WhatIfSports User Interview: yanks21

Don Mattingly is one of yanks21's all-time favorite players.

Yanks21’s favorite team is, you guessed it, the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers have won 27 titles in their history, but yanks21 has them beat when it comes to Hardball Dynasty. He’s collected 30 HBD championships since joining the site in 2006. In the latest User Interview, yanks21 shares a few of his winning philosophies.

yanks21 Hardball Dynasty Record
Seasons Record Playoff Record Div. Titles WS Champs
265 23,638-19,292 (0.551) 811-633 119 30

WIS: Who is yanks21?

yanks21: 36-year-old Program Management Consultant, married with a beautiful daughter. Diehard baseball and Yankee fan.

WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

yanks21: Think my brother introduced me to it about 10 years ago or so. Played one season of SIM baseball and then moved to HBD.

WIS: Which of our games have you played? Which do you prefer?

yanks21: One season of SIM baseball and too many of HBD. I’ve just dabbled playing the college basketball game (starting my second season now), however I don’t know much of college basketball so not sure how it will stick.

WIS: What are some of your interests and hobbies?

yanks21: Most time is spent with my family, but I play men’s softball, WhatIfSports, enjoy reading some and absorbing anything about baseball and the Yanks.

WIS: Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion?

yanks21: I have two tables really. One:

Paul O’Neill, Nick Swisher (he just seems like he’d be a lot of fun to hang with), A-Rod, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle. Talking all baseball. That would be awesome.

And two:

George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, John F. Kennedy and Donald Trump. I wouldn’t say a word, just listening to them react to Donald Trump would be amazing.

WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?

yanks21: Baseball, all year long pretty much through HS and then in a men’s leagues until 24.

WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?

yanks21: Paul O’Neill and Don Mattingly.  Donnie Baseball was pretty much the only thing good about the Yankees at the time I became a fan.

WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?

yanks21: Countless I’d say, not sure at 36 I’m going to be to accomplish any of them. How about take BP with any professional team. That would be pretty awesome.

WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?

yanks21: Probably winning 6 titles in a row.

WIS: You currently have eight HBD teams. What is the most teams you’ve ever had at one time? Is there a cap to how many teams you’re willing to take on?

yanks21: I think the most I ever had was 11 or 12, that’s just way too much and I am working on cutting back to about 4 here in the future at some point. Hard to let go though.

WIS: What factors do you consider when selecting a new team? World? Division? AL/NL? ML or minor league rosters? Other factors?

yanks21: Obviously I try to find a world with little turnover year over year. But more so I try and find teams that have little in the way of long term financial commitments and at least a few key pieces in the system. There was a time I looked for reclamation projects but I just don’t have the patience anymore for that, so I usually look for teams I can push over the top.

WIS: What is your strategy for allocating your budget?

yanks21: It all depends on what stage of the team building life cycle you’re in.  But usually always have 20 in training and at least 15 in medical.

WIS: What do you believe are the most important individual player ratings for performance?

yanks21: I look for certain combinations more so than anything. But for hitters I put a lot of stock in contact and batting eye. If you’ve got a player with 80+ vs LHP and RHP and decent power but low contact and batting eye, he’ll likely disappoint. Whereas in the reverse, high contact and high batting eye, he’ll likely exceed expectations.

Pitching is similar, but don’t budge at all on control. That is the foundation of pitching. As well as pitches, they are very important. Obviously you want high vs. left and vs. right, but again if you’ve got good control and good pitches, he is likely to be better than what you might expect based on the ratings or vice versa.

WIS: Do you have any favorite players from any of your HBD teams?

yanks21: Probably Jose Barrios and Kazuhiro Ong from my Omaha Sluggers team. They were the first stars I really acquired and they played integral parts in my first championship.

WIS: What is your strategy for maintaining a competitive team between championship runs? Is it possible to keep fielding winners without occasionally restocking in the draft?

yanks21: Sure, it’s possible. I see some owners who a really good about cycling their rosters to remain competitive at all times by trading their better players as they get close to free agency for prospects. However, I am not a big fan of this strategy because I think it limits their ability to put the absolute best team on the field and build a dynasty for a time. I prefer to go all in once I’ve got a good foundation. I think it gives me the best chance to win multiple championships. I don’t mind the rebuild afterward and it’s fun.

WIS: How much time do you spend on your Hardball Dynasty teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?

yanks21: More than is necessary, I can tell you that. It really depends on the time of the season it is. Pre-season requires more attention as you are making moves to build your team, but the regular season probably only needs one daily check in. I check in more than that though.

WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?

yanks21: Don’t compare the game too much to real life. For example, if you are trading your stud 31-year-old SP with two years left on the deal, don’t expect three stud prospects back. Prospects are the most valuable commodity in this game and their development is almost a guarantee so if you get one great prospect for that player, be satisfied.

And make offers you’d be willing to accept if it was offered in reverse. Sure you might have a difference in opinion of value and that is fine, but when you offer three crummy prospects for a really good ML player, you really don’t deserve a response.

WIS: What is your favorite aspect of Hardball Dynasty?

yanks21: The competition and difficulty. It’s hard to win, and that’s fun.

WIS: Least favorite?

yanks21: It’s out of date, we are now two CBA’s removed from the rules HBD operates with. It’s time to bring the game up to date. There are a lot of really cool things that can be done to keep the game fresh and offer new challenges to users. I think the game is suffering a little from being stale.

WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?

yanks21: Add the Qualifying Offer system to the off-season but more so than that, overall the draft and international free agency should come as close to the current environment as is feasible in this environment.

WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?

yanks21: Alogman1, think he is commish in like four worlds I am in. He does a great job being commish, recruiting, blogging, etc. I know I couldn’t do it. And truthfully there are lots of others and I’d hate to only mention a few so I will stop after the first one and say there are a lot of great competitors in HBD.

WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?

yanks21: It’d be HBD, I’d play right and first, and my ratings would be 75 ovr (I’m using my late-teens early-20’s skillset, not 36).  I’d have 85 contact, 40 power, 85 vs. left 75 vs. right, and 50 batting eye. I’d be just good enough to start but someone a championship team looks to replace.

WIS: We thank yanks21 for taking the time to share with the WhatIfSports community!

View the WhatIfSports User Interview archive.