Twenty Years of Controversies
Although we have never played for a
cash prize in the BDBL, that hasn't stopped us from being a
highly-competitive league since the very beginning. Our league members
truly care whether they win or lose, and their passionate desire to
compete has often led to some heated controversies. Many times, these
controversies came as a result of someone bending the rules as far as
they could legally bend. Other times, the controversies resulted from
trades that many felt were heavily-lopsided in one team's
favor. Many times, these controversies led to inflamed emotions and
rhetoric. And sadly, many times, they led to resignations.
Here now are some of the most memorable
controversies of our first twenty seasons:
Our Very First Trade
It didn't take long for a controversy
to erupt over a trade made in the BDBL. In fact, the very first trade
ever made in the BDBL resulted in my decision to reverse the trade the
following chapter under the "best interests of the game" clause of our
rulebook. It was a clause that has only been used once again in the
nineteen seasons that followed.
We had yet to play two full months in
our inaugural season when that fateful first trade was made. The Salem Cowtippers and Akron Ryche were in a deadlock atop the Benes Division,
with the Plattsburgh Champs trailing close behind. In the Higuera
Division, the Virginia Cavaliers sported a 24-33 record, eight games
behind their division leader. As GM of the Cowtippers, I took that
opportunity to reach out to Virginia GM Jack Buchanan.
I had two targets in mind: Ray Lankford
and Todd Stottlemyre. Lankford would finish the season with MVP-caliber
numbers: .318/.409/.592, 41 home runs, and 157.3 runs created.
Stottlemyre finished with a respectable 13-10 record, and a 4.57 ERA in
236+ innings. Buchanan's asking price was surprisingly generous:
prospect Ryan Bradley, youngsters Butch Henry and Chad Curtis, and five
of my draft picks. I quickly agreed to the trade, and was proud to be
involved in the league's first-ever trade.
It didn't take long for the backlash to
erupt. The draft picks were deemed "worthless" given the fact that the
only players available in the 2000 draft were those who were not
kept from the previous season (as no players were yet under contract.)
The three young players involved were also deemed unworthy of an
MVP-caliber bat and an inning-eating arm. These criticisms were not
After listening to protests and
complaints for several days, and after multiple people challenged my
integrity as Commissioner and my ability to impartially impose my own
rules against myself, I announced that I would nullify the trade and work on
a new deal with Buchanan before the end of the next chapter. I did just
that, sending Lankford back to Virginia in exchange for Curtis, keeping
the rest of the deal intact. This decision was made despite the protests
of several other owners who felt the trade should stand, given the
precedent it would set for all other trades.
Despite those fears, the "best
interests" clause has been used only sparingly. In fact, it was
only employed once more, with a trade that once again involved my own
team. And that trade was...
The Delmon Young/Ian Stewart
Andy Lurie's BDBL career is among the
briefest in league history, and yet he managed to cause a bit of
controversy just before he was asked to leave the league. Lurie took
over the cursed Stamford Zoots franchise from the legendary Paul Marazita
in the middle of the 2004 season. The following winter, he made a trade with the Salem Cowtippers that
caused quite an uproar.
The Zoots, which Lurie had renamed the
Los Angeles Diablos, were in need of pitching that winter. I happened to
have an extra arm at the time, so I offered my number-three starter,
Odalis Perez, along with two prospects (Abe Alvarez and Jeff Baker) in
exchange for Lurie's top two prospects: Ian Stewart and Delmon Young.
Stewart would be ranked #3 and #4 in Baseball America's top-100
prospects list the following spring despite the fact that both were just 18 years old at the time. The league was
furious that I had acquired two of the top four prospects in baseball in
exchange for a number-three starter and a couple of "B"-grade prospects. Once again, Rule 9.3 ("the best
interests of the game") was mentioned, and once again I was challenged
to use the rule to punish myself. So I did.
Instead of reversing the deal, I
challenged the league to make Lurie a better offer. I then upped my
offer as well, replacing Alvarez and Baker with promising youngsters
Austin Kearns and Jose Capellan. After some time had passed, and no
other team could top that offer, Lurie accepted my revised offer.
Shortly thereafter, Lurie was asked to
leave for reasons I can no longer remember. He was immediately replaced
by the late, great, Ed McGowan, who became an instant asset to the league. As for Delmon
Young and Ian Stewart, well...let's just say this trade turned out to be much
ado about nothing.
