A Secondhand Account of the 2016 NCBL Kick-Off Meeting

Kick-Off meetings are generally considered the least stimulating of the 3 annual NCBL meetings.  Teams show up, pay their fees, get their balls, and then enjoy the rest of their day.  My insider sources are telling me that 2016 was the exception to that rule as several controversial topics were discussed and voted on, including: a new drop dead time for games, the 2nd base sliding rule, and the social media code of conduct.

I’m told NCBL Treasurer Craig Cornell showed up a minute or two after the scheduled start time, forcing the Commissioner to delay the call to order.  After several pre-meeting email chains where multiple teams (including at least one second tier red birded team) complained about the increase in league fees, there was no way the NCBL Godfather was going to face the firing squad without his right hand man present.

The first item on the agenda was the future of the Ottawa Orioles.  As you may recall, during their pitch to stay in Tier 3 before last season the Orioles proposed delaying the move up for one season because that’s when all the pieces to their puzzle were coming together.  It turns out the opposite was true.  After being unable to recruit Tier 1 players to their Tier 3 team, the Orioles opted to fold, but in an incredible gesture of generosity, the league granted them a 1-year leave of absence.  I personally would’ve let them fold and had them reapply next year.

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Next up was the Treasurer breaking down the 2015 financial statements and 2016 budget, which everyone pretended to understand.  Despite some controversy about which financial statements were printed off and which were hidden in Craig’s car, everything was unanimously approved.  Another great job by your NCBL Treasurer!

The future of the NCBL at the Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park was the next item on the docket.  It turns out that the City of Ottawa’s pattern of making things more and more difficult to play there continued this year, backing the league into a corner.  Having games cancelled 24 hours in advance based on a weather forecast simply wasn’t reasonable for the largest amateur baseball league in Canada.  On top of that, rumor has it the City was going to provide a babysitter, there at all times, to make sure everyone was wearing their helmets & chinstraps.  Thanks, but no thanks.  There will not be any games at the Stadium this year.  Peace out RCGT.

In an effort to improve their public relations and appear more friend than enemy, the NCBL Operations Committee provided the managers an insider tip on how to beat the system when it comes to disciplinary meetings.  Step 1: Spike somebody. Step 2: Show up to the meeting.  Step 3: Show remorse.  Cleats up boys!

The SweatSox are the pioneers of social media in the NCBL.  We were the first team with a website and Twitter, the first to Periscope a baseball related activity, we were the ones that created the NCBL Facebook group, and we’re probably the only ones with a team Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, MySpace, Grindr, and Pinterest account.  Somehow though, a few non-SweatSox came up with a Social Media Code of Conduct that every man, woman, and child of anyone who has ever heard of the NCBL is now expected to follow.  No longer will you be able to see Tweets like the following on your NCBL Twitter feed:

The frontrunners for a 2016 Social Media Code of Conduct Twitter ban, fine, and/or suspension are: Panthers, SweatSox, Athletics, and I, Shaun Keay.

Next, John Flannigan made his way to the podium to ask the league to rewrite the Constitution to allow a 15 year old to play on his team.  I’m not sure why that was necessary; I assumed a condition to Cornwall’s entry to the league was allowing any and all Flannigans to play on the team, regardless of age, gender, or even species.  I honestly can’t believe we haven’t seen the Flannigan family dog playing LF or pinch running for the River Rats yet.  Either way, his motion was approved, welcome to the league 15 year old Flannigan!

Joe Beelen then introduced the new league intern: Alex Maclean.  The intern is going to help with the NCBL website & Twitter, and team sites & photos.  Just make sure you update the standings every night, all season, and we won’t have any problems.

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Once or twice a year, an early game goes long forcing the late game to end early.  Sixty-eight or sixty-nine times a year, an early game goes long and the late game finishes as regularly scheduled.  In order to avoid those one or two early game marathons, the league voted to implement a drop-dead time of 15 minutes past the “no new inning can start by” time.  So if a game starts at 6:15pm and there is another one after, at 8:30pm the early game is over no matter what (as if the lights went out).  Let there be controversy!

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Finally, Head Umpire Jean Lazure took the plate and tried to sneak a few new controversial MLB rules into the NCBL, despite the NCBL directive that we play using Baseball Canada rules (Bylaw 2.1).  His proposal was denied, but we’ll be ready when you want to implement instant replay down the line.  I’m thinking a couple GoPro’s and a tablet will do the trick.

SWEATSOX EXCLUSIVE: You’re not going to believe this, but once again I’ve gotten an exclusive look at the Secretary’s minutes from the Kick-Off Meeting.  Have a look:

NCBL Annual Kick-Off Meeting Minutes (.pdf)


Final Kick-Off Meeting Notes/Thoughts:

  • The Mavericks walked out during the meeting, and didn’t pay.
  • If we find the Social Media Code of Conduct offensive, what form do we fill out to get it banned?
  • The neighborhood rule isn’t an actual rule.
  • The Winchester Sox have too many balls.
  • Want 5% off your next RONA purchase?  Look for NCBL discount cards scattered somewhere in the parking lot of your local store.
  • The terms “runner trajectory” and “big balls” were both used in various discussions.
  • Mark Keeping’s phone number is: (613) 407-4382.
  • Tim Gautam’s beard is looking good.
  • There is no official Baseball Canada sale this year.  Make it worth their while and they’ll hook you up though.
  • NCBL receipts are available upon request

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