Tuesday Night Top Ten – May 3, 2011
According to reliable sources such as the internet and high school students, Tuesday is the least popular day of the week. In an effort to bring some respect, credibility and entertainment back to Tuesdays, I will be paying homage to David Letterman and provide a weekly Top 10 list for newsworthy fantasy baseball events that take place. Each event will have a brief description including what, if any, impact it has on fantasy baseball. The ranking is completely subjective so do not even think of challenging my authority. In fact, in the words of Eric Cartman, you will respect my authority! Without further adieu, here is the debut of the new Tuesday Top Ten List (as of 10:15 PM EST):
10. Phil is ill, but with what? – Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes apparently doesn’t have thoracic outlet syndrome, which is good news, but it also leaves many questions unanswered. Doctors and experts are still trying to figure out what is ailing the Yankees’ young hurler. Regardless, it doesn’t look like Hughes is going to contribute much to the Yankees or fantasy owners this year. His velocity is down and his stuff is flat. There is very likely a physical reason why, but thus far no one can provide an answer. For now, stash him on the DL if you have the room. But don’t expect anything from him in 2011. On a side note, going back to all of the trade discussions between the Mets, Yankees and Twins for Johan Santana in 2008, it is sadly bizarre and ironic that former Mets prospect and current White Sox starter Philip Humber is likely to be the best pitcher of them all this season.
9. D-Choo-I – Yet another major league baseball player has been arrested for driving while under the influence. Indians outfielder Shin Soo Choo is the most recent drunk driver pulled over in what seems like a weekly occurrence. Choo had one too many Cheongju before he got behind the wheel. No one ever accused baseball players of being smart, but come on…this is getting a little ridonculous. Assuming his situation is like every other offender, he shouldn’t miss any time so there will not likely be any effect on his fantasy status. That is, unless, he shows up drunk at a game and starts referring to himself as Kim Jong Il.
8. Oh Jenrry – Mets prospect Jenrry Mejia will likely need to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair an injured ligament in his elbow. Mejia was being groomed to become a starter in the Mets rotation of the future, but this will have to be put on hold for at least a year assuming he goes under the knife soon. Mejia has electric stuff and is a popular keeper in roto fantasy leagues due to his potential to either start or relieve. If recent history is any indication, there is no reason Mejia can’t come back and be an effective pitcher within 18 months of the operation. He is only 22 so there is still plenty of time for him to make an impact. But those of you who are stashing him in keepe leagues, you might as well clear the roster space.
7. Not Werth the Money – Jayson Werth made his long awaited return to Philadelphia in a Nationals’ uniform and was met with a mixture of ovations and boos. This is not surprising because Werth’s decision to sign with Washington is understandable, but his comments after he left were unnecessary. No one could argue with Werth agreeing to that ludacris contract, because let’s be honest, any one of us would take the money and run. But when Werth later came out and made some disparaging remarks about the Phillies and their lack of attempts to bring him back, it soured the fans’ feelings towards him. Werth should thank the Phillies for giving him the opportunity to put up great numbers as the team’s fourth offensive weapon. Now he is the focal point of the Nationals’ lineup and will soon realize Adam LaRoche is not Ryan Howard and Danny Espinosa is not Chase Utley.
6. Goose Eggs and Hamels – It is common knowledge at this point that the Phillies have the greatest starting pitching in baseball, and arguably one of the greatest staffs in the history of baseball (the 2005 Mets are in that conversation as well with Victor Zambrano and Kris Benson). Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee seem to get most of the attention, and deservingly so. But Cole Hamels is on the brink of becoming truly an elite pitcher in real and fantasy baseball. There has never been an issue with his talent. The biggest question mark with Hamels has always been his maturity and mental strength. After what he pulled in the 2009 World Series, he has clearly grown up and emerged as a potential Cy Young candidate. He threw a complete game gem against the Washington Nationals and continues to make people vomit at the thought he is the Phillies number three or four starter.
5. Pain in the Neck – Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista will miss some time this week with an injured neck. He must have strained it from looking up at all the homeruns he has hit since the beginning of 2010. I will admit that I was wrong about him being a fluke. He will probably not come close to hitting 54 homeruns again, but he is clearly an established slugger who knows how to hit. It seems as though he is consistently befelled by nagging injuries. I recently had a nagging injury. My wife wouldn’t stop nagging me, so I hit my head against the wall and sustained a laceration to my forehead. I looked like Ric Flair in a steel cage match.
