With the start of the season on the horizon, it can be fun to postulate how the year will unfold. Who will capture each of our 5 Division titles? Who takes home the City Championships? Will we finally crown a series of Mid-Season Classic winners for the first time since 2018? Will a team win a Triple Crown? Last year’s Pre-Season Breakdown was hit and miss, but correctly included a pair of City Champions, two City Finalists, and a Regular Season winner in the Top Contenders section.
Before we continue, remember this article is meant to be just a little bit of fun. Both the City titles for Divisions 2 and 4 were won by clubs not branded top contenders in 2021. Just like they did, if your team is left off the list- prove me wrong. Enjoy….
With the 2021 runaway winners gone from the division, the vacancy sign is posted for a club to move into the 2022 penthouse. Headlining our list are a pair of teams that came up just short last season. The Glo-balls finished #2 in the standings and fell to the eventual champs in the semi-final in extra innings. The Misfits had a strong run as well but were unable to unseat and defeat their foes on route to a Silver medal. Both will be in contention this year.
The Diamond Cutters, Oddballs, and Pitch Perfect have made adjustments to their lineups and will look to take the next step in contention this season. As veteran clubs, the time is now to make a move and to establish themselves as legit contenders.
Another interesting threat to the title comes in the form of former D4 club Beer Ballers who enter 2022 with something to prove. They were D3 City Finalists in 2020.
The division will also entertain the debuts of 4 teams- the Madness, Offspring, Minimum Wagers, and Pitches Ain’t Hit. With little known about each club- they all enter the race with no expectations but plenty of potential.
Top Contenders: Glo-Balls, Misfits, & Beer Ballers
Dark Horse(s): Diamond Cutters & Minimum Wagers
In one of the larger Divisions in the League, the 2021 top D4 teams are gone, but plenty contenders remain. I’d Hit That (2020 D5 Champions) made a strong D4 debut and enter the year as the odds-on favourite to add to their trophy case. A former D5 rival, Mad Hatters (formerly Railway City Brewery) were just a win short of D4 glory last year. B.P. Ballers also made a solid run in 2021, but not nearly as strong as their 2020 campaign- they will attempt a return to form.
Many of the remaining D4 teams had impressive stretches last year; including You Miss You Drink, Elgin’s Backyard Burgers, the Jokers, and Wanna Bats, but they will need to be more consistent to make a run this time around.
One of the most peculiar scenarios surrounds the Tailgators– after running the D5 table in 2022 to claim both the Regular Season and City titles- they return to D4 where they won the D4 City title in 2020. Can they win their third City Championship in as many years? Their Week 1 matchup with I’d Hit That will provide some key insight.
Top Contenders: I’d Hit That, Mad Hatters, B.P. Ballers, & Tailgators
Dark Horse(s): The Jokers & You Miss You Drink
Another 12-pack of teams will take to the field in Division 3, but they will do so without the top 2021 club which swings the doors open for a new team on the rise. Balled & Beautiful progressively got stronger as the year went and nearly took home the title, instead claiming the City Silver. The O’s are multi-time D3 Champions and will be joined by established D3 contenders in Smash N Dash, the Jayhawks, and Scared Hitless. The D3 hardware could easily be divided up between these teams.
Changing divisions, Bat Attitudes returns from D2 and becomes an instant contender. They will be joined by the D4 City Champions Insanity and the D4 Regular Season winner Abusement Park. All 3 clubs have had success in the past and are capable of pushing the D3 mainstays listed above.
Back Alley Brew Crew and Where My Pitches At? should enjoy more success in their D3 sophomore seasons and will certainly impact the leaderboards.
Top Contenders: Balled & Beautiful, Bat Attitudes, Abusement Park, & Insanity
Dark Horses: Scared Hitless & Smash N Dash
Routinely one of the most competitive divisions, D2 will once again be a battle from top to bottom. Building on their 2020 Silver Medal, Brokebat Mountain enters this season as the defending 2021 City Champion. Brokebat has the potential to repeat, but their success is far from a certainty with so many challengers across the board.
The 2019 and 2021 D2 City finalist One Hit Wonders, who are also the defending 2019 Mid-Season Classic winners offer a legit threat to win their first D2 City title. Game On, the 2019 City Champs, will look for a bounce-back year after a lower-than-expected finish in 2021. Dirt & Diamonds had a strong 2021 D2 debut and should contend again this year.
Other notable contenders include Fan of the Sport who makes their way down from Division 1- they captured back-to-back D2 MSC tournament titles in 2013 and 2014 and made a 2016 D2 City Final appearance. Rebels return to play after a 2-year hiatus. In 2018, they finished atop the D2 standings and captured a D1 City Bronze in 2019.
Finally- the Division 3 top dogs No Base Like Home– winners of both the 2021 D3 City Championship and Regular Season will attempt to continue their success against a steeper level of competition.
Top Contenders: Brokebat Mountain, One Hit Wonders, Dirt & Diamonds
Dark Horse: Fan of the Sport
The smallest Division will play host to a 6-pack of clubs looking to lay claim to the #1 spot of the entire 50-team league. The 2-time defending City Champions PopATop will attempt a 3-peat, capturing their 3rd D1 title in as many years in the League. While PopATop has been pushed during the regular season, they are a perfect 10-0-0 in tournament play. Previously, Guaranteed Eavestroughing won back to back to back City titles between 2016 and 2018 while Urine Trouble/ Benchwarmers did the same from 2013 to 2015.
Also looking for a 3-peat, New Wave enters the 2022 season in search of their 3rd consecutive Regular Season title. The oldest serving D1 team, they have made 7 tournament finals appearances since 2016, including 5 City title games- but they have yet to win the big one.
The Pirates joined the title talk last year and put together a strong debut, finishing 3rd in both the season and the playoffs. In their second year, the Pirates will look to unseat the top two teams and start adding to their trophy case.
Power Outage, formerly JP Roofing, returns to play. They have yet to earn a top 3 finish, but they showed signs of turning the corner in 2019 prior to the layoff. The Red Sox enter the league with a strong Tournament pedigree and will look to add to the growing D1 talent pool. Trainwreck also makes their divisional debut, in order to compete this team will need to come together quickly and hit the ground running this Sunday.
Top Contenders: N/A
Dark Horse: N/A
Weather permitting, the 2022 season and all 50 teams will take to the field his Sunday. The Mid-Season Classic returns to the schedule, five Division winners will be crowned, and the City Championships will play out just over 3 months and 500+ games from now. Good luck, stay safe, and see you on the field!