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slant.gif (102 bytes) Know Thy Enemy, 10th Anniversary Edition

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May, 2009
by "Biggest Daddy"

Interview with Tony Chamra,
Villanova Mustangs

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 this point?

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 members?

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 near future.

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 years?

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.

TC: Well 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!