October 17, 2004

Fantasy insiders bluff their way into offseason

When October comes, the fantasy baseball scoop marches on, but it's the quality that comes to a halt.

Like many fantasy baseballers, our season ended two weeks ago.

And for the first time, I’ve had an extended opportunity to see this year’s fantasy stars play real games. Stars like Beltran, Pujols, Schilling and A-Rod are at the absolute center of the baseball world, playing toward an actual goal alongside players on their own team.

It’s a jolting experience for a dedicated fantasy player like myself, when you’re used to seeing Roy Oswalt and Matt Morris on the same roster, or seeing Brad Lidge, of Houston, throw the ball to Brad Ausmus, of Houston, not Jorge Posada, of the Yankees.

And though all eyes are squarely focused on four teams playing real baseball, the work of fantasy insiders marches on, as the tips keep rolling in from online services.

Like a lifeguard sitting under a pile of snow on the beach at Wildwood, they refuse to go away.

I play in the free Yahoo league, where the tips come in the form of sticky notes that appear alongside players’ names. If a player is injured, he gets a note. If he’s in danger of losing his starting position, he gets a note. Just click on the note, and read what’s up. “Billy Wagner’s hurt? Time to pick up Tim Worrell.”

Even though three-quarters of players are drinking Mai Tais with Benny Agbayani somewhere in Hawaii right now, the post-its keep rolling in.

At this point, one might ask, what’s there to write about, besides contract extensions, exercised options and surgery?

The answer: Contract extensions, exercised options and surgery.

Here’s a sample post-it for Dodger pitcher Elmer Dessens, posted Oct. 16 a few days after the Dodgers season had ended:

"Elmer Dessens became eligible for free agency on Friday, after the Dodgers declined the option on the pitcher for next season. Dessens would have received $4.5 million next season. The 33-year old went 2-6 with a 4.46 ERA in 50 games this past season."

And the fantasy scoop we’ve all been waiting for:

"Dessens will most likely find a roster spot on his fifth major league team next season."

So, shouldn't you "go away," too?
Darn. I hate it when that voice does that.

I guess I'm speaking for the endless stream of baseball data available on the Internet long after the season has ended, including sites like this one. No other sport has that lasting effect.

Though his season ended two weeks ago, Felix Rodriguez still gets a sticky note from Stats Inc., which generates fantasy baseball information for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball. For fantasy insiders and bloggers, the game meanders on long after the season ends.


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