WIS: Who is overeasy?
overeasy: I am a 40 year old, married father of three young boys, age 9, 7, and 5. We live in Spokane, WA where I work as an electrical engineer for a small consulting firm.
WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?
overeasy: I remember clicking on a banner ad way back. No idea what site I was on at the time.
WIS: Which of our games have you played? Which do you prefer?
overeasy: My first few years were spent doing nothing but free exhibitions of the sim games. Looking at my user profile, it says I did baseball 19 times, basketball 13 times, and football 11 times. None of these games piqued my interest enough to spend money on them. It wasn't until Hoops Dynasty came along that I was willing to pay to play. After having a pretty successful run in the Wooden world of HD, another successful HD coach invited me to join a new world of Hardball Dynasty. Once I started HBD, I knew that it was absolutely the only game I needed.
WIS: What are some of your interests and hobbies?
overeasy: Most days it pretty much feels like all I do is work at home to help keep our household going, work at work to make the money, and sleep. When I do try to make time for something else, I like to play tournament style Texas Hold 'Em poker.
WIS: Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion?
overeasy: I'm not a big fan of group conversations so my dream roundtable would involve a poker game. But I am assuming the overall gist of this question is to name my five most fascinating people of all time. I'll pass on that. If I could talk to anyone past or present, I would love another chance to talk to my Dad's father. He passed away from a heart attack the summer after I finished high school so the last day I saw him was my graduation day. He was a great guy with lots of good stories. He talked about spending the Korean War playing baseball against major leaguers who encouraged him to try to try to have a baseball career. Since he already had a wife and kids, he got a real job instead. He also talked about playing against the Harlem Globetrotters when they traveled around playing against local teams. I would love for him to get to meet my wife and kids.
WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?
overeasy: I played baseball and basketball growing up. In baseball, my best skill was fielding ground balls as a second baseman. I think my problem at the plate was all mental as I overthought everything. My best ever hitting game was one where our regular SS was missing and they moved me there. I was so freaked out playing SS that I proceeded to make 3 errors in the field while going 4 for 4 at the plate. My baseball playing days ended with Colt league in 9th or 10th grade.
Playing basketball, I had a decent outside shot and did my best to hustle and play as fundamentally sound as I could. My lack of height and speed ended my basketball career with the high school freshman team.
Needing something to do athletically, I picked up tennis as a sophomore and earned a varsity letter as a junior and senior. One interesting fact of this is that my doubles partner my senior year was Adam Carson, the drummer for the band A.F.I. (If you haven't heard of them, ask a teenager. They actually appeared on Saturday Night Live and won an MTV VMA.)
WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?
WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?
overeasy: Baseball: Dale Murphy as he was the best player for my team during some very lean years. It is a shame that he is not in the Hall of Fame. So what if his career practically dropped off a cliff in his early thirties, anyone who is ever in the conversation as best player in the game for about a decade deserves to be in. If he had tragically died in an accident in the late 80s, he would have been voted in. So why do his horrid years cancel out the greatness of his first decade?
Football: Growing up in the 80s in Northern CA, it was impossible to not be a fan of Joe Montana. It was also pretty cool sharing my birthday with him as he is exactly 18 years my senior.
Basketball: It was all about Lakers-Celtics and so being on the west coast, the Lakers were the team. Magic was the most incredible team player.
WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?
overeasy: I have no aspirations for any physical events beyond playing with my kids, but if poker is considered a sport I would someday like to play at the World Series in Vegas. I would love to visit the Field of Dreams in Iowa and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?
overeasy: While I have definitely enjoyed my success in HBD, I would have to say that my favorite moment was in HD when I coached my alma mater, Pacific, to the championship game of the tournament. Unfortunately we fell short in the final game, but having my deepest ever tournament run while coaching my school was very satisfying.
