Friday, February 17, 2012

Fantasy Sports - Can They Really Be a Bad Thing?

From time to time I hear fantasy sports is a bad thing.  Mike and Mike in the Morning is the show in particular but I've also heard D'Marco Farr on St. Louis' 101 ESPN station mention his disdain.  How the heck can fantasy sports be a bad thing?  Anything that generates interest in a sport has to be good right?  Heck the NFL will have a game next year that will award $1 million to anyone who can pick the highest scoring player at six postions (two each at RB and WR).  And the game is free.  Doesn't seem as though they think it is a bad thing. 

The most common complaint I hear is that fans root for teams or players opposing their own.  I will say a true fan won't root against his own team.  Will they think it is ok if player X scores against their team if the game is out of reach?  I think so.  But root against your own team?  No I don't think so.  If someone is rooting against their team I'd have to put them into the casual fan category and say they don't have a real rooting interest.  In this case that fan now has more interest in the league as opposed to just their supposed team. 

I consider myself a hardcore fan.  Maybe not a zealot but I follow all the leagues, have quite a bit of knowledge on the players, teams and history and then have my team that I follow to the bitter end.  Fantasy sports has enhanced even my following of the leagues by asking me to dig deaper into boxscores and other teams.  I don't see this as a bad thing.  Now I care how many points Kevin Martin of the Rockets scores, if Andy Dalton of the Bengals threw a touchdown and whether or not Kansas City Royal Joakim Soria garnered a save.  I know more about the different teams and players.  Is that bad?   

Fantasy sports also generates tons of conversation.  I'm usually in two leagues for baseball, football and basketball and buddies from work are usually involved.  The conversations start as soon as the leagues are formed.  We talk about who we want to draft and how we think we can win.  There is always the requisite trash talking as well.  During the season we are always talking about our teams and players whether good or bad.  It is great.  Again how is all this interest in a sport a bad thing? 

My fantasy sports playing started in the early nineties.  My good friend started a group of us from work doing a fantasy baseball league using stats we pulled from USA Today every Wednesday.  No computers back then.  I was hooked.  Again I was already a big fan.  This just added to the excitement.  Even if my team wasn't playing I had more reason to care.  I now play the major sports leagues as well as NASCAR and the various college sports post season games.  I started hockey two years ago though I'd be hard pressed to name 10 players in the league.  Now I can and I'm not as lost when watching highlights on ESPN.  The bottom line is any interest in a sport and league is a good thing.  Fantasy leagues only enhance their passion for the game and I for one don't see any negatives. 

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