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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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Go forward to more recent blurbs.

6/29 - Quite a pitching matchup last night. I was personally rewarded for hanging on to Orlando Hernandez last Friday, in spite of his big price drop. It was interesting to note this morning that he and his Mets counterpart, Masato Yoshii, were only one SWP apart, 122 vs. 121. And if you stayed up until the end of the game, what in the world was Brian McRae thinking about? He should have just sat down on first base before the play even started, and watched everything unfold from there. And if he wasn't alert to the strategy, what was his first base coach doing? Ah well, "no blood, no foul."

I decided to try this new poll question to see whether we could get a fix on the relative strength of the RotoGuru user community. You're on your honor to report accurately, here.

I guess I can sleep in late tomorrow morning - no games scheduled today! I believe I heard on last night's SportsCenter that this is the first across-the-board off day (other than the All-Star break) in 23 years. Maybe I'll go take in a minor league game tonight. The New Britain Rock Cats (AA Twins affiliate) are at home tonight - only 20 minutes away from my front door.

By the way, the best way to dispatch with that annoying Pringles pop-up ad is not to delete it when it appears, but simply to push it to the background by clicking somewhere on the page behind it - or else, by minimizing the ad itself. That way, if the Pringles ad reappears during your session, it won't repop into the foreground. Long time Guru users will remember this technique from the Tripod days, but new users might not be fully up to speed. I sent an email to Proctor & Gamble last week, telling them how annoying that ad was, and suggesting that it was probably an "anti-advertisement". I even got an email response thanking me for my feedback - and not an automated response, either. Doesn't seem to have had any impact, though.

6/28 - Today marked the second consecutive day that the CBS Sportsline stats were fouled up. So, I'm using USA Today again. Unfortunately, it takes me about an extra 30-45 minutes to use the USA Today stats, since several categories have to be updated manually. Yesterday, it was a rush just to get the daily stats up, as I had a family outing for most of the day - hence, no Saturday blurb.

Bartolo Colon rewarded a lot of managers on Friday, not only with his $1.8 million price gain, but also a 137 SWP outing that night. Brant Brown rewarded a lot of managers with a trip to the DL - although again with $0.9 million to soothe the pain. Al Leiter and Greg Maddux used the weekend to clear up any doubt about who should get to start the All-Star game. In fact, yesterday we had two games which made the list of top games, as Ismael Valdes threw his second shutout of June.

6/26 - What's gotten into David Wells this year? He threw his second shutout at the (slumping) Atlanta Braves last night. I was surprised to learn that it was only his fifth career shutout - although it was also his 4th shutout since last July 19th!

Rick Reed was the clear pick as the fifth choice for the NL All-Star starting pitcher poll. Although the AL poll stalled at 150 votes, I decided it was time for the new poll.

It's been 3-1/2 weeks since I last took an analytical look at the top 50 worldwide teams (SW site, not CNN). The last look was on 6/1. Here are some of the more interesting stats:

  • First, 22 of the teams that were in the top 50 on June 1st are still in the top 50. Most of these teams are doing well, with the average ranking of these 22 teams improving by 5 places since June 1st. The other 28 teams have disappeared from sight.
  • The current top 50 teams have used an average of 62.5 trades. This is only 2 more than the average on June 1st. Fifteen of the teams have used 70 or more trades, up from ten on June 1st. Only five teams have used less than 50, of which only one has used less than 40 (37).
  • The average franchise value is $111.5 million, up from $97 million. The highest value is just over $127.7 million, and twelve teams are worth more than $120m.
  • Roster consolidation is clearly the trend. The three most commonly found players are Alex Rodriguez (49), Greg Maddux (44), and Ken Griffey Jr. (41) . Other players appearing on at least half of the teams are Juan Gonzalez (38), Mark McGwire (37), Andres Galarraga (31), Sammy Sosa (30), and Craig Biggio (27). Kerry Wood is the second most popular pitcher, but he appears on only 23 rosters. In total, these teams now have only 80 different players (down from 125), of which 21 appear on only one roster.
  • 30 teams now have a first baseman in the DH slot, up from 21. Nineteen teams have an outfielder as DH (down from 25) The other DH is a shortstop.
  • 26% of the pitchers are relievers, up from 23%. Robb Nen is now the most commonly held reliever, on 21 rosters.
  • Using my standard definition of SWP per (eligible) game, the average total for these 50 teams is 262 SWP/G, up from 241. The average pitcher had 18.9 SWP/G, while the average hitter sported 18.6 SWP/G. The most potent team totaled 281.5 SWP/G - this was 44th ranked "AZ Rookies", with a franchise value of $120.6m, but with 72 trades already spent. Two other teams had a total SWP/G over 280, including the 6th ranked "Calcutta Convicts", which has used only 52 trades while sporting a franchise value of $123.6 million. Sixteen teams had a total SWP/G of 270 or more.
  • The lowest total of SWP/G was 220. This is the total for the 14th ranked "BUMMER DUDE", who has already used 72 trades, with a franchise value of only $81.7 million. It's impressive to see a team this "poor" in the top 50, although this team has slipped from a ranking of third to 14th during June. However, it has used no trades this month.

