A 2010 ESPN special titled “Silly Little Game” highlights the advent of Rotisserie Baseball, a game created during the 1980s by a group of friends and baseball enthusiasts that is now known alternately as “Fantasy Baseball” or “Roto Baseball.” The special documentary highlights the elements that went into the original game which, surprisingly, differs very little from the modern version, as well as the fantasy sports phenomenon that this original fantasy game spawned. For those interested in fantasy sports, or thinking about getting in on the action, the ESPN special is a great piece to watch. More relevant for those interested in beginning their sojourn into Roto Baseball are the basics of the game itself.
While there are a great many variations of fantasy baseball, the governing tenets remain the same in virtually all leagues. A group of real-life players, referred to as “owners” in the Roto Baseball context, gather in person or online to draft a mythical team of Major League Baseball players. Thereafter, when the baseball season begins, the same owners compete against one another and win or lose based on the performance of the baseball players they have selected for their fantasy team. Owners are free to add players from a group of free agents, or via the “waiver wire,” and to make trades with other owners.
Scoring varies, but in a standard “5×5″ Roto Baseball format, the categories in which statistics are kept include five offensive categories – Batting Average, Home Runs, Runs, RBI and Stolen Bases – and five pitching categories – Wins, ERA, Walks + Hits Per Inning Pitched (WHIP) and Saves. There are also “4×4″ leagues that use only four categories for hitting and pitching, and leagues that use alternate statistics such as On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, etc. For the most part, each of the Roto Baseball games available share most of their rules in common, with adjustments that do not significantly change the game itself.
There are also various formats for Roto Baseball, including “head to head” leagues where owners face another team in their league for a given time period (typically one week) and the traditional “Roto” scoring, » Read more: Rotisserie Baseball is Great Fun