by "Biggest Daddy"
BIGGEST DADDY: Thank you for
sitting down with us for another installment of "BDBL: A retrospective".
Generally speaking, how do you feel about the BDBL?
TONY CHAMRA: I think the BDBL has been
extremely successful. Besides providing a great atmosphere for talking
baseball, it has certainly sparked some new friendships which I consider
myself very lucky to have. The BDBL weekend has become a great event and
something I now look forward to every year. It has also been an
interesting journey with respect to watching owners develop philosophies
on how to run a baseball franchise.
BD: How have you felt about the overall success of your franchise at
TC: Well, the 2006 championship was
obviously the highlight of the Villanova franchise history. Other than
that season, we haven't had too much success. That was our only playoff
experience and rarely have we been close come Chapter 6. My philosophy
has been, admittedly, a bit unorthodox at times, but that keeps me
interested. I like trying different methods and I've always had a
specific idea on how I'd like to run a baseball franchise. I'm hoping
we're close to establishing a core group that will keep us in the
playoff hunt for many years.
BD: What is your favorite aspect of the BDBL?
TC: The flexibility. I love that fact that
we maintain farm rosters because I love trying to build a team from home
grown talent. I believe it's better to keep the apples instead of
selling them and farm rosters and the rookie contract limits allow me to
do that. I think the flexibility in the rosters and salary structure
allow many different franchise models to occur which adds to the variety
of the league.
BD: Tell us the absolute low point of your franchise, whether it was
a particular game lost, or a particular trade ripped to shreds, or a
particular fellow GM that ticked you off.
TC: I'm not sure I can really pinpoint a
low point of the franchise. We've made some dumb trades in the past and
I get annoyed at those when looking back. We have lost 90+ games 3 times
now, but hopefully that won't happen again any time in the near future.
I got ripped a couple times for deadline trades to Stamford or Allentown
but I'm not sure I'm extremely ashamed of any of those.
BD: Over the course of your time in the BDBL, who is the one GM that
you consider your largest rival or target?
TC: Well I'm not one to really establish
rivals. I didn't really have a personal connection with anyone in the
league when I joined but I have become good friends with Tom and I guess
we have a small rivalry going, although we have never really been in
close contention at the same time.
BD: Name a GM that you absolutely love to talk trade with.
TC: That's a bit difficult because I don't
have much confidence in my trading abilities. I've just never been very
good at it and the only "good" trade I can remember off the top of my
head was getting Rivera in 2006. I think most of the owners are
enjoyable trading partners, but there isn't really one I'd say I love
talking trade with.
BD: How did you first hear of the BDBL?
TC: I used to play MicroLeague and Earl
Weaver Baseball as a kid, and while I was in college, I got the urge to
play a stats based baseball game again. So during my search for newer
software I came across DMB and noticed this league listed on the
website. This was the only league I contacted for potential membership,
I was very impressed with the league rules, and the website and obvious
dedication lured me in.
BD: What would it take for you to exit the league?
TC: One thing that's great about the BDBL
is the ability to maintain connection with your team and the league even
if you are short on time so I don't really see potential scheduling
being an issue with me. I think the only thing that would cause me to
leave the BDBL right now is apathy from a good portion of the league or
some sort of mass cheating scandal.
BD: What is your favorite BDBL memory?
TC: Gameplay-wise it would definitely be
winning the 2006 championship, especially after being down 3-2 against
So Cal in the first round. The last game was 2-1 and Bob had guys on 1st
and 2nd in the top of the 9th. Given my history of bad luck with
baseball games, I was sure we were going to blow it.
BD: What is your best trade ever? And your worst?
TC: Best - Although I gave up some decent
players, I believe the deal to get Mariano Rivera in 2006 was the reason
we won the championship, so that would have to be the best.
Worst - Well, getting Ken Griffey Jr (and
his crappy contract) for a failed playoff push in 2002 was a huge bust.
Then it took me 3 more years to unload his sorry butt.
BD: Other than Glander, what GM would you absolutely hate to see
leave the BDBL?
