User Interview: tracyr

Q&A with noted SimLeagues and Dynasties user tracyr

As most of you know, WhatIfSports.com was recently acquired by Fox Interactive Media. So, in celebration, we decided to interview a user, Rob Tracy (tracyr) who has absolutely nothing to do with the sale (but who has the best chance to offend every employee of FIM and its parent company NewsCorp). In all honestly, Rob has been one of our most kind, considerate and congenial users. Ok, maybe that was a lie; but, Rob Tracy is a damned nice guy (*self-proclaimed). He also has a WhatIfSports.com tattoo. Please read what he has to say.

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

tracyr

No problem.

WIS

Who is tracyr?

tracyr

Robert Tracy, Statistician/Computer Programmer, Elias Sports Bureau. A damned nice guy.

WIS

What are your responsibilities at Elias?

tracyr

To fulfill league, team and media requests for information, be it current or historical, using any means available. Mostly I write database programs to find the info, however, manual research is required from time to time. I also write error-checking and maintenance programs. It is also my job (as well as others) to come up with the little statistical nuggets that you hear on TV or see in print.

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

tracyr

I work up at ESPN for a handful of weeks during the baseball season, and during the World Series, Gus, a producer on BBTN at the time (and close friend of Bill Simmons) mentioned it to me during the 2000 Subway Series I believe.

WIS

Which SimLeagues and/or Dynasty games have you played?

tracyr

All of them, repeatedly.

WIS

Which do you prefer?

tracyr

Obviously the Baseball Sim, but I am completely hooked on GD and HD, currently running 24 programs between the two.

WIS

Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other

interests and hobbies?

tracyr

Drinking with friends, all sports (and I do mean ALL), gambling, Big Band music and non-hair band rock music, drinking solo, poker - pretty much any competitive outlet.

WIS

Why do you think it is that sports are so big in our culture?

tracyr

People (especially men) are inherently competitive, going all the way back to which caveman got to drag the women back to the cave by her hair; which leads to watching that competition. People like to root for one person/team or another, it makes them feel good to see their choice come out on top.

WIS

Who are your favorite teams of all-time?

tracyr

1980 Buffalo Bills - after years of getting beat by everyone, ever since we got screwed out of Super Bowl I, the team was finally very competitive, and as a 14 year old, it was the first team I lived and died by.

1986 New York Mets - No brainer, its great to watch your team just kick the crap out of everyone while drunk and stoned.

1990-91 FC Kaiserslautern - my 2nd year in Germany (in the Kaiserslautern area) while n the Air Force, the equivalent of the current day Brewers (teams that don't/can't spend money) winning the Bundesliga.

1998-99 Buffalo Sabres - Screwed out of the Cup (or a chance at Game 7) by Gary Bettman's inability to control himself - toughest, grittiest team I have ever seen in any sport, got more out of less than anyone.

WIS

Did you play any sports as a kid?

tracyr

All of them, as a bespectacled kid, I went thru probably 25 pairs of glasses, playing every sport like I didn't even have them on, not caring if I put a lens into my eye. Baseball, football, ball hockey, basketball, track, cross-country, soccer, boxing, tennis, etc, got into golf when I was older.

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

tracyr

Steve Freeman and Fred Smerlas for the Bills (guts), John Milner and Joel Youngblood on the Mets, George Gervin (style), Danny Gare and John Van Boxmeer of the Sabres, Randy Smith and Bob McAdoo, Edwin Moses (ran the 400 hurdles in HS because of him - and I still maintain to this day that one of the toughest single things in sports to do is get over that last hurdle in that race).

WIS

Who are your favorite players in today's game?

tracyr

Tough one - Dennis Bergkamp, Arsenal (yes, soccer) is on the tail end of his career, and is one of the best players I have ever seen. He plays the way I wanted to play my whole life.Willis McGahee, to come back from that nasty injury in the championship game, unbelievable, Rasheed Wallace plays with the emotion you SHOULD play with. If more players played with as much heart and emotion as he does, the league would be better to watch. Larry Walker, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio - all players reaching the end, all played tough, hard baseball without creating a stir other favorites include Geoff Jenkins and Mark Kotsay stemming from their college World Series days, and of course MANNY!

WIS

Who do you feel are the most underrated athletes of all-time?

tracyr

Is this a trick question? Anyone who completes an Ironman Triathlon in the time allotted, hands down, also easily the most underappreciated. Lance Armstrong - 2000 miles over 20 days, up mountains, all on one testicle. Marco Van Basten - had to retire early as this masterfully skilled player had been kicked so many times in the ankles, he could barely walk by age 30. As for the more *popular* American sports - Dick Allen in baseball, Thurman Thomas in football, Mark Martin in auto racing, and Clyde Drexler in basketball.

WIS

Overrated?

tracyr

Any .280+ hitter in baseball whose on base percentage was barely higher than his batting average, UNLESS he hit say .350 or better. I don't see how you can overrate a football player, anyone with the sack to go out and take that punishment isn't overrated. Would you let Sean Taylor or Roy Williams hit you? Basketball players who don't do anything else on the floor but shoot the ball (see Allan Houston, John Williamson, Reggie Miller, etc.).

