Loving the Federal League

I’ve been a baseball fan all my life. I can recall watching games with my dad, and being taken to Shea Stadium for my birthday for several years in a row. While I can’t throw worth a damn, I love the game.

Soon after joining DC Comics, I learned that Mike Flynn and Bob Rozakis belonged to this rotisserie baseball league and was fascinated. Next thing I knew, the league Mike formed fell apart and out of the ashes grew one that Bob ran, with Mike as a player. Then a year later Mike asked me to co-own the team with him since he was busy and soon to be leaving DC. He renamed the team the Final Frontiersmen in my honor and I began to learn the intricacies of fantasy baseball.

Through the years, the Federal League evolved from being a team made up of people in and around the comics field to one centered on the residents of Port Washington. Mike Friedman joined us a year or so later and as Bob’s pals dropped out, Mike’s friends began to fill in until we were heavily weighted on Long Islanders. When Bob chose to retire as Commissioner, Mike took over. We used stat services to keep track and issue reports (a leap in the way Bob did it – a calculator and paper) and I was the statistician, logging the stats and issuing the weekly reports.

Mike ran the league for years and along the way, our membership briefly included, Deb, Keith DeCandido and Kathleen David. Deb figured it was all statistics and would be a breeze but the daily requirements grew onerous given her work and began objecting when I’d bug her to make transactions as injuries plagued her team. She gave up after two years.

Mike stepped down a few years back and Partom Palazzo stepped up. Partom joined at the tender age of 13, along with his dad Alan. Today, Partom is a married, living in his own home and led the league to take another big step forward technologically. We’ve moved to CBS Sportsline for our stats and his Auction day prep has been nothing but marvelous, far better than anything I did.

The Auction is the best part. We cram and prep and scout for March and then, usually the first Saturday after Opening Day, we’d stuff ourselves into someone’s home and have the auction, bidding up players, eating too much and having a blast. When Phil Ozersky, the man who caught Mark McGwire’s record-setting homerun ball, joined, we began having him participate by speaker phone given his location in St. Louis.

Last year, Robbie was between chemo treatments, still feeling pretty good, and came to keep me company. When one owner couldn’t make it, Robbie drafted in his stead and did pretty well. He loved the day out and looking back, it was one of the last truly good days he had away from the hospital.

This year, with the Superman Encyclopedia and budget hearings, my auction prep consisted of about an hour and a half on Thursday, doing little more than a cursory look through the prospects. I fit in a quick review yesterday morning before writing about Lightning Lad and then headed to Chez Palazzo.

This year, circumstances led to four team owners using a conference line which resulted in some glitches but nothing to mar the day. I sat next to Mike, sharing gossip and helping each other scout available players to fill our needs in the later rounds. By the time we ended at 5:30, I did better than expected. My brother Neil says I lack power but we’ll see as things begin and then I can adjust. I feel in my heart I’m more competitive than I have been in some time, and that’s a good feeling.

As we ended last night and began cleaning up, Partom told me the league decided to donate 10% of this year’s prize money to Tommy Fund in Robbie’s memory which I thought was incredibly generous.

Play ball!

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