Monday, October 11, 2010

Mother Mary Comfort Me

Twenty-seven years, more than half the years he’s spent on earth. Eleven CFCL Championships, including a three-peat. Twenty-two money finishes while competing against 39 different owners. Talk about fantasy numbers! The Copperfield Dynasty came to a quiet end with the completion of the 2010 baseball season.

The CFCL (Cub Fan Club League) could easily stand for Championships For Copperfields League. Starting on that fateful day in 1983 standing in Kroc’s and Brentano’s on Lake Street, when David showed Rich the original Rotisserie League Book (and beginning an estimated 9900 day journey to play Fantasy Baseball’s version of The Lone Ranger and Tonto; Sandberg and Dernier; Penn & Teller; no wait, here it is – Holmes and Watson), the CFCL has stood apart from any other fantasy baseball league due to the class, dignity and ethics that David uses in his everyday life.

And it’s that class, dignity and ethics that have caused the Copperfields to shut the doors rather than put things on cruise control. There is always a chance for a return, as with any former owner – aside from the vile, despicable scum from our past - but for now the Copperfields are riding into baseball’s sunset. Pending league approval we are hoping to have David take on the role of Former Owner Emeritus so that he can help maintain the League History and we can come to him and say “When we put in "X" the Constitution, what in the hell were we thinking?”

Let’s take a little stroll down Memory Lane to identify some of the things that make the CFCL stand apart from any other league, shall we?

Video tapes of ENTIRE drafts during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s (these tapes are for sale in the lobby on your way out). Clips of those videos have been sprinkled throughout Weekly Reports, Monroe Doctrines, Message Boards and the League Webpage.

The absolute integrity and objectivity that the Co-Commissioner used to interpret rules, make rulings and deal with the daily strife. Too many times I hear stories from other fantasy owners who complain that their Commissioners are always making rulings that benefit the Commissioners teams/needs. David always looked at the bigger picture and understood the league was bigger than any one team. Many a time I would receive an e-mail wherein he would point out a question that had been brought to his attention. He would not include the owner or team that was involved so as to not cloud my judgment and let emotions take over (“Kenn’s involved? Ah, screw ‘im!”) I was always able to render my opinion without worrying about whom I was ruling for or against. Made my job a lot easier.

As League Secretary, David consistently stayed up late the night before the draft putting together the Draft Sheets, Free Agent List, Reserve List Sheets, bringing the pretzels and licorice and all the video and audio equipment to the detriment of being able to fully prepare for the draft as an owner – not that eleven titles and an 81% In the Money Finish are any evidence that the Copperfields were working at a disadvantage.

Not only was he a world class owner and GM, he was League Secretary, Co-Commissioner, Statistician and Historian beyond compare. He brought the CFCL into the Computer Era. Prior to computerizing things, he would – by hand – enter each team’s stats on a WEEKLY BASIS (!) once the weekly statistics were printed in the USA Today. Then he would add each column of stats, log it and continue on until he had computed the team’s HR, RBI, Runs, BA, ERA, WHIP, Wins and Saves. He would then do that for the other five to seven teams in the league. When the standings were complete he would type (we were using typewriters back then folks) and copy the standings and stats and mail them to each team. Needless to say, women were not a part of the Copperfield way of life before computers came along. (Is it any wonder that he and Michelle found each other only after David started using computers to calculate the standings? I think not.)

Once computers became available, he designed programs to do the calculations more quickly, but he still had to manually enter each player’s statistics each week. Herculean effort doesn’t come close to describing this kind of dedication.

He has assured us that he is not sitting in Hattiesburg, MS waiting to make a decision during Spring Training. The last few years have been hard on the Copperfield front office. The way some owners were conducting themselves was difficult to witness as to the effect it was having on the league he gave birth to. But as always David understood the league was bigger than any one team and that the league would handle things, which it did. Moreover it ended up coming down to time. Time needed to continue running a successful, competitive franchise vs. time needed to invest in his family and their activities. Not surprisingly he rightfully chose his family. When David does anything he does it all out. We’ve seen that in his running the league for 27 years. He does that with his wife and children. Finally the soccer games, scout camping trips, church groups, choir concerts and special time with Michelle won out.

The CFCL will be poorer for the absence of the Copperfield team, but is richer for the strong foundation David has built to allow the league to continue with the solid core of owners that currently comprise the league.

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