Monday, May 7, 2012

Up Close with Upper Deck Veteran grivfmd1

Finally got a chance to chat with Upper Deck founding member grivfmd1 but first he offered a little more insight.

1st a little background. I'm 61 and now the oldest in the clan as my 91 yr old father recently passed away. I do not know who shortened my handle to "griv" but the original handle (GRIVFMD1) stood for Grand Rapids (where I live in MIchigan) IVF (infertility and in vitro fertilization - what I do) MD (what I am) a nd 1(because I had used the GRIVFMD previously elsewhere).

1.) I notice you have "other" as your favorite sport, what might that be?
I grew up in Westbrook Ct (grandparents - esp summer) on the coast near Saybrook and outside Hartford Ct (parents - winter). In High School I thought I was a hotshot in skiing and went to college in Maine to ski (in part). Discovered I was pretty average at alpine skiing and needed to take up cross country (I had run track in high school) to stay on the alpine team. Meanwhile my friends and I were beating each others heads at Small Boat Sailing (And Big Boat) in Essex, CT. Turns out we were all good at sailing. I eventually won a national championship and almost all the rest of the guys make their living from sailing (I do not). So my favorite sport is small boat sailing (usually with a second hand boat). The last few years my arthritis and job have kept me away from it.

2.) Who is your favorite all-time baseball player?
Baseball was always my favorite team sport. Living on the water in coastal CT; I did not get to play it much. Could play D but could not hit. At night I could get the NYC radio stations (I'm old - no TV in the area and certainly no cable).
The Dodgers and Giants had recently moved to the west coast and thankfully the mets did not exist (yet). The Giants games were still on the NYC radio station. They had this rookie named McCovey and could he ever hit.

3.) Play any sports?
No organized team sports - in part because I was not good enough. I could jump and get above the rim in Basketball but my hands were too small to palm the ball. Could not hit in baseball and was always afraid of hurting my knees, so no football. Ran track in high school from the 440 to the 2 mile. But mostly I skied (and taught skiing to earn money) and sailed (and taught /coached sailing to earn money)

4.) Whats your best fan moment? Best in-person sports moment?
Got to see a no hitter, while I was working in Philadelphia. Was sitting in the upper deck of the old Vet and had a perfect view of the 3rd baseline. Hayes snagged a liner for the last out right along the line. But in my view he did not "save" the no hiiter, if he had missed it, it would have gone foul. Earlier that year I had decided to go to a NBA playoff game rather than the baseball game that night. Turns out that was the night Schmidt hit his last home run before retiring. Win some, loss some. Do not remember anything about the NBA game.

5.) Being that you are in several well established elite leagues, which one do you find the most difficult to win in? Which one is your fav? What do you think is most important to have a good world, competitive balance, good characters, a winning team, rules?
I'm going to take these together. "Elite" is a relative term. What makes a league "elite", I'm not sure, and I have doubts about any of the rating systems, as I tend to view them as self-fulfilling. Is Cooperstown "elite"? I have 14 division titles in 21 seasons and 2 WS titles. Is No Quitters "elite"? 7 Division titles, 4 league championships but no WS. Does that make No Quitters "better". I do not know. I do know that respecting other owners counts, that the quality of a league is based more on ownership than the rules, and that competitive balance makes it more interesting. FWIW, my favorite league is No Quitters but that may be more because I started it (esp now that the Blue Crabs can not seem to win)

6.) If you could have one real life player in MLB transferred to your Upper Deck team, who would that be?
Every league I 'm in I seem to be looking for Pitching and.or defense. The failings of the playoff teams are probably more based on the lack of a big stick than the lack of pitching or defense. So while I'm tempted to say Jared Weaver or Kershaw, I would probably be better off recruiting a power stick - like Cabrera of Detroit, Bruce or Votto of Cinci, Kemp of LA, Braun of Mil, or Harper of the Nats. Let'd go with Harper since he has the most "cheap years" left.

7.) If you could sit at a poker table or play a round of golf 3 other people who would they be and why?
Well, I do not play poker or play golf but I doubt these guys would either. I am a history buff and much of history has to do with religon. While I would be described by most as agonistic, I would view myself as more of a Unitarian. The people I would love to talk to, to see what was in their minds at the time they lived, would be Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad. Though I would not mind being able to pick the brains of Luther or Constantine as well (for those less versed in history Constantine was the Roman Emperor who adapted christianity as the Roman state religion. To do so he needed a single "dogma" and called the Council of Nicene to get it (Nicean Creed). The upshot of the Council of Nicene was the adoption of the Trinitarian view of Christianity over the Unitarian view. I wonder how much of the rise of Islam is do to the eastern Christian churches (the churches outside of greece that Paul wrote to) being primarily Unitarian and never being totally comfortable with the Trinitarian view.

8.) Besides running your HBD teams, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?
I sort of answered that in the last question. I am a history buff and read constantly, but seldom read a Novel. If I do it will be a historical novel. I run our practice 401k plan, so out of necessity have become versed in psychology and economics (from my prospective these are inseperable). While I have never beaten the DOW/S&P in their best years I have never had a down year either. For a long period I was a single parent, and like most parents have a lot of pride in how the Kids turned out (though of course this is still in process and you never know until they have raised their own kids). So far they have all adapted the approach to life that I have always been most comfortable with (and what led to my 1st divorce and my second solid marriage), which is NO DEBT. Something I strongly believe the country needs to rediscover (want to guess who I am NOT voting for in the next presidential election)

9.) Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?
The highest thing of my "bucket list" is quasi-sport. It is to descend into the Grand Canyon, stay overnight at the Phantom Ranch, and hike back out. However, to get reservations at the Phantom Ranch you need to book it 13 months ahead (1st of the month a year before). At present my work schedule does not allow this, even if my arthritis would. So this is on hold. Otherwise, like many I just try to visit as many ballparks as possible

10.) If there was one thing you could add/change about HBD, what would that be?
There is no doubt on this one. "Advance Scouting" is not advance scouting (it should be scouting the other team before you play them and having your pitchers try to pitch to the other teams weakness and vice versa). When I discovered this did not exist I quickly moved my Advance Scouting budget to 0. The projections on players are self - fulfilling on any player with 2 or more years in the minors (and for younger players can be figured out by their draft position and the draft/scouting budgets of the team that drafted them in the year they were drafted). Since I do not trade much, I find Adv Scouting as presently constructed worthless. If it included what I originally thought it was, that I would pay for. HBD is missing the boat on this one.