User Interview: Kyleboon

Q&A with noted Hardball Dynasty user Kyleboon

We recently contacted former member of Hardball Dynasty developer and noted WIS user Kyleboon to discuss MLB SimLeagues, Ghandi, Eddie Izzard, Troy Smith, Finneytown, Ohio, sousaphones, the forums, Mike Nugent and the MLS.

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

WIS

Who is kyleboon?

Kyleboon

I'm 25 and a former employee of What If Sports. In July I uprooted myself and moved to Los Angeles to take a job with IBM.

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

Kyleboon

Way back in college a good friend of mine find out about the site and we started playing in baseball leagues. A few years later that friend found out that WIS was located in Cincinnati and decided to get a job there. That friend is tinmanpb. So it's his fault pretty much.

WIS

How long did you work here and what were your responsibilities as a member of sitestaff?

Kyleboon

I started at WIS right after I graduated from Ohio State in March 2005. In June of 2006 I accepted my new job and worked my last day July 7th 2006. I worked on Hardball Dynasty from start to finish.

WIS

Which SimLeagues and/or Dynasty games have you played?

Kyleboon

I think I have played every single one, although I have only 1 season of Clutch and Hockey.

WIS

Which do you prefer?

Kyleboon

Would I get shot if I don't say HBD even though I helped create it? MLB SimLeagues is the game that fits best into my hectic schedule these days, but I love HBD and GD as well. NBA Simleagues are fun too.

WIS

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

Kyleboon

I have a lot of hobbies: golfing, fishing, watching football, reading, working with Habitat for Humanity, and poker are the main ones. Also lately I've had this weird obsession with watching This Old House reruns.

WIS

Who are your favorite teams of all-time?

Kyleboon

Well I root for Ohio State, the Reds and the Bengals, so all my favorite teams are going come from there. The 2002 Ohio State football team was so much fun, especially being there for all the home games and having a huge party for the NC game - no one thought they could win that game but they pulled it out. The 1999 Cincinnati Reds team is the one that really got me back into baseball; it took that long from the strike. I remember as a kid watching and following the 1994 Reds and being totally crushed when the strike happened and ruined the rest of the season. After that I liked baseball still but I didn't read the boxscores every morning like I did in 1994. Last year's Bengals were a lot of fun; it was great to be around while they restored some sense of city-wide pride. I think in 10 years I'll be adding the 2006 Buckeyes to the list as well. Being in Columbus for the Michigan game was insane, and I'll be in Glendale Arizona in a few weeks too. (Anyone want to give me a ticket?)

WIS

Did you play any sports as a kid?

Kyleboon

No, I am terribly unathletic. I was 3rd to last the WIS 40-yard dash in June. I only beat an old guy (editor's note: may or may not be norbert) and some guy who tripped editor's note: may or may not be seble). I did play soccer until 8th grade, and I reffed for a few years after that. I was a marching band guy - I played the sousaphone. However I'm not very musical either so I couldn't ever dot the 'i' at Ohio State. Luckily I'm good at programming or I would never get the girls.

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

Kyleboon

Ken Griffey Jr is my all-time favorite athlete. I remember when I had his 1989 Donruss rookie card (with the ugly purple and blue border that said "rated rookie") and I started learning about him, and his dad and some of the history of baseball. I still have about 120 Ken Griffey Jr. baseball cards in a closet at my mom's house. I named my dog after Boomer Esiason which is the next best thing to naming your son after someone. However, Boomer is a better name for a dog than a person. Barry Larkin has to be on the list too.

WIS

Who are your favorite players in today's game?

Kyleboon

Carson Palmer is great; he's got to be the king of sports in Cincinnati these days. Chad Johnson is fun to watch and fun to listen to. I really liked David Pollack and I hope he's able to return to football some day. Mike Nugent was great at Ohio State. It was awesome to see a kicker get so much respect. After games the stadium halls were filled with chants of "Nuuuuuuge" every week. I was at his last game at Ohio Stadium and he got the biggest cheer of any senior that year. He'll probably be the only kicker's name I ever remember more than a few years later. I'm a big Tiger Woods fan too. If it's Sunday during the week of a major and Tiger is in contention, you can bet I'm in front of the TV.

WIS

Build your all-time dream college football team:

Kyleboon

As long as they're Buckeyes and as long as they bring home a national championship, I'm not too picky. At quarterback I'd have to take the newest Heisman Trophy winner in Troy Smith. At running back I'll go with Archie Griffin. Orlando Pace, LeCharles Bently, Terry Glenn, Andy Katzenmoyer, A.J. Hawk, Chris Gamble, and Antonio Winfield is a good place to start. You can fill in the rest.

