Kicking Rocks: The Trade Bully

We all know that bullying is a major problem in social circles and the negative impact it has on the psyche of those at the wrong end of the conflict can be devastating at times. It happens everywhere we look and no matter what the circumstances are, it is a problem that needs to be addressed. There’s bullying in schools, there’s bullying at work and you know what…? There’s bullying in fantasy baseball.

That’s right. Ever been on the receiving end of an over-aggressive league mate who browbeats you to the point where the game no longer feels like a game?  Trade negotiations become such a nightmare that you avoid the phone calls or face-to-face conversations to spare yourself the abuse that comes along with them? I’ve seen it happen and I’ve seen many a person drop out of a league because one guy, and in some cases multiple guys, feel that the only way to get what they want is by bulldozing. Well, they say that the only way to deal with a bully is to show strength and stand up to them, so this is me fighting the good fight and telling you trade bullies out there that this is your official notice. You think it’s a harmless tactic to get a deal done? I say it stops right here.

Now some of you might be reading this and thinking that I am exaggerating here. There’s no bullying going on. There are no threats being made. It’s all just harmless talk. Well, I’m sorry to say that those who feel that way are usually the ones who are doing the bullying; not the ones who are on the receiving end. It’s kind of like having body odor or really bad breath. You can’t smell yourself, but those around you are needlessly punished.

If you want to make a deal, just make an offer. You don’t have to give me your fantasy resume or explain to me how you know what my team needs. It’s my team and I will run it how I run it. If you don’t like the way I run it, that’s okay. It’s not your team. If I choose to value pitching more than hitting, that’s my prerogative. I don’t need, nor do I really want, you to tell me how to play this game. The wonderful thing about fantasy baseball is that numerous people have been successful at it using a variety of different strategies. If you’ve been successful in our league using a particular one, that’s great. Congratulations. Mazel tov! It doesn’t mean that I should follow your lead.

If I do not answer your email within two or three days, kindly send me another email. Or call me. Or text. But not all three. We all have lives outside of this game, so if you don’t get a response in a reasonable amount of time, a gentle nudge will suffice. Perhaps I have something serious going on at work or at home. What is a priority for you is not necessarily a priority for me. A barrage of emails every few hours or a string of missed calls on my phone or a deluge of unanswered texts is not going to inspire me to reach back out to you and want to make a deal. And I’m certainly not going to respond to you berating me for not responding to the first message. You have my sincerest apologies with regard to the fact that I am not doing things on your timetable, but sometimes other things need to come first.

If I do not counter your offer, one of two things is in play. Either I am busy at the moment and don’t want to leave you hanging or your offer was ridiculously insulting. Do not come back to me with the exact same deal. Give me just a smidgen of credit here. I’m not saying you have to take no for an answer, but there’s a reason it’s called a trade negotiation. Sending me the same deal over and over again with the hope that maybe I’ll make a mistake or just accept it to get you to leave me alone is kind of a dick move. Either change up the deal or get a hold of me — again email, call OR text — and ask me what I don’t like about it and see if we can negotiate an agreement.

And speaking of negotiation, have you ever looked up the word in the dictionary? Seriously. Have you? I don’t care if we’re five minutes away from the trade deadline, but your attempts to push me into a deal are going to fall on deaf ears from now on. If I say no, I mean no. If I say no and counter, the ball is now in your court. If you don’t like my counter, then fine. Counter back. Don’t counter with the original offer. I already said no. If you don’t want to counter my counter, then we’re done. Have a great night. I’ll see you at work tomorrow. There is no need to latch onto my ear like a terrier on a bone and continue trying to push your stupid deal on me. If you’re not willing to negotiate at all, then we have nothing to discuss further. Go bother someone else.

There are countless ways a trade bully comes at his prey and while it should be up to the victim to take a stand, sometimes the dynamics involved make it difficult. Maybe it’s a work league and the person being victimized feels uncomfortable about telling a colleague or boss that they’re being an a-hole. Maybe there’s family involved and the person on the receiving end doesn’t want to make waves because that brother-in-law act like enough of a schmuck already at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whatever the case may be, the victim is just that — the victim.

Recognize your behavior, trade bully, and change your tactics. Your days of bulldozing the league are over. If you don’t want to change, that’s fine, but maybe then you should go find another league. We don’t want to deal with you anymore. The ball is now in your court and sorry, this is not a negotiation.




Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

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Steve Stein

Stop making excuses. You’re just worthless and weak. I hope I get in a league with you – I’ll kick your ass, you whiner.