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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.

8/31 - For the second time in three days, pitchers piled up more SWP than hitters. But for the first time this season, it didn't happen on a Monday.

Two days ago, I noted that pitchers had outpointed hitters only six times this year, and all were on Mondays. But yesterday, the average game produced only 166 hitting SWP vs. 180 pitching SWP, as eight pitchers reached the 130 SWP mark or better.

The top gun was Randy Johnson, who threw a shutout in Montreal. I must confess that I committed a tactical blunder - I left him off my top team yesterday! Because he hasn't been nearly as "studly" of late, and because he had never beaten the Expos, I decided to take a risk and skip this start. Bad move! My only consolation is that I saved a pitching trade, so all I need to do is find a clever way to use it for a 190 SWP outing from some other pitcher. (Perhaps the emotion of sending my first-born off to college clouded my judgment. Or perhaps I'm just an idiot.)

As the averages suggest, finding good hitters last night isn't easy. Sammy Sosa topped the list with 92 SWP (at least I had him!), but only three other hitters were over 50 SWP.

The most lopsided Football Pickoff games are becoming less extreme. Now only two favorites are listed above 80%: Jax over Cleveland, and Washington over Carolina. You can continue to review and make changes until 1pm EST Sunday.

Speaking of Pickoff, I made a small programming correction this morning. If you elected to double one of the bottom six games on the listing, it is possible that your selection was not properly stored. Even though this first week is just for practice, it would be a good idea for you to review your stored selections to make sure they are correct. Just go to the "Make Picks" page at the game site, and your current selections will be displayed.

Have you clicked an ad today?



8/30 - I'm taking my oldest son to college today, so I won't be preparing a blurb. Also, price updates will be delayed until evening.

8/29 - Another "pitchers' Monday".

For only the sixth time this season, the average game produced more pitching SWP than hitting SWP. The gap this time was -18 SWP (178 pitching, 160 hitting). The last time pitchers had the upper hand was July 31, also a Monday. Prior to that, it occurred on June 5, May 29, April 24, and April 17- all Mondays. Go figure.

This time, Tim Hudson led a parade of 8 pitchers with 3-digit results. Interestingly, two of the more popular pitchers of late, Curt Schilling and Jeff D'Amico, weren't anywhere close to that parade, although neither really pitched as badly as their final tally might suggest. D'Amico pitched well after a shaky first inning, while Schilling ran out of gas in the 7th.

Other than Phil Nevin, who put up 75 SWP on the strength of a HR and 6 RBIs at Wrigley field, only three other hitters reached the 40 SWP mark, and each of them only barely made it over the top. No first baseman made the list. In fact, only two of them exceeded 30 SWP.

I just updated the early pick percentages for Football Pickoff. As of 9am EST today, the most lopsided game so far is Jacksonville over Cleveland, 89%-11%. You can see the percentages by clicking on the "Make Picks" link at the game site. And you can change your picks any time up until the first kickoff on Sunday. I'll update the emerging percentages at least once per day throughout the week.

8/28 - Vacations are nice, but home has its advantages, too. After two weeks of using my laptop with its dial-up modem, I particularly appreciate my home desktop computer with its cable modem, faster processor, and twice as much RAM.

When I'm on the road, it seems like I spend so much time just attending to the nuts and bolts that I don't have (or want to take) the time to stay updated on everything else that's going on. And with only 6 days left until the first "real" NFL game, I need to take a crash course on football players this week. I'm woefully behind in my research. Hopefully, there are some good ideas at the message forum, and some of the other sites referenced on my favorite links page will also be of some help.

Speaking of football, I released the new version of RotoGuru's Football Pickoff yesterday. Those who played last season will recognize the basic rules, which are mostly unchanged. Each week, you pick the winners of each NFL game. The scoring for each game depends on the actual selection percentages of all game players. See the official rules at the game site for more detail.

This year adds a couple of new wrinkles, while attempting to retain the general simplicity of the framework.

  1. Each week, you may choose one game to double.
  2. Bonus points are awarded if you correctly pick 10 or more winners in any week. This encourages you to pick a mix of favorites and underdogs, rather than overweighting underdog picks.
This year, I am offering cash prizes totaling $1000 (US). You may register up to three entries, but you may win at most one prize. One of the prizes is for the best score from week 9 on, so if you get off to a slow start, you'll have a new opportunity to get a fresh start at midseason.

