The latest installment of WhatIfSports.com's User Interview features a SimLeague Baseball stud, mensu1954, who's compiled 97 championships and 13 T.O.C. championships during a WIS career that expands more than seven years. Mensu1954 was kind enough to take a brief respite from building powerhouse ball clubs to answer a few questions. He talks SLB strategy, reveals some of his favorite players in the game and explains how a Kentuckian grew to be a Yankees fan.
mensu1954 SimLeague Baseball Overall Records
|999||93,052-72,813 (56.1%)||2,890-2,647 (52.2%)||97|
mensu1954 Tournament of Champions Records
WIS: Who is mensu1954?
mensu1954: A 57-year-old retired teacher, high school head baseball and basketball coach that has lived in the bluegrass state of Kentucky most of my life. My wife has worked in the mental health field for 30+ years. We are both dog lovers and currently have a very intelligent (but very spoiled) yellow Labrador retriever.
WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?
mensu1954: By doing a web search for online sports games. WIS was the first one I looked at and have been hooked since.
WIS: Which of our games have you played?
mensu1954: Mainly SimLeague Baseball, but have sampled college and pro basketball without much success.
WIS: Which do you prefer?
mensu1954: SimLeague Baseball by a great margin. I've always loved baseball more than any sport…the home run race of 1961 between Maris and Mantle definitely influenced a 7-year-old! I searched the box scores daily and it lead me to become a diehard Yankee fan through thick and thin. The late 60's and early 70's were a tough time. Thank goodness for Horace Clarke, Bobby Murcer, and Roy White!
WIS: What are some of your interests and hobbies?
mensu1954: Sports, reading, history, and sports gaming.
WIS: Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion?
mensu1954: My dad, Robert E. Lee, Mike McDonald (a very close friend that lost his life 20+ years ago in a "black ice" auto accident), Thomas Jefferson, and Pete Maravich. (He could do so many things with a basketball that were amazing!)
WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?
mensu1954: Organized baseball and basketball.
WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?
mensu1954: There are so many, but the top few players in no particular order are Mickey Mantle, Don Mattingly, Catfish Hunter, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage, Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver, Reggie Jackson, Ozzie Smith, Gary Carter, Willie Randolph and Mariano Rivera. Also, I can't leave out Ted Abernathy. I saw him pitch at Crosley Field and as the first submarine pitcher I had ever seen, it just amazed me as a young person. I left out several players, but those are at the top of my list.
WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?
mensu1954: I would love to see Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. I missed out on old Yankee Stadium, but did see old Crosley Field in Cincinnati in the 60's. I loved the huge signs on the outfield walls and the terrace in the outfield! I saw Alex Johnson trip and fall down trying to catch a fly ball while going up that terrace.
WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?
mensu1954: I would have to say winning 17 straight to go undefeated in a Tournament of Champions. I also had a couple more teams go 17-1.
WIS: You currently have 18 SimLeague Baseball teams. What is the most teams you've ever had at one time? Is it challenging to keep all of your teams organized?
mensu1954: Back a few years ago, I carried 35-40 teams on a regular basis, with my high being 55. Since I began playing progressives, it's usually 15-22 or so.
The progressive league teams can create a little confusion at times, especially when several drafts are going on at one time.
WIS: Do you have any favorite SimLeague Baseball theme or progressive leagues?
mensu1954: I love progressive leagues, playing in 12 and running 2 of my own. My favorite theme leagues are Donburgh's Exclusive Ownership, both of CLWECW's Extreme Themes, and Spotsell's Dodgeball theme. All are great fun!
WIS: What is your general strategy for building teams in SimLeague Baseball?
mensu1954: My strategies have changed over the years. When I first started, spending 60% of the cap on pitching wasn't anything unusual. But, when the 1894 pitching strategy was in full swing, 35% was about my limit on pitching. Now I usually try to stay within 48-52 percent on either offense or pitching.
Also, I don't draft as much on-base percentage as in the past, as its price has gone up, but there are still a few that I add to my lineups. Until the last 6-8 months, the home stadiums I chose were almost exclusively pitching friendly.
My lineups are usually high average, little home run power, but plenty of doubles with a few players that hit triples fairly well.
WIS: Do you draw on the influence or philosophy of any actual general managers or managers?
mensu1954: No, at least not intentionally.
WIS: Have you settled on a general strategy that you use across your teams and leagues, or does your strategy continue to evolve?
mensu1954: My settings aren't anything special, in fact they rarely change. I'm not a huge Hit and Run person, so a 1 setting is a max. Stealing bases was a huge part of my strategy as a head coach at the high school level, but here nearly every owner has a great arm behind the plate. That being said, the stolen base is not a huge part of my strategy. The double switch setting is always "0". My pull settings for pitchers are usually "1" for my better starting pitchers and "2" if they are average. Bullpen settings are "4" for my average or worse relievers, but "3" for my better pitchers.
WIS: Are there any players in specific that you like to put on your teams?
mensu1954: Believe it or not, I love to put 1970 Roberto Pena (235K) on most of my teams. He plays all of the infield positions with good hands and mostly D+ range. He also hits .259, so he isn't an automatic out.
Others include 1923 Eddie Collins, 1998 David Bell, 1912 Tris Speaker, 1911 Ty Cobb, 1988 Wade Boggs, and 1899 Ed Delahanty. Pitchers include 1910 Ed Walsh, 1888 Elton Chamberlain, 1960 Marshall Bridges, 2006 Cla Meredith, 2008 Mariano Rivera, 1904 Joe McGinnity, and 1992 Cal Eldred.
WIS: Do you make transactions during the season to try and separate yourself from others?
mensu1954: Most leagues I play in don't allow WW moves. But if so, I rarely make any moves.
WIS: How much time do you spend on your SimLeague Baseball teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?
mensu1954: Since I've retired, probably 2-4 hours a day and sometimes more if drafting in 2-3 progressives at once.
I don't really think there is a necessary amount of time in order to be successful. Research in order to draft well is the most important part of being successful and is where I put most of my time. Otherwise, just checking my teams' fatigue and upcoming opponents' main players (Starting pitchers, catcher, etc.), and adjusting individual players' settings is about it for me.
WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?
mensu1954: Read the forums for advice…there are several different ways to win. Don't be afraid to ask questions of experienced and successful owners. There are several glad to help.
WIS: What is your favorite aspect of SimLeague Baseball?
mensu1954: Interacting with other owners. Progressives are a great place to kind of "get to know" the owners behind their screen names.
WIS: Least favorite?
mensu1954: Owners that bail from a progressive where they basically ruin a team and then drop out of sight. There are several that are known to do that with multiple teams.
WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?
mensu1954: More search options when drafting a team. Some may think 8 boxes is enough, but that forces an owner to leave out some very desirable search options. I would like to see 12 at least.
WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?
mensu1954: I apologize to any I leave out as it is not intentional. Bootone, TumH20_Bops, skonley, Donburgh, jfranco77, skunk206, Tucker T's, rooskie, tridentric, coled, sheller, gorbyruss, slim senior, thejuice6, and italyprof.
WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?
mensu1954: Definitely baseball. Even though I played both SS and OF, the latter was my best position. The best description for my ability would be "Good Glove-slightly below average hitter" (Darn those wicked sliders!).
I would be a number 4 outfielder, sent in for defense and/or a spot starter. B/B- fielder, a hitter with little HR power, but with a good eye…something around a .235 average and .350 on-base pct and able to put the ball in play. Probably around 150-175 PA and a $1M salary.
WIS: Many thanks to mensu1954 for his time and conributions to WhatIfSports.com.