Owner Interview – sneekes Part II

Question #11: If you could change something about Spahn right now, what would it be? What is your favorite part of Spahn?
I wish Philly weren’t so good! I wish we’d fill.
I’m really enjoying having some competition in the AL West. I knew tonicawf’s Black-Billed Magpies were going to be decent last season – but I didn’t think they’d beat me to the division. I’m looking forward to taking them down!

Question #12: Tell us a funny or embarrassing story about yourself.
I spent 1996-97 in Vancouver, BC, where we met a Canadian couple who became firm friends, in the Summer of 1997 they moved back to Kincardine, Ontario, and a friend and I toured the western USA, ending up in Kincardine. We spent about 10 days there, during which I had a couple of “encounters” with rather a nice girl, and then I ran out of money andI flew back to Britain. The next summer our Canadian friends decided to get married, and invited us over, the wedding coincided with the town’s ‘Old Boys & Girls Reunion’ which takes place every 10 years, so we knew we were in for a good week! A few days after the wedding we were told that we needed to buy dresses for the Reunion (it seemed to make sense at the time) so I went to a thrift store and bought a lovely long flowery dress. We went to the party which was held on a local recreational ground and proceeded to drink quite a lot. Much later, my Canadian friend told me that he’d just bumped into my female friend from the year before, so, without further ado, I went looking for her, and found her talking with her girlfriends on the other side of the field. She was stood on the far side of a low wooden farm fence, so I thought I’d impress her with my athleticism and vault the fence…now, in retrospect it seems obvious, but I’d never jumped a fence wearing a dress before…as my right leg rose to clear the fence, it’s rise was halted by the hem of the dress which I discovered wouldn’t stretch more than a couple of feet away from my left leg, what resulted was neither the jump my right leg was attempting, or the ‘standing on the ground’ that my left leg was doing – and all of me piled sideways and face-first into the top bar of the fence giving me a black-eye, a nosebleed and a bruised hip. I never saw the girl again!

Question #13: What is the story about how you came to join Spahn? What were your first impressions?
I’m pretty sure I came across in an owner swap in order to help 2 worlds fill (I think it was from Hamilton with kmcelroy going the other way but I might be wrong about that), the intention was to stay for just the year, but I liked the team and I liked the world, sermonauthor in particular made me laugh, so I stayed.

Question #14: Have you ever met an HBD GM from one of your worlds in real life? Who was it and how did it go? Who would you like to meet, if anybody?
10 years ago, whilst reading an old Seattle Mariners forum called Dr Detecto I applied to take part in the inaugural season of a yahoo based 20 team dynasty keeper league run by silentpadna (current commish of Hamilton), that league is still going today. After a few seasons he invited me to join Hamilton which I did, and I got hooked. So, if I were to meet an HBD owner it would be him.

Question #15: The Cherry Poppers have been one of the best AL teams the last 5 years but have not done well in the playoffs. What do you have in store for season 32?
Yeah, I’ve been struggling in the playoffs all over HBD for the last 18 months or so. No idea why.
We’ve lost the heart of the order this off-season: Emil Herrera, Kiki Amaro and Jean ‘Slush’ Slusarski, I’ve got young replacemens lined-upt for Kiki and Slush, but no-one to replace Emil – so that’s task number 1. If I get that, and bolster the bullpen – we’ll be a 95+ win team again.

Question #16: Would you rather give a bad contract to retain a core member of your franchise, or let him walk in FA and get the Type A compensation?
It depends where we are in development, but generally – I’d give the bad contract. One of the failings of HBD is the predictable nature of the draft which means that there’s a very good chance that the FA compensation won’t be a meaningful ML contributor.

