Who are the new Big DOGS?
TBL's leader Jim Smith displaying his intense game face.
Fast rising teams such as the NY Hounds, Thin Blue Line, Mid-Atlantic, Missouri and Battle Born are stealing the spotlight from the "usual suspects." Will one of these hot-shots step up and become the big dogs this year? Woof woof....2016 is here.
Here is your 2016 team by team snapshot. If your team didn’t get mentioned it is because our sources did not uncover any information on any off-season moves. This could be good or bad depending on how you view it. It could mean you have a stabilized line-up and are ready to kick off the season, OR it could mean you are still searching for players to lock into your roster. Whatever, the case here is information on some teams that did make some moves.
2016 Pre-Season Snapshot
The 2016 season is upon us and will “officially” Kick Off with the Aselton event in Orlando and DEA Kick Off in Riverside. The following is a snapshot into some off-season moves we learned about via PM, the Stool Pigeon, Email or social media. We only included teams we had scoop on.
3N2/D2E Lawmen: The World Champs made no major moves, but their huge sweep in the World Series has created a strong bond and many players who cross over to civilian teams have dedicated themselves to the cop circuit this season. That should mean the champs will have their best line-up every time they step on the field.
SoCal Alliance: Huge changes. The anchor to this team for the past decade Ryan Coe has hung up the cleats (although a cameo appearance is not out of the question). Slugger Ray Ghiliotti has also traded in his gear in exchange for dad duties. And young gun outfielder Adam Nikolic will be suiting up for the DEA Combo. Team founders Del Pickney and Jeff Blair have stepped out of their executive roles and instead will focus on PS.COM duties. For the first time since the advent of the team there will be no “Tuff-Town” flavor to the Alliance. The team shored up by picking up versatile Noel Roberts who can play infield or outfield and former Sin City coach Chris Leyba. Veteran Alliance outfielder Danny Wells will be returning to the team and bringing his protégé Shawn Michaels. They should still be locked and loaded, but if anything, they might need some pitching depth as Keith Habig will be their only ace due to the loss of Coe/Ray G.
DEA Combo: They look as good as ever and their off-season pickups will make them even better. To begin with, 3B Donnie Sutton will be returning after missing most of last season. They will be bringing in former Alliance corner outfielder Adam Nikolic who rarely if ever misses a tournament. AJ Reyes, formerly of Lockdown will return to the team and slugger Jeremy Hersey will be parting ways with the LA Lawmen to bring his stick to the Combo.
NYPD Blues: They suffered a surprising blow when two of their core players, the Theiss brothers defected to the NY Hounds. Manager Rick Tirelli didn’t miss a beat as he re-signed Hall of Fame players Dickie Malek and Flip McGovern. Word is, Tirelli has a secret bomb he hasn’t dropped yet. Whatever the case, the heat in the Big Apple will be turned up a notch as some feel the NY Hounds youth movement will propel them past the veteran Blues on the Gotham City totem pole.
Battle Born: This team is driven to pass the Alliance and DEA in order to become the top team in the West. Team leader George Reyes has an eye for talent and he is bringing some top players over to the BB program this year. Former WC Player of the Year Mark Tolliver will bring them a new pitching dimension and a potent bat. Another former WC Player of the Year Jeff Regino could be best leadoff hitter in the game and he will be joining this All-Star line-up along with speedy outfielder Quinn McGinnis (both formerly of Showtime). They didn’t lose any players, but former assistant coach Chris Leyba will be wearing Alliance orange.
Missouri Lawmen: Fastest rising team in the nation just got better. They added USSSA conference shut down centerfielder Justin Beal. Slugger Jerry Weiland joined on mid-year last year and if they can bring him out for the big tourneys again this year they will be World Champion contenders.
Team Texas: Word is they have merged with San Antonio Law to form a Lone Star superpower. Texas Cartel might benefit from this move because there will be several free agents now available.
San Antonio Law: See Team Texas.
New York Hounds: This team might as well be run by Donald Trump. Whenever someone makes a move, the Hounds find a way to steal the spotlight. This team was a juggernaut last season as they won more overall tournaments than anyone in the EC * (unconfirmed). Some questioned how good they would be in the World Series when the Theiss brothers were playing with the NYPD Blues. They answered with authority in the Majors Division by sending the Mid-Atlantic/Demarini team home thanks to stellar pitching and timely hitting. What did they do this off-season? Inked the young guns Theiss brothers full time and added 2 USSSA B rated tourney players. This team is young, determined, hungry and dedicated. Oh yeah, they are bringing spitfire leader Dan Spinelli onto the team as a coach so you can guarantee they will be full of piss and vinegar and ready to kick ass. They are flying all the way to Palm Springs in April to show the West Conference what the Beasts from the East will bring. Will there be a literal changing of the guard this year?
Sin City Aces: The team formerly known as Sin City Combo is marching back to the top once again. To begin with they added USSSA B Conference World Champion Matt Fox who is certainly one of the top players in the nation. They answered their pitching question by adding former Battle Born veteran Trevor Neville. They are bringing in some young hot shots from Arizona who play high level civilian ball and that is just the start. They are so dialed in and cohesive they actually turned away a “big name” Vegas outfielder due to concerns about his impact on team chemistry. Now that is confidence!
