Question #1: Tell us a little about yourself (age, hometown, family, occupation, etc)
I’m 28. I’m originally from Westbury, NY (on Long Island) where my parents and two younger sisters still live. I now live with my girlfriend of 6 years on the North Side of Chicago. I work at a financial services firm where I value intellectual property (patents, trademarks, etc.) for litigation and other purposes.
Question #2: What is your GM/managerial philosophy?
Break the bank on starting pitching and look for value pick-ups in the bullpen. Squeeze as much offense as you can into the lineup without completely ruining your defense. I generally think “Develop hitting, sign or trade for pitching” is a decent organizational rule of thumb.
I also platoon a LOT. I think there is tons of value to be found on the scrap heap in the form of guys who have one bad platoon split (usually vR) but if paired with a complementary player that can hit the other side can give you major production for cheap. See my catchers here in Spahn for an example of what I’m talking about.
Question #3: Your favorite sports team and some of your favorite real life sports memories?
Knicks and Yankees are 1 and 1a with the NY Football Giants close behind. Also a big fan of Georgetown basketball and Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.
It’s a function of the Yankees’ success during my teenage years that most of my favorite sports memories involve them. I was at the (in)famous Jeffrey Maier game against Baltimore in 1996, Game 1 of the 1998 World Series (Tino Martinez tie-breaking Grand Slam caps a 7-run 7th inning), the WS clincher in 1999 against Atlanta, and the Clemens/Piazza bat throwing incident in the 2000 Subway Series, so I’ve been pretty lucky over the years.
I was also at the Elite 8 in 2007 when a barrage of crazy three-point shooting by junior PG Jonathan Wallace erased a UNC lead and sent Georgetown (where I was a senior at the time) to an overtime victory and the Final Four. That might be #1 just because of how attached the whole campus felt to that tournament run. Like I said, I’ve been very fortunate.
Question #4: What is the meaning behind your WIS nickname? What about your Spahn team nickname?
First initial, last name, year I was born; nothing fancy. My first couple of years in Spahn my team was the Wichita Comets (Comet being both a tribute to Mickey Mantle, The “Commerce Comet” and a reference to the Cessna Comet, a type of aircraft built in Wichita when it was the pre-depression Air Capital of the world (sub-note: Wikipedia, FTW!)). After realizing that I was hamstringing my team of mashers in Wichita’s pitcher-friendly confines, I packed up and moved to Arizona, named the team the Firebirds (because 1) Phoenix = Firebird and 2) I was looking to start anew after a disappointing run in Wichita), and have had better success since then.
Question #5: If you could have any Spahn player ever on your roster for one season, who would it be?
Steven Purcell. But I don’t have to wish for that. I have never had a truly great pitcher in any HBD league (Canseco owners may recall the much-debated exploits of Lucky Tim Reed but I will leave that discussion for another day in another world) so if I could add one guy it would probably be Milt Phillips or Gene Brock or a similarly dominant starter.
Question #6: What hobbies do you have besides HBD?
I work a lot and I try to write about basketball when I can. The girl and I got a dog a couple months ago which has been a ton of fun. I try to spend whatever time is left over hanging out with friends, watching movies, and sneaking in some PS3 time (mostly NBA 2K and FIFA but occasionally a Skyrim or a Dragon Age or something else where I get to hit things with swords to get my mind away from it all).
Question #7: Your favorite sport, sports team, movie, band/song, and who is your current female celebrity crush?
Basketball. Knicks get the nod over Yankees. The Godfather. Can’t decide on one “favorite” band but I’ll be a nerd and name-check Arcade Fire. The crush is similarly tough — it’s probably Scarlett Johansson.
Question #8: What are 3 things you wish you knew about other Spahn members?
1) The least possible amount of talent they would accept for their best pitching prospects. 2) How much time they spend on their teams. 3) Which of them are murderous web-stalkers and/or sexbots to whom I should not reveal my real name and/or whereabouts and/or credit card information.
Question #9: What are 3 things nobody in Spahn knows about you?
I would think almost everything aside from the relative values I place on various computer-randomized traits across a number of fictional basebll players who were created to construct compelling athletic narratives out of what essentially amounts to a math competition.
To be more specific: 1) I write for KnickerBlogger.net and have gotten a couple bylines on ESPN.com and nytimes.com out of the deal. 2) When I was a senior in high school I came in 2nd place at nationals in Lincoln-Douglas debate, giving me enough nerd cred to work off of for a lifetime. 3) I make better scrambled eggs than anybody else I know.
Question #10: General pet peeves about the HBD game?
1) Bullpen management is a disaster. Don’t know how to fix it but it routinely swings postseason series.
2) The fact that EVERY PLAYER ON YOUR TEAM has to have the same base-stealing aggressiveness settings is, forgive me for being crass, batshit insane. It’s like if the 1990 A’s would have had to pick between Rickey Henderson attempting 15 steals or Mark McGwire attempting 30. It’s stupid and seems like it should be easy to fix.
3) Would be cool if late round picks had a better chance of becoming useful players (if not stars).
Question #11: If you could change something about Spahn right now, what would it be? What is your favorite part of Spahn?
I kind of like Spahn the way it is. I wish my aging core could all wake up 5 years younger tomorrow. Otherwise I’m good.
Question #12: Tell us a funny or embarrassing story about yourself.
Embarrassing story: one time I answered a 20-question interview about my approach to managing fictional players in an online sports simulation game.
