User Interview: ARomano

Q&A with noted SimLeague Baseball user ARomano

We recently contacted noted SimLeague Baseball user ARomano (currently 5th in the 2008 WIS Championship)to discuss draft strategies, managing pitching staffs, setting lineups, Benjamin Franklin, the 1998 New York Yankees, Cisco Carlos, wine and competitive ping-pong.

WIS

Who is ARomano?

ARomano

I am a 37 year old father of 3 (ages 9, 6 and 3) living in Petaluma, California, and working in San Francisco as a civil defense attorney. My wife of nearly 12 years is a teacher. I was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island, NY and went to undergraduate school at the University of California at San Diego (where I met my wife).

WIS

How did you learn about WhatIfSports.com?

ARomano

It's been over 6 years and I really don't exactly recall how. I think a friend of mine from UCSD told me about it. Outside of about 18 months in 2004 and 2005 during which I was very busy with overseeing and assisting with building my current home, Iíve been playing on the site consistently the entire time.

WIS

Which SimLeagues or Dynasty games have you played?

ARomano

I've played only Baseball, both SLB and more recently HBD. I've been spending much more time over the past year with my HBD teams, but thoroughly enjoy both.

WIS

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

ARomano

My family, work and home take up much of my other free time. My two oldest are boys and they play baseball, basketball, soccer, football, tennis and gymnastics throughout the year. I've also got nearly 3 acres including about an acre of wine grapes at my home in Sonoma County so that combined with my kids activities is about all I can handle. But, I still love to play basketball pick-up games when possible, play in a softball league in the spring and summer, and play ping-pong in a competitive league whenever possible (which is not nearly as often as I'd like).

WIS

What is your favorite sports moment?

ARomano

This is a really tough question and I don't think I can pick one. I enjoyed numerous moments of the Yankees WS victories in the late 1990's; I hate seeing it but Gibson's homer off Eck was incredible; Jordan drilling the game winner after pushing off; being a Warriors fan Baron Davis' posterization of AK47 was awesome; Jason Giambi's homer off Mike Stanton in the 9th in Oakland; that damnable loser Eric Byrnes arguing with the umpire in the playoff game against the Yanks, then getting tagged out by the catcher instead of going back and touching the plate; Dykstra's homer in the WS for the Mets in '86, which I called earlier that day (my best friend will back me up on that one); but, watching the game live when George Brett came screaming out of the dugout after getting called out for pine tar too high on his bat was amazing.

WIS

What is your favorite WIS moment?

ARomano

Winning my first TOC (and then having my wife spend nearly all of the winnings on Amazon).

WIS

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

ARomano

Presuming we could all understand each other I'll agree with many that Jesus Christ would have to be one, while I would also include Leonardo Da Vinci, Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Franklin and Robin Williams as moderator.

WIS

Which are your favorite teams of all-time?

ARomano

I'll have to stick with ones I've actually seen play so: the 1978 & 1998 Yankees. The Cowboys in the 1990's. The 2001 Oakland A's (which was the best team that year, I truly believe that, but they were just unlucky).

WIS

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

ARomano

I played all of them, even lacrosse (growing up on Long Island it's almost like Football in Texas - you can't avoid it). However, I played baseball, basketball, tennis and even table-tennis throughout high school, and tennis and basketball a bit in College.

WIS

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

ARomano

We love to play them. There's so much money involved now and at the same time the media pushes it down our throats. For many, it's a release and it takes their minds away from the banality of their lives...

WIS

Who are your favorite players of all time?

ARomano

Again, sticking to those I've seen play, Don Mattingly was my hero as a teenager. I emulated him as much as possible, although never was able to grow the mustache. I still wonder what would have been had he not injured his back. I love watching Steve Nash play. I played a couple pick-up games against him while I was at law school at USF before he played in the NBA and knew he was going to be great. Others include Michael Jordan, Paul O'Neill & Derek Jeter. Rising quickly are Tim Lincecum, Rich Harden and Monta Ellis.

WIS

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

ARomano

See a World Series game in person involving the Yankees or A's. I had tickets for Game 5 of the World Series in 1998 against San Diego and was listening on the radio to Game 4 while driving down from San Francisco when the Yanks swept the Padres. That was likely the only time I'll ever root against the Yankees in the World Series.

WIS

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

ARomano

I'd love to be the MLB Commissioner, but I'd want to change the NBA rule and eliminate players under the age of 21 from being able to get drafted. I don't know that I would want to change any MLB rules...

WIS

In SimLeague baseball, what is your general strategy for building teams? Do you draw on the influence or philosophy of any actual managers?

ARomano

Having closely followed the Oakland A's during the entirety of Billy Beane's tenure I follow his philosophy pretty closely. I draft for high OBP and slugging and low whip, low HR/9 pitchers. I don't care about speed at all. I will usually draft high OPS guys that field well up the middle and at 3B. I always draft a very strong bullpen, trying to get the best OAV and low BB/9 and HR/9 possible, and at least 2 very good starters for the cap level Iím drafting. I feel you definitely need 2 very good starters to compete in the playoffs (sometimes 2 and a half is the best for playoff success - with the Ĺ being a 100-140 IP SP).

WIS

How do you go about setting your lineups?

ARomano

I try to put my guys in order of normalized OBP from top to bottom, with some changes related to their plate appearances or power numbers. First up is usually my highest OBP guy that is not one of my highest sluggers. I'll put my best OPS hitter up 3rd and go on down the line according to OPS.

WIS

How do you go about setting your pitching staffs?

ARomano

I adhere to their IP/G strictly, calculating the number of pitches they can throw based on about 16 pitches per inning. I often move guys back and forth between starters and relievers as needed depending on usage and need for rest. I always build teams with strong bullpens.

WIS

Do you make transactions during the season to try and separate yourself from others?

ARomano

I'll make trades if allowed, but I avoid the waiver wire. I take time drafting so I feel I picked the guys on the team for a reason and if they're not performing, then they should sooner or later. I only use the WW to pickup a player when possible after dropping my $200k guys in open leagues or theme leagues set up similarly.

WIS

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

ARomano

I feel like there are many, and it's significantly changed with each revision of the sim and salary structure. Some constants through the years are Cisco Carlos, Steve Karsay, Greg Maddux, Wade Boggs, Tony Phillips and Babe Ruth, with more recent favorties being Kevin Brown, Wes Littleton, Buck Weaver, Sherry Magee, Gavvy Cravath... I could go on for a while...

WIS

Do you spend much time in the forums?

ARomano

I check in every once in a while. However, the forums of late are not as helpful or interesting as they once were. I feel there are just way too many petty squabbles and posters trying to be funny or witty that it's not really worth the time. I do scan the theme league classifieds regularly.

WIS

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

ARomano

There are really very many. I hate to leave some off my list, which I know I inadvertently will, but here goes. JohnGPF, mensu1954, sford, shaybee, schwarze, barranjoey, richard3244, 7Yankees7, Bootone, dan6768, alston, ballantine, wportal, PennQuaker, rooskie, caracarn, grizzly_one, eschwartz67, jfranco77, ArlenWilliam, DoctorKz and pat007ohmss.

WIS

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

ARomano

There's lots of ways to go with this question, but rather than simply dismiss it with a terse response Iíll say a $2M version of Mike Scioscia as someone that could play a bit but who is a much better manager than player.

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