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Big Daddy Baseball League

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slant.gif (102 bytes) FTDOTC Special 20-Year Anniversary Edition


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December, 2018

Twenty Years in a Nutshell

Team First Five Second Five Third Five Fourth Five  First Decade Rank Second Decade Rank # Winning Seasons # 100-win Seasons # 100-loss Seasons # Champ Total
LAU  478 432 501 526 910 3 1,027 2 16 9 0 4 1,937
SAL  498 496 443 454 994 1 897 5 17 7 0 0 1,891
KAN  448 411 467 475 859 7 942 3 15 5 0 1 1,801
BKS 421 456 458 464 877 5 922 4 15 6 2 5 1,799
CHI  421 447 422 442 868 6 864 8 12 5 1 0 1,732
SCA  361 478 467 379 839 9 846 9 13 7 4 1 1,685
JPM 281 364 506 531 645 24 1,037 1 11 6 4 0 1,682
STL  394 418 460 407 812 11 867 7 13 2 0 1 1,679
AKR  443 446 421 362 889 4 783 13 12 2 0 0 1,672
RAV  406 434 415 391 840 8 806 12 12 1 0 1 1,646
MVV 527 435 376 302 962 2 678 20 9 3 2 4 1,640
FLG 361 375 413 472 736 18 885 6 11 3 2 0 1,621
CLE  427 369 362 381 796 12 743 17 10 0 3 0 1,539
BCJ  431 360 320 425 791 13 745 16 9 0 3 0 1,536
SLF 381 384 402 358 765 16 760 14 9 1 2 0 1,525
CLT 356 321 451 394 677 23 845 10 8 2 3 1 1,522
NIA  398 382 335 389 780 14 724 18 6 1 2 0 1,504
GLS  355 323 350 461 678 22 811 11 6 1 2 0 1,489
KCB 365 368 378 376 733 19 754 15 5 0 2 1 1,487
LVF  358 397 350 365 755 17 715 19 6 0 2 0 1,470
SKS 381 385 317 359 766 15 676 21 4 1 3 1 1,442
DBW 431 397 303 293 828 10 596 24 6 1 6 0 1,424
SCS  356 371 337 309 727 20 646 23 2 0 3 0 1,373
MBH 338 351 346 303 689 21 649 22 1 0 4 0 1,338

For all intents and purposes, you can break up all of BDBL history into four overlapping eras: the Marazita Era (1999-2003), the DiStefano Era (2004-2014), and the Paulson Era (2009-2017). It's safe to say those three owners dominated the league over our first twenty seasons. Combined, those three guys won 13 of our 20 trophies! In the regular season, myself, Marazita, and Paulson (in that order) dominated our first decade, and Peburn and Paulson (in that order) dominated the second.

Marazita, myself, and Paulson won a combined fourteen Ozzie League titles in our first twenty seasons. DiStefano, Bob Sylvester, and Chris Luhning combined for twelve Eck League titles. Out of forty league championships, then, 65-percent of them were won by just six people! The remaining 18 franchises managed to win just 14 league championships combined.

The top six franchises in league history, by all-time wins, have remained consistently near the top throughout all twenty years of our league's history. Los Altos, Salem, Kansas, Buckingham, Chicago, and Southern Cal all ranked among the top ten in wins during both our first and second decades. Of those six franchises, four have never changed ownership. Needless to say, the greatest improvement from one decade to the next took place in New Milford (now Joplin.) That franchise ranked dead-last in wins during our first ten years, but ranked #1 in our second decade.

At the bottom of the chart are two franchises that have consistently ranked among the bottom five both in our first and second decades: South Carolina and Myrtle Beach. Those two franchises have had only two winnings seasons combined in twenty years! The newly-named Darien Blue Wave (formerly known as the Granite State Lightning) has seen a drastic decline decade-over-decade, from the highs of the Geisel Era to the lows of the (Ryan) Glander Era. No franchise, however, has witnessed a greater decline than the Mission Viejo Vigilantes (nee Western Kansas Buffaloes.) That franchise has seen a devastating decline since the Marazita Era, dropping from #2 in our first decade to #20 in our second.

One trend that has become impossible to ignore is the ever-growing disparity between the "have's" and "have-not's." The league's standard deviation in wins shrank from 55 in our first five years to 46 in the next five. It then exploded to 61 in the next five, and 67 in the last. It seems the longer we play, the larger the gap between good and bad teams grows.

Our first twenty years in a nutshell, year-by-year:


Champion: Paul Marazita, Stamford Zoots

Best Team: Salem Cowtippers (99-61, 853 R, 681 RA, +172 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Mark McGwire (Madison): .308/.466/.698, 66 HR, 156 RBI, 168 BB, 20 IW, 194.8 RC, 13.1 RC/27

Biggest Trade: New Milford traded Randy Johnson and two draft picks to Stamford in exchange for Jose Rosado and Daryl Ward. That single trade not only secured Paul Marazita's first BDBL trophy, but his next two as well.

Most Memorable Event: The unequalled excitement of the Inaugural Draft. Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, and Greg Maddux were our first three picks. Todd Pratt, Heathcliff Slocumb, and Brian Barber were the last three.

Most Controversial Moment: Too many to list (see below.)

Odds-and-Ends: Our farm draft was such an afterthought that seven picks were passed, and one team jokingly drafted Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield (for real.) And we only had five-man farm rosters at the time!

In a Nutshell: Our inaugural season is best remembered for its seemingly never-ending series of controversies and resignations. From Kevin Manley's departure (which nearly delayed the start of our season if not for the heroic intervention of Bob Sylvester), to the controversy over our first-ever trade (which resulted in me using the "best interest of the league" clause against myself), to the loud resignations of Bryan Sakolsky and Chuck Shaeffer (who accused several members of cheating on their way out the door), to the resignations of both managers during one EL Division Series (resulting in the first-ever playoff series ever managed solely by MP), the 1999 season never featured a single dull moment. In total, there were fourteen resignations during that first season from Opening Day through the end of the playoffs.

Appropriately enough, the man who saved the league, Sylvester, won the EL championship after out-managing his twelve-year-old son, Bobby (who had temporarily taken over the Oakville Marauders after their manager had resigned) in the ELCS. Phil Geisel's Litchfield Lightning managed to upset the Los Altos Undertakers in the Division Series despite the suspensions of eleven players due to overuse during the regular season. Marazita managed to win both the Division and League Championship Series in the full five and seven games, and then won the first-ever BDBL World Series in seven games against Southern Cal (with Johnson tossing seven shutout innings in Game Seven.)


Champion: Paul Marazita, Stamford Zoots

Best Team: Chicago Black Sox (106-54, 987 R, 739 RA, +248 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Randy Johnson (Stamford): 23-9, 2.59 ERA, 433 K's in 298+ IP, .200/.274/.315 against

Biggest Trades: 1) Bowling Green traded John Smoltz and Chad Curtis to Stamford for Mike Cameron, John Halama, and a draft pick, 2) Phoenix traded Nomar Garciaparra to Chicago for Miguel Tejada and Michael Barrett.

Most Memorable Event: Thirteen-year-old Bobby Sylvester, in his first full season at the helm of his own franchise, faced his father (the #1 seed in the Eck League) in the playoffs and won with a three-game sweep (in what was then a best-of-five series.)

