Tag:Tout Wars
Posted on: March 18, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2010 7:13 pm

FantasyLand the movie

I have a sneak preview of FantasyLand that I am going to watch in my free time after work tonight or tomorrow. I wasn't a fan of the first trailer, ripping it in a FantasyTake for putting the geek back in Fantasy Baseball. Sam Walker's book did such a good job of taking the geek out of Fantasy Baseball and its premier league Tout Wars, legitimizing it as a hotly contested battle of science, skill and wit -- not a merely "Can you outdork this?"

Well, I am told by the documentary's PR staff that I will like the movie much more than I liked the trailer, so we will see.

Here are the release(s): 

Endgame/wonderland team up for FANTASYLAND

Los Angeles (March 17, 2010) – Tipping its cap to the estimated 30 million Americans who play fantasy sports– most as a fun hobby, some as an all-consuming obsession –  Endgame Entertainment and Wonderland Sound and Vision are launching a feature length documentary Fantasyland, as well as introducing fantasy centered content to be produced across all platforms exploring fantasy, both in sports and pop culture.     

SnagFilms is releasing Fantasyland, which will premiere on March 19<sup>th</sup>, on their flagship site SnagFilms.com as well as Hulu.com.  The film is financed and produced by James D. Stern’s Endgame Entertainment and produced with McG’s Wonderland Sound & Vision and John Limotte and Doug Bernheim’s Sound Pictures.  SnagFilms is a platform dedicated to taking compelling documentaries and making them available to audiences worldwide. 

Inspired by the best-selling book by Wall Street Journal Sports Editor Sam Walker, Fantasyland is a feature-length documentary about the culture and lifestyle of fantasy players.  Directed by Stephen Palgon (two-time Sports Emmy winner as producer of the HBO documentary series Legendary Nights), Fantasyland follows Jed Latkin, an amateur fantasy baseball fan who earns the chance to compete with the industry's best in an expert league called Tout Wars during the 2008 baseball season.  Before that season began, Jed was a rising young financial analyst planning to start a family with his new wife.  But by the time the season ended, he had traveled thousands of miles to personally connect with his players, pulled countless all-nighters, and nearly missed the birth of his twin son and daughter, all in the relentless pursuit of one, increasingly elusive goal:  winning Tout Wars.

Fantasyland has a built-in audience of 30 million fantasy sports players, other fantasy and sports enthusiasts as well as people intrigued by the exciting, humorous, sometimes scary and surprising lengths to which otherwise normal people will go just to win a mere contest of pride,” says Endgame CEO James D. Stern.  “We’ve long been a nation of sports fanatics, and Fantasyland reveals that fanaticism in its most intense, and entertaining, form.  We’re thrilled to partner with SnagFilms to bring this film to fans and audiences worldwide and see this as the perfect launching point to inspire other fantasy centered content in the sports world.”









FantasyLand: A Season on Baseball’s Lunatic Fringe


Before the 2004 baseball season, Sam Walker was a happily married, tie-wearing sportswriter leading a responsible and well-rounded life.  But by the time that season was over, he had spent tens of thousands of dollars, traveled 19,000 miles, missed 3 weddings and a funeral, and ignored a raging fire in a neighbor’s apartment.  He’d become a caffeine-addled insomniac with back spasms, willing to ignore family, work and anything else that might distract him from his one, increasingly elusive goal:  winning his fantasy-baseball league.

Inspired by Walker’s best-selling book of the same name, FANTASYLAND is a documentary feature film about the bizarre and fascinating world of fantasy baseball, wherein an estimated 15 million Americans (approximately 5% of the nation’s population) actively play or have played fantasy baseball.  In FANTASYLAND, we’ll meet some of these people - the fans, fanatics, experts and amateurs, who battle it out every baseball season (and beyond). 

As in Sam Walker’s book, FANTASYLAND will document an “amateur” fantasy baseball player’s first season participating in Tout Wars, the ultimate fantasy baseball league, where the self-appointed gurus of the sport reside. However, unlike Sam Walker, the film’s lead character will not be a sports professional with media credentials and industry contacts; he’ll be an ordinary fantasy baseball player, who is thrown into the lion’s den of Tout Wars and forced to compete with the experts.

In 2008, Jed Latkin, a research analyst for ING and a fantasy enthusiast, beat out several hundred people for a seat at the TOUT WARS table, to test his skills against the foremost experts in the industry.  Utilizing his professional skills as a trader, and his innate ability and resourcefulness, he traveled to spring training to connect with scouts, players, journalists and anyone else willing to answer his questions about which rookie is due for a breakout season, what veteran fell out of shape during the off-season, and which overpaid superstar might see his playing time cut.   And his quest for information did not end once the first pitch was tossed on the 2008 baseball season:  whether it was tracking down Justin Verlander to give him a pep talk, confronting Carl Crawford about his recent performance, or even learning a little Japanese to communicate with Ichiro, Jed went to any length to win the league.