Question #13: You have over 800 followers on Twitter and tweet a lot of interesting sports related topics and opinions. Do you care to share your twitter handle and also talk about how you got so many followers and your general favorite things about twitter?
My Twitter is @knickerbacker. I don’t know if I’d say I have “so many followers” but most of the followers that I do have are people who read my posts at KnickerBlogger. I mostly tweet about the Knicks but veer into other stuff when I feel like it.
The best thing about Twitter is the same as the worst thing about Twitter: everybody has a voice and everybody is entitled to feel like their opinion counts the same. If you follow me and you follow Bill Simmons and we have conflicting opinions that we post simultaneously, you see them right next to each other instead of mine being on some random blogspot page while his is under bright lights at Grantland. That’s cool but it can also empower people to act like tough guys, blowhards, or just general jackasses. I try not to be afraid to say anything I want to but to think before I hit “post.”
Question #14: Have you ever met an HBD player from one of your worlds in real life? Who was it and how did it go? Who would you like to meet, if anybody?
bhorewitch, who manages SF here in Spahn, is a friend of mine from real life but we have known each other since before either of us played the game. I haven’t met anybody in person after meeting them through WIS.
Question #15: You are not yet 30 years old but you are a wunderkind at sports trivia. How did you become so knowledgeable about sporting events that occurred before you were born?
I really did nothing but watch sports, play sports, read about sports, and absorb sports stats when I was a kid. I had a copy of the 1993 Baseball Almanac (with a young Ken Griffey in an old-school Mariners uniform on the cover) that was weathered and dog-eared to the point where it basically evaporated into thin air one day. I would literally read all-time leaders lists it in bed at times. I can still rattle off the lineup from the first Yankee game I watched without hesitating (Williams, Sax, Mattingly, Hall, R. Kelly, Nokes, Leyritz, Espinoza, P. Kelly). I read books, played Strat-O-Matic, and cut the Stats section out of the Sunday morning Newsday every week during the baseball season (I would fold over the batting average column at the far right of the page so I could calculate it myself using the hit and at bat columns).
I was a total dork but I was a happy dork. I started branching out a bit in life in my teenage years which is why I still probably know more about MLB from 1950-1998 (when I was 13) than I do about the last decade or so.
Question #16: You have lived in Chicago, New York, and Washington DC. Take us through the journey of how that came about. Do you think you’ll ever move again?
I grew up in New York. I went to college at Georgetown and stayed in DC for a couple years after that. During the recession my company closed its DC office and offered me a job in the Chicago office. I’ve been here for the past 4 years. I will stay here enjoying the dirt cheap home prices, solid job market, excellent sports and music scenes, and delicious but horribly unhealthy food until I get sick of the Chicago winters.
Question #17: Describe one or two of your favorite personal Spahn accomplishments and also an accomplishment you admire of somebody else in Spahn.
When I inherited my Spahn team it had a really deep core of minor league hitters and absolutely zero pitching. I had to make a lot of tough decisions about which hitters were replaceable and how to best turn them into enough pitching to win. It took a few seasons but I was able to put together a staff of Orlando Sanchez, Aurelio Unamuno, Cookie Mondesi, Rock Gardner (the only holdover from the team I inherited), and Oswaldo Chavez that gave me plus pitching without sacrificing having the best offense in the NL. There are MUCH tougher projects than the team I inherited (my predecessor had a lot to do with both Arizona titles) but I do think I did a good job of recognizing what this group needed and executing on a plan.
Question #18: You are vocal about voting for player awards and the Hall of Fame. Why are these things so important to you?
Well, as hard as it is to break this to you, none of what we’re doing here is real. The teams are fake, the players are fake, the games are fake. The only thing that’s real is the stats and if you don’t like stats then I don’t know what you’re doing playing the game. So given a game that takes a bunch of fake inputs and yields real statistical outputs, I think the awards and other things that judge and recognize those outputs are an important part of the experience.
Question #19: In regards to the A-Rod steroid scandal, you said that you have a general distaste for authority overextending power but you seemed indifferent to A-Rod himself. Take us inside your thoughts.
Basically, MLB has a system of rules and punishments in place that everybody agreed on. It holds the players to those rules and it needs to hold itself to them as well. Hating PED use is not enough of a reason to think it’s OK that they suspended a player for 211 games for doing something that is defined as meriting a 50 game suspension. I’d compare it to a government that passes a law against burglary with a punishment of 10 years in prison. Even if you hate burglary, you should have a problem with that same government putting a burglar in jail for 42 years.
If Selig really believed this to be necessary, he should have had the guts to put himself on the line and suspend him under the CBA’s “best interest of the game” provision instead of under the JDA which does not give him nearly the same latitude. Bluntly, I think what he did was a pandering act of cowardice that he thought (maybe rightly) he could get away with because people hate A-Rod and like to pile on him. That’s bullying by any other name, no matter how much money the guy being bullied makes or how many paintings he has of himself as a centaur.
Question #20: If there was a Spahn Block Party, would you go, what would you bring, who would you most look forward to meeting in real life, and what do you imagine the Spahn party would be like?
I don’t play favorites, I’d want to meet everybody and especially the folks who have been in the league the longest. I’d bring a growler of local Chicago beer and run an omelet bar. The party would be fun until 7:04 PM Eastern Time when everyone would abruptly leave to go check the results of the PM2 Cycle.