25 March 2008

Five Questions with the Season 7 Champ!


Me and Shoeless Joe . . . we be mates. Here's my responses to rls1's five questions. I've been unsuccessfully lurking around WIfS for 3 years playing Simbaseball, HBD and GD. I play progressive Simbaseball theme leagues, but enjoy the dynasty games more. I run a progressive theme "History Rewritten" that started with the 1885 season and should reach the present day season in 30 years. We'll be here if you want to join. This is my first BLOG post, so I guess I'm officially a nerd.

1) What is the story of your username and how did you get hooked up with Whatifsports?

I enjoy the nicknames used in baseball (yeah, not just a baseball thing, I know). Names like ‘The Splendid Splinter’ or ‘Bucketfoot Al’ or ‘The Old Fox’ speak to the rich tradition/hazing of baseball. Baseball is one of the few sports that place so much emphasis on tradition (well, except Judge Smails’ beloved “galf”). I always go back to Terry Mann’s (James Earl Jones) monologue in the movie, Field of Dreams. “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. . . . . But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray.” I wanted the username Ray_Kinsella – taken (as were variations). The_Voice -- also taken. Shoeless_joe -- gone, too. Maybe I should have taken Ray Liotta? A Yankee version of Shoeless Joe? Come on Hollywood! I tried Sockless_joe and launched my WIfS sojourn. I got in via MLB.com link.

2) Offer a paragraph bio of yourself, possibly including things like work, family life, geography, other hobbies, quirky traits, bad habits, etc.

I attended college in New Mexico, but grew up in Ft. Collins, Colorado. I used to listen to the Denver Bears on my Dad’s AM radio late on summer evenings in the garage/summer patio. We live in Houston and work as an engineering manager in the oil industry. We've lived in Midland, Texas (& SE New Mexico) and Los Angeles (heaven, absolute heaven) before moving to H-Town. I travel overseas quite a bit in my role as a troubleshooter – sometimes really a trouble maker. I’ve never made the family move overseas, I just do the one week to three months travel thing as the job requires. I’ve been married for 21 years and we have two daughters. One kid is off to Georgia Tech this fall and the other begins her freshman year in high school. Work sucks up 60+ hrs a week so the hobbies are down to honey-do’s, WIfS and watching baseball/ NFL (the two only true sports). Worst habit I’ve got is Macallan drams and Guinness’ pints – but I don’t really thing these are truly bad habits.

3) A sports-themed bio paragraph. Favorite team? Players? Did you play as a kid? Now? What and when? Best sports moment? Most heartbreaking moment? etc.

I’m Dodger blue, through and through, and not just because of Alyssa Milano, that’s just a nice bonus. As a kid I idolized Ron Cey (cuz he was slow like me) and Steve Yeager (because he was a catcher like me, plus I hated anyone on the Big Red Machine). Growing up I played baseball, football, basketball and tennis through Junior high – never a stand out, only serviceable. All my sports equipment was 10 – 15 years old from my Dad’s sporting good store. He brought all this stuff home when I was born, then passed away before I reached the age of two. Mom had to sell the store to pay the bills, so I had some pretty old sports stuff -- you really stand out at tennis when you're the kid from the poor side of town. In HS I ran cross-county, long distances in track and swam. I attended a small college that only had intramural sports, besides heavy drinking for the patron saint of mining. Right out of college I played a lot of softball, basketball and golf while living in "Beernoser" Country. I still play softball and golf when I’m in Egypt – just not enough time in the day to play here in Houston. Favorite sports moments include the many Wrigley Field outings with my Aunt Clara and Uncle Hank, freezing our butts off in July – they always came up with tickets so I could watch my LA Dodgers take on the Cubs.

4) What about your franchise is most exciting going into Season 8? What is your team's biggest challenge? Anything else about your squad?

I'm excited to be the returning to defend my title as the Buzz Capra WS Champ (It’s not getting old looking at the WS trophy on the Archer's homepage -- and I'm proof anyone can win this game). I have two peak-age studs in Melvin Martin and the fabled Hong-Gu Hyun, you know him as the accused HGH, that I'm expecting great things from in season 8. I lost a few key bullpen guys I hope I can replace from the farm, and this will be my greatest challenge in season 8. None of the players I drafted in seasons 1 or 2 are on my MLB/MILB team. Seventy-five percent of the international FA’s I signed in seasons 1 and 2 have retired. Only two of these twelve signed International FA’s are on my team (only one on the MLB squad – Melvin Martin). The other two I foolishly traded away.

5) What piece of strategy or advice can you offer about HBD? Yes, I'm asking for one of your secrets, but many of us will be sharing as well.

I'm no expert but I'm long on opinions:

1. Be careful with your fake baseball budget. I missed my first ever draft choice because I didn’t have the prospect budget to sign an ace for a measly $3.6 MM (and he was so distraught he never returned to HBD). It's better now with the budget transfer option, but that's 50 cents on the dollar.

2. If you are going to, or need to, rebuild then just do it. Shed everybody that's not in the future plans and hunker down.

3. When I look for coaches I consider their primary role ratings, but I also weigh their secondary variables (discipline, patience and strategy) heavily in my coaching decisions. I completely ignore loyalty. Does it matter, maybe not, but it makes me thinking it's helpful.

4. When a good international FA surfaces make sure you understand your bidding competition and the funds they may have available. I landed HGH by understanding who I was competing against and estimating how much money they had left to spend.

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