Monday, September 1, 2008

Fantasy Sports Karma

I've had one of those weeks where I viewed morality in very utilitarian terms. These kinds of weeks scare me. Mostly because while musing about fantasy sports I asked myself if I would intentionally throw a game for a competitive advantage in the playoffs. Like a situation wherein two teams are on the bubble and facing elimination - but wherein one looks like it should be stronger on paper than its been doing - and I bench my starters to allow the "weaker" opponent to lock in a playoff spot and inconvenience the "stronger" team. The answer I arrived at was "maybe", depending on the context.

In a league like the UPL, with its bragging rights stakes and friendly league managers, I dont think I'd do it. While discussing it with Roland he related fears of karma. I'm more afraid of retribution. The UPL is at its core a gathering of friends from increasingly broad sections of life. It also goes on year-round, and there are too many times where cooperation between teams is vital for the chances of all involved. The risk v. reward factor of open mercenary behavior is skewed too far in the risk over a long timeline. It reminds me of listening to Roland complain that C-Lauff was too scared to be involved with any trades with him because of how it worked out during the 2007 baseball season - give and take doesn't work if you become a clear winner at the other persons expense every time. As Ozzie Guillen said of the recent beanball brouhaha between the Royals and White Sox: "Get ready for warnings. I signed a (long term) deal with this organization and we play (the UPLs) a lot."

In a money league of coworkers / random people? I'd throw the game in a heartbeat because I'd expect them to do the exact same thing if they thought of it. At its most negative I'd have to listen to a bunch of account managers bitch and whine at me, and since that's pretty much my job description already it doesn't really pack the same punch.

What are your guys thoughts? Is a little bit of purposeful schadenfreude ok?

1 comment:

Chairman said...

In addition to buying into the whole karma thing, I have a character trait that would keep me from throwing matches. Essentially, I am delusional. I sort of convince myself that everything is a closed system. I try to solve the puzzle as best as I can, and let things fall where they may. Of course, I fully intend to win, regardless of opponent, so that helps make the closed system a viable reality.

It certainly doesn't always work out that way, but I manage to convince myself that it will work out that way the next time.