User Interview: ESchwartz67

Q&A with noted WhatIfSports user ESchwartz67

What follows is the first in what is essentially a two-part series of interviews. We gave two highly respected Hall of Fame baseball users from very diverse backgrounds the same list of 32 questions. First off, WhatIfSports contacted ESchwartz67 to discuss Long Island hockey, the 1986 Mets, Twist leagues, Jeff Conine, Sheboygan, Wisconsin and the greatness of Sid Finch. A second interview featuring commentary from dn3524 will be posted later this month.

Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us.

WIS

Who is ESchwartz67?

ESchwartz67

My name is Elliot Schwartz. I am a 37 year old sports junkie who grew up on Long Island, but now lives in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I am married with 2 children ages 3 and 1 . My wife's name is Manda, and my kids are named Sebastian & Samantha respectively.

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

ESchwartz67

I found out about WIS on 670am "The Score" in February of 2002. They were discussing whether the 1990s Bulls or the 1980s Lakers would win a 7 game series, and were using WIS to simulate the games. (The Bulls won in 6 which I am still not sure I agree with)

WIS

What was your initial reaction to our site and our games?

ESchwartz67

My initial reaction was amazement. I could not believe that there were so many other people in the world who cared about sports as much as I did to necessitate a website based on that love of sports. Sort of like in the movie Broken Arrow when they say, "Im not sure which scares me more... the fact that a nuclear weapon was stolen, or that it happens so often that you have a term for it. Likewise, I'm not sure which scares me more... that there are people who love sports as much as I do, or that there are so many that there is a website for them.

WIS

Which SimLeagues or Dynasty games have you played?

ESchwartz67

I have played SimLeague Baseball, SimLeague Football, SimLeague Hockey & Hoops Dynasty. However, realistically I played only 1 season of Football & Hockey.

WIS

Which do you prefer?

ESchwartz67

Oh, that's easy. The Baseball simulation is the best sports simulation game created since Strat-O-Matic Baseball. Easy. Hands down, Baseball.

WIS

Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

ESchwartz67

I am a Texas Hold'em ringer. I've been playing since college in 1985 and love the people who think they can beat me because they watched the World Series of Poker on ESPN. I also play softball, golf and I am a 215 average bowler.

WIS

What is your favorite sports moment?

ESchwartz67

Wow. Tough question. I would have to say that the USA defeating the Soviet Union at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics is the moment that is most engrained in my head, but my personal favorite moment was the NY Islanders 1980 Stanley Cup victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on a Bobby Nystrom goal at 7:11 of OT past rookie Pete Peeters.

WIS

What is your favorite WIS moment?

ESchwartz67

Easier question. Winning Original Twist III with the 1997 Houston Astros over tough competition from DN3524, Metallicafan, Sallyleaguer, and many others.

WIS

Who are your favorite teams of all-time?

ESchwartz67

The 1986 NY Mets, 1998 NY Jets, 1981-82 NY Islanders and because of their unreal talent and execution, I always admired the SF 49ers of the 80s & early 90s.

WIS

Did you play any sports growing up?

ESchwartz67

I played baseball, football & hockey growing up. I was best at hockey. I was All-Long Island as a junior, and played a year in college before tearing my knee to shreds.

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

ESchwartz67

Nolan Ryan, Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Pete Rose, Robin Yount, Paul Molitor & Mike Schmidt are the names that first come to mind. When they were younger, I also cheered VERY LOUDLY for Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden. I never "admired" them, but I rooted like heck for them as a Met fan. Mookie Wilson was also a favorite. The image of him rounding 2nd digging for 3rd for a triple with his helmet falling off is one I won't soon forget.

WIS

Who are your favorite players in today's game?

ESchwartz67

Pedro Martinez was always a favorite. The fact that he now pitches for my Mets is a bonus. Griffey Jr. is a favorite as well. The reason he is always hurt is because he has little to no regard for his health when chasing flyballs in the gaps. He plays the game with an obvious love. Honorable mention to Roger Clemens & Greg Maddux.

WIS

Build your all-time dream baseball:

ESchwartz67

I am only going to use players I watched play. I can't judge players I never saw.

