Fantasy Baseball Expert Interview: Ryan Hallam
back to the newest installment in our series of interviews aimed at giving
readers insight into the minds and backgrounds of those fantasy writers and
pundits who have reached the level of “expert.” It seems there
has been an explosion in the number of people claiming the title in the last
few years, but no one seems to know where they come from. These interviews
aim to change all that, while also giving aspiring “experts” (such as
myself) some advice on both how to break into the industry and ways to improve
your fantasy skills.
Our guest this week is Ryan Hallam, the founder of Fighting
In your opinion, what makes you a fantasy expert? (basically the polite way of asking – why
should people listen to you?)
There are a few reasons. One, of course, is my experience. I have been playing
fantasy for a long time and have immersed myself in learning all of the
players, having an idea of who will break out and who is on the decline, and I
feel my strategies tend to work. The second reason is I truly do care about my
readers and emailers. I don’t write this blog everyday for my own ego, I do want
to help you succeed. I do get great satisfaction out of watching my readers
How many years have you been playing fantasy?
I have been playing fantasy for
ten years, seven of which is involved in a keeper league with some of my
personal friends. I’ve won four of the first six championships.
How many years have you been writing?
I started writing for fantasy
baseball in June of 2007, but I became serious about it in February of
2008. So by blogging standards, I’m still a rookie.
How did you get your start?
I was kind of a fantasy
“psychotherapist” for family and friends, when my cousin suggested
that I start a blog. He gave me a few pointers on how to get started, and
the rest as they say is history.
What made you want to get into the
Well, sports basically consumes
my life, at least what is left after my family and my job. So, what
better way to try to make a living, then with something you love. I live
in a small town in Upstate NY, so my chances of making it the old fashioned way
don’t really exist. I got into this with a pipe dream of one day being
hired by a large site, or one of the “big boys” (ESPN, CBS, MLB.com,
etc.). It is a long shot, but if you don’t even try how can you
What advice would you have specific for people who want
to break into the industry?
If you are going to do it, jump in all the way. Don’t be one of these people
who only write when they feel like it. Also, do it for the right reason. You
really have to want to help your readers, that is the reason to do it. And take
it very seriously, people who read your site take your advice to heart.
I am a fan of the St. Louis
Things aren’t so great with the
Cards right now, but we do have the best hitter in baseball……Albert Pujols,
Do you ever find yourself getting
attached to a player or are you always able to seperate your emotions from your
I find myself getting attached to players on my team, but I always try to
separate that emotion from my analysis. I will give the good and bad
about a player that is fact, but when I interject my own thoughts I will
usually mention my man crush on that player. Then my readers can take
that for what it is worth.
If you were in a draft tomorrow, who would be your top 5?
Hanley Ramirez, Albert Pujols, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore.
I don’t freak out over a guy like Wright getting off to a bad start. It is way
too soon for that. A-Rod would be in there if he was healthy.
Who is your single favorite fantasy
writer at a site other than your own?
How can you beat Cory Schwartz at mlb.com? The guy is a fountain of information
and always seems to be talking about exactly what you want to know. He is a
great resource, as well as an incredible guest on our podcast.
Do you enjoy fantasy sports more or less
since you entered the industry (as opposed to when you just played them)?
I would say that I definitely enjoy them more. Sure there are days that writing
becomes a bit of a drag, but when I get an email from someone who took my
advice and had success it gets you all pumped up again. Even though I paid
attention to sports before, it is at a whole other level now that I started the
website. It has definitely become a part of my life.
Favorite fantasy memory/moment?
Of course you never forget your
first championship. It was 2003 when my main players were Manny, Carlos
Delgado, Keith Foulke, and Javy Lopez! Yeah, remember that year he hit 43
homers? I think C.C. Sabathia only weighed 250 pounds at that point.
Thanks for your time. Any prediction for our upcoming matchup?
I have some underachievers in Prince Fielder, Alexei Ramirez, and David Wright
that I need to start producing like I thought they would. And I need some of
your hot guys like Ian Kinsler, Carlos Pena, and Adrian Gonzalez to slow down.
I’m hoping my pitching pulls me through. It should be a close matchup, but if I
had to guess right now I would have to say you get me by a nose.