League Updates

Oakland is Mad About Max

Last night was the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Some surprising things happened, especially in the first 5 picks. For instance, the player most pundits and scouts thought would go #1, Marcelo Mayer, ended up sliding to the Red Sox at pick #4. But that wasn’t the most interesting thing that happened.

But first, some history. In 2012, the Oakland A’s chose an infielder out of Baylor University named Max Muncy. As you are aware, Muncy has had a great career thus far amassing 14 WAR in this six years he has been a major leaguer. Two years after his debut, he was released by the A’s and then signed by the Dodgers, who uncovered his talent and for whom he has been an All Star caliber player – indeed, even making the All Star team this year for the second time. 

Back to the present, last night the Oakland A’s had pick #25 in the first round of the draft. Their pick? You guessed it – Max Muncy! Though it is somewhat commonplace in the EFL for players to be drafted multiple times by the same team (I think the Tornadoes have drafted Trevor Cahill about 5 times), it is a rare event in MLB. The only time it really happens is when a player is drafted out of High School, opts instead to attend college, and then is (hopefully) drafted again. How in the world did the Oakland A’s manage to draft Max Muncy even though he is a happy member of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Alleghenys?

The answer? It is a different person named Max Muncy. How incredible is that? Jamie Johnson is a fairly common name. There is a country star (whom I happen to think is a very good musician) named Jamey Johnson – but, as you can see, it is spelled differently. The heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune is named Jamie Johnson, and an accomplished movie producer, to boot. Shoot, I even went to high school with a kid named Jaime Johnson! 

But Max Muncy? That is not a common name. However, the craziness does not end there.

Both have the same birthday – August 25th – the incumbent Muncy born in 1990, the up-and-coming born in 2002. 

Two Max Muncy’s, born on the same day (12 years apart), good enough to be drafted by an MLB team – and both getting drafted by the same team? In what kind of universe are we living? Apparently, the kind in which two minor league pitchers named Brady Feigl who look essentially identical but are NOT related, exist

This is the type of narrative arc you would read in a book, and instantly dismiss the book due to absurdity. And yet, it is all true.

This utterly unbelievable happening made me ask the question – who are the most famous people who share names with each of the EFL owners?

I wish I had time to research it, but instead, if you are willing, comment on the post with whomever it might be – or just any great story of someone who shares your name.

With the All Star break upon us, there will be no changes to our standings until Friday morning. 

