Sunday, June 29, 2008

Moving Pitchers: S9 Relocation Report

We had five openings in Hunter this season. Four were in the American League and two of those were in the AL South. But really, can you blame anyone for not wanting to play in the division responsible for our last 3 World Series Championships? This year, our new owners bring a lot of experience to Hunter (which is good because losing to newbies is getting pretty old) and will likely have their new teams competitive before we know it. I'm telling you, these guys are serious--3 of the 5 new owners have over $100M budgeted to player salaries.

I welcome you all and wish you the very worst of luck with your new teams.

St. Louis Mashers (bobgilbert)
Formerly Tampa Bay Nice Rays (andreb)
As strange as it may seem, bobgilbert's name appears to Gary. Who puts "bob" in their user name when their name actually isn't Bob? Just the awesome ones, if you ask me! Anyway, this franchise hasn't had a winning season since they left Mexico City in season 4 and they had their worst record last season losing 100 games in Tampa Bay. St. Louis has the oldest ML team in the NL but seems to have the salary cap situation under control. The Mashers also have one of the better AAA teams in Hunter. St. Louis gets the 3rd draft pick but this newbie still has his work cut out for him.

Hartford The Whale (rebenjamin)
Formerly Toledo Mud Hens (the_e_man)
A man called E had this franchise for four years. In season 6 his Mud Hens won a wildcard spot and in season 7 they lost 101 games. With four seasons of experience under his belt in other worlds, rabenjamin77 takes over this up and down team. The Whale inherits one of the better hitting teams in the AL last season and the pitching staff was middle-of-the-pack. They also appear to be pretty healthy as far as age and player salary goes. A couple good moves and this team could have an up season.

Huntington HEAD HUNTERS (vikingdal)
Fromerly Wichita Bad Boys (ewchippe)
I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought vikingdal's caps-lock button was stuck but alas, he has gone all uppercase with all four of his other teams, too. And it works for him. Viking comes to Hunter with 2 World Series titles (with the MAD DAWGS in Ripkin) under his belt. He now has the task of reforming these former Bad Boys, who ewchippe has managed since season 1 (although he skipped season 4...I don't remember that), and could never quite get them over the hump. It appears that Huntington wants a winner now as vikingdal has raised player salary budget from $72M last season to $105 and has already hit free-agency hard. With Viking at the helm, I'm guessing this ship will be righted soon.

Anaheim Angels (michaelkoss)
Formerly Arizona Rattlers (matrat101)
Last season's owner, Matrat101, was one of our newbies last year who didn't stick, but before him, this was the Arizona Thinderstrikers team that was pretty good in seasons 4-6 but have fallen-off since. Historically, this franchise has always been one of the top two teams as far as player salary goes without much to show for it. This season appears to be no different as michaelkoss has $106M designated to players salaries which is second to only Charlotte's $135M (which is a Hunter record, by the way). But it appears that Micheal plans to shave down some salary by placing Derek O'Keefe on the trading block. This looks like a rebuilding time because moving O'Keefe is going to be rough on a pitching staff who was already one of the worst in the AL.

Boise Posse (dennisdee)
Formerly Vancouver Velvet Vultures (eclipse33)
Dennisdee brings a ridiculous 39 season of experience and 2 NL Championships to HUnter to take over for our lovely, lone female owner (as far as I know), eclipse33. OK, I've never met her but it's much more fun to imagine how lovely she was, right? But in her 6 seasons in Hunter, her Velvet Vultures never had a winning record. They did steal a lot of bases last year, though (317 to be exact) and always played great defense. They just couldn't hit. Boise has also hit free agency pretty hard and will try to stay afloat in that very tough AL South.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Elite Eight

I can remember the first days of HBD like it was yesterday and we’re ready to start season 9, did that go by fast or is it just me? After 8 seasons I would like to point out some divisional stats, some pretty interesting stuff -

Augusta Caesars franchise won NL North all 8 seasons (2 owners)
New York Metropolitans franchise won the NL East 6 times and finished 2nd twice (once by 1 game)(1 owner)
San Juan TCB franchise won the NL South 4 times and finished 2nd in the other 4 seasons (1 owner)
Colorado Blasters franchise won the NL West 7 times and finished 2nd once (1 owner)
Pawtucket Patriots franchise won the AL North 7 times and finished 2nd once (2 owners)
Washington D.C. Generals franchise won the AL East all 8 seasons(1 owner)
Louisville Sluggers franchise won the AL South 7 times and finished 2nd once (1 owner)
San Francisco Night Demons franchise won the AL West 7 times and finished 2nd once (1 owner)

Hunters' Elite Eight (Aug, NY, SJ, Col, Paw, Was, Lou, SF). In 8 seasons these 8 teams have accumulated 54-1st place division finishes, 10-2nd place division finishes and 0-3rd place finishes.

