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Big Daddy Baseball League

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slant.gif (102 bytes) BDBL: 10 Years in the Making

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August, 2009

Franchise History: Southern Cal Slyme

Slyme in a box:

Franchise wins: 839 (9th all-time)
Playoff appearances: 6
Division titles: 4
League titles: 1
Championship titles: 0
100-win seasons: 3
100-loss seasons: 2
Franchise RC leader: Victor Martinez
Franchise wins leader: Josh Beckett

40-year-old insurance manager Kevin Manley, from Des Plaines, Illinois, joined the BDBL on November 27, 1998, stating, "I can't think of many more exciting things than DRAFT DAY!"  Manley's team, which he dubbed the Des Plaines Diamond Kings, drew the 19th pick in the inaugural draft.

Although a live draft date had been set for January 16th, the league elected to get an early head start in an effort to complete as many rounds as possible and reduce the time required for the live draft.  Picks were announced via e-mail list, and when Manley's turn came up, several days passed without a pick.  The league grew restless, and Commissioner Glander checked with Manley to see what was going on.  Manley explained that he was in the midst of simulating several seasons in an effort to determine the best possible player for his team, and a pick was imminent.  Several hours later, Manley finally made his pick: 36-year-old lefty ace David Wells.  Wells posted a respectable 12-10 record in 1999, with a 2.95 ERA in 223 innings, but his mediocre MLB season (combined with his advanced age) would result in only a one-year contract at the end of the season.

Eleven picks later, the draft snaked its way back to Manley.  Once again, the league was forced to wait while Manley made his pick.  Finally, he chose 27-year-old all-star third baseman Chipper Jones (.306/.398/.521, 34 HR, 124.7 RC.)

Nearly a month (29 days) after the draft had begun on a "voluntary" basis, less than three rounds of the draft had been completed.  And when the draft snaked its way back to Manley with the 19th pick of the third round, the league was placed on hold once again.  Several days passed without a pick.  Once again, the league grew restless and demanded an update on Manley's status.  With the live draft just two days away, many felt the February 1st Opening Day for the BDBL's inaugural season was in jeopardy.

When an e-mail from Bryan Sakolsky was sent to the league's mailing list, Manley responded:


The last thing I want to do is get off on the wrong foot here but enough is
enough. These emails that I'm getting are pure HORSE SHIT! I will not
apologize for having a life outside of this league. Unfortunately, a good
portion of that life is dedicated to my work. I work a ton of hours and am
paid an outrageous amount of money for my efforts. This league is supposed to
be fun and an outlet (at least for me) to get your mind off everything but

...I certainly understand the excitement of everything that goes on in a draft
and totally appreciate that you want to move the draft along. However, If I
have to hear about all these league members checking the web to see if the
next pick was made I'm going lose my mind. Get a fricking life for god sakes!

For those of you who actually have a life... or a demanding job... or both...
I appreciate your patience.

My pick is Tom Gordon

The first phase of the live draft was held as scheduled on the 16th, and 15 rounds were completed.  Filling out those first 15 spots on the Diamond Kings roster were Kenny Lofton (.260/.355/.403, 91.5 RC), Bartolo Colon (11-9, 2.99 ERA in 205 IP) and Tino Martinez (.278/.357/.447, 85.7 RC), among others.

With a week between the two phases of the live draft, the league resumed making picks via e-mail on a voluntary basis.  And when Manley's pick came up, the draft was put on hold once again.  And once again, the league became restless and demanded a status.  The second phase of the live draft was scheduled to take place on the afternoon of January 23rd.  At 1:26 that morning, Manley wrote the following e-mail to the league:


I'm going to make this as short as I can. I was out of town for 3 days
attending a funeral. One of my childhood friends wife and 4yr old daughter
were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. I just got back into town
late tonight and as you can imagine, it's been an unforgettable 3 days.

Why I even thought about turning my computer on tonight... I really can't
explain, but I did. I thought it would be my pick or close to it... and it
was. I had my pick ready to go long before I got a tragic phone call and had
to leave town. Before I made my pick, I decided to get through all my email.
I wish I had just gone to bed.

Once again, I'm hit with all this bullshit email (onelist & personal)
wondering who's up... when you knew damn well who was up, when are you
picking, same old thing with this guy, ya-da ya-da ya-da.

I certainly don't expect anyone to know what happened but I thought I made
myself perfectly clear (to the people without a life) in another email
regarding this kind of email.

All I can think about is how my friend will try to put his life back together
and make some sense of what happened. Maybe this just caught me at a bad
moment but I really don't think so. I think I know the kind of people I want
to be associated with and this group (with the exception of a few) is
certainly not that type.

I have absolutely no desire to remain in this league, not because of this
tragedy or time constraints, but because of the pure ignorance and inability
of a few to keep their mouth closed until they know what the hell is going on.

Mike, I apologize to you because of your tremendous efforts to run this league.
However, I wish you luck... because the inmates are definitely running the

No sour grapes... just glad to be gone,

Just hours before the second live draft was to begin, the league was down one owner after Manley's resignation.  The fate of the 1999 season appeared to hang in the balance, as finding another date upon which 24 owners could agree to appear for another live draft seemed impossible.  However, during the first live draft, a 33-year-old computer programmer from Vandenberg Air Force Base agreed to attend the draft as a "backup," just in case one of the owners failed to show.  This man, Bob Sylvester, waited around until everyone had shown up before leaving disappointed.

Within minutes of Manley's resignation, a panic-stricken Glander e-mailed Sylvester in the wee hours of the morning to see if he were still interested in owning a team in the BDBL.  Sylvester responded soon thereafter, preserving the league's plans for the second live draft and perhaps saving the league itself.

January 24, 1999

VANDENBERG, CA - Bob Sylvester, a 33-year-old computer programmer from Southern California, has been named as the replacement owner of the Des Plaines Diamond Kings franchise. Sylvester has changed the name of the franchise to the "Southern California Slyme." He will pick up where Kevin Manley left off at today's draft, beginning with the 17th round.

Sylvester has been on the BDBL waiting list for weeks, and was the first to respond to Commissioner Glander's plea for a backup owner for the first live draft. Sylvester took time off from his schedule to attend the first live draft on the off chance that a position in the league would open up.

"I have had a lot of correspondence with Mr. Sylvester," said BDBL Commissioner Mike Glander, "and I've always found him to be very friendly, very cooperative and very dedicated to the hobby of fantasy baseball. I feel he will make a fine addition to the league. It's just a shame I didn't discover him sooner."

