November 6, 2018
20th Anniversary, BDBL!
Welcome to the Big Daddy Baseball
League's 20th Anniversary celebration! I would say that I can't believe
we've made it this far, but that wouldn't necessarily be true. I never
really thought about an end date when I created this league, and I have
never pictured this league collapsing for any reason. In the beginning,
know if we'd last a year, ten, twenty, or more. It wasn't until we had
played a few years that I realized just how special and unique this
league is, and the notion of an end date became unfathomable.
I was in my
twenties when this league was created. When I officially uploaded our site
to the fledgling world wide web and sent our league's information to the Diamond
Mind admins to post on their site, my family and I had just moved into our first
house less than two months prior. We only had one child at that time: a
two-year-old, little monkey named Ryan.
|"Happy 20th Anniversary Big Daddy
Baseball! So exciting to see arguably the best DMB league in
the universe still going strong. I thoroughly enjoyed every
moment of my time 15 seasons in the BDBL from the exciting
BDBL Championships to bantering back and forth on the forum.
While a constant, dedicated group of
owners has always been the backbone of the BDBL, none of the
past 20 years would be possible without the passion and
dedication of its Commish, Mike Glander! Mike, your blood,
sweat and tears has helped make the BDBL the best ever!
Hereís to another 20 years!"
-- Gene Patterson
I was still working as a consultant,
working contract to contract. I
had been married only six years. Our move to New Hampshire was the third
time in six years Karen and I had picked up and moved to another state. With a two-year-old running around at
home, a new job, zero job security, and a brand new mortgage, you'd think I
would have been too busy and stressed to even consider creating a fantasy
baseball league. But you'd be wrong.
Let's pause for a moment and remember
what this league was like in its infancy. The internet was relatively new
for most of us. I was still using AOL to connect, as I'm sure many
others were as well. Our league's website included e-mail links, but no
message board. We communicated almost exclusively through e-mail, including a "Onelist" group
that I set up for group messages. This caused some hilariously uncomfortable moments when
someone would inevitably write something they thought was private, but
was inadvertently blasted to the entire league.
Information was extremely hard to
gather. Sabermetric statistics were unheard of, for the most part. Finding split
stats or any other fancy, newfangled, statistic required purchasing an
expensive book (at a real brick-and-mortar bookstore) like the Elias
Sports Manual or the Bill James Almanac. Minor league stats were even more difficult to find.
Baseball America was basically the only source of information for
baseball outside of MLB. That, or
an occasional mention by Peter Gammons in his Sunday Boston Globe column
(which is how I discovered a college stud named Mark Teixeira.) There
was no information available whatsoever on Japanese and Cuban players
(not that they had much impact at that time, anyway.)
We played on desktops; not laptops. We
used NetMeeting to play head-to-head (which also led to some hilarious
moments when your opponent didn't realize his microphone was on.) The
host would make his selection, and then his opponent would have to
request access to the host's PC, take over the mouse/keyboard, and make
his selection. Games took FOREVER to play. There were no smartphones or
tablets, so any time you needed information, for example to make a trade, you had to be near
a desktop or simply wing it and go by memory.
Needless to say a lot has changed since then.
In the essays to come, I will take us down Memory Lane and review where
we've been and how we got here. But
before I get to that, let me remind you of our origin story.
the most competitive and fun
baseball league ever, the BDBL is a strange brotherhood, of
sorts that is unlike any fantasy league on the planet.
Although owners have come and gone, the league has remained
strong for 20 years, which is a testament to its quality.
cheers for the BDBL (and to Salem's WS drought lasting
-- Anthony Peburn
In the beginning, the fantasy
baseball landscape was a formless void and darkness covered the
Diamond Mind Baseball universe. Then the Commissioner said, "Let there be the BDBL!"
And there was the BDBL. And He saw the BDBL was good. And He separated
the BDBL's light from the darkness. And He said, "Let there be a
franchise in the midst of the BDBL that shall be called the Salem
Cowtippers." And it was so. And He saw that it was good. (But
not as good as He hoped.)
At times it seems that the BDBL emerged
from nothingness through Divine Inspiration. How else can we explain the
existence of the greatest fantasy baseball league in the known universe?
Unfortunately, the true origin story is much less awe-inspiring and much
more depressing from my vantage point. You see, kids, I created this league to prove to my
friends that I could build a fantasy baseball team that would NOT choke
in the World Series every year. I created this league to prove that I could build a dynasty that
would win not only one trophy, but so many trophies that the entire
league would throw up their hands in defeat and beg for mercy.
Okay, stop laughing.
This story began way back in the year
1981. I was eleven years old when the ballplayers went on strike,
leaving me with nothing to do an entire summer. My father
rectified that situation by walking through our door one day with a
brand new, state-of-the-art, gizmo called a Commodore-64. Dad always
liked to be the first on the block to own any new form of technology,
and the C-64 was truly cutting-edge. (Note: that "64" indicates a whole
64K of RAM, kids.) My very first software purchase was
a game called "Computer Baseball" by SSI.
