Tips for Mocksturbation from Lord Zola

A highly wise and readable piece about mock drafts by Todd Zola at Fantasy Alarm. Recommended! Especially the part about getting out of your comfort zone.

MLBPA Is Threatened By A-Rod Case

Ken Rosenthal has an excellent piece out today at Fox Sports.

He alludes to something I have long thought had gotten lost in the long history of baseball and PEDs: The union’s opposition to drug testing back in the 90s. The story is usually told that the union looked the other way, or resisted baseball’s efforts (especially in the early part of the decade) to get or stay clean. But this  simply isn’t true.

Peter Ueberroth

The union’s resistance to drug testing and other enforcement procedures was based on its obligation to protect player rights, as well as a profound lack of trust in the owners. Remember that this period coincides with the massive triple-damages award in the collusion ruling against MLB and Peter Ueberroth (based on their 1985-1987 efforts stifle the free agent market).

This was also the time of the run up to the owner’s massive (and failed) attempt to crack the union by shutting down baseball in midseason in 1994.

Oh, and this was also when George Steinbrenner accepted a “lifetime” ban from the game because he had hired a whole lot of shadiness to try to extract himself from his obligations to Dave Winfield by tarnishing Winfield’s reputation.

The union’s position that ownership could not be trusted was well earned.

In the A-Rod case, as Rosenthal points out, MLB sued Biogenesis owner Tony Bosch in order to pressure him to testify against A-Rod. Whether they could have won that case is doubtful, but there is no doubt that Bosch was in no position to pay for a defense. This is the place where the player’s union could have stepped in to protect not only A-Rod but all players’ rights, but declined. Rosenthal writes:

“Rodriguez’s legal team could have made its case without attacking Weiner, who died of brain cancer on Nov. 21. But one of the team’s central points – that the union should have acted to stop baseball from its “sham” lawsuit against Biogenesis – is a fair criticism, particularly in hindsight.”

But Rosenthal also points out the bind that the union was in. On first blush, a countersuit would certainly have looked like they were defending drug use, just as history says they were defending it back in the 90s when they were trying to protect against just such a situation with MLB running over player rights.

The silver lining for A-Rod (and could the union have had the foresight to defend him by going at it this way?) is that perhaps his only chance of winning his lawsuit against MLB is to show that his union failed to represent him competently.

Jay Jaffe’s Basement League Baseball: A remembrance

Screenshot 2014-01-20 10.37.41Who among us did not nurse a fevered infatuation with some form or forms of simulated baseball game while growing up? If not for that, would we be here today? I mean at Ask Rotoman, not in the larger existential sense.

My father introduced me to a dice baseball game he invented when he was in school when I was a boy, and I recreated the Mets’ early years and documented the simulated seasons just as enthusiastically as he had done the New York Giants of his youth. This involved cutting out the day’s box score and pasting it into a notebook beside the simulated scoresheet of the dice game. I know, crazy.

The baseball writer Jay Jaffe has a similar story, which he tells in this piece at Old Time Family Baseball. Charmingly.

Recommended: The Steroid Hunt by Bryan Curtis

Writing in Grantland, Curtis presents a long but very readable survey of the press coverage of baseball’s steroid era, starting in 1988 (with Jose Canseco, of course, defended by Tony La Russa), through accusations against Mark McGwire in 2002, defended by Tony La Russa), and up to McGwire’s confession in 2010.

You can read it here.

There is something of a who knew and when did they know it aspect to this whole thing. After writing about Murray Chass the other day I spent some time looking into when Chass started writing about steroids in the Times. On March 31, 2002 Chass wrote:

“Finally, some people in baseball suggest an unspoken factor has fueled the home run generation — the use of steroids and other supplements, such as the androstenedione that McGwire used during his record-setting year. No one has accused any particular player, and one person who felt certain of the contribution of steroids acknowledged that he had no proof.

But this person said, ”You don’t get bigger overnight pumping iron.”

But Chass also wrote quite a bit about androstenedione, which McGwire was taking during his record-setting home run battle with Sammy Sosa in 1998. After that revelation by a reporter who saw the legal supplement (that was already banned then by the NFL and the Olympics) in McGwire’s locker, baseball launched an investigation into the steroids precursor.

The Top 50 Players Not in the Hall of Fame

This project, put together by the Baseball: Past and Present, and written by an impressive roster of writers, is good fun and food for thought. Highly recommended.

Doings Over at Tout Wars

If you missed them, Doubt Wars final standings are posted over at

Perhaps more importantly, the Leaderboards have been been updated to include the 2013 results. Larry Schechter has increased his wide lead in lifetime earnings. I decided to make the default sort the career earnings, since that is the goal all of us aspire to.

Jeff Erickson says the Leaderboard page is the best argument for reading Schechter’s book. I agree, but can also say while in the midst of reading the book that the book recommends itself. He’s done a really great job of being informative, straightforward, sophisticated and clear. You can order it here:

Sabermetrics and the Twins

Aaron Gleeman liked this story today on Facebook, and it’s a delightful romp showing how baseball’s statistical revolution is earworming Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire.

The thing I didn’t know and wonder about is the assertion that Michael Lewis’s first choice for a Moneyball team was the Twins. That seems, um, sick, in the, um, sick way. Whatever.

The reason to read this story is because some of the players talk about their process in a less than canned way, which is bracing. Okay, a little bracing.

Wise Guy Baseball is Here!

Gene McCaffrey is a fine baseball and fantasy baseball mind, as well as a deft turner of phrases, and a killer rock’n’roll guitarist/songwriter. Plus he’s funny.

He writes about the fantasy game (or rather, games, including salary cap and NFBC format games for big money) in Wise Guy Baseball, his book. He also contributes to the Fantasy Baseball Guide via his Picks and Pans.

WGB is a book of many pleasures involving sabermetrics and good advice. I like to wade in, pick up fact-based bits about players’ skills and tendencies, and learn something. But what puts the fat on the fire is the sly humor: Of Nyjer Morgan (obviously before he left for Japan): The emergence of Carlos Gomez means less playing time. Gone are the days when we could bank on Nyjer leading the NL in caught stealings.”

Ordering info at Go now!

ASK ROTOMAN: When Does the Guide Arrive?

Dear Rotoman

When will the 2013 Fantasy Baseball Guide Professional Edition be out and can I order one in advance?

Best pre-season magazine ever. It made a big difference for me last season and helped me win my league…


Dear Mike:

Thanks for the kind words and the good news. That’s what we like to hear.

We just sent the Guide 2013 off to the printer. The official release date is the second Tuesday in February, which means it should start showing up in stores around February 1st. 

Also this year, I hope next week, we’ll be releasing a version of the magazine for reading online, by eReader, iPads, other tablets. We don’t have direct sales of the physical mag, but you’ll be able to find a link here on site to buy the electronic version and get access sooner. We hope that’s a help to everyone who has a problem finding the Guide in stores.

Follow #kroyte on Twitter. I’ll announce there (and here) when it’s available.

Thanks for asking!

All Star Stats Is Down. For the count.

Perhaps because of Rotoman’s kvetch last May about the terrible and terribly expensive service All Star Stats was providing, All Star Stats announced today that they are shuttering their terrible stat service.

They’ve made a deal with to provide services free in 2013. I haven’t used’s stat service in a couple of years, but then it was not friendly for league commissioners. It does have a lot of bells and whistles and I can say that they were trying to improve things, so they may be fine.

What I can say for sure is that is an excellent baseball stat service with a good price and lots of fun features. I can’t recommend them highly enough.