|League History: 2003
|They had a great run, but it was time to call it a day. The 2003 season was going to
be the 10th, and the Commish knew it would be the last. He told a few people of this, but kept it mainly to himself; who'd
want to play for a lame-duck league? He knew he couldn't go out on a season like the 2002 one. It had to be a strong note.
The thing this league needed most was quality players who wanted to play. Everything else would work itself out. The
recruiting process was vigorous, but it worked. Quality players were lining around the block. Not only could they swing
a stick, they enjoyed swinging a stick, and they would "stick" it out. Eh? Get it?
To demonstrate, here are the 2002 rookie AB numbers, listed in numerical order:
131, 79, 55, 50, 29, 24, 18 = 55.1 per rookie
And here are the 2003 rookies AB numbers:
243, 161, 153, 146, 134, 114, 100, 73, 13 = 113.7 per rookie
Is the math this simple? Yes. Like in 2001, games were once again being played (80 games and 2773 ABs) only this time
around, all teams were competitive. There were no "Holy Whites winning 19-2" games anymore. There were no Road Warrior
10-game losing streaks. The league was so competitive, the 2002 champion Horsemen fell all the way to 4th place and didn't
even make the playoffs.
The Road Warriors, despite seasons of complete failure, emerged from the 2003 draft looking like eventual champions. It
was argued that after drafting his team, Darnell Uhland might just be the worst pitcher on his staff. Darnell Uhland had
a career ERA of 2.35 at the time, yet people were right. The Road Warriors were seemingly without a weak spot and rolled
through the regular season with a 23-12 record. All remaining teams finished below .500. The Holy Whites finished 2nd again
thanks mainly to Scott Carmichael's stellar play and newly-aquired John Deatrick's newly-aquired ability to hit.
Wiffolution finished 3rd once again thanks to fine seasons from Dean Evans (.335), Jeff Morrison (24 HRs) and rookie Matt
Plummer (7.77 K/4). The Horsemen, despite fielding one of their better teams, finished 4th. Even with Joey Creighton's
.431 batting average and Seth Yoder's Cy Young campaign (1.23 ERA). The Playerz rounded out the league in last, but probably
would have swept for the title in 2002. After consistent flake Matt Holmberg quit (along with tag-along buddy Keith Carlson),
the two dedicated rookies Matt Smith and John Robins picked up Bill Rozak, an absolute terror with the bat. The situation
was similar to Darnell Uhland's in 2002, only Bill made Dave Cain look like Dean Evans. Unfortunately for the Playerz, Bill
couldn't pitch worth a damn.
The Holy Whites came away victorious during Wiffolution's annual elimination from the first round of the playoffs. The Road
Warriors would prove to be a tougher contender. After dropping Game 1 2-1, the Road Warriors throttled the Whites like
they'd never been throttled before to take a 2-1 series lead (scores of 8-1 and 9-0). The Whites would tie the series up
with a Deatrick walk-off shot, but the Warriors had the last laugh, taking the title when Darnell lined a Carmichael offering
into the cheap seats.
When the homerun was hit, the Commissioner breathed a sigh of relief. It was over, and in no better way could he imagine.
After years and years of good seasons, bad seasons, great rookies, terrible rookies, James Vassar berating Dean Evans,
Eric Christensen dropping fly-balls, Darnell running into light-poles (and metaphors don't often come as nicely wrapped as
that one), it came down to this. Bottom of the 4th, game on the line, Scott Carmichael vs. Darnell Uhland. It was almost
Two calendars, over a dozen highlight videos, and the adoration of the world. Six years of web presence, two trips to San
Francisco (and one victory). The 1999 Soundtrack and the 2000 Women's Game. Hundreds upon hundreds of Cosom Fun Balls
(multi-colored in '98!) and hundreds of custom-taped bats. Big Cack, Big Cack II (in case of emergency), The Black Widow,
The Silver Bullet, The Hurt, Mr. Clean, The Oreo, The Savior, Bootsie, Targé, J-Mo, Devo, Mattitude Version 2.0. Pads,
Fantasy, Willow. Bambi, You Can't Control Me I'm The Star Of Your League, Baby...WHOOOOO, sidewalk slams, and on-the-knees
Over 14,000 ABs, 1,500 HRs, and 3,100 innings pitched. Over 500 games played. The math is indeed this simple.