Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Season 30 Weekly Power Rankings #2

1.       New York Mets (27-12, 3):  With every starter having an ERA under 3.00 and with 3 of the 5 below 2.00, the Mets remain the massive favorites in the NL. The only men who could get to first base more often than J.P. Guerrero would be the Hemsworth brothers working in a kissing booth.
2.      New York Yankees (26-13, 1):  Matching Flip Jones’ 18 homers, 33 year old Felipe Moya is having a career year and leading the team while the pitching inconsistencies continue. Rookie Vincente Colome has been impressive in his first 3 starts (2-1, 2.57 ERA).
2.      Portland Beavers (26-13, 5T):  A good balanced offensive attack combined with the best pitching in the league has the Beavers dominating its division. The starting pitching has been the closest thing the AL has to matching the Mets. After splitting a 4 game series vs. the Yankees, no clear AL favorite has emerged.
4.      Boston Red Sox (25-14, 5T):  Flip Jones continues to lead the offense while putting up video game numbers. The pitching staff is being led by youth with 2nd year ace Geoff Earley and rookie Jerome Downs, who has looked great in his first 2 starts (1-0, 1.64 ERA).
4.      Tampa Bay Rays (25-14, 10T):  One of the hottest teams this week that simply plays good fundamental baseball (now that they have fixed their defensive issues). Their offense has a balanced attack with no real standouts. Brett Dixon and Clarence Kirby are leading the way for the pitching staff along with Eddie Fick expertly closing things out at 9 for 9 in save opportunities.
4.      Chicago Cubs (25-14, 5T): The MVP chants have already started each time Trayvon Hammond steps up to the plate. Meanwhile, Burke Melton is having an amazing start to the season going 13 for 14 on save opportunities and sporting an ERA of 0.00 in 17 innings (3 unearned runs).
7.      St. Louis Cardinals (24-15, 8T):  Damaso Jacquez has been a great free agent pickup as he leads the offense. Kevin Stahoviak continues his amazing season now at 7-0 in 8 starts with a world best 1.48 ERA.
8.      Milwaukee Brewers (23-16, 13T):  The defending champs woke up this week and had one of the best records as they rise in the rankings. Milton Ross and Neil Goodwin have powered the offense while the whole pitching staff seems to have regained the form that carried them through last season’s playoffs.  Look out Cubs!
8.      Philadelphia Phillies (23-16, 13T):  While the Phillies had a good record this week, 2 series against San Diego helps quite a bit. While 5 homers in the week are much better than his first week with only 1, it is not quite enough from Luis Baez. He is the key to whether or not this team plays baseball in Philly or golf in Hawaii during October.
10.   Baltimore Orioles (22-17, 4):  The team slipped a bit this week in the rankings as the offense was inconsistent and the pitching has still hasn’t found its groove. Being 9 for 15 in save opportunities and a combined ERA over 5.00, the bullpen has been a major source of frustration.
10.   Texas Rangers (22-17, 13T):  The Rangers had a good week beating the teams they should and taking 1 of 3 from the very difficult Beavers and Red Sox to stay in striking distance of the Rays. The bullpen brilliance of middle relievers Rolando Gonzalez and Robinson Nunez has been the main reason that the Rangers are in the hunt to continue their world record string of division titles.
10.   Houston Astros (22-17, 10T):  What was starting as a great week went south when the Astros faced the contenders of the NL North, going 4-9 vs. Milwaukee, Chicago, and Montreal. The pitching, which had been a strength, was suddenly getting lit up as stud starters Stu DeRosa, Harry Guzman, and Cliff Howe all saw their ERAs shoot up over 3.00.
10.   Atlanta Braves (22-17, 17):  Atlanta was up and down this week going 9-1 vs. NL North teams but ending the week with a shocking series loss to the Padres. The starting pitching has been the strength of the team and if Alex Manto could ever regain his Cy Young form of Season 26, the Braves would be the division favorites.
10.   San Francisco Giants (22-17, 20):  Residents of SF, no need to run for cover. Those loud cracking sounds are home run balls flying off the bats, mostly of future ROY Chad Griffith. This team looks poised to run away with the NL West this season.
15.   Detroit Tigers (20-19, 2):  The predicted fall to earth took place this week as the offense struggled to score runs while the pitching still performed admirably. Melky Sanchez continues to be Batman and the clubhouse is absent any Robins.
15.   Montreal Expos (20-19, 8T):  The Expos had a mediocre week of inconsistent offense and pitching and are slipping in the race against the more talented Cubs and Brewers. During this Wally Barton is having one of the most amazing offensive seasons for a 38 year old with a .385 average and .953 OPS with 9 stolen bases.
17.   Through 32 – Get better!  No time for more this week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Season 30 Weekly Power Rankings #1

