Sunday, January 26, 2014

Memory of a Banquet IV

This last walk down memory lane could quite possibly be the greatest one.  Yesterday's entry is very strong - the one at the Bald Eagle's house (trying to off the Rebels, mocking the Rebels at Gibson's homerun and unsuccessfully trying to get the rest of the league to join him in giving the champion Copperfields a Yoo-Hoo shower).  Very strong indeed.

But this one (I'm thinking it took place in the mid '90's) I feel takes the cake because it involves something so counter to the CFCL culture.  Yes, the police were called.

The police? Yep.  You heard me.  We bad.  And this wasn't involving my brother-in-law who is a cop (and former CFCL owner of the Flatfeet).  This is the establishment where the banquet was held . . . called the cops on the CFCL!

This particular banquet I don't think we had a massive turnout.  So we tried to find a middle ground for those owners who could attend.  I know for a fact that the Lambchops, Rebels and Copperfields attended.  I'm thinking - based on the location of the banquet - that the Meisters also showed up.  But that may have been it.

So since Paul and Eric lived in the Schaumburg-ish area and I lived in Aurora and David lived in Downers Grove, we selected Batavia/Geneva as the middle ground.  Not geographically perfect, but it makes for a great story.

One of us was charged with finding an establishment in that area.  Well what screams out Baseball Celebration better than Chinese food?  Nothing, it turns out, so we held our banquet at a Chinese restaurant.

The evening started out well enough.  We had a nice dinner, talked about the newly finished season, handed out the awards . . . and then things got crazy.  We kept talking, about CFCL matters, about how to fix the Cubs, about life.  Eventually any other attendees filtered out and all that was left were the Lambchops, Copperfields and Rebels.  And I don't mean all that was left from the banquet.  I mean all that was left IN THE RESTAURANT!  Yes, we closed that mother down!  (That is the first and only establishment I have ever closed.) 

But we are a bunch of baseball nerds and didn't realize what we were doing.  It took the waiter to come over and say "If you don't want anything else, we're trying to close."  Sheepish looks on our face as we settled the bill.  We kept chatting as we walked out of the restaurant.  And then like the baseball magpies we are, we just couldn't say "good-bye".  We kept talking and talking and talking in the middle of the parking lot.  Nothing seemed strange to us except perhaps that it was a little chilly to be standing outside talking baseball.

All of a sudden a squad car pulls in to the parking lot.  Again, we're clueless geeks.  We just keep on talking.  The officer pulls up to us, ** rolls his window down and says "What's going on guys?"

**  I don't know much about police procedure but usually officers will take tactical positions and keep their distance from potential perps.  This guy must have, as he was turning the corner into the parking lot, assessed the three of us and said to himself "Are you kidding?  What the hell am I doing here?"

"Oh nothing.  Just talking about baseball, officer."  Man were we cool.  The officer then points out that the workers in the restaurant want to go home ** and they're afraid to leave the place because they think you're waiting in the parking lot to jump them.

** as he's saying this, I'm thinking "why are you telling us that?  We left the restaurant, we don't need them anymore."

If you could call Hollywood and ask them to cast three guys who would never be confused with attempting to jump anyone you could not find three more appropriate guys than David, Eric and me.  Yet there the cop was saying "Maybe it's time to head home, right?"

The minute we heard we were keeping the workers in the restaurant and why, we all embarrassingly apologized and moved directly to our cars.  That was the night the CFCL took it to the streets and rumbled with the cops.

More pictures from this year's banquet.

The CFCL's local owners.  Why does it look like everyone's laughing at the Commissioner?
Going around the table to the left, starting in front: Matt Grage, Matt Bentel, Tim Morkert, Pat Chesnut, Matthew Barriball, Mike Coulter and Rich Bentel.

Mike Coulter enjoying sweet victory as he takes home the certificate for Best Free Agent Acquisition (Francisco Liriano).  In the background is Matthew Barriball (co-owner of The Swing) smiling contentedly knowing next year's certificate will be his.

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