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Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

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Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby Doughhead » Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:54 am

First a little background. I play in a small, 8-team league with a bunch of close friends. We’re in our sixth year, and it’s always been a lot of fun--meeting up for the draft, talking over trade proposals when we get together, and playing at least as much for bragging rights as for the cash payouts.

Last year, for the first time, things started to turn a little sour. We had our usual settings (a 6X6 roto setup with standard categories plus OPS and Innings Pitched; pitching lineups consisted of 5 SPs and 2 RPs). Early on in the season, another manager and I both decided to punt saves and ditch our closers in favour of SP/RP eligible guys like McGowan, Billingsley, Marcum, and Carmona. The benefits of such as move in a league with our setup aren’t difficult to imagine: loading up on SPs allowed us to maximize our innings and increased our chances to rack up wins and Ks. The sacrifice, on the other hand, was punting the saves category entirely and a likely hit in ERA and WHIP.

A vocal minority (three other managers) called us out on this move as short-sighted and stupid. They said it was a desperation move that basically took us out of contention for the championship. When we both remained competitive, the same managers began calling it a “loophole,” and said that at best, we were unsportsmanlike and opportunistic, and at worst, downright cheaters. We defended ourselves by saying that we merely trying to score as many points as possible by playing within the confines of our league’s system. We said that it should be up to the manager to determine whether to pursue certain categories and to field a team of players of his choosing. But no attempts to explain could sway these guys. They kept it up the whole year, even going as far as to say that our approach could not be called a strategy because it was so obvious and so underhanded. They said that it undermined the spirit of the league and wrecked its integrity. One of the guys called for a gentlemen’s agreement banning the use of SP/RP eligible players in the RP spot. By season’s end, my team had crashed and burned, finishing in the bottom half. But my friend who had adopted the same strategy ended up winning the league, overtaking the most vocal dissenter of his strategy in the final couple weeks of the season. The dissenters still complain that the victory should come with an asterisk for the way in which it was achieved.

I felt then, and still feel now, that we did absolutely nothing wrong in taking the approach we took. And I think it’s really low that a few of my leaguemates essentially refuse to recognize what was a well-earned victory on the part of my friend.

At any rate, the issue was so polarizing that we determined to change the league settings in the offseason so that everyone could be happy and league harmony could be recovered (the league champion and I were probably the most vocal in calling for change, as we wanted to come up with a system that would eliminate the kind of controversy that we had to put up with last year). After much debate, we scrapped innings pitched in favour of quality starts (and capped IP at 1200), went from weekly to daily changes, and changed the pitching setup from 5 SPs and 2 RPs to 3 SPs, 2 RPs, and 2 Ps. I was particularly excited about the changes to the makeup of the pitching rosters, as I felt it would enable each manager to make his own decision about whether to go hard after SP categories like wins and quality starts or relief categories like saves and ratios without out-and-out punting anything.

Now, however, a new controversy has erupted. Another manager (the same manager who won the league last year) and I are going with four closers, and some other managers are rolling with three (starting two in the RP spots and one or two in the P spots). The same managers who were angry over our strategy last year are now up in arms over this. They are saying that we’ve found a “new loophole” in the settings and are essentially ruining the league again. I am flabbergasted that a) it didn’t occur to them that they could start more than two relievers when we now have open P spots, b) that they are criticizing us for this even though legitimate closers remain available (e.g. Gregg, B. Wilson, T. Jones), and c) that they are once again trying to manage other people’s teams for them. I know they are going to keep up their complaints all year even though there is, in my mind, clearly nothing wrong with taking this approach. I really don’t want to endure another year of complaining and in-fighting, but it looks like that’s what’s going to happen.

But tell me, they’re out of line, right?
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Re: Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby bigh0rt » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:07 am

Yes. Yes they are. If they only want you to carry 2 or 3 relief pitchers, they should have 2 or 3 RP slots, and the rest as SP. P slots give the flexibility for strategy. Tell them to take a hike and don't play with them next year.
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Re: Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby great gretzky » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:28 am

One of the biggest disappointments of growing up and being an "adult" is discovering that most people don't actually grow up at all, they just get more adept at hiding it. It really is amazing at how much like babies some supposedly mature people can act. I mean, I guess the case can be made in cases where someone declines to play a catcher or something ... but I never subscribed to those arguments. The fun of being the owner of a team is making those roster decisions yourself. Ultimately, I think they sound immature, and in my opinion, not that bright. It wasn't underhanded at all, as you had to sacrifice to achieve it -- i.e. your penalty was not getting points in saves. You have the right to allocate your team as you see fit in my eyes, tell them to pound sand, or don't use P slots at all. I know you said SP/RP eligiblity. Thing with that is, if you don't use P slots, then you get a double whammy in penalty, as you lose the save points, AND there aren't tons of aces with that dual eligibility anyway, so you take a slight hit in quality.

In real life, teams can construct their roster anyway they wish, so long as they don't go over the limit. I think that same ethic applies here, it's your decision.
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Re: Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby Mugrila » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:34 am

great gretzky wrote:One of the biggest disappointments of growing up and being an "adult" is discovering that most people don't actually grow up at all, they just get more adept at hiding it. It really is amazing at how much like babies some supposedly mature people can act.


Very well said.
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Re: Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby Matthias » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:38 am

Ask them the purpose of having P slots if they're only going to be for SP. The whole idea of differentiating is to create the option.

