Annual Disclosure Statement

An Op-Ed columnist in my local paper recently wrote a piece that she called her Annual Disclosure Statement. She said, “I have regular readers and new readers, but I can’t assume that everyone knows where I stand on the issues. Someone reading me for the first time might pass judgment on my work without knowing how I’ve formed my opinions over time. So once a year, I write a column that provides a summary of who I am so you can get to know what makes me tick.”

My first reaction was that her article would be a self-serving vanity piece, but I was wrong. As a new reader, I felt that it really helped provide perspective on her work.

It is important to me that you have similar perspective about my work, so I’ve decided to give this a shot. I’ve been writing about fantasy baseball analysis now for over three decades. Here is a summary of my core values:

  • I’ve taken more statistics courses than I can remember, but I don’t like to rely on quantitative analysis in evaluating baseball performance. The human element has too much impact on a player’s numbers. I prefer to try and find logical, more accessible means of analysis.
  • As such, my proclamation in the 1994 Baseball Forecaster – “Numbers are everything!” – has been pretty much disavowed. My mantra now is “Embrace imprecision!”
  • I am a fantasy baseball purist. To me, the game is primarily an intellectual challenge. I do not play for any significant money. While that elevates the excitement level for many, I find it a distraction that takes away from the experience. I do not possess the gambling gene.
  • I believe that the purest method for building a roster is the salary cap game. Each player’s market value is pre-set and owners need only agree or disagree. Giving owners the power to set their own values (in auctions) or rank players (in snake drafts) provides skewed results.
  • That said, my favorite draft experience is the auction. I like having access to every player and adding the economic element to the process.
  • I believe that every method currently in use for in-season free agent acquisition is flawed. There is a ridiculously easy solution that I’ve written about numerous times. Nobody seems interested enough to at least try it out.
  • I think daily fantasy sports (DFS) are an exciting fantasy variant that requires a different skill set in order to excel. I think the manner in which cash winnings are tied to the core game completely bastardizes the experience. I stopped playing DFS in 2017 and enjoyed having my life back.
  • Full season fantasy remains the greatest game. From my farewell column at BaseballHQ.com: “My carrot is the exhilaration that comes with creating a successful new strategy, nailing a breakout performer that nobody else saw coming and grinding out a tough victory. Winning should provide a massive sense of great accomplishment. Picking the right players on one night just doesn’t have the same pay-off for me.”

And, in response to some nasty rumors…

Despite leaving Baseball HQ in 2015 and moving to Florida in 2016, I am not retired and have no intention of retiring for a long time. I am still involved in the Baseball Forecaster and First Pitch conference events. I still compete in the national experts competitions. As long as ESPN, or other companies continue to want to pay me, I will continue to free-lance. Building this site, the BABS concept and anything that comes next continues to energize me. I have three book projects in the hopper that I hope to get to in the coming years. I am not going anywhere.

 

13 thoughts on “Annual Disclosure Statement

  1. rob fleming

    Well, you & I have a couple of things in common. I couldn’t throw a softball from the outfield to the infield so I transitioned to a spray hitting catcher. I’ve forgotten all of the statistics course I’ve taken so I read columns like yours. In June of 1984 I wasn’t yet in New Hampshire, but after retirement from the PD I moved to Bedford, NH and bought books in that same B. Dalton Bookstore in Manchester. And also at age 59 I’m busier as ever and as long as our local Y keeps asking me to teach exercise classes I will.

    I enjoyed the column Ron.

  2. shandler Post author

    Thanks Rob. I wasn’t sure how this piece would be taken. For what it’s worth, I should have mentioned that the reason I played second base was because, I, too, did not have the arm for any other position.

  3. Alan Gellin

    Enjoyable read, Ron. Thanks for filling in many of the details pre-BBHQ. I can’t wait for your solution to FAAB, which is the most frustrating aspect of fantasy baseball.

    1. shandler Post author

      Thanks Al. I was going to mention Francis Lewis High School, but those three years were pretty much inconsequential for me.

      1. Alan Gellin

        They were inconsequential for me, too! Although if we had met and become friends back then, I’m sure I’d have a much different feeling about those years.

  4. Antonio Testa

    Ron,

    I’ve been following and reading your articles for several years and I still found this piece to be informative, interesting, and worth the effort you put into it. One of the things that caught my eye was your mention of local leagues. I have found it a struggle the past 5-years to keep my local league going. I belong to “two” local leagues and the turnover has been gradually increasing and dread the day it all ends. Our local league now has owners from different parts of the country calling/Skyping in for drafts now. I am not sure how to fix it; people don’t have the time as others do, hate the computerized aspect, and most often heard, sick of the same 3-guys winning. I’d be interested if you ever write about this changing part of the game as it seems to not be an issue in other fantasy sports. Thanks for your work, and if you are looking for a local league, I have a couple spots free!

    1. shandler Post author

      This is a fascinating topic that goes beyond the game itself to the changing landscape in the fantasy sports industry. I have written about it on occasion at BaseballHQ.com but it merits a revisiting. My focus over the next few months is to get everyone ready for their drafts, and given that this is a potentially rich topic, I think it will have to wait until after the season begins.

  5. John Schwarz

    I have been reading you a long time, but some of the personal stuff I didn’t know, so thanks for sharing. My local league (a 12 team AL only) has been in “business” since 1990 (I’ve been the commish since 1993), but I didn’t start doing very well until after I started reading your stuff. I am a former high school catcher who took to softball after my playing days were over, but the softball days are long gone now too….looking forward to your thoughts on in-season free agent acquisitions as we still use the original roto rules process. No FAAB.

    1. shandler Post author

      Thanks for writing, John.

  6. Luke Edwards

    The forecaster single handedly change my perspective not only on fantasy but baseball in general. Last year BABS helped me and my friend take second in a big stakes cash league (I, unfortunately, possess the gambling gene). What intrigued me the most about BABS was how intuitive it felt and simply became an extension of me and my partners thinking on player rankings. Thank you for your work and for this article, I sincerely enjoyed it.

    1. shandler Post author

      Thanks, Luke.

  7. rickyv34

    I’m also a very long time reader of your works Ron. As always very excellent. I myself started with the Statis Pro Baseball board game in the early 1980’s and used the game’s formula to create new players for the game. I was addicted to the game and loved the numbers. I myself played fastpitch softball and was a decent pitcher. After one of our games two guys were looking at roster papers. It was the beginning of fantasy baseball via snail mail in a weekly league. The next year that league went online and I was invited to join. That league had a rough patch one year between members and we split off with 6 teams and as time went on we gained members. We are a local group of friends and family. Having young family members has kept the future bright for our league and those young guns are bright. They know how to use the internet to gain knowledge. I love BABS for it’s simplicity. I believe that simplicity could help people who are afraid of the mountain of fantasy baseball stats to be more willing to join a league. Thank you for all these years of great information Ron and please keep it going.

    1. shandler Post author

      I remember Statis Pro. For me, it was first Cadaco All Star Baseball (with the spinner), then I graduated to APBA, and once I got my first PC, it was MicroLeague Baseball. Good times.

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