Thanks to Peter Kreutzer, Ron Shandler, Lawr Michaels, Jeff Erickson and the quartet of David Gonos, Tristan Cockcroft, Nando Di Fino and The King Scott Engel trying to get me in for years, I was able to enjoy my first Tout Wars weekend as a participant, and I learned quite a few things…
No One Looks Like Their AVI – Not that I can say much when mine is a logo, but the most common expression seen for Tout weekend is confusion. No, not because people are confused on who to pick or how much to spend… it’s because we all look at each other with that “I think I know this guy, but I don’t want to say something and look stupid, so maybe he’ll recognize me first” look. We need a fresh update across the board for owners’ Twitter AVIs.
Bring Throat Lozenges – This goes along with David Gonos’ 39 Things I Plan To Do For 2015 Tout Wars Weekend No. 32. Apparently, loud background music is a must. Both Friday and Saturday night involved get-togethers for all of us Tout-ies, but by 11 on Saturday night, my throat/voice was shot. I’ve never had to yell so much just to talk to the person next to me.
No One Discusses Strategy – This makes sense, but honestly, it’s also pointless. We’re all in Tout and are experts for a reason. I went into League of Leagues with Jonah Keri not discussing strategy because I didn’t want everyone to attack NBA players… they all did. I figured the best strategy for Tout Wars X was to get the best dollar values early… so did everyone else. There may be a few players people disagree on, but honestly guys, we’re all thinking the same thing. No need to pretend as if you have a secret strategy that no one else does.
Side Bets Are Readily Available – It helps when you talk smack going in, as I did, but you can find a few people for some “friendly wagers.” There should be more of these! And more smack talk. There are too many niceties tossed around Tout weekend. Step up fellas. Craig Misch did. And more should… ahem… Nando Di Fino (you know why).
Get Andy Behrens’ Opinion On The Cubs AND Anything Else – I have a lifelong friend who is a Cubs fan, so if there is any baseball team I enjoy talking about almost as much as the Mets, it’s the Cubs (plus, everyone knows my Kris Bryant stance by now). Talking Cubs with Andy was a blast because truthfully, any Cubs fan is fun to let rant. But on top of that, somehow branching into golf and why Andy’s long wingspan prevents him from even looking normal on the course was the highlight of our convo.
You Can’t Rely On Meet-Ups – Maybe I was the only one, but it was NCAA Tournament weekend. The first thing I wanted to do once in New York was find a sports bar to watch the games. However, after telling a handful of people my plan and having several say they would probably do the same, no one came out until about 4:30-5, and that was one person, Doug Anderson. Too many of the other guys were busy with “work”… which actually means…
Even Experts Prepare Last Minute – Don’t feel bad if you go into your draft scrambling for a few last tidbits of knowledge or advice. Apparently, the day before drafting is a big day for experts to work on their auction value projections, cheat sheets, etc. You know when I opened my laptop? 15 minutes before the draft. Experts should prepare more in advance so we can spend more time hanging out together – see: watching the tourney.
Fans Too Wary – I live in Virginia Beach, but I have to tell you that if I were in New York before I got started 20 years ago, I’d trek out to see an experts’ draft and hopefully talk to some of the guys. Fans, we aren’t professional sports players. We want to be worshiped. Come pick our brains, tell us how great it is to meet us and ask to take a picture. We all think we’re the rock stars of Fantasy Baseball, so don’t be afraid to approach us and gawk in awe.
No One Talks About His Team, Much – Everyone who plays Fantasy sports knows that people want to talk about their own teams but no one ever wants to listen. It appears there is an underlying rule among the Tout-ies not to talk about your team even if asked. I wasn’t the only one who said, “How do you like your team?” yet every response was a generic, “Pretty good. I wish I got ____ or didn’t spend as much on ____ but we’ll see.” We’ll see? C’mon guys! Boast, rant, etc. about your team. It’s part of the brain-picking process of comparing opinions and strategies. (Speaking of, I’ll have my full recap and ShandlerPark.com strategy piece up tomorrow.)
You Won’t Get To Talk To Everyone – I barely got to talk with my boss, Scott Engel or co-worker Tim McCullough, didn’t even meet Derek Van Riper (again), only got a brief hello with Chris Liss and Fred Zinkie and spent maybe two minutes with Tim Heaney. It’s hard to get time with everyone, and that’s why I go back to meeting up more the day before. That said, David Gonos and Nando are always great company, and I really enjoyed talking with Lawr Michaels and Ron Shandler about Tout X. Plus, Rick Wolf, Glenn Colton, Steve Gardner, Bret Sayre, Mike Gianella, Lenny Melnick, Joe Pisapia, Ray Flowers and the Jeff Mans took up most of my time, along with Tristan Cockcroft and I finally proving that I wasn’t just an alter-ego Tristan created in the offseason of 2002 to further gush over Jack Bauer and 24 while talking Fantasy Baseball.
Here’s looking forward to another great season of Tout Wars, and hopefully, experts will get a bit more time together next year… or maybe at the FLEX draft.
Main image photo credit: Stizod