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Fantasyland: True Tales from America's Most Compulsive Fantasy Baseball League

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  2,506 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
Every spring, millions of Americans prepare to take part in one of the oddest, most obsessive, and most engrossing rituals in the sports pantheon: Rotisserie baseball, a fantasy game where armchair fans match wits by building their own teams. In 2004, Sam Walker, a sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal, decided to explore this phenomenon by talking his way into Tout ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 27th 2007 by Penguin (Non-Classics) (first published March 2nd 2006)
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Aug 28, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007books
Believing the positive reviews I read of “Fantasyland” by Sam Walker, I started this book – about a sports journalist with no fantasy baseball experience who plays for a season against the top fantasy experts in their league, called ‘Tout Wars’ – looking for a funny, insightful look at the game of fantasy baseball, and its hard-core practitioners. I imagined that the book would appeal to at least one, if not both, of the two following groups:
a) baseball fans who know little about fantasy baseba
Mark Geise
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked "Fantasyland." I am a big baseball fan and a somewhat serious fantasy baseball player (though nothing on the level of what Sam Walker discusses in this book). "Fantasyland" is an adventure through Walker's first season playing Rotisserie fantasy baseball. He joins the Tout Wars league, an experts' league that is populated by some of the most prominent fantasy baseball players in the world. Walker must learn about the Rotisserie game and determine what his strategy and identity will be in ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of the funniest books I have ever read, in any category. I think it goes without saying that you need to be a fan of fantasy baseball to have more than an passing interest in Sam Walker's Fantasyland. If you are, you will find many of the experiences Sam went through ring true.

His grilling of major league baseball players and executives, in the name of gleaning an inside information edge on his competition, had me laughing so hard that I had the put the book down at times.

The amount
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports

To enjoy this read, it helps if one likes fantasy baseball, but being a fan of baseball is enough. Walker tracks the 2004 MLB season through his eyes as an obsessed rotisserie league owner. Thanks to his credentials as a sports columnist for The Wall Street Journal, he is able to meet with his rotisserie players, their managers and GMs, all with the rather delusional goal of helping the players perform better on the field--or in some cases to get on the field at all. With all this in mind, "A Se
Feb 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Way more interesting than I expected, considering I really don't enjoy baseball or watch it, and certainly have no desire to play fantasy baseball.
It's very surprising to me how much I enjoyed this book, since I expected it to be much more statistically driven instead of a narrative. I didn't get any insight to use in my sports stats class or really any math at all, but I still really liked the book. It held the story of sports and all their magic.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite baseball books
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is funny, interesting, and an outstanding look at the "stat" side of baseball from the view of fantasy baseball. I enjoyed the book as a better understanding of baseball and also just a lighthearted look at what might constitute an "obsession" -- the various fantasy, rotisserie and other leagues, whether in baseball or all sports.

Sam Walker writes well, has an engaging sense of humor, and with his two "employees" Sig and Nando, takes on the elite of baseball's fantasy players. The book
Jeremy Cork
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you play, or ever have played, fantasy baseball, or any fantasy sport for that matter, this book displays going to all extremes; jet setting across the country to scout players, lobbying to GM's, and putting on hold all aspects of a social life. Fantasyland follows somewhat along the theories of "Moneyball" - If you read Moneyball, then Fantasyland may interest you.
Oct 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who liked moneyball
Recommended to themacinator by: dad
I love baseball. I know that's obvious. When I was little, my dad was in a "rotisserie" league. I don't think I ever knew why it was called a "rotisserie" league- maybe I thought they made that up, since everyone else played "Fantasy" baseball, or maybe I thought they ate a lot of rotisserie chicken. I don't know, but I do know that I played a lot of rotisserie baseball with dad. I collected baseball cards at the time, so I knew a lot of the stats in my pre-teen brain, although I didn't always k ...more
Nov 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a very entertaining adventure into the extremes of fantasy baseball. I play fantasy baseball on a much more modest level than Sam and the others that are profiled in the book, and I found that it actually fulfilled my 'fantasies' - that is, breaking down the barriers between "fantasy" and "real" baseball. For instance, the book opens with a magnificent anecdote about Jacque Jones, who upon reading his fantasy profile seems close to tears. Walker uses his baseball contacts to move in ...more
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
There are hundreds of terrific books on baseball, but none capture the pure love of the game quite like "Fantasyland: A Season's on Baseball's Lunatic Fringe", by Wall Street Journal columnist Sam Walker.

