2003 Season

   2003 Season

Edition No. 2 

   February 14, 2003     

 

PITCHERS & CATCHERS REPORT!

     Itís true, the pitchers and catchers have been summoned to report, which can only mean that baseball is but weeks away for the eager chums of the Hot Stove League of Eastern Nebraska.  It is a Valentineís week present for all of us. 

     I donít have a whole lot to report this week, but am just bored silly with nothing to watch on ESPN but highlights of hockey (so what) and NBA basketball (yawn).  With the turmoil in the Husker football program this past year and the painful state of Husker hoops these days, thereís not a whole lot to get excited about on the sports scene right now except Bluejay basketball.  About the only other positive around is Joeís 9-year-old YMCA basketball team (the Wizards) that I coach, as they come together near our seasonís end under my Dean Smith-like tutelage.  Not unlike their coach in his prime, these boys are not shy about sending the sphere toward the iron, open or not.

     But now on to baseball.  Our Draft Day is set in stone on Saturday, March 22, 2003, at 1:00 p.m., same place, same drill as the past fifteen years or so.  Before the big day we will of course need to have another HSL lunch and mock draft or two, so I will try to get the word out as we get into the Ides of March. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     I regrettably do not yet have a schedule made up for your two turns at being a guest columnist for From the Bullpen, but will certainly have these done by Draft Day, if not before.  After I publish my much-awaited and respected post-Draft analysis during the first week or two of April, I will probably turn the power of the press over to Itchie and U-Bob to start things off with a bang, followed by the rest of you in some reasoned or perhaps just random order.  Better start sharpening up your crayons and warming up the spellchecker.

 

     Slacker that I am, I also have not finished up my book on Sandy Koufax (A Leftyís Legacy)  and hence am not prepared to report on same.  However, to whet your appetite, I will say this:  It is one of the most interesting baseball books I have ever read (in spite of the author), rivaling The Catcher Was a Spy  about the mysterious Moe Berg.  Like young Wilbur Ernst, Sandy is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. 

 

     Finally yielding to the incessant harping and carping of Big Guy and Magpie, Itchie and I recently finished drafting our first team in the Diamond Legends League.  Take a look at our roster:

 

Pos

Player

B/T

Salary

C

Gus Mancuso (15)

R/R

$1,388,000

C

Dave Duncan (9)

R/R

$738,.000

1B

Hal Chase

R/L

$1,198,000

1B

Marv Throneberry

L/L

$280,000

2B

Dick McAuliffe

L/R

$2,409,000

3B

Pie Traynor

R/R

$4,136,000

3B

Joe Foy

R/R

$606,000

3B

Paul Schaal

R/R

$459,000

SS

Dick Groat

R/R

$2,570,000

SS

Ray Oyler

R/R

$280,000

LF

Ted Williams

L/R

$9,139,000

LF

Homer Peel

R/R

$315,000

CF

Solly Hofman

R/R

$1,027,000

CF

Sandy Valdespino

L/L

$370,000

RF

Tony Oliva

L/R

$4,381,000

RF

Hank Bauer

R/R

$1,789,000

DH

Daryl Sconiers

L/L

$422,000

RHS

Joe Niekro (5)

R/R

$3,485,000

RHS

Johnny Sain

R/R

$2,707,000

RHS

Vic Raschi

R/R

$2,295,000

LHS

Rube Waddell

R/L

$4,708,000

LHS

Vinegar Bend Mizell

R/L

$1,770,000

Sw

Chief Hogsett (2)

L/L

$528,000

MR

Charlie Kerfeld

R/R

$280,000

Cl

Larry Sherry

R/R

$1,287,000

MINOR LEAGUERS

1B

Nippy Jones

R/R

$280,000

2B

Jerry Buchek

R/R

$315,000

CF

Ed Stroud

L/R

$280,000

RF

Sammy Byrd

R/R

$331,000

MR

Hank Behrman (1)

R/R

$306,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Itchie and I have absolutely no idea what we are doing in this league, but at least it gives us something to do while we wait for Opening Day.  Itchie was disappointed that we couldnít afford his personal heroes, Sammy Khalifa and Mike Kekich, but at least we were able to find a spot for his beloved Tony Oliva on the roster.  As for me, Iím thrilled to death to have the Frozen One and Pie Traynor on the Highlandersí roster.  Who knows, with Itchieís incredible luck (the only plausible explanation for his four HSL titles) working on my side, I might be looking at my first Diamond Legends championship. 