Question #17: Describe one or two of your favorite personal Spahn accomplishments and also an accomplishment you admire of somebody else in Spahn.
I love drafting a guy outside the top 50 or so who has a major league career, so I’m loving Polin Garces and Roger Bukvich right now. And I was really happy with Rafael Barrios’ sophomore season, 202 hits, OPS .890. I played him fatigued just so he’d reach 200.
I admire the way kmcelroy improves and maintains his team via trade, in particular I appreciate the way he markets his trade pieces – he should work in advertising

Question #18: General pet peeves about the HBD game?
It annoys me how early in their career a slugger’s power starts to diminish. It happens at the same time as footspeed which doesn’t feel right, I’m sure it goes earlier in HBD than in real life.
It irks me when people veto a trade based solely on the rationale that they wouldn’t have made that trade. You’ve got to really understand what a team has and where they’re trying to get to in order to assess a trade – and no-one knows that bar the owner. Thankfully, Spahn is pretty good on this.
The whole predictability of players needs a shake up.
I wish WIS would get their act together with developing and marketing the game

Question #19: If you could add a different feature to WhatIfSports.com totally unrelated to HBD (such as NFL Dynasty), what would you like to see added?
HBD is the only WIS game I play, I don’t follow American football or basketball, and I’m a little out of touch with Ice-Hockey. I’ve tried ‘FC Dynasty – Soccer’ but it did nothing for me. In my opinion it’s because baseball is so stats heavy that it lends itself so well to fantasy and sim games like this – so with that in mind – I like forward to WIS producing Test Cricket Dynasty

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?
Yeah, I’d go. I’d bring brown ale and onion bhajis. I think it could be fun, but on no account can anyone I know in the real world find out that I hang out with a bunch of geeks like you!

Owner Interview – sneekes – Part I

Question #1: Tell us a little about yourself (age, hometown, family, occupation, etc)
I am British, born and raised in Dudley which near Birmingham, I now live in Southport which is a Victorian seaside resort between Liverpool & Preston. I’m 41, married, no kids, 2 cats. I work in Liverpool as a Business Analyst within the NHS (National Health Service)

Question #2: What is your GM/managerial philosophy?
I like to think I adapt my plan to the team I inherit, but there are a few common traits that keep cropping up:
• Short-stops and catchers need to play good D,
• Not so bothered about defence at 2B/3B/CF
• Love a guy who walks
• Not so keen on guys who give up walks
• Love a switch-hitter
• If we’re going for it – I won’t skimp on the rotation

Question #3: Your favorite sports team and some of your favorite real life sports memories?
The short answer is Everton.
The long answer is that my favourite sport is football (soccer). I have a confused affiliation: Growing up in the Midlands I used to go watch West Bromwich Albion, and I retain a great affection for the team, but in 1997 I moved to Liverpool, where many of my friends were Evertonians, and in the interest of not missing out on 19 piss-ups a year – I bought an Everton season ticket with them. I fell in love with Everton, and kept the season ticket until around 2008, a few years after most of the original gang had given up. In the last couple of years my brother-in-law and I have started taking my now 8 yr old nephew to watch Southport FC, they’re a semi-pro side in the 5th tier of English football. The football is relatively poor, the average crowd is around 1,000, but it’s fun. There’s a completely different dynamic watching Southport to watching Everton or West Brom – in that for the latter two – you can only communicate with the players as a part of the masses, whereas if I shout something at Southport – there’s a pretty good chance the player can hear me.
Real life sports memories?
• The one derby game (Everton v Liverpool) that I was at that Everton won, it was in 2006, Everton won 3-0 with a brace from Andy Johnson.
• My first baseball game was July 1996 at Wrigley Field, I’d never even seen a baseball game in my life, I didn’t know what was going on, and nor did the people I was with. Cubs beat the Reds 7-6 in the 13th. I saw some pretty good players that day: Grace, Sandberg, Sosa, Larkin, Boone, but I didn’t really appreciate it at the time.
• 2012 Olympics. All of it.
• Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France
• I once saw the Vancouver Grizzlies win a game!

Question #4: What is the meaning behind your WIS nickname? What about your Spahn team nickname?
Football related: In early 1996 West Brom were struggling in the 2nd tier of English football when they signed an unheard of Dutch midfielder called Richard Sneekes (pronounced Shnay-kers). Sneekes scored 10 goals in 13 games (which is a ridiculous ratio for a midfielder) to save West Brom from relegation. It was around that time I need to create an internet handle and that was it.
Normally I like to name my HBD teams after something topical. My Montreal Lanterne Rouge were created during the Tour de France, New Britain Spitfires on the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain etc.Howvever, I drew a blank when moving the San Francisco franchise to Salem, I googled Salem and discovered the cherry link, and couldn’t resist the immature reference.

