Today’s interview is with another of the original owners of the Summer Of ’49 as I sit down with the Charleston Of Bricks owner JSReilly.While the team has always been located in Charleston they did change their name before season 10.This storied franchise has not been able to take home the World Series trophy yet but has finished above .500 in all but 2 seasons.So let’s get started.
JS, what area of the country do you live in?
I live in Chicago
What type of work do you do to finance the Charleston operation?
I run a market-neutral small-cap value investment strategy for a couple of clients
What is your favorite ML team?
I was a HUGE Mets fan growing up in NY but the Steve Phillips era sucked all of the life out my devotion.The last straw was the Mets signing of Tom Glavine, which made it easy to switch to the Chicago White Sox.I started going to Sox games in college because the stadium was close by, we could buy cheap upper deck seats and by the 5th inning could move down to sit 10 rows behind the dugout never getting carded for beer added to the attraction.I still have fond memories of summer nights at Shea as a kid but they lost me as a fan and I can't see myself ever switching back.
Do you prefer AL or NL style baseball?
I can't really say I have a true preference it just depends on the day you ask the question.
Who is your favorite ML player dead or alive? Why?
This is another question where my answer has changed over time.When I was a Met fan I would have told you Doc Gooden and Gary Carter were my favorite players.Now I would say that Ken Griffey Jr. and Joe Crede are the players I cheer for the loudest.
What got you to start playing HBD?
Like a lot of people in HBD I was originally an HD guy.When HBD was added I figured I would give it a try.
How long did it take before you felt confident in you knowledge to build a team?
With the complexity of this game the first couple of seasons were a learning experience but by season 3 I felt that I had a good grasp of the ratings system and what was needed to build a good team.
How did you decide on the location and name for your team?
I chose Charleston because my parents live there now.The name Charleston Of Bricks was an attempt (albeit poor) of being clever.
How much importance do you put on the draft & IFA’s?
I've always felt the draft was very important however it has gotten much tougher to find future Major Leaguers in the 2nd/3rd/4th rounds since they adjusted the way they calculate Overall Ratings and have changed the talent pool.Signing IFA's in this world has become very competitive so I started to shy away when the bidding wars escalated.The cost vs. reward just didn't seem to be that great a value a lot of the time.
Do you have a favorite HBD player and how did you acquire him?
I love all my fake players so it’s much easier to tell you my least favorite player all-time and in this world it would be Torri Redman.
Do you have a most memorable trade? Why?
It would probably be the Calvin Bruske/Matty Campos for Jose Montanez/Brady Simpson trade that I made with schuyler.It was after he had re-joined the league if memory serves me, we negotiated that one for around two weeks.
If you could change one thing about HBD what would it be?
Given the chance to change anything I believe minor league success should also be rewarded so I would put a system in place to do just that.
Thank you for taking the time away from your team to sit down for this interview, I appreciate it.Good luck this season.
The Domination has owned the division for the last eight seasons yet has only 2 LCS appearances and no WS appearances.Jon Price (41, 122, .377) put up MVP numbers, as 3 others contributed 30+ HR & 95+ RBI for one of the top offensive teams.Edwards Beech (17-7, 3.11) & Harry Heath (15-6, 3.27) are outstanding pitchers, the rest of the staff isn’t as talented and the lack of a shut down closer hurt this team’s playoff run.Detroit has decided to again play with the same hand which has worked in the past but it may be a dangerous strategy as the rest of the division has narrowed the gap.
A 3rd straight last place finish has the Toledo fans looking for answers to questions like when will this team make the playoffs.Offense again was not the problem as a .275 team batting avg. will attest.Cy Keats (36, 98, .306) & Ernest Dougherty (32, 88, .312) lead the hit parade.On the other hand the pitching struggled with only 2 players reaching double digits in wins.After last seasons disappointing backslide the Mudhens decided to open the wallet and dive into the FA market.Was it enough to compete for 1st place?Probably not, however it now looks on paper that they have the components to leap into 2nd and at least cause Detroit some sleepless nights.
The ‘Necks are good enough to finish over .500 however they haven’t been able to claim a playoff spot.Shaggy Brown (32, 124, .331) & Robinson Washinton (47, 123, .276) are among the best hitters in the league.The pitching staff is suspect with only 3 hurlers able to come up with sub 4 ERA’s and none of those were the arms in the starting rotation.Without any major changes Dover will again be on the outside looking in when playoff time rolls around.
