I think my fantasy baseball obsession may have finally gotten out of hand.
This year, I drafted five fantasy teams. Five. I’ve never had that many teams at once. And for a guy who can’t balance his checkbook — or count to twelve with his shoes on, for that matter — it’s a bit much.
“You wouldn’t go to a mechanic that had never rebuilt a tranny, right? Or a stripper who’d never wrapped herself around a pole.”
It started out innocently enough. I’ve always been a big baseball fan, and when fantasy leagues made the jump from pencil and paper drudgery to internet automation a few years back, I hopped on the bandwagon. For the first couple of seasons, I managed one team at a time, and I was content with that. Not very good at it, mind you. Who starts Bret Saberhagen on the road after the All-Star break in an even-numbered year? Me, that’s who. I’m an idiot, clearly.
After a while, the ‘drafters remorse’ started to get to me. I’d come out of a fantasy draft, when I should’ve been thrilled with my new team — looking their stats up online, memorizing their lifetime on-base percentages and wives’ and kids’ names — but I wasn’t, really. I had these nagging doubts, like: ‘Was Mo Vaughn really the right pick in round six?‘ Or: ‘What made me think this was the year Bill Pulsipher would put it all together?‘ Or even: ‘Rafael Belliard?!? How many fricking beers did I drink?‘
So, I started playing two teams. The first was a ‘practice’ team of sorts — I’d play out the season, sure, but that squad was littered with idiot picks. I simply couldn’t be trusted to make good decisions without the benefit of a little experience. You wouldn’t go to a mechanic that had never rebuilt a tranny, right? Or a stripper who’d never wrapped herself around a pole. How about a gynecologist who’d never smeared a Pap? I think not.
Of course, my strategy was predicated on actually learning from my mistakes, which is clearly not my strong suit.
(I’m still writing here, after all. ‘Exhibit A’, ladies and gentlemen.)
So, I’d end up with two lousy teams, bursting at the seams with scrubs and has-beens and part-time platoon pinch-hitters. Often they’d be different no-talent jackasses, but they were no-talent jackasses, just the same.
It was about that time that ESPN started offering three teams at a discount. Those shifty, conniving, weaselly marketing bastard geniuses. Three’s a charm, right? Why the hell not — what else have I got to do all summer?
From there, it’s snowballed further. A couple of friends want to play on another site, so I start a team there. Other people I know wanted to set up a ‘keeper’ league — ooh, so now I can hold on to light-hitting utility man Khalil Greene for five whole years? Gee. Where do I sign up?
It’s funny how these things sneak up on you. Not ‘funny ha-ha’, mind you. More ‘funny hey, why don’t I spend two and a half hours every morning checking box scores and batting averages, wouldn’t that be a hoot?’.
The whole game experience has changed now, too. With five fantasy teams, I’ve pretty much got everybody in the major leagues, on one team or another. I looked the other day, and I think I’ve got a clubhouse attendant from the Mariners and the Dodgers third-base ball girl on one roster. In terms of ‘coverage’, I’m in good shape.
On the other hand, it’s rare that I have a particular player on more than two or three of my teams. So I find myself watching highlights, saying things like:
‘Yeah, a double off the wall! But shit, that’s my pitcher, too. Bitches!‘
‘Damn, I can’t afford another hit to ERA, or batting average. Call the game off! Rain, damn you!!‘
‘A home run! Forty percent hooray!‘
I think the situation would be completely intolerable, if I didn’t follow one simple fantasy baseball rule: ‘Never draft anyone you can’t stand to cheer for.’
Finally, fantasy mirrors real life. No matter which team I need to pick it up, or which player I’m rooting for, the Yankees can all go to hell. There’s one thing we can all agree on, fantasy or no. Play ball.Permalink | 1 Comment