Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fellman's Interview With jclarkbaker

Q:  Tell us a little about yourself in real life.
  I’m 40 years old, married for 7.5 years, with a 14 month old son, two dogs and two cats. I was born and raised in New England and now live in the Southeast, where I have lived since 1998. I do not really miss the Northeast that much. While I ski, snowmobile, etc., I much more enjoy summer/warm weather activities. Simply, winters are long and cold where I am from, the people are not that friendly (which I did not realize until I moved out of the Northeast), and the cost of living is too high. The Southeast is filled with nice friendly people, beautiful women (I married a UGA grad, go to an SEC football game and you will be hooked, the women are absurd), beautiful weather and a low cost of living. As to work, I have a job. Don’t love it, don’t hate it. I guess that’s why it is called “work” not “fun”. As to sports, I am a Boston fan for all major league sports, although I have ZERO interest in the NBA or basketball in general (although I love to play). I was fine with the refs being biased, but once they decided the jump stop was not traveling, I was done. I am a Syracuse fan, as I went there, and a Tennessee fan, as my grandfather was born and raised in Tennessee, and he brainwashed my dad to be a UT fan, and my dad did the same with my brother and I. I am sure I was one of the few kids growing up in New England who had a subscription to Big Orange Illustrated.

Q:  Do you have anything resembling a bucket list, and if so...what have you recently crossed off of it, and what's next?
  I do not have a list. Pretty much the only things I want to do is visit more of the world (been to Canada, Aruba, England, France, Italy and Spain only), go to more games at more college football stadiums (been to games at Syracuse, Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia and Alabama), and live long enough to see my son grow up to be an old man.

Q: Favorite real life sports fan memory?
A:  2004 Red Sox. I was at my bachelor party when Game 3 of the ALCS was happening, when the Sox were getting spanked. I kept thinking “those f*cking *ssholes…….well, at least I’m at a strip joint”.

Q: What do you like best about HBD, and what do you like least?
A: What I like best is that it’s cheap entertainment. I long ago decided to stop with video game systems and computer games, because I have an addiction problem (not with anything else), and HBD gives me my fix without me zoning in for hours. I still dislike coach hiring, although I think it is vastly improved.

Q:  Which is your favorite HBD world, and why? And if it's not Major Leagues don't worry about it, just be honest.
A:  I really like all the worlds I am in. I think Major Leagues and Kinsella are right there at #1 (but see below re Kinsella). I am fond of majors, but for some reason that league has not been able to get a big core group to stay together. There is a small core that has been together for a long time. Not quite sure why it hasn’t grown, because that small core is quality. So here is a plug: majors has openings every year, so if you want a league with a core of quality owners, join.

Q:  Favorite HBD player ever?
A:  I’ve got a bunch of guys I have really liked:

Mendy Kelly (majors) - I just liked him because I could plug him in at COF, 1B and DH and he would always play well. He was the perfect utility player, but just didn’t have the durability to play the whole season.

Daniel Gonzales (majors) - Best closer I have had in HBD.

Jarrod Parrish (majors) - My favorite SP in HBD. It is a travesty that he is not yet in the HOF.

Freddy French (Kinsella) - I like defensive Cs, and he has been the best I have had in HBD.

Charles Farrell (Kinsella) - The guy is a beast at the plate and is what a DH should look like.

Q:  Favorite film?A:  I don’t really have one. I like a lot of types of films. I think the film that sticks with me the most is Schindler’s List. Not into dramas that much, but when I like one I like one. I’m a sci-fi fan of sorts (on a nerd note, I think Star Blazers could be the best sci-fi movie ever if they did it right, see my next comment). But I think they’re too into special effects and the writing stinks mostly. Big Lebowski, The Royal Tennebaums, Hangover 1, a Fish Called Wanda for comedies. I think the best movie ever made was Casablanca. I find many movies considered “classics” to be vastly overrated, but not Casablanca. It is just fantastic.

PS: Hollywood has to stop with the superhero films. And stop now.

