Friday, November 2, 2007

Draft at No Fantasy

If you have read my rantings in the past you will know that I am prone to use satire as a way of conveying a point. Well at least most of you do. Some people seem incapable of recognizing that about me. As a general rule you should assume I am being sarcastic when reading anything I write but the pre-game commentary. For that you can assume I am just ill-informed.

The following recreation of our Fantasy Basketball Draft is unfortuantly not satirical. It is an accurate re-creation of how a fantasy league was ruined by a computer from advertised it had the ability to renew a league from one season to the next. states that you can have keeper leagues. allows you to make your own divisions, write your own schedule, create your own home page. I thought that sounded great. In theory it is great. You simply go to the previous seasons participants and say 'hey let's do this again!' I had a great league last year with 16 teams, everyone was allowed to keep one player from the previous season (an attempt to reward smart drafting and to maintain an air of continuity) but not too much of an advantage for one great draft. Everyone was excited about the upcoming season.

The problems began almost immediately. I sent the invitations out yet 2 or 3 of the players couldn't sign in. I had to delete teams and then re-invite them. This made tracking previous rosters very difficult. Those that could sign in were assigned duplicate teams. The computer wasn't recognizing the previous season's teams.

First bad omen.

Of course this is pretty difficult for a computer without a large amount of Artificial intelligence to realize. So I did all the extra work without complaint. I didn't complain but the other guys in the league were gettting pissed off. Still I should have recognized the signs right off the bat.

Since I had signed up so early for the league I had a prime draft slot at 8:00 pm CST on Monday night. Or so it seemed. A week before the draft it suddenly changed to Wednesday night at 8:00 pm. Not only was this after the regular season began but in the middle of the home opener for the Grizzlies. That late the only time we could draft was Thursday night. Three days after the start of the season.

Second bad omen.

Still everything was cool. That is until 45 minutes before the draft when another member of the league couldn't sign in. I had to delete the team and re-invite them right before the draft was to start! I got it done but there went my calm pre-draft review and preparation time.

Third bad omen.

Still everyone was excited and we got ready to do the draft. That is when the entire system collapsed. Maybe it was the keepers that screwed everything up. The players being kept (including such players as Pau Gasol, Al Jefferson, Deron Williams and Luol Deng) were still on everyone's draft list! Damn. They were supposed to be blocked so no one would draft someone's keeper. I shot an email off to They replied that in the pre-draft signin period the draft hadn't actually begun and that these players would be removed once the draft started. That seemed needlessly confusing but I accepted that reason.

Fourth and final bad omen.

I know the sign of the devil is 666 but three bad omens should have told me that something was drastically wrong here. By the time the fourth omen arose it was way past time to reconsider. It's like those photos from the movie 'The Omen'. If you wait until the shadow crosses your neck you aren't going to make it.

So the draft begins and almost immediately people start saying their draft board is acting funny. People can't get the draft player button to work properly, people are being thrown off-line and all kinds of weird things are happening. Worst of all, some teams draft players but it doesn't show up on the master list of drafted players. People taken remain on the master list of available players and teams are drafting players that the owners didn't want.

Basically it was terrible. I'm talking old testament type stuff here. fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanos, the dead rising from the grave human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together --- mass hysteria to paraphrase Bill Murray.

Someone came up with the idea of refreshing the screens so we tried that but that didn't work either. We finally abandoned the draft and opened a new league over at Yahoo. Everyone is pissed and now we have to start almost two weeks late.

Thanks so much

And to think I used to believe the refs were the only major screwups in the NBA.

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