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Daily blurbs from the Guru
If this is your first visit to this site, you should first stop by my home page to find out what this site is all about. And please support this site's advertisers. They make free sites like this one possible.

Go forward to more recent blurbs.

4/28 - Cleveland is only 12-10 so far this season, but don’t blame their bats for the mediocre start. In half of their games, they’ve pinned a negative TSNP total on the opposing starter, including last night’s -67 TSNP against previously undefeated Josh Beckett. The averaging for opposing starters is -1.7 TSNP/G, ranking them tops in that respect. Next in line are the Yankees, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Cardinals. At the other end, the Pirates have had the gentlest bats, allowing opposing starters to average 65 TSNP/G. You can see these rankings in the sortable stats.

In GuruGolf, bestball scores were generally pretty good yesterday, including two teams that posted -18. One of those teams, The Valkyries, had 5 eagles in that round, a feat that I don’t ever recall seeing before. Of course, it helped to have Bubba Watson, who had three eagles on his own scorecard.

4/27 - All around the majors, slumping hitters are wondering if they should try a larger shoe size. The Mench effect.

When listing the surprise pitchers of the season, I suppose Jonathan Papelbon has to be at the top of the list. But right behind him has to be Wandy Rodriguez, who is now 4-0 with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He was only drafted in one of the six RIBC leagues, and that was in the 25th round. Who knew? Of course, last year, the comparable surprise was Gustavo Chacin, as I recall. Chacin was 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in April 2005, but then cooled off in May. He was, however, a serviceable fantasy hurler for much of the season, so if Wandy is available in your league and you have a spot available, he’s probably worth a flyer.

GuruGolf teed off once again this morning. The most widely owned golfer this week is Phil Mickelson, but he’s only on 29% of the rosters with 4 active golfers, so there is no dominant golfer this week. Altogether, 108 different golfers are represented, so roster diversity is the key once again.

4/26 - Some random observations after poking around various sports sites this morning:

  • The top five in batting average in the NL are Nick Johnson, Jose Vidro, Prince Fielder, Garrett Atkins, and Omar Vizquel. Perhaps that should be exhibit A in making the case the batting average just isn’t that relevant.

  • Jonathan Papelbon leads the majors in saves with 9. When the season started, he wasn’t even the Red Sox closer.

  • Just about everyone knows that Albert Pujols leads the majors in home runs with 12. But do you know who is second? It’s Jonny Gomes, with 10.

  • Biggest hitting disappointment of the year so far? Among the “top” hitters in baseball, Bonds (2 HR, 3 RBI, .231 BA) could be the guy, although he’s such a special case that I’m going to look elsewhere. As of a week ago, Manny Ramoirez would probably have been the guy, but he’s picked it up lately. Perhaps Carl Crawford warrants consideration, with 13 R, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 4 SB, and a .267 avg. Those annualize to 111-0-69-34, which aren’t horrible, but certainly not worthy of a first round fantasy draft choice.
Time to set my GuruGolf roster. From the looks of it, about 160 of you should be doing the same thing. A lot of golfers in last week’s field are taking this week off, so this is probably not a good week to forget.

4/25 - Pitchers finally had a decent night, at least in general. Only one MLB team scored as many as 7 runs, and the average team only scored 3.5 runs. But don’t tell that to Brad Lidge, who did his best to counter that trend.

As of today, Albert Pujols has a commanding lead in the MDP (most dominant player) sweepstakes. Using TSNP as a yardstick, he’s virtually lapped the field, with a 16% lead over the next closest player in total TSNP, and a 24% lead over the second best hitter, Jim Thome. The leader for MSP (most surprising player) has to be the player ranked #2 overall (and top pitcher), Greg Maddux. It’s as though we went back in time a decade or so. His ERA is slightly below 1.00, with a WHIP of 0.7 and opposing hitters batting only .163 against him, so dominant certainly seems to be the appropriate term. He was an 18th round pick in the RIBC this year, and that’s certainly looking like an inspired choice at this juncture.