WIS

Build your all-time dream baseball team:

tracyr

Favorite and good - C Mike Piazza, 1B Jeff Bagwell, 2B Craig Biggio, SS Bud Harrelson, 3B Paul Molitor, OF Larry Walker, Dwight Evans, Babe Ruth, SP Tom Seaver, Robin Roberts, Bob Feller, RP Bob Wickman. Great - C Mike Piazza, 1B Lou Gehrig, 2B Rogers Hornsby, SS Honus Wagner, 3B Mike Schmidt, OF Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, SP Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Roger Clemens, RP Mariano Rivera

WIS

Is Soccer truly your favorite sport?

tracyr

Yes, for multiple reasons. 1. I ended up being better at it than any other sport, playing for a few years in Germany on a club team (very few Americans get the chance to do this) 2. I appreciate the patience and execution it takes to play the game well.

A common excuse as to why it is not popular in the states is that there are so many other sports to play/watch; however, I think the reason is more the "immediate gratification" attitude that Americans clearly show, and soccer (as well as auto-racing) is a sport that rewards patience and execution. Think about it, Football - was getting low scoring, lets move the kickoff spot back for more returns up the field, and penalize FGA's by placing the ball at the spot of the kick (so teams will be more likely to go for 1st downs on questionable attempts). Hockey and Basketball - low scoring in both sports have supposedly killed attendance, so the answer? Change the rules to boost scoring. It's always more, more, more, and I don't like that attitude.

WIS

What is the greatest sporting event you have ever attended? Watched? Participated in?

tracyr

Attended - I have been to 2 Super Bowls, the last 5 World Series, numerous games/events, more than I can count, and it ends in a TIE, the 2002 World Series in Anaheim, when Bonds hit the HR off Troy Percival - goose bumps for 15 minutes, I knew I was watching the greatest player of my lifetime so far. And the 2001 Daytona 500, due to some great connections, I watched the first 100 laps in Mark Martin's Pit stall. 43 cars going by, creating an enormous sound, raising the hairs on the back of your neck, giving you goose bumps - an unreal feeling, never matched before (unfortunately #3 died that day, but it is still the greatest single event I have attended). Watched - tough one again, as I watch just about everything, I guess it would have to be the 86 World Series. Participated in - semifinals of the military base championships in soccer while in Germany playing keeper, a 0-0 tie after regulation and OT in the shootout. I am slated to go last (5th) we go 2nd, I stop 2 shots, then it comes down to me, 2-2, a goal clinches it. I curl a shot into the left corner just out of the reach of the keeper who had guessed correctly. This was against the dirtiest team in the league, and with our commander (a Colonel) watching, I screamed **** you, you ******* at the top of my lungs as it went in, the single most exhilarating moment of my life. A close second was setting my High School (still standing) Long Jump record my junior year at 21'8." If you saw me now, you would know why (short/fat, etc.).

WIS

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

tracyr

Run naked across a soccer field while a game is going on! Ok, ok, I would love to drive in a NASCAR race, about the only thing at my age I can probably still do. I have driven 160 MPH+ and have taken racing classes, but it would be damn hard to balance my beer while doing this.

WIS

Who sits at your dream roundtable discussion?

tracyr

Tim Kurkjian, David Wells, Larry Walker, Charles Barkley, John McEnroe and Howard Cosell - most are pretty self explanatory. I like personalities who aren't afraid to make the call. I like players who live their life the way they want.

WIS

What issues in sports today pique your interest? Why?

tracyr

Honestly, not much. I couldn't care less about the steroid issue. The players understand the long term effects. But I do i think cheerleaders should wear less clothing.

WIS

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

tracyr

Not really. The person associated with any sport who I do follow is Earnshaw Cook (Manhattan Project), who was the first (and only for the most part) who said your best pitcher should NOT start the game unless he was a lineup quality hitter. This is in the days of no DH, he believed the pitcher should always be hit for unless throwing perfectly (and even then not all the times). So yes, for all you who don't believe in the short starter in the sim, there is precedence of the thought process. In non DH leagues, I have been practicing with getting at least 4 decent bench guys, and limiting my pitchers, setting almost all at 5/5 so that they are replaced and pinch hit for at all possible times

WIS

What is your greatest WIS moment?

tracyr

There have been many, but 2 really stick out. 1. Being elected to the Shtickless Hall Of Fame - an HD heavy posting group that consists of those who post with no agenda (sounds funny that I would be elected, I know) and everthing is a joke or just not serious. No harm no foul, laid back slacker attitude. A nice waste of time for those who like to waste time with others joking around. Shout outs to BT, GN, TM, JW, TS, UD, VD, HN, KB, KJ, DM, BR, SP, EH, BP, and all the others I forgot who made me the SHoFer I am today. 2. Beating the IMMORTAL Ballantine in a 7 game World Series while I was partying in Chicago with 70 other WIS'ers. After I got back home, I walked around grinning from ear to ear for quite awhile. Oh, I almost forgot - getting the WIS logo tattooed on my leg - is 3 greatest moments ok?

