Just as we did for the first time ever in the 1st half of the regular season last month, the JAL will nationally broadcast 4 games during the 2nd half of the season on Friday night, December 23rd.
The 4 games that will air LIVE (and are able to be replayed afterward) on Facebook and Twitter are listed below. Remember that these 4 games were selected in the preseason as part of making sure every team got at least 1 broadcast game in JAL 15, so selecting who should get broadcasted games in the 2nd half of the season was difficult because it was unclear how everyone would do through their first 3 games. But as it turns out, the league made pretty good assumptions on how things would play out because and all 4 of them should be good and fun, not snoozers.
Along with a look at each game below, the JAL has also sleeted the broadcast crews for each matchup...
Cobras (3-0) vs Rapids (1-2)
Since JAL 10 the Cobras and Rapids have met 4 times in the playoffs (3 of which were in the NC finals). The "is this a rivalry" debates ended about 2 seasons ago. It is, and it's still in it's prime, even though the Rapids are struggling so far this season.... But really, that only amplifies the stakes. A loss at this point would all but end the Rapids chances of making the postseason, but a win would keep them right in the thick of the hunt. It will be tough though, as Ty Johnson will likely not take the circle to pitch (knee injury), though he probably will still bat. As for the Cobras, this will be their first true game in the new "Connor Vermilyea era" ..... And oh by the way, speaking of that, now former Cobra Michael Sullivan will be joining the broadcast booth as a guest for this throw down. Don't be surprised if Brock Johnson asks him a few awkward questions as the game rolls along... James French will also be present to give his take, and maybe chat a little about the Bison's odds in their games that night.
Bambinos (3-0) vs Mafia (0-3)
There's a lot to gain and little to lose for the Mafia in this game. Of all the 4 national games, this is definitely the one with the best chance to end short of a full 5 innings. Watching Nate Williamson and Colton Titus play is always a treat, but on the other side there just isn't much to talk about with the Mafia right now. Luckily, joining the commentating crew for this game will be Ryan Fish of the underdogs. Together, he and Ty Johnson are sure to have some friendly and interesting banter because right after this game the Rapids and u-dogs play each other.
Express (3-0) vs Bambinos (3-0)
If all goes according to plan these 2 WWCD Cup favorites will meet for their final regular season games of the season, hopefully each at 5-0. But even if one of them slips up beforehand and loses, this game will likely still be for 1st place in the American Conference (and a bye to the AC finals) because of the head-to-head. Since both teams expanded into the league together in JAL 12 every meeting has been a knock-down, drag-out affair. All-time they've played 4 times and the Bambinos lead the series 3-1... Though Missouri leads the championship count 2-1. Within the 4 all-time games, the highest margin of victory is 3, and 2/4 have gone extra innings. In the 4 games combined neither team has scored more than 5 points against the other (Express 4, Bambinos 5). There's so much to be said about this matchup, but we know everyone gets the picture. This should be another great chapter in what could soon surpass Cobras-Bison as the league's greatest rivalry in history. No guest analysts will be part of the broadcast, as there is no need for distractions with this one. All eyes in the JAL will be on the action.
Wrecking Crew (2-1) vs Fog (1-2)
Washougal is currently 3rd in the AC and Bay Area is 4th. If that holds up by their last games of the season then this game could potentially be to determine who does and doesn't make the playoffs. By this late into the night the expected cold weather will be unescapable and Field #1 (field game is on) will likely be a mess. Things could be ugly, but sometimes that's when the best stuff happens. Joining Brock Johnson to commentate the game will be Jordan Halverson of the Rapids. At some point Brock will probably interview him about the Rapids upcoming (and potentially season on-the-line) game right after vs the Waves.