Dear fantasy league managers,
It is with regret that we’re announcing that Fantasy Baseball UK will not be returning for the start of the 2020 season. Following last year’s technical problems, which caused the fantasy league to end early, we’ve come to the realisation that the work needed to fix, test and put out a sturdy new version of the game ready for the rapidly approaching season is too big a demand on the personal time of the volunteers who run FBUK. In particular, the burden of code repair was falling on one person, Geof, who built the game originally.
We’re sorry that this announcement comes late in the day when many of you are probably gearing up for another fantasy baseball season. Throughout the offseason the intention was always to find solutions to keep the game going and the recent decision has not been easy, especially as we had been working hard in the past few years to develop parts of the game and last year celebrated FBUK’s 15th anniversary.
However, the longer term intention still remains to fix and bring back the game so at the moment we’re viewing this not as the end but as a hiatus that offers us more time – maybe the FBUK equivalent of Tommy John surgery, after which hopefully we’ll come back stronger!
It will also be a period of transition as Geof, the creator of the game, has chosen to step down after 16 seasons of overseeing FBUK. To use another baseball analogy, Geof is leaving the pitcher’s mound and handing the game ball over to Tim, who has handled the ‘front-facing’ side of FBUK for the past few years including the communications, prizes and the website redesign in 2018.
“I’ve decided it’s time for me to retire from fantasy baseball,” says Geof. “I feel sad… it would be strange not to. But I’m pleased to feel that I’m calling time on the project at a time of my choosing. I’m really grateful for all the time and effort the volunteers have put in over the years, and I shall look back on our game with pride and fondness.”
Fantasy Baseball UK was originally launched in 2004 as a partnership between BaseballSoftballUK (the national development agency for baseball and softball) and MLB on Five (Channel Five’s televised baseball coverage), with the game format built by Geof and designed to appeal to UK MLB fans.
“I have a distant memory of Geof launching the fantasy league back when we were both working with BaseballSoftballUK,” says Tim. “After MLB on Five stopped broadcasting in 2008, FBUK carried on independently, maintained by volunteers. It’s thanks to Geof’s continued effort that the league has lasted as long as it has, supported by a passionate core fan base.”
Thanks are also due to the various volunteers who have assisted Geof over the years with the day-to-day running of the game such as dealing with stats, points and roster issues, and moderating and handling enquiries in the forum. In recent seasons, that has largely been done by Ant – if the game does continue it remains to be seen whether he can be coaxed back to the role!
Ant says, “I fully understand and respect Geof finally wanting to call it a day. It’s been great fun as well as hard work, and I am proud to have been part of something special. At times I have shared that immense frustration we have all felt when things went wrong. I have enjoyed the company of the forum members both past and present. I wish Tim great luck in getting it going again, because he’s certainly going to need it. If he succeeds, he may save a small but loyal online community. Thanks Geof and Tim for your time and amazing effort.”
While we consider the future of the game, the FBUK website will remain online, as will the social media channels and the email newsletter, so look out for updates. We’ll also try to keep the website’s fantasy manager accounts and forum available, although they may go offline for periods as work is done on the site.
For now, the last ‘thank you’ is to all of you who have played and supported Fantasy Baseball UK, whether returning year after year or discovering (or re-discovering) the fantasy league more recently. It’s your continued interest in the game and the sense of loyalty to this little corner of the internet, despite its ups and downs over the years, that has kept on motivating us.
The FBUK team.