The Super 3 - Washington D.C Generals 3 time WS Champ, Colorado Blasters 2 time WS Champ and San Francisco Night Demons 2 time WS Champ share 7 of 8 Hunter Championships.

These 3 franchises deserve to be placed on a scale of their own so next time you see one of these on your schedule make sure you have your best team ready. Scottsdale Aces came out of nowhere last season to take the WS Championship but will need to prove this season that they're here to stay, if the Aces repete as WS Champions we'll make this the Super 4.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Owner Profile: oli35

In season two, Oli moved the struggling Seattle Superstars (remember them? Me neither) to Scottsdale, Arizona and started rebuilding. The first five years were not great for the Aces at the ML level never breaking .500 but, in the meantime, there was lots of training and good drafting going on. Last year they finally broke through and made the playoffs for the first time. Except for the big free-agent signing of Mark Meng, the Aces are pretty much a home grown team. On of my favorite stats is that Oli has only made 4 trades. And I don't mean 4 trades this season...4 trades EVER! It's nice to see that there is more than one way to build a great team.

And let us not forget that he did this playing in the same division as the defending World Series Champs, San Francisco Night Demons. San Fran still won the division but Scottsdale knocked them out of the playoffs, as a 5 seed, 3 games to none. And for those of us keeping score, that's the American League 6 World Series' and the National League (well, Leppy) 2.

I hope you enjoy Oli's answers. I know I did. I've learned some pretty cool things about some of you (For example, did you know we have a female owner in Hunter?) but Oli probably takes the cake. And, no, he's not the girl. See for yourself.

Is oli35 your real name?

oli35 is Bill Olson.

What are your vitals?

I am a 58 year old mechanical contractor living about 100 miles north of NYC. I am married with 1 grown son. I spent my college years as a door gunner in a helicopter patrolling I Corps in Vietnam.

What are your favorite real-life sports teams or players?

I root for the Mets, Boston College football, Skidmore College hockey and although I used to be an enthusiastic fan of the game I have lost almost all interest in basketball. I have had only 1 sports idol in my life and that was Mickey Mantle. To this day I am not sure why.

Why Hunter?

I have stayed in Hunter becauase I can be stubborn to a fault. I took over a pathetic team early on. I decided I would try to build a contender from the draft without the benefit of high priced free agents. It has been an arduous process. I finally reached .500 ( and my first playoff spot) in season 7 only to lose in the 1st round. This season I thought we would be pretty good as we had our highest payroll ( just over $60M). But we started out very slow with a 23 - 29 record after 52 games. Then we got hot and have gone 70 - 40 the rest of the way.

I have permission from ownership to raise the payroll to $70M next season if I so chose.

Is there a team in Hunter you especially love to beat (or hate to lose to)?

I have had my butt kicked so many times there is nobody in Hunter who I do not enjoy getting the best of.

What's the deal with your team nickname, Aces?

The team nickname is in honor of one of my favorite sports venues in the world. The PGA tour holds a tourney in Scottsdale, Arizona and on the 16th hole the is a par 3 in an amphitheater which holds about 30,000 rowdy spectators. They boo poor shots but when there is an ace, it is the loudest outdoor reaction in sports.

When you aren't WISing, what do you do?

I was very involved in youth hockey in the 90's serving as president of the Long Island Gulls for several years. It was an incredibly rewarding experience as dozens of my players have gone on the play college hockey, many are playing professionally with one in particular, Rob Scuderi, trying to get his name on the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was also tremendously time consuming and when I stepped down it left an incredible void in my life. WIS came along at that time and has helped to fill it.

I am an avid reader having turned my formal dining room into a library holding almost 3,000 books at present most of which I have read at least once, many I have read multiple times.