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Old 05-15-2015, 10:46 AM   #1
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United Leagues of Braeland

Quote:
A Royal Commission
February 1936

Dr. Westfall had just removed his reading glasses and turned off his bedside lamp when the phone rang. Such an occurrence was not uncommon in the Westfall household. As a doctor on call, he was used to being rung up at all hours when not on duty at the King Edgar Hospital in Braeland City. The day had been exceedingly strenuous, however, and the soft, warm bed was inviting. But the phone was unmoved. So was Mrs. Westfall, who continued to lie under the covers beside him.

“You better get that dear”, she called out in a quiet, resigned voice. “It’s probably for you anyway.”

Westfall made his way to the hallway and slowly picked up the receiver.

“Hello?”

“Is this Dr. David Westfall?”, asked the voice on the other end.

The doctor wiped the drowsiness from his eyes. “Yes, this is he.”

“Sorry to bother you at such a late hour, David, but this is Alexander Louden.”

The hearing of that name jolted the doctor from his weariness. Indeed, Westfall immediately recognized that this was no ordinary phone call, for he was speaking to non-other than King William’s own Private Secretary. They knew each other well, from the days when Westfall served in the government-in-exile.

“Alex, this is a surprise. How have you been?”

“Oh, I’m fine thanks. But I’m calling you about business. Judging by the late hour, you can probably surmise why.”

A gentle smile crossed Westfall’s face. He was well aware of the young King’s impetuous nature and no doubt the call was in response to one of the King’s spontaneous whims.

“I assume the King asked you to ring me up at once?”

“Indeed. His Majesty is requesting a meeting with you tomorrow morning at 0900 hours sharp at the Royal Residence.”

Westfall was taken aback. “Am I in trouble?”, he asked, after a slight pause.

Louden laughed.

“Well, I guess that will be for you to decide. But no, you’re not in any trouble. The King wants to speak to you. We will send a motorcar and chauffeur around to pick you up at 0830 hours and drive you back following the meeting. Can I give His Majesty the news that you be in attendance in the morning?”

Westfall quickly looked through his day schedule. “Well, I will have to have someone cover for me at the residency, at least in the morning.”

“I’ve already taken care of that for you, David. You’re free until noon.”

Westfall was not surprised.

“Oh my, what service,” Westfall responded drolly. “And are you at liberty to tell me what the meeting is about?”

“Not over the phone, no. But all will be revealed soon enough. Thanks David. We’ll see you in the morning.”


- - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Pierce-Arrow sedan dropped off its passenger just before 0900 hours at the front entrance to the King’s Palace. Waiting at the top of the steps was Alexander Louden who extended a hearty handshake to his old friend.

“Good to see you again, David. I trust you slept well?”, Louden asked, with a twinkle in his eye.

“Hey, after being rung up like that, who wouldn’t”, Westfall replied in jest.

The two men bounded up the steps and through the Grand Entrance to the Private Staircase. To Westfall, it seemed like old times, running through the old stately halls, and keeping up with the athletic Secretary when the Royal Government functioned out of New York City. Despite the crisis of the times, Westfall had fond memories as he organized the Resistance from oversees, having received his appointment from William’s father, King Henry, in the midst of the Civil War.

As they made their way to the King’s personal offices, Westfall noted the official family portraits that hung along the imposing Marble Hall, recognizing them from when they were on display back in New York.

“I see the portraits made it home safe and sound”, observed Westfall in a hushed voice.

“Yes - heaven forbid if we should have lost them at sea”, Louden replied facetiously. “Ah, here we are. Just down to the end of this corridor and we’ll be there.”

Walking briskly along the Kings Corridor, Westfall noted that the portraits lining the walls had changed. They were not of family or even Prime Ministers. In the dim light, they appeared to be athletes wearing uniforms with American cities written across their chests. Suddenly, the doctor realized who they were.

“Say, aren’t those –“

“Yes, they are,” Louden replied, not allowing Westfall to finish his sentence. “After you, David. Ah, Nora has kindly brought us some tea. Thank you, Nora.”

The maid curtseyed and deposited the tea tray on the round oak table that stood before an immense desk; one that Westfall immediately deduced was the King’s.

Westfall moved towards the couch when Louden interceded.

“No please, sit here, David.” Louden motioned to a luxurious high back wing chair adjacent to the table.

“Are you sure?”

“I insist. Please.”


Westfall sat back in the wing chair that seemed to envelope him. Louden handed him his tea cup as Nora readied the tea. As Nora poured his tea, a mighty crash from just outside the room startled the residents, causing the tea to spill upon Westfall’s lap.

“Oh, sorry, I’m so sorry!” exclaimed a distraught Nora. “Please forgive me!”

“No, no, it’s quite alright. It’s only a few drops,” assured the doctor. Nora handed him her towel while Louden looked on with a wide grin on his face.

“Oh, he’s at it again! I’ll come back with a fresh pot. I’m so sorry!”

Just then the rear door to the office from where the source of the large crash had originated flew open. A young man wearing peculiar clothing emerged, still dealing with the fallout from the accident.

“Blasted mirror, wasn’t doing anything, anyway. Ah, Nora – could you take care of this, um, matter for me – please?”

The young man belatedly hid the bat that incriminated him behind his back and smiled sheepishly. Nora, who obviously still intimidated the young King, composed herself.

“Yes, your Majesty.” Nora curtseyed but then stormed off through the doorway leaving the King to quietly close it himself.

“I’ve got to stop doing that”, the King whispered to his audience. Placing the bat on his desk, the King rubbed his hands together as he approached his guests.

“Good morning, Alex. You brought along our esteemed company, I see.”

Westfall, having risen upon the King’s entrance, bowed. “Your Majesty.”

“Good morning, Doctor. Thank you for coming. It’s good to see you again. It’s been – what, almost three years since we last met? I was just a rambunctious teenager then. Oh, by all means, please sit down.”

Westfall returned to his seat in the wingback chair, while the King instead hopped onto the oak table directly in front of Westfall, allowing his legs to dangle off the floor.

Westfall observed as the King removed his cheese-cutter and ran his fingers through his blond hair. Allowed a closer look, Westfall noted what struck him as peculiar about the King’s attire. While wearing the traditional silk tie and sweater, along with a pair of plus fours, it was his hosiery that stood out. Instead of regular socks, he was wearing stirrups with white sanitaries.

The King continued.

“David – May I call you David – David, once again, your country needs you.”

Westfall was taken aback. “Needs me? Well, I’ll do whatever I can, sire, to be of any service.”

“I’m glad to hear that. As you may have heard, we are setting up an unprecedented enterprise nation-wide even as we speak. Are you familiar with the ‘United Leagues’?”

“Well, I have heard something of it, sire. Thanks to your leadership, baseball is taking the country by storm. But sire, I know scarcely anything about the sport; my skills are more suitable for a doctor. I don’t know what qualities I can offer.”


“On the contrary”, countered the King. “You have just the qualities needed to run this operation successfully. I realize you are too modest to admit this, David, but you are a national hero. No, no, you are. Everyone knows the bravery and leadership you displayed during the dark years of the Civil War. Your organizational skills are impeccable. Your sense of fairness and justice are well known. In fact, there is no one in Braeland that is more trusted and respected than you; and that is why I need you as my Royal Commissioner – Commissioner of the United Leagues of Braeland.”

“Commissioner, sire?”, replied Westfall. “You mean like the American judge?”

“Precisely!”, responded the King. “Just like Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. See, you do know something of the game. And just like Judge Landis, you shall have the final say on all matters. The owners and players shall answer to you, and you will have the backing of the King. Thus the need of someone who commands as much respect as you do. Oh, and there is one more thing. Alex, hand him that piece of paper, would you?”