As far as last year, although you both were within the rules and the construct, I can understand why they were ticked. Pitchers who are valuable because they qualify at one and then play for the other tick me off, too... enough that I don't have any SP or RP spots in my league, just P, and then leave it up to everyone to decide what mix they want to create. Maybe you could raise that as an option with your league.
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Re: Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby Eagle Baseball » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:44 am

P spots are for pitchers regardless of SP or RP so they are out of line.

Now I must say this: IF and I say if they other managers are not experienced I can see how they might feel they were taken advantage of. You said you and the other manager who are going with 4 closers were the most vocal for change. With an 8 team league and a max of 1200 innings pitched (which is less than the Yahoo default limit) the logical thing for an experienced manager to do would be to have a few quality starters and 4 or 5 closers which you did. If one was not real experienced playing fantasy baseball that might not be a logical thing to think of before the draft. So as I said if you and the other manager who are doing this are two of the more experienced managers I can see how the others might feel they are being taken advantage of.
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Re: Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby BronXBombers51 » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:45 am

great gretzky wrote:One of the biggest disappointments of growing up and being an "adult" is discovering that most people don't actually grow up at all, they just get more adept at hiding it. It really is amazing at how much like babies some supposedly mature people can act. I mean, I guess the case can be made in cases where someone declines to play a catcher or something ... but I never subscribed to those arguments. The fun of being the owner of a team is making those roster decisions yourself. Ultimately, I think they sound immature, and in my opinion, not that bright. It wasn't underhanded at all, as you had to sacrifice to achieve it -- i.e. your penalty was not getting points in saves. You have the right to allocate your team as you see fit in my eyes, tell them to pound sand, or don't use P slots at all. I know you said SP/RP eligiblity. Thing with that is, if you don't use P slots, then you get a double whammy in penalty, as you lose the save points, AND there aren't tons of aces with that dual eligibility anyway, so you take a slight hit in quality.

In real life, teams can construct their roster anyway they wish, so long as they don't go over the limit. I think that same ethic applies here, it's your decision.


Exactly. This is just sour grapes from a bunch of guys who weren't clever enough to come up with a successful strategy. You aren't breaking any rules. Both of these things are commonly accepted strategies in the fantasy baseball world. I say you ditch these clowns next year. There's no need to participate in a league where a bunch of idiots whine about you finding a "loophole"...whatever the hell that means. I fail to see how this is a loophole when at least 2-3 managers in EVERY one of my leagues, EVERY single year employ the SAME strategies that you did.

:-P :-t
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Re: Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby Doughhead » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:03 am

Well, the third dissenter from last year posted this on our pool's page this morning. Just thought I'd post it here to show you what I'm talking about...

I really am at a loss...so this year's loophole has been shifted to RP's as it appears to me and some other fantasy managers.

The Taint Bros. (he's referring to me and last year's league champ) will now hoard as many closers as possible and play them every night their starters are not starting...this carousel of RP's will allow them to get lots of quality innings, a skewed number of saves and almost no downside to the numbers accumulated by the starters.

You know it pains me to think that 6 managers simply put their effort into drafting and picking up the best talent per position and use their bench and DL spots to replace injured or innefective players not use as a carousel of players to gain an unlikely and ridiculous advantage. It is not illegal and maybe not even cheating but it really isn't sportsmanlike or gentlemanly in a league consisting of friends...for god's sake its been like 2 weeks and [Doughhead] has a nice lead in saves although they are all mediocre relievers (Valverde, Corpas, Soria, Capps) and we all see where the trend will lead over a whole season.
I really have a hard time believing that these sort of shenanigans exist in experts leagues My guess is they have a gentlemen's agreement to play positions the way they are intended.

I think after this year there is only one proposition left that will keep the Taint Bros. from finding a loophole in the system and abusing it...its to abolish all bench spots (keep DL spots for injured stars and increase them if necessary). This makes all managers play their players how we all intended when these pools started. Although most of us already understand that!

I also gaurantee that the Taint Bros. did not each stumble into this "strategy" coincidentally at the same time...one of them noticed this loophole, told the other and both loaded up on all available closers.
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Re: Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby Matthias » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:07 am

Doughhead wrote:I felt then, and still feel now, that we did absolutely nothing wrong in taking the approach we took. And I think it’s really low that a few of my leaguemates essentially refuse to recognize what was a well-earned victory on the part of my friend.

I would say that you and your friend were relying upon formalities and ignoring substance.

Yes, you have the right to play a player at any position that he is eligible. Yes, those pitchers were eligible at RP. Yes, it did show a little bit of acumen (although not a whole lot) to identify them and put them in. But something can be correct to the letter of the rules and still be violative of the spirit. If you read about Enron, one of the things that they were doing which was wrong was keeping all these transactions off of their balance sheets because of a wrinkle in the accounting rules designed for something else. But they would bend the rules to fit their purposes. There's a saying that the accounting rules allowed you to do something if it was a duck. Enron would take a dog, put on some flippers and a bill, and say, "Look! A duck!" And their accountants would nod and say, "Yes. We see that the definition of a duck is that it has bills and flippers. This is, indeed, a duck." And then, of course, Enron went down the tubes because sometimes rules are designed for a particular purpose.

The best solution to the problem is just designing rules that can't be exploited. But if you do come across something can be exploited, adjust on the fly, and decide as a group what to do about it. And it's pretty clear where your leaguemates stood on the RP/SP issue. Although yes, they're complete idiots for not thinking this year that if you have SP, RP, and P, that someone wouldn't put P into the RP spot. But it's not too far into the season; they can still make their own rosters the way they want it.
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Re: Are My Leaguemates Idiots?

Postby bigh0rt » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:09 am

That's comical. :-b
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