WhatIfSports User Interview: tecwrg From WhatIfSports.com image

User Interview: tecwrg

Q&A with tecwrg

Hardball Dynasty player tecwrg graciously served as the subject of our most recent User Interview. He discusses Hardball Dynasty strategy and his pursuit of a World Series championship.

tecwrg Hardball Dynasty Overall Records
Seasons Record Playoff Record Division Titles Championships
635,345-4,861 (52.4%)73-104 (41.2%)170

tecwrg Hardball Dynasty Franchise Records
World Franchise Seasons Record Division Titles
CooperstownMexico City Mystery?211,749-1,653 (51.4%)7
Moonlight GrahamLos Angeles Potty Mouths151,150-1,236 (48.2%)2
MantleScranton Apollos242,050-1,715 (54.4%)6

WIS: Who is tecwrg?

tecwrg: I'm a 51 year old IT professional for an insurance company in Hartford, CT, though I was born and raised in Scranton, PA. Happily married with two boys, ages 13 and 10.

WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

tecwrg: If I remember correctly, I think I saw a reference to the SimMatchup feature in some fantasy sports article I was reading online around 10 years ago. I came over to the site and played around with it a bit and thought it was pretty cool. I kept coming back every once in a while to mess around with it when I was bored.

WIS: Which of our games have you played? Which do you prefer?

tecwrg: I played a couple of seasons of SLB but never really got hooked by it. Then I saw the announcement on your site for HBD a few weeks before it was released and thought that it sounded awesome. I signed up for a team (my home town Scranton team in Mantle) the day it went GA and have been here ever since. I also played a number of seasons of Gridiron Dynasty until I reached my level of incompetence in D-I. I'm really hoping that you guys come out with an NFL Dynasty game. I think that would be a great addition to your product line.

WIS: Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

tecwrg: I'm an assistant coach on both of my kids' baseball teams from spring through fall. During the winter I help out with their basketball teams by either doing the book or running the clock/scoreboard at their games. I also play on my town's Vintage Base Ball team (yes, “Base Ball” is two words in vintage lingo) in the spring and summer, and I play in a golf league (more of a beer league) once a week in the spring and summer. When I'm not doing sports stuff, I'm either reading or watching the History Channel or Discovery Channel.

WIS: Which five people, past or present sit at your dream roundtable discussion?

tecwrg: Well. It would only be one person, and that would be my dad. He passed away when I was 24 years old. I've had a lot of life experiences since then, and we'd have a lot of catching up to do. I sometimes think back to some of the baseball discussions we would have while watching games together on TV back in the 70's. He had a lot of insight into the game which sounded a bit unconventional to my teenage mind at the time, but that I now recognize as being borderline sabermetric in nature. I'd love to be able to pick his brain about that now.

WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?

tecwrg: I was the world's worst Little Leaguer. I had a total of five hits in my three seasons of Little League. But one of them was off the best pitcher in our league, a clean single that actually hit the outfield grass on the fly. Our local newspaper used to have one or two sentence write-ups about every LL game played in the city the night before. The day after “The Hit”, I was crushed to find that one of my teammates was credited with my hit in the newspaper. I recently caught up with that teammate on Facebook and told him this story. He got a good laugh out of it and apologized (his wife made him do that). Thirty-nine years later, I can finally put the emotional trauma behind me.

Bobby Thomson, Shot Heard 'Round the World Tecwrg's "The Hit" rivals Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" as one of the great moments in baseball history.

WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?

tecwrg: When I first started to follow baseball in the late 60's, my favorite team and player was the St. Louis Cardinals and Bob Gibson. But when cable TV came to my town in the early 70's, I got a lot more exposure to the Yankees and switched my allegiances (this was when the Yankees were still somewhat bad, the Fritz Peterson, Gene Michael, Horace Clarke, etc. years). I think I was enamored by the history. So my favorite players going forward were Thurman Munson in the 70's, Don Mattingly in the 80's, and Paul O'Neill in the 90's. And of course Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera from the current Yankees teams.

WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?

tecwrg: Not really. I tend to take things one at a time, as opportunities present themselves. Plus, I plan to live to 100, so I still have plenty of time to figure that out. But my best sports-related experience to date occurred in 2000, when I had the opportunity to get all-stadium access before a Rangers/Rays game in Arlington, Texas. I got to stand down on the field and sit in the dugout during batting practice, make a brief visit to the Rangers clubhouse in between BP and the start of the game, and sit in the press-box for a while during the game. Certainly the baseball highlight of my life. So far, that is.

WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?

tecwrg: My first World Series Championship, which hasn't happened yet. Back-to-back WS Game 7 losses in seasons 12 and 13 in Cooperstown have been the closest I've come.

WIS: Despite winning 17 division titles in Hardball Dynasty, you are still in pursuit of an elusive World Series title. What has prevented you from winning it all?

tecwrg: I play in three strong and very competitive worlds where it's difficult to get a distinct advantage over the other owners. I feel that if I really wanted to, I could play in some of the weaker or less competitive worlds and get a couple of cheap WS titles to put on my resume, but that's not the way I want to play. I know that I have a few specific weaknesses in my game that I'm struggling to overcome. No excuses...I just haven't been able to get the job done.

WIS: You manage three Hardball Dynasty teams: Mexico City Mystery? in Cooperstown, Los Angeles Potty Mouths in Moonlight Graham and Scranton Apollos in Mantle. How did you get started in each world? Do you have any difficulty in managing multiple teams?

tecwrg: As I previously mentioned, the Scranton team in Mantle was my first team, the day HBD went GA back in 2006. A couple of months later, I picked up a second team in a different world, but after a couple of seasons there I got frustrated with the way that world was being run and decided that I would leave at season's end. I started to look around for a new world to play in for my second team. I remember sending MikeT23 a sitemail one afternoon telling him that I would be interested in joining Cooperstown if a team opened up. He responded quickly, telling me that he was looking for an immediate mid-season replacement owner in Coop, and so less than an hour after first contacting him, I was the new owner of the Mexico City team. Sometime after that, I picked up a third team in yet another world, and after a couple of seasons I again got very frustrated with some of the stuff going on in there and decided to look for a new world to take its place, which happened to be Moonlight Graham. I'm now in my 24th season in Mantle, just finished my 21st season on Coop, and am in my 15th season in MG.

I find that three teams is the right number of teams for me. They overlap in such a way that none of them rollover at the same time, so various events in all three worlds are spread out fairly evenly. But three is pretty much my capacity. I think four full-time worlds would be too much, so I've avoided the occasional temptation to expand.

WIS: In Hardball Dynasty, what is your strategy for allocating your budget?

tecwrg: I'm working towards $20m in both training and medical, and have finally taken the plunge to work towards $0m advanced scouting on all my teams. I'm also working towards going $20m/$0m in draft scouting. IFA, prospect, and payroll budgets are all dependent upon the states of my teams.

WIS: How do you approach off-season events with players such as arbitration and free agency?

tecwrg: I usually have a loosely formulated long-term plan in my head for each of my teams for future seasons depending upon what kind of prospects I have in my system and when I anticipate them being ready for the majors. More short term, at the end of each regular season I will plan out on a piece of paper what I think my roster will look like for the following season. That's the blueprint that I use for determining how I will handle arbitration, what holes I need to fill, and where I need to upgrade either through trade or free agency.

WIS: What is your basic strategy for setting your starting lineups and pitching rotation?

tecwrg: For my lineups, I start with the recommendations and adjust based on experience with how I know my players tend to perform. I'll run with set line-ups up to the All-Star break. After the break, there's a large enough sample of numbers to work with such that I'll tweak my lineups, sometimes on a game-to-game basis when I have the time, based on fatigue and performance. I'm much more hands on with my lineups in the second half of the season. As for my pitching rotation, I know who my starting five are at the beginning of the season. I'll give them all three times through the rotation, then I'll start adjusting based on performance so that the guys who are performing well are getting the ball more often and the guys who are struggling are skipped or pushed back. Managing the rotation around off-days in the schedule also helps a lot.

WIS: What do you believe are the most important individual player ratings for performance?

tecwrg: There are three aspects to the game of baseball, both in real life and in HBD: hitting, pitching and defense. For hitting in HBD, there's no one “right” combination of ratings which make a good player, because a typical lineup is going to need a combination of guys who can get on base, guys with speed, and guys who can knock them in. Contact, power, splits, batting eye and speed/baserunning all work together to give you something. You just need the right combination of nine somethings to have an effective run-producing lineup. Pitching is much more straightforward. Control, splits and P1-P5 pitches are the most important ratings to me, with velocity and GB/FB secondary. For defense, I want to be close to (or exceed) the recommendations for each position. But sometimes you have to trade off to get a good balance of offense and/or defense at a particular position, depending upon the total makeup of your roster.