The Wil Middlebrooks Affair
In the winter prior to our 2016 season,
in middle of our draft, Mississippi Meatballs GM Nic Weiss
raised an issue on our league forum that went largely unnoticed, as it
was buried in a lengthy Cutdown Day Commentary thread. He noted that a
mistake had been made in his Cutdown Day form weeks earlier,
which caused him to mark third baseman Wil Middlebrooks as having been
released. In fact, he corrected, he had meant to keep Middlebrooks at
his present salary.
Several opportunities to correct this
error passed without mention. Middlebrooks was absent from Mississippi's
roster throughout the auction and start of the draft, but not a word was
said about it. Finally, on January 17th, in the middle of the draft, the issue arose
once again. After a good deal of investigation, I concluded that the
league had made an error, and reinstated Middlebrooks to the Meatballs
roster. The only problem was that Weiss had made one too many picks, as
he hadn't accounted for Middlebrooks being on his roster. To rectify
that issue, we simply removed the last player he drafted, Sam Tuiavalala.
No problem. Or so we all thought.
Five days later, St. Louis Apostles GM
and frequent Meatballs trading partner Bobby Sylvester announced a
ten-player pre-season trade with Weiss. There were two major problems with this
trade, however: 1) it was announced nine minutes after the posted
trading deadline, and 2) it included Tuiavalala, who was no longer a
member of the Meatballs.
Adding to the problematic nature of the
Middlebrooks omission was the fact that Mississippi hadn't accounted for
his salary, either. As a result, Weiss spent more money in the auction
and draft than he was allowed. After a lengthy debate, it was decided
that Weiss would be allowed to overspend, given the circumstances, but
the trade could not possibly be allowed for those two reasons above.
Weiss was furious. He insisted that the
trade be allowed through the "best interests of the league" clause. He
insisted that not allowing this pre-season trade would cost his team the
entire chapter. The league refused to grant him his wish. The very next day, he announced his resignation.
The 2012 Apostles/Slyme Trade
Junior and Senior Sylvester have agreed
to many trades throughout their nineteen seasons together in the BDBL, but
none was as controversial as the trade they made at the final Chapter
Four deadline in 2012.
At the time, Junior's St. Louis
Apostles and Senior's SoCal Slyme were neck-and-neck in the Person
Division race. Both teams shared first place with a .567 winning
percentage. With two chapters remaining in the season, however, Bob
Sylvester, Sr. inexplicably decided to wave the white flag. He traded
three of his best players to the Akron Ryche for future considerations,
and then made a blockbuster eleven-player swap with his son and division
The league howled in protest. Once
again, calls were made to reverse the trade for the "best interests of
the league." Ultimately, however, the trade was allowed to stand. To the
surprise of no one, St. Louis won thirteen more games than the Slyme
over the next two chapters and easily won their division.
The younger Sylvester rode his new team
all the way to his first World Series appearance (where he was swept
by the Sylmar Padawans.) The elder Sylvester parlayed some of the young
players he acquired during his firesale into a 100-win team the
following season. In retrospect, was this a "win-win" for both
The Trade That Wasn't
On November 29, 2016, Jim Doyle happily
announced that he had agreed to a trade with the St. Louis Apostles that
sent mediocre middle reliever Chris Rusin and backup catcher David Ross to the
Apostles in exchange for superstar Yoenis Cespedes and top prospect
Yadier Alvarez. Most of us assumed that there was more to this trade, as
Apostles GM Bobby Sylvester was notorious for including "extras"
to be revealed at a
later time. Doyle, however, insisted this was the entire trade. A
skeptical league waited for confirmation from Sylvester.
At 4:45 that afternoon, Sylvester
finally weighed in. He explained that his response to Doyle's offer was
meant to be sarcastic, and he never had any intention to actually make such a
lopsided trade. Seventeen minutes later, Doyle resigned from the league, briefly
and temporarily ending his 17-year BDBL career.
John Duel's Departure
John Duel spent the better part of his
nine-year BDBL career loudly campaigning against our bonus and penalty rules.
He developed a strategy to avoid any long-term penalties, and explained
that strategy countless times during his tenure. In a nutshell, he
refused to spend money on any expensive, long-term, contract, regardless
of the quality of the player attached to it. Then, in 2010, he reversed
signed Alex Rodriguez for the whopping salary of $14 million.
Luckily, during BDBL Weekend that year,
Duel cornered Matt Clemm at a bar in Denver and somehow convinced him to
not only take A-Rod's contract off his hands, but to throw in a $100,000
Madison Bumgarner "just to make it even." Two years later, Mad-Bum played a
major role in Sylmar's surprising run through the playoffs, which
culminated with a BDBL championship.
