Brian, Feature

Command and Obedience

Don't watch SportCenter.

by Brian Dorsey

As fantasy baseball managers, we need to be meticulous and precise. We’re slaves to our teams. We set our lineups daily. We read articles. We know more about baseball players than any ESPN sportscaster (How many times have you watched SportCenter and said something like, “No, Scott Van Pelt, Alex Rios has a 75.5% career steal success rate!”?).

And while our goal is simple (to win), creating a championship caliber team is neither easy nor happenstance. Yes it’s true that Lady Luck has stepped in before, kissing the cheek of that inept manager, allowing his otherwise mediocre team to raise the fantasy trophy. But most managers would agree: that guy is a (expletive). Your strategy should never be, “Hey, I signed in for the first time in four months…and I won!”

Which is the point of this writing (heck, it’s the point of this website); to help you be the best manager that you can be.

But what about shameless plagiarism, big-angry-Brazilian man?

I’ve been reading Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage, and even though the messages and lessons learned throughout relate to deeper and more meaningful things than fantasy baseball, I’ve discovered a few lessons, when toned-down and modified, that could be applied in fantasy land. This isn’t a book report, so I’ll save the summary for another musing, but the book’s main message is a spiritual one.

Each chapter is structured around a certain exercise, and I found “the listening exercise” to be the most relevant. The exercise tells us to listen to our surroundings as if we were hearing an orchestra playing its instruments. Very slowly we are to concentrate on each sound, eliminating the others.

What I’m asking of you, fantasy owners, is to spend some time looking at your fantasy lineup. Get really close with your players. Look at your team as a whole, see what they do well together and see what they do poorly together. Then isolate each player. Check his stat-splits. Find out what he does well and poorly individually.

The reason I want you to do this is because oftentimes, especially when our teams are playing well, we tend to overlook struggling players. Just because your team is doing well doesn’t mean you’re exempt from being active. If you have an amazing team, and you’re winning match ups, that doesn’t mean you should still have Austin Jackson on your team. Cut the fat. Make some trades. Take a trip to the waiver wire and claim a hot player. Don’t be complacent!

Don't be afraid to fire your players.

Likewise, if your team is struggling, you need to analyze the group and individuals alike. Look at what stats you’re lacking in and go out and target players who can give you a boost in that category. That’s not to say you should drop Carlos Gonzalez, but you might want to sit him down, especially away from Coors Field.

If you’re going to spend the time to sign up for a league and participate in a draft, you might as well try and win. Pinpointing your team’s weaknesses is the first step in the right direction.

Special thanks to and Paulo Coelho for being so rad.


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