RULES: INTRODUCTION

WHAT ARE FANTASY GAMES?
Have you ever dreamed of what it would be like to own your own professional sports team? Fantasy games are a way to live out that dream. And, to make things easier, all fantasy games are fundamentally the same - real athletes and their real-life performances are used to generate points for fantasy teams in fantasy leagues.

For example, in a traditional fantasy league, there is a set number of "team owners." There are a set of rules that determine everything from team roster size, to scoring method, to schedule. You and your fellow team owners hold a draft, i.e. fill your fantasy roster with real-life ball players, from A-Rod to Carlos Zambrano (in the case of fantasy baseball).

Then throughout the season, you will set your line-up based on how well you think "your" players will perform. The statistics your positional players generate in their real games are collected, and fantasy points are awarded based on these numbers. The better your players perform, the more fantasy points accrue for your fantasy team.

Ultimately, these points determine a winner in seasonal leagues. The team that accumulates the most points (or points based wins) over the course of the season - or prevails in the postseason-is declared the league winner. With the league championship comes the glory to boast about it until the next season rolls around, at which point the other teams can smell sweet revenge.


WHAT IS ESPN FANTASY BASEBALL?
Welcome to the world of fantasy baseball - ESPN Style! ESPN.com 2009 Fantasy Baseball is the closest thing you can find to buying your own professional franchise and becoming the team's coach, owner and president. All decisions are yours to make. And lucky for you, baseball is a game filled with unbiased player performance statistics. By using these statistics, you have everything you need to understand which players are performing well and which ones are not.

You make all "team manager" decisions on who will help your team and who may hurt your team, all season long. So, with 162 MLB games per team and a minimum of 27 at-bats per game for every team, peppered with strikeouts, walks, home runs and then mixed with flame throwing pitchers and nasty closers (you get the idea), ESPN real-time stats are yours to plunder and uncover patterns in player performances that would make Theo Epstein proud!

Once you join a league, you and your fellow team owners are supplied with all of the necessary tools: multiple draft methods, live box scores, waivers, trades, free agency, custom player updates, a commissioner, league bulletin boards, sortable stats for all players, etc. ESPN provides you with everything needed to build the best possible baseball team. So relax and let the fun begin! Whether you're a newbie or veteran, fantasy baseball fame, glory and bragging rights are just a few clicks away!


WHAT'S NEW FOR 2009?
ESPN is always looking to improve the player experience in our fantasy games. 2009 fantasy baseball is no exception. We have listened to your feedback from last season and have made the following enhancements for the 2009 season:

Auction Drafts and ESPN's exclusive Fantasy Cast have arrived for ESPN Fantasy Baseball:

  • Auction drafts! In addition to the standard "snake draft" format, this year ESPN provides the most intense, challenging and fun draft format in fantasy baseball -- the auction draft. Some of you may have already experienced our new draft option this past NFL season with ESPN Fantasy Football. Now it is available to ESPN Fantasy Baseball! All owners begin with an empty roster and a budget of $260. Then, one by one, pro baseball's top stars are put on the auction block and acquired by the team of the highest bidder. Sounds easy, right? Be careful -- spend too much on one star and your remaining roster may be filled out with second-stringers and bench sitters. Spend too little and your roster will be filled with nobodies, has-beens and rookie long shots. This is what makes auction drafts so much fun. Sure, you can have Sabathia, but for how much money? How much is Ryan Braun really worth? Only you know for sure.
  • Fantasy Cast now available for Fantasy Baseball - With ESPN's free live scoring with Fantasy Cast, you can keep track of every hit, strikeout, RBI and all your league's stats in real time.