A Reasoned Response – Comments to the McCann-Smith Platform

So here we are.. In February  with no certain home to play on, 9 owners, uncertain scoring categories, scandals, suspensions, manager firings, global climate crisis.. ETC. We do, however, have a new commish group who are tasked with putting forth a new path for the league. Its been rocky(ish), but I feel like we do need to set some dialogue. I’m taking it upon myself to begin the conversation between the remaining owners and the commish(s) to help fine tune the details this week, so we may hit the ground running as the season gets closer. Please everyone try to digest the platform the commissioners (can we get a nickname for this duo?) put out there, and maybe take some of my responses and comments as a starting point for you to figure on what you feel is the best way forward. We set a deadline of TOMORROW (2/11/20) for comments, but maybe we need to push to the end of the week if we get enough discussion going. So here goes:

 

  • Switching To Fantrax: The platform switch has been long overdue. Fantrax is the industry standard when it comes to serious fantasy leagues. There’s no matching their player pool and dynasty customization options. There is a cost associated with it; both in actual money (after our initial free year, it’ll come down to about 8 bucks an owner per season), and in the slight annoyance of learning something new. But all in all they’ve fixed up the app and it looks good – it basically has everything we’re used to with ESPN; so it should be a fairly painless switch.  Most importantly – it eliminates the need to self police the minors system if we adopt the other changes we are suggesting below.

The Lobman Response:

In my opinion, switching to Fantrax ABSOLUTELY suits this league. ESPN has done us no favors throughout the years, especially when we’ve pushed past all of that site’s capabilities. We are a very forward thinking (at times) league, and in my research the only site available that could conceivably track what we manually operate would be Fantrax. To me, I FULLY SUPPORT this move.

 

  • Elimination of High Minors/Rights Minor Leaguers: (NOTE – This does not mean you lose your high minors guys and rights guys! Keep reading!) Basically we keep the 10 minors slots we’re all used to, but they are all designated for players without a major league appearance (“low minors”) – This fits in perfectly with the Fantrax switch because Fantrax can automatically police that sort of system perfectly. It would be much like when you have a player on the IL and he comes back. Essentially when a player makes an appearance in the big leagues, the system would prevent you from making any other moves until you fix your roster and either bump the minors guy up to your majors bench or drop him. So what happens to the rights guys? Well Fantrax basically has everyone – so you can now just pop them into your minors slots if you care to keep them. OK, what about your high minors guys?

The Lobman Response:

In my opinion, we need to debate this further. Not in the toxic shitbag style we typically debate things, but the only way I see this is eliminating high minors spots eliminates a value of a handful of players in our league. There was a reason we looked to create this minor league player tiers, because it added an extra type of strategy to our league. Players who would ordinarily have 0.0% value to any league had a TON of value to us as a whole. Maybe we don’t care now, or maybe even Fantrax can’t give us what we want (according to the discussion last night). I quite liked the idea of picking up a rookie to fit a set of criteria in our roster structure. IF we had to choose between the low/high minors tier system, I’d almost say scrap the low minors, and just allow all minor leaguers to be usable up to 130/50. Just my opinion.

(PLEASE NOTE: this will have to be discussed even further, because of limitations/abilities of Fantrax. The Commissioners will have to explain in greater detail ON THIS BLOG to articulate what exactly we’re looking at here in terms of options. Not on GroupMe).

 

  • Roster Expansion: Five bench spots will be added to our rosters. All owners are welcome to use these slots for any high minors players they wish to keep, or to just add regular major leaguers in the draft.

 The Lobman Response:

For me, 5 spots is just too much. If the league is all about this number, I could probably get myself to accept this to an extent, but (like what Doch said last night), I could see this getting really screwy. I’m not gonna say there’s major holes to be exploited here, but essentially we’re taking away another guardrail and we have no idea what will happen. Maybe I’m overly cautious, but like with a change to a different site, man there are a lot of unknowns. I’d say splitting the difference (in the spirit of the MLB) and adding 3 spots might be a decent compromise.

 

  • Roster Expansion Draft: There will be a draft. Owners may select any player in Fantrax’s system that they need to fill out their new roster size including the five extra major league spots and the ten minor league (formerly called “low minors”) spots. Your draft ends when your roster is full and compliant.

The Lobman Response:

I think this kind of falls in line with #3. I mean, lets just say that a 3 round draft to add spots (if need be) would be something we’ve done in the past with rights players. I think more discussion on the whole topic needs to be had before we decide on a draft of sorts.

 

  • Elimination of Complete Games: This doesn’t give us much joy, because we think the “boutique stats” are part of what makes this league so fun – but if one considers the current situation in MLB honestly, pitchers are being handled differently and complete games are going the way of the Dodo Bird. I realize we have been operating in an environment wherein walks were not considered for quite some time now, but the time for WHIP has arrived. It’s an incredibly common stat that is considered in nearly every player ranking system for fantasy baseball. While we realize this will be advantageous for some sorts of pitchers and disadvantageous for others – we believe all owners in this league have the skill and knowledge to be able to adjust swimmingly. Speaking of owners…

The Lobman Response:

