Let's talk Fantasy, inspired by the article on MLB.com that they are partnering with the Indians on a face to face get together with fantasy players. Good idea, an opportunity to see some of your best customers face to face and make them feel special.
I also read recently that the Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota Wild are both offering team specific fantasy games on their web sites (as opposed to the league wide fantasy play offered on MLB, NFL and NBA team web sites ), a new trend.
The evolution of Fantasy has been one of the biggest changes in pro sports the past several years. Obviously there is big money involved, we all know how popular it is. The big thing to watch is the legal battle over licensing rights between CDM Fantasy Sports & the MLBPA / MLBAM. I quote from SBJ 9.35 "CDM, through a summary judgement issued in August....gained the legal right to use MLB player names and statistics in commercial fantasy games without a license". No surprise, there is an Appeal with the support of everybody, NFLPA, NFL, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, PGA & WNBA, does anybody know from amicus briefs?
If I could find my bong I might comment on how Fantasy has changed fans' relationships with the sports & teams they follow, but I'll just SAY NO.
I do like baseball Fantasy reporting though. Although I don't play Fantasy the most current & relevants facts about what's happening on the 30 rosters are found in the Fantasy columns.
Questec. Remember the big flap about that? The electronic evaluation of the accuracy of umpires ball and strike calls. MLB put it into use in 02 in an attempt to achieve more conformity amongst their umpires in calling balls and strikes according to the rulebook definition. Remember Curt Schilling smashing one of the Questec cameras in Arizona in 03 out of frustration? Not to single out Schilling, many pitchers were outspoken in their opposition to it. The umps and their union ( who knows which incarnation and exactly who was a member, can anybody follow that labor schmozzle?) were opposed to it as well.
There is an informative article titled "The Outside Corner" from February 01 at http://www.hardballtimes.com/ on the impacts of Questec and umpiring in MLB.
The conclusions? Questec is a success. The spread between the umpires with the largest and smallest strike zones has decreased 25% over Questecs reign. In fact after reading this I wonder if the "pitchers ump / hitters ump" aspect of the game within the game is overstated. I quote "Regressed to the mean, the most extreme umpires are within 2% of the league average in terms of the percentage of pitches they call a strike." Well, I guess that's why we don't hear about it anymore.
While we're talking about The Hardball Times, I glanced at something that surprised even a geek like me. A discussion about whether or not PI (sic?) could be useful in Fantasy. PI? PI? I was wrong, I do need my bong.
Caribbean Series last nite - Puerto Rico vs Venezuala - tuned in late, random thoughts while watching.
Armando Rios is playing for Puerto Rico. Briefly played for my hometown Lynx subsequent to having his name reported in the BALCO witch hunt.
Drinking seems to be a big part of the culture in the stands, I asked my wife during the 7th if I could go some year.
Couple of other guys who also briefly played for the Lynx, Luis Matos - who I thought had a legit shot at being a regular big league centre fielder & Hiram Bocachica who I've always thought was good enough to be a utility player in the bigs.
JUAN GONZALEZ. I would hear murmurs about Gonzalez, he played Independent ball last year. I would see talk about him working out for somebody. But I'd kinda forgotton about him. What a shame, he was a dominant hitter for a number of years. I remember the Rangers playing the Yankees - I think in more than one playoff - and thought Gonzalez was the best player in the series. Did he get too big? Would he have had fewer health problems if he had been a little smaller?
Former Lynx Larry Bigbie is going to camp with the Dodgers. He should be a fourth or fifth outfielder somewhere.
I am one who thinks the Rockies blew - BIG TIME - the Helton to Red Sox deal. I read now that he will exercise his veto over any future deals. The Rockies desparately need to free up some payroll, Helton is getting about 30% it. I think Montfort's sentimentality won out.
The only Manitoban to play in the bigs, Corey Koskie, might be forced to retire due to concussion problems. If this was the NFL.... I digress. Too bad, I like Koskie, super fielder, plays hard. Will Ryan Braun jump from AA to the bigs as his replacement?
A conversation about MLB, on the field, off the field.