The year of the MLB lockout, we sided with the players and wore minor league uniforms in what was (at the time) America’s most difficult town to play baseball. We based at the Lake Front Hotel across from the Hall of Fame Museum and got rained out of historic Doubleday Field in the fourth inning of game one—but not until the famous “Let it go foul!” command by manager Michael (ByrneDogg) Byrne, who instructed his pitcher (wily, cagey veteran Dick Kievit) not to catch an easy popup that plugged when it landed halfway between the mound and home plate. Highlights included the dancing waitresses (who stayed up all night to party with the boys in their uniforms and served us breakfast the next morning still wearing the same clothes), a topless woman sleeping on the ground floor of the hotel—who rolled over to face 11 of us pressed against the window when one of the guys gently tapped on the glass—and a guy who dropped his pants and shuffled down Main Street at midnight. We also pounded beers at the VFW with a fun bunch of guys from Canada who’d driven down from Montreal to join us. Also joining us was Sasha Vidyaev, who the Chairman met at second base during a summer tournament in Moscow. Our host for that Moscow event, Sasha Muratov, would join us for future No Bats tournaments.
Pre-tourney action in Syracuse included our player draft during Dollar Night at a local dance emporium and one of our guys deciding to turn pro and dance for money. Michael (ByrneDogg) Byrne invented his soon famous Smite Tax for egregious past transgressions, wrapped somewhere inside a remarkable confusing speech somehow tied to the Bee Gees.
The day after we left town, the Chairman was back in Miami and got yelled at during a long distance phone call by the Cooperstown High School principal for playing on his field without permission.