Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Conflict of Interest.. Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I run the Jersey City Softball League and have a team in the league called West NY

I saved this league from dying. One of the key decisions that really worked out well was last year when I brought West NY into the league.  We only had 5 teams, so I left the comfort of the defending champions Pershing, and brought a team into the league at the last minute. We fell short in the playoffs, but the competitive level of the league was raised and that momentum helped increase league membership to 9 teams this year.

This year I was able to obtain a sponsor, picked up new guys, and field a team. We have done well, 6-2, and have had a lot of fun.  But let's be honest, running a league and managing a team in it is a conflict of interest b/c:
  1. I want to win
  2. I run the league
I don't bring illegal pitching, I get all my guys to qualify, I duck no one as I make us play all the best teams twice, but I want to win. I do things that help West NY field a team like schedule all night games. I purposely make as many of our games as late as possible (obvious conflict of interest) because my guys come from all over and 6:30 PM games generally puts us at high forfeit alert. Many teams think I pick a small field called Mary Benson because it favors me, that is not true, its strictly a time thing. In fact, this year I have built my team more on all fields line drive hitting and supposedly more athletic players until injuries hit. If I wanted to build a home run hitting team. I recently would not have given up the small Mary Benson field in August so that the playoffs could occur in a fair open field legitimate home run environment for everyone.

In any case, running a league and having a team puts you in between a rock and a hard place.  That's what happened on Monday. Thanks to all the rain-outs (West NY has had the most games rained out in the league) we had a split doubleheader against two teams on Monday beginning at 6:30pm. At about 3pm until roughly 4:30 it starting thundering and scattered showers all around the tr-state area. I was getting emails and texts from other teams and my players about the status of the game. At 4:45 I cancelled the game for 3 reasons:

(1) Sever thunderstorm warning in union city between 4-5 PM
(2)  50 % chance of thunderstorms between 7-10 pm
(3) Most importantly, I was sick of all the texts, emails, excuses, whining, drama, phone call from my players about showing up.  A lot of them come from far away and I can understand them not wanting to drive to field for nothing, but honestly I didn't want to deal with it anymore. It didn't want to beg people to show up and avoid a forfeit. So I called the games.

Of course at 4:50 pm it became the most beautiful day on earth and I looked shiesty . At 8:25pm it did thunder and pour and I felt a little better, but not vindicated. I feel really bad about this and I will never put myself in this situation again. I have appointed Pershing's manager. Jason Dee, to make all West NY game day rain decisions going forward and next year I will not bring a team to the league. Its just too much on my plate. Luckily, the league membership is growing and West NY will no longer be needed.

I would like to thank my opponents that night, Pershing and Knight, for not giving me a hard time. Unfortunately, I cancelled a separate 7pm game between two other teams and they most likely could have played 6-7 innings. They were pissed. I don't blame them. I've done a lot of good things in Jersey City, but this time I messed up and have to take the criticism.

Sorry I failed you guys and myself. It will never happen again as I vow never to put myself between a rock and hard place.

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