Author: Miqdad

2021 – Week 3 Recap

We’ve been switching our recaps to the form of video – if you haven’t caught any of the previous ones check out our IGTV channel. However, for this week our Insider decided to go on a vacation and you’re stuck having to read about what happened. So sit back, relax, grab your favourite flavour of Ovaltine and let’s catch up on the week that just passed.

So some preamble before we get into the games – this week concludes our first past through a round robin. Every team saw each other once, and because there were 6 games, each team saw at least one other one twice – Falcons v Eagles, Owls v Wolves, and Tigers v Lions were the repeat games. So we now know a little bit about each team, what they bring, what their strengths are, and where they need some help. At this point in the season everyone can now go home without the worry that their muscle soreness the next day will prevent them from beckoning for their morning cup of coffee (or chai – I don’t know what you drink). That means, this week that just passed might have been the first time we actually saw what the potential of the players on the field could be. However, playoffs will always be the true test. Ok, enough pre-amble let’s get to the main course.

Game 1: Wolves 10 @ Falcons 15

This game featured teams that haven’t played yet, we had Abbas Allidina pitching against Miqdad Jaffer – Abbas being picked 1 spot before Miqdad in the draft. For the Wolves they were without the league’s batting leader in Raza Jafary and captain/human cheer squad in Imran Virji.

The Falcons were actually short handed and playing with 9 players. Though if you watched this game you wouldn’t really know they were short. The Falcons took an early lead 4-1 after the first inning and kept the pressure on for the first 4 innings scoring either 4 or 3 runs in each inning. The Wolves started to get rolling in the 6th inning scoring 5 runs with no outs, but the mercy inning squashed their momentum and they could never really mount a reasonable challenge for the Falcons.

Standouts in this game for the Falcons were the captain and his trusty assistant – both Ali R(e/a)zas were in top form going 4 for 5, combining for 8 hits and 7 runs scored. Ali Raza Nasser dedicated this game to Riaz Champsi, who was somewhere on a golf course scoring an 8 of his own (that’s not good). Even more impressive in this game was that every single Falcon recorded at least 1 hit, imagine what they can do with a full squad.

For the Wolves this might have been the first game Aadil Jaffer looked a little like his old self – maybe this trade for his brother Irfaan was all he needed to feel normal again. As for that aforementioned pitching matchup, Abbas Allidina clearly took home the win on this one – showing he was the right pick all along.

Game 2: Tigers 9 @ Lions 8

The Lions had this game circled as they were looking to avenge a 1 run loss to the Tigers previously. As you can tell from the score, it was a strong case of deja vu. The Tigers took an early lead but then were held off by the impressive defensive presence of the Lions. The Lions did get an 8-4 lead after 3 innings, but it seems like they wasted all of their energy building the lead, but couldn’t hold it. And that’s really the important part anyone can take the lead, but it’s the holding that really matters – kinda like reservations (If you don’t get that reference, I’m sorry this is just not going to be the article for you – stop reading, go watch Seinfeld and come back when you have a thorough education on the 1990s).

The Tigers seem like they’re tinkering with their lineups as they continue to tinker to find out what works for them – Azad Najfi leading off was the change in this one and it must have messed with “Super Rookie” Ali Zia because he went 0 for 3, but his brother Noor seemed to have picked him up almost hitting for the cycle in this one – just missing that elusive homerun. But if you’re looking for homeruns, look no further than the Lions Abbasali Kermalli – he’s hitting at least one a game and these are no doubters on any field.

The Lions seem to be coming together as a team, and really doing a good job of laying out their defence. Mohamed “Biggs” Walli seems to be finding his groove with pitching and though he hasn’t broken through on the offensive side of the ball – his captain maintains that he’s just knocking on that door and ready to break it down.