Louden retrieved the paper from his attaché case and handed it to Westfall. Written on the King’s official letterhead, Westfall recognized it as a contract. Looking towards the bottom of the page, Westfall noted an immense figure and realized it was his proposed salary. Westfall’s jaw dropped.

“This is a king’s ransom,” exclaimed a stunned Westfall.

“Does it get my man?”, asked the King with a wide smile on his face.

Westfall remained speechless.

“May I be frank with you, David?”, the King asked. “I know the dedication you have to your calling as a doctor, but, well, the fact is, you’re not getting any younger and the late hours are taking their toll. I can see the bags under your eyes. But let me assure you David that from now on, the only bags you’re going to see will be the ones on the baseball diamond.”

Westfall finally found his words. “Sire, if you really think I am suitable for this privilege, than I am your man.”

“Capital! Glad to hear it! Alex, do you have a pen for the good doctor? Just sign at the bottom of the contract David and it will be all set. The League offices – your offices – will be housed on the executive floor of the Residence. We have already made arrangements with the Hospital so that you can start next Monday. Oh, and one more thing; I will need you to sign this blank sheet of paper.”

“By all means, sire”, replied Westfall. “But what is this for, if I may ask?”

The King quickly retrieved the ball that had been implicated in the accident from the corridor, hopping over an exasperated Nora as she kneeled to clean up the broken glass. “Splendid, Nora!”

The King returned to his office and showed the ball to Westfall. “You see this blank space right here? That is where your name is going on all baseballs produced for the United Leagues. ‘Dr. David R. Westfall, Commissioner’.”

The overwhelmed Westfall signed the blank sheet of paper.

“Ah, excellent!”, the King exclaimed. “You have wonderful penmanship for a doctor! Alex, before he leaves, why don’t you show David around to his new offices. If you need me, I’ll be here.”

The two men rose and bowed as the King dismissed them.

As they were leaving, the men observed the King returning to his desk, but instead of sitting down, he picked up his bat again and began taking practice swings.

Westfall paused at the doorway and looked at Louden, with a face of excitement and disbelief. “Commissioner of the United Leagues!”

Louden nodded and reassured him: “Commissioner of the United Leagues.”

“I can scarcely believe it.”

“Well, it won’t be all it’ll be cracked up to be”, replied Louden.

“What do you mean?”, asked a puzzled Westfall.

Louden cupped his right hand around his mouth and whispered in Westfall’s ear. “From now on, whenever the King breaks a window or mirror with a baseball, it will have your name on it.”

Westfall looked at Louden and the two men shared a laugh.

Just like old times.
--------
Excerpt taken from the forthcoming book At The Wall: How Baseball Saved A Nation, by Paul Shirley, senior sports editor of the Brunswick Courier. Reprinted with permission.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:00 AM   #2
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Welcome to the United Leagues of Braeland!


This is a league I first created back in 2007. It was directly inspired by DreamTeams’ wonderful Metro Leagues. However, the fictional island nation of Braeland goes back to my daydreaming high school days. Years later, when I wanted to create a fictional world for my own baseball universe, I merged the two ideas and the United Leagues were born.

Long before the baseball connection, I envisioned Braeland as being a country that experienced a lot of political intrigue, so I developed quite a bit of backstory for it. Then, when I tied in baseball to the narrative, I fleshed out some ‘chapters’ for a fictional book. Most of that stuff I’ve summarized in a timeline, but there is still a few chapters that I would like to include in this dynasty. Thus, at the start, there will be a lengthy timeline and then a bit of non-baseball narrative. I hope you will indulge me.

I’ve played and rebooted the League many times over the years, trying various levels of minor leagues, no minor leagues and playoff formats. I found that I prefer having two levels of minor leagues (AAA & AA) as well as a wildcard format, to keep the pennant races a little more compelling. I will be using the 20 to 80 player rating scale.

The United Leagues comprise of two leagues with 8 teams each, with the top two teams in each league qualifying for the United Cup. Scouting & financials will be on. The reserve clause will be used, at least until the 1960s, or sooner, if I get bored with a lack of free agency. The DH will not be used anywhere, until the 1970s (maybe).

The Amethyst Leagues of Braeland and Heritage Leagues of Braeland constitute the AAA & AA leagues respectively. Originally, those names where just stopgaps until I could think up better names, but I never did, so I might as well take the ‘interim tag’ off of them already.

Since baseball is relatively new to Braeland, the quality of play relative to America will obviously suffer. Thus the few foreign players that make the roster can be viewed as those who couldn’t make the more established Major, Minor or Negro leagues. There will be no inaugural draft; instead the teams each held tryouts for prospective players and signed their own players.

The league begins play in 1937, since that’s the year that sort of fell neatly into the timeline. Up until now, I’ve always used an April to October season, even though it’s set in the Southern Hemisphere. But for this dynasty, I've set Opening Day in October.

The succeeding posts will present the following information:

- A Braeland history timeline,
- Selected chapters from the fictional book (such as the one in the initial post),
- An introduction to the cities and clubs that comprise the United Leagues; their star players and predictions on how well they will fare in the upcoming season,
- Results of Opening Day (finally!)

I plan on being an observer, reporting on the leagues. Whether that’s on a weekly basis or a monthly basis is yet to be determined. This is my first dynasty, so I’m not sure what to expect or what would be the best way to present the information as it develop, so I expect I’ll be going through some growing pains. Any comments, question and/or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:36 AM   #3
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I like the opening! In fictional dynasties, I always enjoy the back story more than the baseball, to be honest! Looking forward to following.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:51 AM   #4
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This looks awesome! Really impressed with your writing & will be following along
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:53 AM   #5
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Hmm, after seeing the end of the initial excerpt, I have a question...

Are you the same Paul Shirley I've seen do pieces on ESPN? Curious if there is a connection here?

I will be following this with great interest, you're off to an excellent start.

Subscribing, and best of luck to you on your project!
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:33 PM   #6
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Thank you for the kind words! I feel very much like a rookie amongst Hall of Famers here.
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Originally Posted by jaysdailydose View Post
Hmm, after seeing the end of the initial excerpt, I have a question...

Are you the same Paul Shirley I've seen do pieces on ESPN? Curious if there is a connection here?

I will be following this with great interest, you're off to an excellent start.

Subscribing, and best of luck to you on your project!
Oh man, I didn't realize Paul Shirley was an actual person. I made that name up as a sort of nod to Shirley Povich. Had I known, I would have gone with something else.
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Old 05-15-2015, 01:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reds1 View Post
Thank you for the kind words! I feel very much like a rookie amongst Hall of Famers here.

Oh man, I didn't realize Paul Shirley was an actual person. I made that name up as a sort of nod to Shirley Povich. Had I known, I would have gone with something else.
Oh no, no worries. He is a former athlete who writes pieces for ESPN, not any type of major writer or anything!

With this being a sports game forum, I had just thought it possible that you were one in the same. Definitely don't think of changing his name!
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Old 05-15-2015, 04:51 PM   #8
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Braeland History Timeline - Part 1 of 2


Pre- 1700s - The Island that would become known as Braeland is inhabited by tribal factions constantly warring with one another, each battling for domination.

Early 1700s – The Brunise, the most populous and dominant tribe of the southeast plains, successfully extend their control throughout the rest of the island. Melo, their tribal chief, is proclaimed King of all Braeland. However, resistance to Brunise hegemony continues.

1769 – HMS Endeavour, commanded by British explorer Lieutenant James Cook, becomes the first European ship to reach Braeland, passing the island’s northern coastline.

