The Bowling League

Saturday, March 19, 2011


In October, 1993, Michael Jordan walked away from the Chicago Bulls at the height of his NBA power. With championship rings on three of his fingers, Jordan told a shocked sports world that “the desire isn’t there.” The cover of Sports Illustrated had an image of the three-time champ walking away, accompanied by the lonely word “Why?” The city of Chicago was devastated, and basketball fans everywhere mourned the loss of such a singular talent.

Eighteen years later, the city of Los Angeles was left in the same stunned silence after the eerily similar retirement announcement of Mac “The Dude” Avery. The owner of the Jackie Treehorns (and Voltron-esque combo team called the “Little Lebowski Urban Treehorns”) is walking away from The Bowling League with three championship rings in the nine season history of the LACBL. As with MJ, JMA didn't feel the same desire to keep playing. Still the most feared FBB owner in the league, Avery’s departure leaves a huge void.

Jordan walked away from basketball to seek a new challenge in a new sport, as he tried his hand at professional baseball. His stint in baseball could only be described in Hobbesian terms - “nasty, brutish, and short.” Jordan returned a few years later, stringing together three more titles before walking away for the final time (editor’s note: the “Michael Jordan” who played for the Washington Wizards years later was of no relation, and the shared name is merely coincidental).

Again, the parallels between Jordan and Avery are uncanny. Avery leaves fantasy baseball to focus on a new challenge in the new sport of pool. League owners and fans hope that Avery’s career continues to follow the Jordan trajectory via a return to Los Angeles one day. Fortunately for Avery, but unfortunate for those hoping for a return, Mac is infinitely better at pool than Jordan was at baseball. As such, we offer a few final words to honor the passing of the Jackie Treehorns, an LACBL pioneer:

“Mac was a good owner, and a good man. He was one of us. He was a man who loved the outdoors... and fantasy baseball, and the Bowling League. And as a professional body boarder he explored the beaches of Southern California, from La Jolla to San Luis Obispo, and... up to... Pismo. He died, like so many young men of his generation, he died before his time. In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so many bright flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, at Hill 364. These young men gave their lives. And so would Mac. Mac, who loved the Bowling League. And so, James Macalister Avery, in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well. Good night, sweet prince.”

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Top Ten

Darren posted the top five reasons I would not repeat this year. They were all hilarious and I’m reposting them here so you can enjoy them again. I am also posting my top 10 reasons I WILL repeat this year.

Darren’s top five reasons I won’t repeat:
5. Mac's erection from winning the championship last year lasted more than four hours, prompting a call to the doctor who's advising no more titles.

4. Josh has already @#$%^ declared that his #%$*&# team is pretty &$^%#)* much the "World F#$%^& Champs." Treehorn's repeat? You can %#$!&* fugettaboutit. You got that?!

3. That "feel-good story of '08", where Kelly bailed-out Mac's team, allowing him to dump all his toxic assets and take home $$$ on the back of someone else's effort, doesn't play so well with the public for some reason in '09.

2. What are the statistical chances of finding a first round gem in round 14 of the draft? (Nothing like a statistical question to keep a political scientist distracted until October - Mwuhahaha!)

1. Kelly is with-holding all draft advice until Mac's drawing of his penis is more anatomically correct.

Top ten reasons I will repeat:

10. I’m dating my doctor who will now proscribe anything she can to induce erections of more than two minutes.

9. Four Dingers have Marco Scutaro at short, which means there are only eight teams to compete with.

8. This doctor I met at a bar at 11am today said that eating five “brain food” nutritional bars a day will offset the damage that the daily 5th of low-grade vodka does.

7. Wearing my lucky undies all season long is sure to induce a winning streak (of some sort).

6. Speaking of streaks: Ending my streak of ten straight Midwest Political Science Association meetings this spring means I’m starting to make wiser decisions generally.

5. Thirty minutes of Zen meditation before making roster moves.

4. Bengie Molina

3. Unbeknownst to him (unless he reads this), Jeff is writing our book by himself this summer, which means less FBB time for him and more for me.

