I am a baseball fan. I love everything about the game including ridiculous and extremely trivial statistics, jokes about pitchers, and hating the guy who left your team just for more money. I love the Cinderella teams and the just called-up rookie who hits his first ever major league home run. I love dollar hot dog night and I love how the game of baseball relates to life.
For years there has been this Fantasy Baseball thing. Guys I knew who loved baseball, but frequently took it way too seriously and too personally, would talk about it. They would discuss their drafts and their aces and their injured players. They would wear me out with the talk of their fake teams. When I wondered if Yu Darvish would recover from his Tommy John surgery and play again for real for my beloved Texas Rangers, they were worried about his draft position when he did return. When Prince Fielder re-injured his neck and was forced to retire from baseball, I cried a little bit. My friends in Fantasy, worried who they could find to replace him on their “team”. I really didn’t understand the whole thing.
This year, I decided it was time for a little fantasy of my own. I got together with my grown son, who was also a first time player. Together, with the help of the ESPN app, we figured out how to draft our teams. It was SO MUCH FUN! Well, it was fun when we got the player we were going for and not getting him stolen out from under us by some unknown, and therefore hideous, player-thief.
After drafting our first teams, the adrenaline was rushing. But wait…we didn’t get Elvis on that team. Oh, I really wanted Elvis. And what about Kershaw? Some player-thief got him. It would be nice to draft Kershaw. I wish we had known more about drafting. I wish we had had the first pick. Hey, why don’t we both get one more team? I think we could do two teams.
Cut to 7 weeks into the season. The grown child has 25 teams. That’s the limit for free play teams. In my rookie season, I am managing 20 teams of my own. Elvis Andrus is on about 6 of them and I managed to sneak in and get Clayton Kershaw on 2. Every day I check out my teams. Which ones are winning, which ones are not. Can I find a better hitting 2nd baseman?
My loyalty to my favorite players has gone to the wayside in this game. With only 25 active players allowed on your team, the ballplayers you love for their heart and hustle, get dropped when their batting averages drop. If a pitcher isn’t throwing strikes and getting me points, I search for someone who can. I found this guy Jose Berrios. He pitches for the Minnesota Twins. I like him a lot. He has gotten me points.
When your favorites are doing well, hitting home runs and adding up RBI’s, it’s awesome! When pitchers are hurling K’s and maintaining that low ERA, it’s awesome. Until you get that alert. Alert: Cole Hamels placed on the 10 day disabled list (DL) with oblique strain. What?!?! He can’t play for 10 days? The reality is he will be out for 8 weeks or more. Aaaaccckk! You cannot find someone to replace him. Oh, you will find someone to fill in his slot while he rehabs, but it won’t be the same. Your fantasy team, your ALL star team, won’t be the same. They didn’t tell me this would happen. They didn’t tell me about DTD (day-to-day) listings either – when your very best starter may or may not start because he may or may not have a minor injury. And Mondays! They didn’t tell me about Mondays, when NObody plays because in Major League Baseball almost everybody has off on Monday. Or they have Thursday off. Mondays and Thursdays – terrible days for fantasy.
But here is the great thing about Fantasy Baseball. You can draft the leagues best players, the future hall of famers, the hot new rookie (Aaron Judge), the latest call-up from the minors. You can check your team every day and make adjustments to your daily line-ups or you can leave it alone and just believe your team, the one you hand selected, will come out ahead. You can follow your favorites and keep up with their stats. You can add to the conversation around the water cooler or at your local bar. And you can take your love of the game with you wherever you go. It’s not just a “guy” thing. If you are a girl who loves baseball, then you should have some Fantasy.