I believe the site is functioning properly, but it is still quite possible that some bugs are embedded. To give me a week to shake down the system, and to give everyone a chance to more fully understand the scoring, the first NFL weekend will be an "exhibition week" which does not count for the standings. NFL week #2 will be the first official week of the game. But I encourage you to play for week #1 to ensure that you understand how everything works.

8/24 - With both Leiter and Livan both throwing masterpieces last night, I suspect it was a big swing night for many teams. I had neither, and all of my teams slipped in the standings. My suspicion is that neither was widely held, but both had enough representation to matter. I saw a few teams with both. Nice night!

It was another night when the stud bats were relatively quiet, allowing others to grab the hitting spotlight. Alex Gonzalez took top honors with 76 SWP, but Jorge Posada was right behind with 73. I guess the most studly stud was Carlos Delgado with 63 SWP, but with Toronto's light schedule recently, he's not on nearly as many rosters as would otherwise be the case.

I'll be on the road almost all day tomorrow, making a roughly 600 mile drive from Ohio back to Connecticut. I'll plan to update stats in the morning before takeoff, but price updates will not be processed until late evening at best. The Swirve team ranking update will be postponed until Saturday. And tomorrow will be blurbless. Thanks for your patience.

8/23 - Not one, but two position players took the mound last night. And both fulfilled their missions.

Derek Bell pitched the 8th inning against the Padres in a game in which the Mets were already down 11-1. His mission was surely to spare some wear-and-tear on the bullpen, and although he surrendered 5 runs, he did complete his inning. Meanwhile, Brent Mayne pitched the 12th inning against the Braves, following a string of 9 "regular" Rockies pitchers. (In a strange twist of fate, the first batter he faced was Tom Glavine, who was pinch hitting!) Mayne gave up a hit and a walk, but retired the side without a run, and then picked up the W when Colorado scored in the bottom of the 12th.

Among real pitchers, cheapies dominated again, with Ryan Rupe taking the honors. Three-digit outings were also posted by Jeff D'Amico, A.J. Burnett, and Adam Eaton. D'Amico has been on an incredible run since returning from his injury. His worst start was 80 SWP, and he's been in triple digits for 7 of those 10 starts.

Thirteen hitters achieved 60 SWP or more, headed by Rondell White's 88.

8/22 - Steve Sparks may have emerged as the latest cheapie pitcher to have, at least as long as his knuckler keeps knuckling. Last night marked his third triple-digit outing of his last four starts, and his SW price is barely over the minimum. Mark Gardner continued to provide good cheapie competition, however, with his second straight strong outing after several weeks of lapsing back into mediocrity.

Hitting heroics were spread around, with 13 hitters posting 50 SWP or higher. Top honors went to Tyler Houston with 75 SWP, but Andruw Jones and Jorge Posada were also in the 70s. None of the traditional stud hitters made last night's hitting elite, however. A good night for differentiation, I guess.

8/21 - Pedro and Randy each came through nicely over the weekend, with 23 strikeouts between them. But even though they combined for 320 SWP this time around, you could have done slightly better with the combo of Livan Hernandez and Chan Ho Park, who combined for 360 SWP. But I'll bet most of you are satisfied with your paltry 320, if that's the route you chose.

Suddenly, Kenny Lofton thinks he's a power hitter. He cranked 4 homers over the weekend, including a grand slam, amassing a total of 179 SWP in three games against Seattle. I'm not sure that's a bandwagon I'd recommend jumping on, however. First, he's been firmly in the clutches of SW price gravity for quite awhile - although at this point of the season, that should be a secondary consideration. Also, whenever Kenny starts swinging for he fences, that usually spells trouble for him. But this weekend it spelled trouble for the Mariners, who have now lost 8 straight.

8/18 - The biggest crack of the day might not have come off a bat, but from Mike Hampton's rib cage. It seems to me that pitching with a cracked rib could pose quite a problem, but Hampton is only listed as day-to-day. I'm sure the Mets hope it is just that.

Reliever Turk Wendell was the biggest SWP beneficiary of Hampton's misfortune, notching 100 SWP for 4 innings of work. That left him just 5 SWP shy of the top pitching effort of the day, which belonged to Baltimore's John Parrish. Meanwhile, James Baldwin had a four hit day - four hit batters, that is. I think that's the high for a single game this season.

