Fantasy Baseball

Baseball Season, It’s Finally Here! Interview with Larry Schechter

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As another fantasy baseball season is upon us and we’re all researching and preparing for our draft, do you ever wonder why we put so much of our time in it? Do you play because you love baseball? Love fantasy sports? You like to idea of controlling a major league team? Maybe it’s all of these reasons. Maybe it’s none of them and you got roped into it by a friend because their league needed just one more owner. Either way, the season is upon us as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks open the season down under in Australia. I wonder if Clayton Kershaw has asked anybody to throw another shrimp on the Barbie. Maybe Yasiel Puig is learning how to be a man’s man from the great alligator wrangling Paul Hogan. Ok, enough Australian anecdotes. I seriously can’t hold my excitement for the opening of the 2014 season. Even as a self-proclaimed MLB addict (though my wife might concur), I’m not sure I’m getting up at 3am on Saturday to watch the opening game.

Either way, it’s finally upon us. The 75 inches of snow that has blanketed Northern Illinois have almost all melted away. I’ve mock drafted so much that I see draft slots and names in my dreams. All the preparation is done and now I must use the countless hours I’ve spent preparing to build my equivalent of the 1927 Yankees team. No matter what site or publication you use (hopefully this one!) a lot of the information is the same, names are moved around into different slots, different “sleepers” are discussed, and predictions are made. It’s really a matter of what “expert” you like or believe in. Some of them make money doing this and others do it because they love it (me!). Either way, you find that one guy or gal and you hopefully ride them to your fantasy championship where you live in all the fantasy glory until the next season.

For me, there is no better publication and or book in my fantasy baseball playing days or better “expert” than Larry Schechter. Larry is a 9-time National Champion and author of the “new testament” of Fantasy Baseball, “Winning Fantasy Baseball”. Look at the praise from the pillars of fantasy baseball,

“It’s all about winning, and all Larry Schechter does is win.”-Ron Shandler-Founder of BaseballHQ.com

“Larry is possible the best fantasy baseball player in the world.”-Nando DiFino, CBS senior fantasy writer

“Larry is almost certainly Earth’s greatest fantasy player.”-Andy Behrens, Yahoo! Sports fantasy writer

“Unquestionably the best fantasy baseball book ever written.”-Scott McCloy- Fantasy Baseball Writer

Ok, I’m not a pillar but that is exactly how I feel about the book. It’s a book that can be read by a player first starting in fantasy baseball or the aforementioned experts. There is something in it for everybody. I had a great idea that I posed to fantasysixpack.net founder Joe Bond about trying to get an interview with Larry and incorporate it into a story. Joe of course said, “Yeah that would be awesome”. I really took this as good luck with that Scott. So I emailed Larry, hoping for a response and no sooner than two days, Larry emailed back saying that he would answer my questions as soon as he could. Later that day, I get the email back from Larry answering my questions. I now know what it feels like when Justin Beiber responds to his Beliebers!

Larry graciously answered a few questions,

1. What was the driving factor in deciding to write your book?
I’ve always wanted to write a book, and this is something I felt qualified to write about. I started out writing an article for Fantasy Baseball Guide’s “Strategies of Champions” which they had winners of expert leagues do. You can’t get into detail in 650 words, so I wrote about general information and gave out a tidbit or two. I knew that to actually write about my strategy and how I won Tout Wars in a complete and through fashion would take dozens of pages and if I included everything from start to finish, it would probably take an entire book.

 2. Are you surprised at all at the response it has gotten? Is there a second book on its way?
Not really, because I have a good reputation and millions of people play fantasy baseball. But I am happy (and relieved) that the editorial and customer reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. My second book is one that you should buy for all your league mates, called “Losing Fantasy Baseball”:-)

Seriously, nothing planned, although a 2nd book in the future is a possibility.

 3. Do you read any of the “expert” websites on a weekly or daily basis?
On a daily basis I read the player notes, to stay up-to-date on injuries, position battles, trade rumors, etc. As I explain in the book, I will look at some web sites and magazines as part of my auction and draft prep to see what they have players valued at. That gives me help identifying targets.

 4. Did you get all A’s in math? With your affinity with numbers and ability to value players, you must have been good.
I was good in math, but definitely not a math geek. I think common sense and logic are my strong points.

David Johnson, of the Saratogian newspaper, wrote in his review of my book “anyone with a basic understanding of multiplication, division and baseball statistics can use Schechter’s methods.”

  5. What is the difference in your mind between fantasy baseball and fantasy football? Do you have to love baseball to play fantasy baseball?
If you don’t love baseball, and watching MLB games, I don’t see why you’d want to play it. As far as strategy, a lot of concepts in my book apply to football (and other fantasy sports) as well as baseball.

  6. With having a full time job, how much time do you put into fantasy baseball on a daily or weekly basis?
I don’t really know, because a lot of it blends together. I might be doing some player projections while watching TV or in between answering e-mails, etc. But I do put in a lot of time pre-season, because I like to make my own player projections. I realize not everyone has the time or desire to do that, so in the book, I give suggestions on how to use others projections more advantageously.

During the season, the amount of time I spend making moves is maybe 4-6 hours a week, between looking at FAAB(Free Agent Acquisition Budgets), making lineup changes, etc. for my various teams. And then, of course, I spend a lot of time watching games on TV and box scores on the internet.

 7. When you have fantasy players that are playing against the Red Sox (Larry is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan), what are you hoping for?
My players to do well and the Red Sox to win. Although if I have a pitcher going against the Red Sox, that can be a conflict. I’d tell you some examples, but they might kick me out of Red Sox nation if I did.

 

I can’t explain how thankful I am that Larry took time out of his busy life to answer a couple questions, thanks Larry!

Without getting into the details and strategies of the book, because there are a ton of great ones in there, I want to share with you one of my favorite parts.

“This book is for total beginners, experts and everyone in between. If you’ve never played before, you will learn everything you need to do from beginning to end. And I’m confident that even the experienced and successful will also benefit.”


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This is why I think this the “new testament” of fantasy baseball. No matter your level or experience, you will learn from this book and you will get better at playing fantasy baseball.

So as we begin a new season of watching baseball, reading box scores and analyzing tons of data, let’s remember that we play because we love it. Good luck to everybody (unless I’m playing against you in a league!) and may the baseball gods bless us with another magical baseball season.

About Scott McCloy

Scott considers himself a baseball addict, at least that is what is wife says. He has two children, a 6 yr old daughter, Addison and a 2 yr old son, Maddux. When not writing about fantasy baseball, Scott is a high school teacher and coaches high school football and baseball.

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