A Duck for All Seasons: Better Know a Grinder - Ethan Haskell
Ethan and I go back to some of the early Night Sweats shows, when he brought a demeanor that was even more laid back and dry than my own. Also, we did some incredible work hosting shows at the Playboy Mansion. Ethan is like a Padawan to my Yoda, and that’s probably one of the few Star Wars references I’m ever going to say willingly. Anyway, I was happy to let Ethan answer ten questions, and he stepped up gamely.
TEN QUESTIONS FOR ETHAN HASKELL
1. What has the transition been like going from RotoGrinders to DraftKings?
It’s been great. I loved working at RotoGrinders and it was incredible to be part of the early years of the site. Cam, Cal and Riley (ok, Dan too) gave me a chance right out of college to prove I could add value to their website and I honestly don’t know what miserable job I’d be doing today if I wasn’t afforded that opportunity. It’s crazy to look back at where the site was in 2011-12 when I first started. Back in the days where the site was just projections, a couple of daily articles and the forums. Now they’re raking in cash and have a huge readership with incredible stats, tools and data. It’s really a testament to those guys and the foundation they built. When I left, I had some concerns about the transition but the hardest part for me was leaving behind the 2+ years of hard work I had put in with RG. Luckily, DraftKings offered me an opportunity to continue to build off of that with the Playbook and DKTV.
I’ve also really enjoyed the chance to see daily fantasy from another perspective. I’ve been able to work in this industry from the player perspective (RG) and now the site perspective (DK) and it’s been really interesting to see how those two perspectives work together.
2. Go ahead, let your full Tom Brady tirade out right here. I feel for you.
The anger has come and gone for me. Who knows, it might come back again. To me though, I’m just genuinely surprised that so many people can be such sore losers. We live in an age where kids get participation trophies and are applauded for just trying their hardest. If you think like that, you’re just going to get steamrolled by the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s of the world. I’m not mad at everyone for thinking the Patriots are cheaters, I’m just sad that so many people are jealous sheep without their own opinions. Let’s take Ryan Clark for example, who highlighted the SportsCenter coverage when the punishment came out. If I were Ryan Clark, I’d be salty with Brady too since he threw for more yards per game against his Steelers than any other AFC team over the course of TB12’s career. The great philosopher, Nas, once said “People fear what they don’t understand, hate what they can’t conquer.” (also was my high school yearbook quote). I’m not saying that everyone outside of New England is a moron, just that they’re all soft and can’t just take their participation trophy and say ‘Thank You’.
3. What alcoholic beverage goes best with making lineups?
My personal favorite is cheap vodka out of a water bottle. If you have to, you can chase it with something lighter like a peppermint schnapps. By about half an hour before lock, you’ll be on a mental level that no one else will even understand. I recommend hitting up the GrindersLive chat room or Twitter at this point.
4. Hypothetical question: it’s your wedding day, you’re one hour away from getting married, but you’re at your hotel room and game seven of the Celtics-Lakers championship is in double overtime. It’s going to take you at least 45 minutes to get to the church, and you still have to get dressed. What do you do?
If Robin Williams could pass up tickets to Game 6 of the 1975 World Series for a girl, I think I could manage leaving my hotel room during the NBA Finals. I love the Celtics. I’ve always said they’re my favorite team in Boston. But let’s fast-forward to this wildly hypothetical situation where someone agreed to marry me. I think I have to abandon ship and go to the wedding. I’d probably try and get there early too…less time for this very hypothetical woman to realize the terrible mistake she’s about to make.
5. Tell us a special skill you have that our readers might not know you have.
I honestly don’t think I have any special skills. It’s actually pretty surprising to me that I’ve made it to where I am today. If you asked the video producers here with DraftKingsTV, they’d probably tell you I’m a terrific actor but I try to be humble about it. If you really push me to answer, I’d say I might have a career in Hollywood. I have all the tools to be the next Leo, Mark or George (DiCaprio, Wahlberg and Clooney, but as a fellow actor I call them by first name).
6. Who is the person you trust most (and least) in the DFS community?
I don’t know if I really have an answer for this one. I’m a big fan of Emac, who was the original weekend warrior and helped me get some time off when I needed a breather at RG. As far as who I trust the least, it’s probably easy to say DP47 but that’s a cop out. He’d never want you to know this, but he’s actually a really nice guy who I’ve spoken to at multiple live finals and respect a lot. As far as not trusting, there are a few guys out there who have either threatened to kill me or at the very least assault me. That probably broke my trust a little bit.
Also going to steal this section to mention some really cool people I’ve met through daily fantasy. Mr. and Mrs. Notorious are terrific people and a wild time to hang out with. Rumor has it they have a little Notorious coming this fall as well, so congrats to them! SBK from RotoGrinders, my former roommate, is an 8-year old with his eating habits but he’s a good guy as well. And of course I have to shout you out Duckie. We’ve had some entertaining times covering events at the Playboy Mansion together. The list of great people I’ve met through daily fantasy is never-ending (AlSmizzle, CSURam, Dink, SocrDave, Bales etc) and it’s amazing how the number of good people contributing to DFS outweighs the more obnoxious ones 10-fold.
7. Which New England Patriot would you trust to hold your wallet for, let’s say, 15 minutes?
If you can’t trust Tom Brady, the wunderkind, who can you trust in this world? I’d rather give Tom Brady my wallet for 15 minutes than to find myself in a bar with Ben Roethlisberger for 15 minutes or an elevator with Ray Rice for 15 minutes. I’d also trust anyone in the Patriots locker room before I trusted anyone at the NFL offices. They’d probably steal my money then suspend me for 4 weeks after a 4 month investigation into who stole my wallet.
8. In Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud’s Study on Hysteria, they stated,“Our observations have shown…that the memories which have become the determinants of hysterical phenomena persist for a long time with astonishing freshness and with the whole of their affective colouring…however…these memories, unlike other memories of their past lives, are not at the patients’ disposal. On the contrary, these experiences are completely absent from the patients’ memory when they are in a normal psychical state, or are only present in a highly summary form. Not until they have been questioned under hypnosis do these memories emerge with the undiminished vividness of a recent event.” Please discuss this statement in reference to a typical Boston sports fan.
Being totally honest, I didn’t read the whole quote. ADD kicked in. But I think it’s asking me how I perceive Boston Sports memories? If that’s the case, it’s more an issue of opening up enough memory/space for all of the championships. People might say I’m lucky for having lived through 4 Patriots Super Bowls, 3 Red Sox World Series. 2 UCONN National Titles and 1 Bruins/Celtics championship each but really it’s a burden. I can only remember so many winning moments, so I have to itemize and prioritize them. There’s also a good chance I didn’t understand the quote, so if that’s the case then ignore everything I just said.
9. What kind of pancakes do you like?
Not a huge pancake fan in general. They taste delicious but I then spend the rest of my day feeling like someone poured concrete into my stomach. When I do have pancakes though, it’s chocolate chip pancakes 100% of the time.
10. If I gave you the chance to see any performer, living or dead, in concert for one hour (comedian, singer, magician, whatever), who would you pick, and where would the show be?
Can I get a Britney Spears/Christina Aguilera private concert (from their primes in the mid-90s)? They can just come over to my place (parent’s basement) and put on a show for me. Other than that, I’m not a huge concert/performance guy. I guess it’d be pretty cool to see Biggie or 2Pac perform. If Biggie was able to perform at his own funeral, that seems like a must-see event.
Ethan, you’re the man (although I’ll never fully get over that Super Bowl). Thanks for joining in!