Season Preview: Lancers

By Ryan A. Gold
Wahoo! Sports
Somewhere in So Cal

6 of 12, 9 of 12, 11 of 12. That’s how the Lancers have finished since joining FBB three seasons ago. During that time, managers have been fired and GMs were canned. Pitching coaches were pitched and hitting instructors axed. Even the groundskeepers were mowed down. Nobody has been immune. So what do you do when you run out of places to cast blame. Well there’s always the fans of course.

In a bizarre off season tirade, that’s just what owner and used jet ski magnate Nacho Troell did. Citing repeated instances of fan interference, doing the wave during home at bats and order of magnitude attendance discrepancies depending upon whether or not it was beach towel, snuggie or plush toy give away night, the Lancers’ top man made it clear that enough was enough. And so was born the Superfan program. Want to buy a ticket to a Lancers game this year? Be prepared to be committed. There are classes to attend. There are tests to pass. Unsure about the infield fly rule? Maybe this isn’t the team for you. Unwilling to keep score during the game? Too bad. Everybody keeps score and there are an army of ushers out there to enforce the rule.

Now you might think this might discourage the casual fan, but something very unusual took place. The Superfan program took off. And you’ll never believe with whom. The cast of popular reality television show The Real Live Ladies of the OC. Since the Lancers caught the attention of these So. Cal trendsetters, the lines for tickets has been one great sea of silicone implants and peroxide blondes. If there opening week of play is any indication, this team may have to change it’s name to the cougars. Perhaps Silvia Plath was right when she opined that “every woman adores as fascist.”

So what will the product on the field look like for the ladies. Well it’s a good thing chicks dig the long ball, because this team can hit, hit and hit some more. The Lancers did the right thing picking both the falling Miggy Cabrera and Prince Fielder despite the double dip at first base. The combination Rollins and Pedroia make for as solid a double play combo as you’ll find in the league and Aramis Ramirez solidifies a position that’s thin leaguewide. Pierre and Bourne provide the speed and Torii Hunter is consistently underrated. A comeback year for Josh Hamilton could make this team scary good offensively.

Pitching is another story, where Huston Street, Cliff Lee and bullpen workhorse Michael Wurtz start the year on the DL. Shields, Billingsley, Baker and Saunders may do more harm than good, providing innings but threatening the loss column, ERA and WHIP week in and week out without guaranteeing the flipside categories. The pen is a shambles with just shaky Kevin Gregg and veteran Darren Oliver out there. When it comes to pitching, man can this team hit. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see some of the bench players like Rivera, Hairston and Swisher, all fine options for another team, depart via waivers or trade to shore up the staff.

Things are looking up for the Lancers. Playoffs are not out of the realm of possibility, maybe even likely. Superfans get ready.

Prediction: Playoffs one and done.

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