Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Meet the Malcontents

Last week we met Drew Gallagher from the Altered States League.  I mentioned that the ASL had a sister league called the Eternal Squabblers League.  The ESL has also been around since 1985, so they are going to be celebrating their 30th year of existence next year. 

There are a few similarities between the ESL/ASL and the CFCL which we will delve into in a later post.  But today we learn about Chris Malinowski and his team the Malcontents.  Trying to put things in CFCL terms, the Drewers bear a shocking resemblance to Dem Rebels (original owner, a little success, best friends of another original owner).  So that would mean that the Malcontents would be the Copperfields.  Well, yes, but it would be more accurate to say the Malcontents are the Copperfields on steroids (I mean that in a "oh my god this is unbelievable" way rather than in a "cheating, performance enhanced" way).  The Copperfields, as we know won 11 titles (and seven 2nd place finishes) in 28 years.  Pretty damn good.

The Malcontents have won 16 championships (and finished 2nd four times) in 28 years.  I'll let that sink in for a minute.  Forty-five percent more titles than the Copperfields!  The Malcontents, if you can believe this, won six consecutive titles from 1991-1996 and then turned around and won five in a row from 2000-2004.

Despite all that success, Chris comes off as a normal, humble guy who appreciates his fellow owners, especially Gallagher.  Let's hear about it in his own words.  It's time to meet the Malcontents.

How did your league start?
What’s the connection between the Altered States League and the Eternal Squabblers League?
Seems obvious but where did you come up with the name Eternal Squabblers League?
Our league started with Saturday morning Bowling. My Mom would drop me off at Bowl-O-Rama every Saturday morning in 5th and 6th grade. It was there that I was put on a team with a guy named Mike Capilo (future owner of the Baseball Caps...which he referred to as the Baseball CRaps whenever he was having a bad season.) Mike lived in a different neighborhood than I, but when you're in 6th grade, a 10 minute jog to your friend's house didn't seem like that big of a deal. (Whereas now, I would most definitely be very lonely if I had to jog 10 minutes to see a friend.)
Through "Caps" I met every other guy our age on his street and +/-2 blocks in either direction. It was certainly a motley crew of sizes, shapes and personalities ranging from a guy who was notorious for unexpectedly pee-ing on people out of a tree, to a guy who was twice our size who would threaten to kill you if you didn't refer to him as "The Myth." (It should be noted that "The Myth" was actually a very good dude.)
Drew Gallagher lived down the street from "Caps". Drew would later become the best man in my wedding. He worked as an intern for the Reading Eagle Sports department, ironically often taking local bowling scores for the section of the paper only read by local bowlers. I like to believe he was very excited whenever one of my scores would be called in. One of the writers for the Reading Eagle sports section was, and still is, Mike Drago, who covers the Reading Phillies...errr, I'm sorry, now the Reading Fightin Phils (team mascot, inexplicably an Ostrich due to the deep history of wild Ostriches in the Reading area.) Mike Drago (aka The San Drago Chicken), formed the Altered States League to start the 1985 season. Drew was invited to take part in the league as its only member who could not drive at the time. The ASL started and remains an AL-only, 12 team, 4x4 keeper league.
While playing stickball in a grassy field at the end of Drew and Cap's block (which we continued to play into our late teens because college chicks dig guys with broom sticks and tennis balls and frisbees for bases), we often discussed Drew's ASL "team". Because we couldn't play stickball after it got dark, the bunch of us agreed to form our own league beginning in mid-1985. The Eternal Squabblers League - a name adopted because we liked to argue over ever little rule - began and remains an NL-only, 10 team, 4x4 keeper league.
At that time, Drew was the only person in both leagues. 10 years later I finally succumbed to pressure and joined the ASL in 1995.
As time moved on, many of the ASL owners came to the ESL, and vice versa. Today there are 8 owners who are in both leagues.
16 titles, 4 2nd place and 5 3rd place finishes in 28 years. What the hell?
Ha. That's the question everyone's been trying to figure out for 30 years. Let's face it, even the smartest person in the world, were he to spend every waking moment studying, would have a hard time finishing first 16 times in 28 years. There's just so much luck involved. So I like to think of myself as the luckiest fantasy owner on earth. I am constantly stepping into players who not even I expected to be good.
During our drafts I am often getting penalized just for bidding. They refer to it as "The Malinowski Tax." "Chris bid...This guy must be good...If Chris says $19, I'll say $20...Malinowski tax."
How old were you when this all started?
Only 1 person in the ESL could drive when we started, and now that guy is homeless and doesn't have a car. Seriously. I couldn't make that up.

1 comment:

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