If you look up “glass half full,” you will no doubt see a picture of NFBC stalwart Glenn Lowy. Posting under the moniker of Glenneration X on message forums, Glenn always has something positive to add. But don’t let his sunny disposition fool you; Glenn is a fierce competitor, striking fear into his opponents not only in baseball, but football and basketball as well.
Mastersball: Welcome to the NFBC Zone Glenn. How long have you been playing fantasy baseball?
My first taste of “fantasy” baseball was Strat-O-Matic. Back in the late ‘80’s my brother and a mutual friend finally talked me into joining a league they had been involved with for a few years. It was an established 20-team, face-to-face league, allowed seven keepers per season, and would meet a couple times each month to play series against scheduled opponents. I loved it. I remained in that league for over a decade until politics and internal strife caused a slow deterioration and eventual disbanding of the league at the end of the ‘90’s. To this day, I still think back on that league fondly. It was as much fun as I’ve ever had in fantasy. There’s nothing like rolling the dice with the game on the line for a base hit 1-17 and then having to roll that 20-sided dice to see if the fantasy gods were with you that day.
My first taste of fantasy sports as I play it today was with a fantasy football auction league my brother-in-law convinced me to join in the mid-90’s. I’m still part of that league today. A few years later, this same group decided to form a fantasy baseball league as well. Outside of a one-time try at a mail-in league I had won a couple years earlier and never played again, that was my first real taste of rotisserie baseball. I played there for seven years, finished in the money six of those years and won three, but grew weary of the lack of structure and inadequate trading rules and left. It would be three to four years until I’d try my hand at fantasy baseball again. In 2008, a co-worker talked me into filling an open spot in his local league. Though I only finished 3rd that year, I was hooked once again. The next year, following that league’s draft, I needed more. That’s when I did my internet search, found the NFBC, and made my fateful call to Greg Ambrosius the next day. One of the best calls I’ve ever made.
Mastersball: Do you still play in local leagues? Has your perspective in these leagues changed based on your high stakes involvement?
Though I still play in two local fantasy football leagues, my days of playing local fantasy baseball leagues are likely over for good. The internal politics, the glut of unbalanced trades, and the potential for collusion just stripped the joy for me in playing those types of leagues. My last year of playing local baseball leagues was my 1st year in the NFBC. Now my “local” leagues are NFBC satellites or independent leagues filled with high stakes players.
Mastersball: You play the high stakes games at an elevated level but obviously have fun doing it. How do you balance the seriousness of the competition with the enjoyment you seem to glean from playing?
There’s a saying about work that if you really enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. That’s the case for me with the NFBC and high stakes sports in general. I love this hobby. I love the competition, I love the sports, I love the contests and games themselves, and I love to draft and team construct. I’ve always been into statistics, even when I was just a kid reading the back of Topps baseball cards. I’d get a copy of the Baseball Encyclopedia and get lost in it for days. Though this is a time consuming hobby and can involve a lot of work, there’s a good chance I’d be reading the same articles and reviewing the same statistics even if there was no such thing as fantasy baseball. Like I said earlier, I love this hobby and all that goes into it, so for me it doesn’t feel like work.
Mastersball : Which overall are you going to win first, the NFBC, NFFC or NFBBC?
I intend on winning them all in 2011.
All joking aside, odds say the NFBBC would be the easiest to win since it’s a much smaller contest. One in 48 or 60 is a lot easier to achieve than one in 390 or 322. Still if I had to choose the game I feel is my best, it would be fantasy baseball. I’ve had a lot of success in fantasy football over my first two years in high stakes. I’ve won leagues in all the different football contests, each a different format, and multiple leagues across the fantasy football landscape each year. Still, I think my “instincts” are better in baseball. I think that’s an underestimated trait to what makes someone successful in this hobby of ours. Listen, we all do the work, we all do the research, we all have access to the same information nowadays. There’s such a glut of information, there’s no longer any way to beat someone else because you can outwork them or beat them to the punch. I think the difference has to lie in the ability to properly process that glut of information. That’s why you see the same people on top of leaderboards for the various sports year after year. They take the same information we all have and process it better, their “instincts” give them the advantage. I just feel that for me, I process baseball information better, I have better instincts there.
Mastersball: So Glenn, do you have any other words of wisdom you want to share with us today?
Words of wisdom? I’m not sure I have any that would be useful to anyone reading this article. I’m far from the Shawn Childs’, Tom Kessenich’s, or Todd Zola’s of the world whose words of wisdom others actually covet (and they so generously share).
The one thing I will share is how much I enjoy playing the NFBC. It’s more than just the contests themselves, though they are great in their own right. I think what’s been most unexpected for me and most appreciated since I first joined up two and a half years ago is the sense of community you find here. I referenced earlier how I gave up local leagues after I started playing here, but in a sense I really didn’t. The NFBC has the feel of a local league, just on a much grander scale.
A perfect example of that occurred just last night when Bill Cleavenger, a very accomplished and respected player in both the NFBC and NFFC, gave me a call out of the blue just to chat a bit and see where I was planning on drafting the NFFC this year. We chatted for about a half hour. How many other things in life bring two adult men, one from Kentucky and one from New York, together with a common passion and interest. This happens all the time amongst many cool and interesting participants of our games, through phone calls, PM’s, e-mails and live drafts. All of us from different locations, upbringings, backgrounds, careers, all brought together by this game we all love. This sense of community is part of what hooked me to the NFBC specifically and high stakes sports in general. It’s not that faceless mail-in league I tried 15 years ago. The message boards are our community center, PM’s, e-mails and phone calls are our two neighbors talking over a fence, at the school bus stop, or the deli counter, and the live drafts are our summer and winter parties. I really enjoy the NFBC community. In that way, it’s a lot like that FTF Strat league way back when. All that’s missing is that 20-sided dice and the roll and prayer to the Fantasy Gods.