22 seasons under his belt at the time of this writing, steinrat: has
acheived some nice success, with a 245-66 overall record, 7 Conference
Championships, and one National Championship. He's also
co-coaching under the gcfs id, to add a 108-25 record in ten seasons,
and four more conference championships. We sat down together in
the luxurious world-wide headquarters of the GUESS Ratings Service for
a short chat. (Well, we would have if there WERE a luxurious
world-wide headquarters. It sounds a lot better than saying we
exchanged several site mails.)
Ok, let's get started with the obligatory demographic questions.
What's your real name (only need to give your first name if you want),
age, marital status, children?
steinrat: Chris Steiner, 35, divorced father of a hellraiser soon to turn 11.
bhazlewood: Any story behind the 'steinrat:' id ?
It's an old college nickname with a long and boring story. To shorten
it, all of us were either "Dogs" or "Rats" back in the day for some
reason that wouldn't make sense to anyone but us, and mine was the only
one that stuck forever. Lucky me.
What do you to pay for your WIS addiction? (Or how did you pay for it
before you had so many Rewards Points ? LOL)
That question should be so much simpler at my age. OK, here goes: I was
an attorney but got into it because I wanted to practice law for the
financial sector and got out of it because they made me do litigation
instead. I took my expertise and went to work for a mortgage bank,
which promptly went out of business in the subprime meltdown. Then I
started my own business consulting for mortgage bankers and brokers,
and watched my clients go down one by one until I had none left. So now
I'm finishing up my requirements to get a Farmers Insurance agency,
which I should be doing by the New Year. In other words, thank God for
bhazlewood: How did you discover WIS / GD ?
all have joannes to thank (or blame) for me. I somehow stumbled upon an
off-site thread of his detailing one of his teams over the course of
several seasons, and was enthralled. As soon as time and finances
allowed, I got an account.
bhazlewood: What are your favorite sports / teams / athletes?
steinrat: Sport: College Football. Nothing else even comes close anymore.
Team: Ohio State Buckeyes. Ditto re the proximity of others.
That's a bit harder. I think I still have to say Omar Vizquel. He
played SS unlike anyone I'd ever seen before or since, and I got the
privilege of seeing Ozzie Smith pplay in person. Others include LeBron
James (I'm not a big BB fan, but day in and day out I see him do things
that aren't possible), Ozzie Newsome, Marvin Hagler, and Anderson Silva.
sitting in your favorite restaurant with any four people who ever
lived... what's on the menu, and who's at the table?
suppose that depends on what kind of mood I'm in. Most days I think it
would be Sam Kinison, Bob Schimmel, Andy Kaufman and Richard Pryor, and
the only thing on the table would be a huge mound of coke. Then we'd
all sit around and make fun of Robin Williams because we can still be
funny without it. But in my more enlightened moments I might choose Abe
Lincoln, Aristotle, Jesus, and an interpretor all munching on fish and
bread, with wine to wash it down. And in my hornier moments Jenna
Jameson and three "friends", and we'd just skip the meal altogether.
bhazlewood: LOL this is going to be a great read...
You're stuck on a desert island with your iPod (or its other-branded
equivalent) and a solar-powered battery recharger, but somehow you had
the feeling something like this was coming. What's on the playlist?
Dad's a musician, so I have pretty eclectic tastes. The Eagles are
definately on there, along with all the Southern rock stuff. And there
was this 2 or 3 year window in the mid-90s when country didn't suck,
because basically it was Southern rock. All that stuff is on there. But
so is Devo, the Beetles, some old Blues, Deep Purple, Billy Joel, The
Killers (everything that was great about the 80s, AND the groupies know
what a razor is for), Snoop, Emminem, 38 Special, that one song by Men
At Work, the soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou, Glenn Miller,
Beastie Boys, Counting Crows, and so on. Basically everything that
You also managed to pack a case of your favorite beverage and some
books you always wanted to read but never got around to it. What's in
Amber Bach, and The Egyptian, by Mika Waltari. I've actually read that
one two or three times, but I've never read it drunk on a deserted
island before. And if I could get another copy of it in its original
Finnish, that would be cool too, because at least then I could do
something interesting to keep myself occupied. Not many people come off
a stint on a deserted island bilingual, and those that do always seem
to know some crappy native language ... like they'll ever use THAT
you are rescued from the island, you're given the opportunity to attend
one sporting event, and one non-sporting event of your choice. What are
you going to see?