With the core of his team already in place, Sylvester spent the first several rounds looking toward the future, drafting youngsters like Jeremy Giambi, Gabe Kapler, Seth Greisinger and Jose Paniagua.

Competing in the Eck League's Higuera Division, against the Bowling Green Spoilers, Morgan Hill Panthers and Virginia Cavaliers, the Slyme were labeled as the frontrunners to win the Eck League title in the 1999 Season Preview:

Southern California Slyme: A very good chance of winning this year. With Kenny Lofton setting the table, and Chipper Jones and Tino Martinez knocking him in, they should score some runs. Starting staff beyond Wells and Bartolo Colon is solid yet unspectacular: Chris Peters, Traschel and John Thomson. Bullpen is also excellent: Gordon, Wall, Belinda, Loiselle and Mike Myers.

True to form, the Slyme finished Chapter One in first place, but with a modest record of only 13-12, and with only three games separating them from the last-place Panthers.  Southern Cal picked up the pace in the second chapter, going 17-13 to open up a four-game lead in the division.  However, one-third of the way into the season, the Slyme had outscored their competition by just two runs.  And with both the Panthers and Spoilers seemingly underperforming, the Slyme's lead was considerably precarious.

In Chapter Three, SoCal posted a 16-8 record, which opened up their lead to a more comfortable eight games.  Making things even more comfortable was the fact that the team had added several impact players at the Chapter Four deadline, including ace Tom Glavine and slugger Greg Vaughn.  Glavine cost the team only Giambi (who never quite panned out as well as his brother) and a second-round draft pick.  He was absolutely brilliant down the stretch, going a perfect 14-0 in the second half while posting a 2.06 ERA.  He finished the year with a 24-4 record, a 2.61 ERA and the Eck League Cy Young award.

Vaughn, who came to the Slyme as part of a ten-player (and one draft pick) trade with the Delafield Ogres, hit .330/.397/.767 in the second half, with 33 homers in just 270 at-bats.  Overall, he would hit .280/.362/.634 on the season, with 56 homers and 131 RBI's.  He would finish third in the EL MVP voting, and fourth in the EL Babe Ruth balloting.

Sylvester continued to wheel-and-deal in Chapter Five, adding Travis Fryman (.242/.380/.523, 12 HR in 149 AB) in exchange for youngsters Greisinger and Manny Alexander (neither of whom ever amounted to much.)

Southern Cal went an incredible 58-22 (.725) during the second half of the season -- by far the best record in the BDBL.  They wrapped up the inaugural season with a 105-55 record (tops in the BDBL), which remains a remarkable achievement for a team in the first season of a league's existence.  And for his efforts, Sylvester walked away with both the EL Manager of the Year and GM of the Year awards.

The Slyme then faced the Massillon Tigerstrikes in the EL Division Series.  Massillon was just 35-45 at the break, and trailed their division by seven games.  But in the second half of the season, they went an astounding 51-29 -- the second-best record in the EL after SoCal -- and wrapped up the #4 seed in the playoffs.

Game One was tied at 4-4 heading into the eighth inning, but SoCal then rallied for half a dozen runs in the bottom of the eighth to make it a 10-4 laugher.  Wells then stifled the Tigerstrikes in Game Two, allowing just one run through eight-plus innings.  Massillon finally got on the board with a win in Game Three, despite a late five-run rally by the Slyme, which ended on a strike-'em-out/throw-'em-out play to end the game.  But SoCal then put the series away when Glavine tossed eight shutout innings in Game Four en route to an easy 4-0 win.

The EL League Championship Series against the Oakville Marauders proved to be an interesting one due to the fact that the Marauders were being managed by Sylvester's 11-year-old son, Bobby.  Oakville's manager, Bob Biermann, had resigned from the league prior to the fifth and deciding game of the ELDS, and the younger Sylvester was called upon to replace him.  Father and son then squared off against each other, resulting in a 14-inning Oakville win in the first game of the series.

SoCal then eked out another tight game in Game Two, winning 5-4 on a two-run blast by Chipper Jones in the bottom of the eighth.  The Slyme then took the next two games by scores of 10-7 and 6-5, putting them one win away from the World Series.  But the younger Sylvester wasn't about to let his old man off the hook that easily.  The Marauders stormed back and won the next two games -- each by one run -- including a win against Glavine in Game Five.

That set the stage for a dramatic Game Seven showdown between Wells and Oakville starter Mike Hampton.  Oakville took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth inning, and SoCal scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning to recapture the lead.  They then tacked on two more runs in the seventh and eighth innings, while the Slyme bullpen of Albie Lopez, Jim Corsi, Stan Belinda and Tom Gordon held the Oakville offense scoreless.  The Slyme were heading to the first-ever BDBL World Series.

Their opponents in that series would be the Stamford Zoots, who had acquired a second ace (Randy Johnson) in trade earlier that season to go with their Cy Young runner-up Kevin Brown.  But with the OLCS dragging out to seven games, both aces were unavailable for Game One.  That meant that Rolando Arrojo would get the ball for Stamford, while SoCal's ace, Glavine, would take the hill for the home team.  Incredibly, Arrojo out-pitched Glavine, allowing just one run over five innings.  The Stamford bullpen of Dennis Cook, Ramiro Mendoza, C.J. Nitkowski and John Wetteland then took over from there, giving the Zoots the win.

SoCal fought back in Game Two, and scored five first-inning runs off of Johnson before scoring two more in the second inning.  They then held off a five-run inning by Stamford to eke out a 9-6 victory, which evened the series.  But it was then Brown's turn to take the hill in Game Three, and he responded with a gem, out-pitching David Wells to recapture the series lead for Stamford.

With Arrojo not trusted to pitch on three days rest, Stamford turned to Mark Clark in Game Four, and he was pounded for six runs on ten hits through five innings, while Glavine cruised through seven shutout innings to even the series once again.

In Game Five, Travis Fryman connected for a leadoff homer in the top of the ninth inning off of Stamford closer John Wetteland, tying the game at two apiece.  The game then stretched into extra innings, when SoCal scored four runs in the top of the 12th to put it away.

Just one win away from the first-ever BDBL championship, Sylvester handed the ball to his franchise's first-ever player, Wells.  Wells responded with a gem, allowing just one run through six innings.  But with a pitch count of just 74, Sylvester turned to a pinch hitter to lead off the bottom of the sixth.  With the score tied at 1-1, he then handed the ball to reliever Donne Wall, who held Stamford scoreless in the seventh.

