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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.

7/31 - It was a night of extremes.

There were three shutouts, and five pitchers generated more than 120 TSNP, headed by 164 from Pedro Martinez. But there were also five teams which scored double-digit runs, so you had to pick your pitchers and hitters judiciously. My results were mixed, which was probably a common occurrence.

It was also a night for some slumping hitters to rebound. Vlad Guerrero, Pat Burrell, and Raul Ibanez all went yard. It's too early to know whether they'll start to heat up again, or if this was just an oasis in the desert, but if you've been hanging in there patiently with any of these guys, it was nice to see some positive results.

Did you watch the "Battle at Bighorn" golf match on Monday night? I tend not to like those contrived matches, but this was entertaining - as much from the personal interactions as from the golf, which was also generally quite good. Trevino was characteristically chatty, and his quick set-up was quite a contrast to what we've seen from Sergio, who also seemed to play faster - perhaps in part due to Trevino's zippy pace. It was particularly interesting to see Lee and Serge concede a lot of putts to Tiger and Jack early on (not sure who was actually doing the concessions - probably Trevino), but then later on, Tiger and Jack failed to return the favor on some comparable - maybe even shorter - putts. All-in-all, it was a fun match to watch.

7/30 - Limited action yesterday. Only 6 American League games. Paul Byrd was the pitcher du jour, with a complete game over the Blue Jays, who were throttled for the second consecutive night. Just a week ago, Toronto pinned negative TSNPs on six starters in eight days. But in the past two days, they've allowed the opposing starters to combine for 315 TSNP. Talk about a quick shift in momentum!

We're down to the final hours before the trade deadline, and there's already been a lot of activity, with more teams still actively seeking to bulk up for the stretch. This can be nail-biting time if you are in a single-league game, wondering whether players will be snatched from eligibility, or whether a new "free-agent" will turn your favorable waiver position into a bonanza. Even Bartolo Colon seems to be back in play, with Montreal faltering of late.

With only 2 days left this month, it looks like either Curt Schilling or Pedro Martinez will be the top TSNP pitchers for July. Schilling currently leads, but his next start isn't until August 1. Pedro goes tonight, trailing Curt by exactly 100 TSNP. Kevin Millwood is a long shot, needing 134 TSNP tomorrow night to catch Schilling, plus anything that Pedro might tack on. Also, John Smoltz can't be totally dismissed, although he'd probably need two saves to claim the top spot. And the other pitcher in the top 5 is the aforementioned Paul Byrd. ... Oops, I just realized that my 30 day period ignores the All Star break, so the past 30 days still extends into June. Oh well, the impact is still the same.

7/29 - Miss me?

With slow dial-up connections, I had my hands full just keeping up with last week's developments. I did pop in at the message forum a few times, and I obviously kept the stats up to date, but that was about the extent of my site work last week. And with a number of catch-up errands this morning, I'm a little late getting to today's blurb. No big deal, I suppose.

For the past week, Trot Nixon was the hitter to own, although that monster doubleheader (including the 22-4 game) accounted for about half of his week's tally. Meanwhile, Vlad Guerrero has really gone into a tailspin. He hasn't had a positive double-digit TSNP score in the past 8 days, and yesterday managed to line into a triple play. He's been one of this season's streakiest hitters, it seems. When he's hot, he's sizzling. And when he's cold, it's a deep freeze.

I'm going to try to spend some time in the next couple of weeks getting set for football. I have my annual 2-week pilgrimage to northern Ohio planned for mid-August, so I want to get prepared for football before goofing off again. Meanwhile, if baseball is getting you down, there's already some preseason football talk started at the message forum.

7/19 - It's been more than a year since Barry Zito lost a home game. Last June 2, 2001, Baltimore beat him 7-0. Since then, he's won 16 at home without a loss, and that streak won't end until at least July 29th, when Cleveland arrives in Oakland. Given the Tribe's offensive prowess this year, I wouldn't bet against it ending then, either.

I noted on Wednesday that Damion Easley was hit by three pitches in a single game, which tied a major league record. Amazingly, Melvin Mora suffered the same fate last night. It has now happened 21 times in major league history, and two of those happened within a period of 3 days.

I'll be vacationing on Long Beach Island (NJ shore) next week. I will have my laptop with me, as usual, and stats will be updated daily, although some updates might be a little later than usual. I'll probably dispense with daily blurbs for the week, though. After all, it is supposed to be a vacation! Just consider these my "off days on days when we played."

