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Todd Gilreath
I don't know if it is expected or not, cared for or not, wanted or not; but if I ask everyone else to post a reply and participate in this site regarding among other things Larry's statement then I must be prepared to comment as well.  In fact, some of you have asked where my input is on the matter.

Well, let me first say that I am not trying to be anything other than honest from a personal perspective regarding my thoughts.  Take them as you may, but keep in mind that I really am interested in the tradition and prosperous intentions the League would seem to be based upon.  I enjoy baseball, I love to play, I like to test the limit of my own abilities and I am appreciative of the relationships forged in the League.  I have only been in the League going on five years now, so maybe I'm a veteran or one of the "old-timers", I don't know and I don't care.  I just enjoy stepping on the field every Sunday and playing the best that I can play.  Everyone else is responsible for their own play and through mutual respect along with teamwork all those things tied together achieve the goal of winning that game on that Sunday.  Sound corny?  Doesn't matter, it's basically what it comes down to.

I have had a great time overall playing with the great majority of the guys in the League.  There are some fun guys to hang out with every Sunday during and after the games.  The different personalities and interaction is what makes the League what it is for me.  In alot of ways it has become more than just the baseball, but the guys that play the game every Sunday.  

You may notice that I reference the "League" with a capital letter.  That is because knowing what I think I know about the League existing for the 60 plus years that it has,  it deserves that respect.  The point is that the League is bigger than all of us, but not larger than all of us as a whole.  Many have stated on here that the League was around before certain players and will be around after certain players are long gone.  I would think that is a given just by it's sheer longevity.  No one disputes that.  However, there are a few that have seemingly put themselves in a position to be bigger than the League in their own minds.  At least that is the perception with some guys.  I think if there are people that are genuinely turned off by the HDL for some reason, that may be the reason.  In fact, some of those people that put themselves in such high regard in League status underestimate the desire of others that truly want to see the League thrive.  The League is a club when you come right down to it.  The players are the members.  On every single decision that impacts the League as a whole, it is my opinion that the League as a whole should have a say.  I don't see a problem with that.  If you have dues paying, dedicated, consistent players that show up every week, why wouldn't their concerns matter?  Certain rules changes that may have miffed some people and the general elections come to mind immediately.

I started doing this web site as a "hobby" while playing around on my computer.  I don't have to do it, but enjoy some aspects of doing so and it seems that there are others that may enjoy it, as well.  I don't have the time to update it on a regular basis the way I would like, but I do the best I can and think there are alot of guys that appreciate it.  However, if there are people that have honest concerns or opinions that would like to have their comments posted as I have requested; then I feel obligated to post them.  This is meant to be informative and fun, I believe the last couple of days has at least gotten some of us to think and express things that should be said out loud.
This site is for us and if someone else peeks in to check us out, that is fine.  But, it is for HDL players and I think everyone should get an opportunity to pipe in if they choose.  For that reason, in regards to Robert's suggestion in the left margin, I would say I don't think there is anything to "clean up".  So I will leave this section open until it is no longer prudent for us to discuss the issues before us.  In the past, there have been attempts to control aspects of other's hard work(last year's St. Louis team visit comes to mind) and I won't allow that to happen here.  That's not a free speech B.S. statement, just that I have never claimed this to be the "official" HDL web site.  If someone else submits something here I give them credit for writing it and take responsibility for what I put here.  The post-game sniping by officers and players alike can get to be too much.  This web site is wake up call to me that what we do between the lines is intended to be fun and why I update it when I can on Sunday evenings during the season.

As in everything else there are the "cliques" that run in circles whether it be sitting on the bed of a truck under a tree drinking a brew or at a Redbird's game or bowling alley.  In some cases, it has become "larger than the League".  Depending on personal interest a player may be suspended for X number of games or someone in the hierarchy will just proclaim, "F--- him, kick him out of the League".  As I said it appears to come down to a personal interest.  If said player helps one's team he may be "suspended" for a couple of games, but can come back to play later whether or not he still hasn't paid League dues.  Let's take a true gauge of a player's genuine interest in the success of the League by his consistent participation on the field and from his financial obligation being met year in and year out.  There are myself and others that I know of personally that meet those criteria as well as laying everything we have out on that field each week.  Still some of us get vilified for some reason, while others that do or say much worse are never affected.

Everyone doesn't have to love me.  I don't want it or expect it.  I play, you play.  Leave it at that.  If emotions get the best of us during the game, we see how well one deals with the situation and go from there.  Then consider the situation that caused the emotion and deal accordingly, not a flippant "boot from the League" remark.  That happened last year myself and no one told me a discussion was under way for suspension or expulsion.  As usual I heard it second hand.

Enough of that.

