2023 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 have an MBA in Management Science and 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 highly inaccurate 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. I absolutely hate blind FAAB bidding. 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. However, I see it as primarily a gambling game at its core, so I treat it the same way I treat the handful of prop bets I place at the beginning of each season — just for fun. For me, 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 65 in 2022, 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 and I just signed on with Triumph Books to publish it in Fall 2023. You can read about it here. The initial draft came in at over 160,000 words and I need to edit it down to 120,000 by my deadline, so there is work to do (and possibly a 40,000 word sequel). This is the project that is driving me right now.
- This is for those who read to the end… I have two season tickets to all New York Mets spring training games in Port St. Lucie FL, five rows up from home plate and in direct view of the centerfield camera. Those who watch the games on TV will see me in nearly every game. If you’d like to join me for a game, drop me a note. First come, first served.