Baseball Is The Ultimate Fantasy Sport

No other sport utilizes statistics the same way baseball does. The reason for this is unclear: perhaps it’s the slower pace of the game which gives more deliberation to every play, or maybe it’s just the way statistics are gathered by the teams themselves. Maybe it’s something else entirely. But for whatever reason, baseball fans have a preponderance of data to mine when predicting the outcomes of games. With this in mind, there are a few reasons why baseball is the quintessential sports fantasy game.

When you want to show that you are a die-hard fan because you know your sport inside out, it’s a bigger statement when your sports is necessarily more complicated. Being able to predict the happenings of a machine with many moving parts is a greater accomplishment than making an accurate prediction of something less complicated. Baseball has an undeniably greater wealth of statistics to mine. There are numbers on everything imaginable, and even partially on what’s unimaginable. The question becomes, what do you do with these numbers?

Here is where the sports gut comes into play. If everyone has access to the same statistics, to gain the edge on everybody you must know which statistics are important, which are not, which can be dismissed altogether, and which numbers are undervalued. This is the key behind the movie Moneyball, about the manager of a baseball franchise with a smaller budget than the competition, and in order to beat the teams with more money he has to look at the same statistics from another perspective altogether. This forces him to be resourceful, and think outside the box. Sports fans can do this in their fantasy leagues. After spending years watching baseball, there’s a certain intuition concerning the sport that’s acquired, and it’s this sense of the game that has to direct the statistics.

When the sports gut and the cold, hard numbers interact, that’s top level fantasy league thinking! In a way, this is what makes fantasy leagues so special: it cannot be won by having either a pure instinct for the sport, or an accountant’s ability to crunch numbers. Both must be used together. Die-hard sports fans must also do their homework, because they are competing against fans just as passionate as they are, but who also put the time in to go over the numbers. In this way, fantasy sports require not just heart, but the brains behind the game, too.

No other sport emphasizes statistics the way baseball does, and even the casual fan will be exposed to more numbers than casual fans of hockey or soccer. They’re shared freely by baseball announcers who have them at the tip of their tongues, and more devoted fans are the same. It’s this heightened emphasis on the statistic that gives baseball a privileged place in sports fantasy leagues, as winning bets on this sport requires a formidable knowledge from a wider pool than any other sport. Winning takes passion and homework.

Daily Fantasy Sports – What Are They? How Do They Work?

Daily fantasy sports have become popular for one reason and one reason only. People are sick and tired of waiting the entire sports season to collect their winnings. People are impatient and its showing. I remember when the online poker industry was at this level and rising because you could make money just as quick.

What are daily fantasy sports?

It is a contest much like your season long fantasy contests. However, these contests only last a day, two days, or sometimes even a week.

Why is it becoming as popular as it is?

Everyone in the world today is looking for fast cash. They want to make as much as they can as fast as they can with as little effort as they can. In some cases this industry provides that very thing. I have seen people that know very little about basketball throw a random roster in for a single night and come out thousands of dollars ahead. However, these contests tend to favor the people with the most knowledge about that particular sport in the long run.

There are thousands of people that are figuring out that they can make a living playing in these contests as long as they stay focused and do their research. Create and edge on your competition and then exploit it. I firmly believe that it becomes an addiction. The want and need to be better than everyone else. A skill game that can make you money.

How Do You Play?

The first thing you need to do before you can play daily fantasy sports is become a member of a website that provides these types of contests. Once you are a member you can deposit money into your account. You can then use that money to enter tournaments as well as many other types of games.

All of the major sports are featured. You can also find some of the lesser known sports featured on some of the smaller sites. I think I have even seen fantasy bowling out there somewhere.

The type of game depends on your liking. The most popular is the salary cap game. In this game you are given a certain amount of money and you need to fill out a roster of players without spending over your limit. The player’s price usually depends on his or her skill level. The player with the roster that produces the most points at the end of the night wins. There are also other games like head to heads and 50/50’s where you only have to beat half of your competition to double your money. Anyone that is serious about making a career out of this industry will live and die on head to heads and 50/50’s.

Is It Legal?

Online poker was a massive hit in the United States but was shut down over night due to violation of gambling laws. However, fantasy sports is considered a game of skill and received a specific exemption from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA 2006). The daily sites use the same guidelines as the season long games ran by ESPN, Yahoo, and many others. The only difference is that daily fantasy sports only lasts a day not an entire season. Making it completely legal

Fantasy Sports – Social Networking Or Time-Wasting?

Most of you likely looked at the title of this article and wondered, “Tommy, what the heck are you talking about? Fantasy Sports is not social networking.”

On the surface, it’s easy to see why the game could be viewed that way. But I’m here to tell you that fantasy sports are as much a vehicle for social networking as Facebook, Flickr, and even foursquare / gowalla.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the game, let me elaborate. In its most simple format, 10-12 participants join a league before the season starts. Pretty much every major sport has a fantasy game associated with it. Prior to the first day of the season, the team owners get together in person or online to draft teams of real players from real teams, assembling a lineup in accordance with the league rules. Then, when the season starts, they start or sit players depending on a variety of factors (healthy vs. injured, good vs. bad matchups, etc.). Teams then receive credit for the actual statistics each player tallies. The overall goal is to end the season as the best team in the standings or to win the playoffs, depending on how the league is set up.

To many of you, this may sound rather pointless. In fact, there’s even a rebellion by “Fantasy Widows” as some have called them (you can learn more about on the Women Against Fantasy Sports website [http://womenagainstfantasysports.com/], complete with a line of related apparel). But these games play a role much more important than killing time and maybe blowing a little cash.

Believe it or not, fantasy sports are every bit a vehicle for social networking that many of the leading services are. Let’s take a quick moment to look at some attributes of the game that lead me to this conclusion.

1. Tribe-based – All activities happen in pre-determined leagues where all the participants agree to play within the same scoring system, by the same rules, using the same tools and features. This sounds a whole lot like my friends on official social media sites.

2. Online – Although the first fantasy game, Fantasy Baseball, was originally administered by avid fans using box scores from their local newspaper, the game has migrated completely online. So what if it started as a truly social activity and not a cool new web toy. It was social before it was online, so it most certainly qualifies.

3. Interactive – Fantasy sports are all about the ongoing activities you must undertake to win a league. All of the team managers must take part in a live draft, with full chat functionality in the online draft room. Then, the season is a mix of lineup decisions, trade negotiations, and adding and dropping players from the free agent list (a.k.a. the list of players who are not already on a team).

4. Real-time – If anything is real-time, fantasy sports fit the bill. Games happen every day or every week, and real-time scoring is a must for the hardcore fantasy sports players. Team rosters can be adjusted in many ways on a daily basis. Team owners can work out trades at will, post messages in a threaded format (like blog comments), talk smack right on their team pages, and email back and forth between participants. Sure, the bulk of the action happens during live games, but whom among you spends 24 hours a day on social media sites anyway?

5. Content-heavy – An entire industry has been built around fantasy sports blogging, analysis, advice, products, and games. Breaking news is a huge piece of this puzzle, and tools like Twitter and Facebook now play major roles in the dissemination of real-time player-related information. If you don’t believe me, you should have been paying attention to the chatter on Twitter leading up to the NBA trade deadline on February 18.

I know there are as many perspectives on this topic as there are fantasy games to choose from. What is your opinion? Do you play fantasy sports? Do you see it as a social networking activity? Is it just gambling, or old fashion bonding and honest fun? I think it’s due time that fantasy sports gets the positive press it deserves.