Commissioner Sam Wainhaus is by profession a scientist who works in the biotechnology industry. He is one of the owners of the RJSL.
The Commish Speaks: Final Thoughts
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I would like to thank all of the coaches and the players for another outstanding season. Every team was “in it” until the end and the playoffs were well played, intense and competitive with good sportsmanship. I think everyone who experienced it walked away with the same feeling. I would also like to thank Marv for his dedication. It is only because of his efforts that this league operates like clockwork. Most of you have seen the improvements to the website and although some of you may think our zealousness is over the top, you nevertheless enjoy it. I am amazed at the leaps and bounds of improvement and added fun this has created. Shimon Sendrowitz and Steve Romer have done and continue to do great things that make this league a special and unbelievably fun place to play. It is in our hands to continue to make this league grow and benefit from the recreational opportunities it presents. Steve has done amazing things with the website and I personally thank him for his efforts.
As you have already seen, the Marv’les Signers are this years RJSL champions. My stated goal at the beginning of the season was to be a 0.500 team. We finished the season with an 11-9 record. I have tried to run my team with the same philosophy that I run the league. There is a tricky balance between fun, recreation and competitiveness that must be achieved. There are many players who do not have fun unless it is competitive and many players who do not have fun if it is too intense. The regular season is meant to be slanted more towards the fun side while the postseason emphasizes competition. Most of the rules regarding rosters, pinch runners, game length, etc. have this philosophy at its core.
In the past and present, weaker players have frequently voluntarily excused themselves from the postseason. It is important to realize that each and every player is in this league participates for their own unique, yet varied reason. My goal is 100% satisfaction but I continue to fall short. I can frequently get pretty close, but I periodically fail to consider every scenario or express myself too harshly. I apologize for all of these things. We, as a league, continue to learn and grow and improve. That said, there are players who will not be satisfied and as the RJSL is a club of sorts, it is their choice to remain in this club or find another. This concept leads to several important points that have been raised over the course of the season
The registration fee entitles a player to join the RJSL. It does not guarantee that he will play in a specific number of games or that a specific number of games will be played. All that it guarantees is that he will be in the club and subject to the rules of the league and the discretion of his captain just like everyone else. If a player is unhappy with the way his captain assigns playing time, has a conflict or simply wants a change, he may declare free agency. We will do everything possible to place him on a conducive team.
I have stated on numerous occasions the need to avoid machlokes on the field. We love passion and good competition but that can spill over into other things. We try to set safeguards to avoid this from happening. One of these safeguards is game length. Baseball is meant to be a timeless game and arbitrary endpoints like the park shutting the lights at 10:00 PM are not easy to swallow. During the regular season when we focus on fun, we try to maximize playing time and therefore accept the “no new inning after ten to” rule. This is not straightforward and leads to issues that are usually manageable since it is just a regular season game. The idea of rushing onto the field because one team is ahead by a run just so they could start another inning is not acceptable during the playoffs when tensions are already high. The results could be catastrophic and I have personally witnessed the ugliness that can ensue. Seven inning games are the perfect length to offer competition, the possibility for doubleheaders, afford extra time for extra innings and not have any controversy at the end of games. Many softball leagues play seven innings routinely. Little league plays six innings. We are not doing anything that is drastically different from other leagues besides the MLB.
Series length during the postseason is another issue that has been addressed. Originally it was a one game playoff for two rounds. This evolved into a one game playoff for the first round and three game playoff for the championship until we instituted the three round, three games per and first round bye format. As the league continues to grow we will modify this format, however, there are two parameters. Firstly, the postseason cannot be too long as this would not be fair to players who do not make the playoffs or are eliminated early. Three to four weeks is a reasonable amount of time for playoffs. If we increase the games per round this would become difficult. Secondly, we do not begin until the end of August at the earliest and we do not go past Rosh Hashana at the latest. This makes it nearly impossible to add games. I think three games are sufficient to determine a champion. It has worked well and I think going to five games would be overkill.