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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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4/28 - Houston's Enron Field (aka "Homerun Field") is already playing a lot like Coor's Field. In just 12 games, there have been 46 home runs hit so far. RotoNews is already "coloring" projected pitching starts there. And the Cubbies smacked 5 yesterday, including 4 in the first inning.

So guess where yesterday's best pitching outing took place? Yep. John Lieber tossed a complete game, giving up only one run on 5 hits. But unless you're a diehard Cub fan, I'll bet you didn't have Lieber on your SW or Echelon teams. Some of you probably have him on teams in traditional rotisserie-style leagues. If so, I hope you didn't bench him due to Enron fears.

I'm managing two teams in SW baseball this year. I decided to start out one team with a "one-stud" pitching staff, and unfortunately chose Pedro rather than Randy Johnson. (My other team has had both of them since the draft.) This week, I dropped Pedro after his last start, and went with 5 cheap pitchers: Kile, Penny, Rusch, Schoeneweis, and Ankiel. I figured one of them would probably bomb, and I'd swap that one into Randy before Sunday. It's worked well from a pricing standpoint. But unless Brad Penny bombs tonight (and mind you, I'm not rooting for that!), I'll have a dilemma, as all five have had great outings this week. I guess Penny is still going to be the one to swap, since he's the last to pitch. If one of the others craps out in their next start, I can move from that one back into Penny, if it seems like the thing to do at the time.

4/27 - This is shaping up to be a good week to conserve pitcher trades. Many of the widely held cheap pitchers (at least, they're widely held by Gurupies) have been doing pretty well lately, including Scott Schoeneweis and Rich Ankiel last night. If pitchers' hitting stats also counted, Ankiel would have had an extra 36 SWP & 44 EBP last night. But they don't.

The top pitching performance was turned in by Denny Neagle, his second consecutive 3-digit outing (both SWP & EBP). His SW price is only $4.4m, and with a current ranking of #15 in YTD SWP, he may start attracting some interest - unless, of course, the popular cheap pitchers continue to produce.

Although Dmitri Young topped him by 2 SWP last night, Jermaine Dye continued to be en fuego, with 2 more dingers. With new SW hitter trades becoming available today, it will be interesting to see how much buying activity he attracts. We may see some Edmonds to Dye swaps, since their prices are only $0.5m apart. But Dye will get some competition from Derek Bell as he heads into Coors Field, and probably Terrence Long, for those seeking a cash-conserving option. 'Twill be interesting to see. Don't know yet what I'll be doing, quite frankly.

I updated the Echelon rankings again yesterday. Although I automatically grabbed most of the teams that were in RotoGuru divisions, I downloaded those team IDs just before the beginning of the season, so some late joiners were probably missed. If you aren't on the list, but want to be, just send me your team ID#. (Teams submitted after noon yesterday will appear in the Friday update.)

4/26 - On a night when Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Kevin Brown all started, there were bound to be some dominating performances. And there were. But the top two came from Tom Glavine and Tim Hudson. Glavine has quietly moved up to the #3 ranking in total SWP, and with a pricetag of only $7.6m, he may start attracting more buying interest. Hudson showed some of his 1999 form, but his 140 SWP brought his season total up to - [gulp] - 140 SWP, so he may need to do some more convincing before anyone jumps on his bandwagon. And Darryl Kile was up there last night, too. His Coor's Field debacle is looking more and more like a bizarre aberration. If that outing had even been a zero (rather than -125 SWP), he'd be in the top ten pitchers. As it is, he re-emerged in the top 25, and his low SW price will probably entice those who don't hold a grudge.

Speaking of Pedro and Randy, it appears that a number of managers actually swapped from Pedro into Randy yesterday. Maybe they got faked out by the "other brother" on Monday (Ramon started for the Red Sox the day before). But if they were really staking a bet on Randy's outperformance, I hope they feel happy with a marginal pickup of 15 SWP for that trade. (Admittedly, there have been a lot of pitching trades done this year with much worse results!)

Kelly Stinnett swung the biggest stick last night. But the bigger developments were probably taking place in the outfield, where Jermaine Dye took over the top spot in YTD point production among all hitters (both SW and Echelon). And those who were waiting for Terrence Long to show something didn't have to wait for long, with a 63 point night under both scoring systems. He's cheap in both games, and will probably start to get some attention.

