Steve Romer is both a sponsor and captain of the Westrock-Refuahs.org softball team and the recipient of the 2008 and 2010 Captain of the Year award. He was also instrumental in driving his team onward to win the 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013 RJSL championship titles. A team captain since 2003, Romer has consistently led his team to the playoffs and continues to be a force to be reckoned with. At 58 years of age, he is certainly one of the "senior" league members and his love for both the game and the RJSL makes his blog one worth reading.
Romer is a real estate entrepreneur as both an investor and for 30 years, the president of Westrock Appraisal Services, Corp., a commercial real estate appraisal provider. He has earned both an MBA and the prestigious MAI designation. Married for 34 years, Steve has three children, all who are married and grand-children running into the double digits.
|Speak Your Mind, Game Start Punctuality & League Perspectives
Monday, July 16, 2009
The Commissioners have decided to experiment with something new: league members will now have the opportunity to submit comments, opinions, human interest stories and the like for consideration to be posted on the RJSL.org web site. If there is something that you want to publically express pertaining to the Game Summaries, Blogs, League Rules, or any other topic that is related to the RJSL or to baseball, simply click on the "Speak Your Mind" link under the Blogs & Articles heading "Speak Your Mind Public Forum" and write to your hearts content. However, the RJSL is under no obligation to post any material it deems inappropriate, inflammatory, loshen hora, etc. In addition, the RJSL censors reserve the right to edit, or if required, eliminate any written contribution which is deemed unsuitable for publication. Please note that since the reading, editing and eventual posting of these contributions is both voluntary and time consuming, this effort will be completed by the censors as "time permits".
In order to view all eligible postings, simply click the "Speak Your Mind Public Forum" link and you will be directed to the appropriate web page. If you wish to participate in a posted discussion or comment on any matter which interests you, simply click "Speak Your Mind" and share your thoughts. Last, but not least, your contributions can be made either publically or anonymously. It's your choice.
Also coming in the very near future will be a link to "Ask the Commish" which will provide a direct conduit to Commissioner Sam Wainhaus. League members will have the opportunity to have their questions and comments to and from the "Commish" posted. This will allow a public dialogue between the Commissioner and league membership on any number of issues of interest. Please note that the Commish reserves the unilateral right to either publish or not publish any contribution, as he sees fit.
So, moving on...to some controversy. Everybody loves a good controversy! 🙂 So, here is the situation. Everyone knows that the seven inning rule was put into effect to motivate players to be punctual. If we start on time, we get to play nine innings and if we start late, we can only play seven innings. And...if we can't field a team by 15 minutes subsequent to the official start of the game, the team forfeits. The fact is, players are still coming late because some members of our league don't seem to care if they play seven innings or nine innings. Pretty selfish if you ask me. Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances but the fact remains, if you are running to catch a plane and you don't check in at least 30 to 45 minutes prior to departure, you are losing your seat to a standby passenger. Up until now, captains were at the mercy of players who came late because the players knew that they would get into the game, regardless of the time of their arrival. Well, as Bob Dylan used to sing: "For the times they are a-changin".
I make it a habit to show up for league games that I have not been requested to play in, just to ascertain if there is a last minute replacement opportunity. On many occasions, last minute player cancelations have afforded me many opportunities to play. Now, there is a rule in this league that once you request a reserve player to be placed on the roster, he must play for the entire game (subject to the normal benching rotation). Well, a few weeks ago, a particular team was severely short several players by game time and I happened to be at the game looking for replacement opportunities. The captain and I agreed on the spot that I would play for his team, so I grabbed my equipment from the car and got set up. By the bottom of the first inning, the remaining five late players had arrived and being the 13th man on the roster, I was cut. Big Mistake! I went home fuming and wrote the following e-mail...(Please note that I have intentionally avoided using the name of the team and the team captain and I have edited the email accordingly to maintain privacy):
Commissioners and Captains:
I want to be very clear regarding my commitment as a reserve player to any team and team captain who exercises honor and consistency in their commitments to me. However, I absolutely and unequivocally reserve the right to not play for any team for the remainder of the season that violates their commitments in regards to requesting my time as a reserve player and then cutting me loose because the remainder of their team shows up "late".
Here are the facts of this evening which have offended, embarrassed and infuriated me to the point where I will no longer, going forward, entertain any invitation from this team to play on their behalf:
Fact: Two RJSL teams were scheduled to play tonight at 8:00 p.m.
Fact: By 7:55 p.m., I made myself available to both team captains just in case they did not have a full roster.
Fact: By 8:00 p.m., one team had a full squad but the other team only had eight players, including me.
Fact: Since the umpire was calling the game to start and the the team in question did not have an eligible number of players, the team Captain and I agreed that I would retrieve my equipment from my car and play for his team. Please note that I made it crystal clear that if the captain requested that I play, I would play for the entire game. The captain agreed to this condition.
