FBTL: The Fantasy Baseball Twitter League

“Didn’t know you could bet on any special player.”
 
“On anybody or anything. We bet on strikes, balls, hits, runs, innings, and full games. If a good team plays a lousy team we will bet on the spread of runs. We cover anything anyone wants to bet on.”
 
    –The Natural (1952)

Fantasy baseball has well earned its reputation for being a healthy and educational activity for boys and girls aged 9-99. Furthermore, an independent medical think tank discovered that exposure to fantasy podcasts while in the womb has advanced language development in newborns by up to 15%, as well as caused a 25% reduction in paying for saves. This is science.

But though it’s a natural thing for a young man or woman to own up to twenty or thirty fantasy teams in a given season, nurturing them like plants or goldfish, one can suffer from a certain level of diminishing returns. That’s why we need new forms of fantasy baseball, new things to bet on, to keep things fresh and instill some faint imitation of purpose into our lives. To that purpose, I propose the Fantasy Baseball Twitter League.

Drafting proceeds as normal. Each team builds a roster of pitchers and position players. The difference is that instead of considering a player’s performance on the field, FTBL only considers their accomplishments on Twitter. The league uses only four categories:

  • Number of tweets
  • Number of followers
  • Number of retweets
  • Number of favorites

These statistics can be collated by external websites, such as Twitalyzer. The values are set on midnight of Opening Day, and each player is compared to the original total as the season proceeds. Depending on how much work you want your commissioner to do, you may want to consider locking rosters at opening day and just counting the numbers at the end of the season, since aggregating the numbers on a daily or weekly basis might be a headache. It’s your league! Do whatever feels best.

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The beauty of FBTL is that despite having only four categories, there are athletes who can help your team in a variety of ways. Albert Pujols, for example, has only tweeted 41 times, but his fame pads his statistics; even a tweet about a charity golf game elicited 20 RTs and 10 favorites.

Let other people worry about Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. For one day, let Nick Swisher, Brandon McCarthy, and Logan Morrison be your stars. Hope for a Pat Neshek trade, so that his quiet wit can be understood by another town. Or pray for Jamey Carroll to get into a flame war with Darren Rovell over the value of OBP, driving up his statistics like a 4-4 night at the plate.

Just don’t create Twitter bots to follow your own players and tamper with your league. I mean, that’s just sad.




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Patrick Dubuque writes for NotGraphs and The Hardball Times, and he served as former Bill Spaceman Lee Visiting Professor for Baseball Exploration at Pitchers & Poets. Follow him on Twitter @euqubud.


One Response to “FBTL: The Fantasy Baseball Twitter League”

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  1. harpago17 says:

    Another great thing about being in a Twitter league: Retired players.

    @DaleMurphy3 can be a fantasy hero once again, @JoseCanseco is putting up numbers that rival his steroid-fueled prime, and @RealCJ10 is once again a fresh-faced rookie!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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