4/25 - Timing is everything. If Cal Eldred had tossed last night's 185 SWP effort in his first start of the year, he'd probably have been one of the big early gainers in SW price, given his minimum price tag. But last night's tally brings his YTD point total up to 175. You do the math. He may see some modest price action, but it's going to be tough for last night's complete game to remain noticed.

On the surface, you'd think Chuck Finley 's 8-inning, 2 hit, 0 run, 10 K game would have outpointed Eldred, who pitched a complete game, but did surrender 2 earned runs. The differences? Aside from the extra IP, Eldred walked only one, while Finley walked seven, including 4 in the first inning. You've got to be living right to walk four batters in an inning and escape unscathed. And given that Finley was able to pitch this game in Safeco Field, rather than facing Pedro in Fenway, he must be living right.

I did get the first run of Echelon baseball rankings posted yesterday. If your team isn't listed, and you'd like it to be, send me the team ID#. I plan to update these rankings three times per week, usually on MWF. The top ranked team at the end of the season earns an automatic berth in the RotoGuru Hall of Fame.

I noticed that Echelon is adjusting the efficiency ratings this season to correctly compensate for the bonus dollars earned by ad clicking. (In hoops, you could produce a high efficiency rating just by aggressively clicking early in the season, since those dollars were being treated (in the efficiency formula) as reduced expenditures.) This makes the relative efficiency comparisons much more valid, since managers click at much different paces over the course of the season. Of the 80 listed teams, the average number of cumulative ad clicks is 7. One team had already clicked for 22 bonuses, while 19 teams had yet to make the first click. Over the season, you can earn an extra $3.75 million by clicking 75 times, and if you expect to compete effectively, you need to take full advantage of this. But there's obviously no need to rush, with more than 150 days still remaining in the season. Just don't wait until August to start!

4/24 - The baseball story of the weekend is probably not what happened on the field, but what didn't. The Cleveland-Boston 3-game series was entirely washed out. And because Pedro Martinez actually did get to warm up prior to Sunday's washout, he will not pitch until Tuesday, which means that Randy Johnson will have lapped him in the past week. Aside from the expense of holding an unproductive Pedro (which is especially acute in the Echelon game), it also didn't do wonders for the recently hot bats of players like Travis Fryman or Trot Nixon. BTW, I see that one of the games will be made up on June 8th, and the other two will be in back-to-back doubleheaders in late September.

On the field, Toronto was the hitting story of the past week. Using Echelon scoring, the top three hitters over the past 7 days were all Blue Jays: Carlos Delgado, Jose Cruz, Jr., and Brad Fullmer. (Using Small World scoring, Fernando Tatis held down the #2 spot.) DelGado is too pricey for most SW teams, but Cruz and Fullmer will probably attract some buying interest. Troy Glaus and Derek Bell have also been en fuego, and are also affordable.

I hope to have the first cut of Echelon baseball rankings posted later today. Thanks for your patience.

4/21 - Randy Johnson looks pretty unstoppable so far. But the Tigers found a clever way to stop Pedro Martinez. Rain!.

Aside from facing those two, however, hitters aren't having many difficulties. Three more grand slams last night, and 5 hitting performances exceeding 70 SWP.

Anything look different this morning? No, I didn't shave off my beard. But I did rearrange the left menu panel, moving the baseball links to the top spot. With the NBA regular season now history, I will concentrate on baseball stats first each morning, and hope to have the daily updates posted by 9:30am EST (maybe even as early as 9:00 occasionally). In terms of baseball features, I need to work on the Echelon team rankings next, and should have the first set posted by the beginning of next week. After that, I need to do some "behind the scenes" work on server logistics, moving some things around to better balance site resource requirements.