2. The $4,000 summer grant I got for the book Jeff is writing means less time selling crack at Latimer and 15th St., which again means more time for FBB.

1. As commissioner, I can do whatever the hell I want.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Proof that I will wear with pride

In case you forgot 2008 already, I thought I would share something I got in the mail yesterday.

And If you can't see what it says...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oh please, dude!

I've got news for you - the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint! I've got buddies who died face down in the muck so I could enjoy this family blog!


Excuse me, sir. This is a family blog. PLEASE refrain from sexual innuendos.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Change Has Come to the Bowling League

After five long years of the Hutchison administration, change has finally come to Los Angeles. The office of commissioner of the Bowling League has seen a relatively peaceful and nearly bloodless transition of power from Marc Hutchison to Mac Avery. With the Jackie Treehorns in now in control of the league, owners are still in the process of judging the quality of their new leader.

Los Angeles was forced into a period of uncertainty last fall when longtime czar Hutchison announced that he would not seek nor would he accept the league's nomination for another term as commissioner. Despite what his team name would lead one to believe, the Ass Clown administration was marked by numerous accomplishments. His reign saw a successful move from CNNSI to Yahoo, the banishment of deadbeat owners Jorge Figeroa, Mandi Bates, and Tae-Hyung Kim, the addition of Cyrus and Adam as quality owners, and the shift from a yearly league to a keeper league. The league has seen the tremendous highs of championships won, and the lows of trades too hideous to revisit. At the time of his shocking announcement, it was unclear who would fill this mammoth void.

Fortunately (perhaps) for the league, owner Mac Avery has a long history of "filling mammoth voids." A renowned "chubby chaser," Mac inserted his meager presence into the cavernous opening and thrust the league ahead. The league is flushed with excitement and has swelled with eagerness to see how firmly Avery will grip this enticing opportunity as he plunges forward (and back, forward and back).

Clearly, change has come to the Bowling League. History will judge whether this will be a positive change or more of the same.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Year of the Remake

It’s been a year filled with remakes of old television shows and movies in Los Angeles. We already have a new Knight Rider show, a failed Bionic Woman show, a Terminator show, and new movie installments of Batman and Indiana Jones. There’s a likely A-Team movie on the horizon, talks of a Goonies sequel, and possibly a 3rd Ghostbusters movie. With all these old shows and movies returning, perhaps we should not be surprised by the 6th edition of the Los Angeles County Bowling League. While our league is not run by Hollywood execs, the Fantasy Baseball Gods have clearly put together yet another 80s movie remake.

Last year, the Boston Teabag Party came away with the LACBL championship trophy, while Mac Avery’s Gutterballs were left cradling the Golden Gibler Award for Roster Futility. To entertain themselves, the Fantasy Gods have decided to remake Trading Places for 2008, wagering one dollar that they could turn a homeless, luckless Mac Avery into league champion once again, and turn league champion Jeff Fine into the Golden Gibler winner.

By using an obscure loophole (i.e. marriage) to skirt the keeper rules, Mac was given an immediate infusion of talent that had not been subjected to his 2006-07 mismanagement. With the Fantasy Gods also giving Mac the gift of players like Josh Hamilton, Geovany Soto, and Edinson Volquez, they were able to turn this hapless loser into the king of Los Angeles.

Turning Jeff’s team into the Golden Gibler winner was easy as well. The Fantasy Gods gave this team a series of players who spent time in the minor leagues (Saltalamacchia, Longoria, Liriano), forcing roster moves that would not otherwise have been needed. A lack of multiple solid options at closer led the Lollygaggers to punt on saves, leading to a strategy of streaming starters that racked up dozens of moves. Finally, an endless rotation of pathetic performances at catcher and second base led to further futile roster moves.

What we were ultimately left with was a script that was all too familiar, and all too entertaining for our league’s version of Mortimer and Randolph Duke.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wake Me Up When September Ends

It’s early September, 2007, and Los Angeles is filled with the excitement of two dramatic Bowling League races. Atop the LACBL standings sits Josh Poulette and the Crazy 88, with a roster filled with all closers and no starters. Directly behind him in the standings, Jeff Fine’s Boston Teabag Party looms with a roster mainly comprised of closers as well. The race appears likely to be competitive for the remainder of the season, and all of Los Angeles watches in anticipation (except for Adam, who may or may not have been watching at all at that point).

