Hartford Harpoon Broke Silence with Long Press Conference, Part 1

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Updated: June 29, 2019

Josh Jackson, Hartford Courant – 28 February, 2029

So, we have all seen that Hartford Harpoons have made moves throughout the whole offseason. There are also news coming out that they have hired a new general manager and it is not the manager or the other executives doing the general manager’s work while it is vacant. The new general manager is as mysterious as the country he is from — Malaysia. Malaysia is never a baseball country by any mean, and has not produced a player that can crack any competitive leagues around the world. A deep dive into baseball-reference databases tell me the same exact thing.

The deep dive into various other websites and database do provide me with some information to the engima known as Chaan-Shu Sim. He worked for quite a few teams around the globe and had both coach and general manager stints in several teams. All of those teams were in national leagues, which are clearly lower in competitiveness than the international leagues like World Independent League, and for him to go from that place to the premier Planetary Extreme Baseball Alliance is a huge leap.

A huge leap that has sparked a lot of discussion and conspiracy theories on the media and the internet. The internet has been pretty fun so far, especially to the Reddit fans. You will find the most ridiculous and creative conspiracy theories from there. Ranging from “CSS is merely a puppet GM, the owner has decided to take charge himself” to “Harpoon is intentionally dooming themselves so they can relocate”, the Hartford Harpoon subreddit is as chaotic as a Joker-ruled Gotham City. Some other interesting topic titles include “CSS = Cascading Style Sheet = actual GM of our team is Håkon Wium Lie!” and “A Malaysian business tycoon is taking over the team next season”.

All the fun might be coming to an end though, as Hartford Harpoon had finally held a massive two-part press conference yesterday. Here are some highlights from the manager introductory press conference:

Q: With all due respect, Mr…Sim. I think we can all agree that your resume is not something that get into the big league like PEBA. Why do you think Hartford Harpoon pick you over other candidates, which according to the rumors, are, on paper, more qualified than you?

A: I am not surprised this is the first question being asked here. Everyone have doubt about my resume, my experience, my nationality and et cetera, et cetera. Just like you all did with any foreign players that came here too early or only been in a foreign league. You know, it’s pretty funny when I think about it. If they come here to PEBA after two to four years, it’s always “is hit ready for the big league? Can he hit big league pitches? Can he handle big league batters?”; if they come here late, say in the thirties, then the questions are “If he isn’t making it in his prime, he ain’t good enough. Why would any team want him without big league experience?”. There are no right time to come here. I mean, come on, this is year 2029, where the world are closer than ever, can the media at least give unproven foreigners a chance? Let’s go off topic for a bit, and this might not be a very good comparison but hear me out. There are couples met each other from matching sites, who then live a happy marriage until they grow old. At the same time, there are also people who married their high school sweethearts and that did not end in a happy ending that Hollywood would want to put in their mainstream romance movies. You would think that it’s great to married a girl you have dated for six years. “Oh, maybe something won’t go wrong”, “I cannot imagine myself being with someone else”. Things happened, and you two somehow can’t stay together anymore. That’s life for you — things changed. No one can predict the future and no one knows the future.

So we go back on the topic, a “high school sweetheart” is like someone with a good resume and has been around the PEBA for a long time. Yeah, you think you know him or her. “Oh he’s excellent in this, good in that, he will do fine in a GM”. Maybe he can, and maybe he can’t. I would also point out that centuries ago, arranged marriage is the norm and I am sure not all of our ancestors live unhappily. Or maybe they do, I am not a historian, but I am not that grim of a person to think so negatively. But anyway, all I am asking is a chance. I am the unknown dude on the matching site. Harpoon offered me a date, and then a paper and I signed it. Maybe I would get my “divorce paper” in a year, but we will see about that. All of you are free to criticize me by that time, but before then, all I asked for is a chance to prove myself, just like you don’t declare a rookie a bust without giving him a few years and at least a few hundreds plate appearances. That’s how Reddit scouts judged talents, not professional scouts or media members.