A number of hitters had decent games last night. However, I suspect that very few of them are on many teams, so if your hitting totals looks rather anemic this morning, I think you have plenty of company. For example, the top hitter was Frank Catalanotto, followed by Robin Ventura.

8/17 - If you had one of the cheaper pitchers going last night, you probably made out OK. While Glendon Rusch had a disappointing outing (especially since he was facing the Rockies away from Coor's), guys like D'Amico, Gardner, Eaton, Burnett, Arrojo, and even Kile and Reynoso provided pretty reasonable bang for their buck.

Hitting also tended to be headed by the less than elite. Travis Fryman topped everyone with the bat, but he was closely trailed by cheapies David McCarty, Steve Cox, and Carlos Guillen.

Only six games are on today's docket, four of which are scheduled for early afternoon. Plenty of time this evening to regroup and figure out what to do with your new SW hitter trades. Houston remains at home, and Colorado returns to Denver, so the hitters parks will be occupied this week.

8/16 - Jose Lima and David Cone both winning on the same night! And each of them outpointed the aggregate score of the 3-headed monster. Go figure.

The top pitching game was by unheralded Steve Sparks, with his second consecutive strong start, this time a 165 SWP complete game at Seattle. Ryan Dempster was close behind, continuing his recent resurgence after a mid-season slump got him dumped from a lot of rosters.

J.T. Snow was the big kahuna with the bat, although 3 first baseman produced in excess of 70 SWP.

I had some stats difficulties this morning, so I've already chewed up 3 hours on the site this morning. Since I'm supposed to be vacationing this week, I think I'll just have a short blurb today. Enjoy the day.

8/15 - I thought I was doing us a favor yesterday by preconditioning our 3-headed expectations, showing that a combined score in the 200s was the most common result over the past few months.

Sorry. I probably created a false sense of security, since they hadn't yet combined for anything under 205. Until last night.

Who'dve thunk they would combine for only 35 SWP on an aggregate total of less than 12 innings pitched? It's a funny game. Hopefully, you have a sense of humor about all this, because otherwise you'll probably go crazy.

And no matter what your post-game trading plans were going to be, you really need to rethink this morning. With tightness in his shoulder, Pedro's next start is certainly in question. (Will someone please build him a Borg alcove so he can sleep standing up!) And Kevin threw so few pitches that you have to consider whether his next start might be pushed up. My guess is that last night's results didn't have a dramatic immediate impact on your team's ranking. But I'll bet that what you do next could be much more critical, since I expect there'll be quite a diversity of reactions.

The biggest hurt was for those teams who were wealthy enough to afford the 3HM without simultaneously decimating their hitting. It neutralizes that relative advantage. This must be how Peter Angelos has felt the past few years.

Time to move on. The season may be 75% complete, but that still leaves 25% to go. And if you remember this time last year, you can at least appreciate that the SW server didn't crap out this morning!

8/14 - The planets are in alignment. The three headed monster - Pedro, Randy, and Kevin - all start tonight. If they all perform well, those who have dedicated their recent efforts toward getting all three will be rewarded. If one or two has an off-night, then those who picked the correct one(s) will reap the benefits. And if they all crap out, we're all probably the in the same boat, because I suspect it's hard to find a current roster without at least one of these three.

If you do hold all three, a little coaching on expectations is probably warranted. Many 3HM managers are probably expecting 400-500 SWP from this trio. But just how likely is that, given their performances to date?

There's a much better probabilistic way to attack this question, but I'm on vacation and I don't want to take the time to do it "right". So I chose to simply line up their calendars, and tally the points for the three combined, start by start - the Q&D approach. For the periods when Pedro or Kevin skipped a start, I just skipped the period. So altogether, I assembled a list of 19 three-headed starts. And of those 19 combos, 7 totaled 400 SWP or better. Only one topped 500, when they put up scores of 160, 165, and 180 for a total of 505 on July 18-20. That also turns out to be the only 400+ combo in the past 2 months. Through June 14th, all three seemed to be very consistent, and the 400+ combos were relatively common. But in the past 2 months, 75% of all combined scores have only been in the 200s. So if recent history is our guide, we may have spent an awful lot of bucks for a 200+ point return. We'll see soon enough.

