Monday, September 30, 2013

A Yoo-Hoo To Arms

This morning, once the official and final stats for the 2013 season were posted at the OnRoto website, the Graging Bulls were officially crowned the Champions of the CFCL’s 30th season. It’s an honor that comes with a number of rewards, including the lion’s share of the prize pool and the CFCL Championship Trophy. One thing it won’t come with, however – unless there’s a hasty addition to the CFCL Constitution – is a Yoo-Hoo shower for Bulls’ owner Matt Grage.

Yoo-Hoo, a sticky concoction of chocolate flavoring and high fructose corn syrup, was traditionally poured over the head of the original Rotisserie League’s Champion at the season-ending party each year.

The closing essay in the first edition of the book Rotisserie League Baseball described it this way:

Unseen hands hold you, force your head down and pour water, dairy whey, corn sweetener, non-fat milk, sugar, coconut oil, cocoa, sodium caseinate, salt, sodium bicarbonate, dipotassium phosphates, calcium phosphates, guar gum, natural flavors, xantham gum, vanillin (an artificial flavor), sodium ascorbate, ferric orthophosphate, palmitate, niacinamide, vitamin D, and, yes, riboflavin all over your hair. The bizarre ritual is a Yoo-Hoo shampoo, and it is what you get for winning the Rotisserie League pennant.

The chocolate-flavored rinse will not leave your locks radiant and soft to the touch, and squirrels will probably follow you around for a day or two. All and all, the ritual is pretty distasteful. But there's not a member of the Rotisserie League who wouldn't gladly suffer the rite so long as it came at the end of a championship season.

You can hear the Rotisserie League’s first Champions, Glenn Waggoner and Pete Gehers (Getherswag Goners) and the league’s founder, Dan Okrent, discuss the that first Yoo-Hoo ceremony in this clip from the documentary “Silly Little Game.”

The CFCL never fully embraced the concept of the celebratory Yoo-Hoo shower, but there WERE two owners who got to enjoy the experience.

In 1990, I had that honor after my David’s Copperfields secured my 4th CFCL title. A subset of owners gathered at Bob Monroe’s house for the awards banquet, and at the end of it, we all headed out into the chilly night for the pouring ceremony (Bob wisely didn’t want to soil his carpet). Bob supplied the Yoo-Hoo, but rather than providing a single bottle, he had bought a 6-pack of juicebox sized containers to ensure everyone in attendance would have plenty of opportunity to pour. Bob, of course, could have just left them on the kitchen counter until the ceremony, but no … he made sure they were well iced so as to intensify the impact. Still – despite the freezing gooiness of it all, it was an incredible experience and one that I hoped to enjoy again.

The following year, 1991, it was Bob’s turn as CFCL Champion. Fortunately for Bob, he and his family had moved to Colorado before the season ended, so we had to douse him by proxy. With the ceremony out of our control, Bob afforded himself some comforts he didn’t provide to me the year before – an indoor ceremony, with a single bottle of room temperature Yoo-Hoo. Since no other CFCLers were present, his son Ryan performed the honors. There is one indignity Bob suffered that I was spared – documentary evidence. Bob’s wife Julie captured this photo of the ceremony, which she was only too happy to share with the rest of us in Chicago.

For whatever reason, the Yoo-Hoo ceremony was discontinued in the CFCL after 1991. But I say it’s never too late to bring it back … all it would take is some quick legislation by the Executive Committee, an approval by the league as a whole, and open spot in the Home Run Inn parking lot…

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Halfway to 30

Today marks a milestone for this blog … we’re exactly halfway through the planned 365-day life of the blog leading up to Draft Day 2014. To mark the halfway point, we’re going back exactly halfway in the CFCL’s history to 1999, the CFCL’s 15th anniversary.

That year was actually a double milestone. Not only was it the CFCL’s 15th anniversary, but 1999 marked the point when Rich and I had been involved with the league for exactly half of our lives - we started as 16-year-olds in 1984, and were kicking off our 16th season. From that point onward, Rich and I could say we had played in the CFCL for over half our lives. Of course, the expiration date on that badge of honor will be expiring soon for me … having retired from team ownership after the 2010 season, I’m locked at 27 years in the CFCL, which means I’ll lose the “half my life” designation in a just a handful of years.

Rich, of course, continues to increase his “percentage of life in the CFCL” mark (if my calculations are correct, it’s up to 64%) and as he likes to point out, the CFCL isn’t even halfway there…

For now, though, let’s hop back to the halfway point between the CFCL’s first season and its 30th – 1999. Rich and I wanted to commemorate the occasion with a gift for the owners in the league that year, so we had caps made emblazoned with a 15-year logo (I use the term “logo” loosely, as resident CFCL Logo Designer Nick Hansen wasn’t part of the league yet). In addition to the hats, I had a special memento prepared for Rich – a photo of the Wrigley field marquee celebrating the CFCL’s first 15 years.