Question #5: If you could have any Spahn player ever on your roster for one season, who would it be?
Emil Herrera, I wish I’d had him longer than I did.

Question #6: What hobbies do you have besides HBD?
I started cycling a couple of years ago, mainly on the roads. I was pretty unfit at the time and starter with little 7 or 8 mile outings, now I can do 60 miles fairly regularly, and have done 88 miles a couple of times. I’m aiming for the ton this summer, and I’m addicted to strava.
I also like hill-walking, and reading fantasy fiction.

Question #7: Your favorite sport, sports team, movie, band/song, and who is your current female celebrity crush?
I’ve mentioned football, so now I’ll mention road cycling, Team Sky out of national pride, although I accept they’re a little ‘robotic’
My favourite movie is probably Shawshank Redemption
My favourite band is Muse, but I like Arcade Fire, Kasabian and Bastille a lot too.
Natalie Portman or Margot Robbie, feel free to fight over me.

Question #8: What are 3 things you wish you knew about other Spahn members?
I had A LOT of questions about sermonauthor – but not many about anyone else:
1. How much they have in their IFA fund
2. When they’re going to pull the trigger on the decent FA with a descending price tag
3. This may be my cultural ignorance – but is it tonica wf? tonic awf? Toni Ca WF?

Question #9: What are 3 things nobody in Spahn knows about you?
Pretty much everything I imagine:
1. I’m a Mariners fan
2. I once met Martin Gelinas
3. My wife and I always take a 1,000 piece jigsaw on vacation (a different one each time)

Question #10: Do you vote in the HBD Hall of Fame? What are your thoughts on voting and who are you voting for this year in Spahn?
I do. I wish they’d change it to ‘the majority of voters who voted’ but otherwise I think works OK.
I think Devon Huff and Kiki Silva should stroll in, and I like Tony Petkovsek too.

Owner Interview: kmcelroy85

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?


Three things:


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.

Spahn Career Leaders – Update

Hey all, I will be updating the leader pages some time soon. In the mean time you can download an excel spreadsheet of the leaders at the link below:
Spahn Career Stats Season 24
Once again thanks to Jimmystick for putting these together each season and also one of our newest owners sneekes who helped out with this most recent update.

An Interview With JimmyStick

Editors note: thanks to jimmystick for answering all these questions so thoroughly and bbracey for asking them.

Question #1: Tell us a little about yourself (age, hometown, family, occupation, etc)
I grew up in Villa Park, IL and went to high school in Belvidere, IL.   I went to college at Illinois State and now live in Loves Park, IL.  I was born in 1980 so I’m 31.  I’ve never been married, but engaged twice.  No kids.  Currently I live alone with two cats.  I have a girlfriend who I just started dating a few months ago and she has a 2-year old daughter who is quite the handful.  I currently work for an Italian cheese company in their IT department.  My job is 50% help desk duties for all the internal employees and 50% planning and managing of the company’s computer and IT infrastructure.  And yes, I love cheese and yes, I get it really cheap.

Question #2: How did you fall into HBD?
I clicked on a popup ad somewhere on the internet.  When I saw the ad I instantly felt a tingling sensation.  I’d been looking for a game like this for a long time.  For a decade I’d purchased sports video games but I never really liked “playing” the games.  I always simulated the season and all I ever wanted to do was draft guys and make trades.

Question #3: What is the meaning behind your WIS nickname? What about your Spahn team nickname?
I once tried to convince double-a  and the rest of the world that my first name is Jimmy and my last name is Stick.  I don’t think very many people bought it.  The truth is this: My real first name is James, but everybody calls me Jimmy or Jim.  When I was in high school I had one particular clique of friends who were video game nerds.  When I hung out with this clique it was always all guys.   Once I showed up to a party and invited a girl over.  It was the first time in my life I’d ever brought a girl to a party and the guys were trying to embarrass the absolute hell out of me the entire night.  There was a pool table there but one end of it was kind of close to the wall and if you had to shoot the ball from that wall you had to use a shorter pool cue or else it would hit the wall because of lack of space. One guy referred to that short pool cue as the “Jimmy Stick.”  It stuck.  I hated it for a really long time but eventually I embraced it and started using it as my username for all kinds of online accounts.   As for that girl, that was our first and final date but she later ended up dating one of my best friends who was there that night.  I’m still friends with her all these years later.  As for the Angry Dragons, just go to Urban Dictionary and look up the definition for Angry Dragon.  I have a very dirty sense of humor.

