Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My take on things

If you’re a fantasy baseball type of person, you might want to stop reading here. Because this will probably just piss you off. I can’t help that, this is how I feel about it. So, if you choose to read on, just remember you were warned. And any angry comments questioning my parentage or assaults on my manhood will be ignored.

I just can’t get into fantasy sports. Any of them. But I’ll concentrate on baseball, because that’s the only sport worth paying serious attention to. I just don’t get the fascination with it. It’s so completely different than the real game that I just don’t understand how it can be fun for anyone. Especially with the amount of time people spend on it. It’s insane. And there are four reasons I really can’t stand this fantasy crap. I did play one year, when a friend invited me, but never really got into it. I think I finished dead last and never made a trade all season.

The first reason is that it is pure fantasy. It has no relation to the real game at all. Basically, you’re in a league being the GM for a team of All-Stars competing against a team of All-Stars. It just not real. Until you have to have a Tony Pena, Jr or Jose Guillen on your roster to fill out the team, like what really happens, it just can’t be legitimate. It wasn’t any fun at all to me. Having your entire team made up of players who are all in the top 3rd of the league in hitting means you’re ignoring the realities of the game.

I know, reality vs fantasy. That’s my whole point, I guess.

And the roster can have more players than actually play. And you can activate/deactivate players by day, based on whether it’s a day off or not, or what pitcher/team/ballpark might be a factor. Isn’t that what they do in the NFL? Carry a taxi squad? That’s enough to turn me off it right there. And the fact that they can trade players pretty much on a daily basis? At a minimum, they can trade several players a week. Do you really think the Cardinals would have traded Pujols just because he was on the DL for 2 weeks? But in fantasy baseball, it’s perfectly acceptable.

Also, there is much more to the game than OPS+. Or homeruns. I personally like the counting stats, but defense, whether it can be measured numerically or not, is important. So is speed. So is endurance. And real teams have to deal with slumps and injuries, and all those things that actually happen in life. I don’t know the answer to this, but I’m willing to bet guys like Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and Ichiro were never big fantasy league stars, simply because they didn’t put up big numbers of strikeouts and homeruns. These teams are geared towards batter homeruns and pitcher strikeouts, and not much else. I know there some leagues that throw in stolen bases or errors or some other stats to try and make the game more realistic. But if you're trying to do that, doesn’t it just prove how unrealistic all of this is.

Until there are rules set up that make for realistic rosters, and use a variety of stats to fully capture what happens in a game, I’ll never be able to participate. And the rules on trades and taxi squads and all that other ridiculous stuff needs to go away. How can anyone actually take any of this seriously? I just don’t get it.

The second issue is how can people be fans of a team and still do this? My brother, who is a fanatic about the teams in Kansas City (no talking during the games, no negative comments allowed, throwing things when things are going bad) will go nuts when the Chiefs or Royals lose a game. But then will calmly say, “Its okay, I had two guys on the other team in my (one of several) fantasy league and they just got me into first place”.

So you can spend your entire life rooting for a team, going to their games, buying their merchandise, live and die through championships and 100-loss seasons, and then ignore the fact that they’ve lost a game as long as a freakin’ fantasy team does well. I feel that these people have lost their ability to be real fans. They’re no longer interested in the game anymore, just the numbers put up by the players. Which is really sad, because the numbers are a byproduct of something so much better. Namely, the game itself.

The third issue I have with this, and really, one that irritates me a lot, goes hand in hand with the blog sphere. This is not against blogs. I have one. I read several on a daily basis. But I don’t remember how many times I’ve read the comments on a blog and its starts with a reference to a fantasy league. Or someone suggest their team should make a trade because of the fantasy value of a player. I’ve gotten to the point where if someone mentions anything about fantasy baseball, I’ll either skip the blog or the comment, which is sad. There might be something good in there. But I doubt it.

But my biggest peeve about fantasy sports is now the country is inhabited with people who think they actually have the ability to be the General Manager of a team. And I’m here to tell you, they don’t. I’ve played baseball since I was six. I’ve umpired since I was 14. I coached my first team at 16. I’ve spent several years coaching. I’ve won championships and been on teams that won a single game. I understand the game of baseball. I know the game. I know how to make out a line up. I know what position to put players at. I know what order to bat in them. But I would never call into a show or make a comment on a blog about what a team’s lineup or make up should be.

Since I’m a Kansas City boy, I’ll use the Royals as an example. I don’t think David DeJesus is a leadoff hitter. I don’t think Tony Pena, JR should ever be allowed to approach the plate in a major league game again. I think Soria should be a starter. I think they need to make Billy Butler a 1st baseman and leave him alone, errors or not. I think Mark Teahan should be a super-sub and never have a regular position again. That is what I think. I’ve said that on blogs and on the KC Star site. It’s an opinion. We’re all allowed to have them.

