Sweet, sweet victory

>> Monday, October 2, 2006

Playing fantasy baseball often feels like a marathon. Most free online leagues see most of their players drop away by mid-season, or often far earlier. A full-season commitment means preparing for a late-May/early-April draft, and then managing your team on a daily basis for another six months. Along the way you make trades, you pick up free agents, you troll the waiver wire for utility infielders you can plug in for the inevitably injured players you have to put on the disabled list--all in addition to making the daily decision about which of your players to start on your active roster. By the end of the season, you feel like you're falling toward the finish line, rather than sprinting through it.

So this year, as I posted so long ago (oh my gosh--I went looking for the link and found it was dated February 6th. Have I seriously been thinking about fantasy baseball this year for that long?), I plunked down $25 dollars to Yahoo! Sports to join a pay league. Pay leagues get a few additional features the free leagues don't, but at heart it's the same game. The difference: by paying $25, there is less incentive for managers of struggling teams to just pack it in at the All-Star Break. (At least that's the working theory.)

And as far as I'm concerned, it worked. In the last month of the season, as many as eleven of the twelve teams were on record for making free agent acquisitions, waiver picks, or internal roster moves--including the eleventh-place team that finished 46.5 points behind first place, which was won with 91 points. All but one or two teams managed right up until the bitter end, which is an accomplishment in and of itself when you're playing against eleven strangers. (Okay, ten strangers for me: one of the other teams was managed by my dad.)

Six months. Twenty-three waiver claims. Half a dozen trades. Countless roster moves. Far too many nights staying up late to watch the West Coast games on satellite TV and early mornings scouring the roto news web sites.

But it was all worth it.

My beloved Fighting Amish reigned supreme!

Despite years of playing fantasy baseball, this is my first ever league championship, and I couldn't be more proud. At one dark point in the season, the Amish dropped as low as eighth place out of twelve teams--but we put our Amish work ethic to the test and got to work. A few key trades and merciless dismissals later, the Amish were climbing to the top like were raising a roofbeam. And we raised that roofbeam, dadgummit. We raised that roofbeam high.

Here's how it looked when the last out was made:

1. Fighting Amish 91

2. kerryod 87

3. Dusty Must GO (soon) 86

4. Cirque Goin' for 2nd 72

5. Diamond Gems 68.5

6. Reds 67

7. Great Gratzbys (Dad) 59

8. out of it! 56

9. scarlet fire 56

10. The Droogs 56

11. Kirby's Kops3 44.5

12. Mystery & Style 37

Kirby's Kops3, in fact, was making moves right up until the end--perhaps in a brave attempt to escape last place. Bravo.

It was a great season, and now that the real Major Leagues are headed into the post season, I can finally relax and watch the games just to watch the games, not be focused on which players are producing (or not producing). Fantasy baseball has certainly changed how I watch baseball, but I'm not sure I could ever truly quit playing.

And at least for one season, I looked like I actually knew what I was doing.


Anonymous,  October 12, 2006 at 6:21 PM  

I just found this site by chance today while I was procrastinating about doing an essay... that first chapter of your book is so.... sad, creepy, scary, grusome.... words cannot describe it.
Very good, I'll be requesting it at my public library up here in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Know who I am yet?
Anyways, it'd be neat if you managed to sneak in the name Potemkin somewheres...
C'ya thursday

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