Meanwhile, there is friction elsewhere in the League, as husband/wife opponents Mac and Kelly Avery steam up the windows as they both huff their way towards the Golden Gibler. Maude and the L.L. Urban Achievers have held a lead for much of the season, but Mac and the Gutterballs are charging towards her back door. The race is hard to watch, but somehow it’s impossible to look away. Another fierce race captivates the Bowling League.

Flash forward one year to September, 2008. The same two races in the same league appear to be all but over. There is no race at the top of the leaderboard. Instead, last year’s Gibby leaders have merge their loins and spawned a drinking, swearing, pool-shooting, ass-grabbing juggernaut that dominates the LACBL. Not since Team Cyrus abused fellow competitors several years ago have we seen such a commanding presence atop the standings. In place of competition for first, we have a compelling battle for 2nd place between two of the unlikeliest of LACBL heroes. One of these teams, Rich and the Four Dingers, has been in “rebuilding” mode since the Bowling League moved to Yahoo in its second season. After finishing second to Mac in year one (sound familiar?), Fording and his team alliteration suffered a string of unlucky and unproductive seasons. Now that Rich has eschewed his diet of old has-beens and never-weres, he has asserted himself as a team to be reckoned with. Rich’s rival for runner-up remains the rogue once renowned for revolting results, former Rule of the ‘Rist and current Rude Boy Adam Butz, who has recently risen in the ranks to contend for requisite recognition. Adam has made shrewd managerial decisions, and assembled a team that has steadily moved into position to finish in the money. This would mark a serious departure from previous seasons, when Adam was left holding the Golden Gibler and a fistful of broken dreams.

While we lack a competitive race for the LACBL crown, we do have a close one for the Golden Gibler Award for Roster Futility between the Crazy 88 and Jeff Fine’s aptly named LA Lollygaggers. Here’s what the current standings look like:

Jeff - 51.5 points out of first times 75 roster moves = 3862.5 Gibby Points
Josh - 32 points out of first times 116 roster moves = 3712 Gibby Points

This race will likely hinge on a few things: (1) whether Josh continues to stream starters in an attempt to struggle against the quicksand that snagged him late this summer, (2) whether Josh drops any lower in the overall standings, and (3) whether Jeff can get his underperforming group of worthless toolbags to rally in the standings.
So for the three teams that apparently still pay attention to the Bowling League in 2008, stay tuned to see how the (somewhat) exciting races for 2nd and Gibby glory shake out over the next few weeks!

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Heart of Fantasy Darkness

Maud Achiever had been captaining the steam boat up the Congo River (or a PBR boat up the Nung River if you prefer the movie) for the last three weeks. Treehorn had been remarkably successful with his fantasy team and had won respect and revere from the natives. The station captain (or Army general if, again, you prefer the movie), however, assured Maud that he had reached his breaking point, that his methods had become unsound.
"When you find Treehorn, infiltrate his team by whatever means available and terminate Treehorn's command. He's out there managing without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable fantasy baseball conduct. And he is still in the dugout commanding players."
"Terminate Treehorn?"
"Terminate with extreme prejudice."

From the river she could see his office where the computer was housed. Around the office were posts with bulbous objects atop. Human heads? No. Autographed baseballs. He has gone mad!

A lanky European named Marvin was waiting on the beach and jumped aboard as the boat reached shore.
“You’re here for him, aren’t you?”
“I need to talk to Treehorn.”
“Hey man, you don’t talk to Treehorn, you listen to him!”

That first night Maud crept up the stairs to Treehorn’s office. Through the crack in his door she could see the glow of Stattracker and heard the tapping of keys on the computer. As she approached, she saw that he had just traded Chad Billingsley for Mark Teixeira. But he had a huge lead in HRs and RBI, while vulnerable in quality starts and Ks per nine. He had a chance to catch the leader in Ks, the leader who he had just traded Billingsley to. Mad. He was mad (or at least insanely over confident in his recent spot starting success).

