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Monday, December 6, 2004
Updated: December 22, 12:26 PM ET
Classic Fantasy Baseball: Fans speak


It's the offseason for not only Major League Baseball, but fantasy baseball as well. So what are those who love the stat crunching that baseball offers to do during this offseason? Classic Fantasy Baseball offers the ability to own a team of retired baseball stars and compete in 12-team leagues for the right to be declared league champion. Pick from players such as Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Hank Aaron to form your own team within a $50-million salary cap. Simulation baseball has started to grow in popularity and so ESPN sat down with two of the better players in "Classic" and got the reasons they play, as well as some tips and strategies.

Why do you play Classic Fantasy Baseball

I love baseball, and I especially love the strategy of building and improving teams. So, Classic is a natural hobby for me. I also find that the MLB's financial situation to be such an unlevel playing field that it is no longer real competition. I mean, really... the Yankees with $190 million payroll when most teams are less than half that? Please. In Classic, the playing field is level, and everyone has an equal opportunity to win or lose, depending on each's effort and smarts. I've also made a number of friends through the game and enjoy that aspect as well.
-Dayne Myers

I play Classic Baseball because I was a huge Strat-O-Matic fan growing up and always liked playing old-timers - sometimes we would mix the cards and draft teams. That's the fun part of this game. My favorite is a theme league. I usually take the Pirates because I grew up in Pittsburgh and loved the teams of the sixties and seventies. I've studied up on the other eras and now in a league of old-timers dating back to the early part of the 20th Century.
-Bob Bartolomeo

What are some strategies for Classic?

There are many ways to win, but certain fundamentals are important... balance, value, and players that take advantage of your home park. You can't totally short one area of your game and expect to win. You can win with a gross amount of offense, but that means you better work hard on your pitching and defense to get value. Overload your team with LH hitters, and you're vulnerable to LH pitchers.
-DM

My favorite strategy is hitting - not necessarily power hitters but after the style of the Pirates in the sixties when Clemente, Groat and Alou won batting titles. The Pirates found different ways to score - I find that challenging. I also believe in a strong defense and pitching. DLFans.com is a great site to study these players but I usually go with players I like.
-BB

Is there anything you would like to say to new players of Classic?

1. Don't rely solely on the database info (like DLFans).
2. It's a long season. Don't dump players who aren't performing as you think they should unless you realize some mistake (e.g., you have a flyball pitcher in a home run park). I treat each league like a real season... you don't assume a Barry Bonds or Scott Rolen are done if they hit .190 in April, so don't think that in Classic, either.
3. Have fun! Don't just try to win... try to win with guys you like or different themes. Some people play to win and maintain their "record." That's a shame. One of my favorite teams was one I did in honor of my grandfather after he passed away. He was an Indians fan, so I did a team in a public league where every player played for the Indians at some point. That's a big handicap when you limit yourself like that but others aren't so limited, but "My Grandpa's Indians" won the World Series anyway... I had a lot of fun and, better still, was able to honor Grandpa in my own way.

-DM

I would like to add one of the most important things to make the CFB league fun is an active message board. You get to meet a lot of people and find out a lot of interesting things. I'm very active in messages - I like to stir things up - especially interacting with my personal website. I usually have a weekly review. I try to include everybody and it usually makes for some fun play during the season. An active message board is a must in my opinion. We even make fun of the commissioner sometimes, especially when weird injuries or ejections occur. We usually stay away from serious political discussions, we leave that to the main message board. Regional food talk is usually a hot topic.
-BB