December 8, 2012
“I’ve gone by the point of caring”
-- Midnight Rider, The Allman Brothers
I felt like that a lot the second half of last season. Between scads of injuries, the general fact that my team sucked, and no trading for next year to keep the interest level up, I’d have considered changing my team name to the Midnight Riders – that is, if I’d even thought about my team.
When you add being busy with starting a new career to that witches brew of laziness, ennui and procrastination, I haven’t been able to drag myself to the keyboard until now. But I finally found something that’s even a bigger area of avoidance than this newsletter – going to the mall for Christmas shopping.
I guess the news that All Star Stats is closing up shop was the tipping point. All hail responsibility and onward through the fog.
There are two main topics I need to cover – a summary of the rule changes we made at last year’s draft and a rundown on what I know so far about the new stat service
Before I get to those, however, a couple of housekeeping items:
First off, a belated congratulations to our winners. Secondly, the draft is Friday, March 29. There are some additional things we’ll need to cover in the future like money due dates, but, in the interests of brevity, look for that in the first newsletter of the new year. For now, just expect the deadline to be around March 1.
Rule changes (don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger – besides, we voted on them):
· We are dropping the second catcher and adding a second utility player
· No changes pre-All-Star break (normal rules still apply)
· After the All-Star break, teams may only trade within their “division”:
o Upper division teams (those in places 1-5) can only trade with other upper-division teams
o Lower division teams (places 7-11) can only trade with lower division teams
o The team in sixth place can trade with anyone (keep in mind, team 6 may change week-to-week)
· Trading deadline is now the first Monday following August 7.
· Teams finishing in the money the previous year can keep a maximum of seven players
· Teams finishing out of the money can keep a maximum of 10 players
· Clarification surrounding keeping farm players:
o If we draft after opening day and a farm keeper makes the opening day roster, he must be added to your roster or waived. If you have kept the maximum allowable and don’t want to waive the farm player, you must waive one of your other keepers to add the farm player to your roster.
o If we draft prior to opening day, the above scenario does not apply as opening day rosters have not been set.
· We reverted to the old rule (as stated in the original constitution)
o Some background – a few years ago, I changed this rule (because I was having trouble keeping up with it) to where you could only have two guys tied together
§ Player A gets hurt, you reserve him and pick up Player B
§ If Player B got hurt, you had to choose between A and B – you could only keep one and had to waive the other.
· The constitution does not allow this. The new rule is now the original rule
o Player A gets hurt, you reserve him and pick up player B
o If Player B gets hurt, and you want to keep either A or B, you must reserve player B to pick up Player C
§ All three players are now linked – waive one, waive them all
§ This scenario holds through successive replacements, regardless of the number of players involved
$5 re-reserve/extra move/break link fee
· There is one exception to the linked player rule above – one of our “precedents” (a “we’ve always done it that way” hole big enough to drive a Mack truck through. Here’s how I explained it last year for purposes of the vote (keep in mind, these guys were all in the NL last year)
· Player A (say, Ian Kennedy) gets hurt, you reserve him and pick up Player B (say, Corey Luebke). You like both Kennedy and Luebke, so you want to figure out a way to keep them both (Kennedy is not back yet, so you can’t trade for a hole). Then Player C (say, Bronson Arroyo) gets hurt. So you reserve (or waive) Arroyo, move Luebke to that hole, and pick up another player (player D) to cover Kennedy (you must do this – you can’t leave the hole open once you’ve got a reserved player in it).
§ The problem is, this didn’t cost you any money. You could move Luebke to the hole (and, presumably, make your team better) for no fee, other than paying to pick up a player to fill the hole for Kennedy.
· Per the rule we adopted last year, this move (or anything similar) will cost you $5 to “re-reserve” Kennedy and pick up another player for him.
Temporary initial payment increase to $300 (for 2013 and 2014 only)
· 2014 marks the silver anniversary of the CRL. We thought it would be appropriate to do something to mark the occasion.
· We agreed to increase the up-front buy-in by $50 per team each of the next two years.