For Hoops, all RotoGuru team rankings are now final. The following teams have qualified for automatic induction into the RotoGuru Hall of Fame:

  • Su Pimps, the top finisher in the RotoGuru SW team rankings (and #3 worldwide),
  • KB8ers, the top finisher in the RotoGuru CNN/SI team rankings (and #1 worldwide as well),
  • RotoGuru Phasers, the top finisher in the RotoGuru Echelon basketball rankings. However, that's my team, and I don't think I should be listed in my own Hall of Fame.
I will one additional opportunity for induction. The #1 worldwide team in Echelon basketball is Rick's Best2, which I know was managed by a loyal Gurupie.

I'd like the managers of each of those teams to send me a draft of their proposed enshrinement bio. Once I receive and edit them, I'll post them in the Hall. Congrats to all!

As I've mentioned before, I'll be providing an abbreviation version of statistical coverage for the SW Hoops Playoffs game. I will not be posting separate team rankings for this game, but there will be a ranking done at the message forum, and I will accord the top playoff finisher HOF status.

4/20 - Thanks to Gurupie Jeff G. for supplying today's quote.

There's no place like home - at least for Darryl Kile, who showed no after-effects from last week's Coors debacle in claiming the top pitching honors last night. (Actually, it appears that Orel Hershiser may have caught Kile's [lack of] control bug, and didn't even have to leave sea level.)

Meanwhile, Trot Nixon got to do a grand slam trot around the bases in Comerica National Park, capping a 5-HR barrage for the Red Sox. The entire Tigers team only has three round-trippers at home all season.

If you plan to use some of your new SW hitter trades before tomorrow's freeze, be aware that SW has announced a server shutdown sometime tonight, with no times specified for either the outage or the recovery. Recent experience with SW "upgrades" suggests that tomorrow may be a troublesome day, so forewarned is forearmed.

The NBA regular season was capped off with a rare 14-game schedule, and from the looks of the point totals, the players to own were those on non-playoff teams, which wasn't unexpected. I'll run the final team rankings in the next day or so, and figure out who has earned Hall of Fame honors.

If you're playing the SW Hoops Playoffs game, you've now got until Saturday to get your initial rosters in order.

4/19 - It feels good when one of your players goes off with a big night, even when almost everyone owns him. And Adam Kennedy meets both criteria, falling just a few feet shy of two grand slams last night.

I haven't worked up the numbers, but it would seem that a good pitching strategy might be to pick up whoever starts in Comerica Park against the Tigers. You get the benefit of a weak hitting lineup and a great pitcher's park. Case in point: Pete Schourek last night. It's a well known tactic to avoid starters in Coors Field. Comerica Park may be the anti-Coors Field.

In the NBA, it would appear that Laker-avoidance is a strong motivator. There were three triple doubles last night, and two came from teams that are trying to avoid having to face the Lakers in round #1: Payton and Webber. The third 3-D came from Penny Hardaway. But none of them were the top point producer of the night. That honor belonged to Raef Lafrentz, with 82.5 SWP and 293 EBP. Go figure.

I added a 2 week schedule look-ahead to the individual baseball player pages, similar to the hoops player format. In fact, the format is so similar that you may not even realize it wasn't there before yesterday.

Message forum spreadsheet legend Richard Cullip provided some early season optimized SW baseball rosters yesterday. I find it particularly interesting that Adam Kennedy didn't appear, although that probably wouldn't be the case if last night's output were included. While this type of analysis has many limitations, it is interesting to look at, and I know a lot of you like to see this type of information. It's particularly nice when other Gurupies pitch in. Thanks, Richard.

4/18 - The most unusual aspect of yesterday's baseball results isn't four rainouts per se. It is that one was on the west coast, one in the midwest, and two on the east coast. It must have been raining coast to coast.

Other than the rain, there isn't much on-field baseball news to speak of. So I won't

I did add a couple of filters to the baseball sortable stats. One allows you to exclude inactive players (those not currently active on a major league roster), and the other allows you to screen out players with prices above a specified limit. I think I'll just stick with these two filters for now, and see whether they are sufficient. I won't be adding any schedule look-ahead filters, because that just doesn't make much sense for baseball, since most teams play most days, but many players don't. I do realize that was a very useful tool for basketball. But to those of you who have requested it again, trust me, it wouldn't be very useful for baseball.

In the NBA, the playoff teams are now all locked in, and only some of the seeding is still uncertain. Orlando made a valiant comeback last night, but failed to connect at the buzzer, sending Milwaukee to the post-season.

