A once in a lifetime opportunity presented itself. I couldn’t resist - A RP baseball sim
|Based within a game called "Baseball Mogul" (https://www.sportsmogul.com/). The community there had the idea to use the simulation to come up with a story and such based on the outcome of playing the game. I decided to give it a go.
I will be updating at least once a week game-time. Hopefully, this ends with at least one World Series win, but I would have absolutely no idea how long that may take.
Start Date: 1966
Game Year: 1967
All names should be completely made up - player names generated by the game. All teams named by me, based on the real MLB teams in those cities.
Details needed will be added as I remember them......
I opened the door Theodore’s office.
“Christian. Come in, my friend. But pleasure before business.” Theodore Langley turned in his high-back leather chair behind his oak desk. “What did you think about the World Series?” Theo love baseball. Lived, breathed, ate, slept, baseball.
“I’m surprised the Birds had any chance beating the Dodgeballers.”
He stood and moved around the front of his desk. He had a blue dress shirt tucked into his dress slacks, and a fairly small belt buckle - by Nashville standards, anyway – was fixed at the top of his black slacks. “Remember the secret I told you when the playoffs started?”
Do I ever. He had told me that he picked the Birds to win the AL pennant, and he had a large bet with Morgan McRosen, a very wealthy banker friend from New York, that they would beat whichever team they faced in the World Series.
Theo continued, “I liked their team back in June. I knew they were destined for great things, even if most people did not.”
“I’m not surprised that they were a good team, Sir. Just that they won over a team that was supposed to run away with the World Series for the foreseeable future. “
“Sometimes, you have to trust what you see, and not what the papers tell you.”
“I will keep that in mind, Theo. But talking baseball is not the reason you’ve called me.”
“Actually, Christian, it very much is.” He could read the puzzled look on my face, and a large grin came to his face. “My bet with Morgan was that, if I won, he would ask a very good friend of his, who just happens to be the commissioner of baseball, for a little insider information. See, I told him that I want to bring a team to Nashville, and I have the money to do so. I love baseball, and I need an investment. A baseball team seemed to be the best of both worlds.”
“Have you talked to Morgan?”
“I have. And he told me that I need to meet him in New York in early December. But before I leave and make any final decisions, I need to make sure you are on board. You have managed this business for ten years. I’ve taught you well. If I can bring baseball to Nashville, I want you to be the general manager of the ball club.”
I didn’t know what to say. On one hand, I wasn’t sure if I could manage a baseball team as well as I had managed the record label. But, on the other, I was deeply honored to take on that responsibility for Theodore.
“I see some doubt in your face, Christian. Speak your mind.”
There wasn’t a man alive that Theodore couldn’t read like a book. And we had known each other for so long, he knew what I was thinking - usually before I did.
“I don’t know if I could be as successful as I am here. I don’t want to fail you.”
“I’d be worried if you did want to fail me.” He paused, then laughed. “I can’t tell you if Nashville will respond to a baseball club, but I want you to know you’d have my full support.”
“I’d be honored, Theodore.”
“Great! We’ll talk details if I come back from New York with the promise of a baseball team. But, for now, we’ve got a label to run. Let’s not forget that.”
I couldn’t believe that, of all the men that worked closely with Theodore, that he’d choose me to manage a baseball team that he owned. But I was getting ahead of myself. While I knew how much baseball meant to Theodore, I didn’t know how easy – or hard — it’d be for him to bring baseball to Nashville.
The next weeks crawled. I couldn’t help but think how amazing it would be to have baseball in Nashville. Growing up, I had wished we lived close enough to go see a game. Nashville was in the middle of a baseball triangle. Atlanta, Cincinnati, and St. Louis were all within a five-hour drive. Growing up during the depression, we never went anywhere, let alone taking a five-hour drive, one way, just to see a two-hour baseball game. To be asked to be a managing director for the team would be amazing!
