The Ballad Of The Austin Weirdos’ Only Win
10:49 AM EDT on August 3, 2023
The Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs was founded in 2011, and I thought I knew nothing about it until I realized that I did. Yermín Mercedes, who had a brief but memorable stint with the Chicago White Sox, spent some time in 2014 playing for the Douglas Diablos and the White Sands Pupfish, two now-defunct Pecos League teams. The amount of team turnover since then should indicate the league's inherent volatility, which is why there might be a team called the Austin Weirdos, and why that team might go 1-47.
There's a lot to break down here. First, the Austin Weirdos' absolutely banging logo looks like a colorfully rendered version of one of those medieval gargoyles on a European church, though it's more likely an homage to Ed Roth's "Rat Fink." The version on the official Austin Weirdos website is even better: The head in the logo is attached to a body wielding a baseball bat with a nail studded through it. The posture looks less ready to hit a home run than to commit a felony, but someone more qualified than me can actually evaluate the Weirdo's batting stance.
From looking at the stats on the page, it's not too hard to see why the Weirdos have gone 1-47. The Weirdos actually have a higher batting average than the first-place team, but it's hard to win games when a team's ERA is 17.85. For the people keeping track at home, that's an average of 18 runs a game the Weirdos would have to score in order to prop up the pitchers—a tall ask.
It's hard to call the Pecos League a hitter's league when virtually every player is a two-way player. Go all the way back to 2014 and you can see that Mercedes pitched a total of 3.0 innings to a total of two earned runs and a WHIP of 1.66, before he also pitched an inning for the Chicago White Sox. The Weirdos' best hitter, Josh Walker, is listed as a right-handed pitcher. He socked 14 home runs and also pitched 23.1 innings for a slightly less impressive 11.90 ERA. Most notably, Walker played in 44 of the Weirdos' 48 games. That's 16 games higher than anyone else from the team, assuming that there is no issue with the Pecos League stats database. Considering that the Blackwell FlyCatchers have a batting average of 0 in the standings and that Ian Farris is on the Weirdos' 2023 stat page twice because of a misspelling, all numbers here should be taken with a grain of salt.
Out of the many ways in which I differ from a professional athlete, this might be the biggest: If I have already lost 46 games in a season, I could not go out there to lose a 47th. For this reason, I unironically love the Austin Weirdos, who on June 19 lost to the Trinidad Triggers, 33-3—an impressive loss, no doubt, but also an achievable scoreline in MLB—then came back the next day and lost the next game 30-22, a scoreline that has never been seen in major-league history.
According to the box score, this game included: the Weirdos scoring five runs by batting around the Triggers in the top of the first before the Triggers scored nine runs by batting around the Weirdos in the bottom of the first; an entirely scoreless second inning; the Triggers scoring 13 runs in the bottom of the third; a sequence of comparatively lower-scoring innings so that the Weirdos trailed by 22 runs; and, finally, a grand 14-run inning by the Weirdos in the top of the ninth, managing to go through the lineup twice in an attempt to rally, until a double play ended the game.
Of all the Weirdos' losses, it was the strangest, but not their most egregious. On June 17 the Santa Fe Fuego beat the Weirdos 41-12, including a 17-run inning, but we aren't focusing on that because I don't believe in only addressing the negatives. After all, the Weirdos experienced the euphoria of winning once this season. Unfortunately I'm not 100-percent certain of the score.
Depending on where you look, the Weirdos' sole victory was either a 9-4 or a 9-5 triumph against the Alpine Cowboys on June 10. The play-by-play on the official Pecos website and the play-by-play on Pointstreak agree on this sequence of events in the top of the ninth: Alex Canty of the Cowboys hits a lead-off double. Tucker Burton is the first out with a hit directly to the first baseman. Then Andrew Capone hits a single, but does not score Canty from second.
It starts to get fuzzy on the final play of the game, starting with Drake Angeron hitting into a vanilla 4-3 putout. Capone, who is at this point still on first base, makes the final out through a 1-3 putout; perhaps it occurred via rundown. But while this is going on, Canty is either on second or third base. Pointstreak states that Canty scores, but that the run was unearned. Because Canty got on via a double, this implies that there must've been a fielding error in the midst of the Angeron double play, which might also explain how Capone made an out. If Canty scored in the midst of that tragedy before they managed to tag Capone, it would've counted, thanks to the lack of force out. But Pointstreak doesn't list an error in the end-of-inning summary.
The simplest answer is that something went wrong with the scorekeeping and/or the pipeline of transferring Pointstreak play-by-play to the official Pecos site, which is far from the only discrepancy you'd find in an independent baseball league stat-keeping. With all of the evidence at hand, I'm leaning towards a 9-5 Weirdos win. And anyway, what does it matter in the long run? The final play of the game was doubtless a beautiful mess, if there was somehow both a 4-3 and 1-3 putout, regardless of whether Canty scored. The Weirdos got their win, though if the run was marked as unearned, it wouldn't have gone against Nathan Woolridge's ERA, leaving the infielder with a perfect 0.00 on the season with 2.0 innings pitched.
This game came close enough to the start of the season that I don't think there would've been as much catharsis as if it occurred at the very end, but it's still something. And there was a little drama to the sole victory: At the end of the second inning, the Weirdos trailed 3-1, before tying it up in the bottom of the third. They only sealed the win with five runs in the fourth inning, opening with a single from none other than Weirdos stalwart Josh Walker, in spite of his slow start to the season. Hell yeah, buddy. He'll never forget where he was.