Syracuse Saltine Warriors owner Namshub will sit down to be the 2nd in our series of interviews.
What area of the country do you live in?
I live in the northeastern part of the U.S. in upstate New York just outside of Syracuse. It’s where I grew up and after leaving to go to school I came back to settle down. Although the weather can get pretty rough most of my family still lives in the area which makes it nice.
What do you do to support your family and pay for your HBD addiction?
I’m an attorney for a small firm specializing in domestic relations (divorce and family court) and real estate law. After 13 years I hope some day to find a different field however with a family and the economy struggling who knows if that will be possible.
What ML team do you follow?
The NY Mets for about 30 years now. Growing up in Central New York prior to the cable onslaught you could either watch Mets games on WOR, Yankees games on WPIX, Red Sox games on WSBK or an occasional Cubs game on WGN. With those choices, Chicago seemed too far away so they were out. My brother was a BoSox fan so eliminated them. Everyone else in the neighborhood liked the Yankees, so naturally I chose the Mets. In the early 80’s I became a diehard fan and have never stopped. Being about 6 hours from NYC and I try to catch a series every year.
Do you have a favorite ML player?
It would have to be Keith Hernandez. In my opinion he was the the heart and soul of the 80's Mets teams. He was a great defensive 1B who you always wanted up to bat with the game on the line. Now he's become a commentator with FSNY and does the Mets games so I've gotten to continue to follow his career even post-playing days. He's very funny and comes across like someone you could have a good conversation with.
Do you prefer AL or NL style baseball?
With my love for the Mets I prefer the NL style however I think the DH should be adopted throughout ML baseball. It no longer makes sense to allow a pitcher hit in my opinion even though it does add some additional strategy. However I do think not using a DH hamstrings the NL come playoff time as that big bat hasn't been a priority throughout the season.
How did you find out about HBD?
I stumbled onto this site a few years back and started playing sim league baseball (with minimal success) but I was hooked. The What If concept was amazing; I loved the idea of players from different eras playing on the same field. We've all had conversations with our buddies and now I could play them out. The strategy involved was very compelling. From there, I started playing HD at its inception (as basketball is my first love).When HBD was introduced in the HD forums I joined what is now the Summer of '49. Originally, it was created by a group of HD owners. It has evolved since and it’s been great so far.
How long did it take you to feel confident in your ability to build a team?
The league first started around the beginning of HBD itself so I think all of us went through some growing pains learning how to play. I went to the forums and talked with other owners to try and get helpful tips. At that time it was difficult because the game engine would change quite frequently and there were some glitches that owners took advantage of for their own betterment. As far as current team building, it took me about 6 seasons to feel I could compete with the other owners in the league on a consistent basis. The game is tough though and you have to try to win now as well as remember to build for the future. It is a difficult thing to do when you have other owners who know what they are doing. I'm always learning new things and have recently really had to learn how to manage my budget due to an increasing payroll. I haven't been in rebuilding mode yet but I'm sure that will come too.
Do the draft and IFA’s play a big part in your planning?
Early on I put a lot of emphasis on IFA's because it seemed I had more control over who I signed than through the draft (before controlled draft settings). Lately, I have cut back on IFA signings as costs have got a little out of control and I needed more money for payroll. It’s been tough finding talent in the draft because of my recent success I have had low draft picks. I really have to be creative with my draft board to try and get someone that can contribute at the ML level. In my opinion, in order to maintain success you have to balance FA signings, IFA signings, drafting and trading to have a consistent dynasty.
Who is your favorite HBD player?
I have to name 3 players since I've grown attached to them equally. The first two were gifted to me when the league was created (original members of the franchise) Luke Gordon (RP), my 39-year old closer who is approaching 500 saves and is on the all-time list across all worlds. He has been clutch and saved many big games for my franchise. I almost didn't re-sign him this season which would've been a huge mistake. Mariano Alvarez, my clean-up hitter since Day 1, has been incredibly clutch and consisten. For his salary throughout the years I would put him up against any other player in the league (past or present). My third player is Alex Guzman (acquired in a trade) who put this team over the top as a true #1 starter and allowed me to be competitive come playoff time. The good thing about only having one franchise is you definitely "get to know" your players a bit more and have that fantasy connection to them.
Are there any trades that you’ve made that really stand out?
The Guzman trade referenced earlier is the most memorable. At the time I pulled the trigger there was a real lack of great starting pitching in the league (probably still is) and I had to give up a majority of the minor league talent I had stockpiled. It was make or break at the time as I thought I had enough talent to make a run. Luckily, it worked out for me. Just made another big one with Toronto giving up my CF Willie Espinosa for RF Mule Floyd who I am hoping will turn into an offensive beast and replace Alvarez in RF some day. He's off to a slow start but it’s too early to tell.
