User Interview: Dn3524

Q&A with noted WhatIfSports user Dn3524

What follows is the second in a two-part series of interviews. We gave two highly respected Hall of Fame baseball users from very diverse backgrounds the same list of 32 questions. We interviewed ESchwartz last month. For this second interview, WhatIfSports contacted dn3524 to discuss the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals, team speed, pinch hitter settings, Mike Laga, Malcolm X, Carmen Electra and obscure closers.

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us.

Dn3524

Thanks for asking me to be a part of this.

WIS

Who is Dn3524?

Dn3524

I'm 34, born in St. Louis, moved to Denver in 1994, moved to Sacramento in 2000. I keep moving left. Married with a beautiful 14-month old baby girl Monica.

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

Dn3524

I had just moved to Sacramento from Denver in late 2000 and was working at a largely forgettable job, bored silly. Having been a fan of computer baseball for years...dating back to MicroLeague in the 80s...I did a search for computer baseball games...and stumbled upon WhatIfSports. After 'simming' a series between the 1985 Cardinals and the 1986 Mets in the Exhibition Game section...I was absolutely hooked, my dreams had come true. (Especially since I was able to start John Tudor every game, v. the Mets Randy Niemann).

WIS

What was your initial reaction to our site and our games?

Dn3524

The main draw for me was that the teams and players were already in the database for me to choose from, rather than me having to create or import teams, as with actual computer games. Being a sports stat freak I loved that I could get the results of the game so quickly without actually playing.

WIS

Which SimLeagues or Dynasty games have you played?

Dn3524

I guess I've already given this one away...99.9% of the time I play baseball leagues. I've experimented with Basketball leagues, which bore me just like the real pro game, and Football exhibitions. But I don't really care about those 'numbers' that much so not much reason for me to play. I love the drafting process...it's half the fun for me, but in those leagues the fun would stop after I made my team. I love baseball leagues for the same reasons I am passionate for real baseball......the numbers, the strategy, the history, the long race for the playoffs, and all the 'little' things that the casual fan may not notice, or care to notice. I'm an addict, and I love it.

WIS

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

Dn3524

First and foremost, my 1-year old daughter Monica has become my #1 interest and hobby. Not saying that to be corny, I just can't help it. I have always enjoyed kids, but I never knew just how great it is to have your own. The most wonderful, magical, awe-inspiring...as well as challenging and tiring...thing I've ever seen. I cannot believe how much I love this little girl. Other than that, I love movies and music, though I don't seem to have as much time for either lately. I also enjoy reading, and will forever be "about 7 books behind." I also have a ridiculously huge library of old sports games on video. Love to watch old games.

WIS

What is your favorite sports moment?

Dn3524

For questions like this, with so many possible answers, I think it's best to use 2 criteria: 1) was it during the time frame when I was a kid, when sports were magical, but old enough to appreciate the moment? And 2) do I remember the 'feeling' of the moment, so much so that I get chills if I see/hear it again?

Using that, it's easier for me to answer. The moment in time would be October 1985, Game 6 of the NLCS, St. Louis @ Los Angeles. When I see the side view of Jack "The Ripper" Clark and that powerful swing absolutely crushing the baseball, and I hear the beautiful Jack Buck screaming "swing and a long one into left field! ADIOS, GOODBYE, and maybe THAT'S A WINNER! A 3-run homer by Clark, and the Cardinals may go to the Series on that one folks!" I still get chills, every time I hear it and see it. Every freaking time. The combination of being 15 with few cares in the world other than baseball, my favorite Cardinal of the era, Jack Clark, hitting a HR to send my team to the WS, with Jack Buck, who represents the childhoods' and memories, and baseball education for so many in that region, announcing...well, that pretty much crystallizes the whole thing for me. With Jack now gone, it's even more emotional.

WIS

What is your favorite WIS moment?

Dn3524

Winning the W.S. in the first Original Twist league with the 1985 Cardinals...SIM DENKINGER WAS DEFEATED!!

WIS

Who are your favorite teams of all-time?

Dn3524

The 1985 St. Louis Cardinals, the team I consider to be the best Cardinal team since I have been a fan (since 1979)...with 2004 in second. The '85 Cardinals stole 314 bases! Insane when you think about it. These were the Cardinals we grew up with...great defense, solid pitching, and speed, speed, speed. They won by doing the little things right, and that's how most of us there learned to play the game ourselves.