This is something I wanted to discuss most of all. Here are my feelings.. The CG is a very imperfect stat category in today’s fantasy baseball. Obviously, its infrequent and not indicative of a great pitcher more times than now. Here’s the thing though: I think the chat gets a little extra buzz when a pitcher (especially some random) gets through 7 2/3 and under 90 pitches. It’s a category that you can’t plan for, which runs (KIND OF) in line with triples albeit less frequent. There’s a symmetry with what we have now in our scoring structure. It’s generally why we originally set it up as we did. Six counting stats and one percentage stat on each side. I’m not here advocating for keeping this because it helps me the most (Because it obviously doesn’t), but I just don’t see a better option that is an OBVIOUS upgrade over what we have. We’re not here to make wholesale category changes for the sake of making changes. The idea is to improve the league, not just tweak what isn’t exactly a problem. If we want to have a discussion of modernizing our category (and adding WHIP which I fucking hate), I would be agreeable to killing K’s and adding K/9 to a BB/9 which is more preferable than WHIP to me. That might make more sense in the end, but again its not a change I really don’t think needs to be made.

 

  • New Owner: Just between your two commissioners, there are three prospective new owners: Devon McCann (Shane’s Brother), Guy Pollioni, and Jim Cartnick (Both friends of Brian). All three have previous experience playing with us in fantasy leagues and would make fine additions to the backyard. If there are no other names put forward and no other objections, the commissioners will give the above people the chance to look over Odom’s roster and the rest of the league and decide if they wish to join the Backyard. They will be asked in the order we have listed them. If Devon Takes it, we are good, if he opts not to, we move on to Guy, if he opts out, we go to Jim. If all three refuse to take over the dumpster fire, we call Figs. Just kidding.

The Lobman Response:

I have 0 opinion on who gets into the league. I trust you guys to vet these potential owners enough to let them know how awful we all are. The only thing I’ll say is this: The MUST understand the team they’re getting themselves into. Odom was fucking crazy, but he was masterful with his strategy. There are pieces to work with here, but the new owner really has to understand that there’s a very good change he gets stomped for almost 2 seasons while he shapes his team. To me, go nuts guys… Get your man.

 I would say maybe a way to incentivize an owner taking a team is to allow them to have a 3-5 player first picks at the FA list once the rosters are fully and correctly populated. This will at least let the new owner put his initial first stamp on his team.

 

  • Cash Prize: This is another one that we approach tentatively because this league will ALWAYS be all about pride and talking shit at the end of the day; but frankly, with the amount of time most of us put into this league, kicking in the price of a beer and a sandwich would not be unreasonable. Getting that trophy along with some cash money would be a lovely way to cap off a hard won victory. We’d suggest 20 bucks an owner. For our free-Fantrax 2020, that pot of $200 would go completely to the champion, but in 2021 and beyond, the previous year’s champion would not have to pay anything the following year, and the 180 bucks collected from the other 9 owners would be divided as follows: $80 to cover league costs and $100 to the champion. Hopefully we all have Venmo by this point; it would make these fees really easy to collect and the winner’s prize easy to pay out.

The Lobman Response:

Sure. 20 bucks per owner won’t kill anyone. I think we either need a new trophy for the changeover, or we need to get the trophy and add the nameplates that were DEFINITELY not ordered and put on the past few years. The free Fantrax year will allow us to spend 200 bucks on this, or I guess whatever we’ll just give 100 bucks to the winner, 20 to the runner-up, then 80 for next year’s league. I don’t know. I do completely agree with Greg that I don’t want this to turn into a money league. I also don’t mind tossing 20 bucks to help contribute to improving the league.

 

We humbly put forth the above plans for your consideration. We don’t have to put a GODDAMN thing to a vote, but perhaps we will in some cases when we get a better sense of how the league feels. Bottom line: We’re really excited about our potential move to the massive player pool of Fantrax, the expansion of rosters, and drafting some new guys. The league has the potential to run very smoothly this year without the hassle of counting high minors ABs and IPs and checking when rights players are added.  No self-policing also means no more draconian penalties. Adopt our changes and let Fantrax do the work for you. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting before we know it. Let’s rock and roll.

The Lobman Response:

I know the commish(s) are going to do what they feel would be best for the league. I also know that everyone has a different interpretation of what’s an improvement over previous years. Now that we have the commish thing settled, I think the order of operation needs to be:

 Fantrax or ESPN (I THINK we chose Fantrax officially?)

  • Rule changes (a THOROUGH addendum process with POSSIBLE amendments and negotiation)
  • New Owner
  • Draft (If applicable)

I wouldn’t combine or deviate from this order, because one thing needs to happen before the next occurs. I’m sure I have more to add to this, but I wanted to address all of this specifically before we go to the next steps.

 

 

-Lobman

 

A Reasoned Response – Comments to the McCann-Smith Platform

Playoff Review – Opening Week

Playoffs 2019

Well, this is a weird feeling. For the first time in the history of the league, yours truly the TWO time champeeen River City Bad Dude–Margs are not chasing another title run. I know the rest of the league is as broken up as I was about this fact, but in respect of the remaining playoff chasers, we will press on and give a QUICK review of this first round of the playoffs in the year of our lord 2019. Without further ado:

BYE Weeks: Lacey Twp backdoor Sliderzzzzzzzz(z), East Coast Kings

They both did a nice job managing (not managing) their rosters and setting themselves up for their respective weeks in Round 2. Good for them.

