2054 KNORTS: Anyone Can Play Guitar

By | 2024-01-21

Gather ’round, baseball enthusiasts, for the dawn of the 2054 USBA season approaches with the subtlety of a brass band in a library! I’m Charles Dryden, longtime USBA correspondent and your guide and scribe through this impending saga of bats, balls, and bases. Prepare thyselves for an expedition into the heart of America’s grand pastime, as we unfurl the scroll of predictions in our season preview, affectionately dubbed KNORTS.

Before we delve into the mystic art of foretelling baseball fates, let me introduce you to our trio of soothsayers, each a scribe of their own woebegone team. First, we have Davey of the Northern Virginia Rainbow Mermaids, a team so often out of luck you’d think they were trying to catch fish with a toothpick. Davey’s insights are as sharp as a tack, though his team’s performance last season was about as sharp as a bowling ball.

Next, we welcome Tuner of the Seattle Rocketeers, a club known for soaring aspirations that, more often than not, end up lost in the stratosphere. Tuner’s acumen in baseball prognostication is keen, though it seems he often tunes into the wrong frequency when it comes to victory.

Last but not least, Grog of the Cape Coral Hurricanes joins our band of merry forecasters. Grog’s expertise in the game is as deep as the ocean, which is fortunate, as his team’s success last season was about as shallow as a kiddie pool during a drought.

As these three sages, hailing from teams with a penchant for turning winning opportunities into lessons in humility, join forces to predict the outcomes of the 2054 season, one can’t help but muse – if they can foresee the future so clearly, why, pray tell, do their teams often resemble the aftermath of a toddler’s tea party?

Nevertheless, dear readers, their pearls of wisdom, wrapped in layers of baseball lore, are not to be dismissed. After all, who better to understand the capricious winds of baseball fortune than those who’ve weathered its most unpredictable storms?

So, as we stand on the precipice of a new season, full of hope, dreams, and the ever-present chance of a curveball, let us tip our caps to Davey, Tuner, and Grog. May their insights be as accurate as a sniper’s aim and their teams’ fortunes as bright as the North Star!

Stay tuned for the full KNORTS season preview, where predictions will fly faster than a spitball in July, and the future of the USBA will be pondered with the seriousness of a cat contemplating a mouse – or in this case, a baseball!

1. Vancouver

Free of the commissioner chains, Dave continues to make all the right moves. Vancouver has the best, well, everything. This year will mark their third straight league title and the franchise’s first PL title. – Davey

Dave comes close to doing the three year, three championships. Hell he can probably do it. Unlike Buff, this team is what you will get at the start of the season and that should scare you because it’s a good team. – Tuner

Vancouver won the pre-season, reinforcing them as the Prem’s best squad. – Grog
2. Buffalo

Last year Bill Strong, a former fourth round pick that would have cleared waivers at every point in his career, had a 2 WAR season and – if qualified – would have finished fourth in the PL in batting average. Prototypical org guy David O’Farrell won 11 games in the PL for the second consecutive season (he has 39 PL wins over the past four seasons, which is SECOND over that span). 2 Control Jose Ramirez led the league in walks but put up an 104 ERA+ over nearly 100 innings. And I’m only scratching the surface of the witchcraft going on in Buffalo. – Davey

They are the champs and until somebody knocks them off, I can’t have them in any other spot. He still has plenty of money to fill some holes so what you see now will not be the team you see at the start of the season. – Tuner

The champs took a roster hit and fall down the order a bit. – Grog
3. New Orleans

Nawlins was the busiest team PL this offseason, losing 16 players and bringing half a rotation as well as leadoff and cleanup hitters. In typical tbud fashion, this team has a lot of buttons to push and levers to pull, but seems to lack the talent of a few others. – Davey

Chase has good hitters and if the pitching staff can get a little boost, they can take it all the way. I do think Matsumoto was a little overpay but I get the need. – Tuner

New Orleans will the there or there abouts as they continue to reload. – Grog
4. Boston

If you pray at the alter of Base Runs then you’d notice that Boston had the best expected record in the PL in 2053. And the farm system keeps getting better and better. This is a conservative ranking. – Davey