After another scoreless inning thrown by Stamford ace Brown in the bottom of the seventh, Wall walked the leadoff batter in the top of the eighth, and then served up a two-run blast to Rafael Palmeiro.  SoCal eventually lost by a score of 4-1, forcing a seventh game.

Game Seven featured a classic match-up of Johnson vs. Glavine.  Glavine got off to a shaky start, however, when he allowed a base hit, a walk and a three-run blast to Palmeiro to start the game.  He eventually settled down, though he had placed his team in a deep hole, given that Johnson had brought his "A" game to the park.  The giant southpaw tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits while whiffing ten, making up for his disastrous Game Two start.  Cook then pitched a perfect eighth against the suddenly-feeble SoCal lineup.  And in the ninth, Wetteland emerged from the bullpen to face the bottom third of the Slyme lineup.  After Kenny Lofton singled to lead off the inning, Wetteland retired the next three batters in order.  And thus, the Stamford Zoots became the first-ever champions of the BDBL.


Despite the disappointment of losing the championship, the Slyme were set up nicely heading into the 2000 season.  Glavine (15-9, 4.23 ERA in 223+ IP) and Wells (13-12, 3.82 ERA in 252+ IP) were returning to the starting rotation, and Chipper Jones (.298/.426/.629, 47 HR, 156.4 RC), Tino Martinez (.286/.383/.508, 32 HR, 118.3 RC) and Greg Vaughn (.219/.308/.482, 41 HR, 84.9 RC) were returning to the lineup.

In Sylvester's first two trades of the off-season, however, he dismantled the rotation by trading both Glavine and Wells, receiving a couple of middle relievers (Bob Wickman and Bill Simas) in exchange.  More importantly, however, he freed up nearly $20 million in salary with those two trades, allowing him to add Troy O'Leary (.270/.336/.473, 22 HR, 93 RC) and Javy Lopez (.298/.357/.491 in 228 AB) in trade.  He also swapped Martinez and Kenny Lofton in exchange for Mo Vaughn (.291/.380/.535, 36 HR, 109.4 RC.)

With the trades of Glavine and Wells, Colon (16-6, 3.91 ERA in 221+ IP) became the de facto ace of the pitching staff.  He was followed by Garrett Stephenson (3-4, 2.99 ERA in 87+ IP) and Ramiro Mendoza (9-2, 4.17 ERA in 121 IP) -- both acquired in trade that winter -- and 26-year-old fireballer Octavio Dotel (5-3, 3.88 ERA in 81+ IP.)

By replacing two full-time starting pitchers with several part-timers, Sylvester attempted to piece together a starting rotation from spare parts.  Only two pitchers on the Slyme roster threw more than 125 innings during the MLB season, and only four pitched more than 86 innings.  The SoCal bullpen was also considered to be below-average, with Felix Rodriguez (5-9, 19 SV, 4.71 ERA in 59+ IP) filling the role of "closer."

Halfway through the draft, Sylvester acquired a legitimate innings-eater for his rotation, acquiring Jason Schmidt (14-10, 4.62 ERA in 214+ IP) from the division-rival Kansas Law Dogs in exchange for Luis Gonzalez and Cal Pickering.  Little did anyone realize at the time that both the 32-year-old Gonzalez and the 27-year-old Schmidt were about to become two of the best players in the game over the next several years.

Despite all of the problems with their pitching, however, the Slyme were picked to win what was considered to be the weakest division in the league.  Southern Cal got off to a mediocre start, going 13-11 in the first chapter.  But with weak competition in the division, that record was good enough for second place -- just one game behind the Boise Bastards.  SoCal repeated their 13-11 record in Chapter Two, and went 14-12 in the third chapter.  Heading into the all-star break, their 41-34 record was good enough to lead the division by five games.

Southern Cal was even better in the second half, going 45-40.  However, that was only the third-best second-half record in the division, as the Phoenix Predators (49-36) and Kansas Law Dogs (47-38) picked up the pace.  With two weeks remaining in the season, the Slyme held a slim one-game lead in the division, and needed to win eight of their sixteen remaining games to ensure a tie for first.  They did that, and more, wrapping up the season with an 86-74 record -- two games ahead of Phoenix.

For the second year in a row, the Slyme headed into the playoffs.  And for the second year in a row, Sylvester would be facing his son.  Only this time, the younger Sylvester was managing his own team -- the Kentucky Fox.  SoCal took a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning of Game One when the wheels suddenly came off the Slyme bandwagon.  With Schmidt on the hill for SoCal, the bottom of the Kentucky lineup strung together two singles, a double and a sac fly to make it a 6-3 game.  With one out, Sylvester, Sr., turned to Randy Wolf to face the top of the Kentucky lineup.  The Fox then strung together two more singles, another double, and a hit batter, to score four more runs, giving them a 7-6 lead.  Kentucky closer Doug Brocail then closed out the final two innings to give the Fox the series lead.

In Game Two, Sylvester, Sr., handed the ball to Ron Villone.  It was an odd choice, given that Villone (8-10, 5.13 ERA, 102 BBs in 149+ IP) had performed horribly, and Kentucky had hit .308/.379/.502 against left-handers like Villone during the regular season.  That decision became even more dubious when Villone was rocked for four runs in the very first inning.  The Fox then knocked him out of the game in the fourth inning, scoring two more runs.  And SoCal reliever John Frascatore just added more fuel to the fire, allowing five runs in three innings of "relief."  Despite the fact that Southern Cal scored seven runs over the final two innings, Kentucky walked away with an 11-7 win, and a 2-0 record in the best-of-five series.

Just one loss away from exiting the playoffs, Sylvester, Sr., turned to Bartolo Colon to start Game Three.  A two-run double by Ronnie Belliard gave Kentucky the lead in the second inning, but SoCal eventually tied it up in the third.  A pair of singles gave Kentucky a 3-2 lead once again in the fourth inning, and that lead would hold, as Kentucky starter Dave Burba and reliever Alan Mills shut down the Slyme offense the rest of the way.


Winter of 2001 was a flurry of activity for Sylvester, as he scrambled to assemble another contender.  With Greg Vaughn in the final year of his contract, he was offloaded to Cleveland in exchange for promising youngsters Joe Crede and Brian Rose (neither of whom developed as expected.)  Another slugger, Javy Lopez, was also traded that winter, to division-rival Kansas.  In exchange, the Slyme received Bret Boone (.228/.309/.375) and three others.

