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PROPOSAL:

Eliminating Eight Non-Competitive OOSL Teams to Form a Winter League Called The "AMERICAN ASSOCIATION"

Note that several of the guidelines put forth below have been changed in the final edition of the AA Constitution.

This call-to-action is based around the premise of creating a new, competitive league that is an offshoot of the OOSL. However, that is only a device to combat the primary culprit, namely increased and prohibitive administrative duties that are beginning to erode the basic quality of the league. The main thrust of this, in total, is to consolidate and strengthen to OOSL. All of the great side factors to this proposal are "gravy." Simply put: something major needs to happen to reduce the workload for the administrators.






WHAT WILL THESE CHANGES DO FOR US IN THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE?

  1. Significantly lower administrative duties pertaining to the OOSL while concurrently shifting other responsibilities and the onus onto a new primary administrator (Lon Whitehead as opposed to Dirk Knemeyer) for the winter league.
  1. Give the league constituency a winter "hobby" to pursue which is informal, fun, and yet related to the OOSL both in its history and in the cross-pollination of players.
  1. Create a "solid" 16 team league which makes for an easier schedule, the imminent possibility of 100% human team ownership, balanced competition and smaller play-off pool, parity and player movement through "weighted" free agency and long-term injury.
  1. Give us a second league that can operate, quite literally, as a "stepping stone" to the OOSL. Prospective human members can be required to spend a year in the AA first, to test their fitness to participate in the greatest base ball league ever, the OOSL.
  1. Give us the framework and flexibility to expand (a 32 team OOSL in the year 2010? You never know!) or make common sense changes to deal with problems/concerns that arise over time. The AA can also serve as a "practice league" where controversial or unusual league changes are first tested in practice before OOSL implementation.




WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE OOSL?

  1. Eight computer teams, who are not competitive and are less historically important, in either an OOSL sense or a Major League sense, will leave the OOSL.
  1. The OOSL will become a 16-team league. Eight teams will be in each the American and National Leagues. All eight teams in a league would be in the same "division" and play a balanced schedule of 22 games against one another.
  1. Three teams from each league will qualify for the post-season. The regular season champion from each league will receive a bye while the #2 and #3 teams compete in a best-of-five play-off in the 2-2-1 format. The winner of that series then faces the league champion in a 2-3-2 format before the winner of that series faces the survivor from the other league in a 2-2-2-2-1 format World's Series, home field advantage of the World's Series alternating between leagues every year.
  1. In conjunction with this new set-up, systems for long-term injury and rudimentary "free agency" will be put in place.
  1. After the season, the play-off champion from each league must select 10 players to "protect." The two play-off qualifiers who lost within their league must select 12 players to "protect." The remaining five teams in each league must select 16 players to "protect."
  1. Each team will lose one player to "free agency" from the players on their team that are not protected. Note that this gives the playoff champion the greatest chance to lose a significant player (only 10 protected) and decreasing in varying degrees to play-off losers (12 protected) and non play-off teams (16 protected). The 16 total players "lost" to "free agency" (one from each team) will appear in the Annual Draft, to be discussed later.
  1. Then, each team will determine which players on their protected list will be subjected to long-term injury for the upcoming season.
  1. This is determined by rolling a die of equal sides to the number of players on a team's protected list for each separate player on said protected list. For each player that a "one" is rolled, as few as zero or as many as two, a long-term injury is assigned.
  1. In the event that more than two players on the same team roll a "one," a logical, random "elimination process" will be employed to see which two players are hurt.
  1. Except in the case of more than two players rolling a "one," here is how the system will work. If only one player is injured for a team or, after a random system is employed to determine which of the two injured players for a team are "first," the "first" (or only) player will be subjected to a severe injury. This injury might last between one and six months, to be determined by the roll of a six-sided die. After the number of months of injury are ascertained, an eight-sided die will be rolled for each month of injury. A roll of "one" indicates that the player will miss the month of April; a roll of "two" indicates that the player will miss the month of May; a roll of "three" indicates that the player will miss the month of June; a roll of "four" indicates that the player will miss the month of July; a roll of "five" indicates that the player will miss the month of August; a roll of "six" indicates that the player will miss the month of September; a roll of "seven" indicates that the player will miss the month of October; a roll of "eight" means that the player's injury will last one month shorter than expected due to aggressive rehabilitation. Each number can only be rolled once making each duplicate roll result in a re-roll. Additionally, any player who suffers a severe injury will have their at-bats or innings pitched reduced in half for the season. It is important to note that this process will occur after overusage/closer designations are set, making the injuries essentially "unplanned."
  1. The second injured player on a team is subjected to a minor injury. This player will miss between one and four months, pending the roll of a four-sided die. Then, determining which months the player is injured for operates in precisely the same way as a severe injury. The other notable difference is that players who suffer a minor injury do not have the at bats or innings on their card affected in any way.
  1. Given these long-term injuries and the new structure of the OOSL, all teams will be required to have, by the completion of the OOSL draft, no fewer than 17 position players or 11 pitchers on their roster, at least 1800 total innings, and at least 1000 dedicated at-bats for each position around the diamond. Each team must have no less than three players who are eligible to play each position around the diamond. These basic restrictions will ensure that teams will always be able to field a "complete" team, even with long-term injuries.
  1. Any trades or player movements and decisions made which are in reality or appear to be attempts at circumventing or loopholing these rules are subject to inquiry at the request of any other league member and will go before the Executive Committee for investigation and ruling.
  1. OOSL rosters remain 30-man Major League at all times. With injuries, of course, both the "normal" variety and long-term, this number can be less, even significantly less, at any given time. Considering that real Major League teams make good with 25 players on the roster during the year, we should not have any problem making this work.




WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE OOSL MINOR LEAGUERS?

  1. At the end of the 1998 season, the remaining OOSL franchises will have a one-time-only opportunity to "call up" and "send down" players to and from the Minor League affiliate. This will happen after the World's Series and before any manifestation of trading occurs.
  1. After this promotion/demotion has occurred, our Minor League teams cease to exist and all of the players (with some exceptions, see below) release to a common pool. From that moment forward, our entire OOSL franchise consists of 30 Major League players.




WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE PLAYERS ON THE "LOST" OOSL TEAMS?

  1. When the eight existing OOSL teams leave the league, their players will be dropped into a common pool which also includes the former Minor Leaguers. The teams, as they were formerly constituted, will cease to exist.
  1. The 16 teams in the OOSL will be free to trade with the pool of players from the former OOSL teams without the restrictions that would come with trading with fully constituted teams. The "trade pool" would be interested only in raw value and not necessarily a certain lineup or pitching rotation balance. That having been said, trades must be made at the existing level of OOSL value. Players who were "worthless" in an OOSL trading context remain "worthless." It is up to the owners of the OOSL to make competitive offers.
  1. After a period of time (TBA) of negotiation between the draft pool and OOSL teams, negotiations will cease and trades will be consummated between the OOSL teams and the draft pool. After this point, there will never again be voluntary player movement between the OOSL and these deposed players. This exception is made only to create the opportunity for favorite players and historically relevant players (in a real life sense and in an OOSL sense) to get back into the league before the wall goes up.




WHAT IS THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION AND HOW WILL IT WORK?

