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Boxscore Addict
Posted by Chris Liss at 4/6/2006 10:51:00 AM
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It's one thing to understand that it makes no sense to check the boxscores every 10 minutes for new developments when you can just wait until the end of the night to get it all at once and quite another to act (or show restraint) on that understanding.

Did Nick Markakis walk again? Perfect, that means he's playing HIS game even at the major league level. Is Isringhausen going to walk the bases loaded for Lieberthal? Ball three. Ball four. Sweet. Got Lieberthal in two leagues. Come on Lieberthal, get me some RBIs and put a hurt on all the people who own Izzy in my various leagues.

Checking the boxscores after the game is like betting on a game, but not watching it. Sure, the result is the same either way, but you lose the drama, the ups and downs. Let's be honest, fantasy ball is one part cool, detached analysis of information and probably two parts enjoying the process of rooting for your guys. Seeing them hit home runs, or at least seeing it in the boxscore in virtual real time.

Checking the boxes after the games, for instance, if you actually had plans one night and couldn't periodically hit refresh at your PC, does have its good points, though. You get to gorge yourself on the information, racing through game after game to see how your guys did. It's kind of like coming home after a long night out to a full fridge and stuffing yourself on 10 different things. Sometimes I'll race through 12 games in a minute or two and think about how long it would take someone who didn't follow baseball to absorb and retain as much information as I did. They'd probably have to study it for a few hours.

What fanatically well-oiled machines we've all become.

One thing I almost never like to do is look at the real time stats for my whole team or my "team boxscore" at the end of the day. It takes all the enjoyment out of going through and finding the information one piece at a time. And also it hurts you because you don't get to incidentally absorb all the information about all the players you don't own at the same time.

Or maybe I'm just speaking for myself here, and I'm the only one that does it this way. It could a relic from my early days of fantasy baseball in the mid-90s when I'd buy a USA Today and sit down in the Italian sandwich shop in my building on 56th and Broadway in Manhattan. I'd get a Proscuitto and Mozzarella sandwich and a coffee, and go through each boxscore, hoping for home runs, steals and saves. When I was in law school (which sucked, by the way,) it was the highlight of my day.


Somewhere along the way I heard the boxscore described as "the DNA of baseball" or some such thing. Your post reminded me of that, and it's really true when you think about it (not to sound like Frank Deford or something). Not sure if this is where I read it, but an Internet search turned up this article, which builds on your theme:

Funny, too, that you mentioned USA Today. At the end of the article is this quote:

"Box scores helped get this paper off the ground," says Hal Bodley, USA Today baseball editor. "It goes back to our original philosophy. We couldn't compete with hometown papers, but we felt we could give everybody a more complete roundup."

Posted by Jason Thornbury at 4/6/2006 12:07:00 PM
Chris and Jason,
I remember how ecstatic I was when the USA Today came out in 1982, since now you had the ability to see out-of-town late boxscores, which was a foreign concept in New York. In the past, you had to wait until the weekly Sporting News arrived to find out that information. While the USA Today was great, the National put it to shame and made them ramp up their coverage even more to compete.

I, unfortunately, am one of those that constantly check the boxscores throughout the evning, usaully in multiple sports. My mood may ebb-and-flow depending on how my starting pitcher, closer, or goalie are doing that night. Anyone else feel the same?
Posted by airjan23 at 4/6/2006 4:15:00 PM
Tying together the USA Today and fantasy baseball, my buddy Ken (whose brother, Gary Mihoces -- was one of the founders of the USA Today Sports Dept.) used to bid all of his money on his last player just so he could get done bidding. One year I remember he brought up Jeff D'Amico at the end of an auction and started the bidding at 32. It was almost like a reverse cricket pick.
Posted by jtopper at 4/6/2006 5:37:00 PM
I waste so much time boxscore checking. I wish they had "anonymous" meetings for it. What's even worse is the StatTrackers they have now, so I'm not just checking to see how my guys do, but hoping their teammates get on base for RBI opportunities and keeping my eyes glued to how many more spots in the order have to hit for my guys to get up. I would be so much more productive without the Internet at this time of year.
Posted by bscwik at 4/9/2006 3:53:00 PM
Box scores...the next best thing to being there.
Posted by Rickshonk at 4/9/2006 3:56:00 PM

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