*This is a special from Brian Walton at Creative Sports. Check out more of their awesome MLB content here.
Well-known leagues like Tout Wars and LABR are not just venues for industry names to compete for bragging rights – though that is certainly a part of the allure for its participants. Even more importantly, they are showcases for thousands upon thousands of others who play fantasy baseball – whose support through clicks and subscriptions enable us to do what we love.
As a result, Tout’s results could not be used by a majority of its followers for another week – and by then, the information was badly out of date.
Even though I was asked to – and did – provide hard data on this time mismatch, no action was taken to change this for years. The reasons are not fully clear, but my conclusion is that some of the most influential Touts put a higher premium on not disrupting their personal schedules than they did on backing up the mission of the leagues to serve as a true industry showcase.
Major timing changes for 2018
Eventually, the board did come around – and when they did, it was in a big way. For 2018, not only would the weekly waiver deadline be moved up to midday Sunday (or morning, depending on your time zone), the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY Sports Radio Network would also move to Sunday afternoon, with a major segment devoted to those free agents selected by Touts that same day.
This would have a major effect – enabling the Sunday delivery of both the written weekly FAAB reports (moved to ToutWars.com for 2018) and the audio evaluation of the five Tout leagues’ transactions. The latter is led by Todd Zola of Mastersball with co-hosts Lawr Michaels from Creativesports and Justin Mason of Friends With Fantasy Benefits.
While I am pleased overall with this direction, there is one element that remains bothersome – the weekly timing.
While unimportant to anyone externally, having written the weekly NL bidding recaps for several years now, I was not enthused about the prospect of taking off at least 45 minutes in the middle of every Sunday afternoon all season long to prepare the reports.
The decision to share the weekly workload among different Touts each week instead of having the same analysts each week seemed like a great solution – except for the fact that very few Touts appear to be willing to spend the time on any given Sunday to do this. What a surprise – they have families and higher priorities for their Sunday afternoons! Again, our problem, not yours, but still a problem.
Dealing with Sunday conflicts
Based on Twitter dialogue this past Sunday – shortly after the Week 2 FAAB deadline – between Jeff Erickson and Derek VanRiper of Rotowire, which I joined as well – not all Touts are yet into the changes for another reason.
Van Riper, commonly known as “DVR,” began with this lament:
“Every year, Sunday FAAB deadlines get worse for me. Does this trip up anybody else?”
“I have moved up my prep to Saturday nights for this very reason.”
“I’m going to have to do something like that for Tout at least. The earlier deadline punked me this week. 2018 record: 1-1.”
Erickson, who is a member of the Tout board which voted in the change, agreed:
While placing the blame for missing the deadline on his own shoulders, DVR wondered about a broader question – are weekend transaction dates best for any league?
“I mean, I know — just a set up a google calendar reminder and knock it out in the morning, it wasn’t a secret…and this is more just me wondering aloud if I’m the only one who finds our collective choice to run FAAB for most of our leagues over the weekend to be a bad one.”
Erickson agreed, offering some insight into the board’s collective thinking.
“I made a case for Thursday night but that didn’t fly. I think it’s just a hard thing to change routines.”
I see this as a chicken and egg problem. While a mid-week deadline might be more convenient for us as league owners, it isn’t what most other leagues do. That would make our sharing of bids less effective. In my mind, the latter is more important – even if it makes our lives a bit tougher.
I would rather just try to deal with the more addressable issue, what I see as a Sunday problem.
“The value in publicizing Tout FAAB bidding to others whose leagues go on Sunday night is real. But I was in favor of just moving the weekly deadline to Saturday night. People are just too busy during the day on Sunday to focus.”
DVR continued with his overall concern about Sundays.
“That aspect of it makes sense, but I bet the frustration/stress that we in the industry might feel on Sundays is something that people playing in other leagues feel as well.
“I don’t know how those with kid stuff going on during the weekend find the time each week (granted, I realize that kid stuff also happens at night during the week too). I’m not even in that group, and just basic enjoyable life stuff comes up that pulls my attention away.”
My bet is that most Touts with “kid stuff” can come up for air late in the evening – whether Saturday or Sunday nights – which is likely what they have done for years.
I came back with a diplomatic summary.
“Hopefully, all the Touts will get in a groove with the earlier deadline, in whatever routine works for them. I was pushing for an earlier deadline for years. While I don’t care for Sunday noon, it is way better than Sunday night for being able to share our results with the world.”
DVR ended our dialogue with a West Coast reminder.
“It may just make things easier for my other leagues once I adjust…getting everything prepped earlier, and having less to do from 6-9p local.”
Perhaps instead of a midnight Saturday deadline, maybe 3:00 a.m. Sunday would be fairer for the West Coasters.
I hopped off line at that point. A writer for the NL transactions was needed at the last minute, so I volunteered to jump in.
By early evening, having followed the earlier Twitter discussion, reader Jason Newman gave us an unsolicited reminder of why we do what we do.
“On behalf of us common folk, for whom you all continue to create value for…Thank you. Now, if only the results were posted on the site to make it all worthwhile!”
Within the hour, the weekly FAAB report was posted on the ToutWars site.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s history. He also holds the all-time NL Tout single-season records for wins and saves. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation. Follow Brian on Twitter.