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of our website?

tracyr

Awesome customer service, and the forums.

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect about our website?

tracyr

Paying.

WIS

If you could change one thing about each of our SimLeagues, what would it be and why?

tracyr

Baseball - pinch hitting preference, days of rest at the All-Star Break and during the Playoffs. Basketball - No idea, for some reason I suck at this. Football - Not sure. The new release is great. In my 1st preseason game in my 1st league back I beat Genco, the legend of the game (along with Tisi). Hockey - I suck at this as well. The only thing I can think of is that shooting pct is too important. It just isn't that important in real life

WIS

Having made the playoffs 263 times in SimLeagues winning 38 championships, what is the best advice you can give to users in each of our SimLeagues?

tracyr

This I stole from my wife who said this about my golf game right before falling in the mud, "If you can't play the game, you might as well look good doing it" which means, if you suck at one of the sims, post a lot on the board. In the end, people won't realize you sucked as bad as you did, and will remember you in a better light no matter how bad you were. Also, ask questions. No matter how retarded they sound to you, they sound worse to us, just kidding. It's the only way you will improve.

WIS

You have also played in more than 1900 simmed Dynasty Games, what is the best advice you cangive to users in each of our Dynasty games?

tracyr

Actually, it's well over 4000 now (different usernames). I am currently running 18 HD and 6 GD programs. If you want a shortcut, sitemail Vandydave for HD and Breum for GD, but don't expect a reply! No really, some trial and error, some studying, and if you enjoy it, you'll find your way and eventually win more than you lose, maybe.

WIS

What are your general guidelines to drafting in Simleagues?

tracyr

Don't do it drunk, you won't like the results. Honestly, I mix my favorite players into what I think should win in each game so if I suck, I still have players I like on my teams.

WIS

How do you approach the adjustable settings in the SimLeagues?

tracyr

Always use them. They can only help (unless you have John Olerud set at 5 for stealing bases).

WIS

Do you spend much time in the forums? Why or why not?

tracyr

With almost 19000 posts, that's pretty obvious. I have dead time during my day that I enjoy filling talking about sports, and comedy. The forums, especially Shtickless is a perfect place to do that. I spend a lot less time in all the other forums since I found Lawn Furniture Porn, but I still venture outside to poke, prod, annoy and say hello to friends who haven't seen the light that is Shtickless.

WIS

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

tracyr

Well, I have met almost 100 different users and I don't think there is enough space for that, but I will give it a shot: *smeric, *Mudbone1969, *Ceez, *MikeT23, Naismith, Sdedalus, *eschwartz67, schwarze, pennquaker, ballantine, robot, gin, vandydave, tylermathias, breum, *tisi, jwelsh, kelby, urdanick, dmurphy, *ADMIN, kbjone, hugenuge, rourke, silverpaw, *laura, *denny, mikeclaw, antonsirius, *oli35, *yurizanow, *arodsagent, kujayhawk, shaybee, eddiezen, bardin, sford, ronthegenius, biglen, mildnhazy, doctorkz, dsmba, calhoop, dn3524, newarkwilder, cstrohmier, bgfoot1000, markeking, whiteslave, jnewfry, dan6768, deathinahole, apoc, hagebono, *bosoxbill, *his hot wife, *98greenc5, *kermit, johnGPF, dennisdee, *mfahie, mudyhelmut, kitkat, wylie, zubalas, rockindock, tlak, a's fan, adamo112, shredder, sugarray47, scthallfan, jcurry, wmays, jtpsops, kfunk, colonels19, moranis, *98average, ncih, davkarball, marzacco, sallyleaguer, blue911, slim senior, crafylefty, *donov274534757*mediumsize, tnuc, *comedian, *anux, plumpy, infinitebob, holy crap I can't type anymore, I am sure I am missing a ton.

*personally met

WIS

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

tracyr

Prepare to empty your wallet ok, only if you get addicted. Seriously though, check out the ENTIRE website each game, all the forums, everything. If you like sports, you will find something you like.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, how much would you cost and how many beers could you drink in 12 minutes?

tracyr

About the only thing I might still be able to do with be DIII Kicker in Gridiron Dynasty, or Driver in Clutch Dynasty. But in my *prime*, I would have to go with a 3.4 million Catcher, with 400 PA's, high OBP, solid power, average D. If I was a kicker, I could drink 6 beers in 12 minutes and still go out and nail a 38 yarder (slowly losing flexibility and strength). If I was a catcher, I could drink 6 beers in 12 minutes and still catch the ball for most of the game. But since I am neither, and since I have done this before, I can in fact, drink a 12 pack in 12 minutes (has to be cans).

User Profile

ID:tracyr
Name:Robert Tracy
Age:39
Location:Center of the universe (Manhattan)
Favorite sport:Soccer
Favorite teams:Bills, Sabres, Mets, Trailblazers, Arsenal, FC Kaiserslautern, AS Roma
Member since:Feb 2001
Greatest WIS Moment:3 way tie

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