Why getting ‘the scoop’ before your opponents is no longer possible.
A scoop refers to a piece of news being released by a media outlet before it's rivals can. Since most fantasy hockey writing is scoop based and because most fantasy sports strategy is scoop based, I assumed when I first started writing a fantasy hockey article, I'd do the scoop thing. I visualized Dobber as a cigar chomping J. Jonah Jameson type character who was always worried sick about being scooped and who screamed our last names with a heavy emphasis on the last syllable when upset… “Angggggg GUS!” Occasionally, one of us would meet his approval with a scoop of such significance he’d soften, and begrudgingly lead the entire newsroom in a heartfelt slow clap. I imagined being the recipient of that slow clap, proudly walking across the newsroom floor buoyed by the hard won admiration of my peers and propelled by the flirty giggles of the gals in the secretaries' pool.
What I assumed would happen hasn’t; for a couple reasons. First, working for the Dobber Sports Network has turned out to be different from my hybrid Mad Men / Spiderman fantasies. No epicenter on the top floor of a skyscraper. No clacking of typewriters. No gals in the secretary pool. And probably no Christmas party either. There is just a mysterious man in sunglasses who corrects my punctuation and insists I send him articles in Word format.
The second reason I haven't received the slow clap for any scoops is because the Internet and accompanying social media have made a real scoop impossible. This is especially true for a weekly article. More than once I’ve thought about doing a piece on a player and by the time Monday rolls around my grandmother has re-tweeted it. Old lady is always scooping me (you are right to imagine me shaking my fist but wrong to imagine me without clothes and what I mean by that is morally wrong since technically you are right). I soon realized if I ever wanted to earn that slow clap I’d have to change my strategy. But I wasn't sure what to do.
I actually entertained the idea of making stuff up. I wondered how long a guy could get away with writing actual fantasy on a fantasy hockey website. I put together a great piece about a Pat Falloon comeback based on info I received last week while sitting beside him in the dressing room between the periods of a charity game against the Hab’s alumni. The article concludes with me suggesting he is worth putting on your bench in deep leagues. It’s partly true; I did play with him last week. But the man is clearly not thinking comeback, nor, as my article claims, does Brian Burke see him as an ideal mentor for Sean Monahan; at least, not to my knowledge. Falloon is however, an all right pick up in charity games, but don't expect any backchecking at all.
As enjoyable as making up lies was, I figured there was a down side somewhere and so I went with the current PuckPastor angle – whatever that is. My point is the death of the scoop means I had to change my strategy, but my more relevant point is you also need to change your strategy when it comes to your fantasy team. Because my friends, the scoop is dead.
Once upon a time fantasy leagues were won because the winners had information others didn’t. We scooped each other and it worked for us. Now a quick Google of “fantasy hockey advice” brings you all the information you could want in half a second. Put a random player's name in – oh let's try Pat Falloon – and you get 63,700 results in .31 seconds. That's a lot of Falloon. Information is no longer an advantage because everyone who cares can find it easily. I bet the guys in your fantasy league care. The scoop is dead and you need a new strategy. Thankfully, there are new advantages accessible to you in this information-saturated reality.
But you'll have to wait until next week to read about them.
Grace and Peace,
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