Well, it’s been so long since we’ve done a monthly newsletter for the PGBL that they kicked us out of the network! We’ve now moved to the Wrigley Fire Bar and Grille studios here in Sugar Grove, Illinois and now on the PGBL Network. Sit back, grab whatever cocktail (or in Phil’s case, high quality H2O or a zesty Howling Monkey for Keith) you desire and lets set the table for 2016…
- We’ll look at recent transactions made and the impact it may or may not have around the league.
- We’ll sit down with longtime PGBL owner Patrick Eriksen of the Brooklyn Cubs and see what his team looks towards in 2016 in our monthly installment of “The Owners Box” with Rob Dibble.
- We’ll set the table for the annual tradition of the “rivalry series” around the league, pitting owners against each other.
- We’ll exam league changes set forth by the commishes in 2016 in our “State of the PGBL”.
- Plus other lil NUGGETS (Eriksen must’ve launched a 3) from around the league…..right here on PGBL Network
This month’s sponsor brought to you by…
Poor Phil’s – 139 S. Marion – Oak Park
Shippin’ out/Shippin’ in
The U-Haul rental business must be making a lot of money recently, due to part of the PGBL. An occasional trade or waiver move was made, but you can always tell when the tides change the closer we get to the draft. Here are some of the noteworthy deals that will definitely impact the league in 2016:
Boston – “Enough is Enough”
Boston Braves owner Joel Fellers must have had enough of losing, seeing his franchise losing a minimum of 115 games over the last 3 years and acquired Jon Lester and Koji Uehara from Compton. In a division where the perennial winning Chicago Cardinals dominate amidst other decent teams in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and the “I have no idea what they’ll look like” Brooklyn, Boston made a statement in the offseason. This will surely shore up a rotation, along with Yordano Ventura and John Lackey (another offseason addition), to make a run at a pennant, something the folks have been crying in their Chowda’ in for some time. By adding Gregor Blanco, that gives them reliability and power in the outfield. Yes, Boston gambled and traded away the #1 overall pick, but in this reporters opinion, to get a quality arm like Lester, it is worth the risk! When interviewed, Lester was excited for his new opportunity. “Coming to Boston is like home to me”, Lester said. “A change of scenery will be good for my family and I’m looking forward to the challenges in the Norris Division.” Owner Joel Fellers said this to us however after contacting him regarding his teams outlook for 2016 despite the recent activity…”The Braves want to put the rest of the PGBL on notice that we are done being the door mat of the North. We are back, and will do what it takes to bring a title back to Boston this year and for many years to come. With that in mind we have hired UFC badass Connor McGregor to take over strength and conditioning. More changes will be announced at a later date.” Compton did also receive some great prospects and was pleased on receiving the pick. The war room is no doubt a buzz in Compton with the choice they will have. This years draft looks a bit week, some insiders told me, so getting the #1 overall pick will definitely assure Compton something worthwhile in exchange.
Louisville – “Day of the Beard”
While sipping his Gin and Tonic in his estate in Oak Park, Illinois, GM Alex Czurylo saw one major concern with the Long Rifles venturing into the 2016 campaign – his rotation. Sure, he had decent arms, but did he have the one arm that would propel him to post season success, one that he enjoyed annually years ago? Well, now he does. In another blockbuster offseason deal in the PGBL, he hooked up with the Gamblers of Las Vegas and acquired Jake Arietta. Coming off the best season of his career, Arietta sets his sites from the neon lights of Las Vegas, to the low lites of Browning Nagles career in Louisville. This will no doubt fill a gaping hole bigger than Frank Poncherello’s 5-hole, as reported by J. Dan Deeks stating his leading pitcher in wins in 2015 was Tyler Matzek and his mere 5. When contacted for comment on the deal, Arietta was anxious to get started. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about Louisville, except that cannon. I’ve been warned to pack plenty of gas masks for myself and my family.” Sure, he dealt some arms away in Wade Miley, Nathan Eovaldi and prospect Sean Newcomb, along with the crying Wilmer Flores, but you cant pass up an opportunity to get Arrieta, especially after the season he just had. We were able to contact GM Alex Czurylo by phone and he had this to say about the deal: “I am really looking at the Arietta deal as a long term investment, it’s really not saying anything about my ambitions for the upcoming season”, Czurylo said. “We had a chance to get one of the best pitchers in baseball and we overpaid to do it. Louisville is really looking for a 2017 run but we feel that Jake will be a big part of that. Under the tootleage of pitching coach Tony Fossass, we feel he can reach even higher heights.” Will Arrieta’s success translate into the 2016 MLB campaign, highly unlikely, but his durability will definitely be there!
