User Interview: 7Yankees7

Q&A with noted Hardball Dynasty and SimLeague Baseball user 7Yankees7

We recently contacted Hardball Dynasty and Simleague Baseball veteran and standout 7Yankees7 to discuss allocating budgets, international prospects, ballpark factors, Mickey Mantle, winning over 50,000 sim games, Ron Guidry, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin.

WIS

Who is 7Yankees7?

7Yankees7

I am Jerry, a 62 year old father of three and grandfather of eight living in Florida. My sports interests are Baseball, the Yankees and Mickey Mantle in that order.

WIS

How did you learn about whatifsports.com?

7Yankees7

I originally found it through a link on MLB.com. It took a while before I realized that I could get to the site directly. I had been looking for something similar to the All-Star Baseball game (with the spinner) that I used to play growing up. That game had all the greats and gave a real interest in the history of the game. I am not a fantasy guy because I am a baseball fan; I would rather play a game like this.

WIS

Which games of ours have you played?

7Yankees7

SimLeague Baseball and Hardball Dynasty (HBD). When I first saw HBD, I flipped for it and have not played SimLeague Baseball since. Now I have 13 HBD teams running. Fortunately, three or four of them are generally waiting to fill or simulating Spring Training games, so I only have to follow eight or nine teams. With Hardball, the price is perfect for the amount of games and enjoyment that you get.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

I love all sports. I love going on cruses with my wife. And my biggest hobby is my grandkids. I am a displaced New Yorker living in West Palm Beach, Florida, and all of my grandkids are up North, but we are visiting or being visited often.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

The American culture is so geared toward work. Work is our motivation. For us, sports are the best distraction from that. On top of that, kids need heroes growing up. With sports, kids can find grown men who play the same games that they play in the backyard so they provide easy heroes for the kids to emulate.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

Benjamin Franklin - Did so much. He is unreal, like an alien or something; he was so far ahead of his time and was a statesmen and great inventor. Einstein - Probably the brightest figure of the 20th Century. Babe Ruth - The most unbelievable player in baseball history. I would love to hear his stories and just be in his presence. Mickey Mantle - My boyhood hero. And I would like to get the 60+ homerun steroid boys all together to ask them why they ruined baseball. Baseball equals stats and the validity of those stats is destroyed. All of the numbers over the last ten years are not real and that is a travesty. I still believe that Roger Maris holds the homerun record.

WIS

Who are your favorite players of all-time?

7Yankees7

Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Bobby Murcer, Thurmon Munson, Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter. Murcer and Mattingly played on some bad teams, but they got me through to the latest Yankees teams.

WIS

Which are your favorite teams?

7Yankees7

I am a traditional New Yorker so my favorites are the Yankees, New York Football Giants, Rangers and Knicks. My favorite team of all is the '61 Yankees.

WIS

Did you play baseball (or other sports) growing up?

7Yankees7

I played High School and College baseball and even had a tryout with the Mets and Phillies. When I was in High School I actually set a New York High School record with 13 RBI in the NYC Championship Game. There were a bunch of scouts at the game to see the other team's pitcher and we torched him. Every time I got up it seemed the bases were loaded. We won 13-12.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

Yankees fantasy camp. I would love to bat against a guy like (Ron) Guidry.

WIS

Are you going to drive in 13 runs off of him?

7Yankees7

(laughs) No, maybe if Whitey Ford is still pitching in those.

WIS

You have won two Hardball Dynasty Major League World Series and 57 SimLeague Baseball Championships (as well as over 50,000 regular season SimLeague and HBD games). Congratulations. What would you consider your greatest WIS moment?

7Yankees7

I have two: My first and last SimLeague Baseball teams. With my first, I just picked players I liked and ended up with a mismatched, terribly drafted roster. I was in last place and started to use the waiver wire to pick up better players. Even losing 10% with each transaction, I was able to get to the World Series. And with my last team, I won the World Series and the Tournament of Champions.

WIS

In Hardball Dynasty, how do allocate your budget?

7Yankees7

In general, it is different by season. The first season in a world is very different from seasons down the line. For the first season, I like to go with at least $10M for coaching and $8M for training and medical and then I max for prospects, whether I think that needs to free agents this season or through the draft or international signings. In season two, I will look at what I need to sign all of the players that I want and put the rest into international prospects. When I am usually picking 31st or 32nd, the draft does not mean a whole lot so international prospects are the best way to get young talent.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

This is my favorite part of the game. With arbitration, I try to avoid it and lock up my players long-term if possible - and I don't need that cash for other free agents. The biggest means by which I try to improve my team is through free agency. Trades are fine, but I would rather spend money to get a player than give up one. I subscribe to the Yankees' "win now" mentality, worrying mostly about this season.

