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The Contrarian urges us to be mindful when evaluating the reliability of "scoops."

Our resident preacher Nathan Weselake recently wrote articles about the death of the scoop, part one and part two. I am here to say that reports of the scoops death have been greatly exaggerated. (The line is paraphrasing a quote by Mark Twain about the reports of his death)


There will always be a scoop


Someone will always provide the scoop. From breaking down the results of a trade or reporting the status of a player who unexpectedly got hurt trying to eat pancakes, the information will be reported.


Nathan focuses on who gets credit for the scoop but it does not matter to the end consumer. The questions are how scarce the information is, how quickly it is reported and how accurate it is. That determines the value of the reported information. It builds credibility and reliability for the source.

Economist and philosopher Adam Smith touches upon this very subject in his book called “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”. He is looking at this from the perspective of nation building during the time of industrial revolution. He was not in any hockey pool at the time but the theory remains the same.


Nations had to make decisions based on the information they got especially from their colonies. This information had to be reliable, had to arrive in a timely manner and accurate. We are the nations and we look for the same things regarding our fantasy leagues.




Unless I happen to be walking down the street to the Air Canada Center and I see a Maple Leaf player step off a bus, slip on some ice and twist his knee, the chances are that I will not provide any rare and raw information for the consumption of our readers.


The best I can do is to evaluate and analyze what I read and then provide my opinions about the matters.


Other writers here might have more of an advantage because they might be in better proximity to the players and coaches. That is the nature of the beast.


He is correct that the major information gets reported by the main stream media and then by hundreds of other people. That makes the raw content less rare but the evaluations and interpretations of the authors are value added bonuses. Even if you do not agree with the writers conclusions because it helps you formulate your own position.




Can every fantasy owner have contacts and resources in every city? Can they afford to read, listen and watch everything? No way!


That is why they come to sites like this and they hope to use the insights of our writers to help them.


To use a quote from the movie You Only Live Twice, “Rule number one: never do anything yourself when someone else can do it for you.”


The downside being that everyone has the same info but that could be an advantage as well. “Every good chess player knows his opponents moves before he makes them”, a quote from the movie AntiTrust. If you know what everyone else is thinking then you can find the gaps and take advantage.


There is the example of a scoop that is not a scoop. In the early 90’s someone was producing a report with pre-season stats. The claim was that you get the inside scoop while your opponents read a fantasy guide published in August or even worse have a copy of last season statistics. The reality though was that knowing the pre-season stats didn’t help much at all and probably hurt those owners more.


The key with any information from a scoop is for the consumer to evaluate it, not to digest it as is.


Troubling thoughts, part one


In his first article, Nathan talks about the notion to fib about his stories. “I actually entertained the idea of making stuff up.”


Do not lie. Ever! Express your thoughts and opinions but you do not need to fabricate information unless you are doing a comedy bit.


Regarding scoops being the main source of victory, before the internet became so popular we did have hockey pools. At the time, they did not allow for transactions on a daily basis. At most there would be one or two transactions at a set point in time during the season. This was done to keep the calculations for the standings accurate.


The scoop that you got in July or August back then did not hold the same weight as a scoop does nowadays, provided that your fantasy league allows for daily transactions.


Troubling thoughts, part two


This is where my Spidey-sense started to really tingle and I must object to the wisdom of purposely losing trades. This is a game but it should be played seriously. Otherwise you make a mockery of the game and its participants.


If you want to make deals in the future with your competition then do not emphasize or rub it in when you clearly win a deal. They will build up resentment for you.


A long time ago, there was one owner in my pool that would not do any research. He would either come to the draft bugging everyone around him about who he should take next or he would go to the a local bookstore and call in his picks while reading the fantasy guides on the racks.


If he won that season, he let it be known that he was so great because he did not do any research while the rest of us suckers did. (It helps when you get Mario Lemieux as your first round pick). You think he did himself any favors?


Instead of purposely losing deals, why not help them understand what you are looking at or how to evaluate a deal in a better fashion. The phrase by Anne Isabella Ritchie “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach him how to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime” comes to mind.


That would give you more credibility and they would not rely on your generosity every season. Hopefully you win and everyone still thinks that you are a nice guy. Well, except for the guy that came in second.


Believe in the scoop. “… a preacher, he could give them faith. S@#t! One ounce of faith, they’ll be dug deeper than a tick on a hound”, from the movie Pale Rider.


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Up and Downie


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