1797 – John Hunter, Governor of New South Wales, arrives on Braeland soil and annexes the island on behalf of Great Britain. The arrival of the British profoundly changes Braelander society. Their anchorage opens up the once isolated island to the outside world and to English ideas and customs in particular. Although they embrace much of their customs, language and even political thought, Braelanders nevertheless remain fiercely protective of their independence and on numerous occasions, resist efforts to rule over them.

1851 – In the affair known as the “Lune River Rebellion”, open violence erupts, resulting in the murder of Governor George McPhatters and the brutal slaughter of over 300 Braelander instigators. Such state of affairs continues under British rule, despite the interregnum in the resented Brunise reign and the strenuous efforts of the British appointed governors to restore calm.

1881 – Due to the island’s remoteness, her own growing weariness to the political strife in its wayward stepchild, as well as the need to deal with more pressing domestic issues compels Great Britain to begin the transfer of power back into the hands of Braelanders. By this time, political thought has galvanized into two main camps: those who favour a restoration of the Brunise monarchy (or, the Brunswick monarchy, as the Royal House now stylizes itself) and those who champion a Republican form of government with a directly elected head of state.

Great Britain’s decision to work with the Monarchists in the transfer of power is cited as the flashpoint to the violent struggles that would flare up between the Republicans and Monarchists over the next 54 years.

May 17, 1884 – Braeland achieves full autonomy. While electing to maintain close ties with Great Britain and her colonies, Braeland nevertheless reaffirms its sovereignty by re-installing the House of Brunswick but now with a new institution: a parliamentary form of government. King Edgar I, a direct descendent of Melo, is crowned on the same day, the first royal to sit on the Braeland throne in nearly 87 years.

June 1884 – A new capital is designated. The site chosen is 210 miles south of Brunswick, Braeland’s largest city and former capital. Braeland City, previously called Glastonbury, and nestled between the ocean and the extinct volcano Mount Yasawa, is already a thriving port community. It is greatly expanded and redeveloped to become a suitable home for the new Houses of Parliament and Royal Residence. The motive behind this move is to try and mollify those who perceive the monarchy as only concerned about the royal seat centered in Brunswick and concerned for little else.

September 8, 1884 – Sir Martin Perry Oberton, a leading member of the monarchy movement who was instrumental in coordinating the peaceful transfer of power is elected as the nation’s first Prime Minister, with his Liberal Party forming a majority government. Although resistance and violence erupt at a few polling stations, particularly in the western portion of the island, it is generally perceived to be a smoothly run election.

January 1885 – Frustrated anti-Royalists coalesce under the leadership of Harold Grant Terrelton, a former Loyalist, to form a new party. The newly established Free Republic Party (FRP), with Terrelton installed as party leader, campaigns in subsequent elections with the overt purpose of abolishing the monarchy once and for all.

1902-1906 – A series of seemingly endless scandals – most notably the BGS Shipyard scandal and the Bickwell affair – rock the administrations of Prime Minister Oberton and later, his successor, Tory Prime Minister Sir Franklin Henderson Benn. Revelations of prominent ministers involved with graft and extramarital affairs embarrass the government, breeding distrust among Braelanders and drawing heavy criticism in the national media. The FRP sees its national popularity soar, and for the first time, becomes a serious threat to win a majority of seats in the upcoming 1908 elections.

1906-1909 – Braeland, which is no stranger to prolonged dry spells, endures one of its worst droughts on record. Although dew produced by the Amethyst Mountains initially helps to compensate for the extended dry spell, Braeland is eventually forced to import basic foodstuffs as crop failures increase. Food prices begin to rise drastically, exacerbating an already precarious political situation.

May 25, 1907 – Prime Minister Benn steps down and a new Prime Minister, Sir Wallace David Creighton, immediately attempts to shore up confidence in the government before its mandate runs out. Although not disclosed to the public at the time, cracks in the support of the King and Parliament by the Braeland Armed Forces begin to form.

July 8, 1907 – During a hastily called convention, the FRP repudiates Harold Grant Terrelton’s leadership and elects Wesley Hubert Kildron as new party leader. Kildron, a central member of the New Radicals as the extreme element of the Party is labeled, immediately prepares the party to seize power regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election. A former First Sergeant in the Army, Kildron swiftly develops contacts with key members of the Armed Forces who respect his military background.

December 30, 1907 – Harold Grant Terrelton, in failing health and now a man without a party or cause, has a premonition of the inevitable conflict that will soon envelope his beloved country. Disowning the party he has helped to establish, he dies in his sleep.



July 5, 1908 – King Hugh I dies unexpectedly, just before Sir Wallace David Creighton’s government is about to submit the writ for dissolution of parliament. His son, Malcolm I dissolves parliament and calls the election, setting it for October 22, 1908.

October 29, 1908 – One week after the election, the country learns that there is a stalemate. Of the three parties sending elected members to the new Parliament, no one has sufficient seats to form a majority. The incumbent Tories, previously written off, have unexpectedly come within three seats of earning a clear majority. The FRP, now the second largest party in the country, nevertheless cries foul at the results, claiming that the election was corrupt and tilted in favour for the monarchists.

October 30, 1908 – King Malcolm I invites Sir Wallace David Creighton to form a government. Despite being completely constitutional, the FRP threatens to boycott the new Parliament and certain newspapers favourable to the FRP harshly criticize the motion. Sir Creighton hesitates to act. It was not evident at the time as to why the Tories wavered, but according to declassified memos held at the National Archives, the Armed Forces informed the Prime Minister that it would not support the new government nor take any action against the FRP.

November 3, 1908 – King Malcolm I appeals to the nation in an unprecedented address that is intended to be carried in all the nation’s major newspapers. The address, later known as the “I Am Your King” speech, is an appeal to calm and reason.

November 4, 1908 –The FRP, in conjunction with the military, conspires to suppress the official speech and fabricate an inflammatory one instead. Only a few newspapers, primarily in the east, are courageous enough to publish the king’s speech in its entirety. The FRP, fuelling the uproar for all it’s worth, openly mock the King and incite the disenfranchised people. Riots spread across the country, starting in the rural areas of the Western provinces.

November 7, 1908 – Riots reach the major cities. Wolseley, Pulberry and even Downie erupt in flames. Prime Minister Creighton, sensing the precariousness of the situation and the imminent danger the Royal Family is in, urges the King to flee for his safety. The King refuses.

November 10, 1908 – In the early morning hours, a military-backed coup storms the Royal Palace in Braeland City. Malcolm I is assassinated. Malcolm’s younger brother, Prince Henry survives, having fled to Great Britain just a few days before with his immediate family. Prime Minister Creighton's office and his government are dissolved.



November 1908-March 1909 – The Braelander Civil War is fought between the Republicans, backed by the Armed Forces, and the Loyalists, who support the Monarchy. The Loyalists are soon overwhelmed, but refuse to capitulate. Isolated forces retreat into the depths of the Amethyst Mountains to continue sporadic attacks on Republican targets over the next 20 years.

December 1908 – Initially rejecting Braeland City as their capital, the Republicans reconsider, designating the Royal Residence as the President’s Residence.

February 6-7, 1909 – The decisive Battle of Embro is fought resulting in a resounding Republican victory. The result of the battle is influenced in no small part to a torrential downpour that lasts for two days, Braeland’s first significant rainfall in 2-1/2 years.