Now to deal collectively with the comments posted here.  Larry never asked me why I was playing with the MSBL this season.  The short answer which I relayed to him in an e-mail yesterday is that a friend asked me to play.  He didn't encourage me to abandon the HDL, he in fact didn't care if I played with the HDL one way or another.  I will tell you that I consider Will Dorothy to be a friend like alot of other guys in the HDL.  Will to me is a true friend, a rare one that I haven't encountered around town often enough.  He is from up north no less, dispelling my prejudice of those normally arrogant sorts.  I asked Will to assist me in repairing a very long stretch of wood fencing in my backyard.  I only had to ask once.  He came over and spent two weekends doing a very thorough and professional job that would have cost me easily over $1,000 to have done.  When I asked how much I would owe him, his reply was "nothing" that I was a friend; and he wanted me to play ball with him this year.  It just turns out that some other guys I enjoy being around will be playing with him as well, including Brigance a guy that I consider to be my closest friend in the HDL.  Knowing I would have the opportunity to definitely catch Brig regularly was appealing.  As many that catch know, the chemistry between battery mates can be a rewarding part of the game.  Both Bill and I discussed the upcoming season and we agreed we wanted to play HDL as well.  We didn't discuss part time or leaving early either.  In fact, MSBL is much more likely to get less of my time than HDL by the sheer fact that the morning schedule is much appealing to me as far as my family and catching are concerned.  

Regardless, I'll do my best in both.  I have seen many a player leave games early, not show up, not pay dues and not do their best.  My past four year history and this web site should be enough to prove my level of  interest to everyone.  I can't speak for everyone else that is playing MSBL and I haven't spoken to them at all really concerning what they are doing.  I do know in the past that there are those that play in other leagues and play softball, yet I have not heard one problem about any of that until now.  Some of you play golf regularly, this is my golf.  Don't make new rules out of the blue because there is a belief someone is trying to dismantle the HDL, etc.  I really haven't gotten that impression from anyone.  They just chose an alternative and others decided to play with them.

I would, also, like to say that I admire the job Larry has done with the League as a whole.  I can understand the work Paul puts into stats just by the sheer effort put into this small site.  Those two do a good deal of work for the League.  I appreciate Gene Brady's desire for the game and the League.  If he can still play , let him play.  I give Gene a hard time like other's do, but I hope that I not only get out on the field at his age but have his desire.  Make light of his abilities, but don't forget he has gotten you out plenty of times........I don't care who you are.  Bill Brigance, Pedro, Winn, Carbo, the DiGiacomo boys, Eddlemon, Schmidt, Sonny, Brooks, Freddie Simmons and George Smith are just some of the guys I truly enjoy playing ball with and hanging out with after games each week.  These are the sort of things that make playing in the HDL fun for me.

I mentioned Johnny above and I consider him to be a friend. He has always struck me as a genuinely good guy, but I have to disagree with him.  I don't think Will is "acting like a twelve year old" or is out "to show" the HDL.  At least, that is not the impression he has given me at all.  In fact, I think it more immature for a group of guys to gather under a tree in a circle with a lighter like they're still in high school.  Just my personal preference not to engage in things I have grown past and I don't think it has a place around HDL events, which the B & G is a part.  Never mind the obvious.  With due respect, I say this in regards to Johnny's comments because contrary to bowling alley discussion "that damn yankee" never had intentions of taking over the HDL.  I think his usual enthusiasm actually annoyed someone, other than me, to the point of actually wanting to "blackball" him.  You're entitled to your opinion, but I think you missed the mark with that comment.  However, you and Paul are right.  The HDL is a kind of "brotherhood" if you will.  Let's face it, we share the same dugout, we normally can talk crap with each other during a game and not have it taken for anything other than what it is.......good natured ribbing.  

If you really want to vote on a "proclamation", let's have it in the open with an open vote in front of the League.  Isn't that fair?  Then perhaps have the officer elections the same way when that time finally comes.  That way the election will be more than a selection to the League...the club members....the players.  The League is the players.  There are rules and not all are always followed.  There are no by-laws that I know of as a dues paying member.  I don't know when the rule for being over 30 was enforced the past couple of years as Paul alluded.  That was a new one to me.

How about we all abide by the rules and vote on the ones that impact all of us?  Let the managers manage.  If they want a trade, then discuss it with Larry and the other team's manager to come to an agreement.  Other than that, why trade at all?  Let's do the best we can with what we have on the team we're on.  That could cut that crap right out.  Hell, we had one player on every team at one point last year....and I'm not talking about Gene.  If there is concern about a pitcher getting too much pitching time because of his ability; I don't have a problem with that.  I want the opportunity to get better and hit off of the best the League has to offer.  Isn't that what baseball is about?
I've improved and I've seen others improve each year.  I enjoy playing baseball and appreciate the HDL for providing the forum to do so.

I hope Will comes back to the HDL sooner rather than later.  The League is a better place with him in it.  The League is what it is to me for among other things the people I mentioned above.  Let's play ball.

Sorry for the length.  I may have even exceeded Baioni with the sheer volume.  Take the message how you like.  I said my piece, now I want to play ball.  Thanks for hanging in there through my own propaganda.