Question & Answer with Postmodern Pelagians

April 14, 2012

The Cold Zipper Champions stand as giants among their rival managers. Striking fear into the hearts of other teams, these managers command a respect that is earned from the achievment of the highest honor. Through the years, has given you a chance to meet with many of the managers behind the championships, and until now, only one former champion remained clouded mystery. That changes today as we take a closer look at the manager behind the 2007 jugernaught that carried a Cy Young winning pitching staff, a team that stood tall against the historically unmatched contender who finished with 280 points and statistically would have crushed any other Cold Zipper champion during any other year. The record holders for points in a season at 280.5; the Postmodern Pelagians.

With the 2012 season underway, the Postmodern Pelagians are coming out of the gate strong. Will 2012 prove to be the year the Postmodern Pelagians rise back to the top 5 for the first time since 2008? Or better yet, will the Postmodern Pelagians be the first Cold Zipper team to win their second league championship?  I had the opportunity to find out what makes this Cold Zipper veteran one of the leagues best since 2006.

EJ: You've had a lot of accomplishments over the years in Cold Zipper; award, records; but the one that stands out to me is the fact that you were the first team to start the David DeJesus craze in Cold Zipper.  Please take me through your thoughts in 2006 when you took DeJesus for the 377th overall pick?  Why did he become so popular amongst not just you, but the whole league?

PP: A lot has changed over the history of the league, one being that managers today actually know how to use the really late round picks. I remember how nonchalant I was about those picks, not really having a clue what to do or who to pick. I just started picking Red Sox relievers (grabbed Pabelbon in the round 21, remember that?) and players by their names via random searches. I remember specifically typing “Jesus” into the search field, and the legend of number 9 was born. Considering everything I did in 2006 to undermine my season, the fact that I placed 5th was a miracle. Or to coin the phrase, a “DeJesus” miracle.

EJ: Where do you realistically see yourself finishing in the standings in 2012?  Will the Postmodern Pelagians have their 100th win this year?

PP: It depends on April. My goal is to finish April in the top 5, and with that I realistically have a chance to stay top 5 all year; at least that’s how teams have trended in the past. I feel I’ve already found success in patching some of the holes I came out of the draft with, and I have felt very confident about my offensive counting stats even before this top 5 run. It’s going to come down to pitching for me, especially since I have a lot of points to lose currently being up there in the IP and ERA/WHIP stats. What will I do when this becomes unsustainable?
Standing at 87 wins over 6 seasons, I need to beat 13 teams this year to hit 100. That would take at least a 7th place finish. I’m pretty confident that will happen this year. What I’d like to do is outpace Peehands’ first 7 years (104 wins), although that would require 2nd or 1st place. I can't be thinking about that yet; just taking it one day at a time right now.

EJ: Let's cut to the chase. In 2007 you accumulated a massive 280.5 points for your first Cold Zipper championship.  Do you think this was the greatest season any team has ever had in Cold Zipper?  Take us through your keys to success this year and your thoughts during the famous incorrect Stattracker reading the night before you were crowned champion.

PP: Wow, 2007 is such a distant memory. Things were very different then; I was living at home with my parents right after I had graduated college (think modern day Steven Lindbloom), not even close to being married or owning a home, working a job I was overqualified for and underpaid at, adjusting to living with my parents hoping they wouldn’t get mad at me for not cleaning up a mess or something.
It’s hard to compare seasons with other season, but even if you don’t consider the 2007 Postmodern Pelagians as the league’s greatest team in league history, you still can’t deny that it was very special. 2007 is when Cold Zipper really got competitive; it was the first year that the league as a whole was committed through the entire season with only a few exceptions. What really convinces me though that this was the greatest season for any champion was not only the record amount of points, but the record amount of points for a second place finisher; Burro was having a career year too and we were both vying for the championship until the end. By all stretches of statistical mesure, Burro's 2007 will likly be one of the top 3 seasons for a Cold Zipper manager during the future existance of the league, yet people won't talk about it as so because of one missing detail: a championship.

EJ: There is something to be said about your ridiculously similar finish to Burro MegaGigantica every year since you both joined in 2006.  What is the deal with you two? 

PP: Historically, this is THE Cold Zipper rivalry that your kids will be talking about years from now. While the apex of this rivalry was years ago, ending in a half point showdown for first place on the final night of the season, we always seem to flirt with each other down the stretch in September. Here’s a Cold Zipper Fun Fact: PP and the Burro have finished adjacent in the standings or within 1 every year other than 2008. It’s like “here we go again” every freaking year! It’s one of those things that I absolutely love during the offseason but stresses me out when we’re down to the last few weeks.
My current record against the Burro is a lucky 3-3, me taking the most recent loss in 2011, and now looking at that loaded pitching staff this year there is no room for error in this rivalry.