February 7, 1909 – Dr. David Westfall, a captain and medic in the Loyalist army, as well as an extended member of the Royal Family, is appointed by King Henry to the cabinet of the government-in-exile. Dr. Westfall flees Braeland to coordinate the continued efforts of the Resistance from overseas. (See the chapters, The Call-Up and The Run-Down)

March 10, 1909 – Wesley Kildron is sworn in as Braeland’s first President on the steps of the Presidential Residence. Despite a promise to hold free elections, no elections are ever held under the regime of Kildron. In fact, many freedoms are summarily suspended.



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Old 05-15-2015, 09:22 PM   #9
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Awesome! Freaking awesome! i'm in!
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:13 PM   #10
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Good stuff, reds1. Loved reading the timeline and looking forward to following along.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:33 PM   #11
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Agreed, I'm loving the detailed backstory! Keep up the great work!
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:07 AM   #12
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Braeland History Timeline - Part 2 of 2


April 17, 1915 – Prince William is born in London, England, in the midst of the Great War. He is the first of 5 children for King Henry and Queen Lydia.

June 8, 1916 – Prime Minister Sir Wallace David Creighton steps down as leader of the government in exile. Sir Alfred Mundhenke is appointed by King Henry to succeed him. At Dr. Westfall’s recommendation, the government is transferred to New York City to better coordinate the resistance. The Republic of Braeland becomes increasingly isolated politically, as more nations give official recognition to the government in exile.

October 11, 1919 – King Henry dies a victim of the Spanish Influenza. His widow, Queen Lydia, along with her children, leave England for America in early 1920. (See the chapter, The Exiles)



April 17, 1926 - Heir apparent, Prince William, an avid baseball enthusiast since arriving in the United States, meets George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth Jr., the renowned American baseball player for the first time. (See the chapter, A Young Prince Meets a Sultan)


August 23, 1926 – Political unrest in Braeland culminates with the assassination of President Kildron in Braeland City following a military review. Although no party claims responsibility, it widely believed that Loyalist guerilla forces, acting independently of the official resistance, are responsible.

August 24, 1926 – Vice-President Milton Thiverge is sworn in as the second President of Braeland.

1926-1927 – Newsreel footage showing the Royal children playing baseball receives wide distribution in Braeland. Originally screened to mock the Royal Family, the Republican government’s plan backfires when interest in baseball skyrockets, with Braelander children taking up the sport in schoolyards and sandlots.

December 4, 1931 – Facing both social unrest and political pressure from outside the country, President Thiverge makes concessions, giving recognition to official opposition parties and scheduling limited elections.

February 27, 1932 – The nation-wide election results in a landslide victory for candidates supporting the government in exile. For the first time in nearly 24 years, the country sends elected officials to sit in the Parliament Buildings in Braeland City. However, President Thiverge refuses to resign, offering instead to work with the new Parliament. Parliament, recognizing only the government in exile, refuses and a stalemate soon develops.

May 2, 1932 – As a further concession to political pressure, the besieged Republican government initiates a formal public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of King Malcolm in 1908. Despite initial efforts to limit the inquiry, the actions of the Armed Forces come under intense scrutiny.

March 6, 1933 – The King Malcolm Inquiry formally delivers its findings to the President. The report, severely critical of the actions of the military and government leaders, including Presidents Kildron and Thiverge, is held back from public release.

March 11, 1933 – President Thiverge, facing increasing isolation and calls for his resignation, opens secret negotiations with the government in exile to facilitate a peaceful transition.

April 5, 1933 – With the restoration of the Monarchy looking increasingly likely, Prince William resolves to establish baseball as Braeland’s national pastime upon his return home.

April 20, 1933 –William is proclaimed King of Braeland by the government in exile and Parliament.

May 19, 1934 – President Thiverge announces his government’s resignation effective January 1, 1935.

May 22, 1934 – As his first of act of royal authority, William orders the construction of baseball parks in Brunswick and Wolseley, Braeland’s two largest cities.

January 1, 1935 – Prime Minister Douglas Avery and cabinet arrive in Braeland, officially ending 27 years of republican rule.

January 8, 1935 – Dr. David Westfall, after nearly 26 years of continuous government service, resigns.

April 11, 1935 – King William meets Babe Ruth in Boston, Massachusetts, to arrange a barnstorming tour in the offseason in Braeland to promote baseball. (See the chapter, Heading for Home)

April 15, 1935 – King William arrives in Braeland to much fanfare, seeing the country he will rule for the first time. The Royal Family and entourage land in Queensland, Dunwich, in tribute to the city’s loyalty to the Monarchy during the Civil War.

April 17, 1935 – The official Coronation of King William I takes place on this 20th birthday in Braeland City.

May 3, 1935 – In his first official act as King, William delivers the throne speech at the opening session of Parliament. The speech announces the re-establishment of free elections as well as policy measures to address the local effects of the worldwide economic depression. But they are overshadowed by the announcements of both the establishment of a professional baseball league in Braeland and the further construction of ballparks throughout the country.

1935-1936 – The King arranges the frequent viewing of news reels throughout the country’s movie theatres, highlighting the exploits of American baseball players, notably Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

June 13, 1935 – At the King’s request, Parliament passes a motion declaring baseball Braeland’s national sport. School Division’s across the country immediately incorporate the learning and playing of baseball into the curriculum. American ‘baseball ambassadors’ are invited to Braeland to teach the sport at the university and public school levels.

October 28, 1935 – King William formally announces the barnstorming tour to take place in Brunswick and Wolseley featuring the Babe Ruth All-Stars.

December 7, 1935 – Major League ballplayers arrive in Brunswick among much fanfare and are treated like royalty.



December 8, 1935 – Negro League ballplayers arrive in Brunswick and receive the same enthusiastic response. While a reluctant concession is made to segregate ballplayers while dining at the King’s Welcoming Fete, William insists on having both Satchel Paige and Babe Ruth dine together with him at his own personal table. A furious William declares to the organizers that segregation will never again be tolerated on Braelander soil.

December 10, 1935 – The first of six games between the Satchel Paige All-Stars and the Babe Ruth All-Stars takes place in front of a full-house at the just completed Brunswick Park. The Negro Leaguers defeat their Major League counterparts 3-1. Paige goes the distance, allowing 4 hits and striking out 7. Babe Ruth goes 1-3 with a walk and a home run, the first by a professional ballplayer on Braelander soil. American reporters speculate that Paige offered up an easy pitch on Ruth’s homer; Paige angrily denies it.

December 11, 1935 – The Paige All-Stars take game two as well, winning 6-4. Ruth struggles at the plate and in the field, striking out twice and committing a fielding error. Josh Gibson has a big day, going 2-3 with a home run and double, collecting 3 RBIs. Buck Leonard goes 2-4 with a triple and an RBI. Jimmie Foxx was the story for the Ruth All-Stars, going 2-4 with a single, a double and 2 RBIs.

December 12, 1935 – The Ruth All-Stars finally win a game, 7-5, getting to Paige early. Charlie Gehringer and Lou Gehrig each hit home runs, while Earl Averill puts on a personal showcase, going 3-3 at the plate with 2 doubles and makes a diving game-saving catch in the outfield to snuff out a Paige All-Star rally to seal the victory. Cool Papa Bell steals 2 bases, his 4th and 5th of the tournament, to go along with 2 runs in a losing effort.

December 15, 1935 – The tournament moves to Wolseley on the west coast in front of a packed house at the new Wolseley Field. The Ruth All-Stars win their second game, 5-4. Ruth, after sitting out game 3, goes 2-3 with an RBI. Foxx and Gehringer each collect an RBI, while Sam Bankhead and Josh Gibson led the way for the Paige All-Stars. In the top of the ninth, Gibson drives in Bell for the tying run. But in bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Moe Berg becomes the unlikely hero, hitting a soft single over the drawn-in infield, allowing Bing Miller to score the winning run.