In football, the old St. Louis Cardinals, circa 1984 are my favorite. Comical, they were 9-7, but many my age loved them and thought they were great. Lomax to Green, the underappreciated Ottis Anderson, Stump Mitchell, E.J. Junior, etc. Lost perhaps the most crushing sports game in my lifetime...@ Washington, 29-27, to miss the playoffs in the last game. Three years later they vanished. Yeah, we love our new Rams, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I wish the Cardinals stayed and won the Super Bowl. Freaking Bidwill.

WIS

Did you play any sports growing up?

Dn3524

I played baseball and football (not much basketball until I was older...I'm not what you would consider tall). Baseball was my main focus, not surprisingly, and I can say that I was pretty good. Good defensive OF with speed, and leadoff hitter. Being a kid I definitely thought I was better than I was...but hey.....kids are like that. I loved that I had good speed, and loved being the "fast white guy." Amazing what a few years, many more than a few leg injuries, and a few pounds does to "great speed." I still play softball as much as I can, but the body just doesn't seem to like me much any more.

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

Dn3524

I'm one of the bizarre few that absolutely worshipped Rickey Henderson. Yeah, I know he annoyed almost everyone, but I love speed, and I love stolen bases, and when I became a fan in 1979 Rickey was just getting started. When he stole 100 in 1980 I was blown away, I couldn't believe someone could steal that much. Of course that led the re-emergence of the stolen base that dominated the 80s, and the style of played I love. Didn't hurt that my Cardinals played the same way. Rickey was SO dominating, I think it's hard for younger fans to truly understand what a force he was and the effect he could have on a game. The game is so different now. I understand why it is different, but sometimes I wish it would go back to the way it was back then. The Runnin' Redbirds would drive teams crazy, and it was a joy to watch. Vince...Willie....Ozzie....Tommy. Of course, I also loved Jack Clark, as I mentioned. Dave Parker was another favorite....so menacing in that black and yellow and yellow and black and white and black and yellow and black and yellow uniform. Big Eric Davis fan as well. I should stop now.

WIS

Who are your favorite players in today's game?

Dn3524

This is going to seem like a hometown pick, and of course part of it is, but as purely a baseball fan I cannot remember ever seeing a player like Albert Pujols. This young man is so dominating, so focused, so determined to improve, so intelligent, so powerful, so caring off the field, so classy, he's just amazing to watch. To think that he is actually on the team I love is amazing. How did we get so lucky? As for others, although it was difficult for me to watch in October, Carlos Beltran is an amazing talent. I guess I'm still partial to power and speed guys. He makes everything look so easy. I guess I can also give myself a shout out by name dropping Bill Mueller...as I have before. I played with Bill until we went to college, and have hung with him from time to time since he's been in the majors. Not saying we're great friends or anything, but I can drop his name and pretend I'm cool. He is a great guy and everything you'd want a professional athlete to be.....humble, classy, hard working, and appreciative. If someone you know is going to 'make it' you'd want it to be someone like Bill. I'm proud to have played with him as he represents the game and our hometown of St. Louis well. He plays like the 80s Cardinals played, and no surprise that's the team we all watched growing up.

WIS

Build your all-time dream baseball team:

Dn3524

C: Hector Villanueva ( we called him Fathector...one word)
1B: Mike Laga (the man hit a ball OUT of Busch Stadium)
2B: Geronimo Pena (if he hadn't tripped over his glove he was destined for stardom...seriously)
3B: Mike Ramsey (what a great looking dude he was)
SS: Tripp Cromer (first and only stick figure to make MLB)
OF: Jim Lindeman (yes, they kept him and traded Van Slyke)
OF: David Green (was he 21? 31? 41? What he was not was "the next Clemente" but I liked him)
OF: Ozzie Canseco (just cool to see "Canseco" on a Cardinal uniform. Well...used to be cool anyway)
SP: Joaquin Andujar (One Tough Dominican...I miss characters like that. Youneverknow!)
Closer: Tony Fossas...I wish. (see Hector Villanueva)

You didn't say it had to be a good dream

WIS

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

Dn3524

In 1983 my Dad took me to St. Petersburg, FLA to see the World Champion Cardinals in Spring Training. Imagine a kid seeing all his idols up close (we were able to go on the field and in the clubhouse due to a client of my Dad's that was friends with Whitey). We simply call it "The Trip." In 2006 I plan on taking my Dad for our first trip to Cooperstown...The Trip II, I hope.

WIS

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

Dn3524

  • Malcolm X (his autobiography is the most powerful thing I have ever read in my life)
  • Bob Costas (I think I share his geekish love of the game)
  • Rickey Henderson (yeah, to meet him, but can you imagine him at a roundtable discussion?)
  • Carmen Electra (I like to stare)
  • Jack Buck (the stories, the jokes, the everything)

WIS

If you could be commissioner of any league, which sport would it be and what would you do to change the game?

