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HDL 2002 - "Will there be a four team HDL League?"

It is early in March and as usual, some of the effects of a long winter are still keeping former
players and new players from getting the "baseball itch". But Spring is around the corner and
with warmer mornings and some good field conditions, the HDL will build strength for another
fun season of "old timers" Baseball in the tradition of the HDL and former FOY league.
We can not ignore the fact that the HDL will be missing some familiar faces in the league this
year. As some of you know, several HDL core players from the recent past seasons have
decided to explore the "green grass of the MSBL." That is their decision. We all have to
make choices in our lives as to what we choose to do with our time, our money and our
hearts. I wish everyone who wants to depart the HDL and play in the MSBL the very best
and I hope they get what they hope to get out of that experience.

What disturbs me and many of the other loyal HDL old timers is there seems to be some
players who are indecisive about what they want to do and therefore have not made a
commitment about whether they want to play MSBL or HDL or try to do both. The few
players that I have talked to (and that will talk to me...honestly) seem to be emotionally torn
by the fact that this whole situation has even materialized. They seem do be going through
a lot of mixed emotions because they respect and like the HDL but they have a genuine
respect for Will Dorothy who has initiated a disembarkation from the HDL to form an MSBL
team made up of primarily the "best of the HDL." And these are the players who are caught
in a trap.

Well the HDL will survive, with or without, any former players who want to try something
different this season to see how it is. At latest estimate, based on names of players who will
likely NOT play for the HDL, I count 36 names of players who can be counted on to attend
90% of scheduled games (we never expect 100%). There are about 9 players who might be
considered "part time" because they can be expected to play about 60-75% of scheduled
games. Overall I estimate the HDL will lose 8 players to MSBL.
But as I said, the HDL will survive. We will have fun, have some post game grilling and play
baseball on Sunday mornings.
There has been some concern about protecting playing time for those players who are
dedicated and committed to the HDL. That is why we will ask the league players to vote on
a special proclamation at a league meeting: "Any players who defect to the MSBL will NOT
be allowed to re-join the HDL after the official league season schedule begins or have not
paid full season dues by April 21st."
Thank you for your continued loyally to the HDL. We are the longest continuous play old-
timers baseball league in Memphis (65 Years) and we feel this tradition should continue for
as long as players continue to find it a rewarding experience.

Your truly,

Larry Rutledge
HDL President