ESPN’s 30 for 30 series did a documentary about the origins of fantasy sports earlier this year called Silly Little Game. It is great and highly recommended to anybody who plays fantasy sports. Fantasyland is a kind of continuation in the evolution of fantasy sports. It’s about an all-star fantasy baseball league called the Tout Wars. It’s what happens when the guys who literally write the books on the subject go head-to-head.
Fantasyland concentrates on Jed Latkin, a rookie in the league and his experiences as an outsider entering this group. At the beginning of the season the group talked real big about how they were hard to stay with and that Jed didn’t have a chance, but when it came down to it, Jed blew them all away in the dedication area. He sleeps less than five hours a night, he makes trips to meet the players on his team, and is constantly trying to make trades.
There is no pretending that he’s the average fantasy player. He’s into it 150%. Over the season it seemed that the players on his team—who he flew to various cities to meet on multiple occasions—warmed up to him by the end, but as for the other players in his league… not so much.
The Tout Wars League gave the appearance of the establishment; things were done a certain way. This wasn’t good for Jed who is all about trading, which is done sparingly, especially in the first month of the Tout Wars. It took Jed about three minutes to start coming up with offers.
The documentary itself was well done. It concentrated on Tout Wars and Jed, but also gave some background in fantasy sports in general. There was some good humor thrown in too.
Jed is obviously a unique person, but because Fantasyland concentrated on him and the fantasy side of his life it’s difficult to tell if it made him look weirder than he is. He’s happy, his wife is happy, his kids are healthy, he’s got a job. Scenes like the one where Jed is trying to make a trade while his twins are being born may upset some people, but I got the impression that there are times that he does help out around the house.
This is the first season I’m playing fantasy baseball and I’m having a lot of fun. One of the things I’ve learned is that there is no right way to play, so I was disappointed to see some of the leading names in the industry act like there is.
Both my fantasy and my real favorite teams are struggling right now, but I’ll keep working and hoping. Maybe I should also hope that the Pirates hire Jed Latkin.
You can watch Fantasyland on Hulu.com.