I am also a believer of worldly experience. Baseball is a global sport nowadays and in PEBA, we have teams and players from all around the worlds. In a global league that has “planet” on its name, I think one should not be short-sighted and believe in what I personally considered to be limited vision. I might not have the big league resume everyone is so impressed by, but I have worked for leagues around the globe and I get to experienced their baseball culture, and more importantly, the different styles of play and how different countries operate their baseball teams. The different coaching mentalities, the different practices. All of these opened my eyes and allowed me to see things from a different angle. Just like mixed martial arts, there’s a reason we have to “mixed” it up, because that is the way to create an ultimate fighter. Oh crap, did I just advertised for UFC? I am not going to get fined for that, am I? What season is Ultimate Fighter now? Seventy plus, I believe? Nevermind, we can talk about that after the press conference. Let’s say I am a Thai who only sticks with the national art, Muay Thai. I am weak on the ground and cannot do much. I can stick to that art and aim to perfect it, but that still leave a big hole in my game. Instead, I can try to broaden my view, fly to Japan and pick up Judo. Now, that I am a better fighter, because I am willing to open my eyes to the new stuff, and not restrict myself to only a part of the world. To quote a Chinese idiom, “there are always a teacher among three people”. The other leagues might not be as good as PEBA when it comes to player’s talents, but their method, their philosophy and such can be effective if given the right twist. I believe I am bringing something to the team, and offering something that other candidates might not have, and those are the reasons they hired me — to shake things up and to go away from traditionalism. Sabermetrical was seen as “hokum” once upon a time too, only time will tell if I am capable or not.

Q: Let’s talk about some of your moves in the offseason. You traded your first round pick to Yuma for —

A: I am going to interrupt you right there, Bob from…ESPN, right? I don’t know if ESPN have a different person coming for our player conference later on or you are still on it, but that question belongs there. No player questions will be answered here. This might not sound egotastic but this press conference is about me. This is the “Hartford Harpoon New GM Introductory Press Conference”, so let’s stick to questions about me. You can pass the question to your co-worker if you are not going to be there later, at least that’s what I suggest.

Q: You are from Malaysia, a country that is not on the map of anything related to baseball. How do you feel to be in the big league as an oddity? Do you feel more comfortable if you were to manage a Sovereign League team, like one from the Rising Sun division?

A: Man oh man, I don’t know why but you all sound so xenophobic to me. Are we back at 2019? Donald Trump? Let’s build a wall? Come on, we are a decade forward. The league is as diverse as it gets. Being an oddity now is not…that big of a deal. I also don’t find the “west vs east” thing to be stupid. That is as dumb as the console war, “XBOX or Playstation or Wii?” Yeah right, just get all of them and enjoy all of them. There is no need to make everything into a choice. Choices are for children, adults just grab them all, like Pokemon, if I can be allowed to go nerdy for a second here.

As for the question about comfortability, well, the Sovereign League teams are happy with their GMs, Harpoon wants me, what else do you expect me to say? I understand you all are looking for the oh-my-shocking headlines. Yeah, I know — when I said it, I meant it. I have dated a journalist when I was in Taiwan, and she mainly works on political news. You know how hard it is to find clickbaity quotes from those politicians who are well-practiced to not say the wrong things on a daily basis? Certainly harder than coaches and managers. People adapt, that’s one thing everyone in this sport need. Pitchers have to adjust to the batters, and vice versa for the batters. Teams have to adjust to how other teams are adjusting. Adapting the situation is a skill everyone in a sport organization would have and it’s also one of the strengths of human being. You all should know if you at least watch some of the more fantasy-oriented genres. Humans are versatile, all-around and can do everything on a fair level. We are the five tool species, adapting is fine. I also enjoy not being comfortable, because that makes me work harder and working harder is important at this level — or even some levels before this.

Q: If you have a choice of becoming the GM in any team you want, will any of the Rising Sun have your attention?

