Being Commish: Dealing With Full Sized Children

Chris HayesContributor IJune 12, 2008

    Why would anyone volunteer to be a fantasy commissioner? A season in the life of a commissioner is stressful, full of drama, and is a constant reminder that all of your friends are immature little 12 year old girls. In the next few minutes, I'm going to explain to you the kinds of things a commish has to deal with in a normal friendly cuthroat season.

    Ok lets say you decided to start a league with some of your buddies. First you gotta make sure all the people you want in get the message, theres always a few guys that "never check their computers" so now you gotta call them and pester them about joining. After that lets say you've got 7 friends you invited. Don't kid yourself, you can't have that many friends that want to play fantasy baseball in the first place. So now you gotta rake in those final 3 or 5 guys from online forums or guys that left phone numbers in your old yearbooks that you haven't even talked to in 5 years.

    Now that you've got your members of the league you've gotta make everyone happy with a draft time. Live Drafts are almost impossible and Auto Drafts are for lameos so you're probably going to have to set up an online draft time for you and your league managers. By this point everyone is already unruly because 3 managers have already proclaimed victory. Rivalries are quickly becoming full fledged post wars, so you need to get the draft done soon while the excitement of a new year is still in the air.

    It's never easy getting that draft time set either. Sundays are normally the easiest day to do it, but even then there's always one guys who spends the whole day at church(acceptable) and then golfing(why didn't you invite me?) and then spending the rest of the day having "Family Time"(ugh). So now you have to give this guy a month's notice so that his wife gives him the thumbs up.

  Now that you have a draft time you have to make the categories of merit in your league. Do you go with Average or OBS? Strikeouts or K/9? Do you count losses? Rotisserie style or Head 2 Head? It's good to ask everyone their opinion so you can make an informed decision everyone can be happy with. And MORE IMPORTANTLY, it is your job to let everyone know what the rules are. You don't want anyone drafting Adam Dunn in the second round thinking that the league counts OBS instead of AVG.

  Ok you had your draft and everyones happy until opening day. This is the only stress free part of being a commish. Everyones making their championship predictions and there is peace in the world.

Of course your not out of the woods just yet. BAM first week some managers ace pitcher goes down for the season, and he didn't draft another pitcher until the 12th round(can you say Jeremy Bonderman?) At first it seems obvious that he will just trade away a big bat to fill the hole, but then after a few days you notice that he has made 4 times as many moves as anyone else in the league. He's streaming, now in some leagues this isn't a big deal, but if people start complaining that this guy is winning the Wins and Strikeouts categories by Secretariat like margins, its getting out of hand. Now you have to tell a manager he how he can and cannot manage his team. Someone is going to end up angry in the end, but if you want to sustain a competitive league, go with the masses.

    The rest of the season goes rather quietly, a vetoed trade here and there, and a few nasty grams on the post board, but mostly rather smooth. It's clear that a few teams are pulling away from the rest of the league which is normal, but as time goes by you notice that the bottom 3 teams each are starting multiple players on the DL. Looks like they've thrown in the towel, now what do you do? You have the power to change lineups as the commissioner in some leagues, but is this ethical? First you should call up those managers and see what's up. If they've thrown in the towel at least try to convince them to log on and get those DL guys on the bench. It stinks to see a team get kicked out of the playoffs because another team got to play dead teams the last two weeks of the season.

    Well you've finally made it, playoff time and it's down to the cream of the fantasy baseball crop. Either the final 4 or 6 or sometimes 8 teams play for the coveted virtual trophy and bragging rights. When you're the commissioner in the playoffs it can be good and bad. You made your team the right way, but some of the guys are questioning your first round bye as cheating. There's no way out of this one because you had control over everything, you could have cheated if you wanted to. But if you want to have a second season, lets hope you kept it clean and the managers are just giving you a little bit of crap as a joke.

    Uh-oh, you won your league. This happens alot actually because the commissioner has to constantly check on the status of the league, and while you're there you might as well see what the scouting report says on some of your guys. You had a little extra incentive to check your team during a downtime at work because there was a marginal trade trying to get pushed through, or there's a waiver dispute on the message board. It's not wrong to win your league, but don't think that the other members won't be suspicious. Just show them you never did them wrong and they will be back to beat you next year.

    If everything went right you've got yourself a sure fire league next year too. But don't think that all of the problems only happen in year one, you gotta be on your game every year. I don't know why anyone would want to put themselves through all of this pressure just to make some friends happy. You never get recognized for making all of the right moves, but you get scrutinized for every little mistake you make. There's never a real quiet moment, and if there is, watch out because it's most likely because things are getting boring for everyone, which is worse than having consistent arguing. I don't know why anyone would want to be in this position, but I find myself happily volunteering every year to a season full of drama and problems. What is wrong with me.