Borealis Brace Make SL History

Updated: August 4, 2016
All The News Fit For The Front Range

All The News Fit For The Front Range

by Francis Ferry, NLN baseball beat writer

November 13, 2023: Aurora, Colorado – It had never happened in the Sovereign League’s history. Only twice before in the Imperial League had it happened – teammates winning the Royal Raker and Golden Arm in the same season. Early in the Planetary Extreme Baseball Alliance’s infancy (2009) New Orlean’s Jeff Cline and Conan McCullough won baseball’s greatest honors. Fast-forward 11 years later and it was London’s Nathan Carter and Kata Nakamura who brought the hardware across The Pond.

Today, that disparity was cut in half.

Provost’s consistency earned him his third Golden Arm

Britt put it all together in 2023 to earn his first Royal Raker

Michel Provost, already a two-time winner of the Golden Arm Award (’19 and ’22), was announced the winner of the 2023 Golden Arm Award, breaking a tie with two other pitchers with Aurora ties – John Roach and Gunner MacGruder, each who has won two themselves (though Gunner’s came while with Yuma). In winning his third award, Provost moves into second place All-Time, behind the incomparable ‘Fireworks’ Hancock (who possesses seven awards).

Aurora’s other ‘Michael’, Mike Britt, completed the Aurora ‘Daily Double’ by being announced the winner of the 2023 Royal Raker Award – the fifth time a Borealis was the Awards recipient, and the fourth overall player to win the award – behind ‘Ice Cold’ Richardson, John Knight and Cory Pierce (a two-time winner).

And for each, the voting really wasn’t very close. Britt received 72% of the first place votes as only he and Shin Seiki’s Benton Hawkins received first place votes. Provost won 76% of the first place Golden Arm votes with the Evas Yakamochi Suitani, Toyama’s Akira Wantanabe and Hancock also receiving recognition.

2023 (and to a lesser extent, 2022) will be known as the year Mike Britt put it all together. Signed as a teenage free-agent, the ‘Big Tennesseean’ has been full of potential – average and power, but never had he put things together as he did in 2023. Despite a hip injury that sidelined him for the last 10-games of the season – and into the second round of the playoffs, Britt hit .302 – his first .300+ season, and had 37 HR (third best in the SL) and 125 RBI – tops in the SL. He would conclude his season by winning the PEC MVP, leading Aurora to an unprecedated third straight Rodriguez Cup. For Britt, he becomes one of the nine players who have been on all four of Aurora’s PEC winners in the past five years.

Britt would add 34 doubles, score 108 runs, and a .574 SLG to his career numbers, while walking more than he struck out (79 v. 70). His Aurora team record of 201 career HR rank 57th All-Time (4 behind Pierce) – the same spot that his 696 career RBIs place him (and 120 behind Pierce for the team mark).

‘Train Arollin’’ would be another one of those nine, as the first ring (in 2019) was his own breakout year, winning the first of his three Golden Arms. During the 2023 season he continued the amazing consistency he’s shown since. His 21-7 record and 2.62 ERA matched his 2022 numbers –almost to a ‘T’, where his 20-4 record carried the same 2.62 ERA. Provost finished first in wins and third in ERA – a hair behind teammate ‘Tugboat’ and Suitani – whose 2.54 lead the SL.

Provost has a career 102-44 record (52nd in wins) and a 2.83 ERA – 6th best amongst pitchers with 190 GS. His career WHIP of 0.98 is tied for the top mark amongst the same starter class, including ‘Moondog’ York, Victor Matos and ‘Fireworks’.

And to think Aurora was so close to giving up on Provost back in 2018.

Of course, Aurora never considered moving Britt as he marinated in the minors after his initial signing.

The future for the two leaders of the Borealis is both bright, yet clouded. Whereas Britt has three-years left on a very team friendly contract (3-years, $38.5M left if a team option is picked up for 2026), the 2024 season is a contract year for Provost, who is scheduled for an $18.5M paycheck. With the new TV deal flooding the market with cash, one could imagine Provost demanding a $30M+ deal for 2025 and beyond – especially when Aurora’s take in the new deal doesn’t impact their budget all that significantly.

Contracts and the future aside, Aurora’s Dynamic Duo can bask in the bright lights of shared championships and now, awards. This amazing run by the Aurora Borealis may not last much longer, but for now Mike Britt and Mike Provost are both Champions and the Best Hitter/Pitcher in the Sovereign League – and that’s something no other teammates in the history of the SL can say.