If you haven’t yet seen on social media, with another ridiculously awesome graphic from SWBL and St. Louis Blues Instagram graphic designer, Kevin Pohle, there is a new sheriff in town to run the SWBL team on the field for 2019. For this year’s NWLA Tournament, the SWBL Cardinals will be managed by, Chris Meador, as I (Sam Skibbe) step down after 7 years as the team’s decision maker.
During my era as manager of the Cardinals, we tasted success and have been debated as one of the “best team to not win a championship” many times. Before this managerial change, I was the only person in NWLA Tournament history to have played in and managed during every single year of the tournament’s existence. This change will end that run, but a change was needed. After getting so close to tasting champagne from the metallic championship cup in back to back years, the Cardinals fell to 7th place in the 2018 tournament, running into K-Von and Ryan Bush for their two losses in double elimination, possibly continuing the curse of being pre-ranked #1 before the tournament began (a long standing curse from our own league that has gone on for 17 years). Throughout my time as manager, our team has finished in: 7th Place, 3rd Place, 3rd Place, 5th Place, 2nd Place, 2nd Place, and 7th Place. An average finish of about 4th place overall. Seemingly, behind WSEM, OCWA, and TBW in average finish.
Even though most of our decision-making is as a team, something needed to be done to change up the final decision maker on when changes should be made on the field to better position us on Sunday of Double Elimination. Therefore, the reigns now fall on left field cornerstone, Chris Meador to make the final decisions. The day-to-day operations of the SWBL and the weekend as a team will still be with me, but on the field, Chris takes over with his; one of the best wiffle minds in the country. I have no doubt that Chris will lead us to some great years in this tournament and everyone on our team trusts his eye for competition and strategy. In my opinion, Chris is the best fielder, baserunner, leadoff hitter, and contact hitter in tournament history. So much of our decisions in past years, Chris was already a huge part of and this change is something that will spark the team, and generate a new era of success.
I cannot wait to see where Chris can take us in 2019 and beyond, as time is slipping past us, and age/families start to creep into clearer view in our lives.