Friday, September 19, 2008

Just how seriously should we take fantasy baseball?

Last month, I wrote a somewhat controversial post on the problem with quitters in fantasy baseball. Predictably, not everyone was happy with the fact that I called out by name four fantasy bloggers who had either given up completely or ridiculously slacked in my bloggers league. And that's fine. I knew when I did it that such a move wouldn't sit well with everybody.

What did shock me, however, was another criticism oft leveled at me, one which goes something like this: "Lighten the hell up, dude. It's just fantasy baseball." It's true -- fantasy baseball is just a game, nothing more. I certainly don't place the importance on it that I do my family, my career, my friends. Hell, I'm not sure fantasy baseball ranks higher with me than the works of Joss Whedon, the music of Bruce Springsteen or the joy of raking in a big pot in poker.

But that doesn't mean that I -- that we all -- shouldn't take playing fantasy baseball seriously. 'Cause, otherwise, what would be the point of playing at all? Fantasy baseball is a fun way to test your knowledge of the game against a group of fellow baseball enthusiasts. And the leagues that are the most fun are the ones where all managers are playing hard and playing to win. You ever play in a league where half the teams quit by the All-Star Break? Horrible ... and no fun at all. That's why I was a bit stunned that people accused me of having a personality defect, just because I was angry that a quarter of the managers in my bloggers league weren't actively involved with their teams anymore.

(Side note: Despite the regrettable mistake I made in calling out David Chase of Brock for Broglio, who has real and serious reasons for not keeping up with the fantasy game this summer, I still don't feel bad about naming the others. Guys who take it upon themselves to run fantasy websites and write about fantasy baseball should be held to a higher standard than casual league players. You can't convince me of this otherwise. If you respect the game enough to document the playing of it, then respect it enough to actually PLAY IT.)

Anyway, the point of playing fantasy baseball -- as with all games -- should be to win. And the best leagues, the ones that make playing fantasy baseball worthwhile, are the ones where every manager takes the game that seriously. A league with at least 12 managers who play hard from April to September will inspire intense rivalries, hilarious smack talk, legends of fierce championship battles from seasons past and all the things that make fantasy baseball great. If you don't take it seriously, all of those things are lost. And then fantasy baseball wouldn't be any fun at all.


Anonymous said...

It's a 2 edged sword. I'm in the championship round in a H2H league and there's a guy streaming all the good pitchers off the waiver wire to try to avoid 9th place in the consolation round.

Bob Taylor said...

Nothing wrong with that. You just need to stream quicker ... or better.

Scandalous Bob said...

I completely agree. The only thing more annoying than fellow fantasy baseball managers who quit early, is fantasy baseball bloggers / writers / web sites who quit early. Especially since, at the very least, a small percentage of them are making money doing it. And sadly, I don't think there's an easy solution to any of this. I just try to only join leagues where I have at least some idea as to the level of committment of the other owners. If there were a way to keep the laid-back owners with the laid-back owners, and the competitive owners with the competitive owners, it would eliminate a lot of the problems.

calibob02 said...

I guess the problem is the most acute in non-money leagues, particularly Yahoo Public Leagues. However, I turn it around by trying to have the strongest team possible, even if there are only a couple of other active managers. In one of my Yahoo leagues, I'm ranked about 500 out of the millions of people who play. And I'm about 30 points in front of second. So, with the waiver wire wide open, I still have to decide who will be hot, who will not. It's actually fun.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%. Leagues get divided into competitive and casual, and those in the competitive leagues should be going April to September 100%. It is what makes the game fun. And people who write blogs should also go April to September, since such "experts" should know this already.

However, I would like to note that this is your first non-LOD post since Sept. 11th, when you asserted near the beginning of this month that you too were going to be a bit more "active" in providing regular posts. I mean it doesn't take much more than an occasional bits o' hurl, or a fantasy errata, or a playoff add/drop, or a keeper add/drop to fulfill what your readers are looking for. Especially at the end of the year. While I don't like that Razzball quit in your league, he has been providing key daily updates during the entire h2h playoff run.

I think we all can do better.

Bob Taylor said...

Yep, content's been kind of shitty here. I have my own reasons for why I haven't been able to post as much lately, but I won't bore you with excuses. All I can say is that, for those of you who visit this site daily or close to it, I'll try to do better and I'll keep trying to find other bloggers who can contribute.

Compare this September to last September and you'll see a world of improvement from then to now. Hopefully, we'll make as big a jump next year. For those still around, thanks for sticking with us till the end, fellas.

Daniel Aubain said...

I take it very serious, regardless of if it is a money league or a free Yahoo public league. I put my name and reputation on the line each time I sign up for something and that matters to me.
I write about fantasy baseball too because I feel I have something to say and share regardless of the audience (see my initial blog where I was my own biggest audience).
Some that practices the "stream" has to be active or the plan fails!