, which could be either Laredo or the first-year Joplin Blasters.
So let’s tip our cap right now to veteran St. Paul manager George Tsamis and Sioux City boss Steve Montgomery, who moved from a successful pitching coach career at Fargo-Moorhead to re-build the Explorers just last season, for putting together two championship-worthy teams.
Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site as well as writing his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.