What Is Fantasy Baseball?

By Tannock, Ray | The World and I, April 2010 | Go to article overview

What Is Fantasy Baseball?


Tannock, Ray, The World and I


We've all heard of Fantasy Baseball, and as a timeless innovation of the real sport, fantasy baseball has become one of the most predominant group activities in the world today; an activity that honestly started out as a privatized hobby for most.

But what exactly is fantasy baseball? Where did it come from? How do you play? Despite its popularity, there are still many people who simply have no clue as to what it is--outside of assuming one has a vivid imagination and manages an imaginary team in a far off land deep inside their minds.

Well, technically that is what fantasy baseball's about: an imaginary way for individuals to "manage" a baseball team and compete against friends or other random people either for good old fashion fun, prizes, cash, or even all three.

Fantasy baseball dates back to the 1960's where it was a complex computer coded competition that allowed two teams to battle against one another--they even made a radio show dedicated to "broadcasting" the "game" if you can believe that.

Over the years, however, fantasy baseball has rapidly expanded into one of the biggest competitions in the world, thank to the expansion of the internet.

Today, thousands of internet sites are dedicated to the sport which privies anyone to valuable knowledge such as player news, stats, historical performances, projections, rankings and so much more; topics that are all part of fantasy baseball.

In addition to all of this, there are just as many sites that host competitions. These competitions can be free or can cost money and usually offer a myriad of prizes. Trust me, there are so many sites out there I can only imagine what percentage of the internet they all take up. I myself write for a few advice sites and it is so popular, I have even given advice to readers that wound up being my competition for that week; advice that sometimes caused me to lose ironically enough.

Overview

So how exactly do you play, right? Well, it's actually very simple. All you really need is a notebook, internet access, a passion for the game--usually represented by a hot dog in one hand and a bag of peanuts in the other--and a general know-how of real baseball.

You can play either privately or you can play with a group of friends which, in my opinion, is far more rewarding and a lot more fun.

You start by selecting a player for each of the natural positions in baseball: first base, second base, third base, catcher, 3 outfielders, and a host of different pitchers, alongside 5 to 9 players who occupy your "bench" or backups. You do this by participating in a draft, which is where things start to really get fun. Essentially, your first step is to join a "league." You can create one on the web with either a bunch of your pals, or join a random one with a group of random people.

Once you join a league, there comes what is called "draft day" where everyone participates in a "mock draft." One by one, each participant selects the player they want to fill each position with. There are much more in depth attributes to all of this, but we'll save that for another article.

One of the benefits of playing fantasy baseball with your pals is the environment it creates--both friendly and not so friendly. During draft day, you can usurp a player that, let's say, both of you want, creating a torrent of "trash talk." However, once the draft is completed, you can spend an entire season creating intricate trades that could go to towards benefiting yourself and you league members.

Once your team is built, the actual performance of each player throughout the baseball season awards you points for your specific team. There are many different ways to play fantasy baseball, each with their own unique way of scoring which we will cover a bit later on.

Having built your team, and once the real baseball season is under way, the competition begins, and so does the smack talk in some circles. …

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