Most Controversial Moment: Phil Geisel quit the league during the off-season, re-joined shortly thereafter under a fake name, and managed his team under that fake identity for nearly a month.

BDBL Weekend: The first-ever BDBL Weekend was held at Yankee Stadium, with seven members in attendance. Other than briefly tailgating and watching the game together, we didn't do much else. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure we all sat together!

Odds-and-Ends: Dean Ashley, from Perth, Australia, became the league's first international owner. (He only lasted a little more than a year.)

In a Nutshell: Thankfully, the 2000 season is best-remembered for what took place on the field instead of off it. The season was dominated by two teams who would go on to face each other in a World Series that pitted the league's best starting pitching against its best offense.

Chicago Black Sox GM John Gill took a 100-loss team from 1999 and turned it into a 100-win team the following year. He broke away from the league's conventional wisdom at the time by adding a second $10 million player, Scott Rolen, to his roster, spending nearly one-third of his team's total payroll on just two players. He then flipped the script completely by adding a third $10 million player, Nomar Garciaparra, in the middle of the season. The result was a dominant offense that scored nearly 1,000 runs.

Defending champion Marazita took the opposite approach and added a third ace (John Smoltz) to his starting rotation, which already included two 20-game winners, Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown. In the end, pitching defeated hitting, and the Zoots took home their second straight BDBL trophy.


Champion: Paul Marazita, Stamford Zoots

Best Team: Kansas Law Dogs (105-55, 1,282 RS, 941 RA, +341 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Carlos Delgado (Chicago): .375/.491/.787, 58 2B, 55 HR, 166 R, 175 RBI, 228.7 RC

Biggest Trade: Marlboro traded Tim Salmon, Mark Loretta, Mike Fetters, Phil Nevin, and Tom Martin to Stamford for Rusty Greer, Mike Lowell, Matt Ginter, Mike DeJean, and Sean Lowe.

Most Memorable Event: Stamford's sweep of Salem in the OL Championship Series. It remains to this day the most devastating postseason loss of my career filled with devastating postseason losses.

Most Controversial Moment: The Salem Cowtippers already owned the best offense in the Ozzie League when they pulled off a blockbuster ten-player trade with the Madison Fighting Mimes. That trade added sluggers Jeff Kent and Gary Sheffield to an already-stacked Salem lineup, pushing Travis Fryman (.341/.420/.541) to the seventh spot in the lineup. The Stamford Zoots howled in protest, but it hardly mattered in the end.

BDBL Weekend: Our second now-annual event was held in Boston, hosted at Casa Glander, with an attendance of six. The fun-filled weekend included a game at Fenway and a personal tour of the historic city provided by yours truly (who quickly discovered how little he knew about Boston history.) 

Odds-and-Ends: The 2001 farm draft remains the deepest in league history. Among the many stars selected in that draft were Albert Pujols (18th overall), Roy Oswalt, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Prior, Hank Blalock, Justin Morneau, Adam Wainwright, Carlos Zambrano, Carl Crawford, Chase Utley, John Lackey, and Jake Peavy. Despite all of that talent, the #1 overall pick was (I am embarrassed to say) the legendary Adam Johnson. The sixth overall pick? None other than Toe Nash.

In a Nutshell: The 2001 season is best remembered for its record-breaking offense. The Kansas Law Dogs, playing in a Coors Field-modeled ballpark, set several records that season that remain to this day, including team batting average (.321), OBP (.398), slugging (.580), home runs (364), and runs scored (1,282). Kansas scored 24 runs in one game against the Southern Cal Slyme that season, and yet it was only the second-highest single-game total of the season (Akron scored 27.) Chicago's Carlos Delgado set a single-season slugging record (.787) that still stands 17 years later. Akron's Darin Erstad collected 250 hits -- a record that remains to this day.

The Salem Cowtippers spent the winter overturning nearly 100-percent of their roster and won 107 games, but for the third year in a row they fell short of their goal of reaching the World Series. That honor, for the third year in a row, went to the Stamford Zoots, who swept Salem out of the OLCS, outscoring them 25-9 in four games.

In the EL, Akron and Kansas beat the crap out of each other for seven games before Kansas emerged bloody-nosed and wobbly. The Law Dogs took a three-games-to-two lead in the World Series and headed back to their home turf in Kansas. Stamford then won a pair of laughers (15-3 and 12-6) to capture their third straight BDBL championship in the league's first three seasons.


Champion: Tom DiStefano, Allentown Ridgebacks

Best Team: Allentown Ridgebacks (113-47, 1,082 RS, 649 RA, +433 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Barry Bonds (Allentown): .337/.519/.785, 66 HR, 188 R, 159 RBI, 195 BB, 48 IW, 231.2 RC

Biggest Trades: 1) Litchfield traded Barry Bonds to Allentown for Bartolo Colon, Sean Casey, and Jerome Williams, 2) Arizona traded Curt Schilling and Eric Gagne to Allentown for Russ Ortiz, Erubiel Durazo, Ron Belliard, and Jimmy Anderson.

Most Memorable Event: The Salem Cowtippers managed to take the heavily-favored Ridgebacks all the way to the final inning of Game Seven of the World Series. Former Cowtipper Ellis Burks delivered the crushing blow for Allentown, breaking a 1-1 tie with a pinch hit double with one out in the ninth. The slow-footed Manny Ramirez, who had been intentionally walked in the previous at-bat, scored the winning run all the way from first.

Most Controversial Moment: The winter trade between Jim Doyle's Manchester Irish Rebels and the three-time-defending-champion Stamford Zoots remains one of the most infamously lopsided trades of all time. In that deal, Doyle inexplicably sent annual MVP candidate Chipper Jones to the Zoots in exchange for #5 starter Ryan Dempster.

BDBL Weekend: The road trip to end all road trips began in New Hampshire and ended in Pittsburgh, with a stop in Connecticut along the way. A total of six league members spent the weekend enjoying the gorgeous new PNC Park and watching movies in Billy Romaniello's family minivan.

Odds-and-Ends: The Salem Cowtippers made league history by becoming the first team ever to trade for a deceased player: Daryl Kile, who died of a heart attack in June.

In a Nutshell: During the 2001 preseason, Tom DiStefano took over a franchise that had lost 89 games the previous season. His rebuilding period lasted only one year. His Allentown Ridgebacks lost 108 games that first year, but turned it around in a big way, winning 113 games in 2002 and outscoring their opponents by 433 runs. That runs margin stood as the league record for another fifteen years.

Two major trades turned the Ridgebacks from a contending team into one of the most dominant teams in league history. The first was made in the preseason, when Bonds was acquired from Litchfield. Bonds was an otherworldly, once-in-a-lifetime, talent. He was added to a lineup that already included two MVP candidates in Edgar Martinez (.374/.463/.623, 148.8 RC) and Manny Ramirez (.309/.380/.644, 140.8 RC.) In early March, DiStefano added Cy Young candidate Curt Schilling to a starting rotation that already included two Cy Young candidates: Randy Johnson and Roy Oswalt.

