31 May 2008

In the Beginning . . .

Ever wondered how our league name came about? Here, evil_twin tells the the story:

Saturday, July 2, 2005. Cooperstown, NY. On the first of our now annual tours, chazzzzzz, eagle61, jrnyfan01 and myself are at the Baseball Hall of Fame. While there, we partake in a "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" style trivia exhibition. As someone who freely admits to knowing his stuff when it comes to all things sporting and trivial, I find myself on stage, where I charge through the first eight questions with reported smugness. The final question, "Who led the NL in ERA in 1974: A - Buzz Capra, B - Phil Niekro, C - Jon Matlack, D - Tom Seaver. I somehow take the easy way out and take Seaver, only to my horror, seconds later, to be looking at a picture of one Lee William Capra. I did not take this well as my fellow travellers will attest. Soon afterward, whatifsports.com launched Hardball Dynasty. When it was decided that our merry band should create a private world, it was clear who the world had to be named for, my archnemisis, Buzz Capra.

5 Questions with evil_twin


evil_twin is finishing his fourth season in HBD, all in Capra, although in two different stints. e_t was one of Capra's original owners with the San Juan Rumrunners(currently the Richmond Confederates), then took a break after S3 and returned for S8 with the Buffalo Hunters. And while e_t has yet to finish above .500 in Capra, who knows what glories have been bestowed upon him under is original WIS moniker(see question 1). After all, he has played every game WIS has to offer, a sign of a true renaissance man.

1) What is the story of your username and how did you get hooked up with Whatifsports?
Not much of a story really, I'd been active under another username (classified, as I do on rare occasion use it) when I decided to take on a second team to get a theme league off the ground. This second persona of course, was my other nick's evil twin.I first found the site via a link on mlb.com when I was looking for something different from your usual fantasy baseball. I'd say I found it.

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 lifelong Minnesotan...aside from a 5 year stint in the Navy, when I was based out of first Reykjavik, Iceland and the Jacksonville, FL. When I'm not talking sports, watching sports or playing sports, I'm either at a poker table or asleep. I consider myself a good, not yet great poker player. I play a couple regular house tournaments a month and hope to take my act to Vegas in the near future.

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 inherited an addiction to the Minnesota Vikings from my dad, and acquired a fascination for baseball, hockey and basketball early on. Some of my earliest memories of fandom were Fran Tarkenton and Jim Marshall's retirements and the trading of Rod Carew. This taught me all about heartbreak and disapointment. I remember spending summer nights listening to Herb Carneal call Twins games on the radio at an early age. I was 9 when they cleaned house and started over with some kids named Hrbek, Gaetti, Brunansky and Viola. I can still remember watching Kirby Puckett's first ever game on tv. I grew up with that team, and that 87 Series will always be my fondest sports memory.

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've got what looks like a good young core group to build around. The challenge is to develop a pitching staff to get them to the postseason.

5)What piece of strategy or advice can you offer about HBD?
Well, I'm just getting back into this, so I'm in no position to give advice on HBD....but at the table, if you're going to raise pre-flop, man up and put some real chips on the table, doubling the blind only makes you look like the dead fish at the table.

On Blogging

It's been roughly a month since there's been any activity here(not accidentally, this coincided with the end of the semester for me), but it's high time to get this dog walking again. One of the blocks for me during this month has been the sense that to post new material, I should have something good or feature-length, and this has led to more delays, of course. So in the interest of offering more consistent activity on here, I will be posting shorter and quicker pieces that won't always offer the depth, but will keep the dialogue going.

And I would like to encourage others in the league to continue posting new material as much as possible. If you're not currently signed up to post, let me know(and include your email addy) and we'll get you hooked up.

02 May 2008

S8 1st Half Review-Offense

C/1B Peter Mitchell was signed by Colorado for a paltry 2.8M halfway through spring training, when he got no love during the free-agency signing period. And while Colorado has certainly struggled in the thin air, it's no fault of Mitchell, who is leading all hitters with both his .386 avg and .476 obp.

Fargo's $10M dollar man, Ringo Weston, has had many fine seasons, but nothing close to the nightmare he's been for pitchers this season at .374/.445/.538.

Jackson's former top draft pick Al Maurer has also taken his game to a new level. He's currently at .373/.448/.698 and after going yard 34 times last season, he's already dropped 28 bombs in only 81 games during the current campaign. Maurer also leads the league in OPS at 1.146.

Speaking of dingers, Albuquerque's young one-sacker, Pablo Vincente, is leading the way with 33 first-half homeruns. He hit 44 in his rookie campaign last season. Vincente also leads the league with 102 RBIs.

There are three players that have amassed an impressive 20 HRs and 30 SBs in only half a season. Scranton's Mikey Tatum is hitting .305/.392/.574 and has 25 doubles, 20 homeruns, 57 RBIs, a 40/36 BB/K ration, and a whopping 55/57 stolen base record.

