League Updates

Maybe Mediocre is Best?

“Only the mediocre are always at their best.” – Jean Giraudoux

When the Drive first ascended into first place a few days ago, their owner popped into the conversation to express gratitude for his team performing so well, while also stating his belief that the Drive would soon return to mediocrity where it has been so comfortable in years past. I decided I should test this claim by looking in the archives for proof. Here is what I found – Tom wasn’t lying (I know, that’s difficult to believe, but I have proof). Here is how the Drive have finished the past 5 years:


Kaline Drive 80 82 .495 25.3 782.8 793.4


Kaline Drive 76 86 .469 31.3 714.9 763.1


Kaline Drive 94 68 .580 20.8 831.5 704.8


Kaline Drive 75 87 .464 25.6 780.5 847.3


Kaline Drive 71 91 .437 33.8 658.6 753.5

What do we learn from this? A few things:

  • The Drive have been remarkably consistent, winning between 71-80 games each year except for 2017 when he won 94 games
  • His closest finish to first place was 20.8 games behind the leader in 2017
  • His team has been getting incrementally better each year, though it hasn’t (at least in the past 5 years) been a threat to win the league

But now we find ourselves facing a Drive team that has decided mediocrity is only fun for so long, and who can blame them? As this crazy 2020 season began, no EFL team wanted to remain in first place for very long. In the month of August we have had 4 different teams in first place, and even those teams have begun to consider that mediocrity might be good enough this season.

Are we witnessing a new age in the EFL, one in which a self-proclaimed mediocre team will demonstrate that attaining mediocrity every single year is actually really difficult to do? There are still 40+ games left to play before we find the answer to this question, but if the Drive continue to perform as they are performing this month, the rest of us just may be tempted to give mediocrity a try. 

Kaline Drive 11 7 .631 84.4 64.7
Flint Hill Tornadoes 9 8 .554 1.4 91.6 84.6
Cottage Cheese 7 7 .474 2.7 68.9 73.6
Peshastin Pears 7 10 .433 3.5 74.2 85.1
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 7 11 .415 3.9 78.6 87.5
D.C. Balk 8 11 .410 4.1 76.2 91.3
Haviland Dragons 7 11 .402 4.1 85.5 104.4
Canberra Kangaroos 7 12 .384 4.6 74.2 99.2
Portland Rosebuds 6 11 .350 4.9 83.4 113.5
Bellingham Cascades 6 12 .322 5.6 73.3 119.1
Old Detroit Wolverines 3 14 .174 7.9 52.1 115.0

Kaline: “L,” 7-7 (53PA; 1IP)

AVG: 0.319 OBP: 0.396 SLG: 0.596 OPS: 0.992
ERA: 0.00 WHIP: 0.000

Even on a day when it they lost, the Drive added to their lead atop the standings. Aaron Judge, Jesse Winker and WIlmer Flores all homered, and the team earned as many BBs/HBP as they struck out (6 and 6). If they had any amount of pitching, their lead would have grown even more. But Tom is too nice to to make any of us feel too bad about our chances, and for that we are thankful.

Flint Hill: W(-1), L2 (53PA; 4.7IP)

AVG: 0.157 OBP: 0.189 SLG: 0.333 OPS: 0.522
ERA: 1.91 WHIP: 1.702

What a dreadful day for the Tornadoes. Inspired by the Woeverines, I’ve been trying out some different names for my team for when we have dreadful days. Flint Ill? Tornadon’ts? It is still a work in progress. The two good things from yesterday are that Logan Allen made his Tornado debut and threw very well (we need more good pitching!), and despite a 3 game swing in the wrong direction, we only lost .7 games off first place. That’s it. The rest of yesterday was just Tornawful! (nope, not it…)

Cottage: L, 1-5 (52PA; 3IP)

AVG: 0.240 OBP: 0.269 SLG: 0.260 OPS: 0.529
ERA: 0.00 WHIP: 0.333

The top three teams in the EFL did nothing yesterday to inspire those below them (unless, of course, playing poorly inspires those below to hold onto hope!). The Cheese had 12 hits, and all but one of them were singles. Add in 2 walks and 13 Ks and you get 1 run scored on the day. 

Peshastin: L, 4-8 (35PA; no pitching)

AVG: 0.192 OBP: 0.400 SLG: 0.231 OPS: 0.631

The EFL had a rough day yesterday. The Pears did manage to record more BBs than Ks yesterday, which is a rare occurrence this season for any team. But they also recorded more BBs than hits, which is very rare and also not a great formula for winning. Especially when no one pitches. 

Pittsburgh: L, 4-6 (40PA; 3IP)

AVG: 0.270 OBP: 0.325 SLG: 0.459 OPS: 0.784
ERA: 0.00 WHIP: 1.000

This breaks up the string of offensive offensive numbers from EFL teams. The Alleghenys were led by Byron Buxton who went 3 for 4 with a SB. But it wasn’t enough to eke out a win. 

