Xanadu Honeydews

SL '95b


Chris took the name Rocky Mountain Dews, so I seized the chance to use another Rush reference, taking the "To break my fast on honey dew" lyric from the song Xanadu, where honey dew is a main ingredient in the hero's search for immortality in the lost land of Xanadu.

We completed the first season so quickly that we were aching to recreate the glory of what would be later termed '95 A. We decided to keep five guys from '95 A, then redraft. I chose to protect Belle, O'Neill, Biggio, Alou, and Mike Jackson. Ken offered me David Cone for Alou, and not looking to repeat the '95 A no-pitching blunder, I gladly accepted.


I've evangelized that my '95 A team was so much better than the Honeydews, but because of the better starting pitching on the '95 B, it's a difficult comparison. I kept the same top 3 hitters, added a more powerful clean-up man, while improving my rotation by leaps and bounds. The lineup was something like:

1. Biggio 2B
2. O'Neill LF
3. Belle DH
4. McGriff 1B
5. Buhner RF
6. Valentin SS
7. Ventura 3B
8. Grissom CF
9. Pagnozzi C

Grissom and Pagnozzi weren't in there everyday because neither could hit a lick. I played Chris Hoiles (a +2 versus Pags's +5) predominantly down the stretch. Grissom ended up, as he did in '95 A, more valuable as a pinch-runner/defensive replacement. Rusty Greer, J-4 Ellis Burks, and Andy Van Slyke (before he was traded for Rene Gonzales) all played a good part of the season in CF.

I drafted 3 guys who weren't in '95 A at all, which had to be the most on any team. I picked up Greer, an SA-5 CF with no steals, Spike Owen, a guy with nothing but a good OBP and the ability to play 3B-SS-2B-1B, although he was only decent at one position, and Don Mattingly, a light hitting 1B-5. I dumped Owen at the free-agent drop and picked up Rickey, another guy who didn't make it into'95 A.

Overall, it was a plodding, Baltimore-special type team. The improved starting staff was:

Cone (16)
Butch Henry (L 14 Z)
Ken Hill (14 Z)
Nagy (13 Z?)
Marvin Freeman (12 Z?)

'95 B was the infamous season where we changed the names of the players in Advanced Draft. Let me first say that I can't remember a good re-name in the entire league, although I'm sure Jim came up with something funny. The one's I can recall on the Honeydews are:

Albert Belle to Joey (obvious)
Fred McGriff to either Crime Dog or McGruff (not sure which)
Omar Vizquel to Juice (to be like Jim)
Pedro A. Martinez to Pedro X. (shoulda been Pedro W)
Spike Owen to Spikehawk (a Jayhawk Owens thing)
Don Mattingly to Donny Ballgame (for whatever reason, a melding of Donny Baseball and Teddy Ballgame)


Don't remember much about it. '95 B didn't have the excitement of '95 A, maybe because we waited on Dan too much, maybe because we know each other and the players too much, I don't know. I certainly didn't have the same heartfelt emotions for my team, which likely contributed to my malaise.

Chris had a big lead, but I beat him a bunch of games in a row after mid-season and he started to slide. Near the end, he was playing Dan's team (managed by Jim) and continued the slide. I took something like a two game lead in the final two days, but lost both to Chris. This time I had Cone going in the playoff and he led me to victory, with Jackson taking the save.

I wasn't expecting to do anything against Greg in the series, but The Armada were handled pretty easily in 6 games. The hero was defensive catcher Tom Pagnozzi, who had a bunch of extra-base hits in his first extensive play since mid-season. Somehow, someway, the Honeydews won it all.


'95 B started a run of 3 anti-climactic championships: B had little meaning for the World Series participants; C's computer crash ended our most haphazard season and Chris was "awarded" the title; and the '96 season was put on hold for 3 or 4 months while we just waited for Dan. In retrospect, and I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said by everyone else, we should have played a full schedule for '95 A. That might have meant we would never have played a B--and I might never have won an SL Championship. We would've been better off. Having won '95 B and not having won a meaningful title since is like being trapped within Xanadu's Pleasure Dome.
"Xanadu—Held within the Pleasure Dome
Decreed by Kubla Khan
To taste my bitter triumph
As a mad immortal man
Nevermore shall I return
Escape these caves of ice
For I haved dined on honey dew
And drunk the milk of Paradise"
- Neil Peart