Throughout that 2012 season, Duel spent
money as if it no longer mattered. Bucking his years-long strategy, he traded for players with expensive contracts that represented
only slight upgrades to the players he
already had. He traded away several players with future value in an effort to
put it all on the line for 2012. His new strategy seemed so out of
character, it made little sense...until mid-way through the playoffs,
when he announced that he would be resigning from the league at the end
of his run.
Duel's Sylmar Padawans franchise was
left in ruins following his championship victory. We scrambled to find
someone willing to take it and build it up from nothing. That someone --
Don Woodworth -- lasted roughly half a year before he disappeared and
simply stopped communicating with the league. Thankfully, Scot Zook
stayed in contact, and not only took over the franchise, but managed to
build it into a contender in only five short years.
The Master of Arbitrage
Nic Weiss managed to cause a great deal
of controversy during his brief seven-year career. The most impactful of
those controversies came in 2014 when Weiss pushed the boundaries of our
rulebook to the point where it called into question the legitimacy of
It all began during the second half of
that fateful season. Weiss' Mississippi Meatballs began the second half
trailing the first-place Ravenswood Infidels by only a single game.
Weiss began reporting trouble both with his schedule and his laptop at
around that time. As a result, the majority of his second-half games
were played via MP. Incredibly, his team managed to keep pace without
their manager, and the Meatballs still trailed Ravenswood by a single
game heading into the final chapter.
Ravenswood struggled during that final
chapter, and went just 9-15 with only one series remaining: a
head-to-head series against the Meatballs. Luckily for Ravenswood, the
Meatballs struggled as well. With only seven days
remaining until the end of the regular season, Mississippi still had six
series left to play. During that final week of the season, Ravenswood GM
Brian Potrafka begged Mississippi's opponents to keep an eye on the
Meatballs' usage, as several players were right up against the cap.
However, because of the timing of when the games were played that week,
those opponents lacked any visibility into the games the others were
playing. The Meatballs played well enough over those five series to take a
two-game lead over Ravenswood.
Finally, on the very last day of the
season, Weiss found a way to play Potrafka head-to-head in the season's
most important series. Ravenswood needed to win three of those four
games -- on the road -- to force a tie in the division. They did just
that, and the postseason was extended to a one-game playoff for only the
third time in league history. Ravenswood never stood a chance in that
game, and lost by a score of 10-4.
It wasn't until after that game had
ended that the league learned of what had happened during those final
six series for Mississippi. As it turned out, four players exceeded
their usage during those games, including both of Mississippi's catchers. Those four could have very well decided
the fate of the season, and could have been responsible for at least one
of those wins that forced the one-game playoff.
Unfortunately, there wasn't much the league could do
at that point. There was no precedent, nor any rule, that would have
forced a replay of those games. The only penalty was a monetary fine
paid only if the four offending players were reinstated to the roster
prior to the playoffs -- a fine Weiss happily paid.
Peburn's Physics-Defying Ballpark
When we made the decision to allow
owners to create custom-built ballparks with factors, dimensions, and
features not found in Major League Baseball, the goal was to allow
owners the flexibility to create their own park without being tied to
those that already existed. We never imagined that such freedom would
ever be abused, and yet that is exactly what Anthony Peburn did for four
Peburn built a ballpark that severely
aided left-handed hitters and severely punished righties. He then loaded
his roster with both left-handed hitters and pitchers. In their first
season in their new home, Peburn's New Miford Blazers went a modest
46-34 at home. It took a full year for Peburn to perfect his
team-building strategy. In 2012, the Blazers went an astounding 61-19
(.763) at home, compared to a more modest 50-30 (.625) on the road. In
2013, New Milford played .800 ball (64-16) at home and just .613 (49-31)
in away games.
The straw that finally broke the
camel's back came in 2014, when Peburn used his three-year waiting
period to make his custom ballpark even more ridiculous. His new park gave left-handed hitters a huge advantage
across the board: +11% for singles, +20% for doubles, +15% for triples,
and +20% for home runs. Right-handed hitters were punished even further: -7% for singles, -5% for
doubles, -25% for triples and -25% for home runs.
New Milford went 57-23
(.713) at home that season, and 48-32 (.600)
on the road. In September of that year, the league voted to ban
custom ballparks. Yet another rule change made necessary by Peburn's
Rule 9.4 states: "Players may be traded
for other players only. The exchanging of draft picks, money (real or
fantasy), players to be named later, or other such gimmicks or loopholes
will not be allowed."
