Tuesday, April 16, 2013

An Inauspicious Beginning

The very first standings report in CFCL history was published this week in 1984: A single page, typewritten on a manual typewriter, reflecting the status of the leagues’ rankings from nearly two weeks earlier.  Click the image below to view the full version.
As the report indicates, these are the standings as of April 7 – that’s about a week after the season opened – but CFCL owners had to wait until about April 18 to find out where they stood back on April 7. Unlike the instant box score world of 2013, in 1984 we were lucky to get a full set of box scores in the morning paper the day after games were played. It took even longer for player stats to be compiled and published in a publicly available source.
There’s a lot that doesn’t add up in this standings report, starting with where the stats came from.
In 1984, the official source of stats for the Rotisserie League – and therefore all fantasy leagues based on the RL – was the print edition of The Sporting News (TSN).
This raises a couple questions, though:

1.  The Sporting News didn’t start publishing full player stats until early May, or as the Rotisserie Founding Fathers put it, until the Stanley Cup skate-offs were finished. This meant a full month of
the season was gone before they published any player stats. So how is it that this standings report shows results as of April 7 - less than a week after Opening Day?

2.  The weekly stats included in The Sporting News were up to date through the preceding Thursday, but April 7, 1984 was a Saturday – so what gives?
The mists of the past 29 years have fogged any recollection compiling these stats, but it’s apparent I must have used some process other than the officially sanctioned Rotisserie League approach.
Now, this report does associate these standings with The Sporting News edition of April 16, which would indicate that I did use TSN for the standings. Although TSN didn’t publish player stats until May, they did publish the box score of every major league game each week. And as I recall, each issue included the box scores through the previous Saturday.
Since the date on the standings report – April 7 – was a Saturday, it’s my guess that I compiled these initial standings by pulling player stats from individual box scores for the first week of the season. That sounds like something I’d have been crazy enough to do, and given the state of my social life, I certainly would have had the time.
Whatever the source of the individual player stats, there’s something even more glaring thing that doesn’t add up about this standings report, and that is the point totals themselves.
Adding the individual category point totals I note that the ForGoetz Me Nots should have 65.5 points, not 66, and the Friars were robbed of 3 whole points – they should be at 60.5. Alright, so this was apparently before any quality control measures were put in place in the CFCL Front Office. An inauspicious beginning, to be sure, but it just goes to show how tenuous the whole process was back then.
Of course, my first thought when I noticed these errors was to wonder about the accuracy of the final standings report for 1984 (you’d better believe it … I finished a point out of first place in our inaugural season). Sad to say, I’ve verified the arithmetic and everything checks out for that final report, so the ForGoetz Me Nots get to keep their Championship title.
Looking ahead a few weeks into the 1984 season, I see that beginning the second week in May, with the standings published around May 11, we had synchronized reporting with the publication schedule of The Sporting News, so whatever process I was using in April had been discarded in favor of the standard, Rotisserie League-endorsed TSN process.
We’ll take a closer look at the 1984 scorekeeping process in a later post.

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