Whatever happens to the Rockville Pikemen in the 2036 Landis Memorial Series, they have done something that has been done just once in the last eighteen seasons: they have won back to back pennants. The heavily favored Pikemen knocked off the upstart Atlantic City Gamblers in six games in the JL Cartwright Cup, and will get an unusual rematch opportunity with the San Fernando Bears in their quest for their first BBA title since moving to Rockville.
This was the third consecutive Cartwright for Rockville, and the first of the three, against the Havana Sugar Kings, provides the rematch for the Pikemen. Havana moved to San Fernando directly after winning their first BBA title in 51 years, and with no interleague play since that season the Pikemen haven't had any chance for revenge.
"We all remember that series," said Doubleday MVP Mario Guerrer, who followed up his opening round with another huge performance against Atlantic City, hitting safely in every game. "Well, not ALL of us, but most of us do, and we're looking forward to this second chance."
What's Guerrer talking about? Well, many of the Pikemen players were rookies when they swarmed into the Cartwright Cup at least a year earlier than expected. Lorenzo Palacios, Chip Puckett, and Larry Blake were all late-season callups that year. Manuel Marino hadn't even seen the major leagues yet. Also, pitchers Dave Martin and Dan Cannon weren't members of the Pikemen in 2034, as the Pikemen have traded for one each over the past two seasons to create a formidable rotation.
"I think we're a better team than the first time we were here, and we're more experienced and better players," said Puckett, who may win the award this year that bears his father's name, the Charles Puckett Golden Bat Award (at shortstop). "We were raw rookies with almost no experience last time, last year we went to the Landis and got mauled, and this year, well, it's safe to say we're not going to be happy with anything short of the title."
Can the Pikemen shrug off their disappointing performance in the Landis last year and win their first BBA crown since 2020? Will San Fernando continue to be the undisputed king of the Johnson League? Will Mario Guerrer ever have a whole game without a hit? On to the Landis!
GM: Aaron Weiner