2019 Annual Disclosure Statement

An Op-Ed columnist in my local paper once 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. (You need to know) who I am so you can get to know what makes me tick.”

It is important to me that you have similar perspective about my work. I’ve been writing about fantasy baseball analysis now for more than 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 (the eBay engine). 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 succeed. I think the manner in which cash winnings are tied to the core game completely bastardizes the experience. How do you fix it? For starters, make every contest – cash or GPP – single entry. But game operators won’t leave all that money on the table from players willing to pay to skew the results in their favor.
  • 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 some personal notes…

  • Despite leaving Baseball HQ in 2015, moving to Florida in 2016 and turning 60 in 2017, I am not retired and have no intention of retiring any time soon. There are still books to write, ideas to innovate and leagues to be won. They’ll have to drag me to the shuffleboard courts, kicking and screaming.
  • In 2018, I lost two close friends and industry colleagues, Steve Moyer and Lawr Michaels. My younger brother passed away in August and I have taken over managing my 90something parents’ affairs after my mother was diagnosed with cancer last March. 2018 wore me down and it has taken awhile to make my way back. So please excuse the occasional hiccup or displaced focus that might filter into my work this year. I apologize in advance.

4 thoughts on “2019 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.

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