Fantasy Baseball: Four facts you should know

Apr 26

Full disclosure: This is a paid sponsored post with affiliate links.

You know baseball. And did you know Major League Baseball’s official historian, John Thorn, author of “Baseball in the Garden of Eden” has stated the honor of inventing the modern game of baseball belongs to Daniel Lucius Adams, Louis Fenn Wadsworth, and William Rufus Wheaten?

You also know fantasy baseball and which players to your roster.

The draft!

The draft!

But did you know that Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), an American author and poet, created a form of fantasy baseball when he was a child, and continued developing and playing the game for most of his life?

In addition to knowing how to play the game, what else do you know about fantasy baseball? Impress your friends with these facts about the history of fantasy baseball, the Rotisserie league, and the keeper league. Then go on to discus some of the funniest or most creative fantasy baseball team names.

History of Fantasy Baseball

Kerouac populated his fantasy baseball league with fictitious statistics and teams — the Pittsburgh Plymouths, New York Chevvies, Boston Grays, and Cincinnati Blacks. He also had made-up players such as Wino Love, Warby Pepper, Heinie Twiett, Phegus Cody, and Zagg Parker.

In 1961, IBM engineer John Burgeson wrote software for the IBM 1620 computer to simulate two teams playing each other. Strat-O-Matic, a company founded in 1961, sells a tabletop fantasy baseball game that replicates real statistics as accurately as possible. Players re-create past seasons and see the what happens with their own management decisions.

Rotisserie Baseball

Journalist Daniel Okrent, and other journalists, invented rotisserie-style baseball in 1980. Sometimes called “roto,” the name comes from the New York City restaurant La Rotisserie Française, where the originators first played the game.

This version of fantasy baseball, where players act as team managers, is more realistic in others in that it uses teams of current Major League Baseball players. Therefore, it simulates real the real decisions needed by managers to make predictions about the performances of their players for the current season.

Keeper Leagues

This method involved rolling over into succeeding years of your fantasy seasons. Keeper leagues allow the game players, or managers, to keep the players they want on their roster from the previous season, as well as having a fantasy draft to acquire new players.

There are variations in rules for different types of keeper leagues. In a salary cap league, an auction process or the player’s real salary will determine the fantasy salary. Another variation is the draft round values system, where a table indexed by the draft round and the player’s selection order determines the value of the player.

If playing in a fantasy league that goes on for years isn’t your thing, you can join a daily league like FanDuel. RotoGrinders.com has your back with FanDuel specials, along with advice to better your fantasy game.

Fantasy team names

Each year, fantasy baseball owners have several important tasks — winning the league is the main one. But the second? Having that clever name.

Giancarlo Ferrari-King, a featured columnist on the Bleacher Report, has compiled his list of his favorite names for the 2015 season. One of his best is The Balking Dead, a combination of a baseball “oops” and a take-off of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Not only that, it has a great acronym — TBD. If you can’t think of a clever team name of your own, visit Team Names, a website featuring a random team name generator.

Have fun selecting your players, thinking of a clever name, and keeping your stress level down. May the best team win!

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Snapshot Saturday

Apr 25

Another blast from the past!

Today is this area’s Relay for Life. It’s a good event and has raised a lot of money for cancer research. I haven’t participated in a couple of years, but my mother is still involved. I originally got involved with this after my father lost his battle to cancer, so I thought it would be fitting to put an image of him up today.

And, it’s not too late to donate to my mother’s fundraising spot. Just click here and send in a donation. It goes to a good cause!

I know I’ve used this photo at some point… but it’s one of my favorites.

That James Dean look.

That James Dean look.

Enjoy!

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Lessons in scorekeeping: Runner hit by a batted ball

Apr 20

Baseball scoring is an interesting thing.

For those who have never kept a scorebook for baseball or softball, you should know that it can be extremely easy, or incredibly hard and confusing. Basically, it depends on the game.

The simple things are hits and outs or walks and things like that.

But when you start getting into wild pitches, passed balls, fielder’s choices, and all that – it can become quite the game of what did somebody see.

