|League History: 2002
|Fresh off a fun season full of players playing, games finishing, and stats piling,
the Commissioner and his now-useless cohorts forgot to think ahead once again. Winterball had always been a place for
veterans to shake off some rust and rookie hopefuls to let their presence be felt before seasons would officially begin.
Despite a great season of increased participation, holes were going to need to be filled for the 2002 season. Greg
Creighton was retiring, Jordan Lockhart ventured off to find a less competitive league, and Aaron Kemper was banished to
the recess of our memories. Clint Wattenberg was hanging them up, as was long-time veteran Nate Stuempfig. Terry Creighton
was leaving for good and Luke Carriere was once-and-for-all given up on, meaning the league needed lots of rookies to fill
the void. They failed to find these rookies.
Days before the draft, the Commissioner had four names available for a selection process that would need to see eight
people drafted. Joey Holt was available once again, but everyone knew he'd be the 2002 version of Luke Carriere (awesome
stats, would leave after a month). Bob Banos was James Vassar's inept cousin who we all knew would only be drafted by
James and would in all likelihood be terrible. John Deatrick was a graduate of our 2001 Fantasy League and he was kind of
a dork, but it was clear he was into the league and would probably skip family funerals to play. Jeff Register was Darnell
Uhland's cousin, and he made Aaron Kemper look like an All-Star. The Commissioner's old rule was that to be eligible for
the draft, you had to show up to at least one Winterball gameday. This rule had to quickly be ammended and the Commish
scrambled, finding three friends at the last second, convinced them to come out to the field the day before the draft to
make sure they all had all their limbs intact, and gave them the thumbs up. Anthony Sanzone, Hart McKenzie, and Chris
Keefer all seemed to have decent enough talent. Scott Carmichael stated Kyle Archibald, a long-time school chum, was
interested. The Commish didn't question anything--he knew Kyle had 10 toes and fingers--he had eight names now.
The results were disasterous. The triple threat of Anthony, Hart, and Chris combined for 71 ABs. Bob Banos only played
one time, walking an unheard of 17 batters in only 3 innings pitched. I mean, have you SEEN how big the strike zone is?
Jeff Morrison was the winner of the "How Soon Before Joey Holt Quits?" pool, correctly guessing Joey would only pick up
31 ABs. Jeff Register lowered Aaron Kemper's standard, hitting a record-worst .114 and finishing with a record-worst
11.79 ERA. To his credit, he didn't quit. The lone bright spot from the class was John Deatrick, who finished with 131
ABs (ranked #5) and nearly broke the rookie record with a 1.68 ERA. Despite these gaudy numbers, John's "coolness" factor
didn't increase by much. Mainly because he'd hit a homerun off you, and the proceed to innocently spend the next 10 minutes
talking to you in great detail about the homerun he just hit off you.
The Road Warriors, now being captained by the magnificent Darnell Uhland, held the afore-mentioed terrors known as Jeff
Register, Chris Keefer, and Anthony Sanzone. Needless to say, the Road Warriors didn't win very many games. Anthony and
Chris packed their bags early, and before the season ended, Jeff Register was being forced to move out of town. The Road
Warriors would only have one player. Like a sign from above though, a player dropped into their laps. A player more than
willing to show up to a gameday to do nothing but WATCH. He had this badass truck with 90-inch tires...a mini monster
truck if you will. His name was Dave Cain, and the fella could HIT. The league voted, and Dave was allowed to play for
the Road Warriors so they could finish the season. He gave the league a little preview at the 2002 Celebrity Homerun Derby,
bouncing numerous balls off the roof in left-center (only a few people had ever done this before) and leaving impressionable
males open-jawed. He was also a thimble of a man, standing MAYBE 5'6.
Forfeits were plenty during the season, but the Horsemen wound up taking the #1 seed for the Series at the Sac. They
waited for the winner of the "best-team-but-they-had-so-many-damn-forfeit-losses" Holy Whites and the perennial 3rd-place
Wiffolution 51 squad. Of course, the Whites won, but the Horsemen took the title (thanks to more impressive cheating
from Joey). Immediately following the game, the Commissioner and his thugs hit the road looking for 2003 rookie hopefuls.
They weren't gonna screw this up again; they knew it was going to be the last season.