Are Fantasy Message Boards Useful?

People play fantasy baseball for different reasons and that’s great. One thing that amuses me is those who view a message board as essential to the success of a league. To me, a message board falls somewhere along the spectrum between insignificant and a downright nuisance. I am confident that a message board never made any fantasy baseball league I participated in better and some actively contributed to the downfall of a few leagues.

What do people use a message board for, anyway? From my experience, people have used it to communicate with the commissioner, make trade offers, complain about trade offers and trades, complain about injuries and complain about other things. I think people can use email for the first two things, keep the other three things to themselves and eliminate the need for a message board completely.

I recently had an issue in one league where I did not know all of the details surrounding the way the league handled waivers. I could have posted something on a message board. Instead, I emailed the commissioner directly, he emailed me back in a very timely matter and the situation was resolved without the use of a message board. Imagine that!

I also made a trade offer in another league I am in. I emailed the owner whose player I was interested in, made a proposal and we had some nice give-and-take, even if no trade came out of it this time. I got a chance to see how he viewed his players and which ones of mine he found interesting. All in all I thought it was so much more productive than putting out a generic, “Will trade Ks for HR” post on the league message board.

Basically, my issue with message boards is that their main purpose is a vehicle for people to complain. Whatever good uses they serve can be just as easily (and probably more effectively) handled with email. But they do serve as a way to contact everyone with your complaint of the day. I have enough people complaining to me about various things in my life – the last thing I need is an efficient way for people in my fantasy baseball league to complain to me.

But I realize that some people enjoy “the community” aspect that message boards bring. I just wish people would use that “community” to celebrate and be positive, rather than to bitch, moan and complain. Because that is really not part of any community in which I willingly choose to participate.

Here is a message that was on a board in one of my leagues:

“I have received absolutely NO trade proposals, which I find shocking given the top talent on my team. Guess you guys aren’t interested in Pujols, Votto, HRam, Haren etc.?

Are you guys even alive? Other than myself, XXXX, and XXXX, I have not seen any comments on the message board or anything.

Maybe I’ll do something rash and trade Pujols for peanuts just to shake things up in this league because it is full of a bunch of lifeless corpses….”

Now, this was just this individual’s third message board post. His first post was a FAAB question and the second one was a generic offer to make trades. So, he really has done nothing to make the message board anything special and then turns around and, yes you got it – complains about something.

Here’s an idea – if you want to participate in a league with a thriving message board – why not try to put something of substance out there instead of just complaining? Don’t look to other people to provide you entertainment (or whatever void the message board fills for you) when you provide none yourself. And finally, if you want to convince others to participate in something you find enjoyable, perhaps a different approach besides insults and threats would be more productive.

Would your fantasy baseball experience be negatively impacted if your league did not have a message board?

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26 Responses to “Are Fantasy Message Boards Useful?”

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  1. Rob says:

    I use the message board to bust other owners balls on the fact that their teams in our dynasty league blow. I find this a very useful purpose.

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    • Chris says:

      I agree with this to a degree as a message board can be an interesting diversion from the purely electronic and mechanical rigors of a fantasy baseball season.

      If you’re like me, you probably have a league with friends, but then quite a few leagues where it is a friend of a friend, or some coworkers who you are not totally familiar with. The boards are a good way to judge the attitudes and personalities of some of these other owners.
      Also, without the grousing, cussing, inside joking, childish and sophomoric humor in board posts, it makes fantasy baseball a lot less entertaining.

      Plus not everyone has access to their emails at work but sometimes the boards are the only way to communicate.

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  2. Zach says:

    Wow, seems like a lot of anger directed at a message board. Especially since you have the option of ignoring it. I find the message board makes my league much more enjoyable. I’m sure some message boards provide no value or are just the opposite. I can think of 2 better options than over-reacting and going off on a meaningless tirade. 1) Actually try to make it a better board, or 2) just ignore it completely.

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  3. kyle. says:

    my league doesn’t use the message boards to complain, communicate with the commish, or do any of the other things you’ve mentioned. we mostly use it to talk baseball, share links, mock the occasionally ridiculous yahoo player notes, and see if the quieter league members are still alive. the message board is the best way for the guys in the league to make contact with everyone now that we don’t live in the same places any more. we even do fantasy basketball (only until the baseball leagues go up in spring) just to use the message boards..
    all trades are discussed over the phone as are most other league matters.

