Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Face: Looking Up

A year ago in this space, I painted a very bleak picture of the prospects for the Inyo Face. The season bore me out, as we finished with 95 losses and an entry in the draft lottery. But a number of developments have brightened the picture considerably:

- Last year I handed out a number of inexpensive two- and three-year contracts to free agents to provide respectable roster fill. These players have almost all held their value, providing me a base from which to build. The only major exception is Tom Glavine, who went from ace of the staff to most likely to have his contract on the cafeteria menu.

- Pitchers blossomed all over the place. Chris Volstad came up from the AM ranks to take the quality part-time rotation role held by Ubaldo Jimenez last year. Jimenez, meanwhile, graduated to staff ace. Nick Blackburn takes a full-time rotation slot right behind Jimenez. Seemingly failed prospects Seth McClung and J.P. Howell had their best MLB seasons ever. Chan Ho Park, who provided nothing at all in the second year of a three-year contract, is back as a solid swingman in his walk year.

- Dioner Navarro's breakout happened on schedule, allowing me to trade Mike Napoli (who has a fine card himself, albeit with limited usage). Milton Bradley, an RFA re-signed for a bargain price, put up one of the best cards ever seen. He was included in the Napoli trade (more accurately, Napoli was included in the Bradley trade) to net two very promising youngsters.

- Jorge Cantu came back from a wasted year to take over as the full-time third baseman. He's also the team's best power hitter, which points up our main weakness.

Contention might be out of reach with Plainsfield in our division, but the Face should be able to manage a .500 record and avoid another draft lottery.


On a different subject, you've got to take a look at the Dayton Dragons. The talent they have on Y contracts is absolutely jaw-dropping. This was foreshadowed in the financial review and the minor league review, but it's still amazing to see it take shape.

Despite ranking the Dragons #1 in my minor league review, I didn't really do them justice, because I somehow overlooked Jay Bruce. I wrote that the talent behind Evan Longoria was such that they'd rate in the upper half of the rankings even without him. What I should have said was that they'd be #1 even without Longoria, assuming Longoria didn't go to anyone else.

In my other Strat league, which only uses carded players, Longoria and Bruce went 1-2 in the rookie draft this year, and the consensus was that there was a big gap between #2 and #3. Here in BRASS, the same team has them both, along with other cheap stars and the most financial muscle in the league. I've always felt sorry for myself for being in Plainsfield's division, but I'd sure rather have to deal with them than with Dayton over the next five years.

A re-introduction

I remember when I joined Brass five years ago, I wrote an introduction of myself. Five years later, there are still many of the same managers in this very stable league. But there are also some new managers, and I wanted to re-introduce myself to them. It has always been a penchant of mine to put a personal touch on things.

I grew up in Menominee, Michigan, an hour from Lambeau Field. So technically, I am a Yooper, but was right on the Wisconsin border. I graduated form Northern Michigan, in Marquette. So I spent four years on the shores of Lake Superior. Eventually I settled into a teaching position in Wautoma, Wisconsin. I taught 5th grade, and did some coaching.

In fact, I have head varsity football experience (one interim year), and head freshman experience. I also served as a varsity assistant some years, and ran the middle school program others. I coached football for a total of 15 years. I also coached 7th grade boys and girls basketball for a combined 12 seasons.

In 1989, I was diagnosed with a neuromuscular condition called Myasthenia Gravis (it causes weakness and fatigue).. I worked with the condition as long as I could. But as I pushed past 40 years old, it became more and more difficult to teach full time with it. In 2000, I applied for, and got, disability.

Upon going on disability, I moved to Green Bay, for girlfriend and family reasons (hence the name Green Bay Yoopers). I bought a condo in 2002, and have been here since. When I first moved here, I coached the 8th graders in football at De Pere, for something to do. I did that for four seasons. But even that got to be a little much, so I gave it up.

So now I spend lots of time with friends and family, as well as Nancy and her family. I am in two Brass leagues. I go to the Y almost daily. In fact, while teaching, I weighed in the 240s and wore a size 42 waist. Now I weigh 190 and have a size 36 waist. I pride myself as being a good race handicapper, and go to the OTB room at the local casino about three times a week (I bought this computer out of profits lol). I am a crossword person as well. About 18 months ago, I started a message board for Packer fans . It is going well, and even in the off season we get as many as over a hundred posts like last Thursday. It is at:
If you would like to check it out. I am DTB on the board. (it stands for Dog Track Bob, as a few of my friends like to call me)

I have a few of you as friends at Facebook. If anyone else has a page and would like to add me, please feel free.

So that’s me. I enjoy the Brass league and have every intention of seeing my team through the salary cap mess I created. I did drag my team out of despair once, and can also deal with this. LOL.

Coming in about a week: The state of the Green Bay Yoopers!