THE RETURN OF UNDERWORLD SLIM
SNAKES IN THE GRASS
Las Vegas, NV
By UNDERWORLD SLIM
Oh, the great state of Texas can be hotter than hell, windy as
a bean-eater, chilly as a blustery blue northern, and dustier than
your old lady’s underwear drawer. It’s a crap shoot. The
hurricanes are rolling and there’s no doubt that the Austin boys
have a close eye on the Caribbean.
But who cares? I don’t. All I care about is setting the record straight
about who is really going to win the NCT this year. And with that
being said, 2018 was a banner year for me, Underworld Slim.
I picked them right on the money and have no doubt that I will do
the same again this year.
Some of the little girls that play might get their feelings hurt but that’s all part of the process. I tell it like I see it.
There are a few snakes in the grass year so beware.
Snake number one (or coming in at 16): New York Meats. The douche bags will be flying high on the New York flag pole this year as the home state is surely proud. BTW, payout at this year’s NCT will be disbursed as pesos. Leave it to the Lone Star State to come to the rescue as the Austin Aeros, a local all-star team, will be slathered across the rough Texas Bermuda turf by many and all. Go easy boys, go easy. Teach as you slaughter. Odds- 10000 to 1
15. No strangers to the Fast Plastic game, the NCT, and big time ball will be a team of veteran players known as TC35 from the Austin Texas area. Lacking a quality big inning eater is going to play El Dorado on these gents. Look for a very good match-up early but this will progressively fade once beyond game three. They could make Tim Dean proud by winning one early. And for the love of Pete, somebody tell Sperling to leave the damned yellow banana bat at home! Odds- 5000 to 1
14. Anarchy. Players matched up from two teams at the 2018 tournament. Look for the really big arms of Jessie Palmore and Ryker Holloway. Combined, in good weather, and when the lonestars have aligned, the tandem can and will do a lot of damage. Ben Schafer adds a big bat for much needed run production. Rookie player, Zach Pendely, fills out this team’s roster. No scouting report on this youngster- he will learn the hard way. Odds- 2500 to 1
13. Unlucky thirteen goes to the Las Vegas Wifflers. Vegas is everyone’s favorite team, not to mention my hometown boys. The Bros have opted to go as a two man bomb squad this year. They wrapped up a 16th place finish last year. Doesn’t matter if you’re Steffy or Whitener, if the batting order you’re facing is 1.Trzpis 2.Trzpis 3.Trzpis 4.Trzpis…. you’re in a hell of a lot of trouble. If LVW gets a decent first round draw, and Matt can throw two quality games with Steve running hot there after they could reach as high as 8. But Vegas odds aren’t good. Odds- 1500 to 1
12. Oh brother, where art thou? I’ve got the Village Idiots placing in a 12 slot. This is a team that sort of lurks out there in the shadows. The Idiots have some tools, and when used at the right times, can turn some heads. I’d expect them to log an upset early. But the name of the game at this tournament is “fading fast”. Better hope your squad doesn’t draw the Village Idiots in game one because you’re most likely facing the Ace Arm of Cameron Jones….good luck. Odds- 1400 to 1
11. Usual Suspects- the good New York team. Great hitters, tons of experience, a NCT staple, but Lanigan and Johnny Wiffs ain’t enough juice to get through this field. Looking for balls out in the WOODs will be the theme. Costa stepped up big last year but he had help from Ryan Wood. Evanish will add some quality AB’s as well as the basher known as Alford and US will score a lot but not enough. Odds- 1200 to 1
10. Los Crusaders will probably come to be known as the Randy Dalbey show. Dalbey is easily a top arm and can dominate for several games as we all witnessed last year. Mocabee and Stein will attempt to throw as the flood gates open wide. The team will be another case of one that can do serious damage, especially if they get a good break early. You do not want to face a fresh Randy Dalbey. Interesting mix of characters here. The 10 slot might be high… but my money is riding on RD’s arm. Odds- 1100 to 1
9. Stant and Rodgers return to Texas to compliment Red and Torres. This team called Sueno has great offense and about 16 innings of quality pitching (quality against the best hitters). I think they will start strong with a big victory but then break down and log three straight losses to end their NCT experience. Expect Sueno to fight like Wolverines, never give up, until a rift develops. Odds- 1000 to 1
THE DEATH POOL TEAMS
In all my days of handicapping, wagering, predicting, and just watching things play out, I’ve never seen anything like this playoff system. On the surface, it looks as though any of the following 8 teams can have a real chance to make Sunday. But what should prevail, write it down boys, what will prevail is experience, big game experience. Who has the killer instincts?
