Kicking Rocks: The Naysayers

Whatever happened to the power of positive thinking? Obviously it’s a lost art form when you’re talking about a certain percentage of fantasy baseballers. If you recall a Kicking Rocks piece I did  during the spring called Draft Characters, you’ll remember the outline I provided of the different types of people you’ll likely face in the war room on Draft Day. The first “person” discussed was the Know-It-All — the guy loaded with information and always willing to endow you with his wisdom. Well, what I didn’t tell you is what happens to this person once the season begins. The best way to describe it is to equate him to a petulant child who just learned the word ‘no.’ No player you like, does he like. No trade that you make, would he make, and heaven forbid you play with him in a league where you vote on trades. The transformation takes place shortly after the start of the season and your league know-it-all sadly becomes The Naysayer.

The last time I checked, fantasy baseball was still a game and games are supposed to be fun. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with making a league a little more interesting and developing a little healthy competition, but above all, this is supposed to be an enjoyable pastime, dammit! Unfortunately, it is the Naysayer who sucks the joy right out of every moment and it turns every conversation, every trade negotiation, every league discussion into a chore. You’d rather spend three hours in a dentist’s chair having a root canal done than you would spending one more minute talking with this person [for the record, I really wanted to use the word ‘asshat’ here but was concerned with an editorial reprimand].

I like owning Jean Segura. Who doesn’t? Through 38 games, he’s batting .353 with seven home runs, 18 RBI and 14 stolen bases. He’s playing out of his mind and fantasy owners lucky enough to have grabbed him are reaping massive benefits. But yes, his .380 BABIP is likely unsustainable and he will eventually slow down. But just because you expect some regression doesn’t mean the guy is a worthless piece of sh*t destined to bat .240 the rest of the way. The Naysayer won’t even discuss him in a deal and if he does, he’s not offering you up anything more than a struggling Rickie Weeks or an overachieving Travis Wood. His biggest trade negotiating tactic is to run down all of your players no matter who they are or how well they’re doing. Selling Matt Harvey? No. He’s got no track record and his arm is going to fall off. Offering Carlos Beltran? No. He always gets hurt. No matter how well your players are doing or how crappy his are, your team sucks, his players are the best, and getting a deal done is an impossibility.

And when someone else makes a deal in the league, this guy has nothing but negative things to say about it. It could be the most innocuous trade in the world and this guy is either seconds away from crying collusion or he’s sending one of the trade participants a scathing email telling them that they’re an idiot who just got rooked and that he was offering better players. Inevitably, it is the Naysayer who starts those ugly email wars that clutter up your inbox and somehow always escalate to the old 6th grade “I’ll meet you over the hill after school.” You want to say, “Lighten up, Francis” to ease some of the tension but that only incites him to talk more.

It is a constant struggle with the Naysayer, but one you usually have to endure. While he’s the biggest pain in the ass to deal with on a daily basis, he’s also a highly competitive owner whose participation in the league is at its highest level. It’s always tough to find owners so committed and so dedicated to the game that kicking him out and replacing him isn’t always in the best interest of the league. Sometimes you just have to bite your tongue and accept the fact that he’s the smartest guy in the league world and you’re just Willie Lump Lump (thank you Brandon Phillips).

There is one saving grace, though, in that this is also the guy who didn’t believe in Albert Pujols during his rookie year, didn’t believe in Yu Darvish’s ability to pitch in the States and didn’t believe in Mike Trout. He’s so busy running down players that he misses the boat on some of the most exciting, up-and-coming talent. Sure, he’ll try to rip you off in a deal for them at some point down the road, but rarely is he the one who initially digs up the gem.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

26 Responses to “Kicking Rocks: The Naysayers”

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  1. Sgt Hulka says:

    Thank you so much for this article. Great stuff!

