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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.

5/31 - Rob Mackowiak had quite a weekend. His wife gave birth to their first son on Friday, and he followed up with home runs in both ends of a twi-night doubleheader later in the day. On Saturday, he encored with a HR, a double, and 5 RBIs. His TSN price loss on Friday suggests that some managers sold him just in time to miss out. I must confess, had the Pirates not been playing two on Friday, I might have bailed as well. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than smart.

Jason Schmidt certainly is locked in. Since May first, his worst outing produced +96 TSNP, including yesterday's 151 TSNP result over the Rockies at home. The acid test comes next, facing the Rockies again, but this time in the rarified air of Denver. I think I may just hold. You should probably take that as a strong sell signal.

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S., yet six American League teams have the day off. Not even the Yankees are playing, even though they are in town for the rest of the week. What's up with that?

5/28 - Believe it or not, May is almost over. The baseball season will pass the 30% completion threshold this weekend. The good news is that there is still 70% left for my various team recoveries. The bad news is that my teams have a lot of recoverin' to do.

I continue to stumble across various glitches in GuruGolf operations, and I'm really glad I have a spring training period to work this all out. Yesterday went pretty smoothly, although there were a few scoring anomalies that I had to resolve. I also added a history section to the bottom of the tourney recap page, so you can now look back at past performance for any team - including value and roster data - and even detail scoring for past tournaments. Looking ahead, I see there are two tournaments with multiple courses that I'll have to deal with (I can), and also one 5-day tournament (Las Vegas Invitational) that will require some special handling. At least I have until October to get that flexibility incorporated. There certainly are a lot of details to pay attention to. And although many of the underlying functions are highly automated, there is still a fair amount of manual intervention required for certain steps. I need to work on some of those, so that I don't need to be around to enable some of the routine tasks - particularly end-of-round standings updates. I'll get there.

We have a long holiday weekend in the states. If you live here, have a safe, enjoyable one. If you are from outside the borders, you can have a safe, enjoyable one, too - but you'll probably have to show up for work on Monday morning!

5/27 - Sometimes lightning does strike twice, even if separated by more than 20 years. Daryle Ward hit for the cycle last night. That's rare enough. But in doing so, he and his father became the first father-son combination in major league history to hit for the cycle. Father Gary managed the same feat in 1980.

GuruGolf is now into its second preseason tournament. 180 teams have now registered, of which 139 are fielding a roster of four active golfers. Rosters aren't as diverse this week, as only 58 active golfers are represented out of the tournament field of 155. I suspect that's partly due to the lack of high priced golfers in this field. There was little need to forage for cheapies this week. Stewart Cink is the popular choice, on 77 rosters.

I'm continuing to tweak the GuruGolf programming, correcting minor glitches that have surfaced, and adding new features. I'm also considering a rules change. The original rules provided for 4 opening trades, and 2 additional trades added per week. Essentially, this means you need to average carrying 2 golfers over from week to week. While this is certainly achievable, it does require either research or good luck (or both). This aspect of trade conservation does appeal to some participants, and I do want to preserve it. But it may also discourage those newcomers to the game who lack the experience, knowledge, and/or time to figure this all out. The penalty for getting burned is pretty severe - a full tournament of DNPs for one or two golfers.

What I'm proposing is that the rules be modified to allow manager to buy extra trades if needed. Before you go apoplectic, I'm not talking about spending real money. I'm talking about reducing your fantasy cash. For example, if you need an extra trade, your fantasy cash would be reduced by $100. This gives everyone the chance to field a full roster at the start of each tournament, but at a non-trivial cost to those who can't manage to do it with their free allotment only. I'll probably test this out for the remainder of the preseason, but I'd also like your feedback on this idea. It's nice to have this preseason period to be able to diddle with the game rules before going live.

5/26 - It may have been the 25th day of the month, but it was also the day that Barry Bonds hit his first home run of the month. Who have thunk it? And even this home run was tainted, as the D-backs argued that a fan reached over the fence and interfered. Still counts, of course.

