This is a list of objects in no particular order that define baseball’s history. They will encompass the entire history of the game up until 1994(The year they took the game away) and will be chosen due to their importance to the game, the fans, and me. I hope you enjoy the ride.
#24-The Northside Maya Dogs
Back in December of 1997 I did not own a computer, I had no use for “one of them new-fangled contraptions.” But the 21st Century was approaching and I knew that I at least had to get on the internet, whatever that was, so I made the decision to get WEB TV. I know, what was I thinking, but it eventually turned out alright.
One of the 1st things I did was type in the word baseball in the search box and hit enter. 60 million sites popped up. 60 million sites dedicated to just baseball? This internet thing might actually be pretty interesting.
Several months later I happened to find the Diamond Mind Baseball Game website and started poking around. I found a link listing a bunch of online leagues that utilize this gaming software, one of which was a centralized league called The American Pastime League. It was an All-Time league using all of the greatest players to ever play the game, and since it was a centralized league, I didn’t need to have a computer to join. I contacted the Commissioner and was invited to join the league as a GM. My team name was the Northside Maya Dogs. The above logo represents my team. I was able to draft players like Al Simmons, Jimmie Foxx, and Bill Dickey to play for my Maya Dogs, and as I recall I lost a 1 game playoff to decide the wild card.
After a couple of months playing in the APL I decided to jump feet first into the 21st Century and I purchased my 1st computer, and eventually purchased the Diamond Mind game. Unfortunately the APL lasted just 1 season, but most of the GMs in the league switched over to the newly formed Great American Pastime League. The GAPL started with the 1955 season, and has advanced to the start of the 1968 season. I had the very 1st pick in the draft and I chose Mickey Mantle. The 1968 season will be his last in the league.
I changed my team name to the Northside G-Force, and I have managed to win just 1 championship, that was in the 1958 season. My son Adam joined the league for the 1960 season and he named his team the Mayan Knights.
The importance of this league and the half dozen other leagues that I have been involved in has everything to do with the awesomeness of the internet that allows this kind of league to exist, but it has also enriched my knowledge of the game of baseball and has introduced me to people that I would have never gotten to know without these leagues.
The leagues that I have been involved with have included people from every time zone in America. Some GMs have had ties to professional teams, some have been published baseball authors, employees of the United States Embassy, actors, and fellow bloggers. I have been treated to a meal at Ozzie Smith’s restaurant in St. Louis by a fellow GM, and I can honestly say that he is one of the few people that I can call a friend. (Thanks Jim) I started this blog 2 years ago, and have corresponded with many fellow baseball bloggers, former ballplayers and their families, writers, and even Tom Sheiber the Senior Curator of the Baseball Hall of Fame. I became a member of the Society of American Baseball Research 2 years ago, and I am making sure that that fact is included in my obituary.(Many…..many years from now.) All because of the Northside Maya Dogs. A very personal object of baseball history.
The question you might be asking is why the Maya Dogs, and the Mayan Knights? Well right around the time I joined the APL I had gotten a brand new puppy, that I named Maya, after the Mesoamerican civilization.
Maya was born to fetch a ball. I can’t say that she loved to fetch a ball, but she was driven to fetch, obsessed with the fetch, laser focused on the fetch like no other dog ever. She needed to conquer every thrown ball and make it submit to being thrown again. She was also very good at catching a ball thrown in the air. I would toss the tennis ball 20 feet up, and more often than not she would catch it on the fly. We have a fenced in yard and Maya made sure that no passerby could continue on their way without tossing a few for her to fetch. In honor of Maya, and her obsession with chasing down a thrown ball, I named my team after her.
As Maya got older the fetching sessions got shorter, but no less impassioned. Despite a bout with cancer, thyroid issues, and glaucoma, Maya continued to fetch, mostly soft chew toys but still with the intensity and enthusiasm she had as a younger dog.
On Monday July 2nd Maya was put to sleep because of complications do to kidney failure. She was 14 years old. We played fetch just 10 days before she passed. She was the best dog I ever had and I will miss her.
Maya and her nemesis.