For most of our users, this is one of the most exciting times of the sports year. The NCAA Tournament is in full swing, the NHL and NBA regular seasons are winding down with some intriguing playoff races, and spring training is giving 30 baseball teams, their fans, and their fantasy owners a renewed hope. Just on the horizon is The Masters, the NBA and NHL playoffs, and the NFL draft. But I cannot stand the time between my Fantasy Baseball draft and the start of the regular season. For one, it gives my players too much time to get hurt. Can you hear me, Ervin Santana? But secondly, it is time to see what the guys who actually do make it to the regular season can do. I usually try and schedule my drafts the day before the season starts, no matter what sport it is. But Baseball is always tough when you work here . My high-stakes baseball league is comprised mostly of people in this building and March is not the most conducive time to hold a draft here. In addition to preparing for the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season, CBSSports.com also produces March Madness on Demand (which is an incredible experience by the way and totally worth checking out if you haven’t already). But the amount of effort that goes into developing and producing it is overwhelming, so resources are limited and finding time for the draft can be a challenge. So I take what I can get and this year we held it on March 16. That is just waaaay too early for me. So, now I am paying the price by having to wait.
Luckily, we made a couple of cool changes to baseball leagues and I’ve been playing around with those to keep my mind occupied.
First, we added the capability for you to embed video content into the league news stories. Basically, you can go to sites like YouTube that offer video content, copy the embed code for the video you want to use, and place it in the league news stories that you add to your league. I can give many suggestions for ways to use this but my employer expressly forbids me to mention any of them in this column. Suffice it to say that it is an excellent way to taunt owners in your league. To use it, just click ‘Add Story’ in the Cover Story area of your League Homepage. Paste the video embed code into the Story Video Embed Code field. Add a title and whatever you want to say about it and you’ve got yourself a video news story on your league homepage.
The other feature is only available in Baseball Commissioner leagues since they are the only leagues that retain history from season to season. We’ve enhanced the League History area (League Home/History for those of you playing along at home), so that commissioners can add league champions and awards for previous seasons. The awards follow each team around on the site so anytime another owner views their lineup page, they’ll see the award. This is not only a great way to remember champions past and present, but a great way to rip on owners that make bad trades, bad draft picks, bad lineup decisions, etc. Commissioners can even add their own images for the awards/trophies. In my one league that is made up of mostly Phillies fans, we’ve made the “Worst Trade” award and the image is a split screen of Ivan DeJesus and Ryne Sandberg (yes, the Phillies traded Sandberg for DeJesus in the dark years - ughhh). Anyway, as I wipe the puke from my mouth, I’ll get back to my point…which was that this feature is a really good way to personalize your league and keep the owners in the league honest all season long. Owners will be less inclined to make a bad trade late in the season if they are going to be remembered for it for years to come. So, I’ve been adding a ton of history to my leagues that have been around for many years and the owners in my leagues are loving it.
We’ve made some more subtle changes to the site for this year, too that you’ll probably notice along the way and I’ll get in to those a little later in the season. Besides, they are not helping me pass the time until Baseball starts right now anyway.