A Message from the Home Front
By Doug Muzzy, Guest Blogger
I am honored to be allowed to be a “guest blogger” for the Mobile Lawyer. It is my hope that by offering this glimpse of the “home front” that it may encourage others that call themselves Mike’s friends to also offer up a slice of the hole left in the lives of the people he touches daily. As many of you know Mike and I have been friends for longer than either of us care to remember. I am, after all, the brother Mike never had…well, except for Ryan.
As I begin to put pen to paper for this task (actually fingers to keys), I am at 35,000 feet somewhere above West Virginia, I can’t help to think how ironic it is that I am writing about the Mobile Lawyer from an airplane. In my present occupation, I do not have the luxury of time that Mr. Hodson enjoys as he works his way around the world without the help of American Airlines.
My subject is baseball…specifically, Fantasy baseball. Since 1992 a group of friends has organized ourselves every year to battle each other via Fantasy Baseball. The Ohio Association owes its name to the original teams, all owned by MBA students at The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). Over time, the league has expanded and families have relocated. Only one current team is based in the buckeye state. Mike joined the league in our second year and, which would soon prove to be a regular habit, could not make the draft in person. In an age before regular conference calls, Mike secured a proxy to draft for him. The reason for Mike’s absence the first year can probably be traced to some Senate emergency. Mike actually made it to the next draft in 1994 (the last draft in Columbus, Ohio), but over the years he has missed about every 3rd draft due to work commitments, family vacations, and pure laziness (not setting an alarm and missing his flight). Mike missed the last draft in March 2009 as he was somewhere in South America on the journey we now eagerly await in additional blog updates.
I originally envisioned this blog to be completed back in early April. The piece was to be a documented account of how Mike was missed at the 2009 draft, held just outside of Detroit. It is a testament of the broad-thinking of the league that allows 5 of the 12 Ohio Association teams to be based in the Detroit metro area. It may also be evidence of very little good football being played in the Detroit area, either Pro or College. However, I could not write about how Mike missed the draft, because I also missed the draft.
A musical aside…As I am writing this piece, I am listening to Hannah Chan on my iPod. I would be amazed if anyone out there has heard Hannah (yet!). Hannah worked with me for a couple years and after listening to her music I think you will agree with me that she should treat music as more than just a hobby. (check out Hannah on iTunes or at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hannah-Chan/24566387118 or at http://musiccanada.org/artist.php?artist=26).
I missed the draft because the best way to get to Detroit from New England is to fly. So, there I was Friday April 3rd at Bradley Int’l Airport in Hartford, CT trying to get to Detroit. The airplane that was scheduled to take me there had issues, major issues. Not a big deal, right? Just wait for the next flight. Wrong, remember, this is Final Four weekend in Detroit and which team is one of the four: University of Connecticut Huskies. I have no other options besides waiting to see if this plane will leave. I spent over six hours in the airport waiting to see if the airline could make the plane work with the part being flown in from Cincinnati. To make a long story short (to late), I had no options to get to Detroit. Moral of the story…no planes = no jetlag. Doug is doing the draft from his house in Massachusetts.
Since Mike is AWOL somewhere between Machu Picu and Buenos Aries, he has found a “partner” to do the draft for him. Well, actually, he talked a friend into finding a friend to do the draft. The Friend, aka “Marty,” not only has Mike’s proxy for drafting his team, but he also has the proxy to change the name of Mike’s team. One aside, Mike’s team historically as been called “Hodson’s Disease.” A great name/play on words. Over the years Mike has changed the name of his team to suit his draft situation. One year doing the draft pool-side from Hawaii (we start the draft at 9:30 AM ET), his team was “In the Dark.” Another classic Hodson name was “The Luddites.” Mike was the last team to bring a laptop to the draft (obviously, Mike is much more tech-savvy now). In 2008, his team was “One More Pole” (not named after an Eastern European). In 2009, Mike and Marty are “2 for the Money.”
Marty, who hails from somewhere in Arkansas, brought a distinctly different perspective to the draft. The team that Marty drafted included players that Mike would never have considered, including four pitchers that were on the DL. The best part about Marty’s draft is that he left without finishing. Mike was about seven positions short. Other teams took turns filling in Mike’s roster. At the end, it was unanimous…this was a very “un-Hodson” team.
“2 for the Money” started the year in sixth place, but by mid May Mike’s team was in the top four and firmly in the running. A couple weeks even saw ‘2-fer’ in first place, a spot rarely seen by Hodson’s teams. In mid-July, ‘2-fer’ was is 6th place and at the precipice. I inquired about securing one of his key players in a trade that would have set Mike up for a run in 2010. Mike’s cool response (from somewhere in Africa) was “I’ve just made a deal, and I’m making a run for it this year.”
The last four weeks of the baseball season in our league is like stud poker…you play the cards you were dealt, no trades, no pick-ups. ‘2-fer’ is between 1.5 and 3 points out of first place. (It would be negligent of me at this point to mention the first place team during the last couple months: Scott W’s “Twinkees.” The Twinkees are a 2nd year expansion team that [obviously] figured out our league quick. More on the “Twinkees” soon). The ‘2-fer’ vs. Twinkee dual went down to the last weekend. Unfortunately for Mike (and for this story) the Twinkees held off ’2-fer’ by 3 points and won the league.
As most of you know, with the exception of some stretches during his South American and African travels, Mike was connected throughout the season…almost more than in a “normal” season. Mike was always ready with a key pick-up or trade or a witty, sardonic email to the league.
A second musical aside: I am doing some edits to this piece (again on an airplane) I am listening to Thomas Dolby Astronauts & Heretics. One of the things that I do miss from Mike is his eclectic music taste. In the “pre-iPod” world of vinyl & CDs it wasn’t about the playlist, but about the album. Mike introduced me to Thomas Dolby the album, on vinyl, freshman year in college…The Flat Earth. Some of my favorite music that must be listened to as a whole album is music that Mike helped introduce me to (Dobly, Joe Jackson, U2, Warren Zevon, Supertramp, Eric Clapton to name a few).
One Ohio Association trivia question…even though Mike has never won the Ohio Association, he has placed 2nd more than any other team…always the bridesmaid. By my count this is his fifth 2nd place finish…I could be more as I don’t have records for the early 90s.
As per our league traditions, the “Twinkees” will choose next year’s draft location. After two straight years in Detroit, the league is looking for a warm weather destination. The Mobile Lawyer’s agenda-less schedule has us all asking the question: “Will Mike be “in person” for next years draft?” Only time, the travel gods, and fate know. In the meantime, I offer Mike a “Laurel and hearty handshake” for another 2nd place finish.
We are all looking forward to additional stories of Mike’s overseas adventures and pictures. If/when Mike returns, we will all raise our glasses to toast his adventures, hopefully after a long shower and delousing. Cheers from the home front.
Mr. Muzzy is a process consultant, wine lover, and huge baseball fan. He lives outside of Boston, MA with his wife, three children, and pet Labrador retriever.