Boy does it feel good to be back! I can’t wait to be half as productive at work and start losing countless hours of sleep staying up to watch the finish of the Marlins@Padres game just in case there is a closer injury. Football was a fine diversion, but I always feel a little empty without baseball. I’m happy to be back for another season as your Razzball Commenter League (RCL) tour guide. I love these things. Really, they play to my strengths and offer ample opportunity to test strategy and ideas. I love the constant ability to go for every last hit, RBI, SB. Weekly lineups/moves have their place, I just don’t find them as fun. 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 make this a unique and fun challenge. 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:
1) I don’t know anyone in these leagues, that’s no fun.
Well, this one is only sort of true. Sure you don’t know anyone, but I’m sure you’ve at least seen one or two in the comments. Better yet, you can pick out your favorite Razzball contributor and join a league that they started. You might not know them, but you’ve harassed them enough in the comments to essentially be best friends. While you may not know anyone in the league to start, I’ve found that Razzball attracts some real grade A folks. I e-mail and text regularly with managers I’ve played in RCLs with over the years. I’ve “met” poets, professors, and even a fella that worked for the SEC. Mostly, everyone here at Razzball is a good egg and if you put a little time into the league message boards, you may be surprised at what you’ll find.
2) I hate ESPN and all my other leagues are on Yahoo!
This was honestly my numero uno reason for not joining an RCL for quite some time. I’m vehemently anti ESPN and this was a big hang up. I have to admit though, they can host a fantasy baseball league. While there are still some things I think Yahoo does better, ESPN leagues feature some nice things too. I love the live scoring from the team page and I often obsess over that little score bar at the top of the team page that shows the totals for the teams above and below in every single stat category. The score bar live updates also, so you can watch yourself climb the standings if you’re so inclined. Is it a pain to check another website every day? Sure, but just like everything, it becomes part of the daily routine and then you hardly notice.
3) It’s a free league…what’s the point?
This is probably the most common complaint I see in the comments and I totally understand it. For me, personally, if there’s not something on the line, it’s hardly worth the time. It’s like playing no limit hold’em for no money. When there’s nothing on the line, people play the game differently, it’s human nature. If you’re like me and need a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to sweeten the pot, what is a Razzballer to do? Take initiative my friend! I’ve run 2 RCLs every year for the past 4 years that have featured a buy-in and I’ve never had an issue with people paying up or getting paid. My suggestion would be to use a service such as LeagueSafe or the like to set things up the first year or two. Once everyone is good with that, maybe look to move to a simple cash buy-in via PayPal. Or maybe you never get to that point. Just know there are options out there. If it’s something you want, go out and make it happen.
4) Why would I want to play in a league with 11 Grey clones?
This one couldn’t be farther from the truth. Trust me, someone will will always draft Kershaw in the first round…always. Despite the fact that (almost) everyone in the leagues reads Razzball, not everyone follows every suggestion to a “T”. To be perfectly honest, there’s a lot of value in zigging when others are zagging in these drafts and you can use that to your advantage. Finally, (and I know, this one is hard to believe, but it’s true) there are actually folks that join these leagues that think they are smarter than Grey! These people will draft according to their own philosophy and play the game they want to play it. In short, this really shouldn’t be the reason you don’t join an RCL league.
5) Why not just stick to dominating my home league every year?
Sure, you could do that, be the biggest fish in your little pond. OR, you could see how you stack up against like-minded competition. You’ve seen the commenters dishing out advice, maybe find out if their advice is worth a darn by joining a league with them. Maybe you’ll find out your instincts are amazing and you really are as good as you think you are. Then you won’t need to ask Cram It for advice on which of your 3 catchers you should drop. Or, maybe you’ll find you can improve your game even more and beat Suzy Secretary in your office league by 40 roto points. You’ll never know unless you try.
Those were my biggest reasons for not joining, but now I see how silly they were. So, now you have the WHY you should join. Next week we’ll go over what to do once you’re in there. As a sneak peak into what it takes to challenge for a top spot in these leagues, go ahead and kiss your spouse and family members goodbye now. You’ll see them again in October. We’ll also have some leagues drafted by then, so we can dig into their draft data a bit. Crazy early drafters, you guys are fiends!
If you’ve made it this far you’re either my mom (Hi Mom!) or as big an RCL nerd as I am. Either way, I think we’ll be friends this season and I’m really looking forward to providing your RCL content.
A final note to league creators out there, make sure to go through and check your league for openings. That includes those that have been moved to the “FILLED LEAGUES” list. There’s nothing worse than getting to the day before the draft only to see you had 1 or 2 people bail. That goes for you Razzball writers that have created leagues too.
TO JOIN A LEAGUE
Click the LINK in the ‘League Link’ column (see below grid) and enter the PASSWORD at ESPN. Emails are there for some leagues, but you shouldn’t need to email anyone. You can join as many leagues as you like.
TO START A LEAGUE
Please create a league in ESPN based on the league rules reference above. Step by step: Hit Create. Then Create ESPN Custom (middle option), Name League, Change to 12 Teams, Restriction Type: None, Open to All Users, Access: change to Private, create Password, leave as Roto and Snake, Make Draft Date and Time, Create. From Default settings all you have to do is change to TWO DL SLOTS and 180 Starts by pitchers. So, you go to ROSTERS and Click “Edit Roster Settings.” There, change to 2 DL Slots and 180 Starts (the counter will change to 20.0 per slot). Then SUBMIT Roster Settings. Finally, Create Your League! (Important Note: Make sure league is viewable to public but requiring a password to avoid non-Razzballers joining.) When that’s finished, click here. You will be permissioned shortly so you can add your league info to the Google Doc (the below grid cannot be edited from this page). On that Google Doc, you will need to enter your name, league link, password and please UPDATE the number of openings as your league fills up. That’s it. Oh, and don’t use your bank account password. (Here’s a video Jay made to help some noobs. Is noobs spelled with zeroes or oh’s? Hmm, that might make me a noob at spelling noob.) You can start as many leagues as you like. If you start less than ten leagues, again someone could mock you.
Want to be my Twitter pal? That’s kinda creepy, but you can follow me here: @MattTruss