FANTASYLAND also examines the ways in which Jed’s personal life was severely impacted by his obsession.  Cameras followed him in his daily life as well as he had to manage his day job, a new bride, and the birth of twins.

In addition, FANTASYLAND will explore the larger cultural significance of fantasy baseball and other fantasy competitions - which includes every sport from football to soccer to Nascar, as well as fashion leagues, celebrity leagues, political leagues, and even graduate student leagues (where students draft their classmates and earn points on how well they do in school). 

Ultimately, FANTASYLAND will appeal to fans of competition documentaries like “Spellbound”, “Mad Hot Ballroom” and “King of Kong”, as well as the millions of fantasy sports players, general sports enthusiasts and anyone else intrigued by the exciting, humorous, sometimes scary and surprising lengths to which otherwise normal people will go just to win a mere contest of pride.

Director - Stephen Palgon, has 12 years of experience of working with a variety of television networks (including HBO, ESPN, CBS, USA), creating featured programming including the documentary “Star Crossed: The Shakespearean Tragedy of Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden”, which received a Gold Medal New York Film Award.  Palgon also won two Sports Emmy Awards for producing and directing the HBO documentary series “Legendary Nights” as well as ESPN’s Hurricane Carter “Sports Century” documentary.

Producer - Endgame Entertainment is a privately financed independent entertainment company, headed by James D Stern one of the owners of the Chicago Bulls, producing and financing such films as Oscar nominated “Hotel Rwanda”, “Harold & Kumar Go White Castle”, “Lord of War” and the Oscar nominated Bob Dylan Biopic “I’m Not There” and “An Education”; while directing “Michael Jordan to the MAX” and “The Year of the Yao”.

Producer - Wonderland Sound and Vision was founded by McG who has directed several films including “Terminator: Salvation”, “We Are Marshall”, and “Charlie’s Angel’s 1 & 2”.  He is also responsible for creating television shows such as “The OC”, “Chuck”, “Pussycat Dolls’, “Supernatural” and most recently “Human Target”.

Producer - Sound Pictures is an independent production company run by John Limotte and Doug Bernheim and has produced several independent films including “The Assassination of Richard Nixon”, “Live Free or Die”, “Winter Solstice”, and “Pretty Bird”.

Posted on: May 4, 2009 12:28 pm

One-month Fantasy teams review

You might take some solace in your early season struggles... it could be worse... your teams could look like this:

I had a great year in Fantasy Baseball last year. This year has been brutal. Here is a breakdown of my teams, which are depressing to set lineups for:

AL-only Head-to-Head (1-3, 8th in scoring out of 10 teams)... blech! Josh Beckett, Chris Davis and Fausto Carmona hopefully will get better in the weeks ahead.

AL-only Rotisserie (7th place out of 12 teams)... I am actually happy to be middle of the pack! Mark Teixeira, Delmon Young, Brandon Wood and Chien-Ming Wang hopefully will get hot. Justin Verlander was costing me until recently. Adam Lind, Nelson Cruz and David Aardsma have been nice finds.

NL-only Rotisserie (9th place out of 12 teams)... urgh! I stink. Jose Reyes, Cameron Maybin, Joe Blanton and Oliver Perez have been brutal. Edinson Volquez, Clayton Kershaw and Huston Street should come around. Chad Billingsley, Daniel Murphy and Joel Pineiro have been a few overperformers.

Mixed Rotisserie (12th place out of 12 teams)... son of a!!! ... I am staying patient, but Chien-Ming Wang, Josh Hamilton, Travis Hafner and Edwin Encarnacion are better off on my DL right now. I wish Carlos Gomez, Fausto Carmona and Khalil Greene were on the DL, too. This team will come around. Big Tex and Hamilton will get hot in the summer months. Also, my ERA is last because of some brutal starts, but I think I have the best pitching in the league. Patience here should make me a contender down the road.

Mixed Keeper Rotisserie (12th place out of 12 teams)... seriously, this is hard to do. I cannot imagine being able to be this bad on purpose. This team reads like a one-month bust list: Hanley Ramirez, Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, Jhonny Peralta, Cole Hamels, Carlos Gomez, Alex Gordon and  Edwin Encarnacion. Save for the last two DL guys, I am fine sinking or swimming with those guys. They will come around and I ain't trading them now.