1.      New York Yankees (15-4):  Winning games with many contributors despite Al Perez looking like a shell of himself. (7.84 ERA, 1.94 WHIP)
2.      Detroit Tigers (15-5):  Melky Sanchez has been outstanding but hard to believe this is sustainable with the team barely outscoring opponents. (76-70)
3.      New York Mets (14-5):  The Mets have possibly the best pitching staff since San Diego’s collection of aces from about a decade ago.  J.P. Guerrero is the best person at getting on base in the history of this league, if only his offseason conditioning were better.
4.      Baltimore Orioles (14-6):  Led by Tori Cambridge, the offense is performing a bit over their heads at the moment but if the starting pitching can get a bit more consistent this team could remain high in these rankings.
5.      Boston Red Sox (12-7):  Boston appears to have become Flip Jones’ town as he has quickly become the face of the franchise, with their future appearing to be postseason bound once again.
5.      Portland Beavers (12-7):  The Beaver pitching staff has given opposing hitters fits this season as the Beavers roll along as the class of the AL West.
5.      Chicago Cubs (12-7):  Trayvon Hammond is on fire and the pitching has been brilliant in hitting friendly Wrigley. After 7 straight 2nd place finishes, is this finally their year?
8.      Montreal Expos (12-8):  The offense is powering the team as the pitching has not done well so far. But it seems to be the end of the line for Rodrigo Marin as he is finally showing his age.
8.      St. Louis Cardinals (12-8):  To start this season, Kevin Stahoviak has been the man mowing ‘em down in route to pitcher of the week honors. His battery mate, Sergio Gardner has been the driving force at the plate.
10.   Tampa Bay Rays (11-8):  Team has been performing decently all around but what the hell is Timo Adams doing at SS for the big club?!?!?!
10.   Houston Astros (11-8):  Stu DeRosa and Willie Delgado have been superstars out of the gate while others have been a bit disappointing. Look for this talented team to rise in the rankings in weeks to come.
10.   Los Angeles Dodgers (11-8):  Miguel Guerrero and FA acquisition Josh Justice have led a mostly disappointing offense. So far the Achilles heel of the team has been the bullpen.
13.   Texas Rangers (11-9):  Rangers have some quality platoon members doing well on offense in what looks to be another reloading season, but championship hopes seem dim when the superstar of the team is a middle reliever. (Rolando Gonzalez)
13.   Milwaukee Brewers (11-9):  The Brewers are a tale of two teams, the 1-9 in their division team and the 10-0 against everyone else. If that 1-9 team keeps showing up for divisional games, will the defending champs actually miss the postseason???
13.   Philadelphia Phillies (11-9):  Time for a missing person report? The real Luis Baez has not been showing up to the ball park. 1 homer in 20 games for a guy who averages about 50 a season. He better find his homer stroke soon before the Mets run away with it.
13.   Arizona Diamondbacks (11-9):  The cheapest team in the world is getting it done with smoke and mirrors. How they are over .500 right now is one of the great mysteries of life.
17.   Atlanta Braves (10-9):  A subpar offense of showing has negated a brilliant start from one of the better pitching staffs. This team should be a good competitor in a tight NL South.
18.   Minnesota Twins (9-10):  Pitchers have done decently but the lack of power is holding them back. They badly need Doumit to regain his home run stroke.
18.   Cincinnati Reds (9-10):  A high powered offense along with a mediocre pitching staff has made for some high scoring excitement in Cinci. If you get a seat in the outfield be sure to bring your glove as both teams will be sending out some souvenirs.
20.   San Francisco Giants (9-11):  Between Dunn, Bonilla, Ramirez, and Griffith (who has mercifully finally escaped AAA purgatory), the Giants should have one of the most potent offenses in the league. It will be interesting to watch and see if the bats can come alive after their slow start.
21.   Chicago White Sox (8-12):  A decent balanced offense combined with a mediocre pitching staff has put them in the middle of the pack.
21.   Kansas City Royals (8-12):  If the rest of the team were performing like sluggers Matthews and Robbins and starters Ackley and Vance, the Royals would be near the top, but sadly most are screwing the pooch.
21.   Seattle Mariners (8-12):  The Mariners look improved and Seattle fans for good reason should be excited about the debuts of Glanville and Schoeneweis.
21.   Anaheim Angels (8-12):  Greg Watson has had some mammoth home run shots, but there is not enough offense around him to help what has been a very solid pitching performance.
21.   Pittsburgh Pirates (8-12):  The offense has been solid with good power led by P.T. Fischbach. The defense has been the biggest weakness of the team with 7 – plays contributing to a subpar pitching result.
26.   Oakland Athletics (7-12):  What is wrong with Anibal Maduro? The league’s worst offense has ruined a spectacular effort by one of the best pitching staffs.
27.   Cleveland Indians (7-13):  Jury is still out on the Indians as most of their games have come against the beasts of the AL East. Starter Gio Lopez has been one of the few bright spots so far.
27.   Florida Marlins (7-13):  The Marlins are a team that trimmed quite a bit of payroll this season as they start a massive overhaul. One bright spot has been the power contribution of Rule 5 pick Shane Klesko.
29.   Toronto Blue Jays (6-13):  With the lowest payroll in the AL, this team was put together to be able to put warm bodies on the field and consume oxygen. Management needs to be careful to protect next season’s draft pick.
30.   Charlotte Knights (5-14):  The Knights are in the midst of a disaster season with almost everyone performing at career worst levels, highlighted by the previously reliable Frank Mori with an ERA of 6.00.
30.   Washington D.C. Nationals (5-14):  The Nats have been a disaster in all facets of the game. They are in serious danger of losing next season’s draft pick.

