Letters To The Editor
Dear Editor, I am a huge fan of your publication and enjoy all your articles. Do you think you could increase the number of issues and/or regularity that you publish?
Dear huge fan, thank you for your kind words. We are currently experiencing a shortage of staff writers and quality material worth publishing, therefore our time frame for issue release will likely remain at 2 month intervals or thereabouts. Our next issue is due out soon and we hope you continue to be a loyal reader.
Dear sir or madam-- I'm thoroughly disgusted with this newspaper. You have total disregard for some of the franchises in the ACBA and show obvious bias towards others. Furthermore, your articles are filth. I won't even let my teenage son read this trash!
Dear disgusted, While we appreciate all types of feedback, we have one question for you: Why are you still reading our publication? We won't tell if you won't. Enjoy!
To Whom it May Concern, I'm wondering how much pull you have with the Commissioner of the ACBA and if I could request a change for the upcoming season? I'd like to see more home runs. We should move the fences in about 6 feet around the entire league. It would add seats to every ball park and it would give fans exactly what they want.. more bombs! This would generate more interest in the game, especially for the younger generation who seem to all just be hooked on video games.
Dear rule changer, while your idea isn't bad and probably would in fact increase the popularity of baseball, we really don't have any pull with the front office of the ACBA. We rarely see the commissioner at all and when we do, it's pretty taboo for us to bring something like this into the conversation. You could file a request by visiting their main office in Austin, TX or by filing a petition online using the league's suggestion box.
On This Date...
It was one hundred years ago on May 18, 1913, when Ty Cobb
spoiled a Walter Johnson shutout by stealing home plate for the 26th time during his career.
Holds Lead The Charge For Change
<---CONTINUED FROM COLUMN 1
a reasonable solution for implementing this with success and will be providing the league with details during the off season."
The remaining 4 other changes for 2014 include:
-Playoff expansion in the opening round from a 5 game series to a 7 games series.
-The final addition of the five minor league slots, bringing the minor league total to 15 and a 40 man roster for both the major league and the minor league rosters.
-Additional $10 in payroll money due to the roster size increase. The new cap will be $150.
-Addition of two draft rounds due to the roster size increase. The draft will now be 22 rounds.
ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK-- Other changes that were in the mix but have since been removed from the list are the addition of a DL slot and the Waiver Trade rule.
The Waiver Trade rule has been pushed off another year and may still be introduced in 2015. As for the DL slot, with 15 minor league slots (after the 2014 additions), teams should have enough flexibility to manage injuries. If the need arises and league demand is strong enough, a DL slot may be included in the future.
MEET JOHN SHEETS
The ACBA has grown and changed quite a bit over the last couple of years. In this year alone, with one owner buying and two expansion teams joining, we have three new faces in our league. So I spent the better part of a Sunday afternoon in late April with Warren Warriors owner John Sheets so that we all may get to know the man the other owners will come to know as a colleague and a rival.
John Sheets is a small town guy from the blue collar neighborhoods of suburban Detroit. His parents were high school sweethearts out of central Michigan and after time served in the military, they settled their young family in Clinton, just outside the big city. Sheets spent most of his childhood summers at the ballpark watching his beloved Tigers during the 70s and 80s where he grew fond of the game and the lore of the Detroit Tigers. It was during that time that Sheets realized it was his destiny to own a major league baseball team one day. "There's nothing like baseball," Sheets tells me. "There's a lot of great games, a lot of great sports, but baseball is in a class of its own." Sheets is also an avid poker player, and it's where he first met Sparky Anderson back in 1998. "We were at the same table at a poker night down in Detroit. He was surprisingly approachable and a very warm person." As it turns out, it was Sparky who years later recommended his protege Billy Anderson (no relation) to Sheets for a position in on his staff, knowing his plans to own a team in the future. Billy was named the manager of the Warriors just two short years after the passing of his mentor.
As we drive around his old stomping grounds Sheets points out some of his favorite haunts and reminisces about his humble beginnings. Over on Industrial Street we stop in at Mr. Paul's Chop House for lunch. He knows the owner and I watch as old friends are happy to see each other. I have to admit, this is a great spot and maybe the best Porterhouse steak I've ever had. Later on he takes me to his home where I meet his wife, his brother and his nieces and nephews. A close knit family, Sheets has obviously passed along his love of the game to them: his brother dutifully wearing a Warrior ball cap and his wife in a Dustin Pedroia jersey. The family is getting ready to head to the ballpark for the Sunday afternoon game against Solomon's Dominion.
Down stairs Sheets shows me around his basement. A shrine like environment of the Tigers and all of the history they hold over the last 100 or so years. "It's my dream that some day the Warriors will be to some kid what the Tigers have been to me," Sheets explains as he points out an old Al Kaline jersey, framed and hung on the wall. "You know I was at his last game in 1974. They lost to the Orioles 5-4, but I caught a foul ball hit by Ron LeFlore in the first inning." The nostalgia in the air is so thick you could almost choke on it. You have to appreciate the love and respect for the history of such a great game.
He leads me to his "control room" where the faint sound of humming is heard and the smell of electronics wafts through the air. It smells like that small enclosed room at Circuit City where they have all their speakers on display. Computer screens display charts and figures and lists of names. "Here is where we make all of the major decisions. We of course have our war room back at Warrior Coliseum, but Billy and our GM usually come over here a couple times a week during the off season. We sift through whatever it is our scouts are bringing back and we plan accordingly."
Sheets says his vision for the Warriors is simple: They must change the tire while the car is rolling down the highway. In other words, they plan to hit the ground running, trying to win as much now while building for a strong future. "Coming into an established league and building a team from nothing is a great challenge. I've always thrived in that sort of situation and will take the same approach here." Sheets realizes what he is up against and isn't worried about immediate success. "I'm sure I'm going to hit a lot of bumps in the road, but I think you have to shoot high. Because if you shoot high, although you may not meet those expectations immediately, and likely will fall short, you have a much greater shot of accomplishing more than you may have thought possible." He added that he planned to be around in the ACBA for a long time, "This league impresses me and is far more expanded than anything I had ever imagined. I love the attention to detail. I don't see myself going anywhere, as an owner, for years and years."
One thing I've learned from my afternoon with one of ACBA's newest owners, he is passionate and he loves what he does. He loves his family and he loves baseball. We should all be so lucky.