Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NL South Meet the Owners: victorzhao (Houston Hope)

On the eve of the regular season, your NL South correspondent will bring you a series of Q&As that will introduce you to the owners of the NL South. Today, we bring you victorzhao (me), quite simply, the most electrifying performer in the history of WhatIfSports. What makes me so electrifying? My stunning success, witty banter on the world chat, and rugged good looks. Looking to absorb some of that magic and improve his own HBD abilities, shucky - who has never beaten me in a playoff series - sat down with me for a Q&A.

1. Tell us a little about yourself (job, favorite sports teams, hometown, etc.).
I was born in Shanghai, China and came to the States in 1987 (when I was eight), I've called Houston, TX home since then, with the exception of college and law school. As such, I'm a loyal fan of all Houston professional sports teams and all Duke (college alma mater) teams. Currently (never know in these economic times), I am employed as an attorney in Houston. My alias is my name - so that sort of takes some of the mystery out.

2. How did you get involved with WIS and why have you found it so enjoyable?
I rediscovered (underwhelming experience with the sim games around the initial site launch) WIS/HBD (along with shucky, a much inferior owner) when a couple of classmates from law school introduced us to the game, and have been hooked on it ever since. The enjoyment comes because I, along with most of the other owners here, am a huge baseball fan, and like other fans, have enjoyed pretending that we're running our favorite teams for a long time - this just gives us a terrific way to play out that dream.

3. Tell us about your franchise (and, specifically, your ML team) in Alexander. Strengths/weakness? Short and long-term predictions?
My team had no pitching and had never finished over .500 when i took over the squad last season. I addressed it last season through trades for MiL talent, the IFA route, and the draft. This season, I traded my top pick in the amateur draft last season for some ML talent, and was active in the FA market for ML pitching. In short, my biggest weakness was pitching, and I've sought to address it both at the major and minor league levels over the last two seasons. In the short-term, I hope to take the franchise to its 1st playoff in history this season, and of course, the long-term goal is always to build a perennial winner and have a better record than shucky.

4. You've made the playoffs 13 out of 16 years. Why have you been so successful and what advice would you give to other owners, especially first time owners?
My success (though no WS titles so far) has resulted singularly from the advice and tutelage I received from my (and shucky's) mentors in WIS, bjb2378 and pete0713. Without the two of them, I would be lost. The ability to bounce ideas and advice off of them, and off shucky, were invaluable when I first started. The best piece of advice is to find a mentor who is willing to help and bounce ideas off of. As is the case in life, without others, it's a lonely climb.

5. It is my understanding that you have had to buy several rounds of golf for your good friend shucky based on his whipping your tail at WIS. What is the total number of rounds you have (or will have) to buy? And, how does it feel knowing he got that elusive first WS title before you?
[Objection, mischaracterizes the evidence]
I believe i have purchased 2 rounds of golf, and owe about 5 more, due mostly to shucky's willingness to consummate blatantly lopsided trades with dubious owners like mrintegrity and loosecc, formerly in Squires. In all seriousness, it's great to have shucky around to share our joys and disappointments in HBD. Shucky getting the 1st WS (of many I hope) was painful - but I'm going to try my hardest to catch up.

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