32.   San Diego Padres (3-16):  The talent level of this team appears destined for 110 losses. It is going to require serious moves to avoid losing another draft pick.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Season 30 Preview - NL East by blanch13

It’s been Season 24 since anyone but the Phillies and Mets finished 1st or 2nd in the East, and NY and Philly have both made the playoffs 5 times in those 6 seasons. Can D.C. or Pittsburgh break the stranglehold this year?

Washington D.C. Nationals (rigbystarr - 16th season)
Season 29: 56-106, 4th in East
Offense: 591 runs (14th)
Defense: 782 runs allowed (15th)

The Nats have been building the farm system for a few seasons now, and it started to pay off last year. The contributions of rookies Erubiel Calderone (30 HR’s) and Danny Cairncross (4 wins, 3.05 ERA in 100 IP) probably pushed them over the MWR (although just barely).

They’ll get more help from rookies this year. Season 25 IFA ($1.5MM) Yordano Gonzalez starts the season on the staff; he’ll likely be joined soon by Season 27’s #8 pick, SP Sid Miller, and Season 26 IFA ($6.1MM), SP Nigel Kuroda. They’ll form the backbone of what should be an improved staff, along with 3rd-year SP Brian Ray (7 wins, 4.13). 

The offense looks like it’s still going to struggle, although FA 2B Bryan Cambridge should be a decent upgrade from the departed Ed Sierra.

They have 2 more excellent prospects at AAA: Manuel Guerrero (9th pick,Season 29) looks like he could become a game-changing defender at either 2B or CF who also hits for power, and SP Joba May (#2 overall Season 28), who is the future ace of the staff.

D.C. will see a good improvement this year (maybe 65 wins) just based on the young arms. They’ll really get interesting when we see Guerrero and May with the big club in a season or 2 - they’ll have a very young, cheap talented roster and cap room to make a big splash in free agency.

