Hey there, baseball fans! And more specifically, a warm welcome to all NB Owners who are taking the time to read this!

My name is Dru Himes, and I've been a part of Nostalgia Baseball since July 2006. I've managed a winning team in every league over my career as an NB owner, and I have to say, that most of the enjoyment for me comes in the pre-season and drafting time.

When it comes to building a team, you have to keep in mind that you can build for now or build for the future...I do both, when I can.

Your first season in any league can be the most crucial as you may have inherited players on contracts that you may not have chosen. You may have chosen a different type of contract or a different type of player altogether. That's alright, the first duty of any General Manager of any team or business is to weed out the bad apples. You take stock of what you have and what you have access to (in terms of replacing them with players from your OTF). If you find a GEM in your OTF, well then, that changes things up, and you may be looking at ridding yourself of more than what you initially thought!

Ok, to rid yourself of the bad apples, there are a few ways of doing so. You can start a post on our Forum where you state which players just hit the trade block, you can release players on Type 3 contracts for free, you can release players on Type 2 contracts for a fee (depends on the player), and you may be able to buy out contracts of players on Type 1 contracts.

The MOST important thing to remember is to not get yourself into a worse situation. Here's an example, you have an OF that you put on the block, and an owner contacts you about them. Your OF is on a Type 2 contract. The interested owner has an OF of comparable talent, with more seasons on a Type 1 contract and is doing MUCH better than your guy this season. The initial thought of every new owner is that this could be a steal! I assure you, it could be a trap. To make the deal happen, the interested owner offers up his OF and 50 units, and you have to throw in your 2nd round draft pick in the upcoming draft. You think...how important can a 2nd round pick be?

Can anyone guess what happens next? The incoming player can go into a slump, as this IS baseball, and nothing is guaranteed when it comes to statistics. The team that acquired your player now has the flexibility of releasing the player you traded to him, thus freeing up payroll to call up that OTF GEM he's been sitting on for most of the season.

When the season is over, your draft position (out of 24) may have improved to the Top 5, as where you were looking at a 10-15 spot when you took the team over, you're stuck with that Type 1 contract, and you lost your 2nd round pick in a bad trade.

If you successfully called up a few OTF GEMS and even some inexpensive role players, you created more roster space by ridding yourself of the bad apples in your first season. The big question for you as an owner "Is now the time to go for the future, or do you set yourself up for failure?" The easiest way to set your team up for failure is to fall into yet another trade trap, where you offer up your Top 5 or Top 10 draft pick to anyone. Keep your high draft positions! This is your opportunity to get your hands on some of NB's greats (depending on your draft era)! If for any reason, you feel the need to trade a high draft position, trust me, you'll make more in trade if you draft a player and then offer the player up...The going rate for a first round draft pick is around 150 units and a first round pick in a future season, but if you draft a player, and then trade him, you could garner around 400 units and 2 or 3 first round draft picks in the future! If you end up with more than 2 picks in the first round of any draft, you can really put together a contender. This method WILL take you more than a season or two to accomplish, be prepared to wait out the losing seasons

If you are taking a team in the Inaugural Season of a league, well, you have a lot more flexibility when it comes to contracts, as each team is given a random selection of players (all are inexpensive, yet lower to mid quality) and there are no pre-season trades. We don't start new leagues all the time, but it's a good practice to join a new league every now and then, and you may find an inexpensive role player placed on your roster that you could end up using in your other leagues!

I sincerely hope that I've helped you in turning your team around!

The time has come upon your league to prepare your draft cards in anticipation of the upcoming draft!

First things first, as an experienced owner, I can tell you that I start building next year's team the minute the Waiver Wire opens (after the league has played past April 25 on your league's calendar.

You may ask, how do you prepare for a draft when you don't know what era or what players are available? Well, to me, it's pretty simple. You can ALWAYS improve your roster, period. With over 15,000 players in NB, there's a small handful that will be signed to Type 1 contracts and never be released from a team, other than that, you're going to have players on your team that are either going to be released or traded or have a contract that expires at season's end.

Your OTF is the simplest place to look for any replacement, you may not find one, but there could be a SP down there to replace one of your five or six, and you could trade a SP off to improve at SS! Now, depending on how many years that are left on contract or what other positions that particular SS is rated for this season, well it's not too complicated, and I'm sure you'll figure it out!

Having numerous seasons under my belt, this is a process that has become second nature to me, and rarely do I make a mistake when it comes to roster construction; however, Draft Card Construction is a completely different animal! I've NEVER not put a superstar on my card because that position was already filled. If the top 7 teams in the league don't feel it necessary to draft Rogers Hornsby because they already have a 2b, then so be it, I'll draft him from any position in the drafting order! I can always trade him to a team in need, or send off my unwanted 2b to a team in need, whatever my finances dictate.

Where you put players on your draft card is probably the toughest thing to 'teach' in NB...

Some owners have the philosophy that the higher the PV (Player Value), the higher that player belongs on your draft card...well...if that player is a one or two year player, do you really value that player higher than a 5 or 6 year player that could sustain your team's winning tradition for a longer period of time?

Some owners will put all their needs first and their wants second...in other words, because they need a SP, they'll put a lower quality SP above a superstar on their draft card. To each his own, I say, but imagine this, there are those owners who use the wants first/needs second philosophy, and trading off who they don't need because got what you wanted.

Personally, I mix my needs and my wants, and there are players that I have never had on a roster, simply because every league is different, every owner is different, and every draft is different, it's a complex mathematical equation, I'm sure!

I go through each position in the draft and place the top 3-4 from each position on my card, and I may write down any others I'd like to have on the card (if there aren't 3-4, then go back and add the positions that had more than the 3-4). I ALWAYS go through the Regular Draft Era first, then the Supplemental Draft Era (if your league is using this option).

In the Supplemental Pool, I'm only going to add players that are of utmost quality (Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, etc.).

You then have to determine which players are more important than others according to your roster and the status of your OTF.

Like I said, the most difficult process is just beginning! Good Luck! Ask veteran owners specific questions, and I'm sure they'll give you an honest answer. And remember, just like a baseball game, the draft is very unpredictable!