It was also the first time this month that Lyle Overbay had a negative TSNP game, posting a -4 at home against the Dodgers. His last negative was on the 25th of April. (I guess that bodes poorly for his outlook on the 25th of June.) As the hitter with the highest ownership in the TSN Ultimate game, he needs to be carefully monitored.

Don't forget to get your GuruGolf rosters set today. Rosters will be frozen bright and early tomorrow morning. As of this morning, there are 159 teams in GuruGolf, and 108 of them still have at least one player who is not entered in this week's tournament.

5/25 - There were only 4 MLB games yesterday, and every game had one team scoring 5 runs. In three of the four, it was the losing team. So unless you had John Thomson, who pitched 7 shutout innings against the Expos, it was a good day to avoid starting pitchers.

Have you noticed who has taken over as the leading hitter for the season in TSNP? Bonds had the top spot for awhile, but then started missing too much playing time to stay on top. Carlos Beltran took over for awhile, but he's been pretty cold in May, hitting only .217 this month, and falling all the way to #6. The current leader is none other than Melvin Mora! Go figure. Vlad Guerrero and Bobby Abreu are only 20 TSNP behind, so the race is close.

Mora is now on about 48% of all TSN Ultimate teams, virtually tied with Lyle Overbay in ownership. Danny Graves is now the most popular pitcher, on 39% of all rosters, with Roger Clemens now evidently on the threshold of a mass purge.

5/24 - The first preseason week of GuruGolf went quite smoothly. And somehow, I managed to finish on top for the week. Of course, it's preseason, so the results won't carry over when the game officially starts. Even so, it's nice to show at least a little prowess in one of my own games - even if it's just for practice.

Golfer prices have been adjusted based on tournament results, and trading is open once again. If you missed out on week #1, why not start now? Preseason will continue for a few more weeks. My plan is to make the official launch for the U.S. Open, so we still have three more weeks for practice - and three more weeks for me to excel before I crash back to normalcy, no doubt. Meanwhile, I'm just thrilled that the initial reaction to the game has been so positive. Finishing with a good score is just icing on the cake.

Baseball...? I climbed back out of the cellar in the RIBC, with a monster day yesterday. It remains to be seen whether I can continue to climb, or whether I simply plop back after another day or so. That seems to be the story of my season. I simply have to celebrate the small victories for now.

5/21 - The first day of preseason GuruGolf is in the books, and things went quite smoothly. A few technical glitches were quickly resolved, and the live scoring got rave reviews. Standings were posted last night. Those who had played other fantasy golf games seemed to think I had gotten most aspects of this game right. And some of those who had never played fantasy golf before are already starting to get hooked. So far, so good. Preseason will continue for at least two more tournaments, so there is still plenty of opportunity to register, draft a foursome, and try it out. You'll just have to wait until this current tournament is over and rosters are unfrozen.

Last night's top pitching results came from two fairly unlikely candidates, as a pair of 149's (TSNP) were posted by Horacio Ramirez and Brett Myers. It was the top game of the year for each, although they had each topped 100 TSNP once before.

On the hitting side, Bobby Abreu and Melvin Mora continued their steady climb up the leaderboard, and now rank #2 and #3 in total hitting TSNP for the year. Mora is a staple on many TSN teams already, but Abreu is relatively unowned. They are both within 10 TSNP of the top hitter, Carlos Beltran. And the next two hitters, Mike Lowell and Mike Young, are nipping at their heels. It looks like no one is running away with the hitting point title so far - in part, no doubt, because Bonds has been injured lately.

5/20 - The first preseason rosters in GuruGolf are now frozen, and the first tournament has begun. More than 90 Gurupies have registered, and 131 valid rosters are entered for this first week of preseason action. If you have one or more teams entered, you can follow your scoring progress live at the game site. Just click on "Tourney recap", and watch your best ball scorecard develop, with updates at 15 minute intervals. Today I'll be working on programming a general standings page, but I don't know whether I'll have anything available yet tonight. So far, however, site operations have been pretty smooth, with only a few minor glitches.

