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.

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