WIS: How do you approach in-season player events like the draft, international prospects and promotions/demotions?

tecwrg: The draft is my favorite part of the season. I have spreadsheets with formulas that I use to help evaluate draft prospects, but I use that more as a guide rather than gospel when preparing for the draft. I've resisted trying to refine my formulas too much because my fear is that if I try to reduce each player to a single number then the process becomes too automatic and some subtleties in the player's ratings may get lost. As for IFA's, I've mostly moved away from them some time ago as I find that the good ones are just too damn expensive. I'd rather spend my money where I can get more value per dollar spent. And finally, I do most of my prospect promotions after the regular season has completed.

Bob Gibson Bob Gibson was tecwrg's favorite baseball player of the 1960s. Gibson spent his entire 17-year career pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals. The two-time Cy Young winner was the National League's MVP in 1968 and won two World Series championships.

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

tecwrg: Julio Lee was one of the original players upon world creation in Mantle. He won the AL MVP award in seasons 1 and 2. He was my first stud player. Others in Mantle were Dan King, who I got to 500 home runs as an Apollo, and Pat Masao who I was able to push through severely declining ratings due to age to 3,000 hits as an Apollo. In Cooperstown, I have Aaron Glanville who should earn his 200th victory for the Mystery? early next season. I also had Vic Guillen in Coop, who bolted for max-contract FA status after season 17 (I couldn't afford to re-sign him on the open market). In Moonlight Graham, I've currently got Kevin Tamura, who has caught every single game to date in his seven season career while averaging over 30 HR's, 100 RBI's and a nearly .850 OPS.

WIS: How much time do you spend on your Hardball Dynasty teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?

tecwrg: I'll spend maybe 10-15 minutes total for all three of my teams after every game cycle checking results, tweaking rotations and lineups, and checking on my minors. For things like the draft, I'll spend maybe 1-3 hours total over the course of a week, spread out over a couple of days, to do my rankings. For other special events, it all depends on my needs and my time availability. As for how much time is necessary to be competitive, that's hard to say. It all depends on the world you're in, the owners you play with, and the talent you have available to you.

WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?

tecwrg: Utilize the mentor program. Reach out to two or three guys on the mentor list rather than just one. Multiple points of view will give you a broader understanding of the game than would the specific guidance of just one person.

WIS: What is your favorite aspect of Hardball Dynasty?

tecwrg: The "dynasty" part of the game. Being able to bring a player from cradle (amateur draft) to grave (retirement, and hopefully the Hall of Fame). That's just awesome.

WIS: Least favorite?

tecwrg: Spring training. After free agency and the Rule 5 draft is over, my 25 man roster is all set. I get nothing out of a week of spring training games.

Also, the credit system is completely messed up. The $4 credit for a last place finish and the $1 credit for a third place finish need to be abolished. I propose that they be replaced by a $2 credit for all non-playoff teams that finish with a winning record. Reward the competitive teams, not the bottom feeders.

WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?

tecwrg: I'd love to see some sort of enhancement that makes spring training more relevant. Something where we can specifically target development of some aspect of our players or our team as a whole. I'm not sure exactly what that might be, and haven't really heard any good ideas regarding it in the HBD Suggestions Forums from other users, but for me, right now, spring training is just a dead week in the season schedule.

WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?

tecwrg: I pretty much enjoy most of the owners in the three worlds I play in. They are three very balanced and competitive worlds, and all the credit goes to the 32 owners in each. But the two that I probably respect the most are MikeT23 and jonas1102. I know that Mike tends to be a polarizing figure in both the Forums and the World Chats, but he does a great job as commissioner of Cooperstown and Moonlight Graham, plays the game with integrity, and tends to look at the bigger picture when talking about HBD topics. He has a lot of insight that people can learn from if they can avoid getting distracted or put off by his occasional bluster. Jonas1102 was my biggest rival in the early years of Mantle (he always got the best of me) and consistently has been able to field strong and competitive teams. I was very disappointed to see him leave Mantle after last season, and hope that he will come back again at some point in the future. He's an asset to any world he plays in.

WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?

tecwrg: I split my playing time on my Vintage Base Ball team between right field and third base. So in HBD, I'd be a third baseman with low range (I am 51, remember), a decent glove, very good arm accuracy but an arm strength rating of somewhere around 23. I just can't throw for distance anymore. For my hitting ratings, please refer above to my previous comments about my Little League career.

WIS: Thanks to tecwrg for your contributions to Hardball Dynasty and good luck in your quest for a World Series championship.

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