Saturday, March 15, 2014
The Drew Stubbs Incident - From Their Perspective
A few days ago we were introduced to the The Drew Stubbs Incident. Now we have the opportunity to hear directly from the participants involved. The showdown occurred between Mike Coulter, owner of the Candy Colored Clowns, and Kenn Ruby, owner of the Kenndoza Line. Here is the fateful sequence of events - in their words.
Mike: I went into the 2012 season having built up a solid roster of keepers. But as usual, my Achilles heal was my outfield. With five outfielders per team, I always seem to be reaching on auction day for someone.
But this auction year, I felt I was in luck. Dexter Fowler was available. So was Andre Ethier. Shane Victorino was also out there. And then there was Drew Stubbs.
Coming off a partial year with 15 homers and 30 stolen bases (despite a terrifying 205 strikeouts), all of the preseason readings had Stubbs pegged for lofty status. Some had him as a 30 homer 40 steal guy. And while outfield is usually my weakest position-wise, I always seem to be chasing stolen bases as well. So why not kill two birds with one stone?
And to top it off, he was a Cincinnati RED!
I did my due diligence and research. And promised myself I would come away from auction day with one of three outfielders: Fowler, Ethier or Stubbs.
Fowler went off the board first. I hung around in the bidding until the very end, finally folding my card knowing there were two others.
As fate would have it, Ethier would go off the board next. Stayed in the bidding until the end on him as well, before determining that I would rather spend the coins on Stubbs.
Kenn: I seem to recall that there weren't many good outfielders left and during one of the breaks Coulter and I kind of knowingly communicated to each other that there was one more that we had our eye on. I knew it was Stubbs for some reason (probably because he was a Red), but I absolutely did not want anything to do with him. I knew Coulter would, however, so I let him believe that. I really *did* need a good outfielder then, but I didn't want it to be Stubbs. Even my son, who was like five at the time and probably did not know who Johnny Bench or Joe Morgan were, knew Stubbs was the Worst Red Ever ("who is that guy who always strikes out Daddy?").
Mike: What I had not factored in: Dem Rebels and Kenndoza Line had their covetous eyes set on Stubbs as well. The bidding rolled along. Once we reached the mid-20s or so, it was just Kenn and I left standing.
Kenn: When Stubbs came up, not long after the break, I knew Coulter was going to pay whatever it took to get him. Going into the draft I figured he was the guy to beat, and I wanted to stick Coulter with as many bad players as I could. This one would be the motherlode though, because Coulter and I both realistically needed him and had more than 40 cents to realistically spend on him. So I kept bidding and bidding and bidding, living dangerously, but confident that Coulter would never blink.
Mike: In what I consider a bit of revisionist history, Kenn swears that he was driving up the price on Stubbs in an effort to cripple my budget and franchise. But the glint in his eye on auction day told me he wanted him. And since he had already out Votto'd me in another epic bid war, I wasn't going to blink. I was going to win the war and the title with Drew Stubbs smacking 30 homers and stealing 40 bases.
Once the bids entered the 40s, the snickering from the peanut gallery began. I turned a deaf ear. What did they know? I had the bank and the willpower to ink this guy...and I wasn't going to bend. The remaining alternatives were a gaggle of fifth outfielder types that would spend just as much time shuttling between the majors and minors as they would dragging down my hitting ratios when they were in my lineup.
Kenn: Every time I would bid, I'd worry that this would be the time I would be wrong. It would absolutely RUIN my team to get him, but it would ruin Coulter's team to NOT get him. I had to keep doing it. Finally when he got to 48, I could go no further.
Mike: The back and forth bidding spewed in snarls. 41! 42! Oh yeah, 43! And onward it scaled northward.
I believe the winning bid was a ridiculous 48. I exhaled and penciled in STUBBS into my outfield. The Reds outfielder "thanked" my generosity of bank and vote of confidence by posting a putrid .213 batting average and .277 on-base. In almost 120 more at-bats than the season before, he actually hit one FEWER home run and stole 10 FEWER bases.
Kenn: Coulter won him, and in an email to the rest of the league that night, he signed his name,
League Online Coordinator
and proud over-bidder for the services of one Drew Stubbs."
Mike: His exorbitant salary cost me a shot at some quality starting pitchers. So on that front, Kenn did some damage, as I was forced to trade from my well of minor league phenoms (most notably super cheap mx contracts for Carlos Martinez and Zach Wheeler) to land some pitchers to make sure I reached the Bald Eagle requirement, much less climb in quality starts.
Kenn: He got the last laugh of course, as he won the league despite spending 42 on an outfielder who hit .213.
Mike: But in the end, the Candy Colored Clowns emerged victorious. Barely, but we did win the team's first (and to date only) Copperfield Trophy.
Kenn: I also found this exchange in an email between us not long after the draft, which you may find interesting:
[Mike] Knew I was going to get bent over for Stubbs. I had Stubbs in a tier with Fowler and Ethier as must get one of these guys. When Stubbs was the last of the three named, I knew I had to blow the budget out for him.
[Kenn] The funny thing about it is I never even wanted Stubbs. Wasn't even thinking about him before Sunday. Suddenly it looked like I was going to lose out on Ethier, Victorino, Fowler, all guys I wanted, and then it was clear that you and me were going mano a mano on Stubbs because you really wanted to and I really HAD to. At one point I thought of just going up to 48 and ending it, but again, I couldn't pull the trigger (or break your heart). The Stubbs money got me Bryan LaHair (bleah), Sergio Romo (one of the top five relievers in this format, in my opinion), Jason Bartlett (ecch), and Frank Francisco (why?).
Mike: And in a fitting epilogue to this incident: When I received my glorious Copperfield Trophy, who should be staring at me from the ball card slot? That's right.
Thankfully the following offseason he was exiled to Cleveland in the Shin-Choo-Soo trade. But bad pennies always have a way of reappearing. The second the Colorado Rockies acquired his rights this winter, my yahoo inbox lit up with a missive from Kenn, promising a Stubbs bidding war sequel.
I've spent my offseason making sure I do not have 48 cents to waste this time.