As many of you know, I was invited into the NL-Only Tout Wars live draft this past weekend that took place at the SiriusXM building in New York.  The draft started at 10 AM EST on Sunday.  I include EST because I roll like Rodney-O, Joe Cooley and Tupac on PST.  EST is for grandmothers named Ester who die in the middle of spelling their name.  I flew in the day before, which meant I would still be on Tupac time.  I tell you this because I knew it would be a struggle to get up and to the building by 10 AM, so I stayed at a hotel that was literally — yes, I’m literally using the word literally — a block away from Sirius.  I set my alarm clock on my iPhone — “Siri, could you wake me at 8:15 AM, I want to be a winner?”  “Googling Steak Me restaurants for 8:15 dinner.”  I told the hotel I needed a wake up call; I even set my in-room alarm clock.  I was prepared to wake up late even with all of these safeguards.  Well, I woke up on time.  Actually, early.  I did the three S’s and, at around 9:15 AM, with 45 minutes to spare, I ducked into a Starbucks right outside my hotel.  I only needed to walk about 500 feet.  I didn’t need 45 minutes for that even if I was lugging my suitcase.  After dillying and dallying for about 30 minutes in the ‘Bucks, I headed over to Sirius.  Well, that is, I got to about 100 feet away from the front door of my draft when I saw there was a half marathon running down the middle of the street that I needed to cross.  I asked the policeman, “Can I cross here?  I only need to go to that building that we are directly across from.”  “Sorry, pal, you need to go up ten blocks to the subway and cross underneath the street.”  DAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!  I threw my suitcase up in my arms and began to run ten blocks against a marathon and then ten blocks back.  Good times!  Anyway, here’s my Tout Wars recap, it’s a 12 team NL-Only, 4 OF, two catcher, one UTIL and one swingman league:

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REL baseball logo new

Mmmmmm, look at dem sexy graphics!

The inaugural draft of the Team-Based Razzball Elite League concluded this Sunday, full of mystery, intrigue and MURDER! As in, I’m gonna murder the Phillies for sniping Amir Garrett at the end there, stupid rebuilding NL teams!

REL teams in the initial season began with keeping 17 players on their active roster, leaving 8 remaining spots to be filled with a $100 auction budget. Scrubs going for mad cash! It was a draft we’re likely never going to see anything quite like again, as every following season is a 3-round supplemental snake… I’m going to always cherish the inaugural REL auction draft!

As with the REL Hoops League, yearly winners will get their pennant retired on the footer graphic and is my new primary goal every fantasy baseball season. Get that Brewers ink up on the rafters! Unfortunately it’s going to take a season or two of rebuilding to even be in the conversation, but I’ve never done a full rebuild in a dynasty before! Should be fun…

We’ll be posting updates once a week during the regular season, giving the other 29 REL GMs and myself a chance to recap their past week and explain their decisions. We’ve already gotten some big trades in the NL! Here’s how the draft went down and what the REL owners think about their year one teams:

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Last week, we covered why you should join a RCL, so this week, let’s start covering what to do once you’re in there.  To be honest, most all of this has been covered somewhere on the site over the years, most often by Rudy.  If you haven’t been playing in RCLs though, I could see how some of this has been glossed over, so I’ll try to consolidate some info for the newbies.

I’d like to preface that I’m no expert in the matter.  I loved Ralph’s line from a couple weeks back when talking about dynasty leagues and I think the same applies to me here.  “See, here’s the thing, I’m not so much an expert as I am avid player.” Bingo.  I’ve finished in the top 20 of the master standings a couple times and won the ECFBL in a year when it had the highest league competitive index.  It’s not nothing, but far from expert.  With that out of the way, let’s jump right into the nitty gritty.

The first and most important item in competing for a top spot in these leagues is TIME.

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Ever get an invitation to a party you shouldn’t have been invited to? You know, like that IQ party you got invited to junior year of college, because you dated way outside your social circle, and spent 6 months with the hot girl from the rockets and brain surgery school. You had no idea how you got there, but there you were, with the future rocket scientists and Ben Carsons of America. Hopefully you wore your largest belt buckle to protect you from the brain surgeon’s steely knives, and also steered clear of any conversations involving jet propulsion, or other “rocketry”. So why am I asking you to dig through the painful cobwebbed recesses of your brain? Because I found myself in a similar position just a few short weeks ago, and was hoping to draw upon your ability to feel empathy. I know, look at me treating you like a fully developed well rounded adult. What can I say? I think highly of you. But why this long diatribe, begging for empathy? Because I somehow weaseled my way into the Couch Managers Expert Mock with some rather reputable names. People like Adam Ronis, Mike Gianella, and you know yada, yada, yada, I’m in the draft. Me!….Ralph, the Prospector, or whatever I am, so here’s my team..

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On Tuesday March 8th, I had the honor of taking part in the Tout Wars Mixed League Snake Draft for the second straight year. Last year, I finished in 2nd place after a brutal September (one spot above 3rd place Grey who will be taking part in Tout Wars NL-only this year!).

There’s no place to go except up, down, or finish in the same spot.

