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

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November, 2008
by "Biggest Daddy"

Interview with Greg Newgard,
San Antonio Broncs

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?

GREG NEWGARD: Biggest Daddy, itís always a pleasure.  I know the point has been made time and time again on the message board and in person at BDBL Weekend, but in my opinion this is the best damn DMB league out there, period.

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

GN: Well, I can only speak personally for the six seasons Iíve been at helm, but looking back at the teamís history, Iíd have to characterize our overall success as disappointing. No division championships, three wild cards, just one from me, and no playoff series victories. Overall, I think weíve underachieved every step of the way and this season has been no different.

BD: What is your favorite aspect of the BDBL?

GN: I think itís the salary structure. Itís what drew me to the league and I think it permeates every aspect of this league. I think it bring us as close to being real GMs as weíre going to possibly get and makes the experience much more enjoyable than other leagues.

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 pissed you off.

GN: Biggest Daddy, the one is far too easy as Iím not sure that would will ever heal completely. 2005 OLDS Game 7. The franchise was stuck rebuilding for two seasons when I took over because our cupboard was completely bare after the failed 2002 playoff run from Phoenix. Being in a tight race with Sylmar and have the division title settled on the final day of the season was the most excitement our fans had seen in awhile. Then we get to face that same Sylmar team in the opening round knowing very well that weíd probably go seven games.

We drop two there, win the next three in Silicon Valley. We got blown out in Game 6 back in Sylmar, setting up that predestined finale. Chris Carpenter gets into a 3-0 hole after two innings, but keeps in there. We get a huge 3-run shot from Kevin Mench to tie it in the 4th. Then Trevor Hoffman gives up a two-out single to Juan Uribe in the 8th to lose it. It was a classic ending to a classic series during an exciting season. I still dream about getting a chance to take on Salem, knowing their playoff history.

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

GN: Sylmar and John Duel for the reasons I just mentioned in your last question. Honestly, I hated his guts in 2005. I think I took it personally, but he and his team would literally turn my stomach any time I thought of them. The resentment for Ď05 lasted well into the í06 season. Today, that bitter hatred isnít there, and I donít really know why it was there in the first place. But I think there is still a fierce rivalry there and I think itís great to have a rival like that, especially within your division and I think the feeling is mutual.

Of course, Iíd like to develop that same level of animosity with the rest of the Griffin Division, but the Undertakers have always owned me and I still pretty much own the Jamboree, so there hasnít been that two-way fight between either of those teams quite like there was with Sylmar and continues to be.

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

GN: The bad boys of the league: The Emperor and The Commish.

I like dealing with Tom just because itís an upfront negotiation. There arenít any hidden agendas and heíll tell you where you stand. Heís also very well informed with the rest of the league due to his network of contacts. He had the rep of someone looking to take advantage of someone, but I think most of us fall into that category at some point.
I like dealing with Mike because heís always looking for that edge, but heís always doing it in a fair way. I think he gets a bad rap, but I honestly think he is trying to be fair. Sure, you may question how he values certain commodities, but I really donít think heís trying to screw anyone, because it wouldnít be in his best interest as the leader of this league to do so.

I admire teams that are always going for it and stay in the race year after year and that is why I choose those guys. I know I canít be the kind of GM because I get too invested in my team.

BD: How did you first hear of the BDBL?

GN: The DMB league page. I was in three leagues that were all very similar. No salary, boring year-end draft. Just typical stuff. I came across the opening and checked out the rulebook and fell in love. I put my app in right away and got lucky. I ended up dropping my other three leagues in less than three months time.

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

GN: Mike leaving. This baby is his and no one could replace what he does or what he brings to the table year in, year out. If he ever stepped down, Iíd resign the next day because I donít think the league could survive without him.

BD: What is your favorite BDBL memory?

GN: 2008 BDBL Weekend. There was a situation during the weekend that wonít be shared with rest of the league out of respect for one of our owners, but seeing how a group of guys would came to the aid of one of us was just great to see. Deep down, weíre all friends and thatís what the league is really all about.

BD: What is your best trade ever? And your worst?

GN: Sorry New Milford, but Iíve got to pick the Danny Haren trade. Haren for Carpenter and J.P. Howell. I couldnít say yes fast enough and got to dump salary and get a stud start for seven seasons. No brainer.

