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Rob Neyer has a fantasy baseball game

Jan 22, 2010, 9:03 AM EDT

neyer.jpgESPN’s Rob Neyer sits up in his little cottage up in the Pacific Northwest making people think that he’s this calm, peaceful guy who just researches and writes about baseball all day, but he’s really a ruthless multi-media kingpin:

Imagine Sports Inc., a leading online fantasy sports gaming company,
today announced a deal with baseball analyst and author Rob Neyer,
whose “SweetSpot” blog is a popular long-running feature on
Under the partnership, Imagine Sports will work with Neyer to produce
fantasy baseball games based on statistics from the past using the
“Diamond Mind Baseball” simulation software.

Call me paranoid, but I think Rob rushed this announcement to steal my thunder. I mean, I can’t go into detail right now, but because of this press release, my marketing team and I are going to have to totally rethink our rollout of “Craig Calcaterra’s MicroLeague Baseball ’10”.

But I’m willing to let bygones be bygones here. In fact, I’ve even accepted Rob’s invitation to join a league test-driving Rob’s new game. The problem: my opponents, who consist of a who’s-sorta-who of baseball quasi-royalty, are all likely better fantasy players than I am. Really, I truly suck at this stuff. So in order to win, I need to use the only advantage I have — the heartless deviousness I perfected during my legal career — in order to have a chance at victory.  My gameplan:

  • Doug Glanville: Former Cubs, Phillies and Rangers centerfielder and current New York Times columnist. I fear Glanville more than any other player in this league. He’s an Ivy League educated engineer, he knows more about baseball than I ever will and based on his writing he’s thoughtful, balanced, reasonable, well-rounded and admirable.  My only hope against him is to engage in psychological warfare: Since the game allows you to use any player from history, I am going to draft a late-career version of Glanville in the first round and constantly offer him back to real-life Glanville in a trade for a Cy Young quality pitcher. Even if he doesn’t eventually bite, the struggle between ego an reason may throw him off his game long enough for me to gain an advantage.   
  • Joe Posnanski: I’ll do the same think with Poz, but instead of Glanville, I’ll offer him back Duane Kuiper. Substitute the ego-reason distraction with the 7,000 word blog post my proposal will inspire and the same effect will be had.
  • Gordon Edes: In less than two years Edes has gone from the Boston Globe to Yahoo! to ESPN Boston.  Like all the others he’s way smarter than me, but given his track record, there’s a good chance that he’ll move on to some other fantasy game before the season is over.
  • Rany Jazayerli: Harassment campaign. I’m going to start a second blog called “Craig on Rany’s Fantasy Team,” and second guess his every move. If history is any guide, he will become flustered and trade for Yuniesky Betancourt, ensuring victory for me.
  • Jonah Keri: There are a lot of possibilities here. Jonah’s a new father of twins and he’s writing a book, so he’s obviously going to be fatigued, so I may not have to pull too many dirty tricks.  But if I do, I know that he’s one of the last 11 Expos fans left on the planet so I may be able to rip him off in trades involving Warren Cromartie and Sean Berry. If that fails, I’ll just bribe Rob to take his team away from him and give it to one of my friends in D.C.
  • Norm Warner: I don’t know Norm, but I believe he’s in sports radio here in Ohio. I’ll have to consult my WKRP in Cincinnati library in order to come up with the proper hijinks and shenanigans to derail his team.
  • Josh Wilker: He of the fantastic Cardboard Gods blog and, soon, book. I love Josh’s work, but this should be pretty easy considering he’s going to limit his roster to enigmatic looking baseball players from 1975-1980.
  • Rob Neyer and Charles Wolfson: Charles Wolfson actually works for the company putting out the game and Rob, of course, is the name on the box so I’m just going to assume they’ve rigged the whole damn enterprise. If they don’t want word being spread that the game is crooked, crooked crooked, they’ll have to intentionally tank the season, right? Sure, they may choose not to, but do they really want their integrity questioned like that?  Up to you dudes, but if I were you I sure wouldn’t want to finish in, say, the top five.

So there you have it. I’ll keep you updated throughout the season, but like I said, I’m a terrible fantasy player. And I’m even worse at Diamond Mind games than I am at roto and other stuff. But I think I got the mental edge.

