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The WIS Awards


One userís stab at the ballot


By Adam Hoff


This isnít going to be a typical column.  If you are looking for the usual (i.e., two-page breakdowns on Earl Watsonís potential fantasy value, wayward playoff predictions, and 3,000 word columns about the MVP races in various sports), check back next week.  Because for this week, the Insider space is devoted to looking internally at the world of WhatifSports.


Considering that my personal glory days as a sim manager were back in 2002, perhaps Iím not the best person to vote on the various categories included in this yearís WhatifSports Awards.  However, I also donít play major league baseball, Iím not on an NBA teamís roster, nor do I don pads and a helmet ever Sunday in the NFL, yet that doesnít stop me from writing about who should win awards in those particular leagues.  That said, Iíve never even set foot in a few of the leagues up for nomination, so I will stick with leagues Iíve played in for the purpose of my ballot.  In advance, let me say that nearly every nominee boasted impressive credentials, which made it hard to select just one in each group.


Best Baseball Owner.  What a powerhouse category.  When I saw the nominees, I figured tracyr would be the easy choice, considering how many teams of mine that he dominated over the years.  However, he actually has the least baseball championship of the nominees at 38.  Thatís an impressive group.  Elbirdo has 56 titles and 4 TOC titles, Sford (another person who has stomped my teams many times) has a whopping 79 titles, and shaybee has an entire thread dedicated to his dominance.  Not an easy pick here.


My vote: tracyr.  In the end, I had to go with the guy that I personally witnessed doing all the winning.  No matter the theme, no matter the competition, he always dominates.  The fact that I know he only plays in theme leagues adds to his credibility, although I think the others play primarily theme leagues as well.  Tough call, but had to go with my gut.  Like an old-school baseball scout who refuses to buy into sabermetrics, I couldnít put my trust in that which was beyond my comprehension.  Plus, you canít go wrong with Rob Tracy, right?  One of the true good guys on the site.


Best New Baseball Owner.  This one is tough, because all the new owners came on board after September of 2004, so I probably havenít played against many of them.  However, they all seem to be well liked in the forums and they all boast impressive records.  Ozomatli is named after a pretty sweet band and has played a ton (almost 7,000 games already), while garnering three titles.  Lemayripper has a great winning percentage.  And SpotSell has racked up a whopping 13 titles in his short career.


My vote: SpotSell.  Call me Charles Barkley here, because Iím obsessed with the rings.  Have you noticed how much he talks about championships and rings during TNT Thursday nights?  For a guy that claims heís not hung up on his failure to win a title, he sure does use it as a yardstick a lot.  That said, 13 titles is a lot, so Iím casting my vote for SpotSell.  (A quick glance at the voting seemed to indicate that the ďTo Be AnnouncedĒ entry was leading the way.  Come on, people, letís pick an actual owner.)



Best Basketball Owner.  I used to love to play the NBA sim, but sort of drifted away from it when I realized that I couldnít win titles by building teams around Allen Iverson.  Itís funny that the guy that stood above all other owners back then is still in the mix as a nominee.  Iím referring to Naismith, of course, and it seems appropriate that one of the key owners in WIS basketball history has the same name as the real gameís founder.  Could he have possibly anticipated his own impact?  I think I just blew my own mind.


My vote: Naismith.


Best New Basketball Owner.  I would love to see the basketball sim grow in popularity and if it is going to happen, it will be because of the new blood.  Just like our children are the future, so too is Ö okay, never mind.  The nominees are: sleek (over 1,600 wins and four titles), silent (great winning percentage and a user name that sort of creeps me out in a Patrick Bateman kind of way), ghost-dog (2,400 wins and three championships), and shine06 (on the list of top 25 owners to never win a title).


My vote: sleek.  It was hard to pass on ghost-dog, but ultimately, sleekís superior winning percentage and one additional title were the tiebreakers.  As an aside, I feel that the names were the strongest in this pool of candidates.  You would think the newer users would have a more difficult time coming up with clever names, since so many have been taken, but that doesnít seem to be the case here.


Best Theme.  I did a lot of research on this one, because I didnít want to make a ďhomerĒ pick, and it seems that RObOt, The juice6, and Lounpink all came up with pretty clever and fun theme leagues.  That said, it was going to take a lot to unseat schwarze as the winner here.  It turns out all the research simply confirmed what I already believed going in.


My pick: schwarze.  The master of theme leagues and the only person that can get me to drop whatever Iím doing to join his newest league. 


Other Thoughts.  Since Iím not qualified in any way to vote on the remaining leagues, allow me to post some random facts that might help others make a tough call while filling out their ballots.


-         Michfan2123, Broncos2rings, and Breum appear to be the only users nominated more than once.  Michfan2123 is nominated for best football owner and for best new Gridiron Dynasty owner.  It would seem heís got a pretty good handle on the various pigskin-related games in the sim.  Broncos2rings is nominated for both Clutch Racing and for Gridiron Dynasty.  Meanwhile, Breum is nominated a whopping three times, for Best Gridiron Dynasty, Best New Gridiron Dynasty, and Best New Football Owner.  Another football star, and a great recent addition to WIS. 


-         Speaking of Breum, he is the only owner nominated as both the Best Owner and the Best New Owner in any category.  Put another way, heís the only person ďpulling a Kanye West.Ē  What I mean by that is that Kanye was the only ďbest rap albumĒ nominee that was also nominated for an ďalbum of the yearĒ  Grammy last year, so even though he lost the big prize, he was the sure winner of the best rap album award.  Will that translate here? 


-         Even though I didnít vote on any of the hockey awards, it should be noted that 16vladimir has an absolutely ridiculous career record of 12,608-6,944-1,437.  I donít know what is more impressive, the relatively low number of ties (all things considered), the nearly 2-to-1 ratio of wins to losses, or the sheer number of games heís played. 


Good luck with your own ballots.  Donít be afraid to do a little research, set criteria, and try to pick the most deserving owners.  Itís probably not a comprehensive list or a perfect process, but the WIS user awards are a sign of a self-sufficient community made up of people who usually donít know each other and are bound simply by a love of sports.  Thatís pretty amazing when you think about it.  Hopefully, this continues as a great tradition on the site and becomes a refined process that people can look forward to and participate in year in and year out. 


Now, I will start my column tentatively titled ďYou are morons,Ē so that I have it ready for whatever team is dumb enough to trade for Ron Artest. 


Adam Hoff is a columnist for WhatifSports.com and can be reached at wis.insider@gmail.com.

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