An Anti-Fantasy Baseball Fan

Postby DOUGHBOYS » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:41 am

I have a friend who is as passionate about baseball as I am. There is one huge difference between us though.
He has never, nor will ever get involved with fantasy baseball.
He believes that fantasy baseball mis-shapes our perspective of the game.
He is probably right.
We are a 'Stats First' ask questions about everything else later type of crowd.

He even belittles us. A few examples....

"If you guys are so smart, why weren't you guys telling everybody that Aaron Judge would be the best ball player in baseball this year?"

"Trevor Story will be out of baseball within five years, yet you guys were drafting him in the top rounds!"

"A stolen base is such a small part of baseball, yet you guys put a mediocre player like Dee Gordon on a pedestal."

There is probably a touch of truth in each statement.

I argued that NOBODY saw Aaron Judge big year coming. That we are at the mercy of fate and maturity.
For every young Aaron Judge who makes the game look easy when coming to the Major Leagues, there is a fellow like Byron Buxton who shows just how hard it is.
For every young Cody Bellinger who tears it up in the minors, there is a Jurickson Profar who flops in the Majors.
The truth is that nobody, not fantasy players, not fans, not teams, not even themselves, know who is going to succeed rapidly and who won't.

As for Story, I replied that it was all opinion. That he doesn't KNOW that Story will be out of baseball in five years.
It's just the way he is looking at him NOW.
That last year, he would have never made that statement.
Now, with a rising star at shortstop in the minors, it's easier to see Story pushed into a Utility role or on another team.
We don't have the luxury of looking that far into the future, our game is season to season.

I completely agreed with him on stolen bases.
It IS a small part of baseball and really, getting smaller as home runs and instant scoring becomes the goal for most teams.
Heck, some teams are allowing stolen bases without throws sometimes.
Dee Gordon is an average ball player.
We, as fantasy players, take his speed and make him better than he really is.
He blames fantasy baseball for the Save metric in baseball today.
He believes that if fantasy baseball did not exist, that Managers would not be using the same pitcher over and over again to close out games.
That he would be using his best reliever in the most critical parts of a game, not just the ninth inning.

He predicted that there will be a time that fantasy baseball will become as big as fandom for each team.
And that when that time comes, players and their agents will ask for bonuses or 'incentives' in contracts for home runs, stolen bases, rbi, runs, and batting average.
I responded, "Isn't that what they're getting paid for now?"
"Nope", he replied, "They are getting paid to entertain the fans. The better the entertainment, the more they get paid.
When fantasy measures up to fandom, agents will ask for more money for their players through those categories."

I thought about that for a minute.
I loved drafting Alfonso Soriano back in the day because he liked seeing his name atop stats.
Players having a special incentive to do well in those categories?
I believe that would make our game FASCINATING.
Players that are thinking like us!
And he is right, it may only be when fantasy outranks fandom, but I would not be opposed to that at all.

All in all, a good conversation.
He keeps me grounded in baseball.
It is easy to play our game and think more of a Ben Revere type than a normal fan.
For us, he has a purpose. For baseball fans, he is just another fourth or fifth outfielder
A weak fourth or fifth outfielder at that.
When Revere steals two bases, the baseball Richter Scale registers 0.0
For fantasy, a 3.3 rumble.
The nature of our beast.
On my tombstone-
Wait! I never had the perfect draft!
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Re: An Anti-Fantasy Baseball Fan

Postby Edwards Kings » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:05 am

Interesting but your friend, with all due respect, needs to lighten up.

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Saves began to be recorded in 1969, Okrent invented Rotisserie League Baseball in 1979. And certain managers are using their best arms in the 8th if that is when the meat of the order is coming up or stockpiling closer-worthy arms for that purpose (much to the chagrin of us fantasy baseballers).

If fantasy sports really had any impact on the way the game is played (not viewed), they would have lowered the pitching mound several years ago (after the first "Year of the Pitcher") because home runs were down. Or maybe raised it if strikeouts start to fall. Or classify certain pitchers as needling a little incentive and allow them a bigger strike zone or pitch from a supplemental rubber one foot closer to home plate or make Kershaw/Scherzer/Sale pitch from the back of the mound one foot further away. Not gonna happen no matter what fantasy enthusiasts want.

And we never said Dee Gordon was anything more than what he is...good at stealing bases. As a matter of fact we are continually identifying players as better for their team (Prado-ish or the defense-first player) than for fantasy.

And I think, on average, when it comes to predictability (now...you are going to hate me for this) within statistical norms, yes, I do think the fantasy hobbyist does generally do a better job. I think we are better, not perfect, hence Judge (or on the flip side, Story) and other surprises.

I am better at it because of my Missouri/Missouri DNA of course! :D :lol:

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Those are always good conversations/arguments, but in the end it is always comparing apples to oranges.
Some people just do not know the difference between an insult and a description.
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Re: An Anti-Fantasy Baseball Fan

Postby DOUGHBOYS » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:19 am

Yeah, it is fun to hear from another perspective.
I don't believe it is always apples and oranges.
We all get our opinions and perceptions from the same game.
What we do with those opinions and perceptions is where the diversity begins.

I asked him to tell me if Yoan Moncada would be an 'instant hit' in the Majors or a flop.
He said that he did not know.
I answered "EXACTLY!"
That we did not KNOW either, but we are forced to put our best foot forward and predict if Moncada becomes a Trea Turner type that 'gets it' right away or a Byron Buxton type that has struggled at the top level.
What Moncada does this year, if he is called up this year, will go a long way in where we draft him next year.
Just like Gary Sanchez or David Dahl late last year.
I told him that we're not Star makers.
If anything, we're star chasers.
On my tombstone-
Wait! I never had the perfect draft!
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