CHICAGO, IL...The first annual Summer League Winter Convention was held last weekend at the Chicago Hilton Towers. "It was the strangest thing," parking lot attendant Roosevelt Smith noted. "Most of these guys wanted to park their own cars, zip zip zip, backing in, jumping out, and running into the building. I could give some of 'em jobs here."
Inside, the exhibit hall was transformed into a tribute to APBA baseball and the Summer League. A full scale replica of the car parker office, complete with a disabled side window was the center piece of the glitz and glamour which surrounded the event. Children stood in awe imagining the likes of Hauser and Klein(pick one) battling it out, as piped in sounds from the "rack room" clattered for Mr. Goldsteins missing golf shoes.
Crowds gathered elbow to elbow, jostling for position to listen on the midway as the Klein brothers talked about baseball, life, and women. Harrison, Andrew, and Austin were very popular indeed.
Buyoed by the fresh falling snow, Graham Haas and Greg Nims stunned their fans by leaving the hotel for a trek to Grant Park. "F--- this, we're going snowboarding," Haas chortled. "Kewl," Nims added.
The Coach Swinea Countdown was another popular event. Guessing the time Steve would show up for his scheduled appearances won lucky fans prizes of cookies and chips, hand delivered by Swinea himself. "My humble apologies, Taz had to work late," brought the crowd to their feet time after time. "I am so proud of him," the great Joe Stanish later said, wiping a tear from his eye. "Who would have ever thought that a guy who reads APBA cards so well would be so generous with chips and cookies."
While Steve Swinea was able to show eventually show up for his fans, the big buzz around the convention centered around the absence of Joe Hauser. "I was having trouble with my computer," Joe explained. While the SL members are keeping a tight lip on the subject, there are reports that Hauser was actually in the hotel all weekend, cooped up in a 17th floor suite listening to Jimmi Hendrix and hanging out. "There is absolutely no truth to that," Hauser refuted. "Can I get a beer please?"
Rookie Manager of the Year candidate Dave Bosler took the whole event in stride. Wearing jeans and a T-Shirt which read, "My name is Dave Bosler. I'm here to avenge the wreck of my brother. Prepare to die.", Dave looked comfortable and relaxed. "I learned a lot from watching these freaks from a distance," Dave told his audience. "Unlike them, I have a real job and some intelligence. I expect to win."
The final day of the convention included a fan poll on which movie stars would play which owners in the blockbuster Summer League Movie, do out next summer. The results:
Chris Klein - Ben Affleck
Keith Klein - Chris O'Donnell
Greg Nims - Steve Buscemi
Dave Bosler - Kevin Costner
Bob T. - Jim Belushi
Joe Hauser - Jon Bon Jovi
Graham Haas - Kiever Sutherland
Ken Klein - Bob T.
Steve Swinea - John Goodman
Doug Bosler - Matt Damon
Michael Jordan - Himself
Bob T.'s Ex-Girlfriends- Michell Pfieffer, Sandra Bullock, Mia Hamm
Judging from crowd reaction, owner involvement, and the spirit of the event, it looks as though the Summer League Winter convention is here to stay.
-assisting with the story: Mike Imrem, Daily Herald; John Grisham, freelance writer; Will McDonough Sr., Boston Globe; Ernest Hemmingway, author