already got an Ohio State National Championship game under my belt
(2003 Fiesta Bowl), so for the sporting event I'd go with the Super
Bowl, because that's so much more than a football game and the
occasional nipple. As for the non-sporting event, I'm going to avoid
the temptation to say The Masters, because golf isn't a sport. Oh no
wait, I'm NOT going to resist that temptation, am I? But I'd still
rather go to the Playboy Mansion Halloween Party dressed as Wilmer
Valderrama (just in case).
bhazlewood: Dude you are either sick, or funny as hell, or both. :)
steinrat: I'm thinking a little of both. ;-)
bhazlewood: OK, here comes the GD stuff. What do you like BEST about GD?
this unusual mixture of fierce competition amongst people who seem to
want everyone to succeed. Everyone wants to win, but yet there aren't
very many people hiding the ball in terms of how they succeed and what
to do to get better in the game. It's very peculiar to come into
something where the vast majority of the better players can maintain
that high degree of decorum and sportsmanship while simultaneously
being such tough competitors.
bhazlewood: What would you change about GD if you could?
Easiest answer since favorite team: I'd eliminate the imbalance towards
offense. There are other tweaks that people have mentioned that I'd
favor, including adding some depth to recruiting, the ability to set
aside money for things other than simply individual recruiting (for
example, the scouting services that are available in HD), customizable
formations, DIA playoffs, etc. Also, I'd formulated an NFL level to the
game, complete with rules and a different, but coinciding schedule,
that would kick ass but may be very difficult to program. But as for
the single thing that would add the most depth and intrigue to the
game, it would simply be programming in more tackles-for-loss on
When you first started playing GD, did you have a mentor (or mentors) ?
And if so, who? What did you learn the most from them?
mostly was self-taught until I got into the Northwest Conference in
Leahy. The guy who absolutely owned that conference at the time, Mark
at Eastern Oregon (and if anyone out there can spell his last name
without looking it up, you're a better man than I), gave me a few good
whoopings. But each one taught me something. Up until I won my first
NC, I considered it my highest honor in GD that I finally beat him in
his last game ever at EOU, in the playoffs. But after he left, he
sitemailed with me back and forth and filled me in on some of the
things that I hadn't already figured out, like defensive aggressiveness
settings and little-used freshmen position switches. I've always
remembered that, and have tried to pass it along to the other coaches
in the NWC in Leahy even now that I've moved on to D2.
that, I joined the coaches group started by Shain (akua29, pounder,
etc. ad nauseum). I'd consider him a "co-mentor" at this point, or
perhaps a very heavy influence. He turned me on to my current theories
on player development and recruiting. Although I've modified his
methods to suit my own tastes, I don't think I'd ever have come this
far without him spurring the ideas.
bhazlewood: What do you see as your strengths as a GD player, and what would be the area you'd most want to improve.
strengths are recruiting and offensive gameplanning. Although I suppose
saying you're good at offensive gameplanning in GD might be redundant.
As for weaknesses, I'm really not satisfied with my defensive scheming.
I can generally do whatever I want on offense even with inferior
talent, but on defense I feel like I should be doing better regardless
of the programming imbalance.
You are currently co-coaching under the gcfs id with - who ARE you
coaching with? What have you learned from that, and what (would you
like to think, anyway) your co-coach has learned from you?
started out as just my account (owing to me being cheap and it being
free for a season), but in my fourth season there, I asked fasteddy88
to take over the gameplanning aspect of it for me because I was chin
deep in my fledgling (i.e., "failing") business and I just didn't have
time to do everything. He was my first mentee, so I thought it would be
a good chance for me to work through things with him in real-time. I
took on the GM role, scheduling games, recruiting, and setting lineups,
and he did everything else with my input. At this point, I'd say he's
become a better gameplanner than I, so I plan on perusing his gameplans
to try to improve my defensive scheming. You'd have to ask him what
he's learned from me, but I'd hope that I've helped him in the talent
evaluation and recruiting departments, and maybe gave him the starting
points to become as good as he has at gameplanning.
If you were in the $1,000,000 winner-take-all GD Championship finals,
who would you least want to face, and why?