When you are at a professional game – either at the major league or minor league level – there are people paid to keep score. They are people who know the rules – or know where to find them quickly. I keep my own book at games, and though I might disagree with a ruling (home teams often get the benefit of friendly scoring when it comes to errors and hits), I go with the official scorer.

However, there are times when I am baffled and need to look up why something was scored as it was – such as what happened in a AA minor league game between the Binghamton Mets and Harrisburg Senators.

Let me give you the situation, and then we’ll work on the result and the scoring.

Harrisburg was batting in the top of the second. The first batter walked, and the second struck out, so there’s a man on first with one out.

Up steps catcher Pedro Severino, who smacked a 2-2 pitch to the right side. The runner – Matt Skole – was hit by the ball. That creates a dead ball as Skole is out and Severino reaches first.

Here are the two scorekeeping issues in this spot – who gets the putout and what is Severino credited with. My feeling was that the nearest fielder gets credit for the putout, and the runner reaches on a fielder’s choice.

The Binghamton Mets scorer, however, credited Severino with a hit. That was news to me. There were three of us in the section keeping a book and we were curious. One person looked it up and said, indeed, that Severino should get a hit. I had never heard this, though. The Mets also credited second baseman Jairo Perez, which was my initial thought.

So, how’s it ruled? I’m glad you asked. After some extensive research, here’s what we have – by breaking it down.

First, let’s look at the situation.

According to rule 5.09 (f) of the Major League Baseball rules, here’s the start:

The ball becomes dead and runners advance one base, or return to their bases, without liability to be put out when – (f) a fair ball touches a runner or an umpire on fair territory before it touches an infielder including the pitcher, or touches an umpire before it has passed an infielder other than the pitcher.

Then let’s head to rule 7.08 (f), which notes the following:

Any runner is out when – (f) he is touched by a fair ball in fair territory before the ball has touched or passed an infielder. The ball is dead and no runner may score, nor runners advance, except runners forced to advance. EXCEPTION: If a runner is touching is base when touched by an infield fly, he is not out, although the batter is out.

There are the rules about the situation. There are comments on each rule that talk about things like if it passed an infielder first, or touches an infielder etc., but this situation was pretty cut-and-dry.

So, given the situation, we know the runner is out (correct) and the batter receives first base (correct).

Well, what about scoring it?

Let’s first cover the batter. According to the scorekeeper part of the rule book and rule 10.05, which states:

(a) The official scorer shall credit a batter with a base hit when: (5) a fair ball that has not been touched by a fielder touches a runner or an umpire, unless a runner is called out for having been touched by an infield fly, in which case the official scorer shall not score a hit.

Then let’s zoom ahead to rule 10.09, which covers putouts and says:

(C)The official scorer shall credit automatic putouts as follows (and shall credit no assists on these plays except as specified): (2) When a runner is called out for being touched by a fair ball (including an infield fly), the official scorer shall credit the putout to the fielder nearest the ball.

So there you have it – the breakdown as delivered by baseball’s rules. The Binghamton Mets scorer was dead-on in how he or she ruled it. The runner is out, the closest fielder gets credit for the putout and the batter gets a hit. Interesting stuff. 

And the best part of that situation is it gave those of us who enjoy keeping score a little something to discuss on a perfect day for baseball.

I’m going to start peeking at situations I may come across during the summer with baseball and do a few more of these if situations arise. Have you had any interesting scoring situations come up in games you’ve watched? If so, let me know below!

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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The spring… is it really here? Time to geocache then.

Apr 17

Sun?

Warm weather?

What in the name of … am I still in the Northeast?

It was Easter when we were still getting snow. Now all of a sudden Mother Nature seems to have released her hold on winter.

Spring seems to have arrived. (Don’t worry… there’s talk of rain coming in, and maybe a morning with snow showers).

I can’t complain, that’s for sure – especially with blue skies and sun aplenty in recent days.

Now, I’m sure rain will be coming soon enough. We always get some spring showers. And it’s still cold in the overnight, which includes frosted windows on the car in the morning. But that’s fine. Seeing the excellent weather is outstanding.