6/25 - I hope you didn't pick up Mark Petkovsek for last night's start vs. the Tribe. My 13-year old son did, since he was coming off of two straight strong outings, and the price was right. Of course, he forgot to factor in that the opponents this time were a bit stronger than the Diamondbacks. Thanks to ESPN's continuing coverage of Cleveland as the backup Wednesday night game (this time behind the Braves-Yankees, which I suppose most of you saw), I got to watch Mark face all 9 batters in the starting lineup once, retiring only leadoff hitter Lofton, then surrendering seven runs on seven hits and a walk. What was just as remarkable about this game was that Mark McGwire hit a solo HR in the 4th inning and received a standing ovation from the Jacob's Field crowd as he rounded the bases. I suppose it's not so difficult to give the opposing player a standing O when the home team leads 7-1. By the time the game had ended, both managers had substantially cleared their benches, and the Browns toppled the Rams, 2 TD's to a FG.

BTW, Petkovsek's effort was just bad enough to squeak into 10th place on the list of this year's worst single games.

I added the three IPO players to the various reports today. Before you go out and pick up Terry Pendleton, be aware that he's currently on the disabled list. (Not that you'd have picked him up anyway.)

I posted a new Base Advances essay yesterday, titled A Closer Look. This also appeared on the SW site yesterday afternoon. I'll confess right up front that this is not my most insightful piece, but it does respond to a very frequent question.

So far, Pedro Martinez seems to be getting the Rotoguru Poll nod to start for the AL. I'll put up a comparable list for the NL once we get close to a 200 vote count. Four of the listed NL pitchers should obviously be Maddux, Leiter, Schilling, and Ashby. But who should the fifth choice be? Until his recent injury, Ramon Martinez would probably have been the best choice. Send me suggestions if you have any strong feelings.

6/24 - Everywhere I looked last night, I found the unusual. Sammy Sosa went oh-fer. El Duque got knocked out of the game in the fourth inning. Heathcliff Slocumb got a save! In fact, Slocumb is only one effective outing away from getting his season's SWP total into the positive numbers.

I had a bit of trouble coming up with the best five choices for today's poll question. I could have also included Brad Radke, or Kenny Rogers, or Omar Olivares, or Rolando Arrojo, or even Woody Williams, Rick Helling, or (gulp) David Wells, I suppose. But I'm limited to a max of five choices, and if I used one as a "none of the above" choice, then I could only select four names. So, I figured these are probably the most deserving, and since it's my poll, take it or leave it! I'll do the NL next, which will also be a challenge.

The last poll was quite interesting. Early on, the responses were pretty balanced across the board, but as time wore on, the "home team" rooters started to pull away. I guess most of you are still firmly rooted in the "real world". Or else, you just voted the way you'd like to think you should root.

6/23 - Yesterday was only the fifth day this month that neither McGwire nor Sosa homered.

I added the ten worst individual games to the bottom of the Best Games page. Several of you asked for it - and it is amusing, I must admit.

I watched Curt Schilling suffer his second negative game of the season last night, vs. the Red Sox. Actually, that's not quite true. I was propped in front of the TV while the game was on, but I spent the better part of the game inspecting the back side of my eyelids - so I can't give you much color on this one.

6/22 - No conflicted rooting interests last night. Just a very enjoyable, old fashioned whoopin' of the Yankees. Irabu didn't have it, and Colon did.