Tout Wars mixed Rotisserie (14th out of 17 teams). This team is junk. Josh Beckett, Dan Uggla, Delmon Young, Cole Hamels, Oliver Perez, Brad Penny are huge busts. Only the presence of Jason Bay and Edwin Jackson make this team tolerable. With little help on the way from the convoluted once-a-week FAAB process, I might have to resort to the trade market. I hate doing that.... because I always give up more than I get.

Mixed Head-to-Head (2-2, 8th in scoring out of 12 teams). I actually don't mind this team at all. Having Albert Pujols, Aaron Hill and Nick Swisher helps. Injuries have been costly: Brian McCann, Vladimir Guerrero, Ervin Santana and thankfully Edwin Encarnacion. This team will wind up in the playoffs, despite my low scoring to date

Mixed Head-to-Head (2-2, 8th in scoring out of 14 teams). Another Head-to-Head team I can stand. I like having Adrian Gonzalez, a 27-year-old breakout. My outfield of Grady Sizemore, Ryan Braun and Carlos Lee is going to be ridiculous at some point. We start 3 and Damon is my team. I picked up resurgent Chris Iannetta off the waiver wire. He shouldn't have been available. If Josh Beckett, Fausto Carmona and John Maine can pitch, this team might be my one title contender.

It is going to be a long, long year... or a short one if I just punt on my teams, I guess.


Posted on: March 28, 2009 10:21 am
Edited on: March 28, 2009 10:33 am

Tout Wars: Where the Touts make mistakes

Here are a few observations on the mistakes I see the AL-only Touts making ... proof everyone makes mistakes:

1. Not bidding enough early.

Grady Sizemore went for a modest $36 as the third nomination. That was less than Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, but just one dollar more than Crawford.

2. Bidding randomly.

Victor Martinez started at $10. The next bid was $17. He won him. Why did he waste so much? V-Mart went for $3 more than Joe Mauer. Who do you see as a bigger risk?

3. Bidding too much on roster fillers.

Mark Ellis went for $11. What friggin year is this? Juan Cruz and Matt Thorton went for $4 apiece. Middle relievers for more than a $1? Why? They are dime a dozen.

4. Sitting out too long.

Defending champion Sam Walker, FantasyLand writer, and sidekick Ferdinando DelFino sat out too long to win their first player. Most of the elite guys were gone and their first player won was Carlos Pena at $22. Ew. They are going to suck this year. You need elite players, even in real deep AL-only formats.

Wait, Jason Bay just was signed by Walker for $28. Not sure why people stopped on him.


Posted on: March 12, 2009 10:57 am
Edited on: March 12, 2009 11:10 am

My Tout Wars bio

I took some time today to write my player bio for Tout Wars ... excuse me using the third person:

Eric Mack

Eric Mack is the Senior Fantasy Writer at CBSSports.com, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. You can follow his stories and blog ramblings there, where goes by the alias Emack.

lthough he has never been a participant in Tout Wars before, Emack feels like he has been a part of it, being a big fan of the book that made it famous, FantasyLand. He read it in one sitting, getting lost in it, and wishes he could write something so engaging and clever.

He is embarrassed to never have been nominated for a FSWA award, but he has been recognized by the New York Press Association as an award-winning sportswriter. That came back when he was a student at Syracuse University (Class of ’98), which he believed was the best journalism school in the world until he saw CBSSports.com rival Matthew Berry was from there, too. (Don’t hold it against any of those parties involved, Emack is just jealous Berry is on the Newhouse wall of fame and he is not).

Emack’s Fantasy-writing deficiencies aside, his life-committed goal is compete against and beat the best in Fantasy Baseball and prove the dominance of CBSSports.com in the industry. The serious players play there and Eric does his best to stay a step ahead of the most intense Fantasy Baseball players in the world.

He began playing Fantasy Baseball back in the heyday of the USA Today sports section in the late ‘80s and the beginning of Baseball Weekly, which he regards as the reason he is where he is now. While he loved those publications and didn’t mind tallying Fantasy league standings with pencil and paper, he thanks the advent of the internet (Al Gore’s invention!?) and the wonders if instantaneous live scoring online.

Emack is entering his 11th year at CBSSports.com, where he started as a newsroom editor and quickly became the button pusher during Mark McGwire’s Run for 61 in 1998. His passion and knowledge of baseball down through the depths of the minor leagues led him to become a Senior Fantasy Writer six years later.

Emack graciously accepts the invitation to compete here and is determined to take down the defending Mixed League champion, David Gonos, whom he still plays softball with even though they no longer work side-by-side in South Florida. Did Emack mention he believes CBSSports.com is the best? Let's get it on.




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com