Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quitters suck

One of the worst things about fantasy baseball is when your league has its integrity compromised because managers essentially gave up on their teams and quit playing before the end of the season. It's not fair for teams competing for a title since these non-active teams -- full of empty roster spots and guys on the DL -- will bleed away points that will then be scooped up by managers still competing. Keep in mind, those are points the active managers otherwise wouldn't have if it was a solid start-to-finish league with everyone playing hard to the end. The final standings end up skewed, and it becomes tricky to say if the manager who won would still have been crowned champion if all managers would have played for the full season.

You'd think the bloggers league I'm playing in would be a league without quitters, being that it's populated with guys who care enough about fantasy baseball to write about it. Sadly, though, that hasn't been the case. At least two in my bloggers league have abandoned their teams this season. Want to know who they are? (I'm not above naming names.) The quitters are David Chase of Brock for Broglio and Derek Nelson of MVN*. Neither has adjusted their lineup since early July and both have players on the DL in their starting lineups. Two other managers have severely slacked in this final third of the season. Zach Piso of the MLB Front Office Rotonomics blog hasn't visited his team page since Aug. 10 and has never taken Evan Longoria out of his starting lineup. Rudy Gamble of Razzball hasn't adjusted his team since Aug. 9 and continues to start Juan Pierre in his outfield. If those two don't return soon, that's a full third of our league's 12 managers who bolted early. The league's integrity, as far as I'm concerned, has been crippled as a result.

So the question is: What can be done about quitters? In public leagues, not much. (That's why I don't play them.) In private leagues, obviously it makes sense to not invite back next season those who dropped out early this year. (Unless they have a really, really good excuse, like a family tragedy or a high-pressure new job**.) Still, you might just be replacing old quitters with brand new quitters. Really, the best thing you can do is offer incentives for people to stick around till Sept. 30. Now, I'm not a big fan of $25 for the most home runs in September and things like that, but in a money league, it might be preferable to having people drop out in August. (Your champion loses $25 off his payout, but at least his title is 100 percent legit!)

We do something incredibly unique in my 14-team money league. Although it's not a keeper league, our draft order is based on where managers finished during the previous season. Thus, the manager who wins in 2008 gets first choice of where to draft in 2009. (They can choose to draft 1st and 28th, 14th and 15th or anywhere in the middle.) The runner-up gets second choice of where to draft. And so on and so on. This keeps teams that can't finish in the money competing to the end because they want as much control over their draft pick as possible the next year.

It's a system that seems to work for us, but I won't pretend it's a fool-proof solution for the quitter problem. I don't think there is such a thing. Quitters will always be part of the fantasy game, sad as that may be.

*Actually I'm not so sure Derek still writes for MVN, as the Seamless Baseball blog appears to not exist there anymore. I spent 15 minutes looking and couldn't find any new fantasy baseball content.

**And if that's the case with any of the four guys I called out by name in this article, please feel free to comment and/or e-mail me to call me an uncaring asshole. Although I know three of you are at least still writing about fantasy baseball. And if you're still writing about it, you probably should be still playing it.

UPDATE: As Alfonso pointed out in his comment, David Chase has a infant son with some unfortunate health issues, and that would certainly qualify as a "really good excuse" for why he let his team languish this summer. You're off the hook, David, and I will be hoping for a bright and healthy future for your little guy. David and I exchanged e-mails this morning, and he apologized for not letting the rest of the league know about his inactivity beforehand. I don't think he needed to apologize -- I'm the one who really should have been apologizing -- but it's good advice for others who need to ditch a league early and have a good reason for doing so: Tell your leaguemates what's going on and let them know life got in the way of fantasy baseball this year. They'll be sure to forgive you that much quicker.


alfonso said...

The dude from B4B's newborn son is sick. He runs a great blog and I hope everything works out for his son.

Maybe Rudy thinks it's a Razzball league and he's losing(winning) on purpose.

Don't know enough about the other dudes to guess.

But yeah, it's frustrating when teams quit for no good reason. I especially hate missing the playoffs in H2H because my competition plays a dead team the last week of the regular season.

Bob Taylor said...

Rudy's sitting in eighth place, so either way -- he's losing.

Sorry to hear that about David Chase's son. That certainly would qualify as a good excuse, and I hope his son recovers quickly and completely.

And that's an excellent point about H2H leagues. I don't play in any, but I know how aggravating it is in fantasy football. Hell, I get pissed when the first-place team faces a team whose manager forgot to start a kicker!

Nick Penhale said...

Let me take their spot, I love this stuff I'll create a blog if I have to

Grey said...

