sparrow31 joined Capra for S5. He turned the Tacoma Rainers into the Salem Silver Shockers. And while the Silver Shockers have yet to taste success at the big league level, they have won a Rookie title under sparrow31 while stockpiling excellent young talent. sparrow is clearly working towards the kind of franchise success that he has fostered with some of his other HBD teams here and here.
1) What is the story of your username and how did you get hooked up with Whatifsports?
Sparrow31 is pretty simple, really. During my first collegiate baseball practice a senior asked me my name. When I told him is was Rory, he said, like (former NBA point guard) Rory Sparrow? From that day on I was Sparrow with that group of friends; as for 31, it was, of course, my baseball number.
2) Offer a paragraph bio of yourself, possibly including things like work, family life, geography, other hobbies, quirky traits, bad habits, etc.
I'm a 27-year old Branch Manager with Enterprise Rent-A-Car in NH, but I grew up in Maine. I live with my girlfriend and spend most of my non-working hours with laptop in hand managing my HBD addiction, or playing Xbox. I also do quite a bit of reading, a little writing, and love creating blog posts. I was an English major in college and was an award winning sports editor at a weekly newspaper in Maine before moving to NH to make a livable wage. I spend most of my summers golfing and traveling to minor league baseball games, as you'll read about in the next answer.
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 a diehard Braves fan and Dale Murphy will always be my favorite player. I pitched on two baseball state championship runner-up teams in high school and played four years at Colby-Sawyer College in NH. My best sports moment is easily watching one of my very best friends, Mike MacDonald, throw a complete-game shutout in 2006 when he was pitching for NH in the AA Eastern League. My most heartbreaking sports moment is a tie betwen watching Jack Morris beat the Braves in game seven of the 1991 World Series, in my opinion the greatest baseball game of all-time; and being the losing pitcher in the state championship game my junior year of high school.
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 really excited about some of the young guys I have in High A. I've stockpiled my last two draft classes there and have a loaded team heading into this season. I think Kennie Hughes, Willie Bacsik and B.J. Omlansky will be the face of my franchise for years to come. As for the Major League incarnation, they need to remain slightly better than horrible while I wait for my talent to develop. This is the first reclamation project I've ever taken on, so I'm happy with my progress. When I signed up for season four I had something like 10 players at each level and had to sign a bunch of 35-year old free agents just to field a team in the bigs.
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 always try to build my teams around three or four guys with a ton of speed and great batting eye/contact ratings, and set my aggressivness to 5 for basestealing and running. I put a lot of stock in speed, eye and contact when looking at hitters because I like to play in neutral or pitcher friendly parks. I also value pitch ratings and control over L/R splits for pitchers, and try to combine that with non-hitting catchers with high pitch call and defense. Like Crickett, my record indicates that I am not good at this game and my strategy is most likely completely flawed.