Boston is another team that can go all the way. I like the staff but I do feel they are a couple of bats away from really winning it all. Knowing Boston those bats are in AAA and could come up to fill that void. – Tuner

Continues to have the best farm in the association, no reason to believe he’s leaving the top half of the the Prem anytime soon. – Grog
5. Panama City

The doctor is growing up in front of our eyes. Last year PC “only” spent $24M on IFAs and this year that figure dropped down to $17M. He even spent big money on an adult free agent, 30-year-old flame thrower Chris Jackson. Maybe our tastes do change as we get older. – Davey

The staff is very top heavy. That’s not a bad thing but its not going to win you the PL. I blame the league for holding Brian back yet again. I think he still has money though and some great players out there so let’s see if some moves happen. – Tuner

PC’s keeps the hot tub ticking over. – Grog
6. Montana

Montana celebrated its best season ever by trading its entire draft class and letting the payroll balloon over $200M. Maybe Pander hasn’t changed at all, it’s that everyone around him changed. – Davey

Panda is in money hell from what I can see. He did all he could to get to where he is and he should be proud but when he pulls that yacht back into the dock, the bank is there waiting for him with a trailer. – Tuner

Pandas sneak into the top three of my rankings as Montana is all-in and holding on for long as possible sporting the USBA’s only 0-point farm (ed. note: every other team has at least two top 100 prospects). – Grog
7. Athletic Club KC

New year, same story. ACKC spends as heavily in IFA as anyone and waits until ST to sign major league help, which will largely decide what their season looks like. Your guess is as good as mine. – Davey

Andy’s team is another team that has a chance. Duffy signing a 2×6 contract extension should tell you about his future. This team has some really strong points and some weak points. THAT FARM THOUGH….yummy. – Tuner

ACKC shed nearly as must WAR as FTW, their farm is deeper but maybe a couple seasons away. – Grog
8. Pittsburgh

Last season was good, the Kingfishers made the easy fixes and almost made the playoffs, missing out in game 109. They were also very fortunate according to base runs, and looking at their offense they’ll need more luck to avoid a relegation fight this season. – Davey

I love Twrl but he breaks my heart every season, even the ones I am not here. He has a high power offense….for a 3L team. Great staff though. – Tuner

Pittsburgh appear well equipped to secure survival, after adding WAR (and Yi arriving from AAA) where those below all lost double digits worth. – Grog
9. Greenville

I think Greenville is done? Last year marked the sixth time in seven years they missed the ToC. ACKC has adopted the same strategy and is out IFAing them. Boston’s farm system puts theirs to shame. I just hate to see this kind of thing happen. – Davey

I have only seen Greenville in the PL but that might be coming to an end. They have so many holes to fill but I will also say they have 84 million to fill them. They should go the SL but I will be shocked if that happens knowing this GM – Tuner

Greenville seem destined for the drop, no team lost more WAR this offseason. – Grog
10. Hollywood

I don’t think Hollywood is especially good yet, but someone will have to win the SL and this team has a pile of money and the best farm system in USBA so let’s get weird bro. – Davey

Cheese has money, Cheese has an amazing farm system, Cheese has great FI, Cheese rolled a nat 20. – Tuner

Hollywood leads a congested mid-pack group, their mountain of young talent will push them back to the Prem, maybe this season. – Grog
11. Fort Worth

The Cattlemen celebrated their promotion to the PL by having an extremely boring offseason. This is still the oldest team in the league and Scoot got his taxes done early, which is nice. – Davey

A tale as old as Scooter’s players. Scooter looks like he will have a cup of coffee in the PL and then will be back where he belongs. Stuck in the Middle with You. – Tuner

I think Ft Worth can avoid the drop, but they’ll need to remain healthy and for their thin farm to deliver. – Grog
12. Oakland

They’ll win the SL if Hollywood doesn’t get motivated. – Davey

Oakland has a great staff and some good bats. It will come down to him and Cheese on who wants to win the SL. – Tuner

The Oaks are the class of the SL. – Grog
13. St. Louis

Ozzie Canales-Lister will be eligible for arbitration next season, and many are suggesting he is in line to receive the largest contract in USBA history. 10 figures, they are saying. – Davey