Both of the gifts were presented prior to the 1999 Draft, captured on video below. Pay attention for a clever quip from ForGoetz Me Nots owner Dave Goetz when a telephone call interrupts my speech about the occasion.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Copperfield Gets Married

Twenty-two years ago today, the love of my life, Michelle, stood up before friends, family, and God and became my wife.

Nearly the entire membership of the CFCL was on hand to help us celebrate (only Mr P’s Swordfish were missing). Pictured below are: Kelly Barone (Six Packs),groomsman Eric Lamb (Lambchops), groom David Mahlan (David’s Copperfields), best man Rich Bentel (Dem Rebels), groomsman Bob Monroe (Bald Eagles), and David Holian (David’s Ruffins).

Of course we also had to take part in that “dudes at a wedding” staple, the Thumbs Up:

The untold story behind all the smiles is the intense pennant race that three of the guests were engaged in. Kelly, Eric, and Bob were running neck-and-neck heading into the final week of the season. The standings report published prior to the wedding had the Six Packs and Eagles were tied for first with 67 points, the Lambchops sat just behind them at 66 points. I’m sure it made for some interesting conversation at the reception.

The thing to remember about the CFCL in 1991 is that I was still manually compiling the stats and standings at the time and we didn’t have a back-up in place. So I took off for my honeymoon with the tightest pennant race in CFCL history hanging in the balance with a week’s worth of games still to play (the season ended on October 6).

The CFCL had to wait until I returned from my honeymoon in mid-October to find out that the Eagles finished on top, while the Six Packs and Lambhops were tied just a point behind. In the end, it may have been a transaction involving Chico Walker that cost the Six Packs the pennant (see the post on The Chico Incident).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring this post back around to Michelle. She was always incredibly understanding about my roto addiction and never played the role of the neglected “Roto Widow.” She never complained about the late nights pounding stats into the computer and compiling roster change reports, and never made me feel guilty about leaving her alone with a houseful of kids for a 12 hour day when we drafted each spring.

On the contrary, she actually was quite supportive on Draft Day, often sneaking a card like the one below into my draft prep materials for me to discover mid-Draft. In fact, she even played a key role in a Draft Day Incident (stay tuned for a later post about The Snookie Incident). Even now – a couple years after I retired from active participation in the CFCL, she’s willing to let me spend half an hour on our wedding anniversary to write this post. What a woman!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Bald Eagle Takes Off

On this date in 1991, the CFCL Front Office paid tribute to one of the great owners in league history with the publication of a massive, 19-page newsletter special titled The Bald Eagle Takes Off.

The subject of the tribute was Bob Monroe, who had joined the CFCL in its third year of existence (1986) and immediately changed the league forever with his wild wheeling and dealing management style, his tireless drive to identify and exploit every constitution loophole humanly possible, and a biting, caustic wit that he loosed in an unending torrent on the league’s co-founders (though Rich was probably targeted 85% of the time to David’s 15%).

Rich was able to exact some small degree of revenge when he started publishing the CFCL newsletters in 1987. Bob was a frequent target of Rich in his LHEB (Lord High Editor Bentel) role, with frequent references to Bob’s age (relative to the co-founders) and his follically challenged scalp.

About halfway through the 1991 season, Bob’s job transferred him to Denver. The CFCL was still a number of years away from being prepared for remote drafting and team management, so that spelled the end of the Bald Eagles reign of terror in the CFCL.

To commemorate Bob’s contributions to the league during his 6-year tenure, Rich and I gathered together the best of our Bald Eagle related writings, drawing heavily on Rich’s barbs from the newsletter, and compiled them into The Bald Eagle Takes Off, with cover artwork by my brother and former CFCL owner, Paul.

Bob returned to Chicago in late September to attend my wedding, so Rich and I were able to present him with a copy of the tribute. We actually gave it to him at the rehearsal dinner, on September 27, 1991. Looking back, I’m lucky Michelle didn’t call the whole wedding off right then and there, but she was a good sport, sharing part of the spotlight with the Bald One.

The evening was made extra special when Bob’s wife Julie perused the document and actually broke out into song, singing “Bob Monroe”, Rich’s parody to the tune of the Beach Boy’s “Barbara Ann” (page 11).

Now you too can enjoy the Best of Bob (or BOB) – just click below for “The Bald Eagle Takes Off”.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Meet The Drewers

OK, so you might look at the title of the post and say "What or who are the Drewers?"  Well a couple of posts ago I pointed out that while I thought our little CFCL hitting 30 years was the most unique thing in the world, turns out it ain't that big a deal.  There are a handful of leagues celebrating 30 years or 25+, which surprised me.

A few of those leagues have agreed to play along with our Q&A format.  One such league is the Altered States League.  This and their sister league (the Eternal Squabblers League who we will meet next week) could very well be the CFCL's doppelganger.  We'll explore that more in a future post.

