Tuesday, July 19, 2011

After Trainwreck, Muckrakers On Board for Playoffs

CONCORD -- As the former great coach Jim Mora once memorably said: "Playoffs??!!??"

Yes, Jimmy old boy, playoffs.

For the first time in four years, the Muckrakers will dip their toes into the postseason waters by virtue of their third-place finish in the D-League South. After a regular-season-ending 18-12 loss to Trainwreck, the 'Rakers (6-6) will take on the Waterboys (10-2) at 9 a.m. on Field 4. The Men of Muck will have another game on Saturday and will be attempting to play their way into more action on Sunday, so much weekend play beckons for the scrappy ballclub.

It's been a lean time playoff-wise for the Muckrakers of late, but all that is resolved come Saturday. The last time the Masters of Muckaggedon played beyond the regular season was the 2007 fall league, when they went 3-1 in the postseason. Before that, there was the epic 2007 summer campaign, when the 'Rakers dropped their playoff opener (also a 9 a.m. tilt) then ran off an improbable five-game winning string, only to see the surge come to a halt in a season-ending forfeit.

In 2006 the Mucksters were one-and-done in the fall playoffs. In the 'Rakers' Blog Era (2005-present) the team has made the playoffs three times and played 12 games, going 8-4.

But before Los Muckeros could try to add to their playoff lore, there was the tiny matter of completing their regular season. With the playoffs already clinched, the 'Rakers dropped their decision to Trainwreck on Field 2.

The Mucksters did their best to take some momentum into the playoffs but just fell a little short in this one. The 'Rakers scored five times in the third inning and three times in the sixth, and got a two-run home run from Matt Knauff in the top of the seventh, but it was not to be. Again, the Men of Muck proved to be a little snake-bit at the plate, with well-struck line drives finding Trainwreck gloves, but that's life in the fast lane. Perhaps it all had something to do with the full moon that was out that night, and thanks to leadoff man/team astronomer Dave Alcorn for that observation. Most likely there will not be a full moon at 9 a.m. this Saturday, so the 'Rakers should be in good shape in that department.

In any case, the 'Rakers have had their playoff bats stowed away for the past few seasons. It's time to break'em out and swing'em, and continue to swing'em robustly throughout the weekend. Playoffs, here we come.

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