STL is a team that I like and they have a chance to do the Double Promote. That van Opdorp contract….. Buzz’s girlfriend. – Tuner

St Louis is the next strongest of the mid-pack group. – Grog
14. Toledo

TeeJ exported once this offseason so I don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into this one. – Davey

TeeJ’s only problem is he exports too much, he is an overthinker. Looking back I probably have this team too high because I see some holes but I also see around 26 million that could fill those holes. – Tuner

Toledo should be able to avoid relegation as they work through the post-football season hang over this season. – Grog
15. Long Island

Long Island finished eighth in the SL but improved their win total over 2052 by four games, and followed that up by being one of the more active FA participants. I’m forced to write positive things about Michael’s team to counteract whatever vile Tuner will write about them. – Davey

Is Michael becoming the New (Old) Scooter? Signing old players to one-year prove it deals that end up keeping you in the middle of the SL, Scooter should sue. – Tuner

I like Long Island to secure a playoff spot and win promotion. – Grog
16. Mississippi

Winner of 39 games in 2053, Beau took a look at his situation and said let’s put all my money into one player and let most of my team walk in free agency. Bold strategy, Cotton. – Davey

I love Beau because Beau plays with his heart. Is it smart to bring Lau back at that cost? Probably not but fucj em, Beau loves Lau and Lau loves money. – Tuner

Sorry Beau, but the roster I saw this weekend had relegation written all over it. – Grog
17. Kingston Township

The Knights went from a ninth place, 45-win season in 2052 to a league title and 73 wins last season. Everything went right and rookie Tyler Adams had one of the greatest seasons of all time. Rodrigo Garcia had another great season and now has the most WAR in USBA since 2049. Everything is going right in Kingston Township and surely that will never stop. – Davey

Rayzor rode Tyler Adams all the way out of the 3L last season and now it’s time to see what they are made of. They did this back in 2041 and rode the middle/bottom of the SL before going back down. Will this time be different? – Tuner

I think KT might be the SL .500 team – Grog
18. Baltimore

Los Jorges, Rocha and Souza, both enter the final year of their contract this year. That will free up $64M in payroll for 2055. Augusto Alfonzo returns from an elbow injury that cost him basically all of 2053, and is due a whopping $50M over the next two seasons. What a terrifying time to be a Baltimore fan. – Davey

Truth time, I made the rankings without looking too much into each team and then I started doing the write ups looking at the teams (ed. note: if you’d like to participate in KNORTS next time there’s a spot open). Baltimore has a great chance of going down to the 3L. I see a lot of holes, some bloated contracts and no money. Rocha is great when he is on the field so maybe he again has a great year and keep buck afloat. – Tuner

Baltimore rounds out a congest SL mid-pack and league median. – Grog
19. Detroit

The Elite have been anything but, now finishing twice in the 3L two times in the last three seasons yet somehow failing to gain promotion. If they fail to earn promotion this year we’re moving them to Houston. – Davey

D$ should have won the 3L the last couple of seasons but seems to find a way to stay in the 3L. A great pitching staff for the 3L and a new IFA in Kondo should be enough to push them over the top. Also who else is going to win the 3L? – Tuner

Detroit to show, in frame of photo finish. – Grog
20. Seattle

Tuner is back, and one of the most interesting things about him is that he never makes a mistake. Sometimes the game is unfair or buggy, but the fault never lies with him. – Davey

Do one thing, don’t allow that to happen to us, Do one thing, don’t allow that to happen to us, Do one thing and do that to other team. Stick to the plan. – Tuner

I think its Seattle and Dayton in the relegation series, that Seattle had a better offseason may pay off this postseason. – Grog
21. Dayton

I can’t believe we let a team move to Ohio. That’s some failed state shit. – Davey

New name and I like it. I could see Dayton coming into the league and doing the double deuce. Don’t be afraid of the 3L though, it’s the best league to be in. – Tuner

I think it’s Dayton and Seattle in the relegation series. – Grog
22. D.C.

