Imagine you have a need on your Fantasy Baseball team. You know the exact need and exactly how much you need it. You've tried to meet the need by making a trade, but you've proposed offer after offer to just about every member of the league only to meet with rejection. You can't quite find the right formula.
Then, out of nowhere, an owner responds with a counterproposal. He doesn't like your exact offer, but he says he can talk if need be.
Suddenly, you have hope. You call the other owner and the two of you swap ideas ... and swap ideas and swap ideas for over an hour, but you can't quite come to terms. Finally, you both decide a deal just won't work between you two, but just before you hang up, one of you shouts, "Wai, wai, wait a minute!" and caves.
Eureka. You have a deal.
Your diligence paid off. Sure, you wasted a Saturday afternoon, but if you win a Fantasy title because of it, you won't care.
You don't have to worry anymore. You don't have to come up with another long list of proposals that you more than halfway expect the other teams to reject. That one gaping hole in your lineup that's taunted you from the outset is officially filled. All you have to do is wait for the two-day review period to --
What's this? Four owners have already objected? No! Your league has five-objection policy. One more "nay" and you have to start from square one. Surely, this can't happen. The two of you talked it out. You both had reservations. If either person had set down the receiver a little quicker, this trade wouldn't have even existed.
It can't happen, you keep telling yourself as you lay your head down for the night. It can't. It won't. Maybe all the hotheads already voted. Maybe the more rational members of your league will recognize the logic of the deal for both sides and give it their approval.
Maybe everyone will suddenly go on vacation and forget Fantasy Baseball for the next two days.
But you can't help but worry. You think about it as you try to fall asleep. You wake up in the morning and check the league first thing. So far, so good. Maybe everyone had a change of heart. Maybe a night's rest put the deal in perspective and made them realize it won't tear the league apart at its core. Maybe this deal can survive another 36 hours.
So you repeat the process. You check the league again before you go to bed. You worry about it all night. You check the league upon waking up. So far, so good. You take a shower. You go to work (because it's Monday by now). You go home. You check again -- fine. You eat dinner. You watch TV. You check again -- still nothing.
You almost can't believe it. Your trade teetered on the edge of disaster for almost 48 hours and nobody put it out of its misery. Now, it has new life -- a second chance. The world suddenly seems right again, like a bright and cheery place. You have newfound confidence in your friends, your league and the system. "I love this game!" you think.
Then, you hit refresh ...
And you wonder why it always hits you so hard?
Dear Fantasy writer,
I am in a keeper league this year (can protect 10 major-leaguers and four minor-leaguers) where a few trades have gotten overturned. Earlier this year I traded Evan Longoria, Willy Taveras, Brad Lidge and Ben Sheets for Nick Markakis and Jake Peavy. People thought I was ripping the other guy off, but given Longoria's performance and Peavy's (actually, the Padres') shortcomings, it is not so clear.
I am wondering how you deal with objections, if even allowed? There have been numerous trades that I believe people overturn because at that moment in time people think one team is getting a better deal. It has created real problems. I view objections as a method of preventing collusion, cheating and bad faith transactions. Am I right, or is it up to the rest of the league to determine the "fairness" of a trade? A little article on the purpose and intent of the objection might be nice.
-- Howard Lightle
How do I deal with objections? I cry. I scream. I write venomous e-mails and throw little tantrums.
I don't know what else to do other than giving your opponents such a headache they don't want to risk having to endure it again. And even that plan might backfire. They might just decide they don't want you in the league anymore.
I hate to tell you, Howard, but having a brilliant trade overturned makes you feel helpless for a reason. There's nothing you can do. That's why I feel the need to address the subject so often. Someone with some voice of authority -- as misplaced as it might be -- has to speak up on the matter.
I think most people who read that opening anecdote can understand your frustration. (I hope, anyway. That was its intent.) They wouldn't want to suffer through the same experience with one of their trades, yet they were probably first in line to veto yours.
Why? Well, they saw someone getting something good and wished they could have it instead. That's the truth. They might claim altruism, saying they didn't want you to have an unfair advantage, but that's bold-faced lie. Why would anyone make a trade if it didn't improve his team?
By instituting a trade rejection policy and running it in such a way, your league is basically saying, "Some people in this league don't know much about Fantasy Baseball, so we need to hold their hand and correct any mistakes they make. Oh, like that one. No, don't worry about that. It's a practice trade. We'll call that a practice trade. See? All better."
It's kind of insulting, in a way.
Really, the number of trades overturned in a league reflects the maturity of that league. The more people play Fantasy, the more they realize the need for an unrestricted marketplace, even if it means letting a bad trade slide every once in a while. Why do you think so many trades get overturned in public leagues?
I used to play in a keeper league where every trade caused a massive uproar, half of them getting rejected, half of them mine. And whenever it'd happen, I'd throw all the little tantrums and write all the venomous e-mails I mentioned earlier.
Over the years, the number of overturned trades decreased to the point that we haven't had one in three years. And this year? Not even a single objection for any trade made.
Our leagues here in the office don't even have a trade review policy. We trust each other's knowledge, experience and motives enough to make it unnecessary. Does that mean none of us ever make terrible trades? Of course not. We do it all the time. But you can bet we do it in an honest effort to improve our teams, and that's justification enough.
So I know it stinks now, but try to relax. I'll keep doing what I can on my end. Once you and your leaguemates learn to trust each other and realize you all have an equal stake in winning, you won't have so much of a problem.
That's all for now.