Chicago/Flagstaff – “Lets swap”
The Cardinals and Elk did a lil dance this offseason, swapping young outfielders in Aaron Hicks and Dalton Pompey. Yes, this could be just a change of scenery for the 2, but both owners see the potential, as well as Cardinal owner “Shifty G” adding, if this doesn’t work out, Elk Owner “Sleepy” may cut my brake lines. Stay tuned, to not only their stats, but also the state of Shiftys car.
London/Memphis – “Celebratory Harvey Pilcheck”
Out with the old, in with the new is the theme in this deal. Miggy came back home to Memphis and shared a coke with owner “The Doctor” upon signing his new deal. “Being overseas in London was great” Cabrera said, “but too many cultural differences and the consistent Gordon Lightfoot and U2 playing made me nuts so might as well come back home and deal with the evil stares from this guy (pointing to owner Adams) from the owners box.” London in return received all star Joc Pederson, who was unavailable for comment, last seen carrying his soccer ball and boarding a flight over the big pond.
Brooklyn – “Wake the Fuck up”
Brooklyn finally awoke from a coma and realized “Holy Shit, the draft is this week” and started the prep for the draft, acquiring a #1 pick from Ottawa (Van pick) and 2 other picks in this years draft. They were also able to plug a much-needed hole faster than a poop shoot boogie and acquired SS Zack Cozart from Dublin in exchange for future picks. “Yes he was plagued with injuries last year, but I am confident Cozart will be able to come back in the new campaign”, GM Eriksen said. “Its better than the 2015 version of ‘Weekend at Bernies’ Willie Bloomquist so now we have options behind Jose Reyes”. The biggest gamble however might be the acquisition of the PGBL’s version of “Tommy Boy”, Dan Vogelbach. “We think there may be something here and we risked a mid-level future pick on it so why not” Eriksen said, as he downed his 80th Yuengling of the night at the ole watering hole. Vogelbach was dinged up a bit last year, but his recent stint on Team USA and the 13th best prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization might have given him the chance he needs.
Please keep in mind that there are a lot of other waivers releases occurring so head to pgbl.org for all the 411.
The Owners Box with Rob Dibble:
Brooklyn, NY- “I’m excited to get it on….um…I mean get the season underway”, exuberant owner Patrick Eriksen stated as he sat down with me and talked about his ballclub.
Rob: “So, what makes you so excited about this 2016 campaign?”
Pat: “Well, we have a great bunch of guys. Captains Eric Hosmer and Buster Posey have already sat down in the offseason with the guys at the Spring Training facility in Hilton Head, SC and talked about goals, success, and what it means to be a Brooklyn Cub, especially to the newer guys like Voggy (Dan Vogelbach) an Zack (Cozart)”
Rob: “What does it mean to be a Brooklyn Cub?”
Pat: “Bust your ass, have fun, drink like a mother fucker, and enjoy the game. There have been guys for decades that have said in numerous interviews that they’d play the game for free. Now I know they wont tell me or else my cheap ass with be docking some salaries to pay for my alcohol, but I do believe they feel that way. We are a blue collar team-the kind you may even find in a 16” softball league in the summer.”
(Rob) Eriksen is right. I spent some time in HHI with this crew and they are ready. “We got to deal with Chi-Town, the Tribe, and now Boston after gettin’ Lester”, 1B and Captain Eric Hosmer said, “but they’ve got to deal with us. We are gonna keep fighting and never quit, until they beer cooler in the dugout is empty. At that point, its no holds barred.” Brooklyn came off a roller coaster year, seeing the offense to the 3rd best in the league, but pitching to be suspect, near the middle. The offense, powered by Posey, Hosmer, wheels in Dee Gordon, for whom they got in a steal before the 2015 draft, and rookies Miguel Sano and Travis Shaw prove to be great, but its pitching that concerns the Cubbies, a team that hasn’t seen the post season in 2005. They did acquire a 1st round pick in the recent Ottawa deal so who knows.
Rob: “Any ideas on that 1st rounder?”
Pat: “C’mon Rob, I aint gonna tell ya. I will say we are looking to add depth to our rotation to get Tyson (Ross), Mikey (Leake) and the Dickster (RA Dickey) some help. Stay tuned.”
Well that’s gonna do it from here. Next month, we’ll stay in the Norris and look at the Chicago Cardinals.
