Thursday, January 29, 2009

After a short delay, it's time to introduce Down the Backstretch's new Fantasy Sports Czar -- Doug Cowles. Doug signed on at the start of 2009, but then immediately took advantage of DtB's generous paternity leave policy when he and his wife Sara brought Henry Jack Cowles into the world on Inauguration Day.

We hired Doug because we wanted a professional running the fantasy and prediction contests at DtB. Last year, Doug won the $2000 prediction contest that USA Track and Field organized to promote its Visa Series last summer. Your editor/publisher knows from bitter, bitter experience in more low-key fantasy games that Doug is a formidable opponent.

So, starting this week, Doug will man the helm of our fantasy and prediction endeavors. He'll host DtB's weekly Yes/No contest -- and reveal his own pick each week! -- and organize some more elaborate games here and there during the course of the season.

Welcome to the team, Doug and take it away ...

Participants likely know the rules of the game by now but for curious new visitors here’s a quick synopsis: At the end of the week we ask readers to predict, with a yes/no answer, the results of a competition involving Minnesotans. To play the game, simply type "yes" or "no" into the subject line of an e-mail and send it to us before the deadline.

After the track, field or road competition takes place, we’ll award a point for every correct answer and tally up the scores. We will continue to offer a bonus for participants making their debut in Yes/No -- a correct answer will be worth two points for any first-time players.

Last week, 15 contestants (63% of players) correctly answered "no" to the question, "Will Emily Brown break her U of M Fieldhouse record of 9:10.60 in the 3000 meters at the Jack Johnson Classic this Saturday?"

The current Yes/No leader-board shows 13 contestants tied for first place with 2 points after two weeks. Once things settle out a bit more we'll publishing a listing of contest leaders.

This week’s question is ...

Yes/No: Will Kara Goucher win the Women’s mile at the Millrose Games?

Note: Duluth native Kara Goucher is the defending Millrose mile champion and ran a 4:39/9:03 mile/3k double two weeks ago as she prepares for the Boston Marathon in April. Goucher will face an international field including 17-year-old Ethiopian junior star Gezahegne Kalkidan. There's video of Goucher at the Millrose Games media conference HERE, along with archived video of last year's race.

Send your "yes" or "no" answer to DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com before 6:00 pm. CST Friday, January 30. Note the early deadline -- the Millrose Games are Friday night! Please put your answer in the subject line of the e-mail ... and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail.

My Answer: Yes.

Good Luck and thanks for playing Yes/No on DtB!

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