But I would never send in a lineup to a blog stating where players should bat and what position they should play. That’s not being a hypocrite. Anyone who is reading this knows what I’m talking about. I could never do that and think that anyone is actually going to listen to me. Winning a fantasy league does not give you the right to make out line-ups for any team anywhere in the world that actually “plays” the game. It doesn’t.

And even more than that are the guys who think that because their fantasy league has a salary cap, they know how to negotiate a player’s contract. I disagree with giving Jose Guillen a 3-year deal worth $12 million a year. But that’s as far is it will go. But there are people who write in and say we should give X player Y dollars for Z years. Why? Who’s listening? They were even giving advice on signing bonuses for the recent draftees. It’s getting out of hand.

And of course, with the trading deadline coming up, we’re going to be deluged with the madness of fantasy experts who will suggest trades based on their fantasy team and not what any real team actually needs. Or suggest certain trades with other teams for specific minor league prospects. Get a grip guys. You don’t really know what you’re doing. Even with the messes in Houston, Seattle, and Kansas City, you still aren’t equipped to make decisions for a major league team.

I realize this is what the English call whinging. Or what we call pissing and moaning. It me expressing my disgust. But these people just absolutely suck all the fun out of the game for me by raving on about fantasy sports. I don’t have to read those blogs were these people post, but unfortunately, they’re everywhere. You can’t avoid them. It’s not real, it’s fantasy. You are not a General Manager. Please stop pretending you are. It’s kind of creepy, actually. And it detracts from what is the greatest game in the world. Baseball.

So you can agree with me, or disagree, as you want. Your choice. But I’ll never like it. And I don’t have to.
This is a reposting of an older post, because I wanted to.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you-I hate fantasy sports! I sort of play one fantasy basketball game, and since I don't follow the sport, I hardly care. I play contests where you pick the winners and who will get how many points, have more rebounds, how many touchdowns in the game, etc. but that one has nothing to do with individual players.

Some friends and I once had a fantasy baseball league-it was open, and some outsiders got in and ruined it by trading for pitchers when they would start that day, trading them away after, and reacquiring them for the next start. After that, no more fantasy baseball. I played who I personally liked-meaning my team was not good, since I had guys like John Mabry, Sidney Ponson, Chris Gomez and others I just liked. It was supposed to be fun, not work. And not frustration and the feeling of someone changing the rules because they were pros and played to win, not for realism. (I mean, have you seen teams trade for Randy Johnson for one game, trade him for Pedro Martinez the next day when HE starts, trade Martinez for Roger Clemens the next day and it is Clemens' start, and if they are lucky, Johnson can be traded for and pitch when he is scheduled in real MLB. Not reality at all. It ticked me off, and others.)

So you are not alone...oddly, I am also in the Royals and Chiefs' area, and I detest when someone at work would come by and tell that the Royals or Chiefs lost, but so-and-so had a good game and got them lots of fantasy points. Another thing which ticked me off is how strikeouts were so important for pitchers. I know well that if, say, Sidney Ponson strikes out a bunch, he is not pitching his game. He may give up 6 or 7 runs, but if he strikes out 8, he got me points. Stupid rules and rewards! Ponson and others should get points for DPs, and just ground balls induced. And giving points for the so-called saves some relievers get is also asinine. I don't think a save should count unless you go at least one inning, at least not in fantasy.

Fantasy football I also tried a little-and gave it up, too. You picked a team defense-and could change it weekly, depending on if the team played or not. And who the real team was going against mattered too much for a non-fanatic like me. I don't follow football much, it's gotten too big and too commercial. The NFL is like CocaCola or Harley-Davidson to me-a big corporate brand. I do not get much fun out of fantasy business where you need to spend time and money to research so you can have a great make-believe team.

Thank you for saying something I really wanted to see said by someone other than me. I hope fantasy sports will be outlawed soon-I hate so-called fans hating players for not performing on a fantasy team more than in real life. Americans really do need to get a life and stop living through other people playing "for" them...and never mind the reality TV mania. Another thing I hope will go away, or be taken away. I like sports, but I hate fantasy trash with real pathetic humans getting happy or sad based on other real people doing their job well or badly. I'd hate anyone picking me in a fantasy white-collar game. These folks are not far removed from those who live (and go bankrupt and die) to gamble at casinos.

Ron Rollins said...

You pretty much covered every argument I left out. THanks. Its nice to know that some of us still enjoy the game for itself, and don't have to make up reasons to be fans.