2015 Draft Day

Before our much anticipated Rookie Draft, we perform some annual housekeeping.

We begin by crowning our 2014 champion, Steve Gaiski, whose Arrogant Bastards (named for the Stone Brewing Company ale) faced eight elimination games enroute to their very first OOTL World Series title. Steve received our traveling trophy and a plaque to keep.

Our vote on league officers maintains Brandon Matlock as President, Craig Dolan as Vice-President and Bob Boyd as Secretary-Treasurer. Executive committee first alternate is John Ingiosi; second alternate, Kevin Baker.

2014 Player of the Year voting results: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson.

2014 Pitcher of the Year voting results: Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander and Derek Holland.

Both runners-up were summarily released by the Speakers during the Rookie Draft!

Rule clarifications:

Rule 3.07 must be clarified to allow for only one (1) previously carded player designated as injured reserve per team roster per season.

Pitchers that can both start and relieve are not limited to only the number of *** relief appearances as in the corresponding MLB season. The combination of starts and relief appearances cannot exceed total *** starts or *** total games.

Following a mid-series injury that lasts more than one (1) game during the playoffs, the affected team may activate any inactive player on its roster.

Rule reminders:

Rule 2.12 (a) Should rare play result 28 appear consecutively, pitchers with positive control roll to potentially prevent a walk. If the pitcher prevents a walk, the count shall be three (3) balls. (On the initial 28, roll for a negative control pitcher to potentially walk the batter.

Rule 2.19 When 1st base is occupied, the runner is being held on (HO) and a slow (S) left-handed batter, board result 12 becomes a double play.

Rule 2.22 In 8th inning or later, the score must be two (2) runs closer than indicated on the boards to execute a successful pickoff play. This also applies to the 37/39 pickoff chart.

Rules discussion:

1 – (Brandon, Barry & Steve) Eliminate Rule 2.12 (e) Runner on Second board play result 26 requires a defensive roll for fielding: Fielding 1 – Batter out at 1st, runner holds; A-2B, PO-1B.
Fielding 2 & 3 – Batter out at 1st, runner advances one base; A-2B, PO-1B.
(Fails 5-6.)

2 – (Brandon) Edit Rule 5.06. Except for injury or ejection, no starting pitcher may be removed from a game unless one of the following criteria has been met:
a) Must face a minimum of nine (9) batters if no runs have been scored. After facing the 9th batter, the starting pitcher may be removed anytime.
b) Starting pitcher may be removed prior to nine (9) batters faced if one run has scored.
c) No restrictions during the post-season.
(Passes 6-5, but with eliminating c) above.)

3 – (Brandon) Change the fatigue chart for Q3* and Q4* relievers. The fatigue chart would remain as is for Q2* relievers OR any pitcher who can both start and relieve. Q3* and Q4* relievers would begin to fatigue at seven (7) batters as current, but instead of losing one (1) grade, they would lose two (2) grades. At ten (10) batters, they would lose an additional three (3) grades. The Q3* or Q4* reliever would continue losing three (3) grades at every additional interval.
(Passes 7-4.)

4 – (Brandon) Change the Steal Chart and Hit and Run rules:
a) A team can hit and run with any player. Two (2) 31s are no longer required to call hit and run. However, a team would be limited to calling hit and run no more than five (5) times in a nine (9) inning game. In extra innings, a team can only call hit and run twice, regardless of the number of times the hit and run was called during the first nine (9) innings.
b) Change the steal chart for C, D, & E runners on steals of 2nd base as follows:
C – Anytime
D – Remove the out restrictions; allow the runner to be able to run either up or down two (2) runs. After the 6th inning, all restrictions are removed.
E – Remove the out restrictions. After the 6th inning, runner can run either up or down four (4) runs.
(Passes 6-5.)
c) Hit & Run penalties under the SAL chart remain.
d) Remove the penalties listed on the SAL chart: If a runner is ineligible to steal, SALs lose numbers as follows: A=(-0), B=(-2), C=(-5), D=(-7), E=(-10), F=(-12), G=(-15), and R=(-20); and then, is subject to Master Game reductions, (i.e., stealing 3rd & home).
e) Create a Pitchout rule. The defensive manager may call a pitchout once an offensive manager has decided to call either hit and run or a straight steal with only a runner on 1st. The pitchout may be called only once per game as long as neither team leads by more than three (3) runs. Once a pitchout is called, the runner on first will automatically attempt a straight steal, automatically losing 12 points on the stolen base attempt. Also factor the catcher’s arm, but DO NOT calculate the pitcher’s MF.

