Now that we are in the peak of fantasy baseball draft season, the Court hears about all sorts of issues and dilemmas that arise during leagues’ drafts. The draft is the cornerstone of every fantasy league; league members spend extraordinary amounts of time and resources preparing to select their teams. An issue or conflict surrounding a draft must be handled expeditiously, correctly and consistently.
Recently, the Court resolved a case captioned Storm Troopers vs. One for Altuve which dealt with a fairly common draft-day problem in this era when practically all aspects of fantasy sports rely on technology, including draft room software and Internet connections.
The Keystone Fantasy Baseball League’s online draft took place on March 20. During round six, the team known as One for Altuve allowed the 60-second timer to expire without making a draft pick. As a result, he was awarded Johnny Cueto, who was the next highest ranked player at the time. Immediately, One for Altuve wrote a message in the chat box of the draft room indicating that the draft room had frozen on him, preventing him from being able to make a selection. He asked the commissioner to back the draft up, undo the previous selection, and award him Paul Goldschmidt who was his desired selection.
Because no other draft picks had been made, the commissioner granted the request.
At that point, the team known as the Storm Troopers asked the commissioner to pause the draft for a discussion about what had just occurred. The Storm Troopers had the next pick and said they were going to select Goldschmidt. The commissioner indicated that his decision stood because One for Altuve raised the issue before anyone else made a selection.
While I understand the Storm Troopers’ complaint, the decision was fairly simple in this case. One for Altuve did his due diligence to alert the commissioner of the problem immediately. Because no subsequent draft picks were made, no one else was prejudiced. The Storm Troopers said they were harmed because they were going to select Goldschmidt with the next pick. While that may be true, it can never be proven nor does it matter, because they hadn’t submitted a pick before the commissioner paused the draft.
The commissioner made the correct decision because sometimes technological issues happen and are out of people’s control. Commissioners have discretion to handle situations like this. Clearly he could have gone the opposite way as well. That would not have necessarily been the wrong decision, but the choice he did make was the best decision. This decision set a precedent for the way the Keystone Fantasy Baseball League will handle situations such as this. It should also alert fantasy players to be cognizant technological issues and be as proactive as possible in alerting your commissioner.
Typically the Court will uphold a commissioner’s decision, assuming it was made impartially and in the best interests of the league overall. There is no discernible advantage or benefit gained by the commissioner in making this decision, so the Court can conclude this was done impartially. It also demonstrated an ability to fix a problem without harming anyone.