Monday, April 11, 2011

The Heads Talk

OK—got into this fantasy baseball league. The other owners have no idea what they are in for. 20 years of APBA, 24 years of Rotisserie, hundreds of baseball books read, hundreds of games attended, thousands of games on TV, dozens of pre-internet hours spent in public library micro-fiche collections reading day by day accounts of entire seasons. I knew of Bill James when the guy was self-published.
This should be easy. I have literally played fantasy baseball for over 40 years.
I named my team in honor of the greatest, all time, American Rock band, Talking Heads.
Holy Crap---these are NOT real players! They are all avatars of software of some sick baseball dude’s imagination. Deep breathes. I can figure this out.
I need a freaking budget?  To play baseball?  Seriously? I haven’t balanced my checkbook since 1983.
What are all these deadlines in the League Schedule? I love baseball because it has no clock. This is like some sick baseball Disney world, where all the trains run on time and everybody but me seems to know where they are going.
But, how hard can this really be?
Wait. Each player has like 30 separate criteria to evaluate?  What is OAV? Who is AI? Why won’t my draft settings save? How come a CF can play shortstop? How much does catcher ERA matter? Don’t all agents lie; so why does the price for these free agents actually keep going up? Why is my home record worse than the 20th century French military? Are my Latin guys actually as old they say they are? Why does Curt Mayberry look like that?
Why is there a baseball team in Little Rock? Why are my players so old, so bad, and so expensive? Was the previous owner Harry Frazee? 
How do I get good?
Don’t panic. I just need some time to………….
So, when I inherited this franchise, I compared it to the top teams. I realized I had a few prospects, and no ML ready CA, 3B, CF or RF. I had no starting pitching at any level. I had no relief pitching. I don’t mean at the ML level; I mean in the organization.
I traded off the old expensive guys, got way younger, way cheaper, and while I got some good young talent, the team got way worse. Some things were happening that defied understanding. Why was my home record way worse than road record?
The Cleveland Organization sent me info about Roy Winder Field. It was a blog post. It stated that though my home field was, on paper 100% neutral, it had the following quirks:
My pitchers must have +80 in control, and + 65 in GB/FB. If they were even higher than that, they could succeed with low splits.
Ray Winder Field must have great corner defense, and strong defensive outfielders. I need to get me some of those.
My home field favors a strong eye and excellent contact. This is on my to do list.
I began to build------or, re-build the Heads according to this blue print. We have had some success this season. But the Heads have a long way to go. A very long way to go.
 At this date, the ML Heads are:
-Second to last in the league in OAV.
-16th in range.
-28th in arm accuracy
-29th in make-up
-26th in contact
-24th in power
-30th vs LHP
-26th vs RHP
-9th in batting eye
-31 in ML bullpen
The Heads major league team has the lowest avg. salary, the least years of ML experience, and is the 3rd youngest team in the league.
But, we are optimistic. We have passed the first hurdle.
We now know what we don’t know.

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