December 16, 1935 – The Paige All-Stars win the fifth match, 6-2. Paige returns to form, pitching 8 innings, striking out 6, while scattering 5 hits and surrendering a lone walk to Lou Gehrig. Josh Gibson hits his second and third home runs of the tournament to lead all players, collecting 3 RBIs. Cool Papa Bell steals his 7th and 8th bases to go with his 2 runs. For the Ruth All-Stars, Charlie Gerhinger leads the way, going 2-4 with a double, an RBI and a strikeout.

December 17, 1935 – In the final game of the tournament, Lefty Gomez turns in a dominating pitching performance, helping his team to a 4-1 victory. The Paige All-Stars are unable to get a hit past the infield until the 7th inning, when Buck Leonard smashes a Gomez fastball down the right field line for a triple, scoring Cool Papa Bell from first. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig hit back-to-back home runs in the 5th, helping the Ruth All-Stars knot up the series at 3 games apiece.

December 20, 1935 – After sightseeing tours throughout the country, a final dinner for the players is held at the Royal Residence. The King uses the occasion to announce the formation of a new professional league, to be called the United Leagues of Braeland that will begin play in 1937. The King also announces that the ballparks in Brunswick and Wolseley will be renamed after Babe Ruth and Satchel Paige respectively. Satchel Paige and Babe Ruth speak on the occasion, thanking Braelanders for the warm and enthusiastic reception they and the other players received.

February 12, 1936 – Dr. David Westfall is appointed Commissioner of the United Leagues of Braeland. (See the chapter, A Royal Commission)



1936-1937 – Business plans and proposals by prospective owners seeking membership into the United Leagues are reviewed and approved. The Commissioner’s Office confirms that the Leagues will comprise 16 charter members, divided equally between an Eastern League and a Western League.

May 1937 – Individual clubs begin holding tryouts for prospective players.

October 4, 1937 – The King declares Opening Day a national holiday, to celebrate the inaugural season of the United Leagues of Braeland.



Last edited by reds1; 07-01-2017 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:57 PM   #13
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The Call-Up
February 1909

Scanning the terrain below him in the late evening hours, the young captain could faintly make out the silhouettes of his fallen comrades, as each flash of lightning revealed their presence. It was as though the darkness refused to claim them, reminding the survivors of their own culpability. Two days of intense, bloody fighting had resulted in the greatest slaughter experienced on Braelander soil. Now, with the guns having fallen silent due to the unusually heavy rainfall, the exhausted captain and his men began their descent from their lookout to identify those still living and to retrieve the dead. As frequently happens to soldiers who are permitted time to reflect in such circumstances, Captain David Westfall, a medic, was moved by the bravery of his fellow men while at the same time sickened by the senselessness of it all.

Growing up in a life of privilege as a member of the extended royal family, Captain Westfall nevertheless viewed himself as an outsider, identifying little with the House of Brunswick and indifferent to the Monarchy in general. But he recognized early on that the Republicans were less interested in democracy than in power itself. So he cast his lot with the Loyalists immediately following the assassination of King Malcolm in November 1908.

Upon receiving news of Prince Henry’s coronation overseas, the Loyalists became hopeful that help would arrive from Great Britain. But such military support never materialized. With tensions smoldering on the European continent, Braeland’s political turmoil could not have been lower on British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith’s agenda. Sporadic fighting had continued through the winter and ensuing spring but with the Armed Forces firmly behind the new government of President Kildron, the civil war in effect was over before it really began.

The Battle of Embro removed any doubt. But what was planned as a final death stroke to the Loyalists initially turned into a bloody stalemate. The battle was actually fought along a portion of the Pincher escarpment overlooking Embro itself. The skirmish commenced in the early morning hours of February 6, 1909 with unrelenting volleys of artillery meant to soften the Loyalist forces that were ensconced high above the Armed Forces. However, their advances up the escarpment were repeatedly hurled back by infantry rifle shots. At first, it appeared the Loyalists had won a strategic victory, halting the Armed Forces’ advance and perhaps – just perhaps – swinging the momentum in their favour.

But then the long-delayed winter rains finally came. Braeland had endured one of the worst droughts in its history over the previous two years but now the torrent was unrelenting. The Armed Forces, instead of retreating, quickly recognized the Loyalists precarious situation along the escarpment with its unstable rock base and penchant for rock slides. Before the Loyalists could adequately retreat from the rock cliffs, the Armed Forces began hurling more rounds of artillery – this time to dislodge the Loyalists from their perch. The maneuver was an unqualified success. A slaughter ensued: soldiers that initially survived the slides and mudflows were cut down as they tried to flee. Only a remnant of the Loyalists managed to escape by successfully seeking higher ground through the now treacherous gullies and ravines.

Regroup

The decimated Loyalist forces now recognized their situation as untenable and desperate. As they finished filling in the mass graves and reading off their fallen comrades’ names, the uncertainty of their future began to take hold among Captain Westfall’s remaining men.

“Well, what’s left for us to do? Wait for them to come and finish us off?” asked Private Crowther, to no one in particular.

“Yeah, that’s the spirit, bloke”, sneered Private Reid. “How about we nominate Crowther as morale officer, what do ya say, eh? I think the position is open, what, with the last one getting his head blown clean off and all!”

The other men laughed and jeered, eliciting “ayes” and “motions carried” in response to Reid’s suggestion.

“I was just saying –“, Crowther attempted to reply.

“Just saying what, that we give up now? That we just walk into their camp and say, “Hey, we’re on your side now”? You think they’d welcome us with open arms?”

“Yeah, with arms firing!” chimed in Private Payne, soliciting even more guffaws from the others.

“OK, now hold it men; ease up”, appealed Captain Westfall, as he stepped out of the makeshift medic tent. “Crowther did ask a legitimate question in his own way.”

“Thanks, I think – sir!” replied Crowther, correcting himself as Westfall glared at him for his impertinence.

“The fact is we are awaiting orders from General Fisher himself. Be prepared to break camp and move out of here before daybreak – come hell or high water. Reid, Payne - gather up the gear and get the horses ready. Take the other men with you. Crowther, I’ll need your help in triage. Let us see whether or not we can save some of these boys.”

New Orders

They did not have to wait long. The pounding of hooves alerted the men of General Fisher and his entourage’s arrival. Captain Westfall, after quickly rinsing his bloodstained hands in the pouring rain that showed no signs of letting up, saluted the General who remained mounted on his horse.

“Bloody business this is Captain”, the General remarked as he looked over their squalid surroundings. “Is this all the men you have left?”

“Yes sir”, replied Westfall, unsure as to how he should respond. “We had a bit of a rough going, sir. We got caught between the pursuing enemy and the river. The flood waters had washed out the last remaining bridge, making our escape rather treacherous. Fortunately, our horses were able to navigate the current and the fall of darkness provided much needed relief.”

“Bloody business”, the General observed again. “Well Captain, you’re going to need both this morning – your horse and this darkness. There is a train heading out from Fort Richmond to Queensland as we speak. I want you on that train. There is a steamship leaving port to San Francisco by 0800 hours. I want you on that ship as well.”

It was precisely what Captain Westfall did not want to hear. He abhorred the idea of receiving preferential treatment simply because of his background.

“If I may sir, I feel I would be much more useful here.”

“And I would have you continue on my staff, if I had my way”, the General replied, aware of Captain Westfall’s reservations. “But reality is reality, isn’t it Captain? No, there is no point wasting good men such as you on a useless exercise. The country shall soon be completely under the Republicans’ thumb. That agony is over. It is now our mission to keep the flame of freedom alive in the minds and hearts of Braelanders who are not fooled by these corrupt swayers.”

