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The Do's and Dont's of being your league's beat writer

Sometimes a league newsletter (e-mailing) will off a tornado of controversy and animosity. Tread very carefully with your criticism. Try to present your negative opinions (about other teams) in as positive a light as possible. Say someone is ``creative`` not ``crazy``. They ``gambled`` not ``squandered``. Players are ``veterans`` not ``over-the-hill``. You get the idea. You can still make it interesting without getting nasty. Some managers enjoy mud slinging whether it is at them, from them, or seeing it done to others. Most do not like it at all, and some get mightily offended. They did not sign up with Scoresheet for that.


Even if you don`t want someone sticking around your league, I suggest politely ignoring them. Antagonizing them can backfire in ways you might not have imagined.


Typically each week I look at how each of the teams did and discuss the ramifications. Was a certain losing or winning streak indicative of things to come? How did it affect a pennant race? Did a team dip below .500? Did someone make a surprising draft pick? Was that last trade really lopsided? (Remember to be sensitive.) Once I did a year`s hindsight analysis of how well we chose our protected list. I might comment on a team getting severely hit by injury.


Since I also keep all-time records for one of my leagues, I`ll naturally make note of any new marks set or challenged.


I love making charts showing how a team`s line-up compares to another team`s or to the original team`s previous line-ups. Every month or so I make of copy of my league`s “Player Stats”, so I can look back on any team`s previous line-up and get a good idea of their entire bench usage. Every trade is recorded in a Word document.


Often, if an important player retires or gets in trouble, or if I have any observation to make about real baseball, I will vent my thoughts to my Scoresheet colleagues. Who else will listen? Certainly not my wife. An easy source of gist for the mill is a daily news report. My favorite is Rotoworld. I just copy the news item that intrigues me into my newsletter, and then add my own comment. Note: since this article was originally written, I became immersed in posting comments to mcscoresheet or scoresheet-talk. This has admittedly drained away from my Scoresheet League newsletter commentary – especially with comments about recent baseball news. Since Baseball Prospectus began allowing reader comments at the end of their articles, I have been sharing my thoughts there with yet an even larger audience (as hotstatrat).


Towards the end of the season, if I have time, I like to note team by team the players who had the most surprisingly good years and who were the most disappointing. I call it ``Surprises and Bummers``.


After the season, I`ll review the championship in detail, and, perhaps, how the champion arrived at their success.


At the start of the year, it could be nice to review each of the managers and their teams. Fix them with a unique identity. Say briefly where they are from, what they do, something about their families or their personality. (This is all appropriate for a personal league website. Include a digital picture of each manager, too.) Identify their key players and the team`s blue print. Are they a young team? Are they loaded with relievers? Weak on starters? Looking for a catcher? Whatever. Just remember: have fun and be respectful.

John Carter