The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

by Moonlight Graham

Once upon a time, before the evolution of the internet, Fantasy Baseball information was hard to come by.  News regarding critical issues such as day-to-day injury situations, rookie callups and even trade rumors were rarely current.  Often, it was necessary to directly call the MLB club in question but, even then, it was as likely as not that you’d reach someone that didn’t already frown on the entire concept of Fantasy Baseball.  Which brings me to the kid in Milwaukee.  I  never got his name so, I couldn’t say if he’s still in baseball but, wherever he is, there’s a former, public relations intern of the Brewers that, probably, still curses ole’ Moonlight at the very mention of Dan Plesac.

Sometime in the early nineties, Plesac, the Brew Crew closer, was nursing a bad elbow while a member of Moonlight’s Master Batters.  After a few absences from the daily box scores and no mention of an injury, I placed my first call to the unsuspecting intern.  Surprisingly, he really didn’t seem all that interested in the fact that a tight Saves race might decide my league.  He was equally unsympathetic when I explained that I couldn’t pick up a replacement unless Plesac was disabled by Milwaukee.

So, I asked, “Hey, what’s up with Plesac?”  “Is he going on the DL?”  “Not to my knowledge”, came the reply and thus started a daily correspondence over the course of the next six days.  Exasperated, he finally admitted to me that Plesac was likely out for awhile but, as rosters were about to expand on September 1st, would not go on the DL.  If he’d have only told me that in the first place, I’d have had another relief pitcher and he; an enjoyable week.

As the Rotisserie Baseball world has evolved, that episode has become more and more ironic to me.  Here I was, being sneered at and stonewalled by the MLB franchise owned by Bud Selig, who would become the money hungry commissioner that recognized Fantasy Baseball for the cash cow it is.  By charging exclusive rights fees to online services run by CBS, ESPN and Yahoo, Major League Baseball has helped advance an industry now so stuffed with the very news it once protected, that Fantasy Baseball owners must discern the Good info from the Bad and the Ugly.  What follows is a Moonlight Guide through the media.

The Good
If you’re in a league that holds Minor League players, you’ll want to listen to Grant Paulsen, host of MLB Network Radio’s Minors and Majors on XM channel 175.  Paulsen, just 22 himself, is as impressive as the young phenoms that appear on his show.  Infinitely more knowledgeable than his experience would have you believe, he balances MLB analysis with guest spots featuring the top prospects from each organization; kids he’s obviously taken the time to meet before they go on the air. It’s a funny, informative two hours each Sunday morning at 8AM that’ll give you an edge and put a smile on your face.

Once a daily staple for Fantasy Baseball players, The Fantasy Focus, hosted by Rotowire’s Jeff Erickson, disappeared from the MLB channel on XM radio in 2009.  Now Rotowire Fantasy Sports Today, Erickson and co-host Chris List share their expertise on XM channel 241 and Sirius channel 125 from 11 AM to 2 PM EDT.  Long a Tout Wars opponent of stats guru Ron Shandler, Erickson has a great feel for Fantasy trends, supports his views with statistics without becoming married to them and enjoys a seamless and often funny banter with the equally likable List.

The Bad
When MLB Network launched last year, it seemed like a natural fit for the Roto industry.  However, it took more than a year for The Fantasy 411 to debut. Hosted by Mike Siano and Cory Schwartz, the show is a disappointment in both its insight and timing.  The opinions offered are rarely better than any you’d already made, yourself and the 5 PM EDT slot does not allow for transactions involving day games.  What a shame that the network doesn’t cater to what is obviously it’s largest audience.

The Ugly

Imagine you’ve landed a date with the prettiest girl in school and she shows up wearing curlers and a house dress.  That’s, essentially, what MLB Network has accomplished by simulcasting its nightly Quick Pitch on its Sirius XM channels.  Harold Reynolds, possibly the best analyst in all of sports, becomes impossible to follow if you’re listening to his TV broadcast on the radio.  Discussing highlights and making demonstrations you can’t see, Reynolds and his cohorts instantly become a terrible listen.  Amazing that anyone earning his living in the profession would sign off on such a disaster.

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