The current RotoGuru poll is producing interesting results - probably the most evenly dispersed responses for any question so far. Some people have told me that they try to pick players from their favorite team for their fantasy rosters, just to avoid the problem. Frankly, I do that to a degree as well. That's why I've had Jim Thome for quite awhile.

Now Cleveland gets to face Sosa. Think the Tribe pitching staff can cool him off? Doc Gooden throws tonight. I don't like the sound of that matchup at all!

6/21 - My worldwide ranking nosedived over the past week, from the upper 500's to 1100. I figured that part of the problem was my (well chronicled) Sosa-less state, but even so, based on the research I posted in my Monday blurb, a decline of this magnitude means I must have lost around 400+ SWP to the field. Not even Sosa has been that good! So I figured out the rest of my lineup's performance relative to my expectations, and the mystery was solved! Collectively, the team produced about 500 SWP less than it would have if everyone had just produced at their season-long averages. Not a single one of my hitters did better than his average, and only 2 out of 5 pitchers came in above average. Hopefully, it's the players who were just slumping, and not the averages that are grossly overstated.

I watched David Wells beat the Indians on TV yesterday afternoon. I was conflicted in my rooting interests, because I have Wells on my ESPN fantasy league roster, and I really need the wins on that team. I never feel comfortable watching my fantasy players up against the Tribe in real life, never knowing who I should be rooting for. What's your attitude in these situations? Register your opinion in the new Rotoguru Poll at the left.

6/20 - Juan Gonzalez had a big 5-RBI game, doubling in one night his entire SWP output for the previous week. And, of cource, there's always Sammy Sosa, who seems to think he's McGwire now.

I had one team go up in value yesterday, and one go down. I've been hanging on to Kerry Wood in spite of three price declines during the past four weeks. This would be a real nice time for him to put together some big games again, since it's evident that far fewer managers now own him than was the case a month ago. Wood's price woes are a good illustration of the risks associated with popular players - the higher they rise, the farther they can fall. For former SW Hoops managers, remember Brian Williams, Donyell Marshall, and Brevin Knight?

Once again, CBS Sportsline let me down, as their stats page says it is updated through June 19, but the stats are identical to yesterday's. So stats today are courtesy of USA Today, which means that there may again be some inconsistencies from yesterday to today. If you notice any point discrepancies, just "point" them out to me and I'll make the adjustment.

I see that MLM hasn't updated their main price listing for two days straight, now. I think I can reconstruct updated prices for the past two days, but volume totals will not be correct. Yesterday was a pretty wild day for MLM trading activity, as it appears they had a recent influx of new investors. Trading in Orlando Hernandez was especially heavy last night, with more than one million contracts traded over the course of the last several days.

Finally, doesn't Pringles realize how irritating that little pop-up add is? I really don't need that in my face several times a day!

6/19 (post pricing) - The Assimilator has been updated with new prices, and the summary stat tables should be posted by 5:00 EST. I noticed that Orlando Hernandez did not converge to the same price at the two sites. On the SW site, his price increased to $4,230,000, while on the CNN/SI site, his price increased by a greater amount, but only moved to $2,050,000. So, I listed him twice in the Assimilator. If you own him on a CNN/SI roster, you should switch to the CNN version of him. I'll include separate versions of his listing in the summary stat tables as well.

What a pain.

6/19 - I notice that the top two pitching performances yesterday - in SWP terms, that is - belonged to ex-Tribe hurlers. Brian Anderson was plucked from Cleveland in last winter's expansion draft, while Dave Mlicki was traded to the Mets in the 1994 (in an off-season trade that sent Jeromy Burnitz to Cleveland). Speaking of Mlicki, it seems that he's benefitted by donning Dodger blue; not even the rarified air of Coor's Field could get to him yesterday.

I guess I should mention Brant Brown's 3 homer explosion yesterday, good enough to make the #4 ranking in single game hitting exploits for the year. That's the second 3 HR game by the Cubbies this week! Now, it always seems to me that occurrences like this happen in threes, so who's the next Cub to do it? I notice that the first two have "double initials" - Sammy Sosa and Brant Brown. Maybe the next will be Mickey Morandini? Matt Mieske? Scott Servais?

