Sunday, February 27, 2011

Higher Nerd: Making My Fantasy Baseball Draft Day Better

So it's just three weeks from one of the best days of the year -- my fantasy baseball draft, which has a live auction, in a keeper league, with 10 out of the 12 original owners still on board. And because I'm just wired this way, I'm always wondering how to make the draft better. Part of the job is already done, because the draft happens in my Man Cave, which gets periodic upgrades every few weeks since I host a poker game, but still. If I can't win my league (and, well, I haven't yet, though I have cashed from time to time), at least I can win the appreciation of my owners.

I already stepped up my game last year with a jumbo sized board and labels (available from, and no, this isn't a paid endorsement -- Bruno's the second provider I've used, and just provides a better product). The food is always top-grade barbecue, which plays into the league's name and theme (House of Meat, which is the name of a local deli, and also ties into the classic baseball nickname of calling a pitcher "Meat"). There's usually Wifi and ample electric outlets for everyone's laptop, a conference call number for the out-of-towners and Web back up. So there isn't an obvious move to make things better... except, of course, for two enhancements that I probably can't work out. Maybe.

The first is a devoted auctioneer or assistant. As an active owner and commish, I'm at a slight tactical disadvantage when running a draft, since I can't spend as much time on my own pick as owners who don't have a draft to run. But as you might have guessed by now, I'm a bit of a control / OCD freak, and letting the draft go into the hands of someone new just puts things into an uncomfortable place for me. It might lead to a better league, and it might not... and all things being equal, I'd rather have a good league than the best team.

Besides, it also gives me a great excuse for when my teams fail.

The second possible enhancement is to go digital on the board, rather than have the paper and labels. At least a half dozen times a draft, you make a mistake in placement or price on the labels, and wish that you could have something more manageable. Whether that's a magnetic plate situation, where the names can be moved and updated without potentially wrecking your board...

Well, there's actually a better option, of course. A fully digital one. But to do that would require a high definition screen that's just absurdly large and expensive, which isn't feasible or responsible for my family situation. So long as I'm dreaming, I clearly need my auctioneer or draft assistant to be a hot babe to distract my more salacious owners, too.

Anyway, if you've got other suggestions to offer, or things you've seen work out in your own draft, I'd love to hear them. Similarly, if you are local to central New Jersey, free on Saturday, March 19, know baseball and want to blow an afternoon doing clerical work for barbecue, I'd also love to hear from you. That's what the comments are there for; have at it.

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