Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Coil

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride - that best describes the Burlington Squirming Coil. 100+ wins in each of three HBD seasons in Bo Jax, cruising to division titles in the A.L. East each year. An MVP, a Cy Young winner, multiple all-stars, silver sluggers, golden glovers, and some rookie of the year votes along the way. Playing in one of the least friendly ballparks for hitters - with outfield walls stretching nearly across Lake Champlain, the team's strength has always been pitching, a mix of seasoned vets and young bucks on the way up. This year the Coil lost decidedly to Jackson in the ALCS, and even though they won 108 games and will be bringing back virtually the same team next year, there's a definite feeling that they are not getting any younger and their time as an elite franchise will soon be a thing of the past. The pressure's on for a ring.

The offense is a balanced attack focusing on contact, speed, and the occasional 3 run homer. Led by the dynamic IF duo of 2B Eddie Hawkins and SS Jimmy Christensen, the Coil will steal bases, move runners, and present difficulty almost to the bottom of the order. LF Wally McCrae is ready for a breakout year, and will likely bat leadoff. CF Johnny Witt, after a disappointing year 2 season, bounced back last year and hopes to add to his already impressive catch of 2 gold gloves in the year ahead. The team will be looking for a solid DH in his prime after declining the option on 37 year old Christopher Springer. They've got some money to spend, but with McCrae and young C Luis Alvarez up for arbitration and looking for a long-term contract, the priority in Burlington is to tie up those young players for years to come. Lefty Courtney Buck, acquired in a trade last season, enters year 4 as a possible rookie of the year candidate, especially if he can keep his whip totals down and rely on the Coil's impressive defense.

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