Drew Gallagher, original ASL member and owner of the Drewers, graciously agreed to help us out this week.  He and his best friend (sound familiar to any league you know) Chris Malinowski, have been running the two leagues forever.  When I approached both of them for the Q&A, they readily agreed.  I then sent out the Qs for their As.  Here's the hilarious part.  THEY RETURNED THE As WITHIN FOUR MINUTES OF EACH OTHER!  Talk about competition!  Since Drew crossed the e-mail finish line first, he gets to lead off. 

He started the ASL back in 1985 at the age of 15!  Couldn't even drive himself to his first draft.  The Drewers have tasted the sweet nectar of Yoo-Hoo once back in 2000 and have three 2nd place finishes as well.

I can  honestly say one of the best parts of us celebrating the 30 years of the CFCL and doing this blog is the opportunity to connect with, not only former CFCL owners, but other league owners as well.  Drew and Chris are two of the good guys.  Amazingly entertaining, generous and just cool in general.  It's time to meet the Drewers.

Pirates of Phillies?
Phillies—When the leagues started in 1985 we were all primarily from the Reading, PA area and were about an hour from the Phillies and The Vet and had the Reading Phillies (the Double-A affiliate) in our proverbial backyard. I was actually a substitute batboy for the Reading Phillies for two seasons. I got to work the game when the big Phillies came to town for an exhibition and was booed by 3,000 people when I tried to wrestle a foul ball away from a small child who had been lowered over the fence by his father. I was 11. He got the ball. We also have some well-preserved videotape of a game when I, much older, caught a foul ball in the stands at an R-Phils’ game. We were on local TV and I caught it on the fly. The announcers were impressed. Chris would’ve been impressed too had he not been out buying me a funnel cake at the time and not making it onto local cable access TV, but I love him for that funnel cake. Kim Batiste homered on the next pitch.
How did you come up with the Altered States League as a name?
The Altered States League name was the brainchild of a couple of guys older than we were who were all probably in their late 20s at the time so they seemed ancient. The ASL is AL-only and its inception spawned the Eternal Squabblers League (the genesis of that name should be apparent to all rotisserie owners) which is an NL-only league and one that we started at the All-Star break in 1985. I was the youngest owner in the ASL at 15, but our ESL was 10 owners aged from 12 to 17. Only two of the 10 owners could drive to our first draft!
When did the league start?  How?
The birth story of the ASL would be better told by the founding fathers who was actually old enough to drink at its birth (though they don’t drink). It was started by a bunch of college friends who all went to the University of Maryland and then they were coupled with a bunch of sports writers at the Reading Eagle newspaper for a league of 12 owners. My father had to drive me to my first draft (I was 15 remember) and he served as auctioneer because he would’ve been bored to tears for six hours. I drafted Brook Jacoby and Pat Tabler for a buck each. My team sucked and I didn’t know what a closer was. I’m the only owner who has been in the league since its inception although one founding father left and then returned so both of us are still in the league at present.
What is the makeup of your league (age, tenure, etc.)?
We had one owner who worked for the AP and was going into an interview with a young Bill Clinton, but was nearly late for his interview because he was on the phone trying to make a trade. This was pre-cell phone era so he was bound by the landline phone. He did make the trade and the interview.
Our original ESL 10 owners have quite a varied present day. Chris is an engineer. I parlayed my English degree into a work-at-home insurance claims adjuster job with a company car. We have an ER doctor (The Menet Work), two owners that own their own businesses. Two teachers. One of our friends tried to make a go of the professional poker thing and is now homeless in Atlantic City. We’ve tried to track him down, but have had no luck. One has become a hermit. Seriously. Lives with his mother and never leaves the house. Another has been arrested four or five times for DUI and recently completed a stint in prison for same. I guess 7 out of 10 productive members of society isn’t too bad.
Any animosity toward Chris Malinowski for winning seven times and finishing 2nd four more in 18 years?
With regard to any resentment I have toward Chris and his dominance of both the ESL and ASL I refer you to the funnel cake purchase. You don’t forget something like that.
What categories do you use in ASL?
Oh, both the ESL and ASL are 4x4 leagues. We abhor change.
What’s the best story you can share from ASL history?
There are a great many tales to tell over a 30-year history, but I suppose the one I would offer is a cautionary tale—that being, don’t take yourself or fantasy baseball too seriously. The two guys who founded the ASL together were best friends. One was the other’s best man at his wedding. But due to some silly squabble over rotisserie (couldn’t even tell you which event or events it stemmed from) one quit the league (formed his own) and they went years without speaking to one another. To this day I believe that they hate each other and only talk if they happen to be at a funeral or wedding together. It’s very sad really. Chris is my best friend and if the price of that friendship is him winning every year and my teams sucking then so be it. Small price to pay.
Best team name we’ve ever had (comes from the ESL and owner Scott Menet) is The Menet Work. Born of the ‘80s obviously and probably lost on many who are unfamiliar with “Who Can It Be Now?”