EFL Standings for 2021
Old Detroit Wolverines 64 27 .700 524.8 343.9
Flint Hill Tornadoes 60 31 .662 3.5 463.1 328.6
D.C. Balk 57 30 .652 5 485.8 355.6
Peshastin Pears 56 33 .624 7.1 428.8 337.4
Kaline Drive 56 35 .619 7.3 473.6 370.1
Haviland Dragons 55 36 .599 9.1 462.9 390.2
Canberra Kangaroos 51 36 .581 11.1 434.9 374.7
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 48 41 .536 15 457.1 422.6
Cottage Cheese 49 43 .533 15.1 518.1 498.7
Bellingham Cascades 47 42 .527 15.8 383.4 355.7
Portland Rosebuds 39 50 .436 23.9 450.4 519.4
Old Detroit: L, 1-7; 33PA, 8IP
AVG: 0.107 OBP: 0.242 SLG: 0.107 OPS: 0.350
ERA: 3.38 WHIP: 1.125
The Wolverines hitters began their All Star break little early, at least mentally. They still showed up at the plate 33 times, but didn’t do much while there. They collected an even 3 hits (all singles) and 3 walks, in addition to 2 HBPs and 11 strikeouts. Replacement hitters would have been better, but the Wolverine hitters wanted to at least honor their contract, and so they played. The pitchers performed much better, with Jameson Taillon and Chris Paddack combining for 8 innings and 3 earned runs. While those solid performances would not have won them the game yesterday due to the lack of hitting, it didn’t help that half of Mike Minor’s 6 earned runs given up Saturday night got added into OD’s numbers due to administrative oversight. The cost? The Wolverine lead heading into the All Star break is 3.5 games, the smallest it has been since July 1 when it was also a 3.5 game lead over the Pears. But now, it is…
Flint Hill: W, 6-3; 44PA, 2.3IP
AVG: 0.244 OBP: 0.295 SLG: 0.390 OPS: 0.686
ERA: 0.00 WHIP: 0.435
The Tornadoes made a strong push to the All Star break, and were rewarded by being closer to the Wolverines than they have been in a long time. Mookie Betts (has he found his offensive rhythm?) went 3 for 4 with a home run and walk, and Sean Murphy went 2 for 4 with his own home run. There wasn’t much pitching, but it was good – 3 relievers combined for 0 runs allowed over 2.3 innings. The Tornadoes climbed closer to OD and now lead the Balk by 1.5 games.
DC: L, 3-10; 28PA, 16IP
AVG: 0.185 OBP: 0.214 SLG: 0.407 OPS: 0.622
ERA: 6.75 WHIP: 1.625
DC’s day was derailed by its pitching, which allowed 28 baserunners in 16 innings, giving up 13 free passes, 15 hits, and a total of 12 earned runs. Garrett Crochet was the only pitcher to not allow any runs, and everyone else – Dylan Cease (2), Jose Alvarado (2), Jose Berrios (4), Ian Anderson (4) – allowed hitters essentially do as they wished. Coupled with a down day at the plate, it made for a long final day before the break. If it weren’t for Santiago Espinal (3 for 4), things would have been even worse. Xander Bogaerts, starting AL shortstop in the All Star game, added a home run, as did Danny Jansen.
Peshastin: “W,” 6-7; 29PA, no pitching
AVG: 0.273 OBP: 0.448 SLG: 0.364 OPS: 0.812
The Pear ambitions of winning to head into the All Star break were realized halfway – though they were outscored, the database awarded them a win. The hitting was certainly worthy of a win. Jazz Chisholm went 2 for 5 with a double and a stolen base, and Willi Castro added in his own double on the way to going 1 for 2. Yoan Moncada returned to the lineup and earned 3 walks, while Juan Soto earned two walks of his own. I think the Pear owner would prefer those two guys to hit the ball, but a walk is better than nothing. Which is what they got in the pitching department – nothing. And no pitching usually means no winning. 
Kaline: “L,” 5-4; 63PA, 4IP
AVG: 0.250 OBP: 0.317 SLG: 0.464 OPS: 0.782
ERA: 0.00 WHIP: 1.000
How incredible is that mountain of plate appearances the Drive hitters contributed? The next closest EFL team to them yesterday were the Cheese who had 47 – essentially 4 players worth of PAs. And the Drive had some quality with their quantity, too. They hit 4 home runs – Akil Badoo, Daulton Varsho, Michael Conforto and Jose Altuve – whose home run was a game winner over the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth. The other 10 hits for the Drive were all singles. Three relievers appeared for the Drive, all of them pitching pretty near perfectly. The Drive are now just .2 games back of the Pears, awaiting games to resume on Friday to attempt to overcome them once again.
Haviland: “W,” 6-10; 39PA, 9.3IP
AVG: 0.265 OBP: 0.359 SLG: 0.412 OPS: 0.771
ERA: 8.71 WHIP: 1.505
Last night, while the Dragon owner was enjoying a friendly neighborhood concert being performed in my driveway (my neighbor, an incredible guitar player, has a cover band called Papa Smoke and they perform for us once a year), I sent him a text with a picture of the Yankee box score – namely the two Yankee pitchers, who happen to also be Dragon pitchers, who lost the game for the Yankees. His response? “If I cared anymore…” Then he sent me a picture of MLBtraderumors.com, showing that Yu Darvish had been placed on the 10 day IL. Rude! If the pitching had been a little better, they might have earned an actual win, seeing as Nelson Cruz went 1 for 3 with 3 walks, Gio Urshela and Alex Kirilloff both collected 2 hits, and Brandon Lowe added a home run. 
