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.
|WC & Medicine Men: On A Collision Course With Destiny
September 17, 2011
Westrock vs. Medicine Men in the championship...is it really a surprise? The former league champs vs. the best that Jada and Samet had to offer in terms of talent? As far as Medicine Men is concerned...that's Free Agency at work baby. Now lets see if the remainder of the RJSL will learn something from this and run with it.
In my last blog, I stated that I would conduct an analysis of both championship teams...the two best teams in the league for the 2011 season. Interestingly enough, there are some parallels comparing this season to the 2010 season
1. Both LY and MM secured 1st place by a hefty margin
2. Both LY and MM defeated WC a majority of their regular season games
3. WC came in 2nd place during both seasons and ended up defeating 1st place LY for the championship ring...but what about this year...can WC do it again? I say why not...and here's why:
What is it that has fueled Medicine Men's winning streak better than any team in the league including WC? THEIR TEAM SHOWS UP GAME AFTER GAME...WEEK AFTER WEEK! Michael Chasen does not have to run after his guys to play...they are champing at the bit to get out there and make it happen.
By comparison, WC's biggest and only problem this season is not that we've had our "ups and downs and not seemed their usual even keeled selves" as Commissioner Sam Wainhaus speculated in his recent prediction. In reality, WC for the first time in many years could not rely on their A Team showing up due to a myriad of reasons (Ritterman getting married and moving out of town, Schiff's school schedule, Katz's basketball schedule, Ric's golf schedule, Dahan's work schedule, Singer's simcha schedule, Naf Mark tearing a chest muscle and Romer tearing a leg muscle) and the list goes on. At the end of the day, what does this all mean...that showing up with your core guys every week makes a BIG difference. MM beat WC's winning record by 3.5 games since they were able to show up every week and WC could not.
So, if showing up is that big of a deal, what about the playoffs...will both teams be showing up in force?...apparently not.
One of the really wonderful things that Sam and Marv attempt to accomplish every year is to schedule games so that each playoff team has a chance to come out in strength. Although it's somewhat more difficult to accomplish during the 1st round of the playoffs, as we get to the 2nd and championship rounds, a whole lot of negotiations are going on trying to find a convenient time for all teams concerned. It's not easy, and frequently imperfect, but that is the dance we try to accomplish.
And sometimes, it can get pretty tense. For example, I was advised by Sam that the morning games for Sunday September 18th were not available and that we would have to play a night game. Hey, no problem I thought...my guys "love" playing the 8:00 p.m. game. So, I mention to Michael Chasen early in the week (around Monday September 12th) that the championship round will be Sunday at 8:00 p.m. and that either WC or Cross River will be facing them. On Tuesday evening, after we defeated Cross River in game 3, Reichmann and Katz (my centerfielder and right fielder) both advise me that they have weddings Sunday night which cannot be missed! So, almost immediately I call Michael Chasen and advise him that WC cannot do the 8:00 p.m. game but that a 6:00 p.m. game was possible (Reichmann could make the 6:00 p.m. game). Or even better, would he agree to a morning game if Sam Wainhaus could swing it with the Parks Department. After a slight delay, Chasen gets back to me and says that his team has already made arrangements for 8:00 p.m. and they can't accommodate our request for a time change. I then advise Chasen that WC will cancel the Sunday game and that we will schedule a game for both Monday and Tuesday instead.
To say that all hell broke loose would be an understatement. Although there was a whole lot of back and forth, Chasen did advise me on Thursday September 15th, that he would suffer from a depleted team on both Monday (Sept. 19) and Tuesday (for Tuesday's game Stephen Gruenebaum, Jacob Fein and possibly Shalom Schwartz will not attend the game) so that if WC played with a depleted team on Sunday night, it would balance things out. That actually appealed to my sense of fair play and I informed Mike that I would speak to my team about this. However, before I could contact my team to discuss this dynamic, I received a call from a very "concerned" Commissioner Sam Wainhaus requesting that I accept a 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening game slot to quell serious malignant undertones that were building. Sam seemed to be in a very uncomfortable position and I, of course, was partially responsible for putting him there. In the end, I relented out of respect for his sentiments and then went immediately to bed to "quell" the depression that started to envelop me (seriously...who wants to start the championship round with a depleted team? If there's ever a time to have your entire A team available it's during the championship round!).
I have to say that I was pretty pissed (depressed?) regarding this turn of events. I advised Sam that it was so "inconvenient" that things should work out this way considering how hard WC had worked to get back into the championship. But, upon further review, we could competently move Schiff to Center field, Singer to Right Field and best of all, Dahan would be joining us to replace Reichmann and Katz's bats. OK...things are looking up.
So, lets get down to it. Can Medicine Men defeat WC in the championship? Objectively...I don't think so and here's why:
Fact: May 9th: WC defeats MM hand's down 6-1. WC was hitting and could not be stopped
Fact: July 24th: MM defeats WC 7-1 at Orchard Hills Park. MM was hitting and WC was not. Two other considerations must be brought to the surface which make this game unusual: 1) WC has traditionally not done well at Orchard Hills Park and 2) Romer blundered by taking starting pitcher Loebenberg out of the game when the score was only 3-0 since Loebenberg was scheduled to pitch the next day against Shoe Tova. A very cold Dovid Katz took over as relief pitcher and MM scored four quick runs.
Fact: August 18: MM defeats WC 1-0. WC was not hitting and this game could have easily gone either way. We do note that neither Vic nor Jacob Fein nor Jason Shatkin attended this game (all starters for MM). However, Lazarus pitched a great game against us who is arguably the future pitcher for Medicine Men.
Fact: Sept. 12: Medicine Men played a vastly depleted Bubbas team in the 2nd round of the playoffs and up until the end of the game, struggled to maintain their 4-3 lead. In the last inning, Bubbas broke down and MM scored five runs but prior to this, MM did not look like a championship team.
Fact: WC was on "fire" the evening of Sept. 11th and Sept. 13th in terms of batting for the 2nd round of the playoffs and there is every indication that this hitting streak will continue into the championship round.
Fact: WC has a younger, faster more capable outfield compared to the older, slower MM outfield (with the exception of Moe Hans).
Fact: With Dahan on 1st base, Schiff on 2nd base, Ritterman at SS and Weinstein at 3rd base, WC has a dominant infield over Medicine Men.
Fact: Loebenberg, as WC's starting pitcher, has won two championships, numerous playoff games, and is simply the dominant pitcher in this competition.
Fact: Medicine Men implode when they are losing or behind and if a series of errors are made, this team starts to eat one another alive!
Fact: WC has come back from behind many times this season and have never lost their composure when challenged.
Fact: WC wants to win this championship in the strongest of terms. This team thrives on winning and success is its life blood.
Resolve: WC is simply the better, stronger team and if we hit like we did against Cross River in games 2 and 3, then we will win the championship. If we don't hit, then it could go either way.
So, in the meantime, lets PLAY BALL!