Thursday, March 6, 2008

Most frustrating draft experience ever?

So, I attempted to join an experts-only auction draft today. I somewhat mocked the two or three other others who complained of technical problems, as their bidding $31 on Mariano Rivera or constantly being booted from the auction room was mildly amusing.

Not so funny was the sheer shittiness of the site: Fantasy Auctioneer. You couldn't pay me to use that pile of crap again. I didn't have any crippling functionality problems ... at least for the first hour or so. There were, however, a few puzzling design decisions. You have two bidding choices: add one dollar to current bid or type in an amount. What, no $5/$10/$15/etc. buttons? Also, four people would often click on the "add one dollar" button, resulting in someone adding four dollars when they meant to add one. There was much gnashing of the teeth. The layout was terrible, and the constantly opening new windows proved disastrous as they continuously blocked my ability to observe the bidding process.

My auction was going pretty much as planned. I had assembled Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore, Prince Fielder, C.C. Sabathia, Brandon Phillips, and B.J. Upton and still had $90 or so to fill out four OF slots, two C slots, 3B, four SP slots, and four RP slots.

My strategy may make more sense if you realize that I had allotted exactly $8 to my four RPs (I can find diamonds in the rough, believe me), $8 to the catchers, and about $10 for three of the SP slots. I was going high-end all the way, and I figured I could acquire at least one more good pitcher, a premium 3B, and a few decent OFs (plus prospects galore) to round out my team.

Of course, the auction turned to shambles as people quit/were forced away in horror from Fantasy Auctioneer. An alternate, traditional, mock draft was then assembled at Mock Draft Central. Unfortunately, my Fantasy Auctioneer window eventually crashed. I had to reboot my whole system, and at that point Mock Draft Central put me on "autodraft." In perhaps the stupidest programming decision in the entire fantasy world, Mock Draft Central leaves you on auto-draft when you log in. I promptly ended up with Carl Crawford and Albert Pujols, taken about ten seconds apart.

Meanwhile, Fantasy Auctioneer continued to repeatedly crash whenever I attempted to log back on. I finally gave up after it forced me to reboot twice and shut down all Internet windows about four times.

Oh, well. I was curious to see what my offensive-juggernaut, RP-bereft squad would have looked like.


Alex said...

oh shit ... isn't this what cbs sportsline uses? my league's auction draft is in two weeks via cbs - so i guess via fantasy auctioneer ... oh well, sucks for me

Bob Taylor said...

Man, oh, man. And you thought MDC auto-drafting Kelvim Escobar for me in the 12th was bad.

I'm going to take your word for it, Mike, that Fantasy Auctioneer does have problems and it's not your PC that's to blame. But I know you're right about MDC's auto-draft setup. It's not very friendly at all.

Edwin said...

Did you really get Crawford and Pujols, Mike? That's hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I have used fantasy auctioneer for a few mock drafts and have thought it was awesome. I also never heard a complaint from any of the people mock drafting with me. We are not using it for my league, but I would recommend it based on my experience.

Grey said...

Hey, everyone, anonymous works for the auctioneer.

The site was a miserable experience. Pray I don't write about your site too.

Ben Ice said...

Shame you trashed the experience with a one shot deal, although I certainly understand your frustration. The problem was a unique one that we have not experienced in four years of running thousands of auctions.

Software is never perfect, but our track record is a lot better than your experience last night. For a more experienced point of view, you guys might want to consider asking Jeff Erickson, Derek VanRiper of RotoWire, or Scott Pianowski from FantasyGuru, or Brad Evans from Yahoo, regarding their many dozens of drafts with the site. RotWire has been a partner for years and very happy with the results.

Ben Ice said...

btw I'm sure if anonymous actually worked for us, he would have left his name. More likely one of thousands who have mocked successfuly on the site

Eric said...

I sued fantasy auctioneer for a mock draft with nine AI teams, and I couldn't figure the logic behind the AI bidding.

That aside, I thought it was pretty cool.

Eric said...

"used" not "sued"

Bob Taylor said...

Ben Ice:

I'm going to believe you that whatever issues Mike and his fellow mock drafters ran into last night were not the norm. But now I'm curious about what kind of "unique" problem Fantasy Auctioneer was dealing with yesterday. Care to elaborate? Has the issue been dealt with already? It might warrant a follow-up post that's a little more friendly if you can tell us exactly what caused this experts draft to go kablooey last night.

Mike Bock said...

A "unique" problem? An AI autobid of 80+ dollars for Carlos Pena, or 30+ dollars for Mariano Rivera seems like a systemic problem.

Let's assume that being booted in and out of the site, and receiving "league full" messages that resulted in my explorer windows crashing was a unique experience. I still don't like the "+1" bidding feature or the inability to expand your viewing screen to accomodate multiple windows.

Mike Bock said...

**almost all of my technical problems started when I tried to open a second java applet (mockdraftcentral) at the same time I had fantasy auctioneer running. Clearly the two sites don't like each other.

Ben Ice said...


The unique problem, which was an error 1010 (no one knew what the hell it meant) happened when Scott Pianowski failed to nominate a player in the alloted time. The way the system works is, it uses an api to call to the CBS database for the next highest ranked player. In this case, the player didn't have a value assigned (probably a human input error) and the software didn't know what do do about it. So, after the timer reached $0, the software couldn't assign a value, and deduct said value from the winners budget. Simply put, it freaked out.

Considering the huge pain we had when the guy from Rotowire didn't show (remember that ARod nomination for $64? That was pulled from Sportsline too) we probably should have gone home right then and there. was a shitty experience...100% on that. George went ballistic on the dev team, but to their credit they found the issue. The database was supposedly gone through line by line after that to make sure each player had a dollar value assigned to him.

You gotta admit, once we finally got someone in and restarted the draft, it was running smoothly. And yeah, considering how resource intensive these front ends are, I imagine running two draft rooms at the same time might play hell on a CPU's resources...that being said, it's a complete guess on my part. I'm not a techie

wynams said...

Fantasy Auctioneer is the worst thing you could ever wish on your league.

I found this link: ntry7278126

Read it if you would like. It is fantasy football, but still using the FA software. George (the owner) chimes in on that thread admitting they suck .. he's always told me my issues were isolated.

Very curious.

Another link ... another baseball disaster:

If it works for you, you just haven't used it enough yet. It is the most hit or miss software I have ever encountered.