Ask NotGraphs (#4)

Dear NotGraphs,

This is your assignment, should you choose to accept it: Design the perfect Fantasy Baseball Command & Control center. This space is to be used for managing daily H2H leagues. Knowledge (News, Scouting, Stats) is power. Watching your players live and cheering them on is probably just superstition, but it’s fun.

Your provisions:
-$1500 cash.
-One finished, climate controlled basement space, measuring 15 x 15, with 5×5 nook off one corner
-One 42” Sony LCD. This TV has VGA input and lets you watch live TV PIP while viewing your computer screen. ($1000, already invested.) You may use this or opt for something else.
-One 7′ couch and one 5′ loveseat.
-One wi-fi iPad ($500, already invested) to be used, or not, at your discretion.
-Broadband cable with its own PIP feature, internet, & wireless-N router (subscription cost already invested.)
-One Amazon Prime account and the free shipping it entails (subscription cost already invested.)

Accessories:
-adjacent 15×15 space with pool table
-dart board
-wii

Any subscriptions you choose to make must be cost-calculated for 4 years and subtracted from the cash. Furnish, equip, stock, & subscribe as you see fit.

Dear Lonely Reader With Disposable Cash,

You and last week’s letter writer should hang out. He wants someone to watch the game with, and you seem to have a pretty sweet setup, along with $1500 in your pocket, which you guys can use for some pretty fancy take-out. I guess my first recommendation would be MLB.TV Premium ($124.99), set up to watch the feed on your television. Maybe a mini-fridge ($70) and some snacks and beverages. Although, assuming there’s a kitchen upstairs, I don’t know if the mini-fridge even adds all that much value, since baseball games come with sufficient commercial breaks. Maybe there are readers who know about some technological breakthrough that I’m not yet aware of, or someone wants to explain in the comments why you should buy a Slingbox or a Vook or something else I’ve never used and barely heard of, but otherwise, I think you’re good. And I think I’ve just illustrated that I have no idea what people do with disposable income.

I think I need more information about the rest of your life to know how you should spend the remaining $1375.01. Because just going off your e-mail, I would recommend spending it on something that gets you out of your basement.

Something nice for your wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend/child/children, perhaps. Or, if none of those apply, I hear Internet dating is– wait, Internet dating sucks, I’m sure.

But if you’re spending every night alone in your basement watching your fantasy players on TV, and you don’t have anything else going on, maybe buy a couple of tickets to a few games, invite a friend or co-worker along?

Or, thinking more broadly, maybe take a class in something that interests you aside from fantasy baseball. Improv comedy? Sushi-making? Sadly, perhaps, those are what come to mind because those are the two types of classes I have ever paid money for. And the sushi-making class was, in retrospect, probably not the best use of $40, because how to make sushi is pretty obvious once you have the ingredients, and since taking the class, I’ve never made sushi.

So, $300 for an improv class, $40 for the cheapest sushi-making class you can find, $40 for two bleacher seats… do the bleacher seats once a month for the whole season, take a different friend each time… so now we’re at $240 for the tickets… and if you bought your friend the ticket, he’ll probably buy you a beer and a hot dog, so we don’t need to add that in. Still left with $795.*

Well, you can subscribe to FanGraphs+, I guess, so let’s knock you down to $790….

This is strangely difficult for me. How about a road trip? Go see a minor league game? Buy your parents a Yankees-logo medic alert bracelet? Any of your friends trying to raise money for a worthwhile creative endeavor on Kickstarter? Maybe there’s a charity you want to donate to? Does your couch need reupholstering? Is that even a thing that people do to couches? Maybe you want to just save that money to buy a half-share of Facebook after the IPO? That seems like a smart thing to do. What does a dog cost? You can dress him up in a baseball uniform, make him the mascot for your fantasy team? Buy him a dog bed if you still have anything left over, or if you don’t want him on your newly-reupholstered couch. Maybe you can get him an iPad too.

Dental cleaning? A pack of Forever stamps before the Postal Service raises the rates again? I’m out of ideas. So, MLB.TV Premium, and throw the rest of your money out the window, because you already have what you need. Commenters, be more helpful than I am. Thanks.

Good luck,
Jeremy

*At this point in the writing, I suddenly remembered that you stipulated in the instructions that you want me to cost-calculate for 4 years, not just one. So I could have ended the post here, and said this means we throw 3 more years of MLB.TV into the mix, assume no price increases, that’s $374.97, and spend the rest of the money on baseball tickets, 2013-2015. But, as long as I’ve gone this far, that seems like cheating, so I’m going to relegate this to a footnote and continue spending your money on garbage.

