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A fun little article I wrote about Fantasy Baseball

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A fun little article I wrote about Fantasy Baseball

Postby chadxor » Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:41 pm

I cover the baseball team for my college paper, The Maroon. I thought it'd be fun to switch things up and do an article on fantasy baseball, what with opening day being so close.

http://media.www.loyolamaroon.com/media ... 2483.shtml

It looks like baseball is here again. Last Saturday, as temperatures drifted in the mid 80s, three of baseball's biggest stars excelled on the diamond. Slammin' Sammy Sosa knocked a grand slam to raise his homerun total to four for the spring, tops on the team. Randy Johnson threw his 94 mph fastball while striking out three batters. And Ken Griffey Jr. smacked a double, bringing his spring training average to .500.

Sounds about right, doesn't it? We all remember Sosa hitting 60 homers for three consecutive years, winning the hearts of baseball fans in the process. Who could forget The Unit's perfect game? And be honest, how many of you still salivate over Junior's rookie card?

But not so fast. Yes, Sosa is having a good spring, but he hasn't played ball in a year. He's also returning from several injuries, including back troubles triggered by - get this - sneezing. Johnson, who will be 43 when he throws his first pitch, seems to be just as much of a liability for injury.

And Griffey's .500 average? Well, that double put him at 2-for-4 for the day and the season. He was playing his first game back after spending time on the DL with a hand he broke while wrestling with his kids. Yes, you read that right. You can't make this stuff up.

The point is the stars in baseball don't stay the same. They're human, and therefore, some players will be tremendous for one year and stink the next. Albert Pujols, the current face of baseball, could fall off a cliff next year and never recover. The trick for fantasy baseball players is to figure out which players will boom and which will bust.

But how hard is it to do that? And more importantly, just what is fantasy baseball?

Wikipedia calls it a "game whereby players manage imaginary baseball teams based on the real-life performance of baseball players and compete against one another using those players' statistics to score points." Basically, your fantasy teams only do as well as the players you own.

Is Sosa still looking so enticing now?

Fantasy baseball players, named "owners," earn the rights to a player through a draft that begins before the season. A typical league will consist of 12 owners, each having 24 players on his roster. Throughout the draft an owner will have to pick players to play each position - from first base to starting pitcher.

The ultimate goal is to excel in 10 categories: five for pitching and five for hitting, depending on each league's settings. An owner needs to find a good balance between the two when selecting players for a draft.

But what players do you go for?

Very few batters are able to contribute to all five of the five hitting categories (average, runs, runs batted in, home runs and stolen bases), and no pitchers contribute to all five of theirs (ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, wins and saves), since starting pitchers don't contribute in saves and most closers don't gain wins.

"I go over stats and use common sense," said mass communication senior Andy Rodriguez. "Perfect example: first baseman for the (Philadelphia) Phillies, Ryan Howard. He boiled up last season, but I wouldn't take him. For the simple fact he might not be able to put up as good numbers as last year."

Health and playing time are also issues that need to be considered. What good is it to have a pitching ace like Pedro Martinez if he's injured all the time? And a young stud like B.J. Upton, who steals bases and hits homers, is useless if his team doesn't play him.

"Drafting depends on how much I know about certain guys," said finance senior Marc Jaynes, who plays first base for the 'Pack. "If I have heard good things about a rookie that will be getting a lot of playing time this season, I'll take a chance with him in the later rounds."

And if you're drafting for the first time this year, make sure you do some research first. Pick up a fantasy baseball magazine from the corner store, scour the Internet for information and watch lots of baseball when the season starts.

"I watch SportsCenter every night, and I look at box scores. I also have MLB on XM Radio, so I listen to that a lot," said Jaynes, who also takes care to not overvalue experts' opinions. "I don't like listening to experts because it's their opinions. I like using my own personal knowledge about players by actually watching them."

So if you're going to do a draft for the first time this year, make sure you're getting guys who will contribute for you. Cal Ripken stopped adding to his consecutive game streak nearly a decade ago when he retired. But Miguel Tejada, who plays shortstop for the Orioles just like Ripken did, has an impressive 1,080-game streak of his own and can certainly help your team. And that's all that matters.


Obviously, with only 800 words I couldn't go too in depth. I was also limited by the fact I go to such a small, liberal arts school; there's not too many baseball fans. I took the approach of a reader who doesn't know anything about baseball, let alone fantasy.

Thoughts?
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Postby pokeyjoe » Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:34 pm

It looks like a solid article for non fantasy baseball players-although no one on this site can really claim they're one of those players.
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Postby AcidRock23 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:34 pm

I am sort of into reading economic history and to me, the interesting thing about Fantasy baseball is that a dude like Sosa, while certain not to be hitting 66 taters, may still get enough of them to have some value in the last round or for a buck or two in an auction.
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Postby thedude » Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:36 pm

;-D nice work man.
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Postby chadxor » Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:31 pm

thedude wrote:;-D nice work man.


