Early Season Showdown Brings Ray of Light

NEW YORK – The Yorkville Rays took the old addage to heart that you do not get a second chance to make a first impression as they won impressively this past Sunday against a pesky Twins squad.

The 9-8 final score is misleading as the Rays jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and cruised to their first victory. Piero P. recorded his first win of the young season, keeping twins batters off-balance all afternoon. Meanwhile, his twin brother was steady behind the plate, calling a fantastic game, mixing up Piero’s four plus pitches with perfection. On the performance of his early round pick, Sword gushed, “the kid had it all today. Plus fastball. Plus slightly slower fastball. Plus kunckleball that in reality is just a really slow fastball.”

The media was a bit perplexed by the pitcher’s warmup routine. One media member openly questioned whether Piero was properly warm before entering the game. Peiro responded, “that’s my decision. The coaches leave that up to me. My small frame can only handle a finite number of pitches. I’m a mere 11 years old. I can barely pick up the ball.”

While the coaches were pleased with the results on the field, this group showed some fire. After squeezing one of the Rays’ relief pitchers, and several questionable calls, Coach Collins engaged in a heated discussion with the umpire. Prior to that, the umpire scolded the Rays staff and would not start the game because he thought only the Twins made the trip.  It was later explained he thought all the kids were on one team because the colors were similar. It is safe to say, the coach was still fuming subsequent to the game.

“The guy is a joke. He sees 25 guys out there and thinks they’re all on the same stinkin’ team? Really? 25 guys on one team? It’s a Little League team, not an army brigade,” Collins said after the game.

The team made an official announcement of its intent to file a letter of complaint with the league over the umpire’s antics. The league’s officiating office refused to comment on the matter at this time.

On a lighter note, the team was introduced to the media before the game. The guys answered questions on topics ranging from bedtimes to cootie shots. Some even revealed nicknames, including “Slash” and “Toothbrush,” yet it is unclear the exact derivation of those names.

The Rays are now 1-0, but the staff is quick to caution the team that it should not get too comfortable. “I told the guys, hit the showers, get yourselves a kid’s meal and get in the race car bed early tonight. Let’s be honest. The Twins are a nice little team but we’ll really be challenged  down the road. And we’ll need a better effort than we saw today,” warned Coach Maselli.

That next challenge comes this Sunday, September 25 at 11:00 a.m. on Randall’s Island when the Rays visit the Tigers, the mighty mighty Tigers.

WolfPod – The Little League Edition

Check out our initial episode of the WolfPod. We talk about our recent Little League draft. Very exciting, we know…

WolfPod 1 – LL Draft

Sword Shines, Experts Praise Rays Draft

NEW YORK – Battling fatigue, shady manuevers from opposing coaches, and Pizza Hut cravings, Yorkville Rays GM Morgan Sword pulled a nest of rabbits out of his 7 3/4 size hat as he found value up and down the draft. While the wins and losses will come on the field, it is safe to declare the Rays clear winners as they emerge from the draft and get set for their upcoming opponent.

Always discliplined, Sword followed his gameplan to perfection, nabbing safe but effective second and third round picks, Piero P. and Gianni P. Widely respected around the league, and long suspected of possessing ESP capabilities, these two will be counted on to form a ruthless pitching and catching combination.

“When we were bouncing names around prior to the draft, for me, it kept coming back to these two guys. They are the bread and butter. The macaroni and cheese. The peas and carrots. The ying and yang. Had to have ’em. Had to…,” explained Coach Shawn Collins during what can only be described as an hour long tribute to the twins through a listing of common pairings.

All in all, the club landed the coveted combination of skill and likeability at each draft position. In the first round, after the Angels coach attempted to cheat and take top pitching prospect David H. before taking his own son rated at the same level, the wiley Rays GM capitalized and took Hume with the following pick.

“We didn’t expect Hume to be there but we also didn’t expect the Angels to try and pull a fast one. In the words of Justin Timberlake, ‘what goes around, comes back around,'” explained GM Sword.

