Monday, January 16, 2017

Jthornton Relinquishes Commissioner Role

It has been an honor to serve world Major Leagues as commissioner for the past 12 seasons.  I reluctantly took that title in November 2013 simply because I had the time to manage the recruiting thread in the classified forum and no other owners wanted to step forward to do it.  I appreciate all of the help many of you have offered and provided during this time and the fact that everyone has acted in a civil manner toward each other so that there really were no big issues that had to be handled.  In truth, the world pretty much has run itself.

Real life had already become busy enough a few seasons ago to make it difficult for me to continue to give this responsibility the time it deserves.  If blanch13 had not taken the initiative to pretty much take over recruiting, I would have resigned a few seasons ago.  I began the process of modifying the MWR and disbanding the committee in January 2016, but real life got in the way and I never completed the task.  I apologize for not following through and either adding a replacement committee member or disbanding it completely.  I would still be in favor of seeing the committee go away in the future.

Then this past September, a co-worker and close friend of over 20 years passed away unexpectedly in a car accident and I have had to assume additional responsibilities at work giving me even less time to devote to this world.  Those responsibilities will not be going away, so the time has come for me to step down and let someone else take over who can devote the time to the position that it deserves.

I have passed the reigns to blanch13 so that he can run the offseason recruiting in a timely manner and avoid any delays.  I would like to thank him for everything he has done over the past several seasons.  Without him, we would not have rolled over as quickly or found the quality of new owners that we have.  His value to our world has been immense during that time as many worlds have taken months to fill and have had to lower their standards to find enough owners.  I believe the initiative he has shown and the time and effort he has put into this world make him an obvious candidate to hold the commissioner title going forward.

I consider this world to be one of the very best in Hardball Dynasty and I intend to remain as owner of the Tampa Bay Rays franchise.  I just think the world deserves better from a commissioner and I don't want my inattention to ever cause any harm towards this outstanding world we have here.

Thank you for allowing me to serve, and I look forward to continuing to compete against each of you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Indians, Nats Make Playoffs In Last Series

Cleveland and Washington D.C. have claimed the #6 seeds as tight wild card races came down to the last series.

The Indians won their last 4, including a 9-6 pounding of the Yankees in their finale, to finish 90-72.  Meanwhile, Seattle dropped 3 of their last 4 to end up a game back.

In the NL, the Nationals won 4 to end the season and finish in a tie with the Astros, and took the wild card via the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Here are our playoff pairings:

In the AL, it's #4 Anaheim vs #5 Chicago, with the winner drawing #1 Minnesota; and #3 Tampa Bay vs. #6 Cleveland, with the winner going against #2 Boston.

The NL has the #4 Cubs vs. the #5 Mets, winner gets #1 Pittsburgh; and #3 Colorado Springs vs. #6 Washington D.C. with the winner taking on #2 St. Louis.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Early Days of Major Leagues: Interview With pstrnutbag44

What's the "Story" of the founding of Major Leagues?

Not much to it, really. I stumbled across HBD after dabbling a tiny bit in SLB. I wanted to join a world that had real MLB teams and this one was just starting up. Upon finding it in the classifieds, I contacted Dodgers13, the world creator, and from there helped to recruit the first season of Major Leagues. I was simply lucky enough to be in the right place, at the right time.

What's the craziest thing that happened in the early days of Major Leagues?

Well, this game surely has some interesting folks playing. A lot of the time, it's good fun. Sometimes you get some weird ones. I think one of the early owners of Atlanta was a cat named jasonod or something (i may be mistaken) and he was a very strong personality. However, it wasn't really all that bad. Just typical trash talk in the chats, name calling, etc.I cannot recall there actually ever being any collusion or anything like that. Again, I may just be having selective memory and am open to being corrected.

What were the goofiest quirks of HBD in the early days?

Tandem Pitching. In the early days of my career, this was still being worked out. There were some funky Stam/Dur combos being generated and you'd end up with ridiculously low rated P's that had incredible stats...but could only pitch for maybe 3 IP or so. Well, if you could work out how to get a few of these guys and use the Tandem Pitching in your rotation, it led to some crazy dominant P stats. I think owner zbrent also tried this after they re-worked some of those and still found moderate success. 

Why'd you retire in 2011?

Frankly, the state of the game. Its ownership and a lot of the user base is really off-putting. At the time, the game had been sold to Fox Sports who really just fumbled the hell out of the whole thing for a long while before straightening things out. There was a lot of World Creation, then No Worlds could be made, then only some people could, then some merged....frankly, it was a mess. Fox's method of throwing waves of front-line CS that didn't know a damn thing at dedicated users got old, fast. Couple all of that with a decreasing tolerance for the inmates running the asylum that is the forums, and I was done. I still won't do the forums. Not because I have thin skin. Those of you that know me know I have no issue tangling with, and taking my lumps from, a lot of those asshats.  It's that I was first-hand watching the elitist jerks ruin the experience for newer users. After about the 35th new user came to me and said they didn't want to play with dickheads that ruin it for other people, I realized this wasn't much fun for me anymore either. 

Why'd you come back?