So what next? Although recent patterns would suggest that they will all start again on Saturday, there is a report from AZ (at the message forum) that Randy's next start will be pushed back until Sunday. He couldn't have started five days from Saturday anyway, since that's an off day, so this seems like a reasonable approach for Buck Showalter to take (although some would argue that just because it's reasonable, what does this have to do with Buck Showalter!). So if you plan to sell one of them, Randy looks like the one that will have 5 days of rest. Of course, that doesn't mean he will also have the largest price decline. And I suspect some teams, now that they've gotten all three of these guys, will sit tight for awhile to build up some extra pitching trades. What will I do? Haven't yet decided, quite frankly.

If you missed Friday's blurb, please read about my experimental approach for a select football forum. It certainly generated a lot of passionate feedback over the past three days. Much of the feedback is favorable, but there are also some pretty strong negative viewpoints. I'll have some responses to all of the feedback later today. Driving for 12 hours over the weekend gave me plenty of time to reflect, but not much time to write it down. Meanwhile, thanks to everyone for providing their honest feedback. It is clear that many of you have developed quite a passion for the forum.

8/11 - It's hard to remember what was like prior to the introduction of the message forum. But the site was 1.5 years old before the first forum was added. Since that time, the forum has continued to grow in content and users, to the extent that it is now probably the centerpiece of the RotoGuru site. In fact, while there are still users who use the statistical tools but not the forum, there are probably more users who frequent the forum but are largely unfamiliar with the rest of this site.

The popularity of the forum owed largely to the diverse bunch of Gurupies who freely shared their insights, creating with it a sense of community and,... dare I say,... pride in being part of the Gurupie collective. The forum offered a nice range of topics, from near-rocket-science, to statistical analysis, to psychology, to general sports fanaticism, to social commentary on the issues of the day, to inquiries for help. It was a fun place to "hang out", and many of us did just that. We got to know each other better as we improved our understanding of the games.

Alas, as the popularity of has grown, the quantity of new threads has increased substantially, but the average quality of the posts has not kept pace. Lately, it has become tedious to wade through all of the threads in search of a few pearls of wisdom, or an entertaining conversation. The more active topic areas are degrading into a very unremarkable message forum, dominated my a lot of mindless chatter, and often offering very little in the intellectual stimulation. In fact, when an enlightening thread does start, it often fails to keep going, in part (I'm sure) because many Gurupies just don't have the energy to search it out.

Time to address the situation! It is clear to me that, unless we quickly find a way to recapture the essence of the RotoGuru distinctiveness, we will lose many of the contributors who are so critical to its vitality.

With that spirit in mind, today I introduce the Select Football Forum. Until today, all forum topic areas have been open to anyone who wants to initiate a thread. The Select Football Forum will only permit certain "select" Gurupies to initiate a thread. Anyone may still reply to a thread, but by limiting the number of people who can initiate, I hope to produce a more targeted, insightful forum that is not a chore to wade through. The initial list of authorized initiators represents less than 5% of all users, and is my first attempt at identifying those Gurupies who have shown an ability to enhance the forum. This list appears as one of the threads at the forum. I'm sure I have omitted some very deserving potential contributors, and I will expand and improve upon this list as the football season progresses. If you aren't on the initial list, please don't take offense. If you belong there, we'll get you there sooner or later. The best place to "audition" is by replying to the threads initiated by others.

The current football forum will remain an open forum for now, but its long term fate is undecided at this stage. If the Select Forum concept proves successful, I will expand it to include at least basketball and baseball. It is my hope that this approach will be a relatively unobtrusive way to redirect the conversation back to the way it was in the "good ole days". For more information on the Select Forum approach, see the preliminary threads at the forum.

Although I've already said it, let me emphasize that all users will still be able to respond to all threads at the Select Forum. This is not an attempt to stifle the flow of opinions; it is merely an attempt to throttle down the number of uninteresting threads that have overtaken some of the other forums.

There will be one more change in the forum, probably occurring sometime next week. The forum will be moving to a new, dedicated server. Hopefully, this will enhance reliability and responsiveness, as well as permit me the ability to continue to add some programming features, not only for the forum, but for other site features.

The URL for the forum will remain the same after the switch. But I will probably need to take the forum down for a period of several hours during the switch, while files are transferred and domain name servers are updated with the new IP address. I'll let you know when the procedure is scheduled.

