Week 1
KKG 25
SLG  2
Week 2
SLG 4
DDY 18
Week 3
RRD 6
SLG 19
Week 4
DBP 4
SLG 20
Week 5
SLG 7
MMR 21
Week 6
SLG 6
OSG 13
Week 7
BPK 20
SLG 3
Week 8
SLG 15
RRD 16
Week 9
DDY 11
SLG 4
Week 10
SLG 6
KKG 12
Week 11
OSG 15
SLG 4
Week 12
SLG 3
BPK 17
Week 13
SLG 21
DBP 13
Week 14
MMR 17
SLG 16


19Jan2015

Is This The End?

Is This The End?

DUBLIN, IRELAND -- The Sluggers, no strangers to high turnover in recent years, are again a team in turmoil. Several Sluggers veteran players sent shockwaves throughout the Leinster softball community with the prospect of parting ways with the club to focus on playing in the Premier division in 2015. Michiyo Hogan, Junichiro Aoki and even Darryl Clancy are rumored to be testing the market, with their gaze falling on the Renegades club, and possibly forming a new Premier breakaway "super-group".  

As far as a definitive answer to whether or not some or all of the Sluggers will be returning for 2015, no one yet knows.

But for the potential knock-on effects: who would replace these veteran players in the field, and how will the decision to move forward with a team position in Division 1 impact the future of the remaining Sluggers and fellow Castleknock club players? Many Castleknock players wish to maintain a team in Division 1; with the relegation of the Bearcats to Division 2, and with the Wildcats narrowly missing out on promotion to Division 1, some Castleknock players were looking forward to being a part of a Sluggers Division 1 lineup for 2015.

The speculation starts with John Edwards. The Sluggers pitcher has decided to remain within the Castleknock club system and compete in Division 1, though he is unsure about his continued presence in Ireland. Relieved to see the end of his personal "annus horribilis" that was 2014, Edwards will be spending significant periods of time either in the US or in France, and will likely miss half the season, possibly more. 
 
Veteran player Ciara Schotsman is also expected to only play part-time; and while her husband and longtime player Wouter Schotsman sat out the entirety of 2014, it is possible he may make a return to playing, at least part-time. But both live well south of Dublin, and it is not certain whether either would be willing to make the long trek just to play softball. 
 
Mike Shea, one of the most experienced and knowledgable players in the Sluggers organization, is not guaranteed to return in 2015 in an everyday role. 2014 was a standout season for Shea, who showed he still has the skill to play at a high level. His abilities both on defense and offense would be welcome in any form, full or part-time, along with his unquestioned leadership on the sidelines. Even as a part-time player, or in a spot-start role, he would be a great source of support for the team.

Bearcat veteran Paul McGrath, one of the most respected pitchers in the game, is a logical candidate as pitcher and captain, but his work commitments make it difficult to expect him to be able to attend every game. Lenny Miller is another Bearcat possibility, and the plot is getting thick now. Will other Bearcat players, notably Alan O'Rafferty, Jerry Kearns, Elaine Donohoe, Mick Skelly and Judy Cecil, and even players from the Division 2 Wildcats, look to improve and step up into Division 1 play?

With a majority of former Bearcats making up the Sluggers roster, and that Bearcat team having been relegated from Division 1 in 2014, will the Sluggers have any hope of being competitive in 2015 without the presence of the likes of Michiyo Hogan, Junichiro Aoki, Darryl Clancy and John Edwards? And would an exodus from the Bearcats to the Sluggers spell the end of the Bearcats?

The return of the team name "Sluggers" may even be in doubt. With the likely exit of Hogan and Aoki, there is the possibility of winding up the "Sluggers" moniker with a view to maintaining the legacy of the club's promotion up through divisions, culminating in a long stint in the Premier class. A new name and a fresh start for the new lineup may be a way to completely rebuild and rebrand the team beneath the Castleknock club umbrella. 

If Castleknock cannot find the numbers from within, where else could they look? Rumors about discord within the Renegades organization are becoming commonplace, and there may be some players who are either disillusioned or displaced that may be looking for a Division 1 home. Some players may be waiting on the decision of the Leinster league on whether or not to reorganize the league structure to group more competitive teams in smaller divisions; and if there will be any changes to the league exemptions rules, that could limit the movement of players across teams in a multi-team club. 

One Renegades name you can cross off the list for Castleknock recruitment is Pat Reddy, who for a season played with the Sluggers and helped them win the inaugural 2Pak Park blitz in 2012 en route to a Sluggers club-best record of 6-8 in league play for the 2012 season. Reddy, who has achieved success coaching the Irish national team and is a noted game strategist as well as accomplished pitcher, is rumored to be leaving the Renegades again; but a reunion with former Sluggers players, or the Castleknock club, is not considered an option.

This also raises further questions about the status of the Bearcats, who were automatically relegated to Division 2 at the end of the 2014 season, and especially for any new destination "super-group" that may be formed which includes former Sluggers players: if this is an entirely new team, separate from an existing club system, does that new team assume the previous season's league status of the majority of its members, even if it secedes from a parent multi-team club system? Or does the new team start at the lowest division of the league, and the parent multi-team club retain a team's league position? And how will any proposed league restructuring, with a reorganization of teams across divisions, affect any new teams in the league?

The Leinster league start is only several weeks away, and there are still a lot of questions to be answered during this dramatic 2015 "silly season".