by "Biggest Daddy"
Interview with John Duel,
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
And your worst?
Too early to tell, but
I think Iíll regret trading Brackman for Dobbs and Erstad.
Other than Glander, what GM would you absolutely hate to see leave the
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
BD: If your franchise had a Team Hall of Fame, which players would be
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
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.
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
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.
Name your favorite "off-the-field" moment from BDBL Weekend or the
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
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.
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.