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Roundtable: Quitting

I'm hosting the roundtable question this week; here it is:

Have you ever quit on a fantasy team of yours?  If so, what were the circumstances?  If not, how were you able to maintain your motivation even after you had no chance?

Derek Carty, The Hardball Times Fantasy:

Unfortunately, yes, I have (sort of)... this year, actually.  I don't say unfortunately in that I'm ashamed of it, but rather about the circumstances that led up to it.  In one of the expert leagues I'm playing in this year, I worked out a trade mid-season of my Carlos Lee, Grady Sizemore, A.J. Burnett, and Mike Napoli for Roy Halladay and Miguel Cabrera.  While the league rules stated that a trade could be vetoed by a 40% vote (a rule I was never a fan of to begin with but which had never actually been needed, to the best of my knowledge), the league's commissioner decided to unilaterally veto my trade.

No explanation was given, and the message about the veto said that the site's "system" had rejected it.  I only found out from another league member that it was the commissioner who did it.  He didn't respond to any of my e-mails politely asking for an explanation, even one in which I CCed everyone in the league.  I kept playing a little longer after this, trying to find more trades and I eventually made one more, but the league had an early trade deadline (in July),  I couldn't even get a hold of a couple teams to talk, and I didn't have enough time to work out all the trades I needed (and a couple of trades I was planning for were contingent upon the initial deal going through).

Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of vetoes in general (I'm actually completely against them), but when there is a rule explicitly against unilateral vetoes and one occurs, that's a tad ridiculous.  And that ignores the fact that this is an expert's league.  Aren't we supposed to know what we're doing, and isn't it possible that one of us knows something the rest don't, leading to the decision to make a particular trade?  We're supposed to be the learned minority, processing our thoughts and making decisions independently of conventional wisdom, and independently of each other, for that matter.  And as experts, aren't we also supposed to understand that no one knows what the future holds and that vetoing trades based on the subjective judgment of one person is a bit ridiculous?  If two experts feel that a trade will benefit their teams, shouldn't that be enough?  Why does an arbitrary third member of the league get to decide if it does?  I've never heard of an experts league that allows vetoes, much less one that exercises the rule on a trade in which I still can't figure out how the commissioner viewed it (i.e. which side was getting the better end?).

So yeah, I did quit on a league this year, though I really wish I didn't have to.  I had a real shot at winning (I believe I in first or second at the time of the vetoed trade).  I do occasionally make roster adjustments, because I feel bad about leaving my team completely abandoned, and I've considered streaming players this month, but I have a hard time bringing myself to do it and legitimizing the whole thing.

Patrick Cain, Times Union:

Yea I've quit teams. This year in fact I stopped paying attention to two teams. One was the Razzball inverse league. That is good players are bad, bad ones are good. Well, I missed the draft and ended up with a team that looked like Pujols, Hanley, Arod, Lincecum etc. Lame. The second I was the commissioner. Huge injuries and an awful draft left me with no chance. I kept doing all the commish duties, but it sucked.

Jon Williams, Advanced Fantasy Baseball:

As Bill Clinton might say, I guess it depends on your definition. I have decided that there was nothing more I could do at certain points and just gone through the motions of replacing injured guys and bidding on free agents where that has been possible. But I don't call that quitting so much as realizing that not even a miracle could save me now. But that doesn't happen too often.

I have also been in leagues where the interest of other owners has not lasted through the season. This makes it especially tough to keep going. Trying to get back into a money spot when trades are impossible can be demoralizing. But even in a league like this I think it is important to do your duty of replacing injured players and keeping a legal lineup.

One of best ways of motivating yourself is setting a goal other than actually winning. Goals such as not finishing last, passing a particular team in the standings, winning certain categories, and gaining a certain number of points can really help you to keep making an effort. You may even shock yourself by returning to contention.

Mike Podhorzer, FantasyPros911:

In terms of private leagues in which I paid an entry fee, I cannot say I actually have ever quit on a fantasy team I owned. However, by the last month of the season, if I know I have no chance at the money, I will usually pay a lot less attention and simply set my lineup, taking care of injury replacements as necessary. I would not considering that quitting, but it is certainly putting in less effort than I opened the season with. Except for maybe avoiding finishing in last, which I have never come close to, I don't care too much to try finishing the highest I can for pride purposes. To me, 9th place is the same as 4th place. Heck, if I don't win, I consider it a lost season.
I think the only time I would ever truly quit is if it was a league I had just joined and it was poorly run, had awful rules and I ended up having no chance at finishing in the money. I probably would feel no regrets completely giving up and just never checking the league site the rest of the season.

Tim Dierkes, RotoAuthority:

Similar to what Mike said, there have been leagues where I've put in less effort during the final month.  Just for pride's sake, I'll always set the lineup, make DL decisions, and replace useless players.  But if I have no shot at the title it's hard to put intense daily research into it.

With the RotoAuthority league, I kick out the bottom four teams each year.  Finishing in the bottom four was not a concern for me; I won the league the first two years.  This year, however, I haven't been much of a contender at any point.  The indignity of possibly finishing in the bottom four was definitely enough to keep me going throughout the year.  I clawed my way up to 6th place and have an outside shot at 4th.

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