Well, not really… I’m just a victim of circumstance.
You may recall my ranting about Fantasy Football last season, when I put about half the Titans on my team only to watch them all ride the bench with ACL tears. (Note to self: don’t pick all players you like or you will just be annoyed with them the whole season.) Incidentally, I finished in second place in spite of my complaining.
It’s a similar story with my fantasy baseball team. After all, I’m in third place and I don’t even come close to knowing as much about baseball as I did ten years ago. So why would I complain? Consider the facts:
Pros: results in my watching more SportsCenter; have something to talk about with people who don’t like politics; convenient web socializing with friends I don’t see very often; my pub crawls can be considered “research”.
Con: 5-10 minutes every other day plus the occasional blog rant
Again, why would I complain? The answer is surprisingly simple, and may in fact be a leading candidate for the Golden Rule of Chad: the only thing I like more than [insert activity here] is needlessly ridiculing [insert same activity].
So, five reasons I’m annoyed with Fantasy Baseball this year:
(1) Fickle draft picks. In a home-run-happy league, my first draft pick was Barry Bonds who announced three days after the draft he would be getting surgery on both knees and spending the better part of the season on my disabled list. If this is truly “fantasy” baseball, I should get a mercy pick from the other teams for egregiousness like that.
(2) Good luck for people who are not me. The guy in first place has at least four players who weren’t supposed to be good at all but coincidentally decided to never do anything wrong. Chris Carpenter is a great pitcher, but are you kidding me?? Same story for Jon Garland — find me a guy who would’ve put money on his 8-0 start? He also picked up Eric Chavez from me about three seconds before Chavez decided he actually wanted to play this season.
(3) Bad luck for… well, me. So I’ve got Pedro Martinez AND Roger Clemens on my team this year, which was supposed to be sweet. Unfortunately they’re a combined 22-11 right now, which is about what either of them should be on their own the way they’ve been pitching. They also have 17 no-decisions between them thanks to precisely ZERO run support. Especially Clemens, who at one point in the season was 3-2 with 5 NDs and a 1.19 ERA… are you kidding me?
(4) Cascading scoring. In my league a lot of categories are rated equally that have a cascading impact on one another. In particular, the home run is the godsend of my league because it impacts hits, runs, total bases, batting average, etc. Now of course this is to be expected, but I’d like to see a league that actually thought about weighting categories by importance — especially until Bonds gets healthy :)
(5) Defense doesn’t matter. I think the fact that defensive statistics are ignored is one of the true atrocities of fantasy baseball. Fielding percentage is IMPORTANT, as are errors and men caught stealing. Maybe you could get points if a player on your team participates in a double play? Hey, if stolen bases and “holds” (a completely made-up pitching statistic) count the same as RBIs then it seems a realistic request to me!
One more thing, which isn’t really a gripe so much as a potentially cool idea. Fantasy baseball should try to improve the way EA Sports adds realism each year, and in that spirit, I might search for a more eclectic league next year that takes externalities into account. You could get points for fan attendance, or be penalized if anyone on your team is caught using steroids. (I would also be a fan of penalizing teams with ugly uniforms — bright orange jerseys, for example — but that may just be a personal thing.) Also, in lieu of a salary cap, a player kick-assness limit could be imposed… I recommend a limit of three Cardinals or three Yankees on the same team.
Anyway, that’s more than enough about Fantasy Baseball. After all, my Fantasy Football draft is tomorrow and, knock on wood, the Titans are healthy so far this year… here’s to stubborn fans and lessons unlearned!