Despite winning 112 games and outscoring their opponents by a whopping 344 runs, the Salem Cowtippers were overmatched in the World Series. They managed to reach the World Series by finally slaying the Stamford dragon in five hard-fought games in the OL Division Series, and then beating a dominant Los Altos team in seven close games in the OLCS. In the end, it wasn't enough.


Champion: Paul Marazita, Stamford Zoots

Best Team: Akron Ryche (108-52, 928 RS, 626 RA, +302 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Barry Bonds: .355/.555/.740, 47 HR, 147 R, 117 RBI, 204 BB, 208.3 RC

Biggest Trade: Cleveland GM Mike Stein signed the biggest star of our first-ever free agent auction, Barry Bonds. He then proceeded to trade him to the defending-champion Allentown Ridgebacks on May 28th in a massive four-team, 18-player, trade.

Most Memorable Event: In the league's first free agent auction, Bonds earned the top salary at $16.5 million, topping the previous record salary by 65-percent. Stein had only $26 million to spend that winter, and blew nearly two-thirds of it on one player! Greg Maddux ($15.5 million) earned the next-highest salary, followed by Sammy Sosa ($14M), Jarrod Washburn ($12.5M), and Jim Edmonds ($11.5M).

Most Controversial Moment: Two words: Clay Condrey. The 2003 World Series featured a head-to-head battle between the only two people who had ever won a BDBL championship to that point. Tom DiStefano's Ridgebacks took a two-games-to-one advantage into Game Four of the World Series when Marazita made a decision that would live in infamy. He handed the ball to a pitcher named Clay Condrey, who had thrown just 27 innings that season, and who was only technically eligible to pitch thanks to poor wording in the rulebook. Condrey not only out-pitched future BDBL Hall of Famer Curt Schilling, but he drove in what became the winning run at the plate. Stamford went on to win the series, earning their fourth BDBL trophy in five seasons...and an asterisk.

BDBL Weekend: A then-record eight league members attended our annual BDBL Weekend festivities in Baltimore. We watched a game between the Orioles and Yankees that ended with Jack Cust falling on his face as he stumbled toward home plate just before being tagged for the final out instead of scoring what would have been the tying run of the game. Three months earlier, a mini BDBL Weekend was held on the West Coast, attended by four owners: Jeff Paulson, Matt Clemm, Brian Hicks, and Greg Newgard.

Odds-and-Ends: Jeff Paulson became the first owner in BDBL history to select a high school junior (Justin Upton) in the farm draft.

In a Nutshell: The ending to the 2003 season is what most people remember about it. The much-hyped World Series between "Darth Paul" and "Emperor Tom" did not disappoint. There was much that happened throughout that season, including a bizarre "compete while rebuild" strategy employed by Marlboro Hammerheads owner Ken Kaminski that nearly cost him the division.

The Bear Country Jamboree managed to reach the postseason for the first time in their franchise history and upset the heavily-favored Los Altos Undertakers in the OLDS with the help of Brian Buchanan, who launched a two-out walk-off home run to win Game Four. Allentown defeated two 100-win teams to reach the World Series for the second year in a row. Although he lost to Stamford that season, it would hardly be the last we would see of Tom DiStefano in the World Series.


Champion: Brian Potrafka, Ravenswood Infidels

Best Team: Salem Cowtippers (104-56, 937 RS, 674 RA, +263 Mgn)

Most Notable Performances: 1) Albert Pujols (Wapakoneta): .396/.481/.733, 48 HR, 147 R, 133 RBI, 211.7 RC, 2) Pedro Martinez (Akron): 17-4, 1.81 ERA, 204+ IP, 127 H (5.6 per nine), 6 HR, 223 K, .174/.234/.259 against, 3) Eric Gagne (Los Altos): 85 IP, 24 H, 1 HR, 15 BB, 132 K, 62 SV, 0.11 ERA

Biggest Trade: Just days after Nashville Funkadelics owner Steve Osborne put his ace, Roy Halladay, on the block, the Stamford Zoots were declared the winner. No one seemed to comment on the absurdly lopsided deal. Then I realized the date: April 1st. A few months later, Halladay was traded for real, to the South Carolina Sea Cats.

Most Memorable Event: The back-to-back resignations of two longtime friends and founding members of the BDBL: Phil Geisel and Paul Marazita.

Most Controversial Moment: Several factors led to those resignations above. Stamford's controversial trade of Jim Edmonds to the Lightning was merely the final straw. Radical realignment, which placed both teams in the same division as the Cowtippers earlier that year, was also a contributing factor.

BDBL Weekend: Seven owners descended upon Cleveland for our annual BDBL Weekend. For the first time in BDBL Weekend history, we watched two games: one at Cleveland's new Jacobs Field, the other a minor league game in Akron. Two highlights stand out: 1) Jim Doyle playing a head-to-head game in our hotel room and celebrating each and every home run by his #1 "farm" draft pick, Rickey Henderson, by shouting "Say hello to my little friend!", and 2) Doyle's legendary encounter with a homeless person in the streets of Cleveland.

A second BDBL Weekend (dubbed "BDBL Weekend South") was held in Atlanta and attended by Tony Chamra, Gene Patterson, and Tony DeCastro.

Odds-and-Ends: Rick Reuschel's daughter, Beth, made an appearance on our league forum to say hello.

In a Nutshell: Geisel's and Marazita's resignations marked the end of an era. For better or worse, the league has not been the same since their departures. In addition to that major change, the league also adopted a new luxury tax and penalty system in 2004 and changed the order of our draft to deter teams from deliberately tanking. These new rules made a significant impact in the years to come.

In their new division, the Cowtippers managed to wrest the Butler Division title away from the Zoots for the first time in league history. With three dominant starting pitchers pitching every game in a short series, it seemed as though the stars had aligned for Salem to finally win their first BDBL championship. Then the Ravenswood Infidels yanked the rug out from under them and became perhaps the most unlikely league champion in history.

Former owner Brian Hicks grew tired of playing second fiddle to the Zoots every season, and bequeathed his franchise to his friend and fellow stand-up comic, Brian Potrafka. In his very first season as head of the franchise, Potrafka not only won his division, but played the role of spoiler by upsetting three higher-ranked teams in each round of the playoffs. Ravenswood unseated the #1-seeded Undertakers in five games in the OLDS, and then defeated Salem in the OLCS by scoring 3, 4, and 7 runs in the first innings of Games 4-through-6, against Curt Schilling, Brandon Webb, and Barry Zito. Ravenswood then held the powerful Chicago Black Sox offense in check in the World Series, winning an improbable all-Chicago series in five relatively easy games.


Champion: Tom DiStefano, Allentown Ridgebacks

Best Team: Salem Cowtippers (108-52, 964 RS, 684 RA, +280 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Barry Bonds (Wapakoneta): .354/.532/.780, 54 HR, 149 R, 134 RBI, 216.5 RC

Biggest Trade: At the final trading deadline, the New Milford Blazers, under the guidance of their new co-GM Anthony Peburn, traded Todd Helton, Aki Otsuka, and Orlando Hernandez to the Allentown Ridgebacks. It was the last of several "dumping" trades made by New Milford that month, and it followed a series of "building trades" earlier in the year. A heated debate followed and eventually gave birth to our midseason VORP cap rule.