  1. The American Association is a 16 team, informal league that will be played, approximately, between the months of September and December. The name "American Association" was chosen in deference to the old "Beer and Whiskey League" which operated against the National League in the 1800's. It represents both our commitment to and love of old-time base ball as well as the more informal nature of that league.
  1. The American Association will be run by Lon Whitehead but, in terms of jurisdiction, falls under the existing Executive Committee rubric. The only difference is that changes involving the AA would be voted upon only by AA members, assuming that group is different in constituency from the OOSL. No changes can be made to the AA that would affect the OOSL in any way. The older league is the primary focus and leading influence.
  1. All members of the OOSL will be invited to participate in the American Association. It is a completely independent league from the OOSL. The players consist of all players not owned by an OOSL franchise. There will be no voluntary player movement of any sort between the OOSL and the AA. The AA essentially operates as a "low Major League" or "high Minor League."
  1. Teams in the American Association will be formed as such: each human in the OOSL who takes a team in the AA will have the option to either keep their existing 20 Minor Leaguers and draft an additional 10 players or to draft an entire team from scratch, 30 total players. Then, all Minor League teams not being used as a basis for an AA team liquidate and the players join the Draft Pool. Thus, any player who is not on an existing OOSL team or a former OOSL Minor League team that will be participating in the AA is available to be drafted. As with the OOSL, the minimum usage to qualify is 320 AB for batters and 62 IP for pitchers.
  1. The initial start-up draft will go as follows: the draft will be serpentine in nature. The original draft order will be determined randomly, using the roll of a 16-sided die. For the first ten rounds, all 16 teams make selections. At this point, the teams which have carried over their Minor Leaguers will have a full 30 man roster and will be done drafting. For the final 20 rounds, only the teams that are drafting from scratch, not incorporating an existing Minor League outfit, will draft. At the conclusion, there will be 30 players per team.
  1. The American Association will consist of 16 teams, meaning 480 total players will participate. As with the OOSL, these 480 players will remain completely static with the exception of the Annual Draft, which will be discussed later. There is no Minor League or related affiliate for AA teams.
  1. The American Association will use a different set of rules than the OOSL, including: 125% usage limits, closer rule turned "off," no overusage or long-term injury, players with both batting and pitching cards being able to use both cards in regular league play, and two total teams making the AA post-season.
  1. Like the OOSL, the AA will have a free agency stipulation. Each team will randomly lose two of their 30 players. There are no protected lists or provisions for better/worse teams: it is a random determination of two players per team. These 32 total players will enter the Draft Pool.
  1. The AA will begin play in fall 1999. The startup draft will occur sometime between fall 1998 and winter 1999.




HOW WILL THE ANNUAL OOSL (AND AA) DRAFT BE CONSTITUTED?

  1. The annual OOSL draft pool will include players from the following groups:
    1. 16 OOSL free agents
    2. 16 players released from OOSL teams (see below)
    3. 32 AA free agents
    4. Any player who was not in either the OOSL or the AA the previous year who qualifies under existing OOSL and AA rules (320 at-bats or greater for batters, 62 innings pitcher or greater for pitchers).
  1. The OOSL Draft will consist of two rounds. It is a mandatory draft. Thus, in addition to the free agent each team has lost, every team must select one additional player to release. So, after selecting two players in the draft, each OOSL team will again have 30 players.
  1. The following restrictions accompany the OOSL Draft: only eight of the 16 OOSL free agents can return back to the OOSL in the upcoming season. After the 8th OOSL free agent is drafted, all remaining OOSL free agents become ineligible. Only 16 of the 32 AA free agents can enter the OOSL in the upcoming season. After the 16th AA free agent is drafted, all remaining AA free agents become ineligible. Players who participated in neither the OOSL nor the AA in the previous season, as well as players voluntarily released from OOSL teams in order to free up the draft spot, can be drafted without restriction.
  1. OOSL teams are free to draft any eligible player in the draft pool, including players they voluntarily released or players they lost to free agency.
  1. The AA Draft occurs at some point after the OOSL Draft is complete.
  1. The AA draft pool will include players from the following groups:
    1. 8 remaining OOSL free agents
    2. Any remaining players released from OOSL teams
    3. 16 remaining AA free agents
    4. Any player who was not in either the OOSL or the AA the previous year who qualifies under existing OOSL and AA rules (320 at-bats or greater for batters, 62 innings pitched or greater for pitchers) who was not selected in the OOSL Draft.
  1. There are no restrictions on who can be drafted in the AA Draft. Any player in the draft pool can be drafted at any time.




At this moment, the time and effort that goes into running the league is prohibitive. Something severe must happen to cut this time down. The present idea not only accomplishes that goal but at the same time creates new, innovative changes to the league which again reinforce our status as a pioneering entity that leads the way in crafting a "better" Strat-O-Matic base ball league. The Executive Committee is unanimous and enthusiastic about this and counts on your positive vote.





The FAQ

Q: The OOSL was originally 16 teams then expanded to 24. If 24 teams looked good then, why doesn't it now?

