Category: Old Forest

Spring Preview: Old Forest Merry Fellows

March 10, 2042
Despite making the playoffs and winning their first Elf Division pennant in nine years and going all the way to the Return of the King Series for the first time since 2019, Old Forest management was not happy with their team. “Tear it all down!” seemed to be the mantra of Team Owner Honeysuckle Bracegirdle, GM Tom Bombadil and Assistant GM Ruby Muddyfoot. And with a flurry of trades in the offseason, the 2041 Merry Fellows were almost completely transformed into the version that will start 2042.

Management Struggles
When the manager of nearly 25 years, Kigush Eyeslobberer, retired in 2040, it set off a chain of events in management that reverberate to this day. Eyeslobberer and his bench coach, G’Kar Moonpoker, where the on-field commanders of the Merry Fellows for the last 11 seasons. Moonpoker arrived in 2029 after managing the SFL Star Fleet Acadamy Cadets, while Eyeslobberer was away for two seasons as the manager of the SFL Narnia Badgers. Upon Eyeslobberer’s return as manager of Old Forest in 2031, the duo became inseparable. However, instead of offering the manager’s job to Moonpoker, the GM decided to keep him at his post at least until his contract runs out in 2044.

The search for a new manager took from Eyeslobberer’s retirement in November 2040 until January 6, 2041, when they signed Sruul Cleavergobber to a 3-year deal. It was Cleavergobber’s first managing gig. He had been a pitching coach with the Osgiliath College Devilfish and bench coach for the Isengard Raiders from 2034 to 2038, but his reliance on sabermetrics was well-known. He didn’t like to play smallball, but other than that, he kept himself out of the tabloids and off the radar. But something happened 126 games into the season. It’s still unclear what, but after guiding them to 70 wins and leading the Elf Division, the team fired him on August 26. Two days later, Thigol Elruldor was hired as skipper.

Elruldor, 60, is well regarded as a field general. He earned that reputation by sticking to a balanced, measured approach. He insists that he doesn’t run things in a dictatorial manner, but he is known around the league as one of the toughest disciplinarians. Some thing that comes from his past experience managing high school teams and as the hitting coach for the Harlond College Pelicans from 2025-2030. In any case, he was fired as the Rivendell hitting coach in July before taking the reigns at Old Forest. Whatever happened, Elruldor guided the team to finish off the season and through the playoffs, all the way to Game 7 of the Return of the King Series. His winning percentage is slightly better than his predecessor’s was, but with just 31 regular season games under his belt, all eyes will be on him in 2042.

Pitching
Old Forest had a staff ERA of 4.55, allowing 4.8 runs per game. Not the worst in the Shire Conference, but there was some room for improvement. Well, the team really took that to heart, tearing up the rotation and excavating the bullpen.

Of the starters last year, one retired, three were traded, and one was released.

Galugol Eliolas, pretty much a guaranteed Hall of Famer, retired after spending his final season with the Merry Fellows, going 11-11 with a 4.97 ERA in 34 starts. Another future Hall of Famer, Bulbo Moss, was traded to Bucklebury. Elrealwyn Isadrielad was traded to Earthsea for SP Nuukor Glinkov. Vasanthi Brodrick was traded to the SFL Gallifrey Time Lords. And Gorbadoc Hedgeworth was released and later acquired by Lothlorien.

Of the probable starting five, none of them was with the team last year.

Ikag Nosethrottler, 26, has been the Numenor closer for the past three seasons. He was acquired in a deal that sent relievers Voilin Chiselmasher and Borowyn Denihil to the Kings. Nosethrottler has the stamina and the pitches for a shot at a starting role, and it looks like the Merry Fellows will give it to him. His 100 mph cutter is murderous, and when he mixes it in with his screwball and changeup, anything ball hit will be on the ground.

Carash Shushud came to Old Forest in a deal that sent reliever Tigan Oreshaker to the SFL Intergalactic Hitchhikers. Shushud, 31, was the 2038 Frodo Rookie of the Year for Rivendell. An injury in late 2039 put him on the IL for a good chunk of 2040, and he struggled in 2041.

Nuukor Glinkov arrived in the trade with Earthsea for Elrealwyn Isadrielad. Glinkovis a 29-year-old right-hander who can top out at 95-97 mph on the radar gun. His three-pitch mix includes a plus-plus fastball, a slider with hard bite, and a decent changeup. In 2039, he won 18 games for Earthsea in 26 starts.

Zoello Rodinger signed a fat contract with Numenor in January, only to be traded by the Kings to Old Forest in February. Rodinger, 28, was 12-12 with a 3.63 ERA with Misty Mountain last year. A good hitting pitcher, he has won three Gimli’s Axe awards as the best batter at the position. He has even played more than a few innings at 1B.

