est. 1985


2007 Season     

   Edition No. 3        

February 23, 2007




Just a short (well, we’ll see) issue of From the Bullpen to reminisce about last Saturday evening’s Winter Meeting, and to publicly thank B.T. for hosting another splendid gathering of fine fellows from the Hot Stove League to fete SloPay for his 2006 championship season.  The fellowship was enriching, the libations cold and free-flowing, and the chicken (allegedly) hors d’oeuvres, well, something like deep-fat fried sawdust.  But at least the Valentino’s pizza was hot and tasty. 


Attendance at the annual Winter Meeting was praiseworthy, if not 100%.  In addition to our three Lincolnites, six dedicated Hot Stove Leaguers from Omaha made the trek down in the trusty Ernst Suburban, exchanging lively patter on the drive in and enjoying the hysterical if not exactly high-brow Talledega Nights on the return trip.  Most impressively, earning the everlasting admiration and fealty of his HSL brethren, our beloved Stretch McBlunder made the hike all the way from Kansas to join in the festivities, for which he was rewarded with a magnificent $6 Lincoln Bears championship T-shirt.  More than a fair exchange for the drive. 


Only Brother Shamu*, who evidently had a premonition about the aforementioned fried sawdust offering; Magpie, who was allegedly entertaining clients at a UNO hockey game; and Mouse, who was off with the beautiful people in Palm Springs or Aspen or some other high-falutin’ venue, were unable to make the meeting.  Their loss, and all the more sawdust for the rest of us.


In addition to the telling and retelling of many old yarns from HSL lore, most of which had to be corrected by Big Guy, there was much high-minded debate about rules changes for the upcoming Hot Stove League season.  Big Guy proposed changing the starting rosters from 11 hitters and 9 pitchers to 12 hitters and 8 pitchers, with the pitching corps to be composed of 5 starters, 2 closers, and 1 middle reliever.  Possum countered this proposal with a suggestion of going with 11.5 hitters and 8.5 pitchers, with 62% of the pitchers to be starters, 38% to be relievers, and a maximum closer-to-middle reliever ratio of 2.2 to 1.  Big Guy countered with a recommendation that starting pitchers receive 1 additional point for a win, that a team have a maximum of 90 saves in one season, and that the allocation of starting pitchers as between lefties and righties be left to the sole discretion of each individual manager.  Possum countered this with the proposal that pitching strikeouts be elevated from 1 point per strikeout to 2.6 points per strikeout, that all teams must have at least 1 left-handed middle reliever and 1 who parts his hair on the left, and that all pitching and hitting statistics must revert to the mean after the All-Star break, so long as this assures him that the Wahoos will be in first place.  Possum’s motion was tabled for further discussion. 


Maybe it was the nine Heinekens, or maybe it was the severe gastritis from the fried sawdust fritters, but for the life of me, I can’t remember whether we actually voted on anything at the meeting and/or whether any of the proposed rules changes passed, or not.  I guess we’ll leave it up to Big Guy to straighten all of this out on Draft Day. 


DRAFT DAY:  MARCH 24, 1:00 p.m.


Just one more friendly reminder that Draft Day for 2007 will take place on Saturday, March 24, at the Pansing Hogan Ernst & Bachman War Room.  Only 28 more study days left.  Get crackin’. 




This issue of From the Bullpen comes to you courtesy of my return drive from St. Paul, Minnesota on Thursday, where I attended a mandatory meeting of panel counsel at the Mastodonic Insurance Group, formerly known as Stonewall Insurance.  After making a six-hour drive from Omaha to attend this mandatory, non-reimbursed meeting, I was privileged to hear eight insurance representatives who have never set foot inside of a courtroom explain to me (and about a hundreds other lawyers from around the country) how to handle the defense of their insureds, demanding our aggressive and no-holds-barred approach to the defense, while being told in the next breath that it would be absolutely taboo to bill them for copying costs, paper clips, and hotel expenses greater than those charged by Super 8 and Motel 6.  After all of these demeaning diatribes, I had the pleasure of listening to a blowhard in-house counsel spend the better part of an hour and a half telling seemingly never-ending war stories from his days in the “trenches,” as he repeatedly used the phrase “been there, done that,” when discussing all of his great successes in the courtroom, at the same time chiding all of us for our inability to “think outside the box” and for our excessive billing practices.  Where, oh, where is a sniper when you need one.  It’s just a guess, but I suspect that Mr. Bigshot probably tried about two jury cases in his storied career -- both, no doubt, crushing and humiliating defeats -- before wisely changing career paths and becoming a 9-to-5 claims attorney with Mastodonic, where he can wax nostalgic about his stellar courtroom career while chastising, berating, and second-guessing outside counsel when they try his stupid cases. 


Wow, do I feel better.  Almost makes the six-hour drive each way worth it.  Almost. 




I wonder what slug I’m going to get drafting in the 11th hole -- I hate my team already. ~  I can’t believe that Screech is drafting 4th and B.T. 13th -- I thought I was the only one who had incriminating photos of Scott.  ~  I wonder what Screech will name his new team, hopefully not something schlocky like the Bronx Bombers.  Oops, did I say that out loud?  ~  Boy, SloPay spared no expense with those Lincoln Bears T-shirts.  Almost as nice as the $70 silk jackets that B.T. forced me to give out. ~  Was that Mouse in the back of the courtroom at the Anna Nicole Smith trial?  That explains everything.  ~  Hey, is anybody out there actually reading this stuff?  I matter!  ~  Can’t believe how much weight Underbelly has lost.  Great self-control or Stage IV Aids?  We’ll know soon enough.  ~  If Itchie wins the damned Cup one more time, I’m outta here.  ~  I’ll bet Shamu* is kicking himself about missing out on the sawdust fritters.  Maybe Scott’ll bring them to Draft Day.  ~  If Magpie calls me Caveman Lawyer one more time, I’ll, I’ll -- dang, my cell phone is on the fritz again!  ~  I’d give my right arm to sit down to dinner with Tim Hardaway and Rosie O’Donnell.  ~  Wonder what Skeezix is up to these days. 


* * * * *


And finally, one last effort to evoke a smile, a grin, even a crease in your grim winter visages, my favorite line from the eulogy of Chuckles the Clown on the old Mary Tyler Moore show: 


A little song, a little dance,

A little seltzer in your pants.


I’ve carried on long enough.  Good to see all of you at B.T.’s on Saturday, thanks once again to Scott for hosting, and hearty congratulations once again to SloPay, most likely the last time these lips will utter these words.  Just kidding, Denny. 


Live well, my friends.  See you all next month.