EJ: Is there any other team in Cold Zipper who you would refer to as your nemesis, or does Burro MegaGigantica take that cake? 

PP: I would also add Peehands as a Cold Zipper nemesis. He holds a slightly better average rank than me, yet my record against him is 4-2 and my average points are slightly higher. He beats me out by always finishing above 200 points (I lost that with 198 last year) but I have never had a double-digit rank (he placed 10th in 2010). As I lag one year’s experience behind him, I usually am comparing myself and my career numbers to where he has been. I do hope that a more competitive year will stir some new rivalries this year though, as you can't really hold a grudge against someone who knocks you out of 8th place. "Dang you Dead Motherboards, you'll pay for this!!!". Nope, it doesn't really work.

EJ: I think it's pretty well documented that the competition in this league has intensified since you joined in 2006.  Do you like the fact that this league is more difficult now?  Or did you prefer the days of 2006-2008 when the Postmodern Pelagians seemed like a lock for the top 5?

PP: While it has been a while since being in the top 5, I still conceder myself a consistent force in an increasingly more competitive league. Perhaps my second best year during my CZ career was 2010, when an 8th place finish skewed what was a final week of being 5 points out from winning it all, finishing only 11.5 points behind the Buttresses. But yes, I LOVE how difficult it is to win this league. This league has made all other leagues meaningless, and I only hope that it continues it’s tradition of excellence even at the expense of me having less success.

EJ: This season you opted to trade for an additional 1st round draft pick and landed two heavy hitting corner infielders.  Were you happy with the way this worked out?  How did you feel about the rest of your 2012 draft?

PP: Before the offer was dangled in front of me, I was so dissatisfied with the third round, meaning I LOVED how yahoo ranked players outside the third round but I couldn’t image how I was going to get through it without feeling like I had over-reached. My draft strategy kept showing I would draft 2 pitchers in the first 3 rounds, and I hated that. Alas, Garlicion saved me from such a dilemma by allowing me to bank enormous offensive counting stats with the addition of a second 1st round pick; my biggest draft decision that day ended up being “Votto or A-Gon?”
As for the rest of the draft, Billy Buttler is really the only player I wanted that got pulled earlier than I’d hoped he’d go, forcing me to go with plan B in Weiters. Otherwise the draft felt very satisfying, grabbing a balance of surefire offense, bounce back candidates, and contract year players. I also feel I avoided blowing early round picks such as Chris Davis, Aaron Hill, or Julio Borbon, which always a good thing!

EJ: What is your proudest moment in Cold Zipper besides the 2007 championship?

PP: It's hard to find a defining moment to be proud of that doesn't result in a championship. Records are fun to chase but won't ever satisfy like winning everything does. Just always keeping up during the season and being as comptitive as I possibly can be, even after foolish draft picks or bad transactions, is something to be proud of. Being apart of this league is something to be proud of.

EJ: In 2009 you and 3 other Cold Zipper champions had a mock "mock draft".  You chose Mike Lamb, Eri Yoshida, Lou Pinella, and Jason Varitek.  Of those four, whom would you take in 2012?

Actually I drafted the first overall pick of that 2009 mock draft; David DeJesus. Unfortunately none of my 2009 picks were available on the yahoo other than Varitek, and he’s currently on my watch list for when he decides to take it back to the majors this year.

EJ: Who would you rather meet: David DeJesus or Jason Varitek?

This is the tale of two worlds and two true loves. On one side, meeting David DeJesus is the ultimate prize in the love I have for Cold Zipper. On the other hand. Jason Varitek represents the player I loved most during the 04’ and 07’ World Series runs. In the same manner if given the choice between a Red Sox World Series or a Postmodern Pelagians CZ Championship, I would default to Varitek, even though both experiences would be life fulfilling.

EJ: What is your least proud moment in Cold Zipper so far?

PP: Not taking 2006 more seriously. Tim, you may hate and disagree with a few things that I’m about to say, but here goes. 2006 could have gone a completely different direction. I didn’t show up to the draft until the 4th round, and I drafted in two different locations, meaning there was some auto drafting in between there as well. During the first few weeks I flat out dropped my 4th and 6th round picks (dropping what would be a combined 427 IP, 27 wins, 3 CG, 390 K) and traded my 3rd round pick Randy Johnson (another 17 wins and 170 Ks) to Peehands in a trade far worse than Mark’s ‘Roy Halladay for nothing’ trade two years ago; Randy Johnson for my man crush Varetik. In the end, after salvaging my roster with some quality free agent pickups, I finished in a respectable 5th place, high above many of those that mocked me that year. A different approach would have put me right in the thick for my first of 3 consecutive Cy Young awards, a higher rank, and a lot more points. Throw in a CZ championship and a 4th place finish for Peehands. Easily. But hindsight is 20/20; it is what it is, and 2006 is in the books. You go back in time, you either do the same exact thing or you successfully bring your memories and you become bored winning every year, then feel devastating guilt for not putting your foreknowledge into solving world problems. You don’t want that.