It's tough to figure out the best season-ending fantasy hoops trades, since playoff teams often rest their starters more than usual, and some players with nagging injuries may just shut it down, assuming the game has no relevance to the post season. That can be particularly infuriating if you're counting on someone to tough it out for the benefit of your fantasy team. But those are the calls we have to make. That's why they pay us the big bucks!

SW Hoops Playoffs managers now have two aids at their disposal. The sortable stats now include the playoffs game as one of the game choices. And a separate Playoff Assimilator has been set up. These should help you get your initial teams organized.

4/17 - I believe A-Rod's 134 SWP represents the highest single-game SWP total for a hitter in the last several years. Even without the SW formula changes this year, it would have been 127 SWP, which I think would still have ranked #1 (although I seem to recall someone having a game in the 120s last year).

The weekend SW baseball price change(s) warrant some comment this morning. If you were paying attention this weekend (and evidently, SW wasn't), no new prices were posted on Saturday. However, when Sunday's prices were updated, each player's page showed a different Saturday price, implying that new prices were calculated on Saturday, but never posted. Upon deeper inspection, it is also clear that the Sunday price changes were applied to the Friday prices, so the net impact is that the Saturday price changes have been ignored. If you look at my sortable stats, however, I did capture the values that were supposed to have been processed on Saturday, so the column showing the most recent change is confusing, since it shows the change from the unprocessed Saturday prices.

I know, it's confusing. Here's the bottom line. Look at these price changes. The values in the price change column are the amounts that should have been added to each player's price on Saturday. If SW attempts to correct the error, then these amounts should be added in. But so far, there has not even been an acknowledgement by SW that the price change was skipped.

While on the topic of price changes, it is clear that the SW price change formula has been modified since the start of the season. The change occurred on Saturday, April 8, and has the effect of dramatically reducing the daily price changes. I believe they took the original formula and simply divided everything by a constant factor of something between 4 and 7. My guess is that they were concerned about the potential for excessive roster value inflation, and used this as a means to stem the surges. (SW has denied making a change - on their own message forum - but the evidence is too strong, and the assertion made at the forum is obviously false.)

The reduced changes have a number of important implications, assuming that there are no more changes this season. I discussed these in a message forum thread last week, but didn't want to mention it here until I had seen some more supporting evidence, which last Friday's changes confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt.

The NBA season is down to the last 3 days, with every team playing twice more. Good luck if you're in a close battle during the final few days. Meanwhile, SW has released the prices and rules for their Hoops Playoff game. I will provide limited statistical coverage for that game, as follows:

  • A separate Assimilator and sortable stats will be posted shortly with the playoff prices. These prices remain fixed throughout the game.
  • I will process daily points, but the processing will take place after the daily baseball maintenance. In many cases, this will mean that Hoops stats will not be updated until afternoon. (Kind of like SW in that regard, I guess.)
  • I will not be updating the schedule grid, and the projection capabilities of the sortable stats will not work.
I don't think I will be playing this game. I'm pretty much burned out with Hoops, and want to focus my attention on enhancing some of the baseball features at this site. But I'm happy to be able to provide this "lite" version of coverage for those who will be playing.

4/14 - Those of us who held Darryl Kile for his return to Coors Field knew we were taking a risk. But we didn't expect him to hit three batters in less than 2 innings, or throw 2 wild pitches. I don't think the rarified air causes control problems like that. But it may play head games, and maybe the control problems were because Kile was afraid to throw strikes in that park. In any event, the damage is done. Assuming he's able to rebound from this, Kile should make a good, cheap pickup in another week or so, although it may take awhile for his name to reappear on the pitcher rankings.

Jason Bere had the top pitching night with 150 SWP, although I also have the same total for Orlando Hernandez. SW lists him with only 145, and shows him surrendering 3 hits, while the boxscores show only two. Echelon also reports 3 hits, although I think they use the same source for stats. Perhaps there was a post game scoring change that didn't make the boxscores. Or maybe it's just a goof. Not a big deal either way.