 

Consolation Bracket:

Fiers

Lakehurst Leviathans defeat THE NEW LOOK River City Fightin’ Margs – 9-3-2

NOTES: Shane keeping Mike Fiers has paid immediate dividends, as his centerpiece for 2020 throw a 6 inning 5 earned GEM. This start further entrenches him in the Leviathans 2020 rotation (I assume). Anyways, nobody really gives a fuck about the consolation bracket, but its really fucking swell to see Bryce Harper hit dingerZ when they don’t actually matter. Both teams had solid OBP’s (Shout out to the 2019 OBP record for Shane this week BUT THE MEDIA ISN’T REPORTING THAT) and didn’t start the requisite 12 which is just fine for this situation.

Next Up: Honestly who cares.

 

Jap

Rojo’s Renegade Force defeats Barnegat Banana Slugs – 7-3-4

NOTES: I dunno. Aristides Aquino had a very nice week. The Renegades got some strong Japanese power with an Ohtani JROLL, as well as a lovely outing from Yu Darvish. One must think that this momentum will really push The Renegades into good form for next seas…………. Nevermind. Uh, moving on!

Next Up: Again, Nobody Cares

 

Actual Bracket:

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J-Ram heating up at the right time for the X-Rayz

Pacific Beach X-Rayz Start lots of guys, defeat Island Beach Bears – 9-3-2

NOTES:

You just know you’re in for a long playoff week when you look at your opponent’s starting roster on a Monday and find 8(!) random pickups on for a doubleheader in Yankee Stadium. That’s not what you want, and for Sean’s Bears, the random beat-down continued throughout the entirety of the week. There’s no way to know if Sean actually paid attention this week, but if he did, he would have seen that the X-Rayz started 40 FORTY different batters! If I were Mikey T, I’d make some claim that this was DEFINITELY a record. I’m not sure if it was, but it was a record. Anyways, Jose Ramirez is good again, so he gets my MVP of the week award for this matchup. Also, it can’t feel good to see FORMER Bear, Domingo German tossing a 7-inning gem against his former team. Again, I’m not sure Sean noticed.

FOR THE BEARS, Max Munchy had a nice week, and the team sure got a lot of holds. Marcus Semien rung up a JROLL moral victory, and the Bears did not start 40 batters this week. That’s like all I got here. The real winner here are the Bears, as now their owner can paddle out to sea on his boogie board without having to worry about checking his roster. I think at the end of the day, both teams got what they wanted, and that’s really what this league is all about.

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Sean, the ocean waits for theeeeeeeee

Next Up: Pacific Beach X-Rayz travel to the back woods of Lacey Township to face our defending champion. I expect too many wrestling comments.

 

Matchup of the Playoff Week, SPONSORED BY DICK’S SPORTING GOODS:

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The Ocean Gate Trout Fishing Club TIE and DEMORALIZE and END the SEASON of the Astoria Isotopes – 6-6-2

NOTES:

Wooooo boy. I mean, where to begin here. This matchup had EVERYTHING, and by everything, I mean that I really started following what was going on around 5:30 on Sunday night. But the drama was palpable heading into that 7pm Little League whatever the fuck that is that they do every year now. It honestly looked like the Fishing Club had this thing all done and dusted at the end of the day on Saturday, but low and behold the #Dopes decided to go out and have a fairly RIDICULOUS 6 homer 14 RBI Sunday afternoon (along with 2 holds and 2 saves) to take a 7-5 lead into this now historic 7pm game. Now, I didn’t watch the game, mainly because A-Rod is so terrible to listen to and he wears uncomfortably tight dress shirts, but the situation had the Topes getting into the semifinals if the score held. The OGFC needed a homer and a double from one of the Bell/Bryant/Rizzo trio, which in hindsight was entirely plausible.

The chat was FILLED with T comments saying, “I WANT THE CHAMP” and talking about his impending matchup with The BDSliderz. I remember thinking to myself “Just how much will I laugh if Bryant doubles, then Rizzo homers right behind him?” very early on in the game (while tracking on my phone, again A-Rod isn’t good). WELL GUYS you’ll never guess what happens in the 5th inning! Mitch Keller gives up a quick double to Kris Bryant, to prompt Mikey T to say something along the lines of “Uh Oh”. Now, we all knew what was coming next, which was inevitably the end of the Dopes I mean Topes season. Trying to rile up my good friend T, I said “Hey wouldn’t it be funny if Rizzo homered here?”. The chat BLEW UP. Rizzo had done it, something ALL TOO MANY have done off of Mitch Keller this season, but this one mattered. The Bryzzo combo had officially sent the hopes of Topes 2nd title crashing down in the Williamsport night. Many little leaguers were cheering. I assume T was not. Heroy was hungover and somewhat down about his victory. Nobody wins sometimes.

Let’s just give a big ole MVP to Bryzzo here for disemboweling the Topes on a late Sunday night.

Next Up: The OGFC head to the East Coast (?) to face the Kings, where there’s no doubt where Heroy will concede victory to R-mac about 15 times and proclaim that he doesn’t really care about this league anyways and wants it all to end.

