Thursday, October 30, 2003

And now, back to sports
Or more specifically, fantasy sports.

It might surprise you to learn that, for all of my baseball fanaticism, I've never actually played a season of real, old-fashioned fantasy baseball. Back in college, I used to play ESPN's Baseball Challenge regularly; in 1999 (I think), I was even dedicated enough to employ the tactic of changing my lineup every day to take advantage of matchups, Coors Field, doubleheaders, and so forth, which was enough to get me near the top, though I never got the extra burst of good fortune which would have put me in the top 50 or so. Of course, that way was less fun, since you never got emotionally attached to your players (although certainly, emotional attachment is usually a bad thing if what you're trying to do is win). There is, or at least was, Simbase, which was kind of an outlet for many of my fictional baseball needs, but it's nowhere close to fantasy ball.

This last year, I was dragged into Scoresheet, which is an excellent form of baseball, but it's also quite different. And, to be honest, this year was pretty boring after the draft -- it was readily apparent that the 37 good things that needed to happen for my team to contend weren't going to happen, so mostly I just prepared for next year and was careful not to trade Bret Boone for Chris Hammond because I needed to fill my hole in the bullpen. (Actually, this league is pleasantly free of insultingly bad trade proposals. Of course, it's largely free of trade proposals entirely, which is perhaps not as good.)

With Scoresheet firmly in its offseason, this means that the only fantasy league I'm currently involved in is the LZA, our long-term keeper fantasy basketball league. However, it seems like the fantasy basketball aspects of the LZA are dying (well, actually, have been dying for a while). By its very nature, the LZA requires pretty close involvement from its players to succeed. Being a keeper league naturally requires more care, since every transaction has to be evaluated not only by its impact on this season, but many seasons down the road. And the LZA is also an extraordinarily deep league -- the NBA has 29 teams, with each team having a 12-man active roster and 3 on IR. The LZA has 28 teams, with each team having a 15-man roster with 10 starters. This means that practically everyone in the NBA is going to be seeing playing time in the LZA, so you have to keep track of even the scrubbiest bench players if you're playing to win. When it started out, the LZA certainly drew that level of involvement, but now most people don't seem willing to keep up with it (and my own interest has been flagging over the past few years, too).

This means that, unless Simbase is unexpectedly resurrected sometime soon, it's likely that Scoresheet will be my only fantasy outlet. And that's just fine with me.

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