Question #4: What is your GM/managerial philosophy?
I like lots of power in my lineups and if I can parlay it with good speed that is a bonus.  Power + Speed gives you lots of extra base hits.  I try to have a great bullpen and make my starting rotation top heavy (2 strong Aces, don’t care about 3, 4, 5).  Nearly every player in my lineup will be above the defensive recs at his position.  My teams hit the snot out of the ball and play great defense.  In Spahn I got really lucky with being able to put together a dream team of starting pitchers.  In seasons 17-21 four different Tampa pitchers won a total of 5 Cy Youngs and my 5th starter and Long Reliever could have been top two starters on almost any other team.  That was luck.  I value offense more than pitching and I like guys who hit lots of home runs.  I also make very liberal use of my bench.  I rest guys a lot and use a ton of defensive replacements and pinch runners.

Question #5: If you could have any Spahn player ever on your roster for one season, who would it be?
A couple seasons ago I would have said Jose Jose.  I actually had him last season – for about six pre-season games then traded him.  When I got Jose I had every intention of allowing him to play out his 4-year contract in Tampa, but steelerstime made me an offer I just couldn’t refuse.  I got Javier Lee and Jose Pena for him.  The only other guy who comes close to Jose would be Devon Huff.

Question #6: What hobbies do you have besides HBD?
Recently, not many.  I like to read but I’m usually too busy (with work and my girlfriend).  I play softball Monday nights.  I have a sports blog and twitter that I use in conjunction as my own amateur sports blog beat.  I used to blog a lot and rarely ever tweeted.  Now I tweet regularly and rarely ever blog.  I don’t have much time to write full-length articles but writing 120-character quick thoughts is easy.  If you like to talk about sports give me a follow @JimScheffres (I guess now you all know my real full name).  If you want me to follow back you have to tell me who you are.

Question #7: Your favorite sport, sports team, movie, band/song, and who is your current female celebrity crush?
Sport(s) in order: Football, baseball, hockey
Teams in order: Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Michigan Wolverines (football), Ohio State Buckeyes (football), Illinois Fighting Illini (basketball)
Movie: It’s impossible to pick my favorite.  I like actions or comedies.  My favorite comedy is Dumb and Dumber.  And no, The Hangover is not a comedy.  It is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.  I love sports movies.  No question, I have three that are undoubtedly my favorites; 1-Miracle, 2-Field of Dreams, 3-A League of Their Own (I liked this movie a decade before I even knew the Rockford Peaches were a real team and their home stadium was located 20 minutes from where I currently live).
Band: Aerosmith
Celebrity crush: It would be impossible to pick one.  I’ll submit Katy Perry, Elisha Cuthbert, Poppy Montgomery.  That gives me a brunette, a blonde, and a redhead.  My all-time crush would be Britney Spears.

 Question #8: What are 3 things you wish you knew about other Spahn members?
Go back to Question 1.  I’d like it if everybody answered that question fully.  I enjoy getting to know people personally.

Question #9: What are 3 things nobody in Spahn knows about you?
I don’t think there is very much because I talk a lot and I’m not shy about details.  Maybe people don’t understand just how infatuated I am with sports.  I built a sports bar in my own basement.  I’ve got theater seats, 3 HD TVs, a fully stocked bar, and every wall is completely covered from floor to ceiling with sports memorabilia.

Question #10: General pet peeves about the HBD game?
It’s predictable.  I have pretty much mastered development patterns and can very accurately predict projected ratings with $0 advanced scouting.  I know when to arbitrate a player and when to sign long-term and I know whether or not I’ll get Type A/B compensation if I don’t sign him.  I know how much money to offer an IFA or FA based on looking at other team’s budgets.  A little more challenge would be nice.  I don’t know how to implement that without drastically changing the game, and it’s a good game so I don’t want drastic changes.  The patterns in this game are easily recognizable and can be gamed.  One challenging little twist I think would be fun is that if there were mental learning curves to defensive positions.  In HBD you could take Troy Tulowitski and play him anywhere on the field and he’d be a Gold Glover.  In real life, Troy would take several months if not years to learn a new position.

