by "Biggest Daddy"
Interview with DJ
Thank you for sitting down with us for another installment of "BDBL: A
retrospective". Generally speaking, how do you feel about the BDBL?
D.J. SHEPARD: Simply put, itís just a great game. Good group of
BD: How have you felt about the overall success of your franchise at
DS: Itís a mixed bag, I guess. On the hand, Iím disappointed to have
never made it to the Series (let alone win one). But, Iím pretty pleased
that I have the fourth most franchise wins and third most manager wins
in our history.
BD: What is your favorite aspect of the BDBL?
DS: I would have to go with the actual team building aspect of the
game, especially the drafts.
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.
DS: Arthur Rhodes. Barry Bonds. Thatís all I can bear to say.
BD: Over the course of your time in the BDBL, who is the one GM that you
consider your largest rival or target?
DS: Despite Akronís proximity to Cleveland, and the whole ďBattle of
I-77Ē thing, Iíd probably have to go with Chicago. Coming into this
year, of the nine years Iíve been in the Hrbek division, weíve won the
title eight times between us (four each.)
BD: Name a GM that you absolutely love to talk trade with.
DS: Itís not so much that I love talking trade with anyone in
particular; itís more of there being certain guys that just seem easier
to strike a deal with. The guys that come immediately to mind are Mike
G., Tom, Jeff, and Greg.
BD: How did you first hear of the BDBL?
DS: Just one of those lucky coincidences, I guess. I stumbled across
the DMB site while looking for baseball games. I then found Mikeís ad on
the league directory page. I think it was up for less than a month when
I first came across it. Perfect timing, I just happened to be looking at
about the same time that Mike was putting this all together.
BD: What would it take for you to exit the league?
DS: Barring something completely unforeseen, Mike would probably
have to kick me out.
BD: What is your favorite BDBL memory?
DS: Thereís so much to choose from. Iíll go with the 2001 season,
and winning my first division title.
BD: What is your best trade ever? And your worst?
DS: Itís hard to really say for sure, even for a team like mine that
hasnít always been the busiest on the trade front. That being said, I
think my best and worst happened in the same year, to the same team. In
early 2003, I made what you could call a challenge trade with Salem. We
both had a reliever that was performing awfully for us. So, we decided
to swap them. What makes it stick out as the best trade was that we
decided to also swap a couple of farm pitchers in the deal. I sent Kris
Honel to Salem and got back Justin Verlander.
A chapter later, I hooked up with Salem again as I tried to load up. I
donít consider it the worst trade in that I got screwed over or
anything. Itís just looking at the names that I emptied out of the farm
system while ultimately having a failed season. I sent Rich Harden, Brad
Lidge, and Cliff Lee packing in that one. Thatís an awful lot of cheap
pitching that ended up panning out.
Another one along those same lines, the following year I sent Travis
Hafner and Ryan Madson to Villanova in the same deal. No wonder I
starting getting a little gun shy about getting rid of my farm guys!
The ultimate worst trade might have to be from that 2003 season again. I
got Arthur Rhodes from Litchfield. See question #4.
BD: Other than Glander, what GM would you absolutely hate to see leave
DS: Like I said before, we have a good group of guys. So, I donít
want to see anyone leave. If youíre forcing me to pick one though, Iíll
go with Tom. Heís the one Iíve probably conversed with the most over the
years. Besides, I still owe him some painful playoff defeats before he
BD: Who is the craziest character in the BDBL?
DS: Crazy can be defined in a number of ways, some good and others
not so much. Iíll take the easy way out and quote Slade, ďMama Weer All
BD: If your franchise had a Team Hall of Fame, which players would be
DS: It all begins (and probably ends) with Pedro. There really
hasnít been anyone that has been around for that many years like he was,
so no one else really stands out. Rolen might be a possibility, though
he was only around for four years. If Iím lucky, Verlander will join
Pedro some day as one of the faces of the Akron franchise.
BD: Tell us which MLB team that you feel like your BDBL franchise is the
DS: I have no idea. I could say the Indians because they made the
playoffs a bunch of times, but never won it all. Then again, they
actually made it to the Series a few times. It would have to be a team
that is fairly successful without ever being a big player in free
agency. Maybe the Twins? Itís really hard to say.
BD: why has your team never finished in last?
DS: When I saw this question, I was shocked that I hadnít done so
yet (Unfortunately, that streak is coming to an end this year). I guess
that I had never really thought about it. The one truly terrible year
that I had, I was lucky that another team struggled just a tiny bit more
that year. I would probably say that my tendency to focus on pitching
has been the key. For the most part, I had good enough pitching to keep
me competitive enough to where Iíve only had the one season where I at
least wasnít close to the .500 mark.
BD: How has your overall team-building philosophy changed over the
DS: Overall, Iíd say it hasnít changed much at all. Iím still a fool
for the pitchers. The way I look at them has changed though, the stats,
attributes, etcÖ Hopefully, Iím refining it for the better. Time will
BD: What has been the most significant change in the BDBL?
DS: I think the most significant change might in fact not be a
change at all. That weíve become a pretty stable league is probably the
BD: Name your favorite "off-the-field" moment from BDBL Weekend or the
DS: Iíll go with the pranks that have been pulled. Itís almost too
bad that they were so good, as itís that much more difficult to pull one
BD: What will it take for you to attend a BDBL weekend?
DS: An act of God? I kind of, sort of attended the one this year.
Well, I made a trade over the phone with Mike while he was attending.
The one Iím most disappointed in missing was Pittsburgh. I was forced to
work that weekend at the last minute. Talk about being pissed!
BD: Tell us about life as a Pepsi Driver.
DS: Well, Iíll have to venture into the memory banks for this one,
as I no longer am with them. It was fun while it lasted. Suited me
perfectly actually. I was pretty much alone for most of the night.
Listened to lots of late night radio talk shows (Art Bell!), lots of
music, and baseball games from all over the place (itís amazing what you
can pick up late at night in the middle of nowhere). There wasnít much
to it though. I just shuttled trailers (doubles) back and forth all
night from one of the plants to a drop yard in the extreme NE corner of
Ohio, which made it interesting in the winter, as I was driving through
the snow belts (primary and secondary) the whole way.
BD: Thanks, DJ!