  1. Jonah Keri - Jan 22, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    There’s something very amusing about imagining Craig as Jeffrey Loria and Rob as Bud Selig in this yank-the-team-to-DC scenario.
    Also, I wouldn’t want to get on Rany’s bad side when playing a simulation game – the man is really good at this, and happily crushes all comers. BUT, if you really wanted to get under his skin, ask him about John Smoltz, Rey Ordonez, and John Olerud 1B-1 e2 some time.

  2. palehose67 - Jan 22, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    I don’t suppose all those years of playing Dungeons & Dragons in your parents’ basement are going to help you with this, right? As for appropriate WKRP hijinks, dropping turkeys from a helicopter is always a safe stand-by.

  3. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Surprised they didn’t use Out of the Park instead.
    Although OOTP did do something similar a couple of years ago, getting a bunch of ex-players (including Curt Schilling), media types, and other baseball men into a fantasy replay league.

  4. Wooden U. Lykteneau - Jan 22, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    Craig, unless you’ve undergone a lobotomy, you’re smarter than Gordon Edes.

  5. Bill@TDS - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    It’s funny that it’s billed as “test driving,” since it’s been around for about four years under a different name (and I’ve spent way too much money on it). But it’s a great game, so the publicity is good to see.

  6. Jack - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    The Rob Neyer Baseball game, is truly fun,
    and great for historical research, especially if the entire player pool is used.
    Probably the most realistic internet game, which simulates player performance.

  7. Bob - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    Rob Neyer Baseball is the best baseball simulation game by far. It is great for researching baseball history and functioning as an owner, GM and field manager all rolled into one. It has been around for ~ 4 years as Imagine Sports Diamond Mind Baseball and has a very active and knowledgeable customer base.

  8. Gary - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    I’ve played for years. The game has greatly increased my understanding of the inner workings of real baseball. Among other things, you also get substantial insight into how a good GM can assess value through statistics.
    Where else can you own your own baseball team and watch it play?

  9. BillyBeaneismyHero - Jan 22, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    Craig –
    You almost made me choke on the carrots I was eating for lunch–TWICE. What made me choke? Doug Glanville and Rany. I seriously think you have something going with the Rany fantasy blog. That’s a blog I would read just for comedy value alone.

  10. whoisalhedges - Jan 22, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    As someone who follows Craig’s work at THT and BBTF, has followed Rob’s for years at ESPN (even had an old DM-based simulated league at STATS made up of posters on his old ESPN chat board, including some BBTF regulars), and has played at ImagineSports pretty much since its inception — yeah, I’m looking forward to this.
    Keep us posted!

  11. Old Gator - Jan 22, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    The only fantasy baseball game you will ever need is J. Henry Waugh’s The Universal Baseball Association. You can even kill a pitcher with a line drive in this one! Now really, let’s say there’s no NASCAR event, bullfight or ratting contest on Wide World of Sports this afternoon; where are you going to go for your daily dose of mayhem (and I don’t mean Monica, either)?
    Okay, think I’m just off on one of my impossibly lucid tangents again? Look here:

  12. Preston - Jan 22, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    I would buy Craig Calcaterra’s MicroLeague Baseball ’10 in a heartbeat! I loved MicroLeague baseball back in the day – that was the first computer game I ever got hooked on, back when I was 7 or 8.

  13. Motherscratcher - Jan 23, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    I think that victory in this game will almost certainly go to (as these things so often do) the player with the most glorious mustache. If Sam Elliot was in the league you guys would all be toast. Since I didn’t see him on the list I think it’s wide open for you Craig.
    I will be pulling very hard for you in this league Craig. Almost as hard as I will be pulling for Poz, who I want to see win more than anyone except Wilker. So you made my top 3. Congratulations!

  14. Lemayripper - Jan 23, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    This is a great game, you guys will have fun. For those of you playing that are new, read my article posted on the site and drop me a line if you have any questions.

  15. Jacquie Ebilane - Jan 24, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  16. online stock trading - Feb 16, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! :)

  17. Lakeshia Leon - Feb 22, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    It is much simpler to post about matters that went well, or looked great on the outside. When we shifted to Extreme Programming a few years previous, we made serious errors taking for granted that automated testing was sufficient, and shipped several poor releases. We read more about testing (and how to better it) from those deplorable releases than from the following working releases.

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