Question #11: You came to Spahn one season before benny_b_la. What are your thoughts on some of the Spahn’s controversies and what made you stick around during the height of them?
Why did I stick around is an easy question.  I got hooked really quickly.  It’s a dynasty game.  I wanted to see how the players I drafted in my first few seasons would develop.  I wanted to see my plan unfold.  Not to mention I had a shitty record my first few seasons and no private world would have taken me!  I didn’t like that there was so much dissension in Spahn and that people openly criticized us for being a bad public world.  I think coonja76 once said something to effect of “jimmy thinks this world is all roses.”  Well I didn’t honestly think that, but I spoke in World Chat as if I did because I didn’t want this world to have a negative reputation.  As for benny specifically, I was his biggest defender.  I knew he was a relentless tanker and knew he had an alias.  I was able to forgive him.  He told me some private stories about his personal life and how he had no money to renew his team and ended up losing it and then taking over the other team in the NL (currently kmcelroy85’s team).  Nobody believed him but me.  I wanted benny in Spahn.  I believed that his apology was sincere.  I understand he did some awful things that hurt this world, but I thought it was all in the past and I thought his personality was good for this world.  He was a villain and villains are a good thing for the league.  The Miami Heat are GREAT for the NBA BECAUSE 80% of NBA fans hate them.  Because not in spite of.  Benny was good for Spahn because everybody hated how brash and pompous he was.  But when he took over his NL team and right away began his tanking I knew he had to go.  He had minimum two (you could argue 3, 4, or 5) chances to clean up and he didn’t deserve another.

Question #12: When you first arrived in Spahn, you took a decent club and blew it up. Smanfredo, at the time, was very critical of this strategy as the division was very winnable during your first few years (with 83, 72, 78, and 78 wins winning the division in your first four seasons and a 78-win majresorter winning a WS during that time). Any regrets on your earlier days?
This is a loaded question, but I’ll answer it first the way I think you intended.  I only regret one season and that is Season 9.  In Season 8, my first year, I actually DID go all out in the offseason.  I traded my one and ONLY good prospect Peter Jeter for two really awful MLers I thought would help me but since I was new I didn’t realize how bad those two guys were (later I resented the world for not vetoing that trade to protect me from my own foul, newbie beliefs).  I signed Brad Riley to a monster FA contract.  Towards the trade deadline I tried to unload high salaried guys because I had a bunch of players in AAA and AA who were playing well and I thought they were going to replace the aging MLers on my team.  Here’s the problem: I didn’t pay enough attention to those minor league player’s ratings.  I looked at their stats.  I had some completely terrible 8th round pick pitcher who was 11-4 in AA and thought he was going to be my Ace the next season even though his splits were 35/29.  So that takes us to Season 9, my one regret.  Top 3 reasons why I won 45 games that year: 1-I was unknowingly playing guys out of position.  I had a “SS” I had traded for the year before with just awful defensive ratings.  I paid no attention to that.  His player card said “SS” so I played him there.  He was awful.  He should have been a LF and had another LF playing 2B.  2-I had career minor leaguers getting lots of playing time.  I looked at minor league stats and promoted guys who were playing well without looking at their ratings. I did not stop paying attention to Minor League stats until halfway through Season 9 and I didn’t stop paying attention to the position listed on a Player’s card until halfway through Season 10. 3-I was baffled why I wasn’t winning more, but had no idea what to do about it because I thought what I was doing should work.  I resisted advice because I blindly believed in what I was doing.  Later in the season, once there was no way I could have possibly made the playoffs, I figured there’s no point in trying to get better now, I might as well just leave it the way it is and fix it in the off season.  Plus, smanfredo was harassing me so badly that I figured I probably wasn’t going to renew anyway.  I wanted to just find another world with a different team where I could erase those mistakes and start fresh.   I changed my mind because, briefly, smanfredo shut up.  And I loved my first few drafts – those drafts were actually legitimately awesome even though I got REALLY lucky because I had no idea what I was doing.
As for other regrets, I do have some.  I regret not being more open to those who offered help and I regret acting like a douche bag saying how great my team is when it was painfully obvious it wasn’t.  I regret all the bragging.  This was before benny and I wanted to be the villain.  I thought Spahn needed one and I wanted that distinction, so I purposely tried to make enemies.  I took on an alter-ego of some cocky dude when I’m not really like that in real life.  I’m such an attention whore and even negative attention felt good at that time.  I thought nobody in Spahn liked me, and that is what I was shooting for.  But boot2112, croutons, and sermonauthor all within a few weeks of one another told me in TC “I don’t hate you Jimmy.”  So I thought, if nobody hates me and I’m not the villain I intended to be, then there’s no reason to act like a douche.  So I stopped all the bragging and trash talking.  My other regret would be my embarrassing post after winning my first world series.  I thought it was expected of me to say something funny and kind of on the bragging side because I like talking about my team so much.  I didn’t want to disappoint people.  But I didn’t intend to hurt anybody’s feelings.  In hindsight I still don’t know how that public post annoyed people.  Even today when I play it back in my head, I think it’s funny.  But the truth is nobody else thought it was funny.  I regret saying it.