If you were thinking about trying out the game and just didn't get around to it this week, there's still plenty of time. You can still register now, but you won't be able to draft a roster until after the current tournament is completed and players are repriced. The game will continue in preseason (test) mode for at least a couple more weeks, so you haven't missed anything important yet, other than experience.

Thanks to Gurupie mtpoke25 for suggesting today's quote.

5/19 - It's not often often that a pitcher throws a complete game one-hitter, fanning 13, and it's only the second best pitching performance on the night. Jason Schmidt racked up 196 TSNP, but that was a hit and a walk worse than the 204 posted by the Big Unit.

If you're thinking of trying out GuruGolf, you have until 7am EDT tomorrow to set your lineup for this week's tournament. As of 9am this morning, there are already 86 teams entered, although about a dozen of them still have empty rosters. Once the tournament starts (the first tee time is 7:30am Central time), you can follow your team's scorecard at the game site via live updates, as the scores are updated approximately every 15 minutes. I tested this out myself last week, and it's pretty cool.

5/18 - After just one day, GuruGolf registrations are up to 34 managers and 51 teams. On those 51 teams, no golfer shows up on more than 12 rosters so far, and 63 different golfers are represented at least once. So I'm pleased with the dispersion. And so far, there have been only minor site glitches, all which have been resolved. Even if you've never tried fantasy golf before, why not give GuruGolf a shot? It's free, and if you start now, you can play for several weeks just for practice, so you can make your rookie mistakes while they don't have any lasting effect. And it's a low intensity game from a management standpoint. You only need to make roster moves once per week, and you'll generally have 3 full days (Mon-Wed) to get it done. I think you'll enjoy it.

There is also a new development at the message forum. I added a Computer Forum. Over the years, the various forums have been a great place to get a troublesome computer problem solved, or advice on pop-up blockers, or virus removal tips, or html lessons, or a variety of computer/technical issues addressed. Unfortunately, the existing threads are scattered all over the forum landscape, and to look up something from the past, you need to separately check at least the baseball, football, hoops, hockey, and politics forums, if not others as well. Now we can begin collecting this discussion in one centralized place. It should also make it easier for the more technically savvy Gurupies to assist, since computer-related queries should now be easier to notice. Thanks to Gurupie Chuck for suggesting the idea.

5/17 - GuruGolf is open for business!

Actually, it only "spring training", as the real season won't start until sometime in June. Spring training offers both of us an opportunity. You get a chance to try out the game, and to learn by doing, rather than by reading. And I get a chance to have the site field-tested before we start playing for keeps.

The site isn't quite complete. Some of the pages need a bit of cosmetic work. The standings page hasn't even been programmed yet. The rules will no doubt need some additional detail and/or clarification. But I think the general framework of the game is sound, the prices seem reasonable, and the site worked well for me last week when I was the only one putting it through the ropes. You'll note that this game even features live scoring, so you can watch your team's best ball scorecard develop as each round unfolds. Pretty cool.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this game in the coming days, as I try to drum up interest. But if you're interested - or even just moderately curious - register, create a team, and see how it goes for the next few weeks. There is no admission charge, and you might find you like it. For more details, and to post your own questions and feedback, here's the place.

Oh yeah, in baseball, Ben Sheets struck out 18 batterns en route to 191 TSNP. I had Carlos Silva and his -67 TSNP. Any wonder why I'm more interested in golf now?

5/14 - Over the past 15 days, there are only two hitters who have accumulated more than 300 TSNP. Jose Guillen is way out in front with 384, in spite of missing a game due to a sprained ankle and knee. He's seen only minimal buying activity, which is a little puzzling. I guess he's been crowded out by cheaper options in the outfield.

The other hot hitter is Orlando Hudson, with 312 TSNP. He's started to attract some buying this week, and with new trades out today, I expect the interest to flourish.