I've included the points for yesterday's continuation of Wednesday's suspended Dodgers-Giants game in the Thursday totals. The first 6 innings of points already appeared in the Wednesday totals, so only the last 3 innings are included today, including points for the win and save. That is consistent with the way Echelon has always reported points. So far, Smallworld has totally ignored the points from the continuation. They show points for the suspended game on Wednesday, and they show points for the regularly scheduled Thursday game, but the extra points for the continuation are nowhere to be found. Last year, in a similar situation, they applied the continuation points back to the original game date. Perhaps they will do that again this year?

In Hoops, Tim Duncan sat out with a knee injury, and that has to have the Spurs worried as the playoffs near. Elton Brand bolstered his late season campaign for rookie of the year with a monster night of 67 SWP and 230 EBP (and 44 real points!)

4/13 - 'T was a rare night indeed! Two complete games shutouts! The one by Aaron Sele wasn't a total surprise, as he got to pitch in spacious Comerica Park. But I doubt anyone expected it from Jaret Wright. If he can return to his late 1997 form, that's got to make Cleveland feel better about October. And until October, the Tribe doesn't have much to worry about.

Another rarity - no grand slams! But then, I guess one of last night's games still isn't over, as the Dodger-Giants game will be completed this evening.

Meanwhile, Mike Hampton may have escaped the hitter friendliness of the Astros' new Enron Field, but it doesn't seem to have helped. He's already 0-3 this year, after losing only 4 games during the entire 1999 season, and his cumulative SWP total is negative. Yikes!

The NBA regular season has only one week remaining. Time to work out your end-game strategy. In SW, you've got those last 4 trades to burn. In Echelon, you've got to map out your last week's spending. I spent well over an hour working on my best team (RotoGuru Phasers), which should finish in the top 20, barring a final week meltdown. I still have some tinkering to do, but at least I now have a general plan developed. In fact, that's why today's blurb is later than normal. I had to figure out my next moves before the daily freeze.

4/12 - The predominant SW draftee at shortstop among Gurupies was Carlos Guillen, who was dirt cheap, but who hasn't even been hitting his IQ so far. So shortstop is a position in search of a cheap alternative for many. Frank Menechino attracted some early interest as a replacement for the injured Randy Velarde. Cristian Guzman has gotten off to a strong start, and is still priced under $3m. Alfonso Soriano has put up some good early stats as a fill-in for the injured Brosius. And now the options have gotten even more varied, as Rafael Furcal has been added as an IPO for $2.5m, and Kevin Elster's outburst now puts him near the top of the rankings at a price in the low $2m's. My guess is that they'll all get in each others way (from a price gain standpoint) when hitter trades are replenished later this week. At least that will set up some roster diversity at shortstop.

Those who chased the quick pitching $ after last week's good starts for Esteban Yan and Chad Durbin will have to console themselves with the price gains. Yan suffered a -30 SWP outing (which looks even worse than that in the boxscore - thank goodness for those 7 Ks), and Durbin sqeaked out a +10 SWP game. Scott Schoeneweis, here we come!

For reasons that I don't understand, I've been unable to resolve the corrupt Assimilator file problems. So, I'll just make the temporary URL the permanent one, and reset the standard links. If you have separate Assimilator bookmarks, you should do likewise.

4/11 - Scott Schoeneweis, eh? Hmmm....

Light gravity again yesterday. Tomorrow's SW baseball repricing may help to shed some light on what changes in the repricing formula may have been made. Not only has the gravity factor lessened, but the magnitude of individual gains/losses on light trading days seems to be much less than on active days. Intuitive, you may think. But in prior SW games, that hasn't been the case. Gains and losses have been based on the proportionate trades for that day, so that if (for example) Pedro Martinez is sold in 1% of all sell trades, the loss will be the same whether he's sold 10 times on a total volume of 1000 sells, or 10,000 times on a total volume of 1 million sells. That formula tended to create exaggerated price changes for "theme trades" on light trading days. But this year, the gains/losses seem to be more closely related to the absolute trade volume. I wonder if gravity also has a relationship to volume, or whether the magnitude has just been arbitrarily reduced since the beginning of the season. Tommorrow's results may be enlightening.