As far as worst goes, nothing of the likes of Chipper-for-Dempster thankfully. But with that said, any trade where you go out willingly and acquire Austin Kearns has to rank at the top. With Jose Lopez seeming ready to explode as the Marinersí 2B, I sent Orlando Hudson to Salem for Kearns. Lopez is still young and showing some signs of breaking out, but Kearns has been an absolute turd in the punchbowl. Luckily, I only have three more seasons (at 26.7M) to live that abortion of a decision down.

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

GN: Any of them. This is a great group of owners and Iíd hate seeing any of them leave. Sharky would have been top of my list, but heís already left us, bastard.

BD: Who is the craziest character in the BDBL?

GN: Is this a trick question? If itís not Brian Potrafka, then Iím a kumquat. His rants are legendary. I actually get nervous during those pregnant pauses in our series where I can imagine him putting his head through a sheetrock wall and breaking a bear bottle or something.

BD: If your franchise had a Team Hall of Fame, which 7-8 players would be members?

GN: Nate Robertson and Orlando Hernandez get nods in the Special Achievement Wing of our Hall for throwing no-nos. Ryan Drese gets a spot in the WTF Wing with his 20 wins back in 2005. He should have gotten the Cy Young that season just for the sheer audacity of being able to say ďRyan Drese, 20 Game winner.Ē

But for actual franchise accomplishments, we donít have anyone. Weíve never had a premiere player signed for long enough to earn that right. But we are more working on our future exhibits for Danny Haren and Huston Street. Those two players will end up holding most of big pitching records when their contracts run out. Adam Dunn may get there with a few more 40 HR seasons. Iíve got high hopes for some of the youngsters here. I do know that we will be re-assigning Austin Kearns to be a janitor in the Hall for 2009 instead of actually suiting up for us.

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

GN: Iíd have to say the Houston Astros, pre-1997. They were a team that put together some good runs here and there, but never enjoyed post season success. Weíre hoping the next few years model the Astros post-í97 as we get some Division titles and some playoff success and maybe a Series shot.

BD: You have a nifty little team website there. How did that come about?

GN: From the old rule where we got extra salary cap room for stuff like pictures and logos. I got a whole 100K for coming with a website, but I like web page design and graphic design as kinds of hobbies, so it was a good outlet to pour into my team and into my hobbies.

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

GN: Iím not sure it has changed, because Iím not sure Iíve deviated from it. Iíve always tried to focus on finding those cheap useful players or the occasional farm player darkhorse that blossoms into a stud. A few years back, I decided to try and get some core players through about 2011-2012 that would allow me to be competitive and have several shots at the playoffs and this was supposed to be the first season that the plan bore fruit, but it looks like weíll have to wait for í09. But that plan is still there and weíve been successful plugging in holes with gambles like David Murphy, Edinson Volquez, Jeremy Guthrie. In 2012, most of our tied up salary will be gone and we may very well go into that draft with 63M available. That will be Phase II. But there has never really been a Plan B right now because weíre focused on Plan A.

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

GN: I joined right when the auction was put into place, but I really think that has been the most significant change, although I worry about 2009 when our penalties start sticking and our individual salary caps move. I think that has the potential to be the most significant, but we wonít see that for a few more years.

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

GN: I donít have a single favorite. There has been the April Foolsí jokes on the forum, leaving Doyle with the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, the trade negotiations on the way to Kansas City. The numerous beers consumed and the number of stories told and re-told just make it all worthwhile. I wouldnít miss a Weekend for the world and encourage everyone to make at least one and try to make as many as financially possible.

BD: Tell us a little about your 2005 Wild Card playoff experience. Was it what you anticipated?

GN: It was what I anticipated, except that it was too short. I wanted the run to be longer. This is my 13th DMB season and Iíve logged over 2,000 games played and those seven games were easily the most exciting and most stressful Iíve ever played. I just hope that my 2009 playoff experience gets to top that.

BD: Can we expect your team name to stick for a while now?

GN: As long as I stay in San Antonio, it will. Iíve only changed whenever Iíve moved my family and I donít anticipate that for awhile. We are happy here in San Antonio and the job is doing great, so I donít think Iíll be moving anytime soon.

With my hobby of graphic design, Iím always try to tweak the logo but Iím keeping the name until the next relocation.

BD: Thanks Greg!

GN: Thank you Biggest Daddy. Itís always a pleasure to sit down with you.