5 – (Barry & Brandon) If above Hit & Run rule fails and 2014 rules continue to apply, eliminate the roll for a foul ball on the hit and run play.
(Passes 9-2.)

6 – (John) During the regular season allow any starting lineup batter with steal attempts remaining to hit and run with no reductions; dice result 13 would be two (2) strikes on the batter and a steal attempt; dice result 14 would be two (2) balls on the batter and a steal attempt. Replacement batters/runners and post-season would use present rules. batter would need to have two 31’s on his card.
Also reduce steal attempts from 80% to 70%. (APBA uses the A thru R to reduce the number of opportunities to steal and the 70% will do the same thing.) Straight steals use the present rules.
Overuse of stolen base attempts result in the player returning to the draft pool at the end of the season. If excessive, a draft pick could also be lost (7th round ) or whatever seems appropriate.
(Fails 3-8.)

6a – (John) Player overuse (G, GS, IP, AB, SBA) results in immediate release. NO games will be replayed.

7 – (Craig) 80% steals should be eliminated and 100% of steal usage should be allowed. It is a waste of calculations and limits the value of key players.
(Fails 1-10.)

8 – (Bob Silks & Barry) Current game conversion chart for 100 games should be used for steal attempts.

9 – (Craig) If an owner makes a mistake at the draft resulting in an illegal roster and it is not caught by the Executive Committee at the draft, the owner is entitled to an additional drop/add move(s) when the error is discovered (before roster approval) in order to make the roster legal. He will not have any transactions voided or be forced to keep a player he had cut.
(Fails 1-10.)

10 – (Craig) If a pitcher played a position in MLB other than pitcher, he is permitted to be used at that position in the OOTL but is still not permitted to bat. Examples of usage could include a defensive replacement or even a double switch to put the pitcher in left field while a left handed reliever pitches to a batter and then reinserted to pitch to the following batter. This was done more frequently in the past in the MLB and is very rare now but was done this year by the Padres. If used in a game, the pitcher is not pitching, it would count as a game against his usage.
(Fails 2-9.)

11 – (Craig) All starting pitchers without relief appearances in MLB can also relieve in OOTL playoffs on one day’s rest after a start. Once these starting pitchers pitch in relief, they are not allowed to start another game in that playoff series. Their relief usage would be judged as any Q4* reliever.
(Fails 3-8.)

12 – (Craig) If an owner quits OOTL and is replaced, any draft picks traded by that owner will be replaced by a supplemental draft pick at the end of the corresponding round.
(Passes 11-0.)

13 – (Bob Silks) Limit player Batter Characteristics to +/- 7.
(Fails 2-9.)

14 – (Bob Silks) Make either the first 8 or first 9 on a hitter’s card a hit.
(Fails 3-8.)

15 – (Barry) Eliminate Rule 2.20: ability to switch from Fielding One to either Fielding Two or Three if one of those results is better for the defense.
(Passes 6-5.)

16 – (Brian) Reintroduce the BROWN BOARD, which deals with dropped throws and allows for trail runners to take extra bases.
(Any manager playing Brian in the 2nd or 3rd Period may agree to trial the Brown Board during that series to become more familiar with its nuances.)

17 – (Brandon) No more than two (2) XB J-4 players may be selected in one draft.
(Fails 2-9.)

18 – (Steve) Runner on First board – if offense calls hit and run and card result is 6, no further “double roll” takes place (to potentially change to a 3). All other scenarios pertaining to Rule 2.24 still apply.
(Passes 6-5.)