I imagine if I was in THAT tournament, what I'd want least would be to
have paid my own entry fee. I don't have much experience against some
of the marquee names yet, but I know that it took me 6 tries to beat
hokie11, and when I finally did I won the National Championship that
season. I also had a whale of a time beating mele, although my record
is a bit better there. I'm only starting to take my shots at the
cravedogg's and plague's of the world, but since I haven't beaten ANY
of them yet (DKC once beat me in Dobie twice in one OOC schedule - once
with each ID), I'm gonna go ahead and add "anyone else who's done an
interview" to that list as well.
I know what you mean about hokie11 - we're in the same division in
Leahy NJAC and he's kicked my team's tail every season since I joined
the game. Since recruiting is one of your strengths, let's go
there for a bit. What are some of the recruiting "tricks" that
you're glad very few people know about? :)
I'm glad not as many people go nationally. Not many people seem to
realize that, if they know what they're doing, they can get a QB from
Hawaii even if they coach Maine Maritime, but you can, and fasteddy88
did in the first or second season I was helping him out. My most recent
mentee just mentioned to me yesterday that one of the reasons he
contacted me was that my FSU team had more players from farther away
than any other team he knew of in Leahy Dsteinrat: I thought that was
pretty cool ... and I hope it doesn't change any time soon for me in GD.
OK, you get a sitemail from some guy who says he's a total noob and
needs help with recruiting. What advice do you offer?
too complicated to get into in detail, although I've given out some
lengthy sitemails doing just that. But the gist is that you can expand
your recruiting search after awhile to grab guys from farther away by
just sending HC visits or Campus Visits. The trick is to know when its
safe. For example, I found that Hawaiian QB for fasteddy88 in the
afternoon of Day 2, and he wasn't considering anyone even though he was
the second-best QB in the talent pool. That tells me either no one
knows he exists, or no one who does thinks he's worth the money to
recruit. So I have eddy send nothing but a CV and a scholarship offer,
and after a few tries with the CV he goes green for less than $3000.
other really important thing I tell them is to decide very quickly what
battles you can win and what battles you cannot. If you cut bait
quickly on the battles you can't win, you save that much more money for
the battles you can win.
Finally, I've been alpha- and
beta-testing a maddiesdad-esque Recruit Management Tool with the people
who've asked for help, so I send them one of those. They tell me it's
been very helpful in sorting through the gobs of information you get in
the recruiting process. I'm planning on going live with that in the
coming weeks on the same basis that maddies and leppy have with their
team management spreadsheets; it'll be free, but voluntary donations
would be swell (I'm going to use the proceeds to start up a website for
it and maybe pay for a season or two while the insurance business gets
up and running).
Assuming the NC win was your favorite GD moment - what would be your
second favorite? And, what goals do have for yourself in GD?
Mark in his last game at EOU barely edges out watching my core of kids
at FSU slice through everyone in my first year away from them on their
way to a second NC. Congrats to benyjerry on that - he did the
gameplanning and should be very proud to get a NC in first season there
- but it was still incredibly satisfying to see the talent that I
recruited and developed being able to win for me in one scheme, and
then turn around and win for someone else under a totally different
As for goals, I wanted the gcfs account to be the first
coach to 100 wins at D2, and that looks pretty likely. Also, I want to
win a National Championship at every level in Leahy.
Sometimes, the "prevailing wisdom" about something is less than
completely accurate. Is there anything about GD where you find yourself
going "against the tide" ?
I don't think I recruit like many others, just in that I go farther
sooner and more often. I also never tell new guys not to battle; it's
not really accurate. You HAVE to battle to get better relative to the
best teams in any division. But I tell them to choose their battles
very carefully and very wisely, which is what everyone else means, but
not what they say.
