The Northern States League

Newsletter #430- March 4th, 2014

 

ALL HAIL THE CHAMPION WILDCATS, WINNER OF A 5 GAME SERIES WITH VERMONT FOR THE LEAGUE TITLE.  17 IN ATTENDANCE AT THE ANNUAL WINTER MEETINGS, AND THERE WERE PLENTY OF HIGHLIGHTS!  MOST INFO ON WEB PAGE UPDATED, SCHEDULE TO BE RELEASED LATER TODAY.  WAIVER DRAFT ON THE HORIZON- READY?

 

Dear Members,

 

Yet again, we’ve outdone ourselves.  The 2014 NSL Winter Meetings have been completed and we had a fantastic time here in Wilmington,  17 members made their appearance and it seemed as if there was constant league chatter as well as guys just catching up with one another- their lives, families, friendships, etc.  As most of you know, that’s really what we’re all about.  It was, indeed, a fantastic time. 

 

The Albany Wildcats upset the Vermont Woodchucks in a 5 game series to capture their first every NSL championship.  I have the stats before me right now, and actually Vermont outhit the ‘cats .262-.241, yet the ‘cat hurlers took the ERA crown 3.00-4.40.  Somehow Albany had more HR (7-5) and stolen bases (16-1 Alb) played a huge role in the series.  We can all now salute the champions after a storybook season.  The club was flat in their division at the outset, then came on strong, but was down 3-0 in the Division Series against North York before putting things together and charging to the Championship.  Congratulations to Nathaniel and protect that trophy!  The series will have a report on the web page shortly if it’s not there already.

 

The web page has been updated with lots of things.  Most of the left hand column has been updated for 2014 and a new directory has been included as well as a new Calendar of Events.  Not to go through them all, but pay attention to the schedule which will be sent to Bob later this afternoon, and the Calendar which basically maps out the coming year for the league, with the 2015 Winter Meetings being held 2/25/15 thru 3/1/15.

 

I’ll go through what we discussed at the meetings in a second (there are no rule changes at this time), but I wanted to welcome Bo and the Marietta Mad Dogs to the fold.  It was great getting to meet Bo and he had as good a Saturday as anyone ever in the league- drafting for the first time, actually making his limits (looked like that would be impossible early on), and won the All League Game single handedly.  Read on for that, but in the meantime, welcome Bo aboard.

 

We talked about many things at the meetings.  I think overall we’re perfectly happy with the way things are going.  In no particular order- here are the things that were discussed.

 

League finances are in great shape, and I feel that a lot of that is the contribution of your cards.  Most of you know that I’ll sell your cards on eBay whether they are this year’s cards or another year, and we’ve done very well with that.  That has helped offset almost all of our cards and allowed us to do some things with the treasury such as help out with the meetings rentals as well as picking up a meal tab or two.  I have the entire treasury book right here and it is always open to membership observation.  Please let me know if you’d like to take a peak or two.

 

We all bitch and moan about the All-League game.  That’s a fact.  Well, this year after the bitching, we played what has to be the best All League Game ever.  Ever.  Miguel Cabrera soloed in the 2nd for the Cooper.  In the 4th- Si was in against Bo, and after our hero went 1-2-3, Bo rolled a 2R bomb for Hamilton and it was 2-1 Schmidt.  Cabrera left the building again for the Cooper- this time a 2R shot and it was 3-2 after 6 1/2.  Into the ninth we went, and Si had Beltre PH for Cabrera (What???) and he flew out weekly.  Yes, it was Bo on the other side for the Schmidt and in the bottom of the 9th against Kimbrel, Hamilton bounced out.  Aaron Hill then kicked Ortiz’ grounder and there was Schmidt life.  PH Fielder then rolled into a FC for the 2nd out and it all came down to A.Gone.  The tension was insurmountable as Bo picked up the dice and rolled.  He rolled a 33 (not a 6 Bo….) for an ought and he was in the 2nd column.  We wiped the sweat off Si’s forehead, and there it was- a 44 (2nd column 1) and…wait…. The white die rolled off the field and it was no roll. Calmly, like a seasoned veteran, Bo rolled again- 11 which was a 1 of course, and pandemonium reigned.  Incredible 4-3 Schmidt win as Si hung his head in disgust, and Bo rode the shoulders of the Schmidt contingent out to the beach for a quick dip.  Well, maybe I made up a few things but not the result- 4-3 Schmidt on a walk off 2 Run A.Gone bomb with 2 outs in the home 9th.  Couldn’t have asked for a better result!

 

The rule change conversation never really came to the table as there were no rule changes.  A few things were discussed, and you should know what they were.

 

There was a proposal which gathered a little steam, that being increasing the “playing” roster to 40, while cutting the “keeper” roster to 33.  That is, you’d have up to 7 slots to keep guys for their limits this year, yet declaring them free agents for next year before the season started.  The idea was to allow a few more bodies so you could make limits, at the same time cutting the 35 man keeper roster to 33- yes that would be a good thing.  The idea is out there, it probably needs to be fine-tuned, and maybe we’ll see it again someday.  It is not an item for vote at this time.