19 – (Brandon) Edit Rule 11.04 to read: Stats are due following the 10th day after each period:
Stats submitted more than a week late result in an offense. A first time offense will be the forfeiture of a seventh (7th) round draft selection in the next Rookie Draft. The second offense will result in the forfeiture of a sixth (6th) round selection. The third offense will result in the forfeiture of a fifth (5th) round selection. Any additional offenses can result in losing multiple draft picks. If the guilty manager no longer owns the designated forfeited selection, the next higher selection must be forfeited.
Any playoff team that has not submitted stats is not eligible to compete in that season’s playoffs until stats are submitted. Non-submission of stats can result in removal from the league.
The Executive Committee can take into account extenuating circumstances prior to applying any penalties.
(Passes 10-1.)

20 – (Barry) Eliminate Rule 2.20: A defensive manager that rolls Fielding One has the option of any of the three Fielding results. This no longer applies to Results 36-41 or Rare Play board results.
(Already passes as rule proposal 15 above.)

Following a brief break, the time had come for Mike to make the first selection of this year’s Rookie Draft.

2014 Championship Series Highlights

#4 Arrogant Bastards vs. #2 Devil Dogs

A little over two years ago I think I was having lunch w/ Brandon and Mike. We were talking about APBA and the OOTL was in search of a new manager. So I said to Mike, “if you join the league, I’ll come back.” He did and so did I.

On Saturday afternoon I finally won the whole damn thing! To my playoff opponents Bob, John and Barry, I was on the lucky end of 3 VERY GOOD series. Down 2-1, 3-1, and 3-1 I rallied to go 8-0 in elimination games and that’s only half of it.

I try to go into every year with a goal of leaving the draft as a potential playoff team. Normally I’m pretty loyal to players and don’t make too many trades. So this year I went against that by making 3 trades prior to the draft obtaining Adrian Gonzalez, Kenley Jansen and Homer Bailey. Three pieces that I needed this season.

At the draft my goal was to get better in the bullpen and I did that. I also drafted a guy with these words, “I hate this guy but I’m taking Russell Martin.” It was the right move. As my draft wound down I looked at my team and knew it could contend. But I’d lost to a playoff rotation for the ages a year prior. So I drafted Tanner Roark…then near the end if my draft I made a decision to build a playoff team that could win it all and I drafted Jared Cosart. Including the playoffs Cosart started 9 games – I won each game – he went 8-0.

As the regular season moved along I hovered around the 4th or 5th playoff spot. But I had a hole or two. Starting a 1 left fielder who was hitting under .200 wasn’t cutting it. Matt Holliday was my leading hitter hitting over .350 but a move had to be made. So I traded for Allen Craig, David Ortiz, and Mark Ellis. I wanted Choo, but Brandon keenly pointed out that Craig was a 4 at first base and could back up Agone. (Craig moving from LF to First after running for Agone helped me win 2 or 3 games.) Papi, well Papi is Papi. Ellis improved my infield D. And I also traded for Caleb Thielbar. But did I have enough? In addition to these deals I nearly pulled the trigger on a trade that involved Giancarlo Stanton and Danny Duffy and others, but I decided to keep the beast. Matt Holliday hardly played again.

So I was set…I felt if I get to the playoffs I have a shot to win this. But that comes down to luck. Game 5 of my first round and I’m down 2-0 in the 9th with an out and Matt Wieters ties it with a HR; and I go ahead on a SAC fly later in the inning…and win the series 3-2. Luck on my side.

Then I fall behind the Lymebees 3 games to 1 and in game 6 Bottom 10th, 2 outs, and I’m down 5-4; and Matt Wieters hits another 2-run HR to walk off to game 7. More luck . Mike Trout delivers in the bottom of the 7th of game 7 to send the ABs to the Series.

There were 3 shutouts in the WS – games 1, 4 and 6…and I found myself down 3-1 in the series again. A 12-inning game 5 win sent the series to Saturday afternoon. Lee and Hamels went 5 innings in each game for the wins. After that my pen took over as they had in each series. Adrian Gonzalez knocked in both runs in game 6. And Papi jacked a 1st inning 2-run HR to set the tone in game 7. Trout also homered. And when Ellsbury flew out to LF with a man on in the 9th, the 4-1 victory and 3rd series comeback was complete. Again I was very lucky. I was helped out by John and Barry’s dice. I guess it was my time.