Before I break into the recap, here are two unique differences between this Tout Wars draft and the LABR mixed draft I recapped earlier this preseason:

  1. This is 5×5 OBP not standard 5×5 (w/ AVG). Otherwise it’s generally the same (NFBC roster format of C/C/1B/2B/SS/3B/OF/OF/OF/OF/OF/CI/MI/UTIL/9 P/6 bench)
  2. There was a requirement that we needed to draft a ‘starting 23’ before reserve rounds – e.g., you couldn’t wait until the last couple rounds to draft your 2nd catcher.

Here are the results of the 2016 Tout Wars Mixed League Draft. (If you hate reading, here’s a podcast with my pal Alan Harrison at The Fantasy Fix where I talk about Tout Wars and other things) I suggest opening it another tab while reading this post. Apologies it isn’t all pretty and color-coded but doesn’t support that yet.

My team:

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For those of you that missed out on round one, you can find out how this game works by clicking here. For those that need a refresher you should click the link too. For everyone else, let’s get this party started. Grab yourself a bag of Doritos, a beer and put on your guessing cap because it’s time to put some baseball facts on the table…

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For the fifth straight year, Razzball is competing in’s AL-only league (we also compete in NL-only). It has been a struggle the past three years after Grey and I won it in 2012. Beginning last year, we divided up AL and NL-only duty with the other one as co-manager as a backup. One look at last year’s squad and you will see that it effectively served as my “Everything bad happen to this one so my other teams are spared” team.

I enjoy the CBSSports leagues for two reasons: 1) We are in the mixed league versions of LABR and Tout Wars so this league lets us compete in an expert AL-only league and 2) There are daily pick-ups in this league with a $0 FAAB option – this hugely favors maniacal daily players like me.

Below is the team I drafted on Wednesday, February 24th. Here is the complete CBSSports AL-only draft as well as the LABR auction prices for those players from March 5th. Notes below…

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Well, here goes nothing.  From here on out I’ll be your RCL tour guide.  I’ll be guiding you through all the sights and sounds (Are there sounds?  The crunch of “All Dressed” Humpty Dumpty potato chips perhaps.) of the RCL season.  I, for one, am a huge fan of the RCLs, the format, the League Competitive Index competition, battling hundreds of other managers for the top of the overall standings and of course, the non stop action.  It’s kind of like pounding a pot of coffee every hour, on the hour for six straight months.  I’m also a huge nerd for all the numbers and data that gets collected from running so many leagues under the Razzball umbrella.  I will do my part to share some of these numbers with you along the way and try to glean some info from all that data.  VinWins was my hero back when he ran the RCL Updates, so I’ll do my best to be his protege.  In order to make the data pool even larger though, we need you, and you, and you too.  You see, what makes RCLs great is all of you.  Man that sounds mushy, but it’s true.  In an ideal world, every Razzball reader would head on over to the RCL sign-ups, pick a league and all would be right with the world.  For those of you that aren’t so eager, let’s sit down and chat it out.

First of all, if you’re on the fence about joining an RCL, that can’t be comfortable.  You really should hop down from there and just join a league already.  I get it though, back in the late aughts, when I first started lurking around Razzball I too was reluctant to join an RCL.  I kick myself now though for not joining in the fun sooner.  I’ll give you the reasons I was staying away and then explain why it was complete bunk.  Maybe I can sway another 2-3 of you to come join the masses.  If you have other reasons for keeping away, by all means, lay them on me in the comments.  I love talking RCLs and if we can be doing something better, I’ll be your voice to the big wigs.  So, here we go:

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*balloons fall from the ceiling, sirens go off*  Oh my God, what did I win?  Little ol’ me was the winner of the “Only Person To Put Dustin Garneau In A Headline?!”  *more sirens, more balloons*  I’m also the winner of the first person ever to mention Dustin Garneau in a lede?!  *yet more balloons, yet more sirens*  Okay, what is it now?  I’m the first person to mention Dustin Garneau three times in one lede?  Great, can we kill the sirens?  My neighbors are gonna get annoyed.  What do I win anyway?  Dustin Garneau on my fantasy team?  That’s the worst prize ever!  So, I took on the monsters of the industry in an NL Only league that was hosted by Scott White at CBS and I came away with a team that is more imbalanced than Amanda Bynes.  This league is deep so hold onto ye old hat.  (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team NL-Only team and some thoughts:

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For years, Grey and I have been thinking about what would be the perfect low-stakes paid league complement to our free Razzball Commenter Leagues (sign up now).

In 2014 and 2015, we co-sponsored 15-team $150 NFBC leagues (50 round slow drafts) and got a positive response from many of you. I cannot say enough good things about NFBC – great service, great people, great site. Unfortunately, we did not get anywhere near the turnout we get for RCL leagues (100 leagues vs 3?!) which puts us in a Field of Dreams-esque position when it comes to lobbying/negotiating a format more attractive to Razzball readers. No offense to people who love that movie but ‘build it and they will come’ does not work very well in the business world.

I mentioned this dilemma to my buddy Dr. Roto when he told me that – which has hosted the Fantasy Football World Championships for years – was contemplating Fantasy Baseball paid leagues for 2016. A partnership was born….

Here are the rules for the $88 Scout MLB Razzball Pennant Leagues that are available NOW and will feature Razzball writers + Fantasy experts.

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