The commissioner and co-commissioner have already been giving the 2013 season some thought and it looks like the league's first off-season will be an active one. Greg Sowards is expected to make an announcement some time this month regarding the acquisition of two additional players to his team. The only information that has leaked from the team is that they have dropped Josh Cooley from their roster so that they can max out their roster using the two new players. The Terrorhawks have a full roster as of now but the team is waiting to see what spring training will bring before making any definitive announcements. The Honey Badgers still have one spot left to fill to max out their roster but will they fill it? They were content with being a 2-player team for much of the season and only acquired David Dillon in Week 7 of the 2012 season. The Owls are expected to disband as they only played 3 games all season and did not play after Week 4. The future of the Turtles is up-in-the-air at the moment. They will either sink or swim in the off-season. If they intend to stick around they need to add new players to the roster so that they can keep up with the schedule.
A few players have been asking if there will be any Fall Ball. Most likely not. If this happens it will be under the leadership of the co-commissioner. As commissioner, I encourage anyone who wants to play Fall Ball to make it known and get with Greg Sowards. It can be as structured as Sowards sees fit should he decide to head this potential endeavor. If we don't get a Fall Ball "season" together then that's fine but I see a lot of potential good it could serve by working on new rules and evaluating existing ones. Also, players could work on new pitches and hitting strategies. Let's not forget that it would be a wonderful opportunity for players to explore being on teams with players they usually do not play with.
We have many changes and improvements planned for 2013. The biggest change we have in store for next year is that all teams will be required to have matching shirts with numbers on the back of them. We have spent a lot of time trying to find the cheapest way to have shirts and we have found that buying blank t shirts and using iron-on transfers can be the cheapest way to go. The Terrorhawks and Beaver Fever will be unveiling shirts within the month. The Honey Badgers were the only team this past season to wear matching shirts - Berletich and Hord actually had numbers on the back of their shirts. Teams willing to make their own shirts who want a graphic can just print off one using iron-on transfer paper. Iron-on numbers can also be found at local craft supply stores such as A.C. Moore and Michael's or places like Walmart. Team captains are responsible for teams having shirts. It is also advised that teams have a second set of shirts in case they play two days a week...home and away jerseys if you will. This will cut down on the possibility that members of a team show up out of uniform. Anything beyond matching shirts with numbers on the back is not required. If teams want to wear matching shorts and high socks - fine, but it is not required.
As far as major rule changes go - the only major change we are making is that we will be a yellow bat league like we originally intended. Female players will still be allowed to use a bigger bat but they will be using the Sandlot Stick instead of the MLB Powerhouse Bat. Pitchers will still be allowed to scuff the balls but only with sandpaper. Also, we will be ditching the narrow field and opening the angle of the field to 90˚. This will definitely change the game since a lot of foul balls hit this year would be fair next season. We are attempting to get a more permanent pitcher's circle, perhaps a large circular rug. We have a similar need for a batters box to keep players from crowding the plate. Finally, there is the matter of player dues. The amount for dues is in question but it will not exceed $40. It will most likely be between $20-30. This will help with equipment costs, shirts, etc.
All of these rule changes are up for discussion at the league's Winter Meeting. The meeting is scheduled to take place January 8, 2013 beginning at 7:00 PM at Fat Patty's on 3rd Ave. in Huntington. All players are invited to attend and will receive Huntington Wiffle League tshirts (picture coming soon). The meeting will kick off the preseason and recruiting attempt for the 2013 season.