7/18 - With pitching trades just refreshed, there was a lot of TSN trading activity yesterday. Roy Halladay appears to have been the popular favorite, and I'm sure his 118 TSNP result didn't disappoint. Derek Lowe was another popular choice, with a slightly better (136 TSNP) outcome. Surprisingly, Curt Schilling even got a lot of buying in spite of pitching in Coors Field, and after a "rocky" start, he managed a very respectable 73 TSNP. (Are managers that confident of Curt, or do they just not check where the games are played?) Only the 4th most popular choice (according to trade sampling) bombed, as Odalis Perez coughed up a -38. Meanwhile, hardly anyone found the top hurler of the night, who happened to be Odalis' opponent.

Meanwhile, it was a rude trick by Scott Stewart to follow up his strong pre-All Star performances with three successive negative outings, including last night's -68 TSNP. I'm sure there are a lot of midseason TSN teams (mine included) that got suckered into him and his low price, and now have to figure out what to do. My tendency is to be patient with these types of situations (since his price has little or no downside). But this patience is getting expensive pointwise. Ugh.

7/17 - Manny Ramirez hit five pitches in yesterday's game at Detroit. Meanwhile, 3 pitches hit Damion Easley in the same game, and six batters were hit overall. Easley got nailed in his first two at bats, but after three Red Sox followed suit, I guess Boston figured they owed Damion one more. Tough way to make a living. On the other hand, Easley should be used to it by now, as the third one was also his 100th career plunking.

I see that TSN has launched its Ultimate Football game. I haven't had a chance to study the setup, although it looks pretty similar to previous games. The biggest change appears to be a more flexible roster freeze which allows managers to wait until game day to select each position, rather that having to freeze the entire roster by the earliest game day of the week. This will particularly help on those weeks with Thursday games, when you can still wait until Sunday to select most players.

By the way, TSN has provided an excel spreadsheet with draft prices and stats from last season. You can download it for free from the TSN game site, and you don't need to register first to get it. I'll eventually get the football sortable stats and Assimilator updated, but I don't feel any pressure to get that done immediately, especially with the spreadsheet available. Maybe by August 1. (The 2002 NFL schedule grid has already been updated, however.)

Special thanks to Gurupie RJ (aka "Proudest Monkey") for suggesting today's classic quote.

7/16 - Yesterday couldn't end soon enough for me

It started with a trip to the doctor with symptoms of a kidney stone. On the way, I ran over a raised pipe in a road construction area and bent part of my car frame. And then a late afternoon violent thunderstorm knocked down a tall tree on my property, almost toppling onto my neighbor's garage. Who cares about fantasy sports with that backdrop?

Actually, things could have been much worse. The kidney stone symptoms seems to have subsided this morning - for now, at least. (I've had about a dozen stones over the years, so this is "old hat".) The car is in the shop, and will get fixed. And the tree did stop short of my neighbor's house. So, with a few adverse breaks, I could be doped up this morning with a totaled car and financial responsibility for a hole in my neighbor's roof. When I think of it that way, I'm feeling pretty lucky today!

Did you notice that Kansas City's closer, Roberto Hernandez, had 83 TSNP last night? That's unusually high for a closer, but he managed to save both ends of a double header. And according to ESPN's boxscore, he also started the nightcap! But it turns out that the actual starter was Runelvys Hernandez, making his major league debut. With a first name like that, there must be a story behind it. Regardless, it's got to rank up there with the best first names in the business.

7/15 - Sometimes it's better to be lucky than smart. Maybe it's even always better to be lucky than smart.

In any event, I was all set to pull the trigger on a TSN swap yesterday morning, selling Raul Ibanez to pick up Brad Wilkerson. From a dollar standpoint, the trade was a no-brainer, as Wilkerson was poised for a big gain, and vice versa for Ibanez, who had done "squat" since the All Star break. But just before clicking "yes", I decided to look at the upcoming schedules, and noticed that Kansas City had a double header on Monday, and another one next Saturday. That gave Ibanez a potential of 2 extra games over the next seven days.

Now, in baseball, extra game opportunities don't necessarily translate into extra points. Teams sometimes use twin bills to rest their regulars, especially slumping hitters. And with each out costing -2 or -3 (depending on whether it's a strikeout or not), the extra ABs can simply drive a point total deeper into a hole. But with hitters, every at bat provides an opportunity for a big upside with limited downside, and while I don't think it's necessary to chase after players with heavy schedules, it also doesn't seem right to drop a player immediately before one unless there is clearly something physically wrong with the player. So, drawing on one of my favorite rules of thumb, "if you can't decide what to do, then do nothing", I did just that. And while I'm $270K poorer for that decision, I'm also 78 TSNP richer. Woohoo! But I'm also humble enough to realize that, without those looming doubleheaders, I'd be joining in the lament of a lot of other managers this morning.

