As a league participant for less than half of the 20 years, and that being segmented, I have a different feel beyond just being different.
For me, nothing beats the 1997 car-parker season where Kenny Lofton ran, and ran often, Dave Mlicki?!? Had 4 shutouts as a 9z and our roster had HOF players like Gwynn, Jeter, Thomas,(Sosa?) & Mariano Rivera,…we played marathon sessions in the car parker office, had computer hard drive crashes, shirts ripped off, parties on the roof and Hootie w/his Blowfish enhancing free TOCC coconut shrimp and the occasional sack of tacos supremes all in the prime of our lives during the wonderfulness that is summer. That season, the Mobile Trailer Homers despite its HOF’ers finished under .500 and relocated for a decade of debauchery in South Florida and the Summer League never crossed out minds. There was a random question now and again about playing from Florida as the internet and its communications grew but w/a Mac and no computer skills, coupled with living a life of debauchery, the SL had no place in my life.
Upon our return to Illinois in 2007 as a more mellowed and mature individual, the SL long forgotten about, I was quickly afforded an opportunity to take over the managerial duties for Dave and his Pelahatchie Pennypackers team and we ran that team straight into the ground finishing with Miss Summer League accolades. However, that opportunity provided me the hands-on experience to re-immerse myself into the nuances of this long forgotten game. In the 7 seasons that would follow, our success has been respectable…3 playoff appearances, 2 World Series births and no miss SL designations. I enjoy the fact that I have played numerous series in multiple locations...Jakes/Emils/Tighthead/Emils North/3Floyds/the backseat of a car on 294 a couple of times, and several Im sure I have forgotten about playing. I will also always remember the 4th of July multiple series efforts that didn’t always work out so well 12 beers into the day, but were fun nonetheless. And therein lies the point…this is fun…for fun…when my D9 catcher throws a ball past my D5 first baseman for an E2 in extra innings allowing a runner to score from first to lose a game, it shouldn’t matter…when a light hitting bat-handling middle infielder can’t get a no out bunt down with runners on 1st and 2nd leading to the lead runner getting picked off, it shouldn’t matter…When Albert Pujols…ah you get the point…The Fun of the game in conjunction with the guys we play against make this the Joy that it is…My hope is that we don’t become too mellowed or mature to want to continue this forward for years to come.
Favorite Players over this time...Mobile '97 Lofton...and Chokoloskee 2008 Nick Swisher stand out as my 2 favorites.