MASTER NOTES: Play fantasy with the All Star Game

For some of us, the All Star break is a nice mid-season respite from the daily drone of accumulating statistics and shifting standings. For the other 99% of us, the break is four days of interminable darkness.

The All Star game itself is, well, a distraction. While it determines the home field advantage for the World Series, that value is still artificial.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

This year, I am going to give you a reason to watch the game with more than just a passing interest.

About nine years ago, I introduced a fantasy game that revolved around a single Major League Baseball contest. It was called Quint-Inning. While it generated a bit of interest back then, I haven't done much to sustain the early buzz.

The All Star Game is a terrific opportunity to re-introduce the concept. And if you're not already intrigued enough, here is one more reason to consider playing it this Tuesday... the Federal Government says this game is illegal.

Now, the feds are not going to break down your door and arrest your friends; it's pretty much as safe as playing poker down in your basement. But you won't ever find online Quint-Inning tournaments like you can find most other daily fantasy contests.

Still, this can be a lot of fun. Here are the rules, adjusted slightly for the All Star Game's larger roster sizes.

1. Start with five owners.

2. Prior to first pitch, conduct a draft where each owner selects five players. This can be done as a simple snake draft, or if you're more ambitious, auction off the 25 players. Give each owner a budget of $50 of real or fake money.

3. Scoring is simple. For batters, singles, walks, hit-by-pitches and stolen bases are one point each. Doubles are 2 points. Triples are 3 points. Home runs are 4 points. Pitchers get one point for each out recorded but lose one point for every hit or walk they allow. This is a little different from the standard game and is done to accommodate the fact that there will likely be a pitching change almost every inning.

4. At the beginning of the 5th inning, each owner has the option of doubling any future points for one player on his roster. We call that player the Quint. Points for all batters are doubled beginning in the 9th inning. That means the Quint's points would be quadrupled.

5. At the end of each inning, you can cut players, claim players from the free agent pool or trade players. You must maintain five players at all times, so all adds, drops and trades must keep your roster square. Free agent claims are done in reverse order of the standings. If two teams are tied and both want the same player, I find it helpful to have a deck of cards handy - the owner who draws high card would get the player.

6. Quint-Inning is a betting game, which is one of the reasons it's technically illegal. Owners need to ante up to play, typically $5, though if you're using a $50 auction budget, that works fine. It then costs $1 per inning to stay in the game for the second through fourth innings. Beginning in the 5th inning, the stakes increase to $2 per inning to stay in the game.

7. Owners can fold at any time, forfeiting any monies they contributed to the pot. Their players are released into the free agent pool and are available to the remaining owners in reverse order of the standings.

8. Finally, the owner with the most points at the end of the game wins the pot.

The All Star Game is a terrific venue for Quint-Inning because there are so many players. Conceivably, I imagine you could expand the game to six or seven owners. Even with a $5 buy-in and five owners, the pot by the end of the game could be 90 bucks if everyone stays in to the end. Not a bad payday for three hours work.

I'd be interested in hearing from any of you who take Quint-Inning out for a spin. Comment below.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.