Thanks again to Bob, John and Barry for 3 great series. Also thanks to Craig for providing some insight during the playoffs…he kept believing from Florida! Also thanks for all the other well wishers. Rumor has it Mike was on the Moon the entire series chanting, “BASTARDS BASTARDS BASTARDS”.

It’s great to win but ultimately I’m a baseball fan who generally tries to draft and remain loyal to guys that I like. When I got home I thought that in this league it’s great that names like Utley, Hamels, Howard, Lee, Longoria, Stanton, Holliday, Trout and even Ichiro can be a part of an OOTL championship team.

For the stat whores, here are my team relief pitching stats for the playoffs. Not too shabby:

Innings – 66.0
Hits – 40
R – 8
ER – 7
HR – 2
BB – 9
K – 72
E – 1
HBP – 1
WHIP – .74
ERA – 0.95

I’ll savor this one for a while but it’s now time to start preparing for the 2015 draft. That is where the marathon begins. Thanks everyone. Happy New Year and good health to everyone! See you ALL at the draft.


Head East – All I-70 All the Time

Saturday, June 8 – UBT Day Eight

You know what they say about Ohio. It’s high in the middle and wide on both ends.

I have family in the Dayton area so I’m familiar with just how wide. Plus, a couple of our UBTs have covered nearly every professional team in Ohio. (I’ve only missed the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and possibly a new team that’s sprung up since our Ohio tours.)

Although none of this week’s driving has dragged, I brought along a laptop in order to share something with Mitch. Of course it’s baseball-related.

I’d been fanatical about baseball since Little League. Even considering our brief season, pickup games, whiffle ball, The Sporting News and the Game of the Week, I craved more. So I finally responded to the APBA ad (in The Sporting News) to receive a free Johnny Bench card. What better way to spend some birthday cash?

I still have that set and every season since. I’m still active in a fun face-to-face Master Game league called OOTL with about a dozen other local baseball enthusiasts.

I also embraced technology and play in some leagues using their computer version, BBW or Baseball for Windows. That brings me to my point.

The BBW version features Ernie Harwell doing radio play-by-play of your games! What better complement to a UBT stretch of driving than to play a few league games through Mitch’s truck radio?

I boot my laptop and arrange my starting lineup. Soon we hear Ernie paint the diamond picture with the Riegle Speakers hosting. Ohio’s girth never seemed so narrow!

Before we know it, we cross into West Virginia for a familiar grocery store stop. (If you’re unfamiliar with Pennsylvania’s laws regarding beer sales, think Dark Ages.)

Over the PA border lies Washington County. When traveling I-70, you can literally glance directly into the ball yard home of the Washington Wild Things.

Our hotel also hugs the Interstate as we’re perhaps 150 yards from the home plate entrance. This is where UBT 2013 will conclude.

Due to Washington’s proximity to Pittsburgh, two friends in Mitch’s face-to-face All Star Baseball winter league join us on the hotel patio for pre-game pizza and beverages. Chris joined us for UBT 2010 featuring both Chicago MLB teams and Milwaukee with bookend games in South Bend and Gary, Indiana. That had been our most aggressive trip prior to this marathon. We’re glad he and Jeff can share in our final night of UBT 2013.

The four of us stroll toward the entrance of Consul Energy Park. Our perfect evening of independent Frontier League ball is enhanced by the “Turnpike Classic.” The Lake Erie Crushers represent the Cleveland Browns while the home team assumes the role of the Steelers.

Consul Energy Park Pregame - Washington, PAThe outdoor stadium features artificial turf and dirt. Although bouncers do kick up some sort of cloud.

Bleacher seating is flanked by a picnic area down the left field line and a party deck in far right. The kids really enjoy the mascot as many families attend.

Steeler-themed giveaways highlight between-inning moments. The Crushers live up to their name during those innings, scoring early and often, coasting to a 9-1 victory.

