Tag: Business Day One

[Business Day One] A Week Into Fantasy Baseball And…

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Fantasy baseball has two different types of league play: rotisserie and head-to-head, where the winning team takes all of the games. But even in the best of rotisserie leagues, some teams don’t win all of the games. In this article, I’d like to address what I believe are the top ten teams for every fantasy baseball season.

One thing that I’ve noticed over the years is that there is a great correlation between how good a team is playing, and how high they will finish in the standings. With that in mind, I’ll be starting this article by discussing the fantasy-relevant teams in the top ten.

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Rank Team League 1 Boston Red Sox AL 2 St. Louis Cardinals NL 3 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 4 Arizona Diamondbacks NL 5 Atlanta Braves NL 6 Texas Rangers AL 7 New York Mets AL 8 New York Yankees AL 9 Pittsburgh Pirates NL 10 Chicago Cubs NL

I personally believe that the Boston Red Sox will win the American League, and that there will be no other team in the game with a better chance at making the playoffs than the Red Sox. The Red Sox have a top-five offense in the league, and a top-three pitching staff that is led by the best pitcher in the game right now in Rick Porcello. I’m betting on him to carry the team on his back as he has done so many times in the past, and when the Boston season comes to an end, the club will be excited to watch a parade of his teammates as they come to terms with the new era.

#2 Red Sox vs. Cardinals (July 24th)

One of the toughest division races to pick in baseball this season, it is tough to even try. St. Louis has been the class of the division in 2016, but they’re going to have to prove they belong if they want to win the division, which means a return to the top of the division or at the very least a first round playoff exit.

The Cardinals have an impressive pitching staff, and if they can get a handle on the hitting and defense, they have a chance to make a deep playoff run. This game pits Boston vs. Arizona, and if the Sox keep winning, it will make for a good time. (NOTE: Arizona has an impressive pitching staff, and if they can get a handle on the hitting and defense, they have a chance to make a deep playoff run. Boston has an exciting rotation with breakout stars Steven Wright, Joe Kelly and Rick Porcello. This game is just about a big deal.)

Thursday, June 6:

Mets at Braves 5:20pm

If you are going to take a chance on a team in a down season, why not do it during a weekend series in a pitcher’s park like Citi Field? The Mets have an offense led by Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright, and a talented rotation led by Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Meanwhile the Braves are in a rebuilding phase, but are still loaded with talent with Freddie Freeman, Freddie Freeman, Freddie Freeman and Freddie Freeman. The series is being played under the best possible conditions for the home team (see above). Friday, June 7: Mets vs. Braves 9:10am Sunday, June 10: Royals vs. Rangers 4:10pm A home game in Arlington, Texas is always exciting, but this time it might not be as great as many of us are expecting. The Rangers have had some injuries at the

[Business Day One] Opening Day, Same As It Ever Was

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Good morning, everyone. You’re waking up to baseball today.

I love Opening Day more than any other day in sports for one very simple reason – ridiculous full-season projections. For me, there is no greater joy in sports fandom than extrapolating an entire season’s worth of events based only on one game. It is the height of comedy, and let no one tell you otherwise.

For instance, as of right now, the Red Sox are on pace for 162 consecutive rain-outs. Amazing, right? And Derek Lowe, after his impressive performance last night, is right on track for a stunning 33-0 season with a 0.00 ERA. Give that man an award! See how fun it is? And it’s not even noon!

I downloaded an old game for the PC last night called Escape Velocity. You play a pilot that travels the galaxy running cargo and passengers between various ports of call. You upgrade your ship from time to time, or save up and buy a new one. Mostly, the game is a long slog that consists of resource and energy management, maximizing profits on good trade routes, and enjoying the vastness of space. There are more exciting PC games out there to be sure, but for me, I love the comfort of knowing there’s a nice, comfortable game that you can casually play for a couple hours on a quiet weeknight. I feel the same way about baseball. Welcome back.