4/24 - I remarked in my blurb last Wednesday that my desktop computer had succumbed to a blue screen of death problem. As it turned out, the hard drive was so corrupted that I couldn’t even reinstall XP on it without a complete reformat, and there were some files on it that I wanted to try to recover. So, I installed a new hard drive and spent several days reloading everything from scratch. The good news is that I was able to recover most of the files that I wanted from the old drive. The bad news is that I blew the better part of 5 days diagnosing, replacing, reloading, recovering, and troubleshooting. Reloading a complete system from scratch is no fun. And while everything once again appears to be hunky dory, I’m left to wonder whether the old drive’s problems were self-inflicted, or whether some other issue (motherboard, driver, memory, etc.) created the corruption, and this drive is simply next in line to get smacked. Not a comforting thought.

Public service announcement: It’s always a good idea to think about what would happen if you woke up tomorrow morning and your computer was dead. Do you have adequate backups in place? I was lucky this time in that I did have most files backed up, and was able to recover most of the others. But my backup routines were not as diligent as they should have been, and this was a good reminder that “an ounce of prevention…”

Of course, when one spends countless hours trying to troubleshoot a printer sharing connection, one has little time to follow sports. So, I really don’t have much to offer on that score.

In GuruGolf, kudos to Hello! I'm Johnny Cash, who posted the best score of -48 this weekend. It was remarkable in several respects. First, he posted a -12 in every single round. Second, his best individual golfer was Ted Purdy at -7, and the other three on his roster barely bested par. It just goes to show the power of good “team chemistry”. The top worst ball result was a +52 from 3 Putt for Par (WB), who accomplished the result with all four golfers playing well enough to make the cut, and with his worst golfer posting only a +1 for the tournament. Another chemistry lesson.

Special thanks to Gurupie Wolfer for suggesting today’s quote.

4/21 - Baseball offered a number of extremes last night:

  • Julio Franco became the oldest player to homer in an MLB game at age 47. He broke the record of 46 set by pitcher Jack Quinn in 1930.
  • Earlier in the same game, Kaz Matsui homered (inside-the-park) in his first at bat of the season, making this the third straight season he has homered in his first AB. He has only 11 career home runs.
  • Eddie Guardado walked four batters in the 9th inning, losing to Texas 4-3.
  • Ryan Madson gave up 9 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks while retiring only 3 batters. In TSNP terms, that's -134. It was the worst TSNP result of the season to date. There have been only five pitching results in negative 3-digits. Curiously, four of them have occurred in the past 3 days.
Perhaps the ultimate in extremes, though – and certainly the one with the most critical ongoing implications – is the broken wrist of Derrek Lee. Early indications are for him to be out for up to 3 months. If you've got him on a roto team,… ouch!

4/20 - Love it or hate it, there was plenty of drama in last night's finale of TSN Ultimate Hoops. The top two teams switched places when the night was over. I managed to eke out a 4th place finish. And the top ten teams were decimated with too many DNPs and not enough trades to deal with them, even though 4 new trades were doled out just for this day.

And who'd have thought that Steve Nash would be the top producer of the night, with a 66.5 TSNP triple double over Portland? Only 4 of the top 100 teams had him. I'll bet a few more wish they had him, too. I can think of at least one…

Congrats to Mike D, who claimed the RIHC title, taking the crown away from last year's champ (and current year runner-up) EuroSmeagol. I think this was the most competitive RIHC yet, with the top 8 teams shifting significantly from day to day during the final weeks. I managed to scramble to a 5th place tie, my best RIHC finish in three years. If only Boozer, Gerald Wallace, and Yao Ming could have been healthier this year!

So much for Hoops.

4/19 - I've spent a good bit of this morning wrestling with a troublesome "blue screen of death" problem on my desktop computer. Fortunately, I currently have most of my RotoGuru routines installed on my laptop, so this doesn’t have a significant impact on my web site management capabilities. But it sure does create a drain on time and energy for fantasy exploits - including blurb composition. So I'm going to take the easy way out and defer on a witty and insightful blurb today. ("Just like every other day," you might muse.)

But before returning to my computer blues, let me toss out a few timely reminders:

  • This is the last day of the NBA season, so get your lineups set one last time, whether it be for the TSN games, or a roto game. And watch out for those pesky DNPs! (Easier said than done.)
  • There are some afternoon baseball games today, so you don’t necessarily have until evening to make any baseball roster moves. Be alert!
  • And get your GuruGolf lineup set. The Shell Houston Open tees off at 8:00 am EDT tomorrow morning. As of this moment, more than half of all teams still have inactive players on their rosters.

Off I go, into the wild blue yonder… Wish me luck!

4/18 - Two more days of fantasy NBA action. Who plays, and who sits? For many, who cares? But if you are battling down to the wire, it’s a vexing issue.

In baseball, I made the “technically correct” decision to bench Brett Myers and Chris Young on back-to-back days (2 different leagues) for their starts in Coors Field. Of course, both pitched well, and both got wins. I hate when that happens!

4/17 - In many fantasy football leagues, the final weekend of the regular season is excluded, because key players are often rested for the playoffs. Maybe something similar should be done for fantasy hoops, because it seems like the final week of the season turns goofy. For example, my best TSN team currently has more than $20,000M in cash. And in roto hoops leagues, planning out the final few days is virtually impossible.

Oh well, three days to go, and then the madness ends.

In GuruGolf, special congrats to kooldad3. Last week, this team was the #1 ranked team in worst ball for the Masters. This week, it was the top best ball team. This was a tough weekend for many of the leading GuruGolf teams, however. Half of the top 30 teams had 2 or fewer golfers make the cut. Four of the top ten now have the Verizon Heritage as their mulligan week.

Oh well, three days to go, and then the madness resumes.

4/14 - In TSN’s Ultimate Salary Cap Baseball, only about 25% of managers had Justin Verlander for yesterday’s implosion, most of whom had just picked him up within the last few days. The good news is that he should continue to provide price gains until his next start on Tuesday, which comes before pitching trades are refreshed. The bad news – other than the on-the-field results - is that the train is going to lose steam, and probably reverse course, after that. Cheapie pitchers giveth, and cheapie pitchers taketh away.

Tim Duncan topped 60 TSNP last night. The last time he had done that was December 7th, when he managed the feat in back-to-back games. After starting the season on fire, he’s cooled significantly, ranking only 13th in overall TSNP. On the bright (and surprising) side, he remained pretty healthy all season, missing only one game (so far).

4/13 - LeBron James appears to be the latest late-season casualty, going down with a sprained ankle. The Cavs have four more games in the regular season, and their playoff position cannot change, regardless of the outcome of those games. So, if you were coaching the Cavs, would you play LeBron for the next week?

Speaking of casualties, Rocco Mediate was a late withdrawal from the Verizon Heritage tournament. 29 GuruGolf rosters had him, but only about half of them had specified a provisional golfer for this week. The most popular GuruGolfer this week is Camilo Villegas, on roughly 30% of all rosters. Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III are close behind.

In baseball, it will be interesting to see how rookie Justin Verlander fares this afternoon against the White Sox. He’s already gotten a lot of buying action in the TSN game, and if he pitches respectably today, he’s going to the moon (pricewise, at least).

4/12 - If you’re still plugging away at fantasy hoops, the final week of the season is always a maddening time. Studs on playoff-bound team start resting. Some players on out-of-contention teams get shut down for the season from nagging injuries. From night to night, you never know who will play, and who will play normally. My advice? Try to remember it’s just a game, and don’t obsess. (Sometimes easier said than done!)