For those of you with not enough to do - or those with "Friday-itis" who don't want to exert any energy today - I posted a copy of a recent article I wrote for The Actuary, the newsletter of the Society of Actuaries. Titled "A new life in a field of dreams", it's an overview of my new "job". Incidentally, thanks to those of you who wrote to me yesterday to support my approach to this site - in response to the feedback letter from Matt H. I welcome constructive criticism, and I certainly considered Matt's letter to be well intentioned and constructive. But I obviously like the strictly "suck up" attaboy letters even better. Who wouldn't? Anyway, I posted a couple of your responses this morning. Thanks again.

6/18 - I got a lot of email yesterday and this morning, with topics across a wide spectrum - from criticism, to a pop quiz. If you've got the time and inclination, check out the feedback page.

I heard an interesting stat on ESPN Sportscenter this morning, which I just checked out. Greg Maddux is personally hitting more than 100 points better than the rest of the league is hitting against him! Greg has his average up to .317 after last night's game, while the rest of baseball has only hit .204 against him. I wonder what the full season record for this disparity is? I suppose Babe Ruth probably did pretty well in this respect.

My parents are in the process of moving to a new home, and while cleaning the attic, found a 1962 Mickey Mantle baseball card that I must have gotten in a pack of Topps gum that year. Probably cost me a nickel. It's certainly not in mint condition, but it's in reasonably good shape. I found the same card listed on one web site, in VG condition, for $225. I'm not interested in selling it - but it was a cool discovery.

6/17 - A new poll question today. Depending on how fast I accumulate responses, I'll try to change questions every day or two. I added a new link on the left menu for the poll archives, so you can see how prior polls have turned out.

I also added a new set of tables for MLM team stocks. MLM investors should find these to be helpful in evaluating relative values.

My SW team ranking has plummetted almost 500 places in the last week, falling to 1002nd as of yesterday. I'm sure a good bit of my problem is because I've been Sosa-free. At least Sammy went "oh-fer" last night.

6/16 - Sammy Sosa will cool off sometime, won't he?

MLM enthusiasts will notice a slight change in the daily price tables. I changed the righthand column from yesterday's volume to the volume over the last 5 days. Since yesterday's volume is already directly available at the MLM site, I thought a slightly longer time frame might be more useful. And don't ask me what's going on with the stocks for Richie Sexson, Troy Glaus, Jaime Bluma, or Matt Clement! Evidently, someone's either experimenting, or else getting their yuks. Or have I missed the winning strategy?

I'm posting a new essay today, called Little Big Man. I also considered naming it "Second Best", but ended up going with my first idea. I actually finished this one late last week, but I've been waiting for SW to post it before I put it up here. But I'm tired of waiting.

I just realized last night that the deadline for All Star voting is this coming Sunday, June 21st. You can vote on the internet at Just click on the All Star icon near the bottom of the front page.

6/15 - I did a bit of analysis on a sample of teams (I used SW teams, rather than CNN/SI teams). I only included teams in my sample which had a valid roster on opening day, so new entrants aren't included. The purpose was simply to gain a greater understanding of the competitive landscape. Here is what I found:

  • First, here is my estimate of the current distribution of roster values:
    • 99th percentile - $111 million
    • 95th percentile - $99 million
    • 90th percentile - $89 million
    • 85th percentile - $82 million
    • 80th percentile - $76 million
    • 75th percentile - $72 million
  • Next, although you can easily see what your team ranking is, I thought it might be interesting to determine the relative "spacing" between various rankings. This helps to put into perspective what you must accomplish to move up to the next level. Here's my estimate of the point difference between certain rank levels:
    • a ranking of 100 is 270 points better than a ranking of 200
    • a ranking of 200 is 170 points better than a ranking of 300
    • a ranking of 300 is 150 points better than a ranking of 400
    • a ranking of 400 is 100 points better than a ranking of 500
    • a ranking of 500 is 390 points better than a ranking of 1,000
    • a ranking of 1,000 is 470 points better than a ranking of 2,000
    • a ranking of 2,000 is 300 points better than a ranking of 3,000
    • a ranking of 3,000 is 240 points better than a ranking of 4,000
    • a ranking of 4,000 is 200 points better than a ranking of 5,000
    • a ranking of 5,000 is 170 points better than a ranking of 6,000
    • a ranking of 6,000 is 165 points better than a ranking of 7,000
    • a ranking of 7,000 is 145 points better than a ranking of 8,000
    • a ranking of 8,000 is 130 points better than a ranking of 9,000
    • a ranking of 9,000 is 125 points better than a ranking of 10,000
    As you can see, the standings generally become more compact as you go down in ranking.
  • For teams ranked in the top 10,000, the correlation between franchise value and ranking is approximately 57%. This would seem to imply that while many teams have been using value-generating trades to enhance their point production, there are still a great many that have attained their ranking either by judicious player selection, or perhaps through active trading (quite possibly "pitcher rostation"). It will be interesting to watch if and how this correlation shifts over the course of the season.
  • Hope you found this to be useful.