[Business Day One] The Monster

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I spent 4 hours at my computer on Saturday, drafting a fantasy baseball team.  The Monster League, populated by NoS posters Willis and RJ and frequent commenter Angry Ed, is a beautiful mix of friendly and competitive.  During our Winter Meetings (a once-yearly gathering for pizza and rules adjustments) and our Live Online Draft, we throw playful jabs between orders of business, mocking our own fantasy management inability as often as we make fun of the skills of others.  It’s not a bad situation; in fact, it’s been the best league I’ve ever been in.

Sixteen teams, twenty-five rounds, twenty-five roster spots (including minor leaguers).  Roto league with five offensive and five pitching stats.  Thousands and thousands of players to choose from.  The Monster League is big compared to other fantasy baseball leagues, but not that much bigger.  All fantasy baseball is that unwieldy.  Compared to fantasy football, basketball or golf, putting together a baseball team is a bear.  Too many combinations of players, too many positions, too many scenarios in which you are suddenly without a viable starting catcher.  It’s a rough game, and it’s a complicated one, and therein lies the joy of it.

Fantasy baseball drafts are big enough that you can’t plan for it all.  You have to draft based on instinct and knowledge.  You get better with experience – eventually you begin to understand the opportunity cost of waiting to draft certain positions in favor of others – but in the end it is complex enough that it really does tend to separate out those that manage well from those than don’t.  In fantasy sports, luck becomes less important as the roster size goes up.  You may hit the jackpot in fantasy hockey and have two hot hands carry you into the playoffs.  But it takes a thoroughly deep team to survive a roto baseball league.  And teams like that come together when you have encyclopedic knowledge and a good sense of value.

The season, the real season, is days away.  Right now, all the fantasy baseball owners are undefeated.  Enjoy it while you can, because we’ll soon discover how good we are at all of this.

[Business Day One] I Need A New Drug

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So Boston College Basketball got bounced in the first round of the NCAA’s, squandering a 7 seed to those surfing long-hairs out of Southern California.  About an hour later, the BC Hockey team coughed one up to those Phish-listening  train riders out of Boston University.  Crappy night for me.

The BC spring football game is about a month away, and I wish our baseball team the best but can’t possibly sit through collegiate baseball more than once every six years.  As such, I need a new college sport to follow.  It’d be preferable if it was Boston College related.  So here’s a mission.  If you’re a current BC student, start an intramural league of some sort and apply sabermetrics to it.  Then, e-mail them to me and let me analyze them and right snarky stuff about it.

Go, time’s a wastin’!

[Business Day One] Unexpected Generosity

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After a week of conference championship games, Selection Sunday swept into our lives and delivered the NCAA Tournament field to us.  Like kids on Christmas Eve, we waited to see what came down the chimney.  We speculated, audited in our heads how our years have gone.  Were we naughty or nice?  What’s Santa’s track record been in the past?  Does Daddy not having a job affect my odds of getting that pimp Lego Castle?  You talk yourself into believing in the most beautiful possibilities.  You think and hope and pray so hard that they become real.  Such is human nature.

Accordingly, life is filled with disappointments.  There are always more stories about vacations falling apart or an expensive restaurant being overrated or, say, your team getting ignored for the Big Dance than stories of unexpectedly perfect situations.  We as sports fans accept this.  We know, deep down, that our sunny predictions born of baseball’s spring training or football’s draft won’t be fulfilled.  But despite this, every so often the Gods of Sport give your team a gift.  Perhaps an entirely unexpected gift, a wholly undeserved gift.  But a gift.  And a beautiful one.

The Arizona Cardinals got one this past year – making it to the SuperBowl with a one dimensional offense and a terrible defense.  The Kansas City Chiefs got one in the form of a discount Matt Cassel.  And my beloved Boston College Eagles just picked one up in the form of a 7 seed in the tournament.  Granted, I think BC’s unexpectedly generous seeding isn’t on the same level of “holy flying God are you lucky” as the Buzzsaw’s run into the playoffs or The Last Cassel’s new home in KC, but it hit me close to home.  So I’m going to talk about it.

