“I called him.”
Three words constituted the most succinct and beautiful comeback I can recall in a fantasy context in a number of years.
The setting was this. In a keeper league, the declaration deadline was rapidly approaching. As is often the case, some owners had too many quality keeper candidates while others were lacking.
The commissioner, also one of the league participants, was initially among the “have-nots.” I was one of the “haves,” but I'm not a part of this story.
It turns out two of the “have nots” both approached one of the “haves,” inquiring about a trade. When the deal was announced as having been consummated - with the commish as the winner - the other “have not” owner squealed.
First, he stated flatly that he would have offered more advantageous trade terms – if only his e-mails had been answered.
The complainer went on to publicly accuse the commish and the seller of collusion before asking in a most frustrated manner, “What kind of magic did you pull?”
The aforementioned three-word answer signaled an immediate end of discussion.
By the timing of this article, you probably surmised that the context is football, but in reality, the fantasy sport involved does not matter.
It also is irrelevant that the subject is a keeper pick. It could just as easily have been a straight trade at any point during a season - or even afterwards, if it would fit the league format.
To some, this may seem like a visit from “Captain Obvious,” but I feel it is worthy of magnification.
In this world in which e-mails, texting and even Twitter are commonly used for trade negotiations, we can often forget how much more efficient a simple phone call can be.
Personally, I realize that I have gotten lazy in this area. In a recent trade negotiation, I counted 17 e-mails from me to the other owner over a multi-day period, with a roughly equal total heading the other direction.
Looking back, I can’t help but wonder if a five-minute discussion instead would have gotten the job done.
In a long story that I will not tell its entirety here since it is not baseball-related, just this past week I had another reinforcement of the importance of direct communication.
I was trying to acquire a desirable automobile for sale online. I was not the first to make an offer for the car, but I was ultimately the winner.
The reason why was trust. The seller had become jaded by tire-kickers with talks of big plans but not following through.
In this case, I took the time to call the seller. I told him a bit about myself and why this particular model of car has personal significance.
Others had stuck to online communications, which may be more precise, but certainly less personal.
When the other potential buyers learned the car had been sold, several were angry with the seller. They told him they would have been willing to pay more.
To the seller, getting the last dollar was less important than sending the vehicle to a good new home in a painless transaction. I offered both.
Though I am unsure exactly how the seller communicated with the losing bidders, my guess is that he simply said something very much like,
“He called me.”
In your trade situations, it will usually be to your advantage to do the same.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.