Most Memorable Event: There was a great deal of speculation heading into the auction as to how much money Barry Bonds would fetch. Coming off an MLB season in which he hit .362/.609/.812, the 40-year-old Bonds was by far the highest-impact free agent in league history. In the end, Bobby Sylvester outbid Ken Kaminski, winning Bonds at a salary of $20.5 million -- a BDBL record at that point. As it turned out, the signing came with no future risk, as Bonds missed most of the MLB season and was released without penalty.

Most Controversial Moment: John Gill and Ken Kaminski seemed to trade Carlos Zambrano for Ben Sheets every year. This time, their trade was announced one minute past the deadline, and the trade was declared null and void. Gill and Kaminski griped about having to wait another month to make the trade, but ultimately decided against it.

BDBL Weekend: We set a new attendance record that still stands, with thirteen owners converging on the City of Brotherly Love for a weekend filled with cheese steaks, beer, trade talk, and -- of course -- aimless wandering.

Odds-and-Ends: The Salem Cowtippers officially surpassed the Corona Confederates franchise on the all-time wins list. Salem would hold that lead for the next ten years.

In a Nutshell: After seven seasons, the BDBL was still earning its sea legs. We hadn't yet figured out how to prevent teams from ruining the pennant races with foolish trades. The Peburn-orchestrated nonsense that took place throughout the year forced us to take a second look at our rules and forever changed the way we trade. The breaking of the $20 million barrier by Bobby Sylvester normalized that type of outrageous spending, and the league saw several more free agents break that barrier over the next few years.

Several pennant races were decided in the final weeks of the season. Ravenswood eventually prevailed over Marlboro and a late-charging Las Vegas Flamingos in the Benes Division. In the Eck League wildcard race, Akron and Atlanta were separated by just one game heading into the final chapter. Atlanta eventually won by three games, giving Gene Patterson his first taste of postseason play. In the Griffin Division, Greg Newgard's Silicon Valley Cybersox battled John Duel's Sylmar Padawans from wire to wire. That race came down to the very last series of the season, which the two teams played head-to-head. The Padawans emerged victorious, winning the division after four straight last-place finishes, while the Cybersox were forced to settle for the wildcard.

After all the excitement of the regular season, the postseason seemed anticlimactic. Appropriately enough, Silicon Valley and Sylmar battled it out in the OL Division Series. To the surprise of no one, it was a tight series featuring two extra-inning games and four games decided by two or fewer runs. In the end, Sylmar prevailed, and then lost to Salem in the OLCS. In the Eck League, the Ridgebacks were very nearly swept out of the Division Series, but miraculously managed to overcome a three-games-to-none deficit. They then beat up the Hippos in the ELCS. That set the stage for the second World Series matchup between Salem and Allentown, resulting in its inevitable outcome.


Champion: Tony Chamra, Villanova Mustangs

Best Team: South Carolina Sea Cats (97-63, 831 RS, 670 RA, +161 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Victor Martinez (Southern Cal Slyme): .383/.448/.610, 27 HR, 101 RBI, 142.3 RC

Biggest Trade: Chicago traded Carlos Delgado, Victor Martinez and Neifi Perez to Southern Cal in exchange for Derek Lee, A.J. Pierzynski, and Felix Pie.

Most Memorable Event: After seven consecutive losing seasons, the New Milford Blazers finally put together a winning team and made it all the way to the BDBL World Series...where they were promptly swept by the Mustangs.

Most Controversial Moment: After weeks of transparently expressing derision toward anyone who would even consider signing 44-year-old Roger Clemens to a big-money free agent contract, New Milford's new co-GM Anthony Peburn signed Clemens to a then-record $19 million salary.

BDBL Weekend: BDBL Weekend, Chicago, was attended by nine league members. We ate pot roast nachos at Ditka's, watched stand-up comedy at Brian Potrafka's local club, engaged in some midnight bowling, watched a game at Wrigley (Greg Maddux's final game as a Cub), and -- for the first of many times in BDBL Weekend history -- witnessed Matt Clemm's freaky talent for memorizing Giants boxscores.

In a Nutshell: The champion Mustangs were a real oddity in that they were almost entirely homegrown. GM Tony Chamra resisted the urge to trade away his youth for instant gratification, and his patience was greatly rewarded. At the polar opposite end of that spectrum, Peburn and his co-GM Billy Romaniello traded every decent young player on their roster and put it all on the line to win it all in 2006. They nearly pulled it off. The Blazers would lose 113 games the following season as a result of their "all-in" strategy. But after only two losing seasons, New Milford embarked on a winning streak unlike any the league has ever witnessed.

The rivalry between Greg Newgard and John Duel intensified in 2006. A year after the two teams nearly shared the Griffin Division title, Newgard's Silicon Valley CyberSox surprised the BDBL establishment by keeping pace with Duel's Sylmar Padawans throughout the regular season. Duel laid out a ton of money (more than $67 million in 2007 dollars) in his effort to win it all, yet stumbled in the second half and battled both the CyberSox and Los Altos Undertakers straight through the final weeks of the season. For the second year in a row, the fate of the division was decided in the final series of the year, a head-to-head battle between Sylmar and Silicon Valley. Sylmar won three out of four, knocking the CyberSox out of the playoffs. A day later, Bear Country knocked Los Altos out of the playoffs by winning three of four in their final series. In the end, three Griffin Division teams finished one game apart in the final standings.


Champion: Chris Luhning, Kansas Law Dogs

Best Team: Salem Cowtippers (110-50, 876 RS, 631 RA, +245 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: David Ortiz (New Hope Badgers): .291/.420/.760, 79 HR, 141 R, 205 RBI, 190.5 RC

Biggest Trade: Marlboro traded David Ortiz to New Hope for Jason Giambi, Shane Victorino, and Shaun Marcum. Honorable mention: Corona traded prospect Ryan Braun to the Allentown Ridgebacks in exchange for the Little David Eckstein.

Most Memorable Event: Crazy spending reached its peak on day five of the auction when Jim Doyle made C.C. Sabathia the third player in that auction to fetch $20 million or more. Doyle Manchester Irish Rebels finished that season with a record of 70-90.

Most Controversial Moment: Anthony Peburn (who else?) invented a new strategy that led to yet another rule change. Acting as a savings and loan for the rest of the league, Peburn used his high tie-breaker status to purchase several players in the auction and then immediately flipped them to other teams.

BDBL Weekend: Nine league members took in a game in St. Louis followed by a VIP tour of the Budweiser brewery (including exclusive use of a luxury suite that included a packed fridge) the following day. We then went on a four-hour road trip to Kansas City, highlighted by my intense trade negotiation with Jim Doyle (with the help of intermediary Greg Newgard.) After an amazing barbecue dinner in KC, we took in a Royals game the following day.

Odds-and-Ends: The first three players selected in the 2007 farm draft were Japanese veterans who had yet to play in the US: Kei Igawa, Norichika Aoki, and Koji Uehara.

In a Nutshell: The entire 2007 season can be summarized in two words: David Ortiz. His 79 home runs and 205 RBI's are league records that still stand to this day. He single-handedly carried the New Hope Badgers to the OL wildcard title and into the BDBL World Series. The forgotten story is how Ortiz was acquired by New Hope. Marlboro GM Ken Kaminski went into that year's auction with more spending money ($48.4 million) than any other team in the league. After he was out-bid on every player in the first lot, he panicked and placed outrageous bids on the players in the next lot, winning four auctions, including Ortiz at $10.5 million. This prompted another wave of panic, causing Kaminski to put all four players on the Selling block.