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CFCL Owners of 1995

Pictured from left:  David Mahlan (and eventual CFCL Champion David's Copperfields), Ken Welsch (proxy for ForGoetzMeNots), Tom Clark (Clark Kents), Kelly Barone (Six Packs), Dave Goetz (ForGoetzMeNots), Dave Holian (David's Ruffins), Eric Lamb (Lambchops), Paul Zeledon (Da Paul Meisters), Matt Bentel (DoorMatts), not pictured but hand [with pen] is visible just about Dave Holian combining drinks, Rich Bentel (Dem Rebels).
David and Michelle opened their Oak Park apartment to the CFCL yet again, although since we are travelling backward in time with pictures, this was the first of three straight years at this location. 
We had ten attendees despite having nine owners.  Ken Welsch sat in because Dave Goetz knew he would have to leave early.  We had Ken on the short list for new ownership and as we have done many times in the CFCL, we had Ken get some experience by helping a current owner with the draft.
1995 would be the end of the road for the Clark Kents, who finished a four year run.  Ken would take over the Kents next year and rename the franchise the Flatfeet.  The eight other owners all were returning from 1994 and would continue on to 1996 (and 1997, 1998,1999 and 2000) - an amazingly consistent run.
The Copperfields used the home draft advantage to capture their 7th CFCL title, winning the title by 11 points over the 2nd place Rebels.

Monday, September 23, 2013

From the Archive: Welsch's FlatFeet Team Profile

Today we dip into the CFCL Archives again for another historical artifact.

When Rich's brother-in-law Ken took over the departing Clark's Kents following the 1995 season, Ken threw himself right into the spirit of the CFCL and publish a team profile for his new franchise.  As you'll see below, the profile not only served as an introduction to the CFCL's newest owner, but demonstrated his artistic side as well.

From the Archives, here's the Flatfeet's team profile (click for full size version):

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The True CFCL Legacy

I thought the CFCL Legacy was simply being around 30 years.  Turns out that’s not as big of a deal as I thought.  We’ll learn more about that in the upcoming weeks.  So then I thought perhaps our legacy would be our children carrying on the tradition started by their not fore, but six fathers.

If we eliminate the female offspring since we’ve never had a female remotely interested in joining the league (sorry Revenge and Dem Rebels (X 3)) then we have nine future CFCL’ers.  So below I have created their teams as I would imagine they would and voila!  We have a junior league, not unlike the professional soccer leagues in Europe that have developmental leagues for teams before they (the teams) get to the Big Time and Bright Lights.

Revenge – One son

Noah (Noah’s Arcs)  No, that isn’t a misprint.  The name would represent the trending of the team.  Great draft and stocked minor league system?  They are on an upward arc.  Season ending injuries and Brad Lincoln’s son on the team?  Downward arc.  Of course this wouldn’t stop Noah from collecting his players in twos.  Uptons (Justin and BJ), Claytons (Richards and Kershaw).

Dem Rebels – One son

Cooper (Cooper Rollows) – You would think he would name his team after the town that he himself was named after.  Well Cooper is a renaissance man and chose to honor a wordsmith of legendary proportions.  It’s uncertain how good the players will be, but the lineup card will be extremely well written.

DoorMatts – Two sons, one son is already in the league.  This opens the door for the other twin.

Matt (Matterhorns) – Looks to be an up and down season with a bunch of Mickey Mouse players.

Kenndoza Line – Two sons

Jacob (Jacob’s Ladders) – always looking to move up with Tim Robbins moving from the pitcher’s mound to the manager’s seat in the dugout.

Evan (Evan Almighties) – a hard team to beat with the All Powerful on their side.

Stranger Danger – Two sons

Lucas (Lucas Cruikshanks) – Sadly the Cruikshanks are the most disliked team in the league because they are . . . so . . .damn . . . annoying.  On the upside they will have the biggest social media following.

Maximus (Maximus D. Meridius) – Russell Crowe is the manager.  The team looks fierce on the field, but their war uniforms make it tough to turn a double play.

Clowns – Two sons

Aidan (Aidan Quinns) – Come all without, come all within.  You’ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn(s).

Logan (Kenny Logans)  - When a player gets injured but can walk off the field, on the Jumbotron a video of a gopher will appear lipsyncing “I’m All Right”.  The Kenny part would also be a nod to his favorite CFCL owner, Kenn Ruby.

Ruffins, Bulls, Beatniks and Twin Killers – kind of makes you want to have a son, doesn’t it?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Meet Dem Rebels

We come to the end of the journey with our current and former owner Q&As.  We finish with the longest tenured CFCL owner, Rich Bentel.  For thirty years Dem Rebels have been chasing the Holy Grail, only grasping it twice, most "recently" in 1996.  Despite 13 consecutive  years of futility, the fire and passion still burns for the CFCL and Dem Rebels.  Rich put together a Team Profile a few years back and has taken continuous shots from the likes of the Ruffins for their down-home, country origins.