Thanks. I'm not going into Print Journalism (I'm going into Broadcasting instead), but my school dropped its broadcasting department so I'm forced to get some work in as a writer. I feel I'm not particularly strong as a writer, but better with the visual side of things.

I hate to bump this thread up, don't want you guys to think I'm pimping myself out or anything. I just get very few chances for criticism because none of my friends read my articles (our athletic department is irrelevent to the students).

On that note, what do you guys think about this feature that I wrote on one of our players? I figure I can get some good feedback from you guys, since we're always reading features like this. It's pretty standard stuff.

One thing baseball insiders stress is how tremendously difficult it is to get a hit in baseball. Some have called it the hardest feat in sports, and that's not hard to believe considering even the best major leaguers fail at it two out of three times. It takes an adaptive ballplayer to recognize the type of pitch, its speed and its location. The best of them excel at adapting - the worst do not.

Brian Mason clearly does.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Wolfpack utility man has done just about everything for the 'Pack in his career for Loyola baseball: hitting well, making constant position switches and even winning a second all-conference team spot.

But Loyola didn't see results early in his career. After arriving on Loyola's campus as a freshman, Brian was forced to deal with a new environment while being redshirted.

"I didn't know I was going to redshirt my freshman year. I performed really well during fall practices at Loyola, and I was the only guy on the team to hit a homerun - with wood, might I add," Mason said. "It came as a surprise to me that the coach at the time wanted to redshirt me, because I had performed so well."

Not allowed to play the game he loves, he had to adapt to hitting the books rather than a ball. Impressions were, nevertheless, made.

"The first thing that stood out about Brian was his athleticism. His hands were better at the plate than most of the guys on the team," coach Doc Beeman said.

Then, in his second year, he had to fight for playing time as a redshirt freshman. He won the battle before the season even began, starting 56 games while hitting .335. He was a roaring success, earning an average good enough for third best on the team.

That team, however, had just finished dealing with Katrina as the season opened. Mason had found it within himself to succeed and to adapt in the face of considerable challenges.

"There is no doubt that Katrina affected everyone on the team in different ways. We are all still feeling the effects," Beeman said.

He'd continue his success into this year, but not before dealing with a serious blow to his personal life. On Dec.16, 2006, his mother died.

"My mom was everything to me. She was always smiling, putting others' needs before herself and working hard to support the family," Mason said.

But rather than letting her death consume him, Mason took something from the experience.

"One thing she taught me was that if you work hard and have faith, you'll get what you deserve in the end. She wouldn't have expected anything less from me just because of what happened, and it really has just made me a stronger person, more focused and driven than ever."

Mason was asked to make a dramatic personal adjustment while playing on a team that had lost two key hitters - who accounted for 17 of the team's 28 homeruns - to graduation.

He responded of course, putting up his usual fantastic numbers, hitting .333, and for the first time leading the team in batting. His 23 runs this season is also tops on the team.

This, all in the face of tragedy.

And while he has been superior with his bat, he's been even better with his glove. This season he once again adapted, this time for nearly every game. He'd start at second some days, occasionally in the outfield.

The only consistency was his sterling performance.

"Defensively, Brian would be the best player we have at every position except shortstop if he were to play and practice there on a daily basis," Beeman said. "This year, he has taken the role of utility player on and performed exceptionally well."

His strong arm, instincts and smart head allow for him to make a seamless transition.

"I understand how to play every position and the responsibilities that go along with that position," Mason said. "This means that I need to get extra work taking groundballs in the infield and getting reads on fly balls in the outfield in order to stay at the top of my game at all positions."

"I get greedy because I love for him to play second," said shortstop Andy Rodriguez, mass communication junior. "He's so into the game I'll get angry if he isn't playing second base. You want him playing every position, playing everywhere."

Off the field Mason can be described as quiet to some, but friendly to all. Just ask roommate and teammate Bobby Alvarez.

"He's a real, warm-hearted guy. You can talk to him about anything," mass communication junior Alvarez said. "He's never content, always finding areas to improve. That's one thing the team needs. He brings out all the other qualities we need to improve on."

"It's great to have a teammate as a roommate who understands what it's like to play ball and go to school," Mason said about his roommate. "We keep each other in check and make sure we're both getting done what needs to get done both on and off the field."

In retrospect, Mason's career has been an astounding one. He's managed to hit more than .330 in each year he has played, doing so during position switches and personal tragedies. But don't think his career is definitely over when he graduates.