The Verizon Heritage PGA tournament tees off at 7:20am tomorrow morning. As of this morning, more than 150 GuruGolf teams still have inactive golfers in their foursome for the week. Don’t forget! This week starts the next GuruGolf contest, the “Spring to the Open” Contest. If you are fed up with hoops and want another, less stressful diversion, why not try GuruGolf?

4/11 - If you are still paying attention to hoops, there were a lot of stinker results put up by key players last night. There were a few exceptions, including Iverson, Camby, and Dwight Howard. But my top TSN team managed to garner 113 TSNP less than 15-day averages would have predicted, highlighted by Yao Ming’s broken foot. Fortunately, I had been planning to move him today anyway.

The server (same as was not “serving” this morning, but the server was operating normally. The rotoguru1 server is where the forum, sortable stats, Assimilators, and GuruGolf are hosted, so most “critical” site functions were up and running. If you haven’t already done so, you should bookmark the forum so that you can easily get to the other side during the infrequent times that this server is on the blink.

4/10 - The final round of The Masters was notable because of the marquis names at the top of the leaderboard, but disappointing because none of them was able to give Phil a contest. That’s not to take anything away from Mickelson, who avoided any bogeys until it didn’t matter, but a late charge by any of the other contenders would have made the last hour “must see”, instead of ceremonial.

Meanwhile, it was a bad week for the only two guys in the tournament named Charles. The bottom two finishers were Coody and Howell III. Coody is 68, so his result is not surprising. But I wonder how CH3 feels about losing to a guy who is more than 30 years his senior.

Congrats to the winners of the GuruGolf Masters Contest:
Best ball: impossible dream (-40) who won on the tiebreaker of best value gain for the tournament
Worst ball: kooldad3 (+55), winning by 1 stroke. Of note is that this was a new entry this week, with only the minimum of $4000 to spend. It’s never too late to start!

In the NBA, the big news from a fantasy perspective was the DNP from Kevin Garnett, snapping his streak of more than 350 consecutive starts. He had been expected to log reduced playing time, as Minnesota had announced their intent to give more time to their bench players down the stretch. But the no-show was a surprise.

4/7 - No blurb today. Jury duty.

4/6 - The first three weeks of April are really strenuous at RotoGuru World Headquarters, with two sets of stats to process every morning, and the occasional golf tournament thrown in. If stats don’t get posted until later than usual for the next few weeks, please be patient. The processes are only semi-automated, and I always try to double-check the results for accuracy before posting them. Once the NBA regular season ends, I should be able to complete the processing a bit earlier in the morning (or afternoon, for those of you across the Atlantic). Yeah, I know I could always get up earlier,… Nahhh!

About half of the field has teed of at The Masters as I write this blurb. The course seems to be winning so far, with birdies few and far between. Of the 90 golfers in the field, 83 appear on at least one GuruGolf roster. Of the seven who are left out, the most notable is Vijay Singh, who evidently is considered a notch behind others in his lofty price range. Vijay hasn’t won anything yet this season, but he has finished in the top 10 six times out of eight (and in the top 20 the other two times), so it’s not like he’s been stinking up the joint.

In baseball, if it seems like hitters have had the upper hand so far, you’re right. Through 4 days, the MLB aggregate ERA is 5.31, with an aggregate WHIP of 1.52. For the full 2005 season, the corresponding averages were 4.29 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. So much for the idea of cold weather keeping the bats cold.

4/5 - It seems to happen almost every year – going way back to the infamous “Ramon-ing” in 2000. This year, Andy Pettitte, facing a rookie-laden Marlins lineup seemed like a good bet – and a bunch of TSN managers evidently agreed. The good news is that 3 of the 10 runs he surrendered were unearned, keeping his TSNP total under three digits (although those digits are red, of course).

NBA fantasy points continue to rack up this week. Last night saw 8 players reach or exceed 50 TSNP, and another 17 were in the 40s. If you didn’t have an above average night, it’s hard to imagine who you must have on your team.