Rather than have Rich provide the Q's to his A's, we enlisted fellow CFCL co-founder David Mahlan to play James Lipton, complete with virtual blue notecards.  It is time to meet Dem Rebels.

This blog has been a ton of fun for me to both contribute to and to read, so I appreciate that you came up with the idea and allowed me to take part. That said, how much of the Rebels' 2013 performance can be put down to the rigors of the blog's daily posting schedule?

Oh it would be nice to blame the CFCL Turns 30 Blog on the fact that the Rebels suck this year.  That simply isn’t the case.  The Rebels suck due to a healthy combination of players having career years in 2012 (Hill, LaRoche) and expected to do the same this year.  Injuries (Stanton, Headley) and dramatic underperformances (Castro, Pennington, Ethier, Ruggiano).  Mix that all together and you get a 9th (currently) or 10th (most of the season) place team.

What has suffered has been my “cough cough” weekly posts to the Monroe Doctrine.  The self-induced pressure of providing daily entries here to our vast readership has caused a severe decline in Monroe Doctrine posts.  There’s only so much time available to be creative.

When we started we had no idea that we'd still be doing it a quarter of a century later (at least I didn't). At what point did you realize the CFCL had a chance to be a "thing"?

Well certainly not the first year since we didn’t even take a picture.  Honestly I was having so much fun being a geek and running my team, I don’t think I ever thought about the CFCL being a “thing”.  At least not until maybe our 10 year anniversary.  By then we had you and me, the Six Packs, Lambchops, Ruffins, DoorMatts and Meisters.  Seven really, really solid, committed owners.  Before that it felt like every year we were scrambling to make sure we would have enough owners to continue into the following year.  But with that core 7, I didn’t worry about the existence of the league next year and perhaps my mind started wandering to “gee, how long can this really run?”

I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t know that I thought we would be here 30 years later, but at the same time I don’t think I ever thought there would be a time that the CFCL wouldn’t be around.

My mantra for the last few years is “We’re not even half way there!”  If that happens to be true, and I’m still involved, I’ll be preparing for the draft in my 90’s.  Can’t wait.

I know of guys on Fantasy Baseball message boards who play in 4-5 leagues at a time, in fact there have been CFCL owners who participate in other leagues at the same time. Have you ever considered joining a second league? What about another fantasy sport?

No, no, no.  My mind spins at the thought of being in more than one fantasy baseball league at a time.  I’m already conflicted when Giancarlo Stanton is at bat against the Cubs with the bases loaded.  I couldn’t imagine if I had a pitcher from my second league facing a batter from Dem Rebels especially when you add the component that the pitcher is also on a CFCL team I’m trying to pass in the standings.  I couldn’t do it.

I have one wife and one fantasy baseball team.  I couldn’t imagine having more than one of either (unless I was shilling for a reality show on TLC).

As for other sports, doubtful.  The CFCL is kind of a year round thing.  Even though things slow down considerably beginning in October, we still have to prepare for Winter Waivers in January and Draft Cuts in March.  The prep work for football is right when you should be doing everything to make a run at the baseball title. There is too much overlap  for me to be able to commit fully.

That being said, my wife just joined her first fantasy football league.  So it will be a blast to watch her run her team without having to really know what’s going on.  I can just sit back and enjoy the view (and I may look at her football team too).

You're a financial advisor in 'real' life. Have the skills you've developed in your career (money management, budgeting, etc) transferred over to the CFCL? How about the other way around -- how often do you find yourself explaining financial concepts to clients using anecdotes from the CFCL?

That is an EXCELLENT question!  There is absolutely a “parallel” to running a fantasy baseball team and investing.  As a matter of fact, someone (don’t remember who) wrote a really good article about it.

I have learned (very slowly) that if you try to “time the market” in fantasy baseball you will get burned.  By that I mean if you have a player in a slump and decide to bench him for the week [see Dem Rebels and Derrek Lee circa 2008] (or look too closely at matchups and say “Oh, my guy is facing Kershaw this week, I’ll bench him”) inevitably that’s when your guy will go on a tear.

Same thing happens when investing.  Trying to assume when the market is going to go up or down will only cause you to lose money.  Interesting (for me since I’m in the industry) study.  There was a 10 year period in the 1990’s when a specific, very large mutual fund returned, on average, 10.6% per year.  So at the beginning of that time period, if you put your money in the fund AND LEFT IT ALONE you would have earned 10.6% each year.  The key is you would have to leave the money alone.  The study found out that investors actually received a return of 2.4%.  How is that possible when the fund average 10.6?  Well when the fund went down, people bailed out.  Then they jumped back in AFTER the fund went back up.

