The annual Winter MEetings typically include hi-fives, hugs and handshakes. This year had a different look but the same old feeling.
Winter Meetings 2021 gave players the option of linking up in person or joining via Zoom, which a few VLBers chose to do. However, the excitement filled both the living room and the chat room. Overall there were nine players in attendance: Mitch Dietrich, Jim Goff, Ben Gougeon, Dylan Hart, Dan Lindbloom, Alex Miller, Edwin Moore, Josh Paul and Johnny Readus. Discussed were financials, start date, equipment needs, rule changes, captain announcements, division selection and anything else that players wished to bring to the table.
The league was in agreement that Opening Weekend would be April 17-18, location to be determined. Game times will again be 11:30. Games will be scheduled on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings at 5pm, with a potential for Sunday games depending on player demand.
Much excitement goes into captain announcements and division selection every season. This year will feature the debut of LaVanti Wright's Vipers as well as Mitch Dietrich's first season as captain. The Goonies will be back for another season, coached by Paul, in the Blackhawk Division along with the Vipers and Johnny Readus' Racketeers. Veterans Miller and Mason Overmire will battle their Cannons and Heavy Hitters alongside Dietrich in the Saukie Division.
Veto League hopes to build on the titanic 2020 season which featured 80 games played and a single season record 107 players.
With COVID less of a threat, the league expects to have one or two player cookouts this season. All players are reminded to assist during the game with foul balls, picking up bats and ensuring the bucket is refilled for quick pitcher-catcher exchanges.
There were will be two new minor rule changes for the 2021 season. In the past where one team had to substitute a position player for the opposing team, it has always been the second baseman spot that has been filled. This year, in those rare situations were the opposing team provided a fielder (not including pitcher or catcher - so a situation of 7-on-6 game) the fielding team's captain gets to select if the additional fielder plays first or second base. This choice is for the remainder of the inning, not on a batter-by-batter basis. This passed with a unanimous vote 9-0.
The second rule change affects playoff games only. The proposal was to eliminate the "mercy rule" in all post-season games - unless the losing team's captain concedes. Most Veto League games are seven innings, so the "mercy rule" for a 7-inning game is 15 after five innings or 10 runs after six innings.
Official schedule will be announced soon. In the meantime, President Paul asks plays to start spreading the word about Veto League 2021.