Colon was jettisoned to Salem in exchange for Shannon Stewart (.300/.353/.472, 93.1 RC.)And Mo Vaughn was dealt to Villanova for Jon Lieber (8-19, 5.26 ERA in 224+ IP) and a young first baseman by the name of David Ortiz.  (Unfortunately for Sylvester, Ortiz had only one year remaining on his contract, and would eventually be released the following winter.)

In a huge seven-player/three-pick trade with the Allentown Ridgebacks, Sylvester picked up Eric Chavez (.252/.344/.457, 85.2 RC in the final year of his contract) and Andy Pettitte (11-8, 3.65 ERA in 192+ IP.)  In exchange, it cost the Slyme Chipper Jones, Jimmy Rollins and their #1 farm pick.

In total, Sylvester made ten trades that winter.  And with an entirely retooled starting rotation and lineup, the Slyme were picked to finish in second place in the division.  As expected, SoCal kept pace with the division-favorite Kansas Law Dogs in Chapter One, going 15-13 to Kansas' 16-12 record.  But Kansas then pulled away from the pack in the second chapter, going 18-8, while the Slyme went just 12-14.

2001 would be an historic season for the Law Dogs, as they would set records in nearly every offensive category.  They hit .321/.398/.580 as a team, with 364 home runs and 1,282 runs scored.  For the Slyme, this meant keeping an eye on the EL wild card race almost from the beginning of the season.

After a disappointing Chapter Three (10-16), Southern Cal limped into the all-star break with a 36-43 record, and trailed in the wild card race by a seemingly-insurmountable 11 games.  Despite an 11-15 showing in Chapter Four, Sylvester stood pat the rest of the way, and made only one trade (Kelvim Escobar to the Madison Fighting Mimes in exchange for Brett Abernathy and Madison's second-round farm pick) at the final trading deadline.

The Slyme went 24-30 over the final two chapters to finish with an overall record of 72-88 -- good for second place.


In contrast to the frenetic flurry of trading in the winter of 2001, Sylvester made just one deal the following winter, trading Pettitte to the Phoenix Predators in exchange for Jeff Suppan, Roger Cedeno and a farm pick.  During the draft, Sylvester then flipped Suppan to his son in exchange for Joe Randa (.223/.292/.323 in the final year of his contract) and Billy Koch (3-7, 2 SV, 6.03 ERA in 58+ IP.)  At the draft, Sylvester shored up his bullpen with the signings of Jason Isringhausen (3-5, 31 SV, 2.45 ERA in 55+ IP) and Trevor Hoffman (6-3, 2.96 ERA in 70 IP.)

With Lieber (9-12, 4.88 ERA in 190+ IP), Wolf (4-12, 5.36 ERA in 141 IP) and Schmidt (6-10, 5.10 ERA in 148+ IP) returning to the Slyme rotation, pitching appeared to be a weakness heading into the season.  The offense, however, was perceived to be even weaker, and the Slyme lineup was "just about as weak as you'll find on any team," according to the pre-season preview (which predicted the Slyme would finish in last place.)

Not surprisingly, Southern Cal got off to a poor start, going 8-20 in Chapter One and 6-20 in Chapter Two.  Sylvester wasted no time beginning his rebuilding effort.  On March 13th, Sylvester traded Lieber, Matt Lawton, Hoffman and J.T. Snow to the Cleveland Rocks.  In exchange, he received two pitchers who would have an enormous impact on his franchise's future: Roy Halladay and Joel Pineiro.  Although Halladay would not pitch an inning for the Slyme beyond the 2002 season, he would prove to be valuable trade bait the following winter.  And Pineiro would become a major part of SoCal's 2004 starting rotation.

At the Chapter Four deadline, Sylvester traded Isringhausen to the New York Knights, getting Kaz Ishii in return.  He would also make another trade that chapter that would prove costly to his franchise over the long term.  In that deal, he acquired young slugger Vernon Wells along with four others from the Allentown Ridgebacks.  But in exchange, he traded a young pitcher by the name of Jake Peavy, who would become an annual Cy Young contender for the next several years.

Sylvester continued dealing at the final trading deadline, acquiring young slugger Carlos Pena from the Los Altos Undertakers in exchange for Schmidt.  (Unfortunately, Sylvester would trade Pena before he would become an all-star.)

As the season came to a close, the only question anyone had surrounding the Slyme was whether or not they would break the 1999 New Milford Blazers' all-time BDBL record for most losses in a season (114.)  The Slyme needed to win two of their final six games in order to avoid that record, and they did just that, wrapping up the season with a 48-112 record.


In the winter of 2003, Roy Halladay had become one of the greatest pitchers in baseball.  Just 26 years old, and with a full season left on a contract that would pay him just $1.1 million in 2003 and $2.1 million in 2004, Halladay would go 20-7 in '03, with a 2.63 ERA in 263 innings.  After surveying his roster that winter, however, Sylvester concluded that Halladay could not carry his franchise to contention all by himself, and that he may have more value to the franchise in trade.  So, shortly after the conclusion of the BDBL World Series, Sylvester placed Halladay on the trading block.

After watching the Salem Cowtippers dominate the Benes Division through the league's first four seasons, the Marlboro Hammerheads were in line to give Salem a fight for the division title.  Both Marlboro GM Ken Kaminski and Salem GM Mike Glander made aggressive offers for Halladay, and in the end, Sylvester preferred Kaminski's package.  That package included BDBL rookie Ichiro Suzuki and toolsy prospects Drew Henson and Hanley Ramirez.

Although the trade was ridiculed at the time (mostly by Glander), it is hard to argue with the results.  After a rocky start following his acquisition, Ramirez soon emerged as one of the top players in baseball, while Suzuki became one of the biggest bargains in the league.  Unfortunately for Sylvester, his franchise never benefited from Suzuki's presence, as he was flipped later that winter in exchange for Jason Marquis, Brett Myers and Jon Rauch.

In the first-ever BDBL free agent auction, Sylvester added veterans Todd Walker ($5 million), Edgar Martinez ($4 million) and Shannon Stewart ($6.5 million.)  And in the draft, Sylvester took advantage of his #1 overall pick to select Scott Spiezio and Brad Radke in the second and third rounds.  In the sixth round, Sylvester took a gamble on injured starter Kevin Brown, hoping for a rebound season.

