by "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?
GLANDER: Thanks, Biggest Daddy. Although I'm not feeling all that
great about my team at the moment, I always feel good about this
Although this game sucks monkey nuts at
times, the fact that I get to share in this utter misery with so many
great guys makes it worthwhile.
BD: How have you felt about the overall success of your franchise at
don't think it's any secret that I'm disappointed in not winning that
godforsaken trophy. While the division titles and almost 10,000
wins in ten seasons are nice to have on the resume, I'd trade it all for
just one trophy. It would be much nicer to
have a piece of hardware that validates all the hard work and effort I
put into this hobby.
But over the years I've learned that it's not about the destination; it's about the journey.
At least, that's what helps me to sleep at night.
BD: What is your favorite aspect of the BDBL?
absolutely love the league forum, and don't know what I'd do without it.
I keep it open on my desktop all day, every day, and probably hit the
refresh button 1,000 times a day. I'd like to think I've made 23
friends (well, 22 friends and Peburn) for life through this silly
fantasy baseball league. I look forward to BDBL Weekend more than
any other day of the year, and I genuinely enjoy hanging out with
everyone in the league (except Peburn), whether virtually or in person.
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.
difficult to pick just one, Biggest Daddy. Every
year, it seems like I reach a new milestone low point. And just
when I think it can't get any lower, this game proves me wrong.
Our very first season was a bitter disappointment for me, because I
really wanted to win the first championship, and thought I had the team
to do it. I also wanted to "undo" all the damage my ego had taken
in the old CBL a decade earlier. I guess you could say that didn't
work out too well, eh?
I didn't think I had a prayer of beating Tom in the World Series.
But I got SO CLOSE to that championship, I could taste it. Ninth
inning of Game Seven, with the game still tied -- you can't get any
closer than that. So losing that one was extremely gut-wrenching,
knowing it may be the closest I ever get.
I was convinced that having two or three dominant aces was the formula
for success in the playoffs. And I had three dominant, lights-out
aces. And I sat there and watched as all three imploded in the
very first inning, three games in a row, against the #4 seed in our
That was a huge slap across the face.
2005, I was so convinced that it would finally be MY year that I wrote
my infamous on-line novel Five Games in November to commemorate
the occasion. But instead of a celebratory, feel-good story, it
became just another occasion for the league to revel in my misery. I'm still shaking my head over Brian
Roberts' five-hit game and the two blown saves by Mariano Rivera and
Juan Cruz. That one hurt even more because it was the second World
Series loss to Tom, and I figured the Baseball Gods owed me one there.
The Baseball Gods had even MORE punishment planned for me. As if
two weren't enough, they set me up for a third loss to Tom in
2008. I came out of the 2007 playoffs (where I once again lost to
the #4-seeded Infidels in absolutely ludicrous fashion) vowing never
again to manage a playoff series. But I sucked it up, and
reluctantly (VERY reluctantly) went into the '08 playoffs fully
expecting the Baseball Gods to crap all over me once again. I just
wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible, and was actually
annoyed that I made it to the World Series. I was triply annoyed
that my opponent would be Tom, as I was sick and tired of that story. And I knew what the outcome would be before
the series even began. Two losses to Tom were more than enough. A
third was just kicking a man while he's down. Completely
there's this season. I could never count on my team to perform as
expected in a short series, but at least they always performed well over
a long 160-game season. But this
season has been just one long disappointment from beginning to end.
It's been the least fun I've had in this league, quite frankly.
But if I
had to pick one low point, it would be 2001. On a personal level,
I lost my mother that year after a long battle with cancer, and
I guess I felt as though I "deserved" something good to happen to me
after enduring such a tough year emotionally. I also felt that
I "deserved" to win the championship that season after building this
incredible team, and after watching Marazita win the first two. I
just felt it was "my time." Instead, I not only lost that series
to Marazita in the OLCS, but I was swept by him. And just
to add insult to injury, that sweep was executed face-to-face at his
house, so I got to endure the snarky smirks, the gleeful celebrating of
my defeat (by both Marazita and his butt-boy, Geisel), and the
condescending lectures about sportsmanship from a guy who's never been
on the losing end of any fantasy baseball championship series.
