Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Greatness of Fantasy Baseball is also Detriment

The Counselor is IN:

Ten years ago, Fantasy Football was only for sports geeks like me. Over the last decade, Fantasy Football has taken the nation by storm. It is no longer just for stat nerds.  I now know a higher percentage of people who participate in Fantasy Football than don’t. There are leagues for all levels of fans including Girls Only Leagues where it is accepted to pick players by the color of their jerseys and tightness of their behind sides.

Fantasy Baseball has not enjoyed the mainstream focus that Fantasy Football has.  Fantasy Baseball is the the father of all fantasy sports.  It was the original.  Yet it is primarily only for stat geeks. Most of the die hard baseball fans I know do not play fantasy baseball.  They only care about the stats of their team and do not desire to be distracted with Fantasy Baseball.

In my opinion, the greatness of Fantasy Baseball is also its detriment when it comes to attracting the mainstream public. This applies to both the traditional Rotisserie and the Head to Head Fantasy Baseball games. I will list four points why I think Fantasy Baseball is a superior game and why it limits the marketability of it.

1) Seven days a week compared one game a week.
There are baseball games every day of the week.  Most MLB position players will play 5-6 games a week. This compared to one game a week with the NFL unless it is their bye week.  

Advantage: One bad game will not kill you when you have several games a week. If your Star power hitting Outfielder strikes out 5 times in one game, he has the chance to come back and hit .400 and 4 homers for the rest of the week. In NFL, if your star Wide Receiver is shut out from catching the ball then you get no points for him.

Disadvantage: Many people don’t desire to keep up with their players every day of the week.  In a Head to Head league, you often change your line up daily.  In a traditional Rotisserie league, you still have to examine injuries, DL stints, and pick up for under performing players.

2) Fantasy Baseball season is longer than Fantasy Football.
Fantasy Baseball season is usually over 20 weeks and then the playoffs. The Fantasy Football season is usually 13-14 weeks and then the playoffs.

Advantage: The longer Baseball season help the cream float to the top. Some teams will start off fast but they have to maintain the pace. It is a marathon instead of the sprint of Fantasy Football.

Disadvantage: We are a fast food generation. We want things quick and fast and get bored with things that take time. Many Fantasy Baseball owners will get bored and stop paying attention after the first month. These owners rarely return next year.

3) Defense is half of your stats in baseball.
Pitching is half of your stats. Fantasy Football rarely uses defensive stats. A small minority use Individual Defensive Players. Even with IDP, the offense stats usually over weigh the IDP stats.

Advantage: Pitching is a key to baseball and is half of the stats of Fantasy Baseball leagues. It allows the owners to find a balance between their offensive and defensive teams. It is a closer representative of owning your own team. Defensive is a huge part of any NFL game but is rarely relevant in Fantasy Football.

Disadvantage: Offense is “sexy”. Chicks dig the long ball. Many fans do not care about defense and do not wan to mess with tracking stats for it.

4) Baseball is more entrenched with stats than football.
Statistics are a for most baseball fans. Football fans are not usually that focused on the stats.  

Advantage: Fantasy sports are based on statistics and comparing to other teams stats.  Fantasy Baseball is tied closely to specific statistics. Many fans can rattle off what the stats of their favorite players. It is a perfect marriage.

Disadvantage: It is difficult to change and tweak the stats used in Fantasy Baseball because of the tradition. It is much easier to change the values of a touchdown, field goal, or 10 yard rush.

 The Counselor is OUT:

Saturday, January 08, 2011

7-9 Seattle's playoff victory is a good thing

The Counselor is IN:

The reigning Super Bowl Champ New Orleans Saints fell to the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks in today's playoff match.  All week I continued to hear about the disgrace of the Seahawks making the playoffs.  This so called disgraceful team just took down the defending champs.  I believe this is actually a good thing.

Before you question my sanity, let me give you the reason I believe this is a positive for the NFL.

One of the great strengths of the NFL is the equality in the league.  There really is not that much difference between a 7-9 team and a 10-6. This allows teams to make the playoffs that missed out last year.  It is the reason for the Mantra of Any Given Sunday (or Saturday). Unlike in other professional sports, any team making the playoffs can win the Super Bowl.  Most of the fans grow tired of the same teams playing deep in the playoffs (like the Patriots and Steelers). This victory does give hope to all the fans.

The Counselor is OUT:

Review of the Texas Rangers and 7 questions

The Counselor is IN:

The Texas Rangers were one of the biggest surprises of the 2010 season.  Their young pitchers stepped up and pitched well even in the Heat of an August in Dallas.  The youth of the Ranger's offense made considerable advances and scored points in bunches. Midway through the season, Texas acquired Ace Cliff Lee.  Lee did not  pitch that well during the season but stepped it up in the post season and helped lead the Rangers to their first World Series appearance.  