Q:   Everyone hates overeasy, this we know. Explain, in your own words, the reasons for your antipathy towards him.
A:  OE is a great player, and one of the best commissioners I have had the pleasure of being associated with. I have always been on very good terms with him and I cannot recall any bad blood between us. I can think of nothing bad to say about him. However, there is something not quite right going on in Kinsella the last two seasons. And that is all I will say on the subject.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Take 5 - Best Offensive Seasons

By Runs/Created/27 Outs, here are the 5 best seasons in Major Leagues history:

1.  Tomas Pascual  (Season 6, Nationals - 13.52):  Although limited to 128 games, Pascual still hammered 127 hits (including 37 doubles, 5 triples and 27 homers).  His .389 average was the 3rd-best all-time; throw in 84 walks and his .478 OB was the best ever.

2.  Dickie Scharein (Season 5, Astros - 12.95):  .346, 49 HR's, .440 OBP and a 5th-best ever .732 slugging %.

3.  Charley Jameson (Season 10, Sounds - 12.33):  .347, 44 HR's, .465 OBP and .673 slugging.  This may be the only one of the top 5 seasons that happened in the "dead ball" era
(I think around Season 9 in this world).

4.  Jae Nakano (Season 7, Orioles - 12.07):  One of Nakano's 2 most dominant seasons, it featured a .397 BA (best ever, topping his season 15 BA by 1 point), 46 doubles, .461 OBP, .612 Slugging (oh, and a whopping 33 strikeouts).

5.  Luis Escobar (Season 3, Rangers - 11.95):  .340, 32 HR's, 2nd-best ever .476 OBP, .648 Slugging.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Interview With Fellman 9

World Major Leagues Blog (WMLB) recently caught up with defending World Series Champ fellman9 to get his views on HBD and a few other miscellaneous topics.

WMLB:  Who is fellman9 in real life?
fellman9: My name is Mike and I'm a 41 year old single male, living in Los Angeles. I was born and raised in The Bronx and moved from the NYC area when I was 26 and have lived in several cities since (LA, Chicago, SF, Seattle and now back in LA). I work in sports TV, have done so my whole career. I love what I do and my career has treated me quite well, thankfully. I live a block from the ocean and truly love my proximity to the water. I have no kids but am a doting uncle to my twin three year old nieces back in NY.

WMLB: Any hobbies or favorite pastimes besides HBD?
fellman9: Yes. Besides things like family and friends, my greatest passions in life are: books, music, travel, film and sports, probably in that order. I've been reading since I was a little child and could not imagine a life without books. Or music, for that matter. As for travel, truly, one of my few life goals is to retire as soon as is reasonable and take a lot of time to travel, at leisure, with no itinerary, etc.  

WMLB: What was the key to your championship run last season, and how do you rate your chances to repeat?
fellman9: I think the key was signing strong relievers to FA contracts before the season. I had a so-so rotation, and a great offense heading into the off season. I didn't want to go all out for FA starters because I felt like I had a few decent minor leaguers poised to make the leap, but I had no bullpen prospects to speak of. So I went all out and probably overstocked and overpaid for relievers but I feel like it already paid off. That and having no major injuries. I think I should contend for my division title this season, that's about all the prognosticating I'm willing to do. :)

WMLB: Do you develop "man-crushes" on your HBD players?
fellman9: Unfortunately, yes. From my very first team to my current franchises, there always seem to be a few players I get attached to. Rico Uribe would be a prime example of that right now. My biggest crush ever was probably a guy named Del Manzanillo from my first HBD team in World Williams. All that dude did was hit bombs.

WMLB: What's the most under-appreciated player rating and why?
fellman9: This is hard to answer because I don't read the forums and am not sure who values what from a global perspective. I know that in my early years, I always thought people didn't value batting eye as much as they should, but, I think that changed eventually. Also, I play in 3 private worlds with a lot of good owners, most of whom are a lot better than me at this game, so, I am figuring that most of my fellow owners place the right amount of value on the right attributes. Sorry I don't have a better reply here.

WMLB: Favorite moment of your HBD career?
fellman9: My first HBD title, which occurred in GAP. That was fun because that's a great world and I inherited a horrid franchise. Just a few seasons later and the franchise is horrid once again thanks to me, but, winning that title, against that competition was sweet and, frankly, unexpected. Beating OE's Braves was the icing on the cake, I should add. That squad won the 2 WS before and after my WS victory, so, beating that team was no small feat.

WMLB: If you could change one thing about HBD, what would it be and why?
fellman9: I'd like to see individual steal settings for players, instead of or along with the team setting. I have had teams that were incredibly slow but had one speedster and I'd have liked to have been able to give the speedster a green light while exercising caution with the other runners. As for why, I just think it would better mirror what a real franchise is able to do in regards to stealing. Runner up in this category would be an ability to have targeted spring trainings where you have player's focus on certain areas for improvement.

WMLB: What popular song past/present do you most identify with?
fellman9: Well, as you get older, certain songs mean more to you, while others that served as teenaged anthems now carry nostalgic value with them but are no longer relatable. When I was younger, the song "Everything She Does is Magic" by The Police resonated with me because I was going through the same circumstances as the song's protagonist. Now, the song reminds me of younger me but I cannot directly relate. Then you take a song like "Martha" by Tom Waits, and as a younger man it would have meant little to me, but now it means a lot to me, unfortunately (it's a sad song). And, for whatever it's worth, my favorite song of all time then and now is U2's "A Sort of Homecoming" which is a wide-screen type of song that might mean different things to different people.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Opening Day

Welcome to Opening Day in Major Leagues!

In Toronto, Detroit's Oswaldo Diaz went the distance and CF Mac Chang homered and knocked in 4, as  the Tigers spoiled the Jays' hone opener 6-2.

At Camden Yard, Boston's Donn Stafford belted a pair of homers to lead the Red Sox over Baltimore, 6-2. Sam Griffin held the Birds to a pair of runs over 7 innings to get the win.

Kansas City and Nashville took 12 innings to decide the Royals' home opener, with the home team prevailing 3-2.  C Miguel Cordero had the game-winner, a base hit that scored 1B Albert Johnson (reached on an error).

Anaheim jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, and held on at home to top Arizona 8-6.  Charlie Coveleski and Alex Ayala both hit 2 homers for the Angels.

The Twins opened at homing by holding Chicago to 2 hits and stopping the White Sox, 5-1.  Four Minnesota hurlers combined on the effort, with Kevin Chong getting the win.  RF Clay Lee, 1B Harry Rivera, and DH Felipe Baez homered for the home team.

The Yankees rolled into Cleveland and shut out the Indians, 4-0, behind Todd Leon.  DH Ismael Ramos homered to pace the New York offense.

Tampa Bay opened at home with a 5-2 win over Texas.  This one gets the "Most Un-Remarkable Game of the Day" award.
Eswalin Comacho one-hit Oakland over 8 innings as Seattle topped the A's, 6-1.  The Mariners got homers from 3B Guillermo Lopez, RF Albert Santayana, C Donne Mercedes and 1B Harvey Mercedes.

Cincinnati hammered the defending WS Champion Cubs, 12-3.  The Reds pounded out 16 hits, with Crash Reed, Malcolm Perez and Ron Mahommes collecting 3 each.  Tony Ordaz wasn't sharp - 7 hits and 6 walks in his 6 innings of work - but got the win.

The Nationals jumped on Philly ace Rafael Santiago for 4 in the first, added 2 in the 5th, and cruised to a 9-2 road win.  Sandy Quinn and Joaquin Guzman hit back-to-back solo shots for D.C. in the 5th; Paul Henderson added a 3-run blast in the 9th.  Ernie Pittinger earned the win with 5 solid innings.

Chad Cambridge fired a 2-hit shutout in Houston as the Cardinals opened with a road win over the AstrosCambridge struck out 14 and walked just one in the 7-0 pasting.  RF Dioner Petit and SS Guillermo Mota homered for St. Louis.

San Diego took advantage of a Quilvio Guerrero error to push across an unearned run in the 9th,  and  topped San Francisco 2-1.  Guerrero booted a grounder with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, putting runners at 1st and 2nd.  SS John Lee followed with the game-winning single.  Joel Iorg went the distance to get the win for the Padres.

Milwaukee outhit Montreal, 13-7, en route to a 7-5 home win.  RF Douglas Dixon and C Jimmy Coco had 3 hits apiece for the Brewers; starter Chico Albaladejo scuffled through 8 innings for the win.

In New York, Pittsburgh's Keith Caldwell outdueled the Mets' Luis Contreras, 2-1, in a battle of NL aces.  Down 1-0 in the 7th, the Pirates got back-to-back triples from SS Artie Linebrink and LF Jesus Otanez for the tying and game-winning runs.

Atlanta used a big 4-run 7th to top Florida, 8-3.   1B Willie Luebbers and RF Bo Hines homered and combined for 7 RBI; starter Vicente Plata got the win.

3 Rockies hurlers held Los Angeles to 3 hits and 2 runs, and Colorado Springs rolled past the Dodgers, 6-2.  LF Alvin Crawford and SS Tom Gordon drove in 2 each for the Rockies; Chief Bennett started and pitched 7 strong innings for the win.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Top Prospects 2 Years Later

At the beginning of Season 17 we did a series of articles on Major Leagues' top pitching, defensive, and overall position prospects.  Here's a look at them 2 seasons later.


1. Eswalin Camacho, SP (SEA, Sea 16 IFA - $20MM): 23 wins, 3.04 ERA, a Gold Glove and a no-hitter over 2 seasons - I'd say he's fulfilling his promise.  His ratings may not have reached the stratospheric levels of a Miguel Rojas, but he could be on the CY ballot for hte next 10 years.

2. Keith Caldwell, SP (PIT, Sea 15 #1 pick): Put up a very solid 13-8, 2.70 rookie season; the woeful Pirates offense may have cost him 3-4 wins.  Control has improved a bit more than projected...poised to dominate.

3. Albert Velazquez, SP (BAL, Sea 14 IFA - $20MM): Posted a fine 13-9, 3.38 first campaign.  If teams can pack the lineup with lefties, he could face some rough outings,  but he should join Camacho as a fixture on the AL CY ballot for  years to come.

4. Del Redondo, SP (LA Dodgers, Sea 13 #1 pick): had a promising cup of coffee in SEA 17 and a 13-10, 3.06 in his first full season last year.  Unfortunately, he went down with tendinitis in ST and will miss a chunk of the first half. 

5.  Steve Davenport, SP/RP (KC, Sea 14 #2 pick):  Traded to the Jays in SEA 17, he debuted last year and rolled up 7 wins, 6 saves and a 3.73 ERA in 72 relief innings.  Could be anything from a spot starter to closer...looks like he'll settle in as Toronto's primary setup man.

Overall Position Player

1. Albert Santayana, IF (SEA): posted .249/27/59 in 100 games...frankly a disappointing effort.  No matter - this dude can seriously rake.  His durability and home park will suppress his numbers some, but 40 HR's a year should be routine.  The Mariners appear to have assigned him to RF, where he could be a multi-time Gold Glover, rather than 2B.

2. Hector Bennett, IF (PHI): .297/30/105 last year en route to the NL 3B Silver Slugger (first of many, no doubt), and chipped in 33 doubles and 22 steals for good measure.  Maybe the most versatile player in the league at age 22...hits well enough for any position on the field and could play SS adequately in a pinch.

3. Melvin Charleston, 2B (SD):  Featured in numerous trade rumors last year, the speedy, multi-talented Charleston may get 1 more minor league season to hone his hitting against righties before hitting the majors.

4. Len Sullivan, CF (PIT):  in 2 seasons, Sullivan has been exactly as expected:  a .400-OBP, 18-HR, 30-SB, sure-handed but under-ranged CF.  The Pirates will take it.

5. Luke Gleason, OF (CHI): After pummeling minor-league pitching for 87 HR's the last 2 seasons, Gleason impressed (.316/7/32) in 36 games at the end of last season.  Big power numbers on the way in Chicago.

Defensive Position Player

1. Jumbo Bravo, IF (ATL):  Had a pretty good offensive season (.273/14/61) while playing 4 positions in his rookie season.  Hasn't developed into an everyday SS, but will shine at 2B or 3B.

2. Hector Bennett, IF (PHI):  could dominate GG and Silver Slugger at 3B for a decade.

3. Luis Fernandez, IF (FLA):  hit well in last year's brief callup and has settled in as the starting 2B for the Marlins.

4. Jim Garcia, 3B (LAA):  .351/17/121 in AAA last year but stuck behind Hector Sojo (3B) and Javier Melian (2B).  Trade chip?

5. Albert Santayana, IF (SEA): didn't quite develop into an IF, but he's a potential Gold-Glover in RF.