Neither of those hitters has come close to matching the 445 TSNP posted by the top pitcher, though. No, it's not Roger Clemens. In fact, Clemens hasn't even led the Astros, as Andy Pettitte has an extra 3 TSNP over his last three starts. The top pitcher has been Carlos Zambrano, who didn't escape notice yesterday, as his Ultimate price went up $100K. With his second consecutive outing of 160+ TSNP yesterday, that price should continue to climb for awhile, even though he's not cheap ($6.6m).

5/13 - Mike Lowell has been quietly productive this year. Last night's pair of home runs gave him 59 TSNP. What surprised me, though, was that it also moved him up to the #3 ranking in total TSNP for hitters this season, behind only Beltran and Bonds.

I guess one of the reasons that Lowell has been unnoticed this year is that third base has been a fairly prolific position. Eight of the top 21 hitters (in TSNP) are eligible at third. None of them are dirt cheap, so if you want to spend a little $ at third, you have plenty of attractive options. Given that, I don't expect Lowell to be a good price play over the coming week - unless his hitting turns "ridiculous" (to quote Stewart Scott).

5/12 - More than 160 TSN Ultimate teams unloaded Craig Wilson in the past 2 days. I'll confess, I was thinking about it as well, but I never like to eject a player in advance of a series in Coors Field. And this time, patience paid a big dividend, as Wilson racked up 119 TSNP last night.

Wilson's output tops the previous high game for a hitter this year by 20 TNSP, and is the highest hitting result since Carlos Delgado had 130 last September 25 vs. Tampa Bay. Last season, there were 14 instances when a hitter produced 100 or more TSNP in a single day. So while it's an unusual feat, it's not as rare as you might think.

I think I've figured out why my TSN Ultimate results are so disappointing this season. Two words: Roger Clemens. For some reason, everytime I've thought about picking him up, I've always gone elsewhere. The last time was on May 5th, when I was deciding between picking up either Clemens or Kerry Wood. Sadly, I went with Wood. Two starts later, I'm 177 TSNP poorer. Someday - maybe soon - I'll get him, and that will be the time he finally implodes. It's bound to happen. Interestingly, he is still on only 34% of all rosters. Those are probably the top 34%. Well, OK, I know that's a bit of an overstatement, but I'll bet there is a significant positive correlation between overall team ranking and number of Clemens starts.

5/11 - I went shopping yesterday morning for a middle infielder in TSN to replace Tony Womack, whose time had come. I ended up with a short list of Orlando Hudson , Mark Bellhorn, and Omar Vizquel. Last night's results: Hudson: 75 TSNP, Bellhorn: 16 TSNP, Vizquel: 1 TSNP. So, of course, you can now guess which one I picked up. At least I have Hudson on my RIBC roster.

There were only three games played last night, and it was a good one to stay away from starting pitchers. Pat Hentgen did OK with 94 TSNP, but the other five starters were all negative.

5/10 - Saturday's 16-15 Texas/Detroit game was certainly one for the record books, not to mention a great conversation item for Sunday. Baseball often seems to produce odd situations, and there is a great thread going at the forum on many of this season's idiosyncrasies. I'm sure it will get a good workout throughout the season.

Based on the feedback and encouragement I received at the golf forum, I've decided to plunge ahead in the development of a fantasy golf game. I'm targeting the U.S.Open as the launch tournament, but if things go well, I may have a beta version up for testing in advance of that. Stay tuned for details. If nothing else, it will take my mind off of my disappointing baseball results in TSN, not to mention the RIBC.

It hasn't all been bad lately, however. Two weeks ago my TSN Ultimate team was ranked above 12,000. Now it has moved up to the low 6,000s. If I can halve my ranking every two weeks for the rest of the season, I'll end up in the top ten! That doesn't seem like such a tall order, does it? (Yeah, right..)

5/7 - Do you know who's been the hottest hitter over the past week? You won't easily find him if you look at the leading TSN price gainers. Jose Guillen has 196 TSNP over the last week, and his last three games have been 58, 41, and 46. Yet, until yesterday, he was mired in Ultimate gravity, and just barely escaped on Thursday when about 16 teams added him. Of course, with new trades available today, he might get a little more love. And his price of $5.5 million isn't chump change. Last year, he was very popular in the TSN game, although that was as much due to his bargain price as to his prowess at the plate.