Fortunately, I avoided the flip-side of Ibanez' heroics, which was the -113 TSNP he pinned on Ramon Ortiz. I did pick up Freddy Garcia (-20) on one team, but his penalty seems almost like a free ride in comparison the to the alternative. I'm sure some teams also got saddled with Mariano Rivera's unlikely implosion, although he doesn't appear to have much ownership. Suffice it to say that while there were a few good outings, it was generally a good day to have an inactive pitching staff.

For some longer-term Gurupies, Ortiz' difficult day conjured up remembrances of a comparable outing by Ramon Martinez several years ago, an outcome which has subsequently been described as getting "Ramoned". Just for kicks, I pulled up and entered ramoned. Check out the 10th, 11th, and 14th listings.

7/11 - And the second half has started. The bigger question is whether it will finish.

Randy Johnson continues to confound. It seems like every time I have him, he had a mediocre result. But if I decide to skip a start, he gets 150 TSNP. What's a fantasy manager to do?

Pitchers generally seemed to fare better last night. Most of the popular starters did well, as did many of the popular closers. Hitters had more difficulty. On one of my TSN teams, Raul Ibanez was my top hitter with 8 TSNP. I had Randy Johnson's 39 TSNP plus Mark Mulder's excellent 126 TSNP outing on that team, and yet my team total was only 91 TSNP. Maddening.

Time to focus. I added a midseason Ultimate TSN team to my arsenal, as well as a $500K team and a Tag Team entry (the latter two being TSN Basic teams with special "house" rules, organized at the message forum.) That leaves me with a total of 6 TSN teams, a Swirve team , and PSC team, an ESPN roto team, and a Sandbox roto team. My biggest risk now is that I'll forget to attend to some team some day. I know that many of you have even more teams to track, and I don't know how you do it. This is probably several past my safe limit, but.... I guess that's why they pay me the big bucks. Maybe I should build a daily checklist.

7/8 - Just for kicks, I ran Ted Williams 1941 stats (the year he hit .406) through the TSN point formula. That year, he accumulated 2631 TSNP in 143 games played, an average of 18.4 TSNP/GP. Only one hitter is ahead of that pace this season, Barry Bonds, who is averaging 19.1 TSNP/GP. The second best hitter this year is Lance Berkman at 16.8, so Bonds and Williams are really set apart from the rest of this year's field.

Williams had good power numbers that year, but not phenomenal, with only 33 doubles and 37 HRs. Aside from the .406 batting average, the stats that stand out are his 145 walks (roughly one per game) and his 27 strikeouts. Bonds will improve on Ted's walk totals, but Barry has already fanned 28 times, which certainly sets him apart from his father, but is still roughly twice William's strikeout rate that year.

OK. Time to rest, regroup, and reload. TSN Basic Season 2 prices are now loaded in the sortable stats and Assimilator. The price change data shows the difference between the new draft price and the closing price in Season 1. Draft prices for the Ultimate Midseason game have been available for awhile as a separate game option.

If you are playing one of the midseason TSN games, carefully consider your pitching selections. Remember that draft buys do not factor into price changes, so that heavily drafted players start the season with greater downward price potential. If you load up with Thursday starters, you should expect a disappointing Friday, as there will be no previous buys to offset the inevitable sells. That doesn't mean you should avoid Thursday starters. But it does mean you should consider the implications, and go into this new "season" with rational expectations.

With no games during the next three days, I'll probably go blurbless, although I'll stop by the message forum from time to time. Enjoy the All Star break!

7/5 - As we enter All Star break period, there are a few things to remember:

  • TSN prices will not change on Monday-Wednesday. This is clearly stated in the rules.
  • The TSN midseason games start next Thursday. I set up a private division for GuruPatrons in the Ultimate game. If you are a GuruPatron and did not receive an invitation, please send me an email. (As of noon Friday, 7 teams had joined so far.)
  • Prices and positions have been reset for the PSC games. The second half will be much more challenging than the first. The obvious bargains are no longer there, and some of the position miscastings (i.e., starters listed as relievers) can no longer be exploited. I have all of the new prices and positions in the sortable stats and the Assimilator. You have until Thursday to get your new roster set up. Don't procrastinate too long - it'll take some tinkering!
  • Pitching rotations after the break vary from team to team. Do not assume that teams will naturally pick up where they left off. Many teams use this as an opportunity to reset their rotation sequences. There is already a thread at the message forum to report information as it becomes available. Assume nothing.

