January 11, 1999

Weíre only going to dress seven players, we figure the other five can dress themselves
-- Paraphrasing an unnamed college basketball coach
(because I forgot who said it) on the youth of his team.


Sounds like the CRL. Five of you guys obviously knew what you were doing last year and cashed checks. Unfortunately, I was one of the seven who needed help dressing.

Of course, we wouldnít want to leave out Jim Fraser. Even though he got a check, he obviously forgot his belt. If he hadnít gained weight, he might have lost his pants. What if the season had lasted another couple of weeks? It only took game number 163 for him to slip from third to fourth, this after nipping at the commishís heels in early September. Good thing he had a parachute named McGwire, or we could have been picking little pieces of his team out of the landscape.

Yes, itís that time of year again, time for the shit to really fly. (DISCLAIMER: We here at CRL HQ do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, sex, age or creed. We do, however, reserve the right to take any shots we think of, plus some that you guys tell me about, in our never-ending quest to have a good laugh at the expense of those of you who did REALLY STUPID THINGS. Besides, it makes for good conversation at the pizza party.)

With that in mind, hereís a couple of items for our dinner discussion:

Otis protected 14 players from his 10th place 1997 team. (Someone smarter than me once said something about those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it. So if I start talking like Iím going to save a bunch of those slugs that finished the season on my roster, somebody please remind me of that quote.)

Doug didnít go to Vegas. If he had, he might have finished higher. (Hey Doug, you canít play poker on the phone. Part of the game is watching the other players -- body language, nervous twitches, etc.)

Burchfield, who is usually on the money when it comes to pitching, seemingly prepared for the draft by reading the sports page at breakfast the morning of the draft. Cordova, proving that old farts still have bullets in the gun, had to deal with a pregnant wife. And Spencer bitched every week about his partners going AWOL.

Glenn attempted to corner the market on Lees, dumping half his team to the Bambi Slayers to get Derrek.

On a related note, it was too late for Bill and Terry, who had obviously studied at the Steve Kerr/Sanford Baker (pre-divorce) school of team ownership, and couldnít decide which year to play for.

Todd Helton didnít win Rookie of the Year. (Those of us in Austin heard enough about him, anyway.)

Speaking of years, The new one just started. That means itís an interesting time for sportsfans -- full of excitement, anticipation, relief, and boredom. To wit:

Excitement: A few bowl games were really fun to watch, and conference play is heating up in college hoops.

Anticipation: The Super Bowl is coming up in less than a month (if any of you out there have any dead presidents and doubt the Vikings will take it all, Mr. Hutcheson might want to speak to you).

Relief: College footballís endless parade of other bowl games between teams that really suck (presented by Hoover) is over.

Boredom: The meaningless tedium of mid-season NBA games (did you even notice?).

On top of all that, there is one salient point to remember-- pitchers and catchers report in 40 days.

With that in mind, and since I just put up my 1999 calendar, here are some dates to remember:

(The mid-march dates dealing with the expansion draft only apply if we have an expansion team. If we do expand, all dates dealing with the expansion process, with the exception of March 7, are subject to change. Notwithstanding the above, the events of March 17 will go on as scheduled.)

Monday, March 1. Each CRL team needs to have $250 to Glenn. This should cover your off-season transactions, any signing bonuses, draft salaries, stat fees and draft day moves.

Sunday, March 7. Each CRL team gives me their seven protected players by 10pm CST. This commences the expansion process, no trades may occur until it is complete.

Thursday, March 11. The expansion owner informs me of his first-round selections.

Friday, March 12. I inform all CRL owners of which players were taken in the first round of the expansion draft.

Sunday, March 14. Each CRL team which had a player selected in the first round of the expansion draft informs me of one additional player that they are protecting.

Wednesday, March 17. St. Patrickís Day. Iím Irish. I Drink.

Thursday, March 18. The expansion owner informs me of the remainder of his expansion draft choices. The expansion process is over. Trading recommences.

Thursday, April 1. Roster Freeze Day.

Sunday, April 4. Opening Day.