C - Joe Girardi
1b - Mark McGwire
2b - Joe Morgan
SS - Alex Rodriguez (if I did not already have Girardi for leadership, I'd have taken Jeter)
3b - Michael Jack Schmidt
LF - Barry Bonds (though I despise him, you can't deny his greatness)
CF - Ken Griffey Jr.
RF - Darryl Strawberry
SP - Roger Clemens
SP - Greg Maddux
SP - Nolan Ryan
SP - Randy Johnson
SP - Sidd Finch (Hope people remember him)

WIS

What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

ESchwartz67

I would like to shoot under an 80 on a golf course, and I have 10 perfect games to my credit in Bowling, but I have never shot an 800 series, and I would like to do that.

WIS

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

ESchwartz67

Good question.

  1. Jackie Robinson. I would love to listen to him tell, in his own words, the difficulties he faced and the immense courage he showed in overcoming them.
  2. Muhammad Ali. Undoubtedly the most recognized sports personality ever. I would like to learn to have some of his charisma and strength.
  3. Joe Namath. As a Jets fan (and season ticket holder still while living in Wisconsin) I would love to ask him about what he thought he could have done with a better team or better knees or both.
  4. Wayne Gretzky. As a hockey player, who WOULDN'T want to talk to Wayne?
  5. My father. He is my best friend. If these players were assembled to talk, you bet your last dollar he'd want to be there. And I'd make sure he was.

WIS

If you could be commissioner of any league, which sport would it be and what would you do to change the game?

ESchwartz67

Hockey. No doubt about it. First of all, I'd sit the two sides in a room, and tell them that if they can't come to an agreement, I will find people who can. There has to be an equitable way to split BILLIONS of dollars so that each side feels good. I would then pass a rule that made all NHL goaltenders wear padding that was no wider or thicker than what Patrick Roy wore in his first NHL season. The fact that they look like Michelin Men might have more than a little to do with the absence of scoring in the league. I would then show tapes of the NY Islanders and Edmonton Oilers finals from both 1984 & 1985 to ALL teams. In 1984, the NY Islanders swept the Oilers finding out how to beat an All-Star offensive team and Grant Fuhr without a Neutral Zone trap (which is also killing hockey). Then in 1985, you saw that even the best of teams with the best of schemes cant beat talent when the talent is ready for them. One year after getting swept, the Oilers learned how to attack the Islanders, and beat them 4 games to 1. Showing that you CAN WIN with offense.

WIS

Do you draw on the philosophies of any past or present coaches in any of our games?

ESchwartz67

I'm not sure I am drawing on coaches as much as a philosophy. Whitey Herzog said that if given a choice between a team made of speed or power, he would choose speed because "Speed Never Slumps." I usually make my baseball teams strong in starting pitching, very strong in bullpen, and fast like the wind with defense. That usually leaves little room for power, and that's OK. I don't fall in love with the long ball like most people. I miss the SB in MLB today.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of our website?

ESchwartz67

The other users. I have gotten to know some of the other users, and even some of the administration, and the people associated with this site on a day to day basis is top notch.

WIS

Least favorite?

ESchwartz67

The money spent... LOL

WIS

Having played primarily in baseball, do you prefer open or theme leagues? If theme, which types of themes are your favorite and why?

ESchwartz67

Oh man. There was just a thread on this. I am not bashing open leagues. I know they are not "inferior" to theme leagues, but I enjoy the theme leagues more. I like TWIST leagues. I was actually the commissioner of the Original Twist for about 12 seasons. I like franchise leagues, and I enjoy the owners who I play against on a daily basis in almost all of my theme leagues.

WIS

In the SimLeague baseball, what is your general strategy for building teams?

ESchwartz67

In $100 mil leagues (my favorite cap), I usually spend $55mil on pitching and $45 on hitting. $40mil goes to starting pitchers, and $15 to the pen. As for the lineup, I choose speed over power, and OBP over slugging percentage. Make sure you have some defense, and a good pen. Nothing worse than seeing you lost in the 9th inning when your RF made a 2 base error or your reliever couldn't hold a 2 run lead.

WIS

What is the most important thing to keep in mind while drafting?