I loved that game. I wasted countless
hours of my youth holed up in my room managing games against the
computer. I wasted even more time creating teams from scratch, inputting
the statistics by hand from the newspaper or from notes I
copied from the Baseball Encyclopedia at the library. I was obsessed
with that game.
"Wow, 20 years! Hard to believe we
started this in Mike's basement on a Commodore-64! Playing
DMB is a great experience, and playing and managing in the
BDBL is as real as it gets. No better way to enjoy friends
and the National Pasttime."
-- Billy "Baseball"
The following year, a family moved to
town, and my father (who was also my Little League coach) drafted the
two brothers from that family: Billy and Jerry Romaniello. We hit it off
immediately. Since the Romaniellos lived within biking distance, we
spent a lot of time at each other's houses. During one of those visits,
I introduced Billy to Computer Baseball.
For the next several years, Billy and I
would play head-to-head games on my C-64. I discovered it was much more
fun managing against an actual person than a computer. By the time we
entered our senior year of high school, it had become rather boring playing
each other over and over again, so we came up with the brilliant
idea of forming a league. Thus was born the first-ever
computer-simulated fantasy baseball league in New Milford, Connecticut. (Or at
least I can only assume.)
We convinced six others to join our
fledgling fantasy league, which we creatively named the "Computer
Baseball League." Among the new owners in the CBL were my good
friends Phil Geisel and Paul
Marazita. We held a draft during lunch and/or study hall. I created forms for each owner and asked them to fill out
their lineups and starting rotations. Then I would go home and simulate
each game, one by one, using the information they provided. (And since
there was no "speed-up" option, this meant sitting in front of the
computer and watching each game in its entirety.)
|"I am proud to have been part of
this sensational league. What I miss most is the
interactions with the guys. The games, the blog, and the
annual trips. Good times."
-- John Duel
After a full day's worth of games were
played, I would print out all the boxscores, store them in my handy
binder, and bring them in to study hall the next day. Needless to say, I
only had so much free time to play these games, so our seasons were
short. We only managed two brief seasons, in fact, before graduation.
After graduation, our family upgraded
from the C-64 to an IBM XT. We also upgraded from SSI Computer Baseball
to Earl Weaver Baseball. Unfortunately, it was difficult to keep the CBL band together after graduation
and we lost a few owners along the way. Still, Billy, Geisel, Marazita, myself, and another
high school friend, managed to keep the the CBL alive for a few more
"I donít have
anything profound to offer than congratulations on 20 years.
Itís a crazy game. I check-in once in awhile to see what the
league is up to. It attracts no shortage of characters."
-- Brian Hicks
By the time we disbanded and went our separate ways, we
had managed to play nine seasons in total. I made it to
the World Series six times in those nine seasons...and lost five times. Marazita made it to The Show three times and went
a perfect 3-0.
Following the demise of the CBL, we
kept our competitive fires burning by playing rotisserie-style baseball. Although it was fun (and I even managed
to finally win another championship), it just wasn't the same as our old
computer-simulation league. I desperately
wanted a second chance to redeem myself in real head-to-head play. That is why, in the autumn of
1998, when I discovered a game called Diamond Mind
Baseball, the first calls I made were to Romaniello, Marazita,
and Geisel. It took a bit of convincing, but in the end, I managed
to get the band back together. Little did I know that history would soon
"I spent over a decade
as a member of the BDBL and the people I met there are still
in my thoughts to this day. I drifted away from MLB, but
never the BDBL or the friendships I made there. Iím glad the
league is still going strong!"
When this league celebrated our tenth
anniversary, I was a little too ambitious with my plans to celebrate
that milestone. I somehow managed to write twenty-one exhaustive essays
on the histories of each franchise before I completely ran out of steam
(coincidentally, just as the Allentown Ridgebacks were next in line.) I'll try
not to make that mistake again.
In addition to those twenty-one articles, I also wrote six "special edition"
pieces that covered one particular aspect of the league's history. That is more along the lines of what I
intend to do to commemorate this anniversary. I will write on a series of
topics covering our twenty seasons of history, and try my best to
summarize all that has happened in that time without boring you all to
tears. If you have any suggested topics for those articles, please feel
free to send them my way.
In the meantime, you can always
revisit our Tenth Anniversary
Celebration, which includes a thorough history of our first ten
years along with some screen shots from our early websites, the
original applications the league received, the box score from the first BDBL game ever played, and much, much, more.
"In reading through my collection of archived
documents, I've enjoyed more than a few laughs at my own
expense, and at those who insisted that this league would
never last. I never had any doubt that we would be
celebrating our league's tenth anniversary this November.
And a decade from now, I'm extremely confident that we'll be
celebrating our 20th anniversary, bickering over unfair
trades, bitching about the randomness of the Diamond Mind
software, engaging in long, drawn-out political debates over
Mitt Romney's two-term presidency, and sharing a laugh at my
expense as I lose to Tom in the World Series for the sixth
time in league history."
-- Mike Glander, December, 2008