But I had to remind myself that it was just a meeting. There was no promise of a baseball club in Nashville. There probably haven’t even been preliminary talks. That’s what this meeting was about. I needed to stay calm, and make sure that I did my job well enough that I still held Mr. Langley’s graces if and when he ever brought baseball to Nashville.
In the days leading up to his trip, I could tell Theodore was excited. He didn’t speak of what he’d be doing while there, but he rarely spoke of anything else. He made sure his hotel was booked at least three times a day, and his secretary told me that he had his itinerary down to the minute.
Finally, the day came that Theodore was to leave for New York. He made sure I had my to-do list while he was gone, and I wished him well and safe travels as he left the office.
After a week in New York, Theodore returned, and seemed rather down. I spoke to him only about the goings on at the business while he was away, and he never mentioned a word about his trip to New York. I was rather disappointed, but didn’t let it get to me. Two weeks after he returned home was Christmas, and he wanted me to inform everyone that the recording studio and all the day-to-day operations staff would be given paid time off the whole week between Christmas and New Year’s. Only the agents would be required to work if a client needed assistance. Theodore Langley was the type of owner who would often greet employees during their shifts, and met with agents almost weekly, so when he had left it to me to inform the employees, I knew he wasn’t well. So, I contacted all the managers, and they thanked me for our generosity.
In the four days leading up to Christmas, I had only spoken to Theo twice; once to let him know all the employees had been notified, and once to tell him I was leaving for Christmas and our paid time off, and that he could contact me if there was anything he needed from me throughout the next week.
Monday Morning 1/2/67
New Year’s Day, I had stopped into work to see if there was anything that needed addressing from the last week. When I walked into my office, there was a note on my desk asking me to stop by Theodore’s office first thing Monday morning. Theodore was the type of man to work sunup to sundown, and after stepping away from the business for all but four days of the last few weeks, he would surely be the first one at the office Monday morning. After making a to-do list for Monday morning, I told myself I should be here not long after Theodore.
The next morning, I didn’t even bother stopping into my own office before heading over to see Theodore. His door was open slightly, and I knocked, if only for courtesy.
“Christian. Please come in and shut the door.” His voice sounded like he was holding something back, but I couldn’t tell if it was good or bad. I did as I was told, and made my way towards his desk. “Please sit down. We have very important business to discuss.”
“What sort of business, Sir?” I asked as I timidly sat down opposite him.
He pulled a stack of papers from under his morning newspaper, and slid them across his desk. “This is notification to you that you are being released from your job duties as Managing Director of Langley Records.”
“But, Sir! I don’t understand! Why?”
“Christian, please just sign at the bottom of the page there, and we can move on.”
“But Mr. Langley…” I paused in shock. “I just don’t understand. We’ve been partners for ten years. Why…” I was interrupted.
“Mr. Downing. Sometimes we just need to move on to bigger and better opportunities.” A large envelope was pushed on top of the release papers. I looked up at him, and he motioned for me to open it. It was already cut, so I pulled out the sheet of paper from inside, and unfolded it.
At the top, in big, bold letters was typed “Major League Baseball: Commissioners Office”. As I read further, it said:
Dear Mr. Theodore Langley,
We are happy to inform you that we have approved the sale of the Chicago Bears from one, Mr. Richard Hayes, for the total price of eight million five hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($8,550,000). Movement of the team from Chicago to Nashville is also approved, based upon the bullets below.
• All monies are paid in full, and proof of payment is forwarded to this office for record, no later than 31st January, 1967.
• All contracts of current players are to be moved with the team to Nashville, or dealt with under all current rules and guidelines.
• The new ownership provides documentation of procurement of a Major League approved field, purchased or leased for said team to play, ready by 1st March, 1967.
• Any changes to minor league affiliations be presented with proof of payment to the current owner of the club.
If proof of purchase is not received by the above date, the transaction will be null and void, and the offer will have to be resubmitted and approved by the owners and the Commissioner’s office.
Commissioner of Major League Baseball
I couldn’t believe my eyes. He had actually pulled it off. Baseball would be coming to Nashville.