TO SUM UP THIS WEEK:

Playoff Review – Opening Week

MAKE THE BACKYARD FUN AGAIN

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Puig and Heroy agree: Let’s make the league fun again

-OK, so the league is still fun. Its the first thing I check during the season, and I get great joy in spending an hour or two just perusing the FA list for the next gem or SP eligible reliever. I do, however, feel that there are all very valid concerns (at times) about how sometimes people get frustrated about the setup or the monotony of the league day to day. This has led many of us to openly complain or even threaten to leave the league at the end of the year. Maybe we’re all getting older, or busier, or whatever. The thing is: This league is still great and could be even better if a couple of tweaks are made. Below are the beginnings of some referendum I intend on bringing to the table in the off-season, most of which have come from conversations I’ve had with some other owners throughout the past year and change:

  1. Fantrax – Maybe the biggest and most important decision we have this year will be the potential move from ESPN over to the Wild Wild West of Fantrax. Fantrax is uncharted territory for us, fantasy baseball wise. The football experience we had was downright awful, but from all accounts Fantrax has improved leaps and bounds. Despite what Fantrax lacks in a workable app (They’re supposedly making one for next year), they make up for in having all the customization data and options that our league DESPERATELY needs. Sure, ESPN has the interface that’s easy to use, but what good is it if pitchers are given PP stats for 2 consecutive days? We have to manually monitor our dynasty situation because ESPN doesn’t care about that portion of fantasy baseball. With a potential move to Fantrax (WHICH WILL BE FREE THANKS SHANE), we would have all this managed for us. Players who are currently FUCKING high schoolers are in their system, which negates the need for a rights system. Its easy for all of you who don’t attempt to manage this whole process to scoff at moving just for a few high schoolers, but it’s going to safeguard you from making really dumb roster decisions in an effort to get that last 2 AB’s from a rookie infielder. Honestly, I think its all worth risking a year and taking a chance at making our league everything it could be in the end.

 

  1. League Expansion – This might be a big ask nowadays, but I think expanding the league to 12 teams would be a major positive to the league. Adding 2 additional teams will dilute the FA Pool to a point where people will have LESS options to stream with during the season, which will allow for more trades and careful thought regarding your roster construction. With the impending departure of The Renegades (is he really going?), MAYYYYBE this is a tough ask, but I feel like this would be a major enhancement to the league. I have thoughts about how an expansion draft would work, but that could be discussed if this idea makes it past conception. Even IF Rojo leaves, I heard rumblings that Brian/Shane/Doch ALL have potential owners to replace him, so to me it’s a thought to let them all the fuck in… Let’s get weird!

 

  1. Roster Expansion – OK, so if adding more teams isn’t as palatable to you as is it is to me, maybe think about expanding our rosters to add 3-5 additional bench spots. These spots would be free for anyone on the FA list, which helps diluting the pool (like I discussed in bullet 2). Taking 30-50 halfway decent players off the FA list will again enhance the potential for trade discussions and allow for people hold onto certain borderline players and not stream as much. Just how many roster spots we’d add is certainly up for debate, but I think this is a logic solution to a problem we have.

 

  1. Extend the Waiver Period – Sounds controversial, but really there’s sense behind this idea. Currently, we’re at a 2 day waiver period. This allows you to stream through a litany of pitchers, and still catching them for a 2nd start later in the week. The way this league has evolved, teams (such as myself) only have to roster 2-3 starters at a time while streaming the rest of their starts. Sometimes that works, other times it doesn’t, but you shouldn’t be able to construct a roster that just filters thought players like it’s a DFS pick em league. Extending the waiver period won’t cure this entirely, which is OK, but it’ll curb some of the quick drops and adds. In turn, maybe we see some more trade negotiations? Its hard to say, but it feels to me like a 5 day waiver period will place more emphasis on who you drop and not the frequency in which you drop them over the course of the year.

Summing this up: Not all of these changes NEED to be made in order to make this league as good as it could be, but any one of them could surely improve some of the intricacies that we have currently. Maybe it wont cure all the complaining and fatigue, but I think these changes could bring some fun to the league again in 2020.

MAKE THE BACKYARD FUN AGAIN

10 Teams In 10 Days: #4 Manchester MooniniteZ

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KNOW YOUR OWNER!:  SEAN!  What can be said about this guy that hasn’t already been said, really?  Ungenerous lover?  Surely no one has ever said that about Sean, because it would be demonstrably false.  Anyways, BEST OF LUCK TO SEAN IN THE UPCOMING SEASON!

(HEY GUYS LOBMAN HERE: I’m going to do some critiquing of the Mooninitez, if for no reason just to get back at Sean for the HIT SHOW he’s been putting on ya’ll. So here we go. FUCK SEAN AND BEST OF LUCK!)

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KEY ADDITIONS!:  CF Andrew McCutchen, LF/CF Ian Desmond, CF Keon Broxton, SP Vince Velasquez

(Lobman’s Key Additions: Andrew McCutchen, Ian Desmond, A new address, Keon Broxton’s inflated sense of worth, Lance McCullers’s healthy elbow for a month or so, Gray hair, Kendrys Morales)

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KEY SUBTRACTIONS!:  SP Danny Duffy, SP Alex Reyes (INJURY), RP Andrew Miller, RP AJ Ramos, CF Victor Robles possibly eventually

(Lobman’s Key Subtractions: His Freedom, Danny Duffy, Dexter Fowler, Andrew Miller, Ability to make the babies, AJ Ramos, His youth, etc)

