Thursday, January 7, 2010

Like I've Got Time for This

I'm talking about another time-consuming activity I'm about to take up. It's called the Great American Fantasy League, and what it is is 26 baseball nuts, all of us members of SABR*, each the manager of a fantasy league team made up of the all-time greats for that franchise. I will manage the Texas Rangers, and I already know that it will be as fruitless trying to win my division (7 teams) with the very best the Rangers ever had, as it seems to be with the real Rangers. Just as in real life, pitching is 75 percent of winning, and since 1961, when the expansion Washington Senators which became the Texas Rangers in 1971, the franchise has had pretty crappy pitching, although scoring runs was never a problem. (I've got a long history going all the way back to when I was in grade school of playing board and computer baseball games: APBA board and computer version, Diamond Mind computer baseball, and another game my brothers and a neighbor kid named Frank Vicari whose name I don't remember. But I do remember designing and drawing ballparks and uniforms and putting out a "newspaper" with game write-ups and stats. (Used to type them up in columns on a typewriter via hunt-and-peck.) Crazy!

I'll know a lot more about the game after I'm "trained" over the phone by playing a couple of games with tutor. You need this kind of help because, as you might expect, accuracy and realism are fundamental. So the game is based on a lot of math, and it's got a whole bunch--a very big bunch--of contingencies built into it. Games take about 2-3 hours to play, and of course, you have to keep full records which are sent to the league headquarters where they're compiled into reams of statistics. The schedule is 162 games, played one game per week. I'm taking over the team after 66 games, and guess what? The Rangers have the worst record in the league. You have to be a baseball nut to understand what a fun thing this is going to be. I fear I have to plead guilty on this count. Crazy again!

*Society for American Baseball Research
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