8. The O Bombers return with the young lefty arm of Brice Clark. Clark now having championship game experience will help the Serrano led O Bombers surge. Three solid arms and two amazing sticks are what championships are composed of in this age. Sylvie is said to be playing better than ever. Colon needs to book 6 dingers for good things to happen. Pete Taynton is the question mark. If Pete has been in the cages I’d expect to see the O Bombers late on Saturday night but Sunday might be a stretch. This is a definite sleeper team and should squeak in to the Death Pools by a pubic hair. Odds 200 to 1
7. The Bronx Royals will be Nick Martinez’s team. This is a solid roster with two lively young arms in Lea and Ruckel. Cooper Ruckel is the real deal, nasty breaks and velocity. Martinez will drive in runs, and loads of them when runners are on base. Longiaru’s arm is a big question mark along with Ruckel and Lea’s AB’s. If Longiaru is called in to pitch early then Dandy Don sings early, “Turn out the lights the party’s over” and the Royals drop out. Keep the ball in Vin Lea’s hand as long as possible and coach him up. Texas is no joke. Odds- 75 to 1
6. Something could be brewing for GSW. Extremely tough loss last year has this team recalibrated. And unlike previous seasons, now has pitching depth. The addition of Will Marshall is huge. Expect Will and Ryan DeRoche to throw a lot of quality innings, a lot. Teams 6, 5, and 4 are probably interchangeable, meaning it’s a pick ‘em. Why is that? Because on paper, when I analyzed these rosters, they looked identical from an experience stand point, arms, and O. How hungry is Joel? Marshall’s bat has a lot of holes in it. And Owens, bring the Geritol kid! Odds- 20 to 1
5. And the Papillion award goes to… the Giants for the impressive “We’re still here!” segment in 2018. Adding Connor Young kicks up the potential gauge to 11. A big question that everyone has to be asking is who gets the ball in the big games? Guess what, they are all big. This team has a target on their back, head, and ass more than any other. The McElrath brothers are the fourth set of brother to enter this year’s tournament and could be the most lethal. Does Ryan have 20 solid innings from the flat hill? Does Fisher throw? Questions and more questions. The Death Pool will have few survivors and unfortunately the Giants will not be one. Odds – 18 to 1
4. RTN… stands for Remember the Name. We remember. We remember last year’s Havs disappointment, we remember the 2009 flop, we remember the 2008 choke… we remember a lot. Can’t remember, however, Matty Griffin hoisting a Texas Championship trophy high over head. Hmmm. Turn the page, Dan Whitener now added to the mix. Arguably one of the best all-around players in today’s game but shallow in the experience department. Dinap, Foley, and Griffin have to throw a lot to save Whitener. But can they win early with that model? I’ve heard they are staying at the Heartbreak Hotel. Odds- 15 to 1
3. LOW- Legends of Wiff are no longer legendary. With the exception of Dereck “I just hit the longest single in wiffs history” Anderson the team’s roster has a lot to learn in a big name tourney like the NCT. How early does Kaufmann get used and when does his arm swell? Does Haverty shake last year’s disappointing performance and carry this team to the Promised Land? Can Jimmy Flynn, a virtual unknown outside of the northeast, fill quality innings or is he the go-to late? Supposedly, Anderson has been practicing in or at JAL. What the hell does that mean? Expect LOW to score score score and expect LOW to go 3-0 before sputtering around in DEATH POOLS. And expect Ryan Kaufmann to run out of spinach while his forearm takes on the looks of a Popeye limb. This foursome narrowly misses. Odds 10 to 1
2. Last season the Phenoms added Jordan Robles and Brice Clark but didn’t improve the team’s overall finish from 2017. With Clark now gone and David “Road Toast” Wood added to the pitching rotation the experts are betting they have the right mix. Or do they? The NCT is not your garage sale variety wiffs tourney. It’s not a damn disco and you don’t get to bring your old lady to the dance. If the Phenoms are going to overcome the two time champs it’s going to boil right down to Pagano and Lazur getting it done. They have the experience but do they still have the drive? Past NCT results or history paints a picture of failure for teams that continue to build and rebuild pitching rotations. Why? Most likely because the team’s core player or players tend to feel a bit of relief and take less of a dominant role. Some cases even present implosion (See RTN). Whatever the end result the Phenoms will battle it out and contend, but hell, why wouldn’t they when they’ve absorbed all the pitching….?????? Odds- 8 to 1
1. Hypothetical question, how good would a team comprised of these four players, in the prime of their playing careers, be? Gary LaVoie, Joel DeRoche, Josh Pagano, Joe Nord. Damn Good. That’s a whole buncha championships. They would never lose. Three ace pitchers that can throw all day and arguably the best hitter to play. Most guys would rather quit than try to build a team to compete against that squad. Now look at C-4. Is anybody really going to knock them off the top spot? HELL NO! Do you know what the difference is between the hypothetical team and C-4? The Hypos wouldn’t build or play on that team. It’s about competing against the best and beating the best not joining the best (LeBron James Miami Heat). It’s a different era I suppose. But what do I know? I don’t play nor wood eye.. C-4 will win this again for the third straight year. Such excitement. Odds- MINUS 2000
UNDERWORLD SLIM OUT!