Hi all-


I'm back in the office and caught up on work, so there's time now to recap the draft weekend. Since I didn't attend "draft central" in Colorado last year, I'd forgotten how much fun these things are. For this year, six of us assembled in sunny and mild San Diego---Bob C., Tim, Elly, Steve, Jed, and me---not counting the wives Sharon (Bob C.), Julie (Elly), Jeanette (Steve), and Veronica (Tim).


On Thursday we all met at the airport (except for Tim and Veronica) and then went to an open-aired restaurant next to a channel that ocean-going vessels use to get to the Pacific. The restaurant's dining area was in an enclosed patio, with a high ceiling and a lot of windows. Four sets of double doors opened to the outdoors, allowing fresh air and birds to come in. I noticed a little bird flitting about from chandelier to chandelier, and I was hoping it wouldn't poop on my lunch. I think we all succeeded in finishing our meals without any "extras."


Afterward we went our separate ways, Bob C and Elly (and wives) off to Bob's house in the town of Poway, while Steve (and wife), Jed, and I traveled in another direction to a house in Solano Beach rented by Steve. The house was right across the street and up a cliff from the ocean, and that area attracted surfers who parked their cars on the street and then changed into wet suits right out in the open. This means there were naked people there in the street! Well, not actually. But while no one was parading around, there was one guy sitting butt-cheeked naked in his car as we walked by.


At the beach, we came too close to the surf, and my shoes got wet. This delighted Jed, who seemed to take pleasure in my discomfort, which should surprise no one who has ever traded with him. ;?)


Later we drove to Bob's house in Poway. It was at night now, and when we turned into a small side street poorly lit, what seemed like a great yeti appeared suddenly in front of us. It was attacking! But that was no yeti. Instead it was Bob C., plodding toward us in the middle of the dark road, waving his arms to attract our attention.


Bob led us to his new home and provided a tour, where one of his rooms is decorated in a baseball theme. I was jealous, seeing all the framed photos of Bob in baseball uniform from his times at fantasy baseball camps, with Fergie Jenkins, Jimmy Piersall, Minnie Minoso, Randy Hundley, Hoyt Wilhelm, etc. There also were signed baseball cards and other memorabilia, including his BCBL trophies. Cool.


We then walked to a restaurant named Hamburger Depot or something, where most of us ate burgers of some variety: cheeseburger, mushroom burger, buffalo burger, etc. For Jed, this was a theme of the weekend, eating burgers. Jed is looking fantastically fit these days, but every half hour or so he would proclaim, "Let's get a hamburger!" This happened during all hours we were awake. Even while finishing one meal at a restaurant, he'd suggest, "How about we stop for a hamburger after this?"


Of particular interest to Jed were the hamburgers cooked by a place called "In 'n Out." Fresh, moist, tasty, inexpensive, these are apt descriptors for the hamburgers sold there. I have to admit that I ate my share of these burgers, even on a full stomach, which is why I am so damned fat. But they were mighty tasty, these In Ďn Out slices of heaven on a bun.


I think this was the night when I succumbed to Jed's mind control, trading away Richard Hidalgo and leaving me woefully short in the outfield. It was also this night (Thursday) when after returning from Bob's house, Steve, Jed, and I watched a DVD of the comedian John Piniete (or something), who looks like he ate way too many hamburgers. He's funnier than hell, and if you can't laugh at a fat guy, whom can you laugh at?


Friday morning, the five BCBLers (sans Tim) went to breakfast at a place with an open patio overlooking the ocean. The day was overcast and cool, but there was one of those standing heat lamps on the patio, so the breakfast was enjoyable. Afterward we traveled to downtown San Diego to the new Padres ballpark. Finally we were meeting Tim. We all have an image of a person in our heads, and my image of Tim was that he looked like old major leaguer Steve Lyons, based on a far-away photo of him that Bob C took at old Padres ballpark. But he doesn't look like that. When Tim arrived at the ballpark, Jed immediately pegged him as a look-alike for actor Benicio Del Toro. I could see the resemblance, but to me Tim looked more like a taller version of former league member Kevin Sampson.


So we toured the new ballpark, and then afterward went for a quick beer in an Irish pub. Then we drove to Tim's house, which is minutes from the ocean. If Bob C has a baseball room, Tim has a baseball house. Tim and his wife Veronica have done a great job of involving modern style in an older home. The home's interior has a wide‑open feel, and its wood floors dominate and set the ambiance. Like I described Bob C's baseball room, this house is cool. But while Bob C has one baseball room, Tim has a whole baseball house. There was plenty of baseball memorabilia throughout, with baseball cards and old gloves and balls in display cases. Tim's also got a music collection of a couple thousand CDs, displayed on wood shelving in the family room. Baseball and good music, Timís got his priorities straight.


A few minutes from Tim's home is the ocean. We visited the cliffs there, and from our vantage point we could see miles in each direction. Up and down the coast there were hundreds of surfers far out in the ocean, all waiting for the perfect wave. Afterward we drove to a part of town called Old San Diego, which is a large, walled area that I guess represents the actual first settlings of the city. Adobe buildings there surround the large town square, which is a grassy area with tall, mature trees. We ate at a Mexican restaurant where Jed and I had fish, which in our minds made us think we could go out immediately afterward for some In 'n Out burgers. Of course, with the chips and salsa, the marguerites, and the dinner itself, we still consumed about 3000 calories each during dinner. But what the hell, there is always room for a hamburger. So it was off to In 'n Out right after our Mexican meal.


Saturday was draft day. We all participated in it, so we know what happened. Before the draft got rolling, though, Bob C handed out the trophies provided by Bob Beardsley. They are really beautiful awards and will fit nicely in baseball rooms at home. Inspired by what I saw at Bob C's and Tim's, I now will designate my area at home as my baseball room, and will hang all my baseball stuff there.


For draft day, Bob C had a great spread of donuts and cold cuts for sandwiches and just about anything else we could want to eat. So none of our bellies were empty during the day.


As soon as the draft ended, Jed and Steve went for a load of In 'n Out burgers (I'm not kidding). We then held the post‑draft tournament, with Steve and Jed getting the first‑round bye (thus their trip to get hamburgers). In the first round, my Outs defeated Bob Cís Bobcats (nee Devils), and Timís Surf defeated Ellyís Mustangs. In the second round, Steveís Polars defeated my Outs, and Jedís Knights defeated Timís Surf. In the championship game, Jed beat Steve, a final out coming when the tying run was cut down at the plate. So, Jed won the tournament, and his Knights look like the team to beat in the BCBL this coming season.


That night we played poker while the wives watched a tear‑jerker movie. Jed had left us soon after the draft to spend time with an old girlfriend who'd come down from Los Angeles. After about 3 hours of play, I was the big winner, walking away from the poker table with an extra $10 in my pocket. Yahoo.


And then it was time to depart. We all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways for another year. Steve and I traveled back to the house in Solano Beach, Elly and Bob C prepared for the ocean cruise they and their wives would be leaving for on Sunday morning, and Tim was off to his home in Point Loma. The new baseball season lay ahead of us. We're all anxiously waiting to see how our teams will do in real competition. In the meantime, it's nice to sit back and think of the fun that was had at the draft this year. I know I sound like a broken record when I say these things are a blast, but they really are. We all have different personalities and add a lot to the league. Bob C and Elly are the heart and soul of the league, Tim adds that West Coast laid-back flavor, Steve the Midwest calm and determination, and Jed is the wild card who adds such electricity to everything. I know I am rambling, but it was a damned good time. Can't wait for next year. Hope to see more of you there!