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THE HITTERS!:  SOME PROMISING PIECES. Really gotta hand it to this owner/manager/savant. I tell ya I can talk about this collection of hitters all day but will attempt not to. I mean WHERE TO BEGIN? Nolan Arenado is a stud everyone knows this. LESS people seem willing to acknowledge that Joey Votto is…..Votto is grossly disrespected in this league, this is AN OBP LEAGUE (.490 OBP in 2nd half last year, basically the best hitter in baseball over that stretch). So yea stop being rude to Votto ALL OF YOU, top 15 hitter in OBP leagues.  Add Matt Carpenter to the grossly disrespected category, in perhaps his last beautiful year of 2B eligibility (eligibility losses throughout could actually be a bit of a problem come 2018). Everyone knows what Gary Sanchez did last year and everyone has an opinion about what level he can repeat this year. He’s kinda like (a better) Trevor Story in that way. Edwin Encarnacion still has A FEW good years left in him and will be rostered by the MooniniteZ until he retires goddammit. Speaking of eventual demise, reports of Andrew McCutchen‘s demise have been GREATLY EXAGGERATED if you ask me (again his worst year ever last year and it was basically Adam Jones production); the MM look forward to Cutch and Ian Desmond putting up numbers for them that they are therefore not putting up for the reigning champs. And then there is KEON BROXTON, beautiful Keon Broxton. Whom will surely divide opinions around the league but whom hits the ever fucking fuck out of a baseball (when he actually hits it). And can steal 40+ bags and can walk enough to be in position to steal 40+ bags. This franchise fully expects Keon Broxton (and/or his counterpart/replacement Lewis Brinson) to produce excellent numbers this upcoming season. REMEMBER THOSE NAMES. And now I will conclude namedropping everyone on the team. Also I like Justin Turner‘s hair what can I say. Done now.

(Lobman’s Note: Oh hey fuck this team. Actually, they’re very good. Starting at the top, we could talk about the fact that Nolan Arenado might be the best player in baseball overall, which is maybe bold, but saying something! Then move to Easy E, Carp, Votto, and Cutch as some veteran help which really adds a ton of consistency to the mix of offensive young talent that the Moon Men possess. I’m so disgustingly done with the LOVE that Sean throws at Keon fucking Broxton, but in all actuality, he has potential to be a nice fantasy player this year. He will not realize this potential, but HEY lets just dream on that potential! Actually no lets not. The Mooninitez won’t lack for offensive production this year, and if they get some production out of the young hitters and prospects, they could top a lot of the stat columns in the league this year. But he won’t tho, because of the two finalists last season.)

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THE ROTATION!:  SOME PROMISING PIECES. Really gotta hand it to this owner/manager/savant. Justin Verlander is I suppose TECHNICALLY the staff ace following his 2016 renaissance season (3.04 ERA, 10.04 K/9), but if you ask me (and it is my team) THE REAL GEM is a one Lance McCullers. McCullers has absolutely filthy stuff and only health concerns standing in the way of a possible Cy Young campaign YEA I SAID IT, and ideally some mechanical changes for him that have been discussed this spring alleviate some of those concerns. Another guy with nothing but goddamned health concerns in his way is James Paxton, Mariners lefty of the altered mechanics that gave him third best fastball velocity amongst starters last season (minimum 120 IP). He can be very good this season and many think he in fact shall LOOK AROUND THIS ISN’T JUST ME. That is your big 3 for this rotation, of which only one can be considered established. Behind them are equally un-established but intriguing talents in Matt Shoemaker and Vince Velasquez, both were kinda excellent for stretches there in 2016 (Velasquez more first half Shoemaker more second half) and both are coming off kinda scary injuries (Shoemaker a liner to the head which is scarier for him, Velasquez dreaded biceps issues which are scarier for me). Again dare I say that if we can guarantee solid health you can expect solid performance from those two, likely high K solid performance which is this team’s favorite kind. And lastly and most boringly is Jake Odorizzi, which is what you get when a team is dead last in quality starts 2 years running and gets tired of watching Michael Pineda‘s line implode in the early innings. Odorizzi is being counted on for consistency hopefullyyyyy right around 8 Ks per 9 and an ERA right around 3.60 or something. Also ALEX REYES WOULD HAVE BEEN A BEAUTIFUL THING TO WATCH. Now he’s a possible trade chip or a depressing stash until mid 2018, when he might finally cross the non-minors-eligible threshold.

(Lobman’s Note: Poor Poor Alex Reyes. At least Sean didn’t kill this Cardinals prospect. FLY HIGH FREE BIRD! For some reason, Sean loves Matt Shoemaker, who he called intriguing for whatever reason, but fine. There are many questions with the rotation, but one thing it doesn’t lack is potential. Talking Paxton, McCullers {A Lobman Favorite}, and Vinny Velasquez make for a pretty fantastic young stable of pitchers, albeit with many concerns. I’m sure Sean is concerned. His pitching won’t be the best, but it will be enough for him to be wildly successful as a whole.)