I miss my rivalry with zbrent, :-P

I came back very briefly for a season about a year ago. Honestly, it doesn't seem like all that much has changed (I assume some engine tweaks and all). The elitists still run rampant and are as insufferable as ever. CS does seem better though, in my limited interaction with them. I wasn't going to try anymore, but I kept myself open to returning only on one condition: It had to be Major Leagues. I kept in the loop via blanch13. He'd let me know each time there were openings. He asked at one point if I'd like to not get the notifications anymore, and I let him know I still had an eye on the league and would probably give it a go again at some point. Last time he mailed me I was high, so here we are. ;-)

Sidenote: I miss Erffdogg 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Down The Stretch - Races and Awards (NL)

NL North

The Cubs are up by 2 games on the Reds heading into the last 25.  Chicago's 4th-ranked offense has ridden a monster season from RF Walter Brooks (.339/51/145).  The runner-up here could still pick off a wild card but it's an extreme long shot.


NL East

The Pirates have put it together on both sides of the ball (leading the NL both in runs, 670, and ERA, 2.63) in building a 12-game cushion.  The Mets, with Cy Young leader Ruben Ozuna sporting a perfect 23-0 record, have a rear naked choke on the first wild card - they're 7 up on the Astros.  The Nats are 3 back of the Astros for the 2nd wild card, and the 72-65 Phillies make the East the only division with all teams above .500.

NL South

The Cardinals are on pace for a 21-win improvement and an end of the 10-season Houston-Atlanta hegemony in the South.  Pitching has led the way for St. Louis (4th-best 3.14 ERA) with 3rd-year ace Esteban Mateo (15-5, 2.06) currently 5th on the Cy Young ballot.  The Astros and Braves are just a game apart for the 2nd wild card...one of these teams is going to miss the playoffs with as many as 90 wins.

NL West
The Rockies are cruising to their 4th straight West title (and 5th in 6 seasons).  3B James Bacsik has led the offense with 114 RBI, while SP Stubby George (12-10, 3.01) and closer Norman Weston (8 wins, 33 saves, 1.63) pace the staff.


NL MVP

5 nice seasons on the ballot, but it looks like Brooks in a runaway.  He'd probably win it easily if he sat out the last 25 games, but right now he projects to 60 HR's and 171 RBI.

NL Cy Young
Totally dominant season from Ozuna.  To go with the 23 wins (projects to 27), he has a 1.59 ERA, .90 WHIP and a ridiculous .514 OPS-against.  Moya gets foiled in his bid to tie Caldwell with 7 CY's.

NL Rookie
Some pretty mundane ROY efforts in the AL as well. Certainly none of these guys stand out, so it will probably at least be a close race.  Brewers' closer Miguel Marichal currently tops the ballot - he has managed 25 saves (32 opportunities),  but I can't say his 5.03 ERA and 34 innings pitched are compelling.  I'm surprised to see Mets SS/CF Benito Olivo on the ballot, but if there's ever a year that a pure defensive player (9 + plays and .993 in CF, 2 + plays and 1.000 at SS) wins the ROY, this might be it.

Down The Stretch - Races & Awards (AL)

American League

In the North, the Twins hold a 5-game lead over the White Sox; their 2-starters-and-a-legion-of-relievers strategy has paid off with the AL's best ERA (3.58) and a Cy Young contender (Tony Tabaka: 20-1, 2.21 ERA).  The #2 team in this race will almost certainly take the first wild card.

In the East, the Indians with their amazing 1-run record of 36-13, are clinging to a 1-game lead over the surging Red Sox. The Tribe has only scored 6 more runs than they've allowed, so that might suggest Boston has the edge down the stretch. the runner-up here is a good bet (but far from certain at this point) for the 2nd wild card.

In the South, Tampa Bay, led by Cy Young ballot-topper Max Mullens, is cruising to its 11th Division title in the last 12 years.


And in the West, Anaheim still leads, but is being challenged by the resurgent Mariners, now just 2 back.  On 11/28 Seattle was 12-27 and wondering what went wrong; then they swept the Royals and White Sox to spark a 61-35 record since.

AL MVP

Looks like a wide-open race.  Minnesota's slugger Michael Aoki tops the balloting (.306/48/126), but will be challenged by dual-threats Elvis Snow (.317/20/85 + GG-caliber CF defense) of Chicago and 2-time defending MVP Peter Magnusson (.265/43/123 and leading for the GG at 2B) of Boston.  And don't count out 3-time MVP Magglio Rodriguez (.315/28/89, 92 walks), also of the White Sox.


AL Cy Young

Minnesota's 
Tabaka makes the race interesting; he'll undoubtedly draw some votes with the big win total.  His .601 OPS-against is also impeccable.  Tampa Bay's Mullens tops the ballot currently - he's at 18-5 with a 2.74 ERA and a .610 OPS-against.  He's also logged 223 IP - more than double Tabaka's total.  New York's Vin Gumbs has an argument from the qualitative side - his .589 OPS-against and 1.05 WHIP lead all the contenders.

AL ROY

No real outstanding performances in a disappointing year for AL rookies.  Qualitatively, the Orioles' RP Vin Torrealba has had the best season with a 2.63 ERA and a sterling .617 OPS-against (while also picking up 5 wins and 7 saves).  But he's had the lightest workload of the 5, pitching just 51 innings so far.  The Indians' Yoenis Henriquez (12-7, 4.09 ERA in 149 IP) and Baltimore's 1B Bob Uribe (.281/19/77) have to be considered the front-runners.

Should the Portland Mavericks replace the Nashville Sounds when the opportunity arises?