2021 Annual Disclosure Statement

An Op-Ed columnist in my local paper once wrote a piece that she called her Annual Disclosure Statement. She said, “I have regular readers and new readers, but I can’t assume that everyone knows where I stand on the issues. Someone reading me for the first time might pass judgment on my work without knowing how I’ve formed my opinions over time. (You need to know) who I am so you can get to know what makes me tick.”

It is important to me that you have similar perspective about my work. I’ve been writing about fantasy baseball analysis for more than three decades. Here is a summary of my core values:

  • I’ve taken more statistics courses than I can remember, but I don’t like to rely on the inherent rigidity of quantitative analysis in evaluating baseball performance. The human element has too much impact on a player’s numbers. I prefer to try and find logical, more accessible means of analysis. The numbers provide a backbone, nothing more.
  • As such, my proclamation in the 1994 Baseball Forecaster – “Numbers are everything!” – has been pretty much disavowed. My mantra now is “Embrace imprecision!”
  • I am a fantasy baseball purist, having cut my teeth on the Rotisserie format back in the mid-1980s. To me, the game is primarily an intellectual challenge. I do not play for any significant money. While that elevates the excitement level for many, I find it a distraction that takes away from the experience. I do not possess the gambling gene.
  • I believe that the purest method for building a roster is the salary cap game. We have proven to be terrible judges of player value, so a game in which market value is pre-set — and owners need only agree or disagree — provides the most level playing field. Giving owners the power to set their own values (in auctions) or rank players (in snake drafts) yields skewed results.
  • That said, my favorite draft experience is the auction. I like having access to every player and adding the economic element to the process, even if the player prices have little connection to reality.
  • I believe that every method currently in use for in-season free agent acquisition is flawed. There is a ridiculously easy solution that I’ve written about numerous times (the eBay engine). Only a handful of commissioner services have been interested enough to at least try it out. It should be the standard.
  • I think daily fantasy sports (DFS) are an exciting competition variant that requires a different skill set in order to succeed. I think the manner in which cash winnings are tied to the game corrupts the experience. How do you fix it? For starters, make every contest – cash or GPP – single entry. But game operators won’t leave all that money on the table from players willing to pay to skew the results in their favor.
  • Full season fantasy remains the greatest game. From my farewell column at BaseballHQ.com: “My carrot is the exhilaration that comes with creating a successful new strategy, nailing a breakout performer that nobody else saw coming and grinding out a tough victory. Winning should provide a massive sense of great accomplishment. Picking the right players on one night just doesn’t have the same pay-off for me.”

And some personal notes…

  • Despite leaving Baseball HQ in 2015, moving to Florida in 2016 and turning 60 in 2017, I am not retired and have no intention of retiring any time soon. There are still books to write, ideas to innovate and leagues to be won. They’ll have to drag me to the shuffleboard courts, kicking and screaming.
  • I am writing a book about the beginnings of the fantasy baseball industry. You can read about it here. I hope to be done by 2022, but it’ll get done when it’s finished. This is the project that is driving me right now.
  • In 2018, two close friends and industry colleagues — Steve Moyer and Lawr Michaels — and my younger brother passed away. I took over managing my 90something parents’ affairs after my mother was diagnosed with cancer. That year took a toll on me. Unfortunately, 2019 continued to wear me down; I lost four months dealing with my own health scare and managing my parents’ affairs still demanded my time. In December 2020, my father died. It’s been a difficult period in my life and I am still working my way back, so please excuse the occasional lapses, hiccups or displaced focus that might filter into my work. I apologize in advance. Again.

2 thoughts on “2021 Annual Disclosure Statement

  1. martin mcgrath

    sorry to hear of your losses Ron. Thankfully, this industry more than likely has brought you close to a lot of friends who can support you during these trying times.

    Hoping life takes it easy on you and your family.


    1. shandler Post author

      Thanks Martin (my brother’s name, as it were). We’re all doing the best we can during these times. I appreciate your kind words.

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