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    • Brian Joura says:

      Thanks Kyle – that’s certainly a good use of a message board – as a way for out of town friends to keep in touch.

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    • The A Team says:

      In the league I commish, we use the message board for a number of things. I communicate the rules not governed by Yahoo there. We also talk trade (which usually shifts to AIM once a partner is identified), bust balls over bad trades/cuts/waiver pick ups/poor performance, and lastly we make fun of those ridiculous yahoo player notes you mentioned. My favorite so far said something like:

      “Carlos Pena is just 2 for 18 against top tier right handers since last year”

      The top tier right hander that day was Gil Meche.

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  4. Sean says:

    I don’t mind message boards and I like the fact that Yahoo lets you go back and look at historic message boards. I was able to go back and look at my 2007 Yahoo League Message Board where one guy had a huge beef with me for some reason and would constantly make fun of me for defending my Tim Lincecum pick up when I said that he will be a “Future CY Young Winner”. Sure enough, after Lincecum won the Cy Young the NEXT season I was able to package together our entire conversation from the message board into an email and make him eat his words. I know I really wasn’t going out on a limb with that prediction but it sure was nice making him look like an idiot.

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    • Tom B says:

      Yahoo’s message board limits you to viewing the last like 50 posts, something I was very surprised to find as a commish looking for his “rules” post. :( Live and learn…

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  5. Jason Swift says:

    Brian, I’m assuming you are talking about your personal leagues message board and not the message boards on sites like this one or Baseball HQ?

    If so I 100% agree. No use for them at all. But message boards on respectable sights are very helpful.

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  6. Reverend Jim says:

    True that rob, smack talk is essential in fantasy baseball. Yahoo has a box for that specific reason on the teams matchup page and it can be quite entertaining.
    Since they added this feature, the message board in our league has been used very little, except for the occasional commisioners note or “you suck” post.

    I do agree though that you do get a lot of ding bats that just like to use it to complain, but mostly in public leagues. And if you’ve ever looked into the people that are complaining the most, they more than likely have 4 or more teams and live on the computers, and by June will have abandoned half their teams cause they’re not doing good. Just another reason to start your own league with people that want to play and not just complain.

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  7. Teej says:

    We don’t have a message board in my league, per se, but we use the chatroom function on the CBS Live Scoring page to talk a little trash, share links and statistical oddities, make fun of the guy who bought high on Vernon Wells, etc. Anyone looking to make a trade or bitch about something knows that’s not the right place for it, since it will got lost in the chatter.

    We prefer one-on-one communication via e-mail or phone for any sort of serious discussion. We’re pretty close-knit and most of us know one another personally, so that works for us. I can see how a message board might be more useful in leagues with less familiarity.

    I can’t stand the general updates like “need homers, willing to trade [insert your three worst players here].”

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    • The A Team says:

      The trade block is a useful feature so long as people put actual valuable players on the block. Right now I have Ian Kinsler, Rickie Weeks, Derrek Lee, and Chris Snyder available. It signals other owners that I’m willing to negotiate on these guys. I agree that the trade block is useless when an owner puts Scott Podsednik, Jose Guillen, Jeff Francoeur, and Scott Feldman on it (actual example from my league). When I see that happen, I use the Message Board to call out that owner and wonder aloud why anyone would want those crappy players. Sure enough, 8 of 12 owners have players on the trade block and none of them are churn and burn type players.

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  8. Adam says:

    We use them to monitor our minor league transactions, Complain, mock people and even have a weekly power ranking comprised by the commissioner which is a lot of fun, no matter how biased he is.. But it does start conversations and debates. Message Board is a big part of my league.

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  9. Gricomet says:

    I don’ mind the message boards, although I can say honestly I cannot think of any that have had an appreciably effect of a season or its enjoyment in my recent years of playing. Can be open forums for trash talk back and forth if people are in to that, that is the only recent purpose I have seen.

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  10. Detroit Michael says:

    There are a fair number of rules reminders and weekly tracking of this or that that I post as co-commissioner on my league’s message boards. It serves a real function even if one rates the “community” aspect of it as worthless. Unlike e-mail, it keeps a record of what was posted. (OnRoto doesn’t seem to have a 50 message limit or anything like that.)

