Leroy Wiffle will officially announce it's resignation from the NWLA Tournament in 2018. The Legends participated in the Tournament the past 2 years. I want to put all the speculation aside and give everyone the honest and real reasons, and what the future holds.
First off, Money. We as a league hold 2 fundraisers each year to raise money, a Golf Outing in the summer, and a Bowling/Draft Event in the Winter. Entering the 2018 season more than half of the 50+ players registered are currently in college, and every player on the 2017 Nationals Team, except me are currently in college. The past 2 seasons we promoted and used the Golf Outing to partially fund the cost of a trip to Nationals, this year i put an end to it. As a commissioner i felt a disservice to the rest of the league to use half of the league's yearly income to support 7 players of the 50+ players who played last year. The league is expanding to 11 team's and the fields, environment, and experience of Leroy need to be a priority for the fundraisers. When given this information the players decided that the tournament wasn't worth the amount they would have to pay.
Second, Style. I have preached it time and time again this style isn't fun. To many walks, not enough action... and before I get all this "Go To London then BS" let me just state that the strong majority of the leagues in NWLA are medium pitch or slow. With that being said I personally feel the NWLA Tournament should be a representation of the NWLA and the majority of the leagues in it. Chris Galloway and Carl Coffee built a great foundation, for a great tournament, with a great idea, and a great atmosphere. I think the committee really needs to consider highlighting all league talent, not just league's top pitchers. With that being said I think the committee did a phenomenal job keeping the tournament alive and relevant with the recent move. You can talk about the Death Bracket that breathed life into Regionals, or the Newspapers and Signs set up as Morenci made the Tournament its "thing" so to speak. A lot of work behind the scenes goes unseen and I fully understand the hard work that goes into this tournament and respect everything down to make it happen each year.
Third, Rules. This past offseason the NWLA Committee proposed and voted in a new rule. This rule limits a player's ability to switch leagues, and "eliminate" super teams. Let me be very clear in saying this is the most asinine rule i have ever heard. This is a tournament of LEAGUES not teams. I fully believe it is the committee's responsibility to determine the requirements TO BE A LEAGUE MEMBER. For them to determine who isn't in a league is mind boggling. The committee should enforce requirements for a player to be considered a league member and be eligible for the tournament, and it should stop there. I'll make a short and sweet example to prove how idiotic this rule is. The infamous SWBL plays 10 games, 4 innings, 2 out regular season. The current rule stats that a player must play 5 games to be qualified for Nationals. That means any member of the Royals SWBL Franchise may show up on Saturday May 26, play 5 games for a total of 40 outs (5 Games x 4 Innings x 2 Outs) and be qualified. Now lets say any player from our 2017 roster goes and plays GBL's full season. They will play 20 games, 5 innings, 2 Outs over the span of 10 weeks (Total of 200 Outs). That player will have played 5 times the amount of wiffle ball in ten times the amount of days played and will not be qualified to play at Nationals. The fact the committee feel's the importance of this rule is somehow "limiting super teams" is more important than promoting successful and dedicated leagues and players is pathetic. I apologize that Northwest Indiana Wiffle promotes each other's leagues and players and is interested in building the sport and ALL different styles and brands working together. This lead's to my final point.
Fourth, Priorities. The NWLA Tournament can be counteractive to building a league if your priorities aren't in place. It's quite clear that some leagues are only around because of the Tournament and it's makes me wonder what the point is. Are those the leagues the NWLA is trying to promote, commissioners and players that do the least amount of work just to get by. On top of that when you're in a league around just for the tournament you will have a clear divide of player dedication. Sure you may have a handful of guys who are super dedicated, but will that alienate those who aren't going to Nationals. Since I joined the NWLA back in 2014 or 2015 the best news I have heard was Sam Skibbe stepping down from the NWLAT Committee to pursue and focus on the NWLA as a whole. When Chris Galloway headed the NWLAT the base for the Tournament was money and he had a very strong base. In the future the base must be the leagues collectively, and not just leagues who desire Morenci, leagues that desire individual success from a league standpoint that they can showcase at Morenci.
In 2018 the Legends will say Goodbye to Morenci, and say Hello to Griffith. Leroy's partership with both the GBL and ORWBL will focus on building each league and what each league represents. Through the next couple year's with the help of Jeremy, Alex, Caleb, Brett, and numerous others i hope and will work to showcase the ability of league's working together and building a solid base that breeds success throughout different style's and agenda's. We look to build league's that respect unique talents and most importantly highlight and award dedication. Is Leroy saying goodbye to Morenci for good, of course not. I will say though that until a few of the things listed above are changed, we like Justin said "Are replaceable" and will remain that way.
I highly recommend following all 3 of the NWI Wiffle Leagues this year.
The Griffleball League held it's 2018 Manager's Meeting this past Sunday, March 25. Our Leroy Legends had the first overall pick, and selected Caleb Jonkman. The final roster for the team heading into opening day is as follows:
#31 - Tim Wiltjer
#13 - Caleb Jonkman
#33 - Jared Jonkman
#14 - Brett Detmar
#3 - Erik Detmar
#21 - Greg Gierling
We as a league our very excited to have a Franchise in the GBL this year. Be sure to check the team out right away on Opening Day April 22 as they will be broadcast on Sunday Night Griffle.