Pittsburgh Pirates (jthornton75 - 5th season)
Season 29: 77-85, 3rd in East
Offense: 636 runs (9th)
Defense: 688 runs allowed (9th)

The Buccos orchestrated a major CF upgrade with he signing of Bryan Mordecai. The 11-year vet has exceptional range in CF (although he’ll boot the occasional routine play) and adds 20-25 HR’s to a lineup that could certainly use more power (185 HR’s last season). The attack still suffers from a dearth of baserunners (.306 OBP Season 29), but could jump to 650-660 runs this year.

Len Reith (10-13, 3.28), Adam Strange (9-7, 3.16) and Brett Hamilton (10-3, 3.16) give Pitt a potent front three on the rotation, while quality relievers Nick Terrell (12 saves, 2.55), Santiago Sardinha (6-1, 2.74) and Eugene Bell (14 saves, 3.76) hold down the late innings. A little improvement from the 4th and 5th starters (a distinct possibility - both Kingsale and Sogard were well above their career ERA norms last season) would go a long way toward putting this staff in the top half of the NL.

The Pirates vastly improved their farm system last year. They added pitchers Banjo LaRocca (#19) and Buster Minor (#13) in the draft, and infielders Rodrigo Alberro and Cesar Andino in int’l free agency. All will be ML contributors, but not before Season 32.

I like Pitt’s chances to hit .500 - that probably won’t overhaul the Phillies or Mets, but they’re closing.

Philadelphia Phillies (dillontt - 13th season)
Season 29: 89-73 (2nd in East)
Offense: 790 runs (2nd)
Defense: 709 runs allowed (11th)

The Phils missed the playoffs for the first time since Season 21 last year (although by just a game. They sported their usual potent offense (#2 in the NL), but the pitching fell off a little (not dramatically - they allowed just 5 more runs in a year when scoring was down - but enough to drop by 3 wins).

They didn’t take it sitting down. They scored one of the offseason’s biggest trades, getting former ROY and 2-time All-Star SP Rich George (14-10, 4.14) from Cleveland for C Dennis Drese (.282/30/78) and prospects Sam Baker and Will Stein. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Phils’ entire starting rotation (George, Freddy Hughes, Al Jeanmar, Saul Romano and Francisco Morales) all posted ERA’s in the 3’s this season.

They improved the staff further by signing RP Rick Dalesandro, a career 3.66 setup man who tossed 102 innings for the Angels and Giants in Season 29 (5 wins, 4 saves, 3.34). And they put a bow on top of all of it by re-signing closer Brandon Ross to a team-friendly 2-year deal ($5.6MM per).

Offensively, the weapon of choice for this team is the longball - 251 last year (2nd in NL). 1B Luis Baez leads the charge (58 taters last season), with compliments from another 8 players last year in double figures. They may miss catcher Drese in this department, although Season 24’s #1 pick (Dan Blair - #20 overall) looks ready to step into, if not completely fill, his shoes.

On the farm, the Phils have a few prospects, but the only significant help coming anytime soon will be the aforementioned C Blair.

I think Philadelphia will win 95-97 this year, and will certainly challenge the Mets.


New York Mets (blanch13 - 9th season)
Season 29: 95-67, 1st in NL East, lost in the playoffs in Round 1
Offense: 781 runs (4th)
Defense: 645 runs allowed (4th)

Coming off a World Series win in Season 28, the Mets had high hopes for Season 29. It wasn’t exactly a bad season, but a first-round playoff exit sparked a wholesale housecleaning.

It started when management let RF Karim Saenz, OF David Newson, backup SS Pedro Lopez, MR Javy Gomez, and 2B Glenallen Richard all walk in free agency. 

It gathered steam with the trade of productive (and expensive) frontliners Alex Walden (.285/35/89) and Danny Thompson (13-12, 4.19 in 236 IP) to the White Sox for 1B Lawrence Urich (.302/29/73). 

It really got rolling with the trade of 1B Tony Ramirez (.248/47/107) and RP Keith Owen (19 saves, 3.70) to the Giants for 3B Hack Hampton (Season 26 #11), 2B Harry Tapies (.209/16//64) and RP Lenny Kroeger (12 saves, 3.78).

Somewhere in between, the Mets got lucky and had free agent ace Deleanor Johnstone fall into their laps for $8.55MM a year as a free agent.

It will take full shape with the Opening Day or early-season promotions of 3B Hampton, super-utilityman Terry Spencer, and DH-impersonating-a-RF Neill Hill.