Game 3: Eagles 8 @ OWLS 7

Shorthanded the Eagles reached out for a waitlist player to bring their total roster to 9. Meanwhile the Owls almost had a full squad at 11 players – their only missing player, Tanveer Husnani, was on the golf course with Riaz probably shooting an 8 of his own. Unfortunately, the 8 was what the Owls needed to stay in this one and just fell short of that mark.

This team did feature an impressive pitching matchup in Hussein Allidina and Mikael Ratansi – both let in an equal 5 ERs, had 1 K each, but it was Mikael Ratansi’s 3 walks that were the biggest differential between these two. Imran Nasser, Sarfaraz Karmali, and Arif Jaffer carried the offensive load for the Eagles accounting for 7 of the team’s 8 RBIs. Wait read that back. Arif Jaffer was on that list – obviously showing some growth he was brought in as someone that could make the team better through some quad stretches, his offensive form is coming along and he even got an XBH to add to his stat totals.

Meanwhile on the Owls nobody really got going. Aqil Najafi new to the squad did his best to prove his captain’s correct in trading for him accounting for 2 of the team’s 6 RBIs, but certainly not enough for a team that seemed to go pretty quiet on the bats. Ironically, they had more hits than the Eagles but the Eagles were just more timely with theirs.

Game 4: LIONS 11 @ WOLVES 11

A tie, more of these this year than expected and the Wolves seem to be involved each time. So maybe this is a sign of them not being able to close. In the earlier tie against the Tigers it was a comeback, in this tie with the Lions it was a loss of the lead and then a mini recovery that didn’t make it all the way back. So let’s talk about the Lions first they had a slow start to contrast with their fast start in the previous game, and instead they seemed to be getting going at the end.

Their outfield defence is looking stellar and their infield defence comes across as a Hajj exhibition. I know we’re in the month of Zilhajj but Abbasali Kermalli doing his best impression of running between the mountains of Safa (3rd) and Marwa (Home) to try and cover the plate is a hilarious sight to behold. Maybe that’s why they made the trade for Minaz Noormhamed, because if is an event that was going to take place every week I think teams would start to exploit it for a few extra bases.

Almost everyone on the Lions got a hit in this one, and they exploited the Wolves outfield (not named Aadil Jaffer) as there were a lot of XBHs to be had. Most notably was an Abbasali Kermalli HR that is still probably in the air somewhere, which later resulted in a decision to walk him to face Sasha Al-Joundi a decision nobody of sane mind would ever make. Couple that with triples from Arif Hirji and Muzammil Jaffer – both of whom are probably still sore from having to run so far so quickly – were big contributors to some of the big innings the Lions put up.

For the Wolves the big stories here are the play of Aadil Jaffer who kept on hitting, and Shahid Rahemtulla that batted a perfect 3 for 3 and kept the team rally’s going. Ultimately this one ends in a tie and both team’s seem happy with the result – Lions are happy they came back, and Wolves feel like they figured out who they are. Ultimately – a tie isn’t a win, so this one doesn’t really do anything for anyone.

Game 5: Eagles 9 @ Falcons 1

These last two games are a bit of a head scratcher – just for the simple question of – how do you only score 1 run in slow pitch softball. For the Falcons the way they scored 1 run was 8 hits and a double by Abbas Fazal, which was ultimately scored because of a single from Ali Raza Nasser. The latter of which got called out for not generating enough RBIs – he responds by generating 100% of the team’s RBIs – and without knowing the score that’s actually an impressive stat – but because we do know the score we also know that the Eagles’ Umair Ali generated 6X the RBIs of the Falcons.

The Eagles had a star performance pitching wise from Hussein Allidina throwing only 6 balls in this whole game. For those that know Hussein know that during playoffs 6 balls are usually the first 6 pitches he throws just to announce his appearance. This however, was a masterclass in shutting down a team. Eagles played a great game – Taleb Zaidi showing supreme patience taking 3 walks and filling in at SS for the absent Ali Manek. Umair Ali hitting everything in sight and scoring runs – but he’s able to get those RBIs because the Eagles Shaan Shamji continues his tear and goes 4 for 4.