Its that time once again where we look at the 3 existing rivalries that are in the PGBL, and set the table for 2016. Here is the history on the 3:
1 – Stevenson South Cup. The first 15 years in the history of the PGBL are rich in tradition, history, personalities and rivalries. To commemorate one of the bigger and better rivalries of the league, the owners of the London Arsenal and the Chicago Cardinals will challenge each other to a yearly battle for the “Stevenson South Cup.” Much like the cups common among college football rivalries, the Stevenson South Cup will be a traveling trophy awarded to the winner of the regular season derby between the Cardinals and Arsenal.
While some league records are tough to locate, or lost forever, both owners concede that while the Cardinals were a roadblock for the Arsenal to the World Series in the mid- to late-nineties, the BlueBirds have continually dominated the regular season series.
“We have a history of kicking the Cardinals around, and we plan on continuing that trend. We plan to treat them like the rest of the Upper-Mexicans. Like dirt,” says Arsenal Owner/GM Douglas Czurylo. “The BlueBird organization was on the winning side in the Civil War, we were on the winning side in the World Cup – I expect the Stevenson South Trophy to be the perfect capper to our trifecta,” stated Czurylo. The Cardinals obviously feel confident about turning the recent history of the series around – the Cardinal boss proposed the idea to Arsenal at the Winter Meetings last weekend. “It has been obvious to me that we have been taking Arsenal lightly in the regular season, probably because we have whooped them so often in the playoffs.” Cardinal GM Phil noted. “I felt we needed motivation to get up for the regular season games and this cheap trophy is a good idea.”
The two sides are still negotiating on the contents of the trophy itself.
Starting back in 2007 the Cup will be awarded to the team who wins on aggregate runs through the season series, with away runs the tiebreaker.
2-Louisville and Brooklyn ‘Stank’ it out for the Annual “Cannon Cup”
This upcoming season proves to be as exciting as ever and the rich tradition and history will continue on as it always does in the PGBL. Toronto and Chicago will be battling on for the Stevenson South Trophy this upcoming season, thus continuing on the spirited rivalry between these two great ball clubs and now, another spirited rivalry will begin. Wednesday at the Pemmican Center, practice facility of the Louisville Cardinals, an announcement was made that there is another yearly PGBL challenge that has been issued and confirmed. This will between the Brooklyn Cubs and the Louisville Cardinals for the “Cannon Cup” and will be awarded to the winner of the season series between the two teams. “Both of these franchises are about pure Stank…and we wanted to try to commemorate the wonderful gift this lord blessed upon us by trying to find out which Stank is stronger. I don’t think there’s any question that Louisville, on a full belly of Heineken, Pemmican, El Famous and 7 UP cannot be defeated. But I also have to give it to my opponent. If it weren’t for him, our investments in Fruit of the Loom and Charmin wouldn’t allow us to have the huge payroll that we currently have”, stated Alex Czurylo, General Manager of the Louisville Cardinals. “I just wish that the county Health Commissioner would allow people to actually witness what should be a great battle.” Standing next to Czurylo was Patrick Eriksen, GM of the Brooklyn Cubs who was happy and excited about the challenge. “I am very happy that this finally came to fruition. Louisville is a terrific ball club, but at the same time, we all know who drops the most stank on the league, and this spirited rivalry will determine this for years to come. I just fear for those inside the park during these games. Therefore Al and I have agreed that all attendees that actually make it inside the park will be given home team gas masks for protection” Both GM’s also echoed the sediment of Phil Geiersbach, GM of the Chicago Cardinals in stating that this gives both teams the motivation and drive for the upcoming season. “Let’s face it folks, Al and I are losers and this gives us something to look forward to in our otherwise boring lives.”
3-LONDON/CHICAGO AND LOUISVILLE BATTLE FOR SALAD BOWL
The London Arsenal/Chicago Cardinals and Louisville Long Rifles have agreed to battle for the yearly trophy to be known as the “Salad Bowl.” The overall winner of the season series will take home the trophy. However, in the event the season series ends up in a tie, the team which has the most wins by left-handed pitchers will be awarded the trophy.
In a join statement released by the Czurylo brothers, they agreed that this trophy was created to “make everyone aware of the power of salad. We are very open about our philosophies of building out pitching staffs around salad, and with the number of combined Championship Titles we have, I think it’s fairly clear that the system is working. Plus, Jimmy Key is in the PGBL Hall of Fame, and he is one of the poster children for salad.”
While both brothers are aware making their stance on how to build a pitching staff known to all may be risky, they have no qualms about establishing a trophy to commemorate the significance of that power. “We’re confident in our ability to find fresher salad than anyone else. Just call us the “Fresh Grocers” if you will.”
The brothers Czurylo also hope to establish a three-way Tradition Trophy with League Co-Founder Joe Deacon, but all attempts to locate Mr. Deacon have been unsuccessful. While some have speculated his long hours updating the rosters page on his website may have been a contributing factor, others have begun search efforts focusing on Skeeter Barnes’ bedroom.
