User Interview: Laura

Q&A with noted WhatIfSports user Laura

"The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again." - James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams.

Soon, pitchers and catchers will report and spring training will again mark the onset of another year of baseball in America. But, at WhatIfSports.com, time stands still as the greats play together on our own 'sim' field of dreams, where the love of the game transcends politics, scandals, egos and even gender. To help us remember why it is we have loved, love and will continue to love this game, WhatIfSports.com recently contacted (self-proclaimed) Forum Immortal Laura to discuss SimLeague baseball, stats, Jody Davis, Ballpark Franks, the Cubs, Wrigley Field bleachers, flag team, road trips, marriage proposals, SimLeague Hockey prowess and the genius that is Woo-Woo.

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

WIS

Who is laura?

Laura

My name is Laura, and I play simbaseball.

WIS

How did you learn about WhatIfSports.com?

Laura

I followed a link off an MLB.com page - something about matching up your favorite teams in history vs. a better team. I somehow immediately decided to join a theme league, but the theme league details said to check the forums for details. That sent me to the MLB.com forums - since the MLB.com frames carried over to my registration - where I posted a few pathetic messages asking where I could get more information about this "simbaseball league." It was a same-first-name league, and my Ballpark Franks ROCKED!

WIS

Who are some of your other favorite coaches, players and teams of all-time?

Laura

Coaches: College of Coaches, Riggleman

My favorite players are the ones I've watched play.

Players: Ryne Sandberg, Jody Davis, Greg Maddux, Kevin Tapani, Mark Prior

Teams: 1989 & 2003 Cubs

WIS

How many Cubs games do you attend a year?

Laura

Too many! I was part of a ticket pool over the past 2 years, and I was able to work a great summer flex-schedule, so I went to a lot of games - about 60 a year. I probably won't be going to nearly as many this summer (though I am going to Arizona and will see some spring training games while I'm there).

WIS

Who is on your all-time Cubs team (can include positions, lineups, rotation, manager, woo-woo, etc.)?

Laura

No Woo-Wooing allowed!

C - Gabby Hartnett
1B - Frank Chance
2B - Rogers Hornsby / Ryne Sandberg
SS - Ernie Banks
3B - Ron Santo
LF - Billy Williams
OF - Hack Wilson
RF - Sammy Sosa
P - Mordecai Brown
M - Leo the Lip; as noted, I liked Riggleman.

The simlineup would need to be more balanced, but those are the basics.

WIS

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

Laura

I played baseball in my neighborhood, but there wasn't a little league option for girls. Played some softball, swimming, volleyball, flag team (hey, it's a sport) that's about it for team sports. Showed out for girl's rugby in college and decided I wouldn't survive it after 2 days; it's rough. I resembled Mrs. OWB afterwards.

WIS

If you had the power to replace Bud Selig as commissioner, what is the first thing you would try to change?

Laura

If I were uber-commissioner I'd: Clean up the steroid mess. Knock off the gimmicks like the World Series home field advantage being decided by the All-Star game. Get back to the GAME. It's branching off more and more into peripheral marketing activity. Look at more innovative ways to flatten payroll distribution and encourage owners to either maintain minimum competitive investments in individual teams and organizations or to divest themselves of the teams. Make Wrigley group bleacher tickets more easily available to my cronies.

WIS

As a Forum Immortal, who are the users you respect the most?

Laura

Owners & Leaguefounders: Eschwartz, Feynmann, Sallyleaguer, Tracyr, and Edsortails.

WIS

Which users are the most fun/funniest?

Laura

Ceez, Crestenspa, Death, Kermit, all Raelien factions, Ralphwiggum, Smeric, Verbal Kint and at least one of Leperman Jim's aliases. Denny is in a league of his own.

WIS

Who, if anyone, gives you the hardest time?

Laura

After the initial requests for pictures, the marriage proposals, and the drunken sitemails, only known crackpots like MikeT23 maintained an unhealthy interest in my shoe-shopping habits. Others tend to give everyone a hard time, regardless of gender.

WIS

How does it feel to be one of the few females who play our games and post in the forums regularly?

Laura

It feels good!

WIS

In general, what is it like to be a knowledgeable, devoted and loyal fan in a male-dominated sports world?

Laura

Every sports fan just needs to know the sport and have opinions about it. Half the fun of being a sports fan is arguing about sports, and you definitely can't be shy about that aspect at WhatIfSports. My opinions have changed because of good arguments I've read here. I would think that's the same for men and women.

WIS

Do you ever use this to your advantage? Is it ever a disadvantage?

