Oh, Yeah? If They’re So Smart, How Come They Live In Igloos?


Apparently, I’m stupid.

But don’t worry, I’m not the only one, according to Gil LeBreton of the Dallas/Fort Worth Star Telegram.   Nope — in the mind of this bastion of “journalistic quality”, all of the people across the country who play fantasy baseball are also stupid — or at least, their favorite pasttime is.

Oh, where to begin.

As anyone who read my lengthy look at Opening Day already realizes, I’m an admitted fantasy sports junkie.  I’m in nine leagues for baseball alone (four of them, that I’d consider “serious”).  I just wrapped up play in a fantasy basketball league, and I’ve been playing in multiple football leagues each season for as long as I’ve been doing baseball leagues (which is now apporaching twenty years).  So you’ll have to forgive me if I seem a little peeved about the smug attitude that comes from people like this wannabe Woodward and Bernstein when it comes to something I hold pretty near and dear to me.

LeBreton’s take is apparently that the fantasy game is flawed because it doesn’t reflect enough of the true reality of baseball itself.  He claims that fantasy baseball is stupid because stolen bases, wins, and saves are usually categories in most fantasy leagues, and that those statistics are inherently flawed and not true representations of actual value in the real world.  He’s upset that Wily Taveras might have value in some leagues, and that starting pitching might not have as much in others.

And, by the way, he’s jumped onto his high horse while admitting that he himself plays in a fantasy league of sorts, one that runs on a computer simulation using the Diamond Mind Software.

So, to sum it up, LeBreton thinks that normal fantasy league players are wasting their time in a stupid fashion, while his endeavor is worthy of praise and accolades (as he says himself, “I’m not here to tell you that our managers know more about baseball than your fantasy league participants do.  Which we do”).

What a hypocrite.

The sheer idiocy of someone who is actively a participant in something like a Diamond Mind league turning his nose up at regular fantasy baseball participants is akin to Star Trek fans giving grief to Star Wars fans at a Sci-Fi convention for being nerds.

Its kind of like this.

It's kinda like this.

His ignorance regarding the way fantasy baseball is actually played comes through almost as well as his superiority complex does.  He bemoans the value of Taveras, while being completely clueless to the fact that, in most fantasy leagues, one-category guys like Taveras are discounted, due to their inability to help you in anything other than that one stat category.  He complains that fantasy players are too wrapped up in the wins and saves numbers of pitchers, while remaining totally in the dark as to the fact that the best fantasy leaguer participants realized exactly that long ago, and that we draft pitchers according to their inherent skills and abilities, and not their win and save totals.

His stupidest comment — and believe me, when I say it was hard to come up with one that was dumber than all of the rest — was when he chided fantasy participants for not actually watching games (His exact comment being, “Have you people even watched a live baseball game since Lou Brock retired?”).

What a riot this guys is.  As I’ve detailed, I’m a proud subscriber to the Extra Innings Package, so I’d estimate that in the course of any given season, I’m watching significant parts of 40-50 games a week, and maybe portions of 1000 games a year, at least.  And that doesn’t take into account the number of games I follow online when I can’t see it live on the screen.

I’d love to see LeBreton talk about what’s the pecking order in the San Diego pen if Heath Bell were to go down (I wonder — does he even know who Heath Bell is?).  Or how the Minnesota outfield situation will end up breaking down when it comes to playing time.  Or maybe he could speak about the sleeper pitcher candidates in 2009 and the likelihood of there being another Cliff Lee out there.  My guess is that he wouldn’t have a clue about any of the above — but not only am I sure that I know light-years more about those subjects than he does, I’d wager that most of the fantasy faithful that I know do too.  Hopefully, we’re not as smug about it, though, as LeBreton is — even if, unlike him, we probably could be.

The fact is that, since I started playing fantasy sports, I know more about the game and the people playing it than I’d ever known before, and certainly more than I would have learned if I’d never started to play fantasy baseball to begin with.  I’ve gained countless knowledge over the years that have helped me to look at the game in ways I’d never imagined I could, and it’s all due to the game of fantasy baseball and a number of brilliant minds who’ve imparted their wisdom to the rest of us over the years.  In no place have I seen this more in play, ironically, than in basketball, where returning to a fantasy league for the first time in nearly a decade this past season forced me to learn players I’d completely been in the dark about, and made me pay more attention to the NBA than I had in years.

But Lebreton can go on believing how smart he is, and how stupid the rest of us and our game is.  Those of us who participate in it know better — and blowhards like LeBreton don’t have a place in our pasttime anyway.  Frankly, he probably couldn’t keep up.  But at least he can take this week’s Ro-Sham-Bo Award as a consolation prize until he gets his first Pulitzer Prize, which I’m sure should be coming any day if this article is any indication of his journalistic qualifications.

For another take on just how foolish  LeBreton is, please head over to Jason Collette’s blog over on RotoTimes — or you can head over there anyway, as he’s an excellent read for fantasy insight.

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