Almost as impressive is Albuquerque's Roger Scalici, who is hitting .300/.391/.632 while ripping 19 doubles, 10 triples, 21 homeruns, 73 RBIs and 42(out of 44) swipes. And he still has 80 games to play in!

Then there is San Juan's Rogers Glynn. The 24 year-old first-basemen is the only player to already go 30-30. He's hitting .272/.370/.605, not to mention 30 homers, 70 ribbies, 35/38 in stolen base attempts, and a 48/48 BB/K ratio.

While his numbers have come back down to earth after least season's MVP run, Anaheim's Kip White leads the league in free passes with 86 already and recently passed the career 1,000 mark for base on balls.

And while Atlanta's Kelvim Woodward is tied for the lead in only one offensive category(triples with 10), he's among the top 10 in so many other categories he deserves some high praise: .322/.385/.678, 82 runs, 17 doubles, 10 triples, 29 homers, 96 RBIs, 21 stolen bases, and a 1.063 OPS.

Salem's young CF Pedro Lopez is leading the league in stolen bases with 61 vs. 2 caught thus far, but since Mr. Lopez doesn't get to steal first base, his value is limited since he carries with him a .236/.266/.296 line.

S8 1st Half Review-Teams

Not too many surprises thus far in the Senior Circuit. Fargo continues to dominate the regular season with 61 wins at the halfway point. Anaheim and Atlanta are again pacing their respective divisions. The entire NL South, however, has been in a funk with no team playing better than .465 ball, and none worse than .417. This division battle may go down to the final games if no team kicks it in.

There are some teams showing great improvement, though. The Vancouver Maintaineers, who have never finished over .500, are tied for second in the NL West and should be in the thick of the playoff hunt. The Tacoma Typhoon are also hovering around .550 and should figure into the wildcard chase. typhoon26 is doing a quick rebuild job in the Pacific Northwest in only his second season.

Over in the Junior Circuit, Montreal, Jackson, and Alburquerque are all in first and looking to continue their string of divisions titles. In the AL East, San Juan's run of 4 straight flags is in jeopardy with Boston and Diego Santana currently holding a 5-game edge.

Elsewhere in the AL, Jacksonville continues their impressive rise from the depths of .198 ball in S5. bballc took over for S6 and they've gone from .500 to .519 to .595 this season. They are currently leading the Wild Card chase and could make their 1st ever postseason trip. And the Las Vegas Longballers look to have turned a corner as they are again playing good ball and threatening the wild card hunt.

01 May 2008

5 Questions with castrojr

castrojr, of course, has captured more Capra Championship tropies(3) than anyone else. And while it may be easy to downplay his success as the luck of the Brett Tracy draw, the fact is that castrojr has a long history of success on WIS. In SIM baseball his teams have made the playoffs at roughly 50%. In SIM Hockey his teams have postseason work almost 75% of the time. And, of course, his Woodchippers are playofff contenders at 100%, having never finished a season at less than .623.

1) What is the story of your username and how did you get hooked up with Whatifsports?
I found the site through an ad on http://www.tsn.ca/, and signed up for a sim hockey team, who got 97 points on the backs of Joe Thornton, Al Secord, and Bill Fairbairn (who is the father of a close friend of mine). I then played one baseball season after, and then a few months later I joined a baseball progressive league (the Lifetime of Fantasy Baseball) and was hooked.I honestly don't remember when I started using my handle. i know I used it for some online fantasy games in high school, but I don't know why. I'm just too lazy to think of another one I guess.

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 Chartered Accountant living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Newly married. No kids. My hobbies include attending rock concerts, helping out with youth group activities at our church, Playstation 2, yard work, and playing a wide variety sports. You could say that I'm somewhat of a competition junky. My only bad habit is WIS. ;-)

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.
My entire childhood consisted of playing sports, from the time I was 5 until, well, last summer. I played competitive baseball (21 years), hockey (14 years), soccer (7 years), volleyball (6 years), badminton (6 years), basketball (2 years). Last summer was likely my last playing competitive baseball, but there may be coaching on the horizon this summer. I still play a wide variety of sports, but only for fun now.The story of my life seems to be runner-up finishes, so my sporting highlight would have to be attending the World Junior Hockey Championship final in Grand Forks, and seeing Sidney Crosby and the boys knock Alex Ovetchkin out of the game, and steamroll the Russians 7-0.My favorite team will always be the Winnipeg Jets.

4) What about your franchise is most exciting going into Season 8? What is your team's biggest challenge? Anything else about your squad?
Biggest challenge: Father Time. My core only has a year or two before everyone hits their decline phase, and we'll have to enter a full blown rebuild phase. The time is now. Most exciting: Brett Tracy.

5)What piece of strategy or advice can you offer about HBD?