I want to apologize to the eight or nine people reading my insanity for missing last week's column. I do have a pretty good excuse -- or at least one that I am sticking with. The three weeks leading up to the Alaska Baseball League season is always crazy. The roster is going crazy. Players are coming, not coming. Draft. Travel issues. Class issues. The list goes on and on.
The last three weeks for us have been no exception. When we started putting together the 2011 team in September -- yes, SEPTEMBER -- we signed roughly 30 players. Summer teams have to "over-sign" in the fall to make up for players that end up not coming. Every team does it. You lose guys for all sorts of reasons throughout the year.
Looking at our current roster, we have 26 players scheduled to fly up. There have been 22 players who have committed or signed to come up to Alaska who are not making it. That means throughout this year (September to May) we have signed a total of 48 players. That's a huge number!
In the last three weeks we have lost two starting pitchers, replaced one of them with a really good arm, lost him the next day, and had to replace him with another guy. This all took place in a matter of 48 hours. We signed a closer to replace a closer who will probably sign professionally, only to have the second closer pitch himself into a position to sign as well.
We have three players who will be late-arriving due to the MLB Draft. I have no idea if they will be drafted high enough to sign a contract or not, which puts us in a wait and see position -- unsettling to say the least. All three of these players were not on the draft radar in the fall and had monster years.
On top of all the roster craziness, I also have this other job at California State University Bakersfield, where we are fighting to stay in the NCAA playoff picture. We just swept 19th-ranked Fresno State (three players on that team coming to Kenai by the way -- at least two pending the draft) last weekend, which gave us much-needed RPI points, only to lose midweek at University of San Francisco 3-1.
We have Cal Poly this weekend and must sweep to have an outside shot. If we do make it, I will be joining the Oilers a little late. To Shawn Maltby, general manager of the Oilers, I say sorry about the potential change in plane ticket.
It has been a crazy couple of weeks. It will be nice to get up there and get on the field where some normalcy can take place -- oh yeah, it's the Alaska league -- nothing is normal about the ABL!
I also wanted to add how exciting it was to see Kenai Central High School added baseball. I talked to coach John Kennedy before the season started, and he will be helping out with the Oilers this summer. I do want to say -- where was this when I was in school? Thanks a lot! Please send your discouraging letters and comments about why this took so long to Assistant Principal Jim Beeson.
In all seriousness, it was exciting to see baseball at KCHS, and I wish the best to Kennedy and the players in his program.
Well, until next time.
(Seriously, send Jim Beeson emails and flood his voicemail.)
Also, if you have any questions or comments you would like me to attempt to answer, please send an email. We will try to keep this column going throughout the season and hope to get some dialogue going with the fans. Ask questions like, "Why didn't you bunt there?" But, don't be alarmed when my response is, "Because I said so!" (Kidding.)
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