WIS

What is your general strategy for hiring/re-hiring coaches?

7Yankees7

I have come to realize how important coaching is. $10M may not be enough as this is not an area where you want to be short. The better the coaches, the quicker the improvement. With coach re-hiring, I will automatically re-hire all of the good coaches.

WIS

How did you finalize rosters at each level? What role does spring training play in your decision making?

7Yankees7

I view spring training as a contest. I don't care about wins or losses, but I do look at stats. I will bring up the top players from each level and may promote them a level if they play well. Otherwise, with about ten games left in the season, I will re-order my rosters so it does not cost me to promote players the next season.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

With lineups, I will always bat my best hitter third. Then, I follow with power 4, 5, 6 and so on. My lineup will change during the season though. That's how I did it in SimLeague Baseball. I give my first lineup 20 games and then I tweak it based on performance. With pitching, I follow the recommendations and then tweak them a little bit. The recommendations never start a player with stamina less than 70, but sometimes it is valuable to do that to get the full innings out of a guy. A guy may never throw a complete game, but he may be good for 65 pitches every start. I will make him a starter and set his pitches accordingly.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

Overall does not say much. Look at your ballpark first and then find the ratings that match your park. In a negative homerun park, players rated in the 90s for power don't do much. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to design your team around your ballpark.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

I set my preferences for draft settings based on park. All but one of my parks are homer-friendly, so I stress slugging. At some primary positions I will value defense too. For promotions, I look at player's numbers relative to that level and the other players on the team. The best players will be promoted. Stats never lie. I use the coach notification as well to get a snapshot on those stats.

WIS

Do you think your strategy will be conducive to building a multi-season dynasty? Or, do you feel that your team may be great for a couple seasons, but then must rebuild?

7Yankees7

I think that I am good-to-go for a long time with this strategy. Not all teams will improve each season, but they all should contend.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

Kid Maxwell from the Colorado Dingers in my 7Mantle7 team is the greatest player you guys have ever produced. In his first season, he hit 110 homeruns, had 282 RBI, hit .379 with a .488 OBP, .971 SLG and had a 1.459 OPS. His overall rating? 79. Overall rating does not mean everything. A 70 rated third baseman could be like an 84 rated SS.

WIS

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

7Yankees7

I spend about 15 minutes per team a day, but it depends on how deep the AI is set. I have the AI run all of my levels but ML. I think 15 minutes per non-AI level is the best approach.

WIS

Have any other users sought you out for help? Do you mind helping other users?

7Yankees7

Very often. There are a lot of guys that I know from SimLeague Baseball who have just come on board (to HBD) so I help them. I love to help users. I have even talked to several guys on the phone before. I don't mind.

WIS

Who are the users you respect the most?

7Yankees7

I played SimLeague Baseball and I run three worlds (7Yankees7, 7Mantle7, 7Mickey7) so there are lot of guys that I know and respect. 80% of the guys in those three worlds are the same. Those include: mojolad, mike999, billyrohr, bbmogul, wrlore, shambo2000, zackaryl, bighead24, wolvie14 and I know everyone's first name. And to my friends that I might have forgotten, I apologize for not mentioning you.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of HBD?

7Yankees7

The preseason where free agents are acquired, there are trades, decisions are made and camaraderie is created through the World Chat. The chat is the biggest thing and needs to be on the forefront. Other games like this do not understand that. People need to know each other, and enjoy knowing each other.

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect of Hardball Dynasty? As it is a new game, if you could change three things about HBD, what would they be?

7Yankees7

The coach signing is fixed, which was my least favorite, so there is no least favorite. The game is good. I have three things to suggest though. There should be an auto-pilot for all promotions where the AI takes that over if that is selected. Worlds with less than half returning should be disbanded and those teams sent to an open world. When there are that many openings, most of those teams were abandoned anyway and no one wants to take over one of those teams. I would also like to see trade proposals from the Team Depth Chart page. I like to look at the entire franchise to see at which positions an owner has excess talent and may be able away a good prospect.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, which sport would you play? At which position? And, what would you be rated?

7Yankees7

I would be in Hardball Dynasty as a Centerfielder rated 95 overall and would cost $20M.

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