All-in-all, they have significantly less power, but are more left-handed, better at reaching base and a grade higher defensively. Are they a better regular-season team? I don’t know. But with a 3-man rotation of Johnstone, Sammy Quinones and Rico Marrero, they are a better playoff team.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Veteran's Committee Approved Hall of Fame Ballot for Season 30

In order to streamline our Hall of Fame voting and help to ensure that the maximum amount of worthy candidates are inducted, I conducted a poll of our long standing owners with 20 or more seasons in the league (13 of us).  They were asked to say whether or not a list 30 top players from the list of Hall nominees were Hall worthy or not.  The intent was to both pare down future lists of folks to consider for Hall induction and to determine this season's 5 top nominees. The top 5 vote getters (who appear on the official ballot) will be are official list for this season. Anyone not getting over 50% of the committee vote will be dropped from consideration for future Hall discussions. Here are the results of that vote (9 people participated):

Hall Worthy
9 - Vic GonzalesJavier GonzalezKent Crawford
7 - Brandon SuttonJames HunterEnrique Cordero
6 - Bernard SpringerHiram AbbottPlacido Santana
5 - Virgil Manning

Dropped from Future Consideration
4 - Alan LongHoward Sweeney
3 - Bruce LewisJuan MiroArmando Taveras
2 - Bing MilesJavier ValdesAlfonso TrajanoKordell BeckerRyuu ChoiWes Roosevelt
1 - Clyde RedmondPascual MartinAlejandro VazquezCarson Graves, Donatello BolleaTodd O'SullivanVictor Lima
0 - Cliff RiversEnrique Gonzales

For this years ballot, we had two folks at the top, Crawford and Cordero, who were not nominated and so cannot be official candidates this season.  So besides Gonzales, Gonzalez, Sutton, and Hunter, one person needed to be chosen from those with 6 votes to be our 5th selection.  The results of the run-off election were as follows (7 voters):
3 - Springer
2 - Abbott, Santana

So our official Season 30 HOF ballot is as follows:
Vic Gonzales
none
none
Age: 40B/T: R/R
Born: Monte Cristi, DO
Position(s): DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Javier Gonzalez
none
none
Age: 42B/T: R/R
Born: Jicome Esperanza, DO
Position(s): P (SP2)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

James Hunter
none
none
Age: 41B/T: R/R
Born: Pearl City, IL
Position(s): DH/1B
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Bernard Springer
none
none
Age: 38B/T: R/R
Born: Sturgis, SD
Position(s): DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Brandon Sutton
none
none
Age: 39B/T: L/L
Born: Oskaloosa, KS
Position(s): DH/1B
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Friday, March 13, 2015

Season 30 League Makeup

As we head into Season 30, I was curious about the makeup of our league in terms of how long everyone has been here, how much experience they have overall, and how much success they have. Here is what I found:

Kinsella's Average GM:  15.1 seasons in Kinsella, 78.8 seasons of experience, 35.4 playoff appearances, and 3.0 WS titles

The AL is a bit more tenured and experienced than the NL.

Average AL GM:  16.9 seasons in Kinsella, 85.6 seasons of experience, 39.3 playoff appearances, and 3.3 WS titles

Average NL GM:  13.3 seasons in Kinsella, 71.9 seasons of experience, 31.6 playoff appearances, and 2.7 WS titles

Here are the highs and lows by division:

Tenured High:  110 - AL East (all other divisions between 45-64)
Tenured Low:  45 - NL North

Experienced High:  455 - AL East
Experienced Low:  220 - NL West

Playoffs High:  222 - AL East
Playoffs Rate:  58.7% - NL South

WS Titles:  19 - AL West
WS Title Rate:  5.5% - AL West

For individual GMs, here are the highs and lows:

Tenured High:  30 - 5 GMs
Tenured Low:  1 - olemiss33 and hopkinsheel

Experience High:  165 - tk21772
Experience Low:  8 - jdavidson1

Playoffs:  82 - hopkinsheel
Playoffs Rate: 75.2% - hopkinsheel 

WS Titles:  13 - blanch13
WS Title Rate:  11.8% - blanch13

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Get to Know a GM" Volume #2 - blanch13

The first to reply to my query is the current GM of the World Series Champion New York Mets. blanch13 originally joined Kinsella as the GM of the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays back in Season 5. The team had been completely gutted by previous management and he took the team from the depths to be a powerhouse in the AL, but unfortunately our version of the Buffalo Bills as they lost 3 straight WS. He left the Rays at the top of their game for a 7 season sabbatical until returning to take over a hapless Mets team. The Mets fortunes quickly improved and he now sits atop the league as the defending champion.