Also forgotten is how the Salem Cowtippers dominated that season. They won 110 games -- 11 more than any other team in the BDBL. They scored 876 runs -- second to only the Ortiz-led Badgers in the OL. They allowed just 631 runs -- nearly 50 less than the next-lowest total. They outscored their opponents by 245 runs -- 67 runs better than the next-highest margin. Yet, in the end, they lost the OLDS in five games to the fourth-seeded Ravenswood Infidels. It was the second time in three years the Infidels upset a heavily-favored Salem team in the playoffs.\

The champion Law Dogs made big waves at the trading table, acquiring $19 million ace Roger Clemens from the Southern Cal Slyme in February and $21 million ace Johan Santana from the Corona Confederates on April Fool's Day. Despite stiff competition from the defending-champion Mustangs, the Law Dogs rode their twin aces all the way to the World Series, where they dispatched of Ortiz's Badgers in five games -- despite Ortiz's three homers and seven RBI's in the series.


Champion: Tom DiStefano, Allentown Ridgebacks

Best Team: Southern Cal Slyme (116-44, 954 RS, 610 RA, +344 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Magglio Ordonez (Southern Cal): .374/.454/.618, 48 2B, 34 HR, 118 R, 128 RBI, 169 RC

Biggest Trade: Manchester traded Scott Kazmir and Cole Hamels to Marlboro in exchange for Phil Hughes, Gio Gonzalez, Franklin Morales, and Carlos Gomez.

Most Memorable Event: For the third time in seven years, the Salem Cowtippers were defeated by the Allentown Ridgebacks in the BDBL World Series. Despite nearly setting a new team ERA record, the Cowtippers posted a 5.71 ERA, with 67 hits and 11 home runs allowed in 52 innings, in that series.

Most Controversial Moment: Anthony Peburn (who else?) invented a new strategy that led to yet another rule change. Acting as a savings and loan for the rest of the league, Peburn used his high tie-breaker status to purchase several players in the auction and then immediately flipped them to other teams.

BDBL Weekend: Just six owners flew across the country to the City of Angels to take in a game at Dodgers Stadium followed by a road trip to San Diego. Many gallons of Jamba Juice were consumed.

Odds-and-Ends: Throughout the season, New Milford manager Anthony Peburn made a habit out of batting his pitcher, Micah Owings, in the cleanup position on the days he started. Owings finished that season with 91 at-bats and a .286/.305/.527 batting line, with two home runs and fifteen RBI's.

In a Nutshell: The Southern Cal Slyme dominated the 2008 season. They won 116 games, led the entire BDBL in runs scored, and ranked #2 in runs allowed. They outscored their opponents by 344 runs, which is the eighth-highest margin of all time. The sweep of the Slyme by the fourth-seeded Chicago Black Sox in the EL Division Series that year ranks among the greatest upsets in league history. The Slyme were outscored 34-10 in that shocking series.

As shocking as that series was, nothing was less shocking than Allentown's third BDBL championship at the expense of the Cowtippers. Salem allowed only 572 runs that season, but could not contain the Allentown offense in that series.


Champion: Jeff Paulson, Los Altos Undertakers

Best Team: Los Altos Undertakers (113-47, 916 RS, 578 RA, +338 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: C.C. Sabathia (Los Altos): 29-3, 273 IP, 264 K, 3.20 ERA

Biggest Trade: Manchester traded Kurt Suzuki and some delicious barbeque to Salem in exchange for Ryan Dempster.

Most Memorable Event: Jeff Paulson established a new BDBL record by signing Sabathia to an astounding $22 million salary in the free agent auction. He proved to be worth every penny.

Most Controversial Moment: Defending champion Tom DiStefano announced that he was turning over managerial duties to a 21-year-old college student, Kyle Mayes. Mayes lasted just two months in that role.

BDBL Weekend: Nine BDBL owners braved the oppressive chill of the Bay Area to take in a pair of games in San Francisco and Oakland. It was on this historic occasion that Jim Doyle officially became a Giants fan. We witnessed Rickey Henderson Day in Oakland, enjoyed Matt Clemm's homemade trivia, ate some amazing Chinese food, and wondered at the spectacle of Nic Weiss' furious trade negotiations.

Odds-and-Ends: After rejecting my many offers to trade for his draft pick, Gene Patterson (with the help of Tom DiStefano) selected Bryce Harper with the #1 overall pick in the farm draft. At 16 years and 76 days, Harper became the youngest player ever selected in the BDBL.

In a Nutshell: The outcome of the 2009 season was inevitable. Jeff Paulson had spent the previous five seasons stockpiling good, young, players and a farm club that ranked among the BDBL's top five for five years in a row. Before the auction even began, the Undertakers looked like the heavy favorites to win the championship. Then Paulson broke open the vault to add Sabathia to an already-bloated pitching staff and the entire 2009 season became a pointless exercise in futility for the other 23 teams in the league.

The other big story in 2009 was the remarkable turnaround of the Atlanta Fire Ants franchise. Gene Patterson's Fire Ants lost a then-record 118 games in 2008, and yet managed to win the Hrbek Division a year later. It would be the first of three straight division titles for Patterson, culminating in the greatest prize of all in 2011.

After playing second fiddle to the Sylmar Padawans in 2005 and 2006, Greg Newgard's newly-renamed (again) franchise, the San Antonio Broncs, managed to win 102 games in 2009. Instead of playing second fiddle to Sylmar, they played second fiddle to the Undertakers and eventually lost a hard-fought OL Division Series in seven games to New Milford. It was the first division title for the Blazers and, probably not coincidentally, the rookie season for a young hurler by the name of Clayton Kershaw.


Champion: Tom DiStefano, Allentown Ridgebacks

Best Team: Los Altos Undertakers (113-47, 969 RS, 591 RA, +378 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Joe Mauer (Corona): .409/.498/.654, 134 R, 116 RBI, 184.4 RC

Biggest Trade: After an intense round of negotiations at BDBL Weekend, Tony Chamra and I agree to a massive fourteen-player trade that involved Zack Greinke coming to Salem and several top youngsters (including top prospects Eric Hosmer, Pedro Alvarez, and Daniel Hudson) moving to Villanova.

Most Memorable Event: Bobby Sylvester's St. Louis Apostles won a hard-fought seven-game series against his father's squad, the Southern Cal Slyme, to earn a spot in the EL Championship Series against the #1-ranked Ridgebacks. St. Louis mounted a four-run rally in the ninth inning of Game Four, and pushed the game into extra innings. The first two Apostles reached base in the 11th inning, bringing team MVP Albert Pujols to the plate with no outs. With the winning run on base, and St. Louis just one hit away from taking a three-games-to-one advantage over Allentown, Pujols lined into a triple play. Allentown won, and then went on to win their fourth trophy.

Most Controversial Moment: Oddly enough, it was mostly a controversy-free year!