Laura

I like sitting in the Wrigley bleachers, which is general admission, so, sure, sometimes it's an advantage to be female. You walk up and get better seats, and if you're really into getting a baseball, that usually happens, too. By the same token, if you want to debate a point of basebal . . . that's a disadvantage at the ballpark. It's usually better just to place a bet on an outcome than to try to convince someone of the statistical probability of it happening. Sometimes getting the payout is better than trying to convince someone you're right.

WIS

Anything you'd like to say to the other female users?

Laura

Suzi00: Listen to what Bagchucker has to say. He has the soul of a poet.

Smeric's Wife: Good catch; we'll stay within cabbing distance next time out.

Mrs. Ceez: Thank you for hosting us for the Chicago outing!

Robchoad: Good luck with that whole Milwaukee thing.

VampireGirl: At least it was a raelien.

WIS

Anything you'd like to say to the other male users?

Laura

Kuz: It's so good, make me another.

T-Ram & Tinmanpb: Roadtrip!

Kermit: You were here?

WIS

You have participated in almost 50 baseball SimLeagues. What is your favorite aspect of SimLeague baseball?

Laura

Learning the history of baseball and competing against knowledgeable owners. I can read all I want about team or baseball history; actually playing a historical team theme and following that team through the course of a season drives it home.

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect of SimLeague baseball? If you could change one thing about the game, what would it be?

Laura

I'd make turning off ballpark effects an option for theme leagues. If you play a franchise team in its home ballpark, you get a multiplication effect of the real-life stats + the ballpark stats. The '72 Fergie Jenkins would have a tough time sim-winning 20 games in Wrigley Field with the ballpark effects.

WIS

In the SimLeague baseball, what is the most important thing to keep in mind while drafting?

Laura

Finding relative values in the pricing structure and matching your talent to your ballpark.

WIS

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

Laura

Frank Chance on Cubs franchise teams. The '02 Bellhorn went from inexpensive to over-priced to affordable again in various pricing changes, and is a good option if you need to cut costs at Wrigley (unfortunately, the defensive rating changes weren't kind to him).

WIS

What do you do during the season to try and separate yourself from other teams?

Laura

Sometimes just keeping track of your team and its opponents is the best strategy - sometimes owners will bail on their teams completely, which can help you toward the end of a season.

WIS

What do you believe is the overall biggest key to success in SimLeague baseball?

Laura

Learning the stats behind baseball and learning how the simengine applies them.

WIS

Do you ever seek help in the forums or via sitemail from other users??

Laura

Of course! I constantly ask Donov2707, 98Greenc5, Jiml60, Naismith (sim-basketball guru), Peajay and Wylie for advice. I can't thank them enough for contributing to my success.

WIS

What advice can you give to new SimLeague baseball users who want to succeed?

Laura

Read the forums and sitemail mickjagger with any simleague questions you might have. He has sound pitching advice.

WIS

What happened in that one SimLeague hockey season?

Laura

It was an excellent trash-talking league set up by Deathinahole. My team got off to a REALLY slow start - seeing as I knew very little about simhockey, but concentrated on drafting excellent BlackHawk players of the past -- but they finished strong! Most of the action revolved around Ceez's efforts to get Admin to swear in the league forum.

WIS

Last year's WIS outing to the Cubs/A's game in Chicago was a blast. Any plans for another this year?

Laura

There's too much to say about the transgressions committed in past Chicago Whatif Days, and it's probably best to protect the not-so-innocent. Except to say that the Chicago-area what-if owners are a fantastic group of people -- ARodsAgent, Bosoxbill, CarlosVal, Ceez, Donov2707, Eyegouger, Jiml60, Kuzminsk, Mudbone1969, Tram66 - we lucked out that way. We had a few get-togethers before last year, and they were all good times. We are ">planning a get-together this season. It's going to be tough (if not impossible) to get enough tickets for everyone. We'll try coordinating ticket buying to see what happens and play it by ear.

WIS

You are quickly coming up on your third anniversary as a user. What is your favorite aspect of WhatIfSports.com?

Laura

Simbaseball is my favorite aspect, and I like and respect that WhatIf keeps working to improve and tweak the product. WIS also really listens to owner feedback, which is important. My other favorite aspect is the community aspect of the forums. It's kept me around even when I take a break from having active teams. Even when the forums get dysfunctional *cough the pit cough* there's something worth reading.

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect of the site?

Laura

Running out of spare teams...lame and uninteresting aliases...

User Profile

LoginID:Laura
Name:Laura
Age:33
Location:NW Indiana
Occupation:Policy analyst
Favorite Sport(s):Baseball
Favorite Team(s):Cubs
Favorite Sports Memory:Prior post All-Star Break 2003
Member Since:2002
Greatest WIS Moment:Being inducted into the WhatIf Hall of Fame!
Motto:You can't win them all!

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