4. Bay-bee Daddy – Mets outfielder Jason Bay is on paternity leave for a couple days to be with his wife who is expected to give birth to the couple’s third child. Bay sustained a concussion in July 2010 and missed the rest of the season. Then, just days before Opening Day, he sustained a strain to his oblique muscle requiring him to miss the first three weeks of the 2011 season. After playing in 10 games, it was clear he needed some time off. Oh calm down, I am kidding. It is great the MLB has implemented a new paternity leave program for players so they can be with their wives when children are born. Given the baby is due in the beginning of May, that means it was likely conceived in July or August 2010. Hmmm, didn’t Bay sustain his concussion around that time? I guess he wasn’t injured enough to knock up his wife when he clearly couldn’t knock any balls over the fence.
3. Celebrity Rehab – American League MVP Josh Hamilton is in rehab once again. No silly, not for smoking crack or building meth labs. Hamilton is recovering from a fractured arm when he inexplicably was sent home to score on a foul popup and dove into home plate. On Wednesday, he is scheduled to swing a bat for the first time since the injury which means he is at least one week ahead of schedule in his recovery. It was originally anticipated that Hamilton would miss 6-8 weeks and not swing a bat for the first four weeks. He was injured three weeks ago, so do the math. What? You were told there would be no math? Just use a calculator. In fact, type the number 55378008 and turn your calculator upside down. The result answers the question “How would you describe Gwyneth Paltrow?”
2. Battle of Wounded Knee – Chase Utley may not be far from returning to the Phillies. The all star second baseman has been bothered by an ailing knee for months and has yet to see any game time in spring training, the minor leagues, or the major leagues. Reports out of Philadelphia are that Utley may be sent to Clearwater to play in some extended spring training games which would enable him to face live pitching for the first time since 2010. This bodes well for fantasy owners who drafted Utley and have stashed him on the DL in the hopes he would return sooner than later. If he is healthy, the Phillies should look into possibly trading him because they clearly can win with the “talented” duo of Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr playing second base. Just FYI, the quotation marks were meant to indicate sarcasm font.
1. LIRIANOOOOOO! - Twins starting pitcher Francisco Liriano pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox in Chicago tonight. There is no debating Liriano’s talent, but he has been atrocious thus far in 2011 and his starting job was in jeopardy with Kevin Slowey being considered to take his place in the Twins’ rotation. That debate has been quelled for now as Liriano threw his first career complete game in the no-hit effort. He walked six and only struck out two which indicates he relied on his defense instead of trying to strike every batter out. Perhaps this is a sign that he has turned the corner and is on his way to reclaiming his status as a top tier fantasy pitcher. Or it could just be a fluke and he will get bombed in three innings next time out. That is the problem with Liriano – he is so inconsistent and almost impossible to predict. Those of you in points leagues where no-hitters are credited had a good night if Liriano was in your lineup.
THE SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT
FlemishUSA v. League Commissioner
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE COUCH POTATOES UNITE FANTASY BASEBALL LEAGUE
Decided October 24, 2010
Cite as 2 F.J. 35 (October 2010)
The plaintiff, FlemishUSA, is a participant in a fantasy baseball league called The Couch Potatoes Unite (hereinafter referred to as “CPU”). CPU is a fantasy league based on the Major League Baseball playoffs and is hosted on website located at www.fantasypostseason.com. The complaint is devoid of the following information: number of teams in the league, point scoring system, structure and style of the league, roster limitations, rules and guidelines, and names and contact information of the other members of the league.
The plaintiff alleges that during the league’s draft, the Commissioner manually re-set the draft order on several occasions. This has been confirmed by the website’s administrator who provided testimony stating that the league’s Commissioner did in fact make such changes, including giving himself the last pick of the first round. The plaintiff asserts that the Commissioner was able to draft several prolific players, including many of the upper-tier pitchers that were available.
After the draft was completed, the plaintiff and other members of the league realized what had happened, and as a result, they attempted to make some trades to balance out the league. The plaintiff admits that some of these proposed trades made little sense and were not fair or even. The Commissioner blocked some of these proposed trades which were nonsensical and uneven. However, after the Commissioner was made aware that the team owners suspected foul play in the management of the league, the Commissioner began approving trades with less scrutiny.