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  2. John Elway says:


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  3. gjones says:

    “he’s also a highly competitive owner whose participation in the league is at its highest level” & “and didn’t believe in Mike Trout”
    Don’t think you can be both;

    also I was identifying with the whole blog, until that last paragraph,
    doesn’t mesh with the rest, either he’s a good player who’s an asshat or he’s a bad player who’s an asshat

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    • Does it matter? says:

      You should identify whith this article. Seems like your a bit of an asshat yourself.

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    • Clifford says:

      Why is it exactly that an owner cant be competitive and active, but not believe in Mike Trout? Honestly sounds pretty simple to me give that the two have essentially nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

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    • Fred says:

      Yeah, he can be good. Reminds me of this guy who offered me a low-ball offer for Dylan Bundy over the winter. When I said no, he said, well, he’s probably headed for Tommy John anyway. How do I fee now?

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  4. Turbo Sloth says:

    Everybody naysayed on me believing in Scott Kazmir’s ability to be good again too! Now who’s looking like the foo?

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    • Kevin says:

      There must be something coming off Lake Erie when both Liriano and Kazmir are performing at levels that were all but left for dead years ago. I’m believing in the Kazmir resurgence.

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  5. Reverend Jim says:

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  6. BillyBeaned says:

    Maybe rather than just kick rocks you should just kick this annoying dude out of your league. Or if that sounds too confrontational you can always do the old college rock band trick: dissolve the league entirely then instantly “re-form” it under a new name – without him. Dude’s too toxic to put up with any longer…

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  7. Pableaux Gunmoney says:

    Thank you, Brandon Phillips.

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  8. Nemesis Enforcer says:

    So Reyes goes down and my much scouted Segura is available. Soooo happy to own him.

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  9. Brad Hage says:

    This whole article is just terrible. Honestly. The concept, the execution. I’ve seen better articles written on Yahoo. I’ve been submitting stuff to you guys for years, and this is the kind of garbage that gets published? Honestly. Your editors clearly have no ability to judge quality when they see it. Your work started well but honestly it’s just fallen off the table lately. And the funny part is, I’ve seen it happening (like NO ONE ELSE HAS, mind you) and told all of you about it. No one believed me. I wrote better stuff than this in the sixth grade. I wish we had some way to vote on whether or not articles got published because frankly this is just subpar stuff. I guess that both my ability to read/critique the written word and write about baseball myself is just better than all of yours. How sad. You all need to step your games up.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      I can’t tell if this is somewhat legitimately mad or someone being intensely hilarious on purpose by acting just like the person described in the article.

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    • supershredder says:

      Sounds pretty serious to me…what a dueche (spelling?).

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    • supershredder says:

      How’s he getting up votes??? Did I click the wrong button?

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      • Brad Hage says:

        Because everyone else is better at understanding sarcasm than you. Here, give me your email address so I can send you a 3 paragraph explanation of how I was ahead of the curve interpreting internet sarcasm and send you some tips how to improve.

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  10. patk says:

    I would say that I fit into this guy at points.(if you asked my fellow FB players) So it goes. I would also say that if you plan on complaining about someone giving their opinion, don’t ask for it. This is my source of friction. I forget you’re supposed to lie through your teeth and then go mind your own business.

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    • Jason B. says:

      Ah the good ol’ “hey, I’m just giving ny opinion, man!” A close cousin to “I’m just keeping it real, man!”

      Yes, yes you are. Reeeeaaaalll douchey.

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  11. Charlie says:

    Ah, so true. Mentioning the one that “rallies the troops” trying to get a trade vetoed would have been understood by a lot of fantasy players.

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  12. donut says:

    First rule of fantasy trades:

    My guys are awesome, mostly because they are on my team. Your guys are meh, mostly because they are not on my team.

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  13. Nick says:

    This struck a chord with me, I think I might be that guy more than I’d care to admit. Is trying to get a trade vetoed really that much of a dick move? In my keeper league bryce harper recently got traded for Joe Mauer, Jayson Heyward, AJ Burnett and Michael Morse, and I did everything I could to get (what I perceived to be) an extremely lop-sided trade vetoed. Maybe I’m just “that guy”

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