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February 16, 2005 12:00 am

Fantasy Firefight

0

Neil deMause

MLB has changed how it licenses fantasy baseball for the Web, and almost no one is happy about it.

That's the good news, such as it is. The worrisome news, if you're a fantasy baseball player used to having innumerable online options to feed your addiction, is that MLB has decided to dramatically restructure how it licenses companies that run fantasy games on the Web. Official licensees will now likely be restricted to a Big Three of ESPN, CBS Sportsline and Yahoo! (some reports add AOL and The Sporting News as well), plus so-called "mom and pop" shops that will be henceforth limited to 5,000 customers apiece. For everyone else, it's likely to be a choice of scaling back their operations, closing up shop, or receiving a visit from MLB's lawyers.

Those two paragraphs, I realize, may sound contradictory. If fantasy sports sites are essentially just stats services, how can MLB shut them down for publishing the same thing that appears free of charge in every newspaper in the nation? It seems a sensible enough question on the face of it, but then, these are the intellectual property wars, where common sense is generally the first casualty.

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June 1, 2004 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: NL All-Star Ballot

0

Joe Sheehan

I kicked off a mostly lazy Memorial Day weekend by catching the Dodgers and Diamondbacks Friday night at Dodger Stadium. Normally, I'd throw together a game report, but it was more a social event than a working night for me. Sophia and I were there with our friends Shelly and E.J., and unfortunately, the vagaries of L.A. traffic kept everyone from getting in before the bottom of the second. Without a scorecard, and with a lot of conversation about an adorable one-year-old (not ours), an impending move to Arizona (also not ours), and a retirement (no, again), I don't have nearly the remembrance of detail to provide a good report. Randy Johnson was dominant for five innings, Cesar Izturis made a great grab to start a double play, and Bob Brenly pulled some head-scratching moves with his relievers. While at the game I did pick up, and fill out, an All-Star ballot. Like reading box scores, the practice of punching out chads while sitting in Row J has fallen victim to the Internet Age. Now, you can log on at MLB.com and ballot-stuff to your heart's content. For some reason, Internet ballots are capped at 25 per person, while any season-ticket holder with an awl and some free time can pop out a couple thousand during the balloting period. I'm not advocating either, but I don't think some guy with a man crush on Raul Ibanez does any more damage to the process than the entire nation of Japan getting second-tier outfielders into the AL's starting lineup.

Normally, I'd throw together a game report, but it was more a social event than a working night for me. Sophia and I were there with our friends Shelly and E.J., and unfortunately, the vagaries of L.A. traffic kept everyone from getting in before the bottom of the second. Without a scorecard, and with a lot of conversation about an adorable one-year-old (not ours), an impending move to Arizona (also not ours), and a retirement (no, again), I don't have nearly the remembrance of detail to provide a good report. Randy Johnson was dominant for five innings, Cesar Izturis made a great grab to start a double play, and Bob Brenly pulled some head-scratching moves with his relievers.

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While we wait breathlessly for word from Cooperstown about the results of the new Veterans Committee balloting, the STATLG-L Internet Hall of Fame voters have spoken their collective mind here on BP.

Well, sort of. The voting patterns on the two ballots (Players and Composite) were rather similar in some respects. On both ballots, only one person received the support of as much as half of the voters. On both ballots, the average voter cast votes for only a small number of candidates. On both ballots, nearly half of the candidates were able to attract the votes of fewer than 10% of the IHOF voters.

Players Ballot

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