Canberra: W, 7-7; 29PA, 5IP
AVG: 0.217 OBP: 0.379 SLG: 0.522 OPS: 0.901
ERA: 5.40 WHIP: 1.400
The Kangaroos didn’t get a lot of hits, but they did collect a lot of bases. In addition to 6 walks earned, they had 5 hits – 3 of them for extra bases. Kyle Tucker led the team, going 2 for 3 with a walk, double, home run, and 2 stolen bases. Ben Rortvedt added in his own home run to help the team to a win. Rich Hill went 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks. 
Pittsburgh: W, 12-5; 34PA, 3.7IP
AVG: 0.387 OBP: 0.441 SLG: 0.903 OPS: 1.344
ERA: 9.73 WHIP: 2.432
When your hitting is that good, who cares if your pitching is that bad? The Alleghenys were bested only by the Rosebuds in offense on the last day before the break, getting a team total 5 home runs in addition to 7 other hits (1 double and 6 singles). Andrew Vaughn and Dansby Swanson both swatted two home runs, and the elder Max Muncy added in a game-winning home run of his own. Three relievers pitched for Pittsburgh, one of them doing ok (Lou Trivino) – but Derek Holland and Anthony Benter surrendered 4 total runs (including 3 home runs) in 1.7 innings of work. The Alleghenys jumped over the Cheese with this win, and now lead them by .1 games, a lead they will hold for at least 5 days!
Cottage: W, 2-1; 47PA, 8IP
AVG: 0.179 OBP: 0.304 SLG: 0.282 OPS: 0.586
ERA: 1.13 WHIP: 1.125
Sometimes it feels so good to win an old-fashioned baseball game 2-1. There is something so right and so pure about a pitching and defensive battle that makes the heart swoon. And the Cheese did just that – they won their game 2-1! We must begin with the pitching that held its opponent to 1 run. Tony Gonsolin, Collin McHugh and Ryan Weathers combined for the 1 run win, giving up 7 hits, only 2 walks, and fanning 8 batters. The only downside was that Weathers left the game with a leg injury, the severity of which the Cheese are still waiting on. The hitting was ok, which is all it needed to be. Four of the team’s seven hits were doubles, with Yandy Diaz and Shohei Ohtani each getting one double in addition to a single. 
Bellingham: W, 8-2; 32PA, 8IP
AVG: 0.250 OBP: 0.531 SLG: 0.500 OPS: 1.031
ERA: 1.13 WHIP: 1.125
Instead of giving up after losing their stud to a season-ending injury, the Cascades showed up stronger than before, earning a convincing win to head into the All Star break. They were led by Kevin Gausman on the mound, who gave up one run in 6 innings. Two relievers tossed 2 innings total of scoreless baseball to help Gausman out. The offense was great, but not due necessarily to hitting. No, yesterday’s strength was the walk – a total of 12 walks and 2 intentional walks collected by the team. DJ LeMahieu earned 4 of those, and three others earned two total. Interestingly, it was Curt Casali and Joe Panik who earned the intentional walks. Kevin Newman did some damage with the bat, collecting a double as one of his two hits, and Rhys Hoskins added in another double to help out. The Cascades go into the break leading the EFL in winning percentage and ERA in the month of July.
Portland: W(2), L(-1), 12-3; 30PA, 7.7IP
AVG: 0.407 OBP: 0.467 SLG: 0.963 OPS: 1.430
ERA: 3.51 WHIP: 1.169
Lest anyone forget about the Rosebuds, they reminded all viewers that they are still alive and kicking. Look at that line! .407/.467/.963 for an OPS of 1.430. Jorge Polanco and CJ Cron both had 3 hits, all of Cron’s for extra bases (2 doubles and one home run) and Polanco added a home run into his total, too. Max Kepler joined in the fun, going 2 for 4 with a home run. All three pitchers gave up one run, but Jon Gray did it over 6 innings, while the other two weren’t quite as efficient.  All Portland needs is about two weeks of this kind of output, and they will be back in the race!
Combined MLB + EFL Standings for 2021
AL East
Old Detroit Wolverines 64 27 .700
Flint Hill Tornadoes 60 31 .662 3.5
Boston Red Sox 55 36 .604 8.7
Tampa Bay Rays 53 37 .589 10.2
Toronto Blue Jays 45 42 .517 16.7
New York Yankees 46 43 .517 16.7
Baltimore Orioles 28 61 .315 34.7
NL East
D.C. Balk 57 30 .652
Canberra Kangaroos 51 36 .581 6.1
New York Mets 47 40 .540 9.7
Philadelphia Phillies 44 44 .500 13.2
Atlanta Braves 44 45 .494 13.7
Washington Nationals 42 47 .472 15.7
Miami Marlins 39 50 .438 18.7
AL Central
Chicago White Sox 54 35 .607
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 48 41 .536 6.3
Bellingham Cascades 47 42 .527 7.1
Cleveland Indians 45 42 .517 8
Detroit Tigers 40 51 .440 15
Minnesota Twins 39 50 .438 15
Kansas City Royals 36 53 .404 18
NL Central
Milwaukee Brewers 53 39 .576
Cottage Cheese 49 43 .533 3.9
Cincinnati Reds 48 42 .533 4
St. Louis Cardinals 44 46 .489 8
Chicago Cubs 44 46 .489 8
Pittsburgh Pirates 34 56 .378 18
AL West
Kaline Drive 56 35 .619
Houston Astros 55 36 .604 1.3
Haviland Dragons 55 36 .599 1.8
Oakland A’s 52 40 .565 4.8
Seattle Mariners 48 43 .527 8.3
Los Angeles Angels 45 44 .506 10.3
Texas Rangers 35 55 .389 20.8
NL West
San Francisco Giants 57 32 .640
Peshastin Pears 56 33 .624 1.5
Los Angeles Dodgers 56 35 .615 2
San Diego Padres 53 40 .570 6
Colorado Rockies 40 51 .440 18
Portland Rosebuds 39 50 .436 18.2
Arizona Diamondbacks 26 66 .283 32.5


