|World Series MVP|
Buffalo surged to a 2-0 at Las Vegas' home field, quickly putting the Dealers behind the 8-ball after demolishing the Dealers bullpen in both games. Game 1 was tied 3-3 in the 11th when the Beagles errupted for 5 runs in the top of the 11th. The Dealers held a 5-2 lead going into the 9th of game 2, but the Beagles put 7 runs up in that inning, led by a 3-run bomb from Erick Webster. The losses stunned Dealers fans, who had enjoyed a solid bullpen all year, which operated on a successful "closer by committee" that converted 51 of 62 save chances. Game 3 was in Buffalo, and the Beagles never got to the Dealers' bullpen, as Rigo Franco tossed a 3-hit complete game shutout. Buffalo stormed back to win game 4 by a 10-3 score, as the Dealers defense had a sloppy game and Beagles took advantage behind leadoff hitter Ed Boyd who had 3 hits and 3 RBIs.
With the Dealers' backs up against the wall they won game 5 by a 4-3 score, as 8 strong innings by Lance Ward and a 3-run homer by Rick Lennon were enough to survive a 2 run homer off the Dealers bullpen in the 9th. Las Vegas took game 6 by a 5-0 score behind 6 shutout innings from Max White and (finally) some solid work out of the bullpen. The entire season then came down to game 7 in Las Vegas, with the Dealers sending Rigo Franco to the mound, hoping for a repeat of his game 3 shutout and Buffalo sending Randy Matthews for his 3rd World Series start. The day belonged to Matthews, who turned in 6 innings of one run ball, while Franco gave up a 3-run bomb by future free agent 2B Julio Mercedes in the 5th inning. That HR was the game winner, and Buffalo won game 7 by a 4-1 score, ending the Dealers' dream.
Buffalo's Julio Mercedes was named World Series MVP, an honor sure to drive up his free agent value. Mercedes was 10 for 29 during the World Series, scored 6 runs, hit 3 HRs, knocked in 11 runs, was 3 for 3 in SBs, and reportedly visited every strip joint, casino floor, and buffet table in Vegas during the long World Series.
The NL playoffs featured two big upsets, as top seeded Helena was denied its 3rd NL penant after being upset in 5 games by 5th seeded Tuscon, while 2nd seeded Tacoma was knocked off by Buffalo in 4 games. Buffalo then took down Tuscon in a 6 game NLCS.
The AL playoffs played more according to expectations, as the #1 seed Dealers stormed to their 5th AL penant in 7 years without a single playoff loss. #2 seeded Syracuse made it to the ALCS, only to be blown out in 4 straight by Las Vegas.
In the minors, Vancouver took the AAA World Series, Las Vegas won in AA, Boise won in HiA, LoA, and the Rookie League. Either Boise has some ringers down there or they are a year or two a way from dominating the Jersey League!
Congratulations to Buffalo and to everyone else: Wait til Next Year!