Just to promote the greatest possibility of a screw-up during these transitions, I'll be vacationing in Ohio for the next two weeks. Of course, I'll have my laptop with me, and the site will continue to be updated, although midday price updates will be delayed on occasion. In fact, Saturday (8/12) will be a travel day, so Saturday prices probably won't be updated until sometime Saturday evening. So, while I call this a vacation, what it really amounts to is the temporary relocation of RotoGuru World Headquarters to the shores of the Marblehead Peninsula in North Central Ohio, overlooking Cedar Point across the Sandusky Bay.

See ya...

8/10 - Randy pitched reasonably well, in spite of surrendering 11 hits while throwing 123 pitches over 7 innings. He did only allow 2 runs, and he also fanned 11. And had the bullpen been up to the challenge, he'd have been the top pitcher of the night, with 130 SWP. Instead, he got a respectable 100. On the other hand, 20 of his SWP did come from 2 pickoffs, effectively negating 4 hits (in terms of SWP).

Kevin Brown was less effective, yielding 4 runs on 9 hits over just 6 innings. With only 5 Ks and no pickoffs, he barely made it into positive SWP territory. Lately, he seems to be very volatile. Of his last 6 starts, three produced between 20-30 SWP, and the other three were between 130-180 SWP. His average over that period is 87 SWP, which ranks him #7 among all pitchers over the last 30 days. But it looks like you should never expect a score very close to the mean.

In general, it was a good night to own either Yankees or White Sox hitters, as those two teams combined for 31 runs. (It was a bad night to own their opposing starters, Appier and Moyer, who combined for a whopping -255 SWP!) Even with all those runs, the hitting points were pretty well spread. Frank Thomas had a monster with 97 SWP, and Tino Martinez was second with 70 SWP. Sixteen other hitters were in the 40-60 range.

Today's baseball schedule is pretty light, with only 8 games on the docket. Of those, only one is a night game, so you should have most of the day's feedback by early evening. Meanwhile, there are 2 preseason NFL games this evening. I guess I'm going to have to start thinking about football before too much longer.

8/9 - Slumps are one of the most maddening aspects of the game.

As a fantasy manager, it's tough to know when a slumping player is likely to continue to have troubles, and when he is about to break out. All too often, it seems that just when you decide to throw in the towel, the hitter immediately rebounds.

For example, a few weeks ago, Jeff Kent couldn't hit his way out of a paper bag. Immediately after the ASB, from July 13-31, Kent amassed a total of 44 SWP, averaging about 2 SWP per game. In the first 8 days of August, he's produced 209 SWP. If you finally shed Kent in late July, you missed one of the hottest hitters so far this month. And of course, if you now decide to reverse course, there's no telling whether the hot streak has ended.

The latest player to confound is Chipper Jones, who has posted -21 SWP over the past five days. His best recent day was the day he sat out, and he's now hitless in his last 20 at bats, the longest hitless streak of his career. Time to cut bait? Or, is he due? Argh...

Pedro pitched up to par last night, but was outdueled by his fellow countryman, Ramon Ortiz. In fact, the pitching leaderboard looks like a Latin celebration, as the top pitchers included Ramon & Russ Ortiz, Jesus Sanchez, Albie Lopez, Brian Moehler, and Pedro. OK, so maybe Brian Moehler isn't Latino. (Are we sure it isn't Moehlez?)

Several hitters did OK against non-Latin pitchers, however. Three guys were north of 90 SWP, including Pat Burrell, Alex Rodriguez, and Vladimir Guerrero (Almost a Latin night for hitters, too?)

8/8 - Curt Schilling continued to impress; Denny Neagle didn't.

Schilling threw his second consecutive complete game, and he's averaged 133 SWP per start since his trade to Arizona. Since the All Star break, he's lowered his ERA by almost a full point (from 4.23 to 3.38), and averaged 8.6 innings per start. The only thing that doesn't recall the Schilling of old is that his strikeout totals aren't very high, averaging only 5 Ks per game over his last five outings. And from the looks of it, he's appearing on a lot of SW rosters, including one-half of the top 100 teams yesterday.

At the other end, Neagle has clearly returned to earth after his spectacular Yankee beginning. His first two Yankee starts produced 290 SWP; his last three have only amassed 35 (combined), including -50 SWP yesterday. He's not as good as his hot start suggested, nor is he as bad as his recent problems portray. But his SW price is up about a $million since the trade, and I'll bet his next week is a tough one, pricewise.

There were no real bust-out hitting performances yesterday. Nine players were in the range of 50-66 SWP, including 4 shortstops and 5 outfielders.