EJ: Pick the most true option: The Postmodern Pelagians best talent is 1) Drafting 2) Trading 3) Free Agent Pickups

My greatest strength is by far free agency, and is what I will be known once I am elected into the hall of fame. I won it all in 2007 through genius midseason free agent pickups in Carlos Pena and James Shields. In 2009 I scooped up Adam LaRoche and Ricky Nolasco without waivers after they struggled to deal with WW management, both players finding immediate success with their new club. How about those All-Star Break pickups? Got plenty of those, Marcus Thames in 2008, Garrett Jones in 2009 to name a few who hit 20+ homers for me during the final 3 months. I don’t ask why they randomly explode, I just suit them up in a PP uniform! Oh yeah, nearly forgot, 2010 I stumbled upon some guy named Jose Bautista before opening day and thought he could fill in while Brandon Wood gained 3B eligibility; those modest BB stats seemed they might pan out temporarily. The list goes on, and even this year while it may be presumptuous to already call a free agent pickup brilliant, Jordan Schafer is second in the league for stolen bases, and I’ve started him in my lineup for every one of them! If you can find those really good players in free agency, it’s like trading your least favorite player away for a game changer. What a deal! 

EJ: You are the only Cold Zipper team to have won the Cy Young award more than once (2007 & 2008).  Were you intentionally trying to have pitching heavy teams in those years? Take us through some of the highlights of those tremendous pitching staffs.  I also see that the Pelagians have become a much more hitting strong team in the past two years.  Is that a reason for that change of pace?

Before when the draft order was generated randomly, I had a lot less strategy going into the draft regarding how to fill out my pitching vs. hitting. Things just happened more or less as I responded to the flow of the draft, and pitching heavy is just how those teams panned out. I have been much more intentional recently on building offensive teams first as evident over the last two years, and this year again I came into the draft looking to build a HR smashing, OPS machine of a lineup. 

EJ: In the last few years, you have been recognized as a team that isn't afraid to stream starting pitchers. How do you feel this strategy has worked for you in the past?  Can we expect a steady diet of streamed pitchers in 2012 as well from the Pelagians?

I have always streamed in some capacity, the last two years really going all out. 2010 wasn't horrible, although I felt like I hit a wall near the end at about 220 points. 2011, it was awful. If I can bring it back down to 2009-like numbers (1622.2 IP, 99 W) I think I’ll be good. Like an addict returns to his addiction though, I’ve become that unstable when it comes to streaming. We’ll see what happens...

EJ: In this year's Cold Zipper magazine, you predicted a 2012 championship by either BurroMegaGigantica or Twinkie Treats.  Now that the draft has been completed and the season is underway, do you still agree with your initial prediction?  Or have any other team(s) caught your eye so far?  Why?

No changes. I think both teams drafted well, and it’s too early to really change my impressions. Red Krush certainly gets a lot of love turning a fast start out of the gate, would be great to see him be the 2012 version of Dead Motherboards or TheOkamaMaggies.

EJ: What kind of and how much preparation do you put into the draft every year?  Do you prefer reading analyst projections or making your own judgments?

PP: While I do a great deal of my analysis before yahoo releases their pre-rankings, there’s no way I wouldn’t plan my draft without yahoo's projections. I also will read other people's reports and articles regarding younger players, as I know I’m at a disadvantage to some managers regarding younger baseball talents. When the yahoo projections are released and the draft order is set, I take all my prior preparation and begin sifting through the players that I want, figuring out when I should take them. Having made my own prior judgments is key, as I am able to look at the rankings with my own bias and make better decisions about what a player’s value is. Identifying the discrepancies between yahoo projections and my own ideas is the key to a successful draft. 

EJ: Is there anything else you'd like to say to the teams of Cold Zipper?

PP: Thank you for your commitment to this league and making it the best fantasy experience out there. Winning this league only matters as much as it does because everyone plays to win all year.

Postmodern Pelagians by the year:
2006 - 5th place; 204.5 points
2007 - 1st place; 280.5 points (Cold Zipper Champion; Cy Young Award Winner)
2008 - 4th place; 249 points (Cy Young Award Winner)
2009 - 6th place; 220.5 points
2010 - 8th place; 219.5 points (Silver Slugger Award Winner)
2011 - 9th place; 198 points