Most of us have been keeping track, at least generally, of the MLB offseason hot stove news. It’s time we got some EFL hot season news, too.
And, lo, we have some!
The Cascadia Glaciers?
Dustin Kelley has applied to join the league as an expansion team, locating his team in Cascadia and naming them the Glaciers.
Dustin has seen the league rules, and has access to our league website where he (I assume) checked out our rosters, etc. I explained he had the option of just taking over the Bellingham Cascades, but he elected to come in via expansion.
The decision whether to admit the Glaciers is a league matter. It involves a series of decisions.
I’ll kick off that discussion on email (leaving Dustin out of the thread) as soon as I post this message. We will address the questions in order, answering one before we go to the next one.
Question 1: Are there any other candidates for joining the league? If we discover we have three or more candidates, we have to determine which 2 to admit.
Question 2 will come after we’ve answered question 1: Do you want to add Dustin and the Cascadia Glaciers to the league?
Qeustion 3 will come with Question 2: What terms do we offer? Our practice so far has been to give the expansion team(s) the following, in the following order
- First pick in both rounds of the Rule 5 Draft.
- Participation as one of two teams in an Expansion Draft, with each expansion team getting up to 14 picks from a draft list comprising all the non-protected players on each EFL roster plus all the non-protected players from each of the 30 MLB rosters. Each EFL team can protect 14 players, and cannot lose more than one player among the first 20 (21 if there are 3 expansion teams) picked; not more than 2 among the first 40 (42 for 3 expansion teams); and not more than 3 overall. (If the Glaciers are the only expansion team, a committee of current owners will draft the latest edition of the Dundee Dummies, a team which will disappear as soon as the Expansion Draft is over.) (The Commissioner sets the MLB teams’ protected list: among players who will not be available in our rookie or FA draft, the top 8 plate appearances, top 4 innings pitched, top 1 saves, and the remaining most valuable player in the Commissioner’s judgment.)
- First pick(s) in each round of the preseason Rookie and Free Agent drafts.
For most of EFL history I have worried whether we have been fair to our expansion teams. It should be a challenge to build a winning team quickly, but it shouldn’t be a hopeless challenge. But I’ve never come up with an idea that would boost the expansion teams in a way we could guarantee to future expansion teams. So, for example, letting the Glaciers pick over the Bellingham’s roster fails because we might expand in a year we don’t have a dropout.
OR maybe I should just relax and let new teams struggle like every other expansion team has to. At least recently. I did a little study of how each first-year team did:
2004: We don’t have the final standings for our first year. The Wolverines finished first. The Victoria Roses finished last. Phil, Ryan: do you remember whether the Pears or the Kangaroos finished second?
2005: The Alleghenys finished first. The Wasatch Griffins finished last in a six-team league.
2006: The Kaline Drive took over the Griffins. And finished last (out of 6). (Sorry to resurrect this painful memory, Tom).
2007: The Haviland Dragons finished 3rd, while the Newberg Samoahs finished last out of seven. The Dragons finished 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 3rd, 1st, 1st in their first 10 seasons. They’d have finished 1st in one of those 2nd-place seasons if an Allegheny pitcher hadn’t hit a Dragon batter (Carlos Delgado?) with a pitch in September, breaking his wrist and delivering the championship to Pittsburgh.
2009: The McPherson Elephantes finished 6th, the Nebraska Cubs finished last out of 9. In 2011 — just their third season! — Nebraska (renamed the Bugeaters) led most of the season despite its owner skipping the first four monthly meetings and never doing the weekly reallocations of his players’ playing time. The owner attended the last monthly meeting at the end of August, drafted some new talent, and did his weekly allocations — and the Wolverines sneaked into first to win the championship by 0.9 games.
We don’t like to think about the implications of this harrowing experience. It doesn’t reflect well on anyone. But it would have been even worse had the Bugeaters won. If the Wolverines were ever heroic, it was in that year.
2011: The Cottage Cheese finished last out of 9. Since then heroism in the league has mostly resided in Salem with the Cheese / Seraphim, for Dave’s stalwart service as the Assistant Commissioner for IT.
2014: The Flint Hill Tornados finished 5th, the Portland Rosebuds finished 7th out of 9. (The Rosebuds were Mark J’s restart, replacing his Elephantes).
2016: The DC Balk finished last out of 10.
2018: The Brookland Outs finished 4th out of 11.
2019: The Bellingham Cascades finished 10th out of 12.
Why should we deprive our new members of the character-building experience of struggling to ascend the standings? I don’t know. It just seems harsh. And our last two expansion teams are already out of the league. Should we consider being kinder and gentler?