WIS: You are the commissioner of the Kinsella world. What steps has your world taken to prevent tanking? Have you found that some measures work better than others?
overeasy: One of the founding principles of the world at its inception was to have competitive teams at every level of the organization. It was never strictly defined until a couple of years ago when multiple ML teams had some embarrassingly bad seasons and a couple of GMs severely neglected their minor leagues. At that point I felt it was time to have some rules with actual penalties. I have to thankmongoose_22 for his rules in the very good Satchel Paige world. I completely borrowed his rule for ML win minimums where the penalty would be to lose the team's first round pick in the following season. The other rule we have, which I believe is unique in HBD, is that for every minor league team that finishes the season with a win percentage below .250, the team must forfeit $4M of budget in the following season. I think both of these rules have done their job to make everyone pay attention to every level of their franchise.
WIS: Are there any other rules your worlds have in place or that you have considered implementing?
overeasy: My other two worlds have the standard ML min win rules that expel GMs who fail to meet the threshold. I feel much better about keeping GMs around if they want to stay and taking away the primary incentive for tanking.
WIS: The Little Rock Mockingbirds in the Satchel Paige world are back-to-back World Series champs and have been to the Fall Classic four of the last five seasons. Is it too soon to call the Mockingbirds a dynasty? Is there a three-peat in the team's future?
overeasy: I think the term dynasty is reserved for teams with at least three titles and unfortunately, we came up short in Game 7 of both those first two series. I sincerely hope there is a 3-peat in the future because this season I've got 3 starting pitchers (and 2/3 of my playoff rotation) who are 38 years old. So their major decline is imminent and they are likely suiting up for their final season as Mockingbirds. At the same time, my minors are bare and there doesn't appear to be any comparable replacements on the free agent horizon. So after this season, I see us dropping from serious title contender to just playoff contender, meaning it would take a lot more luck to keep the run going.
WIS: Your New York Mets squad in the Major Leagues is in the midst of a rebuild. What has that process entailed? How long before the Mets are playoff contenders again?
overeasy: The process has entailed trying to at least put together a decent defense and assembling teams with economical free agent parts since my minors were pretty much wiped out when our long streak of playoff teams came to an end. The rebuild will take at least a couple more seasons, but we have got a great start to the rebuild already. Last season we were able to land a superstar IFA SP. This season in the draft we added a guy whose 20M projections look like what I imagine as a pre-roids Barry Bonds (ironically his last name is Bonilla) and a very good lefty SP.WIS: You've been a part of the Kinsella world since its onset. Does that create any added attachment to your New York Yankees team compared to your other teams?
overeasy: It's not specifically the team I am attached to, but rather the world. It is my baby. I pushed the button to create it and personally screened every GM that has ever played there. The result has been a very competitive, high-retention world. Taking off my commish hat and putting on my GM hat, it has also been a source of frustration as it is the only one of my four current worlds where I have not been able to get a second title. All but one of my 7 career 110+ win teams have been in this world and I just haven't been able to replicate the playoff success of my 94 win WS winner from way back in Season 5.
WIS: During a 10-year span, the Atlanta Braves of the American Pastime world won 10 division titles and four World Series crowns. In the 10 years since that stretch, the Braves haven't won a single division title. Can the Braves return to their former glory?
overeasy: The years of mediocrity have been the result of my stubbornness to admit that our run was over and begin rebuilding when it was time combined with the fact that the world is full of a lot of good GMs. We did finally break through last season by being in the division race going into the last few games and ended up with a wild card. This season we return mostly the same team only with the addition of a superstar hitter who we were able to acquire due to the fact that his previous team mistakenly arbed him three times and wanted more value than Type A compensation. So my hope is that this season will be the first in a new string of division titles.
WIS: What is your strategy for allocating your budget?
overeasy: This is one of the most important aspects of the game. The most successful GMs of this game are those who understand both player ratings and money management.