Still, with all of those things to attend to, the break generally provides some extra time for fantasy managers, too. Forum activity will be particularly light. Feel free to use this time to go to the beach, or clean your basement, or read a book. This will all still be here next Thursday. Enjoy!

7/4 - The home run binge is over. Just 28 last night, which is just about average. So far this season, we've experienced an average of 2.04 home runs per game, so an average day with a full slate scheduled should produce 30-31 dingers. Yesterday's record was double that.

With balls no longer jumping out of the parks in ridiculous numbers, Jarrod Washburn and Joel Pineiro each produced around 150 TSNP. Brian Moehler had the surprise result of the night (124 TSNP), pitching seven scoreless innings after missing more than a year due to shoulder surgery. If you're looking for someone at the minimum price, he's worth watching. And Mark Mulder deserved a better fate than his 103 TSNP, as he took the loss in spite of giving up only 2 earned runs in a complete game.

It's a national holiday in the U.S., and two teams - Colorado and San Diego - have a day off. What's up with that?

7/3 - Yesterday I commented that the pitchers seemed to have the upper hand. There were plenty of strong pitching outings, but good hitters were harder to find.

What a difference a day makes. Tuesday saw a record 62 homers in major league baseball, breaking the old mark by 5. Nine players hit two home runs. Four players hit grand slams. Six teams scored in double digits. Aye carumba!

There were a few aberrations. Boston and Toronto played a doubleheader that produced only 13 runs in both games combined, and only one HR. Anaheim and Arizona were both shut out. Texas won 3-1. But in general, you were probably better off not to have pitchers working last night.

And the hitting points were so spread around, I'll just let you look 'em up yourself.

If you are playing PSC baseball, we're entering a special period. All players will be repriced, and some positions may change as well. Rosters will be emptied, and must be reloaded by next Thursday (the first game after the All Star break). As soon as the new prices/positions are available, I'll get them loaded in the sortable stats and the Assimilator. According to the game site, these prices should be ready by tomorrow.

7/2 - There were a lot of pitching points available for the taking last night. And they weren't from obscure pitchers. The trick was to pick the right ones, and then to maneuver your roster to be able to accommodate them. Those that found the "obvious" picks of Pedro Martinez, Jamie Moyer, and Woody Williams earned a cool 416 TSNP. Randy Johnson managed only 33 TSNP, and probably distracted some of you (and me) from better picks. Tom Glavine was a complete bust with -36, and would have been worse if the Braves didn't come from behind to take him off the hook.

Of course, you could have done even better by replacing Williams with someone like Jamey Wright (147) or Hideo Nomo (146), but those pickups would have required extraordinary clairvoyance. Meanwhile, I know there were multiple teams with the Pedro-Jamie-Woody trio.

Hitting points seemed much harder to come by, which is probably not entirely coincidental. If you kept your hitting head above water, you probably fared OK, relatively speaking.

I'll be out from late morning through early evening, so TSN price updates won't be incorporated in the player pages, sortable stats, or Assimilator until tonight. Be sure to check the "as of" dates when using these tools later today.

7/1 - I suspect the rarest occurrence last night was that a Texas Rangers' home game was rained out. How often does that happen?

After three straight starts when he failed to produce a 3-digit TSNP (or a win), Curt Schilling found the ultimate cure - face the Cleveland Indian bats. Much as it pained me, even I saw that as a very appetizing matchup. Meanwhile, Odalis Perez didn't fare as well in Anaheim. However, if you checked in on his stat line after 2 innings, then you know it could have been a lot worse. He was down 5-0 at that point, and a big negative result loomed. Fortunately (for both Odalis and the 50% of TSN managers who owned him), he was able to hang around long enough to get his head above water, and the 11 TSNP outcome doesn't look so bad.

We're halfway through the MLB season now, and it's again interesting to compare TSN roster value stats vs. last season at this point. If you look at the leading teams in the Gurupie Standings, you see that most of the top teams have a total franchise value in the high $60s or low $70s. Compare this with last year, when values in the mid-$80s are common, and a few teams were even over $90m. I think it's fair to say that most of us have a greater need for some cheapies today than we did a year ago at this time, and I think that is leading to greater differentiation.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2002: 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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