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  11. slogue617 says:

    I prefer to use Yahoo’s “Smack Talk” to make my generic announcements for trade interest, mainly because it doesn’t seem like anyone notices new messages on the board. When you “Smack Talk,” though, a yellow asterisk thing appears next to your name in the standings for a couple days. It’s impossible to miss, and it did lead to some proposals (none of which interested me, however).

    In my ESPN league, I use the message board for some of the purposes Kyle mentioned–jokes, player updates, etc. Early in the season I posted a McDonald’s commercial featuring a young Prince Fielder with father Cecil. A couple years ago, when Jon Lester was still battling cancer, I posted what I thought was a funny (if kind of morbid) injury update: “Jon Lester (ankle, cancer) threw from a mound for the first time on Tuesday.”

    My commissioner has also used to to post his projections and predictions, both in real baseball and the fantasy league, and he’s put a few polls to the league, such as “who won this trade,” etc.

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  12. cole0271 says:

    I’m in two leagues, and they each have ~10-year track records. I find the message boards to be an essential part of both leagues, featuring everything from smack talk to off-topic discussions and “keeping in touch”. Perhaps the makeup of the league is significant here? I’ve had problems with “dead boards” in 1-year leagues, though not so much for the leagues in which everyone has a history with everyone else.

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  13. The Sheriff says:

    I am the commish in 3 of the 5 leagues i’m in this season. Not only do we have a message board but i have made it mandatory that all league participants join an offseason discussion group page. While many “public leagues” use a message board to complain and discuss trades, expert leagues use the message board to discuss the on-goings of baseball today, the variety of statistics used, post interesting articles we’ve read, and make fun of one another creating great league camaraderie. So my answer is absolutely yes, that a message board is essential to the success of a great league. There is much more to fantasy sport than just crunching numbers by yourself. The idea of sharing knowledge, beating your friends to a pulp, and then having a vehicle to publicly rub it in…..priceless.

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  14. elllpeee says:

    I agree with the the trend here; in single-year and public leagues it becomes rather useless most of the time. I am in a few private leagues on Yahoo with people I mostly don’t know, and the boards rarely add anything to my experience.

    However, I am in a serious league as well, one in which I have been a member for several seasons. We use a message board in this league 12 months of the year and use it for fantasy baseball purposes as well as everything else, including in depth political discussions for some and lots of bitching and sophomoric humor. Trades, however, are almost always done via email or Instant Messaging.

    This board is a major reason why our league of 20 individuals, most of whom only know each other because of this league, has a well established core of about 15 managers with long-time experience in the league and some relationships that have gone beyond this message board.

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  15. JayCee says:

    Kila Ki-aihue is finally being called up. If you’re in an AL-only or deep league, he’s probably worht a flyer.

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  16. Sean says:

    Juan Pierre is making his 5th start of the year at DH today, I’m looking forward to reading the article that should be titled “The Worst DH in the History of Baseball”, when can I expect this?

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  17. Josh says:

    Seems like the main purpose of this column was to complain.

    Not that I’m complaining.

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  18. Bartaksu says:

    I absolutely cannot stand it when people make generic “send me trades” posts, such a waste of time. Send your own damn offers, then we can negotiate.

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  19. Posey says:

    Without message boards, you might as well be playing against robots.

    I wouldn’t play fantasy sports without the message boards, at least not be as addicted. Making fun of your friends, sharing links, pointing out funny player pics or look-a-like player pics, ranting about how bad your team is, posting a “Dunn, Dunn, Dunn” every time Adam Dunn hits a home run, or “Braun, Braun, Braun”, giving props to other managers team names, sharing league power rankings, the list goes on and on.

    I could understand thinking the message board is useless if you were in a league of strangers, but when you are in a league with a group of friends, the message board is vital.

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  20. Reuben says:

    For me, the message board usually makes or breaks the league. I don’t enjoy playing in leagues w/o some contact between the participants. Empty trade offers and rejections don’t do it for me. The most fun league I ever played in was when I filled in for someone in a league that consisted mostly of guys who went to graduate school together. It was hard to keep up with all of the inside jokes, but that message board was fantastic.

    I hate complain-y message boards, but empty ones are even worse. I feel like the last man on earth.

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