Then the General retrieved a sealed envelope from his inner coat pocket and handed it to Westfall.

“King Henry - based upon my recommendation - has personally selected you to organize the Resistance from oversees. A representative from the British Consulate in San Francisco will meet you upon your arrival. But time is of the essence. I suggest you prepare for your flight immediately. A cavalry division will be dispatched to provide cover for you on the first leg of the journey until you reach Grand Bend on the Sydenham River. Avoid entering St. Vincent itself for we suspect Republican spies are present there. You should then be clear to meet up with the Downie & Pacific. It’s carrying all freight, so it will be heading straight to the Queensland docks. I've dispatched a cipher telegram notifying them of your boarding but I cannot guarantee that they will stop for you.”

Learning of his new mission and the weighty responsibility it carried invigorated Captain Westfall. He also immediately recognized the narrow window of opportunity he had with which to make good his escape. Queensland stood as the last remaining port city not completely controlled by the Republican forces. But it was only a matter of time before it too fell.

“The ship you are to board is the S.S. Waverley”, the General continued. “Captain Toulson has been notified of your arrival as well. But he cannot wait should you fail to arrive at the appointed time.”

“Yes, sir”, saluted Westfall, “I will leave immediately. I will not fail you.”

“God speed, Captain”, replied General Fisher, returning his salute. “Long live the King!”

“Long live the King!”, shouted the other soldiers in unison.

At that, the General ordered the rest of the men to break camp. The Loyalists would soon begin their retreat deep into the Amethyst Mountains to carry on the fight. For them, it was now guerrilla warfare. For Captain Westfall, it was an exciting new mission.
Excerpt taken from the forthcoming book At The Wall: How Baseball Saved A Nation, by Paul Shirley, senior sports editor of the Brunswick Courier. Reprinted with permission.
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:49 AM   #14
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Reds1, I am so happy to see this. I love detailed fictional worlds that go beyond the sims with a true backstory. And including book excerpts is a stroke of genius.

Four years ago I started a similar dynasty, the Leagues of SIP and ALE, also inspired by the Metro Leagues! You'll see in my thread that mine are also set on an island, and I also created a map. . For me, leagues set in fictional worlds have so much more appeal than historical leagues.

You may also see that my dynasty didn't last too long. The reason is that I started writing a novel based on my leagues. Four years later, that novel is just about complete and I plan to self-publish it later this year.

In the meantime, I must ask you -- what did you use to make the map? It looks awesome .

So I plan on pulling up a chair and following your league. Thanks for doing this. Good luck!
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Old 05-17-2015, 01:41 PM   #15
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Thank you for posting, tylertoo! I appreciate the kind words and your dynasty thread offers some really good advice on how to try and keep the fictional league compelling after the initial background story is set out. I'll be going back to it regularly for direction. I'm jealous to hear that you will be self-publishing your novel! That is so awesome! I also think it's cool that your leagues began play on May 2 (my bday).

I agree with the sentiment that you can't get overly worried about what others might think, after your dynasty settles into a baseball league narrative. As long as you still find it compelling and enjoy it, then that should show through in your writing and reports. DreamTeams' and Eugene Church's leagues demonstrate that perfectly. I enjoy making repeated visits to DreamTeams' Metro Leagues for example, and exploring the cities.

I realized that most of what I wrote regarding my fictional world was downright boring, so I dropped it for a few years, not knowing what to do with it. But then I noticed one of the dynasties here on the boards presented their information using a timeline, and I realized that was what I needed as well. So most of my dry writing was converted to a timeline and I kept a few chapters that I really liked.

You have an incredible map - I love it! For mine, I just googled 'island maps' and found one that I felt I could work with - Orcas Island off the coast of Washington State. I did a bunch of modifications to it in Photoshop.

I learned of the map-making program AutoREALM from jwinbigler's dynasty, and downloaded it. It looks interesting, but I decided to keep the map that I had rather than spending more time on recreating it. I just wanted to get to the dynasty already! I've never got too hung up as to how big Braeland is supposed to be as well. I simply view as big enough to support my baseball universe. I guess somewhere along the lines of 'twice the size of New Zealand' or 'one third the size of Australia'.

Thanks again for your encouraging words!
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:42 PM   #16
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The Run-Down
February 1909

The rain had finally let up and the darkness began loosening its grip in the eastern sky as Captain Westfall made his way towards the Downie & Pacific rail line from Grand Bend. The journey thus far had been uneventful and with the cavalry’s withdrawal he was now on his own.

Having grown up in nearby Delamere along Braeland’s north shore, Captain Westfall was familiar with the countryside, with its expansive forests and rolling plains that gently sloped their way to the coast. It was still largely undeveloped, especially compared to the more populous south – ideal for growing kids with boundless energy and limitless imaginations. For a moment he was lost in thought, back to a more peaceful time. Riding on horseback, his first love and playing the popular games of the day such as football and rounders with his friends. He didn’t see kids doing that as much as he grew older; a sign of more a rigid society denying its children their childhood and more consumed with its own continued existence over everything else. ‘We definitely lost something’, he thought to himself.

The blaring of a train whistle in the distance roused Westfall from his reverie.

“Well, she’s right on time. Let’s go Sprite!”

Westfall rode along the edge of the forest so as to remain concealed for as long as possible but with the freight train now in view, he had no choice but to make the mad dash across the open plain. Riding up alongside the boxcars, he could tell that the train was not travelling at full speed – a good sign that he was expected. Easing up on the reigns, he prepared himself for grabbing onto the front platform of the guard’s van. But the whizzing of a bullet by his head and the shattering of wood alerted Westfall that his presence was known. Moving quickly so as to get out of harm’s way, he reached out for the iron railing.

“C’mon Sprite, just a bit – there we go!”

With his left hand clasping the railing, he stood up in his stirrups so as to make the jump. But without warning, Sprite went out from under him. With his horse now tumbling head over end behind him, Westfall hung on for his life, but not before losing his grip and smashing his chin on the bottom step. With his feet now dragging on the ground and only inches away from the wheels, Westfall struggled to pull himself up the steps and onto the platform.

Collapsing from sheer exhaustion and terror, he began rubbing his aching jaw. “At least it’s not broken” he consoled himself. But he could tell that his face had been splattered with blood. Panicking, he frantically checked himself over to see where he had been hit. Looking down onto his uniform, he could see still more fresh blood but no wounds were evident. It was then he realized that the blood was not his, but Sprite’s.

“Those sons...”

Reaching for his pistol, he peered out from the van but was unable to spot anyone in the adjacent clearing. Turning towards the engine, he was startled to find someone looking back at him. For a moment, the two regarded each other, until the engineer began waving his hand. Waving back, Westfall could see the engineer cupping his hands around his mouth as if to say something.

“Hold on”, he thought the engineer shouted. His assumption was correct, as the train lurched violently, sending Westfall back against the guard’s van and off his feet.

“I think I’ll stay down this time”, Westfall drolly noted to himself.

With the door locked and apparently no one inside, Westfall was forced to remain on the platform. But with the train now embarking on a steady steep decline as it hurtled towards the coast, he realized he would need to secure himself to the car if he was to avoid being thrown off. Taking a couple of tourniquets from his side pocket, he tied his left leg and arm to the railing. Having secured himself, he paused to look up into the early morning sky. He could see the stars starting to recede as the orange and yellow rays of the morning sunrise began to take center stage. He wondered if he would be able to see them ever again in his homeland. But now was not the time to dwell on such matters. Having gone the past 36 hours without sleep, he was overwhelmed with fatigue. With Queensland still a couple of hours away, Captain Westfall allowed the rhythm of the train to lull him into some much-needed sleep.

