Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fantasy League Takes Player to Field of Dreams

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fantasy League Takes Player to Field of Dreams

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union columnist

It happens every spring.

The brightest minds of Rotisserie baseball gather in Tampa to hold a draft for what they call the League of Alternative Baseball Reality.

Already I see the metaphorical eyes, some rolling, some glazing.

Some people are asking, "What in the world is Rotisserie baseball?"

Others are hoping I'm not going to answer that question. That's because, when men who love Rotisserie get together, the conversations tend to go on ad nauseam.

So I'll try to keep this brief. Rotisserie baseball, which gets its name from a restaurant that no longer exists, is a fantasy game in which "owners" assemble rosters of actual baseball players and compete by comparing their cumulative statistics over the course of a season.

We thus get to pretend we're George Steinbrenner. A year ago, when Barry Bonds hit a major league record 73 home runs, not only did he do it for the San Francisco Giants of the National League, but also he did it for my team, Patton's Third Army of Jacksonville's MBATT league.

People who participate in these fantasy leagues thrive on information. It sometimes occurs to me that if I'd studied as hard in school as I study for Rotisserie, I might have made something of my life.

Because of this need for information, a cottage industry has grown up around the game, people who make their livings analyzing the statistical performances of professional baseball players.

Those are the people who take part in the annual LABR draft, with the results featured in Baseball Weekly. This spring, each LABR owner was asked to describe what he learned from last year's draft. Alex Patton (no relation) replied: "Not to show up in a polka dot hat [dressed] as the Joker, like my last-minute replacement did last year."

This amused members of the MBATT league since Patton's last minute replacement was John Hobbs, our reigning champion. …

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