To start out, I would recommend to everyone to put 20M in training and just forget about it. With 20M training, you get the least amount of injuries, maximize player development, and decrease player decline. You can get most position players to still be useful into their mid-30s and pitchers maintain their peak effectiveness until they are 38.
Almost forgot about it...advanced scouting. The players with no discernable development pattern are probably the least traded players anyways as people fall in love with the potential of their young prospects. Almost every experienced player drops it to zero and never looks back. The average in my worlds is 4,5,6, and 6.
International scouting: I typically set it for 16M so it gives a pretty good pool of players you see with pretty decent projections. I'm in the IFA market whether or not I am rebuilding or competing. If I am rebuilding I am trying to bring in as much talent as fast as possible and if I am competing, it is the only chance I have of a top tier talent.
Draft scouting: If I am starting to rebuild, I look at the world's budget screen and whichever area has the lowest average, I select that one and raise it up to 16M. It is a massive waste of money to do HS and college and if you split between the two with lower amounts, the projections aren't going to be good enough to make solid decisions. When my team is competing and I am getting draft picks at the end of the first round, I punt the draft and drop the budget to 0/0. I only sign enough guys to keep my minor leagues functional and focus on high level IFAs for real talent.
Coaching: My budget hinges on one guy, the Fielding Instructor (FI). If the FI is willing to re-sign then my budget is 6M. If not, then my budget is 9M or 10M, depending on how expensive the top guys usually go for in the world, as the extra 3 or 4M all goes to landing the FI. For every other coaching position, there is a wide enough pool to easily land a cheap alternative. There is also a fact not widely known that with no competing offers, coaches will sign for 50% of their asking price. I typically sign my ML bench, pitching, and batting coaches for 50% in the final cycle of coach hiring.
My most outside the box budget choice is that for over a year now, all my teams have been running with 0 in medical. My 20M in training has helped me avoid any serious injuries to this point and since the average medical spending in my worlds is around 14M, it has been a huge financial benefit.
WIS: What do you believe are the most important individual player ratings for performance?
overeasy: This question is just too complicated for a short answer, so I will pass. I've already written the longest user interview ever.
WIS: Do you have any favorite players from any of your HBD teams?
overeasy: In American Pastime, Brian Baek was a Hall of Fame catcher who was the primary offensive force behind my run of 5 straight WS with 4 titles. I believe he is the world's all-time postseason leader in home runs and RBIs by a decent margin.
In Kinsella, my favorite player is Brandon Sutton. The guy was huge for our first run of success. It drives me a bit crazy that his two teammates of that era were able to get elected to the Hall and he is still waiting. He was the guy who kept being league MVP runner-up year after year and was the best of the three. Part of it was my own fault, since most of those seasons we clinched the division and bye very early and I just benched him to make sure he was healthy for the playoffs, being scared of an injury to my most important offensive player. So I probably shorted him at least 150 games for his career, costing him the opportunity for 3000 hits and 500 home runs. At the same time, I also played him at DH to save on fatigue even though he was fine at 1B, so he is getting anti-DH bias for his Hall bid.
In Major Leagues, it was SP Byron Watson. The guy was not flashy, he was never a serious Cy candidate. He simply pitched about 230 innings every season, had an ERA just under or just over 3, and won around 15 games. His ability to do it for almost 20 seasons, all for me, got him elected to the Hall. He was also the best SP during the postseason for both of my 2 WS title runs.
In Satchel, they are current players: southpaw SP Pedro Castillo and slugging RF J.P. Romano. They were both expensive IFAs I landed in back-to-back seasons who arrived ML ready. They have been the cornerstones of my current run of success. Thanks to a legendary SP who is also in the NL, Castillo is going to continually be a Cy bridesmaid while Romano is a fearsome masher who won his first four appearances in the Home Run Derby, finally finishing in 2nd last season.
