May 21st, 2009

FSB Daily 5/21: Random Stuff

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

A roundup of recent posts on the FSB News page.

- Those still looking to register for the June FSTA conference in Chicago can now get the discounted hotel rate through Tuesday, May 26.

- A pair of writers for The Huffington Post have divvied up the 20 contestants who made it through the first week of the ABC show The Bachelorette among fantasy teams. also offers users a fantasy game to accompany the show.

- MTV Networks surveyed 12-to-24-year-olds in the United States, Germany, India, Japan and the United Kingdom and found that young adults care most about a product being high-quality and reliable. It’s also important to surround the whole age group with marketing — on TV and online.

- The NFL has voted to allow its teams to align with state lotteries. This move may not have any direct link to sports wagering, but it’s certainly worth noting in relation to the NFL’s fight with gambling legalization. Also, it could encourage more states to explore a fantasy-related lottery model like the one practiced in Montana.

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Kerouac Was More Into Fantasy Baseball Than You Are

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

You might well have read On The Road or one of his other works, but you probably didn’t know that writer Jack Kerouac was a baseball stats geek.

A new book, Kerouac at Bat: Fantasy Sports and the King of the Beats, by the curator of the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library — which includes the Jack Kerouac Archive — details the imaginary sporting pursuits of a young Kerouac. It seems that long before any of us was even dreaming of fantasy baseball, he was meticulously putting together his own version of a Strat-o-matic type of game.

Kerouac is believed to have played out imaginary contests and recorded the stats, which he also reported on in fictional newsletters. Here’s the opening of the New York Times write-up:

Almost all his life Jack Kerouac had a hobby that even close friends and fellow Beats like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs never knew about. He obsessively played a fantasy baseball game of his own invention, charting the exploits of made-up players like Wino Love, Warby Pepper, Heinie Twiett, Phegus Cody and Zagg Parker, who toiled on imaginary teams named either for cars (the Pittsburgh Plymouths and New York Chevvies, for example) or for colors (the Boston Grays and Cincinnati Blacks).

He collected their stats, analyzed their performances and, as a teenager, when he played most ardently, wrote about them in homemade newsletters and broadsides. He even covered financial news and imaginary contract disputes. During those same teenage years, he also ran a fantasy horse-racing circuit, complete with illustrated tout sheets and racing reports. He created imaginary owners, imaginary jockeys, imaginary track conditions.

Deadspin founder Will Leitch was kind enough to put this in proper context for us modern-day fantasy geeks (following the initial Deadspin post by editor A.J. Daulerio):

The Beat writer, known to most of you as the guy you read a ton in college before selling all his books for cash midway through the first year at your first job, turns out to have been a closet fantasy baseball fan. This makes a certain amount of sense: Obsessive minds tend to gravitate toward obsessive hobbies, and fantasy baseball is, at its best, a borderline psychotic activity. (I say this with love in my heart and a full-throated plea of “guilty.”) But his embarrassment about it — and his insistence on hiding it from his “cool” friends … — severely damages one of my theories about fantasy sports: There’s absolutely nothing dorky about it at all. (Or, at least, it’s not any more dorky than actually being a sports fan.) For some reason, the idea that it’s “dorky” to be in fantasy sports continues to fester, and I always thought it was because studio analysts and professional/retired athletes loved to make fun of people who played. (Until the networks realized how much money was in it, anyway.) But apparently people have been thinking this for decades.