CRL News

February 10, 2012

I concluded last season with a newsletter where I ranked all CRL owners in history and made a comparison to ďourĒ Hall of Fame.


I was scanning the off-season headlines a month or so ago and came across a tidbit while looking to see how many Hall-of-Fame votes Jeff Bagwell got this year (321 or 56% of the vote, in case you were wondering).†† When I reached the bottom of the list, I got to the section where the players dropped from the ballot are listed.As you probably know, a player must be named on 5% of the ballots cast to be included on future ballots.Hereís this yearís list of who didnít make the cut (with vote totals and percentage of the vote):

Juan Gonzalez 23 (4.0%), Vinny Castilla 6 (1.0%), Tim Salmon 5 (0.9%), Bill Mueller 4 (0.7%), Brad Radke 2 (0.3%), Javy Lopez 1 (0.2%), Eric Young 1 (0.2%), Jeromy Burnitz 0, Brian Jordan 0, Terry Mulholland 0, Phil Nevin 0, Ruben Sierra 0, Tony Womack 0.

I think I owned at least half those guys at one time or another.

And what the hell is that 4 doing after Bill Muellerís name?I think thatís the price I had him for one year and was struggling on whether to bring him back.(On a positive note, I did have Barry Larkin for awhile Ė although not as long as Otis.)

But on to more important things Ė pitchers and catchers start reporting next weekend!

So Iíve some news, notes, and important dates to get us off and running, and, hopefully, get me back in the mood.

(Maudlin alert, if you donít want to read about my personal angst, skip the next few paragraphs.You can pick back up again when you see the next bolded parenthetical statement.)

It started with the announcement that Houston would be moving to the AL in 2013.The team I grew up following (they started play in 1962 when I wasnít quite two) was moving to a league I care nothing about.I grew up following not just a team, but a league Ė something that was only magnified by the CRL.Iím such a National League fan that Iíd prefer to watch a Pirates/Nationals game than watch the Yankees/Red Sox (despite the fact that ESPN seems to have them on Sunday Night Baseball at least a half-dozen times a year Ė and, as there are no other games on at that time, I end up watching the Discovery Channel or something).

Now they are trying to get me excited by saying I get to watch the Astros play the Rangers?I donít give a rats @$$ about the Rangers.And boy, those tilts with the Royals or Mariners will sure be fun.In fact, I probably wonít even follow Houston anymore.With no NL teams in Texas, I donít even know how many games I will get to watch Ė and watching my players is part of the fun for me.

Not only that, but how am I supposed to get excited about watching a lame-duck team with a bunch of minor-leaguers struggle through another 100-loss season?

I read recently that new Astros owner Jim Crane said he was lowering ticket prices this year.He should lower them a lot.I remember saying to some of you last season that, if I lived in Houston, Iíd feel ripped off Ė just a couple of weeks earlier, you could have watched a third of the starting lineup play in the AA ballpark here in Corpus Christi for five bucks.

And if that wasnít enough, hereís an email I sent to a couple of you late Friday night/early Saturday morning (depending on your point of view):

From: Jim
Sent: Sat Feb 04 02:30:52 2012
Subject: Contract ended today

So now Iím unemployed again and Iím sitting here getting quietly drunk (Iím not buying any more when this runs out Ė but I think I deserve it tonight).

After working hard all my life, this is the second time in three years.  And, unlike last time, I donít have unemployment as a safety net Ė employees do, but contractors donít.

Funny thing is, Iím happy.

It took a while (I lost my job, my wife lost her job,  I bled my 401K down to nothing, my wife died Ė it seemed like life handed me a shit sandwich), but Iíve gotten optimistic recently.

And, no, I canít explain it.

My 25-year-old stepdaughter moved back home (along with her boyfriend) and my other stepdaughter (22, soon to be 23) is now over here 4-5 times a week.  I never had kids, but, damn, it feels like I have a family Ė and it feels good.  I know that 50+ year olds arenít supposed to think that way, but Ö

No, I donít have a job lined up, but my mindset is almost (almost)

So what? 

Whatís next?

Iíve seen everything life has to throw at me (knocking heavily on wood) Ö

For some reason, I feel my next challenge is just around the corner.  I just donít know what it is yet.  Maybe itís just the combination of being around young people and their ideals and not being constrained by a company and its structure.  But for some reason, I just have this feeling everything will be OK.

I canít explain that either.

Just wanted to let you know because, if Iím wrong, Vegas (which is already paid for) may be my last hurrah.  Or it could be the start of something really great.

