Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Meet The Tenacious B

In 2000 the CFCL expanded to twelve teams for the first time in its history and stayed that way for nine seasons.  One of the teams that joined the league that year was "Witzke A Go-Go".  It was a co-owned team of Harry Witzke and Bruce Ellman.  Hopefully we will meet Harry later on, but today we meet Bruce.

Bruce co-owned the Go-Gos with Harry for two years and then when Harry resigned, Bruce spun out on his own by running the Tenacious B for two more years.  As you will see below, Bruce is one of those special owners who has amazing creativity and phenomenal wit.  Even though he was only a part of the CFCL for barely more than 10% of the league's existence, the CFCL is poorer for his absence.

I have mentioned this before and will mention it again, our owners (current and former) have a lot more to them than simply being baseball fans.  This is clearly evident throughout all the answers Bruce provides, but specifically when he references his travels.

He's one of the good guys and it's time to meet The Tenacious B.

In 2000 you joined the CFCL with Harry Witzke to form “Bruce’s Witzke A Go-Go”.  Do you recall any material differences between working with Harry and then ultimately running your own team?

Ø  Harry and I were co-workers and he has/had been involved with fantasy leagues since the late 50s. I started small—Fantasy basketball (here’s an aside: Q: What’s the best thing about the start of the NHL season? A: Basketball is right around the corner! (Further aside: remember, this was the late 90s))—added fantasy football and then found a void in my life that only a new father, with a lot of new stay-at-home time, understands.
Since I was new to baseball and it seemed much more time-consuming, I gladly accepted Harry’s offer to co-own a team…now where to find a league………..?
We were a pretty good team though he is a Cubs fan and I am a baseball fan who just happens to like the Sox—terrible about facts and their Soxy bias—and I was glad to steal his strategies and then add my own (buy Todd Helton and cheap RP at all costs). It also freed me to engage in out-of-the-box strategic thinking and research (did you know that I was the first to utilize GWAR in our league? They ROCK!) and come up with diamonds in the rough like Deon Sanders and So Taguchi.
As a solo owner, I enjoyed further honing my own strategies and not having to be so formal about my own FA submissions—the Harry approval process often involved crushed ice, tropical drinks (“NO SALT, DAMMIT!”) and, well…I’d really rather not say more. I also changed the name of the team to Tenacious B and only found out later that Jack White had made a movie of the same name; I threatened a lawsuit but dropped it after he changed the name of his band to the Black-Eyed Keys.
How did you and Harry find your way into the league?
Ø  Fleet week, a young dancer named Kelly Barone; straight off a destroyer with nothing but his dancer’s belt and a tube of chapstick led us to the CFCL.
You are the only CFCL owner to have visited Macchu Picchu.  Have you done any other international travelling since leaving the CFCL?
Ø  Wow…excellent memory. I recommend hiking the Inca Trail (no allegory) to anyone…but be careful not to ask if you can “hike the Inca Trail” in certain parts of South America or Indiana. I have also been to Chile and Patagonia since then. Now, that is also a thing!
You had perhaps the most creative team introduction when you announced your team name as you separated your partnership with the Witzke a go-gos.  How did you come up with it? (The Team Name and the Introduction).
Ø  Have forgotten the introduction: probably stole it or came up with it after a night of drinking Peruvian tea made from coca leaves. The name comes from combining “Whiskey A Go-Go” (famous beatnik place where I think Harry was conceived; my own conception took place at Woodstock—further cementing our partnership) and The Go-Go Sox. Also, “Moose Knuckles,” “Master Batters,” and “Multiple Scorgasms” were already taken in one of Harry’s other leagues and were, frankly, weird names for a co-owned team.
You’ve participated in both fantasy baseball and fantasy football leagues.  Which one do you prefer and why?
Ø  Fantasy basketball is my original love and the one I have had the most successful results. FFB is enraging because it so often relies on luck, pure chance, and very little skill (yes, I have barely ever finished in the money but that is not bitterness talking, it is truth-to-power). Fantasy baseball was a lot of fun although very time consuming. Since it is so time consuming you really have to have a passion for it and for the league itself. I have been in other fantasy baseball leagues since (though no longer) but I found the most enjoyment and frustration during my time in the CFCL. And can you ask for anything more? (Okay, besides winning? And not the frustration? And more winning/less frustration?).
Bruce didn't remember the press release he submitted when the Tenacious B emerged from the Go-Go resignation.  It was a press release for the ages as Bruce shared with us every possible name he could think of before landing on Tenacious B.  Below is the press release he provided in 2002.
Unincorporated Grundee County, IL—Item: From the new winter headquarters of the team formerly known as Bruce’s Witzke A Go-Go comes the following announcement from team spokesperson and Head of Marketing, Lee Elia: "The team formerly known as Bruce’s Witzke A Go-Go is changing its name to reflect the new, streamlined direction of ownership. Frankly, we need to shed some of the weighted expectations of the past while continuing to honor the grand 2-year history of the franchise. Plus, we reached an out-of-court settlement with the former co-owner regarding licensing and copyright fees: we cannot disclose the terms except that we will no longer be allowed to sport mustaches. We considered, and rejected, many names—honorable, fine names—to ensure that the one we chose would best represent the quality of the team and the overall reputation of the CFCL. Among the names we seriously considered but ultimately rejected were:

  • Simple Goat Herders of Men
  • Masters of the Pan Flute
  • Set Phasers to Kick Ass
  • Raging Chanticleers
  • Happy, Magical, Cool Guys
  • Fred MacMurray’s Corpse
  • Bass-O-Matics
  • Bud Selig’s Lies!
  • Ashcrofts: Medi-Eval Attorneys General
  • Evil Petting Zoo
  • Beat Copperfields
  • I Am Curious Yellow
  • Bruce’s Dick Armey (R-TX)
  • Fielding Melishes
  • Sixto Lezcanos
  • Baseball Furies
  • Bruce’s Bruce Jenner’s Plastic Surgery Disaster
  • Super Incredible Comb-Overs
  • Thunderbirds Are GO!
  • Sixx Packz
  • Tha Funky Homo Sapiens
  • Erectile Dysfunctions
  • Plan 10 From Outer Space
  • Slide Show of Death!
  • Kite Flying Society
  • Frankenshriners
  • Bizarre, Alien Probings
  • Fighting Mohels
  • X-Dudes
  • Vomiteers

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