With the explosive growth of threads on the baseball message forum, I've been wrestling with ways of making the board more user friendly and navigable. The knee-jerk temptation is to impose more organization and/or topic stratification, but that risks creating new problems. Usually, the "keep it simple" solution is the best one, and in that spirit, I added a simple filtering mechanism yesterday. This allows you to sift thread listings based on the activity, title, or submitter. There are a number of very interesting threads there, and the objective was to make them easier to find, especially once they drop off of the first page. And it's now taking less than 24 hours for a dormant thread to fall off the bottom. We'll try this for awhile and see whether it is sufficient.

4/10 - A lot of players haven't jumped out of the gate the way you might expect. But Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson certainly haven't disappointed. Johnson tossed the first 200+ SWP game of the season in shutting out the Pirates. And none of the four starts by these two guys have produced less than 150 SWP. With so many other pitchers having early April showers, an awful lot of SW teams are going to be figuring out a way to have these two super-studs on their rosters, even if they're both pitching on the same day.

Yesterday's Dodgers-Mets game was snowed out, and rescheduled for April 24th. Yesterday was the last time the Dodgers were scheduled to be in Shea Stadium all season! So they shoehorned in a makeup game on an off-day when the Dodgers were in the right time zone, and they'll now have to travel to Atlanta from Cincy via New York. The baseball schedule generator has already been updated to reflect this.

More than any other sport, baseball is a marathon. One of the trickiest April tasks is to discern which players are starting the season with statistical anomalies, and which are "the real deals" - both good and bad. Some are easy to call. Clearly, Mike Piazza isn't going to hit below .200 this year. Jeromy Burnitz won't slug better than 1.000, either. But you can probably make an informed judgment about how they will perform over the long haul. Some of the newer players are more difficult to assess. Which hot starts are foresahdowing wonderful things to come? And which are merely teases? In the early going, those decisions are what separates the leaders from the followers (among fantasy managers). If you can pick up a solid, sustained performance at a bargain price, you'll benefit not only from the attractively priced points, but you'll also avoid spinning your wheels (and spending your trades) chasing flashes in the pans. It ain't easy, and starting pitchers may be the toughest to appraise, because they work so seldom. Over time, the good games and bad games average out, but over a short period, pitching volatility can be especially exasperating - or exhilarating, if you pick 'em right. A crystal ball sure would come in handy right about now.

Did any of you SW baseball managers feel like you were walking on the moon this weekend? If so, it's probably because gravity (of the price variety) was significantly less powerful the past 2 days. For the first 10 days, players affected by "price gravity" (which causes the prices of lightly owned players to gradually fall) sustained daily losses of about $40K on average. But over the weekend, this was reduced to only $10K. Paradigm shift? Or just another screw-up? It could be that SW is still tinkering with the repricing formula, which makes trend analysis rather frustrating. I guess we have no choice but to wait and watch.

4/7 - Let me close out the work week with a recap of the... um,..... Market Madness Contest.

One side effect of the growth of is that I'm now on the NCAA's radar screen. I got a letter from them this week, advising me that the name "March Madness" is trademarked, and my contest name was in violation of that trademark. Happily, the only ramification is that they gave me 48 hours to change the name. So, henceforth (or until I change it again), the contest will be known as the "Market Madness Contest".

The highest possible score this year was G$1543. That is 68% higher than the highest possible score for the 1999 Contest (assuming that baskets were available in 1999). The biggest reason for the difference is the two #8 seeds that advanced to the final 4. They each earned a G$80 bonus for getting to that round, and since each was represented in a seed basket and a conference basket, those bonuses added G$480 to the top potential score. The top 10 longs included 6 baskets and 4 teams (the Final Four). The only basket in the top 10 that was not influenced by the final four teams was the #10 seed basket, which ranked tenth overall. The 10 best shorts also included 6 baskets and four teams.

The winner, David Engle, finished almost 20% ahead of his closest rival. His score of G$907 was only 59% of the top potential score, but it still evidences either impressive insight and/or luck. In just 3 years, David is the second contest winner to hail from Indiana, lending credence to that state's reputation for basketball excellence. In addition to the $500 grand prize and a registered copy of Easy Pool software, David is now the newest enshrinee in the RotoGuru Hall of Fame.