Question #13: One of your first major moves with the Angry Dragons was the acquisition of Mickey Shipley. Your thoughts on, first, trading for Shipley and then, secondly, on trading him away?
The Shipley acquisition wasn’t so much about getting Shipley but about getting rid of Albert Cruz.  I loved Albert Cruz and thought I could get a great young player for him.  I wanted to get younger and build my team in my image.  I didn’t really want to win a title with somebody else’s players.  I wanted my own guys (one of the reasons I would have a hard time taking over a good HBD team).  I had a lot of people interested in Cruz but they all were offering three prospects.  I wanted One Blue Chip prospect around whom I could build my team.  madonacho was the one person willing to deal one Blue Chipper away.  He was in his first season and with coonja and smafredo accusing half the world of being an alias I was openly fearful of giving everybody another reason to not want to trade with me.  I knew the time came to deal away Shipley because my offense was awful and my pitching was pretty good.  I had Shipley, Quilvio Guardado, and Dwight Torres in the rotation, plus a solid but not yet great bullpen.  My offense stunk and I was tired of losing games 3-2 and 2-1.  Believe it or not, when I traded Shipley he was the leading hitter on my team.  I think his batting average was .279 and that was the highest on my team.  Plus, he was in his first year of arbitration and he has such an inflated overall rating.  I knew his salary demands going into year 5 would exceed his value.  I had to deal him to get better both short-term and long-term.

Question #14: You were particular pleased with the drafting of P Charlie Cole with the 30-pick in the Season 16 draft. What was it about the Cole pick that was so gratifying?
My enthusiasm with that pick wasn’t that I thought he was so good but that I had him ranked #1 and drafted him at #30.  Is he worthy of being ranked #1?  No.  But my scouting that year was $10/$10 and  Cole was legitimately the best player my scouts found.  Pitchers like him tend to slip in the draft anyway.  He’s not a starter, he’s not a typical reliever.  For the position I drafted him in, it was a great pick.

Question #15: Take us inside the Lance Erickson signing as it was obviously a big move for the Angry Dragons.
I’m enthusiastic about answering this question because this literally, and I’m NOT exaggerating, was a process 8 seasons in the making.  It started when Erickson was drafted.  Speed and power!  That’s what I like.  Erickson had speed, power, and a righty split all over 90.  He’s my guy.  I had my eye on him for a long time and tried to get him a few times via trade.  For many seasons I never signed a free agent.  Every new player on my ML roster was either added via trade or promoted from the minors so I flew under the radar and got my salaries low.  Whenever I wanted to sign one of my own guys to an extension, I gave him a $10M bonus.  This raised current payroll but kept future payroll cheap.  I always said I’d do whatever it took once I felt I was one guy away.  I kept an excel spreadsheet of player’s salaries, predicted money I’d have available for future seasons, and determined whether I had a ML-ready replacement in the minors or needed to sign a free agent when a guy’s contract was up.   I targeted Season 17 as the season I’d have about $45M to spend on Free Agents and also had two guys with expiring contracts and nobody in the pipeline to replace them.   So, in Season 15 I began looking at Season 17 FAs.  Initially I thought I’d have enough money to sign both Jared Curtis and Lance Erickson.  I also saw Damaso Perez as a possibility but figured I’d have to pick two out of three.  During Season 16 I checked Curtis’ and Erickson’s contract status weekly to make sure their owners hadn’t extended them.  When they hit the market I KNEW I’d get at least one of them, but I wanted both.  I got priced out of Curtis and Perez pretty quickly. I offered Erickson the max contract and used left over money to retain one of my own players.