WIS: How much time do you spend on your Hardball Dynasty teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?
overeasy: I probably spend about an hour a day on my four teams during the season. Pre-season activities are a bit more time consuming. How far as how much to be competitive, it depends on where your team is at. If you are trying to put together a winner, you can spend hours trying to find the right players and working out the deals to land them. If you don't have hours you can dedicate during the critical times, especially preseason or preparing draft boards, then it is tough to compete at the highest level.
WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?
overeasy: Be patient and ask for help. There were trades I made even a year into playing this game where I wish I could go back and stop myself.
WIS: What is your favorite aspect of Hardball Dynasty?
overeasy: Basically, almost everything. As a kid who used to use his baseball cards to create fictional seasons, even tracking the statistics of the players, HBD is a dream come true. Back then, I many times ignored the real life capability of the players and gave them their attributes based on how they looked in their baseball card picture. Dave Stewart was actually a multiple Cy Young winner in my imaginary world when he looked like a bad ass on his Rangers baseball card ('85 Fleer) and Glenn Bragg was a monster slugger.
WIS: Least favorite?
overeasy: The Rule 5 Draft. Basically, the only thing you get from this is people who have a few days where RL gets in the way get pissed off when they lose some of their best prospects who were going to get called up after Game 20. Otherwise the best you can hope to acquire here are defensive specialists whose performance could be replicated by players available near the end of free agency for less than 1M per season. If it were up to me, I would chuck this day in the schedule and use the extra day to make the divisional playoff round best of 7.
WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?
overeasy: First of all, I would like to see actual future updates. I am hoping that the message given during the recent server migration was for real and that new updates are actually going to be scheduled. My fear is that it was simply a move to consolidate server resources and save money on data center expenses.
With the game being exactly the same for so long, I will stick to wishing for some more cosmetic elements as those of us who have been here a long time can remember what even seemingly minor game mechanic changes can do to results. I would start with fixing the Hall of Fame. First of all, show the players' primary position for most of their career, not what they played as an old man. Since the worlds I play in all get pretty decent voting participation, we could use some more votes per person. With only 5, we keep getting split votes among more than 5 worthy candidates and have a hard time electing the players who aren't the automatic legendary types.
WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?
overeasy: Bribar - He no longer plays but he was the first person who offered me any help with the game as he was in my first ever world. He was also the commish of American Pastime when I joined. I send him an e-mail when we have openings in Kinsella just to see if he will come back.
hopkinsheel - He was also in my first ever world under a different username and was one of the first people who I would converse with about the game in trade chats. I played a few seasons in one of his worlds, NCAA, until I had to drop the team due to a lack of time to properly perform the needed rebuild that was coming.
train - Possibly the best player of this game. His success in American Pastime has been incredible. He made the playoffs for the first 19 seasons, missed for 4 seasons and picked right back up. His 6 WS titles are also tops.
Long time members of World Kinsella: dherz_263, Sockless_Joe, jclarkbaker, jdrake27, jnewfry,sweetnss355, akgsports, drichter, bux_express, blanch13, crabman26, suginamiku, tedwmoore,Rigbystarr, dillontt - A great group of guys that have helped make running the world a very enjoyable experience.
blanch13 - Need an extra call out for this guy. For a stretch of time in Major Leagues, we had the top two teams in the world. Unfortunately we were both in the same division and he kept getting the best of me every season in the playoffs on his way to four straight WS titles. If it wasn't for him, I'm pretty sure I'd have a minimum of 2 more rings.
jclarkbaker - Another extra call out required for the Kinsella Boston Red Sox GM since Season 1. As the Yankee GM, we have had fun over the years verbally abusing each other on the world chat and talking privately in trade chat.
crabman_26 - He was a member of all three of my longest tenured worlds (recently quit Major Leagues) and is still my division rival in Kinsella and American Pastime. I have enjoyed competing against him and have had many trade chat discussions.
WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?
overeasy: In my younger days, I would have been a mediocre range and arm, high glove 2nd baseman with a bat made for the tryout camp.