Big Lead Sports Bar


Mondesi Manages Against Baba Booey & Curt Schilling

A few weeks ago, I briefly mentioned my involvement in an upcoming Sporting News Strat-o-Matic Baseball League recreating the 1986 season. I was honored to be asked as the "Celebrity Manager" of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that went 64-98 "for real" that year. It's going to be a tall order to turn this squad around, but I thought it would be a lot of fun.

Today, I logged in to see who I'd be competing against. Needless to say, I was blown away by the field that The Sporting News has assembled. Managing the '86 Red Sox? None other than Curt Schilling, noted baseball historian, bloody sock wearer, and blogger when not pitching for said Red Sox.

But even more exciting than that was the manager of the 1986 Mets. It's Howard Stern's longtime right-hand man and die-hard Mets fan Baba Booey (Gary Dell'Abate). Dell'Abate takes the Mets so seriously that he was popping Tums to ease his sick stomach during the Mets' collapse last month.

Inspiration for many a prank phone calls, it's Baba Booey

Not only will Baba Booey be in the league, but he's in my division (remember, this is 1986, so there's no realignment). I'll also be facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, headed by Deadspin creator Will Leitch; former major leaguer Doug Glanville, running the Phillies; Dan Shanoff, creator of's "Daily Quickie" and author of the very popular; and Bernie Hou, creator of Strat-o-Matic Baseball online.

The league has another Pittsburgh connection: Jon Hein, creator of and host of Howard Stern's daily wrapup show. Jon was disappointed that his hometown 64-win Pirates were already spoken for, so he agreed to manage Nolan Ryan and the 96-66 Houston Astros. Nice consolation prize.

Jon Hein, the 2007 version of Hal Lanier

The rest of the league is populated with many famous sports personalities, bloggers, and contributors, including Bill Daughtry, broacaster for the MSG Network (Yankees), Sean Forman, creator of (Tigers), Brooks Melchior of the world-renowed Sports By Brooks (Royals), Jon Bois, founder of The Dugout (Braves), David Pinto of Baseball Musings (Dodgers), and a host of others.

The Sporting News will chronicle the entire season, which kicks off on Monday, November 5. Likewise, I will post regular updates of how the team is doing. We open with Baba Booey and the Mets on November 6 at Three Rivers. As for an opening day starter, I'm feeling Rick Rhoden. He was 15-12 with a 2.84 ERA on a team that lost 98 games. I'm sure he can take down Dr. K.

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