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The Doug Martsch Interview

Saturday, January 31, 2009

After the success and positive response I received on the Stephen Malkmus interview we've decided to go ahead and carry on with the rock star interviews. The strangely attractive hybrid of fantasy hoops and indie rock seems to really be working for people, and for the music fans, I think it's interesting to hear these guys talk about something other than music for a change.

This week's guest is Built To Spill front man Doug Martsch. Built To Spill was formed in 1992 and released a landmark record, Perfect From Now On, in 1997. They played that record start-to-finish at last year's ATP Don't Look Back festivals and are one of the best live bands on the planet. In fact, Doug is considered to be one of the best rock guitarists in the business. Some of Martsch's influences include J Mascis/Dinosaur Jr., Pavement and Neil Young, which should help explain to you why they're one of my favorite bands. Their latest record, You in Reverse, was released in 2006 and there's another one in the hopper.

If you're new around here, I play in a couple rock-and-roll fantasy hoops leagues, one of which includes Malkmus and Martsch, along with several other recognizable jammers. So we've decided to talk some hoops.

20 Questions (or so) With Doug Martsch

Rumor has it that you're a fantasy sports rookie. Is that true?

Doug Martsch: Yes, this is my first season and I'm playing in two leagues – both basketball. One of them is with strangers (not the name of a band), while the other is our league, Plastered In a Sports Bra, run by commissioner Malkmus. And of the two, Plastered is my favorite. I prefer to play with friends, as they may understand my pain.

SA: There's no way to compare a "local league" to a league full of strangers. Beating your buddies is always more fun than housing someone you don't know. And yeah, your buddies probably have better chance than strangers to do of relating to your pain.

Knowing how much you guys tour I'm wondering if you had trouble drafting your team online when we gathered back in October?

DM: Yeah, I started the season on tour, so I was lucky to even take part in the draft. I was in Europe and just happened to be in a hotel that had an internet connection at 6:00 a.m.

SA: You may not know the pain of an "auto-draft" yet, but it only takes one year of suffering through a team built by a computer to make sure it never happens again. And if Doug Martsch can show up at 6 a.m. while on tour in Europe for his fantasy draft, your boys (and girls) should be able to make it to the corner bar, or internet, for your league's draft.

How has your first adventure in fantasy hoops gone over with your family? My wife hated it for the first few years and then gave up. But she also gets me back now by dialing into any reality show that runs on a network you've probably never heard of.

DM: My wife tolerates it and my 14-year-old son likes it (or pretends like he does to humor me).

I know you live in Boise, but you have recorded and spent a lot of time in Portland. And since that's where our league is based, I'm wondering if you have a favorite Trail Blazer?

DM: I like Brandon Roy. Mainly because he's a Blazer, a nice guy, makes big plays and has a unique and beautiful game. I really didn't care about basketball until 1999 when I started playing (actually getting out on the court and playing) and watching, so my all-time favorite blazer is Arvydas Sabonis.

SA: We made a trade back in November when Greg Oden was really struggling. You took Oden and Luke Ridnour off my hands in exchange for T.J. Ford and Nene. For a time there, it looked like I got the better end of that deal with how well Nene has played, but Oden has really been coming on lately. I assume you're an Oden fan because you wanted him when no one else in the league did?

DM: I've liked both Ridnour and Oden since their college days and was then psyched when they went to Seattle and Portland. I thought T.J. (starting for a new team) and Nene (healthy and without Marcus Camby) were good acquisitions, but I wasn't that into them. I released Ridnour a couple weeks after the trade when he continued to under achieve, just like he did in Seattle, and it looked like Ramon Sessions was going to take all his minutes. And now he's hurt again. So I was left with Oden, who I couldn't get rid of mostly because I would then want him to fail (and succeed. I'm still getting used to the psychological dissonance of fantasy b-ball).

Did you draft your team with your head or your heart? In other words, are you a stat freak who is simply trying to win, or were you focused more on players you knew and liked?

DM: Judging players by their stats is new to me. I tried to pick guys whose games I liked and who were going to get minutes. I can't stand a lot of players personally and stay away from them (read: Lakers).

SA: That's good insight, Doug, as potential for minutes/playing time is probably the most overlooked factor by those new to fantasy sports.

Any moves in your draft you wish you had over? Any players you will never own? Since you're a rookie, I'm guessing your "Never Again" list will look much different this coming October.

DM: I took Luol Deng in the fifth round. I have no problem drafting him again, but it won't be in the fifth round next time. I will never draft Damon Jones.

SA: Jones is currently on Milwaukee's roster but hasn't played this year.

Tyrus Thomas and Andrea Bargnani have been two of the most interesting fantasy players this season, being constantly added, dropped and moved from team to team in fantasy leagues. Any thoughts on what the future holds for them?

DM: I think they both will turn out to be good players, but I've thought that for years.

SA: Just after this interview, Bargnani went on a tear that saw him score at least 15 points in 15 straight games, but that streak came to an end on Wednesday night. Thomas' play and consistency continues to bounce up and down like he's on a pogo stick.

Roundball Stew, the title of a Rotoworld column by Matt Stroup, generated quite a bit of chatter on our league message board, mainly because of Malk's dislike of the word 'stew,' as well as 'moist' and 'cuddle.' Anything come to mind when you hear the term? And speaking of Rotoworld, do you consider yourself a junkie?

DM: I like Rotoworld a lot, I also like Rick Kamla and NBA TV. I'm pretty much a junkie. And yeah, when I see Roundball Stew I think of Steve's rap.

SA: Which was:

Roundball Stu
thought he could screw
all the tight ends in Frisco
But he couldn't get through
and then something that rhymes with "pee-yew."

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Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for and a contributor to The 2014-15 NBA season marks his 13th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
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