Some subjects drop in your lap and you sit there with a blank Word screen going, “Where to start? Where… to… start?”
Not because I don’t have a lot to say, but because there’s just so much.
That subject this week originates over in Baseball Land, where CBS Sports is offering a fantasy baseball game called Baseball Boyfriend. The company that created the app even bought the URL BaseballBoyfriend.com for this endeavor. I really would have thought Alyssa Milano would have owned that URL already.
(BTW, I promise I’ll get to the hockey here in a minute, despite the fact that I’m sitting here wearing a Toronto Blue Jays hoodie. Don’t hate. Girl’s got to have a summer hobby.)
Now, I think if you’ve read me for a while, you know I’m not the sort to pound my fists on the table at every slight to woman-kind. Lord knows I’m a party to WAY too much objectification and sexism for that to not be hypocritical.
But this one is a riddle: It’s dumb, for sure. But it’s also really stupid. And maybe a little bit accidentally awesome.
So, to set the backstory, this Baseball Boyfriend is a fantasy game “add on” to your fantasy baseball league play. It’s an app you have to pay $2.99 for, and it’s apparently used conjunction with CBS’s Fantasy Baseball app.
It’s scored against others in your league with a BBBF (assuming you aren’t in a league full of guys who will have no interest in paying $3 to pick a boyfriend) or against the entire group of people playing this game. You get nothing for winning except bragging rights for winning the dumbest game ever. So, enjoy that.
My gut reaction to this is split 3 different ways, all as someone who’s never played fantasy baseball but has been playing fantasy hockey for a few years in a variety of forms:
1. This is Dumb
If you’re already playing fantasy sports, you’re probably already pretty knowledgeable of the sport, and since you have to already own a fantasy team to do this, it’s not like it’s a “gateway” fantasy game to draw women in. You’re either in all the way, plus this side game, or you’re not in at all.
To be honest, I’d TOTALLY play this if I didn’t have to play fantasy baseball, too, but it’s just too time consuming and I’m not into baseball in “that way.” After 8 months of my brain crunching incessantly on hockey, baseball is a serene, grassy, breezy vacation for my sports mind. “Oh look, a home run. Go team!” (I know… I’m such an American League fan. Dingers for everybody!!)
If this was a fantasy hockey app, I’d skip it because isn’t that what fantasy hockey already is? Except it’s a roster full of fantasy boyfriends that you can, for the most part, use or lose at will? If it’s still ultimately based only on stats, what’s the difference?
2. This is Stupid
The presentation, with hearts and a little black book and the hand-written, lined notebook paper aesthetic is just a glitter pony and sparkle bunny short of “made for the kind of teenage girl I wouldn’t have been friends with on a dare when I was a teenage girl.”
I tried to imagine how I would style an app like this if, say, CBSSports Fantasy Hockey came to me and said, “We’re making this totally awesome side game for called Fantasy Hockey Boyfriend and we want you to design it so it doesn’t make adult women want to punch it in the face.”
Pretty sure I’d send them this:
3. A Little Bit Awesome
The execution makes Hello Kitty merchandise seem downright manly, but the actual content and path to victory, as far as I can tell, doesn’t really differ from any other fantasy league (apart from some field levelers to adjust for different player roles).
For me, the best fantasy hockey would satisfy both my serious, competitive side, as well as the frivolous, “did you see his butt?” side. I THINK that’s what these baseball people are trying to do, which is awesome, but they go too far in one direction and not far enough in the other.
Dial the gagtastic teenageriness down to 0, and turn up a modern, clean design with the occasional picture of washboard abs or a perfect butt, just because those are fun to look at. No pink anywhere. No freaking hearts.
Have some kind of rating or stat that rewards selection of Foxy guys. I don’t know if you make that the commissioner’s job or what, but something has to keep people from cheating and stacking the deck with guys like Corey Perry, whose talent far outweighs his foxiness.
I came close to realizing the dream this summer when I joined the Five Hole Fantasy League. Foxiness was your #1 objective, and if you could cobble together the foxiest, most talented team, then I guess you’re the Five Hole Queen or something (it never got as far as “how do you win” because we were too busy scouring the NHL and AHL rosters for the lookers).
Everything about it was unwholesome and thoroughly inappropriate, so of course, it was the best thing ever. From team names (Johnson City Sausagemen, Fidelity Kryptonite, Forked Tongue Flickers) to the almost pornographic write-ups we did for each of our draft picks.
I’d point you to the posts, but sadly, most were taken off the sites they were on (they were THAT GOOD, but I guess too tawdry for our hostesses’ blogs long term). My draft pick write-ups would have made sailors blush. So proud.
It was clear all along, with two leagues in the mix, that the stats end of it would be impossible to maintain, so when it fizzled out even before we’d finished drafting, I wasn’t surprised. But it was beautiful while it lasted.
The dream isn’t dead though. I’m hoping this plea for my cause will fall on the eyes of some nifty app developer who will take pity on me and build the Fantasy Hockey app of my dreams.
I can’t promise it won’t still offend the most diehard feminist sensibilities – there will be nonsense and objectification — but fortunately that Baseball Boyfriend app set the bar very, VERY low in just about every possible way other than sheer brazenness.
I think if we could find the right balance of “look at my goalie’s GAA! now look at his amazing eyes!” it would be the best of all possible fantasy worlds.