Kinsella Blog (KB):  Who is blanch13?


blanch13 (b13):  Soon-to-be 60 yo divorced guy, 1 daughter aged 25 in Madison WI. I've lived in Austin for 7 years now. I run a business coaching practice an internet marketing agency.

KB:  Where does your username come from?

b13:  Partly from my last name - Blanchard - and partly from the number I wore in high school sports - 13.

KB:  Besides sports, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

b13:  Who are your favorite players of all-time (any sport)?

Basketball - Havlicek
Baseball - The Mick
Football - Joe Willie and Snake Stabler

KB:  Which are your favorite teams?

b13:  The LSU Tigers

KB:  Did you play sports growing up?

b13:  All growing up, baseball and football in HS, a bit of rugby in college.

KB:  What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

b13:  Hike the Milford Track  (KB:  Had to google this. FYI it is a famous hiking trail in New Zealand.)

KB:  What would you consider your greatest WIFS accomplishment?

b13:  Had some good ones, but improving the Mets for 7 straight years and finally winning the WS right here in Kinsella is probably tops 

KB:  Do you have any favorite players from any of your HBD teams?

b13:  The best player I've ever had has been Oscar Young, a power-hitting IF who has won 6 MVP's in 10 seasons in Summer of '49. Unfortunately, he's leaving me for greener pastures after this season.

KB:  What is your favorite aspect of HBD?

b13:  The overall depth and complexity of the sim.

KB:  What is your least favorite aspect of Hardball Dynasty?

b13:  The predictability/linearity of the ratings/development system.

KB:  If you were in HBD, what position would you play? And, what would you be rated?

b13:  I'd be what I was as a high-school baseball player - a power-hitting, strong-armed, bad-fielding SS. Something like con-pwr-vL-vR-eye of 56-99-60-70-90 and range-glv-armS-ArmA of 87-79-99-88

Thursday, December 25, 2014

"Get to Know a GM" Volume #1 - overeasy

I am reviving a blog series that I started doing years ago, but unfortunately only went out a few times. Over the course of this season, the plan is to publish these fairly regularly so that very quickly we will know a bit about the folks who have been sharing this obsession with us for a few years now. I couldn't start this up without re-doing it myself, so here you are as the first in the series it is a self interview in our first entry in the "Get to Know a GM" with your league founder and commissioner.

Kinsella Blog (KB):  Tell us a little about yourself

overeasy (OE):  I'm a 40 year old married father of 3 young boys (8, 6, and 4). I've been with my college sweetheart since I was an 18 year old freshman at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. We currently reside in Spokane, WA where I work as an electrical engineer for a small consulting firm.

KB:  Where does your username come from?

OE:  It is how I like my eggs. Every morning (and I mean EVERY morning) I get woken up by the boys by 5:30 am and start cooking breakfast. I make eggs for all 5 of us every morning which is sometimes complimented with oatmeal and/or sausage.

KB:  Besides sports, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

OE:  Most days it pretty much feels like all I do is work at home to help keep our household going, work at work to make the money, and sleep. When I do try to make time for something else, I like to play tournament style Texas Hold'Em poker. I feel like I am good for a hobbyist player and have a lifetime net positive over $1000, nice since I've never played with a buy-in over $50. 

KB:  Which are your favorite teams?

OE:  Baseball - Despite having grown up in northern CA where almost everyone was a Giants or A's fan, I am an Atlanta Braves fan. It happened because the first two little league teams I was on were both called the Braves and since every Braves game was shown on WTBS I was able to see them even more than the local teams.

Football - It was impossible not to be a 49er fan growing up within walking distance of the park where they had their in-season practice camp and having my first season paying attention to the sport be the year of their first Super Bowl title.

