Fans_only took over the Ottawa franchise, which hadn't had a winning season in 8 years, in Season 12. That season produced a 12-win improvement, to 77, and the team has improved every year, posting win totals the last 4 years of 86, 87, 98, and 102. Last season, of course, saw the Ice take the Belle World Series, the first for fans_only.
The JBT recently had a chance to sit down with fans_only and get his views on various things HBD, plus a couple of others.
Who is fans_only in real life?
My name is Darrell, I am 29 and I live about an hour outside Toronto with my wife and 2 kids. I work as a Quality Assurance Specialist for one of the largest grocery chains in Canada.
Favorite real-life sports team?
The two teams that I follow the most are the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Bruins.
You've improved the Ice every year since you took over the team, culminating in a WS title last year. Was there a key move or development that got you over the top?
When I took over this franchise they had a lot of young talent, but they were lacking power. I think trading for Ray Henley in season 14 and Tomas Cruz in season 16 really helped put my team over the top.
What will you have to do to repeat this year?
I am planning on keeping most of my team together with a couple changes. The biggest key will be keeping my starting pitchers healthy. There are a number of good teams in the NL and if my team falters due to injuries I could easily not even be in the playoffs.
The world is still talking about it so I have to ask you. What do you think about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joining forces in Miami?
Being from the Toronto area everybody knew that Bosh was leaving well before the season was over. As soon as all 3 of them announced they were going to play together I hoped they would somehow lose in the playoffs. Now I’m just interested to see how the 3 of them will co-exist and be happy with the amount they each get the ball in the long term.
In your opinion, which ratings are the most important when it comes to determining how successful a pitcher might be?
The first rating I usually look at is the splits vs LHB and vs RHB. After the splits I look at the control ratings as well as the pitch ratings. Another rating that I find to be a good indicator is the makeup. I have found most successful pitchers have at least a decent makeup.
If you could change one thing about HBD, what would it be and why?
I would like to see more players that get drafted outside the first few rounds make it to the majors. I know it would be difficult to create something more like real life where players that get drafted late can still become legitimate players but it would add another element to the game.