“Are you a fantasy baseball owner?”
“I’m a baseball fan.”
“You’re neither. You're an errand girl, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill. I've seen horrors, er, I mean homers…homers that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a fanatic. You have a right to stop me. You have a right to do that...but you have no right to judge me. I’ve seen C.C. Sabathia crawl along the edge of a strait razor…and survive! I’ve seen Josh Hamilton jog his way around the bases. And I thought: My God... the genius of that. The genius. The ability to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. We must beat them. We must incinerate them. Night after night. Team after team. Owner after owner. League after league.”

The next night Maud slipped out from the bedroom to the kitchen, grabbed the butcher knife, and creped back up the stairs to his office. The scent of decaying pizza and stale beer was overwhelming. Terrifying chants of baseball announcers hummed in the background. He was sick, but she couldn’t wait for him to self-destruct. She lunged at the computer with her knife. Sparks flew, beer flowed over the keyboard, and the screen flickered, then died.
When the computer putter out, so too did Treehorn who lay motionless on the rug clutching his mouse. With his last breath he whispered, “The horror…the horror.”

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fine Looks to Build Up on Trophies of a Different Sort

After winning his second LCBL championship last year, Jeff went out and bought a 4’ by 6’ trophy case, confident that he would take a trophy home every year.

Reality: Knock, knock.
Jeff: “Whose there?”
Reality: “Reality”
Jeff: “Reality who?”
Reality: “Reality! Just plain, simple reality…well, reality with a little sub-par Verlander, Cain, Howard, Liriano, Oritz, Francoeur, Saltman, and Weeks added.”

With the championship trophy clearly out of reach, Fine now looks to fill his trophy case with whatever he can get. In the LCBL, that means a product of his own creation: the somewhat less coveted Golden Gibler Award, given to the team with the most futile roster activity.

In 9th place, Fine’s L.A. Lollygaggers have only made 40 roster moves this year – not close to the 79 moves made by second-place Crazy 88s and still five fewer than the first-place Treehorns. However, 14 of those 40 roster moves have been made in the last 5 days. Clearly, Fine, having recognized his hopelessness in this years LCBL, and fearful of having a huge trophy case with little in it, is happy to fill his case with whatever he can get his hands on.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Ownership Pledges Overhaul of Lollygaggers

Being a deadbeat owner is a clear violation of one of the 5 Commandments in the Bowling League, punishable by mockery and possible expulsion from the LACBL. Typically, this neglect is apparent, with DL’ed players in the lineup, missing starts, and a failure to rotate players to deal with days off or injuries. The hideous performance of the L.A. Lollygaggers this season might have masked the recent disregard of this clusterf*ck by owner Jeff Fine. This abandonment, however, was the product of a major distraction rather than a lack of interest in steering the ‘Gaggers from the gutter.

Last weekend, Lollygagger owner Jeff Fine was (finally) wedded to special lady friend Amanda Cooper, the former object of desire of Sammy “Marvin” Sosa. In addition to preventing Fine from managing his roster effectively over the past two weeks, this union has also led to a modified ownership group for the defending champions, as Cooper has seized a 50 percent share of the Lollygaggers. Despite his efforts to protect his fantasy team from such a takeover, the prenuptial agreement was apparently not iron clad. A consummate cheapskate, Fine eschewed the Massey Prenup for a lesser substitute. The holes in the agreement have allowed Cooper to gain split control of all Jeff’s assets, changing the direction in which the Lollygaggers will head in the future.

New owner Cooper pledges to overhaul the roster of the Lollygaggers. She has vowed to return this miserable team to its former glory next season, rather than waiting for Jeff’s long-term rebuilding plan to mature. The cornerstone of her plan is to put every player on the trading block, especially previously untouchable players like Ryan Howard. Cooper vows not only to build a winner, but to do so without owning any players from Braves’ rival teams in the NL East. Time will tell whether the Lollygaggers will be able to successfully dodge both Yankees and NL Easters while still returning to the top of the LACBL.