“Well, Christian?” Theodore slid another paper over, showing my new position – General Managing Director, Nashville Baseball Club. I quickly grabbed the release form and signed it, elated to read over my new offer sheet.
Dear Mr. Downing,
Langley Holdings, INC is happy to offer you the position of General Managing Director within the division of Baseball Affairs, starting immediately upon signing. The position is based upon completion of meeting all Major League Baseball stipulations, regardless of the move from New York to Nashville. Salary will be drawn at twenty thousand dollars and 00/100 cents ($20,000.00) annually, for the first three (3) years of the contract, and will be negotiated the prior year for the next contract term. If at any point either party is dissatisfied, either party shall give at least one hundred eighty (180) days’ notice before either the end of the league year or the expiration of a current contract.
Theodore M Langley
President, Langley Holdings, INC
I quickly signed the paper. “I cannot believe that you made this happen! And after returning from New York less than happy.”
“The first few days in New York, I had met with a few owners, as they were in town for their winter meetings. I had support as a future owner of many of them. On the fourth day, I had met with a few of the league officials; including Mr. Mason. But they told me that, as it stands, there wouldn’t be an expansion club awarded to any city. When I came home, I was completely deflated, and little anyone did could cheer me up. I was talking to Morgan about my trip, and he jokingly said ‘can’t you just buy one?’ And that got me thinking.” He paused, making sure I was still with him at this point in the conversation.
“So, you just went out and bought the Bears?”
“Well, it wasn’t that easy. I called a few of the owners I had met with, asking who they thought wanted out of Major League Baseball. They all told me that, quietly, Richard Hayes had been asking for offers for his Bears. So, I set up a call with him, and he threw out a number, and I countered. After a few shots back and forth, we ended up at just over eight and a half million.”
“But what about the field? Where is the team going to play?”
“I am working that out at the moment. There are a few fields I have looked at with the Commissioner’s Office, and have started working on a contract with two field owners.”
“Amazing! I don’t know how you’ve done all this in the last few weeks!”
“The schedule is only going to get worse over the next two months, which is why I needed you on board now.” He paused. “Most importantly, I’d like your input on a team name.”
“I don’t know, Theo. It’s your team, you should really pick the name.”
“Now isn’t the time to go soft on me, Chris. I have a few ideas, and I’d like to know what you think Nashville would like best. I’ll have Abigail type a list and have it on your desk before lunch.”
“Shall we meet for lunch, then?”
“Does one o’clock work for you?”
“It does, Sir.”
“Great.” He paused, thinking to himself. “There is a list of things you need to do while I’m procuring our playing field. After we decide on a team name, I need you to design a logo for the team and uniforms as soon as possible, so we can get the uniforms made and in Daytona before the end of the month. You also have a budget of two hundred thousand dollars scouting and medical. We have a budget of $2.5 million for players contracts, including all current contracts. That leaves you about three hundred thousand to play with, though, I doubt you’ll be signing any new players before the draft. On that note, the draft is June fourth. I also need you to do your own scouting of the current team, and have a team ready for April second’s opening day. The team is currently scheduled to report to Daytona on March first. Hopefully I have a field for them to play on here in Nashville after spring training.” He paused again, seemingly to make sure he hadn’t forgotten anything important. “Oh! The most important thing! You know me, and how hands-on I like to be, but, for the sake of the media... I may be the owner, but this is your team.”
“So, I’m the final decision maker?”
“Yes. I’m here to help when you need it, and when I think you need it. But I trust you enough to make all the decisions, and take the praise when you do well, and the blame when you do not. That’s not to say I won’t be here for you whenever you need me. Quite the opposite. I hope that our great communication here continues in this venture.” He paused. “Are we understood?”
“Good. Now, we’ve both got a lot of work to do. So, let’s get to it!”
“What do you think, Christian?” Theo asked after we had eaten. “I have come up with a few names, and I’d like to know if you had any additions or liked one of mine.”