That also means geocaching. It also just means getting outside a bit more and trying to do more things. Softball season is quickly approaching as the season is supposed to begin the week leading into Memorial Day.

Time to get out and geocache!

Time to get out and geocache!

I’m also in search of my 4,000th geocaching find. At this moment, I’m at 3,838. That means, I’m 162 away, so I should have no problem reaching that goal… but it’s when I do it.

I always attempt to make my 1,000 milestones something special. For 1,000, it was The Spot (GC39, the oldest active geocache to the East of the Mississippi River), for 2,000 it was Europe’s First (in Ireland), and for 3,000 it was the final for the New York Delorme Challenge.

I’m hoping 4,000 can be at Geowoodstock XIII on May 23.

This could be easy or it could be hard, all depending. First, I’m going to, obviously, have to do some caching between now and then. But it’s the two weeks leading in that scare me. The week before, I will be heading to ASP Geobash 10, a mega event in Western New York. I’m figuring on a day of about 25-40 geocache finds, all depending.

See, the thing about this is that I need Geowoodstock to be the exact 4,000th (I will log whatever is my 4,000th find as I keep things in order and won’t change things around to make it work), and I plan on going down the Thursday night before and have all day Friday to cache. So I don’t want to make it so hard where I have to go super crazy to get it, but at the same time, I don’t want to have to skip caching the day before just to make Geowoodstock my 4,000th find.

This is going to take some planning, that’s for sure.

But the good part of this is that the weather is changing and I’m getting interested in being outside to geocache again. This past winter… I couldn’t have cared less. In fact, I went January-March without one find. And heck, my only find in December was an event.

I’m truly looking forward to hitting some megas this spring and summer, too. As of now, I have plans for four – ASP Geobash, Geowoodstock, Berkshire Geobash, and the NY/NJ Mega (which is on my birthday).

I’m also looking at going out to Seattle for the Groundspeak Block Party in August, and I’m really interested in going to the Midwest Geobash in July, but the latter two are all pending on travel and finances. Honestly, it might be more of a … do one or the other. As much as Groundspeak’s Block Party would be a lot of fun, I wonder if I wouldn’t be better off going out to Seattle in a different month for cheaper flights and just visiting Groundspeak etc. Either way, that decision needs to be made soon as I don’t want to wait much longer to buy flights.

Honestly, though? Those last two are icing. The other ones are easily done and I’m looking forward to them.

Truthfully, I’m just looking forward to getting outside and being more active. And catching a few baseball games. And playing softball. Maybe I’ll even play a round or three of disc golf. And geocache. Oh yes, there will be geocaching.

Now get outside and enjoy the warmth. Winter will be here before you know it!

Side note: I figured out how to darken the type here a bit… that makes me happy. Now I have to figure out how to make that default.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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ConnCon a good way to break into gaming conventions

Apr 15

I should have blogged about this a bit before now, but … well, it happens.

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to head to a board game convention – ConnCon, held in Stamford, Connecticut. I went in with an open mind, but had my doubts. And why?

Well, in the past when I had thought about cons like this, all I could think about was a bunch of people dressing up like their favorite comic characters or something else and just … well, general geekery.

My first gaming convention -- ConnCon!

My first gaming convention — ConnCon!

I had wanted to go to one of those cosplay style conventions in the past for photo reasons, but I was going to this one because I wanted to play games. Was I going to be disappointed? The person who leads our local game night assured me different – this is a gaming convention with gaming as the core. It would be fine.

He wasn’t kidding.

From Friday through Sunday afternoon, we gamed. Oh did we game. I met some wonderful people (and, to be fair, a couple that made me shake my head, but that’s to be expected) from all walks of life. There were people who might fit the “board gamer” stereotype a bit more than others and then some you might have thought “he plays board games?”

Stumbling into starting to play modern-day board games was almost accidental for me. Two of us were on a way to an event and the other noted he was missing a night at a friend’s house. A weekly board gaming night, to which he noted it might sound dorky. I said … “so you guys play Monopoly and such?” He then explained the modern games and by the end of the night, the leader of this group had invited me. Outside of a chunk over last summer and such, I’ve been a pretty decent regular and have gotten into it.