Mitch's Popcorn Snack - Consul Energy Park - Washington, PAThe Wild Things load the sacks in the bottom of the 9th, but come up empty. No one homers, but Russell Moldenhauer strokes an RBI triple in the 4th.

We enjoy post-game beverages and baseball highlights back at the hotel before Chris and Jeff travel back to Pittsburgh. All that remains for Mitch and me is a good night’s rest and a leisurely Sunday drive to Harrisburg.

UBT 2013 gives us a lot to talk (and write) about. Our custom T-shirts, binders, photos and conversations keep these UBT memories alive. Thank you for taking this journey with us.

From Deep Short

“Everyone Knows It’s Indy”

Friday, June 7 – UBT Day Seven

Getting on the road in St. Louis, we take a slight detour to grab a sandwich at a place recommended to us by a friend of Mitch. As we roll by shortly after 11 AM, there’s a line out the door of the small city establishment. The line continues around the corner!

The sandwiches must be as advertised, but we decide to forego the delay considering we have 240+ miles to travel before tonight’s game. The line of hungry patrons also reminds me of something my Dad’s been saying since I was a youngster: “I stood in enough lines in the army.”

We agree to catch a bite along the way when we stop for fuel. This must have been a day of reflection for me, because this seemingly small decision triggers another thought. Not just today, not just on this week’s massive UBT undertaking, but Mitch and I always seem to agree with plans … even when they don’t always go according to plan.

Having the same passion for baseball, craft/micro-brews and a variety of food plays a part, I’m sure. Plus, both of us consider ourselves fortunate (extremely understanding spouses, enough vacation time, etc.) to take trips like this, so we never sweat the small stuff.

We cross through Illinois. Shortly after we’re in Indiana, it’s time for a fuel stop — both for the truck and for us. We eat on the go, because we still need to get to Indianapolis, check into our hotel, and experience tonight’s first pitch.
Lucas Oil Stadium from Hotel Parking Lot - Indianapolis

Our hotel is literally in the shadow of a huge domed building. Football fans may understand the use for this place (above). Our focus is on checking in, dropping off our bags, and walking to Victory Field.

Our walk takes us by a huge coal-fired power plant, which contrasts the clean, new look of Lucas Oil Stadium, but looms nearly as large. At the end of the block rests Victory Field.

Victory Field from LF - Indianapolis

The outfield gate at the corner of West and Maryland looks inviting, featuring brick and an iron gate to match its surroundings. The sidewalk is brick as you approach the entrance.

Just inside, an outfield concourse welcomes ticket holders with concessions and games. A spacious grass bank circling the outfield offers relaxing views of the action.

Families already begin to spread blankets in anticipation of Friday night baseball. Behind the banks and walkway is another roomy, tree-shaded area for children to play, safe from the action.

Mitch and I find craft beverages and an engaging usher on the concourse behind the Indians dugout. We also chat with a local businessman who enjoys the proximity of professional football and baseball with his son.

The concourse displays banners depicting players who’ve graced the current and former Victory Field. This modern version opened in 1996 yet rivals newer parks in many ways.

Former Royals farmhand, Mike Montgomery, takes the ball for the Durham Bulls. Another former Royals prospect plays right field. See how close you could be to Wil Myers?Wil Myers, RF - Victory Field - IndianapolisMontgomery steals the show, hurling 7+ innings of no-hit ball. Leslie Anderson and Shelley Duncan provide long ball support and a 4-0 lead, but four walks force Montgomery to the side after reaching his pitch count.

The pen and defense immediately unravel as the home team records a 6-spot in the 8th. Tony Sanchez ropes a clutch RBI double in that big inning.

This game represents the most baseball drama we’ve witnessed since Omaha. The Pirates AAA team hangs on to win, 6-5, sending nearly 14,000 fans home happy. On the other hand, Mitch and I strike out in search of food and beers.

We stroll past a couple of high-class places, one of which spills out onto the sidewalk. On the same block we enter the local Rockbottom. A late dinner, some Red Ales and IPAs, more baseball highlights, and a leisurely walk back to the hotel cap off another perfect UBT evening.