Not all was rosy following the draft for the promising Rays. First, Yorkville Little League Commisioner Arlene V. fined the cash-strapped Rays 10,000 donut holes for live tweeting during the draft, a direct violation of the league’s newly harsh communications policy. To make matters worse, the team has seen the price of sunflower seeds skyrocket following the destruction of Hurricane Irene as sunflower farms everywhere suffered significant damage. The team was forced to purchase peanuts instead.

“Don’t like them. That’s all there is to say about it. Just don’t like ’em. I’m not going to comment further than that,” said a dejected Coach Maselli of the choice to go with peanuts.

The Yorkville Rays will begin their quest for a Little League championship this Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 1:00 p.m against the Twins. The game will be played at Randall’s Island, Field #35. For all your Yorkville Rays insight (including schedules, directions and game coverage), continue to visit the team at it’s website, yorkvillerays.wordpress.com. For round-the-clock coverage, follow the squad on Twitter @YorkvilleRays.

Pre-Game Meal

Rays Sting, Nab Angels Execs For 2011 Campaign

NEW YORK — The Yorkville Rays made waves Tuesday morning by announcing a complete front office overhaul.  After leading the Angels to a consolation championship last season, coaches Morgan Sword, Mike Maselli and Shawn Collins have been hired away to rebuild a beleaguered Rays team that counts a bed-wetter among its best players.

The coaching threesome made immense strides both on and off the field with the Angels last season, but failed to make the (real) playoffs for the second consecutive year.  While it was one of the league’s more talented teams on paper, the Angels fell victim to the upper Manhattan version of the plague: Bar Mitzvah season.  “I couldn’t believe it,” Collins said in an interview this spring.  “It wasn’t even like these kids were missing our Sunday games to attend the bar mitzvahs.  They stayed up so late chugging Pepsi, barfing pizza and doing the Soulja Boy dance that their damn parents wouldn’t let them show up the next day.”
Maselli will be immediately named the Club’s field manager, a decision that has received mixed reviews around the league.  “He rarely showers the morning of the game, and there’s this faint scent of…well…double cheeseburger all over him.  It’s really distracting for the boys.” said one parent who spoke on the condition of anonymity.  “Sure, he’s got his demons.  Who doesn’t?” replied Sword.  “The guy knows baseball and that’s why he gets the lineup card.  One time last year he let a kid pitch because his mom was hot.  Any reasonable person can and should respect that.”
Sword, despite his record of building two losing teams, will be named the Rays’ SVP of Baseball Operations/General Manager. Things got so bad last year that he drafted a player who dressed as “death” for Halloween.  All the same, he has proven to be an excellent ambassador for the Club, fielding calls and emails from maniacal parents, giving the same “We understand, it’s an important day.  He is becoming a man.” speech over and over again, and manning the team’s burgeoning Twitter account #needmorefollowers.  Sword also got married this offseason and looks forward to further confusing his players’ detached parents who can’t understand why childless, single guys are coaching a little league team.  Sword will attempt to earn his imaginary salary on September 14th when he goes head-to-head with the other coaches in a draft that will shape their season.
Collins was probably the highlight in a season of lowlights for the Angels last season and will be hired as SVP of Scouting & Player Development.  He took several players under his wing, preaching the benefits of the five o’clock shadow and the finer points of the game.  At one point, Collins helped one of the players get over his fear of the ball by personally guaranteeing he would never be hit by a pitch.  Even though the player was promptly hit squarely in the chest, Collins talked him through his subsequent nervous breakdown with ease.  Perhaps most impressively, Collins spent the entire season fighting a silent battle against Adult Picky Eating Disorder (“APED”).  “I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone, make this season about me” said Collins in an emotional confession.  “I thought it was better to just eat my chicken fingers in peace and focus on baseball.”
The staff will travel to tomorrow evening’s coaches meeting followed by the all-important skills combine this weekend in Harlem.  Sword will then travel back to Harlem next Wednesday night for the draft.  Rays fans have been cautiously optimistic about this new leadership team, leading to some potentially unrealistic expectations.  One thing’s for sure, these guys are going to eat fast food after every game, win or lose.
Fans are encouraged to follow the team’s progress on Twitter @YorkvilleRays and look for more press releases throughout the season.  Also on tap is the wildly anticipated debut of the WolfPod, a variety hour podcast.  Go Rays!