As the snow melts outside, it’s time to gear up for baseball season. But you won’t need cleats or a glove. All you need is an Internet connection to get hooked on the fantasy baseball craze.
Fantasy sports have been increasing in popularity in the past few years and, with them, the everyday non-athlete can own a team and compete against his or her friends, family and strangers.
In order to create your fantasy team, you need to go through a draft process. There are three types of drafts: live, auto-draft and an offline draft. Live drafts are when everyone in the league sets aside a time and logs into the Web site at the same time to take turns picking their players. These drafts typically last about an hour to an hour-and-a-half are the most popular way to draft a team. An auto-draft is when everyone in the league pre-ranks their picks and the computer does the rest. The final type of draft is an offline draft where everyone meets at someone’s house and negotiates which team gets which player.
Once the team has been drafted, it’s time to let the “games” begin. There are two types of fantasy baseball leagues: rotisserie and head- to-head. Rotisserie leagues are the less popular of the two but work on the same premise as a head-to-head leagues. With a rotisserie league, the stats (such as stolen bases and RBI) are gathered at the end of the season and then averaged together. The stats that are gathered work like a grade point average. If a team dominates one category, does mediocre in another and poorly in another, a team that does mediocre in all categories could end up being the possible winner.
The more popular of the two leagues are the head-to-head leagues. Much like fantasy football, everyone goes up against one another instead of everyone adding up their points at the end of the season. Head-to-head leagues, much like rotisserie leagues, deal with stats, but the stats are tallied up at the end of the week instead of the end of the season. There are also public and private leagues. Public leagues are open to everyone while private leagues require a password and are usually used by a group of friends.
What makes fantasy sports so fun and exciting? It’s not about what one team is the best, but rather what players on the team are the most effective.
Vincent Mercandetti, a sophomore broadcast journalism major and die-hard fantasy baseball player, agreed. “In fantasy baseball, personality doesn’t matter, even being clutch doesn’t matter, and it’s all about stats,” he said. “You can have a team do poorly and have one player on the team do really well, and as long as you’ve got him on your team, you’re good to go,” he said.
Typically, people are in one to two leagues, and the more extreme players are in more. Chris Bodensieck, a freshman nursing major, has participated in fantasy baseball for four years and said, “The key to fantasy baseball, even football is to draft the players you don’t like because they get the points.. I pick people carefully, I only want people who really follow baseball.”
Mercandetti added: “What people don’t take into consideration a lot of the time when setting up a draft, particularly in baseball is what time everyone is free. I’ll bring my computer to class so that I don’t miss the draft.”
When asked why fantasy leagues were so popular, Bodensieck said simply, “You get to put your knowledge of the sport to test. They add a whole new dimension to the sport.”