I can usually count on taking a shot at Fraser as a sure-fire way to start the humor, but I canít this year since he, through some miracle, ended up with the winnerís check. (Whatís next, a World Series title for the Red Sox?) Iíve even got some pictures around here somewhere of the Austin contingent, along with Steve Spencer, all toasting Mr. Fraser at the Oasis. Of course, we were spending Jimís money. And we spent a lot of Jimís money. He probably dropped more on his victory celebration than Mike Look does in a night at the blackjack table.
Actually, the pictures are in a flash and trash camera that hasnít been taken in for developing just yet, so everybody will have to put up with the pictures of me for just a little while longer. Those would be the pictures from last year, when I won.
As long as we are on the subject of Mr. Fraser, I guess I ought to let everyone know that he will not be joining us in Vegas this year. Seems Veneeta is pregnant, and the baby is due the middle of April. If I recall correctly, Ken had the same excuse one year. Jim obviously didnít heed the advice I gave the Commish back then Ė a few less fireworks on the fourth of July means you get to come out and play in Vegas in April.
Speaking of April, I guess itís time to go through this yearís important dates. The draft is Saturday, April 7. Roster freezes are due to me by April 1. Thatís a Sunday this year, so Iím, gonna make the deadline 6 P.M. Central time on April 1 so I can get protected rosters back out to all of you.
As to other deadlines, there are really only two that matter this year, since we are not expanding for the first time in a while. Each team needs to have their initial $250 to Glenn by March 1. For those of you playing golf in Vegas on Friday, April 6, you need to have $90 to Spencer by March 6 so he can make the tee times.
I guess this is as good a place as any to stick this in, but I may not be playing golf this year. In fact, I may end up taking a redeye to Vegas Friday night. CRL headquarters is moving 200 miles Southeast to Corpus Christi. As I type this paragraph on Sunday, January 21, 2001, a lot has changed since last weekend when I typed all the other stuff. I was planning on spicing things up a little before putting this out, but frankly, I just donít have the time. In fact, if I donít get this out now, I might never get it done.
I have taken a new job within Time Warner, and that job is in Corpus. So Iím going to have to ask you all to learn a new phone number. Unfortunately, I donít know what it will be yet. I start down there on February 12, and Iíve got a lot to do between now and then. The list is several pages long. (Thatís because I started out with things like "Find place to live" and "Sell house" and then started making lists related to each of those topics.) Iíve lived in Austin for 20 years, and in this house for over six, and every day I think of a dozen other things Iíve got to do, and Iíve got one less day to do them in. And itís not like things will get any better once I get down there. Iíll be launching a new department and be up to my ears in work. So you folks probably wonít be hearing from me for at least a month. I donít even know yet if Iíll be able to get off on Friday for golf. Donít worry, I will be there for the draft.
So between the move and work, not to mention the fact that I may end up living on the beach and just might be distracted by the occasional wild bikini (I hope itís a lot more frequent than occasional), my team may not be very competitive this year. So remember that if my team sucks.
Now back to our regularly-scheduled program.
Actually, there is another deadline you need to know about. As you all know, there have been rumblings of another work stoppage in baseball. (Iíve got an idea, maybe Alex Rodriguez can just buy the Twins and Expos. He might even have enough left over to go after the Royals.) Steve Kerr was wondering what effect a strike or lockout that cancelled an entire year might have on long-term contracts. My initial reaction, besides cussing out the greedy bastards, is that it would be treated the same as any other year in which a player appears. If there are games, it counts as a year. If not, the clock stops. Weíve always treated partial years as full years for contract reasons, but if someone is signed to a three-year contract in 2001 and there are no more games until 2003, the player would have two years remaining at that time. But I realized that it is not my decision to make, as it is the off-season, everybody gets a vote. Please let me know how your team votes by Sunday March 17, so we can all plan accordingly for April 1.
It occurs to me that this opens up another possibility, however. (I hate to bring up such a dark subject, but we do have to consider the possibility.) If an entire year, or even a partial year, is washed out, some people in this league may just be disgusted enough to walk away forever. (Hell, I might myself.) If that happens, weíve got to have a contingency plan. I know a guy that wants in now. I realize that we donít have any openings, and Iím not even sure weíd want to replace a team that dropped out (the Free Agent pickings were mighty slim last season) so long as it was only one team. Of course, thatís a decision we need to all make together. Chalk it up as an agenda item for discussion prior to this yearís draft. We will also need to start thinking about what happens if several CRL teams bail and we cannot find the correct number of suitable replacements. Since the salary to available player ratio would be changed, we might consider throwing everyone back and starting all over from scratch. But even if we donít do that, I think that, should we have fewer teams, it would be only fair to allow any owner with a player under a long-term contract to dump that player with no penalty. But again, I canít make those decisions. I can just open up the item for discussion.
One other note on money. We are starting this year off in the hole because of the meeting room we are getting this year. The price for the room, with a speaker phone, is $250. The Imperial Palace wanted a deposit, which Glenn has already paid out of the account. There was money still in the account because a few of you overpaid last year and just said to leave the money in for this year. Now we have to repay those funds. We also need to put in enough money so Glenn can put down a deposit for the room again next year. $250 divided by 14 teams is $17.86 per team. Iím going to round it up and make it $20 a team in case anything pops up (like a price-increase next year). So we will be taking $40 of each teamís $250 and putting it toward facilities procurement. I donít yet know how much stat fees will be this year, but we can probably count on somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 per team. I just wanted to point this out because some of you have gotten used to not owing anything until May or June. After you factor in $130 in salaries, everybody is going to owe money much sooner this year than in the past. Depending on how many contracts you sign and how many off-season moves you make, you might even owe the pot money on Draft Day.
Speaking of off-season moves, we had a January 1 deadline with regard to linked players. Iíve updated everyoneís roster with who was kept. You can find them here.
When I look at my roster right now, I realize I might be the first person in CRL history to keep a Colorado pitcher Ė and that might be all I keep. With all the rumblings about enlarging the strike zone, hitters may not put up the numbers they have in the past. I just might go into the draft needing 22 players, and having $129.50 to spend.
A couple of other housekeeping items:
Ken and Look have changed their team name to Nice Tie.
I've changed a couple of things on the owner info page. Take the time to look at it and let me know of any changes I need to make to your contact info.
Oh well, thatís enough for now. You may now return to your Super Bowl preparations.