October 09, 2002

Deford dislikes fantasy sports.: Mean old uncle Frank (isn't he creepy looking?) is very cranky in his latest column for CNNSI, ranting against the effects fantasy sports and video games are having on real sports. Looks like I'll drop him from my fantasy sportswriter team and pick up Ray Ratto.

posted by msacheson to culture at 03:47 PM - 17 comments

Poo on him. If anything all my fantasy teams help me learn about the game more. Picking up obscure players that turn out to be studs, it's a blast. You learn more about the different players than if you are merely watching your regional coverage on tv. Having said that, it really is an addiction though. Bless the internet for making it super easy to do.

posted by corpse at 04:42 PM on October 09, 2002

The only thing wrong with fantasy sports is that players like Garret Anderson and guys on the Rockies become overrated. But fantasy players have an appreciation for guys like Brian Giles and Magglio Ordonez, which is clearly to the benefit of the game.

posted by JawaKing at 08:31 PM on October 09, 2002

but it turns out that the reason more young men are tuning in on Mondays has nothing to do with Madden's ability to analyze the game being played, but because his video football game, Madden NFL 2003, is so popular with that cohort of young men between the ages of 18 and 34 that is most desirable to advertisers. as someone in this age group, i just don't see how john madden himself has anything to do with people playing a video game. or better yet play that game because john madden is on the cover. if he really dislikes madden's comentary that much he should come out and say so, and not blame a whole demographic for madden's inabilities.

posted by oliver_crunk at 09:51 PM on October 09, 2002

I'm currently playing Madden NFL 2003 on my computer. I turn the commentary off because I can't stand Madden and Michaels. I'd play it with/without his name on it. And I think fantasy pools HELP a sport, not hurt it. Before I joined Scoresheet Baseball, I only knew about the Blue Jays and some star players. Nowadays, I have a fantastic working knowledge of all American League players and most of the minor league players as well. I've also developed an understanding of what statistics are important (OBP, SLG, K/BB ratio) and which aren't (RBI, runs, wins).

posted by grum@work at 10:02 PM on October 09, 2002

I enjoy football games more now that my long-time fantasy league has become defunct. When I'm not obsessed with the scoreboard crawl, trying to see how I'm doing that week, I have more time to watch the actual game. No more do I consider going to a game to be a disadvantage (because I can't follow the other games while I'm there). However, even with all of this, I would probably sacrifice my enriched enjoyment in a heartbeat if my sorry-ass leaguemates started back up again.

posted by rcade at 10:44 PM on October 09, 2002

rcade, just be an idiot like me and load your fantasy team with your real team. It worked when the Redskins went to the playoffs in '99. Not so much after. Though I have Patrick Ramsey starting this week (only because McNabb has a bye though). But seriously, I'm a better and more knowledgeable football fan thanks to fantasy sports.

posted by owillis at 12:33 AM on October 10, 2002

I agree. I most definitely have the teams that I love and the teams that I hate. Fantasy Football makes most every game a treat to watch regardless of allegiances. I reccomend that Deford and his peers join together in a "Fantasy Solid Bowel-Movement League". It might just do them some good.

posted by ttrendel at 01:02 AM on October 10, 2002

Interesting that Deford's piece runs about THREE INCHES from CNNSI's "Fantasy" link.

Side note, when did Frank Deford start dying his hair to like this guy's?

posted by herc at 02:43 AM on October 10, 2002

isn't he creepy looking Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. He reminds me so much of Frederick of Frederick's of Hollywood - the lecherous old guy (to my impressionable mind when I was a kid) who founded a trashy mail order company that specialized in crotchless panties and bright red bras with tassels on them. Swellegant stuff. The company is still around and has toned it down a bit, but I don't think Victoria's Secret has anything to worry about.

posted by iconomy at 06:55 AM on October 10, 2002

Do people still pay attention to Frank Deford? He lost me years ago (and his world cup/soccer diatribes didn't entice me to return).

posted by trox at 07:22 AM on October 10, 2002

I have a little trouble believing that fantasy sports make you a more knowledgeable fan about the game. You learn about more players and more of their scoring statistics, but it's overemphasized while other things that have just as much of a factor on the game are obscured. Fantasy football tells you nothing about many aspects of the the game -- offensive and defensive schemes, coaching, special teams. It also encourages fans to judge players disproportionately on how well they contribute to fantasy scoring categories.

posted by rcade at 08:27 AM on October 10, 2002

Was that Frank Deford, or Walter Matthau? Or was it Jack Lemmon? Or Andy Rooney? I'm getting my grumpy old men mixed up.

posted by mbd1 at 09:38 AM on October 10, 2002

He's just pissy because he took Kurt Warner with the first pick in his money leauge draft this year.

posted by corpse at 10:50 AM on October 10, 2002

Fantasy football tells you nothing about many aspects of the the game -- offensive and defensive schemes, coaching, special teams. If you don't realize that your receiver is playing in an offensive scheme that highlights the running back and full back, then you're going to get screwed. A smart "fantasy owner" will do his research and learn all he can about the team and how it plays. Therefore, he'll learn more about the game itself. Baseball example: I have Joe Kennedy on my fantasy baseball team. Great young pitcher, but I'm going to try and unload him in the offseason if I can find a taker. I've noticed that they don't seem to care about wear/tear on his arm. He pitched in meaningless September games after being sidelined briefly with "tired arm" in August. If I can find another "fantasy owner" that just looks at Kennedy's age and stats, I should be able to help my team in a trade.

posted by grum@work at 11:08 AM on October 10, 2002

Frank DeFord came to speak at my college graduation last year, and I must say he was a very funny, down to earth, and engaging speaker. That being said, I think he's way off base here. The word "fantasy" in fantasy football misleads so many people. <snip> younger generations are choosing to escape from watching actual games to pretend to be involved in personal dream renditions of games. Get it? </snip> No. Fantasy football isn't about "oh gee I get to make believe I am a GM in this fantasy dungeons and dragons game". This article sums it up nicely.

posted by mfbridges at 03:28 PM on October 10, 2002

I heard him give this speech on NPR early this week. I'll repeat my Frank DeFord mantra for the assembled members of SportsFilter: "He hasn't been interesting since his kid died." Painful but true. Ever since then he's been preachy and nostalgic. The stuff about kids knowing Madden from the game rather than football telecasts sounds suspiciously like something Madden said on ESPN at the beginning of the season. I doubt DeFord could produce one kid who fits that profile. In sum: sadly, someone who was once an actual original, interesting sports writer has become another member of the "chemistry homework" school of sports columnists-- draw your conclusion and then write your facts.

posted by yerfatma at 05:23 PM on October 10, 2002

You learn about more players and more of their scoring statistics, but it's overemphasized while other things that have just as much of a factor on the game are obscured. I'm somewhere in the middle of Rcade and Grum's views on this. In fantasy hockey, for instance, you can learn a ton about the players. You learn to watch who's paired on a line with who, who's hurt, who's consistent and who's streaky, and it really makes you keep track of who's injured and/or traded. These are things that, for the most part, you don't always see in the game recaps or stat sheets. Having said that, you still don't get to find out, say, how effective Marty Lapointe is away from the puck (backchecking, breaking up plays, etc), but Fantasy sports have definitely given me a greater knowledge of both football and Hockey, and it makes things much more enjoyable that I know all the players when my team plays a team I don't often get to see.

posted by Samsonov14 at 07:20 PM on October 10, 2002

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