Congratulations to the 2061 Weaver League Champions, the Cairo Scorpions!
After a 2060 season where Cairo finished just 3 games back, Scorpions fans huddled around the hot stove all winter hoping that management could acquire the final piece needed to propel the team back into the playoffs. Calabria, while aging, still had a monster lineup on paper and a top-tier rotation: could the Scorpions knockout their rivals and put an end to that dynasty?
Sensing their excitement, management followed through with an aggressive strategy of player acquisition. First, RHP Wayne Bigelow was signed from the Godfathers, accomplishing the dual goal of strengthening the rotation while weakening a contender. Then, 1B Buck Leonard was signed as the franchise’s Negro League All-Timer. Leonard’s smooth stroke and deceptive power would prove equally adept at setting the table as well as driving in runs. Lastly, in a surprise trade prior to Opening Day, Cairo acquired SS Shunsuke Onoda from the Long Beach Lobsters for 2 prospects and a pick. Onoda, nearing retirement, desperately wanted to finish his career a winner and would provide steady veteran leadership to a squad of talented newcomers ready to make their move.
From that point on, the burden of high expectations may have been the toughest opponent the Scorpions dealt with all season. Cairo clobbered the Blizzard League for a 120-42 record, and ended up winning the division by 10 games. The Scorpions won both of their head-to-head matchups with Calabria and Roehm Division winner Vancouver, 10-8 and 8-4, respectively.
In the BLCS, the Scorpions dropped Game 1 on home turf 5-1, but the players all agreed postgame that it was just a case of first-time playoff jitters. Cairo rebounded to take the next 3 games, with starting pitchers RHP Wayne Bigelow, RHP Jacob DeGrom, and LHP Blake Snell all posting dominant performances. Vancouver rebounded to take Game 5, but the Scorpions quickly put the kibosh to any thoughts of a comeback by plating 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th and putting DeGrom in as a surprise closer to end the series.
With postseason jitters out of the way, the Weaver Series was almost over before anyone knew it had started. Cairo swept Oakland 4-0, and the Lumberjacks never seemed capable of reproducing the emotional high that had powered their extra innings ILCS Game 7 win against Sapporo. Then again, when facing a postseason rotation of Snell, Bigelow, and DeGrom, mustering any sort of offense will be a challenge.
With the 2061 season complete, it seems that high expectations will again be a burden for Cairo. Now, the question isn’t “will they beat Calabria?” but “can they match up with the great early 30’s Scorpions teams?” Led by Hall of Fame CF Craig Coluccio, those Scorpions managed to win 4 BL Barnes titles, but were upset 3 times in the BLCS and only claimed one Weaver Cup.
Can this generation of Scorpions put those memories of underachieving to rest? With so many of their stars just entering their prime, it sure does seem likely! Congratulations!