    CBS Sportline stats were available again today, so any inconsistencies between those stats and the USA Today stats - which would have showed up in the point totals for June 13 - were probably reversed in the June 14 point totals. Thus, if you see a June 14 SWP amount that looks wrong, it is highly likely that a compensating error is in the June 13th number. If anyone discovers any of these, please report them to me, and I'll adjust my database.

    6/14 - Another difficult day in stats-land. CBS Sportsline's stats appear to be from some date in mid-April, so I had to revert to USA Today. Consequently, there may be a few players whose SWP total for yesterday is off slightly. Just let me know if you catch any apparent errors.

    I'm watching David Cone pitch against Jaret Wright in the rain at Yankee Stadium as I write this. The Yankees just took a 3-0 lead, but both pitchers have looked pretty good, in spite of the slippery weather. Look's like the Tribe might need me to concentrate a bit more, so I guess I'll stop here.

    Thanks to Gen for sending in today's quote.

    6/13 - Like the new poll? As my kids would say, "way cool!" I'll change the question every few days. In fact, if you have ideas for poll questions, send me an email.

    No Yankees-Indians game last night. At least I didn't have to switch back and forth between that game and the Bulls-Jazz. Do you realize that was the first rained out game since May 12? A full month of good weather! Incidently, that rainout now leaves the Yankees with six games to be made up. They may find it very handy to have a sixth starter this summer.

    I haven't really noticed anything unusual in yesterday's price changes. I figured Jaret Wright would have a good follow-up to last week's change. Weather permitting, he'll get two starts before next Friday. He may have to do well in both to continue the climb, even though at his recent pace, he's still quite cheap at only $2 mil. The only thing surprising about Sammy Sosa is that he didn't have a bigger increase last week. But I've got to wonder whether his recent hot streak hasn't just about run it course by now. And I thought that Mark McGwire might recover all of last week's decline, but not quite. My team gained $2.5 million in total value, dampened somewhat by my decision to hang on to Kerry Wood. I figured he'd have a tough week, but until he's made a full circuit around the NL, I think he's still good value. The interesting thing to watch will be how he does once most NL hitters have seen him a few times.

    For those of you who don't have any teams in the CNN/SI version of the game, you should know that, due to a "typo", Orlando Hernandez is available to those managers for only $800,000 this week. I assume they'll bring his price back to the SW price next Friday. But think of how many times he'll be bought over there. Sounds like a slam dunk to me. However, remember that the more people who own him, the more who can sell him later. Forewarned is forearmed! Incidently, I'm listing his SW price this week. CNN/SI user will just have to remember!

    Finally, thanks to John for submitting today's quote. I'm not sure I fully understand the context, but I still like it.

    6/12 - For my daily quotes, I like to rotate in some current ones with some oldies but goodies. However, my principal source for current quotes is the local newspaper, which means that most of the quotes are going to relate to the Red Sox, Yankees, or Mets. (Seinfeld: "Not that there's anything wrong with that!") If any of you see a good current-day quote in your area, and you think it's "Guru-worthy", send it to me, and if I agree, I might even post it as the quote of the day.

    Slow day in the bigs yesterday. Locally, the Yankees turned human for a day as their bullpen stole a page from the Mariners' playbook and blew a 5-0 lead all in one inning. With Cleveland coming to the Bronx today, I sure hope this is the beginning of a trend! The Tribe will get to face El Duque this week, but will miss Irabu, which I consider to be a stroke of good fortune.

