Category: User Interview

User Interview: mdonegan

In an attempt to foster a community atmosphere among owners, I’m trying to recreate the WIS user interviews they do periodically. I’ve borrowed some of their lines of questioning, while adding a few Vin Scully specific ones.

I’m going to start with some of the users who have spent the most time in the league. Was hoping to get robocoach, but it appears he hasn’t logged into WIS since Jan. 23. I do hope everything is OK with him.

mdonegan joined Vin Scully way back in season 2, and we spent five seasons together in the NL North. In season two we had a pretty good race for the division crown, before he had to rebuild. He dominated the NL North for 10 seasons, before tying with eventual World Series champion Tacoma in season 21.

Who is mdonegan?

I’m a big time sports fan – love baseball, football, hockey – you name it. I have children involved in youth sports so much of my free time is spent there, otherwise I’m cheering for my Packers, Penguins and Red Sox … and playing WIS.

How did you hear about HBD?

First heard of WIS through a Bills Simmons article on ESPN.com back in 2002. Started first playing Sim Baseball and dabbled in a few of the other Sim sports. Got hooked on Hardball Dynasty when it first came out and have been here ever since.

How did you make your millions to buy the Buffalo Wings?

Buffalo was one of my earliest teams. The rather pedestrian team name acknowledges my fondness for buffalo wings (the hotter the better).

What has been your favorite HBD moment in Vin Scully?

Beating the 125-win Richmond team in the Season 17 WS was nice. We lost to Richmond in the Season 14 WS after leading 3 games to 1, so getting some revenge was sweet. It was even nicer because Richmond had signed away our ace Malcolm McCartin at the end of Season 16 and beating him the WS was huge.

Do you have a favorite player in Vin Scully?

Gotta love McCartin – just about the best SP I’ve seen. 11 Cy Young awards – that is crazy. Looks like he’s a FA this year – hoping he lands someplace that will allow his winning ways to continue. He still has a few great years yet to come.

How do you approach building your team?

I’m more of a pitching and defense guy. Like to have strong defensive SS and CF and a couple strong starting pitchers. It’s usually easier to pick up strong offensive players through FA and trades. Top tier starting pitching is much tougher to obtain. I’m also very fond of high OBP% players. That’s one of my top criteria when evaluating a player.

How much time do you spend on your team each day, and during the preseason?

During the season it’s probably only a few minutes. After about 50-60 games I try to identify strengths and weaknesses and make moves to improve the team. Pre-season is a bit more time. Identifying FA targets and coaches and then negotiating takes more time.

What is your favorite, and least favorite aspects of HBD?

Playoff time is the best – it’s always a crapshoot to see if the team can get hot at the right time. I’ve had teams that I thought were shoo-ins for the WS get knocked out early. Opposite also happens … unfortunately not for my teams frequently enough. My least favorite is the negotiating process. Whether its coaches, free agents or internationals – the negotiating process can be painful. I’d rather WIS limit the number of negotiating rounds. Nothing worse than making 8 rounds of offers to a player and then losing out.

How can Vin Scully improve as a league?

Vin Scully has done pretty well as a league. We’ve gone public during the off-season most years and have picked up good owners. Continuity is the key. Getting owners to stick through re-building is huge. It’s a painful process (which Buffalo is going through now) but watching good players elevate through the minors, knowing the payoff is coming down the road, makes it worthwhile.

Do you have any advice for the new owners in the league?

Patience. Don’t rush players up to the majors and don’t lose faith if a player has a tough stretch. If the player has the ratings to support a certain level of performance then over the long haul that performance will usually occur.

If you were a player in HBD, what position would you play, and what level of ability would you have?

I’d be the grizzly old bullpen vet … fighting to stay in the ML against the young guns, eking out 1 year contracts season after season.

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