The powers that be put you in charge for one day and you can make any change to HBD, what would it be?
I'm happy with the game. I think it’s the best product out there for the money. I also think people have a tendency to whine a little too much about what is wrong with the game and the complainers are often the most vocal ones on the forums. That is a turn-off and keeps me off the forums for the most part. I guess its kind off the same in life though; to much bitching and not enough people having fun.
That concludes the interview with Namshub another of the original owners still remaining in Summer of ’49 now in it’s 13th season.Thanks for taking the time Namshub.
This is the first in a series of interviews with the owners in our world.It seemed only logical to start with the guys that have been here since the beginning and I thought it would be fun to put the head of the world’s blog in the lead off position.
So Bulls7210 what part of the country do you live in?
I live in Central California in the Fresno area.
When not running your team what do you do to pay for your HBD addiction?
With a degree in business I have worked as a manager in retail, food service and the construction fields.Unfortunately, the economy in California has been hit hard by this recent downturn and I’m looking for a position that will utilize my skills while presenting a challenge to enable me to continue to grow as a manager.
Back to the fun stuff.You have owned teams in both the AL & NL, which style of play do you prefer?
Well, having chosen the St. Louis Cardinals franchise here in “Summer of ’49” I’m a big fan of the real Cardinals.I’ve been following them since ’85 and truly believe that the call in the World Series, at 1st base that year cost them the title.Both leagues have some things that make them unique, however if pressed, I feel that the NL style includes more strategy.Pitching is critical in the NL, requiring both a strong rotation that can go deep in games and a rock solid pen to allow for the double switches that are necessary.Without the DH, NL teams are built more to rely on their pitching staffs making it less likely that large deficits will be overcome.
If pressed to name your favorite ML player living or deceased who would you chose?
I probably have a few favorites, but having to choose just one I always liked to watch John Tudor. As you might remember he was a starting pitcher for the Cardinals during the 80's. He never had great stats and will never make the HOF, but he always seemed to find a way to win games. He was just a crafty lefty and who can forget his performance in 1985?
So what made you decide to become a owner of a HBD team?
As soon as I heard that WIS was starting a new game, I knew that I would be getting into it. I was pretty excited about the chance to own a team and try to develop players. I was just lucky to have found a bunch of great guys to play against.
How long did it take you to feel comfortable running your team?
Probably, two (seasons) however, the early updates made that confidence disappear almost immediately.Adjusting to the changes Admin makes, changes the importance of certain factors and adapting to those updates has been a challenge for me.At first there was no Rule 5 draft, you didn’t fall victim to mass retirements of your MiL players and players continued to improve in their later years.This was the so-called ‘Roid Years’ that created super human players that put up huge numbers consistently into the latter stages of their careers as opposed to the sometimes rapid deterioration of a players skills that you see now.$20 mil in the training budget and there were no worries about your older players failing to perform.
How importance is the amateur draft & IFA’s to your organization?
The draft is very important to building a successful franchise but, this is another area that has changed over time.In the first few seasons draft prep was a simple process.Limitations to how your draft board could be changed make it possible to find ML talent in the later rounds (4th-8th).That doesn’t happen anymore since they allow owners to move players around more on their draft boards. Those 4th-8th round picks are now moved up and taken in the late 1st or early 2nd round. It is now more important than ever to spend some time on the draft prep so that you can maximize your draft position.The international market has not been kind to me I always seem to be out bid on the really good players.This makes it very difficult for me to move $15M or more into scouting IFA's and then add $20M or more to the prospect budget to sign them . I think I can use that $35+M elsewhere.
Do you have a favorite HBD player?
I think it would have to be Jacque Lee a catcher for me since year 1. He was and has been the most consistent offensive player in my organizations history. I was fortunate to have him on the team when the league was created. It is too bad that he was 26 when season one began, it would have been interesting to see the numbers he could have put up had he been playing at the ML level, as I suspect he would have, had he started at a younger age.
Is there a trade that you have made that sticks out in your mind as something that dramatically helped your team?
I don't really have a memorable trade to talk about. I have had some good trades and also some bad ones I rather forget. I can’t really think of a trade that changed the course of history for my team. I would say that some of the trades I didn't make were some of my best moves I’ve made.
If you were put in charge of HBD and could change one thing about the game what would it be?
I don't like the idea that we have to move money around in $2M increments. I can live with a penalty for having to move money from one budget area to another but let us do so for any dollar amount. If I want to move $1.5M from coaching to player’s salaries, let me and dock me S750K. Don't let my money go to waste all year long because I don't have a full $2M.
Thus concludes the interview with Bulls7210, although there was a lot of sweating and fidgeting it appears he has survived the experience.Thanks for taking the time Bulls and good luck the rest of the season.