TC: First off
I want to say how awesome it is that we have reached the point of nearly
zero owner turnover. Sure, every once in a while one will leave, but
another willing and excited owner is always ready to join. I like that
guys enjoy the league so much that they team up with another guy to help
run the team or play games simply because they still want to be
involved. Heck, owners that leave the league come back on the forum
sometimes too! But to answer the question, I guess I'd hate to see Jeff
leave the league. He's such a fixture of the BDBL, he's almost always
putting a winning team on the field and he's at every BDBL weekend
posing with whatever statue happens to be by. BDBL Weekend wouldn't be
the same without him.
BD: Who is the craziest character in the BDBL?
TC: Skizm. I don't really need to explain
that one, do I? Beyond that, I'd say Doyle has certainly tried some
whacky team building philosophies and posted some crazy Catholic
propaganda over the years.
BD: If your franchise had a Team Hall of Fame, which players would be
TC: An interesting
question. First off, my thoughts on the Hall of Fame in general are that
I think it's way to easy to get in. That said, I'm not sure anyone has
really contributed enough for a long period of time to included, but for
arguement's sake, I'd say Travis Hafner. I'm working toward keeping some
guys around for a long time, so hopefully we'll have names to add in the
BD: Tell us which MLB team that you feel like your BDBL franchise is
the most like.
TC: Well, I'm
not necessarily proud of it, but we seem to be heading toward a Florida
Marlins type franchise. I'd also say Oakland A's and maybe Minnesota
Twins. Primarily teams that like to build around youth.
BD: If you could put your finger on one thing that was the
difference-maker in your 2006 championship, what would it be?
TC: The one thing would have to be the
acquisition of Mariano Rivera. We really needed another bullpen arm and
he's the best. I don't think I would have won without him.
BD: How has your overall team-building philosophy changed over the
TC: I don't really
think it has. I'm hoping I'm just getting a bit better at trying to
properly enact that philosophy. I've always tried to build around youth
and pitching and I don't think that'll change any time soon.
BD: What has been the most significant change in the BDBL?
TC: I think the Type H player has been a
huge change and I'm not totally sure if it's for the better. I think
it's made things more realistic, but at the same time, I think it's made
things a bit more boring. There just aren't the exciting, comment
provoking deadline deals like there were in the past. While the rule was
written to discourage teams from bailing, it might be possible that more
teams are bailing because they know they can't land a real difference
maker because that player is Type H. We may get to the point where a
good majority of the best players in the league become Type H which
would really curb trading.
BD: Name your favorite "off-the-field" moment from BDBL Weekend or
the league forum.
Doyle talking to the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce in Cleveland
was quite priceless. Also the trading and phone calls at the BBQ place
in Kansas City was pretty cool.
BD: Will Rich Harden make it to the end of his Mustang contract
(2014) without a penalty-free injury-caused cut?
TC: Yes, damn it!! Actually, it has now
become a war of attrition for me. Harden and Greinke will not be traded
no matter how much they suck because everyone has commented on my
keeping them through contract years where they were a free cut, so now I
need to either prove everyone wrong or die trying!
BD: What's keeping you busy these days, other than work and the BDBL?
TC: Well unfortunately last year my
marriage took a turn when my wife cheated on me and said she wasn't sure
if she wanted to be married. Recently the situation has been "resolved"
by us getting separated and probably eventually divorced. It has been
really hard on me because I don't want this to happen. I love her very
much, but I guess I need to learn to let go. Unfortunately, that has
taken a lot of my energy over the past year and I've not only decreased
participation in this league but also in other aspects of my life that I
enjoyed. That's going to change this summer and I'm determined to get my
life back on track. I've joined an adult baseball league here in
Charlotte and I'll hopefully be pitching and playing some OF. I'm part
of two choirs and might be joining a third in the fall. There's always
golf. And I've started a pretty nice little garden in the back yard with
fruits and veggies (if it doesn't bear fruit it's a useless plant to
me). I guess I'll be on the dating scene soon too, but that's something
I'm not really looking forward too very much. All in all, once I get
past the pain, I'm hoping to be happier than ever and I'm hoping to
become a very active member of this league once again.
BD: Thanks, Tony!