Switching gears... I'm thinking about producing a fantasy golf game, probably starting sometime in June and continuing through the fall. TSN has offered a golf game for several years, but there are several "features" of that game that make it uninteresting for most serious fantasy golfers, including "pay for trades", bloated price changes, and the ability to trade out of a golfer during a tournament, rendering the cut rather inconsequential. My game would eliminate these issues. I realize that there is not a big demand for fantasy golf, but I have enjoyed it for the past few years, and would like to come up with a more interesting alternative. While I have not fully committed to this venture, I would like to get your feedback if you would be interested in playing. I won't require a large constituency to get this started, but I'd like some assurance that it will be more than a handful, as the programming effort will not be trivial. I've set up a thread for your thoughts at the golf forum. I'm hoping to attract back some former regulars, and also to lure in some rookies.

5/6 - Pitching points and price gains often don't align, but they did last night. The top three price gainers (TSN Ultimate) were Joe Kennedy (127 TSNP), Roger Clemens (93 TSNP), and Trevor Hoffman (48 TSNP). Among the price losers who pitched, Danny Graves (50 TSNP) actually did well. But Arthur Rhodes (-38 TSNP) punished those who have opted to buck the tide with his third straight negative outing, and Jose Acevedo managed only +5 TSNP.

Hitting was less correlated. The top gainer (Womack) and the top loser (Mark DeRosa) each posted -3 TSNP. No doubt they were on opposite sides of many trades yesterday.

5/5 - Two newly dubbed closers are getting off to a good start this week. Rafael Betancourt got his second save in as many nights against slumping Boston, and is already tied for the team lead in saves. And Jose Valverde got a meaty one in his first closing attempt, fanning the side in Chicago. Whether these guys can keep it up is anyone's guess, but if you're looking for some lightly owned closers with good upside potential in the TSN game, both are still mired in gravity - but not for long, I suspect.

The top hitter of the night usually does it with a few long balls. Brian Roberts, however, managed the feat with only a double and two singles. The key, of course, was the four steals and 4 runs to go with them. Roberts was also in gravity until yesterday, when about 20 TSN Ultimate teams decided to take the plunge. Good timing!

5/4 - Even though yesterday's MLB schedule was light (only 7 games), there were some solid pitching options. Schilling pitched good enough to win most nights, but the Red Sox bats were silent once again. Oswalt pitched so-so and left the game with a lead, but it didn't last. Maddux aided himself with his glove, bat, and legs. But none of those three managed to top 100 TSNP. To find the top pitcher of the night, you needed to be a bit of a gambler.

There are a few interesting TSN Ultimate price trends in the works. One is that Tony Womack has bounced. What makes this interesting is that he bottomed out at roughly 22% ownership on April 30, after essentially missing the previous week of activity. There are either some very patient managers out there, or else there are already a lot of dormant teams. Or both. But when considering Womack's ownership going forward, you need to factor in that more than 20% of all teams held him through his last beating. That's a lot, because many other players tend to be getting close to saturation around that point. For example, Danny Graves appears on only 2% more rosters than Womack. But Womack seems poised for another rally, while Graves seems to have plateaued. I guess the moral is that you need to regard ownership numbers in the context of a player's history in order to make any sense out of them. Simply looking at the raw numbers isn't necessarily going to tell a coherent story.

5/3 - April is now in the history books, and for some of us, that's a book that we hope will never be reopened. May can't possibly be worse, can it?

(Of course it can.)

And just in case it is, I've started ruminating on football, particularly the organization of the inaugural RotoGuru Invitational Football Challenge. I've started a discussion thread to solicit your feedback on a number of issues related to league parameters. If you have thoughts, please weigh in while everything is still in the formative stages. Manager invitations won't be issued for awhile, so the current challenge is simply to develop the rules.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2004: April. . . March . . . February . . . January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

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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