Fall Ball Over, Opening Day 5.5 Months Away

pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

The PIttsburgh NABA’s Inaugural Fall Ball season ended on a cold Saturday Morning when the Pitt Louisville game, dreary weather and whatever else prevented a full-scale all star extravaganza from materializing. Pie Traynor Field was, however, impeccably, manicured before a final round of batting practice was held for the ten or so players who braved the elements to take the field for a final time in 2008.

It should come as no surprise that the 2008 Fall Ball season provided a good jumping off point for future Fall Ball sessions, and served as a forum to introduce a number of new players to the Pittsburgh NABA.

In the grand scheme of things the most important functions of the fall season is to improve and expand the league for the summer, and of course to give us a chance to play baseball for two more months.

I know the Ducks will benefit from key additions via the Ghostbusters, and two or three gauranteed wins against Larry’s Gray Bats team, who, for Josh Gibson’s sake, should just call themselves the “Grays”

The league continues to grow despite the leadership of Joe Graff, who works year round conceiving ways to rig things in favor of the Bulldogs.

The reality of the state of the league is it is expanding rapidly, and Graff works harder than anyone to keep it running as well as it does.

The Winter Meetings are the next order of business.

I assume a handful of new teams.
Names of teams that could be
The Grays
anything after a seemingly benign animal, ie. the Cows.
Why is there not a team named the Bears, or the Bulls?
The Union
The Blue Sox or the Green Sox
The Athletics, (were it not for just Ducky Tours, we’d be the South Oakland “Athletics” )
But more likely there will be more overly aggressive misspelled team names ripe for satirizing, which will be much more fun.
It’d be great if an expansion team called itself the “Phillies”.

I’m fairly certain one of the over 28 league teams will join our league.
The idea of “un-affiliating” our league with the NABA has been kicked around, the only thing that stand in the way of this is the dirt cheap insurance we get through the national office, adn the promotion and recognition we get through our affiliation, concerning the Blues participation in national and regional tournaments.

We’ve been tossing around the idea of hosting a tournament in Pittsburgh this summer.

The biggest topic will be realignment.
How can the league be promoted as one which gives everyone and anyone the chance to play (which we should never lose sight of), while maintaining a high level of play amongst the top-tier teams like the Ducks.

We don’t want to push anyone away; not the guys at the top end of the spectrum who play in college, and not the guys at the low end who just want to play real baseball, but can’t catchup to a pitcher like Strom who throws meatballs. (we’re at that point right Strom? where we can joke about this? You’ve struck me out in the past, and made me look bad at the plat on several occasions. )

I ask anyone who attends the meetings in the upcoming months to consider what is best for the league, not simply your team, and most certainly not yourself in particular.

I see the greater danger being the potential exclusion of players who are bad, but love the game and aren’t offered the opportunity to improve, and a left with a bad taste in their mouth when they are suddenly erased from the email list, after going 0-5 and making an error in right field, and are forced into slow-pitch softball purgatory.

A split into A and AA divisions seems to make sense, maybe the last place AA team moves down every year or the winner of the A league moves up. An unbalanced schedule in which teams play inter-division teams once, and intra-division teams two or three times would work. The division champions should surely play each other in the post season. So if based on last season’s winning percentage, a team is placed in the lower division, they can show they don’t belong by winning that division and losing to the Ducks in the finals.

More as it comes. The blog will surely devolve into mush between now and the second winter ball session, hopefully the Blues can get ourselves together for the Citrus Classic and produce another strong showing.

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