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THE BULLPEN!:  SOME PROMISING PIECES. Really gotta hand it to this owner/manager/savant. Okay I’ll admit the initial look here notttt the mosttttt promising. But also let me just be clear since this came up recently, this team fielded 2016’s best bullpen FULL STOP (only team with 200+ saves+holds, lead the league in Ks and ERA so the bullpen was clearly doing its duties). But now it is 2017. Kenley Jansen is 1st or 2nd best fantasy closer in all the land so he will be fine, but beyond him ehhhhh. The MooniniteZ will be adopting an early strategy of “banking on Dodgers wins” and hoping Grant Dayton is an effective set up man (he was pretty damn good in 2016), they will also be banking on someone OTHER than Koda Glover so that they have the Nats closer rather than just some fuckface Nats holds guy (Blake Treinen and Shawn Kelley currently rostered, AT MOST only one expected to survive final roster cuts)The MooniniteZ will ALSO be banking on Carter Capps and his cheating cheater delivery to return to the dominance they both enjoyed in 2015, and then hope he quickly grabs the closers role, and then hope that it even matters because how many leads are the Padres going to even gather. There’s also hope that the SP-eligible Raisel Iglesias gets a shower seat/takes hold of the closer’s gig in Cincinnati (again leads will be at a premium) and hope that Juan Nicasio grabs some holds out of an SP spot and EVEN hope in minors relievers (Joe JimenezAJ Minter) coming up later in the year and helping out down the stretch run. HOPE ALL OVER THE DAMNED PLACE. HOPE ABOUNDS.

(Lobman’s note: LETS TALK ABOUT CARTER CAPPS. Actually, nah. Really its about Kenley. Mostly because he’s the only real closer on this team right now. That is a problem. The good thing is that the bullpen is pretty easy to fine tune into serviceable during the season, and that’s discounting the fact that the Mooninitez carry some huge potential relievers as of now. SO WHO KNOWS. Whatever tho…)

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THE OUTLOOK!:  THE SKY (and the max carrying capacity of hope) IS THE LIMIT for this talented group of fantasy fodder. There are quietly concerns within the organization over the 2018 team with several players possibly losing KEY positional eligiblity but that makes the desire to win in 2017 (and then dismantle the team like I’m Lobman) all the stronger. A few bullpen issues to likely address throughout the course of the year and pitcher injuries are always headaches (there’s perhaps a slightly elevated risk of those here) and there can be some slumping hitters in this group to work around or upgrade, but who doesn’t trust this owner to put it all together? Anyone? I certainly trust this owner to put it all together.

(Lobman’s Note: You’re lying to yourself if you don’t think this team will be in the race for one of the byes this season. You’re also lying to yourself if you don’t think this team does carry some concern in every area of their roster that could potentially ruin their season. Its kind of the breaks when you have the “thinking ahead of the game” mentality that Sean {and myself} possess. The positive thing is the bone structure of a championship team are absolutely there, so if the breaks are in the Mooninitez favor, he’s an easy title contender. Lets not root for that tho.)

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SEAN’S PREDICTION!:  11-5-2, 2nd place.  BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, people.  Confidence is key.  Note:  This is only second place IN THE REGULAR SEASON, I also fully expect to win the championship. See you bitches at my victory BBQ.

(Lobman’s Note: I’ll base this off of nothing and say The Mooninitez win 10 games and get somewhere in the 4th spot. But that’s spitballing. He will also lose to me in all facets. FUCK SEAN)
10 Teams In 10 Days: #4 Manchester MooniniteZ

MLB.TV/MILB.TV Sharing

Logo 2

A bit of league business:

Ok, so, I don’t know how many of you I’ve spoken to about all this, but MLB.TV is good. I don’t even know how many of you even use it to watch random Twins games on a Thursday in July, but I do, along with Iron Pigs games on random Wednesday afternoons in June. Or whatever you get my point.

Well the point is I want to see if the league had any willingness to pool together and buy MLB.TV memberships and/or MiLB.TV memberships, in light of our current league structure. MLB.tv is 112.99 for the year, while MiLB.tv prices are not yet available. I am buying both for myself, and would like to subsidize the cost by sharing with everyone. If you’re interested (or already buy it), lets work this out.

@ ME on the chat or text or whatever and we’ll build a list and work out costs.

Love always,

Mike

MLB.TV/MILB.TV Sharing

2017 TROLL SERIES, VOL. 5: PARTNERS IN (PETTY) CRIME

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FILE PHOTO: Sean and Odom

(Reviewing the Odom/Sean Split)

– Jon Bevilaque was too beautiful for this world. Well, this fantasy baseball world, I guess. As he left us and his floundering dumpster fire of a team (thank you for D. Wright’s productive years), a duo took his place. This duo would take the league by storm and revolutionize the way we work our teams for years to come. Established in 2011 as a team with MANY names, but settling in as the JVDG’s (Jimbo’s Vulcan Death Grip, with quite a story attached), They did the improbable and took their 9-11 inaugural roster to a championship run, defeating the 17-3 Mashers and defending champ Takeover. I mean, this was a pretty good feat right there, they did it 2 more times to become the ONLY 3 time champions in the league’s short history.

Naturally, all good things must come to an end, so when Lenny (or Mitchell or whoever) left our league, it was time to split the golden partnership to create two knowledgable and trustworthy owners. The results? We’ll just say the jury is still out. Lets just see how these two have done in their handling of individual teams:

SEAN MCLAUGHLIN AKA MAIN STREET MOONINITEZ

Lets talk about the Mooninitez’ 2015 (Editor’s Note:  THEY WERE THE “MANTIS SHRIMP” FOR MOST OF THAT SEASON FUCKING GET YOUR FACTS IN ORDER). You look at the roster and say “hey that’s a pretty good team” after their dispersement draft. Then Sean goes and trades Anthony Rizzo for Johnny Cueto because “He didn’t like Rizzo’s face”. Well, Rizzo goes to the eventual champions, and Cueto did not, in fact, finish the season on the Mooninitez roster. Couple that with trading Jose Bautista for Carlos Gonzalez (and a ride), then dropping CarGo before he exploded again, ITS REALLY HARD TO PHATHOM why he ended up in 10th place. Oh, and his pitching. It SUCKED. Cool, guy, way to have good relievers when your best starter was the incomparable Collin Fucking McHugh.

