September 01, 2006

"It's 'Bull Durham'-meets-fantasy-sports come to life.": The Schaumburg Flyers are managed by, well, a few hundred (or thousand) armchair coaches via the internet. "Fans" set the lineups before each game. After starting 31-17 and winning the Northern League's first half division title before the fans took over, the minor league team has gone 14-31 and sits in last place with the democratic managerial style. But those 14 wins and 31 losses have been viewed 500,000 times via the web-reality show based on the team. Still, the manager and some players are not happy. "It's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of in baseball, period," says the closer. (This, of course, is to counteract the recent feel-good publicity surrounding the Vintage Base Ball Association, where the mitts are flesh and walks take six balls.)

posted by nicotine winning patch to baseball at 11:54 AM - 8 comments

"We've been told this is for the fans to give back to the fans. You want to give back to the fans, let them vote on the price of beer." Dude. You're the closer. Do you think sitting in the bullpen surrounded by a bunch of people paying a nickle a beer is going to improve your working conditions? From the fan's perspective, though, I am totally for it. I'd like to vote on the brand of beer, too. And the size of the cups. As they say in the article, this can't work well when only one team is doing it because for every fan of the team there are seven fans of other teams with a vested interest in their failure. If every team did it, it would at least create a balance of the well-intentioned vs. the saboteurs. The web site is not good. It spends so much effort being flashy that it doesn't really convey well what the site is, how the "game" works, etc. I was originally captivated by this idea when it was first presented, but now I think it's just stupid. It's hurting the manager and players, and it's turning baseball into a circus attraction. I think the concept would be better if they got celebrities or celebrity wannabes together to form a separate league with no major league aspirations at all, and had them spend a summer living and playing under minor league conditions. That would take the sympathy factor out completely. I'm pretty sure Corbin Bernsen could use the work.

posted by BullpenPro at 12:55 PM on September 01, 2006

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Democracy just does not work.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:56 PM on September 01, 2006

Would be better if the fans in attendance could make the managerial descisions. That would prevent non-fans from ruining the game.

posted by AaronGNP at 05:01 PM on September 01, 2006

I'm not sure that's completely true. Last I heard, Schaumburg wasn't making people blow into a fanalyzer before selling them a ticket.

posted by BullpenPro at 05:05 PM on September 01, 2006

Great first post, nwp.

posted by Ufez Jones at 05:28 PM on September 01, 2006

The poor lineup selections are obviously down to the fact that if you want to watch the videos, you have to use Internet Explorer, thus the people choosing the lineups are idiots.

posted by Drood at 11:04 PM on September 01, 2006

Would be better if the fans in attendance could make the managerial descisions. That is what is happening in basketball with the Vermont Frost Heaves of the ABA, the team started by Alexander Wolff of Sports Illustrated. They created the Bump in the Road Club, which will allow fans to vote on managerial decisions. The club has already chosen between two finalists for its first-ever head coach.

posted by smithers at 10:33 AM on September 02, 2006

Good find. It reminds me of when Bill Veeck's "Grandstand Managers" did this for a game 55 years ago and the Browns won.

posted by ?! at 02:49 PM on September 02, 2006

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