DC: W, 0-(-7) (43PA; 18.3IP)

AVG: 0.189 OBP: 0.286 SLG: 0.216 OPS: 0.502
ERA: 1.97 WHIP: 1.093

It’s true, earlier I said it is not easy to win when you score 1 run. But the Balk showed us it is possible to win even when you score 0 runs. How? Well, in this instance it was on the strength of an excellent pitching performance from the Balk staff. Dylan Bundy threw 7 IP and gave up 0 runs, and Daniel Mengden added 3 IP while giving up 1 run. 

Haviland: L, 7-14 (36PA; 7.4IP)

AVG: 0.310 OBP: 0.444 SLG: 0.483 OPS: 0.927
ERA: 13.38 WHIP: 2.297

I guess the Dragons (Draggins?) really didn’t like being anywhere near first place. Since there time atop the league a few days ago, they have been moving in the other direction at a steady clip. Their offense played well yesterday, led by two role players Raimel Tapia (3 for 4 with a 2B and a SB) and Jed Gyorko (2 for 4 with a HR). But the pitching was not great, headlined by Kevin Ginkel who gave up 4 runs without recording an out.

Canberra: L, 6-10 (53PA; 6.3IP)

AVG: 0.280 OBP: 0.321 SLG: 0.400 OPS: 0.721
ERA: 8.57 WHIP: 1.111

Another decent offensive day ruined by another bad pitching day in the EFL! The Roos scored 6 runs through the good work of Starling Marte (3 for 5), Alex Bregman (1 for with a HR and 3 BBs), and Manuel Margot (2 for 4 with a 2B). But Touki Toussaint must have been taking pointers from Robbie Ray and Josh James (get it?), because he surrendered 5 runs in 4 innings.

Portland: “W,” 10-11 (55PA; .3IP)

AVG: 0.375 OBP: 0.455 SLG: 0.688 OPS: 1.142
ERA: 60.00 WHIP: 6.667

I know the EFL is all about camaraderie, but perhaps we are taking it too far when so many teams are sabotaging their good offensive performances with offensive pitching performances. The Rosebuds had an excellent day at the plate, led by Nick Solak (3 for 4) and several hitters (Harper, Shaw, Polanco, Cronenworth, Ozuna and Rendon) who all had two hits. But Blake Taylor and all the other Rosebud pitchers who decided to take the day off did not help matters by giving up 11 runs.

Bellingham: L, 6-9 (22PA; 8.4IP)

AVG: 0.286 OBP: 0.318 SLG: 0.714 OPS: 1.032
ERA: 7.50 WHIP: 1.905

Stop me if you’ve heard this story – another very good offensive day, ruined by bad pitching. How much do our hitters have to do to get us wins? Turns out, too much. Cascade hitters were led (once again) by Hanser Alberto (2 for 6 with 2 2Bs) and Hunter Pence (2 for 2 with a HR). Their pitchers (Fiers and Gonzalez) were both able to allow several runs, mostly through the long ball (they gave up 4 combined HRs).

Old Detroit: L, 5-7 (39PA; 1IP)

AVG: 0.294 OBP: 0.324 SLG: 0.559 OPS: 0.883
ERA: 0.00 WHIP: 0.000

Yesterday the Wolverines threatened to be the loudest last place team the EFL has ever known. As I was following MLB games yesterday, I wondered if his proclamation may not come to fruition. Eloy Jimenez hit a 3-run HR in the first inning, and Trea Turner added his own first inning HR. I thought to myself, “The Wolverine prospects are making good on their promise! Ron must be thrilled.” But it turned out to be nothing more than what was the norm yesterday – a good day for the batters and a bad day for the (in this case, replacement) pitchers. And so, for another day, Ron can make good on his promise to be the “cellar yeller.”

1 Comment

  • I was going to say today that the Drive would remain in first place as long as the Tigers led the A.L. Central, but the Tiges lost yesterday, and the Twins took back first place. It is likely the Drive will follow that pattern. But for now the Drive management is enjoying these rare moments. We are thankful for Kyle Lewis and Aaron Judge, and pitchers exceeding expectations.

    I am thankful also for our EFL. It gives me enjoyment to read these postings, especially after a morning of sitting in a crowded clinic waiting, while all the other masked and somewhat distanced patients came and went twice over, an hour after my scheduled appointment (that I was advised to come early for) only to be told that I wasn’t even next, and asked “would you like to reschedule?” I rescheduled for the next available time, October 7! I know patients (and especially Christians) are supposed to be patient, but this clinic, like the country, needs a new administration. And that also reminds me of my gratefulness for the past and current administration of the EFL.