Official Publication of the




Special Edition of

From the Bullpen

Official Publication of The Hot Stove League

Eastern Nebraska Division

2003 Season          Edition No. 6

April 8, 2003

Guest Editor:  Itchie






     One week under our belts, and Magpie has all but sewn up the 2003 HSL crown with an extremely impressive 497-point bolt from the starting gate. Never before has any team gone so far so fast, nearly touching the hallowed 500-point mark just seven days into the campaign. He’s done it with solid pitching, timely hitting, and savvy managing. He has politely requested that I send along a brief message to the rest of the league members, as he grasped at his crotch for what seemed to be an inordinate amount of time and uttered: “I’ve got your second place right here, pal.” It looks like the trifecta of second place finishes has hardened the once affable esquire, turning him into a crusty curmudgeon, hell bent on taking home this year’s prize. The gloves are off, gentlemen, and may the luckiest team win.

     The standings after week one are as follows:


Sin City Reds



West Des Moines Cubs



Omaha Senators



Kansas City Blues



Omaha Red Birds



Omaha Skipjacks



Lincoln Chiefs



Detroit Tigers



Lincoln Tribe



Omaha Bronx Bombers



Lincoln Irates



Hanover Wahoos




     Alfonso Soriano (not Edgardo Alfonzo, Skipper) leads all hitters with 57.5 points, while Kris Benson jumps out to an early lead in the Cy Young race with a lofty 50.5 points. Man, it sure is fun getting started again. I’m just glad my team’s not 225 points out of first already.


     I was just thinking to myself the other day, “What a great time to be unemployed.” You know, with summer coming up, I mentioned to my wife that maybe this year I might just have to take some time off and play a little golf.  It’s nice to have the flexibility to watch the NCAA title game without worrying about the consequences of the Tuesday morning hangover; nice to tune in to the Master’s during the day; and nice to cash in on the baseball magazine/quart of Schlitz Malt Liquor combo special at the local Amoco on Saturday morning (brown wrapper included).

     But best of all, it’s nice to be able to focus on baseball, baseball, baseball. Some of my astute observations thus far:


Big Guy continues his 14 year string of bad luck, with his high priced shortstop Derek Jeter going down hard just three games into the season. Maybe Steinbrenner was right about this candy ass not being ready to play. Don’t fret, Big Guy, you’ve got 49 year old Barry Larkin waiting in the wings.


In the “strange but true” category, since 1988, Mr. Drew’s Tigers have won the HSL crown in each and every year that Kansas has won the NCAA basketball championship (1988). What does that tell us about the fate of this year’s Tigers?




I just love the free agent drafts. After spending nearly six hours putting together our rosters at the draft, and inciting a firestorm of controversy including the threat of egg timers and Pavlov’s buzzers at next year’s draft, nearly 10% of the players drafted are thrown on to the scrap heap at the first available opportunity.  No less than 30 players found their way into the dumpster last night, with everyone looking to catch the proverbial lightning in a bottle.


Underbelly and Mouse led the way, each casting off five misfits while latching on to the likes of Xavier Nady, Rocco Baldelli, and the “automatic four easy outs” Brent Mayne.  Who will be this year’s Vincente Padilla?  Has the Tribe pulled off the coup of the year?


Shamu* seems to have pulled off the biggest miracle of the free agent draft, drafting four players while releasing three.


Around the horn in the bigs, the season started off with a number of surprises, not the least of which is Stretch’s beloved Royals starting 5-0, matching their win total of last year.


A number of aces got ripped in their initial outing, ending up on the wrong side of the win-loss column.  RJ looked human, Glavine looked normal, and my own trio of Mulder, Moyer, and Miller (3M) each threw up a number in the red.  I guess since I finally took Jamie Moyer, this is the year that big league hitters decided that maybe they can hit a 68 mph fastball after all.


Can Dusty Baker turn the Cubs around and bring the excitement of a playoff race back to Chicago? He has the horses in Prior, Wood, Alou, and Sosa, and who can forget future Hall of Famer Corey Patterson and his 7 rbi on opening day?  Exciting days at Wrigley lie ahead.


Will anyone ever draft Ken Griffey, Jr. again? Not since Chris Brown slept on his eyelid crooked has there been such disappointment in an early season injury. Junior is still young enough to have some great years ahead of him, but I like my chances at Ameristar a little better than the odds of him returning to any hint of greatness.


Are Maddux and the Braves heading straight south, or is it too early to write off the division winning dynasty they have established over the past decade? Me thinks they’ve got some issues, and the departure of Millwood and Glavine will hurt more than they could have imagined.


     I’ll leave you with a little poem that I put together in preparation for the brilliant literary career that awaits me, someplace, sometime. Since this is really all about me, I’ve taken the time to assess all 28 of this year’s Skipjax, from A to Z.

- A is for A-Rod, he with the bad neck

- B is for Biggio, who’s older than heck

- C is for Chavez, and all the runs he’s plated

- D is for Dreifort, he’s so overrated

- E is for Errors, Erubiel and Eaton

- F is for French coon, Jacque Jones is a sweet one

- G is for gumption, these Skipjax have plenty

- H for Hidalgo, who’ll hit you .220

- I is for Itchie, and this line ain’t rhymin

- J Johan Santana, his splitter’s a killer

- K K’s what I look for from Armas, Mulder, and Miller

- L is for Lackey, Lidle, and Long

- M Moyer and those three might soon get the gong

- N No way can Andy Fox or Mark Ellis hit
Both of these infielders, pieces of ….

- O for Octavio, seems he invented the hold

- P Piazza and Pierzynski have started off cold

- Q is for Question marks, of those I have plenty
A good week seems to be about two hundred twenty

- R Royal Febles, Red Casey, Met Floyd

- S is for Shell game, with me they have toyed

- T for Tatis, his ears are a killer

- U Underbelly, kin ewe help mie spel Godziller

- V for Chris Singleton, I guess that’s a stretch…never mind

- W Williams and Wagner, their fastballs do whiz

- X is for xylophone, it always is

- Y is for yakker, along with high heat

- Z is for Zach, like my kid and Z. Wheat


     Finally, I’ll pass along a bit of useless trivia I picked up from John Miller while watching the A’s / Angels matchup on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball telecast. Since Big Guy last won the HSL crown, or put another way, in the last 13 years, how many times has the team with the best overall record in the regular season gone on to win the World Series? The answer may surprise you……just once. The 1998 Yankees did it.  What does this all mean?  I don’t know either, but I’m done with my Bullpen assignment until July 1.  At that point, Magpie should already be sipping champagne and the rest of us will be operating in a “Suspended Transactions” mode.

     'Til next time.





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