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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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May, 2019

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 without merit.

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 Trade

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.

Young and 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 rival.

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 teams?

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 course and 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 our postseason.

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 straight years.

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 douchiness.

Rule 9.4

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 rules.

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 trade.

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 their causes.

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 decision.

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 that point. 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 left off.

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 cap"
  • 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 accused.

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 knew it.

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 usage.

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.