I have probably mentioned before that I am an assistant commissioner in an intense, extensive franchise baseball league called The Wood, the Abad, and the Uggla (registration required, e-mail me for fan account access), or WAU for short. We have a four-round amateur draft, a Rule 5 draft, and a draft for minor league free agents (as opposed to the MLB way of acquiring international talent, players from other countries are not acquired by throwing millions at unproven teenagers).
This season will be only the second year of competition, and already owners are anxious to begin. The commissioner devised an exceptional extension policy that takes into consideration player performance in the 14 scoring categories (home runs, runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage; holds, saves, strikeouts, wins, earned run average, strikeout to walk ratio, and walks and hits per inning pitched), year the player is extended, and if the player was “held back” from being promoted in the league.
The people who run the league put countless hours into making sure it runs as well as it can. I am so devoted to it I have been checking into the discussion even while 5,000 miles from home.
The relatives I’m staying with don’t have an internet connection, so at night after eating some of my favorite Hawaiian and local foods I work on projects (such as an Excel spreadsheet that calculates bid points for free agency and the average annual value of extended contracts or tools to project the league’s economy). I log onto the site from a Starbucks every morning, excited to participate in the discussion.
The last few days the discussion about extensions has gotten heated. After years on the internet I should probably be used to the rude and obstinate personae people assume when writing in the anonymity of a virtual world. And yet it still surprises me, takes me aback when flame wars ensue over Monopoly money in a game. It’s just a game.
People in Hawai‘i are renowned for living with aloha. It is not merely a greeting or farewell, but also means compassion, affection, love, mercy, and peace. For most of the day I am surrounded by that spirit, only to have it swept away every morning by the squabbles in my league.
The next time I run a league, I’m going to make sure a majority of the participants have an inkling of understanding of what aloha means.