I’ve enjoyed the aspects of gaming (including my personal collection of games continually growing), so when the idea of heading to ConnCon came up, it seemed like a no-brainer.

I’m glad I went.

We began Friday morning, before the convention “officially opened” by three of us who traveled down playing a game in the open area. Bora Bora is one I had wanted to play and we broke it out. We pulled in somebody who seemed to be looking for a game – Norm – and he had actually played said game. Norm joined us on several games throughout the weekend.

And to use Norm as an example – he was “common” through the weekend, and by that I mean the friendly, easy-going, want-to-play board games sort of person.

That game of Bora Bora, which we started at about 9 a.m. or so, was the beginning of a weekend where we didn’t sleep a ton and played a whole heap of games. Going to bed between 2-3 a.m. was normal for the next two nights, followed by getting up by 7 a.m.

I’m not as young as I once was, though.

Still, I was home by 6 p.m. on Sunday, which was nice.

Anyway, back to the weekend. I played 33 different times during the convention, including 27 games. That was the best part.

I had signed up to fill each slot scheduled at the Con with a game. The slots were four-hours long, so that still gave a lot of time for some open gaming.

I also ran the gamut of gaming with some really deep ones to the quick and easy ones. Some games took 10-15 minutes, while others went several hours. Of all the games I played, only one had I previously played.

The experiences are far too many to list here, but I’ll share a few.

First, one game I’ve wanted to play for a while is Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice. It’s a neat-looking game and I saw some people playing it. Turns out the owner of the game, Steve, is a wrestling nut – much like myself. We talked the squared circle a bit and agreed to get together to play later in the day Friday. When I went and found him later, he was deep into a game and leaving for the night soon after – so he told me to borrow the game for the evening, which I did.

Steve setting up for some Luchador! action!

Steve setting up for some Luchador! action!

This should tell you something about the Con – trusting somebody you have just met to borrow a $40 game. Now, I think most people there wouldn’t be running out of the building with a game, but still. In fact, if you looked around the main room, there were a lot of places where people had their games so people could use them. Trusting and friendly are two words to describe the bulk of the people at this Con.

Anyway, I got in three games later with the game and enjoyed it. The next day, Steve and I had the chance to play and we did the tag-team setup, on opposite sides. The game is quick, easy to learn and a lot of fun to play. In fact, it’s now in my collection as I ordered it via Amazon a few days later.

Allow me to also point you to Steve’s blog where he talks about gaming and games. He also has a solid podcast that is in its infancy and worth giving a listen to.

***

My Saturday late-game slot was taken up by a game I had purchased via an auction – Dice Brewing.

Playing Dice Brewing!

Playing Dice Brewing!

As a home brewer, I’ve decided I want to get as many brewing games as I can, so this fit the bill. In the end, it was one of my favorite games I played all weekend.

I had purchased the game through an auction of Maciek – and it turns out he taught the session we played. And what fun. He taught the game and we had a good time with it. He even cracked out a Polish beer for us to have while we played. The beer, too, was very solid.

I am glad I added this one to my collection though as I think it was a lot of fun. I like the mechnisms, and how dice is used in the game. It’s different enough from Brew Crafters to make it a definite keeper. Plus, the session we had at ConnCon was awesome.

I also added another beer game to my collection — Goldbräu. This also will show you how great gamers are. I had been playing games with a few gentlemen and we talked about beer games. Being a home brewer and such, I want to have as many decent beer games in my collection as I can. One of them had won this game in an auction but thought I would get greater joy out of it and offered it to me. I ended up giving him what he paid for it — plus a buck (need a profit!), even thought he had only wanted to gift it to me. That’s good people right there.

***

I also had the chance to test a few games out, which was a lot of fun. A few of the games were still on Kickstarter (Between Two Cities, Bad Medicine, Bottom of the 9th), which was cool. Two of them I had already been backing, the other one I opted to back. There were a few games, too, that weren’t yet to Kickstarter (Puppy Dogs from Space and The Networks) that aren’t quite on Kickstarter yet, but are ones I’ll likely back once they reach there.

