In his first book, ESPN's AJ Mass delves into the complex and confusing world of fantasy sports leagues. More than just an overview of the practice of the popular pastime, How Fantasy Sports Explains The World explores how fantasy games have come to flourish in an age where endless piles of data are available to us at the touch of a button.
First, an acknowledgement: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of a fantasy league.
But having read How Fantasy Sports Explains the World, I understand why so many people cannot make that claim. There is fellowship in fantasy leagues. There are laughs. Often there is beer. Money is rumored to change hands.
The author of this humble volume may one day have to explain to his grandchildren that he made his living as a professional Fantasy Sports Analyst.
My advice to A.J. Mass, should that day come, is to say, "Hey, I didn't manufacture weapons for sale to ruthless dictators. Nobody ever got their drugs from me. I never water-boarded a single detainee."
Fantasy sports leagues are, of course, intrinsically goofy. "Owners" in such leagues try to outsmart each other by drafting and trading players who are generating actual statistics in real (rather than virtual) games. The idea, of course, is to buy low and sell high, and I suppose when you rid yourself of a linebacker just a day or so before he is lost for the season to injury, the rush must be considerable, albeit perverse. If you're already involved in such vicarious hijinx, or if you're inclined to become so involved because the winter is long where you are living, then perhaps this is the book for you.
This segment aired on September 17, 2011.