The list of team names was short, but I already knew it had a winner. While Nashville was known for its music, I didn’t think a musically thematic name would grab Nashville’s attention.
“I’m actually leaning toward one of yours, Sir. I quite fancy Nighthawks.”
“I am fond of that name, too. And, I’ll let you in on a little secret; it’s actually the only one on that list I actually came up with.” He laughed.
“It’s true. The other three came from either my wife or Morgan.”
“Well, then. I’m glad the two of us are on the same page.”
“So. The Nashville Nighthawks. I can’t wait to see what you come up with as a logo design!”
I had created a design for the logo and colors picked for uniforms. I had also hired a scout out of the Cleveland Natives organization by the name of Richard Klap for $12,000. That left me a great amount of money for his travel over the next year. I had also called all the players and coaches to let them know of the teams’ new owner, that I was the new General Manager, and all the rest of the coaching staff was still in place for the time being. I also informed them that I was going to run a tight ship, and expected both players and coaches to adhere to those rules, and that I looked forward to meeting them all on March first for spring training. There were a few players that sounded unhappy, but most of them sounded relieved. I never would have guessed that Mr. Hayes was that bad of an owner that the team didn’t like him. \
Also, the league sent out our schedule. Looks like it wont be easy right off the bat - pun intended. Our first series is against the defending National League champs the Los Angeles Dodgeballers. In LA. Doesn't get much harder than that. The league did seem to take it easy on us in terms of home and away games. The first two weeks of the season, we play on the road Monday through Wednesday, have an off day Thursday, and are home Friday through Sunday. The second two weeks, the off day changes to Monday, but we're still on the road during the week and home on the weekend. Our first homestand is May 3rd through 8th against Cincinnati and Houston. Then its our first road trip to New York and Cincinnati May 10th through 16th. The allstar break is July 8th through 10th, with the allstar game on the 9th. Then its 14 straight games and 41 games in 42 days ending August 22nd. The back end of that run is 27 in a row - our longest stretch without a day off. September ends the season with a lightly home-heavy schedule. The last week of the season, we play 3 in Houston and then 3 in Pittsburgh.
With March quickly approaching, I needed to pack for my nearly five week stay in Daytona beach – for business.
I arrived in Daytona on February 27, a few days prior to meeting with the coaches and players. The next day, Theodore called me at the hotel, giving me the great news that he had contracted a field for the team. We would be playing at Cumberland Field – a fairly large ball field on the north-west side of the city. He said it was “a temporary home until the team could afford to build its own.” He said that he would be down in Daytona to inspect the minor league field that would be hosting spring training for the team, and hold a meeting with the coaches and scout.
The next morning, I made my way over to the ball field and formerly introduced myself to the coaches, including head coach Charles Denmark, and our scout. We talked about how I knew the new owner, and how we all got ourselves into our current positions. I also informed them that Mr. Langley would be holding a formal meeting with the staff over lunch. Then, we talked a bit about the players currently on the team, and those in the minor leagues. Having followed baseball religiously, I knew a lot of the players on the team, but little about those who were in the minors. About 10:30, Theodore walked into the locker room. He greeted everyone and then gave a little background on himself.
Theodore and I left the coaches and made our way out to the field. It was in decent shape, but one could tell it had been a few years since it had been well maintained. Theodore whipped out his notebook and we made notes on what we wanted repaired or replaced, and what might need our attention in the near future.
After two hours of inspection, we broke for lunch. Theodore suggested a nice bar down the street and we met the coaches there. Theodore and I had agreed a few weeks ago on some basic goals that we’d like to see this year, and we brought those to the attention of the coaching staff. We wanted to see the players really hustle, and play to the best of their ability. The team finished last year with a 59-103 record, and we wanted to see that improve at least eleven games, getting to a record of 70-92. We would evaluate all players during the games in March, and determine positions of strengths and weaknesses. The coaches were informed that we had a tight budget for this year, although no exact numbers were spoken, and this year’s revenue would determine the budget for next year. We also spoke about strategies for the upcoming exhibition games, and that we’d all meet before the season started to tweak those strategies based on the exhibition games.
