Chris McBrien doesn’t look too far down the road in his fantasy baseball leagues.
A fantasy baseball expert, McBrien has been playing the statistical game for 20 years. His one rule of fantasy baseball: Win for today.
He says far too many fantasy owners look ahead to land the next big thing instead of trying to win now.
“You trade for a draft pick to get next year’s new hot rookie. While you are doing that, I am beating you this year,” McBrien said. “And next year, when you are waiting for that rookie to pan out, I am beating you again.
“Win for today. Draft accordingly to get the top players in the league, but alway win for today.”
McBrien produces a weekly podcast on fantasy baseball, “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” The show will begin its second season Feb. 4.
McBrien started writing a fantasy baseball newsletter, which led to him writing fantasy baseball articles and blogs. Having a background in radio and television, McBrien said, it made sense to carry his efforts over to a podcast.
“I am better at communicating vocally,” McBrien said. “So the podcast was a natural fit.”
McBrien admits that starting the show in January 2012 was tough. He said the whole show was him talking into the microphone for a half-hour. “In any format of entertainment, it is wise to watch or listen to the first shows. Look at “Seinfeld.” It wound up totally different. It was not the way you found it those first few shows.”
Knowing he needed to change the format, he used music in and out of breaks. Then, in May, an anonymous friend, known only as “The Fantasy Doctor” – an individual with a background in kinesiology and sports injuries, and a fantasy baseball fan himself – joined the show.
A marketing manager by trade, McBrien says he can market the show until he is blue in the face.
“But the best way to market this product is to do a good show,” he said. “Good content sells itself.”
The irony of doing a show on America’s pastime from north of the border is not lost on McBrien.
“I know that being Canadian, we are supposed to like hockey. But when we were younger, the Fantasy Doctor and I both loved those Toronto Blue Jay championship team of 1992 and 1993 … I love to play fantasy. I love the information. I am a stats nerd. It’s fun.”
McBrien takes exception with the view that podcasts will not catch on in popularity.
“I disagree with that thinking. I think that podcasts are getting more popular,” McBrien said. “Look at DVRs. People watch shows now when they get the chance.
“With mainstream radio, a program is broadcast from 1-2 p.m. You listen then or you don’t hear it. But if you have a niche, you can do a podcast. You are not going to do it for general events, not even as broad as baseball in general. You have to be as niche as possible. You need to be niche, niche, niche.
“My argument is that advertising to the several thousand people listening to a niche product is going to get your more results than reaching 100,000 people (through a broadcast station) who don’t give a s–t about your product.”
In addition to McBrien and the Fantasy Doctor, the program features a rolling guest format. When the show returns Feb. 4, the first guest of the new season will be Eno Sarris, a writer for the Fangraphs website. Subsequent guests include members of the fantasy community such as Tim Heaney (USA Today), Mike Gianella (Roto Think Tank) and baseball author Allen Schatz.
With fantasy sports being a $4 billion per year industry, McBrien said fantasy baseball team owners are looking for information. While baseball is second in fantasy numbers to football, he said with baseball being a daily sport, there is more thirst for information in baseball’s fantasy ranks.
He said his show continues to be successful because of the hard work he puts into the effort.
“I put in the time. A lot of podcasts do five shows and they are not heard from again,” McBrien said. “I make the commitment to get better every single show.”
The podcast is recorded weekly on Monday nights and is available through podcast channels including iTunes, Podcast Pickle, MirPod and Podcast Alley.