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A Brief History of the Front Office Baseball League

As North America awoke from its winter slumber in the early spring of 2001, one's thoughts turned -- as they often do -- to baseball. Unless you're a hockey fan, in which case your thoughts turn to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but I digress...

So, the early spring of 2001, the Net was abuzz with word of a soon-to-be-released text simulation called Out of the Park Baseball. Not a new game, by any means, but third version of said title was rumored to be a huge step upward in terms of realism and enjoyment. This buzz was not lost on the denizens of Front Office Football Central (aka FOFC), who by this point had a firmly established community of not just FOF addicts, but indeed, text-based simulations of any kind -- especially sports.

As the anticipated release date neared, the chatter increased. And then all hell broke loose.

Long-time FOFC vet QuikSand off-handedly gauged the interest in an online OOTP league comprised of FOFC regulars. The response was swift and merciless. People couldn't sign up fast enough. Rumors of backroom deals to eliminate one or more competing interests were rampant. The FOFC forum came to a standstill as the moderators tried in vain to sort through the wreckage.

Okay, not really. But there *was* a lot of interest, and it soon became apparent that the league would have to carry 36 teams -- the most allowed by the game's programming design. FOFC regular STK offered to become the sacrificial lamb and signed on as the league's inaugural Commissioner. (He would resign due to stress and malnourishment halfway through the first season.) In honor of the league's origins, and in deference to the game that brought us all together, the name Front Office Baseball League was quickly adopted.

The early days of the league were a blur. Cities and Nicknames were claimed. A new message board was created. Rules were hammered out with ruthless efficiency. At least three original owners were never heard from again. Their spots were quickly filled via a burgeoning waiting list. The early rounds of the dispersal draft were completed live in a chat room...the remainder by e-mail list. Then, on March 31st, 2001 -- only days before the *real* Opening Day -- the FOBL took its first tentative steps into existence.

The 2001 season was, to put it mildly, a clusterfuck. The wheat was eventually separated from the chaff, and handful of additional owners moved on to greener pastures, unburdened by the increasing mental and physical rigors that FOBL demanded. In the process, the ownership base solidifed. Simms took over as Commissioner in May of 2001, and remains in the position to this day.

Now, more than 4 years and 20 seasons later, the FOBL is still going strong. Nearly half our current owners have been around since day one. Our attention to detail and animated rules discussions are unparallelled in the OOTP universe. We like to think we have a pretty good league, but ultimately, that's for others to decide. If you're visiting our site for the first time, please take a look around. If you like what you see, come join us in the Forums. We're always on the lookout for potential new owners, even though our vacancies tend to be few and far between. Either way, stop by and say hi. We'd love to meet you.
October, 2005