Joey Votto is going to hit .320 every year, barring injury.  But he doesn’t bat .320 every game or every month.  He’ll suck some months just like every player.  But try and guess which games or month he will suck.  That’s when you will get burned.

You had a "special" relationship with Bald Eagle owner Bob Monroe. How did that come about?

Yeah, that “special” relationship was similar to the “special” relationship a hammer has with a nail.  Bob probably just looked for the easiest and weakest target.  The Professor was too intelligent to be bullied by Bob.  He wasn’t going to go after Mr. Mahlan (owner of Fred’s Friars and David and Paul’s dad).  He worked with David’s mom so he probably figured there was only so far he could push on Paul and David and I was all that was left.

I’m sure I made myself an easy mark at times any way so Bob seemed to embrace coming after me.

How soon until Cooper joins the league? Will you break him in as an assistant, or throw him right in on his own as your cousin did with his sons?

Dude just turned six so he’s a ways out still.  Right now his interest is running around the house at full speed not really trying to avoid any stubborn walls that appear out of nowhere.  He also is trying to undo my teachings by constantly approaching me to remind me that “The Cubs are not awesome.”

As long as he holds that attitude, I don’t think he’s ready for the CFCL.  But when he comes to his senses we’ll run right out and get a Junior Draft Starter Kit, mini-laptop and start coming up with team names.

OK, turnabout is fair play... I provided a list of my Top 10 CFCL Memories in my Q&A. What's your Top 10 List?

Wow, this was harder than I thought it would be.  There are some specific memories that come to mind and some general ones that all fall into the same category.  This isn’t in any particular order except for the last one.

10)  Having the 1988 Awards Banquet (at least I think we got together for the Awards Banquet) at Bob Monroe’s house.  We watched the first game of the World Series there that night.  I think I was the only one cheering for the A’s.  I was so happy as the game entered the 9th with Eckersley taking the hill.

Gibson went deep everyone took great pride in teasing me, ESPECIALLY Monroe.  I think this was also the night that Bob tried to poison me with “rusty pipe water”.

9)  It was 1989 or 1990 when we were drafting at Mount Olympus (the apartment that David and I shared for two years in Forest Park).  We had the radio on in the background listening to the Cubs game while we were drafting.  I think the player in question was Andre Dawson, but I could be wrong.  I had just acquired Dawson in the draft and the last thing I remember hearing on the radio was that Dawson was at bat.  All of a sudden Harry Carey goes into his homerun call.  I, thinking it’s Dawson, jump up, arms in the air and do a White Man’s version of “Oh yeah, a homer.  Oh yeah, a homer.”  Then we all realize it was a different Cub player that homered.  Dawson had made an out.  More laughing at Dem Rebels.

8)  Here’s a general one.  Once we started drafting at the various conference rooms of my company, Matt (owner of the DoorMatts) and I would drive in together and arrive an hour or so ahead of everyone to set up the room to accommodate all the owners.  Moving tables and excitedly talking about the upcoming draft was just awesome.

7)  Every year I’ve finished ahead of Nick, which has been . . .oh yeah – all of them!  But seriously, I just wanted to see the blood come out of Nick’s eyes.  He actually has been able to finish ahead of me three times (2001, 2004 and 2006).  But 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2012 were great years.

6)  1993 and Dave Holian opened his home to us when we drafted at night.  It was when a new owner turned into vile, despicable scum by not showing up and not having the courtesy to let us know.  I still remember his name, but since this is going on the Internet I’ll refrain from using it (initials S.L.).  We waited an hour or so for him to arrive and then finally got started.  At one point we took a break around 1 or 2am and walked outside in Dave’s backyard.  I can only imagine what all the neighbors were thinking.

5)  The Darryl Strawberry Incident.  Really that whole draft (1992) was awesome.  Absolutely hilarious and Incidents galore.  Watching the video from that draft specifically has reminded me why the CFCL is so incredibly awesome.

4)  The bidding showdowns for Jeff Stone, Will Clark and Steve Carlton.  I won two of those showdowns and lost the other.  Interestingly the one I lost, I acquired the player (Stone).  The two I won, I didn’t get the player.

3)  Going to Montreal with David in 1985 to watch the Cubs play the Expos.  During the game we were scoreboard watching so we could see how our other players were doing.  I owned Ron Darling at the time.  That night the papers had him as the starting pitcher.  David and I go to Olympic Stadium to watch the Cubs vs. Expos.  On their big scoreboard we’re watching the scores of other games get posted.  All of a sudden some crooked numbers start going up for the Phillies in the 1st inning.  By the end of the 1st inning the Phillies put up NINE runs!!  Dem Rebels pitcher Ron Darling was getting slaughtered.  To make matters worse the scoreboard announces that Copperfield Von Hayes homered twice, a solo shot and a grand slam.  I look over at David who has this big stupid grin on his face.  I’m in agony.  The Phillies end up winning 26-7 and all I am hoping is that Davey Johnson took out Darling after the first run scored, not the 26th.  More misery for Dem Rebels!  Why are my top 10 moments in CFCL history ladled with the Rebels being abused?