Departure

Reluctantly, Westfall awoke to voices and two dark figures looking over him.

“Wake up, Captain Westfall. Captain Westfall? We’ve made it. But you’ve got to hurry. There’s not a second to lose.”

Westfall wearily raised his free hand over his eyes to block out the intense sunlight that was drenching his face. The smell of salt air and the sound of seagulls alerted him that he had indeed made it to Queensland. Getting a better look at the men who were hovering over him, he now recognized one of them as the engineer of the train.

“Ah, thank God you’re all right, Captain. I apologize for forcing you to remain out here on the platform. The war has displaced a great many people, and we’ve had to take steps to prevent unwanted guests from moving in. However, I see that you improvised quite well.”

“Yes, I was fortunate to have a couple of these on me”, laughed Westfall as he cut himself loose from the tourniquets with his pocketknife. “What time is it? I have to be on the S.S. Waverley by 0800 hours.”

“Its 0730 hours, sir, but we need to leave immediately”, replied the other gentleman. “The Armed Forces are aware of your presence and are sending a unit here to capture you as we speak.”

“I noticed they were on my tail when I was boarding the train”, responded Westfall nonchalantly. Getting on his feet, Westfall could tell that the gentleman served on a ship. He was younger than the train engineer with a handsome, clean-cut appearance. A little too young to be captain of a ship, Westfall thought.

“Captain Toulson, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“I am Chief Officer Crang actually”, replied the gentleman, accepting Westfall’s outreached hand. “But I’m here to escort you onto the Waverley.”

Turning his attention towards the vessel in the distance, Chief Officer Crang whistled and waved his hands at the deck crew, signalling them to start her engines.

The S.S. Waverley, belonging to the newly formed Bank Line, was a typical freighter of its size. Almost immediately, the engines began to turn as Crang rushed Westfall onto the ship.

“Thank God you’re in one piece,” a voice bellowed as Westfall reached the deck. “By the looks of it, you’ve had an adventure. Captain Toulson at your service. It’s an honour to meet you.”

"Thank you, Captain,” replied Westfall as he shook his hand. “I guess I am little worse for wear. But at least I made it safe and sound.”

“Indeed, you must be exhausted and famished. Crang will show you to your quarters where you can clean up and get some nourishment in you.” Then Captain Toulson approached him. “I want you to know that all of England supports the fine fight and think it’s a travesty that we as a country haven’t done more to help. If there’s anything we can do for you, please let us know.”

By now, it seemed the entire crew had gathered behind their Captain as he said these words, showing their support.

Westfall’s heart swelled. “Thank you, Captain Toulson. That means a lot to me. I know my fellow Loyalists will be strengthened by those words as well. I should wire General Fisher immediately to let him know I successfully made it on board.”

An awkward silence settled among the crew. Captain Toulson placed his hand on Westfall’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry Captain Westfall, but General Fisher and his men were ambushed shortly after your departure. He and his fellow officers did not survive.”

Westfall groaned and turned away from the men. As he looked out towards the harbour that was now steadily receding from view, he could sense the burden he felt overwhelming him. “The enemy is unstoppable. How can anyone fight against this oppression? Is there no one left in Braeland not kneeling to this regime?”

Despite being out of the Republicans’ grasp, it would be a long voyage to a foreign land for Captain Westfall, with a seemingly insurmountable challenge ahead of him.

However, a ‘rendezvous with democracy’ would not be forgotten. As the Republicans became more and more entrenched in power, the initial euphoria surrounding the Republican Revolution of 1908 quickly began to dissipate. The seeds of discontent that had undone the Monarchy were now steadily being replaced with ones for the Republic, and the independent streak that characterized Braelanders would soon emerge once again. In time, a new king would arrive and receive a much different reception.

Excerpt taken from the forthcoming book At The Wall: How Baseball Saved A Nation, by Paul Shirley, senior sports editor of the Brunswick Courier. Reprinted with permission.
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:22 AM   #17
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The Exiles
March 1920

Had they arrived in America at Ellis Island, the young widow and her four small children would have hardly stood out from the rest of the ‘teaming masses’ yearning for a new life. Worn down after years of exile, war and death, Queen Lydia now looked upon America as a sorely needed haven.

Fleeing to Great Britain in 1908 with her husband Prince Henry, the couple managed to escape the civil strife that quickly engulfed their homeland. Initially, they looked upon their exile merely as a temporary retreat. But as the Republicans became more and more entrenched, the couple realized it would be years, if at all, before they could return. Upon the news that his elder brother, Malcolm, was murdered in the coup, Prince Henry was crowned in a simple ceremony at Buckingham Palace as King Henry I. But he was now a ruler without a country to rule.

As honoured guests of the British Crown, the King and Queen settled into a quiet, private existence. While Henry eagerly took up the Admiralty’s offer to serve in the British Navy, Lydia focused her attention on their home life, one that would see no less than five children bless their union in quick succession. The eldest child, Prince William, was born in 1915 in the midst of the Great War. Rebecca, Edward, James and Mitchell would soon follow.

But adversity would find them in England as well. While the Great War would inflict colossal destruction upon the European continent, Great Britain would not be spared either. The nightly raids of the German zeppelins and warplanes, as well as the increasing severity of food rationing became rigeur du jour for the populace. King Henry, confined by the Admiralty to land duty out of fear for his safety, succumbed to the Spanish Influenza in late 1919. Queen Lydia, heavy with child, departed England with her children and sailed to New York City for a new life in the spring of 1920.

Life in America

For the Queen, life in America was a radical departure from the settled existence she had known in England, and one she never quite accepted. But with the Resistance coordinated out of the United States and Braeland’s government-in-exile based in New York in particular, Prime Minister Mundhenke advised Her Majesty that it would be best for her and her family to locate there. In contrast, young William seemed to thrive in the bustle that was New York City in the 1920s, embracing many of the customs of his adopted new home in true Braelander fashion. But while there was much to do and explore in his new surroundings, the custom he embraced most eagerly was the uniquely American sport of baseball. In the days immediately following their arrival, before their lives were more closely regimented, William and his younger brother Edward picked up the game in surrounding sandlots and parks with neighbourhood children who were oblivious to their background. The kids with the ‘funny accents’ soon proved their salt however, in the rough and tumble version of the game common at the time. William and Edward wore their scrapes and bruises back home as a badge of honour. Needless to say, the Queen Mother was horrified. Upon learning of their origin, she moved quickly to put an end to such “shenanigans”.

“Where’s Alex?” she bellowed to Nora her attendant, momentarily drowning out the cries of her two boys. “Tell him to come here at once!”

Serving as Private Secretary to the Sovereign since their arrival to America, Alexander Louden was no stranger to the Queen’s excitable nature and seemingly harsh demeanor. Recognizing the importance of establishing a measure of stability in the transplanted Royal Household, Louden took it upon himself to act as a buffer between the Queen and her employees, as a sort of Master of the Household. “No need for the rest of the place to be in a tizzy”, he said at the time.

“She’s in a terrible tizzy!” exclaimed Nora upon finding him in the makeshift mail room. “She’s tearing a strip off the boys right now. Came home all battered and bruised, they did. Heaven knows what they’ve been up to. She wants to see you straight away.”