Agrunk Nosethrower, 25, came over in a deal with Moria after pitching the last two seasons at Minas Morgul. Nosethrower was 10-14 with a 3.94 ERA for the Slayers and won the Mordor Conference Legolas Fielder Award at pitcher.

Big changes as well can be found in the bullpen, starting with the trade of closer Francesco McKilligin to Bucklebury. McKilligin is a 5-time All-Star and the 2037 Gwaihir Reliever Award winner. He came to Old Forest as a free agent in 2041, after spending seven seasons in the Dol Guldur pen. While he pitched 67 games for the Merry Fellows, he only wound up saving 16. He went to the Fairies in a December trade.

In McKilligin’s place, the team picked up Asko Fern from the SFL Earthsea Dragons. Fern, 26, won the Fantasy League Reliever of the Year award in 2040 and is expected to match or exceed McKilligin. His curveball is his strikeout pitch, and he can throw a sinker between 96 and 98 mph. Toss in an occasional change, and the K’s just pile up.

Bolgag Ogredragger is one of the few familiar faces on the team, much less in the bullpen. He earned the bulk of the saves last year (21) while appearing in 64 games. His knuckle curve when combined with a 94 mph fastball keeps batters on their toes.

Last year’s SC Gwaihir Reliever winner, Darrick Hafer, joins a pretty stacked pen after a big trade that sent CF Ferdinand Greenthumb and SP Bulbo Moss to the Fairies for Hafer and 2B Aglanthol Elril-gambor. Hafer, 27, saved 55 games for Bucklebury last year, setting a new seasonal record.

Hitting
In addition to the players mentioned above, Old Forest also traded 1B Diador Elrailbo, the MVP of the Fellowship Series last year, to the SFL Mos Eisley Wookies. DH Guggek Hammerarm, who had 30 HR last year, was traded to the Chiba City Neuromancers. 2B Galaudriel Elmalinde, was traded to Numenor for SP Gaudriel Lomeldur, who was then traded to Ravenhill for CL Joachim Murdock. Vagnar Elvawen, 3B, was traded to Earthsea for CL Asko Fern. and LF Gandeaden Elreodriel, was traded to Ravenhill for CL Atanarat Anara, who was then traded to Moria for SP Agrunk Nosethrower.

On top of all that, catcher Baztrak the Vague, a possible Hall of Famer, retired.

So, what replaced the Merry Fellows lineup?

Well, let’s not forget that Old Forest fans were introduced to the latest member of the Hubbard family last season. Alrond Hubbard, Jr. set the world on fire in his rookie season, setting a record for hits (248) and hitting .395 with 46 HR and 108 RBI. Hubbard, 19, was named to the Shire Conference All-Star Team, and he won the Frodo Rookie award, the Sam Gamgee Batter award, a Gimli’s Axe Award in RF, and the SC Aragorn MVP award. This Spring, Hubbard is learning to play 3B to add to his skills in RF.

Also returning will be Giden Eladriewen, the power hitting infielder who has base stealing speed and who may slot in as the new first baseman.

Imcir Lomeldur has a trophy case full of Gold Glove Wizard awards at 1B, but Old Forest got him for his bat. Lomeldur is set to DH after the lefty hit 170 HR for the SFL Dyson Spheres over the last five years.

Togo Bracegirdle, who can play at any position in the diamond, will likely be the starting CF for Old Forest. Bracegirdle, 26, was acquired in a trade with the SFL Star Fleet Academy Cadets.

Joining Bracegirdle in the outfield will be Teshome Timlussson, a 28-year-old walk on from the independent leagues who signed a 5-year, $77.5 million contract with the Merry Fellows. Timlussson has a swing that can produce above average power from the right side of the plate.

At catcher, Born Mulhall came to Old Forest in a multi-player swap with Bucklebury. Mulhall, 32, is not the best defensive catcher on the planet, but he can slug out some homers.

Summary
It’s been a wild ride this offseason for the Merry Fellows. A relatively new manager and a practically new team may have fans wondering what happened to last year’s model, but Old Forest is positioned to take their 2nd straight Elf Division pennant and try to make it past Game 7 of the Return of the King Series for the first time in 23 years.

Ness’s Season Could be Over

Thursday, March 6th, 2042
Old Forest reliever Eloni Ness could miss the remainder of the season because of a stretched elbow ligament. He exited yesterday’s Minas Tirith game after injuring himself while throwing a pitch. The original diagnosis said Ness would be out 10-11 months. Later on his doctors said he could be out even longer. “He’s done,” his manager commented at the BNN press conference. “It’s a season-ending injury, but it could have been worse. It’s not the worst-case scenario, so we’re happy about that.”

Ugly Incident Ends in 3-Game Suspension

Monday, March 3rd, 2042
“Deplorable conduct will not be tolerated in this league, especially if it is directed toward our umpires.” That was the gist of the league commissioner’s notification letter to the Old Forest Merry Fellows organization advising them that designated hitter Imcir Lómeldur had been suspended for 3 games for his heated confrontation with the home plate umpire in yesterday’s game with Rivendell. He became furious over a called third strike.