ESchwartz67

Patience... lol You need to remember that if you are having trouble finding a lineup you like in a theme league because of the restrictions... so are all the other managers. And if they are not, you had no chance of winning anyhow. Just make sure you pick the part of the team you don't want to sacrifice on FIRST. If you feel you can't skimp on hitting for that particular team, then draft the hitters first, then the pitchers. And vice versa if you feel strongly about pitching.

WIS

How do you go about setting your lineups and pitching

ESchwartz67

Oh man. There are so many different ways to do it. If I had a lineup in front of me I could say what I would do, but there is no one set way of managing in WIS.

WIS

How do you approach setting tendencies (advanced settings) and pitch counts?

ESchwartz67

Well, pitch counts are one of the most important things to master in WIS. I usually won't let ANY reliever with fewer than 100ip throw more than 20 pitches in an appearance. I also take the IP a starter threw, and multiply by 16, then divide by the number of starts I plan on giving him. That gives me the number of pitches I will limit him to per start.

WIS

Do you make transactions (call-ups/demotions, trades, waiver wire, etc.) during the season to try and separate yourself from others? Why or why not?

ESchwartz67

Not really. Most of my leagues are theme leagues which forbid WW transactions and trades. AAA players get promoted if they are available because they are almost ALWAYS better than the 200K player they replaced.

WIS

Are there any players in specific that you like to put on your teams?

ESchwartz67

Of course. Paul Molitor & his 1994 season is a favorite. Most Willie Wilson seasons. Jeff Conine's 1994 ALWAYS produces more than you pay for. I am sure there are many others, but none that are jumping out at me.

WIS

What one feature in SimLeague Baseball would you add?

ESchwartz67

This is an easy one. A pitchers starting rotation grid. In the manager's office, there would be a link to click on, and it would show all 162 games, and you could designate a SP for each game in advance. Not being able to do this hurts people who go on vacation, or work during the day and have no computer access. If I have a 4 man rotation, and Steve Carlton pitches every 3rd game for a season total of 54 starts, and the other 3 rotate around him in order, currently there is no way to do this, and if you work or go on vacation, the pitchers other than Carlton would tire because they would pitch too often, while you wasted innings that Carlton could have gotten.

WIS

What is the greatest piece of advice can you give about our games?

ESchwartz67

Just enjoy them. Remember the good times of your youth when you watched Strawberry, Gooden, Hernandez & friends at Shea. Relish that the Mick lives on. Just enjoy it.

WIS

Do you spend much time in the forums? Why or why not?

ESchwartz67

I used to. Not much anymore. No time. 2 kids. LOL

WIS

What would other users be surprised to know about you?

ESchwartz67

I don't think very much... I have been on the site for 3 years, and what you see is what you get.

WIS

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

ESchwartz67

PennQuaker. The man has won with ALL different engine revisions. Through thick and thin, PQ wins. DN3524 is another. Always upbeat, and always having fun. Truly a fan of the game, and doesn't so much wrap himself up in the winning as much as the enjoying... though he wins his fair share. Mudbone1969 is another... Metallicafan (though he is no longer on the site as much) is someone I enjoyed playing against. People are going to be shocked at this one... but Cresten/Mickjagger. The guy has fun. Isn't that what this site is about??? Oh yeah... the whole Original Twist league falls under this category. For a while I was down to one team when my daughter was ill. Can you guess which league I stayed in?

WIS

What would you tell new users to the site who want to get the most out of what WhatIfSports.com has to offer?

ESchwartz67

Treat this like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Try a sampling of everything, and go back to what you like most as much as you can.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position and how much would you cost?

ESchwartz67

I'd be a LF in baseball. And Id probably be $200K.

User Profile

LoginID: ESchwartz67
Name:Elliot Schwartz
Age: 37
Location:Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Occupation:Design & Sales for a Natural Stone corporation
Favorite Sport(s):Hockey
Favorite Team(s):NY Jets, NY Islanders, NY Mets
Favorite Sports Memory:Watching NY Islander playoff games with my parents growing up.
Member Since:February 7, 2002
Greatest WIS Moment:Winning TWIST III with the 1997 Houston Astros after a 107 win season.
Motto:I'm too stupid to have a motto.

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