SL 2000 Preview

by Chris Klein

As we begin the SL 2000, I have noticed a trend towards the motto that is 'Art imitates Life.' Some of the recent rock and pop hits that have topped the charts eerily reflect the SL managers, their methods, or their lives. I will try to recap this as best as I can in these next few paragraphs.

That Bob, he is so 'Smooth' (Santana). The past two years he has been lulling us to sleep with his no-scout drafts, and his non-stop chatter. Now in 2000 he is actually on an even playing field as far as scouting is concerned (he actually saw the disk this draft!), his potential cannot be overlooked. And now he seems to have a lot less stress in his life, and we are beginning to see the witty, charismatic Bob, as opposed to the foul-mouthed, cannon-fodder of the last two seasons.

Steve is that 'Genie in a Bottle' (Christina Aguilera). This may seem kind of funny to some of you, but hasnít anyone else noticed his uncanny resemblance to that Genie from those Aladdin movies? Even aside from that, he seems all bottled up, and it is just a matter of time before he springs out onto the playoff picture again. His new location may be the difference this year, as after three seasons in the Chicago area, he left Illinois for the warmer(?) playing fields of Michigan.

Talk about unlimited potential, let me welcome Dave Basler to the league. For this first season, his motto might be 'Learn to Fly' (Foo Fighters). While this first season may be chalked up as a learning experience, nobody is counting Dave out of the playoff race. And he seems to have single-handedly raised the level of play for the whole league. As a Duke grad, you know that he will not settle for anything less than a championship. I hope I never have to go play him on his home turf, as there will probably be thousands of rabid Duke fans calling me 'Cracker' or something equally funny. The one thing I do know is that the rookie record winning percentage is .507 by John Bryant in the 96SL, and pretty much everyone thinks Dave has a good chance of bettering that mark.

Even though 'Re-Load' (Metallica) came out two years ago, seemingly all of the songs on there appear to be aimed at Ken, as he re-loads once again looking for his first SL title. He doesnít need any more 'Fuel' for his fire, as the fact that the other 3 league founders have won all of the Spit Cups. 'The Memory Remains' of his two near-championship seasons, and the fact that he has spent the last two post-seasons as a spectator. He will always be 'Unforgiven II' by some for the last two trades he made with me, helping me to a Spit Cup and a Presidentís Cup. 'Better than You' is what he would like to be in 2000.

For chemistry genius Graham the 99SL featured not enough of 'The Chemicals Between Us' (Bush). Fortunately for all of us, he had that 8-0 Saturday vs. me and Doug, which turned out to be what he needed to renew his interest in the league for at least another season. For the SL 2000, he will hopefully grab some new bush, and 'Turn the Page' (Seger/Metallica) into a winning season.

In the 99SL, Joeís song might have been 'Break on Through' (The Doors), as he finally broke through from an also-ran, made the playoffs, and was on the cusp of the finals, before bowing out. So now Joe is 'Living La Vida Loca' (Ricky Martin). He is a young, single guy with his own apartment, and the girls tell me he is better looking and dances better than Ricky Martin. Ah the fun this guy must have that we never hear about. Talk about crazy, Joe even has his own fish tank! Wow, this guy lives on the edge. Seriously though, he exits the draft with one of the best offensive teams, a strong bullpen, and an ace starter. This may be enough to push Joe over the top.

The words in 'Scar Tissue' (Red Hot Chili Peppers) go, 'Scar tissue that I wish you saw.' I think that was what Keith was letting all of us know about last year after the season. For all his successes in the regular season, all of the divisional titles, he only has the one Spit Cup (95B). And it just added insult to injury last year, when he arguably had the best team, won the Presidentís Cup, only to suffer a heart-breaking loss in the playoffs. But I think in 200 he may be doing his best Dick Vermeil imitation, and bounce back from burnout to win it all.

As I move half-way across the state of Texas from Andrews to Austin (twin cities of a different kind!), I will reprise my song of last year, and again be a 'Cowboy' (Kid Rock). While I donít think I am viewed throughout the league as a 'maverick owner' anymore, I still have my own unique style of drafting, and managing that seems to be working so far. Personally I like to think my managerial style is somewhat similar to that of Don Zimmer, as it isnít always by the book, but at times is based on hunches. Regardless of what it is I do, I think there is a good chance that I may contend again in 2000.

The four times after Greg won Spit Cups, we would see him walk down to his car and do a little dance of some sort. We kept wondering what the hell he was doing. Similar to the Bears with their Super Bowl Shuffle, Greg, confident that he would win the title last year, came out with his own song, 'Mambo #5' (Lou Bega). If anyone is lucky enough to have the extended re-mix party version of that song, they will hear the line, 'a little bit of Greg in my leg...'. Unfortunately for all of us, Greg may be wearing his dancing shoes again this year, as he again makes a run at the thumb.

Again it should be an interesting season, and I am sure we will have a rockiní good time finding out. Good luck to all, and please, no singing!

Published 02.16.00 by Chris