But as is the case with just about everything cool, there are so many new people jumping on the bandwagon every year, that the so called "Old School" players do whatever they can to prove that they were there first and their years of experience are more than enough to dispatch these young up-and-comers, like Apollo Creed against Rocky. The only difference is that the Old School players won't get killed by Russian imports, unless that's part of your league's settings. And even then, I'm not sure that Russians know how to play baseball. I think all they know how to do is play soccer and poker.
In Fantasy baseball circles, many people think that the more obscure your league's stat categories are, the better a player you must be. And sometimes, this is true. After all, anyone can draft players with a high average, but in leagues with OBP slotted in instead, it takes a little more research.
But some of these leagues are out of control. In a never ending quest to prove their league can beat up your league, some managers are using crazy ass stats that even Bill James would look at and say "Wow, that's fucked up." Let's take a look, shall we?
Sacrifice Hits/Sacrifice Flies: These are the most ridiculous stats you could ever pick for a fantasy baseball league. Who could possibly predict what players are going to have a high number of sacrifice fly chances in a season? I've got some names for ya:
What do those guys have in common? They all led their respective leagues in number of sac flies at least once over the last 10 seasons. And over that time, the average number of sac flies it took to lead the league was 12. Who would ever pick a stat to count in fantasy baseball where a player can lead the league in that category by averaging one every other week?
And don't even get me started on sacrifice hits. Take a look at the leaderboard for sac hits this season:
The leaderboard on this stat is littered with pitchers. This is all well and good, except for the simple fact that sac hits are counted as a hitting stat. In most leagues, your hitting stats that come from pitchers don't even count! So let's look at the top 5 non-pitchers in this category:
"Well, he kills my average, doesn't hit any home runs and strikes out more than I'd like, but Gathright is a monster when it comes to sacrificing. I'll draft him next round. There may be a run on sac hitters!"
Times Picked Off: Having this category is pretty much a waste of time. Usually the only players that get picked off are players that tend to steal bases. This makes punting saves even more appealing. If you don't have any base stealers on your team, chances are that you'll never get picked off, so it will even out every time your opponent's players get picked. Sure, you can't count on that every week, but as long as you keep putting up a big fat 0 in that category, that's another point your opponent won't get, isn't it?
Walks + HBP: Yes, this is a real category. But now that Craig Biggio's out of the league, no one cares about it anymore.
Honorable Mention: Grand Slams, 4 Hit Games, Hitting For Cycle - Yes, these are all actual scoring category options. I think Hitting For Cycle is by far the worst. Only 20 players have ever done it more than once in their career. The career leaders? Bob Meusel and Babe Herman who both did it a whopping 3 times each.
Intentional Walks Allowed: Again, another category that makes no sense because there's no way to prepare for it in your draft. Sure, you might want to draft Carlos Zambrano, but he plays in the same division as Albert Pujols, and you don't want him to face Pujols with 1st base open. That'll blow your entire team average for IBB given out for the week! Better skip Zambrano and draft nothing but situational lefties who will never be wasted by having to intentionally walk someone.
Double Plays: Yes, you can get points if your pitchers induce more double plays than your opponent's pitchers. So when drafting pitchers, don't pick ones that are too good, because they don't allow many baserunners. No baserunners = less chances at a double play. But don't make your pitcher picks too crappy because you don't want to ruin your unimportant stats like "ERA" and "WHIP" and all those other stupid categories that no one pays attention to.
Balks: Seriously, just stop it.
Pulled Before 4th Inning: (Drinking heavily)
Perfect Games: That's it...I quit. If anyone needs me, I'll be at the bar setting up the first ever 1x1 fantasy league...