We caught up with Trenton Traffic GM and lead reporter for The Bigs Daily News, gumbercules, to get his thoughts on the Denny Moss blockbuster, life as a reporter and what the New York Yankees need this off season. Here's what gumber had to say.
There are plenty of HBD worlds out there so why did you decide to join The Bigs?
-I think I had 2 teams at the time and was looking for a third. I had both success and failure at taking over established teams and had the experience of being in a brand new league. I knew I wanted to join a new league- there's nothing quite like taking over a team from scratch. The one thing I hadn't done was take an NL team- I thought it was time for that.
So I scoured the Classifieds and came upon a league being started by this guy who called himself mfoster55. Judging by what I saw in the forum it seemed like a good bunch of people and I recognized ACE from when I had been in Puckett. I actually read it several times before deciding to join up- if I remember correctly I was one of the last to join. I'm very glad I did.
What were your first thoughts when you took over your franchise?
-I tried to keep a fair and open mind about my team and do what was best for the franchise, but I think secretly I was hoping for something that I could rebuild through prospects. I thought my team was middle of the road, with some decent pieces, but I wasn't sure I could compete for a title. So I dealt my best players (R.J. Toca and Bernard Young) and was shocked when we won 100 games that season.
You run four HBD teams if my math and reading skills are correct. Which one is your favorite and why? And yes, you have to pick one.
-Great- I have to choose between the team in my favorite league (this one), the first team I ever took (Honolulu in Aaron) that's been to 7 straight playoff appearances and the only team to win me a title (Rochester-Kaline)? I think that's tougher than facing Henriquez, Pierce, and Arnold in a 3-game series against Fargo. OK, if you put a gun to my head and made me pick one, I'd probably say the Honolulu team.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not running your HBD teams? What's there to do in Dirty Jersey? (That comes from a PA boy who chooses not to visit Jersey on purpose.)
-When I'm not running my HBD teams or at work, I'm either working out (I'm a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do), watching TV, or playing my keyboard. And hey, there's plenty to do in Jersey. There's the shore, and ... um... yeah. I got nothing. Come on over to the Jersey side- I've got a great view of the train tracks and the oil refineries from my front porch. And where else, when you tell people where you live, can you count on the next question being, "What exit?"
You pulled off a blockbuster deal to land Denny Moss this season. Tell us how that deal went down and what it’s like to negotiate a blockbuster with our trade-loving, king’s ransom-asking commish, mfoster55.
-The Moss negotiation was fairly intense. It actually started when I was trying to get some starting pitching. Foster told me he liked my 2 CF prospects (Turnbow and Nelson) and we didn't really get anywhere. Then, when I saw that Moss was available, I came back and inquired about him. Since I knew he liked my 2 CFs, I at least had a starting point. We went back and forth and he eventually told me to make him an offer. So I offered Nelson and Alex Saenz. He wanted Turnbow instead of Nelson. I had Turnbow eventually slated for CF, but I thought Moss was too good to turn down, so I pulled the trigger.
Do the Traffic have what it takes to win the NL and possibly the World Series?
-If you read the previews that I do, you can get a sense of what I think is going to happen. I try to be objective about my team and everyone else's. That being said, I did shore up the rotation a little with the Damion Mays trade and the East seems a little down so far. If we can get into the playoffs, anything can happen. I think the HBD playoffs is a lot like real life, which brings to mind the Billy Beane quote- "The playoffs is a crapshoot". So if we get in, anything is possible.
What is life like as the lead reporter for The Bigs Daily News?
- I enjoy doing it when I have the time. I've always had an off-kilter sense of humor and the blog is a way to express it at times. I take pride in what we do, especially when people outside our league compliment us on what we do. I think it also helps me as an owner, as I feel like the research I have to do really gets me a better feel as to what's going on in the league.
Using your reporting expertise, what has been the best rivalry in The Bigs over the seasons?
-I'm going to give the obvious answer, but not for the obvious reason. It's Salem vs. Cheyenne (formerly Arizona), but only in part because of trailjon's and deacon's back and forth barbs. It's mainly because they've split the first 3 NL West crowns (Salem in season 1 and 3, Arizona in season 2), they've all been close at the end (2, 1, and 6 game differences in seasons 1,2, and 3, respectively), and coming into this season the all-time series is almost dead even (Salem leads 16-14). I'd say in the American League it would be Milwaukee and Monterrey, as they seem to be the two best teams since season 1 and they had that epic 7-game ALCS in season 2. By the way, that's another 16-14 regular season all-time series (in favor of Milwaukee), so they're pretty close as well.
Your profile says you’re a Yankees fan, yet you’re not completely obnoxious. How is this possible? Who do the Yankees need to sign more, CC Sabathia or Mark Teixeira? Or maybe someone else?
-I'd like to say my fellow Yankee fans get a bad rep, but then I remember the nights I've spent out amongst the bleacher creatures and rethink that. I guess because I'm not obnoxious in general and I don't necessarily think the Yankees are entitled to win the World Series every season. As for what the Yanks need, kj, why have I picked your team the last 2 or 3 seasons? It's all about pitching, starting pitching in particular. I think Sabathia is a true ace- I'd take him in a heartbeat.
If you could change one thing about HBD what would it be and why?
- Another tough question- I honestly love this game. The in-game managing decisions seem a little questionable sometimes, but that's probably nitpicking.