I've been playing fantasy football since 1989 and fantasy baseball since 1995, and I've been writing online since 2000. I've been to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Conferences in both the winter and the summer, and I've been in dozens of experts leagues for both sports. There's no doubt, these two groups are quite different from each other.
They share the same planet in spite of their many differences. Outsiders will often refer to them as the same species, yet those who deal with them on an individual basis can see the things that make them so distinct.
What's so different about fantasy baseball and fantasy football owners?
While both groups are still looking at player news, live scoring and standings on the same league services, they're as different as night and day.
There's definitely a group of hybrid players that play both fantasy sports, but really, it's just a matter of most fantasy baseball players also playing fantasy football. Fantasy football players are thinking about fantasy football for 12 months out of the year, and many of them consider fantasy baseball something their grandpa would play if he was a nerd ... and alive.
So out of respect - or disrespect, I can't keep track - I will now share with you the nine major differences between fantasy baseball and fantasy football owners.
Stats vs. scouts
Most fantasy baseball owners are citing peripheral stats, like BABIP and K/BB ratios, whereas most fantasy football owners are making mostly subjective remarks. Here are my five favorite BS football scout terms you'll hear fantasy football owners say:
Fantasy Baseball owners don't usually mess with subjective talk like that.
Attention span of gnats or chess players
Fantasy baseball owners are happy to sit and listen to a game on the radio while at work, or discuss bullpens and pinch hitters for hours. They can even go to a game and feel their blood pressure drop, even in the game's most exciting points, as there's always time to read the dictionary between each pitch (moment of action).
Fantasy football owners have the NFL RedZone Channel on, while they're watching their local broadcast on another TV wheeled out into the living room. "What's happening, now!?! ... What happened while I was saying, 'What's happening, now!?!'"
Fantasy baseball owners are a little more cerebral, whereas you sometimes have to shake your keys at a fantasy football player just to get his attention.
Movies vs. TV shows
Fantasy baseball makes cameos in movies, like the Oscar-nominated "Moneyball," and the Judd Apatow comedy, "Knocked Up." Baseball in general has been a featured topic in Hollywood dating all the way back to black and white movies.
Fantasy football is the background for the TV show, "The League," and it gets referenced quite often by other TV shows - but not movies. You can't expect fantasy football players to sit still for 90 mins!
It's the fast food of cinema.
Debates vs. arguments
A disagreement about a player or stat in fantasy baseball is usually peppered with words/phrases like, "with all due respect," and "you make an excellent point, however. ..."
A discussion in fantasy football usually starts with someone calling you a complete idiot for taking a player, and ends with them saying you are the worst fantasy football player ever.
I even recall, back in 1995, Owner A picked Brett Favre in the third round of a TD-only league. Owner B laughed out loud, "BRETT FAVRE IN THE THIRD ROUND!?! THAT'S THE WORST PICK IN THE HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE!" Favre went on to lead the league in touchdown passes (38) that season, and then finish his career as the all-time passing touchdowns leader.
Interestingly, Owner B doesn't remember that discussion taking place at the draft. Fantasy football owners have very short memories.
Fantasy baseball owners, on the other hand, are always comparing current players with former players. "That kid reminds me of a young Gorman Thomas!"
Patient vs. reactionary
Major League Baseball's Opening Day this year is March 31, which means April 1, you'll see tons of players getting picked up and dropped. Not coincidentally, that day also happens to be April Fool's Day.
I'll bet roto dollars to H2H donuts that the people making all of those add/drops are mostly fantasy football owners killing time until NFL training camps begin. They're used to just 13-week regular seasons, in which they have to make knee-jerk reactions all the time since every game counts for almost 8 percent of their regular-season record. Justifiably so, they have to fall in and out of love with players at breakneck speeds.
A fantasy baseball owner knows that he's starting a marathon, and that every day's worth of action is really just 1/162 of their regular-season record.
Rotisserie chicken vs. big bucket of all or nothing
Even the way these two groups score their games is completely different. Traditional fantasy baseball players usually use rotisserie scoring, as opposed to total points, like the head-to-head format for fantasy football.
FFers want to know if they won Tuesday morning, and fantasy baseballers are hoping they climbed half a point in the runs scored category. One has an exciting sense of accomplishment, and one makes you feel like you lost a pound on your diet this month.
Algebra vs. remedial math
Fantasy baseball guys deal with tons of statistics, like ERA, WHIPS, batting averages, on-base percentages, slugging percentages and a combo of both, just to name a few.
Fantasy football owners have a tough time dealing with extra points. Can you imagine if QB rating was added into the scoring? Their heads would explode.
Pride vs. IN YOUR FACE!!!
Fantasy baseball owners like to win, but more than that, they like to be right in their projections or predictions. The biggest experts league in any sport right now is Tout Wars for fantasy baseball. The winners get zero dollars and no trophy. Nada. Nothing.
Fantasy football owners can't even wait for Sunday's games to enter the late afternoon before the trash talk starts flying. It's definitely the livelier of the two hobbies, but it's also the one where you expect someone, at some point, is going to say something about your mama.
Librarians vs. secretaries
If you play fantasy baseball, you need to know every player that takes the field. You need to know the bench players. You need to know the minor leaguers that are expected to take over for any of those other players if they get injured. You need to know the minor leaguers expected to join the majors when rosters expand. You become a library of information, as you try to learn about at least 25 players on 30 teams (750 players).
In fantasy football, you have to learn two quarterbacks, maybe three running backs, four wide receivers, two tight ends, a kicker and a defensive unit on every team. That's 13 players on 32 teams (416) players. There is so much luck involved, it's not uncommon to hear that the secretary at someone's job ended up winning their fantasy football league one year.
It's at this point, I'd like say note that "Moneyball" never does reference fantasy baseball, but I figured fantasy football owners are a little more Vin Diesel than Brad Pitt.
Before you start up your Twitter and get ready to blast me for hating on your fantasy sport of choice, please understand that I do love both games, and I do consider them completely different - mostly because of against whom you play. Now, feel free to send me a well-thought-out email, with quotes from great philosophers like Joe Garagiola and Vin Scully, or, if you're a fantasy football owner, just sharpen your crayon and write it on paper.