BC beat Duke at home and UNC on the road.  We won the first game of the ACC tourney and played the Blue Devils to the final seconds in the next one.  We had the resume for a 9 or 10 seed, considering we dropped ugly games to St. Louis (road) and Harvard (home, in front of me).  The season proved that Boston College has the legs to either run into the Final Four or drop in the first round – in other words, they’re the perfect 9 or 10.  Just high enough not to be a Cinderalla, but just low enough to fly under the radar until the Sweet Sixteen.

Then the 7 seed happened.  I learned about it on a basement computer in the green room of my comedy theatre.  “Wow,” I said aloud.  “I think that’s a little generous.”  That right there is a rarity in sports.  We’re so used to disappointment, so used to our teams being disrespected, that when something so fun and unexpected happens, we have no idea what to think.  How often in the history of your own sports fandom have you had a “we don’t deserve such good news” moment?  You’ll probably think about thirty different “we got hosed” moments trying to come up with one.

So between now and Friday’s game against USC, I’m going to do my best to appreciate the sports equivalent of finding a $20 bill on the street.  Go Eagles, YOUR tournament 7 seed!

[Business Day One] 2-1

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My girlfriend and I have been to a Boston College basketball game three times this season, and we (and the team) have compiled a 2-1 record. We saw wins against Providence and Georgia Tech, and a shameful loss against Harvard.

I realized, reflecting upon this the other day, that I am lucky to have witnessed multiple wins, but even more so to be in a relationship with an honest to goodness sports fan.

I firmly believe you shouldn’t date someone just because they like the sports that you do, but if it just so happens that they’re big into football or baseball or anything else, it is a tremendous bonus. It’s like finding a gold bar in the truck of a car at a police auction – you expected something good and you got something awesome. If you’re dating someone who is a sports fan, buy them tickets to things. Tickets are like flowers. Unexpected and lovely. If you’re not, it’s ok. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of friends who’d like that extra Bruins ticket.

[Business Day One] This Isn’t Bad, So Don’t Worry

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First off, if you haven’t put in your nominations, do that now.  You’re the Academy, people, and it’s a serious responsibility.

Alright, moving on to football matters.  The Patriots said goodbye to Mike Vrabel and Matt Cassel, shipping them off to Kansas City for a second round pick.  At first blush, it appeared as if the Pats somehow fleeced new KC Bürgermeister Scott Pioli into giving the 34th pick for a 35 year old man who can, at this point, only sort of run and tackle.  But then Cassel was revealed to be part of the deal and the response from Boston (“Our team is run by fools!  Fools!”) was not entirely positive.

That’s why I’m here.  To tell you that it was for both parties.  The NFL is not like fantasy football.  You can’t hoodwink other teams in the NFL with the ease that you can hoodwink some fantasy greenhorn in his first season.  Especially when you’re dealing with a guy (Pioli) who knows everything about you and you know everything about.  The Patriots dumped a heck of a lot of salary and got an incredibly valuable early second round pick.  The Chiefs acquired a guy who can throw a football and another guy who has played long enough to be another coach in the locker room.  That’s a net win for both teams.  The Patriots don’t make their living on getting early first round picks, like the Chief’s third overall that some fans up here were salivating over.  Unless you were lucky enough to acquire Matt Ryan (let’s go Eagles… errrr Falcons), you’re overpaying for people who haven’t played a down of pro football.  The Pats don’t build their teams around early 1st round big guns – rather, they make sure every position is filled with guys that can hurt you.  If you’ve noticed, they won a bunch of  Super Bowls doing this.

The Patriots are picking 23rd, 34th, 47th, and 58th.  Four of the top 60 picks.  I’d rather have that than a 3rd overall, since you’d be paying the same amount of money for those four players than you would be for that single theoretical superplayer.  The Pats will always take the warm bodies, as opposed to the one hot one.  And, given the system that they work under, everyone gets really good at doing what they’re supposed to.

Look forward to the draft, Foxboro Faithful.  And look forward to a better year overall, Kansas City.

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