Fact: After retrieving and setting up all of my equipment, bats, game board, etc., I was cut from the roster at the bottom of the 1st inning since the remainder of the team had arrived late.
Fact: Due to my outrage in being treated in such a manipulative manner, I advised Marv, Sam and the team Captain that I would no longer play as a reserve player for his team. Both Marv and Sam agree and support my decision.
Fact: While advising the team Captain of my decision to no longer play for this team in the future, he asked me what is he supposed to do with the 12 players who had showed up to play? I originally answered that it was not my problem but what I should have answered is that he should send home the players that came late so that they could be taught a lesson that if they want to play, they should show up on time.
I am not accustomed to this type of treatment, particularly from people that I happen to like and respect. I live my life by the motto: If you hurt me once, shame, shame on you. But if you hurt me twice, shame, shame on me.
Now, the team captain who was caught between a rock and a hard place regarding this situation and I are quite good friends. In fact, he is a very good man and I frequently seek his council on a number of league issues. However, we found ourselves in a quandary which I hoped would be resolved in a favorable manner. And, true to form, it was accomplished by this captain writing the following email to his team which was copied to me:
Please read the below email from Steve Romer to the league commissioners and captains that he sent last night. He actually makes a very valid point and that is why I always write in the Roster email that you guys HAVE to be there on-time. I need to deal with the below issue now because guys came late to last nights game. If you tell me you are playing then you really need to make it your responsibility to be there by the time the game is scheduled, THE LATEST!!!!! The games are supposed to start by that time, not that we start trying to get the team together at that time. Last night was unacceptable; at 8 pm we had only 7 out of 12 guys there. We all have stuff going on but your commitment to come to the game is for the TEAM, not just for yourself and if we would have had less then 9 at 8:15 the whole team would have had a forfeit, not just the guys that came late. And definitely if you come late and I already have asked a replacement player to play for you, as Steve write below, the proper thing for me to do, and I will do, will be for me to ask you to go home. I did not do that last night and after reading his email he makes a very valid point that can not be ignored. He was willing to help out the team so that we do not get a forfeit and could actually field a full squad and we (I actually) slapped him in the face.
So PLEASE, from now on if you are on the roster you MUST be there before the start time of the game.
With this email, everything was forgiven and forgotten and I have already played for this team and this captain a number of times and I look forward to this team's future reserve player requirements. But most importantly, a new league precedent was established that team players who arrive late to a game are subject to being sent home if a reserve player has been enlisted to replace them. And let me be perfectly clear that once I am set up to play, I will not accommodate the late player by leaving when he arrives. He is going to have to catch another plane because this one has already left the gate! If you want to guarantee a seat on the plane, then get to the game on time!
I'm sure that there will be individuals who feel that I'm being too hard or insensitive towards players who get to a game late due to very viable reasons. However, allow me to be perfectly clear that I am also paying a big price to be at the game by sacrificing time from my family, my business (which I do literally around the clock), my friends and other social obligations. So, if I take the time and make the sacrifices to get to a game on time and I am selected to play due to someone else coming late, I can assure you that I will play. So, do yourself and me a favor to avoid any future discomfort and bad feelings, DON'T COME LATE!
So, what’s going on in the league? Jada remains in 1st place and they seem to like being King of the Mountain. WC, although tied in points, is three games back and so resides in 2nd place. The Miracle Marv'les team has held onto 3rd place and believe it or not, the Bubbas Gladiators have taken command of 4th place. However, let’s take a closer look at each team and again, make some predictions.
1st Place: Jada
It's a true reversal of fortune. I still remember the initial struggles of Jada at the beginning of the season. In my May 11th blog I wrote: "They are a feisty group and they play to win. We have yet to hear the last from Jada this season. I believe that they will make a strong play for the title before the season is over and the rest of us better stay on our toes." Hell, I've been standing on my toes for so long regarding Jada's command of 1st place that my feet are hurting! I certainly had a sense that Jada would make strong head-way as they navigated their way up the league standings. However, I did not anticipate that once they took occupancy of the "Penthouse" in the Standings, they could not be evicted!
Personally, I think that the clock is ticking on the Jada's reign of terror. I am a student of probabilities and the French Revolution and the time is coming that Jada's long succession of wins will come to a radical halt. Over the next four games, Jada will face Bubbas, Marv'les, Sterling and Merockdim. Some of these teams are ready to burst out of the gate with thundering aspirations. The probabilities are strong that by the end of the month of July, Jada will be licking her wounds while Darwinian evolution takes place.
On Sunday, Jada plays Bubbas at 11:15 a.m. Bubbas is hot! However, should Bubbas show up Sunday morning luke warm for this game, then Bubbas better kiss it goodbye. Jada is one team that recognizes that the early bird catches the worm.