2001 playoff series was most definitely the low point of my BDBL career. I realize it's "just
a game," but every once in awhile, a small victory in a meaningless
little game can give you the emotional lift you need to
keep pushing forward. I haven't gotten that from this game at all.
In fact, I've gotten only the opposite. You can only take so many
emotional beatings before you become absolutely numb to it all, and I
think I reached that point a while ago. Even if I were to finally
win a championship now, I wouldn't enjoy it nearly as much as I would
have several years ago.
thing I have learned from this experience, it is that the DMB software doesn't
care who "deserves" to win. It doesn't care who "wants it more" or
who "worked harder for it" or who "played by the rules."
It doesn't care who knows more about the game of baseball, or who spent
weeks, months or years formulating a "can't lose" strategy. It's just
a random series of cold, impersonal, unfeeling dice rolls.
for the question, Biggest Daddy. I think I'm going to head out
back and shoot myself now.
BD: Over the course of your time in the BDBL, who is the one GM that you
consider your largest rival or target?
No secret here. First it was Marazita, then Tom, and now
Peburn. I would call Paulson a rival, but he's beat the snot out
of me so badly over the years, you can hardly call it a "rivalry."
That's like calling the Yankees and Red Sox, pre-2004, a "rivalry."
BD: Name a GM that you absolutely love to talk trade with.
could take the politically correct way out and suggest that I love
talking trade with everyone in the league. But as everyone knows,
I'm anything but politically correct. So I'm going to say John
Gill is probably my favorite trading partner. I like dealing with
John because: a) he doesn't insult my intelligence with ridiculous
offers he would never accept himself, b) he doesn't give me vague
offers, fishing for me to make him an offer instead, and c) he's not afraid to talk
about anyone on his roster. There are a lot of guys in this league
who cling to certain players so tightly that they pass on deals that
would have really helped them. But John will discuss trading ANY player on his
team, and I'm the same way. As a result, we often end up making huge blockbuster deals
where we both benefit enormously. I don't think you can point to
any trade we've made over the past ten years and definitively say either
of us won.
BD: Why did you
decide to create this league?
Basically, I got tired of rotisserie baseball, and was looking for
something that was more like "real" baseball, both from the
standpoint of a manager and GM. I somehow
discovered Diamond Mind, ordered the game, and really enjoyed playing
it. But solitaire just wasn't cutting it. I needed to
compete against other people, and I couldn't find an established league
that had all the rules I wanted. I'm also a little bit of a
control freak, and I don't trust other people to make all the decisions
I feel would be best for the league. So, I just created my own
from scratch. When I played rotisserie, I came up with the idea
for our salary and contract structure, and I was anxious to put that
idea to work. And although a lot of people insisted that system
would not work over the long run, it's been very gratifying to me to
have proven them wrong.
BD: Are there any GM's no longer in the league that you really miss?
Several, actually. In no particular order: Sharky, Tim Zigmund,
Brian Hicks, Billy Baseball and Scott Zook all come to mind. Of
course, Sharky still remains a fixture on the board, but I miss his
waffling over each and every decision. It was
endless entertainment. Ziggy, Hicks and Zook were all great fun on
the board, and we engaged in some lively debates over the years. And Billy
Baseball has been my friend for 28 years now, and we still keep in touch on occasion.
BD: What is your favorite BDBL memory?
"On the field," beating Marazita with my "SUS-busting" strategy in 2002 was sweet
justice (though it was too little, too late.) I also enjoyed Game
6 of the '02 World Series. And the anticipation and excitement of
Draft Day is always a highlight. I also get a huge adrenaline rush
whenever I make a blockbuster trade. I probably enjoy the entire
process of negotiation, announcing the new deal, and placing my new
players in my lineup more than actually playing the games.