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Traded for Anthony Rizzo? NICE

So yea, he moves on to 2016, where he enjoyed a great deal of success. We’re talking #2 seed and a bye success. Helped by a good draft and the pickup of MANY MANY nice young players, the Mooninitez ripped off a crazy 8 week streak of W’s on route to a bye and a semi-final round matchup against Heroy and the OGTFC. If any of you are familiar with Sean and certain outcomes in his life, you’re JUST SHOCKED to find out that he actually blew it and lost. All that talent, and he BLOWS IT. You suck, Sean.

To sum it up, you’re looking at 1 season of downright awful roster management and results, then a fairly successful year only to completely blow it when it matters most. If that’s not classic Sean McLaughlin, then I just wasted 15 years of my life getting to know this dude. What I’m saying is he’s been a waste of talent and brains, but HEY things are looking up for 2017!

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Mooninites are stupid and so are you.

Overall Grade: C- (At least you traded Lo-Cain for Joey Votto)

MIKE ODOM AKA POINT LOMA X-RAYS

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RIP to Odom’s successful season

Audible laughter was heard during the draft in 2015, as the playful stoner buddy we all know and love was piecing together his roster. I just remember how critical Slugs owner Brian Smith was of the X-Rays roster construction. I mean, he was BERATING that draft. Almost insulting things were said. But anyways, it was universally recognized that the X-Rays were the presumptive favorites for “The Figs ©”, which is given to the biggest loser in the league much like that nickname is given to the biggest loser in real life. WELL wouldn’t you know it, the X-Rays (then Dee-generation X) worked some incredible magic to become the improbable #3 seed in the playoffs in their 1st year of existence, which is approximately 7 spots higher than what Sean’s inaugural season resulted. Fair to say that despite the BEATDOWN that the Slugs gave Odom’s X-Rays in the first round the playoffs, Things were really looking up for 2016.

Cut to 2016, where the X-Rays somehow IMPROVED on their inaugural season and finished #1 in the regular season standings. Well, as Hallowed Two-Time Champion and Established Most Successful Franchise in Backyard History Owner Mike Lobman will tell you, #1 seeds and Regular Season championship don’t mean shit unless you win something (Self-Burn). All of the good that 2016 saw in the regular season was undone by a quick but close loss to the defending champion Cuban Missiles, which was a tough way to end a very promising season.

With 2 consecutive seasons of promising regular seasons, followed by disappointing blown opportunity in the playoffs, one has to question the mental toughness or ability to make clear decisions when it matters most. Are the X-Rays constructed to win the regular season, followed by incredible flame outs in the playoffs? So far, YEP. Our now commissioner will take with him a large amount of expectation going into 2017, coupled with the actual and probably annoying task of managing the league. Safe to say anything less than a championship will be an IMMENSE DISAPPOINTMENT.

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I don’t know why I signed with the Red Sox, either

Overall Grade: C (Big steps but David Price is CLEARLY REGRESSING)

 Does that mean they are effective owners of championship teams without each other? The answer of course is no. No they aren’t.

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We’ll always remember the good times

Overall Grade: F (Fuck Both of these guys, in particular)

-Lobman

2017 TROLL SERIES, VOL. 5: PARTNERS IN (PETTY) CRIME

2017 Troll Series, Vol. 1: Power Rankings – Tying Up Political Loose Ends Edition

Well, my friends, its 2017. 2016 has left us, as has our dignity, sense of American pride, and inevitably certain inalienable rights that are SURE to be taken from us when our fascist neo-con piece of garbage PEOTUS comes to power in mere days. But fear not. 2017 is a better year for this group, as another season is upon us. I do need to exercise some of the demons that the last half of 2016 presented to me, which left me a sad and broken man on New Years Eve this year. These power rankings to begin 2017 will make us all think, and therefore possibly better. Or maybe even worse. Whatever, here are your rankings:

(Note: Just jokes guys…)

  1 . OceanGate Trout Fishing Club

The Candidate: Donald Trump

Yes, yes, we have to start with the champ. Greg Heroy’s horrendously named club withstood all comers to win his FIRST championship in the league, and I guess the league is better for it. The parallels are basically perfect with our newly elected president and current champ: Both horrendous racists, both completely winging it in policy, both likely to have important members of their teams killed during their reign (RIP JOSE). No matter what we think of these guys, they won 2016.

As for the FC, they had a pretty excellent season. Offensively, they were clearly the best offensive team in the league, while having JUST ENOUGH pitching to win close matchups. There’s no question that Heroy still boasts a very young and talented offensive core, but will no doubt need to shore up the pitching staff if he wants to repeat as champ in 2017.

  1. River City Cuban Missiles

The Candidate: Hillary Clinton

Both historically successful and wildly unlikable, there are again some pretty decent comparisons with the runners up in both the league and the election. The Missiles had an incredibly uneven campaign, marred by slight missteps and scandals, but still somehow continued to barrel through the competition to face the OGFC in our championship game. Hillary (although more of a favorite) had much of the same situation. The league and the country supported change, and that’s what they got.