    6/11 - A good number of people have written to ask about the timing of the first price change for new IPO listings. There have been no definitive announcements about this at the Smallworld site. However, in other Smallworld games, there has been a moratorium on price changes for the first week for IPOs, and so far in baseball, no IPO player has changed in price until the second Friday following introduction. So, I think you can assume that John Rocker won't be changing in price until at least 6/19. At least, that's what I'm assuming.

    I'm introducing a new feature today, one which a number of people have asked for, since I also provided it for the Smallworld Hoops game. I have compiled a list of the top individual SWP games of the season. Pitchers and hitters are listed separately, and I've linked each player's name to the ESPN boxscore for that player's game. For now, I've listed 14 hitters and 15 pitchers. For the hitters, I just stopped at 14 because there is about a 6-way tie for the next spot with 84 SWP. For pitchers, I'll probably end up listing all games with 200+ SWP. Today is a worthy day to begin this feature, because I had to add one hitter and one pitcher to the list at the last moment, as Albert Belle produced 91 SWP last night and Ismael Valdes tossed a 207 SWP shutout. However, Dante Bichette's cycle only produced 83 SWP, and not good enough to make the list. By tomorrow, I will have a link to this page on the left menu panel.

    6/10 - Until the next problem surfaces, we have unified Assimilator once again. Everyone should be able to use the regular menu link. Starting tomorrow, I will no longer be updating the alternate versions.

    Chuck Finley pitched crappy (crappily?) last night, but got the win. I suppose that makes up for some earlier outings where he pitched brilliantly and didn't. The biggest emerging story, however, is probably Orlando Hernandez, whose second start was even better than his first. In two games, he has amassed 313 SWP. Skeptics are quick to point out that his opponents were Tampa Bay and Montreal, but even so, you've got to be impressed so far. This must be a great year to be a Yankee fan. On the other hand, it seems like teams that have "monster" regular seasons have tended to fare less well in post season. The 1954 Indians, after winning 111 regular season games, couldn't win a single post season game. (I was 10 months old at the time, so I remember it all very vividly.) So, Yankee haters, there's still something to root for!

    6/9 - First, the latest Assimilator fixes for IE4 seem to be working. My next step will be to integrate those adjustments into the regular Assimilator code, and invoke them when an IE4 browser is detected. Then, we'll be back to a "one-size-fits-all" version, and I can retire the old version altogether. Thanks to all of you IE4 users for helping me solve this one. (I'm still not sure why the previous code doesn't work for IE4 - maybe only Bill Gates knows for sure.)

    By the way, for Netscape users, I added the menu bar at the top of the stats window, so you can now print the table if you wish. IE users can print it as well, as long as you make sure your browser is focused on the correct window.

    Have you noticed some of the shifts that are going on in the YTD SWP rankings at some positions? Pitching has been the most dramatic I suppose, with Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, and Tom Gordon all pulling back, while Greg Maddux and Robb Nen have assumed the lead. I suspect Maddux will spend the entire season near to the top, but Nen is probably performing better than he can maintain, in part because the Giants have been providing him with so many save situations of late. And Pedro isn't even the highest ranking pticher in his family now, as brother Ramon has passed him by a narrow margin.

    I discovered a small rounding problem in SWP calculations for pitchers yesterday. Since innings are divided into thirds, one-third of an inning was occasionally producing a SWP total of 4, rather than 5, depending on how the floating point decimal was carried. I corrected this yesterday. But some of you may notice an extraneous point listed for some pitchers (in the Assimilator) on June 7th, since this is the day I corrected the problem. Not a big deal, but easy to correct, once I discovered it. I am not going to go back and restate prior daily totals to get the 1 SWP placed on the appropriate days, however. Live with it!

    6/8 - Update for MSIE 4 users:
    I put up yet another new version of an attempted "IE4-friendly" Assimilator, again at borgie.html. This time, I just put the new table in the right frame - as in the original Assimilator. If you want to widen the view, you can drag the screen divider all the way to the left. I believe it will restore itself to its original width when you return to the roster function screen. Let me know if this works.

    6/8 - Yesterday must have marked the first day in history that Eddie Murray was more verbose than I was. I had a busy day, and barely managed to squeeze in the daily stat updates. Around 10:00pm last night, I realized I had been blurbless, but figured there was no point in posting one at that point.

