The First Annual President’s Cup will take place during the halfway break from June 27th – July 4th. This is perhaps the CBA’s most hyped event, with President Dwayne Johnson confirming his attendance at the Independence Day Championship Game. It’s certainly a big boost to the sport of baseball, which has obviously taken its fair share of hits throughout the last few seasons. The CBA has been integral in baseball’s return to prominence, and the President’s Cup should be another huge step in furthering that initiative.
But who’s going to win the President’s Cup? Eight teams emerged from Pool Play before the season got its start, most of whom are off to fantastic starts in the young season. Dallas, Cincinnati, and Brooklyn, the current PL, SL and BL leaders, are all in the tourney. Arizona and Great Lakes are also making an appearance from the Premier League, although their seasons have not gotten off to starts indicative of their Pool Play successes. The same could be said for Atlanta, although they’re gaining steam in a competitive Silver League top-of-table. The only head scratcher in the tournament is Philadelphia, who are looking more and more like a relegation team as the season goes on.
The tournament is single elimination, which means each of these teams will need to be at their bests for each of the matchups. Let’s dive into the bracket:
Arizona at Dallas
This seems to be a no brainer. Projected Dallas starter Keith Bush has been lights out thus far, and is showing now signs of stopping. The recent acquisition of OF Jim Forristall has reinforced an already deadly lineup.
Arizona, who is sub-.500 as of this writing, will need to conjure an Any Given Sunday vibe in their clubhouse if they want to advance in this tournament.
Brooklyn at Great Lakes
Although this is a matchup of Bronze League versus Premier League, the matchup might not be as cut and dry as one might think. Brooklyn has been playing lights out baseball against their BL competition, lead by standout Starting Pitcher Tim Keefer and SS Vic Gonzalez. They’re one of four teams to have reached 30 wins through the end of May, no small feat regardless of league.
Great Lakes, also sub-.500 as of May 30th, has had a bit of a disappointing season so far. Star 3B Josh Verburg has completely torn the cover off the ball this season, but has been set back with an injury and will just be getting back into the swing of things as the tournament gets under way. If Verburg can shake off the rust quickly, I think Great Lakes should be able to squeeze out a victory here.
Atlanta at Cincinnati
Cincinnati is the winningest team in the CBA, and they’re doing it on both sides of the ball. Their pitching has been lights out, to the point that it’s unclear who will be pitching in this game for the Royals. Brad Limbach was one of three All-Star selections at SP last year, and sports a 3.50 ERA, but is being outpitched by all three of his colleagues in the rotation. It’s a good problem for Cincinnati to have, especially with their offense clicking the way it has been.
Atlanta may have the firepower to stop Cincinnati dead in their tracks. They’re surging up the Silver League table on the backs of Shen Qi and Mike “Win” Quinn. Unlike Cincinnati, there’s no doubt as to who’s starting this game for the Swarm – they’ll be giving the ball to Quinn, and hoping he lives up to his namesake.
Philadelphia at Florida
What a disappointment the Liberty have been this season. Already in fire sale mode, they’ll likely be the easiest team to bounce from this tournament.
The always dangerous Florida Giants will be the benefactors of this drawing. Their 24-21 record should likely be even better than that, with standout pitcher Xavier Frade underperforming since being sent to Jacksonville. Jonathan “Big Money” Broyles has been well worth the investment for the Giants through a season and some change, and should be a big factor in this game.
Dallas over Arizona
Great Lakes over Brooklyn
Cincinnati over Atlanta
Florida over Philadelphia
Dallas over Great Lakes
Cincinnati over Florida
Dallas over Cincinnati