My friends know I am an avid fantasy baseball player, but you certainly don't have to play fantasy (or "Rotisserie") baseball to enjoy this book. Walker, in fact, had never played fantasy baseball in his life when he set out to write it.

Walker was a skeptic about Rotisserie going in, but decid
May 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book promised to be a humorous, entertaining look at the national pastime, and the people that play Rotisserie Baseball.

I'm a sports fan (especially baseball and football). I'm a geek. I've spent many hours managing my fantasy teams (thereby combining the "sports" and "geek" parts of my life). I've also been told that I am a humorous, entertaining writer. How come it didn't occur to me to write this book? I think I would've done a better job... and I don't think I'm better than anyone at an
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book almost requires four reviews:

Casual sports fan who isn't that into baseball - 3 stars as it's a well written and humorous book even if it's not up someone's alley. Would get lost a bit sometimes in the intricacies of the fantasy stats probably.

Heavy baseball fan but non-fantasy player - 4 stars. It's a great baseball book as the author takes advantage of his insider access and interviews players and coaches around the league, all with the goal of helping his fantasy team.

Heavy baseball
Nov 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy baseball afficionadoes, baseball fans, fans of Word Freak and/or Horsemen of the Esophagus
Shelves: nonfiction-adult
Since I myself am a former fantasy baseball GM with a pretty appalling track record, this book held a lot of appeal for me. I appreciated the tales of obsessed rotisserie nuts, each more ridiculous than the last, which prefaced every chapter; I empathized with the frustrations and little humiliations; and I left it with a clearer sense of at least some of the fatal trading and drafting mistakes I made in the past. All in all, this was a pretty decent gatecrasher's account of the popular pastime, ...more
David Seruyange
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you looked up a list of things to do which are more geeky than playing fantasy baseball, I've no doubt one of the items on that list would be reading about people playing fantasy baseball. If you are in the mood for not just being a geek, but squaring that geeky behavior, look no further than this book: you will love it.

This book is a memoir about the 2004 baseball season in which the author attempts to win one of the most competitive fantasy leagues of the time, the "tout wars" stashed with
Ken Heard
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Sam Walker captures the obsession of baseball fantasy games in Fantasyland well. Walker, a Wall Street Journal sports reporter, begins "Fantasyland" with a passing interest in the game, but, like the participants, he begins the obsession.

It comes over well in his writing. Fast-paced, funny, detailed, informative and insane. He admits to spending well over $45,000 in his quest to win Tout Wars, a competition among several admitted baseball stat geeks. Walker writes of the psychology of the draft,
Bill Krieger
You better be into fantasy baseball if you plan on reading Fantasyland. Duh. The fantasy baseball stories ring true and are fun to read... as long as you are a fantasy baseball head yourself.

I didn't know Mo Vaughn was pregnant!
- Fantasyland smack

There are two problems with the book though. First and most important, it reads like a magazine article. This isn't surprising since the author writes magazine articles. Nonetheless, it's less fun reading a book that is so, um, linear and style-f
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt Schinsky
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantasyland is a memoir about a sportswriter who finds out about a rotisserie baseball league and ends up joining it. But this league isn't any normal fantasy league. All of the contestants of this free league either run blogs, write in newspapers, or write their own books about fantasy baseball. The first thing I found crazy yet awesome was that these fantasy managers had MLB coaches and gm's in their back pockets. When rookie Kevin Youkalus blasted a homerun in his first big league game Sam ca ...more
Ori Fienberg
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this about a year after it came out, and since I find myself wallowing in the basement of my first fantasy league I decided to reread it.