    I've had three recent reports of an Assimilator problem using MSIE 4.0, where users were getting hung up when trying to exit from the Assimilator to return to the main RotoGuru page. Some users also seem to have a problem in returning from the new stats page back to the roster functions split-screen, although it appears that this one can be solved - at least for now - by hitting "refresh" if/when the screen blanks out. The problems do not occur in other browsers (including MSIE 3.0) as far as I know. I'm trying to figure out the best workaround, but since I don't have MSIE 4.0 installed on my machine (and from what I've observed, I don't know why I should want it!), I'm going to need the help of you MSIE 4.0 users to crack this nut. This morning, I put out a test version called borgie.html. In this version, I've tried to get you out of the Assimilator by opening a new window to put you into the main RotoGuru page. For now, at least, the Assimilator window will stay active, and you'll need to close it down manually. If you use MSIE 4, please try this version and let me know what problems you encounter. Other users should just stick with the regular version. I'm also keeping the prior version (borg0.html) updated until I get all of the kinks worked out.

    For those of you needing a challenge, check out the feedback page. In response to a request for the best team which could have been drafted on opening day, I have posted the best submission so far. Can anyone beat this?

    6/6 - I'm now a part owner if the Cleveland Indians! I bought some stock yesterday - should've waited until late afternoon to get in a little cheaper, but I at least got in with a 14 "handle", vs. the IPO price of 15. This is one of those investment opportunities that is more for fun than profit - although I'll be happy to make a profit too, if that's the way it plays out. Actually, I'd rather just be able to get seats at the Jake. Don't think that was part of the package, however. (Unfortunately, I'm also 0-1 as a major league owner so far.)

    I did better than I expected in yesterday's repricing, gaining a bit over $3 million in franchise value. The marginal benefit of my trades was even better, since I had bailed on McGwire, thereby avoiding his big decline. The biggest surprise this week - from my perspective, at least, was at the first base position, where I figured Galarraga and Thome would be the primary beneficiaries of the McGwire dumping. Certainly, anyone who sold McGwire wasn't cash constrained. But, Brad Fullmer seems to have been the big winner. That's a bit puzzling, since he doesn't play in a major market, his season totals don't distinguish him (Travis Lee had more SWP and a lower price, but he dropped in price), and he hasn't been extraordinarily hot lately - he had a decent week, but not the kind that makes you stand up and take notice. Ah well......

    The other puzzler was Mark Leiter, who went up more than half a million after having done virtually nothing for the past two weeks. He did reward his buyers with a save last night, however. Must have been intuition. Or else, maybe people got him confused with his brother Al, who has been solid all season. In fact, I just noticed that Al Leiter has no negative games yet this season, with his worst outing being 4 SWP in his first start on April 2nd.

    I posted a new Base Advances article last night, Trading for Gains, which also appeared on the Smallworld site yesterday afternoon.

    6/5 - Fortunately, there were no major bugs - at least none were reported - in the updated version of the Assimilator yesterday. I did make a few minor changes, adding the roster name (if any) at the top of the new report, and reprogramming the way the program returns to the main RotoGuru menu. Thanks to those of you who gave me feedback yesterday (and this morning). Your compliments and suggestions are always appreciated.

    Once again, I had to revert to a backup system for yesterday's stats, as CBS Sportline was missing the NL games. What a royal pain. Seems like quality control should be better at an outfit like that.

    As is customary for Fridays, summary stats won't be updated until after new prices are available. I'll also update the Assimilator with new prices. In fact, that will probably be the first update, since it will only take a few minutes to update, while the regular summary reports will take the better part of an hour.

    I chose a Japanese theme for my quote today, in honor of the Japanese reunion which seems to be building in the Big Apple. If Nomo adapts to NYC as well as Irabu and Yoshii have, this year's World Series could be a real "World Series".

    6/4 - Something's amuk in Stat-land! The CBS Sportsline stat pages say they are updated through June 3, but the stats don't include yesterday's games. My backup source, USA Today, also says it has the June 3rd games included, but the National League page is only updated through June 2. So, I developed a third backup, using Doug's MLB Stats. I'm beginning to feel like I have more backup systems than a nuclear power plant. In any event, I have all stats from yesterday updated. However, given the patchwork involved, please report anything suspicious - I may have missed something in transition.

