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Fantasy Leagues and Me

April 14th, 2011 by Troy Goodfellow · 6 Comments · Baseball, Me

Regular readers and listeners know that I play in an Out of the Park Baseball league with a bunch of people. I only really “know” two of them, but over the last couple of years, my email inbox has been filled with complaints, stories, analysis, and Commissioner Abner smackdowns. We play a fictional league, so we get to see imaginary players have imaginary awesome seasons, though when your 30 million dollar free agent power hitter starts to fall apart six months into a four year contract, it feels real. And yes, the College Park Riots are in last place again.


In the last month I have joined two other fantasy leagues, and these have real people and will involve some real careful attention to what is going on in the sport. First, there is a Yahoo Baseball League that a colleague invited me to join, and my team is probably not going to be in contention for long. I have Roy Halladay, one of the best pitchers in the game, and Ryan Zimmerman, an all star third baseman, but Halladay only pitches every fifth day and Zim has no one behind him to drive him in to score runs and no one ahead of him to drive in to earn RBIs.

The combined baleful influences of Rob Zacny and Jenn Cutter have led to me actually being interesting in Formula 1 racing. Zacny’s writing on the sport and the games associated with it has been outstanding, and Cutter is a patient tutor in a lot of things that I might normally find boring; nothing is more interesting than someone who can communicate their interest and these two good friends excel at that. So now I find myself in an online F1 Management game that will force me to pay attention to things like who is driving what engine and which fuel will give me the biggest bang for the buck – I can change drivers and stuff at any time, but I have a limited budget to do it with.

We did a 3MA episode on sports sims as strategy games early in its run, and it might be time to revisit the topic from another angle, because fantasy sports and historical strategy are probably two of a very few game genres that – at their best – push you to look outside the game at the real world (study wars and politics vs researching players and teams) and that also can reward you for bringing outside information into the game (knowledge of real geography vs knowledge of course/park history). Role playing games don’t make me want to read fantasy novels, flight sims don’t make me want to fly, and shooters don’t make me want to know the ins and outs of different weapon types.

As often as we hear that games are an escape from life or a way to make a corner of our lives more interesting or amusing, we sometimes forget the very real way that a well designed game can tie us back to the real world, either as it was or as it is. Yeah, sports sims are “fantasy” games but they can help you stay invested in something you want to follow more closely (like baseball) or find a way to take that existing interest and see if you can make something of it, even on a small scale. When I write about how games mislead or misinterpret or miss opportunities to say more, this is the sort of thing I have in mind.


6 Comments so far ↓

  • CFKane

    If you decide that you want to work on an tutorial AAR in addition to the long discussed EU 3 tutorial, OOTP12 would be a fine game to write about. I want to get into management sims (and have been able to get into Football Manager, despite a complete ignorance of soccer/football), but I find OOTP somewhat unintuitive. If you wrote something on OOTP, I know I’d read it.

  • Colin

    I’m a big OOTP fan need to find an online league myself as the computer is not quite challenging enough. Really enjoyed this write-up and would love to have the topic revisited on 3MA

  • steve

    I’d just like to point out that my OOTP team beat your team 17-1 in the last sim, the day after beating ’em 11-2.

  • Troy

    I am aware. I can take a series every now and then from any team in the league if the stars align. Your Burlington always beats my brains out in a sweep.

  • Steve Davey

    Colin, you should join the New City Baseball league that Troy is in. At a minimum you would not be the worst team in the league! We actually have a really good time and like poking each other in the eye. We are about at the end of the year and usually have an opening or two.

    Troy, nice story. I would like to point out that the Steve listed above is the “other” Steve.

  • bill abner

    When I see College Park pop up on the schedule I know we have 3 games of bliss ahead.

    Just say the word re: 3MA. If you want me to publicly taunt your GM abilities I’m ready to go.