As the players trickled in, I made sure to note from afar who presented themselves well and who did not. We had a full roster, but no one was above the new rules that were set when I talked to them earlier in the year.
The next day, after all the players were to have arrived, I let the head coach know that I wanted to meet with the players, and Mr. Langley would, too. After lunch, Theo and I met in the lobby of the hotel.
“Well, Theodore. I can’t promise this move has made all the players happy, but most seemed to welcome our club takeover.”
“I do hope you’ll have a talk with those players one-on-one to see how they feel and if there’s anything we can do to help them?”
“Absolutely. I did mention to them when I talked to them to inform of the purchase, and only a few hoped that this move was good for the team, as they were fond of Mr. Hayes.”
We had walked the three blocks to the field, and the players were all in the weight room working out. I had Coach Denmark round the players up and had them all meet in the locker room.
“I would like to welcome each and every one of you to Daytona. You all may not know who I am. My name is Theodore Langley, and I am the owner of Langley Records in Nashville. I am also the new team owner. This man here to my right is Christian Downing, and he is head of Baseball Operations and the General Managing Director of this club. It looks like most of you have received your new workout shirts. The first set of uniforms should be arriving shortly. For some unknown reason, they were shipped to Nashville rather than here. But that’s it from me. I’m going to hand the floor over to Mr. Downing.” Theo turned to me. “I’ll meet you back at the hotel this afternoon. We’ll catch up after dinner?”
Theo left the room and, for the first time, all sixty-some pairs of eyes were on me.
“Hello men. First, I want to reiterate Mr. Langley’s welcome. It’s good to see everyone made it here for camp. I know some of you weren’t exactly thrilled to have this change of ownership. Know that Mr. Langley is a great man, and will be a very hands-on owner. We will do everything in our power to make this franchise competitive. Also, I will be here all month long, and I will be traveling to Los Angeles with the team for the first series. Coaches should be the first ones you go to, but know that I will be available to you for the next five weeks if you have any questions about ownership. Also, on that front, the field we will be playing on has little room for upper management. So, for now, my office will continue to be at Langley Records. But, like I said, I will do my best to be approachable. I’ll continue to be around the field the rest of the afternoon if you’d like to speak to me privately.”
Only one player approached me that afternoon - pitcher Shawn Hill.
“May I speak with you a moment?”
“Sure. Would you like to speak here, or in my office?”
“Here is plenty fine. My name is Shawn Hill.”
“Can I trust you with some personal feelings?”
“Ok.” He said timidly. “I know you said Mr. Langley is a great guy, but how much is this an investment he only cares to make money on?”
“I’ve known Mr. Langley for over a decade. When he gets a cut, its not blood, but baseballs that come out of the wound. This isn’t a cash grab for him, this is a passion.”
“So, he won’t be like Mr. Hayes?” Shawn caught himself, but the question was out.
“I don’t know Mr. Hayes. What I have heard from some of the players when I called last month was that he was not a great owner. Mr. Langley will not be like that. You’ll probably see him more than his office secretary will.”
Shawn laughed. “That makes me feel much better. I think this is a better franchise now. Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“Not right now. My mind is at ease knowing that you guys are going to be here for us players.” Shawn turned and saw one of his teammates headed out to the field. “Hey, wait up, y’all!” he yelled as he trotted off to catch up with them.
Week Ending March 3rd, 1967
The first few exhibition games went decent enough. All you can really hope for in March is a healthy squad come April first. Second to that is the players in game shape and ready to get to games that count. The team did some rotating around, giving s few of the bench players and minor leaguers some time. The players that didn't play had some practice on the field after.
I think this was the least I've had to do since signing as the Managing Director back in the beginning of January. The downtime is nice, but I have a feeling it won't last. Traveling around Florida with the team starting this week, then spending the weekdays in April on the road continuing to scout the team - and our competition - will be tough. I'll soak up as much of this any chance I can get.