· This $1100 ($50/yr. X 2 yrs. X 11 teams) will be used to help defray the cost of whatever we decide to do (party, nice dinner, mementos for all team owners …)
· Bill McCausland has graciously volunteered to head the committee charged with coming up with whatever “it” is. He’ll need some help (his email is firstname.lastname@example.org ). So if you are interested in being on the committee, please let him know. Bill, please let me know who’s helping you.
o One caveat – whatever “it” is must be something all owners would like to do – so that probably leaves out golf tournaments and flesh bars.
o One thing to add – when we adopted this last year, we didn’t know the stat service was going out of business. Since we will be playing for free this year (All Star Stats charged us $45/team) we could leave the initial payment at $250 for this year and adjust it again next year when we know how much stats will cost going forward. The idea is, $50 of your payment each of the next two years will not be going towards the pool, but will, instead, be going into the party slush fund.
§ Let me know if you want to adjust the buy-in down to $250 this year. Majority rules and voting deadline is Jan 1.
Please keep in mind, it’s going to take me while to get the constitution updated with these rule changes. I’ll try to get it done before the season starts, but no guarantees.
Now to our second major topic, the new stat service.
In case you haven’t heard, All Star Stats is closing up shop. They’ve made arrangements with CBSsports.com to take over and CBSsports.com is letting us play this year for free.
I’ve played with the site a little bit, but by no means do I know how to do everything yet. It looks like I’ve sent all of you invitations to “join” the league. You’ll need to click the link in the invitation email and you’ll probably have to create a new username/password combination to get on the site. If you have any trouble with this, let me know. Please try this soon so we can get everything taken care of before the pre-season rush.
Not sure I like the new site (just playing around in there it doesn’t seem as robust as All Star Stats), but hey, the price is right. I say we give them a year and see how it goes. Once I get into regular season roster management tasks, I’ll have a better feel for things. If we don’t like it, we can all start looking around during the season and find another vendor for 2014.
Here are some things I have found out:
· They cannot do fractional dollars (no $0.50 increments) – all values are in whole dollars only
o We will keep our same salary structure, but you’ll need to remember when looking at the site to halve all dollar values (just like you do now when you are looking at pre-season projection publications)
· They do not have the pitching category of ratio per 9 innings pitched. Our choices are:
o Ratio per inning
o Baserunners allowed per 9 innings pitched
§ This is the same walks + hits per 9, but it also adds hit batsmen (HBP)
§ I personally like the second one, and that’s the way I have it set up now.
· Last year, we talked about changing to RAT/inning instead of RAT9 and it was voted down.
o I like to see the number in a per 9 inning format for two reasons:
§ ERA is per 9 innings
§ I’m used to it
· When looking for a pitcher to pick up, I know I’m interested in someone with a ratio of 10.8 and I’m going to stay away from someone with a ratio of 13.5
· I wouldn’t instinctively know the same about two guys with ratios of 1.2 and 1.5 – which are exactly the same as the ones above (10.8 and 13.5, respectively)
o This is like my problem with the metric system – sure it makes sense, and sure, I can do the math – but I don’t know in my gut what it “feels” like. I can glance at the TV here in my home office and tell it’s about 8 feet away. I can convert that into roughly 2.5 meters, but I don’t know that distance instinctively. Similarly, I don’t want to scan down a list of 100 free agent pitchers and do 100 conversions to get a feel for whether a guy is any good or not.
o I’m an old dog that doesn’t want to learn new tricks and I’ve been doing it this way for 20+ years, dammit!
o If you want to change to the single-inning ratio, let me know, but it’s going to take a majority vote. Again, deadline is Jan 1.
· When looking at the free agent pool, there is no way to distinguish between regular free agents and guys on waivers without clicking on each individual player.
o I’m going to have to figure out some workaround for this – like posting a message of who’s on waivers each week or something. Stay tuned, I won’t know what works until the season starts
· They do not have weekly .pdf reports (sorry Glenn)
o Not entirely sure until the season starts, but the way it’s looking now, if you want a full league report, you have to print the standings page, then print each team’s roster page, then print the free agent pool.
§ I’ll play it by ear for now, but this will definitely increase the pain in the ass factor if proven correct
In short, the new service seems a little more limited than we’ve been used to. There may be shortcuts that I don’t know about – and I won’t know about them until we have rosters and moves and I’ve used the system for a few weeks. The number of workarounds – and the amount of time it takes to do each one – will be huge factors in determining whether we use them in 2014 and beyond. In any case, it wouldn’t hurt to have options. So keep your eyes and ears open and let me know if you come up with any other alternatives should we be dissatisfied.
I hope all of you have wonderful holiday seasons and I’ll talk to you again in January.