 

BALLS AND STRIKES

 

     s   Did you see that they are changing the name of Comiskey Park to ďDepends Stadium,Ē or some other goofy corporate sponsor name?  Man, that blows.

 

     s  You probably saw that Bud Selig has proposed giving the winning team in the All Star game the home field advantage for the World Series, to try to put some ďzestĒ back into the Midsummer Classic after his monumental gaffe of calling it a tie game last year.  Letís get just a little more gimmicky, eh, Bud?  Why not give the winner of the Home Run Contest the right to play on the World Series team of his choosing?  And while weíre at it, letís make the switch over to titanium bats and Star Trek uniforms for the players, in spite of what Juan Gonzalez has to say.  Letís see just how much you can screw up our national pastime, Bud.

 

     s   I donít know what the odds are in Vegas, but Iíll bet the Angels donít finish in the top two teams in their own division this season.  Last year was a total fluke. 

 

 

     s   This isnít really baseball related, but Iím glad that nobody in our league is named Jacque or Jean-Claude.  Have those damn French weenies forgotten that we saved their bacon in WW II?  I mean, Iím not in favor of war either, but do those arrogant little weasels have to buck the good old USA at every opportunity?  Either youíre with us or youíre agin us.

 

     s   I just found out that major league baseball is opening the season in Japan this year, with two games in late March between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland As.  Now that would be a good Opening Day road trip.  Iím not sure that B.T. could pack enough medication in Shamuís* Stanley Steamer trunk get him through that sort of a journey.  But get this:  I read that the owner of the Seattle Mariners, the Nintendo guy, will now get a chance to see his baseball team play for the first time ever.  Not only that, it will be his first professional baseball game ever.  This is the sort of owner that we are dealing with these days.  No wonder baseball is in such a sorry state of affairs.

 

     s   I read where Mike Flannigan is now either the manager or general manager, or some top position, with the Orioles.  Remember that fateful afternoon at Briggs Stadium in Detroit when Flanny got lit up like the Fourth of July and kept looking into the dugout for his skipper to relieve him?  Itís one of those baseball moments I wonít soon forget. 

 

     s   Buck Showalter is now managing the Texas Rangers.  Any bets on whether he can turn this sad group around?   And what about Lou Piniella and the Tampa Bay team?  Did you know that their winningest pitcher last year was Joe Kennedy, with a record of 8-11? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     s   Iíll bet the Kansas City Royals are really, really going to suck this year.  Could be a long season, Stretch.  Your beloved team may make the í62 Mets seem mediocre by comparison. 

 

     s   Speaking of those horrifically hapless Mets, I read a couple of good lines from Casey Stengel the other day in one of my baseball books.  During the inaugural Mets season in 1962, Casey reportedly told his barber after a bizarre Mets loss, ďDonít cut my throat.  Iím saving that for myself.Ē  And by late 1962 he publicly pontificated, ďI donít ask how we lost 120 this year.  I ask how we ever won 40.Ē 

 

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

 

     Happy Birthday wishes to:

 

Mouse                       January 6
Itchie February 3
Tirebiter February 11

                      

     You kids are growing up way too fast!

 

     Lastly, I refer you to our website Photo Gallery link to see a wonderful picture of the boys of HSL at our awards ceremony for Itchie last December, together with one of my favorite poems of all time.  Enjoy.

 

     See you next issue, fellas.

 

 

                                                Skipper

 

 

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