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

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February, 2009
by "Biggest Daddy"

Interview with John Duel,
Sylmar Padawans

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?

JOHN DUEL: Love it, love it, love it! Beyond the baseball, which in and of itself makes BDBL great, the friendships I have developed are lifelong ones. I am very grateful to Mike for forming this league, accepting me into this league, and keeping me in this league when my life turned topsy-turvy.

BD: How have you felt about the overall success of your franchise at this point?  

JD: 2005 and 2006 were great and fun. I really thought, going into the season, that 2007 was my best team. I was very disappointed to have done so poorly that year. I knew 2008 would be a rebuilding one and I still feel I can be competitive but thereís a lot of work to do with this team.

BD: What is your favorite aspect of the BDBL?

JD: I really enjoy reading the forum. The BDBL weekends Iíve participated in have been really wonderful too. And I enjoy my head-to-head rivalry with San Antonio.

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.

JD: My worst moment was when the trading thread was renamed to ďwhat did John Duel do nowĒ after the Mariano Rivera trade. But the vindication I since received more than made up for it. So my low moment led directly to one of the highest moments: Mike admitting he was wrong.

BD: Over the course of your time in the BDBL, who is the one GM that you consider your largest rival or target?

JD: I already knew Jeff and Ed prior to this league, so I had pre-established relationships with them and considered each a rival. The rivalry Iíve developed with Greg has been the most fun. I donít consider any GM a target, really, or I doubt I would have dealt with Jeff or Ed. The rivalry is always fun.

BD: Name a GM that you absolutely love to talk trade with.  

JD: Ed and I talk BDBL every time weíre together. It isnít always trade talk, but sometimes it is. But I have to say Bobby. He and I work hard to negotiate deals. They take time, but we usually get to a happy conclusion.

BD:  How did you first hear of the BDBL?

JD: Through Jeff.

BD: What would it take for you to exit the league?

JD: Death. Or some life-changing event that would prevent me from participating.

BD: What is your favorite BDBL memory?

JD: I really enjoyed meeting everyone for the first time in Philadelphia. It was cool to put faces to Sharky, Tom, Tony, Tony, Greg, Doyle, and the Commish. (I hope I didnít miss anyone! I already knew Jeff and Ed.)

BD: What is your best trade ever?

JD: I think my first trade was pretty good, dealing I-Rod for K-Rod, who is like my franchise player. Of course, it could really have been a great trade. I took Sean Burnett with K-Rod when I was offered my choice of Burnett or Dontrelle Willis. I think probably the best trade for both sides was my blockbuster trade with Bobby where I got Carl Crawford.

BD: And your worst?

JD: Too early to tell, but I think Iíll regret trading Brackman for Dobbs and Erstad.

BD: Other than Glander, what GM would you absolutely hate to see leave the BDBL?

JD: Ed is the obvious answer, but he and I were friends before BDBL and will be after. Having been in the league, I would absolutely hate to see Greg go because that rivalry has been the most fun. We start each season and we end each season. That is pretty cool.

BD: Who is the craziest character in the BDBL?

JD: Is this a trick question? Is anyone crazier than Brian?

BD: If your franchise had a Team Hall of Fame, which players would be members?

JD: Carl Crawford and Francisco Rodriguez.  Thatís really probably it. No one else has stayed long enough to put up the kind of numbers needed.

BD: Tell us which MLB team that you feel like your BDBL franchise is the most like.

JD: Somewhere between Kansas City and Tampa Bay. Actually, I admire what Tampa Bayís team is like and thatís the kind of team Iíve been trying to build. Iím probably most like the Rockies, though, if I have to be honest.

BD: Did you and Greg even want to win the Griffin Division in 2004?

JD: Wasnít it í05? Am I off? Of course! We both desperately wanted to win and it came down to that final series.

BD: How has your overall team-building philosophy changed over the years?

JD: Instead of picking the farm guys I want, I try to pick farm guys that I think can be traded. Iíve also been more willing to trade for farm players and have tried to be more patience with my prospects.

BD: What has been the most significant change in the BDBL?

JD: Weíve made too many rules, in my humble opinion, to restrict trading and penalize losing. I understand the reasoning, but I miss the days when you could rebuild quickly.

BD: Name your favorite "off-the-field" moment from BDBL Weekend or the league forum.

JD: I already answered that, really, in question 9. My biggest on field memory is clinching the division in the final series of the season versus Greg. Off the field, on the forum, I enjoy this past politic campaign.

BD: What is it like being a San Francisco fan, and not living in the Bay Area, particularly when you were in So.Cal?

JD: Iím in the Bay Area now. I used to go to Dodger Stadium and root loudly and proudly for the Giants. It was great fun.

BD: You will obviously leave your mark on hundreds of high school kids, as they go out into the real world.  Can they leave you with anything?

JD: Oh, this is a novel right here. You get so much more than you give when you are a teacher. Whatís really, really cool is the number of former students who stay in touch with me. I got an email just before Christmas from a student thanking me for teaching her to write and telling me she got an A on a paper. I have a student who adopted me as her father. I have students who want to get together for coffee or lunch. Itís like being a father vicariously. It has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

BD: Thanks, John!

JD: A side note for you: 

I found out when I was teaching that students would somehow find me on BDBL and read what I had written. So, when I taught, I had to be more careful about what I wrote. Luckily, this presidential season, I was not teaching and I voiced my opinion.