The nice thing about Shaan is that if he ends up on base, his speed makes it so that even a dribbler to the pitcher will allow him to score a run. For most players you have to throw one base ahead of them to slow them down, for Shaan you have to stay 2 or 3 bases ahead – this is mind you while he’s nursing an injury – it’s scary to imagine what he can do at full strength. There’s not a lot of redeeming qualities on the Falcons so we’ll just skip that part of the recap and say this was an anomaly that we won’t see again.

Game 6: Owls 1 @ Tigers 9

Now I said we we won’t see again, but the Owls decided to show that scoring 1 run in a game is not an anomaly and something they would be able to replicate. So how did the Owls score their 1 run – looks like the strategy is the same – 8 hits, and a double from Maysum Jaffer that allowed the run to score. This one is odd because there were certainly base runners for the Owls – with 5 walks issued – but they just weren’t able to do anything after that first inning.

The Tigers meanwhile did everything they could to help – they even let Ali Zia pitch – but even he couldn’t be touched. Nothing the Tigers do goes wrong and they’re a scary team. Also who is Indi Campbell – casually goes 2 for 3, with a triple and 3 RBIs. Now while Ali Zia still hit a homerun and got an equivalent 3 RBIs, he’s actually had an off week. Looking up and down this Tigers roster, nothing they did was that scary – maybe it was the Zia family’s sherbet that gave them that extra lift because they were relentless early, they seemed to relax after the 3rd inning but by then the game was already out of hand.

As we head to moving day, the Tigers with these two wins this week have almost locked down 1st place. they’ll have the chance to play the Lions again who always seem to fall short, and they will face the Eagles who are looking to prove the impact they can make – but the Eagles will be without Imran Nasser, so we’ll see how much of an impact he really has on the team. Regardless next week should be exciting.

That’s it. That’s our recap – check out the previews this Friday at 9:30 PM on IGTV as we go back to video. But let us know in the comments what you thought – agree, disagree, let’s hear what you think 👇🏽

Introducing Moving Day

Moving day is a term used in Golf – it’s referenced as the round before the final day of a tournament. It’s when the standings start to solidify before the final round run for the title. 

We’re taking a page from that and introducing our own version of moving day. On August 1st, the 4th and final week of our short regular season we will bring our own version of moving day to the field. 

Teams will have the opportunity to set up their playoff seeding. It will give them a chance to secure a first round bye or jockey to play a team they feel more comfortable competing against. 

Here’s how it works 

Each team will play the team above and below them in the standings. 

  • 1st will play 2nd and 6th
  • 2nd will play 1st and 3rd
  • 3rd will play 2nd and 4th 
  • 4th will play 3rd and 5th
  • 5th will play 4th and 6th 
  • 6th will play 5th and 1st 

So each team will have a chance to move up and down the standings right before the playoffs are upon us. Let’s take a look at that with the current standings

PosTeamWLTPtsPctRSRADiff
1701150.875836023
2530100.625765719
344080.500806911
435060.3755572-17
525150.2507488-14
615240.1257496-22

If the standings stay the same after next week then

  • Tigers would play Eagles and Lions
  • Eagles will play Tigers and Falcons
  • Falcons will play Eagles and Owls
  • Owls will play Falcons and Wolves
  • Wolves will play Owls and Lions
  • Lions will play Wolves and Tigers

What we’re hoping for

  • Chance to feel some playoff intensity without the elimination element of the playoffs 
  • Chance to see some previews of what we can expect from likely matchups in the playoff week that follows
  • Some interesting moves on the standings right after the trade deadline (July 25 @ 23:59) 

You can expect these games to show up on your schedule right after the standings are set after the games on July 25. 

Good luck to everyone and may the best teams win! 