BDBL Weekend: Eight league members, plus -- for the first time in league history -- a guest appearance by Ryan Glander, visited Coors Field in Denver. We watched a ballgame, ogled waitresses in short skirts, toured "the real Denver" with Brian Potrafka, and watched Carlos Gonzalez become the first player to hit for the cycle during BDBL Weekend -- and the first to give us a walk-off home run.

Odds-and-Ends: Joe Mauer became the first -- and only -- player in BDBL history to finish the season with a .400 average.

In a Nutshell: By the time I lost my third World Series to Tom DiStefano, it seemed like a stale joke by the Baseball Gods. Ha, ha. I get it. This fourth straight loss was a completely unnecessary kick in the balls. Game One featured an extra-innings loss, and the series simply deteriorated from there. The crowning moment was when I learned my Game Four starter, Felix Hernandez, was "too tired" to pitch, forcing me to use a left-handed starter against the greatest left-handed lineup in league history.

The Undertakers finished the 2010 season with nearly identical numbers as their 2009 championship team, and yet were swept in the OL Division Series by the #4-seeded Cowtippers in one of the league's greatest upsets. Salem needed seven games to finally slay the Ravenswood dragon in the OLCS. They reached the playoffs via the wildcard -- the first of six for the Cowtippers over the next eight years.


Champion: Gene Patterson, Atlanta Fire Ants

Best Team: Atlanta Fire Ants (109-51, 848 RS, 573 RA, +275 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Robinson Cano (New Milford): .337/.402/.591, 142 R, 104 RBI, 154.1 RC

Biggest Trade: Allentown traded Justin Morneau, Jayson Werth, Ian Kinsler, and one other to Atlanta for Mike Trout and four others.

Most Memorable Event: The Cowtippers and Broncs battled for the OL wilcard down to the final day of the season. In Salem's final series against the Corona Confederates, backup catcher Lou Marson (who had posted a .488 OPS that season) went 4-for-4 with two triples and a home run, knocking Salem out of the playoffs.

Most Controversial Moment: In a deal that had actually been consummated during BDBL Weekend the year before, Sylmar GM John Duel traded 34-year-old Alex Rodriguez to the Bear Country Jamboree in exchange for 20-year-old phenom Madison Bumgarner. This trade immediately followed Cutdown Day, when Rodriguez -- at Bear Country GM Matt Clemm's request -- was signed to a whopping 10-year, $140 million contract.

BDBL Weekend: Baseball mixed with history as the eight loyal and dedicated owners, and one owner-in-training, met in our nation's capitol. We toured the monuments and museums, admired Greg's custom-made San Antonio Broncs jersey, booed the White House, made fun of Jim, discussed several ridiculous rule changes, wandered aimlessly, and watched a ballgame at the new Nationals Park.

Odds-and-Ends: Jim Doyle drew the #1 pick in our new "ballpark draft" and guessed it...AT&T Park in San Francisco.

In a Nutshell: The 2011 Atlanta Fire Ants seemed to be a Team of Destiny. Gene Patterson had spent many years building that franchise from the bottom-up. He endured eight straight losing seasons and seven last-place finishes in a span of eight years, including a then-record 118-loss season just three years earlier. He very well may not have won the 2011 trophy if not for that fateful preseason trade with his good buddy Tom that sent a prospect by the name of Mike Trout to the Ridgebacks.

The Fire Ants weren't always considered to be the favorites. I officially declared the season to be a formality during the preseason after the Undertakers added MVP-caliber shortstop Hanley Ramirez to their roster. Los Altos won 106 games, outscored their opponents by more runs than any other team in the BDBL, nearly swept their way into the World Series (losing just one game in the OLDS and OLCS combined), but ultimately fell short.

The New Milford Blazers won the McGowan Division that year for only the second time in the league's thirteen-year history. They proceeded to win the next seven division titles in a row. At the end of that season, I had the honor of accepting my son, Ryan, into the league. Ryan took over the franchise formally owned by his "uncle Geisel" and renamed the franchise in his honor.


Champion: John Duel, Sylmar Padawans

Best Team: New Milford Blazers (111-49, 877 RS, 553 RA, +324 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Justin Verlander (Akron): 19-4, 2.58 ERA, 286 K, .194/.239/.324 against

Biggest Trade: Sylmar acquired ace Roy Halladay from the Niagara Locks, along with Ryan Howard and Jake Westbrook, in exchange for three players who never amounted to much (Peter Bourjos, Rafael Furcal, and Juan Nicasio.)

Most Memorable Event: In the middle of his playoff run, John Duel notified me that he would be resigning at the end of the postseason. A member of the BDBL since 2003, Duel put all his eggs into one basket that year, leaving us with an empty basket.

Most Controversial Moment: Bobby Sylvester made no fewer than 32 trades in 2012, involving 138 players overall. Perhaps his most controversial was a Chapter Four trade he made with his father, in which he acquired several stars (including Paul Konerko) in exchange for several cheap and young players. What made this trade controversial was the fact that both teams were tied stop their division at the time of the trade.

BDBL Weekend: We returned to Chicago for our 13th annual celebration. Only six league members managed to make it this time, including the first visit by founding member John Gill. Once again, we ate pot roast nachos at Ditka's and took in a game at Wrigley. We got to meet Matt Clemm's better half, Kerry, and enjoyed a show at the legendary Second City. The following morning, we hit the road to Milwaukee, where we toured another brewery, visited the strangest bar in America, and watched a ballgame at Miller Park.

Odds-and-Ends: Anthony Peburn took advantage of his cartoon, physics-defying, ballpark model by signing lefty David Ortiz as a free agent. Ortiz played out of position in right field the entire season and made just seven errors in 156 total chances (a respectable .955 fielding percentage.)

In a Nutshell: The 2012 Padawans proved that if you have no concern whatsoever for your franchise's future, you, too, can become a BDBL champion. Of course, it wasn't all that easy. Sylmar first had to get past the #2-seeded Mississippi Meatballs in the Division Series. Mississippi GM Nic Weiss had spent that entire season practicing his "arbitrage", resulting in a fantastic 100-60 season that remains a record in the Benes Division post-realignment.

Next, Sylmar had to defeat a #1-ranked New Milford team that won 111 games during the regular season, played in a home ballpark where they won over 76% of their games, and featured the 25-game-winning Clayton Kershaw in their starting rotation. Finally, in the World Series, Sylmar was tasked with facing a pesky St. Louis team that had upset both the Allentown Ridgebacks and Chicago Black Sox to get to the Series. John Duel swept that series in four games, and then left us with a franchise that lost 199 games over the next two seasons.


Champion: Bob Sylvester, Southern Cal Slyme

Best Team: New Milford Blazers (113-47, 910 RS, 554 RA, +356 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Clayton Kershaw (New Milford): 28-6, 2.59 ERA, 253 K, .205/.260/.325 against

Biggest Trade: Southern Cal acquired Andrew McCutchen (and Dan Straily) from the Cuenca Strangegloves in exchange for Yu Darvish and Gerardo Parra.

