Thanks to a small company in Pittsburgh, by the name of Boulevard Game Company, our draft game got started way back in the early 80's, 1981 to be exact. An annual subscription to their game would provide us booklets issued via mail around the 1st of March. These booklets included alphabetical team by team detailed player scoring covering the last 6 weeks of the regular season. Since the books had to be mailed out before the NCAA tournament teams were selected, we would have to highlight which teams made the tournament on selection Sunday.
We drafted using these booklets and USA Todays and Chicago Tribunes and whatever we could find. Talk about a long, long draft night! Of course there were plenty of years where teams made the tournament, but were not included in the booklets. That required a little bit of scrambling on everyone's part including Boulevard Game Company. Where was the internet back then....huh? Thanks again Andee and Mike at Boulevard, you were really fun to deal with!
Thank you also to Pittsburgh Trophy for making our Commissioner's Cup as well as our annual personal cup trophies. These guys are a very good family owned business. Find them on the web at http://www.pittsburghtrophy.com/testsite/index.html . If you need their services, I recommend asking for Keith Nellis, he will take care of whatever you need.
We originally started with 4 drafters, Walt Kretzmann, Ken Kremer, Dennis Hammer and me Steve Krautstrunk (aka Commissioner Krautstrunk) . Also, 3 of the aforementioned graduates of Valparaiso University, Hammer being the exception. As word got out, more and more became interested in playing our "little" annual game. We grew every year until we realized that a cutoff point would have to be implemented. I was foreseeing a 2 day draft at one point, something the NFL is used to, but not a bunch of married guys who could never get out of the house for two consecutive nights of drinking beer and acting like....well, what do most men act like?
As we limited the drafters to 12 max (and we really don't like 12), and there was a waiting list to join the game, more and more "teams" started to develop. And to our wonderment, a little thing called the internet was on the horizon. We weren't scared, we moved forward.
We struggled for a long time trying to find restaurants or bars that would allow us to take over and area. Laptop computers were not an option back then. I remember one draft night driving around from establishment to establishment asking if we could borrow some tables! We've drafted at a number of locations over the years including Home Run Inn Pizza's back room but today we've got enough room to hold it at our current draft site.
This year, 2021, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary of starting our draft game, we think about the changes that have transpired. Boulevard Game Company succumbed to the power of the internet and dissolved their operations. We now utilize what the internet can provide us with the various bracketology experts and some pretty handy statistical analysis. After using those simple booklets back in the 80's all these stats that are at our fingertips, can be a little overwhelming, maybe more so paralysis by analysis! This website has been so valuable with getting updates out via the web and not having to prepare printed mailings every Monday during the tournament.
And then there's the TV coverage issue. We've evolved from having to watch the games at local bars that could provide us the multi game coverage back in the 80's, to plasma high definition televisions set up in our own homes with multiple feeds from Directv carrying the MegaMarch Madness programming.....talk about convenience!
During the first few years of the tournament, ESPN was broadcasting the games. I couldn't swear to this but it didn't seem like ESPN was so concerned about bunching all the games on at the same time, or turning a 40 minute basketball game into a 150 minute commercial debacle.
IThis spot is where I used to rant about how CBS totally screwed us with their coverage of the games. Now that TBS, TNT and TRU are in the package, we're seeing less of Clark Kellogg and Greg Gumball which is the best present this commissioner could get. If Bill Rafferty retires, that would make Ken Kremer a very happy person as well.
Special Thanks to a few special people in my life:
Thanks for listening
This site was last updated 02/06/21