To the best of my knowledge, that rule
has only been violated once. Unfortunately, when it happened, we had no
idea what to do about it. This violation took place during the 2014 free
agent auction. Scot Zook of the Kansas City Boulevards was desperate to
sign Adam Wainwright. He was so desperate, he decided to eliminate his
bidding competition by reaching out to St. Louis owner Bobby Sylvester
and Charlotte owner Tony Chamra. Together, they hatched a plan where
both Sylvester and Chamra promised not to bid on Wainwright. In
exchange, a trade would be made where a player (or players?) would be
sent to both St. Louis and Charlotte.
In the end, Kansas City won the bidding
for Wainwright with a bid of $15 million. (Had Niagara's Mike Ranney
been included in this deal, the price would have been much lower!)
Somehow, the details of this devious three-way agreement were leaked to
the league. It was immediately ruled that this was a clear violation of
Rule 9.4. With no written penalty in place, I handed out a $5 million
penalty to Kansas and $2 million penalties to St. Louis and Charlotte.
The Edmonds Trade
It may have been the straw that finally
broke the camel's back, although that camel was limping for so long,
it's impossible to know. Controversy seemed to follow Paul Marazita
wherever he went during his tumultuous five and half years at the helm
of the Stamford Zoots franchise.
In the beginning, there were questions
about his severely-lopsided home/road splits. There was the
fortunately-timed 19-9 record in Chapter Six of 1999 that allowed the Zoots to eke into the playoffs -- with the benefit of overusing several
key players. There was the Randy Johnson trade, the Chipper Jones trade,
and the Kevin Millwood trade -- all of which raised eyebrows across the
league. Then, of course, there was Marazita's
decision to use Clay Condrey as the Game Four starter in the 2003 World
Series. (But more on that later.)
By the time that 2003 series ended, with Marazita winning his fourth trophy in five seasons, tempers had reached
an all-time high. There was bad blood all around. Many were furious about
the Condrey game. Marazita was furious about the attacks on his
integrity and character, and insisted he did nothing but play by the
With the league still buzzing about the 2003 World
Series, Marazita made a trade with his longtime
friend, Phil Geisel, that caused the league to erupt in protest once
again. During our first-ever free agent auction in 2002, Marazita had dipped
deep into his cash vault to sign Jim Edmonds to an $11.5 million salary.
Edmonds was a major contributor to Stamford's success that season, but
by the end of the season, had seemingly become an expensive liability.
In particular, his inability to get on base against left-handed pitching
made him less useful and hardly worthy of his salary.
Geisel's Litchfield Lightning were
heading nowhere in 2004, and everyone seemed to know it except Geisel.
Marazita evidently convinced Geisel that Edmonds would put the Lightning
over the top and into contention, despite the fact that Litchfield had
very little room under their cap for Edmonds' salary. In addition
to Edmonds, the two teams switched their first base liabilities, John Olerud and Sean Casey, each of whom had $7 million salaries and little
value in 2004. Casey, however, was signed to two more years, and was
thought to be an expensive cut at some point.
Perhaps if the trade had ended there,
controversy would not have erupted, and Marazita and Geisel may have
continued their BDBL careers. However, as was his habit, Marazita
negotiated for two additional "throw-ins" that pushed this trade over the top and
into the absurd: Jerome Williams and Carlos Baerga. Baerga was a cheap
($100,000) part-time player who would hit .331/.409/.423 in 274 plate
appearances for Stamford that year. Williams was a 22-year-old pitcher
who was ranked #50 on Baseball America's most recent top prospects list.
For many in the league, this trade
represented the last straw for Geisel. The previous winter, he had paid a
$12 million penalty because he could not find the minimum of fifteen
players to keep on his roster. He had just $15.3 million to spend on 28
open roster spots that winter, and yet placed a $14.5 million bid on Barry Bonds.
His decision-making had been questioned many times in the past, but
never to such a high level of scrutiny as it was after the Edmonds
Some in the league called for me to use
the "best interests" clause to nullify the trade. I suggested
Geisel find an
assistant GM for the Lightning franchise. Others suggested we
create a "trade committee" to evaluate the fairness of every trade. Marazita defended the trade and insisted it was a good deal for both
teams. Geisel asserted that he would never accept an assistant GM.
