Monday, January 16, 2006

MLB attempts to ban fantasy baseball: Nerds return to Dungeons & Dragons

A fantasy baseball company is suing Major League baseball because of baseball’s efforts to block fantasy baseball companies from using official stats like batting average and Home runs. MLB insists that they own the intellectual property rights to these stats. Isn’t this like trying to copyright basic math? Using average or percentage as a measure of success is one of the most universal statistics anywhere. The idea is as ridiculous as premium content on a sports website…never mind.

The only reason why MLB cares is because of the profits made from fantasy sports. It is a multi-million dollar industry and once again MLB in its greedy, legalistic splendor wants its share. If only they realized that fantasy sports is what draws many people to the sport.

The ramifications of this decision could be huge. Will media and fantasy websites need to use ambiguous descriptions for stats? Derek Jeter is on pace to have a hits divided by at bats percentage (HDBABP for short) of .400. Or will speakeasy words be used to represent the taboo statistics? Barry Bonds just hit his 716th widget, placing him second all-time behind Henry Aaron’s 744 career widgets.

What’s next on this statistical slippery slope? Promiscuous Junior High boys can no longer say they made it to second base? RBI baseball deemed illegal due to its enterprising title?

Most pressing, what happens for fantasy guy? Everyone knows who he is. The one that doesn’t know the score of games, couldn’t tell David Ortiz from David Eckstein, but can rattle of both players’ OPS for the last 5 years. The guy that makes more daily trades than a Merrill Lynch investor and sees no problem with cheering for both the pitcher and opposing hitter in a game. If the MLB is successful in owning numbers and makes cheap fantasy sports impossible, where does fantasy guy go?

Mike has nothing against people that play fantasy sports other than their habit of playing fantasy sports. Mike is a nerd in his own right.