From Deep Short

Day Six – I70

Thursday, June 6 – UBT Day Six

The cloud cover that slightly threatened the Royals game dissipates, giving way to bright morning sunshine. We have a (relatively) brief easterly jaunt ahead of us: 3.5 hours of I-70, the tour of Missouri’s mid-section.

We lunch on the eastern side of Columbia. The hotel Mitch selected is a few minutes walk to the train that’ll take us to the new Busch Stadium. No parking or traffic hassles. No parking fees. Just an affordable round trip train ticket. Mitch’s impeccable planning once again promotes convenience and frugality!

During our walk we pass Tom’s Bar & Grill on South Euclid, making a mental note for post-game beverages. The train ride proves much shorter than I anticipate.

Busch Stadium 3rd Base Gate - St. LouisAs we climb the steps from the platform, Busch Stadium’s third base gate, and more importantly, a statue of Stan Musial come into view. We secure our tickets, but have other priorities before game time.

As we stroll the street toward left field, a security guard on a golf cart stops to chat. The friendly guard confides that he prefers “old Busch” to the new facility.

I was still surprised after he presented his reasons, but of course, I’d never been to either one. I wasn’t about to allow his opinion to influence my first impression.

After he wished us a fun evening, we continued on our way to Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood. Rather than an upscale dinner, we were mostly interested in the memorabilia, which is everywhere.

Mitch and I each sip one AmberBock draft before we head back toward the ballpark. On the block in between, we’re greeted by a street vendor preparing cheesesteaks and a large outdoor room in which to enjoy them. We take our seats to partake while watching baseball highlights on one of several flat screens adorning the walls.

Now comes time to enter the “new Busch” along with nearly 44,000 others. Not a bad turnstile evening for a Thursday in early June.

Mitch and I adhere to our usual exploration. Below us, two 1st place teams, the D-Backs and Cards, each cross the plate twice in the 1st inning.

Arizona puts up a 3-spot in both the 7th and 9th frames and still lose, 12-8, thanks to a St. Louis snowman in the 4th. Ian Kennedy sticks around through 4 IP for a 13 H, 10 ER, 3 HR line. That’ll make the ol’ ERA soar in a hurry.

It doesn’t get any better for Matt Reynolds in the 5th. He surrenders another pair of long balls so the D-Backs’ late surge only gets them within 4. Starting and winning pitcher, Shelby Miller, even registers a dinger.

The early laugher gives us an opportunity to check out the stadium even more closely. A kids’ play area in right center’s family section is enormous. A party bar occupies the area above the batter’s eye.

The openness in left is by design to allow a game view for “rooftop grandstands” across the street. This is on the property of the former Busch and is currently under construction to include shops and restaurants.

In fact, as we exit an outfield gate, we discover the “former Busch” foul line marked across the sidewalk and onto the wall of the new park. A plaque tells the story. Very cool!

Maybe it’s because of how Mitch and I enjoy exploring new parks; maybe it’s due in part to the open left field; we find that this stadium seems to impede your progress as you attempt to travel up and down levels. More than once we attempt to shift from one level to another, but only discover escalators going up when we want to go down and vice versa.

At one point, we find only flights of stairs that lead us down to a dead end. An usher is stationed there to assist weary explorers like ourselves. Again, maybe this isn’t an issue for 44,000 others, but the other MLB parks we visited this week were much easier to navigate. That could be what the security guard had alleged this afternoon.The Arch from Upper Level - Busch Stadium - St. LouisIt certainly is a picturesque view as my late afternoon iPhone pic (above), taken from an upper deck, can attest. Here’s another instance, such as PNC Park in Pittsburgh, where it seems the city was painted around the stadium.

After snapping photos for other visitors next to the “Stan the Man” statue, we descend the stairs to board the next train. The brief ride followed by a short walk take us back to Tom’s, where we belly up to the bar for some local craft brews and baseball highlights.

As we continue our stroll toward our hotel, we pick up sandwiches for a late bite. The hotel features a patio where we enjoy our late night snack in the cool night air.
From Deep Short

Starting Lineup