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July 19th 1987

June 19th 1987 will long be remembered in the annuals of the TBC. On this day, they opened their affiliate league, the Confederation of European Baseball. The CEB has three tiers to it and in a new approach will feature promotion & relegation between the tiers.

Manchester City Baseball Club entered a team in the third tier but struggled to find the funds or players to put out a competitive team. In the first ever TBC/CEB trade though City bought four players from the Oil City Oilers. The “Oil City Four” as they have become known around the club have turned the club into one of the contenders for promotion from tier 3 in this inaugural season.

Three of the “Oil City Four”, OF’s Luciano DeFelice & Leopold Oliver plus hot corner man Mike McCarthy have been in the line up regularly this season while Vinzenz Schultz has been coming off the bench as MCBC have been a fixture at the top of CEB3. Winning their first ever two games and going on to win the first series against the Hamburg Stealers MCBC haven’t looked back so far. North London Arsenal have proved to be the main contenders and the first series between the two starting on June 29th was eagerly awaited. It failed to settle the early bragging rights as the two teams split the series leaving them knotted at 8-4 on top of the table.

The series just finished opened the first real gap between the two sides, Arsenal saw off Turin, winning the series 3-1, while City had to come back from two games down against Hamburg to square their series. City at 14-10 are now two games behind their North London rivals but still two games ahead of the 12-12 Hamburg. There’s still a long way to go in the 88-game season but Arsenal & City, the two English clubs, have thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the division. Hamburg may have the best team stats in CEB3 but they have failed when it matters only winning four of their 12 games against the leading two.

“Oil City Four” DeFelice leads the way with 1.4 WAR already and Benjamin Emerson is hitting .341 whilst running the opponents to death with 18 SB’s in the first 24 games. In fact, City lead the division with 45 SB. MCBC might be joint lowest with only nine long balls but if you let them on base you better watch them as they can manufacture a run in an instant. Ottis Goebel has four wins from his first five starts but is lacking in control with a league leading 22 walks closely followed by fellow MCBC pitcher Thie Bakker who has walked 21. Goebel’s undefeated run of six starts and four wins are CEB3 records at the moment. Reliever Casper Winkler has the all-time saves streak going with five despite heading for the DL on July 1st with a herniated disc.

On July 14th Man City also led the way completing the first ever CEB / CEB trade as they sent young catcher Wilbert Brown to CEB2 side Fiorentina Lions for veteran outfielder Bohdan Pervago and catcher Felix Ortiz. Although they have plenty of salary room lack of available funds will curtail the addition of further free agents.

Author, Nigel Laverick Manchester City BC GM.

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