 

Something that was not discussed was the use of pitchers offensively.  The Constitution reads that pitchers may appear offensively only in “emergency” situations.  To me, that means when a roster is depleted by injury or ejections, not when you put your d.h. in the field or as PR.  They cannot be used as Earl Weaver used to do- that is list them as a d.h., then PH for them when the d.h. comes up.  So my opinion of the rule is simply when there is no other choice, not when you can use it to your advantage.  Your thoughts?

 

We talked about the schedule some.  I was all ready to trash those small 3 game h&a series in your own division in the middle, but met some resistance, so we’ll leave that as is.  We talked again about randomizing divisions, and I guess we’re not ready for anything like that.  Guys still like the face to face aspect of the league and many want as many ftf games as possible.  There were many overages this year as we know, and many are likely from playing face to face series early, then forgetting the players you used.  But- for now at least- the schedule and divisions will stay as they are.

 

I know we’ve talked about this a lot, but rarely do proposals take traction at the meetings- rather they need to be built up during the off season- especially those “outside the box” type proposals.  The rules committee is there for your use and JB certainly is able to weigh most ideas and proposals for what they are worth.  But if you have something, be sure to have the positives and negatives at hand- in other words work it out completely from both sides before you put it out there.

 

We also talked about trading.  It’s clear we do not want to be policed, except when we need to be policed.  Yeah- figure that one out.  I had a lot of sessions with managers one on one, as well as in group settings.  You all know how I feel about trading.  Trades can affect so many franchises- not just the two in the actual trade, but the teams in your division, the teams in the other managers division, etc.  What I’m saying is that when a team takes advantage of another in a trade, not only are those two teams affected, but so is the divisional race and perhaps even the conference race, as we hear mor3e and more of the “I can’t compete now, so I’ll trade….”.  Lopsided trades do nothing more than make one team happy, and many others upset.  I am not a good judge of trades (obviously) and Bill has been beaten over the years being the judge.  I think next year we’ll do this- trades will be posted as they are turned in.  The league- any league member- can object to a deal anonymously to me and should there be enough objections, the deal will be negated, or at least be frozen until it is evened out.  I think I’ll post the trades as pending and give membership like a week to question them, and then they’ll become “official”.  That gives everyone a chance to be heard, and although one guy might object (say a division mate), it’ll take a few more to actually get us to disallow a trade.  Once again, your thoughts and ideas are appreciated.

 

The league did decide to honor the original 4 members who are still with us.  The idea was to change division names in their honor, but after some discussion it was decided that the league awards would be named after the original 4.  So- the NSL MVP award will now be known as the Al Rapp award, the Nolan Ryan award will be known as the Dick Silar award, the Rookie of the Year award will be known as the Gideon Burnham award, and the Manager of the Year award will be known as the Rich Pray award.  I listed those all out simply by the amount of wins the managers have in the NSL.  Thanks to everyone who makes this possible- it’s a very nice gesture.

 

We did talk a bit about the Hall of Fame and the voting method.  The Hall of Fame is not under the Constitution, so it can be changed however we think is needed.  I think Denny will let everyone know what the final decision is, but I think we’ll be going more to a percentage of the ballots vote instead of the “all 10 votes for…” type voting.  It makes a lot of sense, and I think he got a lot of input from members.  My guess is that the new voting will be in place for the ballot coming up (class of 2013) which you should have in hand within 2 weeks- again delayed this year due to my inability to get it out on time.  Stay tuned for that- it will be a big change in how we vote.

 

Opening Day will be upon us sooner than you think.  Trading ends at midnight, on Tuesday March 18th.  Your rosters are due in Derby (at Burnie’s) Thursday March 20th, but would be appreciated sooner than that if possible.  Your roster must consist of your 35 man keepers and your cuts.  Be sure to include all your cuts- including non-carded types who you’ve forgotten all about.  This is traditionally a day or issues as rosters come in not accounting for all their owned players, so watch your e-mail for problems.  Some time on Sat the 21st, Burnie will have the list of carded cuts to Bob for the web page- i.e. the eligible players for the Waiver Draft, and the Waiver Draft will start at 8 PM on Sunday the 23rd of March.  As always- this draft will move quickly and we won’t have time for you to research a player when it is your turn.  Just draft and go.  If you do not wish to participate, that’s fine- just let me know and we’ll pass you.  If you wish to draft by list, that’s also fine, I’d prefer the list to be in my hands, but feel free to use another league member if you like.  Remember, you must throw back a card to select a card.  Non-carded players are not eligible in this draft to be selected or thrown back.  Cuts during each round of the Waiver Draft will be frozen until the beginning of the next round.  That is- the #1 drafting team has first shot at anyone.  Let me know if you have questions, and I’ll have a worksheet out to you before the draft.  Then Opening Day is 4/1/14.  All of these dates are, of course, on the web page under the Calendar of Events.

 

Finally, you should have the NSL schedule posted on the web page sometime tonight or tomorrow.  Everything you ever wanted to know about the league is readily at your hands there.

 

That’s all I have for today- good luck in your final deals and remember all your deadlines!

 

                                                                        Best Wishes,

 

                                                                        Rich