Dn3524

BASEBALL...PLEASE get rid of this asinine All-Star Game/WS homefield advantage thing! Think about it, the team with the best record in baseball over a 6-month period lost home field advantage in the World Series to a WILD CARD TEAM...because Roger Clemens was not Roger Clemens one night. Insanity. Only baseball could get this so wrong. I would force the Rockies to bring IN the fences at Coors...yes, bring them IN. Then, place a Green Monster like screen above the OF wall. Coors is so awful because of all the singles, doubles, and triples, NOT the HRs. Make it harder to get hits, let the HRs be HRs, and try to make it at least somewhat like baseball. Beautiful park, beautiful city, horrific brand of 'baseball.' Ruined the game as they drew 4,000,000 fans the other owners said to themselves WE ALL NEED MORE OFFENSE! The offensive boom of the late 90s started and the game was changed forever.

WIS

Do you draw on the philosophies of any past or present coaches in any of our games?

Dn3524

I love the stolen base and I guess we can attribute that to the White Rat. Busch Stadium used to be a canyon and the team had to be fast. Speed Never Slumps. I also think that Whitey taught us all to think ahead a few innings to anticipate what might happen, as far as the bullpen and pinch hitters, etc and this may have something to do with the reputation of Cardinal fans as astute...I think Whitey taught us a lot (not that we are smarter...I'm just saying that many Cardinal fans love the small strategies of the game).

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of our website?

Dn3524

That I can not only draft the teams in my head...but actually compete with them. Keeps all players and all teams alive in our minds.

WIS

Least favorite?

Dn3524

Umm....paying for it?

WIS

You are given credit as the creator of theme leagues? Which types of themes are your favorite and why?

Dn3524

Now this is almost comical. It's kind of a running joke that I love to point out that I created the Twist league. Hell, I am proud to have contributed something positive to a site like this. The idea came from my old MicroLeague Baseball experience. I used to take the rosters of teams back in the 80s and plug in each players 'best stats ever' including minor leagues, creating super-teams of sorts. I'd make a whole league and play them all, keep boxscores and stats and stuff. I'd listen to Cardinal games on KMOX and play MicroLeague baseball, waiting for my next real baseball game. Summers as a kid were tough, weren't they? Anyway, the Twist idea came from that, using any player on the roster, using their best year. Thus making Steve Carlton a star for the 1986 White Sox, or Cesar Cedeno an MVP for the 1985 Cardinals. Seems to have caught on OK.

WIS

What should newer users keep in mind while setting up theme leagues?

Dn3524

It's important to decide what you enjoy the most...winning? Using players you like? Using players in odd roles? Hey, it's great when they all come together, but it doesn't always happen. So draft for what you enjoy. Also, remember this is JUST A COMPUTER SIMULATION, it cannot possibly be 100% bug proof.

WIS

In the SimLeague baseball, what is your general strategy for building teams?

Dn3524

I always start with pitching. Near impossible to win without very good pitching. You simply cannot go cheap and get by in good theme leagues with veteran owners. Just like real baseball, good pitching will keep you in the game and give you a chance to win. With that being the case a strong bullpen is huge, because so many games are so close. Great starters are fun, but sometimes are gone when the game is decided. Have a strong pen and you'll always have a chance. I will commonly draft a starter with 150-175 innings to be my setup guy and he can pitch almost every game. Been doing that for a while and it works very well. The lower IP guys get too tired too fast. I'm also weird about closers. I LOVE to use obscure guys, middle relievers as closers. Tony Fossas, Cory Bailey, Andy McGaffigan, Carl Willis, guys like that. Don't ask me why, I can't explain.

WIS

What is the most important thing to keep in mind while drafting?

Dn3524

Make sure you will enjoy following your team day after day, regardless of results.

WIS

How do you go about setting your lineups and pitching rotation?

Dn3524

For the lineup I love speed and SBs at the top, shocking I know. Yes, OBP is key, but also expensive. I've used the Juan Samuel, horrible OBP types and had good success. They steal bags, they score. Good rule of thumb for me. With pitching I like the 4-man decent rotation and the strong pen...1-main setup guy and a decent long reliever, 100 IP or more. My closers usually have in the 60 IP range. Just no need to overspend on closers...you can get a good year out of odd sources. Look for low OAV and high K/9, even if they BB a lot of people. They work well for me.

WIS

How do you approach setting tendencies (advanced settings) and pitch counts?

