March 27th, 2010

AL Tout: With or Without ‘Fantasyland’

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

The annual Tout Wars auctions are taking place this weekend at Citi Field in New York, gathering many of the top minds from around the fantasy baseball industry.

The AL-only league — which sits at the center of the Fantasyland book and recent documentary — got things rolling Friday night. Before the group gathered at the home of the Mets, however, asked them for some reaction to the movie. Specifically, we asked them each two questions, and here are the answers we got …

1. What do you think of the movie?

Mike Siano, I enjoyed the movie. I thought it stayed close to the overall theme of the book and clearly shined a light on the obsessive nature of Jed Latkin. I really liked the side interviews with people not associated with Tout who had a love or hate of fantasy baseball. It moved quickly and had some nice surprises.

Lawr Michaels, I like the movie.

Dean Peterson, STATS: As far as the movie goes, I enjoyed it. Showing the fanatic that Jed is makes the rest of us look a little more “normal.” I’m glad they were able to catch Jed getting hit with the ball at Wrigley. I was with him during that time — truly unbelievable a ball hitting him right on the forehead. Couldn’t have made that part up!

Nando Di Fino, The Wall Street Journal (who co-manages Sam Walker’s team): I think there should have been more focus on Jed’s apartment. That project haunted him for an entire season. But outside of that, I thought it was stellar.

2. How different is the league with and without Jed Latkin (the movie’s central character and 2008 AL-only Tout participant) involved?

Siano: Except for my cell not ringing as much I didn’t notice too much of a difference. Either way, I have 11 other people to compete with come Tout, so the fact Jed was or wasn’t there didn’t change my strategy or commitment. The season flies by so fast as it is, so I didn’t have time to stop and notice. No offense, Jed. You know you’re my boy.

Michaels (who sits on the board of the Tout Wars LLC): The league is not as frantic without jed (whom i like). It is more focused on winning, rather than the movie. Note that jed was not asked back for two reasons: 1) the whole deal was offered as a one-year shot, and 2) Tout is for writers and analysts within the industry. Jed is neither of those.

Peterson: The league without Jed is much quieter, and my mailbox (and voicemail box) are not full of trade offers. As Lawr and Ron said in the movie, when drafting a team from scratch, unless there is a big injury, I also see no reason to make a trade within the first couple months of the season.

Di Fino: When they didn’t let him back in to Tout, I grabbed him as a partner in the AARP league with all the founders that I play in. We make better allies than enemies!

Steve Moyer, Baseball Info Solutions: It played pretty much the same. Although it was considered a disgrace to lose to Jed. Not a big deal to lose (winning is a lot of everything goes right luck), but no one wanted to finish behind Jed.


In other Fantasyland news, the folks behind the effort to extend the brand have started an internship program and are also seeking volunteers. Anyone interested can e-mail director Stephen Palgon.