2nd Place: Westrock/Chai
Things appear to be looking up for WC. Since June 23rd, WC has played five games, winning three and losing two close ones. One of the problems heretofore plaguing this team was the loss of star Moshe Lehmann due to work obligations and former MVP Menachem Landwirt due to chronic ankle problems. After nearly two months of playing with only a 14 man roster, Moshe Lehmann has been permanently replaced by Mutty Friedman and Landwirt has been replaced with Shrasi Lazarus. How this infusion of talent impacts the WC dynamics will be tested this Sunday morning when they face the Framers.
It is my humble opinion that Westrock-Chai is ready to take occupancy of the Penthouse suite. All that remains to be tweaked is our batting order so that our ability to hit can be translated into runs scored. Should we be able to accomplish this, then I predict an express train to the championship.
Speaking about predictions, WC faces the Framers this Sunday, who have lost four out of their last five games (with one tie). Captain Romer has compiled a formidable team whom are anxious to increase their winning streak to three games. All that I can say to Captain Avi and his Framers is: "Watch out"!
3rd Place: Marv'les
Well, Marv'les is certainly hanging in there, defeating Samet 14-3 on Sunday, July 5th, and then losing to Merockdim on Tuesday, July 7th, 15-9. Marv'les faces Sterling next Sunday, after nearly two weeks of being out of commission due to rain-outs. It's never easy to fan the flames after an extended down time. It may take a game or two to rekindle the spirit this team has exhibited of late. However, with the inconsistency which Sterling has displayed all season, it would not surprise this writer if Marv'les "steals" this win and resumes gunning for 2nd place.
My prediction for Sunday's Marv'les vs. Sterling competition is that Sterling will win if they can reproduce the same team which they utilized against WC on July 12th. Rumor has it that Sterling will be able to start drawing down more consistently on their talent pool which should lead to a greater Win Ratio. Well, without question, the dynamics should prove to be interesting.
4th Place: Bubbas
Bubbas is currently the shooting star of the league. Trapped at the bottom of the league standings for the entire season, Bubbas is now making their move for the gold, winning their last two games. The question is: can Bubbas keep it up? This team has definitely become more seasoned and experienced in finding solutions to many of the problems which interfered with their earlier success. They have become more of a well integrated unit, and their level of communication and interplay have improved materially. And there is a discernable reduction in the tension and frustration which earlier plagued this team. It may very well be that Bubbas is finally coming together and starting to make a difference.
If Bubbas really wants bragging rights, let them defeat Jada this Sunday. That would be a big statement regarding their potential to place well in the post season. Should Bubbas lose coupled with either a Framing, Samet or Merockdim win, Bubba's ranking will fall to 5th place or lower.
5th Place: Merockdim
Hope springs eternal. The lights have not gone out for the Campers, although for a time there, the lights appeared to become quite dim. There is something to be said about utilizing the fuels of frustration to overcome the plight of despair. Merockdim, who for the longest time was going nowhere fast, appears to have caught their second wind! I don't know if it was the motivational speeches or if their time has finally come which got them over the hump. However, the Campers better make absolutely sure that they perpetuate their recent momentum so that they can defeat Samet this Sunday, who has been licking its wounds of late.
Although no one likes to see a team get kicked while they are down on their luck, Merockdim has an opportunity to stomp Samet before the Accountants can figure out why the math is not adding up. At some point, Captain Samet will establish that his assets equate to his liabilities. However, by then, the Campers could be sitting pretty in 4th place, nipping at the heals of 3rd place Marv'les.
6th Place: Samet
Focus, focus, focus. This team has far too many distractions to win ball games. So, lets conduct a little team psycho-analysis:
Question: Does this team have enormous talent?
Question: Does this team have experienced leadership?
Question: Does this team have some of the strongest bats in the league?
Question: Does this team have some of the best fielders in the league?
Question: Should this team be focusing only on their hitting and fielding as opposed to other special considerations?
Question: Is it about time that Samet got their $%#@& together?
Guys, do your thing! Enough time has been wasted and it's high time to play some competent baseball. Let everything else be water under the bridge. Get the hell out there and do your thing. And good luck to you!
7th Place: Framers
Something is definitely broke, and it's becoming painful to watch. When a 1st place team drops down to 7th place then desperate measures must be taken. Where is the team that was beating the snot out of every team at the beginning of the season? Somewhere along the line the Framers have stopped functioning as a fluid and well oiled machine. The concentration is gone, and talent is missing or disabled. There are pieces to this puzzle missing and only Captain Avi can take a couple of steps backwards to analyze and rectify this deplorable situation. And I hope that he does it fast before it is too late.
My prediction for the Framers against 2nd place WC is not favorable. The Framers deserve better, and I hope that they can find a way to get back into contention.
8th Place: Sterling
Since the beginning of the season, I have been calling Sterling the sleeping giant who will eventually begin their march to the holy land. When WC last faced the former champs, they yielded a pool of talent that was both frightening and intimidating. If Sterling can consistently pool together these same players for the next several games, they will certainly make the playoffs because they will be virtually unbeatable. Let's watch if Captain Chaim can pull enough strings to get this team moving in the right direction again.
In the meantime, lets PLAY BALL!