BD: What is your best trade ever? And your worst?
Berkman trade is probably my favorite. It took me forever to
convince Geisel to part with him, and he remains the only player in
Salem history who's ever played for me for more than three seasons.
Trading Wes Anderson for Teixeira was also a highlight.
trade is a tie between the John Danks and Jon Lester trades of last
winter. I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I made
those deals. I acquired both pitchers via trade, because I
believed they were on the verge of a breakout. And a few weeks
later, I was sending both of them out the door for a couple of one-year
stopgap solutions. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.
BD: What GM would you absolutely hate to see leave the BDBL?
this may seem like the politically-correct response, but I can honestly
say I'd hate to see ANY of our current owners leave. And yes, that
includes Peburn. Every league needs a villain.
BD: Who is the craziest character in the BDBL?
suppose the obvious answer here is Skizm, but I really don't think he's crazy.
He is my "Id." Everything that he says or writes is everything I
experience internally. The only difference is that my "Ego" and
"Superego" filters out all that stuff (sometimes), and I'm able to
give the phony appearance of being a "good sport." But
like Brian, I'm an ultra-competitive person, and I completely identify with the level of
intense hatred for this hobby that Brian communicates so well.
has by far the craziest outlook on politics that I've ever encountered
in my lifetime. I have some liberal friends here in the Northeast, but
West Coast liberals are a whole different breed of cat.
said, I'd like to nominate Jim Doyle as the craziest character in this
league. I mean, just look at the dude's trading history!
Then, there's the fact that he changes his franchise-building strategy
every year. Remember the "all-defense" strategy? Or the $20
million bid for his #2 starter? Or the four-year contract for B.J. Upton? I
don't think there's any contest.
BD: If your franchise had a Team Hall of Fame, which players would be
MG: Well, if we had won the 2002 Series,
Mike Magnante would be a first-ballot Salem Hall of Famer just based on
one game's performance.
But alas, we didn't. Since only one player has ever lasted more than
three years on my roster, it would be difficult to name anyone else
to a Salem Hall of Fame other than Berkman. And he's certainly a
first-ballot election when the time comes. We'll see a number 17
hanging in Sam Adams Stadium when he retires.
BD: Tell us which MLB team that you feel like your BDBL franchise is the
MG: Hmm...let's see...a New England-based
baseball team with a gross inferiority complex and rabid fan base that consistently plays
well during the season, but then chokes in the post-season so badly that
the franchise appears cursed. I can't think of one. At
least, not anymore.
BD: As Commish, is there a particular task that you would prefer to not
have to do?
MG: I've pretty much outsourced all of my
mundane tasks through the years, leaving me with just updating the web
site. And I really enjoy writing and creating all this content for
the site, although I haven't had a lot of time to do so lately.
BD: How has your overall team-building philosophy changed over the
MG: It hasn't, really. And that's
the problem. I think I'm going to have problems maintaining
success going forward unless I make some tweaks to my strategy.
There is too much information freely available these days, and too many
owners all drafting and scouting from the same sources of information.
It makes it nearly impossible to gain an edge.
BD: What has been the most significant change in the BDBL?
answer to this question is related to the one above. The
biggest change isn't specific to the BDBL; it's the proliferation
of information available on the internet today that wasn't available
when this league first started. In the good ol' days, I held a
distinct advantage in acquiring free agents (both minor league and
majors), because I knew where to get the information. But today,
we're all sharing the same scouting notebooks. There are no
"secrets" or "hidden sleepers" anymore.
early days of the league, only a handful of owners actually paid
attention to the minor leagues, and a much smaller handful paid any
attention whatsoever to college, high school and Japanese players.
Today, we're taking 14-year-olds with the #1 overall pick of the farm
draft. This league has become ludicrously competitive.
