Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The deal about fantasy baseball

OK, let me clear some stuff up:

(1) "Fantasy baseball" is the all-time worst name for anything. If I want to fantasize, I have way better things to imagine than fake baseball teams. And no, we don't think we're real general managers. We're just people who like baseball, like to compete at something, and have a good time flipping each other shit about it all.

(2) No, we don't think fantasy baseball is the same as real baseball, and we understand perfectly well that the best players in one are not necessarily the same as in the other.

But we have fun. Games matter that never would have otherwise. If you're a Red Sox fan, you wouldn't normally be too caught up in a Reds-Padres game in late August, with both teams 22 and a half games out. But when you have Jake Peavy pitching for the Padres and need Brandon Phillips to steal a base to give you a tie in that category, suddenly you care in a big way what happens.

We play in a head-to-head league, in which we play a different opponent every week, and the one-week results can swing wildly in either direction. We have ten categories, five each for offense and pitching. Through last Saturday, with only Sunday left to go, we were so close to our opponent that either one of us could have won nine out of the ten categories, depending on how things went. (We finished 4-5-1.)

So you get your hopes up only to have them dashed, or steel yourself for disappointment only to get a big rush when all of your guys come through for you. All kinds of weird micro-results occur, like a reliever blowing a save and then getting the win, or a manager taking a pitcher out too early or too late, or your star outfielder pulling a hammy on Monday so he's out for the whole week, or any number of other possibilities. Fantasy baseball can by turns be exhilarating and excruciating.

But you're not really getting this, are you? So then you haven't played it, have you?

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