Our newest segment, called ‘The Scorer’s Table,’ puts on a discussion between our two scorers. Imran, being one of the league’s scorers since its inception, and Kaunain, someone integrated onto our team this year, take on a recap of the first half of the season.
Three weeks into the 2019 season and we’ve had some pretty interesting moments. What would you say has been your favourite?
I: It would have to be the Owls losing back-to-back games in Week Two off of walk-offs. The first one was crazy because they actually scored 5 runs in the 6th, only to give up 5 runs in the 7th. And to top it all off, it was an Umair Ali grand slam. I just remember thinking during the second game, ‘it can’t happen again, can it?’ and that’s exactly what happened. This time it was Minaz Noormohamed for the win. And crazy enough, it all happened with Asad Nasser pitching… I still remember him walking AK (Abbasali Kermalli) so he wouldn’t get the game-winner ONLY to give it up the next at bat.
K: Azmatali returning to pitch in the AW 2019 tournament only a week removed from being hit in the face by a line drive. He was back to smoking his cigars, lugging around that 100-pound cooler and absolutely dealing on the mound. Great to see he was in good spirits. Also encouraging to see most pitchers in the Al-Wahda tournament wearing a protective face-mask now, which will hopefully carry over into the remainder of the JMS season.
We have a long list of amazing players playing these days, something that couldn’t be said back in 2014. Player development has been key in making JMS last five years. Who do you put as the top player in the league?
I: In the preseason interviews, this guy said he had been training a lot over the offseason and it was a common theme on the admin team to bring him up when talking about star performers. My best player in the league has to be none other than Umair Ali. Yes, it’s weird to have the best player in the league on the 2nd worst team, but I feel it’s almost undeniable at this point. Highest average of all players who have played 6 games (0.833), 6 HRs (yes, it’s a small diamond), and 22 RBIs. He’s also the leader in slugging and on base percentage. It’s a wrap, guys.
K: Asad Hussain. A generational 5-tool player. Speed, pure power, hits for average, best defensive player with a flamethrower arm. Really 6 tools, if you include his sportsmanship and humility. Most players thrive under his captaincy. It’s no secret that Asad and his brother Zane are great mentors to players in our league, to both established veterans and newcomers. He is a great asset to our league. Asad Hussain is a unicorn; enjoy people!
There have been 21 games played so far this season (not including the Al-Wahda tournament). Some of them have been close battles; others have been blowouts. Seeing as you get to watch most, if not all, of the games, what would have to be the best game of the season?
I: I feel it’s almost a cop-out, but I’m going to have to go with TWO games. The Thunder-Lightning series in the Al-Wahda tournament was just next level to watch as a fan. The first game featured an amazing pitching performance by Altaf Champsi, leading the team to a 12-0 start, just to see the Lightning race back. Then to top it all off, the finals went the opposite way with the Lightning getting ahead, staying ahead for a bit, and then losing it all in a blur. Add the fact that we got to see a wicked bat flip by Minhal Jaffer and a walk-off single by Nadim Rahemtulla. We were most definitely spoiled by our two all-star teams.
K: Walk-off home run by Falcons’ captain Umair Ali against the Owls in Week 2. The Owls were 2-0 and on the verge of being 3-0 until Umair launched a walk-off grand slam. Changed the complexity of the season early, in my opinion. I think the Owls would still be undefeated today and in the catbird seat in first place had they not lost that one. An absolute gut punch. If they do happen to meet in the playoffs, I’m not missing that game. Both teams are loaded with superstars.
If you asked seven different people, they’d probably give you seven different answers. Going into the second half of the season, which team do you think comes out on top?
I: I was very close to picking the Lions, but I think I’m going to have to side with the Bucks on this one. Captain Ali Raza Nasser is playing like an MVP candidate. They have Al-Wahda hero Nadim Rahemtulla, Al-Wahda primetime performer Aqil Najafali, perhaps one of the most underrated reserves in Danial Ali, stud rover Maysum Jaffer, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Not to mention they have some championship DNA at the top of their team that should permeate through to the rest of the guys. They may be third right now, but I think the repeat chances are strong.
K: I understand they are last in the power rankings right now, but I’ll go with Eagles. Asad Hussain and Ali Manek are sensational players, surrounded by a very strong supporting cast. After their recent trade, they might have best defensive infield in the league and still one of the more underrated outfields. If Riaz Champsi and Imtiyaz Kara can bring it home on the mound, Eagles win it all.
Bonus round! For these questions, just give the quickest answer you can.
Most likely to be traded?
I: Mohamed Walli, especially after last week’s Pitcher of the Week performance.
K: Likely me.
2nd half disappointment team?
I: Is it really a disappointment if you’re already in last? Eagles.
K:Honest to God’s truth, nobody will be disappointing in the second half of the season, in my opinion. Sure, some team has to finish last record-wise, but the parity in this league is evident. Just look at run differential and the amount of walk offs. I would have said Wolves few weeks ago after losing their best player Imran Virji due to injury, but in Week 3 they had impressive back-to-back wins. Nobody will be disappointing; the quality of teams is too good.
Biggest scoring pet peeve?
I: Played 10AM game. Asks if I scored a hit as an error at 4:30PM.
K: Reached on Error.