In the end, the trade was left to stand
and the league moved on. Six months later, Marazita resigned, stating
that the BDBL had become less and less fun over time. "Friendly
competition turned inappropriately personal, and the thrill of winning
no longer made up for the emotional rollercoaster of doing simple things
-- like reading the message board -- that I used to enjoy," he wrote.
Four days later, Geisel resigned as well, citing the same sentiment.
In my effort to research our past
controversies for the sake of this article, I came across many emails
and message board posts that I saved for posterity. I have to admit I'm
embarrassed by some of the comments I made about my two good friends. I
now understand why they left. The benefit of hindsight has illuminated
how that entire ugly chapter in our league's history unfolded, and it doesn't
reflect well on my character. Instead of joining (or, hell, leading) the
pitchfork-wielding mob, I should have been standing with them and
deflecting the various accusations as I did in the beginning of this
league's existence. I hesitate to say that time has made me more mature
(as I certainly don't feel more mature), but it has definitely mellowed
my once-obsessive competitive spirit.
In his farewell address to the league,
Marazita wrote: "...I can honestly say that, in many ways, this is a
great league and I hope it continues for a long, long, time without me
-- perhaps even improves now that the source of so much apparent
controversy over the years has moved on."
Thankfully, I believe his sentiment at that
time has proven to be prophetic.
The Chuck and Bryan Show
From the moment they were welcomed into
our league as two of our original twenty-four founding members, Chuck Schaeffer and Bryan Sakolsky did everything they could to stir up controversy. They not only
questioned every rule in our rulebook, but adamantly insisted we change
several of them. Schaeffer insisted that our contracts and salary system
would never work. Sakolsky insisted that we should change our Inaugural
Draft from a snake draft to a "modified snake." They sent several emails
per day to myself and to the league as a whole, relentlessly promoting
The league politely denied their
requests and, eventually, our draft began. Two dates
were set where we all agreed to attend a live draft via chat session. Someone (perhaps
Schaeffer or Sakolsky) suggested we hold a draft via email until the
start of the live draft, just to get the ball rolling. I agreed, on the stipulation
that it would be voluntary, and there would be no time limit. The moment
I agreed to that idea, the critics began wailing via email. Paul Marazita insisted he needed the extra time for research and chided the
league for being "eager beavers" who couldn't wait for the live draft.
Billy "Baseball" Romaniello urged us all to "get a life."
Furious Hawaiian Mike Moffatt declared that I had a "spine of Jello" for caving into the
demands of the beavers. He later resigned in a fit of rage as a result of that
We found a replacement owner for
Moffatt and the draft proceeded flawlessly until it reached pick #19,
which was owned by Kevin Manley. The draft stalled for several days at
Several emails were sent, all wondering what happened to the draft. I
finally caught Mr. Manley online at one point and asked him if there
were a problem. He explained that he was in the process of running
several sims, and would have a pick soon. Shortly thereafter, he
selected David Wells and the draft resumed...until it snaked back around
to Manley's pick.
At that point, many in the league lost
patience. Among them was Sakolsky, who made a snarky comment via our
league's group email. Manley took exception to that comment, and fired
the retort that he works "outrageous hours for outrageous sums of money"
and therefore had little time to do the research required for the draft. We
managed to make it through the first day of the live draft before
another Sakolsky comment pushed Manley over the edge and he resigned
immediately, leaving us one owner short in the middle of our two live
drafts. Luckily, Bob Sylvester saved the day and took up where Manley
We didn't even make it to the end of
April before the last of Schaeffer and Sakolsky's shit hit the fan. I
received an email from Sakolsky, in which forwarded an email his friend
Chuck had sent to him. He explained that he concurred with everything
Chuck had to say, which included:
- Their displeasure with the
bookkeeping required to track usage
- The "obvious one-sidedness" of my
Lankford trade, which "ruined the credibility of having a salary
- The severely doubtful odds that
our salary and contract structure would work in the long run
- Chuck's "sabermetric predictions"
based on the first two chapters of our season, which concluded that
three teams in the BDBL were cheating based on the fact that their
Pythagorean projections were "severely out of family"
It was that final point that launched
the league into a frenzy. Angry emails flew back and forth between
Chuck, Bryan, and the rest of the league. Both Chuck and Bryan resigned.
Within days, their good friend Jeff Clink resigned as well. It became
the defining controversy of our inaugural season. It also had the
unexpected side benefit of rallying the league together in defense of
The Condrey Affair
In my previous 20th anniversary essay, I reviewed some
of the greatest game-changing decisions in league history. Some decisions made on the field have a
game-changing effect off the field. Such was the case in November of
2003 when the Stamford Zoots and Allentown Ridgebacks battled
head-to-head in an instant-classic BDBL World Series.