The Missiles had what many would call a down year by any standards, so the sheer fact that they made the title game should be considered a huge success in hindsight. Still relying on power numbers and strikeouts, the Missiles made some trades to get younger in areas, which can certainly help them address some questions and become more well-rounded as we head into 2017.

FROM THIS POINT, YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO ALL GO WITH ME ON THESE COMPARISONS

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  1. Point Loma X-Rays

The Candidate: Marco Rubio

Despite the fact that he was a part of the 3 time championship run, I consider Odom’s X-Rays to be somewhat of an upstart in this league. In terms of ideas and strategy, they quickly established themselves as a key player during the stretch run, much like our boy Rubio. When it really mattered (the playoffs), both Odom and Rubio showed to be slightly out of their depth, as they were quietly silenced in short order. FRET NOT, Point Loma fans, this team is for real. As Rubio is establishing himself to be a strong Republican influencer and potential opposition to Trump in 2020, Odom will continue to wheel and deal his way into relevance in 2017.

  1. Main Street Mooninitez

The Candidate: Bernie Sanders

I mean, I gotta give a little love to Sean here for basically mirroring the man he supported this year. The Mooninitez certainly felt the BERN in the regular season, working their way to the 2 seed and becoming a very much feared opponent for any team competing for the title. The problem with both Bernie and Sean was while their messages were strong and they had a nice following, they both fell to much stronger opposition when it mattered most. Maybe they were both too stubborn and one-note in their strategies, or maybe what they were doing grew stale over the course of the season. Maybe they just choked. Either way, Bernie created a movement, something which the Mooninitez would love to carry on into 2017 for some playoff success.

  1. Barnegat Banana Slugs

The Candidate: Ted Cruz

Despite the fact that they do NOT share one consistent political ideology or belief, there’s probably no better match in 2016 than the Slugs and the human representation of slug, Ted Cruz. Both Smitty and Cruz could be considered by some to be pretty pompous or sometimes a bit smug, but there’s definite genius there. Up and comers from a few years ago, the Slugs have really become a team to be taken seriously, most recently reaching championship game status in 2015 and debunking the vaunted RUNNER UP Curse ©. Ted Cruz shares a similar path, going from freshman senator to legitimate presidential candidate in relatively short order. Both took the L pretty hard to end their respective seasons, but neither are going away anytime soon.

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  1. Rojo’s Resurgence

The Candidate: Ben Carson

Look, we can’t all be winners. The Resurgence had a few years of some really forgettable seasons, so the beginning of 2016 showed signs of a … resurgence … of sorts. Our favorite village idiot neurosurgeon/HUD secretary (?) also shared a very strong start to 2016. Both showed to be players in their respective races, but somehow in the middle of their competition, things sort of fell apart. For the Resurgence, it may have been the apprehension to make the big deal or take a risk. For Carson? I would say it was basically the words that came out of his mouth. Or the fact that he thought the pyramids were for grain storage. Or the idea that cavemen and dinosaurs were friends or whatever. Either way, neither the Resurgence or Benny Boy were much of a factor come crunch time. The hope is that Rojo will find a way to take his team to the next level in 2017, while Carson will begin his 2017 by doing something he’s woefully unqualified to do. I’m not going to say there’s a comparison there.

  1. Pine Lake Punchouts

The Candidate: Jeb Bush

If winning is in the blood, then the McLaughlins are this league’s answer to the Bush family. Sometimes you’re a GHW Bush (Ryan’s first title, followed by a big drop), sometimes your G dubs (Sean’s part in a 3 peat that we all know he had no part in). Sometimes you’re just JEB. Jeb was a candidate who at the beginning looked to be the frontrunner, with the pedigree and history to think that he’d be a lock for the nomination. Drawing parallels, the Punchouts had the league’s best collection of pitching coupled with strong offensive pieces. The issue with both was unclear, but both Jeb and the Punchouts went down without so much as a whimper in the end. Please Clap.

  1. Springfield Isotopes

The Candidate: Chris Christie

Basically the physical opposite of Chris Christie, Topes owner Mikey T talks a very hard game and tried all season to flex his muscle as commish. Both Christie and the Topes came off as hard-talking authoritarian types, only to end up failing large and looking small at the end. While Christie is used to losing before the playoffs (politically speaking), the Isotopes missed the playoffs for the first time in their league history, which means River City are now the ONLY team to never miss the playoffs. Just thought I’d throw that in there. ANYWHO, the futures for both are up in the air. Christie will most likely become Emperor Cheeto’s coffee maker, but what can we expect from Mikey T and his Isotopes in 2017?

  1. Club Going Up on Altuve

The Candidate: Rand Paul

Rand Paul is a totally irrelevant politician, which exactly how I view Connor’s team naming and roster construction. Other than that? I mean, neither were all that successful with anything in 2016. Moving on.

  1. Whitestone Bulldogs (NOW MORNING WOOD)

The Candidate: Carly Fiorina

In the spirit of the effort Cliff put into his 2016 season, I have put that much effort into picking Carly Fiorina as his candidate. None of it matters, because he’s gone now. But our new friend SHANE is here to get this team out of the doldrums. And hey, regardless of whether you liked his 2 trades shortly after taking over the team you gotta love the fact that he’s actually making moves. I’ll miss Cliff, but the time was right to let him go, as was the time that Ms. Fiorina left the presidential race. There.

-Mike

2017 Troll Series, Vol. 1: Power Rankings – Tying Up Political Loose Ends Edition