Two of SoCal's trade acquisitions from 2002 were expected to make an immediate impact in '03.  Joel Pineiro enjoyed a career year in MLB (14-7, 3.24 ERA), but went just 5-19 with a 5.81 ERA for the Slyme.  And Billy Koch (9-7, 2.56 ERA, 27 SV in 88 IP) posted some stellar numbers in his final year under contract.  But overall, the Slyme team was not considered to be a contender heading into the season, and they were once again picked to finish in last place.

Once again, that prediction looked accurate when the Slyme got off to a 7-21 start in the first chapter, and followed that up by going 6-20 in Chapter Two.  After a 10-16 showing in Chapter Three, some began to wonder whether the Slyme would be challenging New Milford's losses record for a second year in a row.

But for the second year in a row, Southern Cal fell just short of that inglorious record by finishing the season at 50-110.  After winning two straight division titles in the league's first two seasons, the Slyme had managed to lose 110 games or more, two seasons in a row.


But things were looking up in 2004.  For starters, the Slyme were moved into a new division to start the year, where they would no longer have to compete against the Ridgebacks, who had seemingly assembled an unbeatable dynasty.  In the winter of 2004, after a league-wide vote in favor of radical realignment, the Slyme were moved into the Person Division, where they would now compete against the South Carolina Sea Cats, Nashville Funkadelic and Bobby Sylvester's Wapakoneta Hippos.  After facing each other twice in the post-season, father and son Sylvester would now be competing directly for the division title.

The 2004 season would prove to be a challenge for Sylvester off the field, as he played most of the season from his military base in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar, on the other side of the globe.  That Sylvester was able to play all of his games on time and remain as an active GM throughout that season ranks as perhaps the most amazing (and inspiring) feat in the history of the league.

Sylvester's sixth-round gamble on Kevin Brown during the 2003 draft proved to be a great one, as Brown bounced back from an injury-plagued season to go 19-8 for the Slyme in 2004, with a stellar 2.92 ERA and 202 K's in 225+ innings.  He was backed in the rotation by Pineiro (17-11, 3.08 ERA in 228+ IP), whose BDBL performance finally matched his MLB numbers.

That winter, Sylvester made a headline-grabbing trade, dealing 25-year-old all-star Vernon Wells (who would hit .342/.376/.616 in 2004, with 38 HR and 148.8 RC) to the Chicago Black Sox, along with promising youngsters Brett Myers and J.J. Hardy, in exchange for 24-year-old budding Cy Young candidate Josh Beckett (9-4, 4.50 ERA in 100+ IP) and slugger Dmitri Young (.326/.401/.603, 38 HR, 135.3 RC.)

Sylvester also added Mark Redman (9-12, 3.99 ERA in 167+ IP) in a trade with the Funkadelic that winter, giving the Slyme one of the best starting rotations in the league.  And in another deal with the Bear Country Jamboree -- a deal that cost the Slyme Carlos Pena -- Sylvester added reliever Octavio Dotel (10-1, 3.89 ERA in 74+ IP.)

In the auction, Sylvester signed just one player: catcher Mike Lieberthal (.291/.351/.420, 74.8 RC) at a salary of $7.5 million.  Lieberthal joined 2003 trade acquisition Edgar Renteria (.335/.380/.504, 121.1 RC) in a much-improved SoCal lineup.  During the draft, Sylvester improved that lineup a bit more by adding leadoff hitter Luis Castillo (.335/.383/.409, 104.5 RC) at the expense of Mike Matheny and Todd Walker.

After posting back-to-back 110-loss seasons, the Slyme were picked to win the newly-aligned Person Division.  They began the year with a 17-11 record in Chapter One, and by mid-season, they had opened up a 12-game lead in the division.

At the halfway point, Sylvester made three big trades at the deadline to strengthen his team even greater down the stretch.  He began by dealing Reed Johnson and Chad Tracy to the Great Lakes Sphinx for Michael Tucker (.297/.377/.517 in 167 AB) and Jeff Bagwell (.301/.420/.541 in 146 AB.)  Next, he sent Shea Hillenbrand, Claudio Vargas and Jason Stokes to Litchfield for Esteban Loiaza (11-1, 2.46 ERA in 106+ IP) and Keith Osik.  Finally, he dealt Raul Ibanez, Danys Baez and Craig Biggio to the Sylmar Padawans for Jacque Jones (.345/.370/.484 in 252 AB) and Mike Cameron (.279/.360/.527 in 297 AB.)

Loaiza combined with Brown and Pineiro to give the Slyme three bona-fide aces in the starting rotation.  At the final trading deadline of the season, Sylvester added yet another, re-acquiring Halladay in a blockbuster trade with the South Carolina Sea Cats that cost the Slyme only Matt Clement and Koch.  Halladay went 8-3 for the Slyme over the final two chapters, with an ERA of 3.16 in 94 innings.  For many, his acquisition made Southern Cal the overwhelming favorite to win the BDBL championship.

With their four aces leading the way, the Slyme went a remarkable 57-23 in the second half of the season -- a .712 winning percentage that was by far the best in the BDBL.  SoCal wrapped up the regular season with a 106-54 record (56 wins better than the year before.)

Their opponents in the ELDS would be the Allentown Ridgebacks who, despite a 95-65 record, were the #4 seed in the EL playoffs.  The Ridgebacks scored one more run than the Slyme during the regular season, but allowed a whopping 137 runs more than the stellar Southern Cal pitching staff.

In Game One, Southern Cal turned to Halladay, while the Ridgebacks countered with perhaps the greatest post-season pitcher in league history, Roy Oswalt.  Oswalt was as brilliant as ever, allowing just one run through six innings of work.  Halladay was uncharacteristically off his game, and allowed two three-run homers (one to Brian Giles and another to Barry Bonds) in the first two innings.  He exited the game after just three innings, and was replaced by Mark Redman, who allowed SIX home runs to Ridgebacks batters.  The final tally was a 14-1 laugher and a shocking start to the series.

In Game Two, Allentown starter Sidney Ponson somehow managed to allow just two runs over seven innings, while SoCal starter Loaiza kept pace with him.  With the game still knotted at 2-2 in the ninth inning, SoCal closer Jose Valverde struck out the first two batters he faced before allowing a base hit to J.D. Drew.  The next batter, Corey Koskie, walked, but advanced to second base on a passed ball on ball four.  That brought the ever-dangerous Bonds to the plate with runners at second and third.  Sylvester made the no-brainer decision to intentionally walk Bonds, loading the bases.  Mike Remlinger was then brought into the game to face pinch hitter Ramon Martinez, and Martinez responded with an RBI single.  Allentown reliever Will Cunnane then retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to close out Allentown's second win.