Rainbow Mermaid legend Richard Trevithicc had what has to be one of the best age 38 seasons of all time for DC in 2053, hitting 20 homers and putting up a 153 OPS+. We’ve entered year three of win now for DC, no pressure. – Davey

I don’t know where to go with Gerth. This team seems like they could be a wildcard. He could be at the top of the 3L or be fighting for the #1 pick. – Tuner

DC to place, photo finish. – Grog
23. Northern Virginia

Last season was the fourth straight year we finished 8th or lower, including the second straight year with an 8th place 3L finish. No 3L team lost more WAR this offseason. NoVa 2054: Season Tickets Are On Sale Now! PLENTY OF SEATS AVAILABLE. – Davey

They don’t love Davy like I love Davy. Everybody goes to Davy for advice and that is smart because he has been killing it lately. Great team, great farm. I do love the Keetley pickup. – Tuner

Rebuilding team playing for lottery position, only Greenville lost more WAR this offseason. – Grog
24. Santa Catalina

Due to an illegal contract, Levka Efremov will make $51M over the next six seasons. In a little more than 700 career major league PAs, Efremov has an 82 OPS+. Last season he spent most of his time in AAA, slashing 179/252/379. He is a good defender, though. – Davey

SAVE ME JESUS, Rose could be the surprise 3L team that finally makes the leap. that Efy contract though could kill the franchise. – Tuner

Without a farm, in the lottery mix for next year’s draft but has a squad that maybe outplays the others. – Grog
25. Colorado

Future genius Mack has completed the slow ride down to the basement. Hate to bring it up every time I talk about Colorado, but until the fan interest is figured out nothing really matters. Honestly nothing really matters anyway. – Davey

Mack is in the 3L but this a good thing. He kept bad teams in the PL which is not a bad thing but sometimes it’s good to go down and build a great foundation and make your run. Look at Chros who did it a few years ago. – Tuner

Rebuilding team playing for lottery position. – Grog
26. Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia outperformed Base Runs better than any team last season, putting up a whopping +10 Base Run Wins over expectation. They spent big money to bring Gavin Okel back and to infuse Daniel Marley with the blood of a healthy youth. – Davey

My old team… I said Marley was going to be shjt and I was wrong. I am worried about the Okel deal and there are some other depth pitchers that could be moved to help top teams. Full rebuild? – Tuner

Nova Scotia, not sitting on a farm, adds Okel when they should maybe be in suck-now mode. – Grog
27. Charleston

2053 was a big step back for Charleston, the first time since 2047 they haven’t finished with a winning record. It’s worrisome that they didn’t add any major league talent, and even more worrisome that Don has been seen in the #fm-soccer channel asking about Football Manager. – Davey

I feel like a broken record when I talk about bottom 3L teams. It’s okay to be bad but be fully bad. Half a$$ bad gets you nowhere. – Tuner

I think Charleston wins by a nose. – Grog
28. Echo Park

In about two seasons Angel Miranda will probably be ML ready, joining Donald Anderson in the Lakers’ OF. At that point no amount of Jordan apathy will save us. – Davey

Angel Miranda is the greatest thing since sliced bread. – Tuner

Rebuilding team playing for lottery position. – Grog
29. Las Vegas

The Flamingos hit true rock bottom in their first year back in the 3L, and then were the first victims of the draft lottery. Good bud of mine is always talking about how nice guys finish last. – Davey

See the Colorado comment, Tom just keep building the farm and the foundation. Things will come to you. – Tuner

Rebuilding team playing for lottery position. – Grog
30. Buckhead

I have concerns about the future of this franchise. – Davey

…Living overseas sounds amazing. I am totally jealous of that. – Tuner

Buckhead’s farm should produce a number of contributers this year, and for years to come. It’s a matter of time before they go up. – Grog
31. Cape Coral

In six SL seasons, Cleveland never finished with an above average wOBA. Since 2041 they’ve only had an above average wOBA once, in the 3L in 2047. – Davey

Grog knows the plan. Drop down, take on bad contracts as you build the team back up. – Tuner

No quick bounce back for the Canes. – Grog
32. Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay celebrated its fifth consecutive losing season in the 3L by signing no one, letting their most electric arm leave, and parting ways with club legend Dusty Crum. The farm system is starting to look better, though, so at least they’ve got that going for them. – Davey

The Lions did it… You can too. Its time (after this season) to start the turnaround. – Tuner

Rebuilding team playing for lottery position. – Grog