Another year, another 2nd place finish leaves Trenton wondering what it has to do to claim a division title.A .270 team batting avg., 7 players with 20+ HR shows there is enough firepower.However other than closer Roy Pall (38 sv, 3.04) the pitching staff could use some upgrading.The loss of Ralph Counsell will be felt however new parts were added in an attempt to end Detroit’s run a top the division.It should again be a race down to the wire but unlikely that this is the year Trenton will bring home the division crown.
The offensive firepower of the Privateers was never more evident than it was last season.The assault was lead by Erick Mullin (52, 136, .270) but there were big bats throughout the lineup as 4 other players hit at least 35 HR and 100 RBI.Other than Kordell Forbes (16-8, 3.70) & Larry Franklin (15-7, 3.75) the pitching didn’t have the same kind of impact.Pawtucket is still the team to beat yet that may change in the near future if the pitching staff doesn’t improve.
Management decided that Charlotte would provide a better home for the Chokers while the fans of Boston have burned team apparel in the streets.It is yet to be seen if this team can continue to produce offensively as they did in their previous home.Willard Richards (47, 119, .273) is among the top bats that was not anxious to leave Boston.The pitching staff with the exception of closer Willie Mercado (35 sv, 2.72) should be thrilled to be out of beantown.To make a good impression on their new fan base the team plucked some hurlers from the FA pool.The question will be whether there is still any life left in those veteran arms.
For the past 4 seasons this team has alternated .500 and sub .500 finishes so it will be interesting to see if they can break this pattern.The loss of Alex Martin to free agency will hurt but Don Wilkins (40, 122, .330) & Malcolm Adams (28, 115, .316) will still continue as RBI machines.As the teams 5.01 ERA from last season shows it is an area of concern.The Lebowskis are coming off a good season but need to make changes to their pitching staff before they will be on the same level as the playoff contenders.
While the Hammers are 4 years removed from their last playoff appearance they did show improvement last year.Nick Regan (61 146, .290) & Willie Leon (55, 116 .242) provide the long ball threat for this team.On the mound Ray Wall & Glenn Spiezio had the best years for a staff that struggled all season.The team performed well with the talent available and short term stopgap players have been brought in until the farm supplies the necessary players.
New ownership has taken over a team that has won 10 of the 13 division titles including last seasons.This team is in love with the long ball with a 50 HR player, (2) 40 HR guys and 3 others with 30 HR a season ago.So while most teams would be hurt by the loss of a couple of guys that hit 30 homers this team still has plenty of power.With a high power offense the pitching just needed to be solid and that was accomplished.Upgrading the pitching would be necessary to allow this team to go deeper in the playoffs. Several pitchers were signing from the FA market.Whether these seasoned vets are what this teams needs to again take them to the playoffs and challenge for the WS trophy will need to be determined.
Charleston of Bricks(92-70)
The Bricks made the playoffs however since winning the division with 108 wins in season 11 they have won fewer games each of the last 2 seasons.5 players hit more than 30 homers and 3 had more than 95 RBI’s so offense isn’t a big concern.The pitching staff had 3 players surpass the 10 win plateau led by Joey Romero (19 wins) & Red Roosevelt (18 wins).Yet with a more than solid defense, potent offense and decent pitching staff Charleston couldn’t hold off Montgomery to win the division.Losing a young slugger like Raul Andujar is a blow to this organization and he will be missed.However there is plenty of talent left and Charleston should be in the hunt until the end.
The Rebels could not keep their division title and fell from 1st to 3rd in one season.So what would the best thing to do?Management feels it is to leave the tropical paradise in Puerto Rico and take up residence in Richmond.It is anticipated that the offense won’t be as strong but sluggers Geraldo Lee (58, 146, .269), Peter Dong (57, 114, .320), Corky Bowman (41, 78, .259) & Glenn Holdridge (40, 94, .296) will see how much they like southern hospitality.Cliff Gunderson (15 wins), Walker Jennings (14 wins) & Jeremy Weston (31 sv, 2.96) are happy to be rid of their previous home.The move to Richmond is a calculated risk that should produce either very positive or negative results.In the end the Rebels should be battling for a wildcard slot as the division title goes elsewhere.
Iowa City Screwballs(82-80)
Playing in the only division that had every team finish above .500 did little for team morale as Iowa City failed to escape last place.50 HR man Matt Moseley led a strong team offense that made the most of their opportunities.Ron Perry (15-7, 3.51) & Darwin Green (33 sv) anchor the pitching staff that was hurt by inconsistent fielding.The loss of Rolando Canseco is a major blow to this teams hope to build on last seasons success.It appears the Balls will take a step back as they look for pitching help.