Leading up to that
series, Stamford had won the first three BDBL championships in a row.
The upstart Ridgebacks then took home the trophy in 2002, and looked to
be on the brink of a Zoots-like streak of championships. The 2003 Series
appeared to be the moment when that torch was passed from one dynasty to
the next. Stamford manager
Paul Marazita, however, wasn't exactly a torch-passing type of guy.
Allentown won the first two games of
the series at home, immediately putting Stamford's backs to the wall.
When the series shifted to Stamford, the Zoots won a crucial Game Three to give themselves a
fighting chance. Game Four was even more crucial. A Zoots loss would put
the Ridgebacks within one win of capturing their second straight title. A Stamford win would
even the series and make it a best-of-three with Stamford's twin aces
Mark Buehrle and Kevin Millwood slated to pitch two of those games (and
the quietly-effective Derek Lowe the other.)
The problem for Stamford was finding a
Game Four starter who could possibly go toe-to-toe with Allentown's BDBL
Hall of Fame-bound pitcher Curt Schilling. Stamford had used 40-year-old
Chuck Finley (11-7, 4.52 ERA during the regular season) as their fourth
starter in both the Division Series and League Championship Series. He
was clobbered in both of his postseason starts, allowing six runs in six
innings, combined. Even worse, Finley was left-handed, and Allentown's
lineup was chock-full of lefty mashers like Manny Ramirez
(.544/.624/1.063), Junior Spivey (.336/.409/.613), and Craig Wilson
(.351/.417/.514). Starting a sub-par pitcher like Finley against the
great Curt Schilling would have been World Series suicide, and Marazita
Rewind the tape to four months earlier
when Marlboro GM Ken Kaminski alerted the league to a loophole in our
rulebook. Strict usage rules were written to ensure that short-usage
relievers (defined as those with fewer than 25 innings in MLB) were
limited to just three innings in the playoffs, and short-usage (fewer than 100 IP)
starters were limited to just five. However, because of the way we
defined "starting pitcher" at the time, a handful of short-usage
relievers could technically be allowed to start a playoff game and pitch an unlimited
number of innings.
One of those handful of pitchers just
happened to be a Stamford pitcher by the name of Clay Condrey. In MLB
2002, Condrey pitched just 26.2 innings. He posted a sparkling 1.69 ERA
and held opposing batters to a .629/.537 OPS split. He started only
three of his nine games, and therefore was technically considered to be
a "relief" pitcher with unlimited playoffs usage. However, because there
was no rule at the time prohibiting starting a relief pitcher, and Condrey's three MLB starts gave him a starting pitcher endurance rating,
the Zoots could technically use him as a starting pitcher with unlimited
When this issue was raised by Kaminski,
Marazita acknowledged that the loophole did exist, and probably should
be fixed, but that it was too late to do anything about it. I agreed
that we shouldn't close this loophole until after the season, but added
the disclaimer that "just because something is legal doesn't mean it is
'right' or 'ethical' or 'sportsmanlike'" I then added: "If you start
[one of these loophole pitchers]...and you win the BDBL trophy because
of it...I would view it as a tainted victory."
Although we continued to argue the pros
and cons of closing the loophole immediately, we ultimately decided to leave the rule as it was.
Then came that fateful Game Four of the World Series. Of course, Marazita started Condrey against Schilling. The two pitchers nearly
matched each other pitch-for-pitch, with Schilling allowing two runs in
six innings and Condrey allowing one (unearned) run in six. Adding
insult to injury, Condrey knocked in what would become the game-winning
run with two outs in the fourth. Stamford managed to eke out a 3-2 win
and tied the series at two games apiece. They would then go on to win
their fourth BDBL trophy in five seasons.
That game sparked a chain of events
that ultimately led to the departure of our four-time champion and my
longtime friend from the BDBL. The backlash to Marazita's decision to
use Condrey was felt immediately. Several members of the league
expressed their disappointment and disgust. I added to the furor by placing an
asterisk next to the Zoots' 2003 championship (which remains to this day
on our history page.) Marazita was adamant in his defense that he did
nothing wrong except compete as hard as he was legally allowed.
Had Marazita not made that fateful
decision, would he still be a member of the BDBL today? How many more
trophies would decorate his home office? We'll never know.