  • I had a memory of an Oakland A back in the day with my name. I looked him up and sure enough, he exists. John Henry Johnson, although he only pitched for the A’s in one season. He bounced around a few other teams over 8 seasons, pitching over 600 innings with a 3.90 era. Not bad!

    According to FanGraphs he is the only John Johnson ever to play in MLB.

  • I was sitting at home one day in the 1990’s when a reporter from CNN called. She asked me what I thought about the Gary Graham case. I didn’t recognize the name at first. After several seconds, I said “Is that the capital punishment case from Texas?” She said it was. Mystified about why she would call me for an opinion on the case, I decided she must be looking for a comment from an anti-death-penalty academic.

    I said. “I don’t know much about it.”

    It was her turn to pause. “You don’t know much about it?” She seemed incredulous.

    “No, I don’t. I haven’t paid much attention to it.”

    “Aren’t you Ron Mock?”


    “Ron Mock the lawyer?”


    “The lawyer who represented Gary Graham at trial?”

    “No.” I explained I had never practiced law in Texas. I’d only been to Texas once, when I was a kid. It took a while to convince her I was not Ron Mock the attorney from Texas.

    I looked him up after that. Gary Graham had been appealing his conviction for a decade by then, claiming (among other things) that he had been deprived of the effective assistance of counsel because Ron Mock had slept through parts of his trial, had been drunk during other parts, had failed to call any witnesses to counter the testimony of the lone eye-witness produced by the prosecution, and had not cross-examined that witness. I found some quotes about this Ron Mock, including “Ron Mock is a distgusting human being.” (SIC)

    A reporter from one of the networks called me two days later. He began to ask me about Gary Graham. I interrupted him. “I am Ron Mock the lawyer from Oregon, not Ron Mock the lawyer from Texas. And you’re two days behind CNN.”

    I just today learned that Ron Mock the lawyer from Texas died two years ago at age 72. The obituary I found had some nice things to say about him — that he was a friendly man, told excellent stories, and had many friends, including some of the lawyers he litigated against in his local county courthouse. Some of those opposing counsels said he was a good lawyer, who got a bad reputation mostly because he took the toughest cases.

    If you’re curious about how similar I am to the other giant of the legal profession with my name, check out the late Ron Mock’s photo at https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Controversial-death-penalty-lawyer-Ron-Mock-dead-13522086.php.