Kurtz: Going 9 Fantasy Baseball: Opening Day

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(George Kurtz, my new co-host on “Going 9 Fantasy Baseball” on SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports Radio is debuting his new Fantasy Baseball column here today until our new ‘yet-to-be-named’ baseball website is ready to rock – MH)

Opening Day

by George Kurtz

This weekend we will hear what might be my four favorite words strung together in the English language, Pitchers and Catchers report. There is something about the pop of a catcher’s mitt in Florida and Arizona, the thwack of a bat as it makes solid contact with a baseball that bring back memories from my childhood. Plus the promise of warm weather approaching, pennants races, and games to watch almost every day.

Starting Saturday Mark Healey and I will be hosting “Going 9 Fantasy Baseball” from 10am-1pm each
Saturday, some Sundays, including this Sunday, and possibly even some weeknights down the line. We’ll
be there to answer your any questions you may have. We’ll be ranking players to help you out in your
drafts. We will discuss different types of leagues (rotisserie, categories, total points, 4×4, 5×5, head to head, etc). As the season starts to get going we’ll be there to help you with lineup decisions, give our opinions on trade discussions, or just debate the value of a player, league, team, or statistic.

Perhaps you are thinking, why should I listen to you?

Well, I grew up in the 70s, the first game I can remember watching was the 1977 World Series between
the Yankees and Dodgers. My father was always a big baseball fan and he was making a box score of
the game. Like just about any young son would, I also made a box score, and from that point forward I
was fascinated with the numbers involved in a baseball game.

Now I didn’t join my first fantasy baseball league until 1989. I played football the year before and playing in a baseball league was just the natural thing to do. My brother was the commissioner but it was on both of us to keep track of the scores (no internet). Those trips to the deli to get the late paper so you get the west coast scores were always interesting as you never knew if they would have every game. Fun Times. The internet multiplied the popularity of fantasy leagues many times over as it became so much easier to find the box score, and nowadays there are multiple sites that will set everything up for you.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but in my brother’s league, I still do the stats by hand, oh I use the internet to find the scores, but I tabulate the results on an excel spreadsheet, I believe this gives me an upper hand on my competition.

This year I will play in at least 10 leagues, probably more. I try to play in at least one of each type of league so that it becomes second nature to talk about them. I prefer mixed leagues, I like a deep player pool. I also prefer total points, but in the end, it’s baseball, I just want to play.

About five years ago a friend of mine, Terry Neofitos, started his own fantasy web site, The Fantasy
Sports Forum. He asked me to write a weekly column for him. I agreed and you might say things have
taken off from there. I was asked to cover for Terry on a football podcast and that is where my radio
career began. A few months after that I decided to take a chance and applied to RotoWire.com. They
accepted me and I’ve been with them since January of 2007. If you’re looking for a good place to get
your fantasy information I can certainly vouch for RotoWire. Seamheads.com came along last season.
I write a weekly opinion column for them and do a couple of podcasts each week. One is talking
with Chris Mitchell about the Yankees and Red Sox (Evil Empire and the Nation, Tues 7pm-8pm), and
the other is a fantasy baseball show, Wednesday’s at 9pm.

My last qualification would be that I’m a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). I’m not saying I’m an expert, really don’t think there is such a thing in this business, but one thing I can guarantee is that you will get an educated opinion, and I’m never afraid to admit I made a mistake (took Hanley Ramirez with the 2nd overall pick last year in my home league).

To say I love to talk about baseball is an understatement. I do as much on reading on baseball as anyone in the business. Some of it is because I have to, if I’m covering a certain team for RotoWire, than I need to read that teams daily newspapers to find out the latest news that a fantasy owner would need.

The rest of it is just pure enjoyment. This has never seemed like a job to me, I love to do it. One little personal story. When my wife and I bought our house in 2007, I told her that I didn’t care what she did with the rest of the house, I just wanted the den to myself. She agreed, and in that den there are three televisions over the fireplace and plenty of memorabilia all over the place. A “man’s room” to say the least. If you want some irony, I’m married with two beautiful daughters, so I’m a sports nut but surrounded by women, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Oh, my wife, Juvy, doesn’t like sports, I guess opposites do attract. I watch as many games as I possibly can. I don’t watch reality television, a baseball game is a reality show. That day after the All-Star Break when there are no games, I have no idea what to do with myself.

I hope this gives you a glimpse into what I’m all about, and I hope you will join Mark and I this weekend and stick with us for the entire season. Feel free to call in, ask a question you want to have answered. We’re there to give you an educated opinion, maybe we can break a tie you have in your mind. I will also answer any questions you may have on twitter @georgekurtz.

This Saturday Jim Duquette and Steve Gardner will be joining us. Sunday Jim Callis, Tim Heaney, and Bill Ivie will be on. Hopefully we will be able to get such good guests like this each and every week.

To my wife Juvy, and my daughters Dakota and Madison, I love you very much, thank you.

Let the games begin

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