2000 STORIES...

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Editor Jim Lockwood

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Monday, Oct. 2, 2000
Story by Jim Lockwood

SAN JOSE (AP) - Some highlights of the 2000 regular season...

OTT EDGES COBB FOR IL BATTING TITLE - Despite a .350 career batting average, New York Nukes outfielder Ty Cobb had yet to win a batting title due to injuries before this season. He appeared on the verge in 2000 after distancing himself from Ken Griffey Jr. and Raul Mondesi of the Los Angeles Riots after mid-season injuries to the duo. But in the final month of the season, Cheyenne Scalpers outfielder Mel Ott surged to eventually beat Cobb on the final day of the season by one percentage point, .354 to .353! Ott and Cobb had a heated rivalry during 1997 when Ott took an early lead on Cobb and started talkin' shit about Cobb in public before Cobb "took care of him" during a game between Cheyenne and New York, so watch for the rivalry to heat up going into next season!

NAIROBI TRADED THIS GUY? - Stan Musial continued to turn Blizzard League pitching into his personal punching bag in 2000 by dominating BL offensive categories for the fourth straight season. Although he wasn't able to duplicate his Triple Crown performance of last season, Musial won his third straight BL Batting Title, though he hit a paltry .384 after having .400+ averages the past two seasons! Some of Musial's final numbers... .617 Slugging Avg. (3rd), 257 hits (first), 55 doubles (first), 42 HR's (tied for 5th), 116 runs (fourth), 129 RBI (first), and 187 runs created (first)! The ever professional Musial did this with the distraction of being traded to the Vancouver Vipers, a last place team which may be moving to it's fifth city in five seasons. Wherever the Vipers end up, they look to be turning the fortunes of their franchise around by building around "The MAN"!

NO 40-40 THIS SEASON FOR SHEFFIELD, VERO - In a season that featured many many players reaching 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in both leagues, Gary Sheffield of the Nukes and Qual Vero of the Atlanta Rebels just missed reaching the 40-40 plateau. Sheffield broke his foot with 10 games to go and finished the season two stolen bases short of 40-40. Nonetheless, Sheffield enjoyed his best career season, batting .332 with 42 HR, 38 SB, and 137 RBI! Vero went into the last week of the season two home runs short, but was only able to tally one more to finish with 39 HR and 49 SB!

WHERE WOULD LONDON BE WITHOUT HIM? - Smokey Joe Wood has had several outstanding seasons since joining the Weaver League, but his 2000 season may have been the most dominant season for a starting pitcher in history! Wood won 24 games, which is scary when you consider that he played through the London Substitutes fire sale! But then again, how many games are you gonna lose when you can dominate batters in such a way that you can strike out 449 of them to finish with a 1.03 ERA? Poor Jim Palmer, what does the guy have to do? The Bombay Elephants ace enjoyed a dominant season by normal standards (25 wins, 266 SO, 1.64 ERA) but Wood has to be the obvious choice to win his second straight IL Cy Young Award.

CAPYS CLOSE, BUT NO CIGARS - Give the Honorable Mention Award to the Rio de Janerio Capybaras. The Capys finished with a 99-63 record, which would have been good enough to win the Barnes Division by four games or to tie for first against either of the Inferno League Division Champs. But unfortunately Rio had to play this season in the Roehm Division, behind the Havana Cigars and their 111 wins. The Capys could have laid down months ago, when it appeared the Cigars might finish with over 120 wins. But Rio owner Ralph Kraskiewicz didn't give up. The Capys stayed close and after acquiring Tom Glavine from the Motown Miracles began to surge and look like they might give the Cigars a run, but in the end the Cigars were just too much. But watch out Havana, Rio's not going away in 2001!

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