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Veto the Veto

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening — whichever is applicable to you. In 2015 Forbes Magazine posted an online article that estimated 95 billion dollars was wagered on NFL and College Football yearly. Unfortunately for yours truly I found myself contributing to this cause for far too long.

I once approached line spreads with the same fervor as I now have with underlying statistics. Through the week I would spend hours analyzing various details such as matchup history, spread trends, like opponents, and roster makeup. On Saturday mornings I would set my alarm for 7AM to catch a Jim Fiest hosted wagering show that was sandwiched in between a long run of infomercials. That early wakeup session would be followed by several more hours of prep and the continued search for additional information right up to the noon kickoff. Sundays would follow in much the same fashion as NFL Pregame shows have never seemed to have any time constraints.

Despite all of the efforts made to hone the craft, success was never to find me. Week after week would produce broken parlay after broken parlay. Busted first bet lead to follow-up call to get even. Before you knew it I was 4 calls in and the Pac-10 and WAC fun hadn’t even started yet. Sunday Funday would rarely come to fruition as ultimately interest rates and Shaky Frank were the only two to come out ahead.




In April of 2015, Kris Bryant was all the rave in regards to prospects in baseball. Being a Cubs fan likely had my expectations slightly higher than the general public. Perhaps with 80% heart and 20% head I made up my mind that Bryant’s success or failure would be mine to enjoy. Without hesitation I offered up Adrian Beltre, who at that point was a consensus Top 2-3 third baseman and Top 30-35 player overall, in the hope of landing Bryant. Hook, line, and sinker; the Bryant owner couldn’t refuse, the offer was accepted, and only the three-day waiting period stood in my way… or so I thought.

Every year countless incidents such as these occur throughout the fantasy industry. Two owners working in conjunction to make a deal both parties can be pleased with. This process may take days or it could be a matter of a few minutes. Either way consenting parties agree, but yet are subject to the approval of others, and I’m still left wondering just why the hell that is?

While trade procedures isn’t exactly relevant in September, seeing this injustice time and time again has prompted me to begin a grassroots campaign to ensure these injustices decline in 2018, further more in 2019, and become all but forgotten by 2020. In order for this to occur, all one needs is the willingness to listen and an open mind in evaluating player value and/or roster construction.

First and foremost, under what jurisdiction is it best to get more people involved in final decision-making? Yes I realize that voting on something is the democratic way, but isn’t the current state of US affairs a clear enough indication that “majority” preferences may not be the best method? With more people comes more varying preferences. These preferences lead to disconnect between others, and in most cases it only takes 3-4 “vetos” to nix the trade. I’ve had people in the past tell me they vetoed a trade simply because they felt it made a team they were competing against better.

Self-serving veto’s aren’t something that will make your league better, but in all honesty, I’d prefer owning the fact that you’re an ass, as opposed to the all-mighty talent evaluator who doesn’t feel the trade is fair for one reason or another. More often than not I have found these types of people to either be too name dependent or incapable of looking at the big picture. Their decision is often decided within a matter of seconds, and they will more often than not send critical complaints to the league stating they will not stand for such unlawful behavior.

My most recent experience with a trade veto occurred just before the trade deadline two weeks ago. Two fellow league mates agreed upon a multi-player deal centered around some very interesting pieces. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll refer to Team A as “Frenchy” and Team B as “The Old Guy“. Frenchy has been the leader in the clubhouse since day one. If it were a Roto league he’d likely be running away with it. H2H is the format so any chance to strengthen the team should be pursued. The Old Guy has had a season of misfortune. Success has not been his friend in 2017, and his eye has been on 2018 since shortly after the second half began. Worth noting that this is a 10-Team league with a limited Keeper format attached with it.

The Trade: Old Guy sends Jacob deGrom, Rafael Devers, and Aaron Judge to Frenchy for Nomar Mazara, Gregory Polanco, and Cody Bellinger.