"I want to play baseball until I can't anymore. Any opportunity to further my baseball career is my number one priority."

If current results are any indication, he might be able to sneak his way onto a professional team should he choose to. Until then, he'll have to focus on winning and making it to the first all-conference team.

"I didn't work hard my whole life playing ball to be second best. I believe I have a good shot this year. We'll have to wait and see."


Do you guys think it's too cheesy at points? Does it flow well? Any comments or criticisms are greatly appreciated.
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Postby sportsaddict » Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:16 pm

chadxor wrote:
thedude wrote:;-D nice work man.


Thanks. I'm not going into Print Journalism (I'm going into Broadcasting instead), but my school dropped its broadcasting department so I'm forced to get some work in as a writer. I feel I'm not particularly strong as a writer, but better with the visual side of things.

I hate to bump this thread up, don't want you guys to think I'm pimping myself out or anything. I just get very few chances for criticism because none of my friends read my articles (our athletic department is irrelevent to the students).

On that note, what do you guys think about this feature that I wrote on one of our players? I figure I can get some good feedback from you guys, since we're always reading features like this. It's pretty standard stuff.

One thing baseball insiders stress is how tremendously difficult it is to get a hit in baseball. Some have called it the hardest feat in sports, and that's not hard to believe considering even the best major leaguers fail at it two out of three times. It takes an adaptive ballplayer to recognize the type of pitch, its speed and its location. The best of them excel at adapting - the worst do not.

Brian Mason clearly does.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Wolfpack utility man has done just about everything for the 'Pack in his career for Loyola baseball: hitting well, making constant position switches and even winning a second all-conference team spot.

But Loyola didn't see results early in his career. After arriving on Loyola's campus as a freshman, Brian was forced to deal with a new environment while being redshirted.

"I didn't know I was going to redshirt my freshman year. I performed really well during fall practices at Loyola, and I was the only guy on the team to hit a homerun - with wood, might I add," Mason said. "It came as a surprise to me that the coach at the time wanted to redshirt me, because I had performed so well."

Not allowed to play the game he loves, he had to adapt to hitting the books rather than a ball. Impressions were, nevertheless, made.

"The first thing that stood out about Brian was his athleticism. His hands were better at the plate than most of the guys on the team," coach Doc Beeman said.

Then, in his second year, he had to fight for playing time as a redshirt freshman. He won the battle before the season even began, starting 56 games while hitting .335. He was a roaring success, earning an average good enough for third best on the team.

That team, however, had just finished dealing with Katrina as the season opened. Mason had found it within himself to succeed and to adapt in the face of considerable challenges.

"There is no doubt that Katrina affected everyone on the team in different ways. We are all still feeling the effects," Beeman said.

He'd continue his success into this year, but not before dealing with a serious blow to his personal life. On Dec.16, 2006, his mother died.

"My mom was everything to me. She was always smiling, putting others' needs before herself and working hard to support the family," Mason said.

But rather than letting her death consume him, Mason took something from the experience.

"One thing she taught me was that if you work hard and have faith, you'll get what you deserve in the end. She wouldn't have expected anything less from me just because of what happened, and it really has just made me a stronger person, more focused and driven than ever."

Mason was asked to make a dramatic personal adjustment while playing on a team that had lost two key hitters - who accounted for 17 of the team's 28 homeruns - to graduation.

He responded of course, putting up his usual fantastic numbers, hitting .333, and for the first time leading the team in batting. His 23 runs this season is also tops on the team.

This, all in the face of tragedy.

And while he has been superior with his bat, he's been even better with his glove. This season he once again adapted, this time for nearly every game. He'd start at second some days, occasionally in the outfield.

The only consistency was his sterling performance.

"Defensively, Brian would be the best player we have at every position except shortstop if he were to play and practice there on a daily basis," Beeman said. "This year, he has taken the role of utility player on and performed exceptionally well."

His strong arm, instincts and smart head allow for him to make a seamless transition.

"I understand how to play every position and the responsibilities that go along with that position," Mason said. "This means that I need to get extra work taking groundballs in the infield and getting reads on fly balls in the outfield in order to stay at the top of my game at all positions."

"I get greedy because I love for him to play second," said shortstop Andy Rodriguez, mass communication junior. "He's so into the game I'll get angry if he isn't playing second base. You want him playing every position, playing everywhere."

Off the field Mason can be described as quiet to some, but friendly to all. Just ask roommate and teammate Bobby Alvarez.

"He's a real, warm-hearted guy. You can talk to him about anything," mass communication junior Alvarez said. "He's never content, always finding areas to improve. That's one thing the team needs. He brings out all the other qualities we need to improve on."

"It's great to have a teammate as a roommate who understands what it's like to play ball and go to school," Mason said about his roommate. "We keep each other in check and make sure we're both getting done what needs to get done both on and off the field."

