Fantasy Baseball: An Early Form of Social Media

The year was 1992. I entered into my very first fantasy baseball league. It was limited to American League players only and featured a points-based scoring system. I was already a baseball fan but I was about to become an even bigger baseball fan in a very short time. I soon found myself watching more games on television and diligently poring over newspaper box scores every morning. However, as much as I loved following the stats and thoroughly increased my knowledge of players, teams and the game itself, the true aspect of fantasy baseball had yet to reveal itself.

The first month of that initial fantasy baseball season, I started up a fantasy league newsletter to keep everyone informed as to the goings-on in the league (don’t forget, there was no email or internet in those days!). Once I started the newsletter, I learned what fantasy baseball was all about: social interaction.

I was participating in a group which brought together people of diverse backgrounds with the intention of interacting together, sharing a common interest and socializing with other like-minded people. Looking back, I was participating in an early form of social media. The members of the baseball league would get together once a month to discuss the league, our standings, statistics and baseball in general. We would talk about where to get good merchandise for our favorite team, share ideas about the game and even give each other advice about unrelated topics such as the latest movies or the best restaurants in town. Today, this is called social media. In 1992, it was called a group of friends sharing ideas around a common interest. The concepts are the same. Only the medium has changed. Rather than meeting at a public location at a designated time, today we have the ability to communicate electronically every day.

Rotisserie league baseball was created in 1980 by a group of baseball fans formed a fantasy league and would meet at New York City’s La Rotisserie Francais restaurant, thus giving rotisserie baseball its name. This in itself was a social gathering of like-minded people brought together by a common interest. In other words, fantasy baseball was a “social” group complete with interaction, shared interests, ideas and advice.

All these years later, we now use the internet to meet, share ideas, impart advice and interact with other people around a shared common interest. Only the medium has changed. The ideas remain intact. Fantasy baseball has always been about having fun in an interactive way. It really was one of the first forms of social media.

I’m glad I still don’t have to type and mail out those newsletters, though.

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  1. wilhouse

    February 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    never knew thats why the called it rotisserie. never even thought to look up why lol.

    i’ve only been playing for 4 years now but man I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to play back in the early 90s and stuff like that.

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