Basketball - Growing up in the 80s, I am fairly certain that everyone in the state of CA was a Laker fan, but after the Magic era ended they pretty much lost all appeal. While I pay attention to the sport, I am not a big fan of the style of play that came into vogue from the Jordan era and like watching March Madness more than the NBA.

Hockey - ?  I grew up in Northern CA years before the San Jose Sharks came around and hockey was not on the radar. I never learned much about it until my sophomore year of college when the floor of my dorm did a league of NHL '94 on Sega Genesis.

KB:  Who are your favorite players of all-time (any sport)?

OE:  Baseball - Dale Murphy as he was the best player for my team during some very lean years. It is a shame that he is not in the Hall of Fame. So what if his career practically dropped off a cliff in his early thirties, anyone who is ever in the conversation as best player in the game for about a decade deserves to be in. If he had tragically died in an accident in the late 80s, he would have been voted in. So why do his horrid years cancel out the greatness of his first decade?

KB:  Did you play sports growing up?

OE:  I played baseball and basketball growing up. In baseball, my best skill was fielding ground balls as a second baseman. I think my problem at the plate was all mental as I over thought everything. My best ever hitting game was one where our regular SS was missing and they moved me there. I was so freaked out playing SS that I proceeded to make 3 errors in the field while going 4 for 4 at the plate. My baseball playing days ended with Colt league in 9th or 10th grade.
Playing basketball, I had a decent outside shot and did my best to hustle and play as fundamentally sound as I could. My lack of height (5'11") and speed ended my basketball career with the high school freshman team.
Needing something to do athletically, I picked up tennis as a sophomore and earned a varsity letter as a junior and senior. One interesting fact of this is that my doubles partner my senior year was Adam Carson, the drummer for the band A.F.I. (If you haven't heard of them, ask a teenager. They actually appeared on Saturday Night Live and won an MTV VMA.)

KB:  What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

OE:  I have no aspirations for any physical events, but if poker is considered a sport I would someday like to play at the World Series in Vegas.  I would love to visit the Field of Dreams in Iowa and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

KB:  What would you consider your greatest WIFS accomplishment?

OE:  The individual success has been fun, with my happiest moment being in HD when I led my alma mater, the Pacific Tigers, to the NCAA title game. But my greatest WIFS accomplishment has been starting and maintaining this league as one of the top tier leagues of HBD.

KB:  Do you have any favorite players from any of your HBD teams?

OE:  I'll stay with talking about Kinsella for this one. My favorite player is still Brandon Sutton. The guy was huge for our first run of success. It drives me a bit crazy that his two teammates of that era were able to get elected to the Hall and he is still waiting. He was the guy who kept being league MVP runner-up year after year and was the best of the three. Part of it was my own fault, since most of those seasons we clinched the division and bye very early and I just benched him to make sure he was healthy for the playoffs, being scared of an injury to my most important offensive player. So I probably shorted him close to 150 games for his career, costing him the opportunity for 3000 hits and 500 home runs. At the same time, I also played him at DH to save on fatigue even though he was fine at 1B, better than most of the other current HOF candidates who spent more time there.

KB:  What is your favorite aspect of HBD?

OE:  As a kid who used to use his baseball cards to create fictional seasons, even tracking the statistics of the players, HBD is basically a dream come true. Back then, I many times ignored the real life capability of the players and gave them their attributes based on how they looked in their baseball card picture. Dave Stewart was actually a multiple Cy Young winner in my imaginary world when he looked like a bad ass on his Rangers baseball card and Glenn Bragg was a monster slugger for the Reds.

KB:  What is your least favorite aspect of Hardball Dynasty?

OE:  This used to be coach hiring, but I suppose by now I've grown accustomed to the lameness. My least favorite thing now is when people decide to leave this league as finding good folks to replace them has become more challenging as the popularity of the game has waned.  The whole HBD maintenance activity to change the game to a new server has provided a glimmer of hope that there might be something happening again to renew interest. My stronger belief though is that they changed the server to get things more consolidated and save money on their data center expenses.

KB:  If you were in HBD, what position would you play? And, what would you be rated?

OE:  In my younger days, I would have been a mediocre range and arm, high glove 2nd baseman with a bat made for the tryout camp.