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Transcript of WCNN Radio Interview

Following is an approximate transcript of the March 31, 1998 interview with the Guru on Atlanta Radio station WCNN. The interviewers for WCNN were Tom Hughes and Dan [somebody].

WCNN: Today marks not only the start of the baseball season, but also the start of the fantasy baseball season. Today we have Dave Hall, who actually quit his job to develop a fantasy baseball web site on the internet. Dave, how did you get started on fantasy baseball?

Guru: Well, I've been a baseball fan since I was in elementary school. I grew up in North Central Ohio, and suffered through the dog days of the Cleveland Indians for so long that in the last few years I had a rekindled interest in baseball as the Indians became respectable. Just last year I started playing an internet fantasy game, and really got hooked on it. In fact, I found that on the job last summer - I worked as an investment manager for an insurance company - that I would spend more time thinking about my next fantasy baseball trade or strategy than I was on my work.

WCNN: So it's easier to pick baseball players than stocks?

Guru: Exactly. Maybe it's because the baseball market is more inefficient than the stock market, so it's easier to make a buck there.

WCNN: Dave, isn't one criticism of fantasy baseball enthusiasts that they need to "get a life?"

Guru: I've had a number of people who have suggested that to me, that I have too much time on my hands, and maybe there's an element of truth to that. But hey, it's a lot of fun. I have two teenage boys, and this gives me a common interest with them. As anyone with teenagers knows, finding something you can talk about and share with teenagers is no mean feat indeed!

WCNN: Dave, do you find that you're still interested in how the real baseball teams do, or more interested in certain players, ... for example, that Ron Gant just hit two home runs last night?

Guru: It's probably more the latter. I still do root for Cleveland, and to some extent, I try to load my rosters with Cleveland players so I can have a common rooting interest. But in general, I root for players a lot more... in fact, I've found that, a month or two into the season, I'll notice that a certain team is doing either very well or very bad for the first time, because I've been so focused only on the players.

WCNN: Dave, do you find there are a lot of arguments about scoring in fantasy leagues, or is the scoring pretty cut and dried?

Guru: It's pretty cut and dried. The arguments are whether or not the stats that are used to rank teams are really the most appropriate ones. Many fantasy leagues, for example, use stolen bases as one of the ranking categories, which tends to make base stealers more important to fantasy teams than they are to real teams. So you get into arguments as to whether the fantasy system is capturing the true relative value of players. But the game itself - the rules are pretty well set up, and the only dispute would be if there were two different reports about what a player did last night.

WCNN: So Dave, who are the hot players being talked about in this year's fantasy game? You have to buy players in advance of the season, don't you, so you have to assess how they'll do?

Guru: This year, there is a lot of talk about some of the rookies who will get a chance to play, such as Todd Helton, a first baseman on the Rockies who will get a chance to play with Galarraga having moved on. Also Travis Lee, on Arizona, and Ben Grieve on Oakland. Unfortunately, those aren't well kept secrets - all fantasy players are pretty well aware of those guys and they won't be surprises, but they certainly are some of the new faces that are expected to make an impact this season.

WCNN: Dave, isn't it also expected that scoring will be higher this year, with the pitching more diluted due to expansion?

Guru: Yeah, in fact, pitching has been diluted for some time now, and that still may be the case.

WCNN: Are there any Braves players that you particularly like?

Guru: Actually, I had good success with Andruw Jones for awhile last season. I had Lofton, and when he went down I picked up Jones during a hot streak. Obviously, Greg Maddux is a big favorite, not only because he's good, but because he's steady, and doesn't give you any surprises. The whole pitching staff of the Braves is important because they rack up wins, and wins is one of the categories that matters for pitchers.

WCNN: Dave, do you find you spend a lot of time poring over the boxscores in USA Today every morning?

Guru: Actually, the advantage of the internet as applied to fantasy baseball is that you can automate a lot of that process. I've written a number of programs that will go out to the internet, download boxscores, and sift through the stats, point out who did well yesterday, and do a lot of the sorting for me. So it doesn't take me as much time as it might appear to on the surface.

WCNN: So Dave, how do you make money at this? Do you charge people to play your game?

Guru: No, at this point I just have advertising up on my site, so when you stop at my website, if you click on an advertiser's link, it will trigger a little payment to me. At this point, I'm still very much in the startup phase, so I don't know whether I'll ever be able to make this a full fledged, self-sustaining business, or whether I'll always be doing this somewhat for fun. My wife's still working, so I can afford to do this.

WCNN: What's the address of your web site?

Guru: The web address is http://members.tripod.com/~fantasyguru. I'll be moving to a new site in another week or so, but if you get this address, it will direct you to where I'll be.


Guru Fantasy Sports is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<davehall@home.com>.