A: Forgetting the problems relating to league responsibilities and physical time that it takes to run a 24 team league, it is important to realize that the reason for expansion was not to add teams. At that time, expansion seemed the most expeditious way to thin out talent and allow for more "extreme" performances from league stars. Actually, we will still accomplish that in following through with the current plan, because large amounts of talent will be extricated from the OOSL. The effect will not be as severe as if we kept these teams in, populated with many inferior players, but will still be relevant. In any event, adding teams originally was only a means to achieving a different end, namely a league with a broader base of talent.



Q: Will there be free agency and injuries and the expanded draft for 1999?

A: No. For the system as proposed to work properly, we have to go through a full year's cycle with the status quo in place, so as to delineate accurate protected lists and whatnot. Those will go into effect in 2000. We will have 16 total teams in 1999, however. As a corollary to that, it is important to keep in mind that there will not be a draft on any kind in 1999. Essentially, the Minor League call-ups at the end of this year and the process of trading current OOSL players into the "pool" of former players will be our equivalent to a draft in 1999. Only difference is, that will probably take place in 1998.



Q: Why can't the AA operate as the current Minor Leagues with call ups and send downs or at least some level of voluntary player movement?

A: Competitve balance. Teams could load up in one league at the expense of the other, both through moving up their own people or through trades designed to accomplish the same purpose. The static environ circumvents that whole cacaphony of trouble. After all, 30 man rosters give us an awful lot of leeway as is.



Q: What teams will be dropped from the OOSL?

A: For sure, the most recent expansion teams (MIA, TOA, HON, MON). SLA looks likely, along with either HMA or WAA in the AL, whichever misses the post-season being the guideline at this point. The NL is a little trickier. Probably one of either BON or MIN since both are derivatives of the Braves franchise. Then, either PHN or PIN will probably be the final team. Obviously, the choices have to be CPU.



Q: What will it be like to trade back for players from the dropped teams?

A: Value-wise, it will be about the same as CPU trading has always been. There will be two important differences, however: 1) since they are in a pool and not on teams, the needs of a particular team or structure becomes irrelevant. It all comes down to proper value. 2) since they are in a pool and not on teams, ballpark factor will not be an issue. Dan Brouthers would never have been attainable on BON because of the way he compliments the park so well. Now, if you can pay proper value for a .920 OPS, d2, 600 AB first baseman, he is yours.



Q: Obviously we will want to make a play for the best players on our own teams. How will those trades be able to come off?

A: Well, the ideal type of trade would be one that involved multiple good players from existing teams for one great player and some fools from the pool. In this way, the most significant players stay in the OOSL without sending more significant players out to be traded for again. Additionally, by bringing the fools into the equation, we will keep a nice overall balance of talent in the league.



Q: Speaking of sending significant players into the pool, are those players just "lost?"

A: No. After trading with the pool is over there will be a second round which will allow teams to bring back OOSL players who were just traded into the pool. If that creates a domino effect, which I do not expect quite frankly, we can theoretically keep trading with the pool going through three, four or more rounds. Of course, the primary guys we are trading for have to be new to the pool. Teams can't go after "old" pool guys past the initial round.



Q: When can we trade after the season with other OOSL teams?

A: When the season ends, this is how things will go:

  1. OOSL teams make final moves between Major and Minor League teams.
  2. OOSL teams declare whether they will be participating in the AA with their existing Minor League outfit or not. If not, their former Minor League team is dropped into the trading pool with the deposed OOSL teams.
  3. Trading with the pool occurs.
  4. At some point after trading with the pool is totally complete, OOSL trading will be opened up. This might be soon after or might be much later. In any event, there will be no OOSL trading from the deadline approaching on July 1, 1998 until some point after trading with the pool is complete. Again, the reason for this is to avoid loopholing, manipulation of the system through human trades with one another. It is important for the range of talent in the OOSL to stay reasonably consistent.



A two-thirds majority is need for this Proposal to pass. The Final Vote Tally is 11-0 in Favor of the Proposal. The American Association Resolution will Pass UNANIMOUSLY!.







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