Thursday, September 15, 2011

Finding and Keeping Good Owners

There are a lot of things that I absolutely love about my A.L.-only home league, but nearly all of these things revolve around the fact that it is a stable league with a dedicated core of owners. Eight of the league's 12 owners have been in the league since 2000 and we've only had four ownership changes since 2005. This lends to our Rotisserie league a sense of tradition that puts our league up there with leagues like the original Rotisserie league and Alex Patton's American Dreams League.

It hasn't always been this way. In 1998 and 1999, a grand total of seven owners defected (yes, I view leaving a Rotisserie league the same way as I look at abandoning and betraying the nation of your birth). While most of the replacements that came in worked out well, a couple most definitely did not.

What was it that didn't work with these owners?

Inactivity is the worst sin among new owners in a competitive league. Typically, new owners make few trades in their first season. That's understandable. You're testing the waters in a new league, and it does take some time to learn the trading culture. No one wants his first trade to make him a laughingstock.

Grabbing free agents, though, is something any owner can do... and in a league that doesn't charge on a per transaction basis, there's no excuse not to pick up free agents. If you're a mixed league player learning A.L. or N.L.-only, this is a great way to learn about the players in a deeper pool. If you make a bad pick-up, so what? You're a rookie, and you'll eventually figure it out.

The worst sign for a league is when an owner disappears for weeks at a time. We all have periods of time where work and family take priority over Rotisserie baseball. But it takes 30 minutes tops to look at the free agents on the wire and decide who you want to add and who you want to drop. If you don't have time to do this, chances are good you're not going to have time to discuss trades. Without trading, you're not likely to win your league.

This is usually the first step on the path to poor Rotisserie ownership. Next time out, I'll look at some of the warning signs that indicate you might need to find someone better.

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