So, it looks like my early experience was indeed a glitch - but a fruitful one for me, at least. In my beginners' league, with tons of broken games going into dozens of innings because nobody could get any hits... turns out there were a bunch of awards being handed out because the games were so extraordinary.
So... that's good and bad. I got piles of resources (like maybe 200,000 perfect points) that week, and was fairly easily able to accumulate a pretty potent roster. That's nice. But, the downside is that I don't feel like I "earned" anything... I didn't really have to grind it out season after season, desperately waiting to earn enough ti finally get that solid left fielder to line up and bat 6th. It's like playing a fantasy RPG where there's a cheat code to immediately make your character top level... it's fine, but the grind is always what got me to fall in love with my character in the first place.
Anyway... here we are. I promoted to the second tier, Bronze, after my initial Iron League
where we paved our league super-easily and won it all. Now I'm among the top teams in my Bronze League
I'm following a logical trail here, since the next FOF game is going to come through the same shop as this game... it doesn't seem far-fetched that this infrastructure will someday actually become important to me.