Old Forest-Bucklebury Trade: Moss for Elril-gambor

Monday, February 17th, 2042
The Merry Fellows and Fairies announced a deal that was completed today. Old Forest sent 28-year-old RF Ferdinand Greenthumb, 38-year-old RHP Bulbo Moss and 18-year-old minor league CF Rubgunk the Derisive to Bucklebury for 27-year-old RHP Darrick Hafer and 22-year-old minor league 2B Aglanthol Elril-gambor. Both teams appear happy with the outcome of the trade. The general managers told the Baseball News Network they felt the swap was beneficial for all parties involved.

Old Forest will retain a portion of Greenthumb’s remaining contract.
Old Forest will retain a portion of Moss’s remaining contract.

A look at his career stats shows Moss has a record of 231 wins and 139 losses and a 2.92 ERA.

Old Forest, Star Fleet Academy Agree to Swap

Monday, February 10th, 2042
It’s being reported in the Old Forest press that the Merry Fellows have traded 23-year-old minor league RHP Soichiro Bridger, 23-year-old minor league SS Romochka Carnicas and 21-year-old minor league CF Gagmub the Straggler to the Star Fleet Academy Cadets for 26-year-old CF Togo Bracegirdle and 20-year-old minor league RHP Yosai Graber. However, there is no confirmation by the two ball clubs.

Old Forest Merry Fellows Ship Drowbelly to Bucklebury

Monday, February 3rd, 2042
Everybody is overjoyed with a trade consummated today by the Old Forest Merry Fellows and the Bucklebury Fairies. In the deal Old Forest got 31-year-old C Born Mulhall, 20-year-old minor league RF Nisin Hagorsson and 22-year-old minor league 1B Aharon Cremeans from Bucklebury and dealt 32-year-old 3B Gakak Drowbelly, 21-year-old minor league CF Jacki Haerlgent, 23-year-old minor league 3B Grama Delmonte, 19-year-old minor league RF Marcus Fieldtender and $5,000,000 in cash to the Fairies. The general managers that made the swap are happy and the players are happy, too. One of the GMs commented, “This was a good swap for all concerned.”

Lifetime Drowbelly is hitting .285 with 1175 hits, 72 home runs, 524 runs scored and 459 RBIs.

Lifetime Mulhall has played in 899 games with a .256 batting average. Among his 844 hits are 124 doubles, 5 triples and 184 home runs. He also has scored 418 runs and driven in 484 runs.

Old Forest-Numenor Trade: Millstone for Rödinger

Monday, February 3rd, 2042
It likely won’t turn either team into an instant contender or provide a huge franchise shakeup, but the Old Forest Merry Fellows and Numenor Kings finalized a trade today. Old Forest will send 25-year-old C David Millstone and 26-year-old minor league RHP Adgug the Ugly to the Kings, while the Merry Fellows will receive 28-year-old RHP Zoello Rödinger.

“We think this is a deal that will help out both teams and we’re glad to get it done,” Merry Fellows general manager Tom Bombadil said.

The trade is expected to be officially completed later today with the players joining their new ballclubs by the end of the day.

Rödinger has posted 71 victories and 75 defeats in his career with a 3.96 ERA.

It’s Official: LF Timlussson Signs with Merry Fellows

Tuesday, January 14th, 2042
The Merry Fellows and Teshome Timlussson reached an accord earlier today which brings the left fielder to town for 5 years.

Timlussson will pocket $77,500,000 total and is widely expected to contribute significantly to the club’s playoff drive.

Old Forest Merry Fellows Ship Lómeldur to Ravenhill

Monday, January 13th, 2042
The Old Forest Merry Fellows swapped 28-year-old LHP Gaudriel Lómeldur for 24-year-old LHP Joachim Murdock of the Darkwings after what Ravenhill officials would only characterize as “difficult” negotiations.

Lómeldur’s won-lost record is 39 wins and 30 losses with a 3.55 ERA and opposing hitters have compiled a .256 average against him.

Murdock has pitched in 54 games over his career, posting 1 save and a 7-6 won-lost mark. He has registered an ERA of 4.55, logged 65.1 innings and recorded 64 strikeouts.

Old Forest-Earthsea Trade: Isadrielad for Glinkov

Monday, January 13th, 2042
Earlier today, officials from the Old Forest Merry Fellows and the Earthsea Dragons announced that they had finalized negotiations on a trade between the two teams. The deal will send 31-year-old RHP Elreawyn Isadrielad to Earthsea in exchange for 29-year-old RHP Nuukor Glinkov.

Isadrielad has a lifetime record of 68 wins and 73 losses and a 4.41 ERA.