SoCal Lockdown: Officially Folded
North Florida Showdown: Rumors of this team losing talent to the rebirth of Jacksonville PSC were unfounded. NFL is back, and they are back with a bang. To begin with, they inked the iconic Donny Meyer. If we typed out his pedigree it would take 4 paragraphs. If you don’t know who he is then you don’t know police softball. Matt Bolan will be running the team and they are intent on making 4 or even 5 ps tourneys this coming season. Look for them to leapfrog up the EC totem pole. They now have steady management, a veteran legend and the same group of sluggers they have had the past several years. That is a recipe for success.
Mid-Atlantic/Demarini: Stepped up their recruiting efforts and are bringing in several players with impressive civi ball pedigrees. They will build the team around Corey Roggerson who, only in his mid-20’s, could be the current best player in the circuit when you consider offense/defense/speed/power/base hitting and intangibles.
OH50/Selection: Officially folded. *Some members to Kentucky Blues
Florida Enforcers: It sounds like they lost some players, but don’t have the names. As long as they can shore up the personnel movement they should continue to be one of the strongest Gold teams in the country.
Dayton Metro: No significant losses. The Gold Division champs are resting to stay fresh for the upcoming season. They don’t plan on dusting off the equipment until July when they will kick off the season in Cincinnati.
LA Lawmen: Lots of movement with this team that has pledged to compete ONLY in the Majors Division in 2016. They lost Jeremy Hersey to the DEA Combo but their pick-ups have been significant. They are bringing over one of the best young sluggers in the game, Luis Velazquez formerly of Nitro2Go. Luis is the ONLY player to ever advance to the WS HR Derby final round in back to back seasons. He won the title in 2014 and was runner-up in 2015. Talk about consistency! Former Nitro2Go teammate Shane Amp will join King Luis and play infield for the Lawmen. Finally, the Lawmen have resigned former centerfielder Aaron Gland. Gland is a speedy young gun left handed hitter who previously played for SoCal Lockdown. Gland comes from a PS.COM Hall of Fame pedigree. * Note we have an 11th hour update indicating Hersey is staying with Lawmen. Unconfirmed.
Honolulu’s Finest: Not big news other than a promise to bring even a stronger team to compete in Majors at the World Series this year.
Steel City Enforcers: They took more blows this off-season than Rocky Balboa when he fought Clubber Lang the first time. The most significant loss will be Hall of Fame pitcher Jamie Caterino who has been the glue to this squad for years. His refuse to lose attitude was contagious and he will be difficult to replace. The loss of youngsters, King Jason Karas and Jordan Seese will also sting as both have jointed Jamie by jumping to the fast rising Thin Blue Line. They have strong leadership and should be able to right the ship, but it could be a work in progress.
Wayne-Oakland: We know the Canadians have left the team to start a new Toronto based team. There was a rumor that W/O has folded, but that will remain to be seen. Hall of Famer Andy Wurm has risin’ from the ashes more times than the Phoenix so this could merely be a flesh wound.
Louisville Metro: Won the battle of attrition with OH5O. Despite OH5O having “superior firepower” the feisty Louisville squad out endured them and now hold undisputed top dog status in the Bluegrass state. There is a new team called Kentucky Blue forming but we won’t know what they will bring to the table until they actually step on the field.
Thin Blue Line: Manager Jim Smith has pulled off a coup by luring some of Steel City’s most talented players to bolster his already potent line-up. Their late season additions last year put them in the spotlight and the Steel City three (Seese, Karas and Caterino) will certainly give them enough firepower to bang with the N/E powerhouses such as: Hounds, Blues,
Shamrocks, and DPS.
Maryland Young Gunz: Team is rejuvenated, re-energized, and seemed prime for an epic year. They now know exactly how good they can be after peeling off 4 straight run-rule victories in Vegas last October.
Cali-Force: In rebuild mode. Inked a top caliber outfielder Mike Mayer (Concord/Quake/Showtime/40-Cal) to anchor the middle of the batting order.
NitroGo Hitmen: Another year, another rebuild from scratch. This year Lyle lost at least 4 critical starters. Usually when this happens they come back stronger than before and we expect that somehow he will pull a rabbit out of his magical hat once again.
Disorderly Persons: Inked one of the most prolific sluggers in our sport, former ECPOTY Donovan Double D Delaney. Possibly also picked up 1-2 other Shamrocks. This new squad is closing the gap in the North East.
NorCal Elite: Have inked slugger Coby O Hagen, Ian Sutherland, Alvin Jenkins along with 3 players new to the circuit. They are have also secured the services of Todd “Spotlight” Phillips who has played his last game with Stanislaus and separated from them.
Most Wanted: Rumors of their merge with NorCal Elite did not happen. Ralph Contreras believes he can build his own NorCal powerhouse without needing a merge.
San Bernardino Hit Squad: Successfully defended an ISIS inspired terrorist attack and can now focus on having some fun with softball. They are staying true with San Bernardino County deputies only. The youngsters will have their second and third seasons with the Dirty Dirty. Perhaps the strongest single agency team in our sport.
Gold Combo: Former Lockdown leader Brandon St. Aubin has joined the team and brought Jeff Moir with him. Also, Gold has added former RSD Red slugger Mario Martinez.
New Teams coming: Monterey Banditos (NorCal), Northern Lawmen (Toronto), Probable Cause (Vegas), Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Phoenix Metro),.