Let us know what you think in the comments below 👇🏽

2021 Draft Recap

So first and foremost, welcome back! It’s been a long time since we’ve had a season and with the way that COVID was going it was hard to tell if we were going to have one at all. However, by the grace of the Almighty, we’re set to start 2021. We’re a little bit more rushed than we’d like to be, but all things point to us starting our first games next Sunday.

But first, let’s see how each team did and let’s give you a potential preseason rank of where we think they’ll all finish.

Starting with 6th place.

Okay – so none of these teams made it easy to pick who would finish where (truthfully speaking there’s a lot of parity), but someone had to finish in last. With their assistant captain selection of Aadil Jaffer, and their first round pick of Miqdad Jaffer – it only makes sense that it’s the Wolves. Both players are a reach. Aadil while accomplished in his own right should not have been picked before any of the other assistants, and while our returning commissioner is good in his own right, he’s a shell of his former self – word is we can expect a batting average closer to what happened in the 2020 tournaments he played in (1 for 20 😐).

Meanwhile, this roster is gamble after gamble – will Irfahn Khimji play? Is Aqil Najafi even available? Who even is Zain Tharia – we heard he can play squash but will that translate to anything good on the softball field? However, the thing this team has going for it is championship pedigree. Captain Imran Virji knows how to win – let’s see if he can do it with a completely different group than we’re used to seeing wearing the Wolves colours.

Which takes us to 5th place

I will say that I think this captain core is second to none. The Zia brothers will be a force to be reckoned with, that much is sure. However, 4 of their last 5 rounds are players that are going to need a little bit of practice on the bats. They took a few flyers on unknown players – notably Indi Campbell, best friend of the captain – this is a pure wildcard as nobody knows what to expect. Arif Jaffer – who we’re told will bring some philosophy to this team, and Shabbar Dewji who is getting his first chance to play in a full time capacity. We’ll see how the regular reps of a shortened season will translate into development for the playoffs.

Now the other part of this roster, we can’t really say much – Hisham Ali is an all around talent, and comes with a medical degree to help cure whatever ails this team. Shane Worthington and Ray Noormohamed bring with them power off the bat that will surprise a lot of teams and the Hussain Habib, Hussein Champsi combination will make for a formidable outfield presence. This team waited until round 7 to grab their pitcher – Azad Najfi, and he could prove to be a steal of a pick if he can get on a streak. At this point though we’re splitting hairs.

Now on to 4th place

 

Look, I’m as surprised as anyone that the Owls are here. Draft night showed up, and captain Minhal Jaffer called an audible and told Mikael Ratansi that he was on his own to draft the team. He’s lucky he chose Mikky for the job because never has another captain been so creative with their use of timeouts and google searches. When in doubt, go with speed, athleticism, and youth. This team did well for themselves, there aren’t many weaknesses in this roster to exploit. They have a few players that are 1/1A or 2nd best at their position in Minhal, Mikael, and Maysum – and then they have a group of guys that will just get along and play hard. Bobby, Tan, and Mehdi-Hassan will likely end up in the outfield with Maysum and all bring a streaky bat to the mix.

We don’t know what Irfaan Jaffer’s health looks like but he’s a solid glove at 1B and his bat has been getting better and better each year. Danial Ali and Ali Kanani both got some time in 2019 with the Bucks, and had respectable first year campaigns. We’ll see how the off-season(s) have treated their development. Arif Gulamhusein makes his return to JMS and we’re excited to see how he can keep the mood light for this squad. Then finally the unknowns – Talib Shivraj, no idea – without a combine this year we’re working off of just rumours and we have none to work with for Talib. Muhammad Ali meanwhile pitched during Al-Wahda and got a taste for the sport then that carried him over to the Salaam Cup, so he’s gotten a feel for the game, we’ll see how it translates in a new environment. The biggest thing going against this team is the monicker of the Owls – they’ve never been successful, and I mean ever. Will 2021 be the year for change?

