Wednesday, April 3, 2013

1984 vs. 2013

It is amazing to realize the differences in our lives over the course of 30 years.  Strictly staying along baseball lines, 30 years ago the Cubs were working their way to their first-ever Division Title.  When I think back to the ’84 Cubs, it’s like it was yesterday.  Frey on the bench, Zimmer coaching third.  Dernier and Sandberg making up the Daily Double.  Moreland and Matthews flanking Dernier in the outfield.  Cey, Bowa and Durham rounding out the infield and Jody Davis behind the plate with Sutcliffe, Trout and Eckersley on the mound.  It really does not seem that long ago.

Then I start comparing the 1984 draft with the 2013 draft and it seems like another lifetime.  In ’84 we had six owners.  Over the course of time we have had 7, 8 and for nine years we had 12 owners.  For the last five years we have had a solid ten.  The number of owners (6 in ’84, 10 in ’13) isn’t really significant.  What those owners bring to the table, figuratively and literally, is.  Back in ’84 we drafted after Opening Day.  We pretty much had to in order to know who was in the National League.  There was no internet.  There were no fantasy baseball magazines.  ESPN had been around for five years, but they were still broadcasting rodeos and Australian Rules Football.  Bill Mazeroski had his name on a baseball pre-season magazine that was pretty awesome at the time.  But research was almost non-existent.  And there certainly weren’t any “projections” or formulas for how someone would do, all we had to go on was what they had done.

Fast forward to 2013.  What do these owners bring to the table?  Well literally, laptops.  This year we had at least six laptops with spreadsheets and god knows what else on them.  We had owners with Smart Phones.  One owner, the Ruffins, couldn’t make it into town so he communicated his bids via cell phone to proxy and former CFCL Dynastymaker, David Mahlan (former owner of David’s Copperfields).  Technology has changed the game.

We were able to draft before Opening Day since we could track, via the internet, which players made the major league roster and which ones had been released or sent down.  The Internet has made us better, more informed.  But I think this group of ten, no – I know this group of ten is better than the Original 6.  The Original 6 didn’t know what they were getting themselves in to.  For some this was a lark, a game, perhaps a distraction.  And that’s understandable given that no one really knew what Fantasy Baseball was, or could be, back in 1984.

Today we have owners that have joined us because they know exactly what Fantasy Baseball is, what it means to them and where it can be in the future.

The Original 6, lasted as a group for two years.  And going into the fifth season, all that was left were myself and David, the founders.  This current group of 10 has had eight owners competing against each other for the last six years.  Three owners have been around for 20 or more years.  Three more have been in the league for 10 or more years.  There is a stability that is, I believe, unique.  I will be posting a blog in the near future about what is, in my opinion, different between the CFCL and other fantasy baseball leagues.  But stability has been a hallmark for our league.  Sure we’ve had our one and done owners but overall we have had owners for a long time.

I just did a quick calculation.  I won’t tell you how many owners the CFCL has had, not yet.  That’s a future post.  But when you add up all the CFCL years and divide it by all the CFCL owners, on average an owner will stay in our league for 6.92 years – essentially seven years.

This isn’t an indictment on the Original 6 by any means.  The expectations have become higher for new owners.  Back in 1984 David and I needed to find people that we trusted and who knew baseball.  But knowing baseball then compared to now is unreal.  Just look at the rosters from yesterday’s post.  The minor leaguers selected basically boiled down to “pick a Cub, any Cub”.  Now, we have owners selecting Single A ballplayers from any and all 15 National League teams; guys that won’t (if ever) see the majors for another four or five years.

The categories we compete in are different, more advanced, as well.  Back in 1984 we were what was called a 4X4 league. Meaning we tracked stats for four offensive categories and four pitching categories.  Our categories were: Batting Average, Home Runs, RBIs and Stolen Bases on offense and ERA, Ratio or WHiP (walks + hits/innings pitched), Wins and Saves on pitching.

Back in the 1970’s and ‘80’s you were judged as a ballplayer by how many homeruns you could hit or how many games you won as a pitcher.  But as Billy Bean, Bill James and others have shown us, baseball is much deeper than knocking the ball out of the park.  So the CFCL has evolved as well.  We are now a 5X5 league.  We track On Base Percentage, Total Bases, RBIs, Runs and Stolen Bases on offense.  For pitching we keep track of Quality Starts, Holds+Saves, ERA, WHiP and K/BB (strikeout to walk ratio).  We made these changes heading into the 2003 season as we felt the new categories allowed us to value a player based on that player and not so much on his team.

Oh there’s so much to talk about and cover.  See you back here tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Great job so far Rich. I am enjoying the blog and will continue to do so. Bob (former CFCL owner of the Red Hots)