This book is hilarious and the passion for baseball is apparent on every single page. It won't take long before you find yourself rooting for the Streetwalkers as if they were your hometown team, or thinking of how to apply Walker's methodology to your own fantasy team. Astrological predictions anyone? The characters, from his fellow league members, to t
Jun 27, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was an interesting take on fantasy baseball as described by an outsider playing in his first league- which just happened to be the biggest league of them all. Walker offered insight into the all too familiar delusions and compulsions of fantasy sports owners, but ultimately I didn't find it enlightening with regards to the actual game of fantasy baseball. What it did highlight was the creation and history of the game, and in a more interesting take, the attitudes of baseball players an ...more
Sep 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Fantasyland is one of the few baseball books on my shelf that I'd actually recommend to non-fans. The gist is that the author, a well-established sports writer, joins the country’s premier fantasy baseball league & documents his “rookie” season while also providing a history of fantasy baseball and the key players involved.

However, as I implied, this book is not just for fantasy geeks. You don't have to be at all familiar with fantasy sports to understand and enjoy it - it's far more about
Feb 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: baseball junkies
Let me start by saying this probably only appeals to fantasy (or rotisserie) baseball, or perhaps hard core baseball fans in general. If you fit either criteria, this book is a must read. If not, move along.

**** for the baseball junkies
* for everybody else

Walker does a great job describing the complexities and highs and lows of bulding your own team to follow during the year. It was interesting as an experienced player / owner to see the learning curve for a new guy. Nice to see him use his insi
Apr 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball
This is not a book that you think a non-fantasy baseball playing non-sports nut would like; I've only followed baseball for a year, and I still have a hard time remembering which teams are in the National League and which are in the American, let alone being able to understand what would drive someone to absorb so many numbers about so many players in order to play a game.

Okay, coming from a man who is currently reading a rule-book for mass combat in a role-playing game he knows he will never pl
Marshall Layne
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My friends have been pushing me for years to play fantasy baseball because I just know ridiculous amounts of nonsense about players from reading too much on the internet and listening to too much sports talk radio and keeping up to date on all things baseball on every channel that I can watch. After reading this book, I think this year may be the year I try my luck. I'm sure this book review won't ever get used on any future editions unless I win a league some year, but it was Frikin' awesome. T ...more
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just recently started playing rotisserie baseball after playing fantasy football for years. A few years ago I gave up fantasy football because I spent too much time on the game. I also kind of dislike football on general principle. I love baseball, however, and anything that adds to my enjoyment of the game seems worthwhile to me. In moderation.

Moderation is not the story in Fantasyland. Sam Walker spends tens of thousands of dollars trying to crack the nut that is Tout Wars, an invite-only
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
Perhaps the only time someone talking about their fantasy baseball team has been interesting.

Really well-written for what can be a difficult, jargon-filled topic. The sheer scale of Walker's efforts to win an expert fantasy baseball league, spending thousands of dollars on research and staff, are great nerd wish fulfillment.

It's interesting to read this book six years after it came out--I could've looked at all the stats for that year, but it seems so obvious, fated even, that David Ortiz and Ma
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Lunatic, just like the subtitle. In 2004, he played in a high-level Rotisserie league with no prize money, spending an estimated $65,000 to finish . . . . 8th! He captures the insane feeling of team ownership with the added fillip of professional sports- writer access to "his" players.

Although the one year I played a Rotisserie-style league I didn't like it, this book makes me want to try it again. But not today, I have to go check the standings in my baseball points league. And my fantasy footb
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Here is a book that is as fun as the baseball season is long. A behind-the-scenes look at the very origins of fantasy baseball as we know it today. Walker is witty, his cast of "characters" lovable, and his seamless blending in and out of the reader's world into his own, that of baseball and its stars and money, is fantastic. Seamhead dorks and baseball novices will love this book. As Walker delves into sabermetrics/Jamesian baseball, it's not boring; it's riveting, and it's not condescending—it ...more
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