In Game Three, the series shifted to Allentown, but the Slyme managed to eke out a 5-4 win behind the pitching of Brown and the hitting of Bagwell.  In Game Four, Southern Cal was just six outs away from evening the series, thanks to a three-run blast by Edgar Martinez in the top of the eighth.  But in the bottom of the inning, pinch hitter Jody Gerut whacked a three-run double off of SoCal reliever Jose Contreras, giving Allentown a 9-7 win.

The fate of the season then rested upon the highly-capable shoulders of Halladay, who was tasked with facing Ponson in Game Five.  But once again, Halladay proved he wasn't up to the challenge.  Allentown scored four runs off of Halladay in the first three innings -- three of those runs scoring on a pair of homers by #8 hitter Craig Wilson -- and by the fifth inning Halladay was out of the game.  Those runs proved to be enough to support Ponson, who cruised through seven innings, allowing just two runs.  Jack Cressend and Will Cunnane then finished off the Slyme, capping a classic BDBL playoffs upset.


Halladay left via free agency at the end of the season, but Beckett (8-13, 5.47 ERA in 161+ IP), Loaiza (7-17, 5.74 ERA in 193 IP), Pineiro (11-12, 4.59 ERA in 151+ IP) and Contreras (8-12, 5.27 ERA in 181 IP) all returned to the SoCal starting rotation in 2005.  Not one of them, however, was nearly as effective as he had been the year before.  Just a few months after featuring the deepest and best pitching staff in the league, the SoCal pitching situation was in shambles.

Offensively, Renteria (.294/.342/.408, 67.5 RC) returned for his third year with the team, and Lieberthal (.290/.340/.503, 86 RC) and Dmitri Young (.320/.378/.557, 67.6 RC) returned as well.  That winter, Sylvester added to the lineup by acquiring Jeff Kent (.263/.323/.449, 79.3 RC) in exchange for Castillo, Brown, Redman and Chad Bradford.  And in the auction, he added Torii Hunter (.288/.338/.497, 86.6 RC), Bernie Williams (.281/.381/.425, 74.5 RC) and Derrek Lee (.274/.351/.478, 104 RC.)

Despite their deep lineup, the Slyme pitching dragged the team down, and they were predicted to finish in third place in the division.  After three chapters of play, that is exactly where they found themselves, with a 33-47 record -- 16 games behind the division-leading Hippos.

At the Chapter Four deadline, Sylvester made three big trades, dealing Lieberthal, Williams, Kent and Young, among others.  Among the players he received in return, none proved to have much value to the franchise aside from Ervin Santana, who would become trade bait.  That same chapter, however, Sylvester made an acquisition that would profoundly affect his franchise's future when he selected Ryan Zimmerman as a farm free agent.

With the Slyme sporting a record of 58-74 at the final trading deadline, Sylvester made one more trade that would prove to be valuable to his franchise's future when he dealt Dotel to the Salem Cowtippers in exchange for young collegian Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Slyme closed out the second half with a record of 34-46, giving them an overall record of 71-89.


After an off year, Beckett (16-7, 3.76 ERA in 189+ IP) enjoyed a stellar season in his penultimate year under contract.  Contreras -- Sylvester's top draft pick in 2003, and the #1 overall pick of that farm draft -- also enjoyed his first big season in the BDBL, going 15-12 with a 3.90 ERA in 219+ innings.  That winter, Sylvester added a third ace through trade, getting C.C. Sabathia (15-8, 3.93 ERA in 206+ IP) from the Great Lakes Sphinx in exchange for Geoff Jenkins.

After returning the starting rotation to its former glory, Sylvester shored up the bullpen by signing B.J. Ryan (9-4, 32 SV, 2.06 ERA in 70 IP) to a $6 million salary in the auction.  And to the starting lineup, Sylvester added Carlos Delgado (.333/.422/.639, 37 HR, 141.1 RC) and Victor Martinez (.383/.448/.610, 27 HR, 142.3 RC) in a trade with the Chicago Black Sox (costing the team Derrek Lee, A.J. Pierzynski and Felix Pie.)  Jeff Kent (.272/.348/.465, 100 RC), Torii Hunter (.254/.314/.409, 48.7 RC) and Raul Ibanez (.296/.369/.445, 103.7 RC) were also added through the free agent auction.

Martinez's 2006 season became legendary when he entered the final chapter of the season with his batting average still over .400.  It didn't drop below that hallowed mark until the second week of October.  He eventually settled at .383, and captured both the EL MVP and Babe Ruth awards that winter.

With Sylvester returning to his post in the Middle East, the Slyme appeared to be in a position to return as the team to beat in the Person Division.  They began the year with an 18-10 record, and followed that with a 16-12 record in Chapter Two.  But keeping pace every step of the way were the South Carolina Sea Cats, who sported an identical 34-22 record after two chapters.

Sea Cats GM Tony DeCastro upped the ante by making two big-impact trades for Andy Pettitte and Kevin Millwood, and Sylvester attempted to keep pace by dealing for Jason Marquis (7-4, 4.21 ERA in 107 IP) the following chapter.  The Sea Cats fell to an 11-13 record in Chapter Three, giving SoCal an opportunity to pull ahead.  The Slyme responded by going 15-9 during that time, opening up a four-game lead at the all-star break.

The Sea Cats managed to hang in the race over the next two chapters, going 31-21 to SoCal's 32-20 record.  With one chapter left to play, the Slyme held a comfortable five-game lead in the division.  But the Sea Cats went a remarkable 21-7 over the final chapter to finish with a franchise-best 97-63 record.  With a dozen games remaining for the Slyme, they needed to go 7-5 to tie for the division lead.  They fell just short, and wrapped up the season with a record of 95-65.  That record was good enough, however, to capture the EL wild card.

