Disclaimer: First off I can not take credit for the main thought of this thread. I’m currently reading the book Fantasyland by: Sam Walker and towards the beginning of this book he mentions this.
Baseball has a large number of arguments on the docket right now. Steroids, Sabrmetrics, Pete Rose, Hall of Fame candidates, Small market vs. Big market, Free Agents and TV Deals are all arguments that baseball fans have been arguing about for years now. I’m going to introduce a new debate to baseball.
Fantasy sports have gotten huge over the past few years. If you watch a NFL game the entire broadcast is centered on Fantasy (and gambling but that’s for another post). If you watch Baseball Tonight you will see a game summery where a top player is listed at going 0-4….since when is an “0 for” night considered news? That answer is simple: Since 98% of fantasy teams own that player that went 0-4. Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays even said that one of his goals in his baseball career is to be considered the best fantasy player. There is an argument that could go to trial as to who owns the statistics of the players; the public or the actual players? Everywhere you look fantasy sports has engulfed the actual sport.
Some might say this is awful for the sports. Their argument might be that now players are considered good or bad strictly by their stats and not how they perform on the team. Some might say that now “civilians” believe they could be a better GM than their favorite teams real GM. Most sabrmetric followers believe that fantasy sports are putting way to much emphasis on stats that don’t truly show players worth.
I’m here to argue that fantasy baseball could be the best thing to happen to baseball fans….well since baseball started. If you read 10 articles on baseball the odds are 9 of those articles will be centered on: steroids, large contracts, conduct off the field, and fines or suspensions. I think it’s huge that we get steroids under control and don’t let baseball players get away with anything off the field. But I could care less if Kris and Anna Benson are having problems, I don’t care if A-Rod has a gambling problem or if Ozzie Gullien is being too rough with the media. All I care about is how Kris Benson’s last start was or how A-Rod is producing in the clutch or how Gullien is managing the 8th and 9th innings. I understand that many of those “outside” issues effects their production on the field but I don’t need that stuff taking up the majority of SportsCenter.
Fantasy Baseball brings out the best part of baseball…the actual sport on the diamond. If you watch a sports television show I would guess that 75% is filled with things that should be on a news show rather than a sports show. I understand that the reason they talk about these things is because that is what many of the viewers want. But if you’re like me and are tired of hearing about these things then I have one suggestion for you: Sign up for a fantasy baseball league next season.
Fantasy Baseball is centered around one thing…..baseball. Fantasy Baseball is revolves around Batting Avg., RBI, HR, Wins, K’s, and so on. It doesn’t bring anything else into play except what happens on the field. I understand those other issues can effect how a player performs…but those are personal issues and I could care less about them.
I’m not saying that if you have played fantasy baseball in the past and don’t enjoy it that you truly aren’t a baseball fan. Some people might not have the time or might not believe they know enough about baseball to compete with other people who spend hours studying the game. But what I am saying is if you’re like me and aren’t sure if your watching ESPN or CNN then sign up for a fantasy league in ’07 and bring yourself back to what you love about baseball…..baseball.