A: You are…Jennifer from Sky Sports, correct?…Okay. Nice followup after your ESPN comrade, Jennifer. I don’t even know why I said “comrade” as you two work for the rival companies, but eh, doesn’t matter when you find a sweet question to ask, am I right? Anyway, life is not a video game. This is not Out of the Park Baseball, I don’t get the choose team nor do I ever imagine myself having that luxury. According to your other fellow journalist buddies, I am not supposed to be here, so yeah, I have never give that question any thought. And I am not even sure why are you all focusing on the Rising Sun so much, as if I were a Japanese nationalist or something. If you really think that, you might need to study up some Asian surnames. “Sim” is a Chinese surname, not the most common but among the first hundred. And I am a Malaysian, born and raised there, so geographical location of the team really isn’t a big deal to me. My hometown is very far from every team out there so that’s not a reason for me either.

I think what I can say is that every team brings different challenges and I am happy to take on any challenge. In summary, every team will have my attention and I have absolutely no preference. I don’t think I will need to re-state my thoughts about the console war right here. But I see that you don’t look too happy about my answer. Okay, let’s go for a different approach. Say I am in a buffet, there are a plethora of food, what do I go for first? It differs every time even if it’s the same food in ten buffets I attend to. The first one I go for what is just what I feel like going for at that time. Does not mean it’s my favorite; does not mean I will eat that thing everyday, but I want it that time. I see the teams

Q: The Hartford Harpoon has gone silent since hiring you in the past month or so. Is there a reason the press conference is not held earlier?

A: Well, I am an environmentalist and I believe in saving the Earth and hosting multiple press conferences is going to lead to multiples trip from all of you. That’s a lot of wasted resources for…not much. *Long pause* Okay, you all are not buying that, don’t you? Okay, let’s try a different one. As a general manager in a sport that is as critical about numbers as ever, we look at everything from a min-max perspective. We try to get the most value out of the least output, which is no different from doing businesses, if any of you had that experience. The press conference is no different. We can have you all come here every time we do something huge, or maybe let you all come on every little transaction, but that’s a lot of unnecessary shuffles that I find to be a waste of time. I think it’s just easier to have you all come at once and ask every question at a single time. Easy for me, easy for the players, easy for all of you. And it’s not like you all are out of headlines. Yeah, darn right I read all the news, lots of conspiracy theories on why I have not do this and that, why I have not spoken or make any statement. Sometime, I almost forget I am reading non-fiction. You all can write headlines and speculations and even make them sound like the management here legitly do what you all imagined. Those are GREAT journalism right there, if I could delay this press conference for another month without being fined, I would, cuz I loved seeing people’s imagination go to work. Guess that’s why I enjoy fantasy.

Q: Hartford Harpoon is a very big market. Fans and media here tend to be more vocal on a team like Hartford Harpoon. Do you think there are extra pressure from an environment like this?

A: I never think of it as a very big deal. I am a sport fan from a very young age and I have watched a lot of sport news and shows. I have witnessed the tearing and assault the fans and media have put on many teams in the past and now I think I am very comfortable with them happening to me. I think the smaller the numbers are, the bigger the impact feels. For instance, if a person said “I hate you, you are horrible”, I am going to feel very bad. Then nine more came to me and say that same thing, it hurts too, a lot. But we are talking about a thousand and ten thousands here or something around that ballpark, then I don’t see the difference. Seeing the same message that many times isn’t that big of a deal, especally when I have worked the job for so many years. Here’s how I look at it: no decision is going to make 100% of fans happy. That’s just how it is. Even the President of America don’t have to make everyone happy. As long as he gets 50%+1 vote, he or she is the president, and that’s millions of people shouting “I hate at you” at said great person.

So, no. Big market pressure does not bother me. I think to just look at it one way is not smart anyway. When I make a good decision, there will be a larger amount of fans happy and praise me – hopefully – too as a big market manager. It’s a double-edged sword, not a total negative.