On Fantasy Sports

While killing time in a mall bookstore on a weekend visit to Ft. Wayne, Indiana one winter day in the mid-to-late 1980s, I stumbled across and bought the 2nd edition of Rotisserie League Baseball by Glen Waggoner. Within a month, our league formed.

Although “fantasy sports” is the commonly used term instead of rotisserie, let me simply say I was playing this game without Internet resources and without software. It was magazines and newspapers, thus we calculated stats from newspapers with pencils, paper, and calculators.

I’ve played in keeper leagues, NL-only leagues, open-leagues, draft and trade, leagues involving minor leagues, leagues involving money and no money, those with a playoff system, salary auctions and simple draft pick ‘em, cumulative-stat leagues vs. period-stat leagues, short-seasons and full-season leagues, and so on. Since then, I’ve also played online versions of baseball, NFL. college football, NASCAR, and minimal tries at golf, hockey, and basketball.

Every fantasy sports participant (owner) has their preference and since my history goes back further than most, here’s what I’ve learned about my preferences.

  • I prefer playing for fun instead of money because money changes behaviors.
  • I prefer playing without drafts because drafts take too much time.
  • I prefer playing games without dealing with other owners because they can be a pain.
  • I prefer playing games without trading with other owners because of owner behaviors.

These are why I prefer playing games at The Sporting News (TSN). Many TSN games are free, all players are available to all owners, and owners don’t deal with one another. In other words, I play for fun because I enjoy it. Those early days clearly taught me want I don’t like.

Baseball season is approaching, so my scouting has begun. If there’s anyone out there who want to try it for fun – thus no pressure, let me know.

12 thoughts on “On Fantasy Sports

  1. I hear ya. I enjoy the drafts. They can be almost as much fun as the actual game. Thinking on your feet, making strategies. They can take time though and it’s hard to coordinate with 10-12 people. I like dealing with other owners and making trades. Taking risks. Ribbing your friends a little. Not over the top. The key is to find the right mix of people. That way even if you aren’t doing well, there is still something to keep you going back. I’ve been in money leagues and free leagues and there isn’t much of a difference to me. You don’t play to make money. You want the bragging rights. Though the money is a nice bonus.


    • Lester,
      VERY well said. Oh yes, draft stategy, trade strategy are a lot of fun and a game in itself.

      The key point you said is finding the right group of people. Ribbing is part of it, but there’s a line. I saw dollars getting in the way of the fun; thus the way people acted took away from the fun. Of course we both know of instances where one-sided trades are made with financial considerations in the mix … which to me is not in the spirit of the game.

      I guess I never had the right mix … thus why I like TSN.

      Thanks for your great insight!


  2. To me you need to find people who would rather lose every week rather than ruin their good name by taking part in a one-sided trade.

    If people are in it just to make money, then they aren’t going to be good for the league, especially when they aren’t winning. That’s the type that abandons their team. You need owners who will kepp trying even when they are out of it.


  3. I know what you mean about running a league without the use of the internet, and that’s why I stopped playing fantasy games until Small World came along on-line. They were eventually bought by Sporting News who absorbed those games onto their site.

    I don’t play for money either for the same reasons you stated. It can indeed ruin friendships. However, drafts are fun in all leagues, and Lester said it correctly that finding the right kind of people in leagues are key.

    In the last year or so, I have gotten too many teams that I couldn’t keep with them. It can get addictive in having too many, but I’ve made it a point to not have so many these days.

    My favorite fantasy game is college football on SN. I’ve always liked that one, and was really upset they went without it in 2005 until bringing it back the following year.

    I did play the WWE fantasy game when they had it a couple of years back, too. Hahaha.

    Nice post buddy!


    • David,
      Great points and I totally agree.

      There’s a fun aspect to drafts. I guess I aim at the time (especially in auction style), and too many unprepared owners.

      College football is fun … well, the TSN version is what I know. To me, the toughest is golf! Think about this … golfers don’t play every week; if they play, many don’t make the cut; plus transactions need to be done by 7 AM the day of!

      Thanks David for your great input on this one.


    • Thanks Sharon. The banner is interesting, but I’m actually considering changing the banner every year just to do so. But how know … good luck to you and thanks for visiting.


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