Each year, Miles Webster has been asked the same question.
"Why didn't you pick me?"
His answer hasn't changed. And it won't change during this year's Statler vs. Waldorf Fall Classic either.
"Because I didn't have first pick," he'll say.
The Classic is a season-ending best-of-three series in the Shooters Bar & Grill P.G. Senior Baseball League. In the just-for-fun showdown, the names of the participating players are provided to Webster, who manages one team, and to Jerry Kral, who manages the other. Webster and Kral make their selections and the clubs take to the field, with nothing more than bragging rights and maybe a pitcher of beer on the line.
The Statler vs. Waldorf Fall Classic -- so-named because of the parallels between Webster-Kral and the two crotchety critics on The Muppet Show -- is now into its third year. Game 1 of the series starts Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Citizen Field. Games 2 and 3 will be played the next night, same location.
The series always goes three games, even if one team sweeps the other. And that has actually been the case in each of the previous two years.
"In the first year, the team I was associated with, they won all three games and then last year, Jerry's team won all three games so this is kind of the rubber match," said the 71-year-old Webster, a former youth coach who now lives and breathes the game as one of the most knowledgeable spectators in the city. "So we're in a dead heat at the moment so maybe this one this week will sort something out."
Webster, words of wisdom always at the ready, loves being back in the dugout for the Statler vs. Waldorf games.
"I like the idea of having all my smart remarks from the stands being put to the test when I get on the field," he said with a grin. "But most of all, it's fun to get down with the guys. And it's been a long time since I was on the field so the last three years doing this at the end of the season has kind of been a bonus."
Webster was a player in his younger years and started coaching at the youth level in Victoria when he was in his mid-20s. He arrived in P.G. in 1989 and began guiding Prince George Youth Baseball Association teams in 1990. Locally, his coaching career spanned more than two decades.
And Webster has always been a fan. In fact, if he ever misses a league game at Citizen Field, it's cause for concern among the guys on the diamond.
"If we have a game during the week and Miles isn't there, we're always like, 'What? Where's Miles? Someone better call him and make sure he's OK,'" said league member Paul Wilson. "That's how often he's there."
The Classic was originally dreamed up by Wilson and fellow player Kalen Kirkpatrick. Because of the shortness of their season, they wanted to find a way to cap things off in an enjoyable way. In the minds of Wilson and Kirkpatrick, Webster was the perfect candidate to serve as one of the managers.
"There's not a guy around the park that knows every player like he does," Wilson said. "[The managers] were originally meant to be him and Wally Foster because they sit up in the bleachers together all the time, like the two old Muppets. But something happened with Wally and he couldn't do it that first year so we got Jerry Kral to do it and Jerry enjoyed it so it's just stayed with [Webster] and Jerry. Miles and Jerry are pretty good friends so it works out really good."