Dn3524

I use the 1985 John Tudor settings as my guide...100 pitches for his 273 IP in a 4-man rotation. I set all my pitchers accordingly. I always use 3-3 with 'use bullpen' and 'pinch hit' unless the WHIPs are above, say, 1.18 in an 80m league. For bullpeners...120 IP or more I give a pitch count of 20, any less I use 15, and the same rules for the settings according to WHIP. I use around 94 "auto rest." I don't always win so use these at your own risk. But my guys stay fresh.

WIS

Do you make transactions during the season to try and separate yourself from others? Why or why not?

Dn3524

Usually not. Many theme leagues don't allow this. I do use AAA for depth but that's all. I guess sometimes I'll skimp on one position player to use money elsewhere, but it's a risk. Also...I drafted the guys for a reason...because I want to follow their season, so why get rid of them? I never play in open leagues anymore, though I used to.

WIS

Are there any players in specific that you like to put on your teams?

Dn3524

2 absolutely fail-safes for me...1985 John Tudor, 1985 Willie McGee. Insanely productive for me, over and over and over and over and over.

WIS

What one feature in SimLeague Baseball would you add?

Dn3524

Pinch hitter settings. No clue why that doesn't exist...it's such an important part of the game. We have no control over hitters in key spots.

WIS

What feature that currently exists would you eliminate?

Dn3524

Don't know if it's a 'feature' but early season player fatigue drives me crazy. Oh yeah...and way too many doubles with the new engine (editor's note: both have been corrected in this month's release).

WIS

What is the greatest piece of advice can you give about our games?

Dn3524

Again, must remember it is not REAL, per se, and this will guide interactions with owners, reaction to your teams, etc.

WIS

Do you spend much time in the forums?

Dn3524

When advertising leagues, but that's about it. I talk sports with my buddies on email more than anything.

WIS

What would other users be surprised to know about you?

Dn3524

That there's few things I take too seriously. I will complain a lot about my teams or players (on the site and real sports), etc, but it's hard to understand 'tone' of written words. I may seem to be fired up or angry about my team but it's all context of sports, not everyday life. I think it's fun to be emotional about sports and teams and players...as long as you are grounded in reality and take these things for what they are. Don't get me wrong I get up and down like all others with my teams, but I think I know what is really important in life (maybe I'm just trying to convince myself?).

WIS

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

Dn3524

Certainly ESchwartz67. Elliot.....is an owner that is held in high esteem by almost all that cross his path. It's not always easy to put into words WHY a person is respected and admired but E is just that. He's the kind of person you feel confident going to with questions or for advice, knowing you will gain from whatever he has to tell you. As for our meeting..he was one of the first to join up the fledgling soon-to-be called Original Twist...and we soon learned of our shared love of the classic Cardinals v. Mets rivalry from the mid-80s.....of course from different sides...me on the Cardinal side, and E on the Pond Scum side. He's a class act and a great owner. And, all of the great owners that have been a part of the Original Twist league. When I think of all the names in those leagues...I enjoy and appreciate them all. So, all Twist owners...consider yourself mentioned. We all miss Dan/Metallicafan, and the few others that have left. Really, I enjoy anyone that has the same passion for baseball that I do. It's a great connection to have. Very difficult to just name a few. I do want to mention my lifelong friends mars, moehlman, davestud, and ForestGump.

WIS

Which users get under your skin?

Dn3524

When I see garbage in the forums I try to ignore it, so I can't answer. I did have a comical, but unfortunate misunderstanding with another respected owner Laura...although I think we worked that out. One of those things that would have never happened in person, but the drawbacks of written words got the thing all messed up and misunderstood.

WIS

What would you tell new users to the site who want to get the most out of what WhatIfSports.com has to offer?

Dn3524

Ask a lot of questions, read the forums, and figure out what YOU enjoy the most in sports, and try to recreate that. For me I love seeing the stats at the end of the year. This way I have fun no matter how my team finishes.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position and how much would you cost?

Dn3524

Baseball. Outfield. $4 million. Decent average, not a lot of extra base hits, a few BBs and Ks, and lots of SBs. I'd be David Eckstein with more speed, I guess. Lead me off and I'll get some cheap SBs.

User Profile

LoginID: Dn3524
Name:Dave
Age: 34
Location:Sacramento, CA (by way of St. Louis & Denver)
Occupation:Personnel Analyst
Favorite Sport(s):MLB NCAA Basketball .NFL
Favorite Team(s):St. Louis Cardinals Missouri Tigers St. Louis Rams/Denver Broncos
Favorite Sports Memory: October 1985, Game 6 NLCS, Jack Clark's HR @ LA
Member Since:March 2001
Motto:If my baby girl is happy and the bills are paid, what's there to worry about??

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