Most Memorable Event: The Cowtippers and Undertakers played the first (and only to date) extra-innings Game Seven in league history in the OL Division Series. With two outs in the top of the 11th inning, Jeff Paulson called for back-to-back intentional walks to load the bases for Jesus Guzman. On a 1-0 count, Los Altos reliever Miguel Gonzalez uncorked a wild pitch, allowing the go-ahead run to score from third. Stephen Strasburg, pitching in relief for Salem, then walked the first two batters he faced in the bottom half of the 11th before striking out the next two. Tyler Clippard was then called on to get the final out of the series -- which he did on a ground-out to short.

Most Controversial Moment: One of the most inexplicable trades in league history took place in the preseason when Kansas unloaded more than $40 million in unwanted salary on Nic Weiss and the Mississippi Meatballs. That trade gave Kansas $47 million to spend in the auction, which they used to purchase a 95-game-winning playoff team.

BDBL Weekend: For the second time in league history, BDBL Weekend returned to Boston, where our lowest turnout to date (five) showed up to take in a game at Fenway, tour the city's historic sites, enjoyed a minor league game in Manchester, New Hampshire, and competed in a pool tournament at the Glander residence.

Odds-and-Ends: At the Chapter Four semi-annual farm draft, the Salem Cowtippers added Trea Turner, Alex Bregman, Derek Fisher, Rafael Devers, Aaron Nola, and Julio Urias.

In a Nutshell: For the fifth time in league history, the Salem Cowtippers lost a World Series, giving them a perfect 0-for-5 in that category. At least this time, it wasn't the Ridgebacks who defeated them. After his stunning upset five years earlier, Bob Sylvester's first trophy was well-earned. 2013 was the first of three straight 100-win seasons for Southern Cal, which were followed by a mind-numbing 43-117 season in 2016 that ranks among the worst ever.

After their stunning upset of Los Altos in the Division Series, the Cowtippers continued to surprise by defeating the heavily-favored New Milford Blazers in the OLCS in only five games. Two years later, New Milford would return the favor by dispatching the Cowtippers in five games in the OL Division Series.

We saw two former owners re-join the BDBL in 2013: Scot Zook and Tony Chamra. Another long-time owner, Gene Patterson, abandoned his franchise to join forces with Tom DiStefano. It didn't take long for that dynamic duo to make an impact on the BDBL yet again.


Champion: Tom DiStefano (GM) and Gene Patterson (manager), Wyoming Ridgebacks

Best Team: New Milford Blazers (106-54, 871 RS, 544 RA, +327 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Clayton Kershaw (New Milford): 32-7, 2.14 ERA, 258 K, .212/.255/.324 against

Biggest Trade: Bear Country traded Yasiel Puig to Chicago for Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera went on to hit .348/.430/.679 for Bear Country, with 56 home runs, 129 runs scored, 128 RBI's, and 170.6 runs created.

Most Memorable Event: Shocking upsets dominated the postseason. The EL's top-ranked Southern Cal Slyme were knocked off by the Chicago Black Sox in six games thanks to an improbable rally against SoCal's dominant closer, Aroldis Chapman. In the Ozzie League, the huge underdogs Mississippi Meatballs defeated New Milford by beating 32-game-winner Clayton Kershaw twice in seven games.

Most Controversial Moment: Two controversies dominated the season. First, Anthony Peburn's decision to change his custom ballpark's factors to physically-impossible specifications (+20 LH HR, -25 RH HR, +11 LH 1B, -7 RH 1B, etc.) forced the league to re-think our rules allowing such freedom. Second, Nic Weiss' gross overuse of his players during the final chapter was likely a factor in winning his division.

BDBL Weekend: Instead of our usual mid-summer gathering, BDBL Weekend was held in Phoenix, Arizona during Spring Training. Eight owners (along with two non-members) bonded in the warm Phoenix sun and watched a handful of games while endlessly debating rule changes and naming as many Seattle Mariners as we could think of.

Odds-and-Ends: One bid by Tony Chamra forced me to pay a whopping $5 million extra for Yadier Molina in the free agent auction. (No, I have not, and will never, forget that.)

In a Nutshell: Once again, for the BDBL-record fifth time, Tom DiStefano walked away with the trophy. His unholy alliance with Gene Patterson gave the two of them a combined six trophies in thirteen years. (Basically every other year for over a decade.) Patterson's decision to trade Mike Trout to the Ridgebacks three years earlier only added to the incestuous nature of their partnership.

2014 was the Year of the Pitcher. Kershaw won an astounding 32 games, shattering the old record of 29. He also posted the sixth-lowest ERA (2.14) of all-time, at that time. Salem's Max Scherzer established a new BDBL record with an ERA of 1.79, and yet finished a distinct second to Kershaw in the OL Cy Young voting. Wyoming's Anibal Sanchez finished with a 1.98 ERA -- the third-lowest in league history at the time. Cuenca's Yu Darvish struck out 317 batters, becoming only the fifth pitcher to top 300 and the first since 2010. And Wyoming's Koji Uehara saved 53 games -- the fourth-highest total in history.

Peburn's Blazers continued to dominate the league, leading the BDBL in runs differential for the third year in a row. His cartoon ballpark, however, continued to cause controversy and debate. The Blazers won a record 80-percent of their home games that season and sported a sub-.500 winning percentage at home heading into the final chapter. Their 275-point home/road split remains a league record. That winter, the league voted to outlaw custom ballparks.


Champion: Jeff Paulson, Los Altos Undertakers

Best Team: Los Altos Undertakers (116-44, 871 RS, 467 RA, +404 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Chris Sale (Los Altos): 18-2, 1.63 ERA, 253 K, .178/.222/.253 against

Biggest Trade: Mississippi traded Chris Sale to the Undertakers for Mike Zunino, Jameson Taillon, Albert Almora, and Henderson Alvarez.

Most Memorable Event: Just before Opening Day, the league received the shocking news that Ed McGowan, long-time owner of the Corona Confederates franchise, had passed away.

Most Controversial Moment: The New Milford Blazers were gifted with two full-time hitters with 800+ OPS splits against both sides and a sub-.600 OPS closer in exchange for five prospects who failed to rank among the top 100 in the BDBL's Farm Report. Among those players traded by Akron to New Milford was Steven Pearce, who went on to hit a Ruthian .342/.406/.695 for New Milford in the second half. He single-handedly carried the Blazers to their fifth straight division title, while the 96-game-winning Salem Cowtippers were forced to once again settle for the OL wildcard.

BDBL Weekend: For the first time since our inaugural season, no official BDBL Weekend was held. Instead, Ryan and I traveled to Phoenix to watch a few ballgames with Greg Newgard. Plans for the mid-summer event never materialized.

Odds-and-Ends: The Los Altos franchise officially passed Salem on the all-time franchise wins ranking at the end of Chapter Four: 1,692 to 1,679.

In a Nutshell: The 2015 Los Altos Undertakers were arguably the most dominant team in BDBL history...until the 2016 Los Altos Undertakers took the field. At the time, their 116 wins tied the league's all-time record. Their runs differential of 404 was topped only by the 2002 Ridgebacks. Counting the postseason, they won 128 games, which topped the 2003 Stamford Zoots by one. They completely shattered the all-time team ERA record with a rate of 2.62 -- 38 points below the old record.

