Sunday, March 11, 2012

My (triumphant?) return to fantasy baseball

I hate fantasy and Rotisserie baseball. Really. I think it's a waste of time and a total pain in the ass to follow. Worse, you get people who want to tell you all about their fantasy team like it matters.

Let me tell you about my fantasy team.

First, some background. The very first fantasy league I played in was a football league I started back in 1982 or 1983. I was in sixth grade. I don't know how I first heard about fantasy football but I got some friends involved and I ran leagues until I was a freshman in college. I never played in a baseball league but I ended up doing writing for an early Rotisserie baseball guru, John Benson, which set me down the path of writing about baseball.

I wrote about fantasy baseball throughout college and into early adulthood but got tired of it, mostly because I was getting pigeonholed as a fantasy writer and I wanted to write about more serious baseball stuff. I swore off the fantasy stuff altogether until 1999 when I was asked to write some previews for ESPN (thanks to my connections with Diamond Mind Baseball). That's been about it since then (I drafted for my friend Jason one year for his baseball league and I've played in two NBA leagues (last time in 2004) for some really stupid reason that I can't recall).

My sole experience as a fantasy baseball player came in 1992. The statistics were done by hand and mailed out to the players each week. That's how long ago it was. I finished third and took the Paul Molitor Injuries Award since pretty much everyone on my team spent time on the disabled list (everyone received an award of some sort which was fun). We did a live auction and one of the guys, Butch, and myself had team jerseys made up. I enjoyed the auction immensely as I let the first hour and a half pass and watched as everyone overpaid stars. One of the other owners got a little upset at me after I let yet another player go, yelling, "WHO IS LEFT? WHO IS THERE THAT YOU'RE SAVING YOUR MONEY FOR!?!?!?!?!" It was fun.

So now I'm back in a league again after 20 years. One of the guys at the Hall of Fame kept pressing me to join so, even though I'm not keen about it in the least, I'm playing fantasy baseball again.

We had our draft this afternoon and I picked 2nd (out of 14 teams). My team, Amish Clown Drop (a nod to my Lancaster County neighbors as well as an anagram of World Champions), took Detroit Tigers first baseman (and soon to be third baseman), Miguel Cabrera.

With 14 teams and it being a snake draft where the draft order is reversed in even rounds, it made for a long time between picks. I'm pretty happy with my team at the moment, though.

Catcher - Buster Posey and Wilson Ramos
First Base - Miguel Cabrera and Gaby Sanchez
Second Base - Dustin Ackley and Darwin Barney
Third Base - Alex Rodriguez
Shortstop - Yunel Escobar
Outfield - Lance Berkman, Jayson Werth, Matt Joyce, Logan Morrison, Colby Rasmus, Mike Trout, Michael Brantley

Starting Pitchers - Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Shawn Marcum, Brandon Beachy, Trevor Cahill
Relief Pitchers - Drew Storen, Sean Marshall, Kenley Jansen, Aaron Crow and Tim Collins

The league is head-to-head, 6x6, meaning each week we play against another team in the league and every day during the week we compete in 12 categories, six for pitching, six for hitting.

I feel like my team is solid in pitching and has a lot of upside in hitting due to the number of young players and the possibility of a comeback by Jayson Werth. I also got two of my favorite players in LoMo and Collins so there's that.

We'll see. Hopefully I'll get some enjoyment out of it. At the very least I have some more players to root for this season.


--Transfixed Ingress said...

Bonus question: Which deceased AFC running back was chosen in the fall of '83 fantasy draft? (I think it was by BQ - but I'm foggy on the details).

Mad Guru said...

I believe (know) it was BQ and Joe Delaney. I also believe the following year that BQ drafted David Overstreet.

The thing is, a couple of years ago I told a writer friend about BQ and those picks and he wanted to talk to BQ about it for an article on fantasy draft gaffes. I got in touch with BQ but he had no recollection of drafting dead football players at all which sort of ruined the whole thing.

I know the truth, though.

Gabriel Schechter said...

Your last sentence expresses the best reason for people like us to play fantasy baseball. I blogged about the same thing a couple of years ago when I skipped a year of fantasy ball. This winter I've been less excited about the upcoming season than ever, but after drafting my team (which is going to kick your team's ass and is called "Selig Chugs Steroids") I find that I have a couple of dozen players to root for (many, like LoMo for you, are established favorite players, but many are not), and the necessity of paying closer attention to what's happening on the field so I'll be able to make solid roster moves. And that's a good thing.