Question #16: As a follow-up, name your best and worst FA signing. Why?
I very seldom sign free agents.  I make a lot of trades and promote guys from within.  My best signing is Erickson because he won MVP and World Series MVP in his first season of that monstrous contract.  He earned all the money right there; the entire contract had been validated in season 1.  My worst signing was Brad Riley.  I gave him too much money and once I made the decision to tear things down it was hard to trade him.  Those are the only big money FAs I’ve ever signed in Spahn.

Question #17: What was the biggest success and what was the biggest disappointment for the Angry Dragons over the years?
The biggest success was winning 5 consecutive NL Pennants and 2 straight World Series.  But I think the really big things are yet to come.  I think the second Angry Dragon Dynasty will be better than the first.  The biggest disappointment was losing to smanfredo, my arch nemesis, in 3 straight World Series.  I dreaded reading those box scores.  I mean, I felt like the outcome was pre-determined.  I was going to lose so why torture myself.  It was very disenchanting.

Question #18: What, in your opinion, was the best individual player season in Angry Dragons history?
This is the last question I answered because it’s so difficult; I’ve had so many GREAT players who had amazing seasons.  I could easily write a Top 20 individual Angry Dragon player’s season.  But I have to pick one so I’m going to go with Jamie Butcher in Season 19.  In 218 innings he went 18-1 with a 1.94 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, easily winning the Cy Young.  Butcher is a top 10 pitcher in Spahn history and I drafted him 9th overall.  What a steal.

Question #19: Explain the infatuation with Ken Lee.
If you are one of those who cried when you found out Santa Claus does not exist then stop reading now and skip this answer; go to Question #20.  The reason is because the entire Ken Lee infatuation is all a bit.  It started when somebody in chat mentioned his player as one of the greatest in Spahn.  At that time, I did believe that Ken Lee was the greatest hitter in Spahn history and so I stated that opinion.  smanfredo disagreed saying that Randy Eyre was better.  And so smanfredo and I got into this heated argument over who was a better hitter between Eyre and Lee.  I simply contended that Eyre had something like 2000 more career ABs than Lee, and if ABs were equal Lee would by far have the better numbers, plus he was more decorated in the award department.  Some people mistook my argument for Lee as an obsession with him.  I just thought it was funny to play along and so I did and still do to this very day.

Question #20: You have been very passionate about the blog. In your perfect world, what does the Spahn blog look like and how can Spahn members help you achieve that goal?
In a perfect world, there would be one new post every week.  I wouldn’t write all of them, but I would contribute to most of them.  Every blog post would be posted online in a timely manner and would generate at least a half page of discussion in world chat.  Timely feedback would always be given, even if it’s negative.  When I spend a lot of time on something and then ask what do you guys think and nobody replies over a 3 day span it really makes me think nobody read it or enjoyed it.

Encyclopedia Updated

The World Spahn Encyclopedia now includes information for seasons 1 through 12. If you have comments for any season you can leave them here or on the encyclopedia page and they will be added.

World Spahn Encyclopedia

Announcing the World Spahn Encyclopedia

The prolific and loquacious jimmystick has put together the World Spahn Encyclopedia for us. You can find it listed under the “encyclopedia” menu label I have added to the site, or by clicking HERE. I have posted seasons 1 through 6 so far, he has already sent seasons 7 through 12 to be posted, and I am sure he will do the rest if people enjoy it. Which I am sure they will.


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