Special note to contest prize winners: the checks are in the mail.

Although I know it was "too little, too late" for many of you, it was helpful that Small World extended yesterday's baseball freeze for an hour, which did allow some manager's (including me) the opportunity to complete trades before the repricing. Thank goodness for the message forum. I had given up shortly before noon, and wouldn't have checked back until later, but someone posted a note at the forum that the deadline had been extended. Even if you aren't a regular forum visitor, it's usually a fruitful place to check if you want a quick update on game server access and/or scoring problems.

I'm still receiving a few SW baseball team ids each day this week, in spite of my announcement earlier in the week about the change in procedure. If you sent me your id, it won't do you any good. See the April 1st blurb for details. That wasn't an April Fools joke.

I will get some preliminary Echelon baseball standings posted within the next few days, I hope. You can send those ids to me, although if you are in a RotoGuru division, don't bother because I already have it.

I'm planning to add a few tweaks to the baseball Assimilator later today, including the ability to store a cash balance, as I had done for Hoops. I had originally hoped to have started a full blown Assimilator programming conversion by now, but conflicting priorities have forced me to delay that effort, so a few quick enhancements in the current version are warranted. I also hope to add some filtering capabilities to the sortable stats by early next week. Guess I'd better get crackin'...

4/6 - As of 11am EST, I haven't been able to log in to the SW baseball site to dump Ramon Martinez. Looks like I may get to eat a $loss, in addition to the -100 SWP. Oh well, there are still 170+ days to recover.

SW now has current point rankings posted, so we may begin to see some more focused trading. Then again, that assumes we'll be seeing any trading. Before you can trade (or even look at the SW tables), you have to be able to access the site. Of course, Gurupies already have access to superior statistical tables. But off-site trade capability is something I can't provide, unfortunately.

I'm continuing to "scrub" the baseball point data. I corrected a few errors last night - about a dozen or so. Hopefully, I'm getting to the point where updates should run pretty smoothly. It would be nice to have to time to plan strategy, rather than spending so much of it on quality control. The hazards of web site production...

Is anyone still playing Hoops? The message forum evidence suggests that a lot of managers are walking away, due to a combination of apathy and frustration with injuries/illnesses. I must admit I've lost my zeal as well, but I'll plug along until the finish. SW has announced that there will be a Hoops Playoff game, but at this point, I'm leaning against playing. I can only have so many "windows" open at one time before I start suffering from memory overloads.

4/5 - Because of the unusual early MLB schedule, price change patterns haven't been very enlightening so far. In particular, the post-start price movement for stud pitchers is difficult to assess. Today's price changes for Pedro and/or Randy will give a better glimpse into what we might expect in the next few weeks. Maybe. Hope we can learn a lot just by observing.

Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson picked up where they left off last fall, posting the top two starts of the year so far. Richard Hidalgo had the top SW hitting performance last night, with a grand slam - the fourth one already this season (not for him - that would be a record!). Bernie Williams was the top hitter using Echelon scoring.

I have most of the baseball statistical pages in pretty good shape now. The sortable stats now include a tally of "eligible games" for all players as well, and this is the default basis for calculating averages (although you can still opt to use actual games played, if you wish). An "eligible game" is defined as one in which a player is on the active roster and eligible to play. If a player is on the DL (or in the minors), no eligible game is charged. But if he sits on the bench and is eligible to play - whether injured or not - that's an EG. It provides the best basis for evaluating the relative averages of everyday players vs. platoon players vs. pitchers. And, it's a stat that you won't find anywhere but here... as far as I know.

I've always felt that I am most likely to meet your expectations if I've clearly spelled out what I expect to produce. With two sports in full production, April mornings are pretty busy at RotoGuru World Headquarters. I'll pump out the NBA stats first, since they are much more streamlined for me to process. Barring any anomalies, these (Yesterday, Sortables, & Assimilator) should be posted by 8:30am EST, give or take a few minutes. Baseball stats take a bit longer, and my target will be to have these posted by 10am, although that will be a challenge on some days. Once the NBA season is over and the baseball process is more streamlined, I hope to be able to have baseball stats up by 9am, but for the next few weeks, please bear with the later time frame.