WIS

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

Kyleboon

There are 3 Buckeye football games from 2002 that I will never forget attending. First was the Wisconsin game in Wisconsin (thanks for the ticket tinmanpb) which is the only time I've ever been scared for my physical safety after a game (editor's note: No problem on the tickets; sorry I contributed to those concerns. It was the second time that season that I had seen "my" team lose to Ohio State after dropping potential touchdowns in the back of the endzone,). Penn State at home that year was unbelievably electric with Chris Gamble coming up with the huge interception in the 2nd half. Obviously the Michigan game was the most fun. It felt like the entire stadium held their breath (while making a lot of noise) for the entire game. You could cut the tension with a knife during that game. Last year's OSU-Texas game was a lot of fun until the last few minutes. Last year's Bengals-Colts game was a shootout and a lot of fun to watch in person.

As far as watching (on TV), the 2002 Miami-Ohio State is hands down my favorite. Also I remember watching all 4 of the 1990 World Series games when the Reds swept the A's. Jose Rijo was awesome in games 1 and 4.

I've attended some great high school games as well. High school sports are so emotionally charged. 10,000 fans in a small stadium in Finneytown, Ohio can be as exciting as 105,000 in Columbus, Ohio.

My most memorable moment participating in a game had to be a few years ago playing football in 6 inches of snow with my college buddies. I caught a short pass and took the ball 60 yards breaking a tackle from every player on their team. Then I had to sit and rest a bit.

WIS

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

Kyleboon

I'm on a mission to get to all 11 Big Ten stadiums. I've been to 7 so far. I'm also on a mission to see a football game in all 50 states - I'm at 12 right now. If the reds get back to a world series, I'll be at at least one of those games for sure. I'd like to go to a reds opening day game, a bengals playoff game and an Ohio State national championship game as well. I've been a BCS game, but never a national championship game. That wasn't 1 thing, but I could probably list another 10 things I want to do too.

WIS

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

Kyleboon

I'd take MLS actually. I think there's a lot they could do to increase interest in Soccer in the United States. Plus I like a challenge.

WIS

Who sits at your dream roundtable discussion (5 people - need not be sports related)?

Kyleboon

Ignatius of Loyola, Ghandi, Jim Tressel, Steve Jobs and Eddie Izzard.

WIS

What issues in sports today pique your interest? Why?

Kyleboon

Mostly just the concerns of the teams I root for. Instead of worrying over issues I can't control, I prefer to voice my opinion with my dollar. I spend money to support teams and issues I support, and don't worry about the rest. It's a lot easier than spending a lot of time thinking and talking about things like steroids in baseball.

WIS

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

Kyleboon

I think we're drawn to watching greatness in an understandable way. I've taken a lot of math classes but I don't think I can really ever understand the actual genius of Einstein, However, I can watch LeBron James play basketball and understand his talent.

WIS

What is your greatest WIS moment?

Kyleboon

I made the playoffs in my first ever MLB SimLeague, which was a test league for the Theme League draft feature. There were a lot of great owners in there and I got pretty lucky to do it, but it was fun. If I ever win a championship, that will be my greatest moment.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of our website?

Kyleboon

It's hard to pick out just one thing. I think it's the community. Playing the games is fun, but playing (and winning) against people you have some sort of a relationship with is ever better.

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect about our website?

Kyleboon

Can I say (handling) customer support? Of course I don't have to do that anymore so maybe I don't have a least favorite part. People don't realize how much work goes into What If Sports behind the scenes.

WIS

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

Kyleboon

There will always be bugs and cookies in the different games. I think as long as all the games continue to evolve, I won't have too much to complain about. The only real complaint I have is just that I wish I had more time to play the games.

WIS

Having played each of our games, what is the best advice you can give to users in each of our SimLeagues and Dynasty games?

Kyleboon

I think the biggest key for success, in terms of simply winning as frequently as possible, is to realize that the games are different than the sports themselves. If you're looking to make the games more like the sports they are based on - join theme leagues.

WIS

Do you spend much time in the forums?

Kyleboon

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I lurk the HBD forums a lot and I post in College Football General a fair amount. I have a few friends in the NBA forum too. I don't want to give the impression that my view is in any way an official WIS view anymore, so I took a few months off after starting my new job and now I'm more frequent in the forums.

WIS

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

Kyleboon

Is this a trap? Does NOT saying a sitestaff's name mean I don't respect or enjoy them? (editor's note: Gotcha!) Sitestaff is great, but special thanks to tinmanpb who introduced me to WIS and donated $10 to my poker game every week (editor's note: Hey, I more than broke even in that game. I just rarely won and by rarely I mean that I won once and got second like 15 times), as well as tzentmeyer who I worked with on a daily basis for HBD. Most of my favorite users are from SimLeague Baseball and HBD testing and the trips to Chicago. Special thanks to zlionsfan for driving us home in Chicago at 5AM, and to tracyr for losing at pool.

WIS

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

Kyleboon

Read the forums and play some of the free pre-season leagues before jumping into your first league. It will be a lot more fun if you can be competitive with your first team.

WIS

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

Kyleboon

I'd probably be a DIII lineman in GD that you could sign for a few letters and a visit from the assistant coach. Then I would graduate in four years and go on to law school where I would specialize in patent law and get a good job settling patent disputes between Fortune 100 companies. I'd drive a BMW, get married, and have a son who would go on to be an all-pro defensive tackle in the NFL.

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