Prior to the start of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies on October 23, 2010, FlemishUSA made changes to his lineup including the placement of all New York Yankees onto his bench. He subsequently inserted Ryan Howard (1B-PHI), Chase Utley (2B-PHI), and Mike Sweeney (1B-PHI) into his starting lineup. However, after the game had started, FlemishUSA checked his lineup and noticed that Howard, Utley and Sweeney were all on his bench. Plaintiff did not provide any documentation or proof of his lineup submission.
Plaintiff claims that the Commissioner intervened and changed his lineup based on his allegedly suspicious actions during the draft and his self-serving, arbitrary decisions regarding trades.
The site administrator for www.fantasypostseason.com provided testimony regarding the plaintiff’s allegations with respect to the issues with FlemishUSA’s lineup:
“With respect to specifically the issues with your bench. On our site, league commissioners cannot influence which players are on your bench. However if you made a recent trade or free agent changes the site may have adjusted your lineup to maintain a valid legitimate roster. So whereas Yahoo puts all acquired players on the bench our site finds a valid combination of players and sets a lineup. Now while we thought this was a good thing, it turns out that it has confused some of our members and we are going to change that behavior as soon as the mlb playoffs end. In any case, we can get you points for the players that were benched for yesterday’s game. Can’t say for certain that you got bit by an auto-adjustment situation but we can address that. Not an issue.”
(1) Should Flemish USA be awarded points for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley?
(2) What, if any, action should be taken against the league Commissioner for changing the league’s draft order?
1. SHOULD FlemishUSA BE AWARDED POINTS FOR RYAN HOWARD AND CHASE UTLEY?
Based on the site administrator’s response to the issue of players being placed on a team’s bench after making free agent acquisitions or trades, the Court will defer to the owner of the website to handle the issue. The site administrator offered an explanation for what likely happened and has also offered to resolve the issue by providing the points requested for by the plaintiff. The Court will not intervene with such a resolution, especially because there is no tangible proof that the league Commissioner did in fact alter the plaintiff’s lineup.
2. What, if any, action should be taken against the league Commissioner for changing the league’s draft order?
The Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment advocates for league Commissioners to have a certain amount of authority and autonomy to run and administer fantasy sports leagues. This is because being the Commissioner of a fantasy league is a thankless job that invites drama, controversy, and second-guessing. On the other hand, the Court also reciprocally expects league Commissioners to honor these respected positions by utilizing, enforcing, and adhering to rules and etiquette that govern the league. Even in a league where there are no written rules or guidelines, there are general competition standards which are assumed and expected to be honored.
When conducting a fantasy sports league draft, the order of the draft is either announced before the day of the draft or immediately before its start. Unless there are rules permitting the trading of draft picks between teams, the draft order is set as it was picked (either randomly or based on the previous season’s results) and should not be changed. The site administrator provided confirmation that the league Commissioner did in fact alter the draft order on three occasions. However, he ended up giving himself the last pick of the draft. Since the plaintiff did not provide the draft results or the rosters of each team, the Court will not speculate as to the strengths or weaknesses of the draft positions that each team had. Additionally, the Court will not make any judgment as to the benefits or detriments to drafting last in the first round because no evidence has been offered regarding the specific rules or scoring system of the league.
The Court strongly frowns upon league Commissioners arbitrarily making decisions that do not benefit the league as a whole. To modify the draft order without consulting the other league members or offering any explanations is the antithesis of what is considered in the best interests of the league. However, the draft has been completed and the league has been well underway since then. If the league members did not protest at the time or make any demands for reimbursement in exchange for remedying the issue, than the plaintiff and other league members have waived their rights to bring these allegations and obtain some sort of compensation or injunction. The Court recommends that the plaintiff and other league members reconsider joining a league where this particular Commissioner is running it. No matter what league the plaintiff joins in the future, he should make sure there is a governing document which outlines all of the league’s rules, and there should also be a process of checks and balances to prevent a Commissioner from having unlimited autonomy in his decision-making authority.
The Court hereby decides that site administrator’s handling of the lineup submission issue will be upheld, and that no action should be taken against the Commissioner for modifying the draft order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.