For repricing, the Hoops prices should usually be posted by 12:30pm EST. Baseball prices will usually be posted in the 1:00-1:30 time frame. Again, over the next few weeks I hope to get the process more streamlined, but I think these standards should be attainable, barring unforseen complications.

As I said in one message forum post last night, "TGIBS" (thank goodness it's baseball season), because otherwise, the NBA DNP situation last night would have been a real gut wrencher. Instead, I've hardly had the time to think about it. If you don't know which NBA players I'm referring to, you're probably happier not knowing. But if you really want to know, just go to the Hoops forum and look at all of the AWOL threads. Yech...

Time for new prices. Later,...

4/4 - Slowly but surely, I'm getting there. The start of any season is always a challenge, not only for managing a fantasy team, but also for managing a web site like this. I have yesterday's points now posted in the regular place (although the points for the Japan games are still not posted in that format). Please let me know if any point totals look suspect. I spot checked a good number, but there are probably some bugs. If all goes well, I'll have the sortable stats updated with YTD points by tonight. The baseball Assimilator should be updated by mid afternoon. Hopefully I'll have this down to a routine within a few days.

Special congratulations to the prize winners in the Market Madness Contest. Here are the winners' names:

  • Grand Prize ($500) - David Engle
  • Second Place (new bike) - Melody Hall
  • Second Prize ($250) - Stephen Phipps
  • Third Prize ($100) - Pete Pedersen
  • Top Short Prize ($100) - Andrew Hanson
  • Booby Prize ($50) - Doug Taylor
I'll be in touch with all prize winners in the next day or so. David Engle will also be enshrined in the RotoGuru Hall of Fame later this week. Thanks to everyone who participated. I've set up a suggestion box thread at the message forum, if you have any thoughts on enhancements for next year.

4/3 - What a day to be immersed in sports! Baseball games on ESPN from noon to (past) bedtime. And an NCAA championship game as well. Wow!

If you're just a weekday Gurupie, I did post a Saturday blurb this weekend. In particular, take note of how I will be handling the baseball team rankings this season.

Two triple doubles last night. Seems like they're happening all the time now. These were from Mike Bibby and Vlade Divac. Grant Hill took top honors in SWP scoring, though, with 65, while Shaq led everyone in EBP with 230.

Get those baseball drafts completed. There are 13 games on today's docket, and it's time to start accumulating some points. Meanwhile, I've still got a good bit of baseball programming to work on, so I'm going to cut this short and go get busy.

Play ball!

4/1 - With the beginning of a new month, I'm pleased introduce a new "Sponsor of the Month" - TeamCap. Support, and support

Since we're on the topic of advertising, and March is now over, I need to provide the final tally on the Market Madness Prize pool. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that advertising revenues were up 11.4% in March (vs. February). The bad news is that this produced a prize pool of only $947. So the pool will remain at the minimum of $1,000, as originally announced. By Tuesday morning, we'll know who gets to receive it. Thanks for continuing to support RotoGuru.

In Hoops, it was quite a night for big games. There was one triple-double, by the rejuvenated Anthony Mason, who had 67.5 SWP and 228 EBP. But two other players blew those totals away, as Shaq and Gary Payton each had approximately 80 SWP and 280+ EBP. Hopefully, you didn't elect to differentiate your roster away from Shaq this week...   unless, of course, you used the extra cash to pick up Payton.

On to baseball. I'm going to use a different approach for the SW team rankings this season. Several Gurupies from the message forum have volunteered to produce the rankings this season. By taking over this task, I'll have more time to work on other site enhancements. I've set up a separate message forum area just for Baseball Standings. If you want to be included, submit your team ID over there (and don't bother sending it to me). The volunteers are still working out how to best divvy up the workload, so please be patient during the early weeks while the process gets shaken down.

I will continue to produce Echelon team rankings, however. I'll be able to automatically grab all team id's from RotoGuru divisions, but if you want to be included and you're not in one of those divisions, you'll need to send me your team id#, as before.

I've only got 48 hours to get my Echelon team drafted. Better get to work...

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2000: March . . . . . February . . . . . January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

1999: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . March . . . . . February . . . . . January

1998: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . March

RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<>.

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