The Rangers targeted three key pitchers during the off season.  Their top priority was to re-sign Cliff Lee.  They lost out on the Lee sweepstakes to the Phillies.  They were attempting to trade for Cy Younger winner Zack Greinke but lost out to Milwaukee.  Tampa Bay's Matt Garza was the third option but the Rangers were rejected by the Rays when they traded Garza to the Cubs.  The Rangers did sign 3 time All Star and Cy Young winner Brandon Webb but Webb is recovering from surgery and has not pitched since April of 2009.

The Rangers did make a big splash in free agency by signing 3rd Baseman Adrian Beltre.  Beltre is a power hitter who will add some needed power to the Rangers order. He should add some protection behind Josh Hamilton. This will move Perennial All Star Michael Young to 1st Base.

Questions about the 2011 Texas Rangers

1) Can Brandon Webb return to his former self?  He has 3.27 career ERA but he is now 31 years old. He could be the steal of free agency if he comes close to his past numbers.  

2)  Can the Rangers pitching staff achieve at the same level as last season? At this time, a rotation of Wilson, Lewis, Hunter, Webb, and Feldman does not scare many teams.  They will need to be a smart pitching staff like they were last year to have the same level of success.

3) Will Michael Young adjust to 1st Base?  He adjusted well when he moved from Second to Short and then Short to Third including All Star Seasons for all three positions.  He will not be a power hitting 1st Baseman but the Rangers do not have a power hitting 1st baseman.

4) Will Beltre be able to add protection for Hamilton?  Beltre is now 31 years old. He had a great season last year with Boston with 28 homers and a batting average of .321.  I don't see a reason why should should not continue to hit for decent average and power but probably not those numbers.

5) Can the Rangers hold off the other A.L. West teams? Last year the Angels severely under achieved. The Rangers did improve from the season before but would not have won the division if the Angels would have performed up to expectations.  The Rangers will need to continue to improve and mature as a team if they want to win their division again and make the playoffs.

6)  Will the Rangers continue to pursue an #1 starter? After missing out on their top 3 targets, I think they will start the season with their current pitching staff.  If they are playing well in late June and early July, I look for the Rangers to make a trade for a #1 guy like they did last year.  

7) Can the Rangers win the World Series this year?  Yes they can. They will need their team to come together like last season.  The Rangers have a lot of potential but they also have potential for a disappointing season after their success last year.

 The Counselor is OUT:

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Thoughts on Cowboys Hiring Jason Garrett as their New Head Coach

The Counselor is IN:

I have mixed feelings about the Dallas Cowboys hiring Jason Garrett as their new Head Coach. There are things I really like about Jason.  I also have concerns about Garrett.

1) Garrett changed the culture in Dallas. This to me is the biggest selling point for Jason.  After starting the season 1-7 and the players quiting on Wade, Jason was able to rally the troops.  He implemented harder practices, hitting during practice, personal responsibility for behavior, expectation of showing up on time, and dressing up for road games.  The team responded positively to these changes.  

2) Jason know the system. Jason understand the current system in Dallas.  I am sure he will want to make some changes.  But he will not come in and cause the Cowboys to spend the next 5 years rebuilding because of his scheme changes.

3) Garrett knows how to deal with Jerry and management.  It can take some time to understand how an organization works.  He will have no issue here.

1) The Offense was part of the problem under Wade.  Garrett was the Offensive Coordinator for the first 8 games where they went 1-7. They did not run the ball and the play calling was predictable.  We could not protect Romo because we could not run the ball. This was a gigantic issue.

2) Record was not that impressive. Yes we went 5-3 under Jason and over a full season that would be an acceptable 10-6.  But the last win that we squeaked out was against an Eagles team that rested most of their starters.  I do understand that we started a third string QB but this team should have dominated the Eagles backups.  If they had started their starters, we would be 4-4 under Jason and that would only be an 8-8 season.

3) He has never been a head coach at any level.  He did a decent job for his half season but he has never been in charge of an off season or a draft.  This is a concern for the Red Headed Genius.

Ultimately Jerry did not consult my opinion.  He picked Garrett and believes in him. The players appear to be backing this decision full hearted.  As much as I have some reservations about this selection, I am not sure Jerry would have gotten a bigger name coach.  Other teams were asking permission to interview him.  I throw my support behind Jason and hope he can continue to change the lazy culture of the Dallas Cowboys. I will continue to hope that Jerry made the correct decision.

The Counselor is OUT: