It started with 24 teams in March, and with today’s elimination of Rotoballer’s Jamie Steed, the field has been whittled away to create an elite selection of 12 finalists. This dynamic dozen will battle it out over the next five and a bit weeks for the prestigious Bat Flips & Nerds Fantasy Baseball Eliminator trophy.
Jamie is currently eighth (that’s 8th out of 465) in TGFBI, The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. I’m not saying that the Bat Flips & Nerds Eliminator is a tougher contest, but I’m also not, not saying that.
The concept was simple; a fantasy baseball league that required very little weekly management time yet kept the competitors engaged throughout the season. I would hazard a guess that there are few leagues where 12 teams feel as involved as the calendar flips to September.
Reigning champions, Behind Home Plate (podcast hosted by James Holden and Jonny Gould), have been the class act throughout the season and head into the final five-week scoring period as the team to beat.
Hot on their heels is Sharp Money Consulting. Last year, Adam and Jesse provided weekly fantasy baseball insights on the Bat Flips & Nerds website and finished as the top-scoring team in both of the previous two scoring periods. Nothing like getting hot when it matters.
With Tom, Ben, Darius and Gav (me) already eliminated, Rob Noverraz and Russell Eassom are flying the flag for Bat Flips & Nerds. Rob (the humourous one on the podcast) has demonstrated his extensive knowledge of baseball, despite following the Tampa Bay Rays. Russell (Nick Swisher’s mate and the analytical genius on the podcast) has narrowly avoided elimination on a couple of occasions but, as the fourth-highest scoring team over the course of the season, looks worryingly good for this final sprint.
Another UK-based baseball podcast, “Flyball to the Moon“, is the surprise package of the 12-team final. The epitome of a slow burner, Matt and Ash have done enough every fortnight to keep themselves in the competition, and now anything can happen.
I run (although run overstates my input) three fantasy baseball teams with a partner. One is with Tom Pringle, and the less said about that one, the better. Another is with David Greenman – a political activist and Hollywood writer/actor-type who is an excellent fantasy baseball analyst and will be a great podcaster… when he gets the opportunity. David and I are just outside of the money prize in our league.
In TGFBI, I have teamed up with David Runciman – no, not that one – and we are currently sitting 30th out of 465 teams. My contribution was months of pre-draft research, but it is David’s in-season management that warrants the plaudits.
Anyway, the fact that both of the Davids remain in the eliminator while I am writing about it from the outside speaks volumes.
I’m guessing that Bubba (one of the most energetic characters in the UK baseball scene) is a rollercoaster fan, as he flits from the highest-scoring team in one week to teetering on the brink of elimination in another.
How the RotoBrits pairing of Ryan and Peter have time to compete astounds me. Peter, Europe’s biggest Miami Marlins fan, hosts daily podcasts and as well as being active on Twitter 25 hours a day, while Ryan combines teaching, a new family and the daily disappointment of following the Phillies into everyday life.
Mark Blakemore, statistically a Top-10 TGFBI competitor, is one of those rare Brits who wears a Yankees cap and actually knows who Aaron Judge is. Mark is one of the hosts of the UK-based New York Yankees podcast “The Empire Strikes Back“. His gamble to draft an injured Fernando Tatis Jr. has not produced the results he hoped.
MLB UK Community is still in the competition, and given the year that Nick Wright is enjoying, you could not bet against him capping the season by securing the #FantasyBaseballEliminator trophy. I presume it is Nick (an Angels fan) who does most of the work for this team. I know there were accusations levelled against George (an Astros fan) in a different league for circumventing the spirit of the rules. Astros trying to win no matter the ethicality? Surely not.
And finally, we come to the third of the international competitors who have dodged the guillotine and qualified for the tournament’s final stages. MrsD (Danielle Salinger) has proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that I spent too much preseason time researching, analysing, and mock drafting. Danielle conducted the 24-team, 30-second-per-pick draft on her phone while playing mini golf with the kids. Her team, despite the continual plague of injuries, has maintained its position in the pack, and now that we are in the equivalent of the playoffs, it’s a crap shoot (which is a phrase that relates to gambling in the US and firing bullets into the sea in the UK).
Want to participate next season? DM me on Twitter @GavTramps and if I don’t already know you, tell me something about yourself.
And if you want to get involved with Europe’s biggest baseball podcast and website, we have openings for writers, reporters, and correspondents. Click on the “Write for us” link or DM me.