Now the top 3

So newcomer Sasha Al-Joundi is no joke, he’s a player through and through, and will definitely raise the bar for talent in this league. Maybe his own overconfidence got the better of him when he went out to pick his assistant captain – Abbasali Kermalli. I mean no knock to AK, he’s been putting in work and can hit the ball a ton, but you can do better with your number 2. That aside, this team drafted with a lot of…wisdom. They went out and got Mahmood Kara as their shortstop and Mahmood is a force, but he hasn’t played Shortstop since 2016 with the Tigers. Not sure how this is going to translate, but time will tell. There’s a lot of friends on this team, so we think the chemistry will be high to start – Altaf, Arif Hirji, and Jaffer Kermalli are all great team guys and will fit into any system. Salim Chagani and Muzzamil Jaffer are basically the same player – good outfielder, streaky bat, potential power.

This team took a newcomer in Azam Khan – and while we know less than nothing about him, we’ve started to hear some talk that this could have been a great pickup. This can also be said of Tahir Khorasanee who I think most team’s just forgot about, expect him to be very good. However, in order to make sure that this team dropped its average age, they went out and grabbed Mohammed Walli and Ali Walji – while Biggs shows nothing but heart, we don’t know much about what Ali Walji will bring to the table, he’s played with us once upon a time in Ramadhan, but it’s been a long time since those days.

Only two left

We know that our IG live announcers were swooning over this team, but they’re unfortunately not going to be our pick for who finishes first. Captain Ali-Reza Merali has proven over the years that he knows how to draft a team. His assistant captain Ali Raza Nasser has had similar success, so it’s serendipitous that these two get paired together. They take a pair of Abbas’s with their first picks Allidina who gives you a great pitcher and an even better bat, and Fazal who gives you athleticism and the legs to turn a double into a home run. Hatim Bootwala who showed up well in the exhibition games in 2020 will surprise a lot of people. A pair of Panjus in Hassanain and Hasan – where one gives you power, calm, and a solid glove at 3B, and the other gives you height? Then somehow Daanish Jaffer gets overlooked every single year, maybe it’s just his quiet demeanour but check out his batting averages over the years, he is consistently good and they’re all line drives.

Minaz Noormohamed, Abbas Mohamedali, and Munir Nasser shore up their C, 1B, 2B positions and each of them is capable of getting streaky on the bats, with the added bonus of Min being a lefty. Which leads us to MoMo who is clearly ready to sprint into action this year. He’s got his football spikes ready, and we think he might make an even bigger impression in 2021.

But as good as this team looks, there is 1 team that is better

This team starts out in our #1 spot. Captain Ali Manek did well for himself, he probably let his assistant captain Imran Nasser drive but this big 3 is scary. What does the defence do when faced with Umair Ali and the two captains in the batting lineup. It’s hard to imagine a situation where that doesn’t turn into 3 runs. They pick up two great pitchers in Hussein Allidina and Riaz Champsi that double as outfielders with great gloves. They pick up Shane Nasser who has the power to put it out at any field, and the hits keep coming. Sarfaraz Karmali, Nabeel Naqvi bring utility players that can flexibly move around the diamond, and even a late grab of Azmatali Mehrali gives them a 3rd pitcher in case Hussein and Riaz are needed in the outfield.

Now they’re not without some unknowns, Shaan Shamji played as a reserve with the Lions in 2019, showed that he’s the fastest player in the league, but hasn’t really had a chance for some consistent play. Taleb Zaidi we’re not sure what to expect, and all we know from Shanu Khimji is that he plays volleyball, so he’s probably an athlete – unless he played with Imran Nasser, then maybe he’s one of those players that knows how to get out of the way really well?

Needless to say, this team will be scary to play against. So now while all the teams look good on paper – there’s a reason we play the games. We’re very excited you all joined us for another season of JMS, and look forward to see how the stories unfold on the field.

Good luck to everyone!