I look forward to The Networks going on Kickstarter as it's one I will definitely back.

I look forward to The Networks going on Kickstarter as it’s one I will definitely back.

The fun of Bad Medicine and The Networks, as well as Puppy Dogs from Space, was playing with the designers. Gil Hova designed the first two and it was a pleasure and a lot of fun to play those games with him there (he played Bad Medicine with us, and taught The Networks).

John Dermody is the creator of Puppy Dogs and he was there playing along with his crew. They were a hoot to play with and his game was a lot of fun, especially when I found a way to pull out the win. What was nice was being able to give a few thoughts about the games etc. As somebody who writes and works with photography, I can understand it might not always be easy to hear what people think about your “baby,” but at the same time it allows you to grow. Anything said was taken well and it was fun to see how the designers think about games. What a process!

***

I can’t say enough about the organizers, designers who were there, and the gamers at this convention.

The organizers I spoke with were friendly and helpful. The designers were awesome to deal with and they gave you insight into their games and the process. The people were just incredible. I met a lot of people and look forward to seeing them at future events.

This is one convention I plan on attending each year. I think the only thing I’ll change is to actually bring my actual camera out to take photos. There’s a lot to capture and I’d like to do that instead of relying completely on my phone. There is also a fall convention held by the same people, and I am going to plan that one, as long as it’s on a weekend where I don’t have any work I need to do. Kudos to everybody at ConnCon and I look forward to the next one.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Snapshot Saturday: April 11

Apr 11

Another blast from the past!

Until I sit down and scan a bunch more, I’m going through a folder I found … and I’m not sure if some have been used or not. And if so, it’s been a long time. So .. a crap shoot. How’s this one?

Quite a group!

Quite a group!

Enjoy!

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Day Zero Project: Completed No. 7

Apr 08

A Day Zero Project goal of P.J.’s has been completed!

Goal completed: Create and produce three new pathtags

Date completed: March 19, 2015

Number: 7

Description: Pathtags are small, coin-like items that are used as signature items in geocaching. There is also a very active community that trades, so people’s collections can grow quickly if you do that with your tags. Pathtags, unlike geocoins, that are found in the wild are able to be traded for like any other swag and kept. When you find or trade for a tag, you log it on pathtags.com and it remains in your collection. These tags can have a lot of detail to them and are quite cool. They look like a medium-size coin and have a hole in them, so people can attach them to items, such as a keychain.

My 2015 signature tag.

My 2015 signature tag.

Why I wanted to do it: I have had several pathtags made over the years and have always loved them, as well as the community that trades. I have a large ammo can full of these tags (eventually, I am going to take photos of my tag collection, all signature items I’ve collected, and all coins in my personal collection and put them into a coffee table book – hint on a future Day Zero Project goal). I hadn’t had a tag made in several years (remember the whole unemployment thing?) and I wanted to get some new ones done so I could get back to gifting and trading.

How I did it: Since this project started and the time of me writing this, I actually have five either produced, in production, or submitted and awaiting the final blueprint. The designs were either done by me, or by Chris Mackey – an amazing coin and tag designer. The tags are as follows: One in memory of my cat, Molson; my 2015 tag (Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes), a tag for the ASP Geobash Mega, a tag for Geowoodstock, and one to celebrate my 4,000th find, which I hope will be Geowoodstock.

The design process – whether I do my own or have somebody else do it – is the same for the most part. I have an idea, I try and get it down to get an idea and then the final version is made. It’s sent in to get a blueprint, which is then approved or rejected (with notes and what needs to be fixed) by me. That repeats until it goes into production. Then, 4-6 weeks later, the tags come in the mail.

I have a few more in the pipeline and I look forward to having them made.

About P.J.’s Day Zero Project: Day Zero is a project where people come up with 101 things to do over 1001 days. I started the project on August 1, 2014 with an anticipated finish date of April 28, 2017. Goals will not be revealed until they are completed. A private list is at the Day Zero website and the list will be made public upon completion of the project. It’s my thoughts that if things are kept private, should I not do them, change or find a way around it, I’d only be cheating myself.

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