The Masters tees off at 8am tomorrow morning, and the weather looks like it will cooperate. Ninety golfers will tee it up, and the cut will include only the low 44 plus ties, plus anyone within 10 strokes of the lead.

Speaking of golf, I have now adjusted the GuruGolf standings to reflect the “mulligan rule”. For the full season competition, each team gets to throw out its worst weekly result – except that major tournament scores cannot be excluded. A few explanatory notes:

  • Mulligan scoring will only be applied for scoring over the entire season, with all weeks included –for both best ball and worst ball scoring. If you select any other weekly option, mulligans will be ignored in the standings report.
  • This means that if you want to see full season standings without the mulligan adjustment, you can simply run the standings with the Nissan Open selected as the start week. While that is technically the same as "entire season", the program will not apply mulligans in this instance.
  • To see the mulligan details for any team, position the cursor over that team’s season total score. The details will appear in a title bar, just like the foursomes appear when you hover over any team name. If there is a tie for the mulligan week, the most recent week will be cited.

4/4 - The NCAA tournament was great theater through the first four rounds. But the final three games were borderline unwatchable. All three were blowouts. None of the losers made a serious challenge in the second half. None of the results were really in doubt after the first half.

Congrats to donkeyhunter, whose beat-down of the Market Madness Contest field was as convincing as Florida’s. He won both the overall championship and also the basket-free championship, thereby pocketing both $100 prizes. The best possible score for this year was G$1296, so donkeyhunter achieved approximately 75% of the maximum. His margin of victory was so great that he would have won even without longing the #11 seed basket.

Contest winners will be contacted by email later this week. Most prizes are reserved for GuruPatrons, so if you think you might qualify, please make sure you are listed in the standings for GuruPatrons only. If you are missing, please shoot me an email ASAP, and I’ll make the proper adjustment.

Baseball: Those who drafted A-Rod or Pujols this year didn’t have to wait long for a handsome payback. ARod hit a grand slam in the first inning, and Pujols went deep twice.

Baseball stats are rounding into shape. Sortable stats and the Assimilator should be correct now, and the Assimilator will now allow you to copy in a roster from the TSN/MLB game site. Please report any errors. As a side note, I’ve noticed that TSN has not applied any points to players who have appeared as pinch hitters or in-game replacements. The most notable of those omissions is Robert Petagine, who homered as a pinch hitter in the 9th inning. All in all, about 40 players are impacted. I’ve alerted TSN management, and I suspect they’ll get it sorted out soon.

4/3 - It was a weekend for blowouts and big points. Just ask anyone on George Mason or LSU. Or any golfer not named Mickelson.

Mickelson’s beat-down was so severe that he missed the tour record for the most birdies in a tournament only because he eagled two of the final five holes, rather than birdying them. From a GuruGolf perspective, his 31 birdies and 2 eagles accounted for 35 strokes under par. The next closest total was 24, from Steve Flesch.

The first GuruGolf Contest of the season is now completed. The winners of the “March to the Masters” Contest are:
Best ball: Long Island Ducks, who “Mickelsoned” the field, winning by 18 strokes
Worst ball: Slicing Nightmares, with a more modest 2-stroke win.

Prize winners will receive details via email later this week.

In NBA Hoops, with a few notable exceptions, it was a weekend for monster results. I won’t belabor the details, but seven players reached at least the 60-TSNP plateau, headed by a monster 90.5 TSNP triple-double by LeBron James. Today is about the only thing that can stop the rampage, as it is one of the few days in the NBA season with no games scheduled, in deference to the NCAA championship game.

My primary task over the next couple of days will be to get all baseball stats processing up to snuff. There are lots of loose ends to tie up at the start of any season, including reacting to changes in data sources, and making sure all of my programs are appropriately interacting. Give me until Wednesday to complete the shakedown, although I hope to have most features up and running by the end of today.

2006: March . . . February . . . January

2005: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2004: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2003: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2002: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2001: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2000: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

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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