Have a question for Ask NotGraphs!? Of course you do. E-mail me, or leave your question in the comments, and yours might be next!



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Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a satirical novel that should make people who didn't go to law school feel good about their life choices. Read more at McSweeney's or elsewhere. He likes e-mail.


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Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

Buy MLB.TV premium for the first 10 commenters.

Miffed in Minnesota
Guest
Miffed in Minnesota

I suppose I might be willing to watch games with this person, but if he (I’m assuming it’s a guy) mentions that Joe Mauer has the worst contract in MLB right now, then it’s no deal.

Although I think I might be okay with Well-Beered Englishman’s proposal as well.

The Collector
Guest
The Collector

I have enjoyed buying the baseball cards of players on my fantasy team. It will do nothing to improve your spot in the league’s standings, but, hey, you now have a Jhoulys Chacin card!

Lonely Reader with Disposable Cash
Guest
Lonely Reader with Disposable Cash

I suppose I should’ve called it a Man Cave instead of a basement!

I tried MLB.TV a couple years ago but it was INFURIATING. If it is actually watchable I would consider it again. Is there an ideal computer setup to watch it?

Know any other good live baseball feeds for tracking multiple players?

(FYI Married, no kids, Kitchen is just up the stairs, currently don’t use basement except for occasional game of pool, have a 9 to 5 and ready to sit on couch and root for my players most nights. I’m in two very competitive daily leagues (AL&NL.))

Peter R
Guest
Peter R

Almost any $500 computer you can buy with HDMI out should hook up to a reasonably new-ish TV. You mentioned only VGA but I cant believe that’s all your TV has. If you find MLB.tv terrible then invest in a better internet connection because I find it pretty sweet.

If you don’t want to hook up a computer to your TV can try a PlayStation 3, a Roku Box, a Boxee Box, or I think and Xbox 360 now will all get MLB.tv, though I don’t think they allow you to watch 4 games at once or have fantasy player tracker.

If all that doesn’t appeal to you then get Direct.TV and MLB Extra Innings or whatever it called. Sucks more than MLB.tv but whatever floats your boat.

As for the rest of your money? Snow Cone Machine? Cotton Candy maker? Mood lighting that reacts to how your team is doing that game? Snuggie?…..

olethros
Guest
olethros

Send me a check for a thousand dollars and spend the rest on a middle tier hooker.

Chris
Guest
Chris

After reading this, I have a feeling that his choice of sexual partner is probably his hand, perhaps a cheap toy that must be repeatedly cleaned and has durability issues. If he’s got $1500 to spend then a wiser investment would be a top tier hooker.

Why get only a 2 WAR hooker when you have the money to afford a 6 WAR hooker? He’s obviously sitting right at, if not below, replacement value.

Lonely Reader with Disposable Cash
Guest
Lonely Reader with Disposable Cash

Way, way off. The conclusions you are drawing from me having a basement and $1500 are pretty scary.

First of all, I’m happily married.

Second, It’s my house. I own it. It has a finished basement. Am I the only one that owns a house with a basement? Maybe you live in studio apartment in San Francisco with your boyfriend, so your mom’s basement is all that comes to mind. I don’t know.

Thrid, I also have a job and some money to spend on furnishing my basement. I didn’t have to save up date money for months like you to have that kind of cash. But again, not judging.

Greg W
Guest

You have submitted a question to NotGraphs, which is like asking a stand up comedian for advice on your marriage. You will get a lot of words, and some of them may be helpful, but you are probably going to spend more time sorting out the facts from the funny than you might have initially expected.

Try Yahoo Answers too, they have a real different slant on things.

Bryan Grosnick
Member
Member

Spend some of it on books and subscription services. Mock Draft Central, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball-Reference, and FG+ subs should be no-brainers. Also do SABR if you really love the game. Get the THT Annual, BP 2012, John Sickel’s prospect book, BA Prospect Handbook, and a copy of The Book if you don’t already have one. I also like the Bill James Handbook every year.

All that together should be about $150/year or so, rough guess. That’s certainly what I’d do if I had the extra scratch.

(Oh, I’d also make a small donation to charity. Maybe the good karma will help with your league, maybe not. But it’s a nice use of resources.)

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