We're approaching a collision of the three top pitchers. Barring injuries or rainouts, it now looks like Randy, Pedro, and Kevin Brown will all start next Monday, 8/14. (And Mondays are typically strong pitching days anyway!) Expect to see a lot of the top teams with the 3HM (3 headed monster) by then.

8/7 - Well, we now know that Randy Johnson is mortal. He couldn't survive the 4th inning against the Mets Friday night, at least not after Tony Womark booted a grounder to prolong the inning. It's hard to tell whether that ultimately hurt or helped Randy's fantasy points. At least it meant that the subsequent runs were all unearned. But if Randy had been able to come out again for the 5th inning, who knows how he might have done? Chances are it wouldn't have been much better - and perhaps worse.

So while the dollar gains of the Randro strategy continue to crank out bigtime, the point production has been more problematic. But over the last 30 days, six pitchers have posted better numbers than Randy, including Pedro, Clemens, D'Amico, Schilling, Nen(!), and Brown. Over the last 15 days (3 starts), he hasn't even ranked in the top 125. I suspect we'll be seeing more variety in pitching strategies over the next few weeks.

Injuries took their toll on some big names over the weekend. Mike Piazza appears to be out for a few days with a mild knee sprain. Manny Ramirez is also "day-to-day" (which could mean something much worse) with a sore hamstring. The last time Manny was day-to-day with a hamstring injury, he missed 39 games. Chipper Jones injured his wrist in batting practice Saturday, and while he played on Sunday, he'd have scored better if he hadn't. Gary Sheffield missed Sunday's game with a thumb injury. Some of these injuries may not necessitate any managerial action, but it's still troubling when you have big bucks tied up in players who aren't even on the field.

Football features are whipping into shape. The sortable stats and Assimilator are now loaded with new players and prices. Points are calculated using the 2000 formula, applied to last year's regular season NFL stats. My stats don't tie out exactly to those published by Small World or Swirve, but they're pretty close. I'm using the same underlying stats that were used for last season's fantasy scoring. It's likely that there were some post-season adjustments made for some players that would explain the differences, but since they're close, I just used the stats I already had, rather than starting from scratch. Also, while I did recalculate full season points using the new formula, I did not work up game-by-game breakdowns. If you click on any player's individual link, you'll still see the actual game-by-game points for 1999, based on the formulas in effect last season.

Regardless, the best opportunities usually come from players who will produce much better than last year, due to recovery from injury, changing teams/roles, or rookie sensations. So while last year's stats can help give some perspective, I never rely on them very heavily when assembling my drafts. Rather, some independent research is required. For that, you might want to check out some of the resources listed on my favorite links page.

8/4 - Well, my SW jinx may have ended, but the team sure sucked last night, garnering a grand total of 7 SWP. At least today is a new day.

Jason Bere seems to be enjoying his return to the American League, as his 150 SWP topped all pitchers in last night's abbreviated schedule. Frank Castillo also threw a strong 130 SWP game against Texas. And Russ Ortiz struck out 10 Pirates en route to 125 SWP.

Luis Gonzalez had the big stick, with 92 SWP on the strength of 2 HRs, a double, and 5 RBI. Jeff Kent almost matched him, substituting a double for a HR, but adding an RBI for 87 SWP, thereby rewarding those patient managers who have hung in there with him during his prolonged slump.

Schedule management isn't nearly as important in fantasy baseball as it is in the winter sports, but it still is something that you should be mindful of. Someone at the message forum noted that the Yankees had only one off-day (8/31) left for the balance of the season. That sounded pretty remarkable, so I compared this against the schedules of the other 29 teams. Montreal comes close, with 2 days off, but every other team has at least 4 empty dates. Toronto and Minnesota have the lightest loads, each with 7 vacancies on their calendar. In fact, starting on August 14th (just 10 days from now), Toronto plays just 7 times in a span of 11 days. If you own Delgado or Batista, that's probably a period you'll want to plan around. Four teams play everyday during that stretch, and more than half of the teams have at least 10 games scheduled.

8/3 - I was planning to get the football sortables and Assimilator up and running this week. But instead, I've spent so much time thinking about my baseball teams' positioning for the next few weeks that I've barely tinkered with football. We'll see soon enough whether the time would have better been spent on football. But with a month before the NFL season begins, I figured I've got some flexibility.

Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling had the top two pitching performances of the night, the only two complete games. I had n=both on my midseason team, and it resulted in my WWR jumping up by more than 3000 spots, which attest not only to how well they did, but also how poorly that team has been doing.

If you had the patience to hold Jim Edmonds through his recent down time, you were generously rewarded by a 90 SWP outburst. Even with his prior 2 DNPs, he's now averaged 30 SWP/EG over the past 3 days. No other hitter was within shouting distance of his total last night.

I'm feeling a little better about my recent managerial decisions. The way July was going, I fully expected a bust-out series by Magglio Ordonez this week, negating the disadvantage of the ChiSox light schedule, and screwing my swap into Brian Giles. When the Pirates got rained out on Monday (my first day with Giles), I thought "here we go again..." But then the month turned to August, and Giles has 47 SWP over the last two days with another game scheduled today, while Magglio had 19 SWP on Tuesay, a DNP last night, and an off day today. So far, so good! Maybe the recent jinx was a July thing, and August will bring about a reversal. In any event, it's got me in a much better frame of mind.

Actually, now that I look back, the bad luck started in early July when I swapped from Griffey into Magglio - just before Griffey's 115 SWP game on July 8th. So it could have been a July jinx. But it also could have been the Indian gods putting a curse on me for picking up someone on the White Sox. Maybe that's why dropping Ordonez seems to have worked. Baseball is a game full of superstitions, and why should I be exempt from that?

8/2 - A night of extremes.

Mike Mussina's near-no-hitter was certainly an extreme: 225 SWP, 223 EBP. I doubt if many had him in Smallworld, but I suspect some of you Echelon..., er..., Swirve managers did. If so, nice pickup! The next best pitching effort was from the other Pedro, but he was 70 points behind.

Speaking of Swirve (and digressing for a moment), what should I use as a point abbreviation? I have been using SWP for Small World Points, and EBP for Echelon Baseball Points. But now that Echelon has changed its name to Swirve, SBP seems a bit confusing. SwP obviously doesn't work. Maybe SVP? Any thoughts? I could (and probably will) stick with EBP for baseball, but with football looming, I should probably make some sort of adjustment for that sport. Ah, the weighty problems I have to contend with!

Back to baseball extremes. Craig Biggio suffered a season-ending knee injury. Two years ago, this would have had major fantasy implications, as he was the stud at 2B. But he hasn't been as dominating the past two seasons. Still, he's a quality player, and a good guy, and Houston's disastrous season continues.

Speaking of Houston's woes, I hope you didn't get "Meluskeyed" yesterday. That Sell! Sell! Sell! red cross of doom certainly has a powerful effect. It's very unusual for a hitter to be the leading SW price decliner.

Sticking with today's theme of extremes, do you think RotoNews could have found a smaller font for its redesigned pages?

8/1 - The dog days of August have arrived.

Actually, it looks like they arrived a day early for hitters. Yesterday produced the best pitching vs. hitting advantage of the season so far. The average game yielded 157 hitting SWP, and 188 pitching SWP, for a gap of 31 SWP in favor of the pitching. All season, there have only been 5 days on which the pitchers outpointed the hitters. The previous best relative day for pitchers was a 21 SWP advantage on May 29th. The season average is 229 for hitting, and 127 for pitching, a 102 SWP advantage for the hitters. So if you look at your roster points today, I'll bet you see a lot of red ink on the hitting side. If not, then you probably had a better day than you think.

Darryl Kile led the pitching parade with a 160 SWP complete game shutout. He's now combined for 400 SWP in his last 3 starts, and appears to be the strongest contender for the bargain pitcher sweepstakes this season. He's currently the 8th ranked pitcher in total points with a SW price that has only once even touched the $4 million mark. You may recall that his SW draft price was $1,770K, and his YTD price gain of $2,080K leads all players - although Adam Kennedy is sneaking up on him in that category, aided by the paucity of recently respectable second basemen.

Only four hitters produced 50 or more SWP last night, led by Jay Buhner's 58 SWP, most of which came from his first inning grand slam.

If you want to capitalize on my recent cold streak, you should probably pick up Magglio Ordonez, since I just dropped him yesterday. Granted, his upcoming schedule is light, but schedule isn't everything... - as evidence, just look at the recent week for Manny Ramirez. If the recent pattern persists, Magglio should go nuts in one of the next 2 games. You heard it here first.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2000: July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . 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

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