Thatís right, itís getting close to that time of year again. The bowls are over, itís sleeting outside and, by the time most of you read this, pitchers and catchers will be reporting in less than a month. So itís time to go over things like expansion and money. The stuff about expansion will be covered a little later in the newsletter, because there are a couple of important issues we need to discuss.
The first is money. I originally reported that each team needed to have its initial $200 to Glenn by March 1. Since mortgage payments are due on the first, and to keep from hearing "the checkís in the mail," (Iíve used that phrase myself a few times) weíre moving up the payment deadline to Feb. 15. So have your $200 to Glenn by then.
The second topic is going to require a vote of all teams. I know we have a rules committee, but its function (and the rules committee supports this) is to settle disputes which arise during the season when quick action is needed -- like on Monday nights. As time is not so critical during the off-season, weíve decided that whenever problems arise, weíll settle them with a vote of all owners. Here is the situation I need your input on:
Ken recently made a trade with Sanford where Ken would send Willie Greene to Sanford for the third pick in the upcoming expansion draft. This happens in real baseball all the time, but may or may not be prohibited in the constitution. Iíve enclosed a copy of the page containing the paragraph I need a vote on. (Ignore the numbers in the margins, they are part of my ongoing effort to put out an addendum to the constitution outlining what changes we have we have made.) On page 19, under section XI (Trades), the second note (starting out, "Unless you want knife fights to ...) there is a sentence barring trades for "future considerations." A draft pick is definitely a future consideration, but the entire "note" is a suggestion and is not written as part of the actual constitution. What I need to know from each of you is whether we should accept this suggestion as part of the actual constitution, or do Ken and Sanford have a valid trade. Please let me know by Feb. 1.
On a related note, Ken is on record as saying he would buy a table dance at Olympic Gardens for anyone voting in his favor.
Before I get to the logistics of the expansion draft, hereís some more news and some things Iíve picked up from various media outlets:
Kerr says not to worry about the draft because heís already won the league. Glenn reported that the day Eric Davis signed with the American League, Kerr called and guaranteed that the league title was wrapped up. I didnít realize one $3 player was so important.
Ken and Greg have changed names again. For the Ď97 campaign theyíll be known as "Purple-eyed girls." Ken said if you want to know why, ask Farabee.
Ken did make one trade we donít need to vote on. He traded Sean Berry and Francisco Cordova to Kerr for Jeff Brantley.
One local radio sports-talk host was talking about Pete Rose betting on baseball when he said he thought it should be "required" that managers and owners bet on their own team. That way, the public could be sure they were doing all they could to put the best product on the field.
Iím not sure when I saw it, I think it was during the All-Star Game, but Nike ran an election-type commercial starring Ken Griffey, Jr. In the spot, Griffey was pointing to a NO PEPPER sign stenciled on a ballpark fence and decrying such discrimination while supporters were holding up signs that read, "Pepper in Ď96!" I appreciate the support, but itís time to change the year on the signs.
One of the Sportscenter guys called the Giantsí home "Computer Park at Commercialstick Point."
For those of you curious as to what to get Hutcheson for a gift, allow me to suggest a copy of Craig Stadlerís book, "I Am the Walrus." In the book, Stadler gives tips on throwing golf clubs. One such piece of wisdom is: "the club should fly high and soft, end over end, and with plenty of backspin. Practice this shot frequently and youíll soon be putting it within 10 feet of your bag every time."
Bob Patterson commenting on a pitch Barry Larkin hit for a game-winning homer: "It was a cross between a screwball and a changeup. It was a screwup."
Another Cub, Mike Campbell, gave up five hits to the first seven Dodger hitters he faced before the game was rained out. The next day, he started and got a win, allowing but two runs in five innings. "Itís not often in baseball that you get a mulligan," Campbell said.
Ken was wondering why you never see Dwight Yokum and Chipper Jones together. He says they are the same person.
And now, back to expansion.
As you know, Sanford will be fielding an expansion team this season. First, some general rules:
Sanford, who is keeping the name Thoroughbreds, cannot select more than 15 players. No existing team may lose more than two players. Salaries and contracts are fully transferable. No trading may occur during the 10 days of the expansion process.
Now a timeline:
March 2. (Sunday) Each team must call me by 10 p.m. central time with a list of the seven players they are protecting from the expansion draft. Sanford can select up to one player from each team, although he is not required to select a player from every team.
March 6. (Thursday) Sanford will call me and inform me who he has selected in this initial phase.
March 7. (Friday) I will inform all owners who Sanford selected in the first phase. Those owners who lost a player will then get to protect one additional player from expansion.
March 9. (Sunday) Owners who lost a player to expansion must call me by 10 p.m. central time and let me know which additional player they are protecting. A team which did not have a player selected in the first round will not get to protect an additional player.
March 12. (Wednesday) Sanford informs me of the rest of his expansion picks. Now that Sanford has a team, trading may resume.
Other important dates:
March 26. (Wednesday) Roster freeze day.
April 5. (Saturday) Draft day.
And finally, our last bit of business. The following list notes which linked players were kept on Dec. 1:
Team 1 - Trinidad Hubbard and Marvin Benard.
Team 2 - Todd Ziele.
Team 3 - Sammy Sosa and Mike Kelly.
Team 4 - Steve Decker and Turk Wendell.
Team 5 - Quilvio Veras and Carlos Perez.
Team 7 - David Justice, Matt Williams, Keith Williams and Vladimir Guerrero.
Team 8 - Wayne Kirby and Robert Person.
Team 9 - Scott Rolen.
Team 10 - Kevin Mitchell and Armando Reynoso.
If Hubbard, Ziele, Sosa, Kelly, Veras, Perez, Justice, Williams, Williams or Rolen are kept by their owners, or selected by Bake and kept by him, on roster freeze day, $5 will be owed to the prize pool because each of these players was on the reserve list.
Iíll discuss plans, including accommodations, schedules, tee times, ballgames, pizza parties, etc. next time.
P.S. Attached youíll find the updated (as far as I know) CRL address list. There have been several changes. Scott Cordova has a new address, Steve Kerr has a new partner, and all of us at Austin Cablevision have new work numbers. Please let me know of any other changes or additions (fax machines, e-mail addresses, etc) so I can fix them.