1 - Tell us the mood in Spartans Camp? Spartans camp is in a great mood. We are in playoff mode. The baseball field is our Arena and we are destroying all would be competitors. Especially after taking a few weeks off due to being the number one seed, we were able to recuperate and be fresh for the playoffs. Lot of guys have been playing through injuries. We had a bit of a controversy heading into our semi-finals match-up, a lot of trash talking by our opponent. But as a veteran with a level head I let the opponent do all the talking. Some of our players felt a need to react and reply but for the most part Spartans let their play do the talking. Semi's match up did not have me worried at all, our opponent was all smoke and mirrors. We built a team to win this year and a part time team with part time players was not going to beat us in the semis....on to the next one.
Are you surprised your team is in the finals? Of course not, I didn't put a team in not to make it to the finals. You play to win the game... at least I do.
What was the biggest challenge(s) during the season? Dealing with some injuries, we had 2 guys leave with season ending injuries. We had one of our better hitters out with another injury but he's back now and ready for the the play off hunt. But we were able to keep going due to having a solid core of players and substitutes on our roster. Also dealing with everyone's schedules, Saturdays in the summer you know a lot of people plan vacations and weekends away.
2 - What do you think is the key to success in CSL? The key to success in CSL is to stay away from all the drama. Trash talking is OK, but all this unnecessary extra "stuff" is just annoying. Also finding a bunch of guys who are committed and willing to sacrifice for the TEAM first mentality. We play defense and our offense shines.
You have been in this league for 3 seasons, what makes your style better? Not sure my style is better, but it helps when you know the game and can still play the game at a high level. Guys tend to respect you more and listen to you more when you can step into their role and show them that they are not the only person that can play that position. I've played in almost every position at some point this season(Pitching, first, second, third, catcher, outfield, bench...etc.). I also let guys play a position they have not played before or wanted to play before so they know what it's like to see the game from another players POV. A lot times guys make an error and hear it from their teammates. But when you've had the opportunity to play the same spot you tend to become more understanding of why that error occurred, cause it could have happened to you being out there.
What was your overall experience as managing a team? My overall experience was good.
What are some good points and bad points? Good points we have some great players in this league not just on the field but off the field. We were able to make new friends and bonds with some new players on Spartans and some other players you run into during the course of the games from other teams. Another good point is I have a bunch of guys who can all be and MVP on other teams and some of them sacrificed stats for the benefit of the team. Bad points weren't too many. Let me see besides a few arguments among ourselves that were quickly resolved there weren't many bad points on the team. Most of the bad points are league issues, such as inconsistent umpiring, inconsistent game time and start time, roster tinkering, forfeits, but hopefully all of these will be addressed again for next season.
3 - Tell us about your opponent. What is your impression of their offense and defense? Well we had the privilege of playing them week one and swept them both games. So we got to see them from start to finish. First game was close and second game we figured them out and went on to an easy victory. But I recall telling a few guys these guys came ready to play this year the league is in for some trouble. Since then they have added several key players and made their team even stronger defensively and on the offense.
Are you surprised they made it to the finals? No not at all especially after our 2nd match up during the season when we saw their new and improved roster. Where they returned the favor and swept us.
What are some things the two teams have in common? We both play defense and have good offenses. Both teams like to have fun and show up for every game. I believe we were the only 2 teams to not have forfeits.
4 - Let's talk about your team. Who is the person that comes to mind when the following question is asked:
A - Best defender- Jonathan V best defender in the league from the outfield can throw anyone out. Don't run on him guys he will gun you down (that's a warning not a threat, some guys like to misconstrue words and use them against you)
B - Most improved from start to finish-Sammy he played a new position this year 3rd base and filled in at 2nd
C - The guy that kept everyone loose- Pops all you have to do is look at him and you can't stay serious.
D - The MVP of the Team-Not sure its tough we got guys that put up big numbers but its a toss up between Mike and Jr A
E - The one with the highest IQ- The Captain of course
F - The biggest headache - Pops he would sometimes be late cause he has to get a mani/pedi every weekend before game time.
5 - What is the game plan vs. the ButcherZ? Same game plan against every team just play let our game do the talking.
Any bold predictions?
Should be a good series with advantage going to the team that can get the timely hits. Defenses will be tested. I see 3 game series.