That’s pretty much all we talked about the rest of the trip in Montreal.  We talked about it constantly the rest of the year and the ensuing 28 years of the CFCL.  BUT WAIT!  When I was researching this to provide accuracy I come to find out RON DARLING DID NOT PITCH THAT NIGHT!!  Take that you Copperfields!  Turns out Tom Gorman started the game and was relieved after a third of an inning by Calvin Schiraldi.  [Side note - Big surprise Schiraldi got bombed.  THE EVIDENCE WAS THERE IN 1985!!  So what do the Cubs do three years later?  TRADE FOR HIM!  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Thank god all they gave up was future All-Time Saves Leader, Lee Smith.  What idiots.  Who did that?  Jim Frey?  Ed Lynch?  Seems like something Lynch would do.]  Dem Rebels are vindicated!  And proceeded to charge to 4th place in 1985.

You may ask yourself, how could I (and David for that matter) believe that Darling gave up all those runs for almost 30 years?  Well, first of all we were on foreign soil.  The Chicago Tribune wasn’t being delivered to our door the next day.  Also, ESPN wasn’t as prominent then as it is now.  Third, we were walking around taking in the sights trying to convince the locals we weren’t trying to avoid some impending draft.  In fact we were anxiously anticipating the participation in the 1986 draft.

There may have been a USA Today floating around, but believe me, I didn’t need to see in black and white what my mind already knew.

2)  Last year.  I was 20 points out of first at the end of August and was able to make a run that left me one point short of winning the championship.  People may not remember who finishes 2nd, but it was one of the most enjoyable seasons I have had in quite a while.

1)Walking into Kroch’s and Brentano’s with David so he could show me this book he found about fantasy baseball.  If that never happened, we would never be here doing this.

I noticed that nowhere in the Top 10 was 1989 and 1996 (two Rebel championships).  The journey truly is greater than the destination.  That being said, the only thing I want in life (possession wise) is a Copperfield Trophy with Dem Rebels engraved on it.  It’s a sweet, sweet trophy.  The hell with the prize money.  The trophy is the thing.

I have to say, I always felt the CFCL was great.  But doing this exercise of a daily blog has deepened my appreciation for what the CFCL is, the people we’ve met, and the people we currently compete against.  I am really impressed by all the former owners who have stepped up to play along with this Q&A years after they left the league.  For them this may very well be a distant memory, but they embraced it in much the same manner they did in running their teams.

As the Q&As have shown us, we have been very fortunate to have met some incredibly interesting and talented guys.

It is impossible to say what the future will bring and where the CFCL is going.  But I feel at the base of my heart that I’ve been right these last few years.  We’re not even halfway there.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

CFCL Owners of 1996

Starting in front and working our way left around the table:  Eric Lamb [back to picture] (Lambchops), Ken Welsch (Welsch's Flatfeet), Kelly Barone (Six Packs), David Mahlan (David's Copperfields), Dave Holian (David's Ruffins), Rich Bentel (and eventual CFCL Champion Dem Rebels), Matt Bentel (DoorMatts), Paul Zeledon (Da Paul Meisters) [not pictured because he's behind a wall - honestly this is his best side] Dave Goetz (ForGoetzMeNots).

Wait . . .do I hear Kool and the Gang?  "Cel-e-brate Good Times C'Mon!!"  Woo Hoo.  Dem Rebels capture their second CFCL title, finishing ahead of the 2nd place Copperfields by 17 points.  Like Haley's Comet, you had to pay attention because it doesn't come around very often.

In 1996 David and Michelle graciously opened the doors of their Oak Park home to the CFCL.  Nine teams competed - eight returning owners and newbie, Ken Welsch.  Ken replaced the Clark Kents.  I'm pretty sure this is the year that Ken broke out the Bad Boy Dance (video to come soon) and very well may have been the year that Paul almost committed "suicide by cop" when he yelled at Ken to "Wait your turn, boy!" when Ken kept bidding before it was his turn.

Even with this grainy video, you can see differences in the owners in 1996 compared to 2013.  Most noticeably the DoorMatts are sporting a mullet and Dem Rebels actually have hair.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Trade Deadline Review: 1990

This is the ninthin a series of posts taking a look at the trade deadline action in each season during the CFCL’s first 29 years. Specifically, for each season we’ll look at each team’s trading turnover in the 3-4 weeks before the trading deadline. Individual deals were listed (though not analyzed) in the “This Week in CFCL History” posts.

Previous posts in this series:


Here's what when on at the trade deadline in 1990.