The winter trades for Jose Bautista and Chris Sale pushed the Undertakers so far over the top, there was no question they would dominate throughout the entire season. The only question was whether they could avoid the fates of other dominant teams throughout BDBL history and win it all in the end. They answered that question loud and clear, going 12-3 in postseason play and holding the powerful Chicago Black Sox offense to just 16 runs in six World Series games.

New York Giants owner Jim Doyle extended his franchise's losing streak to sixteen years, despite trading several top prospects (Noah Syndergaard, Jackie Bradley, Jr., James Paxton, and J.P. Crawford) in an all-out effort to win at all costs. The Giants finished with a 76-84 record, five games behind the Las Vegas Flamingos (81-79), who backed into their third division title. In the Eck League, the Southern Cal Slyme (106-54) absolutely dominated the league, but were upset -- again! -- by the Chicago Black Sox in the Division Series.


Champion: Jeff Paulson, Los Altos Undertakers

Best Team: Los Altos Undertakers (128-32, 896 RS, 459 RA, +437 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Bryce Harper (Chicago): .325/.426/.702, 57 HR, 136 R, 144 RBI, 172.3 RC

Biggest Trade: Salem traded Kris Bryant (and Ryan Madson) to Chicago for Andrew Benintendi and Miguel Sano.

Most Memorable Event: Jim Doyle won the bidding for two players in the first auction lot: Joey Votto (at $12.5 million) and Adam Lind ($5.5 million.) This locked in two Type-H first basemen with no-trade clauses and guaranteed two-year contracts. It also left him with only $6.6 million to spend on 18 open roster spots.

Most Controversial Moment: A seemingly insubstantial roster error caused a chain reaction that led to the resignation of Mississippi Meatballs owner Nic Weiss.

BDBL Weekend: Seven league members, including surprise guest D.J. Shepard and rookie Mike Ranney, returned to Pittsburgh to attend a pair of games at the beautiful PNC Park.

Odds-and-Ends: For only the third time in league history (and the first since 2000), a one-game playoff was necessary to decide the final spot in the postseason. Flagstaff and Bear Country finished the regular season tied for the OL wildcard. Flagstaff (coincidentally one of the last teams to play a one-game playoff) prevailed.

In a Nutshell: It is simply ridiculous that any team in any league -- fantasy or reality -- should ever be in a position to dominate the way the 2016 Undertakers did. Their 128 wins during the regular season (140 in total) is a record that should never be broken -- or the league is doing something wrong. In addition to the wins record, Los Altos also shattered the old league records for runs differential (437).

The New Milford Blazers also set a new all-time record by winning 100 or more games for the fifth season in a row. They also became the first franchise in history to win six consecutive division titles. Their ace, Clayton Kershaw, became the first pitcher in the BDBL to win 20 or more games five seasons in a row. New Milford won just 645 in the league's first ten years, and won 818 games in the eight seasons that followed.


Champion: Jeff Paulson, Los Altos Undertakers

Best Team: New Milford Blazers (120-40, 871 RS, 458 RA, +413 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Mike Trout (Buckingham): .333/.447/.617, 31 HR, 126 R, 99 RBI, 171.4 RC

Biggest Trade: Salem traded Kris Bryant (and Ryan Madson) to Chicago for Andrew Benintendi and Miguel Sano.

Most Memorable Event: The New Milford Blazers continued their record-setting streak of dominance, winning 100+ games for the sixth year in a row and capturing their seventh straight division title. They also set a new league record for team ERA (2.54) and became only the second team to ever win 120 games in a season. But when owner Anthony Peburn lost in the OL Championship Series for the seventh time in nine years -- and fifth time to the Undertakers -- he promptly turned in his resignation.

Most Controversial Moment: Long-time owner Jim Doyle announced a trade with the St. Louis Apostles' Bobby Sylvester just after Thanksgiving Day. Sylvester replied that his trade offer was meant to be sarcastic. Less than twenty minutes later, Doyle resigned from the league. Then, at the end of the season, he asked to return to the league to take over Anthony Peburn's New Milford Blazers franchise.

BDBL Weekends: BDBL Weekend, 2017, was so nice, we did it twice. First, seven of us landed in Phoenix, Arizona, to take in a few Spring Training games, tour Luke Air Force Base with Colonel Bob Sylvester, play a few games of Corn Hole in the Sylvester back yard, and play a few rounds of home-made trivia courtesy of Triviamaster Matt Clemm. Then, in August, nine of us met -- including former owner Gene Patterson and Tony DeCastro's son, Dylan -- in Atlanta to watch a couple ballgames at the brand-new SunTrust Park.

Odds-and-Ends: With such little fanfare that no one even realized it happened until after it happened, the Saskatoon Sasquatch set a new all-time team record for stolen bases with 269.

In a Nutshell: 2017 marked the end of a three-year Los Altos dynasty that was just plain silly. The Undertakers won three straight championships, becoming the first to do so since the 1999-2001 Stamford Zoots. They won a whopping 361 games (and average of 120 wins per season) and outscored their opponents by 404, 437, and 373 runs, respectively. All three of those runs differentials rank among the top six of all time. In 46 postseason games over those three years, the Undertakers went 36-10 (a .783 winning percentage that was even higher than their regular season number.)

As dominant as the Undertakers were during those three years, the New Milford Blazers managed to dominate the regular season for twice as many years. From 2012 through 2017, the Blazers won 656 games -- an average of 109 per season. The next-best wins total that any franchise has amassed in any given six-year period is 612 (Los Altos during the same period.)


Champion: Bobby Sylvester, St. Louis Apostles

Best Team: Flagstaff Outlaws (115-45, 842 RS, 543 RA, +299 Mgn)

Most Notable Performance: Giancarlo Stanton (Great Lakes): .290/.366/.678, 73 HR, 136 R, 148 RBI, 151.9 RC

Biggest Trade: Los Altos traded Chris Sale and two others to Flagstaff for Kyle Tucker, Fernando Tatis, Jr., Dylan Cease, and Derek Fisher.

Most Memorable Event: The St. Louis Apostles become the first team in league history to sweep every series in the playoffs, going a perfect 12-0.

Most Controversial Moment: In our annual September voting for rule changes, the league passes (by a vote of 13-8) a rule that will add a second wildcard to each league, with a one-game playoff to decide which wildcard advances to the Division Series. Half the league howls in protest, including Greg Newgard, who vows to throw the season if there is a chance his team will win either wildcard.

BDBL Weekends: A near-record ten people attend BDBL Weekend in Minneapolis. We caught two games at the new Target Field, saw Johan Santana have his number retired, played Matt Clemm Trivia, and celebrated our 20th season in grand style.

Odds-and-Ends: Mike Ries becomes the only person to ever be kicked out of the BDBL twice when he disappears for several weeks shortly after taking over the Granite State Lightning franchise.

In a Nutshell: Appropriately enough, our season-long celebration of our league's longevity concludes with a championship win by a guy who was only twelve years old when our league was formed. Also appropriately, Bobby Sylvester defeated Jim Doyle in that World Series after Doyle had quit the league two years earlier because of a miscommunication with Sylvester.

For the second time in league history, we received word that one of our members had passed away. Rodney Wilkie, who took over for the late Ed McGowan as owner of the Western Kansas Buffaloes, lost his battle with cancer. Like McGowan, our self-proclaimed "Birthday Czar" was honored with a division in his name.