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Fans put Fantasy Baseball Commissioner to the test

NEW YORK -- It is the 27th year for the Gettysburg Fantasy Baseball League, a classic baseball number for a classic Rotisserie league that has evolved with unending numbers.

Gettysburg began in 1987, the year of the Twins. It is a 4x4 National League-only keeper league, ready again for glory and doom alike. Its auction-style draft was held on Thursday night at a conference room in Manhattan, where they again used the CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner, the official commissioner tool of MLB.com. Ten of the league's owners were there in person, and two more were on the phone.

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"The CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner is essential, because no matter what kind of league functionality you want the system can accommodate your needs," said Cliff Wiener, a fashion designer from Boca Raton, Fla., and the commissioner of Gettysburg, now in his sixth year with the league and having attended his fourth in-person draft. "We constantly used the CBS interface for fast player news updates and to make quick references to player eligibility that may have changed according to our league rules in the last few days."

The 12-team league has a $260 salary cap, and each auctioned player is signed to a three-year contract with an option to extend the contract for up to two more years at the cost of $5 per season. Additionally, its members are allowed to own up to four Minor League players at a time. As a follow-up to an MLB.com story last month on the Commissioner tool, Wiener had agreed to email MLB.com with a report on how the Gettysburg draft went, at a time when fantasy leagues everywhere either have conducted their drafts or will do so in the coming days.

"We're currently hard at work updating the site with our auction results," he said. "Playing in an NL-only league really has a new landscape this year. We lost an entire team [Houston, now in the American League West].

"Normally the money spent at auction was more evenly dispersed between high- and low-end talent. This year, the high-end talent went for costs of $4 to $5 more per player. Going into the auction, I was focused on acquiring one more power bat and a 20-20 type of shortstop or outfielder."

Wiener used the CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner management capability during the auction to assign players to their new owners and manage remaining budgets. He said the top players selected by price were, in order, Reds first baseman Joey Votto, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, Braves center fielder B.J. Upton and Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

"Bidding was fast and furious early on," Wiener said. "I was fortunate to land Ryan Zimmerman for exactly $35, which is what I budgeted for him. I had to settle for my third choice at 20-20 in Shin-Soo Chino, whom I had budgeted at $26 but was forced to go to $33 when Ian Desmond and B.J. Upton both went for $38, when I had budgeted $35."

The subscription price for the CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner includes the ability to listen to live Gameday Audio for any of the 2,430 regular-season games, including home and away audio feeds, with no blackout restriction -- a $19.99 value.

The partnership between CBSSports.com and MLB Advanced Media means that you also will get in-game and postgame video highlights of players on your and your opponent's roster in full HD, plus the ability to watch your fantasy players via a customized channel if you subscribe to both MLB.TV and CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner.

The most awarded fantasy sports game in the industry, CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner last year was named Best Fantasy Commissioner Game from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Highlights include:

• Reliability so proven you can be confident that your league will be up and running through the whole season;

• A dedicated customer-support team that knows and plays fantasy, too

• More than 100 customization options for your league setup

• Social tools that make it easier to communicate with others in your league or other fantasy fans across the country

• The ability to access and manage your team online or from mobile devices, 24/7

• An in-house staff of recognized and award-winning fantasy baseball experts who will give you unique player news, stats and projections

• More innovation through web apps that integrate into your league, bringing additional info and functionality to the game

"I use the software to see what stats I have and what stats I need going in, then I can budget accordingly," Wiener said. "I had made a few plans, one centered around Votto, since he is the best bat in our auction, and the others centered around what if I don't win Votto.

"I prefer CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Commissioner, because it enables us to manage our keeper league all year round. Most other sites don't allow us to have 24/7/365 access to our league page. We have a very complicated keeper league, with salaries and long-term contracts that we have to manage, and most other sites don't allow us to have so much detail in our league pages."

Wiener said he gets his fantasy news from a variety of sources, typical for the average league owner. One popular go-to is MLB.com/fantasy, a launch area for widespread fantasy resources, including the MLB.com 2013 Player Preview rankings.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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