Within a matter of minutes the chat was buzzing with “Please explain this.”, “Old Guy has dementia.”, blah blah blah… This trade was agreed upon around 10 PM, 12 hours later it had been Vetoed by the league. Clearly the label of disappointment had been applied to both Polanco and Mazara, while Judge will be hoisting the HR Derby Championship until at least the next draft season. While these sentiments may not have been league wide, it ultimately was enough to get the trade vetoed.

From a player by player perspective this trade would figure to benefit Frenchy. The Mazara, Polanco labels are deserved, and deGrom has the potential of a front end ace for the stretch run. At the end of the day though, shouldn’t a contending team trade an asset for something that will help them now? Isn’t that the exact premise of 85% of MLB trades made every July? Give Frenchy a check mark for accomplishing exactly what every trade should accomplish; making your team better.

What about the Old Guy? Where exactly is his mind at in making this deal? Perhaps he looks at Aaron Judge and sees the .185 second half hitter with a home run every five games rather than the every three he posted in the first half. What if he sees deGrom as the arm who has posted many declining underlying numbers the last three years. So at the end of the day he has little to no interest in keeping either deGrom or Judge next season.

For a non-contender the names of Judge and deGrom could just as easily be replaced by Mazara and Polanco as they could Steve Pearce and JJ Hardy. The end result is Old Guy having Cody Bellinger instead of Rafael Devers. That sure would seem worthy of a check mark regarding organizational approval.

One last little tidbit regarding this deal that is noteworthy. Rewind your clock back to March; after Jacob deGrom came off the board at 57th overall. He would have been followed in the draft pecking order by Gregory Polanco at 62nd and Nomar Mazara at 206th. Aaron Judge would have followed all the way back at 343rd. In other words, not a single person would have blinked if this deal was made in March. Sure the players values have changed significantly, but couldn’t that not happen next season as well?

Speaking of timing and potential player value changes – take Judge for example. How much traction could I get in trade talks if I were to offer my Trevor Story for your Aaron Judge? That response would likely be very similar to the response I would have gotten back in March offering my Judge for your Story. Can a trade that offers up a complete 180 in less than six months be that egregious? Of course allowing something to play out isn’t exactly in the design of League Wide Veto power.

On day 2 of my 3 day waiting period my offering of Adrian Beltre for Kris Bryant was vetoed. When questioning this decision to the league the overwhelming response I received was that they were protecting me from a terrible mistake. My disdain for League Veto reached an all-time high – unfortunately my place in the standings did not follow. That season I finished 8 home runs from a 2nd place finish in the category, I finished 5 runs from a 1st place finish, and 10 RBI would have moved me two spots in the category. That season I finished 1.5 points behind first place. Being the Runner-up had never felt so dirty. From Kris Bryant’s debut on 4/17 he managed to hit 26 homers with 87 Runs and 99 RBI. During that span, Beltre managed 17 home runs with 78 Runs and 82 RBI. No need to do the math.; the league wide veto prevented me from reaching my desired goal.

*****

In the very early stages of my gambling it had become clear that my expertise was limited. Despite a solid general knowledge and hours of crafting my skill, prognostication wasn’t my thing. Predicting the outcome of events is difficult, if not impossible. The best case scenario in sports handicapping is being correct 60% of the time. At the end of the day you’d make money, but the fact is your still incorrect 40% of the time.

Projecting player outputs moving forward can be just as difficult. So while a League Wide vote is giving a voice to the seasoned player who may be close to that 60% rate, it’s giving the same footing to Fred down the street who’s chasing Leo in the standings and loves Home Run Derby winners.

End the days of having to wait three Days for a transaction to take place. Quit leaving it up to self-serving uninformed fellow league mates to do the right thing. Make the change yourself or urge the Powers-To-Be to convert to Commissioner Approval for next season. Collusion is the only reason a trade shouldn’t be allowed, and in my experience it doesn’t take multiple people to bring such transgressions to the fore-front.

 

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Josh Coleman
Father of four SP1 children. Replacement level husband to a top tier wife. I love my family, value my friendships, and spend as much time as possible (too much according to the aforementioned Mrs. Coleman) dedicated to the pursuit, of another Fantasy Championship. I'm the oddball at the bar who prefers Fantasy Baseball to Fantasy Football.
Josh Coleman

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