Honolulu Dashboard Hula Dolls(94-68)
Dropping 13 games from the win column would have been a devastating fall in most divisions however the distance between Honolulu and its division mates was substantial.Jeff Jennings (53, 181, .307) & Alvin Standridge (64, 159, .295) put up MVP numbers last season.Closer Norman Gordon (42 sv, 2.82), Russ Jerchower (17-10, 4.03) & Orlando Castilla (14-5, 4.09) put together good seasons in this hitters paradise.Unfortunately the 4th and 5th spot in the rotation became a black hole that ruined a season with high expectations. With little done to improve on last years team it is hoped that everyone will do a little more this season.That might not be possible but the division crown is the Dolls to lose.
Kansas City Masterpieces(75-87)
Bill Piper (37, 115, .301), Benny Alfonseca (33, 103, .293) & Gordon Hines (39, 98, .250) swing big bats in a place that isn’t easy to do.Pitching was this teams undoing last year with 3 starters carrying ERA’s over 5 and the teams closer putting up an ERA over 6.However management has added a couple of nice pieces and if Honolulu stumbles KC may have enough to take the division.
A move farther north has brought many more changes to a team that fell
from 2nd to last in the division.Many of last years top offensive weapons have moved on but this team is aggressively heading in the right direction.Much like the offense the pitching staff has moved in some new personnel however allowing Rafael Morales to depart was not in this team’s best interest.The team owner is hoping that moving to Salem will be a successful change but more will need to be done to enable them to catch Honolulu.The move to Vancouver will be more successful than their last relocation if the players that have been brought in perform as well as anticipated.
Victor Sojo (51, 114, .239) supplies the power while Willie Fuentes (108 R, 62 SB, .272) runs wild.The problem is there is little else to talk about offensively for Boise.On the mound the hurlers didn’t fare much better with only one starter producing a sub 5 ERA and no one putting up more than 9 wins.The Mashers showed some improvement last season but will need to compensate for some departed players if they want to keep moving in the right direction.It is more likely that this team will stumble a bit as they try to regroup.
The surprise of season 13 was the team from Toronto.Taking its 1st division title would have been a great accomplishment, so winning the WS was a miraculous thing.Lance Kaufman (41, 130, .329) led the offense and handled the pitching staff to perfection.A remarkable 900 runs were score while the pitching staff was able to allow 200 fewer opponents to cross the plate.Tyson Nelson (15-4, 3.08) was the staff ace as this team won without a true closer.Surprisingly the team only added the bat of Deivi Tapies while choosing not to add a dominant closer.
The Rocks were able to increase their win total by 5 games but could not keep up with Toronto as they landed in 2nd.While the team batting avg. was nothing spectacular this team does know how to score runs as the team ran wild finishing with 272 SB.Alan Brownson (16-5, 2.76) & Brad Adams (16-5, 3.18) are as strong a front end of the rotation as there is.25 blown saves though doomed Ottawa to lose hold of the division.It was a pretty quiet off season for the Rocks as a couple of minor additions were added to the pitching staff.
Back to back 75 win seasons have this team stuck in neutral.With top bats like Luis Limon (55, 146, .277), Bubbles Jerchower (25, 98, .350) & Tom Torres (33, 117, .319) make this team dangerous in every game.The pitching staff on the other hand isn’t nearly as potent and therein lays the problem that keeps this team from the upper echelon of the NL.The Showers allowed some of their older players to leave in a necessary move.Now their replacements must show that they are ready to contribute so this team can get into the playoff race.
Scranton Salt Dogs(68-94)
23 less wins last season from the year before have Scranton looking for wholesale changes.Angel Carrara (39, 121, .263) & Eddie Jodie (29, 96, .284) led a still powerful offense & Brian Fordyce (13-7, 3.00) was solid as the pitching staff struggled as did the defense.The loss of Vladimir Sierra hurts and was not addressed in the off season.Some vets were brought in to fill some of the holes this team has but they are merely stopgaps and long term solutions will need to be found.
Can the 42’s repeat their 106 win season of last year and hold off a very talented Syracuse team again? The answer to both those questions was yes, so how do they top back to back 106 win seasons?Last season 7 players hit more than 20 HR with Guillermo Estrada leading the way with 38.The 42’s also had a more than capable pitching staff that sported a 3.31 ERA.Lawrence Wright (18-9, 3.43) was the Ace however no one was more valuable than Wilfredo Lugo (8-5, 32 sv, 2.86).Adding Miguel Sosa to a deadly staff probably wasn’t necessary yet Burlington isn’t willing to let loose of the division title.