In retrospect, Mason's career has been an astounding one. He's managed to hit more than .330 in each year he has played, doing so during position switches and personal tragedies. But don't think his career is definitely over when he graduates.

"I want to play baseball until I can't anymore. Any opportunity to further my baseball career is my number one priority."

If current results are any indication, he might be able to sneak his way onto a professional team should he choose to. Until then, he'll have to focus on winning and making it to the first all-conference team.

"I didn't work hard my whole life playing ball to be second best. I believe I have a good shot this year. We'll have to wait and see."


Do you guys think it's too cheesy at points? Does it flow well? Any comments or criticisms are greatly appreciated.


That's a good article you have written there. I am a sportswriter for my school newspaper and hopefully will become an editor next year, so I have a little experience in the subject. Only a few things stood out: first, make sure you don't follow a quote with a quote. Meaning, make sure you have at least 2 sentences between quotes. Also, your lead is just a bit long. Shorten it a bit and you'll be fine, because I really like where you're going with that lead.

Overall, you wrote a really good article. For not being into the print side of journalism, you did a fine job ;-D
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Postby chadxor » Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:02 am

sportsaddict wrote:
That's a good article you have written there. I am a sportswriter for my school newspaper and hopefully will become an editor next year, so I have a little experience in the subject. Only a few things stood out: first, make sure you don't follow a quote with a quote. Meaning, make sure you have at least 2 sentences between quotes. Also, your lead is just a bit long. Shorten it a bit and you'll be fine, because I really like where you're going with that lead.

Overall, you wrote a really good article. For not being into the print side of journalism, you did a fine job ;-D


Thanks. The editor had to chop up the article a bit, so that's why there were two quotes in a row. Quick question though, are you sure it can't be effective to have two in a row if it's by the same person? I know my local paper does it occasionally.

I was concerned with the lead as well, but I wasn't too sure how I could chop it down. As an editor, what would you have done?

By the way, what are you planning on doing? Just curious. Personally, I'm working down here in New Orleans at WWL as a desk assistant. I'm loving it and have had the privilege of working on some good events. Eddie Robinson's funeral, for example, and the Hornets game where Kobe slammed down 50 on us for his fourth straight game. Both were pretty historic events.
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Postby sportsaddict » Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:23 am

chadxor wrote:
sportsaddict wrote:
That's a good article you have written there. I am a sportswriter for my school newspaper and hopefully will become an editor next year, so I have a little experience in the subject. Only a few things stood out: first, make sure you don't follow a quote with a quote. Meaning, make sure you have at least 2 sentences between quotes. Also, your lead is just a bit long. Shorten it a bit and you'll be fine, because I really like where you're going with that lead.

Overall, you wrote a really good article. For not being into the print side of journalism, you did a fine job ;-D


Thanks. The editor had to chop up the article a bit, so that's why there were two quotes in a row. Quick question though, are you sure it can't be effective to have two in a row if it's by the same person? I know my local paper does it occasionally.

I was concerned with the lead as well, but I wasn't too sure how I could chop it down. As an editor, what would you have done?

By the way, what are you planning on doing? Just curious. Personally, I'm working down here in New Orleans at WWL as a desk assistant. I'm loving it and have had the privilege of working on some good events. Eddie Robinson's funeral, for example, and the Hornets game where Kobe slammed down 50 on us for his fourth straight game. Both were pretty historic events.


I didn't realize the quotes were by the same person, I think that in that instance it is fine. I've seen that done a lot too.

As far as the lead goes, I really liked how you go from the lead to introducing Brian Mason, so definitely keep that in there... I would try to do something that really catches the readers attention, like:

Some consider hitting a baseball the hardest feat in sports.

Brian Mason makes it look easy.


I would probably just keep it at a maximum of 2-3 sentences so you don't lose your readers.

I am only in high school, so if I am acting like a big-shot writer I really am not at all :-D, you are a lot more experienced when it comes to this kind of stuff than i am, but I really enjoy stuff like this, and I've even gotten into broadcast journalism recently. I am hoping I can continue on with journalism in college, its the one thing that really interests me in school.
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Postby chadxor » Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:39 am

Just keep up with it. That's the best suggestion anyone can give you.

When I was in High School, I wasn't on the newspaper, so you've got a great advantage there. Instead, I went to Hornets games solo-style, wrote up a recap on it, and then found quotes from the internet that other reporters had received. You're missing out on a vital part, and the one that I struggle with most, in not being able to interview, but it's still excellent experience. Spend this summer writing, writing, writing, and, well, writing. That's what it takes.

Do a blog or something. Who cares if no one reads it? It's the experience that is vital.
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