Orioles

Yahoo apologizes after fantasy site goes down

Yahoo apologizes after fantasy site goes down

Yahoo Sports is apologizing for a site outage that left thousands of fantasy football players complaining of last-minute lineup problems and possible lost money on an NFL Sunday.

Ken Fuchs, head of entertainment, sports and games at Yahoo Inc., emailed players early Monday to apologize for problems with the site and its mobile apps.

``I'm disappointed that we failed all of our fans today,'' Fuchs wrote in the email. ``Our first priority is having the best experience for our users, and today we fell short.''

Fuchs said the outage started about one hour before the first games kicked off, which he called ``awful timing.''

Yahoo, along with sites run by ESPN and CBS Sports, is one of the biggest players in the $800 million-per-year fantasy sports industry, hosting leagues where users pick a team of real-life players and compete based on their individual statistics. A study last year found that 32 million people in the United States and Canada were playing fantasy sports, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Football is by far the most popular fantasy sport.

Many players play casual leagues just for fun, but others gamble money - sometimes big money.

Yahoo said Monday afternoon on its fantasy football Twitter account that the website was back up, but users were still unable to make lineup changes on mobile apps.

Players enraged about the outage took to Twitter, Facebook and Reddit on Sunday and Monday to express their displeasure, some saying they planned to switch platforms as a result.

``I feel like I lost out a lot,'' said Bryan Smothers, a 27-year-old small business owner from Eureka, Calif., who said the site let him down during a week crucial toward determining whether his path will lead toward the playoffs or a lost $500 buy-in.

Smothers said he waited until Sunday morning to set his lineup because he wanted to be current on the latest injuries, but the outage meant his lineup became locked in with Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, receiver Brandon Lloyd and Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick all on the bench with lesser options in his lineup - including one player on a bye.

Smothers said he appreciated the apology but thinks it may not be enough for players who invest a lot of time and money into leagues.

``You're talking about millions of people,'' he said.

Hal Spivack, director of product development at fantasy site Fleaflicker, said players began emailing him and sending him tweets asking to migrate their league to the smaller platform, which currently has hundreds of thousands of players.

Spivack said he sympathizes with Yahoo's problems, as New York-based Fleaflicker had a brief midweek outage during Superstorm Sandy. But he said companies running fantasy sports have to prepare themselves for busy traffic and make sure their servers and sites can withstand high demand.

``Even the smallest of issues do get noticed a lot. There is backlash because ... people have bigger things riding on (their leagues),'' Spivack said. ``People tend to get very upset.''

Paul Charchian, president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, said almost every fantasy site has had some kind of failure and the Yahoo outage highlights the complexity and scale of how the games are operated.

He said players should have failsafe options in their leagues, like calling commissioners and opponents to let them know what they want to do if a site goes down.

``I would encourage players to remember that this game wasn't always played online,'' Charchian said. ``It's not the end of the world. They'll fix it.''

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Oskar Garcia can be reached athttp://twitter.com/oskargarcia .

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No-hitter hurled in Beltway battle of Nationals-Orioles Double-A affiliates

No-hitter hurled in Beltway battle of Nationals-Orioles Double-A affiliates

In what *has* to be the most important game of the night between the Orioles and Nationals organizations, Bowie Baysox pitcher Michael Baumann threw a no-hitter against the visiting Harrisburg Senators.

The Double-A starting pitcher was absolutely filthy on the mound all night long, dominating the Senators lineup. Baumann needed just 94 pitches to mow down 29 batters, throwing 63 strikes while walking just two batters. He also struck out 10 as he thoroughly shutdown Harrisburg.

Baumann, who is rated the 24th-best prospect in the Orioles farm system according to MLB Pipeline, has had a dynamic start to his Double-A career. The 23-year old has a ridiculous 0.33 ERA through five games (three starts) in Bowie, spanning 27 innings.

This was, of course, his most impressive performance yet.

As for the Baysox offense, every player in the lineup recorded at least one hit. That's irony at its best.

At the time Baumann completed his gem, his organization’s Major League team wasn’t doing so well. The Orioles trailed the Nationals 5-1 in the seventh inning when it was announced on the big screen that Baumann had made history.

During a series in which the Orioles will be hard-pressed to beat their visitors from Washington, it’s nice to have something fun to point to from the minors.

Congratulations to Baumann. If he tosses a few more no-hitters, he’ll certainly find himself rocketing up prospect rankings list in a hurry.

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Managers in Nationals-Orioles series embrace shared history as they face off for the first time

Managers in Nationals-Orioles series embrace shared history as they face off for the first time

Brandon Hyde and Davey Martinez have spent countless days on the same fields, but Tuesday night was the first time they found themselves managing against one another.

Before heading to the nation’s capital to manage the Washington Nationals, Martinez coached under Joe Maddon with the Chicago Cubs from 2015-17. Brandon Hyde was also in Chicago during those years, coaching first base and then succeeding Martinez as Maddon’s bench coach prior to his hire in Baltimore last offseason.

While both figures are competitive enough to not need any added motivation against the opposing team, it’s still a fun moment for the two longtime friends to appreciate.

“Oh, he’s awesome,” Martinez told reporters in the visitor’s dugout before Tuesday’s game when asked about his relationship with Hyde. “I know him and his family very well, almost like family of mine. When we got in town we had dinner together, so it was kind of fun.”

Martinez went on to emphasize he knows Hyde will be playing to win, too.

“Obviously we both know he’s very competitive,” Martinez continued. “He knows that we want to win and he wants to win, so put everything aside. We’re going to compete.”

Despite the difference in records and team expectations in 2019, Hyde was pretty clear about his desire to take down his former colleague.

“Obviously me and Dave are very close friends and I wish him all the success in the world,” Hyde echoed during his own pregame availability. “But obviously I hope we beat them these next couple games.”

Martinez is not the only National to have a relationship with Hyde.

“Davey’s over there, Henry Blanco’s very close friend of mine, Joe Dillon the hitting coach I played with in high school, so I have some close relationships on that staff,” Hyde said.

Martinez knows the Nats can’t let their guard down against weaker opponents, Orioles included. As he put it, the Nationals “gotta come out and play baseball like we always do.”

And yet, even though each manager is putting his best foot forward to try to win the game, same as every other night of the season, it’s hard to ignore the unique relationship between the two.

For most, it’s just another night of baseball. But as Brandon Hyde put it most simply, “this will be a little bit different managing against Davey on the other side.”

Orioles-Nationals has yet to fully develop into a true rivalry, but perhaps a few more games that feel just “a little bit different” will help one blossom going forward.

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