Thursday, November 27, 2008

Interview With A Champion

After winning his first Mantle World Series, the Mantle Free Press had a chance to ask the champ some questions regarding HBD as well as a few other topics. Check out the interview below.

MFP (Mantle Free Press): First, let me say congratulations on winning your first World Series title. So, who was your World Series MVP and why?

TB (the Benders): Second baseman George Dunham was named WS MVP, hitting .391 with a.462 OBP, 1.114 OPS and 10 RBI

MFP: Was Dunham your regular season MVP also? If not, who was?

TB: That'd have to be Sammy Shumpert. He's been a force on offense for me. I didn't really think he deserved the AL MVP though. To me, defense is important so a guy who splits time between 1B and DH would have to have offensive numbers far and away better than someone at a key defensive position.
I voted for Tejera.

MFP: Many Mantle owners consider the A.L. North to be the best division in Mantle. Is the division deserving of those accolades?

TB: The AL North is without a doubt the best in Mantle. All four owners have been here since day 1 and have really shown a commitment to fielding quality teams. Some other divisions such as the NL North or AL West have been very good for a stretch of a few seasons, but the AL North has had multiple top teams in each of the 10 seasons of this world's existence. The Bad Seeds have had quite a bit of regular season success, but I think this is the first season in which I wasn't battling for a playoff spot in the final series of the season against the Black Sox.
Of course tecwrg really hasn't been pulling his weight the past few seasons. Aside from the recent embarrassment in Scranton, the other 3 teams have never had a losing record and only have one season out of 30 with less than 87 wins. All four teams have won over 100 games at some point and three of us now have a WS ring.

MFP: What advice would you offer to Mantle HBDers trying to build a championship team?

TB: Don't spend too long rebuilding. Judging by the trading history in Mantle, prospects seem to be way overvalued. By now most owners realize that most prospects don't ever reach their potential, yet I realize it is tempting to go hard after a guy who has great projections. Far too many owners ignore veteran players. I'm continually amazed at how many high quality players are still around near the end of free agency. At that point most will sign a 1-yr deal.

MFP: What's the most important thing you've learned in playing 10 seasons of Mantle HBD?

TB: The playoffs are a crapshoot. I knew this before playing HBD, but it really makes the point clear when you field a team that you think is unstoppable and could barely be improved, only to see them knocked out of the divisional round of the playoffs. I really didn't think this season's Bad Seeds would be a championship contender. I thought my offense was the weakest I've ever had, and I was worried my starting pitchers wouldn't be able to match up with some of the aces that are in the AL. But I managed to avoid crucial injuries (a big concern considering my aging pitching staff), got Rudy Brown back near the end of the ALCS and got just lucky enough to win it all.

MFP: When not setting lineups, deactivating minor leaguers, and scanning the waiver wire, what do you do in your spare time?

TB: I'm big into music and college football. I'm also a huge numbers guy, so occasionally I'll play around with some statistical modeling data from various sports, or more recently election data.

MFP: What's your favorite sports team, player or both?

TB: USC football and Marcus Allen.

TB: Pete Carroll knows how to run a program. The stretch they've had recently is incredible, but it would be more impressive if they had the opportunity to play in a playoff to decide the championship. I'm still hopeful a college football playoff, even if only a plus-one format, will happen in the near future. I got even more optimistic when Obama gave his Monday Night football interview and said that that would be the one thing he would change about sports if he were elected president. I realize he doesn't exactly have the authority to do anything directly, but maybe he can change the minds of the few people getting rich off the current system that are standing in the way of what every college football fan wants to see.

MFP: I'm a big music person. What song was playing in the Bad Seeds clubhouse after the World Series win?

TB: Well, it'd have to be a very Detroit kind of song. Ass-n-Titties maybe? That's probably not appropriate for the clubhouse. Probably Strings of Life by Derrick May or maybe Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground".

MFP: Thanks for your time, and once again, congratulations on your first Mantle World Series.

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