For the fourth time in eight seasons, Sylvester headed into the playoffs.  This time, his opponent would be the Villanova Mustangs, who had wrapped up a Cinderella season with a 101-59 record -- the only team in the BDBL to win 100 games that season.  Contreras ran out to the mound to start Game One of the Division Series, while Villanova countered with their ace, Mark Buehrle.  Contreras was masterful, holding the powerful Mustangs offense to just one hit through five-plus shutout innings.  After walking the first two batters he faced in the sixth inning, he was pulled in favor of reliever Jose Valverde.  And Valverde managed to escape from that jam without a run scoring.  The SoCal bullpen dominated the Mustangs through the remainder of the game, and when all was said and done, six Slyme pitchers had combined to pitch a two-hit shutout.

After slumbering through the first game, the Mustangs offense awoke in the second game, and pounded Sabathia and reliever Brendan Donnelly for eight runs (five earned) en route to an easy 8-1 victory.  In the next game, Villanova took a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning, and held that lead to the end thanks to the dominant bullpen work of Neal Cotts and Mariano Rivera.

The Slyme managed to even the series with a 9-5 win in Game Four, and then took Game Five by a score of 11-2.  That put them just one win away from a huge Division Series upset (perhaps redeeming their own Division Series upset of 2004.)  But the Mustangs weren't ready to roll over just yet.  With the score knotted at 0-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning of Game Six, Villanova rallied for five runs in the inning, while Rich Harden tossed a complete-game two-hit shutout.

That set the stage for Game Seven.  SoCal handed the ball to Contreras, while Villanova went with Dontrelle Willis.  The Mustangs scored first, on a solo home run by Reggie Sanders in the second inning.  Southern Cal tied the game in the fifth on an RBI single by Hunter.  Travis Hafner then led off the sixth inning with a home run, giving Villanova a 2-1 lead.  In the eighth, Cotts walked the first two batters he faced, bringing the heart of the SoCal lineup to the plate.  Villanova turned to their otherworldly closer, Rivera, who struck out Kent and Delgado back-to-back, and then got Victor Martinez to pop out to left.  SoCal's last stand came in the ninth, when Rivera botched a ground ball with two outs, putting runners at first and second.  Hunter stepped to the plate with the tying run on second, and Villanova manager Tony Chamra yanked Rivera out of the game in favor of righty specialist Rudy Seanez.  Hunter whiffed, ending Southern Cal's season.


With Beckett (16-13, 3.95 ERA in 221+ IP) returning to the starting rotation for his final year under contract, and Contreras (15-9, 3.59 ERA in 208+ IP) returning for another quality season, the SoCal starting rotation had a good foundation heading into the 2007 season.  Sylvester strengthened that foundation quite a bit when he made a shocking trade that winter, agreeing to take Roger Clemens (8-4, 3.64 ERA in 121+ IP) off of the New Milford Blazers' hands.  As he was available to pitch only half the season, and sported a $19 million salary, most people considered Clemens to be all-but-immovable.  But Sylvester was able to offset some of Clemens' salary by unloading Pineiro, Valverde, and Brian Schneider (all of whom had become expensive cuts.)  And as the trade only cost the Slyme Dioner Navarro in terms of "talent", it was considered to be a reasonable trade.

Offensively, a pair of rookies were making their BDBL debuts in 2007: Zimmerman (.266/.319/.398, 70.4 RC) and Hanley Ramirez (.280/.342/.447, 103.9 RC.)  That winter, Sylvester added another big bat when he dealt closer B.J. Ryan to the Cowtippers in exchange for Paul Konerko (.307/.376/.491, 75.5 RC.)  Jeff Kent (.292/.374/.448, 67.7 RC) and Victor Martinez (.323/.393/.506, 111.7 RC) also returned for another year, giving the Slyme one of the better lineups in the league.

After splurging on Clemens in the off-season, little money was left over to spend in the auction.  Sylvester signed just one player -- Reed Johnson (.292/.351/.425, 71.8 RC) -- for $5 million.  The Slyme then went into Opening Day with a team picked to finish in second-place in their division.

SoCal jumped out to an impressive 18-10 start to the season, despite the fact that Clemens didn't throw a single pitch in the chapter.  Most people assumed Sylvester was saving his ace for the stretch run, but in early March, Sylvester posted Clemens on the Selling forum.  And on March 12th, Clemens was traded (along with Konerko) to the Kansas Law Dogs in exchange for lefty starters Ted Lilly and Wil Ledezma and youngsters Adam Jones, Adam LaRoche and Chris Shelton.

"This is a win-win for both the Dogs and Slyme," Sylvester proclaimed.  Yet, many eyebrows were raised around the league as to why a first-place team would trade their best pitcher in exchange for a sub-standard replacement and a bunch of prospects.  Clearly, it seemed as though Sylvester's priority was not to win his division in 2007.

The Slyme went just 13-15 in Chapter Two, and fell into a virtual tie with the division-favorite Nashville Funkadelic.  A mediocre 12-12 record in Chapter Three gave Southern Cal a 43-37 record at the all-star break -- six games behind in the division.  And with the Wapakoneta Hippos enjoying a surprising chapter, the Slyme were now looking up at two teams in the standings.

But the Hippos' stay atop the division was short-lived.  And after a 10-14 start to the second half of the season, they soon fell out of contention, while the Slyme (14-10 in Chapter Four) regained their position.  The Slyme continued winning in Chapter Five, going 17-11 to pull within seven games of the Funkadelic.  And with little competition in the Eck League for the wild card, the Slyme enjoyed a two-game lead over the Hippos in the race for the final playoffs spot.

And yet...despite his team's success, Sylvester continued to unload talent in favor of future considerations.  At the final trading deadline, he traded another short-usage ace, Anibal Sanchez, to the Law Dogs in exchange for a $3 million reliever for 2008 (Brad Lidge) and a $500,000 reserve roster player (Reggie Willits) with no value in 2007.

Next, he traded one of his team's top hitters, Raul Ibanez (.315/.377/.574 at the time) to the Cleveland Rocks for pitcher James Shields.  While Shields would have immense value to the Slyme over the next several seasons, he had zero value for 2007.

And finally, he traded his team's de facto #2 starter, Contreras, to the Hippos (the team he was battling in the wild card race) in exchange for Dave Bush (2-4, 7.50 ERA for SoCal over 36 IP.)

All of these deals left a sour taste in the mouths of the BDBL punditry, who viewed Sylvester's abandonment of his competitive team as something less than ideal to the greater interest of the league.  And yet, despite the losses of all of those high-impact players, the Slyme defiantly continued to win.  On the final day of the season, the Slyme faced the Hippos to decide the final place in the playoffs, and the Slyme emerged victorious, officially capturing the EL wild card with a 90-70 record.

