Dealing with it
Amidst the blur of domestic and imported beers and multitudes of Iowa Hawkeye fans, the HRLTC Winter Meeting took place, and believe ot or not, much wiffle was talked about. A couple of personnel moves were made as well as some rule changes and modifications.
No leather: The players in attendance voted to ban gloves on defense in 2005. We'll see how this shakes out. The main argument here was that leaving gloves as an option gives a team a defensive edge should they decide to use them. The goal was consistency, and we felt the playing field will be more level with a consistent no-glove rule, not to mention giving the game more of a "pure" feel.
Extra balls in play: If a hit ball hits another ball in the field of play, it's automatically a hit. It's up to the pitcher to keep the field of play free of extra balls, should he not choose to do it, he runs the risk of a routine grounder hitting a scattered ball and becoming a hit. A ball that hits a stray ball in the dud zone will be a dud.
No more "three ball": A pitcher may only have one ball in hand, and that's the one he's throwing. The other hand must be empty. Violation of this rule is called ONLY by the offensive team and if called, is an automatic ball. If the play results in favor of the offense (i.e., base hit or HR), the offensive team does not need to call the violation out. The pitcher or defensive team may NOT overrule a hit or other favorable offensive result by invoking the "ball in hand" rule. It's purely the offense's call.
The 2005 Site - Update
The site revamping rages on, and the latest project involved stats. Lots of 'em. I know the league is full of statheads, and this new 2005 site will satisfy all your stat needs. With batter-pitcher splits for every player in the league, we'll all know who owns who, and who to avoid... call it a strategizing tool. I still am hoping for a launch date before the beginning of December.
Latest Hot Stove Report
The Winter Meeting gave us some player movement, so without futher delay, here's the latest:
Larry, A's - Has officially abandoned all hope of keeping the A's together and has signed with the Braves. Larry's defensive prowess along with Rocket should make the Braves easily one of the most complete teams in the league. As for the A's...
Mathis, A's - Has said he will not be playing in 2005 because playing into October last year left a bad taste in his mouth as he was busy with many other things while his team went on its World Series run. Rumors persist, however, that Mathis may return once 2005's schedule comes out and he may return with a crop of players of his own.
Willie, Yankees – Willie grew tired of not knowing where he stood with the Yankees and signed on with the Royals. This should be a good fit, as the Royals were desperately looking for a bat to replace Mike, who moved to North Carolina.
The Pirate, A's – Has said he may hang it up after just one glorious season, but many in the league feel that by the time the snow melts, he'll be rearin' to go. Don't think good bye just yet, fans! It's possible he could end up with an East team like the Royals or Yankees should he decide on a return.
Pat & Craig, Expos – It's certain that The Brothers Nowaczewski and Christian have vowed to wreak havoc in '05 as the X, it's been rumored that Pat and Craig may leave the X to form a team of their own. The HRL Offices have learned that The X will indeed not have Pat & Craig back, instead adding on a family member to make them a 4-man team. The questions now remains: Will Pat & Craig start a new team?
Mike, Royals – Out for 2005. He moved to North Carolina, didn't tell us (the prick) and now the Royals are looking to replace the hefty switch hitter. He has, however, resumed pooping on our message board, giving it that homey feel we've lacked since September.
Tom, Braves – Out for 2005. This is, we're told, a 99% certainty, as Tom will be returning to his homeland to further his education. The Braves will likely counter Tom's departure from the lineup by signing Keith "Torpedo" Pabon, Rocket's brother, giving the Braves club a distinctly Latin flavor. Speaking of Latin…
Pablo, Braves – Out for 2005. This is almost as certain as Tom. Apparently Pablo was hit with a double heart attack, a shocking event indeed, that will likely leave the likeable little guy on the sidelines, at least for next season. Best wishes to Pablo from all of us at the league.
This is only here because it's the coolest pic of the Commish I've ever seen.
Nine, Phillies – Questionable for 2005. Word leaked from the Padres offices that Nine suffered an ACL tear recently. MRI results are pending, but it's no certainty that Nine will be ready by the time the curtain goes up on the 2005 season. We'll be awaiting a Padres press conference soon. Again, best wishes from the HRL.
Brewers – The Crew, as of now, likely will not replace Westy, who was signed by the Padres, and will go thru 2005 as a three-man club. Don't count them completely out, though, as there have been slight rumblings about them introducing a new player into the fold.
New teams – A new club formed when The Steves teamed with fellow St. Louisian Demetrius AKA Lefty LaForge (all rookies) to form the Cardinals. With these guys combined pitching ability (seen in full display at the recent Fall Sessions), look for these guys to be legit. The Cubs consist of five fairly young guys who all love beer and can play the game pretty well too. All signs point to the Cubbies being a very cool team to watch next year. The Fall Sessions produced 15 new players in all, and were deemed a huge success by the league offices.