BD: Name your favorite "off-the-field" moment from BDBL Weekend or the
MG: Again, there are so many it's
difficult to pick just one. The time Doyle decided to ask a crazy
homeless man in Cleveland for restaurant recommendations, and we ditched
the two of them, was definitely a classic. I laughed so hard I
didn't think I'd ever stop. Our tour of the Budweiser brewery
in St. Louis was a blast, and San Diego was a fun town. San Fran was also a
blast, and I'll never forget that Chinese dinner we had. There
have been so many great times at BDBL Weekend, and it's definitely
become the highlight of my year.
BD: Will you have enough energy to run this league for another 10
years? And if so, what will the league look like in 2019?
definitely have the energy. The question is whether I'll have the
mental toughness to keep taking a beating year after year after year.
Like my forum signature reads, "It's not about how hard ya hit. It's
about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." So far,
I'm still moving forward.
we'll all be playing Diamond Mind via virtual-reality helmets. A
high-definition, 3-D playing field will be filled with photorealistic
replicas of every MLB player, and we will sit in the dugout making
managerial decisions through our thoughts. (Of course, Tom will
still choose to manage via MP.) The sounds of the game and the
crowd will be played for us through the Dolby HD surround sound in our
helmets, and the smell of hot dogs and sweaty ballplayers will waft in
through HD smell sensors.
course, the game itself will still suck. Felix Hernandez will
still post an ERA double the size of his MLB ERA, and base runners will
still stand at first base with dumb looks on their faces when you order
them to steal. But the graphics will be amazing.
BD: Anything that has taken place
that you regret?
suppose I could've handled the Delmon Young/Ian Stewart trade
controversy a little better, eh? And in reading so many old posts in
preparation for the 10th anniversary articles, I cringed at a lot of
idiotic things I wrote. But that's who I am. I'm a
passionate guy with passionate opinions, especially when it comes to
baseball and politics. I realize that level of passion makes me
look like an asshole sometimes, but I'm okay with it. If you go
through life suppressing your emotions and opinions because you're
afraid of what other people will think of you, then you become a pretty
boring person. If there is one thing I don't want to be remembered
for, it's being boring.
BD: Is this league perfect? What
would make it better?
gut reaction is to say the only thing that makes this league imperfect
is the Diamond Mind software. But there's probably a lot of
bitterness in that opinion. When you're winning, DMB is great.
When you're losing, DMB sucks. Yes, there is a lot of randomness
in the software, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. It just
makes it more difficult to assemble a winning team when you have no idea
how your players will perform. But isn't that the same problem MLB
managers face? I'm sure Terry Francona didn't count on Daisuke
Matsuzaka posting a 7.00+ ERA this season. And I'm sure Joe Maddon
was planning on B.J. Upton hitting a little better than .232. But
BD: When you started, did you think the
league would make it ten years?
MG: The first year was no picnic, but throughout all the turmoil and
drama, I never believed that our league would be doomed because of it.
I knew it would take awhile to find 24 good owners, and I'm really happy
with the mix of guys we have now. It was hard work, but it was all
BD: Now that your boys are getting older, how much interest are they
showing in the league? Would they ever be interested in having a team?
MG: I actually considered having my
13-year-old take over the Funkadelic earlier this year. But he
played rotisserie for the first time this year, and he could probably
use a little more experience before he jumps into this shark tank.
He joined two other leagues shortly after the first, so he's becoming a
fantasy baseball junkie just like his old man. He's now talking
about forming a league with his friends next year, so we may have a Baby
Commish on our hands!
soon to tell whether my other two sons will be into baseball. They
won't even sit to watch more than an inning of baseball right now.
It's funny, because I always assumed that my sons would naturally
inherit my love for the game, but I don't think any of them will ever
love it as much as I do. They just have other interests, and I'm
okay with that. I've never forced my interests onto them.
BD: Mike, gotta say, congratulations on making this league such a
MG: Thank YOU,
Biggest Daddy (and those who preceded you with that title) for lending
your services to this league for so many years. The Biggest Daddy
interviews are one of my favorite features of the site, and I often go
back and reread some of the older interviews.