Volume 52/December 1995/Lancaster, PA
Ken will be looking to break the underachiever stigma. Over the first four seasons, Ken has assembled some of the more explosive lineups, but he is only 2-5 in post-season play. "I believe I'll be able to take the title this year," Ken said, "and if not, I'll fire all the bums ahead of me!"
The owners will probably start this year's owners meeting by thanking Commissioner Ken. Ken added a new computer (complete with a Pentium Processor) to the carparker office in an attempt to make a more 'Summer League-friendly environment' at Long Grove Towers. Markov Calculations will no longer take 35 minutes and the overall likelihood of computer crashes and lost seasons has been drastically reduced.
Chris will begin '96 as the defending champion, and as one of the most revered owner's in the Summer League. "I tell the guys on their first day that it also could be their last day. The players seem to play like there's no tomorrow, which is good for the club," said Chris, called 'The New Bill Veeck' for his maverick style of running a club. The wheeler-dealer image has turned away some fans who grow upset with their inability to get attached to the players, but Chris tries to make it up to them with his promotions. "We're trying right now to get Geddy Lee as our organist, and we've just recently signed Chevy Chase on as our mascot."
Other owners will certainly be wary of Chris in '96, as he's vowed to be the most prepared owner come draft day. He was last seen at the major league World Series asking people what grade they thought Jose Mesa might get in APBA.
Dan, who missed the Summer League's 1995 (C) season while vacationing in Wyoming, will be back with a new purpose in '96. Dan players will have to curb their chewing tobacco habit, as he will no longer allow this on his team. No longer is the team motto 'Want a chewski.' "My new motto is 'off sebatacle, on to the series.'" Dan explained. "My Real Estate ventures may make this my last Summer League, so I'm gonna make it a memorable one for my boys." And Dan reminds us, "They can still smoke all they want."
Owners knew Dan in the past as one of the more popular owners ("Everyone always wanted to play me or have me in their division,") but this year he is planning on being all business. "When I arrive at Long Grove Towers at 7 am and stay til 1 am, I'm gonna spend all 16 hours concentrating on the Summer League. As all conscientious owners should."
This season will truly be a test of Nims's mettle. After winning the first two Summer League Championships, Nims' Armada fell to the Xanadu Honeydews in six games. The final season produced a cellar-dweller for Nims. "Last year's team just plain sucked, and you can quote me on that," said the boisterous owner. Now Nims doesn't even know if he'll return for sure in '96. If he does return, he'll not only face a bevy of confident owners, but every game will be a road game if he continues his ties with the Dekalb based franchise.
Nims is not prepared to concede anything in '96. "I'm gonna get the guys back who made this league interesting. . . . Buhner . . . Salmon . . . Griffey. . . . Mix them with pitching, defense, and team speed and I'll be right back where I should be. And I'm not worried about road games--This is my house!"
Often called a player's manager, Klein faced a difficult test in the Summer League's second season. The problem? "I hated my team," Klein said. But his Honeydews won it all, coming from way down to beat The Rocky Mountain Dews for the division title before handing it to Greg Nims's Armada in the series. "I guess if I didn't like the players so much, I could have won it in '95s first season. But I listened to the team when they told me Jason Bere was ready to pitch in the playoffs against the POMY and Maddux. He wasn't. We lost."
Once a tireless scouter who spent his entire off-season looking at APBA ratings, the media-savvy Keith is now heavily involved in the business end of being an owner. "I did come up with the Hairy Jesus Freak plain white shirt, but other than that, I haven't put much effort into the marketing of my teams. Until this year." Keith is promising a new promotion every night, a new slogan, and a new advertising campaign. His 600 page media guide also promises to be one of the highlights of the off-season. But the entrepeneur still spends a few hours a week scouting. "All of the frills don't mean anything unless I field a contender."
Will the league expand? Will there be steal modifications? Which cities will host the games? How many games will be scheduled? Will the players be allowed to play under assumed names? These are just a few of the questions that will be on the table when the Summer League owners gather for their annual winter meetings to be held this December at the Long Grove Towers and adjacent Summer League Headquarters.
The meetings will begin when Jim Frank utters "Let the LaBatts flow my brother." Speculation is that these meetings will be the most exciting yet, although the owners are not quite certain which owners and prospective owners will be there. Said former owner Brian Boice, in exile on the island of Minnesota, "If they let me come this year, I'll promise to take Kent Hrbek in the first round."
It is likely that the owners will do a ton of scouting. Owning the first pick will be of more importance in '96, it is believed, than in any previous league. While Greg Maddux is sure to score another outrageous grade, other pitchers were far from brilliant, making Maddux's '96 services even more valuable. If Albert Belle cannot earn a 2 defensively, it will be a given that Maddux will go first.
But the real talk around the league concerns Jay Buhner. Buhner, who was atop the AL leaderboard with 40 dongs, has the distinction of being on every Summer League champion. A premium will also be placed on John Valentin, who had a bust out year for Boston. Valentin who shrugged off an early bust label in the Summer League, has rallied to make a three ring career for himself while playing for Hannibal, Xanadu, and Calumet City.
|10.||Was that a good pick buddy?||Dan C|
|9.||You've got to go in and do what you've got to do.||Jim F|
|7.||Sorry! Phttt! I didn't think the Summer League was such a big deal||Ted L|
|6.||Am I in another playoff?||Keith K|
|5.||Detective Fermin for Bagwell? Ok, buddy!||Dan C|
|4.||Forget APBA, I wanna drive all the "rad" cars!||Ted L|
|3.||Let me tell you about my four-headed monster behind the plate . . .||Jim F|
|2.||Is Calumet City's 70 games in one day some kind of record?||Chris K|
|1.||Send him!||Jim F x2000|
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Rumors are already flying in Long Grove. One source says two-time champ Greg Nims will stick to college ball over the summer. Another source says Nims is coming out of retirement. The buzz is the league will not be the same without "The Maverick from Manor Lane."
Even more rumors have surfaced regarding Manager Jim Frank's status for the '96 campaign. The buzz is that the other managers made a generator room agreement to ask Frank not to return in '96. "Asked, shmasked. They told me to 'lick a bag' in 1996 . . . lick . . . a . . . bag.' But hey, it's just water off a duck's back," Frank said. "I'm not too disappointed because who knows where I'll be next summer. Idaho? The North Pole? I have no idea about 19 and a 96."
If the Summer League executive committee receives enough interest, the possibility is that the league will expand to eight teams. Look for the league to modify its existing playoff format if the expansion occurs. The logic behind such a move would be to entice the also-ran managers to stay focused on the Summer League. This may be important if a rival league starts up, and rumors are flying about one such league in the Rack Room in '96.
It appears Graham Haas has positioned himself into winning an expansion franchise. Haas, who co-managed the Bad News Bartz in '95s first season, may again reside at the Long Grove Towers next summer. A fall and winter of rubbing elbows with Commissioner Ken seems to have made Haas's chances for a '96 franchise "more than likely" says one owner. Haas, who has been downplaying his chances with the media, told me, "Dude, I'm gonna be in Atlanta next summer!"
Ted Lambert may be on the outside looking in again in '96. Lambert appears to have taken little interest in past Summer Leagues, and it is not likely that the promise of an expansion team would increase his interest level. Said one source, "No Lambert is good news. I mean, who'd park the cars."
The buzz is Toby Cannon will emerge as a manager. Toby expects to be around all summer, and although he hasn't showed much Summer League interest, Cannon has interest and experience in baseball. I predict other managers will encourage Cannon to manage in '96 for two reasons:
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