Syracuse Saltine Warriors(101-61)
It’s hard for a 100 win team to have a bad season but finishing 2nd in the division and not making it out of the 1st round of the playoffs rained on what should be thought of as a great season.Like their rivals from Burlington they had 7 players with more than 20 HR and 3 players with 100 RBI.Mariano Alvarez (39, 112, .331) & Omar Soriano (31, 110, .308) provide as lethal a one-two punch as there is.Alex Guzman (18-3, 3.18) & Luke Gordon (42 sv, 3.43) are the dynamic duo leading the hurlers.Great team with a good balance of offense & pitching that will be stuck in 2nd place again.
Philadelphia Flying Fish(72-90)
The big 4 of Timo Coleridge (32, 83, .255), Joaquin Bocachica (28, 95, .304), Doug Medina (28, 83, .295) & Bronson Hawkins (24, 90, .307) powered the fish as they climbed to a 3rd place finish.Unfortunately the pitching couldn’t keep pace as only closer Benito Ramirez (20 sv, 2.90) was able to finish with an ERA under 4.Minor acquisitions were made whether that will add will determine if the Fish can increase last years win total.
New York Highlanders(62-100)
Fans and management were shocked by last year’s poor performance.Sal Simmons (27, 81, .321), Vincenzo Sierra (33, 88, .274), Haywood Brown (19 sv, 2.64) & Ivan Torrero (13-11, 3.13) performed admirably as this team fell to the bottom of the division.The remainder of the roster put up decent numbers but with no one stepping up to help this team languished.Little was added in the off season so it will be necessary for everyone to improve for this team to rise from the ashes.
New Orleans Pelicans(94-68)
After a sub .500 finish things were put back in place on the way to a 90 win season and a 3rd consecutive division title.Don Lee (43, 135, .293) & Ober Amaro (37, 87, .300) power the offense while the speedy Pedro Rijo (111 R, 48 SB, .295) & Melvin Ono (106 R, 37 SB, .277) give them RBI opportunities.The starting pitching struggled a little even with 2 sub 4 ERA’s yet the bullpen excelled and no one more so than closer extraordinaire Vasco Urbina (44 sv, 2.45).Rolando Canseco will be counted on to help improve the starting pitching so this again looks like the team to beat in the NL South.
Injuries to the pitching staff set this team back and combined with an offense that had several players struggling a last place finish was predictable.Speedster Vincente Sierra has been brought up to set the table for returning sluggers Vasco Hernandez (39, 101, .285), Alex Abreu (28, 82, .281) & Heath Jones (31, 92, .277).Last season the pitching staff was constantly changing as players were shuttled in and out.Guy Glover will be expected to continue in the closer role and with the departure of Dan Ulrich others will need to step forward in the rotation.Many changes were made during last season so management has decided to see what a full season with these players will bring.
The Music showed a slight improvement last season.No one really stood out offensively; it was more of a group effort with everyone doing the little things that helped produce runs.Upgrades to the rotation will be needed if this team wants to contend but with stalwarts like Richard Scoroposki (10-9, 3.22), John Sullivan (14-9, 3.82) & PT Cedeno (34 sv) the foundation to build on is in place.The hope is that this team will continue to improve without wholesale changes being made.
Oklahoma City Rams(75-87)
As expected the offense struggled with the exception of Louie Farr (40, 91, .277).The pitching was much better than anticipated and the arms of vet Juan Ortiz (18 sv) & Pat Bass (13 sv) closing games provided an added boost.Some more pitching help would be welcome however additional firepower for the offense is critical.The veteran arms of Vladimir Sierra & Walt Russell but no additions to the offense may not bring more wins.
Salt Lake City Polygamists(83-79)
Finishing 20 games better than the previous year sent the Polygamists into the off season with a renewed optimism.The offense was consistent and put up a very respectable team avg of .272.With Jack Lawrence (100 Runs, 47 SB) setting the table and Paul Brush (58, 144, .284) driving him in this team should score runs again.Improved pitching will be needed for this team to make this team a serious WS threat.Last year no pitcher put up more than 12 wins and the team ERA of 4.74 must be lower for SLC to reach elite status.Rafael Morales was picked up from Salem and it is hoped he will be able to regain his form after a down year.A division title seems within reach more than that might be only possible with more changes.
The 3 time division champ has finished with back to back 85-77 records as well as disappointing 1st round exits from the playoffs after its lone WS victory.The loss of C Harry Rosado is sure to be felt however the offense still carries the potent bats of Bryan Brown (36, 92, .304) & Phil Murphy (27, 92, .303).To replace Rosado the Bombers are hoping for big things from the recently acquired Mateo Medrano (C) & Diego Alfonso (3B).The pitching was a major reason for last year’s success and will be again with the likes of Ernie Alexander (17-7, 2.84) & Mule Black (16-8, 3.03).However another division crown and deeper playoff run may hinge on the teams ability to decrease the 23 blown saves of a year ago.
