I have written a lot about the MWStrat League in my Tumbling Dice column, and ideally I can cover some thoughts around both Strat-O-Matic now as part of my Zen Zone blog, but also here. I can probably even do some Scoresheet talk too, but, today, as we move towards the 2010 set of Strat Cards being released, I have to talk about some of the trades in the MWStrat League.
That league is easily my favorite fantasy/sim competition, because the set up is so cool.
To start, Strat has those extra variables like defense and ground ball and platoon skills, not to mention base-running and range.
But, this league actually has 30 owners, and 30 teams. We each have a home park--one of the major league ones--and our league as such is broken down into the same divisions as the Show, with the home park dictating division. And that home park dictates league and our playoff schedule, with the day to day schedule based upon the MLB one. Our IT wizard, Dean Peterson simply codes my team, The Berkeley Liberators as the Giants (ATT Park is my home field)
It is a sim league, so a little of the day-to-day excitement of player performance is lost (but, since we can keep 29-plus players, year to year, there is always anticipation of how next year's card will look) but, with rules around usage of our players, and a monthly schedule of H2H games, well, this league is the closest I have gotten to actually creating and managing a team.
And, this time of year, we are all--and I mean all 30 of us--anticipating the new cards coming out. For the AL teams it means a load of young arms. Brett Anderson, Rick Porcello, Jeff Niemann, and the NL bonanza winner will likely get Tommy Hanson.
For some teams there is major rebuilding. Jason Grey, whose Disco Pimps won the league, but mortgaged a year or two in the process, is trading much of his current value to build a new winner. Some of us are tweaking here and there, with solid teams. Others are completely deconstructing, swapping off and essentially starting from scratch. That is because they are newer to the league and the team they inherited is not the winner envisioned.
It is all good fun, but there has also been a serious trading frenzy of late as the 30 of us jockey with trade offers and draft picks of the future for sure things in the here and now. I think around 15 deals have been consummated thus far, and there have to be a good 20-30 offers floating around (as my team needs pitching in the coming year, I am offering bats, which I have for some potentially dependable arms). And I am sure I have made at least a half dozen swap suggestions, with none coming to fruition yet.
Truth is I think it takes a couple of years to really rebuild to a competitive level in this league. At least that is how long it took me after an initially poor draft, and then a couple of terrible trades that I should not have made (I had not played Strat for a few years, and neglected the importance of defense in this game).
But, one good year, after swapping up and sacrificing a year of draft picks, selections and a couple of trades can set up a team that will compete for a number of years. Of course the year-to-year tweaks are essential, but for me that building of puzzle pieces, and attempt to make the parts work better than anyone else in the league is what is so fun and intriguing.
I am hoping, as noted, in a week I have a couple of new arms. It seems unlikely that I will be able to swap for one of the AL top arm picks, but maybe I can grab JA Happ and Ubaldo Jimenez and rebuild my ailing staff (Greg Maddux, Dana Eveland and Jorge Campillo have left me vulnerable).
And, maybe I can pick up a young flychaser to replace the hitters I have on the market (Adam Dunn and Shane Victorino).
The thing is, for the most part, this is because of the season, then the post season, then the trades in anticipation of the draft, then the draft, the league is pretty much active all year around.
What more could you want?