Southern Cal then faced the Kansas Law Dogs in the Division Series -- the same Law Dogs team that were the beneficiaries of the Clemens and Sanchez trades.  Kansas' $21 million ace, Santana, took the hill in Game One, and easily shut down the SoCal offense en route to a 7-2 win.  In Game Two, Southern Cal scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 8-6 lead.  But Ledezma (one of the pitchers Kansas had traded to SoCal in exchange for Clemens) served up back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score.  SoCal's Torii Hunter then singled home a run in the top of the 12th inning, and Ted Lilly (pitching in relief) and Guillermo Mota then combined to close out a SoCal win in the bottom of the inning.

Clemens got the ball for the Law Dogs in Game Three, and he was absolutely masterful: 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K.  But the Slyme continued to battle, and tied the series once again with a win in Game Four over Santana.  Southern Cal then pounded Sanchez in Game Five for six runs in five innings, but the Law Dogs pounded Lilly and reliever James Shields just as hard.  Kansas emerged with a 13-7 win, putting them just one win away from a series victory.

They got that win when Mike Mussina stepped to the mound in Game Six and tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout, with 11 strikeouts.


After throwing in the towel despite having a winning team in 2007, Sylvester was putting all his eggs in the 2008 basket.  And his team did not disappoint him.  The acquisition of Shields paid immediate dividends, as he went 17-9 with a 3.19 ERA in 223 innings for the Slyme in 2008.  He was backed in the rotation by Lilly, who far outperformed his MLB performance by going 23-4 for the Slyme, with a 3.28 ERA in 222+ innings.

To those two, Sylvester added aging veterans Curt Schilling (16-3, 3.31 ERA in 160+ IP) and Clemens (8-3, 3.79 ERA in 90+ IP) in the auction, at $5.5 million each.  (And because neither veteran pitched enough innings in MLB '08, both were released without penalty later that winter.)

Offensively, both Zimmerman (.280/.351/.427, 68.3 RC) and Ramirez (.349/.405/.565, 151.9 RC) returned for their sophomore seasons in the BDBL, with Ramirez earning a third-place finish in the EL MVP balloting.  Placing first in that balloting was Magglio Ordonez (.374/.454/.618, 169 RC), whom Sylvester signed in the auction at a staggering $14 million salary.  Raul Ibanez (.333/.393/.600, 99.3 RC) was also resigned in that auction, to a salary of $5 million, and far outperformed his MLB numbers.  Victor Martinez (.288/.347/.483, 73.2 RC) and Torii Hunter (.317/.359/.588, 80.3 RC) also returned to the lineup, giving SoCal the best offense in the BDBL.  The Slyme would finish 2008 with a team batting line of .303/.365/.483, with a league-best 954 runs scored.

As expected, the Slyme got off to a hot start -- so hot, in fact, that their 24-4 record was the best Chapter One performance ever in BDBL history.  It was just the third time in league history a team won 24 games in one chapter.  The Slyme barely let up in Chapter Two, going 19-9.  And when they went just 13-11 in Chapter Three, some thought the team was finally beginning to cool down.

But in Chapter Four, SoCal picked up the pace again, going 18-6.  They then followed that with a remarkable 19-9 record in Chapter Five.  Heading into the final chapter of the season, the Slyme sported an astounding record of 93-39 (.705), and the debate began over whether this team could beat the Stamford Zoots' all-time BDBL record for wins in a season (115, set in 2003.)

Southern Cal achieved the inevitable on October 12th, capturing the division title (Sylvester's fourth.)  Then, on October 25th, the Slyme won their record-shattering 116th game of the season.  They closed out the year on a high note, going 23-5 in Chapter Six, and played .750 ball over the second half of the season.

Earning the unenviable position of facing the Slyme in the Division Series were the Chicago Black Sox, whose .556 winning percentage paled in comparison.  Nevertheless, Chicago shocked the establishment by winning Game One by a score of 7-3, behind the pitching of BDBL post-season legend Roy Oswalt.  Incredibly, Chicago won Game Two as well, as starter Jeff Francis and four Chicago relievers combined to hold the vaunted SoCal offense to just one run on seven hits.

When the series shifted to Chicago, most BDBL followers believed the Black Sox's Cinderella story would end in the hitter-friendly confines of "The Ballpark in Aurora."  Instead, Chicago pounded out 16 runs on 16 hits against SoCal pitchers Orlando Hernandez and (reliever) Ted Lilly, while Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano once again held the Slyme offense at bay.

Incredibly, the Black Sox had taken a three-games-to-none lead over the heavily-favored Slyme.  But the story became even more incredible when Chicago completed the sweep of Southern Cal in Game Four, winning by a comfortable 7-3 margin as Jeff Suppan outpitched Curt Schilling.  For the series, SoCal hit just .225/.307/.302 as a team, with just one home run and ten runs scored in four games.  And thus ended what had been the greatest single season team performance in BDBL history.


Throughout the first decade of the BDBL's existence, it would be difficult to find a person who made more of a commitment to the league than Bob Sylvester.  In the league's very first season, Sylvester took the time out of his schedule to attend the first-ever live draft, even though he didn't yet own a franchise in the league.  He then stepped in at the 11th hour and completed the draft that Kevin Manley had begun, with hardly any notice whatsoever, saving the league from having to postpone our draft -- and possibly our inaugural season.

Later, Sylvester proved his extraordinary commitment to the league when he went "above and beyond the call of duty" by managing his franchise from a desert tent in the middle of a tiny Middle Eastern country halfway across the world.  For this, the BDBL will forever be in Sylvester's debt.

On the field, it is difficult to argue with Sylvester's success as a GM.  In ten seasons, Sylvester averaged 84 wins (despite back-to-back seasons of 110+ losses), won four division championships (in two different divisions), and appeared in six playoffs.  He also set an all-time BDBL record for team wins in a single season.

There appears to be no single explanation for Sylvester's success.  He has deftly mixed expensive veterans and inexpensive rookies on his roster.  He has maintained a perfect balance of quality pitching and hitting.  He has traded away some good prospects and retained others.  He has made some good trades, and some (but not many) bad.  And he has generally spent his money wisely each winter.

And perhaps that is the lesson to be learned from Sylvester's tenure in the BDBL: there is no singular strategy guaranteed to succeed.  As Sylvester has demonstrated, perhaps balance in all aspects of the game leads to the greatest success.