    Today marks the introduction of the next version of the Assimilator, which I cleverly call Assimilator1.1. This enhancement adds a number of new stats to the output page, including current price, last price change, SWP/G, and several cumulative SWP totals. The color scheme is also more vivid - which may or may not be an enhancement. I believe it is working properly; I had a few people test it out yesterday - but let me know if you have problems. If it doesn't work, you can still access the previous version at this URL: base/jscript/borg0.html.

    I spent so much time working on my stat backup systems this morning and afternoon that I don't have time now for a more baseball-oriented blurb. Off to do some errands...

    6/3 - It's not quite the same global event that Hideki Irabu's first Yankee start was last summer, but the first major league start for Orlando Hernandez will still attract quite a following tonight. Of course, Irabu's trek through the minor league "warmup" outings last year was heavily followed, and his first start was widely anticipated. Meanwhile, tonight's "El Duque" start wasn't planned until last night. Had he filled in for David Wells last night - which almost happened - it would really have been a "sneak attack".

    So what's with all the HBP-related brawling in the Angels-Royals game last night? From the clips I saw on SportsCenter, it looked more like a hockey game. (Actually, that's probably unfair to hockey.)

    It looks like Dennis Martinez finally figured that the only way he'd get his record tieing win was to pitch a complete game (and a shutout no less). His last few outings resulted in blown saves by the Braves bullpen - some rather spectacular blown saves, in fact. It's interesting that most times, you hear players say they don't care that much about records (although I often suspect that's a crock). Fans usually care more. However, this is one record that was obviously very important to El Presidente, while most fans would probably give it a big yawn.

    I just noticed an unintentional, but highly focused regal theme today. Check out each paragraph - "El Duque"... "Royals"... "El Presidente". Let me go check out what Jeff King and Curtis King did. ..... Curtis didn't pitch. Jeff had 18 SWP, though I see that he's had a big week: 157 SWP in the 5 games since the last repricing. That beats McGwire - but not by as much as you might suspect.

    I'm nearing completion of the next version of the Assimilator. Probably tomorrow. Stay tuned.

    6/2 - I posted the only quote I had by Clyde Wright today, since his son Jaret pitched a 3-hit shutout last night, his third good outing in a row. Jaret was one of the most heavily drafted pitchers on opening Smallworld rosters this season, but hasn't showed any reminders of his post-season prominence until very recently. Meanwhile, Mark McGwire left last night's game early with back spasms. How long he'll be out is anyone's guess, although a trip to the DL seems highly unlikely at this point. Still, this could have material implications on this week's repricing. Plan accordingly.

    6/1 - I did some analysis on the top 50 teams (from the Smallworld side of the game) over the weekend. Here are some of the more interesting stats:

    • The most striking stat is still the number of trades. The average for these 50 teams is 60.5 trades used. Ten of the teams have used 70 or more trades. Only seven teams have used less than 50, of which only two have used less than 40.
    • The average franchise value is $97 million. The highest value is just over $119 million, and ten teams are worth more than $110m.
    • The three most commonly found players are Ben Grieve (39), Alex Rodriguez (38), and Greg Maddux (37). Other players appearing on at least half of the teams are Kerry Wood (27), Juan Gonzalez (26), Ken Griffey Jr. (26), and Hideki Irabu (25). McGwire appears on 23 rosters. In total, these teams have 125 different players, of which 46 appear on only one roster.
    • Half of these teams had an outfielder in the DH slot, and 21 more had a first baseman. There were 3 third baseman and only one catcher in the remaining DH slots. No shortstops or second basemen were DH's.
    • Only 23% of the pitchers were relievers. Tom Gordon was the most commonly held reliever, on 13 rosters.
    • Using my standard definition of SWP per (eligible) game, the average total for these 50 teams was 241 SWP/G. The average pitcher had 17.6 SWP/G, which the average hitter sported 17 SWP/G. The most potent team totaled 275 SWP/G - this was 17th ranked "Helium", with a franchise value of $118m and only 49 trades spent. Only one other team had a total SWP/G over 270, and this was the top valued team, "Bubba's Team", ranked 40th with 61 trades used. A total of eighteen teams had a total SWP/G of 250 or more.
    • The lowest total of SWP/G was 200. This is the total for the 2nd ranked "alcapones", who have already used 72 trades. I don't think we'll be seeing this team on the leaderboard for much longer.

    Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

    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<>.