Trade Deadline: July 10 (final out of All Star Game), trading allowed between contiguous teams until August 31
Number of Teams / Number of Trades:  4 teams, 2 trades
Number of Players Changing Hands:  20 players, 1 draft pick
Busiest Teams:  4 teams with one trade each
Contenders:  Mr. Paul’s Swordfish, David’s Copperfields
Rebuilders:  Eric’s Lambchops, Bald Eagles

What a difference a year makes. After the busy trade deadline of 1989 (10 trades involving 40 players), 1990 was virtually silent. 

For the third straight year, the Constitution dictated that only teams adjacent to each other in the standings could make trades after the All Star Game. This year, only one contiguous deal was made – a 7-player swap between the 3rd place Swordfish (53 points) and 4th place Lambchops (49 points).

Even before that, trading had been very light with only one other deal being made in July and August 1990.

By the time the free-trading deadline hit in mid-July, McGuire’s Picks held a 5-point lead over the 2nd place David’s Copperfields, and led the 3rd place Mr Paul’s Swordfish by 12.5.

The Picks apparently felt secure with their roster, as they did not complete a single deal around the trade deadline, instead deciding to stand pat (owner name pun intended). To be fair, they had completed a fairly significant deal in mid-June, acquiring Barry Bonds, Dickie Thon, John Smoltz, and Joe Magrane (see June 19, 1990 in This Week in CFCL History).

For a while, it appeared their gamble had paid off, as their lead over the Copperfields grew to 18 points by the beginning of August. By the end of the season, though, the Picks may have regretted not making a deal or two at the deadline … but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s a breakdown of the teams that WERE active at the 1990 deadline.


Rick Parker
Jerome Walton
Jay Bell
Keith Miller
Craig Biggio
Jeff Parrett
Andujar Cedeno
Ron Jones
Barry Larkin
Eric Yelding
Mike Lavalliere
David Cone
Darryl Kile
The Eagles picked up a bundle of players, but they waived Parker, Walton, Miller, Parrett, and Cedeno before the 1990 season ended.
That left them with Jay Bell and Craig Biggio as carry-overs for the 1991 season.
Both players turned in good seasons in 1991, with Bell setting career highs (to that point) in BA (.270), HR (16), RBI (67), and SB (10).  Biggio contributed a line of .296-4-46-19, helping lead the Eagles to the CFCL Championship in their final season.


John Burkett
Mark Grant
Lloyd McClendon
Mickey Morandini
1st round pick
Neal Heaton
Bill Sampen
Greg Olson
In what had become a puzzling trend for the Lambchops, they acquired a bevy of players in a rebuilding deal, but kept only one of them the following season.
That player was John Burkett, who won 12 games with a 4.18 ERA for the Chops in 1991.
The 1st round minor league draft pick the Lambchops acquired in the deal ended up being the #1 pick overall, and the Chops used to to snag future slugger Ryan Klesko.  They ended up dealing Klesko to Dem Rebels before he made it to the bigs, though.


Neal Heaton
Bill Sampen
Greg Olson
John Burkett
Mark Grant
Lloyd McClendon
Mickey Morandini
1st round pick
The surprising Swordfish found themselves with the chance at a 3rd place money shot, and possibly more.
They took advantage of their standings placement next to the 4th place Lambchops to make a late-season contiguous trade.  The players they acquired didn’t stink, but they didn’t provide nearly enough firepower to make an impact.
Heaton won 2 games with a 2.13 ERA, while Sampen also won a couple.  Olson hit .271 with a homer and 10 RBI.
The Swordfish ended up dropping in the standings, and David’s Ruffins snuck past them into the 3rd place and the money.


Barry Larkin
Eric Yelding
Mike Lavalliere
David Cone
Ron Jones
Darryl Kile
Rick Parker
Jerome Walton
Jay Bell
Keith Miller
Craig Biggio
Jeff Parrett
Andujar Cedeno
When the free-trading deadline hit in mid-July, the Copperfields were in 2nd place, but a distant 15 points behind the leading McGuire’s Picks.
They teamed up with the Bald Eagles on at the free-trading deadline and brought on a couple key parts for their second half effort.
Larkin hit for average (.295) and stole 9 bases, but didn’t deliver much power (3 HR, 29 RBI).  Yelding DIDN’T hit for power, but stole 33 bases after the deal.
Despite the significant influx of speed, the Copperfields picked up only one point in the SB category the rest of the season.
The big impact from this deal came from Cone’s 2.44 ERA and 9 Wins after the trade.  The Copperfields picked up 3 points in the ERA category in the second half of the season, edging ahead of the Picks by just 0.007 in the last week. 
The edged the Picks in the overall standings, winning the 1990 CFCL Championship by a single point, though, truth be told, it was more the case of a Picks collapse than a Copperfield surge.  The Picks dropped 10 points in the second half.

1990 Standings at Trade Deadline and End of Season (click to embiggen)