Saturday, March 18, 2006

Livin' In a Fantasy

The Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball League I'm in, held their annual draft the other day. It was a serpentine draft, and I think I did pretty well. I focused on positional scarcity, picked up a few studs, and then waited until the later rounds for my sleepers. I participated in a couple of mocks this year, and I believe that helped me manage to limit myself to light sleepers. They've done away with the hold category this year, and in a head-to-head league that's for the best, though we still need to get closer to 5x5. This is my third year to participate, and the commisioner has done a better job each year, but I still wish we had keepers.

If you don't know what I just said in the paragraph above (or don't care), then apparently you're not obsessed with the difference between OPS and Total Bases, who's on the closer hot seat, and whether Lyle Overbay has a hangnail either. And that probably means you aren't a fantasy baseball owner. But did you know that you are quickly becoming a minority?

Of course, if baseball is not your thing, a quick trip to the fantasy league pages around the web at Yahoo!, the Sporting News, CBS Sportsline, ESPN, or any of the myriad periphery advice and insiderpages like RotoTimes, you'll quickly find that there is always football, basketball, hockey, golf, and even... GASP!... auto racing.

You can also visit your local bookstore and find no less than a dozen different fantasy preview/advice magazines at $7-8 apiece to get you started on your way.

But I'm not a sports fan, you say. Well, it seems from testimonials that it really doesn't matter. It's more about maneuvering inside the fantasy world, knowing something the other guy doesn't know that makes you smarter, and the addictive need to win. There have even been articles written on fantasy etiquette. What to do when someone ticks you off inside the fantasy world, how to handle fantasy situations with grace, etc.

I could write more about the mentality that drives grown people to participate in a pretend game over the internet with other people that they've never met... but maybe you other bloggers already understand this thought process. :)


codepoke said...


Yes to the thought process.

To the rest? Thanks for the view into a world I barely knew existed. :-)

Brett said...

I played in an office Fantasy Football league last season. I came in third, won $125. I'm not sure why I did it other than that I was sort of the new guy and I wanted to seem more like "one of the guys" than "the new guy." But I hate fantasy football.


Because I love football. Serious fantasy players - like serious sports bettors - watch games for reasons other than the game. Statistics are not football. Sure, playing football generates statistics (as does playing basketball, baseball, and other sports) but football would be a great sport if no one kept any statistics other than score. (And don't get me started on those stupid rec leagues for little kids where no one keeps score.)

Baseball is, to me, the only team sport that really lends itself to reasonable fantasy league because its the only team sport in which a lot of statistics are (for the most part) individually earned - especially batting statistics.

I don't begrudge anyone his right as an American and as a quasi-sports fan to play in fantasy leagues. But the attention paid to fantasy sports now by serious sports-covering media is, I think, regrettable. It reduces games down to specific sets of measurables. That's not what makes sports competition great or interesting (at least to some of us).