Friday, January 20, 2012

Up Close with AZ owner jtpsops

Recently I sat down with founding Arizona owner jtpsops to find out a little more about him.

1.) Arizona team - check, Arizona St favorite college - check, Arizona resident?
Actually I live in Kitchener, Ontario, about 45 minutes southwest of Toronto. The Arizona thing is a bit hard to explain – as a kid, I was fascinated with the state and always wanted to visit. Not sure where it came from, but I’ve always had a thing for Arizona. I finally made it there for spring training about 5 years ago – it’s all I imagined it to be. I love it. As for the Sun Devils, when I was getting into college sports, I didn’t want to follow the crowd and pick one of the mainstream teams, so the Sun Devils seemed like a great choice. Plus they always have a strong baseball program.

2.) Baseball being your favorite sport, who's your team and favorite current or all-time player?
I was a big Cal Ripken Jr. fan as a kid for his work ethic and his passion for the game, and that led to me being a fan of the Orioles. Part of that was me being rebellious and not wanting to root for the “home town” Jays like everyone else. It was good in the mid-to-late 90s, but definitely not since.

3.) Play any sports?
I play softball every year (sadly the closest I can get to real baseball these days), as well as tennis, golf and volleyball. And I’m always down for a good game of rec football with the guys.

4.) Whats your best fan sports moment? Best in-person sports moment?
I’m a Broncos fan, so that OT win over Pittsburgh is up there. I became a fan in the late 90s right as they were winning their two Superbowls, so it was nice, but it didn’t really feel like “my” team yet. The O’s and Broncos haven’t given me much to cheer about lately, so the excitement of this season and winning that David-vs-Goliath matchup, especially in that fashion, was huge. As for in person, I’ve been blessed with some good opportunities, so there are a couple that are up there. I met Ripken at a ST game in Fort Lauderdale when I was 15 – he sat down and talked with me for a few minutes and signed a hat, which was just mind-blowing for me at the time. I also attended Game 3 of the ’92 World Series in Toronto. It was unbelievabley loud and the atmosphere was electric – it’s something I’ll never forget. Walking Augusta National for a practice round at the Masters and seeing a night Yankees-Red Sox showdown at Fenway are up there too. Absolutely magical.

5.) What sort of changes, if any, can we expect with the Desert dogs this season and how do you plan on passing up SF?
It’s hard for me to admit it, but I’m clearly still getting a grasp on the game. I’ve overvalued some guys and I’m sure I’ve mismanaged a bit, but I think I’m getting better. I probably have a long way to go to catch SF though – z has put together a really strong team. I’m hoping some young guys will come into their own this year, like SP Morris Ramirez. I’m going to be aggressive in FA, as usual, and hopefully that brings a piece or two that will help bridge the gap.

6.) Who's going to win this weekend's NFL Conference championships and who's taking the Super Bowl?
I’m going with the Ravens and the 49ers, with the Ravens winning. I picked the Ravens pre-season, so I’m sticking with them all the way. The 49ers are a great story though. It’s amazing what Jim Harbaugh has done with that team, and it’s nice to see Alex Smith and Vernon Davis get a little redemption.

7.) If you could have one real life player in MLB transferred to your AZ team, who would that be?
My team can hold their own offensively and defensively, but pitching has always been the black hole. I need a dominant, innings-eating ace, so probably Roy Halladay or Felix Hernandez.

8.) If you could sit at a poker table and have a roundtable discussion with 3 other people who would they be and why?
Cal Ripken would definitely top the list, simply because he’s my idol and I’ve “grown up with him” so to speak. I think he would have a lot of wisdom to share about the game – and business too, surprisingly. An odd choice, but I think I’d take Howard Stern second. I’ve heard him do a few serious shows in his time, and he’s actually an incredibly intelligent and well-researched man. I think it would be interesting to have an off the radio discussion with him and see what he had to add away from the cameras. Lastly, I’d go with Tim Tebow. A bit of a homer choice, but I’ve been fascinated by him and how he handles himself. He’s also incredibly invested in people and I think it would be valuable to sit down with him and find out how he’s able to make everything work together in his life. Plus having him and Stern together would definitely create some memorable moments, I’m sure.

9.) Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?
I’m a huge movie buff and my PS3 gets a lot of work. I also love writing in my spare time and have a handful of novels on the go. My goal is to one day be published, but that may be down the road a ways.

10.) Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?US Open
Some of the obvious ones that I think are on most sports fans' lists, like a Superbowl and perhaps a US Open (tennis) night session. On a more attainable scale, I’d like to visit the ballparks for every major league team. I’ve been to 19 parks so far, though 3 are no longer in use. I’m hoping to knock Busch and Kaufmann off the list this year.

11.) If there was one thing you could add/change about HBD, what would that be?
Given that I’m still learning the game, it’s hard to tell. I’ve suggested a few changes already, but some vets have kindly (and not-so-kindly) told me why they aren’t good ideas, and it made sense. Off the top of my head, I would like to see an easier transfer of funds between budget areas. I understand why the restrictions are there, but it would be nice to not have to wait 3-4 seasons to max out a particular budget area when you take over a team.

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