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Big Daddy Baseball League

www.bigdaddybaseball.com

O F F I C I A L   S I T E   O F   T H E   B I G   D A D D Y   B A S E B A L L   L E A G U E
slant.gif (102 bytes) FTDOTC Special 20-Year Anniversary Edition

Commish

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November 6, 2018

Happy 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, I didn't 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 precocious, 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.

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"Obviously 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. Three cheers for the BDBL (and to Salem's WS drought lasting another 20)"

-- Anthony Peburn

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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"
Romaniello

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 years.

"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 repeat itself.

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"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!"

Sincerely,
The Emperor

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.

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"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