Tuesday, April 6. Opening Day (presented by FOX) in Homer Simpson Dodger Stadium. Randy Johnson is expected to pitch for the Diamondbacks (more on this later).

Wednesday, April 7. Golf at a yet-to-be-determined course in the LA area. Let Spencer know if you are interested.

Thursday, April 8 (daylight hours). Golf for the earlybirds at a yet-to-be-determined course in Vegas. Let Spencer or myself know if you are interested.

Thursday, April 8 (evening hours). The Las Vegas Stars open their season at Cashman Field against the Omaha Royals. Let me know if you are interested.

Thursday, April 8 (late evening hours). The parade of silicon - the best chests money can buy are on display at Olympic Gardens. Cheap cigars not included.

Friday, April 9 (daylight hours). The annual CRL Open at a different yet-to-be-determined course in Vegas.

Friday, April 9 (evening hours). Pizza at Bautistaís. Everybody asks, "Whereís Otis?"

Friday, April 9 (late evening hours). Mike Look is down $200 at Pai Gow. Jim Fraser is getting up close and personal with his buddy Johnny Walker. Hutch is looking for somebody that wants to go back to Olympic Gardens. He drags me along kicking and screaming. I drive.

Saturday, April 10. Draft Day. Ken spends a total of $4.50 on pitching.

Saturday, May 1. Kerr declares that he is playing for next year.

I plan on putting out another newsletter around the middle of February. There will be more on the itinerary, including times, then.

Speaking of the next newsletter, I need a few things from you guys by then. Your updated contact information. Iím not including an address list this time, I want all of you to contact me and verify your information. The info Iíd like includes: Mailing address (if youíve moved since last season), home and work phone numbers (the latter, only if you can take phone calls at work) name of wife or significant other (so the rest of us will know who we are talking to when they answer the phone), fax number (if applicable) and email address. (This includes all of you Road Runner types, as I still have old email addresses for most of you.)

On the subject of email addresses, I really want to start handling written communication by email. I charge the league for my postage. That means Iím taking money out of the winnersí pockets everytime I get the muse. You can email all of the above info to me. My email is: jim@austin.rr.com.

Another thing I need from you guys by the next newsletter is any proposed rule changes. (If you need a copy of the Constitution, including last yearís changes, give me a call and Iíll get it to you.)

I also need to know if any of you guys want to volunteer to spring for a suite at the Imperial Love Palace. The league will throw you a bone of 120-130 bucks (depending on expansion) to help defray the cost of the suite.

If you have any expansion candidates, let me know. Just like everybody else, they need to have money to Glenn by March 1.

On the subject of newsletters, there were a couple of things that happened since our last meeting. As you may recall, all you folks with linked players had to let me know who you wanted to keep. Hereís who was kept:

Team 1: Chris Widger, Greg Colbrunn

Team 2: Pete Harnisch

Team 3: Shawon Dunston, Alan Benes

Team 5: Ed Giovanola, Aaron Boone and Adrian Brown

Team 7: Brian Anderson

Team 9: Fernando Tatis, Alex Fernandez

Team 10: Chris Holt (More on this later, also)

Team 12: Rich Loiselle

The second thing that happened (I promised more on this later) had to do with my noticing that Arizona was opening the season at LA. Back when there was speculation that Randy Johnson might end up either an Angel or a Ranger, Sanford traded the Big Unit to me for Karim Garcia -- yes, the same Karim Garcia that is now in Detroit. Let me see if I got this straight, in the past two years, Bake has traded away Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson for (drumroll, please) Neifi Perez. To quote Sanford, "This is insanity."

More from the "More on this later" department. I found this note on my desk last November, right before the date you guys had to tell me which of your linked players you were saving:

"Dear League Secretary,

I want to keep Chris Holt. Kevin Tapani, who I figure cost me $400 by giving up two runs in the 9th inning of the last game of the season, can go shit in his hat and pull it down over his ears.

Team # 10

Iíve always wanted to do a letters to the editor section.


Iíve rambled on long enough for one night. Till next time,