“Thank you, Nora”, replied Louden in his typical cheerful manner. He had a pretty good idea what they’ve been up to since it was he who allowed them to play with the other children in the first place. He hadn’t anticipated, however, just how rough their playing would get. As he entered the main hall from the servants’ wing, he could hear the wailing of the boys, no doubt distraught over be denied the opportunity to play with the other children again.

“This should be interesting”, he whispered to Nora as they paused momentarily at the foot of the expansive spiral staircase that ascended to the Royal Family’s living quarters.

Upon reaching the top, Louden found himself ambushed by William and Edward, who began pulling at his sleeves and imploring for his intercession.

“Please don’t let her do this! We won’t get into any trouble! We’ll be good, we promise!” cried the boys, now practically on their knees and seemingly pulling Louden down with them. It was then that he noticed the bruise on William’s left cheek as well as the rips in both their trousers.

“Now boys”, Louden replied in a calm but firm voice, “Do as you are told and retire to your rooms. I will speak to your Mother.” The placing his hands on their shoulders and the reassurance in his voice seemed to calm the boys down. Louden then gently touched William’s chin to get a better look at his injury.

“How do you get that?” he inquired.

“I – I fell sir,” replied William, not too convincingly.

“Hm-mmm; I suppose that’s how you ripped your drawers as well? Alright, get cleaned up. Nora will tend to you and take care of that nasty gash. Off you go”, sighed Louden as he proceeded to the inevitable maelstrom.

In fact, he was reminded of a blast furnace as soon as he entered the room. He didn’t even have a chance to open his mouth before the Queen started into him.

“What’s this I hear of my children running about the streets of New York with strangers and who knows what mischief they’re getting into? And what’s this game of ‘ball’, anyway? I didn’t bring them 3,000 miles from England just for them to fall in among a bunch of ruffians!”

“I assure you, Your Majesty, I know nothing of these unauthorized excursions.” Actually, he did and even supervised their activities beyond their lower Harlem compound.

“But they are in your charge, Alex; you are supposed to protect them.” It wasn't and the Queen knew that.

Louden acquiesced. “Yes Ma’am. It will not happen again.” He had bowed when saying this, but upon rising, he could tell that now there was not so much anger in her eyes as there was fear. It was then that Louden realized that she was unsteady on her feet; she was supporting herself with the back of her wing-back chair.

Sensing his gaze, she quickly turned away. “Be off with you, Alex. We are done here.” She moved deliberately towards the window seat and slowly lowered herself. Louden realized it was more of an excuse not to look at him than anything of interest outside.

None of the servants really took into consideration all that the young widowed Queen had been through. Most of them joined the Royal House while in England or in America. The Queen had lost her country, lost her husband and now she was in fear of losing her children. It was only understandable that she would be so upset.

Louden hesitated. Finally he attempted to search for some words that would sooth her. “Forgive Ma’am for continuing to speak, but I just want you to know that I will personally see to it that the children’s activities are well supervised from now on. You will not need to fear for their safety. I give you my word.”

“That will do”, she replied in a voice struggling to remain composed and authoritative. The Queen maintained her back to him. But as Louden bowed and turned to leave, the Queen concluded in a much softer tone. “Thank you.”

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Louden wasn’t entirely sure how the children would respond to having their baseball activities restricted to the inner courtyard of the Royal Residence, expansive though it was. But William and Edward jumped at the chance to create their own baseball diamond. Their indefatigable spirit quickly rubbed off onto the servants as well, as they began to take part not only in its construction, but also playing the game with the children. Though James and Mitchell were still too young to have a meaningful share, William, Edward and Rebecca quickly became quite adept at the sport. When jealousy threatened to tear the ‘team’ apart after Rebecca became the first to develop a curve ball, Louden placated the kids by providing them with their own baseball uniforms, complete with stirrups and ‘BRAELAND’ emblazoned across their jerseys.

Louden wasn’t sure what the Queen’s reaction to the new arrangement would be either. Since his ‘dressing down’ a few weeks earlier, the Queen had withdrawn even further from the world outside her rooms and whispers began to circulate among the servants that she was in the throes of melancholy. But a fleeting moment changed all that.

Serving as umpire one warm summer afternoon, Louden watched as William finally figured out Rebecca’s bender and smashed one into shallow left field, bringing in a runner. Removing his mask to view the play, Louden looked up and caught sight of a woman also viewing the proceedings from her 3rd story window seat, smiling and clapping softly. The Queen, upon being spotted, immediately retreated from view. But for Louden, it was all he needed. He knew he was ‘safe’.
Excerpt taken from the forthcoming book At The Wall: How Baseball Saved A Nation, by Paul Shirley, senior sports editor of the Brunswick Courier. Reprinted with permission.
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Old 05-18-2015, 03:34 PM   #18
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Thank you for posting, tylertoo! I appreciate the kind words and your dynasty thread offers some really good advice on how to try and keep the fictional league compelling after the initial background story is set out. I'll be going back to it regularly for direction. I'm jealous to hear that you will be self-publishing your novel! That is so awesome! I also think it's cool that your leagues began play on May 2 (my bday).
Cool, glad if I helped.

I chose May 2 for Opening Day in my leagues because.... its my birthday also!

And thanks for pointing out AutoRealm. I need to re-do my map for inclusion in the novel and may try doing so with that.

Again, good luck with the dynasty. Hope you get hooked. I recommend this thread on getting immersed in a fictional world, some great ideas in there.

Also, http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/boar...nofficial.html

And this was a cool league. Amazing map and backstory.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:09 PM   #19
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reds1, I remember all your great logos from years ago. You were one of the best.

And now I find you are a brilliant writer and storyteller, too... your dynasty league has such a wonderfully creative backstory... it's great how you weaved in Satchel Paige, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the other great players.

I am looking forward to following the United Leagues of Braeland.

The map is really well done... the use of old photos is excellent... and the excerpts from the novel makes this dynasty a very special one... At first, I thought it was a real novel.

Can't wait to see your teams, logos, jerseys and caps.

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Old 05-18-2015, 09:50 PM   #20
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Cool, glad if I helped.

I chose May 2 for Opening Day in my leagues because.... its my birthday also!

And thanks for pointing out AutoRealm. I need to re-do my map for inclusion in the novel and may try doing so with that.

Again, good luck with the dynasty. Hope you get hooked. I recommend this thread on getting immersed in a fictional world, some great ideas in there.

Also, http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/boar...nofficial.html

And this was a cool league. Amazing map and backstory.
Thanks, tylertoo! Those references will be helpful. And the Koana dynasty is just incredible. When you get to point of developing a unique language for your fictional world - that is the definition of immersion!

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Originally Posted by Eugene Church View Post
reds1, I remember all your great logos from years ago. You were one of the best.

And now I find you are a brilliant writer and storyteller, too... your dynasty league has such a wonderfully creative backstory... it's great how you weaved in Satchel Paige, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the other great players.

I am looking forward to following the United Leagues of Braeland.

The map is really well done... the use of old photos is excellent... and the excerpts from the novel makes this dynasty a very special one... At first, I thought it was a real novel.

Can't wait to see your teams, logos, jerseys and caps.
Thank you, Eugene! I'm humbled! Yes, I remember very well learning how to make logos from knuckler and contributing some of my own over the years. But I find constantly making logos and jerseys can lead to burn out after a while if you don't take a break and do something else. At least, that was my experience.

Braeland was one such excursion and I've finally worked up the nerve to make it a dynasty, something I've always wanted to try. Fortunately there's so many good examples on the forum that offer ways on how to present league news in a compelling way, and your dynasties will be ones I'll be definitely be taking cues from.

I just have a couple of more 'chapters' to post and then I'll start profiling the cities and teams, leading up to opening day.
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