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Benchwarmer Baseball - A Short History
Benchwarmer Baseball began in a rush during the spring of
2000. We're now entering our 10th season of play...
After Robot Baseball went under and did not
return for the 1998 season (see
BWB Heritage), I always imagined trying to revive it.
Originally, I meant to call it Ghost Runner Baseball, but
eventually switched to the idea of "Benchwarmer Baseball" -
I'm a fan of alliteration in the first place, and the ghost
runner term seemed to be only geared toward the hitting side
of the game.
During the early months of 2000, I started
fooling around with a scoring formula - trying to make it a
little more manageable and understandable and come up with
scores similar to real life. After getting the basics,
I took some old box scores from 1999 and began plugging
in real stats - tinkering around with the formula to get the
offensive numbers in my game to match the real results.
During the same time, I started putting
together the player lists - going back to 1998 and 1999
stats to generate the salaries for 2000. All that was
left to find were players.
Posting in league bulletin boards and
mining some friends, I
found 11 other people to come aboard. It took until
mid-April to finish the first draft (so we played a couple
weeks well after the real games), but Benchwarmer Baseball
From that opening crew of the Founders
League (renamed the Hall of Fame League a couple years later
- since the divisions were named for the initial Cooperstown
inductees), the following franchises are still operating
with their original owners:
- Las Vegas (me)
- San Francisco
Here's a quick rundown of the history and
developments in BWB - both in game play and technology:
- Benchwarmer Baseball is born with one
league, 12 owners in the spring of
2000. I use a
section of my personal web site to show the standings,
game results, box scores, rosters, etc - all done by
copying and pasting. (The pages featured a
scheme that I intended to look like a baseball field).
Games are scored by hand copying and pasting queries from
MS Access to Excel. The Springfield Isotopes win
the first championship.
- In 2001, the web domain
benchwarmerbaseball.net debuts and, for the most part,
the web site takes its current look. We also expand
with 4 new teams to a full-size league. Boar's Nest,
D-Town, Milford, and Oaxaca join. San Francisco takes the
league title. The Player of the Week award is
- 2002 brought scoring changes to the
relief pitchers, trying to deal with greater
specialization in the major league bullpens. After
the 2001 season nearly ended with a divisional tie that
would have been broken by tiebreakers such as head-to-head
record, a playoff system is instituted. We also make
it harder to sign really cheap 5-year contracts (Albert Pujols
was signed for a ridiculously low amount in 2001). We also institute a maximum cash balance for
teams entering the season, and premium bonuses are added
to player salaries at the upper range. Nordeast
wins the championship. The Gore Cup and Bottom
Feeder Open begin with an expanded post season and I
correct a major error by adding BW Bucks financial
benefits for division standings (hopefully preventing
late-season tanking). We play our first mid-season
All Star Series.
- In 2003,
a change that wasn't apparent to anyone but made my life
easier. Instead of hand-scoring each game with Excel
spreadsheets, I was able to write programs to handle all
of that in seconds.
We again tinker with the bullpen innings pitched minimums.
San Francisco loses out to Wheatland in a one-game
divisional playoff (thanks to the 2002 rule change).
Boar's Nest, a former expansion team, wins it all.
- Major web site changes between 2003 and
2004 brought about a large tie in between the web site and
the background databases for BWB. No longer do I
need to copy and paste team rosters, game results,
standings, etc. The new league, Beatleball,
is formed and we get a chance to try out some improvements
to the start up draft made after the experience of 2000.
Another major back office change makes me a happy guy -
the game-scoring process was automated in 2003, but the
substitution procedure is still done by visual inspection
and changes by hand. In the early part of the
season, a new program does that automatically, reducing a
task of 30 minutes per 2 or 3-game BW Series to just
seconds. D-Town completes a worst-to-first run in
the Hall of Fame League (our second straight ex-expansion
team to win) and Gorilla takes the first Beatleball honor.
At the end of the season, we hold our first Benchwarmer
Bash - an off season competition between league
champions (and some wild cards). Gorilla wins the
first BW Bash.
- In 2005, we expanded to five total
leagues, adding Longball, K Street, and
Shadowball. And in the Hall of Fame League, our
first 2-time champion - Boar's Nest. We also
added automatic trade requests and acceptance via the web
site, along with a "trade rumors" bulletin board.
Carlisle from Beatleball is the BW Bash Champion.
- 2006 - Reality
Bites and Golden Throat are the new leagues for
this season. NJ from Shadowball wins the Bash.
- 2007 - 2 more new
leagues: Chevy Chase and the Beer League
(our first 16-team league package - made up primarily of
old Robot veterans). Gashouse in Reality Bites
wins the Bash.
- 2008 - Our slow
growth continues and we expand advertising from the web
into print (in Fantasy Baseball Index and Sports Weekly).
Two leagues join the family, bringing us to 11:
Redbirds and Three of a Kind. The BW
Bash champion is Trinidad, from Longball.
- 2009? Beyond? See the
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