I'm also convinced that GD groupies exist; no
matter how useless bizarre or your talent is, if your one of the best
at it there is some girl out there who wants to sleep with you because
of it. My Dad is one of the world's foremost experts on vintage and
antique toasters, and my uncle's current girlfriend met him because she
mistook him for my Dad. If a freaking toaster can get a guy laid, I'm
not going to rest until the pickup line, "Hey, you know I won the
National Championship with my Leahy Frostburg State team" gets me some
bhazlewood: Formation practice - yea or nay?
depends on how far the players have to go. I think there's a direct
correlation between how much your players can improve and how much
individual practice they need. In D3, even the best players have a long
way to go, so I go 180 in individual. In D2, probably the same. In
DIAA, the players start to get closer to their capacity, but still can
improve a lot at the lower levels of it. So I go with one offensive
formation for 12-15 minutes if you're competitive and looking to go
farther, or all individual if you're rebuilding. In DIA I've used none
at Rockne Middle TN State with some success, but that was just shy of a
rebuild. After this season I'll have to institute formation practice if
I want to take them to the next level. I'm guessing I'll go 12 minutes
for 1 formation on each side of the ball if I stay at MTSU. I've never
been at a BCS school yet. and I'm WAY OFF an elite job still, but I'd
imagine I'd go at least that much formation practice at one of those
schools, and probably more.
bhazlewood: Any strong opinion on having multiple ID's in the same world?
that I wish WIS would be more proactive with their rules about it.
There's too much gray area, and it really hangs a guy like DKC out to
dry because he never knows what they're going to say in the gray area.
Personally, if I was making up the rules, I'd say no multiple IDs in
the same division in the same world, and I'd count DIA and DIAA as the
same division. After that, the chances of self-colluding are pretty
slim. And since the vast majority of actual self-collusion is probably
accidental (i.e., subconsciously not battling yourself for the same
players), simply not taking your players from the same talent pool
ought to eliminate it.
Under the rules as they stand, though,
it's legal. And if you know your GD history, you understand that
multi-IDs was almost necessary at first with such limited number of
worlds. So I don't really have a problem with it so long the players
make a concerted effort not to abuse their position. I've seen no
evidence that the current multi-ID players are anything but ethical.
bhazlewood: GUESS ratings - God's gift to GD, a sign of the pending apocalypse, or somewhere in between? ;)
on where you rate my Western State team this season. :-P No, really, I
think you've done a good job. One of the things I still have to do to
my RMT 1.0 before unveiling it is incorporate your GUESS ratings into
the spreadsheet so people can see approximately how their class stacks
up against previous classes. I did have ardikus in there, but you've
become the dominant Mel Kuiper of this era.
bhazlewood: I hope my hair turns out better than Mel Kuiper's. :) What division do you like best and why?
of the glut of easy wins D2 is the most realistic division in GD. If it
had some more high-quality coaches it would be even better. So if
you're stuck behind, I don't know, say hokie11 in the NJAC ... And you
know that no matter how good your recruit-ratings website is, and no
matter how many interviews you do, you're still going to get your ass
kicked every single solitary season for the rest of your pathetic life,
maybe ... Something like that or something ... Then come on up to D2
and stay awhile.
bhazlewood: Ok, continuing the dubs' tradition of trios, here's some quickhits:
bhazlewood: Burger King, McDonald's, or Wendy's ?
steinrat: If calories and impending middle age weren't an issue, Burger King. As it stands, Wendy's has more grilled chicken options.
bhazlewood: Star Wars, Star Trek, or Dancing with the Stars?
steinrat: Stars Wars. All the cool geeks watch Star Wars.
bhazlewood: Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, or Steven Wright?
None of the above. Steven Wright is the best of the lot, but the
delivery gets old after awhile: " I took a class online at the
University of Phoenix. The professor traded me grades for cyber-sex."
bhazlewood: PC, Mac, or Abacus?
steinrat: I like the idea of Mac better, but frankly I've only ever used a PC.
bhazlewood: Blackberry, DayMinder, or "What's an Organizer?" ?
steinrat: Gotta have my Crackberry.
bhazlewood: Superman, Sherlock Holmes, or Jack Bauer?
steinrat: Sherlock Holmes is cool and all, but dude ... X-ray vision. 'Nuff said.
bhazlewood: Ginger, Mary Ann, or .. uh, The Professor? (not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Anne. Incidently, have you seen her mugshot? The one where she's like,
97 years old and on weed? Yeah, I'd still hit it. I figure I owe her
after all the sex she had with me when I was 13.
bhazlewood: Tastes Great, Less Filling, or "Does it have alcohol in it?" ?
steinrat: Tastes Great.
bhazlewood: Any last thoughts you'd like to add before we close this up?
steinrat:: Nah, I'm good. Gotta go recruit ...