State of the PGBL
Due to the fact that the draft is a mere days away, the Commish Office was unavailable for comment this month, but we did want to outline the changes made to the league in 2016 (originally reported by J. Dan Deeks):
The 2016 PGBL Player Draft is a little less than two months away, so we need to make everyone aware of some changes for the upcoming season. At a recent meeting of the four Commissioners, the following executive decisions were made:
1) Game: We will be sticking with Diamond Mind Baseball for at least one more season; as of yet, we have not found a viable alternative. We have decided that the preseason “Backup” will be posted online for owners to download if they care to experiment with the game on their own (obviously, you must already own the game program). This backup will not include any manager or player tendencies for any teams, only the schedule and rosters.
2) Rosters: Teams are required to maintain an active roster of 25 useable players during the season (through Aug. 31 of the season calendar). The makeup of this roster must include a 5-man rotation, a minimum of 5 relief pitchers and a minimum of 2 catchers. The intent of these requirements is to more accurately reflect how actual big-league teams construct their rosters.
Regarding the rotation, owners have the option to set their rotation priority to “skip” so that game will automatically pass over the No. 5 starter if/when the next pitcher is sufficiently rested. Additionally, in the event of an injury to a starter, teams have the option to use a 4-man rotation for one turn through the order before being forced to add another pitcher to the order.
Partial qualifiers will still be permitted on the active roster. However, once a partial qualifier has exhausted his eligibility, he will need to be replaced on the active roster.
3) Injuries/depth: We are strongly encouraging all teams to keep a depth chart on file with the website, which will be used by Brett for reference and guidance during the season. In the event of injury, if the owner does not notify Brett directly of desired changes by the start of the next games , he will make necessary changes based off the submitted depth chart. If no depth chart exists, Brett will have the discretion to insert a replacement among qualified players on the team’s roster based on either the highest OPS for a hitter or lowest ERA for a pitcher.
4) Transactions – A: In-season waiver claim priority will be based on reverse order of the winning percentage at the time the player on waivers was released. B: The offseason waiver period will be reduced to 24 hours for year-round consistency (so please check the website regularly). C: Players To Be Named Later (PTBNL) will be awarded to their new team no later than one week after the PGBL World Series. D: As a reminder, player transactions (trades/claims) must be submitted to the league office through the “Submissions” section of the website.
5) Draft changes: The Player Draft will remain at 10 rounds and the full roster limits will remain unchanged (55 from the day before the Player Draft until cuts for the waiver draft; otherwise 45). For 2016, the Free Agent Draft will be capped at 10 rounds. Beginning in 2017, the current Free Agent Draft will be eliminated. The current preseason Waiver Draft will become the Waiver/Free Agent Draft; the pool of players available in the draft will include both free agents and players who were cut to meet the 45-man roster limit.
We are making this change in hopes of both shortening the November draft day and strengthening future draft pools. While some owners have advocated for an immediate elimination of the Free Agent draft or a reduction in Player Draft rounds, we felt those options were either unfeasible due to the number of traded future picks and/or unfair to owners who currently rely heavily on the Free Agent Draft. We believe that notifying all owners of these upcoming changes now will allow for ample preparation time.
Lastly, some topics were discussed that we want to examine further and get league-wide feedback before we either take action or put it to a vote. Chief among these topics are the possibility of adjusting the schedule balance (if possible) and the idea of considering and implementing a penalty for players who are penalized for PED use in real life.
Thank you and good luck in 2016.
Nuggets from around the league….
- In a shocking turn of events, the Vancouver Wildcats will not be represented in person at this year’s draft. In memoriam, a logo flag that was created originally by the owner will be placed next to the bobble head of Ozzie Guillen wearing a Carolina Panthers Hat.
- Please be sure that if you are attending the draft to bring your annual $20 fee for the game, maintenance, etc. If you are not there in person, please contact the PGBL Office for mailing instructions. Lots of hard work goes into the league every year, as well as $$. Make sure your dinero is in-o.
- The draft once again will be held at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva, IL (Home of the Kane County Cougars) thank to the gracious invite from Arfweed. Please be sure to be there by 11-11:30 for the 1st pick is slotted to be done at the STROKE (hehehe) of Noon.
- We have the Tower suite once again at the Comfort Suites in Geneva (across the street from the ballpark). This will be for post game gathering, etc. If you plan on crashing over, please see Al-weed for payment to help offset the cost.
See y’all@the draft-best of luck! We’ll see you in December on the PGBL Network!