User Interview: contrarian23 From WhatIfSports.com image

User Interview: contrarian23

Q&A with contrarian23

SimLeague Baseball player contrarian23 is the subject of our latest User Interview. With 81 SLB championships and three TOC championships on his trophy shelf, contrarian23 is one of the game's most successful players. He also runs two progressive leagues, the No Whining Progressive and the No Whining Progressive - Early Edition.

contrarian23 SimLeague Baseball Overall Records
Seasons Record Playoff Record Championships
95483,823-73,005 (0.534)2,054-1,843 (0.527)81

contrarian23 Tournament of Champions Records
Appearances Record Finals Championships
139565-557 (0.504)63

WIS: Who is contrarian23?

contrarian23: Such an existential question. I'm 45, lifelong baseball fan going back to 1976. Originally from the Boston area, I now live outside of Washington DC. I'm the father of two amazing children, and I spend my time professionally as a management consultant in the health care industry, which keeps me on the road a lot.

WIS: What are some of your interests and hobbies?

Ted Williams Teddy Ballgame would be among the prestigious guests at contrarian23's dream roundtable discussion.

contrarian23: Besides baseball, my interests are pretty diverse. In no particular order: chess, crossword puzzles, philosophy, economic theory, the history of science, cryptography, wine, travel, and anything related to Sherlock Holmes.

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

contrarian23: Almost impossible to pick just five. Ask me again in a week and I might give a totally different set of answers. For today, let's go with Christopher Hitchens, Karl Marx, Eugene Debs, Richard Feynman, and Ted Williams. The conversation would be lively, argumentative, ribald, and hilarious.

WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?

contrarian23: Yes, baseball and soccer in my youth, but was never a star athlete or anything like that. In college I played just about every sport at the intramural level with my fraternity.

WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?

contrarian23: Mostly Red Sox from my lifetime: Luis Tiant, Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Big Papi, Dustin Pedroia. My favorite non-Boston player, by a wide margin, was Eric Davis.

WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?

contrarian23: Well, any of the progressive teams that have won a championship would be right up there, but I think my first TOC victory would have to take the prize. I actually wrote a long post about in the forums a few years back because it was such a wild ride.

WIS: Do you have any favorite SimLeague Baseball theme or progressive leagues?

contrarian23: I'm obviously rather partial to the two progressives I run (the NWP and the NWPEE), largely due to the amazing owners in both leagues. In terms of themes, two stand out above all others: Schwarze's annual WIS Championship is the non-pareil event on this site. And thejuice6's tournaments are always very competitive and exciting.

WIS: What is your general strategy for building teams in SimLeague Baseball? Do you draw on the influence or philosophy of any actual general managers or managers?

contrarian23: I've written a lot about this in the forums over the years, and it's tough to summarize in a paragraph or two. While the specifics vary from theme to theme and at different cap levels, the overall strategy is to find players who give good value for the cost. Which is of course just the Moneyball philosophy. And while there are exceptions to this, I also tend to build my teams around some of Earl Weaver's principles. For example, I rarely play small ball, and I like to concentrate my pitching staff into the smallest possible number of pitchers. No 13-man pitching staffs for me.

WIS: Your current team names include This Could Be a Disaster, Impending Doom, Could Get Ugly, Not Enough IP, Usually a Disaster, First Try and Cards, Sox. Who Knows? Is this all part of a greater strategy to lull your opponents into a false sense of security?

contrarian23: {Laughing} No, not really. Two things are going on there. The first is humility - I've lost a lot of games on WIS and don't consider myself anywhere near the caliber of the very best owners here. The second is that many of those teams are experiments in a new strategy, usually a risky one, and the team name reflects that risk. "This Could be a Disaster" for example, was an attempt to put a high range team into a good hitting park and without using the usual top-tier deadball pitchers you typically find in OLs. My fear was that we would give up too many hits. As it turned out, that team did very well, made it to the World Series before finally losing.

Eric Davis Contrarian23's favorite non-Boston player was Eric Davis. He and Rickey Henderson are the only players in major league history to hit 20+ home runs and steal 80+ bases in one season.

WIS: Two of your teams are Try Not Using Joss and No Joss, No Problem. Are there any other players like Addie Joss that you would like to see used less frequently or have their values adjusted?

contrarian23: Well, pretty much all the deadball-era pitchers are priced too low in my opinion, as are switch-hitters and players with high SB (and high SB percentages.) I'd like to see some of the modern HR hitters reduced in price, because right now they are almost unusable. I suppose I should mention that while I do wish fewer owners would use Addie Joss, I am more annoyed by owners who complain incessantly about his overuse. I have won many OL championships without Addie Joss; he can be beaten, and there are certainly other strategies that you can use to win without resorting to deadball-era pitching every time.

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

contrarian23: I almost never make trades, except in progressive leagues. In OLs and themes, I spend a lot of time thinking about my roster, and I tend not to tinker with it very much. I do occasionally use the waiver wire, but more as a way to manage fatigue than to improve my roster.

WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?

contrarian23: Read the SimLeague Baseball forum. Go back (at least) 3 years and read every thread whose title looks useful. It will take you a couple of hours, but just about everything you need to know to play this game competitively can be found there if you will do the research. I've also compiled some of the best links into a post that is pinned at the top of that forum. That's a good place to start.

WIS: What is your favorite aspect of SimLeague Baseball?

contrarian23: The other owners. The game engine itself remains fun, but it's the competition and camaraderie that makes this site such a special place.

WIS: Least favorite?

contrarian23: Well, I'd say the lack of any recent update, but that's obvious and too easy. The real issue, I think, is the almost total lack of communication from site administration. You've got a loyal passionate fanbase here; I wish you would communicate with us more and let us know what your plans are (and please, the next time you promise an update, please follow through on it.)

WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?

contrarian23: Can I list two? For the algorithm, reduce the ability of deadball-era pitchers to suppress the home run. The longball needs to be a greater part of this game. Then, for the user-interface, please make the game more compatible with mobile devices. Most of us access the site at least as often from smartphones and tablets as we do from PCs, and the current site does not have a mobile-friendly UI at all.

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

contrarian23: There are so many...just by listing some of these names I know I risk offending those whom I leave out. Start with Crazystengel and Italyprof, two individuals whom I consider good friends although we have never actually met. Both are great competitors, both make major contributions to the WIS community, and both are extremely knowledgeable about world affairs beyond baseball. My life is richer because of these two fine gentlemen. Then there are the owners who create amazing themes: schwarze and thejuice6, as mentioned before, but also jfranco77, genemock91, finn2030 immediately come to mind. And two owners who, although no longer active on the site, were legendary in their commitment to helping new owners learn the game: Biglenr and JohnGPF. Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the amazing owners in the NWP and the NWPEE, who make those leagues my very favorite part of WIS.

WIS: We thank contrarian23 for his time and for sharing with the SimLeague Baseball community.


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