Rudy's in Italy/Spain for a few weeks on vacation/work. Perhaps all the mozzarella's bogged him down.


Kinda crappy that you say on your site that you abandon teams then turn around a month later and bad mouth people, but it is what it is I suppose.

Bob Taylor said...

Scrub the crud out of your eyes, Grey. Hurler staffer Mike Bock posted that article, not me. (And shame on him, too.) I've never abandoned a fantasy team in my life.

Bob Taylor said...

I was also not aware that the personal computer has yet to hit Europe.

Bob Taylor said...

@ Nick:

I think we're going to do a Hurler league next year. All staffers and select frequent commentators will be invited to play. Quitters with no good excuse will be fired/banned/drawn and quartered.

Nick Penhale said...

I'll try to be a more active commentator then. I check this blog every day. Thanks for the headsup

alfonso said...

I don't know if I qualify as a frequent commentor but I do leave the occasional comment.

I'd be down for joining a league if you'd have me.


(The spelled out numbers are actually numbers. Don't want any bots to spam me.)

Anonymous said...

here is zach's reaction from rotonomics:

'Haha, oh well. My thoughts are that fantasy baseball is a game, and since I had become so frustrated with my team's injuries, I cut my losses. I consider time spent on a league a "sunk cost", so I feel no pressure to continue.

I never really considered how this would influence the league, though I can certainly say the Pirates stopped trying earlier this season, so I'm not sure it's a violation of the "integrity" of the league.'

Bob Taylor said...

Assuming those are Piso's comments, I find them to be hilarious, especially since -- during a roundtable about the irritating aspects of fantasy baseball -- he said this:

1. Quitters: This is by far the most irritating aspect. Collusion is much easier to handle from a commissioner's perspective, since vetoing the trade is appreciated by most everyone (and ordinarily, the benefactor of the collusion must only to laugh and think "Well, it was worth a try..."). With quitting, you can't mitigate the situation, and players are wasted. Because Fantasy Baseball requires much more work than, say, Fantasy Football, and poorly managed team is not competitive and distorts player rankings and auction values.

Now THAT's a turnaround that would make John McCain proud!

Daniel Aubain said...

As a commish with integrity, I felt obligated to lock out a bunch of teams in multiple leagues that quit way back in JULY! I think people get addicted to the drafting process or to the prospect of success and when the injuries start piling up or the sleepers don't pan out, they lose interest. My reason for locking them out is that I'd hate to see them pop back in come Aug/Sept and start making roster changes/moves that could skew the scoring even more than being absent does.

Anonymous said...

u don't have to assume those r really his comments. have a look for yourself:

Bob Taylor said...

Thanks for the link, anonymous. I just posted over there. Pointing out hypocrisy is fun!

Anonymous said...


Your "Update" is worse than the original post! "You're off the hook, David." F@#$ you!

Joe said...

I agree with the above comment.

Bob, i don't think i've ever posted here before, but i've been a frequent visitor for quite some time and after reading your "update", i don't think i'll do so again, because it's pretty pathetic.

"I don't think he needed to apologize"...You're damn right. You did.

"You're off the hook"...Disgusting. I think you need a new update.

What you wrote about Rudy Gamble still writing about fantasy baseball is untrue also, he hasn't posted anything at razzball since pretty much about the time he's been inactive in that league.

The worst thing is, Rudy may have slipped up as a competitor in that league, but as a blogger, the main reason i used to visit this site was for the helpful fantasy errata, which seems to have disappeared, and all you post is the "line of the day", which is about as helpful as Tona Pena Jr.

Bob Taylor said...


You’re right. The way it’s written … it does lack tact. I was trying to make the point — David’s point, in fact — that communication with your leaguemates, however brief, is always good if you’re going to bail on your league. I’ve e-mailed David to express in private my regret over what happened (and I also e-mailed him a copy of the update to make sure he was okay with it), and that’s really all I can do at this point. I still don’t feel the least bit guilty about naming the other three.

Also, your information about Rudy is wrong. Rudy didn't stop posting at Razzball until Aug. 19th, a full 10 days after he had stopped managing his team.

Bob Taylor said...

Just a note that I changed the update to read: "I don't think he needed to apologize -- I'm the one who really should have been apologizing -- but it's good advice for others who need to ditch a league early ..."

I added the "I'm the one who really ..." section to make it clear that I did feel that I owed David an apology (which I gave to him in private) and to try and not sound so friggin' facetious about the affair, which was not my intent.

The "You're off the hook ..." part remains because, for better or worse, I don't want to whitewash or take back what I said. Plus, that's just the way I tend to write -- very colloquial. I meant no harm by it. Nothing but well wishes for David and his family.