St. Louis Cardinals(65-97)
The Cards continued their slide in the wrong direction finishing with fewer wins than the previous season and in the cellar.The pitching kept the team in games as the offense lacked the teeth to turn those games into victories.Hub Smart (12-15, 3.59) & Moose Curtis (11-13, 3.63) held their own while crafty graybeard Sean White converted 28 of his 31 save opportunities. Pieces still need to be added to get St. Louis pointed back in the right direction.
Another season of frustration in the desert ends with the team recording fewer victories than the previous year for the 4th year in a row. Byung-Hyun Wan (30, 121, .293) & Bill Rollins powered the offense while DaRond Neal (18, 74, .279) wasn’t able to justify his big contract.Pitching was a problem last season as the team ERA of 5.62 would indicate and will most likely be again this season.Only 1 starter had a sub 5 ERA and Michael Dillon’s 4.79 was not something to be especially proud of.Additions to both the offense and defense need to be made for Arizona to become a threat for a division title.
Our series of owner interviews continues with another of the original members of the Summer of ’49, Quebec.Please jump into the hot seat and let’s get started.
Where do you call home?
I live in the land of lakes, Minnesota.
What type of work do you do?
I work for a financial services company in their treasury department.
Do you have a favorite ML team?
Yes, originally I was a fan of the Montreal Expos however after they moved I started following the Twins and Royals.
Which brand of play do you prefer AL or NL style?
Having grown up around AL baseball you would guess that I prefer to have a DH however you would be wrong.My preference is for the NL style of play.With the pitcher hitting, double switches, etc. there is more strategy involved and therefore more interesting to me.
Who would you say is your favorite ML player dead or alive? Why?
I always thought Andre Dawson was one of the best. During his career he seemed to be a guy who tried his best without all the shameless self-promotion that seems to be so popular with a lot of the current day players.
What got you started playing HBD?
I don't recall exactly how I stumbled on the site back in 2002. However when I was introduced to WIS I started with the SimLeagues and moved on to HD (RUPP) when that world got started. After playing that for a few seasons I moved on to HBD as a new challenge when it was first introduced and have been here since.
How long did it take before you felt confident in you knowledge to build a team?
It took about 2 seasons for me to feel like I knew how to put together a winning franchise that could consistently go to the playoffs.
How did you decide on the location and name for your team?
Montreal would have been my first choice but I didn’t like the ballpark effects.Ottawa seemed to be a better selection since it’s more of a neutral park.The Ottawa logo reminds me of the the “house and stones” used in curling which is a big sport in Canada.The stones used in the sport can also be called Rocks so it was a natural choice for my team name.
How important are the draft & IFA’s to building your team?
In the past when my payroll was much lower, I used IFA’s as a major tool in adding ML talent to the franchise. I think my team currently has 6 IFA’s on the 25 man ML roster.The way other teams have added to their prospect budgets as time has passed I now try to get one fringe ML player each year for a couple million. The draft is really a no brainer. To build and re-build a franchise free agency can be such a drain on the budget for players at the majority of positions so I try get a can't miss with my #1 pick and land a couple of guys with potential in the 2nd & 3rd rounds.
Do you have a favorite HBD player and how did you acquire him?
Larry Brown was the 3rd pick of the 1st round during the Year 1 draft. I was hoping one of the two pitchers that went before him would slip to me but in retrospect I was very fortunate to have gotten him. He started out as a demon on the base paths and has kept it up even since I been moved him to the 3 hole in the order where he has turned into a consistent run producer as well.
What has been your most memorable trade? Why?
I picked up Alan Brownson in a major trade of minor leaguers during Year 1. Jonathan Poppell was a big hitting C (more of a DH) that I gave up for what I envisioned as a top of the rotation P. He has been exceptional during his ML career. In fact I believe the only thing that has kept him from winning multiple Cy Young Awards has been his limited durability that keeps him from throwing more than 170 innings a year.Not exactly what I had anticipated but still a very solid pitcher throughout his career.
I’m sure you saw the notice that WIS has a position they are trying to fill.What If you were that person and could change one thing about HBD, what would it be?
With out question it would be the coach hiring process. In my opinion I think you should be allowed to promote any of your previous coaches yourself.Having to put them back in the available pool and hoping you don't get outbid for their services seems absurd.I’m sure if I ran a big league team I would be able to convince a coach to stay if he was offered a promotion and more money.
Thank you very much Quebec for taking the time to sit down with me.The hot seat is now empty again and awaiting the arrival of the next owner to be interviewed.Stayed tuned.