Stay tuned Ö

(Life is way better than American Idol)



In short, my mind has been on everything other than baseball.And when it has been on baseball, itís been involved in coming up with new and profane ways to curse the powers that be.

Sorry to vent, just had to get that stuff off my chest (I wasnít as happy when I started writing tonight as I was Friday night Ė something to with paying the first round of bills for the month and watching my bank balance shrink by $X,000 earlier today).

Anyway, starting to feel better now Ė Iíve almost finished my second beer (stepdaughter bought beer) Ė so now Ö

(Back to our regularly-scheduled program.)

Some bits of news:

With Jim Fraserís retirement from the CRL, we are now down to 11 teams.Since I canít renumber the teams on the All-Star Stats site, I ďtradedĒ Weve & Vernís entire roster to team 10, changed the owner info for team 10, and deleted team 12.No other teams were impacted by the change and it wonít make a difference to most of you.But, because I reference them that way multiple times below, I wanted you to know what was going on.

Iíve updated all the rosters and contracts on the All-Star Stats site.That means all the guys who played out their option or contract are gone (and all remaining playersí contracts have been reduced by a year) and all linked players have been unlinked based on your responses last fall (remember, if, on Roster Freeze Day you keep a guy on your reserve list, it will cost you a $5 activation fee).It also means, with the scratch draft year, I get to skip my annual discussion about long-term contracts (in fact, I get to skip it the next three years).

The following teams have credits left over from last year (if you have a credit, you can subtract the amount below from your initial payment of $250):

Team 2 - $154

Team 3 - $241

Team 4 - $225

Team 7 - $46

Team 9 - $500

Team 10 (used to be 12) - $38

Team 11 - $500


Draft order Ė 8 / 1 / 10 / 7 / 6 / 4 / 2 / 3 / 9 / 5 / 11

ML Draft order Ė 4 / 6 / 7 / 10 / 1 / 8 / 2 / 3 / 9 / 5 / 11

††††††††††††††† (Yes, Terry, I double-checked it.You really do have the first ML pick this year.)

Draft Day is Friday, April 6.The place is Parlor B at Harrahís.Weíll start about 10 am.

Most of you will remember my (several) previous years rants about not bringing in outside food or drink to the draft room.They want to sell us catering.We decline.Itís a heavy union shop and they want $$$.So, no outside food or drink.If you do and they demand payment, youíre paying.

I get in Wednesday night around 10.Not sure about the rest of you, but Thursday night at Batistaís Hole in the Wall was great and Iíd like to do it again.Let me know if you agree (spelling out the obvious here, but that statement also means, let me know if you are in/will be there in time/want to go, etc.)Because I donít know where Iíll be or what Iíll be doing in two months, I canít commit to making the reservation. (Any volunteers?)If somebody will take this on, Iíll get them a count.

Likewise, because of the ďdonít know where Iíll be or what Iím doingĒ comment above, I canít commit to golf at this time.Yes, Iíd like to play, but wonít know if I can for a bit.Please let me know if you will take this on.

You may get an email from Ron Merkt inviting you to join his roto league.Itís been going three years longer than ours, but is down to six teams and they are trying to breathe new life into it (the Rons apparently have separate teams in that league).He asked me in an email tonight if it was kosher to ask you all to play in that league in addition to the CRL.I told him it was fine.I told him I was not interested at this time (for reasons outlined above) but he could feel free to contact all of you.I donít know their rules or format, but if you are interested, his email is do know his draft is the day after ours, and, Iím guessing, in somewhere in Southern California.

Now that Iíve got my juices flowing (into the last of the scotch now, didnít want to drink all of Quincieís beer) and am ready to kick your collective asses (with what? Ė I donít have crap coming back and with Seth Smith in the AL I have even less) itís time for some important dates:

March 15 Ė Have your initial $250 to Glenn.His address is:

††††††††††††††† 8561 LaSalle St. #53

††††††††††††††† Cypress, CA 90630

March 30 Ė Roster Freeze Day.Have your keepers to me by 10 p.m. Central time, so I can get rosters updated and out to everyone so youíll have the weekend to study once you know who is available.

April 5 (maybe) Ė Golf.

April 5 (hopefully) Ė Group dinner at Batistaís.

April 6 Ė Draft.(Sorry Ken, Albert is no longer available.But you can watch him play the Astros starting next year.)

Harkening back to the HOF balloting, who will be this yearís Tony Womack? (Yes, I owned him, too Ė just glad neither Tuffy Rhodes nor James Mouton were on the list.)

See ya in Vegas.